Sometimes, the greatest challenges you face are the ones you present yourself. In the past, I’ve done something called a Novel Dare, in which you attempt to write a complete manuscript in a single month. We usually used April. This was years before National Novel Writing Month existed. I’ve done a 7-in-7, which is seven stories in seven days, albeit first drafts all; and I’ve done something similar (only six stories) with my 6 Nights in Midnight, uniting those tales in a single place.

This year, I’ve decided to take on something a bit more prodigious. Twelve months. Twelve novellas (and/or novels or other books). That’s a lot of work. Aiming for 25,000 words in each, that’s roughly a thousand words a day, every day, without fail. There’s no time for sickness or travel; there are no holidays. There’s only words and phrases and paragraphical alchemy.

Fortunately, it’s a very broad statement, so the books and stories I write to fulfill this challenge can be very broadly based, unconnected, crossing genres, exploring different ideas in different ways. There’s no minimum per month or per day. They can be fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, space opera, romance, horror. They can be serious or seriously flawed. They can be whimsical or brooding, adventurous or melancholic. They can be about superheroes or the girl next door–or ‘the girl next door’, if you know what I mean. There are no limits except those I impose.

There is a deadline, at which time I expect to have a stack of manuscripts to which I can point and say, “Look what I did this past year.” But that’s three hundred sixty something days away. However, the important word here is Deadline. I’ve created one. I’ve imposed a limitation of time. I need to average one piece a month to accomplish this.

I can cheat, too. It’s built right in. I’m allowing at least two prior projects, neither of which was ever completed, to be included, both Midnight novellas that are part of what should be the second Midnight book: Kings of Midnight and Ghosts of Midnight. (The middle novella, Gypsies of Midnight, has been written.) They’re both only a very short way into themselves, and will need to be entirely reviewed and possibly restructured and maybe even rewritten. I’ve also got at least one other novel planned, the third in the DarkWalker series. I have some thoughts on that, too. (I will not, however, include rewrites or revisions or other fixes–only freshly finished first drafts.)

There’s no way I can post the completed pieces on -line–not all of them–not most of them–hardly any of them. This essay, this series of essays, is also a cheat. I’ll chronicle this project, the challenges, satisfactions, frights, and dreams along the way; and this piece, this very one you’re reading now, will serve as the introduction.

What will I discuss along the way? Who can entirely say? I’m not a foreseer of futures, I’m a writer. (Also a photographer, adventurer, and man, but those are separate, unrelated projects.)  I suspect I’ll talk about the process, about stumbling blocks and obstacles, about the minor and major epiphanies along the way. I imagine I’ll answer questions, should any be asked–and I’ll likely pose a few questions of my own. I can be very inquisitive.

I’m also ready to begin. No, not just ready: anxious. Not anxious as in full of distress or unease; I’m anxious–desirous and eager.

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