Well I am going to participate once again in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)which begins Midnight November 1st and goes to Midnight December 1st. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel (or as many quickly point out novella)in 30 days. In 2007(untitled) and 2008(Brilliant Shadows) I wrote in the science fiction genre about a starship captain and his eclectic crew, including his android first mate whose body was cobbled together from parts of pleasure droid and a warbot. In 2009(Void Tripper) I wrote about a man who discovered that he could cross dimensional rifts into parallel worlds. It was a mixed bag of sci-fi and fantasy settings with a little horror thrown in. After all who can resist including the zombie apocalypse in their novel?
This year is going to be strictly fantasy. My working title is "Seven Sisters of Blood" and is loosely based on my gaming experiences in World of Warcraft although I won't be calling them "Blood Elves" and they won't live on Azeroth.
NaNoWriMo is a fun way to drive yourself crazy trying to meet a deadline. There are some rules to follow like you can't start writing before November 1st, and certain literary cliches must be avoided but other than that you can go crazy. By forcing yourself to write, stories take on different directions than you originally planned. Plots change and characters come and go throughout the 30 day exercise. If you complete the challenge you get nice little gifts and of course bragging rights. If you don't complete it, You still learn valuable lessons on what you have in you as a writer. And then there is always next year.
But don't fret! You are not alone! When you sin up at the official website, they give you all the tools needed to participate. You can register for a region and your geographical area might have a Municipal Liaison (ML) who moderates a forum specifically for your area. My group in Akron Ohio has weekly meetings at local spots so we can encourage each other in person. There is also a kick off party in the works this year. You can get all the support you need to make it through.
Now I am not trying to tell you that if you participate then on December 1st you will have the next Harry Potter Novel ready to publish and make you rich. Not gonna happen, but you will have a draft. Rough doesn't even come close to describing it. But in years past, one of the prizes for completing the challange was to have your draft printed in book form complete with cover. You say you want to finish and have a complete novel? Don't worry, the good people responsible for NaNoWriMo don't leave you hanging. The website has information on what to do after NaNoWriMo with your work if you want to see it through to being published by more traditional means.
So if you think you have a book in you why not take the plunge and be a 2010 NaNoWriMo participant.