So I really wanted to notch my seventh NaNoWriMo win last November. I had a novel all mapped out and everything.
Unfortunately, my health had other plans. In early November, I got the worst case of the flu I have probably had in decades. I was spiking high fevers every night and barely had the energy to sit upright, much less park myself at my laptop and hammer out a novel night after night. I missed two weeks of work and really should have taken off the whole month. The flu eventually turned into bronchitis, giving me a cough so severe that I bruised ribs.
Yeah, I didn’t get a novel written that month. Not even close. And I was way too sick to care that my six-year streak broke. Ever since then I’ve been laser-focused on querying TIDEPOOL, the Lovecraftian horror novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2016 (the novel formerly known as BLOOD TIDE).
But it really bothered me that I didn’t have a new idea that was grabbing me. For NaNo 2017 I came up with a soapy vampire novel based on a rather elaborate Sims 4 vampire legacy I was playing, but I just kind of left it hanging after NaNoWriMo ended.
But in early 2018 I started chewing over a new idea, and before long it took root and I started to envision characters and plot developments, and I knew I’d fallen into that hole in the paper Stephen King described so well in Misery. (Not that I use actual paper these days. But you know what I mean.)
And I didn’t want to wait until November 2018 to get a draft down, so I treated April’s Camp NaNoWriMo as if it were the main event. And I did it. I fell way behind the daily word count at one point, but forced myself to sit down one weekend and write myself out of the hole I’d dug. That was a new and not fun experience, but I’m happy to know I can actually do it.
And I have a new Draft Zero. It’s not good, of course. They never are when they’re brand new. It’s too short, and I already have a whole file of issues I’ll need to hammer out when it’s revision time.
But it’s out of my head and in a computer file, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to revisit it in a month and make it into something good. It’s called THE KEEPER OF THE KEY, and it’s basically The Haunting of Hill House meets Bluebeard in a modern young adult setting. I’ve been studying a lot about novel-writing craft in the past year, and I learned a lot from my Pitch Wars 2017 mentor. So I’ve got high hopes for this one.
As for that soapy vampire novel? I might revisit it in November if nothing else is going on. I figured I’d be writing that one just for fun, because no agents anywhere wanted anything to do with vampires post-Twilight. But a few weeks ago, something weird happened: every agent on Twitter started saying “YES! Send me vampires! Please!”
This business, I swear…