#NaNoWriMo 2017: Two Winners In One Household!

Yay! We did it. My son Joshua and I managed to write the opening 50,000 words of our novels between November 1-30 during National Novel Writing Month 2017. This was the first time either of us had participated in NaNoWriMo, but we both felt the urge to do something that stretched us to the limit.

At one stage I was about a week behind with my word count and thought I wouldn’t make it, so had to do some mad 3,000 plus sprints per day to catch up.

Joshua managed to be more consistent in his progress but was a bit erratic in updating his word count on the NaNoWriMo website, so his final stats and graph looked a bit strange, which is why he wanted me to post mine and not his. In case you are wondering who Wolery Wol is, that is one of my online author usernames/pen-names.

My novel, which will probably end up at about 75,000 words in length, was inspired by a short story I wrote way back, titled The Parable Teller, so this is what I chose as my working title during NaNoWriMo but ir won’t end up as my final title as it is no longer suitable. This, my sixth novel, was intended as an exercise in shutting off that pedantic inner editor and recapturing that creative energy and dynamism that went with writing my first novel years ago. It worked, but doesn’t mean that I will skimp on the editing during revision 1, 2, 3, 4, or however many it takes.

When I started the novel I thought it was science fiction, but after writing the first three chapters, it dawned on me that it wasn’t science fiction but mainstream satire, which happens to be set at an unspecified time in the future (think Ben Elton meets Jonas Jonasson). In fact, it is possible that I have never written true science fiction, or true fantasy for that matter.

[Thank you, Bob Shaw for your book How to Write Science Fiction, which has been lurking on my bookshelf since 1993, and became my only reading material throughout November. It would have saved me from a lot of marketing problems, if I had read your book properly in the first place. Next on the list is Writing Fantasy Fiction by Sarah LeFanu, on my shelf since 1996].

My enlightenment has proved a liberation, as I am now free to embrace my quirkiness without the strictures of rigid genre.

My son’s novel is his first, although he has written plenty of short stories (you can read one of them here), plus he has a BA in History, English and Creative Writing. He likes to write fantasy: real fantasy, unlike his mother! His novel, which also has a working title that he intends to change, will end up much longer than mine and sounds potentially epic.

Lastly, I want to award my husband a medal for his patience and encouragement throughout November. It must be hard enough for anyone living with one NaNoWriMo maniac for a month, but to live with two, you have to be some kind of saint.

Friday Fictioneers — Art Installation, AD 2316

Genre: Post-apocalyptic science fiction
Word Count: 100

ART INSTALLATION, AD 2316

 Welcome to the tri-centenary celebration of life on Old Earth.

 Item 1: Wooden desk, whitened with paint to disguise the murder of a tree.

 Item 2: Plastic writing implements to poison the oceans and scribble out fish.

 Item 3: Metal paperclips to imprison tree-paper.

 Item 4: Sticky substance to glue tree-paper to tree-paper.

 Item 5: Two soft toys…

 “Mother, what are they?”

 “They’re birds called penguins. They used to inhabit the South Pole of Old Earth before it boiled.”

 “Are those two the only ones we rescued?”

 “No, my child, there were real living penguins…”

 “Without deflector shields, you mean?”

<><><>

 Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright © Claire Sheldon

Friday Fictioneers — An Assault on Vanity

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

When I saw the photo prompt © Liz Young for this week on Friday Fictioneers, it immediately brought to mind the story that was my first blog post back in December 2011.  The original story was 150 words in length but I’ve pruned it down to 100 words without difficulty and with added punch.

As a footnote to original, I wrote the following…

Author’s note: In my experience the more fantastic the claims for a beauty product, the more expensive and full of dangerous chemicals it is. I believe in organic beauty products, used from head to foot, and a balanced diet of freshly prepared meals.  Combine this with a positive attitude, creativity, and trying to see the funny side of things whenever possible.  Who cares about a few laughter lines and characterful wrinkles?  I don’t fancy looking like a faceless mannequin doll. Do you?

Genre: Science fiction horror

ASSAULT ON VANITY

Cries of terror rocked the city and catapulted Tania into wakefulness.  She fought to focus on her clock, but to no avail. The digits blurred grey and her eyes had the deep ache of a hangover, but she’d not touched a drop of alcohol for days.

In the bathroom, she splashed water at her face but couldn’t feel it contact her skin. Then she looked in the mirror. Apart from her eyes and the skin covering their sockets, her face had metamorphosed into a featureless blank; the work of Dr Hamid’s new wonder cream that claimed to banish wrinkles overnight.

Friday Fictioneers — You, Before and After

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

At first light, we hear a howling yowling dogcat hullabaloo coming from the horses’ paddock. Through my binoculars (cowardly husband me), I watch you stride through the snow in wellies, into silence deep as a subterranean cavern.

The horses stand freeze-framed and mid-chomp at their trough. There’s a trail of green on the snow’s surface, accompanied by the footprints of a three-legged creature. You follow the trail into the bushes.

Inside, over a cup of tea, you say nothing. There’s a mute look to your eyes, too. Later, I find a discarded plaster in the bathroom, soaked in green blood.

<><><>

Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: image © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Friday Fictioneers — Intergalactic Souvenirs

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Fuller

Aliens visited Earth once, during the Holocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period. Along with the official samples collected for scientific analysis, one of them smuggled some souvenirs back home as toys for its 5-year-old squirmling.

All quite harmless, it thought, until a beetle crawled out of a piece of deadwood and infected the squirmling with a deadly virus that wiped out every living creature on the planet.

In a couple of centuries from now, human astronauts will visit the star Wolf 1061 and discover exoplanet 1061c is dead. Then they will excavate and find a 2016 copper-plated coin from Earth.

<><><>

Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: image © Claire Fuller