I’m hopelessly not ready. In years past, I always start brainstorming and outlining as early as August. I keep opening notebook and word documents and writing “After You Outline” at the top of the page, and that’s as far as I get.
2007, I wrote a story I still need to go back and edit. Tragic and heartbreaking and just a little too telling for the senior year high school drama I was working through. I only made it to 30,000 words that year.
2008 brought about what I called the “new popular thing” for fiction books. Taking the lives of eleven separate characters that frequent the same coffee shop and showing how they start to intertwine over time. It got a little too autobiographical for my taste and also too confusing with eleven “main” characters. Winner!
2009 was a story I always wanted to write: the life of a high school girl revolving around a local concert venue set in the late 1960s. Unfortunately, the teens that would read it wouldn’t get the music and the older people that would read it wouldn’t care about the high school drama. Winner!
2010 was when I started what became On The Border. It’s the only NaNo noveling attempt that I’ve actually consistently worked on after November 30. Winner!
2011 showed me using an alternate universe for one of my mainstay characters, placing him in the world of my 2009 NaNo attempt. I got about 30,000 words through it and ended up giving up (the same problem as my 2009 attempt, even with using a male MC instead of a female MC). And I switched over to writing the last 20,000 words of On The Border. Winner!
2012 was an attempt at a sequel for On The Border, titled Close to the Edge. It was my first year doing NaNo that I actually finished a story rather than just hitting the 50,000 word mark. But it was too fanfic-y. Winner!
What does this year look like?
It looks like another story that’s been eating away at me much like On The Border did. Because it’s the companion novel to OTB.
When a friend of mine finished reading a draft copy of OTB (finally), one who knows the real-life Jason, I asked her if I needed to add anything in about why Jason left Cassidy in the first place. “Not really,” she said, telling me that if I added in too much, it would add in a lot of questions and weigh things down.
Later on in the conversation, she asked me why he left and I told her. “…Okay yeah, that’s definitely a loaded answer.”
There’s always been a back story to Jason, and it’s nothing like the real-life Jason’s back story…as far as I know. And the CIA agent who comes in at the end of the novel has some serious answering to do for readers.
After You will give readers the background of Jason Clarke and fill in the blanks (as he so graciously puts it) that Cassidy’s story left out. And how evil do you think the CIA agent is? They are probably at least six times worse than what you’re imagining, but every villain has an explanation.
Interested in a sneak peek? Want to yell at me on Twitter if I’m not keeping up with my daily totals? Check out my NaNoWriMo profile! Add me as a writing buddy!