November 2020 – National Novel Writing Month

Greetings Starfighters,

I don’t normally do announcements as posts but I want this to get as much exposure as possible so please share the link. That sounds ominous but don’t please don’t worry, this post isn’t going to offer up any terrible news!

Life is hard right now and outside stress can make it difficult to feel and be creative. I’ve been writing for about 34 years and I’m struggling. I forced myself through the challenge in April and gave myself permission to fail in July because shit got so fucking…terrible. The world started to feel mean and I needed a full retreat.

So, I reset, hard. I took some time to figure out what I wanted to write and what kind of story appealed to me. I started having conversations with others about what I was thinking and feeling regarding my craft. I didn’t finish my Star Trek story because my second story was in a modern police environment. I recognized that after I told myself that July wasn’t going to work for me.

I created a channel on Just Write to discuss the issue of the Sentinel and how it very often merges with contemporary law enforcement fandoms (NCIS, Hawaii 5-O, etc) which is reasonable because the original show was a cop show. My biggest Sentinel/Guide AU is actually in the Stargate fandom so it’s entirely possible to avoid the police aspect to some degree in writing a crossover.

But then in the course of a 3 am conversation with Jilly, I came across a secondary stumbling block in the Sentinel/Guide world-building that I normally write in. This is going to sound weird considering the world circumstances but the lack of privacy inherent in a world full of Sentinels has become seriously off-putting. I don’t know how I got here. I’m not saying I’ll never write an S/G story again because that’d be crazy cakes. It’s one of my favorite tropes. I might even still write it in November.

I feel like I should apologize for the road trip I just took you guys on through my head.

Regardless, the reason for this post is a pretty simple one. The world is shitty right now and some of you (us) just can’t fathom dedicating a whole month to writing a story in a modern police environment. Some can make alternate choices (The Hobbit/LOTR, Stargate, etc) but there are those who only write in certain fandoms when it comes to the S/G trope and they’re screwed for November as the challenge is currently presented.

During the discussion on Just Write (the channel is called #the-struggle-tw) about a solution, I decided that an alternate theme might be helpful to anyone struggling with the Sentinel/Guide concept on the whole due to the law enforcement situation in the US and just the stress of the pandemic. It occurred to me that maybe we just need to immerse ourselves in something out there. It’s certainly helped me personally with my Quantum Bang 2021 efforts.

One server member on Just Write (thanks Elle!), suggested that the alternate theme be a shifter au which is both similar to the S/G concept (ie special abilities and bonding) but different enough that it would help those struggling due to modern police fandoms.

I’ve updated the November 2020 challenge to reflect this alternative. As the challenge current stands — you can write an S/G AU or a Shifter AU with an additional trope to create your “layer” for the overreaching theme of November. Remember we also have different levels of word count minimums starting at 25k

I’ve carved out a new writing space in the world we’re living in and I encourage you all to do the same.


PS- Please feel free to join us on Discord!

CrossRoads (social/fandom discussions):
JustWrite (writing workshop environment):


  1. Thank you for sharing, being aware of possible issues with this next challenge, and caring enough to send this out to everyone. I really appreciate everything you do for this community and I’m glad that you were able to find the best way forward for you in these troubling times. Knowing that you care makes me very proud to be a part of this community.

  2. Thanks for sharing this insight and your feelings. I’m not a writer and I’m not in the US, but I can see how this happens, and I’m sorry you are upset and struggling. The current situation is alienating and awful, everywhere. I just send my support and thanks to you and all the writers for sharing their craft and work and time. Hugs

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  4. Thank you for letting us know. I don’t do Rough Trade, but I was very concerned about you when you just stopped posting. I was afraid somebody in your family or you had gotten seriously ill. I get that these are not good times for many of us, and personal issues pile up on top of national issues. Good for you to realize you needed that time away and taking it.

  5. It never occurred to me that the SG prompt could be seen as a police based prompt. That’s because I mainly read SG in Stargate. So, yeah, I can see it being an issue right now. I’m glad you all figured it out and made a second choice for those writing. I just happen to an idea for a shifter story I was toying with, so….this might get me to actually write?

  6. Hmmm. Shifters. I don’t know an awful lot about shifters so are you likely to do a podcast on them? Please and thank you?
    I also thank you for not only providing a safe space for us to write in, but also caring enough to modify the November Challenge

  7. First let me say that I respect anyone’s need to take a step back from whatever, when life’s stresses get to be to much.

    Secondly I also recognize that people in the world now have a wide spectrum of views and feelings concerning police and the military, given what it going on in the world today.

    So here is some food for thought if you choose to write in a police procedural fandom setting…

    Like Ice-T said in an Ion Interview when speaking of playing a cop as a black man on Law & Order SVU… Dick Wolf told him to play the type of cop that the world needed.

    So in Fanfiction, you can post the world as it SHOULD be, As you HOPE for it to be, you can make your character the BEST this world has to offer. And leave the Assholery to the EVIL characters that are going to die a gruesome death in your imagination.

    And lastly, never worry about taking care of yourself, be it physically or emotionally. Your fans understand.

  8. greywolfthewanderer

    works for me. I used to love cop shows; not so much now as then. also glad to hear you are well, if rather stressed. weird times we do live in right now.

    may the longtime sun shine upon you, to show you the way, and a fair wind to follow you all the way home.

  9. I know I said something really, really, really, *really* stupid to you years ago and for that I most humbly apologize. You were right and I was f****** stupid. You are a great writer. Full stop. Your stories are engaging and wonderful and I hate the months that go by without something from you to read. However…. things in our society suck right now and each of us reacts to that suckage differently. My family is deeply into environmentalism and what is happening, in terms of climate change, etc. is so far beyond tragic that I can’t describe it. It makes writing _anything_ really hard. I want you to know that there are lots and lots of us who understand what you’re going through and we support you. You’ve given us so much that not a single one of us has any right to want or expect even so much as another single capital letter from you, if that’s what you decide. Whatever you do, I wish you well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.