A to Z Challenge 2020: Reflections

This year was my first A to Z Challenge proper.  I have tried last year, but I just couldn’t get myself to write in the way that I wanted to, so that idea pretty much died in the cradle.  This year, I decided to take the “challenge” part a bit literally and make this a challenge to myself: to write original prose.

I spent the upcoming weeks coming up with the story and I used the time through April to write it… or at least something like it.

See, prose is difficult for me to write, mainly because I don’t like knowing where the story is going.  Sure, I will usually have an end in mind, but if I plan it out, it loses its allure.  I used the challenge to punch through that and have more of an idea before proceeding with it.  I turned it over in my head, worked out the kinks the best I could and then, things rolled.

I had always intended to revisit/revamp the Landsend universe, as the last time I was there, I lost a story to a hard drive failure and never quite gathered the courage to go back.  The problem, I realized, that I was way too digital – I had to analog it a little bit.  It worked better than I hoped.

What surprised me was Alex Nothing.  I had the nameless assassin, Mitchell and Alice in the mix already, but Alex Nothing was supposed to be just a bystander, someone that would allow me to have an outsider’s perspective so that the story wasn’t grounded in anyone’s.  That was the initial idea – to have a central plot thread run through the midst of peripheral perspectives.  Alex pretty much forced his way into the story in the same way he inserts himself into the shindig and decided that he was going to be a part of it.

Another surprise was a comment I received that praised the “humor.” I didn’t intend for the story to be humorous, or even try to bring humor into it, but I did realize that it crept in – mainly through Alex.  I guess having a pink-haired, shirtless goth musician charging headlong into a possibly world-changing conflict is kinda funny.

I walked away from this year’s challenge excited to do it all over again.  One thing I might do differently is that I wasn’t very social this year, and I chalk that up to being too focused on my own story.

Oh well.  Nothing’s perfect, neither am I, but hey! This was fun!



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