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Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 9-12 Report: Still writing as I can

This week has, suffice to say, not been good for my word count. But I have attempted to coax at least a bare minimum of words out of my brain every day since the election, on general “because dammit I am not letting this kill my creativity” grounds.

I’ve made it into Chapter Five of the story, though I begin to suspect I may have actually planned it out to be too short. I do have a full outline, and I’m still more or less following that. But if I write everything I’ve planned, the story may come out around 50-55K rather than a full-length novel. I’m not focusing yet on what I want to do about that, because it’ll distract me from actually getting the first draft done. But this will be something I need to review once I have a full draft.

Things I have had to look up in the last few days: doublechecking some pictures of some of the colorful town houses in downtown St. John’s, just to confirm that some of them do in fact have garages; photos of the B&B Dara and I stayed at when we were there in 2012; and a quick doublecheck to make sure that it’s plausible for a male cancer patient to lose his facial hair (because Thomas Hallett, Warder of St. John’s, is undergoing chemo as of the timeframe of this story).

Today, for the first time in days, I have actually managed to make word count. And I can say with no small satisfaction that at least regardless of everything this week has tried to throw at me, today’s writing has let me accomplish fulfilling things.

Christopher has gotten to greet his uncle Thomas and cousin Caitlin in person, and given that his family are in fact Newfoundlanders, he has greeted them properly. Which, as the Newfoundlanders and/or Great Big Sea fans who follow me will know, is of course by saying “What’re you at?”

Also, my first Quebecois character in the Warder universe is now officially on camera. Gabien Desroches–Gabe to Anglophones–is a minor character so far but I’ll be working on establishing him as Caitlin’s beau. He has also uttered a bit of French as part of his dialogue, nothing complicated, just “c’est bon, ça”. The bigger challenge with writing him properly will not be using actual French–it’ll be how to phrase his word choices to be plausible for a French speaker speaking English. I have at least some small experience with this, what with having been around several French-speaking Quebecois musicians off and on over the last couple of years, and listening to and learning how they tend to phrase things.

Tomorrow I have a fiddle lesson. But I should be able to break 20,000 on the book as long as I get writing time in too. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Day 9 word count: 537
Day 10 word count: 523
Day 11 word count: 328
Day 12 word count: 1,704
Nanowrimo total: 12,409
Full book total: 19,190

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 7-8 Report: Yeah about what I expected

I gave myself proactive amnesty for not getting anything done on Nanowrimo yesterday or the day before. Which, turns out, yeah I needed that. Because I pulled in only 547 words on Monday–I was shooting for my off-Nano word count if I couldn’t hit the full 1,667, and I did at least do that.

Yesterday, though? Not a word. Too distracted by a little political thing going on. Y’all probably were distracted by that too.

I am not convinced I will be able to wrangle any words today either, but given that I am taking today as a mental health retreat day, some words might at least help a bit. At least writing about Kendis and Christopher is a situation I can control.

I am dubious at this point that I will hit the 50,000 mark by the 30th. But I will also give myself the break of reminding myself that the actual important point here is finishing the book, and Nanowrimo is simply a side bonus.

Day 7 word count: 547
Day 8 word count: 0
Nanowrimo total: 9,317
Full book total: 16,098

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 6 Report: Newfoundland! And 15,000 words!

Yesterday was particularly productive on the Nanowrimo front, since I didn’t have to go anywhere, and what usual weekend chores had to be done (laundry, bill paying, updating the checkbook) didn’t really interfere with the serious business of getting words out of my brain.

So I put a real big dent in Chapter 4, and finally pulled off what I’ve been looking very, very forward to writing in this plot: having Kendis and Christopher show up in St. John’s. I have also now brought on camera two more characters very important to this plot: Caitlin Hallett, Christopher’s cousin, who is also the daughter of his uncle Thomas who’s the current Warder of St. John’s; and Gabien Desroches, Warder-born from Quebec, where the Warders are called les Gardiens. I’ve already written a little bit about Caitlin in the novella I have on the back burner right now–the novella in which she’ll meet Gabien for the first time–but this story’s really going to be where these two step up to the plate.

Interesting items of research for yesterday’s efforts: a LOT of peering at Google Maps’ Street View pics for a particular area right near Signal Hill, and any Newfoundland-based readers who follow this blog will know what I mean when I say ‘Johnson Geo Centre’. Some peering through the Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador, looking for an appropriate word Caitlin could use to affectionally refer to Christopher. And considerable browsing of the Snow Clearing section of the official St. John’s website, trying to get an idea of what exactly it’s like in downtown St. John’s when the place gets hit by snow.

Related to that last, I also had a highly interesting chat with friend and reader userinfolethendy on Facebook. She informs me that on a practical day-to-day basis, there’s considerable distance between city policy on snow clearing and what actually happens. Critical to know. Thanks, Lethendy!

(Also: any other Newfoundland-based friends and readers, I will be putting out a call for Newfoundland-based beta readers once this draft is done. I will need you to reality-check my depiction of the city, as well as dialogue for Caitlin and Thomas. Christopher is less of a priority since he’s already an established character, and he’s been away from home for years, so his speech patterns have become rather more Americanized. But it’s highly likely he’ll jump right back into more Newfoundland-based dialogue for the brief time he’s going to have a chance to do so. WHEE!)

Fifteen thousand words reached in the draft! FORTH EORLINGAS! \0/

Day 6 word count: 1,902
Nanowrimo total: 8,770
Full book total: 15,551

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 4-5 Report: In which my characters are going to hate me

Day 4 of Nanowrimo ran really short, only 680 words. Which means I’ve now got two days of deficit to make up for. Though again: my real goal here is finishing the book; winning Nano is just cake. Though it’ll still be nice to do that too.

Yesterday I did in fact hit the goal: 1,708 total words! I would have done more, except that Dara and I had to go out for a good chunk of the afternoon and run a bunch of errands. Truly dedicated pursuers of the 50,000 goal might argue BUT BUT BUT WRITING. My counterargument is that Dara really needed new shoes–shoes that wick up water from damp pavement, never mind puddles, are a problem during Seattle’s rainy season–and I’m the one with the REI membership.

Once all the errands and adulting were done, though, I was able to buckle down and get writing. Go me!

I finished Chapter 3, and as of this writing, I’ve also put a serious chunk into Chapter 4. This has gotten me to one of the first big plot points I’m laying down in this book, which was already called out in the outline. What I had not previously anticipated is that I was going to line up Elessir, Kendis, and Christopher right behind Jude for the level of crisis this plot point is going to throw at them.

I’ve already dropped the hint that a big chunk of this book is taking place in St. John’s. But I hadn’t really committed yet to the implications of “St. John’s in February”–which means St. John’s with winter weather. I’d already known this was going to mean likely conditions much colder and snowier than my Seattle-based characters are used to.

But as of last night, with Dara’s encouragement, I went ahead and committed dropping Kendis and Christopher into the middle of a blizzard. Muahahaha. >:D

(Seriously, with all the shit I’m throwing at my principle characters in this book, it’ll be a wonder if they don’t revolt on me and decide to defect to some safer plotline. But then, I’ve always maintained that my job as an author is to make up imaginary people and then make their lives as difficult as possible.)

Research topics of interest through the last couple of days have involved looking up assorted locations on Signal Hill, a couple of different CBC articles about blizzards in St. John’s, and the Wikipedia pages for both ‘blizzard’ and ‘whiteout’. And although this didn’t require looking anything up, I did also recall that my experience with the Worst Commute Ever will actually come in handy for descriptive purposes here.

For giggles and grins, here’s what my Nanowrimo profile’s stats page looked like as of last night!

Nanowrimo Day 5 Stats

Nanowrimo Day 5 Stats

Day 4 word count: 680
Day 5 word count: 1,708
Nanowrimo total: 6,868
Full book total: 13,649

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 3 Report: Not quite to daily quota

Here is a list of things important for me to keep in mind when I’m doing a Nanowrimo run:

  1. Despite how it doesn’t get nearly as much press on my blog and on my social media, I do in fact have a full-time day job;
  2. Having a full-time day job does mean that no matter how late I stay up writing, I do in fact still need to get up in the morning;
  3. While I am often mistaken for being younger than I actually am, I am in fact not as young as I used to be, and that manifests more often in my stamina than it does in my outward appearance;
  4. Therefore, if I’m up past midnight for two days running because I’m trying to pull 1,700 words out of my brain, that’s going to make getting up at a quarter to 7 a lot more difficult.

Which is why, on yesterday’s Nano run, I didn’t quite make it to the 1,700 words a day mark I’m shooting for, because that’s a nicer, round number. Nor did I make it to the actual minimum mark I need to hit, which is 1,667, in order to hit that 50K by the end of the month.

But I did still clear 1,100. And given that my writing record this year has not been good, I still choose to count this as a victory. Plus, we’re heading into the first weekend of the month and I should have some time tomorrow to make up that deficit.

I finished the fight scene I was working on in Chapter 3 and started the next scene after–which, as it happens, will be the first non-Kendis-POV scene in the book. The POV in question is Elessir’s. Those of you who have read Bone Walker may recall that I did jump POVs a couple times in that book, keeping Kendis in first person and everybody else who got POV time in third. I will be doing the same thing in this book.

Also, I decided that Seattle has monkey puzzle trees, but Faerie has serpent puzzle trees. And serpent puzzle trees have branches that get very, very cranky at you if you fall through them. Elessir and Jude are now in a position to offer firsthand testimony about this.

Also #2, writing this entire chapter, as well as what I know is coming in the next one, reminds me that when it comes to adding tension to a scene, the maxim for me to live by is apparently “when throwing characters into a difficult situation, think up ways to make it as difficult for them as possible“. Muahaha. I’d apologize to Jude for what I’ve just done to her, but Jude’s tough, she can take it. ;D

Also #3, Kendis is about to be simultaneously relieved and very, very cranky that her decision to leave her phone behind before committing a major act of magic (because having to replace your smartphone every time you manage to fry the damn thing gets expensive) will turn out to have been less useful than she thought. Sorry, Kenna-lass, I’m not apologizing to you either.

Day 3 word count: 1,113
Nanowrimo total: 4,480
Full book total: 11,261

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 2 Report: 10,000 words!

I’m in the middle of working on Day 3’s words, so while I’m thinking of how to start off this next scene in Chapter 3, here’s a quick report on how yesterday’s writing went!

Notable things I had to look up: where the boundaries of Seattle’s actual city limits are, on the southern side of the city. Where interesting parks are, just south of the Seattle city limits, and how close they are to Elliott Bay. Doublechecking that Elliott Bay is in fact salt water. Pictures of Seahurst Park in Burien. And, what actual examples of woods that match the phrase “dark polished maple” would look like, so that I could visualize and describe a minor character properly.

This burst of effort let me finish off Chapter 2 and start putting a dent in Chapter 3, and write a fight scene! Fun! 😀

Now back into Chapter 3–look for the Day 3 report tomorrow!

Day 2 word count: 1,669
Nanowrimo total: 3,367
Full book total: 10,148

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 1 Report: Well, that started well!

My Nanowrimo 2016 effort is officially underway–and I gotta say, people, having Scrivener this year, and specifically having used it to plot out the entire outline for Warder Soul, has made it significantly easier to get the words out of my brain and into the draft. All I have to do is more or less follow the outline, with occasional pauses to look things up if I need to, and make comments there and there to note stuff I’ll want to fix when I come back through on edits.

Also, since it’s been a while since I did an official Nano, I checked in on the official site and woke up my account there. Wow, that site’s a lot more organized and detailed these days! So I filled out a lot of things in my profile, including details on past Nanowrimo efforts: the 2003 win, but also the failed attempts in 2005 and 2009 that did at least add words to Lament of the Dove (which of course eventually became Valor of the Healer) and Bone Walker.

You can see my official Nanowrimo profile here. And hey, if you’re participating in the madness, feel free to add me to your buddy list!

As to the actual words, I am now very, very close to finishing Chapter 2. Finally.

Things I looked up as part of last night’s writing effort:

  • Pics of Ravenna Park in downtown Seattle, with an eye to trying to identify how many picnic shelters it has available, and how close such shelters are to nearby streets
  • Model names for electric cars, because here’s a fun trivia fact: Elessir drives one

And here’s a snippet of last night’s words, which I shared to Facebook and Twitter!

There are reasons I don’t own a car, mostly amounting to how I hate driving with the blazing passion of a hundred fiery suns. Especially during rush hour. Especially during the winter. You’d think that with all the rain we get in this town, people would be better at driving on wet roads, but you’d be wrong. We’ve had a massive uptick in population in the last few years, not only computer geeks from all over the world to feed the ever-growing staff needs for our local tech companies, but refugees from Syria and other troubled parts of the world as well. And every winter, all these new drivers get to learn the joys of what our rainy season does to oil-slicked asphalt—not to mention how fast one or two accidents anywhere on our highways can slow down the whole system.

I would rather face demons than drive during a Seattle rush hour. And I’ve faced a demon.

And I realize that it’s traditional to start a Nanowrimo effort with a fresh project, but I am taking the liberty of doing Warder Soul anyway even though I had nearly 7,000 words in it already. I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to actually mind, as long as I do actually throw 50,000 brand new words at the book to count whether or not I win this year. So here are yesterday’s stats!

Starting word count for the book: 6,781
Day 1 word count: 1,698
Nanowrimo total: 1,698
Full book total: 8,479