Day Eight

An excerpt from the novel. Don’t judge too harshly, this is a hastily-written first draft:

They fought their way through the underbrush until they found a smaller road, then they walked along it. Leva strode next to her with his head down, contemplating something. Probably how much he hates peasants, she thought. “So,” she said. “Can you do any magic whatsoever outside of the school?”

He smirked. “I guess I haven’t tried that much,” he said. He turned that well-known, cocky expression on her. A smile played around his lips – the same smile that he always had when he knew he had the upper hand.

Her hair burst into flame.

She couldn’t help the scream that erupted from her mouth. She dropped the rucksack and threw herself to the road, dislodging Cat as she rolled back and forth on the hard ground.

“Stop,” Cat was shouting – as loud as a cat could shout. “Stop it. Stop!”

Leva was laughing.

After a few moments Marian realized that she wasn’t in pain – and she didn’t smell burning hair. She stopped rolling and tentatively put a hand up to her head. Her hair was as long, as lush and as curly as ever. It was a bit dustier now, but otherwise undamaged.

Leva was almost on the road himself. His face was red and tears glinted at the corners of his eyes as he snorted with laughter. “It was an illusion,” he gasped. “You should have seen yourself -”

What she was seeing was red. She scrambled to her feet, ready to punch him in his smug, upturned mouth. Cat was shouting something but she couldn’t really make it out. She didn’t care.

She opened her hand at the last moment so that her punch turned into a hard slap. Leva’s laugh became a choke as he was thrown off balance and onto the road.


Today’s lesson for me is: if you have personal problems, write them right in to your novel.

When I started writing today, I was behind by almost 3000 words and I was not in a good mood. I’m currently having some personal problems with my best friend – my ex-best friend, I should say, since our friendship is a bit on the rocks these days. I had just finished having a totally unsatisfying non-conversation with him and was (and still am) unsure of how to proceed along the road of our relationship.

This novel, and the interactions of the two main characters in it, has become an outlet for my frustration with my friend. While I didn’t come up with the idea with him strictly in mind, he soon became the jumping point for the easy, arrogant Leva, and the problems and flaws we both have were easy to make the starting point of an argument that got out of hand.

When I started writing I didn’t think I would make that many words. But I managed to make up for yesterday’s lack of writing, and keep going. And I could write even more – but I’m going to go home and make some dinner, instead.

Mood: frustrated but in some ways satisfied.
Word Count: 13,358
MusicThe Host of Seraphim, by Dead Can Dance.

Day Seven

Today’s great lesson is: When in doubt, make something delicious to eat.

I stayed up last night to watch the election coverage. Living in Copenhagen means that I’m many hours ahead, and so the election wasn’t officially over for me what with concession and acceptance speeches until around 7:30. To keep myself entertained, I made some writer’s fuel for the next couple of weeks.

My delicious treats are called apple cider caramels. They are rich and gooey, salty and sweet-tart as the very best apples are. You can’t have more than two at a time. They are completely amazing. I’ll be giving them out to my fellow wrimos (don’t want to eat around 50 of them myself!) I have to admit, they distract from the writing. I’m too busy being in caramel heaven.

Anyway, didn’t make the word count today, but I did manage around 800 words. Not bad since I stayed up all night and then had zero time today. I slept in and was late for everything.

Hope you fellow wrimos are doing well. Any other delicious distractions I should be cooking up during November?

Mood: sleepy
Word Count: somewhere between 10,000 and 11,000 – no exact count available tonight.
Music: none tonight.

Day Six

I made it to 10,000 words!

Yesterday, after I bemoaned the fact that I wouldn’t reach my word goal, I wrote a little more – and ended up less than 100 words shy of the par. Just goes to show you. I managed to make that up and instead of falling further and further behind, I’ve managed to keep on track.

To mark the 10,000th word, I decided to put in a wordle. How have I been doing?

Wordle: 6th November


The largest word is of course the name of my protagonist, Marian. Following that seems to be a host of nouns that aren’t terribly interesting, though I suppose if the word obsequious or something similar were popping up all the time, I would have a whole host of different problems to be dealing with.

Another thing I noticed was that of the 10,000 words, I think around 300 are listed on there. If wordle really does chronicle and analyse every single word we use, I’m not using too many. Obviously conjunctions, articles and pronouns are not included.

Maybe I should try more variation in my novel. But if I’m spending all my time thinking about which words to use, I won’t get as many put down.

Mood: tired, mostly.
Word Count: 10035
Music: the dulcet tones of the election coverage – happy Election Tuesday, Americans!

Day Five

I’m pretty sure that my lesson for today is going to be: you can’t win them all.

Even though the day is far from over, I’m pretty sure I won’t make the word count. I shouldn’t be too upset about this. I think that 4 days of making my goal is the longest streak I’ve had during Nanowrimo. Really, I should be happy.

I’m not that happy.

Today was productive in ways other than writing, and tonight I will go out and do something nice, and not think about writing words at all. I had intended to write my words this morning. I’m trying to participate in daily morning write-ins at my local book-cafe. This morning was the first one I have been able to attend. I got there a little after 9, and left a little after 10.

How many words did I write? 138.

That’s pretty pathetic, even for me. I partially blame my computer: Scrivener froze twice and wouldn’t actually open. When I tried to write in another application, the entire computer froze and I just sat there for five minutes wondering if my computer had finally kicked the bucket.

But enough of my excuses. Today, I won’t hit the recommended mark. I’m trying to be okay with that.

Mood: up and down (thesis is going well; writing, not so much)
Word Count: 6987 so far
MusicSkalds and Shadows by Blind Guardian

Day Four

Today I wrote, “The streets were dark and without light.

Yes, that was an actual sentence in my actual Nanowrimo novel.

Fortunately, the inner editor kicked in and I removed it before continuing. Even though we’re not supposed to hit the backspace key, EVER (I remember someone saying that we should tape it over), I will never be sorry that I failed to hit it then. What a sentence. Eesh.

As I rather casually read over what I had written during the course of the evening, I noticed that I used the word dark  a lot. I am describing an evening scene in which my main character returns to her hometown. And even though night is falling, do I really have to use dark as many times as I do?

I guess that’s the lesson for Day number four. I need to broaden my vocabulary.

I never thought I had a particularly small vocabulary. I know a lot of synonyms and almost-synonyms, and a lot of words that are long and complicated and impossible to spell. But the problem is that I don’t necessarily use them.

When it comes to writing, I believe that the right word should be used. Not the most complicated word, not the least complicated word. The right word. I want to use the right words in my writing, and I’m pretty sure that of the ten or so darks that I use in my 400 word paragraph, I could find at least eight other ‘right’ words.

I know that’s not the point right now. The point is to get all those words down and fix it up later. But I couldn’t help noticing it, and wishing that I could think of something better at the time.

Mood: pretty positive – I’m still above the daily word count goal!
Word Count: 6,765
MusicSlow, Love Slow by Nightwish (the instrumental version)

Happy writing!

Day Three

Today’s lesson was a little bit of a difficult one. I learned (again) how tedious it is to write when I just don’t feel like it.

Three times I fell asleep while writing. It was only 10 PM. The scenes that I wanted to put out were laid out nicely in my head, but didn’t come out the right way on paper. Since I’m attempting to quash my inner editor, I didn’t go back and erase everything and spend the next six hours staring at the blank screen. But I wanted to. Oh, how I wanted to.

I don’t feel like the writing I did today was particularly good. But I know what’s going to happen fairly soon – a nice, tense action scene – and I’m looking forward to it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go above my recommended word count.

But, for now, I need to go to bed and prepare for a long day tomorrow.

Is there anybody out there who’s got more than 5000 words? If so, I’d love to know how you do it.

Mood: slightly less optimistic than yesterday. But hey, I’m still on track, and that’s something.
Word Count: 5024
Music: The Moon by Dark Moor.

Day Two

Mood: still positive
Word Count: 3,376

I am still going strong on day two – for the second day in a row, I made the recommended word count and then some. I didn’t actually write the 1667 words that one is supposed to do in a full day, but I had a little help from yesterday’s count.

Today’s lesson for me was that 1) writing is so much more fun than my thesis and 2) I should maybe try challenges like this more often.

What I wrote today isn’t great literature. I knew even as I was writing it that it was pretty bad. But there was something comforting about thinking, hey, save it for the editing stage. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t erase everything and sit for an hour cogitating on exactly the right word. And as a result, I reached my word goal in around an hour.

When I was younger, I was able to sit down and write novels and edit as I went along. But I haven’t written a novel outside of Nanowrimo since I was 16. Every time I start, I get a certain amount in, but then life kicks in and the prospect of getting in the right mood, editing, putting out something of the same quality in a consistent manner – it all gets to me, and I never finish. Nanowrimo helps me with that. Even though I know what I’m writing isn’t that great, I can push past that and focus on just putting things down.

I don’t know whether I’ll go back and edit it later, but I’d like to think so. Otherwise it’ll end up in the trash.

Hope day two is still a well of optimism for you guys!