My NaNoWriMo Bibliography

This year I will be participating in my eighth National Novel Writing Month, which is something not many people can say. My first year, 2001, was the first year the event started to gain traction; about 1100 people participated, if memory serves. So now I’ve written seven piles of words, and I’m getting a little vague on what they all were. Indulge me, then, as I climb into the way-back machine and try to excavate my NaNoWriMo career. This is mostly for my benefit; I’ve been trying to reconstruct my history for a while now. Hopefully I’ll get it right.

2001: Rio Blanco – a spy vs. spy story set in Central America. When I bogged down I wrote sex. I’ve never read the result, but I think it had a few good moments, and the narrator had a strong voice. It was the voice that convinced me that maybe I could write something good. On December 2th I started my first serious attempt at a novel.

2002: The Test – This was the year of 30 days, 30 bars, 1 Novel. I have some documentary remains of that time, but my plan to keep a running log of my adventures was overwhelmed by the task itself. The novel I’d been working on for eleven months, While God Sleeps, has been languishing ever since. I plan to pick up The Test when I put The Monster Within to bed for the last time. There’s some really good stuff in here (if I do say so myself), and Jane might be my best character ever. She is managing to survive in a very ugly industrial-revolution world. Some scenes are so gut-wrenching I’m surprised I wrote them.

2003: The Monster Within – Holy cow, has it been that long? I hated to set The Test aside, but I recognized that this story was structurally a lot stronger and would be easier to get into a publishable state.

2004: Worst Enemy – A techno-thriller that has some problems with the techno. There’s a lot of chase and a clever idea – the guy on the run can never get ahead because the people he is running from have an AI that is based on the guy’s personality. He is his own worst enemy. To escape he must do something that is completely against his nature – forgive. (Alternate title is Unforgivable.) This one might turn out to be better as a screenplay. As it stands, two good characters stand out in a field of poor storytelling. This story has a lot of my road trip in it. It was an excerpt from this that first attracted That Girl’s attention.

2005: The Stan Man Plan – Previously excerpted in these pages. I reread it a few months ago and chuckled the whole way through. It’s a long, long way from publishable, but it was funny and even had a heart.

2006: Untitled – A very heavy subject and extremely high literary ambitions (along with real-time publication) doomed this project from the start. I might try it again someday, but the constraints of NaNoWriMo, which seemed perfect for the idea on paper, turned out to not work at all. I got the word count, but the result was a total mess.

2007: Math House – intended to be a near-future social satire and adventure story, it quickly bogged down and I turned to the story of one of the secondary characters, which turned out to be a whole lot of fun. Beth’s story had a Tim Robbinis sort of feel to it, and might be worth revisiting some day. One thing about NaNoWriMo, it’s taught me a couple of times the sort of story I should not be writing. It’s a good lesson to only lose a month to learn.

2008: I am almost giddy with anticipation for The Quest for the Important Thing to Defeat the Evil Guy. Since my last post about it, I have added a carp.

7 thoughts on “My NaNoWriMo Bibliography

  1. Capr ryby? Be careful — those things are dangerous!

    Today I plan to become cold and wet; a Pacific front is blasting through Five O’Clock Somewhere and Heron Lake, but we need to extract the last couple of our Sunfish dinghies from Heron. I did, of course earlier this morning, move a few rocks. Rocks are meant to be mobile.

    Last weekend I did race committee at the Butte while Carol Anne and friends worked on breaking things on her boat during the fresh winds (20 mph gusting beyond 30) at the Desert Classic Regatta. More boat parts are on order.

  2. Oh man, now this is bugging me. I can’t remember all my Nano novels. Specifically, I can’t remember my FIRST one, from 2003, and of course that was a year that the certificate didn’t have a place for the novel title.

    Damn you, now this is going to drive me crazy…


  3. mmm


    Luckily I still have most of the stories in my Writing folder. Rio Blanco is missing, but I think I can dig it up. I should, before it’s lost forever.

  4. I have separate folders on my computer for each year of NaNo. I like the premise of my first effort, in 2004 — some unknown entity recruits the very best talents available in North America in each of the areas of intelligence posited by Martin Gardiner, plus the main character, who is the most totally average person in the United States. This team, assisted by three highly intelligent Pomeranians, is to go out into the world to battle evil. I just never figured out what sort of evil they were battling — last I heard from them, they were in Georgia, preparing to make an illegal entry into Iran to find out something-or-other.

    As Jerry has mentioned before, my subsequent NaNo novels have been fairly formulaic — create a character that everybody hates, give about a dozen people a reason to want that person dead, kill that person off in a creative way, and then spend the rest of the novel investigating suspects. At least I’ve been creative with murder weapons: a photocopier, an extremely rare and deadly subspecies of rattlesnake, and a Sikh ceremonial knife. This year, I haven’t figured out the exact method of murder yet, but it has to happen on stage in front of a sold-out crowd, which will have no idea a murder has taken place, since the character is supposed to be dead.

  5. Wow its neat this blogcomm has so many writers. It would be fun to read some of Jer’s titles, here, as well as some of TG’s work. On an only mildly related note…I had no idea Lulu was located near me. I only found this out because the economic turmoil has hit them too, and the newpaper was reporting layoffs at Lulu. Sigh.

  6. I was replying to Jer’s comment in SD section when I noticed I had already done NaNo 5 years and this will be my 6th. Shocked my cookies.

    Carol Anne – what’s that rye seed death? I was talking about that with someone today and thought it’d be a good weapon if I didn’t already fang my kids.

  7. For my own reference:

    2009 – Immortal Flesh: You can take a slacker of of his mom’s basement, but you can’t take his mom’s basement out of the slacker.

    2010 – Step on a Hack: Inspired by James Patterson! Someone is killing off the horribly awful co-writers pumping out ‘collaborative’ work with a the world-famous Penn Jetterson’s name gracing the covers. Each death is based on some absolutely preposterous event that the hero of one of the books survived. It begins with a physics lesson for a writer who’s hero had survived an incredible car jump. It doesn’t go so well for the writer.

    2011 – Munchies: technically the same story as in 2009, but pretty much a ground-up redo. This is the story I’m getting back to work on this afternoon.

    2012 – Gravity: A woman wakes up in a hospital with no memory of her past. She knows she is different than the people around her, but just how different only becomes apparent over time. For some reason, clouds don’t seem familiar when viewed from the ground.

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