I am now at 49k words. You are no doubt wondering why I have taken time off from writing my book to write a blog post. First, at 49k on Nov. 21st it's kind of obvious that I'm going to win. Second, I generally write in the evenings. I've found it's more conducive to how my mind works. In the evening I am far less likely to criticize my writing because I'm tired. At the end of the day I also feel a sense of urgency to get the words written for the day. So, essentially, I write posts in the morning and sometimes in the evening on my livejournal -- which is my official NaNo journal.
I have a lot of stories cooped up in my head. On my count I have written almost five first drafts of novels. Two of them are the first volumes of two different epics. Of course, in my mind an epic is not what it is in, say, someone like Robert Jordan's mind. My characters are not all black and white, good or evil. I like to introduce some ambiguity to make the reader think. For example in the one epic I wrote where the good guys have to destroy a nameless evil (so, so cliche) I have it so the biggest good guy of them all took the bad guy's power away from him before he was a bad guy. So, doesn't he have every right to be annoyed and try to conquer the universe? I don't know, that's for the reader to think about and for me to flesh out in the ensuing books.
This is the problem with my writing and the reason why I probably won't go as far with fantasy as I might with science fiction. Basically, the more popular fantasy novels are the ones where the good guys have to destroy the figurehead of all evil. I have only one story that does that and it's nowhere near conventional. Another example from that book is that I made the Chosen One decide to become a villain and eschew his "destiny." My one other epic is the story of a curse and how it affects the lives of the people it was placed on. It's essentially fantasy parody because I have a prophecy (or curse), a young boy going on a journey and a bad guy who is only a bad buy by accident. Then in the book I am currently working on for NaNo, well, it's not epic at all and I just decided that the good guys should kidnap the main character. So, I'm a bit nontraditional to say the least.
I started reading science fiction again just to catch up on the genre and discovered that I enjoy it more than fantasy. My science fiction is very different from any of the stuff I have read recently. The biggest difference so far is the lack of cyberpunk in my writing. I had never even conceived of such an idea before reading some cyberpunk. The thing is, it doesn't really interest me. Who cares how many strange operations a person can get and whether or not they can have a gun inside their skulls? The characters are always what interests me. That's why The Speed of Dark is my favorite work of science fiction. It's all about the characters.
That's how I try to write. I try to incorporate some themes -- not too blatantly. Then I try to center the story on the characters' personal journeys. One of my trademark moves is to have a "me character." However, the "me character" is never allowed to be the main character. It's always a supportive character. The definition of the "me character" is that this character will have one or two attributes of myself. Chaucer put himself into his works. However, he obviously did not take himself too seriously, because his "me character" was always a total idiot. I digress about digressing . . . Characters make the story, so that's what I try to focus on.
In conclusion -- because you have to have an "in conclusion" -- I have a lot of stories in my head. I wish some of them would get out on paper in a more perfect form and I could sell them to people.