The Sofa’s Gone All Chucky On Me.
Photo credit: Akbar Sim / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

It’s probably my fault for getting cocky. I was speeding along with my NaNoNovel, clocking up 2000 words a day, thinking how easy it all was. There were a few dodgy days where the words didn’t seem to come, but nothing to write home about 🙂

And then all of a sudden the words stopped coming, just dried up, disappeared, went on holiday and refused to come back.

I tried all the tricks including:

  • Forcing myself to write anything which came into my head. This actually turned out to be a very useful exercise, after 20 minutes I had a comprehensive shopping list for the next couple of weeks. No actual NaNo words though.
  • Closing my eyes and writing. I’ve been told about this exercise before, it’s supposed to release your inner thoughts. It probably works better when you’re typing rather than handwriting.  I have no idea what I wrote during this exercise, there was a word that looked like mubbleflumps, but the rest  was completely undecipherable.
  • I even tried sneaking up on my notebook (I was sure the element of surprise would work), I walked past my desk whistling and looking in the other direction. Then, just when it was least expecting it, I jumped into the swivel chair, grabbed the pen and started writing. It was a massive failure.
Photo credit: Kalense Kid / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Yesterday I gave up and asked my characters what they wanted me to write about. This was a very bad idea. The Sofa Whisperer was a mad enough idea in the first place (talking sofa, chair and footstool that only Layla, a teenage kickboxer, can hear), but 3000 words later it’s taken insanity to new heights. George the footstool has decided he doesn’t like humans, because he has to put up with their smelly feet all the time (I can sort of see his point), and the sweet, slightly pathetic sofa has turned psycho. It’s decided it doesn’t want to be ‘cured’ of its talkativeness, so it’s gone crazy and taken control of everyone’s emotions – turning them all into crazy, raging, hormonal teenagers.

I think NaNo may have permanently warped my mind.

My NaNoNovel: The Sofa Whisperer
Photo credit: igorms / Foter / CC BY-NC

It may look like I’m racing ahead with this whole NaNo thing, I’m averaging 2000 words a day and am predicted to finish well before the end of November. But every morning I wake up full of fear: fear that I might not manage to find time to write, fear that I won’t be able to think of anything to write about, fear that it’s going to stop being fun. The one thing I’m not afraid of is that my story might be a bit crap. And the reason for that is this: I already know it’s a bit crap.

I have my reasons for going with a crap story:

Firstly, I wanted something silly to write about. I figured the whole thing would be hard enough without having to get all serious.

Secondly, I wanted to use this as a trial run, and I wasn’t sure that using an idea that I really cared about would work. I thought I’d probably get bogged down trying to make it perfect and that’s not what NaNoWriMo is about.

And thirdly, by the time I actually decided to do NaNo I had about five seconds to think of something to write about. This is what I came up with. Which just goes to show that pressure and great ideas don’t mix.

And just in case you don’t believe it can possibly be as bad as I say, here it is: a short synopsis and a very brief extract from my (slightly daft) NaNoNovel.

Title: The Sofa Whisperer

Synopsis: Layla is your average teenage kick-boxing, angry bundle of hormones, until the day she discovers she can talk to furniture. Confused by this development, she sets off on a quest to find her mother, some answers and a footstool called George.


I’ve located the source of the sobbing, sort of. It seems to be coming from the sofa. I wonder if there’s someone trapped in there, maybe one of the delivery men. I didn’t pay much attention to them but I’m pretty sure I saw them all leave.

I dive into the sofa anyway, pulling the cushions off and piling them up on the floor. There’s nothing there and I feel a bit stupid for checking. There’s not even any room to hide anything. Anyway, the sound’s stopped for now.

The doorbell rings and Dad must’ve peeked out the window from his study because he calls down,
‘It’s the postman. Can you get it?’

‘If it’s bills, can I kick him?’ I yell up the stairs. I’m only half joking. I haven’t kicked anyone in ages and I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms.

‘No kicking, Layla,’ Dad says, ‘That’s what got us into this mess to start with.’


34,000 words in, there’s a proper (if slightly insane) story in there, complete with hippy mother, ninja triplets and a girl who makes origami when she gets nervous. I’m really enjoying it. There’s about a hundred plot holes, a few characters who’ve been abandoned on the way and some seriously cringe worthy sentence structures. The whole thing is totally unpublishable, but that’s okay because I’m having a laugh and I’m writing. And if it’s true that your first million words don’t count, then at least I’m closer to some that do.



Best of luck to all NaNoNuts out there. Keep tapping away at that keyboard!