I don’t do NaNo, which is the National Novel Writing Month. Everyone participating is aiming for a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in November, which is a fantastic goal for most writers. In the old days, Traditional Publishing (aka New York City) only let you publish one novel per year. I know a number of folks from that world who have multiple pennames as a result. One for fantasy. One for science fiction. One for mystery. Etc. They wrote fast then, but the system wasn’t prepared to handle it.
But pulp writing goes back, obviously, to the pulp era. There used to be hundreds of different magazines, in every conceivable genre, needing new material every month. Writers working those periodicals would work all day, frequently finishing a story at 4:30pm and putting a new piece of paper into the typewriter and starting the next story.
In those days, you could make a living selling short fiction at a penny a word if you were lucky. These days, you’d need to put 4-6 short stories into print every month in order to maintain any sort of income, and there are far fewer professionally-paying markets these days to support you.
But you can write and publish Indie. Create your own company. Do your own covers and marketing copy. Publish your stories.
You are responsible for your own career. People I respect remind me of that on a regular basis.
For me, that means I can write fast, publish regularly, and make a pretty decent living. Without ever having to put on pants if I don’t want to.
A friend was teasing me the other day that I was spending too much time on social media because I was sharing some silly things designed to make people laugh. I had to remind him that I had finished October having written just over 1.2 million words for the year, which included eleven novels and forty-four stories of less-than-novel-length. (Anything under 40k, as it were.)
In those old days, you had strict rules you lived by if you wanted a tradpub career. Those days are gone.
In October, I finished the month with 125,610 words written. I plan on replicating that in November and December, because I’m not traveling anywhere for the holidays this year. (Obviously, right?) Instead of NaNoWriMo, I might write two shorter novels in November. Maybe 45k each. And some other things. Who knows.
I woke up this morning and started a novel, but only because I had finished two more Gunderson SF Crime stories in the last few days and my original goal had been fourteen novels this year and forty shorts. The weirdest part was that writer-brain wasn’t sure what we were writing.
It happens. Not writer-block but story-block. Usually I shift around until I find the thing that makes writer-brain happy and run with it. This morning, I walked slowly through the list of open series I had out there, but none of them were happy-making.
Finally, the answer was “tired of science fiction.” Weird, but okay, I can deal with that. Have some sword and sorcery fantasy. Have some urban fantasy. Have some other things. Stepped through those and writer-brain lit on the next Shrike The Orque novel. (No, I got no clue.)
Blueberry is a short chopped out of the novella Rebels. Wrote both in about 2014, give or take. When I switched to primarily writing SF, all that kind of went fallow. However, I did write a follow-on novel to Rebels in 2018. It cliff-hangared hard at the end, so I couldn’t just publish it without writing the rest of the story arc. Apparently, I have started today.
Barely remember how it ended, so I pulled up the doc and read the last four chapters this morning, just to remember where the hell I was. (That was 35 novels ago, give or take.) Then I picked up the thread and started moving forward. I remember the wider arc I was planning, and have noted, but those notes were maybe ten lines to span two full novels of stuff, most of which was book four and how the final quest ended.
So, technically, I started a novel this morning along with everyone else doing NaNo, however weird that is. Mostly timing, because once I hit pace I will finish this novel in about 12 days, with other things thrown in on the side for reasons. Not sure if I will just write both of them back to back, or insert something between, but apparently I am writing sword and sorcery fantasy right now to round out the year.
Weirder things have happened, ya know.
What are you folks working on for NaNo?