Look at that. It’s December 2nd.
IT’S DECEMBER? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???
Well, I won’t complain. December is full of all sorts of excitement, it also means NaNoWriMo is officially FINISHED. *blows trumpets and consumes cake* This NaNo was a bit different for me, but quite a good one.
The beginning of the adventure took place in October, the time to delve into NaNo planning. This is when I make a thorough outline of my NaNo novel, polish the character bios, make a cover and other such fun things, catch up on all emails and life stuff, and this year I also had to edit my Rooglewood Press contest entry. My plate was full in October, to say the least. Then we decided to sand and redo our floors and have a mini vacation later in the month. Also our hot water heater and washing machine broke. Yeah, October exploded. Trying to outline my novel during all that took some. . .doing. It didn’t help that More White than Stars was probably the hardest one to outline yet. I was at a loss with this book.
You see, each book of the series follows a different pair of dragon riders (and that’s probably the 754th time or so I’ve mentioned that *cough*). Every book sort of does a reset, starting back from the beginning and following the adventures of the five pairs of riders. The last two books will be the finales, starting where I left all the other books and telling the story of all the characters. And since there’s five pairs of riders and More White than Stars was the fifth book that meant. . .this was the last book about an individual pair of riders and the next one will begin the finale. o.O
When I started this series back in 2010 the idea of finishing the individual books felt like an eternity away. Good gravy, time goes by fast!
Since this was the final book before starting up on the big ol’ finale I wanted to make it special, bigger than the others. But HOW? That was the question. Outlining started out slow. I had no idea where to take this book, hardly an inkling of an idea. I had the first few chapters outlined, which I was kind of excited about because I decided to revisit some old characters since they will be reappearing in the next book, but still I didn’t know where to take this story. I was scared it was going to be boring.
My villainous white haired, blue eyed boy appeared out of absolutely nowhere and from then on the story soared. I had high hopes after that. (Because I was soaring which meant I was high up and. . . Ahem, never mind.)
All my desires to make this story bigger than the rest expounded far greater than I ever imagined. Just when I thought I finally knew the full plot of my main villain, Cael twisted it and turned it into something much, much more. The cliché world I had feared I created flipped over. The simplicity of this storyline I thought of so long ago became so much deeper. All because a white haired boy decided he wanted me to tell his story.
Outlining still proved to be a bit difficult as I attempted to untangle all the new intricate plots into the old. But by the end of it I had a story I could not wait to begin writing.
I finally got that chance when midnight hit on the night of October 31st. The second I wrote that first sentence I fell completely in love with my main character Iavin.
“If Iavin had a list of the things he wanted to be doing at that very moment,
standing in the midst of the crowded ball room of laughing,
dancing, far too loud people would be at the bottom of the list.”
From there things went pretty smoothly. There were definitely times where I didn’t want to be writing and had to force myself to stay seated and pump out those words, but those days were fairly few. What really helped this year was my newish taste for coffee. I now completely and totally understand why authors live off the stuff. For my whole life it’s been something I just couldn’t swallow. The bitter taste made me shudder. But sometime this year my mom and brother decided to start drinking it and I tentatively joined them. At first it was pretty awful, but with each cup I developed more and more a taste for it until eventually I actually. . .liked it. Miracle of miracles! Thus, this NaNo I was able to join thousands of others in over-coffee-consumption and I honestly don’t know how I survived my previous NaNos without it. It kept me alert and awake on those days I really just wanted to crawl under the covers and sleep the day away. Because, ya know, not much sleeping goes on during NaNo. I hardly went to bed before midnight once during it all. *cough, cough*
Maybe it was because of that reason I kept accidentally writing in present tense. Um, what? I’ve never written anything in present tense, ever. And yet constantly throughout the month I kept finding myself writing in present tense for some weird reason and had to go fix it into past. It might be because I had my outline set out in present tense, and I was also rereading The Hunger Games trilogy throughout the month, which is written in present tense. Add that to mad writing, too much coffee, and not enough sleep and I guess my brain got confuzzled.
But overall most of the month was spent grinning at all of Iavin’s adorkable awkwardness, wanting to reach through the screen and hug Sayleth, and cackling at anything and everything that came out of Cael’s mouth.
“"Your dragons? No. I like those two.
Even if they are a bit fiery." He grinned at his own joke.”
Because this was the last book before the finale, I wanted to sort of lead up to the finale. This included bringing in all sorts of character from previous books, including probably my favorite pair of riders, Darven and Leiden, whose adventures I wrote about last NaNo. Having “my boys” return included much squealing and grinning and maybe a bit of jumping up and down. They didn’t appear until the endish, but boy was I happy when they did!
Those last few chapters were definitely a total blast to write. It gave me a taste of what the next book will be like when I finally get to continue the story and return to all the characters instead of resetting it. I was a happy writer and so immersed in the story I had a bit of a shock when it. . .ended.
See, last year was the first NaNo I ever finished my novel during NaNo. They’re always so terribly long I have to continue writing through December to finish it up. Last year I finished on the 25th and thought surely that was just a happenstance and wouldn’t occur again. But on November 22nd I was typing along and fwoosh THE END. What? There’s still a week of NaNo left! I’m done??
That wasn’t the only shocking part though. Each NaNo I set my goal for 100k instead of 50k because, as mentioned, my novels are LONG. I want to get them finished as soon as possible so I set that goal in hopes of at least finishing by Christmas. Every book of the series thus far has been over 100k words. I had estimated this one to be around 120k.
92,340 words and More White than Stars was done.
But. . .what? That’s under 100k words!
I teeny tiny OCD part of me considered writing in something else just to reach that 100k since I’ve done a double NaNo every other year. But then the more reasonable part of me that doesn’t come out as often as it should smacked some sense into my head. The final week of NaNo was going to be insane. I knew that, I knew that from the beginning and wondered how I ever was going to squeeze in writing time. Now I didn’t have to. Why oh why would I make myself write when I didn’t have to? I was done! I should be done. Once in a blue moon I listen to common sense. So I resisted and just enjoyed the fact that I finally wrote an (almost) reasonable sized book and was done with NaNo early. And it was a good thing too because, yeah, the last week of NaNo was quite the busy one. This was the first year I wasn’t writing something for NaNo to the very last day. It was a weird feeling, but kind of nice too. I think I needed that breather.
If I were to describe this NaNo in one word I’d probably say: Interesting. But in a good way. Cael kept me on my toes, I learned all sorts of things about this series and really delved deeper into the plot, Iavin was his adorable self, writing Sayleth as a mute proved to be a really fun challenge, I finished waaay earlier than I thought I would—yep, NaNo 2014 was a success!
I’m already looking forward to next year! This was a special year because, as mentioned (multiple times now, whoopsy), this was the last individual book before I can finally continue all those stories I stopped at the end of the other books, this one included. Next year I’ll be revisiting each of my dragon riders and delving into that finale I never thought I’d actually reach. Since there’s so much plot and tons of characters, the finale is planned to run through two books. But who knows? Maybe I’ll squeeze it into one and only have one more book left of the series. But. . .probably not. I’ve mentioned I write long things, right?
But it might not be a good idea to already be thinking about next year’s NaNo when this year’s has only just closed. *grins*
NaNo 2014, you were pretty great. Thanks for the adventure!
Now I’m taking a break from writing for the duration of December and enjoying the holidays. We’ll see what comes of January.
What about YOU? How was your NaNo? Any writing plans for December?