I’m Gonna Do It! (But What?)

Yep, this is the year I take the plunge and try my hand at NaNoWriMo – properly, this time.

Mary Pickford-Hartsook
Two years ago, you may recall, I did what I called a PseudoNaNoWriMo. (Side note: It turns out you can sign up on the NaNoWriMo website and do all sorts of variations on the theme quite legitimately: just mark yourself down as a Rebel.)

Let us be honest: rewriting a pre-existing draft is much easier than beginning from scratch. On the other hand, with any luck there won’t be any major earthquakes, dramatic storms, surgeries or illness this time round. I hope.

As soon as I decided I was going to give it a go this year, I realized three things.
One: I need at least a month to prepare, not being a successful pantser (there goes October).
Two: I need to finish the first draft of The Wound of Words first (there goes everything before October).
Three: I don’t know which project to pick.


I have two in mind, is the thing, and while I may still be overambitious and subject to delusions of grandeur when it comes to how much I can accomplish in a given amount of time, I have recovered my senses enough to know that starting my official NaNoing career with a Double NaNo (two novels of 50,000 words! in a month!) is a Bad Idea.

I therefore have to pick one of the two, and while I sometimes think I have made a decision, I still find myself leaning one way and then the other. So, in an effort to help myself decide, I thought I’d present you with the two ideas and see what you all think.

Disclaimer: even if you all vote for one idea, I reserve the right to decide on the other one, or even go completely kung-fu-koala-bananas and come up with an entirely new idea on November 1st – entirely in the spirit of NaNoWriMo.

Idea #1

Working title: Dolly & Dot and the Mystery of the Missing Maid (DDMMM for short)
Genre: humorous classic mystery
Tone: light-hearted, witty, Agatha Christie meets P.G. Wodehouse (I hope)

Thelma Todd, Roland Young, Lili Damita
Quick-witted sharp-tongued Dot has just lost her job – again. Dolly’s aristocratic dragon of a mother has just poached her lady’s maid – again. A perfect match? Dot sets Dolly up with a grim gorgon of a lady’s maid who in due course is commandeered by Dolly’s mother, leaving the plum position open for Dot herself.
But when the gorgon suddenly disappears, Dolly and Dot must join forces to find her, before Dolly’s mother press-gangs Dot into her own service. And there’s a lot more going on beneath the smooth society surface than mere motherly matrimonial machinations.

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Idea #2

Working title: The Man in the Cold Roast Chicken (MCRC for short)
Genre: fantasy
Tone: rich, adventurous, magical and mysterious (but not comic, surprisingly enough)


Our hero is a loner, an outsider, until he is invited to join the Three Men, a small but select band of adventurers-for-hire. As the youthful expert in the ‘new technology’ of magic, he feels the need to prove his worth. But in the very first magical contretemps of the very first job (retrieving a kidnapped princess), he fails to save his comrade from being evicted from his body. In a desperate last-minute save, he manages to ground his comrade’s spirit in the nearest organic object: a cold roast chicken.
Now they face a double challenge: carry out the original mission, a man down; and get their comrade’s stolen body back. But the way is long and hard, and the chicken isn’t the only one hiding a secret.

[Note: “Our hero” in Idea #2 is as yet unnamed. In fact, I have a suspicion that he doesn’t actually have a name, which will give him another aim in life: not so much to make his name as to discover it. ]

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I drafted this post ahead of time (I’ve never been a Scout, but I like to be prepared), but since then another idea occurred to me. Or rather, recurred: it’s been sitting on the back-back-burner for years now. It’s not deeply developed, but one could go so far as to call it…

Idea #3

Working Title: R.O.O.K.
Genre: a bit mystery, a bit literary, possibly a bit romance
Tone: bookish and bittersweet


An academic nearing retirement suddenly disappears, leaving behind no clue to his whereabouts but a cryptic note on the calendar and a copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His daughter joins forces with one of his colleagues to try to find out where he’s gone – and why.

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So what do you think? Universal suffrage – anyone can vote! This referendum supports write-in candidates – suggest anything you like: novel-friendly knitting patterns, writing hats, or the best schedule of chocolate administration for peak productivity. Step on up and have your say!

Answers to Monday’s question: they were all written by women, and had their origins in NaNoWriMo.

4 Replies to “I’m Gonna Do It! (But What?)”

  1. I think my order of preference would be 3, 1, 2. I enjoy your humour, so would want some of that, whatever you choose to do 🙂 . All the best with finishing the Wound of Words by then. Can’t wait to read it!

    With regard to surviving the distance, I’d recommend steering clear of public places that donate germs, spending at least half an hour outside everyday, weather permitting, and keeping your spirits up by whatever means works. Sorry – can’t do anything about the earthquake problem, except offer a retreat space, should your home become uninhabitable – God forbid!

    1. God forbid indeed!
      Thanks for the feedback – and the advice. Does the avoidance of public places rule out the library? (Horror!)
      I should get a bit more time outside mowing the lawn, but the size of the task is rather intimidating. I suspect there are quantities of prunings lurking in the underscrub which may not take kindly to being mowed. Still, it’s got to be done sooner or later, and it’s going to start raining again next week 🙁 Maybe if I do it in installments…

  2. I am pleased to hear you’re going to get back into the Nano-whatever. If you think it’s sufficiently different from the current WIP, the Dot and Dolly story sounds fun. If it’s too similar, the Three Men story is a great idea.
    I hope to do this one day, so maybe next year!

    1. The Dolly & Dot story bears no resemblance whatsoever to the current WIP, so I will note you down for that as first preference and the Three Men one as a second. Actually, now I think about it, the Three Men one is closer to the current WIP in terms of genre and tone. Like Restoration Day, they both sprang from dreams, and my dreams seem to have as much questing as an Arthurian epic and as much running for your life as a Dr. Who episode!

What do you think?