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Based in Northeastern, PA, Melissa Koberlein publishes novels that explore the worlds of tech, aliens, and space with humor and heart.

NaNoWriMo (Take Two)

I did it! I am a 'winner' of National Novel Writing Month 2012. I wrote 50,851 words in 28 days. It may not seem like a lot, but considering I teach six college courses and have two young daughters to chase around, it was an accomplishment.

I tried last year and came up 10,000 words short. Not so this year. This year I finished two days early and boy was it a wild ride. The biggest motivator in the contest was my writing buddies. I can't thank them enough. Every time I saw their numbers rise, I knew I had work to do. I had to keep up.

I completed a rough draft of a new novel called Raven's Sphere, YA sci-fi/fantasy, but there is still  work to be done. I have a few more additional passages and then a TON to edit. Hey, it was NaNo!

What is this novel about, you ask?

In a nutshell, it's about a kick-ass 17 year old girl named Raven Nevar, who discovers a boy with a glowing sphere hiding on a spaceship she has just stolen. The boy is in trouble, which means big trouble for Raven, who's already on the universe's most wanted list.

Think The Golden Child meets Star Wars. I know, Star Wars, right? Seriously, that's all I can come up with. My main character? Think Aeon Flux meets Han Solo. Is there a love interest? Of course. I will always be a romantic at heart. But it's not traditional by any means. She's no easy catch.

The idea for the book was fried up alongside my chicken fried steak at my local Cracker Barrel. My waitress was named Raven. My husband made the comment, "Raven. You should write a book about a girl named Raven in space."

My response, "Okay. I'll try that right after we eat." I started outlining as soon as we got home.

I had no idea how difficult and challenging it was going to be to do so much world building. Multiple systems, multiple planets, varying alien races, history, the list goes on. Not to mention the spaceships, spacesuits, weapons...  The most difficult part was to stay true to my own writing style and still build the world. I like a fast-paced read, and I like to to write in that style as well. I'm drawn to first person both past and present tense with lots of dialogue (I can't help it, I'm a professor of speech communication).

I know what you're thinking. That sounds tricky for this kind of sci-fi/fantasy story. You would be correct. It was intense and I'm most likely going to have more intense late nights/early mornings writing and editing. But I find that the more I push myself, the more risk I take, the bigger the payoff.

In the end, I had a ton of fun writing this one. It was tough at times, but I love the story. I hope to have a solid, edited draft by May, 2013, ready for beta readers. :)

Taking the Plunge into Self-Publishing

On Being Original...