Well, I’ll admit with no regrets that I did not complete the 50,000 words of fiction necessary to “win” during November’s National Novel Writing Month. Some other realities intervened. I wrote a little over 25,000 words on The Distributive Passions, some of which is up on the site. (I may have covered the other half in other writings.) Winner or not, I had a very good time trying, and the pressure of trying to get ready for a month of sustained writing did wonders for my overall sense of where the novel is going. I did manage to write a little nearly every day, and characters and events are becoming more clearly defined all the time.
I recommend the experience, particularly if you’ve wanted to write a longer piece of fiction, but haven’t taken the plunge. Even if, as in my case, there aren’t local events to bring writers together, the challenge itself is a good spur.
For me, the chance to play the historical and political “what if?” game has been very useful. There’s nothing to make you familiar with a given ideology like trying to imagine a character living it, or raised immersed in it. Anarchistic speculation is one thing on the blog, and another if I’m trying to make readers believe my societies have actually existed.
At a time when my other projects seem to be picking up steam, I think I can promise that The Distributive Passions will emerge slowly. I’m playing around with some related material in short story form, dealing with issues like intellectual property and cooperative public institutions, which may find their way into print a little more quickly. We shall see.