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My NanoWriMo Challenge

So, I’ve been footling around with being a novelist lately. It’s like being a cartoonist, but you don’t have to draw any pictures, and instead, you write a whole bunch more words. This fits in well with my ‘I want to do all the interesting things please, all at the same time thank you’ approach to life.

So far, I’ve co-authored a novella*, and unreleased novel**, and some short prose children’s books***, all of them short form, or in cahoots with other writers. I have also written the first chapters to SO MANY THINGS that I then didn’t follow up on properly. I’m pretty good at making things up on the spur of the moment, and just running with them, for as long as it remains interesting to me. I also get distracted a lot.

This is the logo of the thing!

For many severals of years, I’ve thought about joining in NaNoWriMo, the november ‘write-a-whole-novel-inna-month challenge, and while I’ve always chickened out because I’m always too busy, I’ve decided to give it a go, publicly. This is dumb of me, but that’s never stopped me from doing anything. Yes, I’m still to busy, indeed, more too busy than ever before (although also not busy enough, freelancing self employment is weird).

But my wonderful Michelle has told me I’m going to do it, indeed, volunteered to watch our four son completely in a different room for a full hour every day so I can write, which is generous. Un-interrupted time is precious, just as precious as my wonderful oh-so-distractifying offspring.

Wellington and Michelleington
These cuties have prestolen 87% of my free time for the next two dozen years.

This deal has come with three stipulations, simple yet profound ones. Michelle has given me three words as a writing prompt. Three individual idea nuggets, that while they don’t actually dictate any of the plot of the novel I’m going to create, they also completely focus and shape the potential of what the story is.

Those words are:




I need to allow those three words to guide my story choices. That is what the novel is about. That isn’t characters, or genre, or anything, but they are charged with meaning that I have to interpret.

I’ve been doing light research on the words, and what they may mean, but otherwise, I am going to approach the writing without preconceived notions. On Nov first, I am going to write the first chapter, however long that may be. Hopefully it will be charged with interesting stuff that really gets an interesting story going. But I will have no real idea what happens next. I’m going to be making it up as I go along.

I’m going to be posting what I write as I write it too, so you can chart my progress. I’ll probably have a side discussion going about why I did what I did, places I might be thinking of going, questions I’m asking myself, etc. I’m going to let this develop organically. No preconceived notions. Improv novel. No idea on the length, whether I’ll stop on Nov 31st (the idea is to write a complete novel, at a minimum of 60K words, that means, in theory, at least 2K words a day. I’m not going to put that kind of pressure on myself. I have a day job and a family, and I’m building a house and illustrating three kids books and cooking at least 27 meals a day.) I’m just going to share what I create, and be honest about what I’m doing and why.


A person or group with insightful counsel, and or prophetic predictions, with possible future vision or godly secrets.

Also, some kind of tech company, that does stuff on the software cloud. And I feel like maybe a toothpaste? Or is that Oragel?


An area of the Yukon in Canada, famed for it’s late 1800’s gold rush. Also a kind of solitaire card game. Also also a kind of ice cream sandwich.


A fake, phony, hoax, scam or scheme

Also a racehorse, a colleague of secretariat.

Also also, like, a sham wow, or chamois, a kind of washcloth?

This is the main thing that comes to my mind when picturing the Klondike. This is my source material. Also maybe White Fang...

So, gold, snow, the 1800’s, cards, ice cream, prophets, wisdom, future vision, predictions, trickery, and washcloths. Those are the ingredients on my shopping list.

Let’s get cooking.

I wonder what this story is going to be about?

*Stuff I’ve created that aren’t comics:

*The Princess and the Pterodactyls, with my two friends, Vince and Joe, under the Pseudonym J. Bartholomew Hivemind

at 23K words and maybe 100 pages, this is firmly a Novella, whatever that means. Released with no fanfare whatsoever last year!

**Road Trippy, with my two friends, but not the same two friends, so yes Joe, but not Vince, but yes Chris - also as J. Bartholomew Hivemind. We haven’t released it yet, but when we do, hoo boy, you better watch out!)

***Fairy Tales I Just Made Up, AtoZasaurus, Marmaduke Mousington, Thunder-Lizard Ranch... Collect them all!

I could probably publish a whole book that is just the first chapters I've written to things and never done a second chapter…

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