Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
I’m going to write a book in November. That sounds pretty ridiculous, considering I’ve never finished a book in my life (despite repeated attempts), and November – while not a short month – is not a reasonable time-frame. But I’m not the only one planning to do this, and nor am I expecting it to be a good book – more of a fictional blog. I’ve signed up for the pleasantly concatenated National Novel Writing Month, in which chumps and wannabes claim they will pen 50,000 words in thirty days flat. Interesting things about this are that the site itself tracks the cumulative word count of everyone involved so far, and a few of us are planning to launch our works in the extraordinary blacklibrary.
You’ll notice I sound optimistic, and also that this patently isn’t going to work. True enough, but there is one not entirely unrealistic expectation that appeals to me: I might end up writing the story I have in mind into a novella, way short of the word minimum but getting to the ultimate point. The plot is something that rose from the ashes of my old book, which was floored by a fatal flaw in the sci-fi reasoning. This new one is a sci-fi private detective type of yarn, and not as fanciful in some ways as the basics of the last one, but larger in scale and more diverse. The weird thing about it is that I haven’t written a word. Usually I start these things soon after having the idea, then stop for months at a time after every chapter. I think the main thing stopping me from writing a book is the way that I stop writing books or don’t start them at all. Solving that would really help.
Graham: I've been signed up at NaNoWriMo for a while now, but every year when November rolls around I say "No, I'm too busy this year; next year will be more convenient."
I've yet to be correct on this front.
Graham: Good luck to you, though. I meant to add that. Look forward to reading the results.
Ian: I hear that.
As far as I can see, the NaNoWriMo exercise is about a brute-force shock course in sitting down every day and getting the fuck on with it.
Tom Francis: Yeah, I think more than hoping for a book out of it, I'd like to discover whether I'll always be glad I made myself sit down and type something. I always was before, but then that's because I only did it when I felt like it.
James Lyon: I got coerced into doing NaNoWriMo last year. I've still not decided if I'll try again. It's...a slog. Really awful when you get behind for a couple of days and have to write double in one night to catch up. Fantastic, however, when you get a burst of inspiration and riff like a excitable auctioneer until you've exceeded your target by several pages.
I'd advise you, though, not to look back on what you've written until the month is over. It's not worth the worry of re-editing your mistakes until you've reached the proposed word count. That's an achievement in itself.
Mr Dan: After a little thought i've decided that i'm going to (try to) do this. The problem is i have the motivation of a snail. Like someone else says on Blackbored, i lose all willpower quickly. So i'll no doubt start and never do it again, or sign up to do it and do nothing.
I've got an idea set out though. The "book" will basically be aabout a guy hitchhiking around the world and the adventures he gets upto on the way. This means i don't really have to think about any long running narrative. I can just write one thing that happened to him, then in the next chapter write something totally different that happened to him in his travels. It also means i don't have to write the book from start to end. I can write each piece in a country, and join up the stories in the right order at the end so he travels through the countries.