National Novel Writers Month: The aftermath

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Hey, everyone. As I announced last night, I have reached the goal of 50,000 words in one month — go, me! So, I’ve learned a few lessons over the course of this project, so let me talk a bit about… ah, first, before that. If you want to read what I wrote over the past month, you can access it from my “Other” page, or just start !HERE!

OK, so first things first. Lesson number one: writing over 1500 words a day is entirely doable. It takes 2-3 hours, sometimes, but as long as I have some idea of what I’m writing, it can be done. I just have to be dedicated about it. Well, and it helps if I actually have a schedule to meet. So in the future, I’m going to make a schedule for my writing, and stick to it as much as possible.

Second. I was writing in a single document, to make it easier to keep track of the word count. Where this became a problem was when I named minor characters. If I had to refer to that character later in the work, I had to scroll around and find it, which became difficult as the document grew longer. So, there are two solutions I will use in the future: one, I will write down any proper noun on a separate piece of paper, so I can look them up with ease later on; secondly, dividing the story into several documents, so if I need to look up a certain part, I don’t have to scroll through the whole thing.

Lesson 2.5: My naming sense sucks. I tried to roll with it. :\

Lesson three: Beware genre shifts. I kept adding details and complications, and my mystery story drifted into something much less mysterious, and more sanity-devouring. I’m not sure if this is something I really want to control, though — it might be more useful to go back later, and change the beginning to better fit what comes later. If you follow me.

Lesson four: Writing is fun. I knew this already, but it’s worth reiterating.

Lesson five: Writing is hard. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s hard to express the images in your head as words, and keep the feel you want it to have. At least, it’s hard for me.

So now what? Well, I’m going to take a few days off, and contemplate what I want to do with my writing now. I will tell you this: once I get up and running again, I will be publishing at least one chapter of A Living Will a week. I think I will also be posting every Sunday on what I worked on that week, just to give myself a bit of accountability. But I’m still working it out in my mind. I’ll let you know soon what I decide.

Thank you all for following along, and I’ll be back soon with more things!

*Bows in gratitude*

Day 30

Finished! Or not, I estimate the story still has at least a third to go — but I accomplished my goal of over 50,000 words, so I’m going to pat myself on the back anyway. So let me enjoy my celebratory beef brisket nachos (and banana pudding 😛 ) and I’ll make a larger reaction post tomorrow. And, of course, post everything I’ve written so far. Thanks for following along! 😀

Total words: 51286 (2455 today — I was on a roll 😉 )

Words left:

On par:

Excerpt:

A familiar young woman lay on the bed. Karis could see her breathing was shallow, but steady. He walked over to her bedside, and examined her face. It was slightly grey, still, but she seemed to be sleeping peacefully, without pain. He surprised himself by giving a small sigh of relief.

“It’s good to see you alive, Miss Foursquare,” he told the unconscious girl.

Day 29

OK, back on track, and one day left to go! Woo! Only, I’m not sure what the next scene is… This could be bad… 😯

Total words: 48831 (3108 today. Yikes!)

Words left: 1169

On par: +488

Excerpt:

“Prime Minister. No one told me you were coming,” said du Witt with a minimal smile. “What brings you to my poor bureau?”

Prime Minister Mado Ramse gave a evil-looking grin. “I thought I’d come in personally to give you the news. No, stay, Mr. Parrow, this involves you too,” he said, holding up a hand to prevent Parrow from sneaking away. Parrow settled back, not letting his carefully empty expression change.

“News?” said du Witt.

Ramse’s smile got wider. “I believe a petition was issued from Civil Investigations, asking that Briar Sevon be removed from the investigation. Well, you can rest at ease. By order of his Majesty, his writ has been recalled from Mr. Sevon, and he shall no longer enjoy the King’s protection. In fact,” he said, looking extraordinarily pleased, “if you happen to encounter Mr. Sevon in the future, you are to arrest him, and contact my office. We have some rather pressing questions for the young man, heh heh heh …”

Day 27

Shockingly, when I begin writing earlier in the day, I get done sooner. Who knew? 😛

Oh, and starting tomorrow I’ll be back with the main plot. Yay? Except I’m not sure where to pick it back up… :\

Total words: 45334 (1847 today)

Words left: 4666

On par: +325

Excerpt:

Several streets away from that unassuming courtyard, a Conveyance marked with the sigil of House Fernifar was waiting for them. Maes, Briar, and the guard supporting him piled into the passenger section, while the other guard sat up front next to the driver. With a low, powerful hum, the Conveyance sprang to life, and started rolling down the sparsely populated street. Conveyances were convenient for getting around, but due to the twisted and maze-like nature of the Capital’s streets, they were only allowed on specific, wide streets. They were also extremely expensive to run, so under most circumstances, the citizens of the Capital walked almost everywhere.

House Fernifar had a number of Conveyances, but this specific model was a particularly large one, nearly a troop transport. The passenger seats were set in parallel along the sides, and Briar and the other man, Arodor, sat across from Duke Maes, who was glowering angrily at them. With a jerk of his head, he made Arodor sit farther down the benches, away from Briar. The guard immediately obeyed, and Maes quickly cast Seal magic to ensure privacy.

“My apologies, Mr. Sevon,” he rumbled angrily. “I knew that Kaiken bastard wanted to meet with you, but I didn’t expect him to pull you into Inverse Cyan at this time.”

Edit: By the way … I still haven’t thought up a name for this work … 😯

Day 26

Yeah, I gave up on finishing the story in 50,000 words days ago. Or possibly from the very beginning. Now I’m beginning to wonder if I’m going to get back to the Capital, and the actual plot (of this story) in the words remaining. Well, but it turns out that the assassin’s guild knows the MC’s actual backstory, so at least I can tell you what’s going on there.

Speaking of the MC. I’ve glanced back over the early parts of my work (looking for proper names I used once, mostly) and I am horrendously bad about keeping his characterization consistent. Which is bad. Another thing to go in the edit bucket… 😛

I just realized as I type this. After this little excursion, Briar’s going to have to spend a day or two recovering, which kinda removes him from the plot for a bit. Which means, I’m going to have to follow other characters around for a while. It’s going to be a pain, but I think I see some opportunities here… 😐

Total words: 43487 (1773 today)

Words left: 6513

On par: +145

Excerpt:

“Briar Sevon, born in the poorest streets of the Capital. Your mother was a young, unmarried woman, who worked hard to support herself and you; your father … is not known. She might have told you herself after you grew up, perhaps, but sadly, she died in an accident when you were only five. You were taken in by a certain orphanage, and lived there for five years, eventually supplementing your existence by earning income running errands for various people, which you then shared with the rest of your orphan brothers and sisters.

“And then came the day when that orphanage was shut down, due to its backer, a minor noble, being implicated in a money-laundering scheme. You, and the rest of the orphans, were temporarily taken as wards of the crown, and tested to see if you had the magical aptitude to become servants of the nobility. As it happens, you, Mr. Sevon, tested quite well — not brilliantly, but well — and by some coincidence, the duke of the Fernifar House was looking for someone of a similar age to his second son, to be his servant and eventual valet.

The Kaiken reached out and placed his hands on the false balcony railing, and continued to speak. “Not long after that, it was revealed that the duke’s second son, Karis du Migel dan Fernifar, had a negligible magical aura that would never develop, and he was labeled as a cripple and scorned. Nearly at the same time, it was revealed that his assigned servant, a young orphan known as Briar Sevon, was actually a peerless genius, with a huge potential for magic. And so, the various houses began to conspire to snatch you away, or at least to make sure you wouldn’t go to their rivals.”

By the way, this is simply the least spoiler-y part of the backstory I wrote today. FYI.

Day 25

Yo. Got started really late, so I thought I’d just write 500 words or so, and leave the rest to tomorrow. Ended up writing till midnight. Also made quota, but kinda regretting it. Tired. ZZZ. Also, crazy world backstory is crazy. 😐

Total words: 41714 (1667 today. No, seriously, exactly the daily amount.)

Words left: 8286

On par: +39

Excerpt:

The Kaiken spoke quietly. “One day, a long, long time ago, someone among the Mage Tyrants made the discovery that reality was made up of a front side and a back side, just like that page. And on the back side of reality, the rules were very different. Rules governing distance, and time, and things of that nature, did not behave the same as they did in the normal world. And,” he continued, retrieving the picture from Briar, “just as things from the front side can be projected to the back side, so can things from the back side,” he suddenly punched his fingers through the picture, leaving gaping holes in the city, “affect what we know as reality.

“And so, the Mage Tyrants, who knew no fear, began to explore this strange new world. They learned things they were never meant to know. There were other beings, in that strange reversed reality, beings that were just as strong, or stronger, than they. And so they began to fight those beings, struggling to steal their secrets and powers.

“And then, they encountered Cyan. A gigantic world of a city, possessed by beings of unimaginable power and glory. Even the Mage Tyrants realized that they would stand no chance against those mighty beings. But still, they lusted after the power of Cyan, and were consumed with the desire to take it for themselves.

“And then, one of them, or several of them, had a positively brilliant idea; instead of fighting those beings in their own territory, why not sever the reverse side of Cyan’s reality, and drain the power from that.”

Briar shuddered. “That sounds … bad.”

Day 24

Yeah, I spent almost all of today doing Thanksgiving-y things, and didn’t get started until really, really, really late. (Happy Thanksgiving, btw.) But I still made it. Yay. 🙂

Somehow, this whole “visit the assassins guild” thing has become “let’s do exposition and world building!” I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I don’t think I like it. But I’m going to keep writing it, because there’s no going back! (Until I start editing the hell out of everything. Which won’t be for 7 more days at best.) 😛

Total words: 40047 (1380 today)

Words left: 9953

On par: +39

Excerpt:

“No, Mr. Sevon, that is not why you are here,” denied the Kaiken. “You are here, because I am recruiting you for the Gatebreaker Guild.”

Briar tried to lunge to his feet. “I have no interest in–!”

Sit, Mr. Sevon.” Briar felt the strength leave his legs, and he fell back into the chair involuntarily. “I have no intention of recruiting you as an assassin, Mr. Sevon. There is a deeper purpose to the Guild, as I’m sure you are already aware. Now, listen to my story, and it will become clear what I would require of you.”

Briar pressed his lips together. His legs had no strength in them, and when he tried to wield magic, he could not move it as he wished. Somehow, this kind and gentle looking man had completely suppressed him in an instant, and he wasn’t even sure how. It seemed that he would have to listen to the Kaiken whether he wanted to or not.

He somehow got the impression that Rille had looked at him sympathetically, but that was probably just his imagination.

Day 23

How are you, everyone? I’m doing well, myself. Only, I think my story has been firmly punched in the genre, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. Hmm.

OK, the real problem I’m having, if a problem it is, is that there is so much going on in the background, that isn’t part of the core mystery. Setting level stuff, I mean. So the section I’m in right now is a huge intrusion of that backstory, and so of course it’s threatening to derail the (much smaller) plot of this particular novel. This leads me to fear that, when I hit revisions, I’m going to have to excise the whole thing, and replace it with something much simpler. I don’t want to do that. It sounds like work. 😦

Oh, and so far, the nicest, kindest, most understanding person in my story? A sentient freaking building. 😯

Total words: 38667 (1779 today)

Words left: 11333

On par: +326

Excerpt:

Finally the two reached the arch, and the skeletal guide halted. Briar could sense the magic in the air, now; it was all tied up in the barrier covering the black palace. It gave him hope that, past this archway, there might be humans like himself. He clung to this hope, and tried to ignore everything around him. Amazingly, it caused him even worse feelings than Esoterica.

“Well now, what have we here,” whispered a voice. It echoed around Briar, but he couldn’t locate the speaker. “Another recruit for our beloved little community, perhaps? Introduce me, A’eron.”

“ThIs iS BrIaR SeVoN, a gUeSt fOr tHe FiRsT BlAdE,” answered the skeletal guide in it’s broken voice.

“My, my, a guest, how rare. Welcome to the Darkness Retreat, dear guest, a small enclave set within this Inverse Cyan,” the voice whispered. Briar stopped trying to find the speaker, and simply nodded. “Well, there is no need for you to stand out there in the street. Come in, dear guest.”

Day 22

You know what my novel didn’t have enough of, so far?

Lovecraftian horror. 😛

Total words: 36888 (1087 today)

Words left: 13112

On par: +214

Excerpt:

The skeletal figure led Briar through a large archway, and onto a wide platform. Here it paused for a moment, and turned to look back at Briar. The young man’s attention had been stolen away from his ominous guide by the sight in front of him, and he took a few steps forward as if compelled.

What Briar saw was a city, a city so huge that even from his vantage point high above it, he could not see to it’s edges. The entirety of the Capital could have been placed inside this great city, and it would have barely shown up at all. But where the Capital was a hodgepodge of differing styles and designs, whoever had built this city had done so with a single, unified style, although the style seemed quite alien to Briar. Nary a straight line or edge to be seen, everything was smooth, curved, and twisted; even the many towers spiraled madly into the sky. The sky above was a uniform gray, with no sun to be seen, and yet the entire city was lit by an eldritch glow, which almost seemed to come from the buildings themselves.

Briar realized that he, and his skeletal guide, stood at the top of one of those towers, on a platform with no railing. He broke out into a cold sweat, realizing how far he would fall if he made one misstep. “What is … this … place …” he whispered, totally and completely cowed.

The skeletal figure did not reply, but repeated, “CoMe tHiS wAy.” Briar shuddered, and forced himself to follow. The skeletal figure was still frightening, but it seemed positively mundane compared to the sight of the city beneath him. The figure led him down an inclined ramp to another doorway, smaller than the archway above, and Briar heaved a sigh of relief as the view of the alien city was blocked.

Yes. My novel has both a giant alien cityscape, and a rubber duck. These things happen. 😉

Day 21

Having an extra hour and a half in the morning to myself really helps out. I got half done this morning, and then blew past the other half just now. All I’ve got to say is, after all the effort that goes into getting the scene at the assassins guild, it better be epic. That’s all I want.

Total words: 35801 (2437 today)

Words left: 14199

On par: +794

Excerpt:

Keeping one eye on Aris, he raised a bit of magic from his aura and tried to use it to investigate the baton in his hand. To his surprise, the magic power immediately dispersed and disappeared. Narrowing his eyes, he tried again, to the same effect. Whatever it was, it was not a standard magical metal, meant to channel raw magic to enhance its own power. This was almost the opposite, as the magic seemed to vanish upon contact with the weapon. Almost like it was being absorbed … Suddenly, Briar’s eyes widened. “Is this … Darksilver?”

Aris dropped her eyes to her feet and nodded. Briar stared at her, and then at the weapon in his hand, in disbelief. The secret of forging Darksilver had been lost during the Great Disaster, centuries ago. The weapon in his hand could only be an artifact from the era of the Mage Tyrants, and it was literally as valuable as a small city. His eyes flew to the other sheath, still in her hand. “That one too?”

“Yes,” replied Aris quietly. She suddenly looked up at Briar, worry in her eyes. “You should strap them behind your back, they won’t be too noticeable there. It’s probably not a good idea to wear them openly …”