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Posted By Michelle Birbeck

It is that time of the year again, where everything grinds to a halt, and the shops become breeding grounds for insanity. Not that insanity is a bad thing, especially when everywhere you look you are staring story ideas in the face and thinking, ‘wouldn’t that be an awesome story?’

However, there are other advantages to the snow covered roads and the insanity that is spreading like the common cold when everyone in the room is sneezing. The cold is a good excuse to not leave the house, and staying in the house is a fantastic excuse for parking in front of the computer and writing. Even if all the tales are set in a winter landscape filled with blood coloured snow and frozen bodies, at least it is something to do that does not involve tacking the shops or negotiating the buses and roads.

So seasons greetings and all that jazz to everyone. For those who celebrated the solstice and spent the night watching the lunar eclipse, we can now sit back and realise that the days are getting longer, and despite snow to the contrary, spring and summer are on their way. If it’s Christmas you’re celebrating, then have fun racing around the shops and buying more food than any sane human should eat in a week, and don’t forget that you’re supposed to sit back and relax at some point. For everyone else, have fun doing whatever it is you are doing.

I plan on spending the day with my parents-in-law and husband, and we are going to eat wonderful food, open lots of presents, play games that have been collecting dust for a year, and drink far too much wine than is really necessary for any day of the year. Then, come boxing day, I’m avoiding the traditional boxing day dip in favour of a warm house, dry clothes, and more writing.

Happy Holidays!


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

NaNo is over for another year, and today we all get to sit back, relax, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Having personally beat every personal best I have ever had where writing is concerned, I am rather proud of my final 500,417 figure. The site would only let me add 500,000, and rightly so, it being a 50k challenge. So, my current personal bests are 46k in a day, 5k in an hour, 2.5k in half an hour, and 106 in a minute. Also 500k in a month is a rather impressive number.

Beating all of my personal bests, however, is not the only reason for celebratory relaxation today. Darlington and Tees, tiny little region that we are, spread across such a distance, is sitting pretty at the top of the UK Word War scoreboard. The final figures are in. The numbers have been counted. And the result is:

Darlington and Tees: 15 Participants. Average Word Count: 94,535.

Table position: Number One.

The group effort has been amazing. We have gone from strength to strength, encouraging each other in our chat room, writing more than we ever thought we could do, and coming up with some of the most bizarre stories known to mankind. My personal favourite being the ninja zombie dinosaurs from the moon that were added to someone’s story.

Of course, my favourite of my own work has to be Poppy’s book. Of all the work that went in to the month, I am most proud of that. If I had to work on just one book for the month, and I knew what that one was going to turn into, then I would have picked it. Hands down. Not only has Poppy been begging to have her book written for sometime now, but when it came down to it, I could not have wished for it to go better than it did. With plot twists and events that I knew nothing about before writing them, she is fast becoming my favourite character in the series. Serenity will always be number one, because the series was borne of her, but Poppy is now a close second, beating even Ray and Annabella. There is just something about the sadistic, murderous intent, which never quite leaves her, that appeals to that nice, dark part of myself. It’s the cuddly place where there are cookies all year round, whispering sweet promises of power and destruction. That pretty much sums up Poppy. And I was very happy to see that some thins just do not change.

So a huge congratulations is in order, not only to the fantastic Word Warriors of Darlington and Tees, but the awesome Jo and Bel for looking after us all and cracking the whip, and then for everyone who endured the madness than is NaNo and are not thinking, ‘I can’t wait until next year.’

Most of all, however, to Darlington and Tees, to those of us who worked our behinds off, who wrote more than ever, and who, with a combined effort, showed everyone that we could do it.

We Are The Champions!

Thanks to Stan for the picture

Thanks to Stan (Joculator, creator of my site) for the pic!