I hate you Euphemia Mowbray! And other tales from NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo… The opportunity to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of it) in a month. I wanted to get away from Tom Angel and his friends for just a little bit, see if I could still write something that wasn’t fantasy so I thought NaNo was the perfect month.  

First rule of NaNo is having a plan. Did I have a plan? Of course not. It’s not in my DNA, I’m more of a spontaneous, spur of the moment person, so no plan.  

I had a name at least of my protagonist, Euphemia Mowbray. Euphemia is actually an ancestor of mine so I thought, this will be easy, I’ll write an adventure story with Euphemia in it. Then a friend mentioned a clan motto, which I’m not going to reveal here, and I thought great, I’ve got an adventure to go on, I can’t wait to start writing.  

Then 1st November came along, and the cats got sick. First it was Boo, lethargic, not eating, vomiting and generally not being a well boy. He’s fifteen years old now, so I thought the worst, it was either an expensive problem with his teeth, or the end of the road for my cuddly boy and rushed him to the vets. The vet was lovely, and they kept him in to do blood tests and keep an eye on him, so he didn’t deteriorate. Then they had to call me to collect him as he was so stressed out from being in the vets, oops. By the time I got home, Ruben was really not looking well, he hadn’t eaten properly for a few days either, and started to display the same symptoms as Boo. So it was back to the vets with Ruben, same thing, lots of blood tests but I took Ruben home, if Boo is a stress bunny, then Ruben is a thousand times worse. It turned out they both had gastroenteritis, probably from eating something a bit off outside and were given anti-sickness, antibiotics and rehydration fluids. So, long story short, the first week of NaNo I spent 4 days going back and forth to the vets, and some of those were two trips in one day, which didn’t leave a lot of time for writing. It was a bad start. 

For the rest of the month I was playing catch up, but with no plan I had to sit down at the keyboard each day and hope to God that the words would appear. And they did, but not in great quantity unfortunately. Because I had no plan and I didn’t know my characters, or the adventure they would find themselves in well enough to know what they would do in any given situation, I was left thinking instead of writing.  

I have cursed my Euphemia Mowbray to the heavens and back, but it really wasn’t her fault. I don’t know her that well, we’ve just been introduced after all, so I can’t blame her for my faults. I’m still writing the first draft but I’m with Ernest Hemingway when he said, ‘All first drafts are shit’. So, I keep on putting one word in front of the other and hoping it all works out.  

In the end I finished NaNoWriMo having written 18,080 words, which, whilst I’m not happy about, I’ll accept. And I’ve come to realise that it’s not Euphemia’s fault either, its mine. I was the one with no plan, I didn’t know her inside and out, I don’t even know what time period I’m writing in, so I’m the one to blame.  

So, Euphemia, I’m sorry. I’d really like to get to know you better. Who knows, one day we may become best friends, I hope so as I think we’d get on, and what would be better than having an adventure with your best friend?  

Euphemia, I think I love you.  

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