David Lubar (davidlubar) wrote,

NaNoWriMo? Nope. I have my own personal StaNoDuTha.

Yesterday, National Write a Novel Month ended. I think it's a nice idea. It's great to bang something out quickly. It's great to write a whole novel, since writing is an essential part of learning how to write. I might actually participate, except I have my own tradition, which dates back 17 years. In 1994, I had a full-time job as a game designer and programmer. I'd also started writing again, after a bit of a lapse. Some time in early November, I got an idea for a book about a boy who temporarily becomes a vampire when he encounters a vampire who only needs a small sip. The idea excited me, but I didn't want to dive right in. Thanksgiving was approaching, and the four-day weekend seemed like an ideal time to start. As I waited, I kept crafting more and more of the opening in my mind. On Thanksgiving morning, when I sat down to write, the story gushed onto the page. At the end of the day, I had 4,000 words. I kept the pace up for four days, coming close to finishing the first draft. (It was a chapter book, so it ran far shorter than a novel.)

I enjoyed the experience so much, I decided to recreate it the next year. As often as possible since then, I've tried to start a novel during Thanksgiving. Hidden Talents, True Talents, and My Rotten Life all started that way, as did several unfinished or unsold novels.



Some years, the stars just don't line up right. This year looked like one of those. I'd been working sporadically on a novel since July, trying to build up momentum. I'd also played around with several ideas. One of the ideas intrigued me, but it wasn't right for my current commitments. I did write several scenes to explore the concept, and felt that at some point, I'd return to the book. Then, while sitting in the passenger seat of my car, holding my daughter's dog in my lap, merging onto Germantown Pike from rt. 276, an idea hit. I realized I could combine the cncept that had intrigued me with another of the dormant ideas, which currently existed as nothing more than an opening paragraph, into something so much larger. It was what I call a "fire in the belly" idea. I knew I had my Thanksgiving project.

I'm older and slower than I was in 1994. I wrote about 1,000 words each day. But I got a solid start on the book. I don't want to share details, yet. I will say that it is an older book than the chapter books I've written recently. It will be for high school and upper middle school students. It's a fantasy. It won't be a quick one to write. But it's the right book to write. I'm excited.
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