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Keeping the fires burning

Today is the first of May, Beltane, the Celtic holiday that marks the beginning of Summer. For me it also marks the beginning of serious planning for this November's NaNoWriMo novel. For a while I'll still be working on Uncommon Counsel which will be published on June 5. Advance Reader Copies of that book are with beta readers now, and there will be final revisions to make soon. But before that fire goes out, I will use it to light the next: this years NaNoWriMo novel.

Will it be another publication? Who knows. NaNoWriMo is first and foremost a writing exercise for me. Regardless of whether I write anything worth reading, I will learn a tremendous amount about writing by simply doing it. That, by itself, is all the reason I need to do it. If I am very, very lucky, I may get something worth publishing, but that would be just gravy on top.

But it's only the beginning of May, NaNoWriMo is a full six months away. What am I doing now?

I'm planning. I'm tossing around ideas, writing notes, doing research, developing a premise and characters and the beginnings of a story line. This time it has started from a meme I saw somewhere and can't find now: a cross-stitch sampler that said "Blessed are those who feed the fairies." That one line has been rattling around in my head for weeks now, and a story is starting to develop from it.

I don't know that this will become this year's novel, but it's the leading contender right now. And I'll never know until I sit down and wrestle with those ideas. Follow all the blind trails and false starts that hopefully will lead to a path to story worth telling. If I can't find a clear path to a story, then I'll have to try one of the other undeveloped ideas that wander through my consciousness. Lighting a fire takes work, even if you do it from the embers of the previous one. Six months is barely enough time for all of that, but the pressure keeps it fun and challenging.

So what are you writing in November?