The Trouble with NaNoWriMo: A Filler Post

The trouble with NaNoWriMo is simply that it takes a lot of time. Although most of you know me as an RPG commentator, I have been a writer, broadly, for most of my life, both personal and professional. I enjoy writing fiction, but it’s difficult to write long-form fiction and keep up the pace long enough to produce a full story. The 2000 word articles hosted here at Cannibal Halfling Gaming are, if not easy, at least easier than a 50,000+ word novel.

This year I decided to do NaNoWriMo to give my fiction writing a kick in the pants. In 2019 I picked up a rewrite of a novel I had written a decade before, right after college, and decided to give it an honest go. I got close, though the pandemic seriously disrupted my writing habits. In 2021, amidst a whole host of life challenges and transitions, the writing ground to a halt. So here, in November of 2022, I decided to challenge myself to do NaNoWriMo in order to get back into the habit of writing and build up my self-discipline enough to also finish my in-progress novel. So far, so good: yesterday was the midpoint of NaNoWriMo and I have successfully hit the 25,000 word halfway mark.

Of course, the main way I did this was by letting my articles and article backlog fall by the wayside. I actually should be able to write an article a week for every other week in November, but today I came up short. I haven’t always provided explanations when I miss a week, but this is an explanation I’m actually a bit proud of, even if it means no article this week.

In exchange, I’m providing a trip down memory lane. I started reviewing RPGs prior to this site existing, and it was that practice that led me to believe that I should ask Seamus to come aboard when he told all of us in his gaming group that the Mad Adventurers’ Society was winding down and he planned on starting a follow-on site. I posted my first article around 3 days after Seamus’s Mad Adventurers archive went live on, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But here’s some pre-history. These reviews are hosted at my personal blog, which is still occasionally updated. I stand by these reviews from an editorial perspective, though just like the earlier articles here they lack the polish that I gained from writing 100,000 words a year, every year, for six years.

Shorter posts

Fate: the inherent appeal of narrative games: Fate was an early surprise for me as I began to expand my gaming palette; I both played and ran Fate in 2014 and knew I wanted to do more. In 2016 I believe I was playing in a campaign of Interface Zero using the playtest rules of Interface Zero: Fate Edition, which inspired this article. Reading it again, I’m amused at where the discourse was back in 2016…or maybe just how I hadn’t been poisoned by it yet.

I’ve got the whole (Apocalypse) world, in my hands…: I first ran Apocalypse World in 2016 and it blew my mind. While this article isn’t a full review, it was written at a time where I was still trying to articulate why the game was so different and why I liked it so much. The content of this post won’t be new to most people familiar with PbtA, but I wrote it out of excitement, and it helps me remember why my gaming experiences flew wide open starting around 2016.


The Sprawl: My first attempt to really review a game in a comprehensive way. If you read the comments, you’ll see that even in this early attempt I got in trouble for pre-supposing reader knowledge, something that continues to be an issue when reviewing indie games. I did however do a good read into the mechanical intentionality of The Sprawl, something that to this day is the hallmark of good PbtA.

Cyberspace: Cyberspace is a cyberpunk game based on Rolemaster, and even though this is an early, fairly rough review of mine, I think it does a pretty good job of providing an overview of the game and what to expect. I still have yet to run Cyberspace, but it’s on my shelf and I’m waiting for my chance.

Interface Zero Fate Edition: This review was written merely two weeks before the start of Cannibal Halfling, and it’s starting to show some degree of competency in doing a close read of a game that takes into account the broader hobby around it. This version of Interface Zero owes a lot to both its Savage World predecessor as well as the Fate ecosystem, and as a result this may have been one of the first indications I was reading enough games to be a decent reviewer.

I know this isn’t what you all have come to expect of me, and I don’t think I’ll be doing many filler posts (other than the inevitable holiday special). Thank you all for your understanding, and may your dice roll fair this week.

Like what Cannibal Halfling Gaming is doing and want to help us bring games and gamers together? First, you can follow me @LevelOneWonk on Twitter for RPG commentary, relevant retweets, and maybe some rambling. You can also find our Discord channel and drop in to chat with our authors and get every new post as it comes out. You can travel to DriveThruRPG through one of our fine and elegantly-crafted links, which generates credit that lets us get more games to work with! Finally, you can support us directly on Patreon, which lets us cover costs, pay our contributors, and save up for projects. Thanks for reading!

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