Monday night, 41° and cloudy
Listening to Hiss Golden Messenger, Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer

NaNoWrimo starts in one week

And oh boy do I have a NaNoWriMo dilemma. November is when I till the soil and plant the seeds of my novels. I’ve won NaNoWriMo every year since my first attempt in 2007.  Don’t hate me. I know how to NaNo and I dig it. I’ve amassed a small arsenal of NaNo novels, several of which I will revise and publish. One of them (originally titled Anything In Between) became the backbone of my first published novel,  State of Love & Trust.

I’m on board with nailing my vicious inner editor into her pine coffin and letting a new story rip.  (Don’t worry. I’ll let her out when it’s time to edit). I have no problem with the magical daily word goal of 1667. That number is painted on the inside of my special NaNo coffee mug I made at a pottery place during the Saginaw Bay Wombats’ kick-off party a few years ago. I’m all about the write-ins, writer friends, word wars, stickers, commitment, and coffee drinks. I love NaNo like Elf loves Christmastime.

The best part of NaNo for me is burrowing into a new story, flushing out the plot bunnies and letting it get as outrageous as it wants to be. There’s the story about a stolen Boblo Island ferry full of high schoolers that sinks in the Detroit River (The Remainders). And the one about two disgruntled teens who flee their 21-kid family, taking their disabled infant brother with them (In The Quiver). And the one about the girl who winds up in a Belizian work camp for wayward teens (The Art & Science of Shoplifting). Each November, I commit myself to a brand new novel and see where it takes me.

My 2016 NaNoWriMo Dilemma

I already have a novel going. I’m 50k into this monster and I can’t stand the idea of setting it aside right now. I met the main character way back when I did my first NaNoWriMo. This story is not that story (that story was an irredeemable mess), but this particular character has been trying to get me to finish his story ever since. I have lost count of the number of drafts his book has been through, and have a hard time remembering all of the tentative titles. Is This Thing On? Let Me Roll It. The Freak-Out Tour.  Bell Bottom Blues.

I finally figured out how to make it work. This time around it has the utilitarian working title of Robin’s Monomyth, which will be changed to something much better.  Yes, it is a monomyth or hero’s journey, a time-honored story structure. I’m taking it straight-up Joseph Cambell. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll Harry Potter set in 1970. Instead of the Hogwarts Express, there’s a Ford Econoline van. Instead of Gryfinndor, there’s a band called Smoky Topaz made up of a shy teenage runaway, three Vietnam vets, and a draft dodger. Instead of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, there’s blotter acid. Instead of wands, there are guitars. Instead of magic, there is music. Lots and lots of music, concerts, recording sessions, singles, concept albums, and secret love songs.

All I want is to finish Robin’s Monomyth. And now bam, it’s time to drop everything for NaNoWriMo.

I could cry.

Given this state of affairs, it should be a breeze to say no to NaNo. But the real NaNoWriMo dilemma has to do with Milftown Confidential. That’s the title of 2016 NaNo novel which is begging to be written. Shh. If you put your ear close to the keyboard you can hear a pot-bellied middle-aged husband getting photographed naked, much to the embarrassment of his family. But cut him a break. Every five years, the music press demands that he recreate the controversial album cover he was on as a baby. It’s his one claim to fame.

Just maybe that was the cover of Smoky Topaz’s debut album, Overexcited Kid Brother Up Way Too Late.

NaNoWriMo dilemma , you are killing me.


CC0 Publc Domain image by Eric Kilby Ford Econoline Van via photopin (license) – dusk filter added.