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.  🙂

November Plans

Psychologically speaking, it’s hard to notice the absence of something–or so I’ve read.  All the same, you may have noticed that I did not post yesterday, November 1st, about National Novel Writing Month.  I’ve completed NaNoWriMo six times, including the past four years.  It’s always a lot of fun, and I’ve achieved some big writing goals.  But NaNo doesn’t fit into my writing plans this year.

I’ve been deep in revisions for my Phantom of the Opera retelling for most of the year.  I finished Book One just in the past month.  My goal was to get Book Two to beta-readers by the end of the year.  Considering Book One took much longer than I expected, that may be a lofty goal…but I’m still hopeful!

And so I’m doing my own writing goal this November.  It doesn’t make sense to track words, because revisions don’t quite work that way, so instead I want to track time.  From all those past NaNos, I’ve learned that I can do about 400 words in a 15-minute writing sprint.  Multiplying it all out, 50,000 words for NaNo takes me about an hour a day, or 30 hours in November.

My life is pretty hectic at the moment, so I’m not trying to commit to 30 hours of revising–but I do intend to do 15 hours of revising, or about half-an-hour a day.  If it goes well in November, I’ll try it again in December.

I don’t really know how far that will get me in revising–because I’ve never done this before!  But I do know that writing goals tend to be attainable if I set them, and that the muse tends to work things out.  When I set out to finish my Phantom trilogy for NaNoWriMo, with literally no idea how much of it was left, I finished it in 50,009 words–no joke!  So we’ll see if it turns out that Book Two needs thirty hours of revision.

I’ll keep posting Writing Wednesday updates, and we’ll see how this goes!

NaNoWriMo Day 30+ and Crossing the 50,000 Line

I have been very remiss in posting on here the last few weeks!  I had every intention of posting about the NaNo process as it happened…but then it happened to take up every spare writing moment I had!  I spent the month doing a lot of writing sprints before work, on my lunch hour and at odd moments here and there.  I spent most of the month hovering near the goal amount, and crossed the 50,000 after work on November 30th.  Then went out to my writing group!

So much for stats.  As to content–as I was beginning to feel earlier in the month, this turned out more of an exploration than a proper novel draft.  I think I got, perhaps, halfway through what would eventually be the story, but I’m not sure the first half always went the right direction.  I did a lot of world-building in October but not much plot-planning, and struggled to find it in November.

On the other hand!  I discovered some new things about my characters, and about the world even, and the themes emerged pretty strongly too.  I’m not exactly sure how much of what I wrote will end up in a final version–possibly a lot of fragments, cut up and rearranged.

I don’t plan to finish this semi-draft during December, as I often do with NaNo novels.  This was a good exploration and got me back in the writing rhythm after losing my speed some last year (too much revision, and too much other life going on too).  So I’m going to put this one away to think about some more, and in the meantime I want to play with some short stories and work on plotting…because that seems to be the big issue on my last three novel drafts that still need revision.  So it seems like a good time to play with something shorter to hone some skills.

For now though, have an excerpt from my NaNo novel.


We approached the Great Hall, an intimidating enough building without uneasy thoughts to accompany an approach.  I had only been inside twice, once each year for the opening ceremonies of the new term.  The effect was quite different when streams of students were covering the plaza and heading through the open doors.

The rest of the time—well, I had passed the Great Hall hundreds of times, but it had always felt more like a mountain than a building, a prominent feature of the landscape but not something to approach, let alone enter.

Gery marched up to it fearlessly enough, bypassing the main doors for a small side entrance quite confidently.

The door opened on a short hallway, leading to a second, interior door, this one with a gargoyle sitting beside it.  “Who goes there?” the gargoyle intoned.  It was an old gargoyle, judging by the depth of the voice.  Those were the best ones.

“Gerhardt Greerson,” Gery said promptly, “with an appointment with Minister Drehagan.  And guest.”

I didn’t altogether love that, but the gargoyle squinted at us both then boomed, “Enter,” and the door swung open on a flight of stairs. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Day 30+ and Crossing the 50,000 Line”

NaNoWriMo Day 12 and the Hunt for a Plot

We’re almost halfway through November–but not quite!  NaNoWriMo is rocking right along for me.  I passed 20,000 words today, which puts me right on target.  Next week is particularly busy though, so I’m expecting to slip behind somewhat.  We’ll see.

So much for quantity, as to quality…I’m having a mixed NaNo.  There are some parts I’m writing that I like a lot.  I still like the premise and the world, and I’m discovering more about the world as I go.  But this is starting to feel more like very intensive world-building than noveling!  I’m writing scenes I can probably use in a final version and probably more or less in this order–but it’s still not coming together as tightly as I would like.  I feel like there’s a lot more that should be here, and I don’t know quite what it is yet–like I may not have just the right angle, or have the right scenes to tell the story I want.

So!  More clarity may emerge, or I may end up with a rougher first draft than has happened in some previous years.  Although with a brand new world to explore, I suppose it’s not that surprising.

In the meantime, here’s a scene I do like reasonably well.


The airlift opened on the seventh level and we stepped out.  Gil went to the edge of the balcony to lean over the slender carved railing and look down.  I did not join him.  I had tried that my first trip here and regretted it.  Depths are more dizzying than heights.

I walked purposefully over to the second archway on the left, this one unusual in its carved grating.  The silver key slid easily into the lock and the grating swung silently open.

This wasn’t the entire literata section, of course, just the most advanced, most obscure books.  Maybe a little part of me was pleased to have an excuse to go exploring here. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Day 12 and the Hunt for a Plot”