Introducing: My --- 4th-5th novel (updated)

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It's November 1st, which means it's the start of National Novel Writing Month. This is an annual event, now in its 18th year, that challenges authors to write an entire 50,000-word novel in one month. This is something that I've known about for a long time but never thought about entering until now. Why I'm deciding to enter is because I'm partially insane. Another reason is that over the years I've accumulated a large library of intellectual property that has spent years collecting dust on shelves and stored away in trunks in the basement. After publishing "The Maximilian Emancipation," I was struck with the notion that I could dust off some of these stories and novelize them.

The story that I've chosen to tell for the 2017 #NaNoWriMo event is called "Shifters." This is a story that I wrote back in the mid-90s. It's my first attempt at world-building; dropping characters into a fully realized alternate universe. In this case, my goal at the time was to write a different type of vampire story. I didn't want to do the typical blood-sucking, and metamorphizing teeth- even though I loved "Lost Boys," "Near Dark," and many other vampire flicks, I didn't want to do the same thing. I started to think...what if it was a disease, instead of this supernatural condition. What if it was a clinical condition, a blood disease that caused these vampire-like characteristics, or symptoms; pale skin, extreme aversion to sunlight, a "thirst" that can be satiated by a liquid protein-based product (blood). What if this was a condition that affected tens, even hundreds of millions of people worldwide? How would treatment be regulated? What would society look like?

"Shifters" are people that are infected with this disease, but it affects them differently. One in 350,000 with the disease is known to have "special abilities": augmented strength, heightened senses, telekinesis, and many other ways that are unknown.  In this story, we follow a young 19-year-old woman, a 'shifter' on a mission to find a cure for this disease. She's able to steal terabytes of server information from a government facility suspected of harboring hidden information about a conspiracy that would crack open the mystery of the disease. Or does it? (Dah-Dah-DAAAAAAHHHH!)

This story was originally written as a screenplay. Back in the 90s, there was a thirsty spec-script market, and this was one of the scripts I churned out. It was also one of the first scripts I ever pitched to agents, it was even read by a few. The one comment I would hear from EVERYONE that read the script was "This reads like a comic book or anime," which back then was a bad thing, even though I took it as a major compliment(!). That's EXACTLY what I was going for. I wanted to tell an action/superhero story with a female hero. At that time, no one was really interested in that. These days, however, I think there may be an audience for this story.

So, the plan is to spend this month of November novelizing "Shifters", and during the 2nd week of December, I will release the book to the public-- as is. I will stay 100% faithful to the challenge, and I will release what I have written in from today, November 1st, through to November 30th. I will be updating the blog each week with word counts and updates, so please STAY TUNED!

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UPDATE: As you can tell by the date, "Shifters" was not released after all! Unfortunately, life got in the way of my experience with NaNoWriMo-- by 'life' I mean my day job! To make a long story short, I got a new gig-- so that ended up sucking up a bulk of the time that I thought I'd have available to tackle NaNoWriMo this year. Didn't happen! Instead, I got a GREAT start on a novelization that will likely see the light of day sometime in 2018-2019. For now, it's all about finishing Book 2 of the World/Time Diaspora, the sequel to "The Maximilian Emancipation"--- "WORLD/TIME," which will be released in 2018.

Definitely STAY TUNED for that!

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Charles Conyers