September 7, 2004


I will be writing a novel for NaNoWriMo, a blogosphere phenomenon calling itself National Novel Writer's Month. Must remember to actually register with the site, to get the bragging rights, should I achieve the designated length (50,000 words in a month).

Fascinating idea, really: harness the power of deadlines and a competition (however contrived) to encourage people to undertake a project that would otherwise remain forever in the realm of mental vaporware.

I've written more on my idea in the dead-tree journal, but the outlines are as follows. The novel is provisionally titled Causus Belli, strictly so I have a convenient handle by which to refer to it. Unlike Chicago Winter, this title should probably not stick. The story will combine two parallel but mostly non-intersecting plots, the doings of two individuals in the ancient Roman world, in the years leading to and during the Third Punic War. One will be a wealthy and moderately influential individual; the other an urban plebian.

The choice of setting, in addition to being a historically interesting and largely untapped period, is also motivated by the fact that a number of striking parallels exist between the Roman republic in the mid-2nd-century BCE and America in the present.

I must admit to a degree of apprehension about this undertaking. I have never had spectacular success with writing lengthy prose; my natural form tends to be the carefully constructed, dense poetic form. There is no guarantee that I will produce anything publishable. But I feel that it is definitely worth trying.

Posted by mill1974 at September 7, 2004 8:24 PM