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Because I don’t have enough to do already, I’m having another crack at NaNoWriMo this year – that’s National Novel Writing Month for those of you not in the know. I first did it in 2012 and actually made the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Sure it was pretty crap, but I can proudly say that I have actually written a novel and while it will never – and should never – see the light of day, I think that’s pretty cool. I then attempted it again last year and lasted a week on one novel before I started another because the first was going no where, and then I just stopped after two weeks. Actually it was probably less than that if I really think about it. But this year I have what I believe is a good solid idea which I should be able to get 30 days of drivel out of. I’ve also decided to set myself an extra little challenge this year just to spice things up a bit. While I guarantee that your idea of spice and my idea of spice differ greatly, I’m very excited about it.

obtenebration, n. The condition of being overshadowed or darkened; a darkening or blacking-out; shade or gloom.

Being the little nerd that I am, I follow the Oxford English Dictionary on Twitter and I have the OED homepage saved on my favourites bar (I actually wrote a post many moons ago, reviewing a book that told the story of the creation of the OED, it’s here if you’re interested). If you’re into words like I am, it’s an excellent source for all your etymological needs. You can even find the definition of ‘etymological’ if you need it. Anyway, every day the OED has a ‘word of the day’, usually taking the form of those that aren’t in high circulation these days and which chances are you’ve never heard of. For example, yesterday’s word (or today’s if you’re on the opposite side of the world to Australia) was ‘obtenebration’ (see definition to the right). Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard that word, nor used it in a sentence. I’m not even sure how I would use it in a sentence in the grammatically correct way.

So in an endeavour to increase my vocabulary and ensure that I am using words in the correct manner, I will be slipping whatever word happens to be the OED’s word of the day, into my novel on that day of writing (did you get that?). See, I did tell you that your definition of spice and mine would differ. But I am confident that it will get me thinking about the words I am using and make sure that I am using the best ones I can. I mean, it would look a bit silly if I had ‘obtenebration’ sitting surrounded by a pool of commonly used words, so I will have to upgrade my vocabulary somewhat to make sure all the words fit together nicely. Then there’s also the need to make sure that I’m not just sticking the word in for the heck of it – I have to make it work. The good  thing for me is  that I am planning my novel to be a series of related short stories, so I’ll be able to adapt each story accordingly. Clearly I am WAY too excited about this, but it’s the little things that will help me push through the month. If you’ve ever done any Na##WriMo’s before (yes, there’s more than one), you’ll know that sometimes it can be a struggle and motivation and inspiration are often hard to come by. If anyone would like to join me on my silly little challenge, the OED is here on Twitter, or the website is here, on which they also post the word of the day (it’s over on the right of screen). If you’d like to add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy, you can find me here.

For my fellow NaNoWriMoers, are you setting yourselves any little individual challenges to help you get through the month? Have you set yourself a new goal for the consumption of caffeinated beverages?


  1. Pingback: Update: Week 1 NaNoWriMo | bitsnbooks

  2. What a fun idea! I, too, am doing NaNo and I also follow the OED on Twitter, so I might just join you in this! I hope it won’t just be “notional” (today’s word) on my part!


    • Also, it was such a fun idea I missed your last question and just thought I’d chime in with what I’m doing to stay on track. It’s not a “challenge” per se, but I’m writing out 30 scene prompts (so I’m kinda sorta outlining) for myself over this week, pre-NaNo, so I don’t have any excuses when I feel blocked during the month. I’m hoping it will make things easier, and of course I can always deviate!


      • That’s a good plan. I’ve not written anything down, but I know exactly what each day is going to be – essentially a new chapter/short story in one big story. And I know what I need to cover in each one, but like you, there’s plenty of room for deviation!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Haha. Excellent use of the word of the day. I think we should get some practice in. I think I’m going to use obtenebration in my first chapter, as well as whatever the word is on the first day. It’s such a good word and I think it’ll fit in to what I have planned for that chapter. Good luck!


      • Obtenebration is an excellent word, for sure. As my novel will be set in the early 1800s, I suppose I have some license to use some obscure, almost old English words. And oh, practice beforehand is always good! I’ve been doing some free-writes, trying to get at least a little of the drivel out now.


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