To NaNo or Not to NaNo (2021)

An open book, Chris's author pic and the title 'chatting with my characters'

‘Misquoting the Bard, Ms Hall?’ Connor strides across the floor and strikes a dramatic pose by the fireplace. The two bars of the electric fire glow ineffectually against the foggy October day which presses around the edges of the bay windows. Feeling the chill, I pull my cardigan more tightly around me.

‘Turn the fire up, Connor,’ says Cynthia. ‘Ms Hall’s blood will have thinned after ten years in warmer climes than these. I remember when I returned from Singapore, it took me years to readjust to our dismal English weather.’ She takes an emerald-coloured pashmina from the back of the chaise-longue and tosses it over to me.

‘Spot of something warming, perhaps?’ asks Connor, looking longingly at the half-empty bottle of whisky on the sideboard. I shake my head. He frowns. ‘I sense by your utterance you are caught on the horns of a dilemma. Pray tell us what troubles you.’

Before I can answer, there’s a tap on the door.

‘It’s open, darling,’ calls Cynthia.

Gina appears. She flings herself into an armchair and grins across the room at me. ‘Do you have some news for us, Ms Hall?’

I explain about NaNoWriMo. Three years running and three books written within each succeeding year. But last year NaNo was a struggle and didn’t get me off to the same start.

‘It sounds as if you might be taking on a little too much to commit to that for a fourth time,’ says Cynthia gently. ‘Don’t pressurise yourself.’

‘But you’d be picking up our story again,’ says Gina. ‘I mean you’ve just finished writing that other sequel, haven’t you?’

I incline my head. It’s true. The sequel to Song of the Sea Goddess has passed the final editing stage and is soon to be proof-read by another keen eye. I twist the pen I’m holding. ‘Ah well, not quite yet, and I’ve been considering putting a poetry collection together in time for next year’s World Poetry Day.’

Connor’s eyes light up. ‘Congratulations, splendid idea!’ Connor rubs his hands together. ‘I’d like to think my success with the slim volumes I’ve had published has inspired you. You know I’ve had an advance to compose a third..?’

Gina shifts in her seat. ‘But so much has happened in our story since our book came out,’ she holds out her hands. ‘Each time you’ve come round something new has happened.’ Her eyes fall on the notebook in my lap. ‘You’ve noted it all down, haven’t you?’

My new notebook with notes on my YNWA characters dated 2019-2021

I look down in my lap. Gina’s right of course, I have been keeping notes… and there are a few more. I smile at three of my favourite characters from You’ll Never Walk Alone. ‘Next year will be your year, but no NaNo this time.’

54 thoughts on “To NaNo or Not to NaNo (2021)

  1. I shall have to have words with my characters, Chris, they don’t seem to have called by for a chat themselves lately. Mind you, I am busy introducing new characters to the mix, so their noses may all be a little out of joint. I have brought a bunch of them into my ‘Ordinary Folk’ tale, which was a little surprise to me, I must admit, but they seem to have a lot to do with the story that’s evolving.
    I was planning on doing NaNo at some point, but it won’t be this year now. Although with my current batch of stories I suppose I could be doing it unofficially…

    Liked by 2 people

    • You can see by Gina’s remark about ‘that other sequel’ that she’s been pretty sniffy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if your characters are feeling a little spurned πŸ˜‰ But you see, they’ve butted in!
      I never did NaNo “properly” but I did strive to write at least half the official word count in the month. Last year, I found it had become a chore and an unwanted pressure. It was making me unhappy, and that wasn’t right. I write for fun, to go to the ‘happy place’. With all your stories streaming forth, I’m sure that’s a handsome amount of words, should you want to count them.
      Go with the flow, Tom πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Then it’s no Nano, but a definite NaPOmo next year? I find anyone who attempts to write the number of words required per day amazing! I haven’t participated except once and the writing challenge i did for October has shown me I need to get my virtual house in order better before I attempt doing Nanowrimo. Best wishes with your endeavor!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Melanie πŸ™‚ but no NaNao and no NaPo either. I’m going to pace myself. I thought last March that it would be nice to produce something for the World Poetry Day in 2022, but I’m going to take it at my own speed, starting with some reviewing and rewriting of poetry I’ve written. I think I might be done with month-long challenges.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That was fun, Chris. Those characters are almost muses. And good for you for following your gut. I’ve often given myself short Nano-type challenges at other times of the year when the timing is write. It’s all about writing! Happy November.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is mighty creative Chris. Nano for me, I’m not sure, but I’ve never tried it. You’ve made amazing progress with your sequel πŸ’œπŸ™πŸΎ

    Liked by 1 person

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