A NaNoWriMo Follow-Up: The Story of the Novel

A new job and a new schedule threw a curve ball into this year’s NaNoWriMo activity. But it was the same new job which actually inspired some of the characters in the story.
In my training class back in July/August, there was a unique man named Jeremi. He looked like a combination biker and/or gangster and yet spoke profoundly about a variety of subjects. He was also a writer, having done spoken word poetry in the past.
We had discussed general story lines, concepts mostly, and he presented the idea of a well grounded man who is inaccurately accused of a crime. Realizing he can’t escape the accusations, he becomes the subject of the accusation.
I turned the idea on its ear. I started with a gangster who works his way up and out and becomes a highly non-traditional, often confrontational college professor. And this is how “Professor Thug” was born.
The NaNoWriMo product was (as is typical for this event) of extremely poor quality. I knew this character could be a series character and yet I didn’t even have much of a plot in mind when I started on November 1. I muddled through and completed it. But I recognize that there is something there.
While writing it, I needed two other characters, the underlings, the young people to whom Professor Thug could pass on his own form of instruction. One character is his teaching assistant, a girl from New York City, tough as nails, but with issues. (I know; it all seems cliché now. But that IS what NaNoWriMo is about.) The character truly wanted to better herself on her own terms. Well, there was Christina, also from the training class. She was smart but had a lot of self-doubt about herself, not sure if she was going to get through training. She also admitted that she can party pretty well until she drinks whiskey. And then she’s a fighter.
The other character was a male, brought up in a well-to-do household but feeling as though he has missed something of life, actual real life, because he has not experienced the Mean Streets. He is well-versed at research and using his smart phone. Chris was a young man from training class who impressed me immediately. Self-effacing and yet able to project a great amount on intelligence though barely twenty years old.
I still work with these people. They are real and they live outside of the realm of any novel. But circumstances being what they were, they presented themselves at a time in my life when the freshness and newness of a situation yielded some very interesting creative opportunities.
As I have done prior, I plan on reworking this intently, perhaps self-publishing it on lulu.com, if only to present these individuals with a copy.
To that end, I am reminded of a t-shirt my wife got me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It read:
Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.


  1. jenniferneri said,

    December 5, 2010 at 8:30 am

    i want that tshirt1

    I like this post – inspiration, motivation, metamorphosis, work, determination. you have all the elements here…


  2. tikiman1962 said,

    December 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you, as always, for your continued (and continuing) encouragement.


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