Writing a Novel You Will Need a Rack of Swords

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Someone, somewhere is trying to kill me. I am quite convinced of this fact, to the point of installing a rack of swords next to my bed (more on that later) and chanting prayers to minor gods as I moved between lectures. Unfortunately, I suspect all this effort may well be in vain, as the person trying to kill me will almost certainly turn out to be… Me.

Like snow in a Russian winter, the problem isn’t one of impact, but accumulation. Lectures and supporting work? No problem. Keeping up with my end of the house cleaning rota? Easy. Writing two management essays? No sweat. Competing on the women’s fencing team? Much sweat, but still not an issue. Prototype for individual project done before Christmas? Completely possible.

Doing it all in the same month? Now we’re experiencing a little bit of strain. Of course, then I was silly enough to enter NaNoWriMo (or “National Novel Writing Month” for those who don’t speak babble). The challenge is to write 50,000 words of complete fiction (no, this blog DOESN’T count) between the 1st and 30th of November. I’m currently sitting at just over 30k (lagging dangerously behind today’s target of 35). I’m sure I’ll make it to the big 50 mark by the end of the month, but whether I’ll still possess a comfortable portion of my sanity remains to be seen.

Oh yes, and that rack of swords. It actually has a fairly reasonable explanation. With the loss of many car-owning committee members this year, the fencing club needed somewhere to keep all the gear that would be: a) secure and b) slightly closer to the sports hall than our cupboard at Stoneham (shared with the boxing club). At this point in the conversation (which took place during the first committee meeting of the term) I made the mistake of mentioning that my house is only a couple of minutes from campus. Thus there are now three boxes of parts (and a collection of foam sabres) under my bed, a rack of swords next to my desk, a box of broken blades (and a some steam weapons) in my under-stairs cupboard, and an impressive pile of “use-every-session” kit (including jackets, plastrons, masks, MORE swords, and plastic chest protectors) lurking behind one of the sofas.

My house may now be the best armed on the street. Take that burglars!

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