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.  🙂

Writing Wednesday: Hurtling Towards NaNo

I’m still preparing for NaNoWriMo, starting on November 1st – so just over a week away!  I’m on track at the moment with revising the first half of my Princess Beyond the Thorns novel, so that I can write the second half during NaNoWriMo.

I’ve also realized that, on some days at least, my pre-NaNo goals are more ambitious than my NaNo goals.  I intended to revise one chapter a day, but some of those “revisions” actually mean writing an entirely new chapter from Terrence’s point of view.  And a couple of those chapters have stretched over two days, which felt like I was getting behind…but the two days’ worth of writing was more words than would be a two-day goal for NaNo.  On Monday, for example, I felt like I was just trying to wrap a chapter that was taking too long–but I ended up by writing 2,400 words, well above NaNo’s 1,667 goal.

On the whole, I’m finding that encouraging…

I also think I’m past the most difficult revision sections, so hopefully this final week should be an easier slide towards NaNoWriMo.  For today, here’s something from a new scene I wrote yesterday–Rose fainted and Terrence brought her back to her room, and I realized that in his POV, I had a chance to do a bit of a play on the whole Sleeping Beauty aspect of the story.

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Terrence got Rose inside her rooms, laid her down on the long couch, and knelt next to her to study her still face.  “Rose?” he tried again, touching her cheek.  What did he do now?  Should he get her water or put a blanket over her?

Silvertips seemed more confident, leaping up onto the couch and settling down across Rose’s stomach.  A moment later Emerald Eyes emerged from the bedroom and scrambled up onto Rose’s skirts.  Fine, that was fine, but she still wasn’t awake…

He had the sudden, slightly absurd idea that maybe he ought to try kissing her.  This was, more or less, what he had expected when he had first plunged into that thorny tunnel.  A sleeping princess, waiting to be woken up.

Before he could decide if the idea was a good one or just strange, the door burst open and Elena rushed in.  “Terrence?  What’s going on?  What’s wrong with Rose?”

Writing Wednesday: Worldbuilding and Mythology-Making

I’ve been working on Phantom revisions and Princess Beyond the Thorns planning concurrently for the last few weeks.  I’m more than halfway through this pass of Guardian of the Opera, Book Three, and I’m nearly done with character creation for my next project.  I’ve recently turned to worldbuilding instead, figuring out the fantasy world this new book is set in.  It’s separate from my Beyond the Tales series, so it calls for entirely new decisions!

I got surprisingly far into the process before I realized there ought to be a pantheon of gods specific to this world–something that wasn’t in my previous fantasy series at all.  I worked out a handful of major gods (although they all still need names!) and the last bit of character-building I’m doing is deciding who (and how) each character worships.

Here’s my initial notes on the major gods, though it may change as I write…

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There is a pantheon of major gods, and a large number of small, local gods identified with places. Gods are not considered to have a fixed gender; people will regard any god by whatever gender feels most approachable/comfortable to the individual. Tendencies shift in different areas and over different eras. The major guilds generally have a chosen patron god, and many people have one they most connect to, but this is nonexclusive. Even priests/priestesses of a particular god may occasionally worship another. People usually have statues or emblems of their chosen god. Small villages will have a chapel suitable for all the gods, including the local one. Larger towns and cities will have temples specific to each major god. The major gods are:

  • God of Passion (Love and War) – worshiped by warriors and the current monarchy; also presides over weddings
  • God of the Sea – the most changeable god – worshiped by sailors, fishers
  • God of the Hearth – most popular among the common folk, especially anyone dealing with food
  • God of the Arts – many of the major guilds
  • God of Wisdom – the rest of the major guilds
  • The Traveler God – popular amongst misfits and outcasts
  • The Veiled God – followed by dark enchanters

Writing Wednesday: Character Trauma

I stepped away from revising for the last few days, to work on building and exploring characters for the novel I plan to write for NaNoWriMo come November.  I plan to expand on the two short stories I wrote earlier in the year, about the Princess Behind the Thorns.

I’ve been delving into the backstories, and particularly the terrible childhoods, of my two protagonists, Princess Rose Amelia and Prince Terrence.  As I explored Terrence’s past, I was inspired for a prequel short story to illuminate some of the ideas I was having.

I ended up writing a 4,000 word short story Sunday afternoon, a darker and grimmer story than I usually write.  And it strikes me that probably only writers understand the particular thrill of thinking, ooh, here’s a really terrible thing I can do to this character I love!

I’ll spare you the grimmest moments, and give you an excerpt from the comparatively positive aftermath.

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His mother still looked pale, after it was all done, and he was stretched on his stomach on the couch in her room.  The cool cloth she pressed to his bared back helped with the pain, but not the guilt.

“I’m sorry, Mother,” he said, scrubbing at his damp eyes with one hand.  “I’ll be stronger next time.”

That was what his father wanted.  To make him stronger, to make him a proper prince who could be a proper leader some day.  It was his own fault he kept failing.

His mother sighed, and ran her fingers lightly through his rumpled hair.  “You are perfect, my Terrence.  You are kind and sweet and good, and don’t ever, ever change.”

It was nice his mother thought that.  But of course he knew there were lots of things wrong with him.

His mother’s door banged open and Elena rushed in like a windstorm.  “I brought the turmeric for the tea, Aunt Lillian,” she announced, dropped her bundle on the table and came over to inspect Terrence.  “How bad is it this time?  Ow—pretty awful.”

“It’s not that bad,” Terrence said, though he didn’t expect Elena to be sad about it like his mother was.

Elena was his cousin, his mother’s niece, and two years older than him.  She had lived at the castle most of her life, since her parents’ deaths, and at fifteen she considered herself quite the adult.  She was far more likely to get angry than to cry about anything.

Sure enough, she launched straight into a sort of combined scolding and consoling.  “It is too that bad, and it never should have happened at all.”

“I shouldn’t have—”

Your father shouldn’t have beaten you for losing a footrace against the servants!  Of all the ridiculous—I’d like to get a belt and—”

Elena,” Queen Lillian said sharply.  “Do not speak ill of the king.”

“I know, I know,” Elena said, plopping down in a puff of skirts to sit on the ground next to the couch.  “I didn’t say I would.  I’d just like to do…something.”

Despite the pain in his back, Terrence smiled into the couch cushion.  It was very Elena.  And he liked when he could be with his two favorite people, even if this was a bad reason for it.  He liked looking at them together, both small, both with perfectly straight brown hair and the same blue eyes.  He wished he looked more like his mother but, like all three of his brothers, he took after his father, with curly hair and dark eyes.