The only time I properly won NaNoWriMo was five years ago. Even that time, I had another 15,00 words that I’d written earlier in the year, but I did write 50,000 without swapping over to brainstorming and outlining. Last year I was nearly halfway to my goal , but a lot of my writing was different versions of the same scenes. I was a bit stuck and didn’t mange to push past my overthinking.
This year, I’m not planning to write 50,000 words in November. I’ve been having trouble writing for a long time and easing into it is probably a good idea. Also, I’ve got work, which means I have less time than I did back in 2016. I’m also not intending to give up on doing some sewing next month. I’m going to give myself a target of 25,000 words which is approximately 5 handwritten pages per day. Half NaNoWriMo. Based on past experience, it’s not unreasonable for me. My real goal however is to write and keep on going and if I write only two or three pages a day, I’m not going to beat myself up. Speed isn’t the goal. Consistency is.
I’ll probably do an update post or two during the month. With my goal, I hopefully won’t be torn between writing to meet my goal and writing for my blog. I will likely be putting other updates on Twitter. I kinda like Twitter despite not really have friends over there. I’ve got my handful of people that I find fun or interesting and I mostly ignore everything else and occasionally someone will respond to me so that I know I’m not just whispering into the void. I find it easier than Instagram. For Instagram, I need a nice picture and something to say about the picture and then there’s hashtags to think about and on Twitter I can just say stuff and it doesn’t feel like it has to be important.
Now then, what am I writing? I expect someone wants to know. I certainly would. Mostly kidding there, I do have some idea of what I’m doing and I think it’s best that I figure out the rest as I go along. Trying to sort everything out hasn’t been working very well and now I’m really out of time.
Put simply, I’m writing a story about a girl who accidentally joins a voyage to the mythical land across the sea. Litla doesn’t really like myths or magic, or anything of that sort. Her people have an approach of mostly ignoring the powers of the world and hoping to be ignored themselves in return.
It’s a fairly low tech world, not a lot of magic, but the world definitely has some touches of the supernatural. Either that or they just haven’t developed the science to explain it yet. But really, part of the idea is that this is quite early in the world history. The idea is that this is the ancient past of the steampunk islands story that I tried writing last year, but I’m not really focusing on that.
At this point, it occurred to me that Christine Smith was probably hosting her yearly Know the Novel linkup, so I’ve attempted to answer those questions below. You can judge how well I prepared I am by how well I answer.
1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
A couple of things. It’s set back in the ancient history of last years story attempt and I knew that was going to be a exploration storing, but I’m not really sure where all the bits and pieces came from. I’m not sure there was really a spark.
2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!
While trying to find a ship journeying south along the coast, Litla accidentally falls in with people crazy enough to sail out into the endless sea looking for a path to an ancient land. They say they’ve been called to go there by a great power of the world and they haven’t got the time to send Litla to the mainland.
3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
A long desolate shore. The ocean. Islands, probably also desolate, along the way. And then they pass into the unknown. There might be some cold places along the way, but eventually there’ll be something more tropical. This is an exploration story and I’m going to be doing a lot of discovering. I want to have them explore a land their ancestors once lived in and find ruins. Also, there will be giant trees. That bit came to me one day when I was sitting outdoors and thinking how different things would look if I was smaller.
4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).
Honestly, I’d rather not. It’s not as if I haven’t spent a lot of time figuring Litla out and sorting through all the contradictory ideas, but I don’t think I’ve got a good grasp on what makes her interesting. I think I’ve still got too many ideas and it will take more writing to settle everything. Litla wouldn’t consider herself to be very brave. Definitely not very bold. She prefers to go around problems and keep her head down, just because it seems a better way to get things done. Why get into trouble if you could avoid it?
Litla is a bit of an outsider among her people. She’s got some different ideas and her mother came from a far away and dangerous place. (at least it’s said to be dangerous. None of them have been anywhere near the city in the south.)
Another significant character who might get POV is Egill. He’s the kind of chill guy who can roll with anythign and they’re going to be going through a lot of big things. He’s quiet and needs someone like Litla to draw him out and help him get stuff done.
5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
Please don’t call me out on the fact that I’ve still not got this sorted. It might be a combination of the ocean and some of Egill’s people.
6. What excites you the most about this novel?
Writing something! Besides that, there’s a good bit of cross cultural stuff going on. Litla and Egill are from different groups with different cultures, beliefs and languages. Writing when people don’t have the same first language is fun. It’s even more fun when I just write in bad English and stop thinking about making up languages. I’ll probably need to edit it a lot, but I’m just happy to be getting stuff written.
7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
I don’t really know where it’s going, so I don’t know where it will end or what plot elements I’ll pick up along the way. There might be more stories and it is set in a larger world that quite a few of my stories could be part of.
8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?
I have a very, very vague plan. I don’t really know where I’m going , but I had fun with the couple of scenes I’ve already written. I do have a fair bit of thought put into what the point of the story is. (I’m not sure of the answer.)
9. Name a few unique elements about this story.
Is this where I was supposed to mention the language stuff or the giant trees? I haven’t written the story, so I’m not sure what is unique. Litla’s people do have a societal structure that I haven’t really seen in the books I’m reading though and I suppose the fact that this is not ye olde medieval fantasy is one point of uniqueness. I’m not sure I’ve seen the magical elements that I’ve planned being used elsewhere either. (I’m not talking about the magical elements because they’re not entwined enough with else for me to keep them at the front of my mind.
10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).
I might be basing my people groups off different fantasy races. I have a certain preference for all my characters being humans, but I can have the tree humans and the mining humans ands the humans that live underwater.
Also, have some character portraits. Litla, Egill, and Egill’s cousin.
These portraits are not necessarily the looks I’m going to stick with, but since I have Worldspinner’s Portrait Workshop, I’m going to play around with it. I need to make one for Signy, Egill’s sister, given that I know at least twice as much about her as about the cousin. She cares very fiercely about her people and doesn’t really like Litla and has strong opinions about a whole lot of thigs, while Vigi makes stuff and I have no idea what his part in the story is going to be.
And now it’s time for me to be off to bed, though I really do want to research the history of shipbuilding because I need to know what kind of ships are in the story.