Rebelling in NaNoWriMo – Two Projects, Zero Novels

Survival Mode: A narrative solo RPG actual play

In the parlance of National Novel Writing Month, a “rebel” is someone’s whose project isn’t quite a traditional novel. Maybe you’re writing a script, or nonfiction, or a collection of unrelated short fiction. As long as it adds up to 50,000 words, you’re still participating – under your own terms.

In my case this year I’m taking on two projects that some might classify as rebellion, though I’ve got my arguments against that.

Survival Mode

Survival Mode Cover Image

My ongoing serial Survival Mode is technically an Actual Play report of a solo roleplaying game that I’m transcribing in a narrative format. The output is serial prose posted weekly, but the means of production is very different – essentially, the dice drive the story, and I have to interpret the results in a way that’s both entertaining and makes narrative sense.

Typically I’ll post 12,000 new words of the story in a month – less than a quarter of the NaNoWriMo goal – but I’ve been meaning to build up a larger “back stock” of episodes in case I’m unable to write for a period of time.

Zeitgeist 1980

Zeitgeist 1980 is a placeholder title for a work of interactive fiction I’m writing in Twine. This is a branching narrative, similar in form to a Choose Your Own Adventure book or an all text Visual Novel – the player makes choices to drive the story in different directions.

So while it reads like a novel, the fact that the reader makes choices on which direction the story goes means that only a small portion of the story is experienced in any given readthrough. While I’ll have in the neighborhood of 50,000 words written – discounting code – any given reader will only experience a 15-20k word story.

Personally I think that an interactive novel is still a novel.

Double Fisting NaNoWriMo

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of my plans is that I’m working on two projects simultaneously, doubling my effective NaNoWriMo goal to 100,000 words in the month. At least, that’s the exciting part to me, as I’m always looking to increase my productivity and output. I’m at the stage where 50,000 words isn’t much of a challenge; that’s just my workflow.

A hundred grand? Now that’s worth getting out of bed in the morning for.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Michael Coorlim

Michael Coorlim is a teller of strange stories for stranger people. He collects them, the oddballs. The mystics and fire-spinners, the sages and tricksters. He curates their tales, combines their elements and lets them rattle around inside his rock-tumbler skull until they gleam, then spills them loose onto the page for like-minded readers to enjoy.
Michael Coorlim

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Survival Mode: A narrative solo RPG actual play

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