I find myself in the midst of an interesting conundrum. I have a wonderful idea for a book that I have been holding onto (much like so many other ideas) for the better part of two years. I would LOVE to work out a zero draft during NaNo, and I have done all of the footwork and interpretive dance necessary to prepare for that.
There is but one thing holding me back from following through on that lofty goal, and that is the cyberpunk/cyber-fantasy book I have been working on the past while. I wrote a first draft of it for last year's NaNo and I let it sit a good long time. Sure, I worked on other projects in the intervening time. I jotted notes to enhance the possibilities available for when I finally sat down to edit. I learned a lot about myself and the characters I chose for the story. I learned that they are very different from how I imagined them during that long ago pantsless draft. I took more notes. I plotted. I planned. Things in the original idea shifted. Things thought since then fell into their proper place. I like the way it is going… Let's be clear. THIS STORY HAS ME ON LOCKDOWN. I can't think past it. There are more bits of my characters coming to me. There is research needed. Story is beginning to peek out and it has me focused.
All of that leads me to believe that I will not be able to participate in NaNoWriMo in a conventional sense. I'll still take the time to write everyday as if I am headed toward that end goal, because I really am. I write every day. It isn't always a beautiful line for a book. Sometimes it is very badly stated statements or questions about what is to come in a story. Other times it is a horrific bit of poetry to force my mind to get back on track, but the fact is I write ALL of the time.
It is GREAT to focus on a draft for NaNo. It is also GREAT to be stuck completely to something from the year before. I won't put it toward a win this year, but I think the best use of my time, right now, is to get the story that is begging me to tell it out on paper where it can be refined. Anything else I do right now would lessen the ardor that I have vibrating through me for the work I hope it will become. I WANT my characters to be fully fleshed. I WANT them to show me how they react to the situations I put in front of them. I WANT them to grow and change before my eyes into the people I know they can be. I WANT to share them with you, and the only way I can see that happening is if I stick by them. They're going through some pretty rough times right now. I'll do my best to make their story worthy of them. I'll make sure you can understand them even if you decide that you don't like them. I promise to devote as much time as needed for them to tell you their story.
I am excited for you to hear it from their own mouths. I am thrilled that, one day, you might see it in your mind's eye. I am floored by the possibility that you will like it, but right now, I need to focus on what they need from me. I can't do that if I am forcing myself away from them right when it seems I am needed the most.
I hope you will understand when I say that they give me hope. It is for that reason alone that I am willing to set aside my plans for NaNoWriMo this year. My heart is with them. My head is with them. What kind of friend could I be to them if my hands were not theirs as well?