Yesterday felt to me like the first day of winter. It was definitely the first day of condensation concealing the view from the bedroom window. It was the first day I could see my breath on the air as I walked through the park in the morning. It was the first day I spotted frosty bits in the shadows (see feature image for evidence). 


Autumn is probably my favourite season because of all the colours and the leaf crunching, but I do like a crisp winter day. There’s nothing like marching along the seafront or through the park all bundled up in a big coat, before returning home for a cup of tea and a good book. Or a writing session.

I am going to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year so, probably the latter.

Autumn in East Lothian

Regular readers will know NaNo and I have history. I don’t always ‘finish’ in the sense of getting 50,000 words – I write for children and 11k is basically enough for younger readers – but I do like to get in aboot it.

This year I am going to try and draft 4 separate, shorter books at 11-15k each instead of doing one at 50k. They will all feature the same lead characters, Obsidian Buttress and Cleo Brown. And in a departure from my usual pantsing style, I’m drafting rough outlines for them.

This is mainly to ensure they hit the right notes and aren’t just:

‘he knocked on the door and went in the room and looked at this thing then that thing then a third thing then he went in another room and it went on like this for some time’.

It’s very easy in NaNo to tell instead of showing, often in minute detail, because you want to make sure you hit the 50k and thus win the day, immediately becoming the next Rainbow Rowell or Sara Gruen.

I am fully capable of spending several years editing and re-writing one thing irrespective of how the first couple of drafts look, so it’s probably best I at least try to make sure the thing has a proper through line from the start. And I’m working with characters who have existed in my mind for years so there’s not really any excuse for me to spend week two writing pages of character notes into the narrative when I know they’ll be the first thing to come out in edit 1.

I had a very vague outline the first time I completed NaNo (in the form of a long list of increasingly ridiculous cliffhangers to end each chapter) so I don’t think this will spoil the fun. And I think I need this focus to snap me out of a fug I have been in for the past few months for various personal reasons.

TL;DR: Winter is coming, NaNo is coming, and I am feeling optimistic.

Anyone else?