Wednesday, 16 October 2013

NaNoWriMo and Migraines in Fiction

So as November draws close, my thoughts are turning to NaNoWriMo.  For those who aren't aware, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, although it's actually an international event and has been for quite some years.  The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write a fiction novel of 50,000 words length in the month of November.

I first attempted this challenge in 2007, having only found out about it after it had started, and although I didn't finish my novel, I made it over the 50,000 word mark after about 25 days (and before the end of November) and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the freedom of writing fiction.
I wrote a zombie novel in 2008 and although I reached over 75,000 words, I didn't reach the end of the novel (again), but as my target for the event had been to reach 75,000 words, I was very happy nonetheless.

My migraines started in 2009 and life was too difficult as it was without throwing challenges like this at it.
Last year though, in 2012, I was unemployed at the time, and so I set myself the challenge of NaNoWriMo once more and happily, it was the first time that I actually finished the novel (with a whole 20 mins of November to spare!) at over 82,000 words.  That was a fiction set in J K Rowling's world of Harry Potter called Muggle-in-Law and you can read it for yourself over on

This year, will be my biggest challenge yet.  This will be the first time I will be attempting NaNoWriMo, whilst suffering from migraine AND working full time.

I don't think anyone who doesn't suffer from a similar condition, which requires so much daily management even when not suffering from the episodes at the time can understand why this is such a huge challenge.

My stubbornness is what has made me achieve my targets every time I've attempted NaNo but I need to balance this side of my personality this year to make sure that I don't push myself too hard to hit those daily wordcount targets.
Last year at one point I was writing through blinding pain, determined to hit my wordcount target for the day before succumbing completely to the migraine.  This wasn't clever and I certainly couldn't have done this if I had to go to work the following day, so I need to make sure I keep my stubbornness in check for the sake of my health and my work.

When I was considering what to write about for my novel this year, one theme stayed with me through all the ideas I played around with.  That theme, was that my main character was going to be a migraine sufferer.

In all the fiction I have ever read, and I've read quite a lot, I have never read a book, or a short story, where a character suffered from migraines.

This doesn't mean that my main character's life will be limited in the same ways as my own.  I'll be writing her as a frequent sufferer, but not chronic.  I have decided that I want to write about an extraordinary person, who is afflicted by this.  The migraines won't be the story, they will be something which gets in the way and limits my main character, something which interferes with the story in the way that migraines are not mine or my fellow sufferers life, it interferes with out lives and gets in the way of our own life stories.

I also want my main character to achieve great things, despite migraines.  I think anything we manage to achieve in our lives when we are afflicted by this horror is incredible and since it's fiction, my main character is going to be even more incredible.

So, my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel is going to be about a migraine-suffering superhero!

She won't have superpowers per say, but she'll be a masked vigilante crime-fighter who has a natural talent for it all that she feels she has to use as a force for good.
Migraines aren't something which gives her any kind of advantage, no super-powers, no sixth sense.  Instead, migraines are going to stop her in the middle of a fight, cause her to let the villain get away instead of pursuing them and that type of thing.

I intend to publish-as-I-write on and I will  be blogging about my writing as I usually do on

I hope you'll read my novel and enjoy having a main character be kick-ass as well as a migraine sufferer!


  1. Sounds awesome, Daisy! My latest novel is coming this December, also about a main character with migraine :)

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