Mental Prep for NaNoWriMo #1: Redefining modern mythology

Posted on October 28, 2012


The title is a much more diplomatic variation of the original go-to title of: “Modern fantasy sucks.” However, considering the limitations of my experience with it and the potential outrage and nerdboy tears that would likely inspire (as much as I enjoy nerdboy tears), I opted for something less aggressive. 😉

Next month is apparently National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). I’m not completely new to the concept, and by that I mean, somebody told me about it once, I scoffed at the idea of writing 50k words in 30 days and immediately dismissed the idea as ridiculous. I did not, however, know it was an official thing next month until this evening.

This isn’t the kind of endeavor I would generally sign up for. I’ve only just recently started writing again with any kind of regularity, and the idea of volunteering for just short of 1700 words a day seems a bit daunting. Forgetting Your Face is my longest blog yet at around 1400 words, but the remainder of my efforts so far have fallen short of 1000. (Not that I was going for word count with the blogs; I wrote substantially more and streamlined as much as possible.) Still, I am under no illusions that it would probably cost me two hours a day, maybe less if I can curb the need to spot edit. A hefty price and comparable to going from couch to marathon in, oh, 3 days before it begins.

However… let it be known that I am not a strong believer in coincidence, at least not in this case; the timing really couldn’t have been more ideal. While I do want to eventually learn more and create more to flesh this blog out beyond what it is now, I have been kicking around book ideas for an embarassingly long time and never gotten much further then pre-writing. I am not so pressed with other obligations that I can’t make this happen right now, and it would be pretty impossible once we get into 2013, for various reasons.

So… I am going for it. I figure, even if I don’t necessarily finish a book or even manage to get 50k words down or get them all in the same direction, it’ll still be a phenominal exercise in an art and discipline that means so much to me. Of course, I have no topic or story that immediately comes to mind. I have a big epic in mind, but I really don’t want to tackle that yet. That is my opus, my 5th symphony, the grand finale.

I was letting that churn on the backburner while playing Kingdoms of Amalur, and it occured to me just how lame fantasy stories have been in the last 10 years or more. To be fair, I don’t venture far from the mainstream selections; I am quite sure there is quality fantasy literature to be found, but I was thinking more game fantasy stories. I grew up on Final Fantasy, and while I am sure I remember the earlier titles with rose colored nostalgia glasses, the core storylines were solid. I mean, in Final Fantasy 6, the heroes fail to save the world! It gets (mostly) destroyed, your mega group of super friends scattered to the wind; one even attempts suicide in despair of the situation. Okay, so there was some cheeseball stuff here, especially the dialogue (and a scene with the octopus in the opera house), but there was some meat too. And let’s not forget the days when Bioware was still awesome and American RPGs were becoming cool, the Baldur’s Gates, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, etc.

My Gen X gamer comrades in arms know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now everything feels so cookie cutter. I would like to think it isn’t just because I am getting older, but everything feels so formulaic. A bunch of white people that speak with British accents, dwarves that are surly and speak with cheesy, overdone Scottish accents, elves (or some other comparable elder race with pointy ears) that are incredibly haughty and aloof but their time is ending to make way for humans, “all of this has happened before and will happen again”, flagrant theft from Lord of the Rings, more flagrant theft from Tolkien, maybe a heavy handed ecological message, el fin.

I may need to brain storm a fantasy that doesn’t pull so heavily from Tolkien lore or European medieval era concepts. The world is in desparate need of a fantasy with some innovation, even if only borrowing from a whole new set of myhtology to redfine a whole new mythology. Next few days before show time should be interesting. Be sure to cheer me on. 😉


Posted in: Gaming, Geek, NaNoWriMo