I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year, after all. The premise? A prequel of sorts to Gray Morning, with the intention of wrangling together Jazz and Savin’s backstory.

Except this is precisely what I did last year, and I didn’t even realize it.

I didn’t realize it until yesterday, when my best friend pointed out that I hadn’t listed this year’s novel on the official NaNo website. So I went to register the novel, upload an excerpt, and went and looked at the novel I had listed from last year.

You know that thing where you forget about some of the things you’ve written? There are some who refer to the phenomenon as Writer’s Amnesia. I get it really bad. To the point where I remembered that I did NaNo last year —  and won! — but I forgot what it was I wrote. I even reread the excerpt I posted last year and couldn’t remember where I was going with the scene presented at all, until towards the end.

I’ve been rereading the draft ever since. It’s no longer canon; I changed a lot of the basics because Jazz as a Prince just doesn’t work for me. Him as a member of the previous Emperor’s Council and being “selected” as the predecessor does. But it still fascinates me, how quickly I am tearing through rereading this draft — I’m devouring it, and now I’m remembering bits of where I intended for it to go. And how I had left it incomplete.

I kind of want to borrow the over all plot of last year’s draft and place it in something else, but I’m not sure what. Or if I would have to create a new world to make this particular plot work for me. And this is really how Gray Morning has been a huge producer of new ideas — I end up writing “AU’s,” or non-canon material and they spawn novel ideas and even the characters based on Jazz and Savin become entirely their own characters. Kenji and James? Yeah, they were originally based off of Jazz and Savin. Just Talk is its entire own thing, now, with both characters developing their own sets of flaws and personalities.

I just have to be careful that I don’t do this again NEXT year. =p And now — an excerpt from my current NaNo in progress ( which I am behind on):

Savin stood off to the side, his feet aching and eyelids drooping, unwilling to stay open. He watched as Jazz strode forward, hands half-balled into fists at his sides, chin raised in a display of confidence that seemed so unlike him, jaw set and eyes focused on the crowd in front.

The same crowd waiting for their newest Emperor to be crowned.

Emperor. The word tumbled around in Savin’s mind, trying to stick to something and finding that it had no grip. Jazz couldn’t possibly be the Emperor. They had known each other for almost a year now, dated almost as long, and the smart, goofy guy Savin knew as “Jazz,” just couldn’t be the Jasper Callahan, Emperor-to-Be.

Except he was. And today — today it was all becoming official. Jazz would no longer be a mere member of the Emperor’s Council, a prestigious political position in its own right. No, he’d be the one in charge. Running everything. Constantly under the media’s spotlight, where they would scrutinize his every move, reading between lines that didn’t even exist.

Savin felt his throat tighten at the thought, and he stood up a little straighter. The Emperor’s Council — Jazz’s Council, he corrected himself — stood with him, each member stony-faced and reserved. Most of them were older than Savin himself; a couple of them were at least twice Jazz’s age, which was a strapping twenty-four. He was the youngest Emperor in history, and —

And the first openly gay one.

Without thinking, Savin tugged on the knot of his tie and cleared his throat. A small speech was made, not by Jazz himself, but by the the most trusted member of his council, Mitchel Foraker. The older man perhaps had the most severe expression of all, envy and pride and something else all twisting under lines of his face.

Savin didn’t hear a word of Mitchel’s speech. Instead, he replayed the night’s past surgeries and dragged a finger along the length of his thigh, replicating an incision he had made only hours ago on a patient fighting for their life. His boyfriend was becoming the Emperor. What did that make him, exactly? Was he going to be able to continue his medical career? What about his desire for privacy? Would the media follow him around like they had significant others of the Emperors in the past?

These thoughts all cut short when Jazz’s voice rung out, loud and clear and impossibly confident. Savin’s fingers relaxed as Jazz continued to speak; he was too tired to comprehend the words, but the rhythm and power behind them affected him, all the same.

And then there was a pause. One that made Savin stand straighter, his fingers curling in on themselves as Jazz turned away from the podium and smiled. That same, soft and full smile Jazz often reserved just for him.

“I have another announcement to make,” Jazz said quietly, slipping his hand inside his pocket. “Actually, it’s more of a question…”

Savin felt every muscle in his body tense except for his jaw, which went slack as Jazz approached him with unnatural slowness and then lowered himself to one knee.

“Savin Bates,” Jazz began, his fingers fumbling with the small box trapped inside them, “will you marry me?”

“I –” Savin found it difficult to breathe, his mind on overdrive as he stared at the ring Jazz had presented him. “I –”

His gaze moved from the ring to Jazz’s face, eyes brimming with hope and expectation.

“– can’t answer that — not, not right now,” Savin stuttered, his own eyes filling with tears as he watched Jazz lower the ring box and his hopeful expression shatter.