Today has felt more like a holiday than yesterday did, and I think that’s down to the start of NaNoWriMo! For those not familiar with it, that’s short for National Novel Writing Month, when lots of crazy people all over the world set a goal to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November.
I participated last year, and blogged throughout the month–just click the NaNoWriMo category to see my past posts. This year I’m jumping in again, and so far I’m mostly in the first blush of excitement about it all. We’ll see where I am in two weeks!
My plan this year is to try to do something with a novel that stalled out a few years back. Here’s the description from my NaNo page:
The Monster and the Prince
Maggie only meant to pose as a princess for a few days–just long enough for the real princess to escape with the guardsman she loved, and avoid an arranged marriage to the King of Gaicaveene. Maggie didn’t expect the king to be a magician, as cruel as he is powerful. Confessing the lie is immediately out of the question, and so she finds herself trapped within the king’s castle, and her assumed identity.
Michael had meant to rescue a princess when he rode to the castle, only to discover that the princess was dead before he ever arrived. Defeated in battle and under a curse, he’s trapped there with no way out and no purpose–at least until the “Princess Evangelina” arrives.
This may sound familiar to some of you, because I posted the first chapter some while back. The trouble is, I only got about three chapters in last time I attempted this novel, before I got stuck in writer’s block and confronted with a lot of plot problems. But I really liked those first three chapters, and I liked some of the concepts, I just couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work.
So–my hope is that the frenetic pace of NaNoWriMo will keep me moving forward, and that inspiration will strike when I need it. As actually tends to happen at times. It did last November, anyway. 🙂
And if it all flails and crashes and burns, I have a couple of short stories I’ve been wanting to write too. So my goal is 50,000 words, and whether that’s the rest of this novel, or just a chunk of the novel and then a few short stories, either way I’m happy.
To start off, I woke up early this morning to write before work, then wrote again in the evening. The daily goal is 1,667 words, and I have 2,781 so far–higher than I did the first day last year! I really wanted to get a strong start, both for the psychological benefits, and because it means I can go out to my writing group tomorrow evening. Perhaps it’s slightly counterintuitive to skip a writing group so that I can stay home and write…but it does take ALL evening. Getting a headstart today means I (hopefully) can go out and not kill my word count tomorrow. We’ll see!
Like last year, I thought I’d share some novel updates as the month goes on. Here’s some writing from today. Maggie is trapped in the magician king’s castle, and has just resolved to explore.
Maggie walked across the room, tucking the map into the sash at her waist. She didn’t look to see if Michael followed her, didn’t want to think about how much she was hoping he would. She wrenched the door open, revealing the broad-shouldered back of the guard on duty. He was tall, her eyes on a level with his shoulder blades, his black clothing tight enough to give her a clear view of the thick muscles of his arms. He turned to look at her. A black scarf wrapped around his face, not even his eyes showing in the shadowed slit where they ought to have been.
Perhaps he had no eyes. Perhaps there was nothing in the black clothing or beneath the black scarf but shadows. Shadows that had life and solidity and could reach out and… Her thoughts went back to the courtyard.
Louis and Damien and Charles and Andre and Richard and Philip and five more.
Without thinking and without meaning to, she stepped back a pace. She nearly bumped into Michael. He had followed her, after all.
Maggie gathered herself together. Her name was not going to be added to the list. Not Evangelina’s name either, considering they thought that was her name. But that was a complication better not thought of right now. Better to focus on the immediate question.
She raised her chin and put on all the majesty she could muster, used all her powers of imitation to reflect the most regal members of Lina’s court. “I’m going out,” she announced, and took a step forward.
The guard backed up a step, but remained firmly planted in her path. Still, it was something.
She tried another step, and this time he didn’t move out of the way. He reached for the sword at his side and pulled it just far enough from his scabbard to show two inches of shining metal blade.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Michael said from behind her, voice soft in her ear.
Of course it wasn’t a good idea. Did he think she didn’t know that? Did he think she didn’t know that this was foolish and probably pointless? But she had to do something or go mad. “Do you have a better idea?” she hissed.
“No. But that doesn’t mean this is a good idea.”
She probably would have given it up. Tried one more step, perhaps, and if the guard had still refused to move she would have gone back inside and been forced to pursue her only other idea about how to spend the afternoon—crying.
Before she could try that additional step, there were heavy footsteps on the stairs just down the hallway. Everyone looked that direction, even the guard.
King Maurus appeared around the corner of the hallway.