A few years back, I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing and there was no plan. I spontaneously decided the night before the event started, and just showed up at the keyboard the next morning. I learned a lot that month. Writing fifty thousand words without a plan was grueling for me, but when it was over, I was full of a new appreciation for what was possible, if you just pushed yourself.
Anyway, this post isn’t really about that bit of history. However, it is about the fact that it happened again. This Camp NaNoWriMo thing came along. I had heard of it before, of course, but never digested what it was. I assumed it was about taking a month off of work and renting a cabin in the woods with other writers. Apparently, that’s not how it works. There’s actually a virtual cabin you can join with other writers, and you can write between the cracks of life all month long. It’s a bit like the normal NaNoWriMo, except you’re not required to write a 50,000 word novel. You can set your own goals, whatever they may be.
On the eve of Camp NaNoWriMo 2019, I decided to do it. I figured, “Hey, I’ll be writing anyway - might as well make it a specific month-long project.” I wanted it to be low stress, so I set a low goal of 500 words per day for thirty days. That leads to a 15,000 word total, which I figured I could break up into three short stories. I’ve always wanted to write short stories that individually stood alone but also overlapped with events and characters that crossed-over with other stories. Perfect for this project. But what genre?
I considered and discarded all kinds of ideas. Then I landed on urban fantasy as a genre, even though I don’t know a whole lot about it. I only knew the tropes in vague terms - metro city, paranormal main character, supernatural adventures, etc. I decided quickly to use Atlanta, because I live here, but I didn’t want to use a wizard, vampire or necromancer as the main character. They’ve been done already, and I’m sure others have too. I decided to just collect a bunch of mythical monsters and use those, a different one for each story.
I’ve now planned out ten of these such stories, and the first three are happening this month. I‘m calling it the “Web of the Shepherds” series, for reasons I’ll explain later. I’ve already finished the first story, Sidereal Warlock, and I’m working on the next two, Mummy and Promethean. And along the way, I’ll probably find a way to tie these all into my world of Cromkhar and the Supers & Sorcery series. Because, let’s complicate things!