In Nanoworld

I’m living in nanoworld at the moment. I’m working on my latest manuscript “Written in the Coffee” and taking part in the annual NaNoWriMo challenge – National Novel Writing Month 2012. This means that I need to find constant stimulation for my plot and novel content.


As I drive my son to school, I am paying particular attention to the season changes so that it can be recreated in my book. I might notice a distinctive car and wonder whether my hero or heroine could drive it. I squirrel away colours, shapes, smells and the feelings they produce, so that I can write them down, often whilst still parked outside school.

My coffee in the supermarket becomes a research trip. The whole book is based around a café and the coffee, so I study my latte and I watch out for characters. I notice how people move, the expressions which cross their faces. I may even record snippets of dialogue I overhear. All to feed Nano.

If I am stuck with my plot, I resort to picking up random magazines in the supermarket. Turning to a page, I find a headline I can write from and off I go writing today’s 1,670 target words.

These stimulants are particularly important as I reach the inevitable stage in the manuscript where I am convinced that it is all rubbish and that no one would ever want to read it. I valiantly attempt to write through the doubt, hoping for a breakthrough.

At just over 21,000 words written this month (I already have 30,000 words on this story), I love my characters – Tobias, the failed architect, turned chocolatier and Becky, the psychic barista, but my plot has huge holes and leaps of faith.

At least I made myself laugh today. When I re-read what I had just typed, I had spelled wellies with an “i” instead of the “e”.


A little snippet from “Written in the Coffee”:-
Tobias was sat up still wrapped in the blankets.

She smiled at him. ‘Did you sleep well?’

‘Not bad, but I think I’ve cricked my neck.’

He moved his head in a circle and winced.

Becky tried not to look at the hairs on his chest, revealed when the blankets fell away.

‘You should have slept in the spare bed upstairs. It would have been much more comfortable.’

‘I needed to be downstairs. Just in case you had any unwanted visitors in the night.

‘My guard dog?’

‘Knight in shining armour please.’

Becky giggled. As far as she could ascertain he was only wearing his underpants. Her mind wandered off to what knights actually wore under their armour.


See if you can help me keep typing by telling me how you get through the periods of doubt with your manuscript?

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. You sound so much more the writer than I do. I'm terrible. I go in a cafe for coffee, and drink the coffee and chat. And never really take in my surroundings for research specifically. lol!

    If I get stuck, I sometimes leap on to another scene ahead which is playing over in my mind. I'll worry about filling the gaps later 😀 Good luck! I'm not really hitting word targets, but I am writing… which is good 😀


  2. Hi Sally. I'm keeping going! Target today is 35,000 words and despite a sick child at home and hubbie due back at lunchtime, I will do it. My Nano novel is taking some surprising turns, but at least I'm not bored. Thank you for commenting. Mx


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