Monday, November 21, 2016

Far Out Fantastic Events: NaNoWriMo and New Gaiman TV Series

The most far out fantastic events for me since last week have been my participation in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and news of author Neil Gaiman producing a new sci fi TV series.

World-building and Character Development for NaNoWriMo

I had said at the beginning of the year that I would write a full first draft of a novel (or novella) and there’s no better motivator for it than now, NaNoWriMo. In the last two posts I talked about writing through writer’s block for one of my short stories and searching for new monsters for another. [link to the posts that talks about these] But I’ve decided to take a break from both these stories so I can write my novella during this month of November. The problem is I only started writing it last week and we’re already in the middle of the month. In fact, I didn’t even actually start writing it; I just planned it. But even so, there probably won’t be another motivator for another year, so I’ll still write it even if some of that writing spills into next month.

Some people start off approaching their novel with character development because the story is more character-dependent. Others may start off with the stories’ events and, therefore, the plot and so develop it as they write. This novella will depend on the settings most of all, at least initially, since it centers around the collision of two universes. So I began with developing those. Therefore, I thought that the best way to begin writing this story was to start with the world-building. The novel will take place in a near-future earth, so that setting requires relatively little development. The setting that does require a lot of development is the online game that the story involves. So I’ll basically be developing a world for a MORPG (multi-player online role playing game) for this story. But who knows, maybe it will turn into a real online game. (Any game developers out interested?)

I’ve also been working on making a profile for the protagonist. I need at least sketchy details about the main character because knowing something about him ahead of time will also help me find a direction to go in writing the novella. Normally, with short fiction I can start writing the story itself and then take care of the other developmental aspects after. But with a 60-plus page novella versus a 10-to-20 page short story, I would probably get writer’s block within a page of the draft. For a story as long as that, writing without a pre-created main character and setting that is so integral to the plot would be like writing in a vacuum which just doesn’t happen. This sequence of writing a novel or novella works for me personally; it may or may not work for other writers. A lot of it has to do with the type of story you’re writing.

Two planets are reflected in a body of water.

Neil Gaiman to Produce New Sci Fi TV Series

Speaking about conflicting universes, Neil Gaiman is planning to produce a new TV show about interdimensional travel, according to iO9. Titled The Building, it’s based on an indie-produced film called Parallels and involves a group of people in a skyscraper that travels through multiple universes. The series will cover the origins of the skyscraper and the characters’ attempt to get back to Earth of our own dimension. So here’s one more in science fiction to add to the alternative universe subgenre! Working on a TV show like this and having recently written for several Doctor Who episodes, which also deal with multiple universes, shows that Gaiman is opening up to more sci fi. He’s mostly written fantasy.

I may or may not be posting here this weekend (or early next week, keeping in mind that I’ve been running late with these posts which I apologise for). I will have family in from out of town for Thanksgiving and so am not sure if I’ll have time to come up with something to post. So if you don’t see me here this weekend, I’m still on the planet, in this universe, and will be back here at the Fantastic Site the following weekend. And remember, we may be in a dark aftermath of the elections and many of us may be unsatisfied and even straight out angry over the results. It may be right up there with a zombie apocalypse for some of us. But we still have a lot to be thankful for. So try to remember some things to give thanks for this Thanksgiving.

Those of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo, what level of the writing process do you begin your novel? For example do you begin by brainstorming for ideas or by outlining? Do you start by creating your characters or by writing the story itself? Leave your answers in the box below.

Until next time . . .  


  1. Ooh, a new Gaiman show! That would be awesome. :) I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I didn't do NaNo this year, but I've done it for ten years before that. I usually start with a story idea and/or a character and fly by the seat of my pants! I'm a pantser, so I don't have any typical process.

  2. Gaiman seems to be getting into a lot more television now while still cranking out some great books. I definitely always start with a story idea, but in the case of my novella I was able to move forward best by making its world before starting the actual writing of the story. Normally I keep a list of my story ideas as they come to me, then when I'm ready to write something I choose from that list.

    NaNoWriMo for ten years! You've definitely been committed to it more than I have; I've only been doing it for two! Lol