How Novel

How Novel


I meant to post this on November 30th, to celebrate a successful Nanowrimo novel, but my apartment has been without heat for three days now. It still isn’t fixed. It’s been the perfect excuse to goof off, but tonight I decided “tough it out”. It’s only supposed to get down to 4 degrees. Not that I plan on getting cold. I have a space heater about two feet away, I’m wearing a sweater to bed, and have my sleeping bag as an extra blanket. I will not be getting cold tonight.

November is National Write a Novel Month, and this year at the very last minute (I think it was on October 30th) I signed up for another Nanowrimo. I’ve participated twice before, and have “won” both times. I always think to myself, especially when I’m stuck dealing with revisions, that a new story will be so much easier. Well, it’s not.

In order to “win” Nanowrimo, you need to complete a 50,000 word novel in one month, that means writing about 1,667 words per day. Well, that’s exactly what I did. I even saved my stats!

nano 2014 statsNot too bad, having an average of 1,668, and take a look at that lovely graph I made. I wrote every day for 30 days.

I’ve always felt that Nanowrimo moves a little too fast for me. I like to write a bit slower on a first draft, and not just pantser it. That reminds me, I did learn something important from one of the pep talks this year. I don’t know why, but I never realized where the word ‘pantser’ came from. I’ve heard the term for years now, to describe how people write without outlines, and instead just write, well, ‘by the seat of their pants’. For some reason, maybe because I’d only heard it spoken, and never written down, I always thought of it was like the word panther – not pant-sers – and I could never figure out what it had to do with large cats.

nano 2014 stats 2The novel this year was called Carousel Island. It’s a sci-fi children’s story set in 1927 on an island in the south pacific. It is a story about belonging.

I’ve been daydreaming about Carousel Island for years now, and finally I have a draft of the story.

A brief synopsis

The year is 1927.

Celia Voller arrives on Carousel Island carrying an extra hat box, (that’s where she keeps her camera) and a parakeet named June on her shoulder.

Celia’s mother died when she was born, and her father has died recently in an accident. Her Aunt is a scientist who lives on an island in the South Pacific. Its a strange little place, with robots chauffeurs, and some unusual fruit. Oranges can be eaten like apples, peel and all, the coconuts break open like eggs. But where does the submarine door on the bottom of the lagoon lead?

An Excerpt

“There was something strange about the sky in this world, Celia thought staring up at it. Why did it look so very gray? It wasn’t as if there were rain clouds up there. The grayness extended everywhere, from a hazy smudge on the horizon to high above her head, all gloom and threatening. No rain though. The air tasted horribly dry, and made her throat feel like she’d swallowed wool threads. When she squinted off in the distance and she could see tiny silver towers. They curved along the skyline, as if connecting something on the ground, far in the distance, to something way up in the sky.

When she pointed them out to Apollo, he grunted. “Elevators.”


“They’re space elevators,” he told her.

Winner-2014-Twitter-ProfileNow that I have the first draft I’m going to let it sit for a month or two, then I’ll start looking at it again, and figure out what to do with it. I’m going to do something with it, but it’s going to take a bit of research.

Even though the story is sci-fi, its also historical fiction too, and I’m going to have to do more research to make sure everything makes sense. 1927 turns out to be pretty interesting year. Charles Linbergh flew solo across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris. The Jazz Singer was released that year, the first talking movie. I’ve always felt kind of like a time traveler when I read history books, well, when it’s a good history book.

Also, I don’t really know anything about islands in the South Pacific. I haven’t traveled there, yet. I might have to do some of that research in person. At least it will be warm there, right?