I didn’t intend to work on my current Nano story for Nano this year. I was trying to line something else up when the characters for Masks started yakking at me. Since it was a couple weeks before the event started, I decided to run with both projects for a few days to see which one produced more. To be honest, it was about the same amount, but I was getting far more in the way of plot points, characterization, worldbuilding notes, and other ideas for the fantasy mystery characters than I was on Autocrat’s Rise.

But my Fantasy Sleuthing Duo (FSD), as I affectionately call them, first popped their heads up about six or so months ago.

I’d kinda-sorta put it to my subconscious some months or even years ago that I wanted to write a mystery. I didn’t care what kind it ended up being as long as it was a murder mystery. Sometime during May, I conceived the first notions of my FSD. When they announced themselves, I didn’t get their names right away, but I knew just where they’d go: Elindu, a world I’d resurrected and renamed for another project, a more regular fantasy story I thought may become a series—but which hasn’t (yet). I knew they belonged in the city-state of Jodalur, and I suspected they belonged there during an era either approaching industrialization or just afterward. And I knew one of the children of the First Chancellor would die during the course of the book.

After that initial day, my characters retreated back into my subconscious. I was pretty okay with this, as I wanted to focus on another story at the time. So, I must say, them popping back into the front of my mind two weeks away from Nano was quite a surprise.

This time, though, as I said, they brought a truckload of info on themselves, their stories (yes, plural), and the city-state of Jodalur. I now have worldbuilt Jodalur up to a technological level allowing electricity (but not automobiles—yet, if at all). There are now about half a dozen or so stories lined up to be written in the series. I have PLANS! for making my FSD suffer.