Daniel (NaNoWriMo 2009)


Before Daniel, I had never attempted to write anything even vaguely related to science fiction.

I figured, since it was a NaNoWriMo novel, what harm could it be? The worst-case scenario would be that I turned out a despicably horrible piece of fiction, which I could either never look at again, or eventually try to revise and rewrite.

My original tagline for Daniel was this overly-theatrical crap that came straight out of a movie. Read it in a movie announcer’s voice and you’ll get the picture:

It is nearing the end of the world. November 2012. Eleven judges of the world have come and gone, but one remains – the one who can save the world from eventual destruction. The last judge.

Every college and high school student in the world is at school, training for the war to come. Meanwhile, the search for the last judge is on.

University of Southern California. Los Angeles. Chaos erupts between ten students. A source of ultimate evil is revealed. The end of the world seems to get closer and closer as the month of November races by…

To make the writing easier, I planned an outline of the story that included 30 chapters, one for each day of November (the month NaNoWriMo takes place). I gave each chapter a song to go with it and the titles of the chapters came from the song lyrics. The story also takes place in November.

As I first started writing, I abandoned the idea of having the story take place at the University of Southern California, which I know nothing about, and had it take place at my (now alma mater) college, North Carolina State University. (Go Pack!)

I wanted to somehow include the Large Hadron Collider into the story, but again, I didn’t know enough about that to keep the idea. Someday, I’ll do the research on it, because it really fascinates me.

I started out hating the story, until I got to about chapter five or so. I enjoyed writing it, insomuch as I was writing a different type of story than I had ever written before. I was knee-deep in a course on Faulkner at the time of the writing, so I was experimenting with the stream-of-consciousness style in Daniel. I don’t think that was a success, but it enabled me to finish my 1,667-word daily quota much faster.

November is a terrible time to write a novel, especially if you’re involved in academia. Lots of papers, projects, and reading are typically due in November as preparation for finals, and it can take its toll.

But I did finish Daniel, with two-thousand words over the 50K-word quota. I’m still currently trying to decide what I want to do with it and these are my ideas so far:

1. Incorporate it into the “Jekuvia” series of stories I’ve been writing. (That includes all of my stories except XIII.)

2. Keep the science fiction theme and even try to embellish it.

3. Make it more fantasy themed.

4. Totally dump the biblical allusions. (I felt like I was trying to force the story into a mold it didn’t quite fit into.)

5. Forget about it completely. Write something else and never return to it.

Either way, I’m pretty sure I will revise it in at least some minimal way. I’m really leaning away from doing #5 on the list. I guess I’ll wait until I totally finish XIII before I even think about any of my other stories.