So, over at Ixt's blog, I declared my intention to do another NaNoWriMo novel this year.
The last one I attempted was in November of last year, and I made it to about 22,000 words. At 1665 words a day, that's about 13 days in. It's actually better than I had thought (progress-wise, that is -- I have no idea if the story's worth a damn), which gives me some hope that I might be able to pull through a full month's work again, like I did in 2005.
The main obstacle in my way (other than the writing itself) is that, like 2006, but unlike 2005, I have no clear idea that I'm eager to put into book form.
In 2005, I wrote a science fiction novel set pretty much in the present day. It was about an attempt by a game company to introduce a very sophisticated brand of artificial intelligence into a new game and nearly going broke in the process. They had teamed with a hardware developer who was planning to make computer components specifically designed to handle intense computation of behaviors and so on to make the opponents in games more realistic and challenging. Of course, it veered into a Terminator-esque "AI out of control" scenario, which, though it had a few scenes I thought were nice, didn't exactly break any new ground in storytelling.
I had a very clear plot, well ahead of time. I outlined it, I researched it, and never really fell very far behind in the writing process.
2006, on the other hand, was a muddle. On the one hand, I felt the story I had going then was a lot more original, but on the other hand, it wasn't writing itself like the first one was.
It was about several people whose lives intersected with a missing man, and some decidedly strange events that each encountered while trying to discover what had become of him. Though it had a few cliche science fiction/fantasy elements, I thought it was a decent concept.
The problem was, it was only a concept, not a story, and that became pretty clear about the time I quit writing it. There wasn't anywhere to go with the story that I was interested enough to write.
So, between now and November, I've got to figure out a story that will keep me interested in writing it. It would be nice if that story was actually one I thought was worth telling, but I have come to understand that a crappy story, finished, is a lot better than a good idea that goes nowhere.