November is National Novel Writing Month.  According to their website, “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.”

And after participating for the past five years, I can verify it is indeed a fun, if difficult experience and a great way to get your creative juices flowing. I’m reminded of something Billy Crystal’s character says in “Throw Mama from the Train.”  He tells his writing class, “A writer writes.” This is true and the great thing about NaNoWriMo (as participants like to call it) is that if forces you just to sit down and let the words flow. I’ve gotten some great stories out of it and finished four out of five times.

One of the rules of this contest (where the prize is simply a jpeg that says you finished) is that it cannot be a story that you’ve already started writing. It must be fresh work. You can outline or make some notes, but no writing ahead.

My entry for this year was inspired by a funny exchange with some friends on Facebook.

You know you are a writer when the phrase, “Time traveling killer robot chefs.” makes you say, “Hey! What about time traveling killer robot chefs?”

My challenge is that while I love fantasy and science fiction, especially Steampunk, I have never been successful at writing the stuff. There are occasionally some otherworldly elements, subtly (well I hope subltly) slipped into my mystery fiction, but this time I’m going all in. I only hope that my keen interest in brutal murder, time-traveling robots and cooking add up to something here. Cross your fingers! Wish me well and if you happen to enjoy writing, why don’t you join me? There’s still time to sign up.