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”

Writing Update (October, 2022)

This will be a short update this month, and mostly an announcement of things ahead!

I spent September outlining the next two books I plan to write, Books 3 and 5 in my Thorns series, and I’m excited about both of them.  I’m hoping the more extensive outlining will help me stay focused and make the actual drafting go more smoothly.  In between outlining, I played with some writing prompts – I wrote 15 brief pieces in response to prompts, mostly using them to go deeper into the characters from my series – which may also help in writing the next two books.

Continue reading “Writing Update (October, 2022)”

Writing Update (September, 2022)

It’s been a busy past month in my writing.  I attended my annual writing retreat just after my last update, and had a really great weekend.  As a group, we made some progress on our collaborative fantasy romance, as well as digging deeper into our next project, a planned collection of sci fi stories.

The sci fi stories center around a group of characters on the run (via spaceship), with each author taking ownership of two characters.  We wanted to explore how the group got together, so we played out the origin story in a loose D&D game style.  They all meet while separately robbing a museum on the same night, so we drew up a map of the museum and moved our character figurines through it as we invented the story in real-time.  It was a LOT of fun, and we ended up with an extremely detailed outline for what I think will be a very cool story.

I also made some progress on my revisions of Thorns I, and finished this latest revision pass about a week after the retreat.  I sent it out for second-round beta reader feedback, and will see how that goes.  A lot of changes happened in the revisions, so I’m curious to see how it reads now.

Since sending Thorns I off, I’ve been working on a higher level to outline my Thorns series more clearly.  I’ve come to the conclusion that what started as a short story is now going to be a five book series.  Book 1 is almost done, Book 2 is drafted, and I wrote a big bulk of Book 4, Penelope’s novel.  So now I’m outlining Books 3 and 5, and also looking at some revision plans for Books 2 and 4.  It’s complicated!  I hope to have some really solid outlines by the end of the month.

In between outlining, I wanted to do something a little less complicated and more around actual writing, so I’ve been doing daily writing prompts – sort of bouncing between doing a prompt each day, or doing some outlining.  I’ve been using the prompts to explore the characters from my series in more depth, so it’s been a good support to my larger writing goals.  And just been fun!

So just for fun, here’s a bit from a prompt about making grilled cheese, which I decided to use to explore my new sci fi characters.  Enjoy!

I got to work on my grilled cheese, using the super fancy stove in the commissary.  Seriously, I’ve seen navigation controls with fewer buttons.

That may have been a problem.  I mean, everything was going along great at first.  The bread was all toasty, the cheese was all melty, the butter was all buttery and I had a fantastic grilled cheese in process, when suddenly it exploded.

I don’t know how it happened.  I didn’t think cheese was explodable, but maybe there’s some nuance I missed.

All I know is one minute everything was fine, and the next minute there was smoke and blobs of cheese and smears of butter everywhere.  I blame the stove.

I would blame the AI, seeing as he clearly had it in for me, but if it was him, he did a really good job of simulating distress.

“There is smoke in the air and butter on my countertops and—and—my sensors are picking up cheese!  On the ceiling!” the AI howled.

Writing Update (August, 2022)

My writing had been going along with slow but steady progress for the last few weeks.  I’ve been almost exclusively focused on revisions for Thorns 1, and am about 3/4 of the way through this pass.  I’ve been paying particular attention to Terrence’s character, and the character of the chief villain of the story, his brother Gregory.  There’s been a few new scenes, and some tweaking of existing scenes.

I’ve also found a few opportunities to do more with Penelope, the heroine of my unexpected additional novel.  She’s still a small character in this book, but Terrence and Rose wonder about her a little more, and worry a little more when she leaves the scene (events that lead her to her own book).  Here’s an excerpt from an added scene featuring her.

Penelope always seemed to have a wall up that Terrence didn’t know how to get past.  Someone else might find a clever way around, but the best he could think of was to just fling himself at it.  Because there really had been something on her face, when she’d looked at him just then—  “Are you happy here, Penelope?  Do you…miss where you grew up?”

A long pause stretched out, as Penelope continued with her embroidery, and he thought she wasn’t even going to answer.  But at last she said, “The castle in Relnyra was close enough to the shore to hear the waves, especially at night.  I do miss that sound.”

That was a more personal remark than he’d ever had from her before – but it didn’t answer his first question.  “That sounds nice.  It must be hard, to be in such a different place,” he said carefully, not certain they were actually talking about waves.

Continue reading “Writing Update (August, 2022)”