I’ve taken part in the November NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every year since 2006. The first time I did it, I was on a mission to prove to myself that I could finish a novel in a month. It was a kind of signal that I would start to take my writing seriously at last after almost a lifetime of picking it up and putting it down randomly as the mood took me. The mood still does usually take me, in fact., so being able to finish a novel quickly hasn’t impacted on my enjoyment of the process of writing it.
This year will be a little different from previous efforts, in that I’ve unearthed the typescript of my epic novel of the English Civil War from a hiding place so secret that even I had forgotten where it was, and I plan to rewrite it on to the computer, tidying up and with any luck improving it as I go. This goes against the original spirit of NaNoWriMo but I think after managing to write a new novel from scratch in a month fifteen times I have proved I can do that if I want to, so this November I will officially be a rebel. The reason for choosing this particular archived novel to work on is that I told myself I would look at it again once I had retired from my day job, and I can now see that the only way I’m going to get round to it is by reserving a particular writing spot for it in my calendar.
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the other two novels I’ve been writing in the last few months, and certainly doesn’t mean I plan to write more things set in the seventeenth century. This one might well be a one-off.
Having just today written ‘The End’ on the latest in the Pitkirtly series, I will be running through my editing process during November as well as working on the above-mentioned thing. My self-imposed deadline for publishing ‘The Christmas Catastrophe’ is the 1st of December but I hope to have it completed a bit before that. For obvious reasons it will be good to have it out there before Christmas.
The other novel I’ve been working on, and which I ruthlessly abandoned in order to write Pitkirtly XXIII, is a sequel to ‘The Heiress is Not at Home’ in my historical series. The reasons I temporarily abandoned it at 50,000 words were that it needed a bit more research than I had time for, and also that I couldn’t make up my mind about the ending – I still can’t, actually, but I will probably finish it in December or January so we’ll see.