Plotting for NaNoWriMo while Dancing with Murphy

Some of you may be asking what a NaNoWriMo is and who the devil is Murphy. Many of you have asked where I’ve been the past few days as I normally post something several times a week.

The answers are all included in one explanation. I’ll start with the easiest to explain. NaNoWriMo is a writer’s organization that challenges us to write a novel in only thirty days. And that thirty day period is the month of November.

Last November was the only time I haven’t participated since reading about it many years ago. I wasn’t able to send in my ‘official’ word count in the past because – dare I admit it – I had dial up and a very slow computer.

This meant I either timed out or an incoming call yanked me off line. That kind of frustration kills creativity so I just stopped trying to send it in. But I registered my word count and somewhere in the middle would lose my plot or bog down.

This is ok if you are not on a deadline. Thirty days, however, is just not enough time to pick things apart. A couple of years I finished getting at least the required fifty thousand words. But mostly I didn’t.

And I went into it every time with nothing, expecting the creativity gods to jump into action and flood me with great ideas and a plethora of words. I thought that was fair and considered people who already had ideas and story lines prior to November 1st – well – cheaters.

Wasn’t that the point?

But as I am the last to know, this isn’t necessarily so. Getting a plot together – planning the trajectory of events – choosing characters – is a little like prepping for a trip. You decide who is going, where you will end up and the roads that you will follow. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have some detours, it just gives you a plan. And you haven’t written the first sentence yet, you are just devising an outline, so to speak.

So, I have been studying plotting and hope to have a nice plot line devised to help me stay on course for this year’s NaNoWriMo and with the new computer and ethernet service, I plan to join the others who can say they are official NaNoWriMo victors!

That’s the equivalent of running 26 miles. You don’t get the certificate unless it is an official Marathon.

So where does Murphy fit into this?

Murphy’s Law my friends!

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and when you least desire it or are equipped to handle it. Of course we never desire it but there are definitely days when things happen at the least opportune times.

My husband left last Sunday for a hunting trip. Since his departure there have been numerous crises at the farm. The wandering thief is back on the prowl – a neighbor caught his image on his security camera slipping through the woods in a sweat shirt and hood covering his face in the middle of the day in near eighty degree weather. This of course means we are locking all of the vehicles, and activating our security alarms, as well as locking our house down – all doors, all windows, all the time. Which of course meant my son locked himself out of his truck and me out of the house.

And that’s not all.

On my way to work one morning, I felt my transmission slipping then jerking so hard when it changed gears that my head rattled. It’s under warranty – no problem. I managed to get it to the dealership and find my replacement at work spending a treasured annual leave day while my car was assessed. They couldn’t get to it until that afternoon, and you know what happened next. It somehow reset itself and purred like a kitten. It’s been running fine ever since. You also know what that means – the day the warranty expires it will lock up completely! Aah another law of Murphy’s!

Then as if I hadn’t suffered enough, I hit the ‘start’ button on the coffee maker, light came on, nothing happened. No coffee!


I know what you are thinking. This is just cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has already suffered so much. But it’s true. Luckily, once I figured out that I wasn’t going to be able to fix the electric pot, I simply heated some water and pulled out my trusty French Coffee Press.

This is my secret weapon for days when the power is out. I can always heat water on the extra burner of the gas grill, pour it into the container with the grounds, and in five minutes, I push the plunger down into the bottom of the pot and have coffee. Of course it doesn’t stay as hot as I like it, but it’s COFFEE!

I bought a new coffee maker that same day. Then I misread the directions and ended up with the coffee all over everything. Don’t ask what I didn’t do.

Just blame it on Murphy.

I have to tell you, he is becoming a boring dance partner. I’ve two-stepped and waltzed around with him all week. I think it’s time to change partners.

So if you see him coming – please cross the street. I do not wish a Murphy Dance on any of my friends and/or readers!

New Coffee Maker with Thermal Pot and French Press in the Front Left

New Coffee Maker with Thermal Pot and French Press in the Front Left

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.



  1. I found out about NaNoWriMo last year just as I was finishing my first novel. Thank you for reminding me because this could be just what I need to kick start the next one.As for Murphy’s Law – we call it Sod’s Law and it always applies! You do sound like you had a similar week to mine 🙂

    1. It’sgreat fun and I enjoy the little pep talk posts from authors who give tips and hints about similar experiences. But you have to stay focused to finish!

  2. LOL! I love NaNoWriMo. Murphy likes to have his way with me though too. Last year my story went completely out of control, but it was good writing practice I guess 🙂

    1. But isn’t it fun when a story takes off on its own and then you just go for a wild ride? I almost feel like my characters choose me and if I don’t let them have their say sometimes, they sit down and refuse to cooperate. I can’t wait to hear where it takes you this year.

  3. I just heard about it for the first time a few days ago. Unfortunately, I misunderstood how it works … thought it happened every month so I could pick one in the future but not another whole year away. I guess there’s no reason I couldn’t, for example, decide to write 50,000 words in March, following the same rules but merely counting them myself. I tried to go back and reread what I’d seen on the website, but it seems like it changed and I can’t find anything I found before.

    Do you expect to be able to blog? Or, ….. submit your dailies to us, your loyal readers?

    1. I do intend to maintain the blog, however, probably not daily. Hopefully, better content, less frequently. But I like your idea – take it for a test run when not much else is going on – like March – and then you’ll have an idea how to make it work best for you in November!

  4. Good luck with the marathon novel writing! What a neat idea. Good luck with the transmission too. I had my transmission blow out heading up the mountains toward Asheville several years ago. Those grades will do it… -kate

    1. John, I feel that way most days – whether or not it’s November. LOL! There should be a giant celebration for those of us who go the distance this year. I know – a blog party!

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