The Envelope (Of Doom): NaNoWriMo–Day 3

November 3rd, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Day 3


Today I feel less like having a massive panic attack even though I’m not where I’d like to be word count wise. I may have started out with some unrealistic goals. I’m always walking that fine line between motivating myself and setting myself up for an epic dogpile of failure. My story is currently sitting at a smidge over 10 thousand words, and I’ll take it. I’m also a little stuck plot wise, so I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to go with everything tomorrow. My outline, which I wrote Pre-NaNo (in the before time of sleep and sanity), simply says Chapter 3: Abduction. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten who is supposed to get abducted, so it’s kind of like a surprise for me by me.

So, hell or high water, someone is getting relocated in my story tomorrow.

But, I’m seriously disappointed that I forgot about my envelope while I was writing today.


What is my envelope, you ask?

Great question.

Before NaNo started I made an envelope full of tiny slips of innocent looking sheets of paper. (You could still totally do it though.) There are two ways I’ve used the envelope system in the past, but I’ll talk about what I’m doing right now first.

Okay, so I have an envelope. I labeled it for my story in fancy glittery pen (It just works better that way.) and then I started writing down random silliness on pieces of paper. Things like “monster attack”, “kiss”, “character dies”, and even strange things like random favorite words (dilapidated) and favorite or strange food items (chili powder). Sometimes I get existential with it. I stuff that sucker full, so about 3/4 of the way through I start to reach for things to surprise myself with. Every day I pull a word out of my envelope and I have a game I play with myself where I have to work whatever is on the paper into the story. It’s a lot of fun trying to think up random, story appropriate (or inappropriate as it were) things to trip myself up with. I like to get silly with it. Last year I put so many “monster attack!”s into the envelope I had to start using some of them figuratively, which I then decided was fine.

The point of the envelope is to use it to move your story forward, any way that happens.

The other way to use the envelopes is to only pull something from the envelope when you’re well and truly stuck. If I use the envelope as the “Oh, Shit I HAVE NO INSPIRATION” envelope, then I stick even harder to the rule. The rule being, of course, if you pull it you have to use it.

Now, have I cheated with the envelope before? Yes. Once. I pulled “kill a character” and decided I couldn’t do that at the time, so I put it back. I was so wracked with guilt about it that I thought long and hard before pulling anything from the envelope again. I’m pretty sure it made me more creative.

The envelope game relies extremely heavily on your ability to trick and cajole yourself. Some people can’t do it. Some people can’t say, I HAVE TO DO THIS THING SIMPLY BECAUSE I TOLD MYSELF I WOULD. And that’s okay. That just means the rules might not be for you. Don’t limit yourself to the way I use the envelope if that’s the case. If you sit down and pull out every card you’ve stuffed into the envelope and get even one good idea for your story while doing so, the time making the envelope was well spent.

Happy NaNoing!


Check out my book The Shape of Honey! M/M Werewolf Romance


Available on Amazon and at other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.


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Filed under NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Personal Stories

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