NaNoWriMo Excitement

It’s nine days into the month, and would you believe that we are all going strong? You can track Tammy’s, Miranda’s and my word counts on our NaNoWriMo page, but Ian is doing the Young Writers’ Program, and we can’t make a word widget for him.

But he’s been the most exciting one of us! He was reluctant to do it, but I got him set up with the older iPad and the keyboard cover and his Google docs and he started typing away. He started running out of gas after day 2: his original idea of writing about his predictions for an upcoming iPhone SE2 ran its course. He talked to me about it and I suggested to him that he needed to have something happen. Have himself in the story, and have our cat Squeaker be a character like Snowy in the Tintin comics who sarcastically commented on things. The next thing you know, Ian’s excitedly writing each night and tonight he really went all out. His target word count each day is 150 words.

Well, tonight he wrote 386.

Ian’s word count by day so far. Grey bars are 150 words.

I’m very proud of him. It’s great to see him having fun with this. That’s what it’s supposed to be about.

NaNoWriMo #11

Last night we kicked off our eleventh edition of participating in National Novel Writing Month! And when I say “we”, I meanΒ everybody. I was pounding away at my IBM Selectric III, Tammy was pecking at her MacBook Air, Miranda was typing next to me on the Mac Mini in the dining room, and Ian was at his desk with the iPad 4 and the Bluetooth keyboard cover.

That is awesome on so many levels, but selfishly it meant that I didn’t have to wait until the kids were off to bed before starting my writing. In fact, I was finished my 1,885 words before the kids’ bedtime.

This is a momentous Nano for me: I will be writing the second part of the last book in a trilogy that then is itself a set of prequels to the novel that I have been trying to write since I was 18. I am pretty darn excited about that.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Draws to a Close

Tammy and I have both won NaNoWriMo for our tenth years.

I spent the month writing a third book in a trilogy that I started in 2014. I am not finished, but I expect to finish it in Camp NaNoWriMo 2018. My Selectric ribbon died 3/4 of the way down my last page for this year, and I didn’t have a spare, so I fed the page into my Underwood and finished it there.

Tammy only gave me the vaguest outline of what she was writing this year. I do hope that her gaggle of women on a bicycle tour made it to their destination…

Ten years. Man. I still remember our conversations back in 2008, when I mentioned Nano to Tammy for the first time, having read about it on They’d reviewed Scrivener, an application that was tailor-made for novel writing (and we now own: Tammy uses it to write her novels, and I use it to edit). Days before November started, and it was like we were each double-dog-daring the other to commit to it.

So glad we did.



November Starts With A Bang

Often, our annual Halloween post is followed on very quickly by a post on November first, touting the start of NaNoWriMo and Movember. But this year there was so much going on that it has slipped all the way to the fifth.

The biggest thing was that I had a business trip to Parkland County. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal: it’s just west of Edmonton. I rent a car, I drive for three and a half hours, and hey-presto. But winter decided to arrive on Halloween night, and I had to cope with snow and frigid temperatures. Randi, the project manager, sent me this the night before:

I know you know this but if the road report is poor and you don’t feel comfortable making the drive up in the morning, please err on the side of caution.Β  If you choose not to come, please let me know and I will communicate with the customer in the morning.Β  We can reschedule!

You know when seasoned Prairie folk are worried, that it’s worth paying attention. But in the end, I did make the drive there and back. Saw lots of cars in the ditch and some on their roofs. I didn’t really get a chance to explore the county, but here’s a picture of the view from my hotel room.

The view from the Holiday Inn Express

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Noveling Update

It’s interesting what making a concerted effort will bring. It’s entirely too easy to put things off to tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…

Case in point: NaNoWriMo. It’s going to be our tenth year this year. Whether or not any of the combined eighteen novels that Tammy and I have written in that time ever get published, I cannot help but look at the body of work and be impressed.

In the past two years, NaNoWriMo has been escaping from November and running around the rest of my year, too. I have edited two novels now, and Tammy has reviewed and further edited one. This evening, I printed an edited copy of the second for her to review. The interesting thing is that the month-long format of NaNo works so well for that, too. This September, I diligently worked at the editing process and by this evening, I was done. Now I have cleared the decks for this November’s effort, and I have a much clearer idea of what I want to write. I will spend time in October getting my thoughts together.

This novel, tentatively titledΒ Outpost Tyranny, came together with a November, an April (Camp NaNoWriMo) and a September.

What else can be done if I work at it for a month?

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017

April 2017 is almost over, and tonight I crossed the 50,000 word mark. I won’t deny that this month has been a struggle at times. Tammy has not been writing, soΒ that’s the first time I’ve ever tried to make 50k without her writing in the evenings as well. It makes a big difference when only one person is writing. I managed to write three of the four days on my trip to Sarnia, and made my word count target on two of them. Tonight I was back to my typewriter, and it seemed a lot less of a chore. Sometimes I wonder if the extra effort and noise are worth it, but trips like this remind me that it is.

I suppose I should thank the weather, which has been horrible. There haven’t really been many temptations to go out and work in the yard or start re-staining the deck railings because it’s snowed pretty much every week, including this morning.

I haven’t typed “The End” yet. There are still a couple of days left in April and the weather still isn’t perking up. A Bow Cyclist ride is scheduled for Sunday, but I have my doubts that it will happen.

Ready, Set, Go!

National Novel Writing Month 2016 is underway. Tonight, Tammy and I each started on our respective novels.

Earlier in the evening, when Tammy took Miranda to piano, I was talking with Ian about it, telling himΒ that I would appreciate it if for the month he would make an effort to be ready to read in bed by eight o’clock so that mum and I could get our evening writing started. I also suggested that he could try writing a story. Miranda did, back in 2011. He immediately said he wouldn’t know what to write. I scoffed. On Saturday part of the excavation of his room involved the organizing ofΒ reams of pages of comic stories that he had drawn and written.

So, later I said good night to him, and came down to the kitchen table to type. I got the title on the page before Ian came downstairs, asking if he could write Nanowrimo on a typewriter. What was I going to do, say no? πŸ™‚ Β So I got him the typewriter he wanted, the Smith-Corona Clipper, and he started working.

Ian in author mode

Ian in author mode

He got a start on his story, but was really slowed down by the typewriter. He did pretty well, considering it was one THUNK imprinted character at a time.

The start of Ian's story

The start of Ian’s story

I set him up with an account in the Nanowrimo Young Writer’s Program, and transcribed into their web interface. If he wants to type tomorrow, I will give him the option of working on the computer instead of the typewriter.

The typewriter’s an acquired taste.


Ian continued his story writing on day two, jumping from 50ish words to 386 words written. Moving to the computer really helped him out. Maybe there’s a reason for these new-fangled things after all…

Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 is Over


July is over, and Tammy and I have finished yet another creative writing odyssey. This was a first for me: I have used the summer months for editing before, but this was the first time I have set a writing goal and typed new pages in April or July. Before I get into the whys and wherefores, I will say that I was successful. I set a goal of 30,000 words and ended up with 32,000. Tammy wrote more than I did, but I understand that she wanted to hit the full 50,000 for the month. I am proud of her for doing it, and she has said that she will finish the story in November.

Myself, I wanted to finish my 2015 novel. In 2011, I used NaNoWriMo to take a shot at rewriting the novel that I have been trying to write since I was 18. I wasn’t happy with the result, getting about halfway through it in November. In 2013, I did it again, but radically rethought the structure of the story, if retaining the geography and a lot of the fictional history. This time, I was successful, and ended up with a story that I was happy with.

I wanted to continue the story in 2014, but as November approached, I did a month of editing, and found that I needed to settle a lot of backstory in order to take it forward. Since it was only a few days before November, I didn’t really have time to prepare. I wrote what started as a one-off novel that morphed into an unsuccessful sequel to my 2008 novel. For 2015, I was more prepared. I started outlining ahead of time, and by the time November kicked off, I knew that I was now writing the first story of a two-part arc that led to my 2013 novel.

I wrote 70,000 words of it last November, but I figured I was about two chapters from being finished. If I was to be ready to write the bridge between 2015 and 2013 in 2016, I needed the 2015 story to be finished and edited.  I tried to keep working into December, and typed about eight more pages before giving it up. With so many things competing for my time and energy, writing in month-long focused efforts works well. So, I pledged to write the rest of the story in the Camp NaNoWriMo sessions.

I switched to editing, and that was successful in two ways:

  1. I found my story enjoyable, and I wanted to read the finish, and
  2. I did some rearranging and found there might be more than two chapters to finish.

April came, but I was in a cast. Not good for typing! That left July as the last chance, and Tammy committed to writing as well. A tip for those out there wanting to take part in NaNoWriMo: it’s so much easier when your spouse is taking part too.

It was a month with business trips and cycling club rides and a million other things. I struggled to make my goal, but I was driven by the desire to get the story finished so I would have a solid foundation for November. Now I’ve done it, and I am very happy.

Camp WriMo

Well…I’m giving it a try again. I think this will be y third attempt at completing a NaNoWriMo in the summer. I’ve not yet been able to “win” one of these because I never seem to have enough time. Maybe this year will be different. So far I have 1,961 written. Only 48,039 left. πŸ˜†