It was around the beginning of October that I was sitting in #fanfics on Sorcery and one of the regulars there linked me to the National Novel Writing Month (henceforth shortened to either NaNoWriMo or NNWM) site.
The goals of that site are very simple. Starting November 1st, and going until November 30th, you have to write 50,000 words of a novel. It has to be a brand new project, where you are starting the first bit of prose on November 1. That averages out to about 1,667 words per day. In getting people to write at such a frantic pace, the idea is to get them to write things they would otherwise have never written, because they would usually discard certain ideas thanks to the harsh "internal editor", or not be motivated to write, etc. And it brings everyone together for one collective community goal. To get those 50,000 words.
You don't really get anything for winning. I mean, I got to download an icon and a winner's certificate, which I've printed and will display with pride on the door to my room. But it's not like I get any notoriety. Just a sense of accomplishment. I know that I've set a goal that seemed impossible, and I reached it. In fact, I reached it in the wee hours of the morning on November 23rd, with a full week to spare.
When I first started, I had two ideas that I might write about, and for the entire month of October (the planning month) I thought it would come down to choosing between one of those two ideas. Then, two days before the writing was to begin, there was a name floating through my head. Not surprising, seeing as how it's a name that I created a long time ago. That name was Mack "Knife" Kilimaro. A character I originally creeated to be a personality in the StarCraft setting. He was a firebat. But the thing is, I hate coming up with names, and I realized, hey, Mack would make a neat protagonist.
Then I conceived the world he would be in: a pre-industrial society where gunpowder had only recently been discovered. And his basic situation in that world: that he recently fought in a war, though at the time I did not know what war, or why. Mack wanted to get away from that old life, and came to a backwater village, where some of the local kids bother him. And that's where it begins, on a day that seems otherwise nondescript, as Mack tries to harvest his crops. I wrote from there, flying by the seat of my pants. As I progressed, the story became more fantasy-oriented than I originally intended, though it is not a full-blown, high-magic, sword-and-sorcery kind of world by any means.
My novel is by no means perfect, nor do I harbor any illusions that it is a masterpiece. In fact, it might even downright suck. I know for certain that it has some quirks as a result of writing it like I did. For one, there are hardly any contractions, since word count was a concern for me at first. There are a few plot threads that don't really go anywhere, because I thought about them and then thought they might be important, but then another day's writing led me in another direction. Certain things spring out of nowhere, and may not make any sense. I'm not sure that it's entirely consistent with its own backstory. And speaking of backstory, there's a tendency for characters to launch into it at random times.
But, I'm proud of it, and that's why I'm going to share it with the general public. So I hope that you find at least a bit of enjoyment out of my novel.
November 24, 2003
For my cousin Tim, who is a few years younger than myself, and whose girlfriend was killed in a car accident during the course of the month.