Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Novel Writing Month--Back in the Saddle Again!

November is National Novel Writing month. I've never taken part in the event; as I understand it, the goal is to write at least 50k words of a novel during the month of November. I think there may me a website where some people post their progress; I'm skipping that in favor of my traditional weekly blog post of writing progress, though I may also do some daily updates on Facebook.

I'm somewhat nervous about taking on this task. As readers of my other blog know, I'm taking part in a weight loss challenge that ends in December and for the last two months I've shifted my obsession from writing to tracking every calorie I eat and exercising regularly. It's surprisingly time consuming to eat healthy. You can't just have an off night where you say "screw it" and pop a frozen pizza in the oven or bring home fried chicken from Bojangles. Cheryl and I are good cooks, but our old cooking style was heavy on bacon and butter and pasta. We've been expanding our talents, eating a diet heavy in non-starchy vegetables and lean meat. A lot of research and planning goes into each meal. To be honest, my head isn't really in a writing space, because instead of using my idle daydreaming time thinking of future books, I'm spending most of my idle daydream time imagining new ways to make cauliflower taste good.

So, I'm approaching the novel I'm starting tomorrow from something of a cold start. Unlike 90% of the novels I've finished, I really am not sure where this book ends. I've got a decent core cast worked out, a pretty awesome premise, and some cool ideas of what I need to work into the novel. I even have my big moral question I want to tackle, and some audacious concepts that are either going to make this novel one of the most interesting books I've written, or else an utter flop. My biggest problem is that I really haven't a clue how to handle the implications of my more daring ideas. I mean, sure, in the end, I know the bad guy needs to get beaten and the heroes must prevail, but it can't be one of my novels if the ending is that straightforward. I often muddle things by making it fuzzy as to who the heroes and villains are. Is Greatshadow a hero or a villain? How about Pit Geek and Sundancer? Or even Bitterwood? But, my new project has a pretty definite hero facing off against an unmistakable villain. Figuring out an ending that people won't see coming from ten chapters away is going to be a challenge.

This book is also a departure for me since it's not a superhero novel nor an epic fantasy. I suppose it will be marketed as steampunk, since there are zeppelins, but for the most part it will simply be a grand adventure. My characters will plunge into the unknown... and, starting tomorrow, so will I.

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