New Territory for NaNoWriMo

Audio Edition Coming Soon!

Modified from Masashi Wakui’s image on Pixabay

It was very strange to leave home all green and summery, going to the beach where it was a balmy 80 degrees and sunny, and then coming back home to find the leaves all yellow and orange with the scent of autumn in the air. This season has grown on me; I used to despise it because fall meant it was time to go back to school. While I still don’t like the cold, I can appreciate autumn much better now. Plus, as a compulsive hoarder of blankets, mugs, and sweaters, I can now put them to good use!

I didn’t get much writing done on vacation, but that’s okay. I actually had to remind myself multiple times that, being on vacation, I could do what I wanted to do rather than what I felt I should do. It’s a little depressing how many times I had to tell myself that. Still, I got about half a stack of books read, enjoyed the sun and surf, and came home to relax and play and review a bunch of otome game demos before returning to my day job.

One of my goals, however, was to decide what project I should work on for National Novel Writing Month 2019.

The Office of Letters and Light revamped the website so it looks pretty nifty (but the old site is still up as an archive, which is nice.) While there are still some bugs to work out, it’s nice to have the NaNo and Camp NaNo stuff combined into one space rather than on multiple platforms. And of course I’ve spent way too much time playing around with the site, customizing everything to make it look all nice and pretty. (So much fun, but what a time sink!)

Since so many of my other projects (Ravens & Roses, Faylinn, Pleasing the Sea, etc.) are in stages of development that require more thoughtful and targeted writing rather than just vomit-typing, they aren’t as well-suited for NaNoWriMo. My biggest success with NaNoWriMo is arguably Courting the Moon, which I wrote with only a basic outline of plot and character as an experiment to see if I could write a steampunk romance. Within two years, I had a finished manuscript. Since this style of minimal prep married to an unfamiliar genre worked well before, I’ve decided to write an urban fantasy for NaNoWriMo in 2019.

Now, I’ve read plenty of urban fantasy. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher was my introduction, but I’ve also read the Nightside series by Simon R. Green, the Matthew Swift quartet and Magicals Anonymous duology by Kate Griffin, the Cleveland Portal duology by S. Andrew Swann, and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’m currently reading the Diana Tregarde Investigates and SERRAted Edge series by Mercedes Lackey and have some more coming in from Devon Monk and Charles de Lint. But being a country girl who is deeply adverse to cities and other urban centers, writing a character who does enjoy such places, not to mention making the city life convincing, will be a challenge. I’m also trying not to follow the exact same tropes that other urban fantasy does with the location (New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, London) or career of the protagonist (private investigator, cop, bounty/vampire/zombie hunter). Oh, and it’ll be written in first person. Because why make this easy, right?

So at the moment, the main character, Karen Mohssey (spelling of name TBA), is a forensic photographer living in Hong Kong. She was born in rural Appalachia in the United States, and developed an interest in photography because she could see things like elves, sprites, and monsters, but no one believed her and she thought taking photos would provide proof. She’s “attuned” to the magical world, able to see magical beings, spells, and illusions, but while some humans can see or sense this, they can’t actually use or control magic. When Karen sees or photographs something she shouldn’t have, her path crosses with “Monochrome Blanche,” a strange woman with achromatopsia who is trying to escape her creepy cult-family’s obsession with finding a way to allow humans direct access to magical energy the way elves and other magical beings do.

Aside from this basic premise, a few scene fragments, and a sense of Karen’s voice, that’s all I have for this novel, which is currently entitled Spells in Sepia. It’ll be a challenge, but a fun one, I think. Now I just need to get through my stack of reference books and documentaries on forensics, Hong Kong, Appalachian legends, and Ireland before the end of October!

My place-holder cover! (Original image by ArtTower on Pixabay)

2 thoughts on “New Territory for NaNoWriMo

  1. I’m thinking of doing something new too. I’ll be working on my fantasy novel for Grad school starting in October, but I want a break and something fresh to look at. Also I will be running a young writers workshop at my local library for Nanowrimo. I can’t wait to read this newest book from you. Good luck!

    1. I totally understand wanting to do something fresh. Sometimes the subconscious has to mull over older projects while one sallies forth to work on something else. Hopefully your break will be both productive and rejuvenating!

      Oh, a young writers workshop? That’s great! We’re hosting something pretty informal at our library as well, part of NaNoWriMo’s “Come Write In” initiative. I hope people come, both to yours and ours!

      Thank you for the interest in a still-unwritten book, the good luck, and for reading and commenting!

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