I think I’m planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year. It’ll be a fun way to mark how much more writing time I’m getting now that the kids are in school, and it’ll be a good way to focus. Writing that much that quickly is always exhilarating. Plus I previously did it in 2006 and 2010, so I suppose by doing it again this year I can establish a motif.
Lately I’ve been working on the Shanghai novel I used to talk about here, and I’m happy with how that’s going. But NaNoWriMo requires something new, so both Shanghai and revisions on Zero Hour are out. (Honestly, I’ve recently had a couple of ideas for the Shanghai book that I’m kind of happy to give a month or so to gel.) I’m going to go with writing some alternate history and give myself a chance to flex my worldbuilding muscles in a way that writing historical novels about interwar Shanghai or Allied-occupied Berlin doesn’t.
That decided, I’ve got basically two possibilities of what to write: either I could sit down and write a manuscript for my South-wins-the-American-Civil-War novel, or I could give in to this kick I’ve been on lately about the Federalist Period and do something with a point of departure in 1787 (which is to say, a POD where the United States never ratifies the Constitution). The South-wins novel is actually in a pretty advanced stage of planning, with a cast of characters, a solidly developed setting and most of a plot; its one big problem is that I’m simply unable to find a way that my protagonist fits into the rest of the book. Plus (and this is a pretty big consideration) I’m very confident the book is saleable; at least, as saleable as alternate history gets.
The no-Constitution idea, on the other hand, is really just in its infancy. I have some idea of how the world looks, but no idea of the setting, characters or plot, beyond an opening line that fascinates me. But it’s what’s been catching at my imagination for the last couple of months, and I’ve done a lot of reading on the period and am really immersed in it right now. Yesterday I checked a biography of James Wilkinson out the library, who’s a fascinating character who really should be better known from this period of American history. After just forty pages it’s already prompted a number of thoughts that are almost certainly going to end up as posts here in the coming days.
I really wish NaNoWriMo were December rather than November, is what I’m saying, because then I’d jump on the idea of doing something with the no-Constitution POD. But it ain’t; it’s November. So I’ve got a decision to make.