NaNoWriMo 2014, part one

The last time I tried NaNoWriMo was about five years or so ago. It didn’t go spectacularly great but I did start a novel that I’ve been kind of puttering around with ever since, if you consider opening the file, looking at it and nodding sagely “working on it.” I’m sure I’ll finish it one day, as I do really like the idea and want to tell the story and get it out there.

As we got closer to November I began to get that itch primarily because I haven’t written much prose in the past six months, instead focusing on some comic projects in various stages of production. I had an idea for a new project that I began to think I should use the NaNoWriMo excuse to burn through a bit of it. I began laying out the groundwork in my mind but something just felt…off about it. Yeah, this new idea was super fun at first blush and I wanted to dive in and sink my teeth into it. Big idea, sweeping characters, a whole lot of fun and a subject matter I haven’t really dug into that much but it still felt off.

Then I figured out why.

For about the past six months I’ve had the first draft of the next Winston & Churchill story, “Injuries of the Past,” sitting in my Google docs patiently waiting for me to give it a second look. Hell, when I dug through my big messenger bag/man purse I found the printed out copy with all my notes on it. I sat down and worked my way through the edits, trimming the beast down to a “lean” 18,000 words. Larger than I usually want those stories to be but it has a lot of fun, meaty stuff for Lexie and Henry to deal with and I was like “Damn, I miss these two.” That’s when I knew for sure what was wrong.

Looking at the calendar and my original plan for the Winston & Churchill series I saw that I had five stories left in the first “season” of the series, December through April, which would give us the first “year” of Lexie and Henry’s adventures. With the edits of November’s story (the afore mentioned “Injuries of the Past”) and generally wanting each of the stories to be around 10,000 a piece I realized NaNoWriMo would be a perfect opportunity to get the first drafts of the final five stories and give me enough time to edit them and have them released during the months they take place. With Halloween fast approaching I scrambled to get my notes about where I wanted the series to go and began figuring out how I was going to get there. Granted, I didn’t get everything fully nailed down (I’m a compulsive planner) but here we are on the 5th of November and I’m about 4,500 words into “A Bodyguard of Lies,” December’s story.

I’m excited and a little nervous, hoping the whole thing doesn’t fall apart on me. This has been an incredibly turbulent time in my personal life and it’s nice to get the chance to exorcise some of these demons on the page and tackle something I feel like I can actually control. I definitely worried about “real life” stuff stepping in and messing with my flow but that’s always going to be the case. Thanks to a new phone and Google Docs I can make the most of my daily commute and do some of my writing on the go (which I did a bit of for “Injuries of the Past”) and that takes some of the pressure off. I’ve been documenting my progress on Instagram (demonweasel) which reposts to my Twitter and Tumblr and it’s nice to have folks out there that I can feel like are keeping an eye on me so I don’t just slip away into failure.

So there we go, five days in. I’ll probably check in again next week if the wheels haven’t completely come off. In the mean time, if you aren’t familiar with the Winston & Churchill series you can check it out from the “Writing” link up there and you can also check out the interview I did with Geeks of Doom about it. The first story is free on all the major eBook outlets (Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Sony, Apple, Scribd) so feel free to check it out if you like. I will confess that one of the things that had kind of disenchanted me about working on the series is the lack of response to it, but I know I need to pound the pavement a little harder and shout a little louder about it. If you have read the series and you enjoyed it, please please please take the time to write a nice review about any of them that you’ve read on any or all of the sites it’s appearing on (they’re also on Goodreads!). Tell a body, reblog a link, say something cool about it. Word of mouth is the slowest but best way indie people like me can get their voices out there and trust me, I can use all the help and sales I can get right now.

Thank you you for reading and sticking around. I’m anxious for you all to see where the first set of Winston & Churchill adventures ends up. I can promise there’s going to be more monsters, more demons, more secrets, more magic, more gunplay, and more importantly, answers to who the mysterious dealer of magic items is as well as the truth behind the death of Henry’s first partner, he and Lexie’s first meeting, and how it all comes together.

About The Author

Thacher Cleveland

Thacher E. Cleveland is a contributing writer & columnist for, co-host of the Super-Fly Comics & Games PodCast, novelist & comic creator. Originally from New Jersey and previously from Yellow Springs, Ohio, he currently lives in Chicago. You can find him on Twitter (@demonweasel), tumblr, his personal website and even on Google+

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11 2014

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