It’s that time of year again! 2015 marks my 5th go at National Novel Writing Month. So far, I haven’t managed the 50,000 word mark in 1 month, but this year I’m really hoping to finally break that trend.
In the past 4 years, I’ve tried out 4 different stories, all of which had already at least been started by the time November rolled around (yes, yes, that’s technically cheating, but if it makes you feel any better, I still didn’t hit 50,000 words in a month…). Of those 4, two have actually been finished and published: Prism World (2012 project) and The Four Stars (2014 project). A third one, Willy’s Covenant (2013 project), is still in the works but is on hold due to the large amount of research required for it. This year, however, I’m trying out something new: a story that doesn’t even have an outline yet.
The overview is this:
“The entire world is connected through an intricate system of “portals,” teleportation devices that dematerialize a person at a portal station in one location and rematerialize them at their desired destination. The “portals” are linked to a vast network that spans the globe, the fastest and most complex network in history. It not only maintains the matter of the person dematerialized in the portal, containing all information necessary to rebuild the body in its exact state, but also serves as a conduit for all other complex software.
The year is 2250 A.D. As a means of improving transport rates, the world government installs the newest version of The Network, called the Hermes System. Everything goes fine for the first week, but then something happens. A solar flare of unprecedented proportion causes a massive surge in the Hermes System, subsequently resulting in an instantaneous system shut-down. Anyone utilizing The Network at the exact moment of the surge is absorbed, disappears, and is presumed dead.
Along with anyone dematerializing in the “portals” at the time of the surge, the victims also include anyone using “semi-portals,” machines operating in a similar nature to conduct player information into virtual worlds. Because of the newness of the Hermes System, only one virtual world, an MMORPG called “Infinite,” is firmly established and listed as completely operational. Thus, the dematerialized individuals are stored in the “Infinite” data system: characters in their avatars and non-players in the “shells” of NPCs. With The Network on emergency lock-down, no one in the outside world can access the system, leaving those trapped inside at the mercy of the virtual world itself. With resources that no longer auto-renew, no admins to execute discipline and, they soon discover, a death that is permanent, life will never be the same.”
The story was inspired probably over a year ago now, and was developed around the idea that teleportation could actually be achieved by taking a person apart at the atomic level and rebuilding them at their desired location. (Check out this link if you’re interested in reading the basics of the theory and real-life teleportation research.) The idea was coupled with inspiration from two of my favorite animes of all time: SAO: Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. In both stories, people from the real world are, somehow or other, trapped inside an MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Being an MMO player myself (from Runescape to Perfect World to Lord of the Rings Online to Defiance to Archeage), the whole concept of living in another dimension sort of fascinated me. While watching Log Horizon with one of my best friends (who is also a gamer and a fan of SAO), the discussion turned to this: What if we got trapped in a video game?
I’m not sure that we ever really came to a final decision on that one. If anything, I’m pretty sure we decided I’d be the first to die since I am the world’s worst PvPer (Player vs. Player). However, this discussion led to an idea, and that idea is my NaNoWriMo project for 2015: a story about a virtual reality world called Infinite.
As far as planning goes, I think this is going to be a one-point-of-view story, though the number of major characters who keep introducing themselves to me tells me it might change more into an ensemble like The Legend of the Stars. Either way, at present, I’m looking at the story being told primarily from the perspective of the character named Vigil, one of the players of Infinite who gets trapped inside the game when the Surge occurs. She is a Cleric (healer) class elf archer/beastmaster and the only reason that her best friend, Shadowraith, a.k.a. Wraith, manages to survive. (Wraith is notoriously brash and reckless). Along the way, they are joined by a multitude of interesting characters, including the Knight-class, slightly sadistic doctor/hacker, Yoshitsune; the snotty, self-absorbed rich boy, Alex Roth; the cool-headed Dwarf Skirmisher, Searos; Searos’s hot-tempered yet slightly ditzy Faerie Mage wife, Taralana “Tara”; and the jovial yet justice-driven brewmaster, Night Raine “Raine.”
Together, these characters learn how to survive in a world they once considered to be a game, a world with permanent death and the danger of a growing evil force that seems nearly unstoppable.
Hopefully this story doesn’t turn out to be too cliche. We’ll see how it goes from here. In the meantime, Happy NaNoWriMo! I can’t wait to see what all November holds for the written world!