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The Prisoner of NaNoWriMo
Craig Robertson
Imagine-It Publishing, 284 pages

The Prisoner of NaNoWriMo
Craig Robertson
Craig Robertson is certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy, has worked in ER's, hospitals, clinics, homes, and most places between. He suggests you can know him by what he loves: Dickens, Orwell, and Tolkien; Milton, Donne, and Blake; Coltrane, Davis, and Desmond; Picasso, Michelangelo, and Renoir; Astronomy, Biology and Geology; Doctor Who, Star Trek (original TV); Lucas, Ford, and Spielberg; Avedon, Doisneau, and Arbus; burger and fries, coc au vin, and pizza-pizza-pizza.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

Have you ever had the inner yearning to write your own novel? Even if it started out as a short concept and you had got it down on paper or even as a draft on your computer. You needed to see it completed, and hope against hope to see it published, and gracing the shelves in book stores. It's what everyone wants to see, isn't it? Well, now you know what poor salesman Piers Langland is going through as he tries his hand at NaNoWriMo every year.

This November he wants to be the winner, and enter his novel, but can he do it this time? He needs to find a successful topic to start and even that leaves his family annoyed wiht him when he immerses himself in The National Novel Writer Month Competition. He can write his novel on any subject, but it has to be 50,000 words long.

Piers has already gone through a few rough ideas for his choice of genre, and at the moment, fantasy is all that sticks in his mind -- that and his imagined dwarf battle. Even if he likes the idea, he still thinks no one else will, and then he gets pulled toward another train of thought; one that might just be as useless as the last one.

Piers, is on a quest, one he finds challenging enough to keep his interest, and you will too. As well as his quest, he has his job to keep and allay the concerns of his wife, Samantha, plus their kids. If he spaces out too much, he might lose them as they continue to get more and more annoyed with him. He is the prisoner of NaNoWriMo! His only way out of the situation is to play it cool, and look like he's interested in his wife and kids and dream up a pretty good idea that could net him a winning story.

In the thick of his collective thoughts, Piers knows he has to find a good enough idea, one that can run for 50,000 words, as nothing less will do. It's a tall order for anyone, even hardened writers, yet Piers has not come up with a genre nor idea yet and he's only got one month to do it in!

For great writers, and there have been many, dreams have provided a great source of information on the kind of stories they might want to write. For Piers, his dream muse comes to him just when he needs one, and tells him what he needs to know:

"Great authors are universal and great works of fiction are transcendent. Genres are labels by small-minded bureaucrats and book-sellers, designed to fool everybody into thinking that this is better than that and that we're better than you. It's a load of crap. It doesn't matter if you're writing epic novels or cookbooks, great writing is a constant, and it's a miracle and a wonder to behold." He sits back, apparently very proud of his cleverness, before proceeding a bit too dismissively, "So, back to you. There are the points I need to cover at this juncture. Any questions? Piers understood that he had none."

This hints to readers that he needs ideas fast, and ones that are effective and punchy. But, most of all, he needs them to be ones that could get him to be the winner. This novel does have its ideas, there are lots, but will he take any of them on board and make a novel out of them? Only he can answer that. There is a great deal of humor here, and there are extra humorous moments when Piers is still in the dream with his muse:

"Okay, so the couple of great ideas. You get a pen, so you can write them down?" He knew full well Piers didn't carry a pen in his dreams. After Piers displayed appropriate consternation, Malcolm giggled and let him off the hook. "Of course you don't have a pen, you pinhead, you're asleep. You're imagining this whole thing."

Good humor, tight deadlines, and some amazing one-liners make The Prisoner of NaNoWriMo the unlikeliest book of 2011.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has been finding Twitter more and more interesting as she works on it -- it's good for a lot of things, namely posting her reviews on it -- yeah! Most of her time is taken up by writing for Quail Bell magazine, Active Anime, and Love Romance Passion.

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