NaNoWriMo Day 17: Surprises and Arguments

I’ve let almost a week go by without an update on NaNoWriMo!  The writing itself, however, has been going well.  I’ve crossed the 35,000 word mark, which puts me well ahead on the 50,000 word goal, and gives me a small cushion for my 60,000 word goal.  As the end of the month, with holidays and other commitments, may be tougher for writing, that’s a reassuring place to be.

I’ve had some moments of “oh, I see how that fits together,” although less this time than some NaNos, because this book is much more plotted than some of my previous ones.  My characters have still managed to occasionally surprise me though.  I just passed a new turning point in the story, and it didn’t go precisely how I expected.  Rose and Terrence had the big fight I anticipated, but when Rose decided to leave via magic mirror, I thought it would be in a permanent, I’m just so done, kind of a way.  Turned out as I wrote it that she felt she was only temporarily leaving.  That’s not how that’s going to turn out though…  🙂  But those are words still to be written.

Right now, I feel like I’ve moved through two distinct sections of the plot and am now hurtling onto the next, maybe final one?  I sketched the broad strokes in an outline before NaNoWriMo started, but I didn’t have it planned on a scene by scene level.  That’s something I’ve been doing several scenes at a time as I go, and I’m right at the point where I need to plan out my next few.  I’ll see if there are any surprises when I get to that!

But for today, have a bit of an argument.


Terrence stared at Rose for a long, silent moment.  Then he ran his hands over his face and through his hair, setting a few curls askew.  His tone turned soothing again when he said, “Edward must have reminded you of Gregory.  With the blood on his hands, and there’s always been a resemblance.”

“Yes,” she said honestly, because it was true she’d had that thought.  “But that isn’t what this is about.”

“You’ve just been through something very upsetting,” he continued.  Still soothing.  Trying to calm her down, trying to brush the ideas away.  “It’s natural that you’re scared—”

“I’m not scared, Terrence,” she said, glaring at him.  “I am angry!”

Now he just looked exasperated.  “You’re angry with Edward for rescuing you from—”

“No, I’m angry with you!”  She shoved up from the chair, not wanting to look up towards him anymore.  “I’m trying to tell you what happened, and you aren’t listening to me!”

“Rose, what do you want me to do?” he asked, spreading his hands.  “He’s my brother.”

“And I’m your wife!”

“And you don’t know.  You can’t just accuse him—”

“They’re never going to be who you want them to be,” she said, hands clenching at her sides.  “You refuse to see it, but your family is never going to change, and they aren’t who you want them to be now.  Gregory wasn’t, your father isn’t, and Edward isn’t.”

“And not everyone is trying to hurt you!” Terrence countered.  “You can’t go around believing that there are threats everywhere around you.  I understand you’ve been through a lot of terrible things.  I even understand why you might be concerned about my family, after Gregory.  I understand why you’d be scared, but—”

            “I told you,” she said in a low voice.  “I’m not scared.  And you don’t understand.  Not at all.”

NaNoWriMo Day 11: Writing Muscles

A third of November has gone by, but it’s hard to say if I’m a third of the way through my NaNoWriMo plans.  I’m currently at 23,326 words for the month, keeping up a good cushion should I slip in future days this month–you never know what might be coming!  I’m well out of the lull portion I’ve mentioned, with both of the second-half-of-the-book villains coming onto the scene.  Xevrix the enchantress is in secret communication with Rose, while Edward, Terrence’s brother, has arrived to sow discord and dissension and assassination attempts.

I think I know where I’m going in coming scenes, some sections more clearly than others, but it’s much harder to say if the end of the story will coincide with the 50,000 word mark, or even the 60,000!  I’m hoping it won’t extend much beyond that, but as my writing friends always tell me…the story will be as long as it needs to be.

I’ve been pleased with my word count and the progression of the story so far.  The writing is definitely a first draft, and it will need polish and possibly overhauling in the revision process.  I find I can’t keep all the little details of character mannerisms and recurring references in mind when I write an initial draft, so that’s what I’ll be going back through to do in the future (probably in early 2020).

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Day 11: Writing Muscles”

NaNoWriMo Day 7: Cuteness and Cracks

A week has gone by for NaNoWriMo already–and it seems like we only just started!  I am approaching 15,000 words, which puts me well ahead of today’s 11,669 word goal, or even my 14,000 word stretch goal (which is for 60,000 words at the end of the month).  So far, so good!  I did find that weekdays mostly have been several hundred words below non-work days, but that’s pretty well to be expected.

I’m coming up on the end of the plot section I’ve been writing.  I mentioned I’m in a kind of lull part of the plot.  You know that bit in Stardust, when Tristran and Yvaine travel around the magical country and discover their skills and grow as people and in their relationship, and Gaiman decided to put all of that in just six pages?  Yeah, that’s the part of the story I’m in, except that I’m apparently spending about 15,000 words here.  And Rose and Terrence aren’t so much growing their relationship as uncovering some cracks in it.  While having some cute scenes too.

The villain puts in an appearance in the very next scene I need to write, and two scenes after that everything gets a lot more tense, so I think that will be an interesting shift to make a week into NaNo.

For now, here’s a bit I wrote today that points up a relationship crack while also having some cuteness in the scene.  It’s set just after they narrowly (ish) escaped some bandits (so there’s been some excitement in the lull section too).  Enjoy!


            “It would have been much more frightening,” Rose said at length, “if you hadn’t been there.”

Terrence laughed, half at the comment and half just with the relief of the moment.  “Now you’re just trying to flatter me.”

“No, it’s true,” she protested, lifting her head to smile at him.

“Well, it is flattering, but if things had gone badly—six to one isn’t very good odds really.”  He remembered in time not to say out loud that Gregory had always been able to beat him at swords too.  He just thought it, and the thought made him think of something else.  “You didn’t mean it, did you, about my father sending them?  It’s true he was upset with us, but he wouldn’t go that far.”

Rose’s smiled faded and she looked at him for a long moment before she said, “I thought it might sway them.  It did seem to help.”  That was almost an answer but it wasn’t satisfying.  He meant to push the point, but before he could Rose continued, in cheerful tones again, “It seemed to help more that you’re Good Prince Terrence.”

Terrence groaned.  “Do not start calling me that.”

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Day 7: Cuteness and Cracks”

NaNoWriMo Day 4: Words, Words, Words

We’re over the first weekend of NaNoWriMo, and I’m well along into writing now.  I just finished Chapter Thirty – which would be more impressive if I hadn’t started the month at Chapter Twenty-seven 🙂  But so far it’s going well writing the second half of The Princess Beyond the Thorns.

I finished out above 2,000 words each day for the first three days of NaNo, though today I “only” wrote 1,893 words.  That puts me just past 9,000 words, about 2,400 above the goal amount for today.  So I’m pretty satisfied with word count so far!  I always like to get a cushion at the beginning, because life is bound to happen eventually and result in a lower day.

In terms of story, I finished Gregory’s funeral, got Rose and Terrence out on the road, and have laid some political plot threads.  This is a little bit of a lull point in the story, and I expect the action to pick up more in another couple chapters.  We’ll see if that’s easier or harder to write…

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Day 4: Words, Words, Words”

NaNoWriMo Day 1: Politics and Funerals

I kicked-off NaNoWriMo this morning around 7:15–I only wrote 54 words before needing to eat breakfast and head out the door, but it felt good to dip in.  I got down to hardcore writing later in the day, including meeting with a writer friend to do some (parallel) writing together.  And in the end, I finished the day off with 2,766 words!  That’s about 1,000 ahead of the daily goal of 1,667.

Every day won’t be like today, so it feels good to build some cushion in.  Plus I have a slightly superstitious belief that a good first day of NaNo means the rest of the month will go well too 🙂

I enjoyed diving into this next section of the story–since I’ve been revising the first two sections for the last month.  It’s exciting to move forward and see what happens next, though I have some outlining to guide me on the path I expect to follow.  You never know exactly what will happen until you get there, though!

I spent most of the day writing about the funeral of a character I killed off somewhat impulsively near the end of the previous section.  I decided I ought to make that death count, and sending my characters to the funeral introduced some interesting politics too.

Excerpt for today!  Here are the first 54 words I wrote.  In a way I’m sorry they’re the beginning of Part Three, because they might have made a nice start to a novel…

It felt very strange, attending Gregory’s funeral.  Rose tried to feel sorry that he was dead.  Wasn’t that how people were supposed to feel at funerals?  But all she could think of was how it had felt when he had kissed her.  And how his face had twisted when he tried to kill her.

NaNoWriMo 2019: One Day More

Happy Halloween!  Or as I tend to regard today, the last day before National Novel Writing Month!  It all starts tomorrow–or continues, as I’ve been prepping all month.  I finished revising the first half (?) of The Princess Beyond the Thorns, which clocked in at 53,000 words.  So if I write 50,000 in November, I should have a very solid fantasy novel there.

Along with the revisions, I outlined my plot based on a few different plotting structures, and put together 20-page character descriptions for my four protagonists and three villains – and have most recently been working on distilling each of those descriptions down to a one-pager for each character, for easier reference.  I need to do the last three this afternoon, in fact!

And finally, I have my word count chart ready to go for another year.

I think I’m ready for NaNo to start…  Lots of luck to you if you’re also going on the writing journey this year!  Find me over on the NaNoWriMo website as CherylMahoney if you’d like to be NaNo buddies.  🙂

Book Review: The Sherlockian

I recently stumbled into a new audiobook by accident.  I forget what book I was actually searching for in the library’s online catalog, but somehow they offered up The Sherlockian by Graham Moore instead, and it turned out to be a lucky find.

The book tells two related stories: one about Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and one about a modern-day mystery involving Holmes-fans, Doyle’s missing diary, and murder.  In 1901 London, Doyle receives a letter-bomb which sends him on the hunt for a murderer of young women, and into encounters with East End slums, suffragists and the ineptitude of Scotland Yard.  He also fields repeated questions about when he’s going to bring back Sherlock Holmes, after murdering him at the Reichenbach Falls.  In the present, Doyle’s diary from this same period has been missing for a century.  When a leading Holmes scholar claims to have found it, and then turns up dead at a Baker Street Irregulars’ convention, Harold White tries to follow in the footsteps of Holmes to solve the mystery and find both the killer and the diary.

I enjoyed the split narrative aspect of this book, as we got two intriguing though very different mysteries.  They’re related, and Doyle’s story explains a few things relevant to Harold’s story, but they are essentially two different mysteries.  There’s also an interesting contrast as Harold romanticizes (with some self-awareness) Doyle’s time, and Doyle deals with the seamy underside of that same time.  Sherlock Holmes himself isn’t in either story, seeing as he’s a fictional character, but he looms large in both, as Harold’s model and Doyle’s curse.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Sherlockian”