The challenge is complete, and two days early mind. As always, when I look upon the completed manuscript I see pap, pedantic, meandering ideas, and incomplete, two dimensional characters. But I also see a foundation - the bones as it were for the meat to be added. My first successful NaNoWriMo was The Scarlet Bastards - The Cardinal of Gleann Ceallach. It too was mess when I finished the initial draft with hours to spare, but after many rewrites I was left with a story that examined the themes of guilt and regret in the character of Alexander 'Sikunder' Armstrong who recorded his memoirs of his years in the United Nations Off-World Legion on the colony of Samsara, twenty light years from Earth.
Last year the challenge saw me write the follow on book, The Scarlet Bastards - The Bone Witch (the book is now in edit) Working in a very familiar world now, I gave myself the challenge to create a truly horrific character that the reader might still find some empathy with. Again, it was a wasteland of flat characters and a dark, wandering story line, but a slow and deliberate edit is changing that. I'm feeling, in the end, it will turn out to be a very dark and hopefully a very good, yarn.
This year was the next in the series, The Scarlet Bastards - The Rule of Nine. I wanted to move away from the previous darker themes and look at the choices of youth and the regrets we have as we age. Some of the characters are those who have regretted their safe decisions of youth and now seek that irresponsible adventure that they missed out on in the worst place possible - amongst a a column of jawan soldiers in the Off-World Legion hunting down a horde of Gliesiun warriors called the Et'moru.
A quick word about the National Novel Writing Month and this year's project. For anyone unaware, NaNoWriMo is a writing challange - complete a fifty thousand word novel in thirty days. I was successful last year in the completion of The Scarlet Bastards - The Cardinal of Gleann Ceallach which after its editing period, became the second book in my scifi/western series, The Scarlet Bastards. For this year, I had been anticipating a new project - a dystopian post apocalyptic tale set in Alberta, Canada, however, it just was't ready for the thirty day writing challenge. So I moved over to another project floating around my head, the next novel in the Scarlet Bastards, The Rule of Nine. As of today, I am on track at twenty-five thousand words and it's flowing fairly smoothly. Stay tuned for some excerpts.