NaNoWriMo 2017 participant badge
NaNoWriMo 2017 participant badge

NaNoWriMo 2017 will soon be among us. Thousands of people will try their utmost to produce a first draft of a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Anyone can do it, all you need is time and encouragement to get some words down. Sign up at

NaNoWriMo 2017

My NaNoWriMo 2017 strategy is to use my commuting time in both directions to write, and to squeeze in a little more when I’m waiting for things to happen. It works thanks to the Wattpad app on my phone. It means that I can write just about anywhere, and I’ve got to the point where I’m almost as fast on my phone as I am on a keyboard. It also helps that wattpad uses short scenes, so I can plan (where I do plan) in Scrivener and then cut and paste in from wattpad as a backup of an evening.

What to write for NaNoWriMo 2017?

So while I’m pretty confident that I can convert reading time to writing time I don’t yet know what to write. There are several possibilities. These are:

Don’t write

As every business analyst and civil servant knows, every list of options should include ‘Do Nothing’. Sometimes you just need to contrast the need to ‘do something’ with not acting. In this case I’d get two or three more novels read during my commuting time.

Duke of Piraxis

I outlined the history to Duke of Piraxis last year and had intended to use it for NaNoWriMo, however a trip to Bergen gave me an entirely different inspiration and I wrote Noren the Strong instead.

The premise of Duke of Piraxis is that a far future human colony on a distant star loses contact when it arrives through a mishap with the delivering starship and a chain of events that robs it of the backup communications and their ability to produce more. Space travel is hideously expensive and Earth believes them lost, so no follow-up is sent. (A bit like the Roanoke colony in the early Americas).

The novel is set a few generations in the future when the original colonists are all long dead and the colony has slowly regressed into a feudal structure ruled by the Duke.

Yngvild the Fierce

Last year I wrote just over 50,000 words of Noren the Strong, although the real main character turned out to be Yngvild, who became known as the Fierce. A fantasy story following the structure of the hero’s journey, it wasn’t really finished at a mere 50,000 words. So I reckon I could use NaNoWriMo 2017 to write the second half of the story and finish off a full-length fantasy novel.

Old Men Forget

I’ve had an outline for Old Men Forget for a few years. It’s the beginning of Dot’s story which we see the latter stages of in Hunting Nazis, and the final scene in Planting the Past. Old Men Forget is historical fiction on how Dot became an SOE agent, her meeting with Reggie, and her journey to France. It seems like it could be a series, there’s so much rich history in clandestine operations during WW2, and the murky nazi hunting that came afterwards.

Dot and Reggie are a bit X-files too. There’s been a narrative of nazis and the occult, and I thought I could write some semi-sceptical urban fiction. Dot doesn’t believe in it, but recognises that the nazis do and they need to be thwarted, whether it is true or not. Reggie is a true believer, and a bit of a conman into the bargain. His origins are surrounded in mystery, and sometimes it isn’t clear why things turned out the way they did…

The title comes from the St. Crispian’s Day speech in King Henry V (Act 4, Scene 3).

"Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day"

Dot has her concentration camp tattoo on her arm. She’s the sort of person that gets described as having had a good war. Peace time bored her, and this novel will be her telling the story in her old age as a first person narrator.

Donald’s Diary

The Duke of Monmouth was involved in plots aga...
The Duke of Monmouth was involved in plots against James (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve read a lot of 17th Century fiction recently, and enjoyed it. I’ve also read a lot about the late 17th century and thought it might be interesting to write about a fictional character that lives through the abandonment of Tangier, the Monmouth rebellion, the Glorious Revolution and maybe some of the early Jacobite rebellions.

So Donald, fifth son of a major Clan Chief and well educated, has joined the army to make his fortune. His first post as a very junior Ensign, is with an infantry regiment in Tangier in 1682. Skilled in arms from his upbringing, and with a university education he is unprepared for the sink of depravity that is Tangier in the early 1680s.

Full Moon

Full Moon is a joint sequel to Crisis Point and the as yet unpublished Perfects, both of which came out of my first NaNoWriMo winner. We see what happens to Mike Duff after he drops a tactical nuke on the US President. We also see where the surviving primary characters of Perfects go and what they do after their escape from Britain.


This is an expansion of the short story Rounds and its sequel Down the Harbour into a full-blown novel set in the fictional village of Lower Harwood. I see this as almost a soap opera style set of stories, so more likely lots of shorts featuring the same characters and set in the same locations, but no single main character through it all.

I’m also toying with a bit of ancient magic, and low-key alternatives to science. There’ll be no werewolves, vampires or sparkly unicorns. Possible some gothic horror in places. Or maybe not.

Z List

I outlined some background and a beginning of a Zombie story with a slightly harder scientific edge than is usual. What if the pandemic is more like normal human infections? Also what if the government see lots of highly infectious voters, rather than mindless killers? You can read some of the start point, primarily patient zero on wattpad under Z List.

What do you think?

I’d be interested in opinions on which of these stories you’d like to read. I’ll run a poll on surveymonkey, so you can let me know.¬†

Feel free to leave comments to support your choice, or arguments to sway me in my NaNoWriMo 2017 choice.