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Our fire book project has been handed over to Emily, who's getting all the photos ready and into their proper place. She volunteered for this, mind you. Then she'll design front and back covers and format the book, while I figure out some way to be really, really nice to her. And she's not into jewelry.

I might have to buy her a horse.

This leaves me with a little free time, so I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, and aren't you jealous?

No, it's not a yodeling contest in Wisconsin. Sheesh. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, the month being November, and the challenge being to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That figures out to ... let's see ... carry the--ah. 1,667 words per day, on the average.

Doesn't sound like much ... until you try it.

If you'd like, you can cheer me on here:

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/mark-r-hunter

Personally, I would have put NaNoWriMo in January, which has an extra day, no holidays, and absolutely no reason to go outside. Just the same, I've won NaNoWriMo twice, coming out with the rough drafts for Summer Jobs are Murder and Fire On Mist Creek. (Both finished but unpublished at the moment, but that's another story.) If you're a writer, you have the advantage of being too poor to go do anything anyway, so why not give it a try?

So through the month of November you won't be hearing much from me except for a few social media posts, mostly written ahead of time. Since I only send the newsletter out about once a month anyway, you might not even notice.

And what am I writing about?

Here's a hint: I've been using this book, and its sequels, as a research guide.

Well, you heard it here first. I'm calling it my Untitled Oz Project, which has no title. (My original titles always suck, anyway.)

Since I was a kid, I've wanted to set a story set in the universe created by Lyman Frank Baum, who can't complain because he passed away a hundred years ago. His fourteen Oz books are in the public domain, which is how you see properties such as Wicked and Oz: The Great and Powerful.

For years a specific idea has been germinating, and now I'm going to take the time to finally do it, before it drives me crazy.

Many authors have tackled the Land of Oz. Some tried to be faithful to the original canon, which can be difficult because Baum himself didn't always keep his history straight from book to book. If you try to stick to the details of all the canon Oz books—forty of them, by different authors—your head will start spinning.

Or, you can throw all that away and have something just loosely based on the original, such as the novel Wicked, or the TV show Emerald City. Baum, who was after all writing for children, wouldn't have recognized some of them.

Probably the most difficult thing you could do is to follow the original books, but put your own original twist on them.

So that's what I'm doing.

Stay tuned. I'll have thirty days to write most of the rough draft, then weeks of revision and polishing before it's ready to send to publishers (if we don't self-publish). I'm going for humor, action, and magic. There will also be a few deeper questions, but not enough to take away the fun.

So, what do you think? Can I do this? And how badly could I screw it up?

 
Look: A Bae seat driver? Get it? See, he's Beowulf, but we call him ... oh, never mind. (We were stopped, don't worry.)
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