December 4, 2012

The Narrow Margin

I’ve done NaNoWriMo* five times now. The goal of NaNo, of course, is to produce 50,000 words in a month, either as a complete novel or as the sizeable beginning of one. In prior years when I’ve won, I came to December knowing that, while NaNo was over, the draft wasn’t. One pushed on to over 85,000 words, another to 135,000 (another still crashed and burned shortly after NaNo ended).

Going into NaNo this year I knew it would be a bit different. My project for this year, Moore Hollow, began as a short story idea that quickly spiraled into something bigger. I figured it would be complete at about the 50,000 word mark, but didn’t quite realize how close it was going to be:

. . . by 306 words! And that came only after I went back and punched up a scene with a little more detail. I actually considered calling it complete just shy of the 50,000 mark. It still would have been a novel, for SFWA purposes (which makes 40,000 the Rubicon), but I’m glad I went back. I think that scene works better now.

So what is Moore Hollow about, anyway? It’s about a British investigative journalist, fallen on hard times, with family ties to West Virginia. He heads down into the coal fields to investigate a story about a local election in the early part of the 20th Century in which, well let’s just say, some strange things occurred. What he finds out and, more importantly, what he does with that information, is the heart of the book.

Is it any good? Hard to say. I should have a better idea when I whip through the second draft early in 2013.

* AKA National Novel Writing Month

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