NaNoWriMo 2021

In the wake of last month’s entry, I am left with the taste of anger and vitriol in my mouth, and some of the things happening in politics are not making it any better.

However, I keep telling myself this is not the place to spew my political beliefs (though they will creep in, as you know if you’ve been reading for any length of time).

So instead, I want to talk about NaNoWriMo!

November approaches, and with it the challenge of furiously typing 50,000 words in only 30 days. It sounds daunting on the surface, but when you break it down it is 1,667 words per day. You can pound that out in less than two hours. Much quicker, if you type faster, which most people do.

The trick is just putting in the time. Planting your butt in your chair and writing. Truth? That’s the hard part. If you have a lot of things you want to do or want to watch, planting your butt might be easy. It’s getting off Netflix or getting up from the D&D table to write your novel.

Writing novels is not for everyone, although I do fervently believe everyone on this planet has at least one in them. Most will never explore that side of themselves. They will never know the thrill of writing “THE END” on a manuscript and having a completed, albeit crappy, first draft. They’ll never know the sense of accomplishment or pride of holding a vanity copy in hand and declaring to whoever might listen, “I made this!” Or even better, of putting in the rest of the work needed and taking it to Amazon (and maybe other retailers, depending on what you’re looking for here) and publishing the thing so other people can be amazed.

Both times I have published a book, my sister has been astounded. Not because the books are any good (how many times to I have to keep telling you this?) but because I wrote a thing and put it out into the world to be judged. Enjoyed, maybe. Reviled, almost certainly. Her brother did that, and her brain melts just a little.

I wish that feeling for everyone. At least once.

November is the perfect excuse. It’s a time when thousands of people are doing what many say is impossible. I’m here to tell you it’s not impossible. I’ve proven it 16 times and aim to do it again. Join us. Set loose your creative side. Revel in the feeling of being part of something incredible. Bask in the creation of something only you can create: YOUR STORY.

So take that novel you have locked away inside you and set it free. It won’t be perfect. It might not even be good.

But it will be yours. And that’s what makes this worth it.


Just a short little insert here to inform folks that I have begun the process of loading up the old blog entries that got nuked in the host move. I am up to November 2019 as I write this, so by the time this goes live, the entire podcast series SHOULD be available to listen to again if you need the encouragement. I advise putting the RSS feed (link in the site header) into a podcast app like Podcast Addict. That will give you easy portable (and downloadable) access to the episodes. (Many thanks to Sophie for the app recommendation. It has let me listen to Writing Excuses all season.)


My vignette mini-project fizzled. It’s not a surprise; we all know I’m lazy. Thing is, it’s not laziness that sidelined me.

It was one of the things I wrote. It scared the Holy Hannah out of me. The ease with which I caused this fictional human lingering and lasting pain actually disturbed me in ways I don’t know how to describe.

Avoiding the gory details: I can kill random people in random ways without batting any eyelashes. (IN FICTION. Stop reading my blog, CIA!) It’s bloody and gory, but it’s over quickly. Usually. And even when it’s not, I don’t dwell on the pain the character is feeling, a criticism I am likely to get as I continue this writer thing. I have to separate myself from it, or I will coddle them all like children I want to protect from the dangers of the world. Danger I need them to go through to tell the story. And because I write horror, that danger will often end up killing them.

But this thing I wrote a few weeks ago? This was something else entirely. The person was ENJOYING what he was doing to the victim. Reveled in it. Relived with fondness the torture he had caused his victim’s family. I wrote a sprint’s worth, lost in the moment, and made myself walk away when the timer went off.

That’s the last thing I wrote.

I have never scared myself that much before, and I hope I never do again. Seriously. Even as a writer known for scenes of MurderDeathKill, you’re not supposed to enjoy inflicting pain, even on an imaginary person. And if you are, I’m in the wrong hobby.

Anyway, no words since that… incident. I’m not anticipating words before November, just because my brain space is not smart enough to hold onto more than one thing at a time usually. I might try another vignette, but it needs to be about fluffy bunnies and adorable kitties playing near a rainbow under the watchful eye of a kind unicorn.


Considering how early I wrote the last blog, I have three sessions to report.

Sadly, none of them involve Pathfinder. No-Show the Workaholic has major things happening at JOB, which has required her to work Saturdays. It was supposed to be over by now, but things got delayed. Really hoping she will be back with us next time. I miss blowing things up with Damiel.

So what did we play in her absence?

The usual array of Jackbox Party Pack games: We’ve played some Blather Round, Dictionarium, Survive the Internet, Civic Doodle, Drawful 2, Trivia Murder Party, Bomb Inc., and we even tried one called Word Spud. That one wasn’t so great.

And one session… we discovered a NEW game in the same style. It is called What The Dub. It features classic film clips with some of the dialogue removed. Your job, player, is to fill in the missing dialogue. No, not with the REAL movie’s words — this ain’t no trivia game! Think more like RiffTrax as a game. This one is a blast, because sometimes people come up with the weirdest things for the situations on screen. FOR EXAMPLE…

The clip was a person lying on an operating table and two or three doctor types standing over him. One doctor said, “The operating room is no place to…” and the rest of his dialogue was removed. Then the second doctor said, “He’s dead. It’s not like I can do any harm.” All players are then tasked with filling in the blanked dialogue from the first doctor.

The winning line? “…have sex with a corpse.”

Everyone votes (you can’t vote for your own), and people get points based on the number of votes they received.

(Fun fact: I could always tell how one of the people would vote based on his reaction to the line when it was played. His reaction to the above was particularly hilarious.)

If you ever get the opportunity to play this kind of party game with a group of your friends, I heartily endorse them. Some games work much better with a LOT of people, but some of them are groovy with three and four. (No-Show actually did show up during one game night session, but too late to switch to Pathfinder, so she joined us for Jackbox. It was muy fun-like.)

I heart my friends.

I heart Game Night.

I REALLY heart Game Night with my friends.


September, overall, was a pretty mellow month. Loving the Marvel What If series. Enjoying the heck out of the Spider-Man animated series (both from 1994 and current). All of these are available on Disney+ if you are so inclined.

October looks to be low-key as well, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. (Life changes on you in an instant, so the insurance commercials say.)

November? That’s gonna be psycho. NaNoWriMo. The beginning of the “holiday season” — which to me only means fighting crowds when I go to the store. Things at JOB will be amped up, too.

But NaNoWriMo.

I’m here for it.

Get vaccinated. I will talk to you next month.

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