Joe White's Blog Life, .NET, and cats

This year's novel #Life #writing

I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. (For the uninitiated, that means I'm going to spend the month of November writing a 50,000-word novel. My past two years' novels are posted on my writing site.)

Jennie is thinking about doing NaNoWriMo, too (this will be her first year). We went out to eat yesterday night, to celebrate the fact that Jennie is no longer employed by 24 Hour Fitness, and we were talking about our story ideas.

My problem was basically that I didn't have a story idea yet. I had this idea I've been toying with for a while, about somebody who can control the flow of time, but it was an idea — not a story. For a story, you need a Bad Guy, and you need the Good Guy to be trying to fix something. High stakes and all that. I didn't have any of that.

Well, while we were sitting in the IHOP, I happened to notice the hot-chocolate-making machine they had back behind their counter. The sign on it said "Cecilware".

And gears started turning in my head.

Final Fantasy II (well, that's what they called the U.S. version on the Super Nintendo; it's Final Fantasy IV in Japan, and in the U.S. Playstation version) is one of my all-time favorite video games. I don't like those newfangled 3-D games. I want my tile-based RPGs.

Well, the hero of Final Fantasy IV is a Dark Knight named Cecil. (Cecil's quest to become a Paladin gave me the inspiration for my first novel.) And I sat there thinking... Cecilware. Cecil, and software. Hmm.

Jennie always knows to be very afraid when I get that sort of contemplative look on my face.

My first novel was very lighthearted. Parody fare, vaguely along the lines of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams (though not as good — hey, give me a break, it's a first draft). I tried writing something more serious for my second novel, and it just didn't work as well. This year, I think I'll go back to humor.

And I think this is going to be a fun book to write. It's going to be an oddball blend of heroic fantasy (knights, dragons, the awakening of an ancient evil) and modern day (Internet, computer programmers, cell phones, Google). Swords with scroll wheels. Casting spells using a Pocket PC. Internet wyrms.

And boy, the Department of Natural Resources is going to have its hands full after the U.S. annexes the land of Faerie...