NaNoWriMo 2017

I began NaNoWriMo this year much in the same way as the previous three years. On Halloween evening, after the ghosts and goblins have run off to bed (and I’ve polished off the rest of the candy), I grab my bag and head to Dragon’s Lair Comics for the annual NaNoWriMo kickoff.

People typically start gathering as early as nine in the evening. There’s some socializing and various writing activities, with attendees participating in one or both. Door prizes, in the form of free books, are handed out to lucky winners. But all of this is just to pass the time until midnight, when the fun really begins.

For those new to the concept, the idea of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. If you do that, you win. If you don’t do that, well, then you’ve done what the other seven billion people on the planet do every November. In the eight years I’ve done this, I’ve won three times.

At ten seconds before twelve, the room packed with wannabe authors began their enthusiastic count down. At midnight, the room fell instantly silent as everyone got down to business. Fired up myself, I began feverishly:

It was a dark and stormy night when the half-giant Haggard discovered the young boy wizard, Henry Porter, hidden away by his evil family, the Duzzles. Haggard was a wizard and he took his magic wand and shot it at the Duzzles bam, bam, bam until they fled in fright. This freed up Haggard and Henry to enjoy a cake before heading off diagonally toward Wizard World.

This was a great start. It’s rare and magical when the words begin to flow, almost unbidden, and I could sense that something good was going to come of this month. I stayed until about 1:30 — it was still a school night after all — but managed to get my first nine hundred words of the new story in before packing up my bag and heading out into the night.

My second night of writing (which, technically, is still the same day: November 1) went just as well.

After spending some time in Wizard World, Haggard bade farewell to the young boy wizard, Henry Porter, who needed to go to school. He went to the train station, climbed on board the Pigsnout Express and waited for the train to leave the station. Unfortunately, just at that moment a tornado came out of nowhere. It lifted the train car, with Henry Porter still inside, and carried it off somewhere over the rainbow. The train car came crashing down on a wicked witch, killing her!

Oh man, when it flows it flows. I kept at it that evening and wrapped up November 1st with 1,900 words, a couple hundred ahead of schedule.

I had trouble at work the next day, thoughts of the new story swirling through my brain not unlike a tornado. I couldn’t wait to get home to continue this epic adventure. I added another two thousand wonderfully crafted words and went to bed giddy as a child on Christmas Eve.

The first weekend of November was soon upon me and I decided to devote two whole days to it, a plan that worked beautifully. By Sunday evening, I’d racked up a five day total of nearly 12,000 words!

The November days and nights blended into November weekends, but I kept up my frantic pace, until just last night, with still an hour left of the magical month, I wrapped up the story:

Henry sprang on his broom, to his friends gave a whistle,
And away he did flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight,
“Let the Duzzles beware, for this wand, it can smite!”

Okay, time for me to fess up. The only fiction I wrote this entire month was what you just read. While I did attend the kickoff at Dragon’s Lair late on Halloween, I got absolutely nothing done. Around ten minutes past midnight, I didn’t want to write at all. I was tired, uninspired, and I just wanted to go home.

I spent most of the rest of the month heavily bogged down by the day job, until November 18 when my oldest daughter Sarah got married. Yep, you read that right. I have a child who is now married, which is something I’m still not sure I’ve wrapped my brain around.

As far as the writing goes, I’m trying to wrap up the ol’ memoir in progress. I missed my goal of September 2016, missed my goal of January 2017, missed my goal of April 2017, and then again missed my goal of October 2016. But hey, I think December is looking pretty good. So keep your fingers crossed for me. Once the memoir is published, I can finally get back to fiction. I’ve already got a start on the next novel:

When Lucas Cloudtreader was twenty years old, he still lived with his aunt and uncle on their blue milk farm. He hated the farm and wanted to go on space adventures. So he found an old space man that everyone had forgotten about. “Take me to space, you old space man!” cried Lucas one day. And do you know what? The old space man did just that . . .

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