With just three weeks to go before NaNo November, I need to figure out what I'm doing. Somehow. I don't need to know what happens in the middle, but I need to have at least characters, a starting position, and a direction. It's easier for me to hit the ground running* after letting the characters form in my head than it is to stare at a blank document waiting for an idea to strike. I have had a few ideas already, summarized below.
Unruly: Students at a school for girls who are trouble.
Streetwise Valkyries: Street-level teams of heroes masquerading as one superhero.
The Clockwork Avenger: Steampower power armour, with the action split between two eras.
Colony Base 183 (working title): Set on a frontier base near borders with other star-faring nations.
Lakehead Shield (working title): University students solve mysteries and fight crime in Thunder Bay.
A fifth idea came to mind, an science fiction espionage story, melding the two genres.
A sixth, essentially a Shadowrun webcomic, is also playing through my head, but isn't under consideration.
This will be my tenth year participating. I'm placing some requirements for this year. First, the work must be novel length. That lets out Unruly, unless I work on an end-of-year story, which I'm not ready to do yet. Streetwise Valkyries also falls off the chart here; its nature leads to a serial instead of a full-length novel. The SF/spy story isn't quite ready; there are details being sorted out. That leaves Clockwork, Colony Base, and Lakehead. With the latter having some work done, it's sort of out of consideration for now.
Both of the remaining two have core characters in mind and a rough direction. Clockwork has the smaller cast so far, but will involve writing a story spanning two eras. That's a feature, though. Colony Base 183 needs some extra world building and some serial numbers filed off, but could be doable. Both should work as a self-contained novel, though with room for more later if I felt like it.
The next step I need to do is work out the cast for both, then see how the various elements work out. The ideal situation is where I get the characters to find a direction that can be exploited. Failing that, a new idea comes to mind based on the attempts to get a plot going.
All in three weeks. Easy.
* Running from behind, technically. Can-Con runs October 30 to November 1 this year. I may get a few words in somewhere, but no guarantees. Won't be the first time a convention had me working from a deficit, though.