I face a quandary: write my NaNo using the Dyson Sphere setting invented by my gaming group and friends of ours a few years ago or write another Withrow story?

Pros/Cons of the Dyson Sphere world:

  • new setting (pro)
  • new setting (con)
  • characters that aren’t yet fully defined and the ones that are don’t yet wholly interest me (con)
  • a whole world of societies and cultures to create, or at least several different societies/cultures to create (con)
  • opportunity to design whole societies & cultures (pro)
  • a setting that I find really engaging and interesting after having had it in the back of my mind for years (pro)
  • what I consider, on first examination, to be a pretty clever use of the undead in a story (pro)
  • a genuinely creepy thing about how the undead work in that world (pro)
  • possibly way too much story for 50K (pro & con)
  • no idea where the story ends or what it’s about beyond some very vague one-line thematic descriptions, such as “fulfillment is living to see the realization of a goal, not dying in its service” and “to run away from one situation is usually to run towards another” (con)
  • five weeks before NaNo starts (con).

Pros/cons of the new Withrow story:

  • characters that are pretty much fully-formed and interesting to me (pro)
  • it’s a semi-sequel to a NaNo I’ve already written and my one experience with a sequel was terrible (con)
  • set in the town where I live, so super-easy to research with many possibilities for field trips (pro)
  • too much opportunity for distraction in the name of “research” (con)
  • possibly not enough story for 50K words without padding like hell (con)
  • a character I already know I love to write (pro)
  • a character I’ve already possibly written too much (con)

I’m at a loss. In the meantime I’m trying to do character sketches for the Dyson Sphere world. I didn’t have a name for it until five minutes ago, which was itself almost enough to get me to abandon it. I guess my real quandary is, do I do NaNo to challenge myself (Dyson Sphere world) or to enjoy myself (Withrow story)? No one reads them and I have no delusion of turning them into a great literary career so they really are for my enjoyment alone but I also really do like to approach it as an exercise, not just an entertainment.