NaNoWriMo: End of the Month Update

It’s December 1st, meaning NaNoWriMo wrapped yesterday – and I’m pleased to say that I hit my 50,000 word goal!  This is the first time I have since the pandemic and having a toddler, so it feels especially significant to have got back to that level of writing.

I did a lot of planning throughout the month, trying to build up word cushions before days that I knew would give me less opportunity to write, and that worked really well. I wound up with an easy final day, only needing 835 words, or half of a typical NaNo day.  I finished the month out with 50,076 words, so I’m very pleased with that!

I’m also pleased that I’m most of the way through the novel draft.  I think the total will end up only around 55K words, which is shorter than many of my first drafts in the past.  It seems to be how this series works though – the very first “complete” draft of Thorns 1 was a 27K word novella, Thorns 2 was 67K words at first draft, and Thorns 4 is 62K words.  So 55K is a little short, but not by a lot, and I already have ideas of about four chapters I want to insert, just as a start!  This may also be a slightly shorter novel than some of the others, which I’d be fine with too. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: End of the Month Update”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (November, 2022)

With NaNoWriMo in progress, my main focus this month has of course been more on writing than reading, but I’ve been through a number of books too.  Can’t write all the time!

I’m continuing my reread of Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, with Books 3 and 4, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. I particularly enjoy Book 4, which shifts the perspective to the point of view of a changeling brought to the strange land of Chicago.  Seeing our world translated through a lens of Valente’s particular brand of fantasy is truly brilliant.

I continued my read of reincarnation books as well – first with The Next Together by Lauren James, which seemed so very promising.  A couple meets and falls in love in four different lifetimes, and the novel interweaves all four timelines.  Unfortunately it never quite wove together as much as I hoped, and the ending felt very rushed.  I then reread The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.  I enjoyed that one very much the first time, a bit less on the second – I’m coming to think that a lot of reincarnation-type stories rest heavily on concept, and that doesn’t lend itself well to multiple reads.  I did enjoy this one still, though, just not quite as I remembered. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (November, 2022)”

NaNoWriMo, Day #19

Nearly three weeks into NaNoWriMo already!  I just passed the 32,000 word mark, which puts me right on track for the 50,000 word goal.  Things haven’t been progressing as quickly as they did in the first week, but I expected that – I built up a significant cushion the first weekend because I expected a number of days when I wouldn’t have as much time to write.  So far that’s kept me above the goal all month, though I’ve almost been through the cushion.

The story is still progressing nicely along the outline.  I just finished the section plotting for the takeover of the capital city, and have just reached the night when everything comes together – which sounds like it would be near the end but it’s actually most of the second half of the outline.

For a rarity, I think I may end up with a complete first draft that really is close to 50,000 words.  Most of my NaNo projects have ended up as partial drafts that I then continue through December or January.  I think this one may actually get to the end or close to it – but I can already see places where I want to add chapters and expand concepts when I come to the revision stage.  That seems to be how this series works – my first “complete” draft of Thorns 1 was only 27,000 words, and now it’s 103,000!

I’ve enjoyed continuing to explore the characters and pulling together the pieces of a conspiracy – though I’d like to dig deeper on both aspects in revisions.  This first round is good for getting the shape of the thing together though.

I’m hoping to have more writing time next week with the Thanksgiving holiday, so hopefully I can stay well on track for the final goal.

Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt, as Elena discusses recent events with a questionable ally.

“Apparently some madman broke into the central guard post last night and set it on fire.”

She shook her head in a parody of sadness.  “Such troubled times we live in.”

“The descriptions are vague, but it seems he was tall, bearded, brilliant with a sword.  These things get exaggerated in the telling, of course, but…”

“Doesn’t sound like me, does it?” Elena said, tapping her own cheek.

He regarded her for a moment, then said quietly, “Your husband was good with a sword.  Haven’t seen him in the practice yard in years, but he used to be.”

NaNoWriMo, Day #11

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! Continue reading “NaNoWriMo, Day #11”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October, 2022)

November will soon be upon us, so it must be time to give an October update on recent reads.  I’ve been continuing with a lot of sci fi and fantasy, and an unusual number of rereads as well.

I continued the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, reading Network Effect.  The longest in the series so far, I think it was also my favorite.  The trouble with the novellas is that I just get oriented and then they’re done! This one had time to explore something more complex, as Murderbot, our non-human hero, continues to grow and develop.

I’ve begun rereading the Fairyland series by Catherynne Valente – these were great favorites a few years ago, and I was rereading them every fall when each new one came out.  But now I haven’t read them in five years or more!  It’s been very fun to come back to this world and I’m enjoying again the absolutely gorgeous writing style.  I’ve read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland (in a Ship of Her Own Making) and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland (and Led the Revels There), and am mid-way through The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland (and Cut the Moon in Two). Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October, 2022)”