National Novel Writing Month is just a few weeks away and this year I am determined to win (damn it!)
Because this year I will be revisiting a very old story from back when I had a FictionPress account. Back then, the only stories I would write were short horror stories and bad, bad fanfictions of Final Fantasy and YuGiOh. Then I started a story that began as a weird idea – what if we lived in a world where people have animal features, like cat’s ears or wolf’s tails – and over the course of several months I began to flesh it out. Within a few months, I had a fully built world with a history, class system, social hierarchy and religion. I had a story built around internal power struggles, brewing interspecies war and an ancient prophecy that was on the brink of being fulfilled. In short, I had the beginnings of not just one novel but an entire series – and I called it Banzoku.
Yeah. I know.
I can’t even remember where I got that name from. Something to do with the heavily Japanese-inspired setting I was going for at the time, which, along with the name, is something I look back on and cringe. When I started my MA, we were encouraged not to share our writing online (a laughable suggestion by today’s standards, I know) and I removed all of my online stories in an effort to improve my reputation as a serious author. I deeply regret doing this. I posted so many stories, good and bad, that I would have liked to revisit someday. I got so much feedback, both positive and negative, that may have been useful to carry me through the tough days and kept me writing through that long interim. Luckily, Banzoku was kept on a backup file and I recently opened it up again and realised that yes, it was rough, but it was actually a good story.
So this year I am reviving it. I’ll spend the weeks leading up to November refreshing my plotline, reviewing character profiles and plotting out the first book in my series: ‘City of Beasts.’
A lot of things need to be changed: the plot needs to be more streamlined, the cringey Japanese aesthetic needs to be removed and the main characters overly tragic backstory needs to be toned down and made more relatable, but I’m feeling more prepared for NaNoWriMo than I have done in years. By the end, I’m sure I’ll have a halfway decent manuscript ready to go.
If there are any fellow WriMos reading this, check out my profile: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/toni-moth