East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Not Exactly NaNoWriMO

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November is crawling nearer, and soon the blogs and socials will blossom with news about NaNoWriMo – people posting their wordcounts, their progresses, their pains and their triumphs.
It’s ok, I guess.
I never took part in NaNoWriMo, because when I was a serious university researcher (you are allowed to laugh), writing was a leisure activity and I liked to keep it like that. And now that I’m a penny-less out-of-work researcher trying to pay the mortgage and eat once a day with my writing, my writing is at NaNoWriMo levels (and beyond) already, and it’s been like that since May.


There’s one secondary, backburner-style project that has been on my mind in the last few weeks, and that will be my own personal Not Exactly NaNoWriMo for 2016.

knightprayingI’m going to try and write a short novel (that is, a long novella, say 30.000+ words), set here in these hills where I live, and based on the fact that the Templars had a series of castles and churches in this area.
Add to the stew the local legends, the foggy nights, the archaeological and historical events that interested the region, and I think I have all I need for a nice New Pulp exercise in adventure. Say Dan Brown but less intellectual – say Matthew Reilly1.
I will start it on the 30th of October in a pretty atypical way – by joining a tour of the Templar places and remains in the area.
I’ll take notes, shot a few photos, and then, throughout November, I’ll write no less than 800 words per day, in one hour, clocking the exercise.

51wpksnwz8l-_ac_ul320_sr220320_Recently I was given as a gift a copy of Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem for my ever-increasing collection of writing books, and I found it quite amusing, and also quite interesting.
I’ll keep it at hand while I’ll try and put together my story.
Considering I’ll be working fast and loose, I’ll have the Osprey book about the Templars, theold venerable World Atlas of Mysteries, a book about the Templars in Piedmont and a local tourist guide as all the documentation I’ll use. OK, and then the web.

I’ll call it NENaNoWriMo.
And I’ll do it properly – posting updates on Twitter with the appropriate hashtag, and doing the occasional post hereabouts. Starting maybe with a short post on my day out with the Templars, on November the 1st.

I’ve got a ton of other things to do, and as usual I am not the master of my own time, but this is the sort of project I want to try2.
To test my skills, to train myself and improve my productivity, but also, if apart from my scheduled and contracted work I’ll be able to put together a good short novel in one month, then I’ll be able to do this six times a year, using the odd month for editing.
And this would mean an increase in production, and the ability to write more of those stories I always wanted to write (and to read). It would be fun.
And who knows, it might pay a few bills.


  1. I love Matthew Reilly, and I prefer his books to Dan Brown’s every day of the week. So “Doing a Mat Reilly” would be a sort of graduation test, for me. 
  2. well, sure beats my other idea, of starting writing porn under an alias. An Idea I have not ditched, mind you: it’s just waiting for the right spot of desperation. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

One thought on “Not Exactly NaNoWriMO

  1. Pingback: No NaNoWriMo | Scribblings

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