I usually get a NaNo update out sooner than this – but I’ve been busy writing away at my NaNo project! As I announced in my October Writing Update, I am tackling National Novel Writing Month again this year, my first time aiming for 50,000 words since 2019 (which, as we all know, was a completely different world!) I’m drafting Book 3 of my Thorns series, and so far it’s going along very well.
As I’m typing, I passed 20,000 words earlier this morning. I have slightly over 2,000 words cushion ahead of the daily goal, which is a nice place to be a third of the way into the month. I had a very productive writing time last weekend – I took Friday the 4th off of work to give myself some extra writing time near the beginning of the month, and today is also a convenient holiday for Veterans Day.
Fitting enough time for writing in around a job and a toddler is definitely a challenge, but I’ve been focusing my NaNo writing on 15-minute word sprints for years, so it’s not entirely new. I approach every day analyzing how many 15 minute chunks of writing I can get in – I know from experience I typically need four per day to hit the word count goal. Some days I can only manage three, but that’s why I have a cushion built up!
The story itself is going well also – I try not to get completely caught up in strictly numbers in these updates! This novel focuses on two supporting characters from the first two novels, Elena and Henry. It’s been very fun to explore them more, especially Henry who is very quiet normally. I’m sure that he’s had far more dialogue in the 20,000 words so far of this draft than he did in the previous two books combined!
I already see some things I’ll need to go back and revise, but so far the story is rocketing forward well. I drafted a fairly detailed outline in September and it has been very helpful to hit the end of each chapter and be able to go look at my outline to remember what exactly I was planning to have come next! I think I’ve avoided a lot of rambling about, and the story feels tighter as a result.
We have just under three weeks left in November, but for now I’m feeling good about how the project is going. And now, an excerpt!
Some instinct made Henry turn, in time to see Elena emerge from belowdecks. His grip on the railing tightened as he watched her carefully pick her way across the rocking deck towards him. He wanted to go help her, but she’d hate that.
It was always a dance, with Elena – forward and back, together and apart – and moving in too close at the wrong time or in the wrong way only guaranteed she’d spin farther away. Not that he couldn’t ever get closer. It was just a matter of picking times and ways.
Usually that was fine, but just now he was holding his breath, nearly counting the number of steps it would take her to get to him.
She looked pale in the bright sunlight – not surprising, when she’d been queasy and unwell ever since the ship left port. Someday, maybe he’d be able to tease her about her terrible sea legs. Maybe in about ten years. Right now, he just wished they could have gone by land, even though it would have been impossible. A journey of two days would have stretched to seven at least, and while they might have been able to adjust the timing accordingly, they would have had to cut right through the country held by King Elgin. So by ship it had to be.
Elena finally reached the railing next to him and he could let out his breath, wrap an arm around her as she leaned against him.