On the 1st of November, 2012, I began writing the first draft of what would later become Dead and Buryd. Since then, every November I sat sat down and written the first 50,000 words of the next Out of Orbit novel. I fully expected it to happen this year too, the final book for what would hopefully be my 5th year of completing the challenge.
Only, things didn’t quite go the way I wanted them to. With only two days between the release of Rack and Ruin and the beginning of NaNoWriMo, not to mention my 30th birthday and various outings, the end of October loomed before I’d written a single word of coherent chapter planning for the final book in the Out of Orbit series.
Instead, I decided that this NaNo would be a mish-mash of stories. I would chase the shiny ideas and see which ones stuck. I would finally finish writing Meat, the second book in the Teeth series. I would start something brand spanking new and not give a thought to who was waiting for it to be finished.
Because, since I’ve started selling my books, that is a monumental level of stress, one that I haven’t completely figured out how to deal with. Knowing that readers are waiting for the next book in the series is scary. You know they liked the first, and now the next has to be better, and better, and … Okay, I need to stop and take some deep breaths.
I love writing sequels, there is no doubt about that. With the world already set up, the characters familiar in my head, it’s easy to jump into the action and make things more complicated than ever before. I like the mess, and I like the well worn shoes of a series.
But, I also love writing something nobody knows about, knowing that it’s just for me and it doesn’t matter if I stop halfway through and don’t look at it again for six months. I like letting ideas stew in my head, to be forgotten and remembered at inopportune moments (like when I’m trying to finish something else.)
So, I threw the rules out of the window. I’m not actually trying to write a novel this November, I’m writing bits of lots of stories. I’m currently at 32,000 words and there are 4 distinct novels in there. I’m getting to the end of a chapter and then switching. I’m writing for ten thousand words straight on a single idea because I’m enjoying it so much. I’m going to write some Out of Orbit, but when I get there is when I get there.
I’m doing the NaNo Novel Mix-Up, and maybe, by this time next year, I’ll have one or two of them out there with readers so that they can join the stress of the great unwritten sequels.