31 October 2009

Happy Halloween . . . and November begins

October 31st has taken on a great double significance for me in the last two years.

First, the obvious: it’s Halloween. And even if it doesn’t always fall on a weekend night like this year and last year, it’s still my favorite single day of the year. It’s a holiday made for speculative fiction writers and readers, a day about the concept of “fantasy.” And it has the greatest decor and color scheme of any holiday.

Second, at midnight, it becomes National Novel Writing Month. Most of the writers in the event start at the stroke of twelve, or as close as they can manage after the clock strikes midnight. There’s a shivery anticipation during the whole day leading up to the moment when the novel writing starts.

I’m going to a party tonight in the valley, so I don’t know if I’ll be back home to start writing at midnight, but I will start as soon as I get home and can pull off my Nazgûl costume. I would love to write in costume, but the tatters of the outfit would get in the way. And the black-fabric mask. (I must have this obsession this year with Halloween costumes where I can’t see very well.) I’ll plow on for a few hours into the night, getting a good head-start on the thirty days.
My novel for this year was planned quite late, but it’s set in Ahn-Tarqa, so the background already exists from a year of development, and the novel’s plot comes out of events in a short story I wrote in September. The outline that I finished yesterday feels strong, and I finally bequeathed the novel a working title that I like. (For the last ten days, it had the thrilling title of Ahn-Tarqa Novel.)

My blogging during November will probably be sporadic, as I’ll be putting most of my available free time away from actual paying work writing the novel. There won’t be much opportunity for reviews, and even my free-time reading suffers. I will post updates about NaNoWriMo, and the widget at the right will keep track of my word-count total. (At the moment, it hasn’t activated—NaNoWriMo headquarters have been slow about getting this to work.)

Happy Halloween, everybody. If you aren’t doing NaNoWriMo, go watch your favorite horror movie at midnight and forget that the mundane world exists for a span—so you and I will be in the same place.