It wasn’t pretty, but it’s over now. As I staggered across the finish line for NaNoWriMo 2020 I thought back to the beginning when I decided to set out on this wild attempt to write a romance novel. It was Halloween… and that’s all I can really remember. The rest is a blur of trying not to fictionally kill anyone, not be disturbing and end on a happy note. These are the pillars of romance, I’m told.

I may have made a few concessions for my own enjoyment. The love triangle is between a young witch, an incubus and a succubus. There is the requisite hot guy, but he is blue with a barbed tail and sexy black hooves. The heroine isn’t gorgeous because I don’t want anyone too pretty and nice living in my head, so she’s plain, a little chunky and self conscious.

And then there’s the succubus. She doesn’t die… but not all endings are happy ones. Oh, and then there’s the dream I snuck in there where a giant silver mantis severs the head of our heroine, eating her alive as she dangles helplessly in a web made of intricately knotted ropes. I’m told I may have to edit that out as too much, even for a dream death.

The most important thing is, it’s done… and I’ve learned about a new genre and gained some great survival skills. Toward the middle of the month I wound up getting almost 10,000 words behind, something that is almost impossible to catch up on given that life always seems to double down when I need it to lighten up. In desperation, I tried something new… and it worked!

I’ve had the Google recorder downloaded on my phone for awhile, but since I almost never do interviews by voice anymore I have never used it. The lovely thing about the Google voice recorder is you get an audio file as well as a typed transcript, complete with punctuation. With one click you can have the transcript (or audio) uploaded to your Google Docs. Violia! I just ‘wrote’ 8,752 words in 52 minutes.

The recorder saved me. There is still a lot of editing to do, as with any book. While the transcript has punctuation it doesn’t do quotation marks, and every long pause is transcribed as having a period so I have lots of sentence fragments to clean up. That’s all stuff to do on the long, wintry afternoons coming. I now have 51,440 words of romance-ish novel to entertain me.

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

Another benefit to NaNo is that it got me back in a disciplined mindset where my writing came first. I’ve gotten into the habit of letting everything else jump into my writing space both physically (my reading chair is the favorite nap spot for canines) and mentally (work, bills, dishes, chickens, garden…). When I have no deadlines, I lose my discipline.

Where do I go from here? I haven’t processed that far yet. We will see how well a romance does from my pen later. I know I need a real cover. No, the cover was just a joke I whipped up in Photoshop. Yes, I know I need a better cover. But later…

Right now I am happy to just relax, go munch some cereal and read someone else’s book for fun. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Tonight, I’m done.

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at

One thought on “NaNoWriMo Done”
  1. Congrats on that marathon nanowrimo — I wouldn’t willingly undertake that challenge, mainly because I don’t do well with long stories, much less novel length. I have nothing in mind that I care to write. But YOU sure do! Go, girl!
    And I happened to like that cover you whipped up! Just sayin’!

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