I’m taking a brief break from my YALLFest reflections to report on two recent triumphs: finishing my NaNoWriMo novella and getting a piece published! (Also, apologies for the missed post last Saturday. Was traveling, eating, and binge-playing Pocket Camp.)
My goal for National Novel Writing Month was not, in fact, to write a novel, but a novella. 50,000 words just isn’t feasible with six classes and a thesis, but 500 words a day is. I overshot my goal by about 5,000 words but did manage to wrap the story up by November 30–huzzah! Its narrative quality is not overwhelming, but it’s something to work with.
Some surprises I encountered while writing:
- I do not know my protag’s backstory past 4 years before the story happens…oops
- I pulled a deus ex machina at the end by turning a character into an exiled demon prince (It’s not as middle-school-fantasy as it sounds though, because it’s a giant lizard)
- My protag’s love interest is more bloodthirsty than anticipated
- And the god is more bashful
- Aforementioned god still, 20,000 words later, has no name (have been calling him ‘O’ in desperation)
- It was heck of a lot of fun to write, and 500 words a day is so doable I’m going to keep doing it
Secondly, I’ve been published again!!! It’s my second piece to be published in my university’s literary magazine, a flash fiction piece like the first one. It’s called Descent, and details the strange descent of a submarine crew. I was honored to be asked to read it at the release party last night, and it was a blast, even though I messed up a couple of times.
All of these writing-related victories have left me despondent in the face of exam week, in which I must put aside major creative projects in favor of endless academic writing–which I still enjoy, but not when nine hundred essays are due in the same week.
Pictured above: either the crew of Descent navigating the deep sea or myself navigating through finals week. Both options equally perilous.
Four days into my truncated version of NaNoWriMo (500 words a day) and I’m feeling the urge to say to hell with that and go for the full 1,667/day. I have to talk myself down by smacking myself with the absurd stack of books waiting to be read for my thesis.
That said, this novella is practically writing itself. Maybe because it’s been marinating in my head for a good year or so, maybe because I actually managed a full outline before starting, or maybe the writing gods are just smiling on me (looking at you, Seshat, Nabu, Itzamna). I am getting a crash course in Japanese language structure, which is much more complicated than I had initially thought. Luckily I have a friend studying Japanese who can walk me through the basics or I’d be struggling.
For some reason, however, I’ve slipped into a mode of narration that feels very distant from my main character. I’m trying to bring it in closer, but we’ll see what happens. Maybe it’s because I accidentally didn’t have any dialogue for the first thousand words? (oops.)
In other news, YALLFest is next week! I’m driving down to Charleston Friday morning with two friends. We’re staying in two different hostels over the weekend, which is bound to be an adventure. Who am I most looking forward to seeing, you ask? Well, everyone, but especially Alex London, Maggie Steifvater, Angie Thomas, and Patrick Ness. Stay tuned for next week’s report on all the sweet writing knowledge I’ll be accumulating.
I’m plotting up a novella for November and remembering how to actually construct a story. One of these days I’ll figure out how to use those story arc diagrams during the process, but I’m secretly afraid of them. So far I’ve had to resist throwing in a random princess which, for some reason, and along the way I’ve actually come to know my protagonist better. She’s pessimistic, missing an eye, and handy with a spear.
I’m using my free NaNoWriMo trial of Scrivener, which I have pretended not to need for years. I have won NaNo several times and felt no need to actually use the 50% off discount I get for the program, and now that I am in the throes of editing The Book of The Dead (my current novel WIP), I have been wishing desperately for it.
My plotting involves writing out plot points in a notebook, doodling characters, becoming frustrated with my own inaccurate portrayals of those characters, and then drafting an outline in a document. Somehow I now have a complete outline that I think will take me to a 15,000 word novella, but we’ll see come November.
Pictured Below: my characters and I agreeing to collaborate for the next month
Post is late due to BUSY WEEKEND. Why short weeks due to university breaks some how so much more stressful than normal weeks? Over fall break I failed to do work, hung out with my brother who came to visit (we beat Arkham Horror!), and read.
Anyway, I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month) this year. I’ve done it many times in the past, and I was musing nostalgically about the rush you get from doing something so literally absurd as writing a 50,000 word novel in one month, sad that I am much too busy to do so at the moment, when I thought…well, you can set your own word count goals. And thus I lured myself into something I will surely regret come mid-November: writing 500 words a day instead of the usual 1,667, and ending the month with a pretty solid novella.
I have a number of just-begun novellas that I’ve never taken the time to devote my attention to, and I’m determined that will change! It’s about time I learned to write something other than novels and flash fiction anyway (I’m a woman of extremes).
The story I’ll be working on literally came to me in a dream one day–it features a god, a disgraced warrior, and a demon army. Two years ago the protag, destined to defeat the demons before they ever reached this realm, absolutely beefed it, allowed the invasion to begin, and abandoned her comrades in disgrace. Now, the war is almost lost, and the god who chose her visits her after years of radio silence, urging her to take up her spear once again.
I’ll probably be posting snippets as we move into November, so stay tuned!
(p.s. my nano profile is evangelinegiaconia should you want to follow the project)