I’ve only been able to complete NaNoWriMo once.

Most of the time, I start off strong. Banging out a thousand or so words a day. But, then I have an assignment due, or work gets difficult, or I simply forget. Suddenly, it’s the middle of November and I only have 4000 words and the thought of finishing another 46,000 is an impossible task.

What is it about deadlines that makes it impossible for the words to emerge?

This year is even worse because of what my muse demands. I’m prone to fantasy, science fiction, even magical realism. My stories usually center around lesbian witches or fantastical beasts or cybernetic technology. World-building comes to me as naturally as breathing, my mind conjuring landscapes full of color and candy and creatures.

This time, my muse has settled on an old-fashioned detective mystery.

The last time I read a mystery was probably ten years ago and it was Agatha Christie. I generally am not interested in the genre, mostly because there are no unicorns in it. As someone who adores spoilers, the idea of waiting an entire book is almost painful.

But, Hester Roth demands a story.

She first came into being as a scrap of thought, the inspiration for a possible short story. A bisexual detective who keeps getting interrupted by people being murdered. It was supposed to be light-hearted and quirky, a small piece of fiction. But, she kept interrupting my thoughts. She kept telling me, “I’m bigger than this.”

Now, I’m desperately trying to wrap a plot around a fully-formed character, trying to find her story when she’s already flesh and bone.

Will I finish NaNoWriMo? Probably not. But, I’ll have started Hester’s story, and that’s a victory in itself.


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at renmartinez.com or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

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