My Nano Experience: Claire Binkley

Updated: Mar 2


I did not "make it" to 50,000 words with my work, Mecha-Kittens, this year - I was struggling to reach a fifteenth of that! - but this is the first year of the twelve I have attempted NaNoWriMo (with five wins) that I was offered any form of deal.

On Nov. 30th, I got to seven thousand and some, but that is nothing compared to "the standard rate" of National Novel Writing Month’s fifty thousand words. I reached 7687 according to the wordcount tool website I pulled up.

I wrote much more slowly this year so that I would not have seizures. "It is all fun and games until someone loses an eye."

The other component fixing my rate at approximately 267 words a day was that I had been writing by hand, both to avoid epileptic convulsion and to broaden the scope of where I could write.

I find it tricky to write outside with a laptop, or to run around all over town scribbling a few words here and there on benches!

You see, a few days into November, I was at my dentist's office, and the receptionist and dental hygienist both told me that when I published my book, it was welcome in the children's corner.

Right now, my manuscript is being looked over - my m.s. came to thirty pages even. It was $3 and change by USPS from my location to ship that parcel and get another opinion.

The premise of the story in that manuscript is that the little girl Susie has a life-altering disease, sickle cell anemia, which limits her ability to go to school, run around, and play with other kids her age. So the mechanical cat she names Fi-fi keeps her occupied and otherwise has fun with her. Unfortunately, her family doesn't have the money to take her to the doctor for their problem, sickle cell disease, which is the macro-problem across this novel. Susie Mackenzie simply has no energy to keep up with life.

The mechanical cats are more of what people like about what I've shown them of my draft thus far. (I have only shown close friends and family.) These few people like the imagination behind what the mastermind of the Instructional Company, Itsy Bitsy Krinobachek, created to make life easier to survive for the downtrodden.

I have a few hesitant illustrations, but I am less of an artist than a writer. I did not mail the drawings, since that would add to the weight, and they were sloppy pencil sketches anyway. I read it is the job of the publisher firm to establish the illustrations for the prose too. My words will do the job to convey all the images I intend to put in the reader's mind. The drawings I made were for my own benefit, so that I could better envision what I was trying to picture.

I have also read that other books have taken the authors ten years to compose, so I am confident there is plenty of time to give my mechanical cats wings! Then take my robotic winged felines to the veterinary clinic and wait forever in the waiting room with all those yappy Bichon Frises…

There is hope, I think! When my draft comes back with notes I can revise and edit for the future.

About the Author: Claire Binkley has participated in NaNoWriMo for ten years with three wins. She actively seeks to increase this percentage by writing at least 750 words a day. Her interests lie in linguistics, reading, writing and sleeping.She would be loathe to mention her active sleeping regime, except that has really become so much of her life as of late, more than watching movies in beautiful languages - as a polymath, through French she learned Russian, and through Japanese she accessed Chinese over the years, even going to China in 2013 - then to keep her hearing sharp, she kept practice of the oboe paramount. She started the university as an oboe performance major, as no one in her high school could play it any better, then almost no one in the state could play it any better either - she had made it to the PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators of America) 2007 Festival in Hershey, PA, performing in the orchestra. But sleep has become even more important than crafting reeds or seeing the latest and greatest international blockbuster. You can find her on Facebook, LiveJournal, and DeviantArt.

*Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

#NaNoWriMo

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