National Novel Writer’s Month,that exciting time when you create a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, is creeping up on us. Like a friend waiting to jump out of the closet and enclose me in a bear hug, with a hold strong enough that it keeps me from doing much of anything else for the duration of November.

This year, I am going to attempt a book titled Dreaded King. When created, it will be a Christian fantasy. But before you get all excited over wizards and spells and whatnot, those who know me best can tell you I am rather repelled by the more phantasmal fantasies out there. I prefer my books without witchcraft, or those who practice magic of any sort, and am quite happy with more normal settings. So far the strangest thing I am planning on including in my next novel are dragons. Fire breathing dragons, of the normal sort. Except these are about sheep sized and pose the most problems for farmers, as they are omnivores who tend to go after the livestock and vegetables, and spit a rather mean bit of fire if you startle them. They are shy beasties, but I decided to get close enough to one to try and draw a picture of it.

This is my setting in which to work.

Behold, my resident muses. Beatrice is the red corgi, and Lynette, vulpes of ebony, is my 10 month old puppy staring at the camera phone with that awkward wolfish glare. The stool (which I am using as a table for purposes of sketching, as it has a wonderful influence on the creative juices) is Matilda. Matty is the perfect stool. There is no other stool as good. She is superlative at her job.

A blank drawing paper is almost as imposing as a blank word document just before you write the first sentence of a new book. But the first little line with a pen is very exciting. And a little unnerving as my drawing skills are extremely lacking. A picture never turns out as I have it pictured in my head. Rather like a story never turns out exactly like I have it planned when I begin. There is an element of freewill in all characters in a novel; they will do what they will, and sometimes it is nearly impossible to stop them. But with my drawings, it is a simple lack of skill that tends to make them turn into blobs instead of masterpieces.

But I did have help in Matilda and Lynette. Here are our three feet, all consolidated together in a collective comradely attempt to cheer me on. Lynette is fond of feet. She loves to sleep on mine, though she isn’t quite as enthused when someone tries to return the favor and sleep on hers. I am fond of her furry head on my foot, and never send her away. There is something that warms the soul as well as the skin in a good dog’s voluntary presence.

She stayed throughout, which is the only reason this picture had any resemblance to a picture and not a blob. Though it is still has its blobbish moments, do what I would to try and conceal them. I console myself with the knowledge I can draw an entirely different picture to include in Dreaded King and am not obligated to keep this one. But the process of creating it was enjoyable. Especially with the furry muses. If they persist in their fuzzy presence, I anticipate an astounding November!