Tag Archive: NaNoWriMo


I enjoy writing.

For the past few years I have done the NaNoWriMo – the National Novel Writing Month – in November, where writers from around the world try to write a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days.

Just typing that number makes my hands hurt.

I’ve managed to “win” so far every year, but I have developed a little cheat that I use.

There are times when I’m chugging along, really pounding away, when a roadblock gets thrown up. Some little niggling detail I didn’t think of when I did my outline pops up and it breaks my train of thought. It’s frustrating and pulls me out of my groove. Until I came up with a solution to my problem – the Snoopy.

Most of what I write for pleasure can be considered fantasy – very rarely do I write things in a modern setting. I decided that I needed a word that would be easy for me to remember but wouldn’t pop up on a regular basis as I wrote – so I picked Snoopy. If I come to a scene that I haven’t fully plotted out, or that I think should be improved upon by adding foreshadowing for an event that I haven’t written yet, I’ll type Snoopy and continue on. When I reach the scene I want to reference in the earlier scene and figure out what details I want to add, I’ll do a word search for my Snoopys, find the one I need, and rewrite the scene.

This came about from my chronic inability to think of good names.

I used to use simple boring names – I have one story where all the good guys are Bobs (Bob1, Bob2, Bob3, etc…) and the bad guys are Garys. When I finally picked a good name, I could do a search-and-replace to remove the boring name and put in the new one. It was easy for me to keep track of, but kind of dull. So I started using comic book characters.

And then things got weird when a minor female character, Batman3, had an affair with one of the evil henchmen, Dr. Doom8. I didn’t plot it that way, it was just something that developed from the characters’ interaction.It’s hard to explain.

Some of the scenes read a lot like a slashfic if you don’t take into account that the names would be changed later.

His fingertip brushed against her skin, fainter than a moth’s heartbeat, tracing the lines inked into her pores that marked Batman3 as one of The Chosen. Dr.Doom8 knew that she had only to give the alarm and his death would be slow and bloody. At that moment, such things were inconsequential; his world had narrowed to a patch of skin no bigger than a promise.

Yeah, I’m not proud of that.


Like many of the other virtual cows who graze contentedly on the lush offerings of the internet, I am aware of the phenomenon known as fan fiction, or fanfic.

 It’s not a new concept; for as long as there has been fiction there have been people who wanted to “improve” upon the original story. I can accept that; I have often speculated on what happened after a favorite story, written or otherwise, ended. However, I have never closed a book, sat back, and thought to myself, “I wonder if they ever do it?”

It would appear that I’m in the minority. Granted; there are some fanfics that are quite good, but to find them you have to wade through quite a bit of the“they’s haz teh sexy;., it wur Hott!!1!” sort of thing that reads the way a bad porno’s screenplay might. The best way I have found  to find fics that are even halfway readable is this; when I find something that I like, I go to the writer’s page and see what stories they have in their favorites list. Most writers are also readers and most competent writers won’t endure reading something that’s badly written.

Well, with one exception – the stuff so badly written, so gut-turningly, mind-fracturingly, bile-raisingly bad that it’s funny. I’ve read a few of those, usually only a page or two will send me into fits of weeping and laughing. Like a car accident  it’s almost impossible not to look. Occasionally I’ll indulge, but such incidences are few and far between. Well, maybe not  that far between, but it’s not a regular thing for me.

And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve written some stinkers in my day; not every monkey that sits down at a keyboard can start cranking out Shakespeare, but I would like to think that I’m aging like a fine wine and not like a gallon of milk left in the trunk of a car in the middle of summer. (Hmmm… Spoiled Trunk Milk would be a good name for a band) I will also admit to writing fanfics, but I’ve only ever posted one. The others were, quite frankly, horrible. And not the “good” sort of funny-horrible, just plain old horrible. Worse than my first NaNoWriMo novel. I’m not good at fitting a story within an established canon, I prefer a bit more freedom. Not that it has stopped others from shoehorning everything they could into their fanfic, but that’s not my style.