Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly

Declare Your Novel!


NaNo WriMo starts in a couple of days. Are you excited? I am!

Do you have an idea of what you’re going to write? If so, tell us about it! Scroll down to the comments and declare it to the world!

We’re all in this together, and we’re all starting from scratch. So if your story idea is rough, vague and/or clichéd it really doesn’t matter. Get it out and get it going!

Telling others about your story helps you in a couple of ways:

  • It provides you opportunity to gauge people’s reaction and interest in your story. Perhaps you can tweak your plot and characters depending on your audience’s reaction. (Although when working on your first draft, I highly recommend you ignore people’s suggestions and just go for it! Leave the tweaks for revision.)
  • It gives your friends incentive to encourage your progress. If they know details about the story, they become invested in the project and interested to know more.

So here I am, declaring my novel! (Just give me a minute to finish biting my fingernails.)

The Colour of Jam

The cover artwork for my new story - a photograph of a chinese corridor lined with green columns.

Edward Cockburn leads a perfectly planned life, teaching IT in a London college, walking his dog (Asimov) and waiting for his ideal woman to come along…until the day he finds out he’s being replaced by a younger teacher.
Desperate to keep his job for another 12 months to qualify for long service leave, he is given only one option – apply for the college’s Teacher Exchange Program and go to China for a year.
Plunged into the culture shock and mayhem of Beijing life, Edward and Asimov are guided through the learning curve by Australian expat Peta. She teaches Edward how to barter, cross the road, snowboard on the subway, order street food and many other essential skills.
As Edward gradually comes to appreciate the beauties of Chinese living, he also falls for Peta. But Peta is waiting for an ideal man of her own. Can Edward sacrifice his carefully planned life to convince Peta that he’s the man for her?

The cover art is actually a photo taken by my father at the Summer Palace in Beijing. If you make the image smaller and squint your eyes a little, it looks like a jam jar on a green background. (Not intentional! A friend of mind discovered that after I made it.)

Okay, so the title, story and characters will most probably change during the writing process, but this is what I’m starting with.

What about you? Tell us about what you plan to work on. (It doesn’t have to be anywhere near as organized as mine! I just had a bit too much time on my hands before November.)

P.S. If you’re worrying about where and how to start your writing, The Creative Penn had this great post on the subject.


Author: Jessica

I'm a writer who refuses to pin myself down to one genre, hopping from science-fiction and fantasy through to literary and even the odd western now and then. Check out what I've written at or follow me on Twitter @jessbaverstock.

21 thoughts on “Declare Your Novel!

  1. I SOOOO wish I was doing Nano WriMo with you guys this year! I am, however, trying instead to be pragmatic. Only time will reveal if that choice was in any way useful.
    But let me wish all you NaNo-Frenzy partakers a marvellous, lyrical journey! (Lyrical defined in this case as: “characterised by or expressing spontaneous, direct feeling”).
    And Jessica – your cover art and your blurb are beautiful! I’m very excited about your story and hope that your month of intense writing will net you a stellar first draft! Perhaps even the first draft of your first published novel… 🙂

  2. So we won’t be seeing you for a month? I am excited for you.. and i love the name of your new novel. You are so brave.. have fun c

  3. Declared!

    Black Hole Stories:

    “The Black Hole Bar & Lounge was built in 18– and demolished in 2—.

    In between, there was a helluva lot more than drinking going on.”

    That’s the short form… My idea is, this bar built during Prohibition lasts for a couple hundred years, under various guises. I’m hoping that the interaction of the human characters begin to illuminate the character of the bar itself.
    I will have to do some research during, to get at the different time periods encompassed, but I’m letting it slide till needed.

    • Wow. That sounds really interesting. I love stories that treat places/buildings as characters in their own right and follow the building’s lifetime instead of the peoples’ (if that sentence makes sense).

      By the way, Wikipedia has a page for each year with links to important dates. E.g. I find that’s often a good place to start researching. 😉

  4. Aiyo, I guess this is starting pretty soon!
    I’m excited to see where your story goes and who these people are. Are you going to bring up jam in your writing? Maybe missing a type of jam from back home? Or will his life be jammy? Or maybe he likes jammy dodgers and is really dropping in from another time? I’ll waiting to find out!

    I do have a title and a general direction and some stray details for my NaNoWriMo.
    “After all was spoken”: A story about a man’s life and future during humanity’s recovery from dystopia.

    • The title comes from an e-mail I wrote to my husband before we were married about the beauty to be found in the colour of jam I’d just given him. I was so happy with the way the words came together for the description, that the title stuck with me.

      As things stand at the moment, the making (and eating) of jam will feature in the writing and even (hopefully) be used as a subtle symbolism of past being preserved for future.

      I love your title and I’m really interested to hear more about your story during November! 🙂

  5. Novel declaration on its way!

    After her robot wins an AI competition, Liuxin, a brilliant but arrogant university student, is called upon to test if her rival’s robot has attained consciousness. As she begrudgingly tests, she begins to find evidence that the robot is related to an AI hoax from over a century ago.

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  7. Oooh! I want to read everybody’s books! It’s so exciting to know so many budding authors! I’ve been cheerleading/assisting a close friend here in Clearlake as she’s been writing her first 1 1/2 books, polishing the first rough draft, etc. We’re writing together, but she leaves me in the dust! I’ll tell you about first book too, as I find it delightfully original/familiar.

    “Cimmerian Shade” — A young slave woman from the Southern United States escapes from slavery (‘passing’ as white) at great and tragic cost to her family, making her way to a nearby port, trying to somehow gain passage to anywhere else on earth. As chance would have it, she is mistaken for a young governess who is being met by the manservant of the Duke of Manchester, who has engaged her to care for his son. Thus, the young woman who has only just ventured beyond the plantation where she was born, embarks on a journey halfway ’round the globe, facing an unknown world, and carrying the secrets of her past.

    Isn’t that awesome?! Wish I’d thought of it. Mine is below. Missing a title and so much more…*sigh*

    Isaac Cohen has just gotten his life together, and it’s no small miracle. Throughout his childhood and teen years, he was the primary caretaker of an insane, alcoholic, drug-abusing mother. She had dissociative identity disorder, meaning that as a matter of daily reality, he awoke each morning, uncertain of who his mother was today: The five-year-old who thought he was her big brother and turned to him for protection? The wild teen he had to try to corral and keep from partying, binging, and bringing home dangerous men? The caring, sweet but hazy mother, who worried over him and tried to help him, but could never seem to figure out how? The bitter, violent woman who blamed him for everything that had gone wrong in her life? The flake who couldn’t stay off drugs or function without alcohol and was constantly apologetic, begging for his understanding? Or the put-together on-track single mother who acknowledges that she used to have problems with drugs and alcohol, but who has long been clean-and-sober, and so any drugs or alcohol in the house must belong to her son…and anything missing, he must have taken…any bruises or other injuries he has (from defending or contending with her alternate selves) mean that he’s been getting into fights? He dealt with that for all those years, along with the string of abusive step-fathers and pseudo-step-fathers that came along for the ride.

    Even though he marginally escaped from the madhouse at age seventeen (staging an intervention with a crisis center in his absence, leading to having her committed, since it was the only way she would get help), he’s had to battle the demons it left him with over the past several years, finally being diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress disorder himself…and learning to live with it. Throughout his life, his main escape from the living nightmare was his books. He lived in his books. He was sane through his books. He learned what sane meant, what family meant, what life meant, by means of his books…and he clung to them for dear life. In therapy for PTSD, he began to write as a way to purge himself of all the garbage life had thrown his way. He began to write…and write…and write.This is where the miracle begins. His words start to coalesce into the one thing that has always salvaged his sanity: books. Through a bit of a fluke he meets other writers with publishable material on their hands, all trying to find a way to get their words, their books, published. Together they form a cooperative publishing company…starting small…starting electronic…and as a group, decide to open a new-and-used bookstore, featuring their own books.

    And this…believe it or not…is where our story begins (I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll have to write a prequel).

    Isaac Cohen has just gotten his life together, and it’s no small miracle. Finally he’s pieced together a life that is his, that he can be proud of. Life decides it’s time for the other shoe to drop. He gets an out-of-the-blue phone call from an old girlfriend. Well, technically, she was never really his girlfriend. She’s a girl he foolishly agreed to allow to use him to take revenge on her boyfriend. Of course it had exploded in his face. The entire thing was one of his least proud prolonged moments. She was a real piece of work, and when it was over, he was glad to be rid of her. So, this phone call wasn’t a pleasant surprise. Why on earth would she be calling him? To tell him that three-and-a-half years ago she had his baby. A little girl, who she really doesn’t want to be bothered with anymore.

    22 years before, he was the baby the father walked away from and never looked back. He was left with the ‘piece of work’ because his dad didn’t want to be a dad.

    If he knew one thing. His child would not live his life…his childhood…all over again.

    So, he has a daughter to raise. He knows nothing about kids…other than having been one. He has a little girl who is too scared to eat or talk. He can’t blame her. She just got shipped off with some man she’s never even seen before. It’s up to him to earn her trust…and eventually, her love. They seem to make progress day to day. He eventually convinces her to eat. He keeps hoping that someday she’ll talk to him. Someday she’ll trust him enough to let him in…to open her heart…and her mouth…and he can find out what she’s thinking.

    He really wishes life would run out of shoes. His little girl won’t talk…because she can’t hear a word he’s said. His little girl is deaf. Now what?

    This story is about a man building a life…again. Brick by brick. Piece by piece. Learning a language. Learning a culture. Learning who his daughter is and how to help her to know who he is. Navigating through the culture clash that would try to tear them apart. Never letting go.

    • Wow! Those sound like to really interesting stories.

      I love learning about different cultures and both those stories promise not only an insight into a different culture, but a character who has to learn how to cross the barriers.

      I’m especially interested in stories with deaf characters and I know you have the experience and skills to do that story justice! Keep writing!

    • Wow! You really have a story there. Sounds like a trilogy at least 🙂
      Keep up the good work!

      • All my life I’ve been dreaming of coming up with a story idea that’s really unique and meaningful and worth telling. Now, I’ve got one. And, I’m terrified.

        How do I WRITE that?????

      • And, yes, it’s definitely too much to fit in one book.

        *giggle* I was too busy being overwhelmed to realize it was you, Rae. *embarrassed smile*

        Thank you for the compliment! And, It’s REALLY good to hear from you!

      • You write it from your heart.

        You’ve got an intriguing plot, interesting characters and a beautiful writing style. So put them all together, sit yourself in front of the page and see where it all takes you.

        It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a draft, therefore it can be rough, disconnected, unintelligible in places and downright weird in others. Let the characters find their story while you follow along with your fingers. 😉

  8. Once again, I know NaNoWriMo is over. I’d love to hear how everybody did. I missed it, but am trying to figure out the writing of this novel anyway, and thought it would be good to declare, even if I’m doing so mid-January. 🙂

    • Tris was well over 60,000 by the end of the month. I made it to 50,000 by the slow and steady method (Tris says, ‘As long as you stay above the line, you win!’). Photogarret made it to 50,000 with a spectacular sprint to the finish over the last two or three days (thousands of words a day at the end there). We all had a great time.

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