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 titled 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, so 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 him 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 of 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? 🙂  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. 😆

I’ve Crossed the Line – NaNoWriMo 2015

Tonight, I crossed the target 50,000 word mark for National Novel Writing Month. Technically, that means I’ve won for the eighth year in a row, but I’ve got a new goal in front of me: finish this book.

It’s not done, and I’ve got the rest plotted out. I really want to see it finished. I am having great success this year. There have been difficult evenings where I didn’t want to go and sit at the typewriter, but every time I’ve done so I’ve had to pull myself away again after putting out another 1,800 words or so. It’s just been going so well.

Tammy’s coming along well, too. She’s well ahead on her word count. Just not as possessed as I am… 😜

Count it.

Count it.

Plotting, pedals, and party

That about sums up our weekend.

Simon is in a panic about not having done any plotting or timeline planning for the annual NaNoWriMo coming up in a week. He has been putzing around trying to get inspired and motivated, but it wasn’t until today that he accomplished something – a timeline and some plot outlining.

Ian went to a birthday party partly in Cochrane (the bowing alley there) and partly at the Ben’s house (cake and games). We have to keep track of all the people whose parties he gets invited to this year so we can actually have a party for him next year. With this age group no one is really on the ball to get last names, phone numbers, or any other contact info. I wasn’t on the ball last year, so I’ll endeavour to be so next year.

I finally had my clip-on pedals installed today. Actually they’re double-suited pedals – one side is a normal flat pedal, the other made for clip in shoes. Simon has been on at me to switch over to clip ons, but I’ve been afraid I’d panic while riding, be unable to unclip my foot, and wipe out with major road rash. With the double sided ones I can ride my bike even if I forget my special shoes. 🙂

Ian had a really good time at the party. There were 3 boys and 2 girls (Ben’s sister and her friend I’m guessing). They bowled and ate popcorn and drank iced tea and fruit punch. Ian got over 100 bowling. Then they came back, had cake, and then went on a treasure hunt (in a local wooded area by their house) using a map!

Ian is so excited to have a friend living nearby (9 minutes by bike) that he wants to set up play dates ASAP. 😀

Official NaNoWriMo Winners…again

Tonight both Simon and I won NaNoWriMo yet again.  For me it wasn’t as much of an accomplishment as it was for Simon.  I usually write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants whereas Simon creates a somewhat comprehensive outline with dates, corresponding word count, etc.  This year he didn’t get around to doing that.  Unlike me, he also didn’t seem to have muse to guide him as this text message from five days into NaNo suggested:

Screenshot 2014-11-29 22.08.38

For a while things weren’t getting better and he was tempted to just give up, but then he switched gears (topic, genre) and things started to hum along a bit better.  Obviously this change made all the difference because he did manage to finish and one day early.  He told me that he will never pants it again and he was unanimous in that. 😀

I have to admit I was concerned that I wouldn’t have been able to complete NaNo this year.  Since I started working full-time back in September, I’d been feeling like everything was getting so behind at home (groceries, laundry, cleaning, everything else) that I couldn’t afford the luxury of writing every night. Not to mention I didn’t think I’d have the energy or ambition to do it either.  It was tough in the first week, but I persevered.  We both did and it paid off.  Congrats to us!

An Update on NaNoWriMo and Movember

We are over the halfway point of November 2014, so it’s time for an update on the annual events: NaNoWriMo and Movember.

NaNoWriMo has been a bit of an up and down experience this year. I started with one idea, but that fizzled out after only about four days of writing. I quickly shifted gears and suddenly transformed my novel into a different story, and then has been doing much better. The low point was my two nights in Medicine Hat, when I barely got three pages written over two days. Another low point came one evening when Miranda and I started having a really good father-daughter conversation. My entire writing time for the night got taken up with one of those conversations that when they start, you just have to finish them. While it was a low point for my writing, it was certainly worthwhile. But I have managed to catch up again, and that was going pretty well, until I had a medical problem.

The combination of typing a lot in the evenings, combined with having to type a long document for Medicine Hat at work, plus my daily piano practice seems to have aggravated my right wrist. So, I am dictating my NaNoWriMo now. I also am behind on my piano practice now. So here I sit, with my wrist on an ice pack and talking into the microphone to write this post. 🙂

Movember is also coming along, with a half month’s growth on my upper lip.



Something a little different this year.