Remember, Remember the Last November

Last year, I decided to finally take the plunge from writing short stories into writing an actual, honest-to-God novel. I joined the local writing group for National Novel Writing Month.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been writing for quite awhile, but I hadn’t really socialized with other writers. As part of a recent re-affirmation of my writing efforts, I decided I needed to throw my hat in and become a full member of the literary community. This meant joining a great group of speculative fiction writers called the Dead Horse Society in Kansas City, a group called Writers of the Weird in Lawrence, and the Nanowrimo group, which would become the basis for this website.

Writers of the Weird never totally took off, and the commute and time conflicts have kept me from the Dead Horse Society, but this group, and this site, is obviously still going. It all started with Nanowrimo. In more ways than one, Nanowrimo changed my life. I became an author, I met my girlfriend, and I solidified my writing career. Since Nanowrimo, I’ve submitted consistently and have had five stories accepted for publication. I completed my fifty thousand words in just over two weeks and finished the month with around sixty-five thousand words.

It’s going to be hard to top all of that this year.

This year, I am a graduate student in literary criticism. I have to read a book every week and write a paper on it. November, of course, will be the end of the year which means my final tests and final paper, a long academic study on the duality of human nature as a source for conflict within the novella as a genre. Sounds exciting , I know. Fifty thousand words might be a tough pill to swallow, this year.

In November, I will be writing a science fiction noire novel titled Heaven’s Edge. When I tell people it is a hard-boiled novel in futuristic dystopian setting, people immediately think of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which is a testament to Phillip K. Dick’s mastery. However, that isn’t what I am going for. My idea is more in line with the writing of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler than Phillip K. Dick. I am going more for the dialogue-heavy wisecracks of The Thin Man than the deep philosophical pondering of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

We will see how it goes. I am excited for the book, and if it works as well as I hope, I have plans to follow it up with two sequels, Halo’s Slip and Hell’s Rise. That, however, is a long way down the road. As a pantser, I don’t even have the first book totally planned.

Last November was a big month in my life. I can’t imagine this year living up to it. But I will always remember November, and always be excited for the next one, as long as Nanowrimo is a part of my life.

Jack Campbell, Jr. is a dark fiction writer in Lawrence, KS. His writing has appeared in various venues including Twenty 3 Magazine, Danse Macabre, and Insomnia Press. He writes about reading, writing, and life on his blog at

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