31,538 words! I call this #nanowrimo a win.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the annual event in which aspiring authors around the world set out to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month, just wrapped, and writers everywhere are taking today to massage their wrists and take a breather (just kidding - I wrote another 1900 words today in addition to this blog post).
Instead of trying to write a 50,000-word novel, my goal this NaNo was to finish Act 2 of the novel I am already working on (titled "The Radiant and the Corrupt"), which I estimated was going to be a slightly more achievable but still substantive 30,000 words. (For the non-writers reading this, 20,000-25,000 words is roughly a hundred pages. So I was still looking at a target of 100-150 pages to write in November.
There was no reason for the insurgents to cause them harm, nor the Cult Militants for that matter, but Val had been in war-torn cities before; there was no reason or logic in a place like this. There was only mob rule, fear, and death. A younger Val would have marched through the city, ready to face whatever conflict his destiny brought him. Such hubris had nearly gotten him killed and had gotten others killed needlessly. There was enough death. He didn’t need to be the cause of more.
-from "The Radiant and the Corrupt"
I managed to get words in almost every day, usually exceeding my 1000-words a day goal, and closed yesterday at just over 31,500 words. I did NOT finish Act 2, which, it turns out is going to require two more chapters to finish, but I should hit that milestone this weekend.
I also made an important structural realization about the novel this month. When I initially outlined the work, I had a huge story. After I completed Act 1 at more than 45,000 words, I was afraid this novel would be over 200,000 words long! A novel of that scale is not only incredibly difficult to sell to publishers, it's incredibly intimidating to try to write. But in a decision that I hope will make my agent much happier, I figured out a way to restructure the story into two more manageable volumes. So now instead of having 120k-150k still to write, I now probably have another 40k or so to reach the end of the first draft. Whew!
I want to give a shoutout to fellow NaNo writers Tanner and SpaghettiSyntax from the Frogpants Community who cheered me on this month. The best thing about NaNoWriMo is, without a doubt, the camaraderie it inspires among writers. Writing is a solitary, lonely business where you spend hours a day for weeks, months, and sometimes years working on something that no one else know anything about. During NaNo, we writers support each other on as we run this month-long marathon, and it feels great. Thank you Tanner! Thank you SpaghettiSyntax! And congratulations on you own writing accomplishments this month.
Finally, extra special thanks to Denise who kept me fed and sane during this month-long sprint. She also read the chapters as I produced them, provided constructive feedback, and listened to me alternate between gleeful excitement and confused dismay as I smashed my way through this story.
In closing, here's one more snippet of the (very raw) first draft for you to enjoy:
Patish shrugged. “Most of the time, I’m just a scout and a messenger. I know my place. Marduk is trying to change things for the better. I know she picked you. That makes you pretty amazing in my book.”
Inkosa felt wretched. Patish believed she was some kind of hero, a resistance fighter for Marduk. But it was a lie. She was no hero. She was just a scared, stupid girl. She’d done something terrible and now everyone else was paying for it.
Patish placed a hand on her arm. “Did I say something that upset you? I’m sorry.”
She shook her head, desperate to banish her feelings and just act normal. “It’s not you. I’m just not who you think I am.”
-from "The Radiant and the Corrupt"
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