Lots of writing going on:

1) New Forces of Geek column. Some rambling about NaNaWriMo.
2) So, yeah, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I am working on some background stuff and a very basic plotline in the days running up to the start of the marathon. Check out my profile there and feel free to “buddy”me.
3) I decided to work on a sword-and-sorcery idea after writing my latest Apex column. A brief exchange with Will Shetterly gave me not only an idea for a longer column about S&S, but also made me think of a story idea I have been banging around for awhile, and NaNoWriMo is a good place to get the guts of it out onto the virtual page. Michael Moorcock’s Wizardry and Wild Romance was also an inspiration for this project. I will have to write a review of that soon, mostly to get some of the insights I gleaned from it into better form for further cogitation, and to argue with some of the ideas I did not agree with in his essay.
The working title of my project is A Crown of Crusted Blood. Here is the initial blurb:
The Dread Shepherd Gromkidach is dead, and the Bound-Lands have been freed by a band of revolutionaries who must now figure out how to bring peace to the Lands while dealing with the fragments of empire left in his wake (as well as rival rebels eager to capitalize on the chaos). As one of them decides whether to take up the Shepherd’s Mantle and the Scarlet Crown, the rest of the band must decide how to deal with a rigid society in turmoil and an ancient, corrupted alliance held together only by old magics, fear, and entrenched traditions.

I’m sketching out some of the contours of said society, nailing down characters and establishing a basic progression for the story. The WIP I posted earlier is a possible opening for this work. I’ve started reading Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland , by William Ian Miller, which has some useful insights into the workings of law without an elaborate state apparatus. I’m thinking about ways to create a polity that is not the usual Empire; in this case, the Bound-Lands, a group of allied and subjugated communities and peoples who are “protected” by the Shepherd (who was not always “Dread”). I am also considering how my little band of revolutionaries succeeded in toppling him, and what immediate ripples this would create in the political and social fabrics.

That is as much fun as writing the story for me. I’m pretty juiced about writing this story.