It’s National Novel Writing Month, so we’re hard at work on the Fringe Hikers book.

The goal of Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in a month. We are getting a little behind, so here are the tips we have found work well for reaching that elusive goal.

1. Never use one word when two words will do.
Instead of “hurry”, try “Make haste.”

2. Use the perfect continuous conditional.
“He would have been running” is a lot more words than “He ran.”

3. Use prepositions.
You can chain together a very long sentence in a short time with judicious use of prepositions.

4. Write in an analytic language like Vietnamese rather than an agglutinating one like Iñupiat.

5. Use “Very.”
Instead of “He was furious,” use “He was very angry.” In a pinch, you can double up or even triple up on your use of “very.” “He was very very very very angry.” That’s a lot of emotion!!

6. Double up for emphasis
Whenever something important happens in your story, it’s OK to put a little more emphasis on it by reiterating it twice. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just use what was successful earlier!

7. Use prepositions.
You can chain together a very long sentence in a short time with judicious use of prepositions.

What is a fringe hiker?

A fringe hiker is a cursed wanderer, forced to undergo catastrophe after catastrophe while they seek their Home. They grow tough, inside and out, and they learn how to cope with their situation by following three laws:



  • Experience Catastrophe
  • Avoid Annihilation
  • Push Homeward


All fringe hikers are trying to get Home, whatever that may mean to them. Fate, of course, conspires to prevent them from reaching home; they tend to meet with bizarre disasters whenever they get too close. Like the legendary Odysseus, fringe hikers often wander for decades while seeking a way back to their wives and homelands.


Between Scylla and Charybdis
Odysseus Between Scylla and Charybdis

Much like Odysseus, fringe hikers are very hard to kill. Some theorize it is because they are the playthings of the gods. But the gods hate having to interfere to save the life of a fringe hiker, and always exact a price for it later. To cope with the trials of the Fringe, a Hiker must become powerful in the ways of the wilderness.


There is a thin “fringe” of routes that satisfy these requirements and still wind slowly homeward. The miserable soul “walks the fringe” where he is uncomfortable but not dying, wandering but making progress. It’s often a thin line to tread.


We all see aspects of the Fringe in our daily life, and live by it half-consciously.

Traffic is worst when you’re in a hurry.

If you pack your raincoat, it won’t bother raining that day.

Examples of Fringe are very common in literature, from mythology to the classics to contemporary Discworld novels.


As a reader, you may find beauty in the idea of wandering the wide open world and overcoming all nature can throw at you.