- November 2004 -
'Mirkin Topp and the Hair of the Dog' was a winner in the 2004 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a scheme (possibly of the madcap variety) which challenged participants to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in 30 days. I had nothing better to do at the time, so I boldly answered that challenge and came up with this.
It is, as you'll discover if you're brave enough to click on the link above, the story of Mirkin Topp's incredible journey south across the Aero Plains, over the Bear-Faced Mountains, and through the Viktoria Wood to the Lords Prairie, then onwards to The Implacable Maw to face The Hooded Donkey in a deadly game of Kerplunk for the right to take the hairy puppy Luv back to Roi Castle to make a wig for the balding King Pip the Fantabulous.
I know, I can't believe it hasn't been published either.
It also features swashbuckling adventure at the hands (well, claws) of Giant Mountain Geese, clairvoyant bears, runaway yetis, irate cheesemongers, and a plumber called Dave. Not to mention a ventriloquism act by the name of Lip Trembling Len & his Gabbling Gottle o' Geer. So it's quite profound. And it has a lot of hippo references.
If nothing else, it's a novel which proves there's more to November than just doing your Christmas shopping early.
Although personally I did my Christmas shopping in October, so it's a moot point.
Anyhoo, I'd like to thank the following people for their valuable (and mostly unwitting) contributions to the creation of this masterpiece:
Marie, for the name of Mirkin's home town.
James, for inventing the phrase 'implacable maw' and providing pub-related inspiration.
Oliver, for his love of flamingos.
Henry, for the chips and soggy biscuits.
My Mum, for doing my shopping.
My Dad, for explaining the jokes to my Mum.
Lisa, for her obsession with hooded donkeys, her unfailing support (except when she insisted I leave my novel and meet her for lunch), her naming of the village Peepel, and her determination that Bray should end up marrying Nyte (which I completely ignored).
- November 2010 -
Just to prove that I never learn from my mistakes, I decided to enter NaNoWriMo again in 2010. The result was 'Bobby Macula and the D Generation', an eye-watering novel about ophthalmology, optometry and undercover operatives working out of sight to see through their vision of better eye-care for all. Whilst battling a cow-coloured creature with twenty-seven eyes and three hands.
Unfortunately, unlike November 2004 when I was in an unemployed state of full-time free-time, I wrote Bobby Macula whilst juggling thirty patients a day for the NHS, and coming home to an energetic toddler and a newlywed wife. Frankly it's a miracle I finished the first page. By the end of November, I'd fallen slightly short of the 50,000 word target. 24,000 words short, to be precise.
But I don't regret trying. I spend a lot of time saying that between a fairly demanding job and a very demanding daughter, I can't write anything more than a blog, so at the very least I proved that not to be true. On some days, anyway. On others, I barely found time to write my own name.
I'm very proud of the result though. And who knows, I may even finish it one day...