IT’S DECEMBER. December. DECEMBERRRR. NaNoWriMo is over. WUT???? We have made it through the insanity that is November a.k.a National Novel Writing Month and I MAY BE A LITTLE SHOCKED.
NaNo is always this weird paradox of time in that it feels like 3 days long and a lifetime all at once. I think it’s because the days are zipping by in my life, but I’m also so immersed in my characters lives, I feel as if I’ve gone on the same ginormous, life-changing journey as them. When I think back to the beginning of November, it seems like yesterday, and yet also so much has happened since then. It’s weird. NaNo is weird. EVERYTHING IS WEIRD.
But hi! We have made it!!! AND IT’S DECEMBER.
Except, erm, NaNo is still basically going on for me because I didn’t quiiiite finish my story. Yeah. It’s a beast. As of right now I have just FIVE chapters left and am right in the midst of the crazy climax so I’m excited to wrap this thing up. It shouldn’t be much longer now… Icandothis Icandothis Icandothis.
Ahem. Anyways. Just because my story isn’t finished, doesn’t mean I can’t do a big ol’ NaNo wrapup post with some thoughts on the experience and stats (because who doesn’t love stats?)! And yes, snippets shall also be included. *wriggles eyebrows*
This was both a wonderful and stressful NaNo, as all NaNos are. Although this one did feel a bit rougher than some of the others. Or it may have just felt like that because last year went so smoothly it gave the illusion of this one being hard. I DON’T KNOW. But still, I definitely enjoyed this one.
I think a big thing was that I have been in total editing mode pretty much all year long, so shifting into that first draft mentality didn’t go well. I keep pausing and stressing over every single wording choice, and bemoaning how dumb my sentences are. Some days I threw caution to the wind and wrote like a rabid monkey, but mostly that inner editor would not shush.
And yet, despite all my stressing, I still think this draft is a total disaster. XD I should have just enjoyed making a mess and accept it which is what I usually try to do during NaNo. But, again, I’ve been so focused on editing this year, more so than any other year, my inner editor has ingrained itself in my brain and won’t go away. >.> I also feel like the words were harder to get down because, despite my enormous outline, the absurdly complicated plot hurt my poor wee brain and it took a lot of effort to bring everything together in a (hopefully but probably not really) logical way.
But I also discovered something that surprised me while writing this. Usually, I am all for dark, emotional stories. Those are my faaave to write (should I be worried?), and I was extra excited about this book because ooooh boy, was it gonna be a feels-slayer. Bwahahaha. I had a playlist full of dramatic instrumental music to tug at my heartstrings, and was totally ready to destroy some fictional people’s lives. But then something happened. I…depressed myself with my own plot. Which has never really happened before. I do get very emotional with my stories, but I usually kinda…like it. We like to feel. And I love when I feel deeply over my novels. But this time, everything was so ridiculously sad, it actually made some cracks in my stony author’s heart.
And I realized…spending 30+ days straight in a depressing story may not be a good thing. If I was writing this slow, and not immersing myself in it during every. waking. hour. for a whole month, I doubt the dark side of it would have bothered me. I like how dark and emotional it is, I don’t want to change that. I think it really brings out the themes. BUT, it may have been a bit much for a NaNo novel. Because this is, without a doubt, my darkest book I’ve ever written. My other stories have some prettyyy emotional things, but I have to say Kings Bleed Gold won as far as deep, heartbreaking themes and a constant flow of sad circumstances. Eheheh. Hurray? XD
But seriously, I don’t regret writing it like that. This is a story I felt needed to be told, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Buuut I’m thinking for something like NaNo, where it’s filling my days and thoughts and life for a complete 30 days, writing something a liiiittle lighter may be better? Or at least not writing something super dark every year. I’m already considering a much more light-hearted and super fun idea I’ve had for a while for next NaNo. *griiiins*
Overall though? I really, really love this story. It definitely has not been the easiest to write, and it’s going to need a lot of work, but it really is a story I want to tell. It’s been a pleasure watching Midas go from bratty prince to hero. Seeing Korinna overcome her debilitating fears and taking a stand. And rooting Syram on as he finds his place in the world. It’s been a journey for sure, and I have no regrets writing it. Every single story is going to cause hard days, long days, stressful days. But, in the end, writing them is always, always worth it.
But enough of my blabbers! Onto the fun stuff!
My final NaNo ‘18 stats.
- Number of Days I Wrote: 30! I managed to write every single day this November. Some NaNos I’m able to do that, some I’m deeefinitely not, but I’m always happy when I can. Despite some insanity, I actually didn’t struggle to find writing time most days this month, which was definitely a happy surprise. And it proved to me I can make time for writing every day if I put effort into it.
- Wordiest Day: November 1st with 7,031 words
- Least Wordiest Day: November 10th with 566 words
- Number of Character Deaths: BWAHAHAHAHA!!!
- Hit 50k On: Day 13!
- Hit 100k On: Day 28! (Yes, I did a double NaNo because sanity? pssshhh. Who needs it?)
Total Words Written: 107,280 words
So many of you sweet people actually kept requesting snippets. Like…of my messy, ridiculous novel. Just SDKJF:LJSD:LJF. I AM HONORED. I kept telling you I’d try to share more and…HERE WE ARE! Just remember I wrote 107k words in 30 days of no sleep so yeah. These are nooot exactly New York Times bestseller worthy. Or even sharing-on-my-little-blog worthy but here we are.
A mock cover I made just for funsies.
First up is one of Midas and Syram’s first conversations (because Syram).
“Are you a slave? I mean, is everyone here a slave?”
“Everyone?” He raised an eyebrow. “Of course not.”
Hope fluttered in Midas’ chest. “Really? Who’s not a slave?”
He groaned as the hope instantly deflated. Was this person serious? His name was becoming more and more fitting by the second. “Of course they’re not, but what about the people?”
“Oh them? Yes, they’re slaves.”
“Where in Ellador even are we?”
He furrowed his brow. “Beneath what?”
“Ellador. Well, somewhere in the west of Ellador I think.”
“Wait, wait, wait.” He mind spun. “Do you mean to tell me this place is underground?”
The man cocked his head again and looked at him as if he was the strange one. “Naturally. Where else would dragons live? The sun is poison to them you know. Well…for now. But I better get going. I doubt they’d be happy if they found me here. Goodbye.”
“No, wait!” But it was too late. The man was already down the tunnel and climbing right off…the edge? Was there a ladder of some kind there? He called to the man again, but his wild head of hair and leather cap had already disappeared from view.
And part of Midas and Korinna’s first conversation.
“It’s nice to meet you, Midas.” The genuine warmth in her tone startled him.
“Is it? No one else seems to think so.”
“Well.” She moved her gaze toward the fire where most of the slaves had gathered to eat and talk amongst themselves, though they didn’t seem too busy to shoot Midas a nasty look every now and again. “You’re our worst nightmare, really.”
He almost choked. “Oh, well that makes me feel better,” he said, coughing up bits of fish.
“Sorry.” Her eyes sparked with a hint of amusement, but the moment was fleeting and her tone dropped again. “It’s just we have hoped for so long the dragons would never reach their goal. We were encouraged when the gold in the mines seemed to run out. But now that you’re here…” They locked eyes, and that strength he had seen in her seemed to seep out, leaving nothing but pure terror. “I fear it will only be a matter of weeks.”
Syram and Korinna were obviously making Midas feel very comfortable with this whole enslaved-by-dragons thing. *cough, cough*
“The earth-shaking roar of a dragon startled him awake. “Get to work!” The dragon’s cry echoed through the sleeping quarters like a boom of thunder.
Midas squinted at the gold light now gleaming from the threads. It was day time already? But didn’t he just get to sleep? They couldn’t possibly expect him to get up already. But judging by the sounds of men shifting out of their cots and clumps of feet on ladders and stone, they did.
He really, really, really hated dragons.
“Things were looking brighter. At least as bright as being enslaved by dragons below the earth and aiding them in bringing the end of the world could be.
“His other source of companionship was Syram, who, unlike Korinna, lingered on the farm for long amounts of time and often aided Midas in his tasks. The man was utterly fascinated by the upper world, and asked Midas a hundred questions a day about his life there. He didn’t mind a bit talking about his kingdom and, odd though the man was, welcomed the company. It helped distract him from his own thoughts.
One day, he was sitting outside the stone building and pulling feathers out of a dead chicken (not his favorite task) with five more piled up, when the redhead bounced down the path to him, a book in hand. He plopped down in front of Midas with a grin.
“I thought I’d entertain you today.”
Midas stared wide-eyed at the enormous volume in the man’s lap. “Where did you get that?”
“The dragons’ library,” he said matter-of-factly.
“They have a library?” His mind whirled.
“Of course. The dragons love knowledge.”
“But where do they get the books?”
“Mmm…” He looked up, scratching his head. “They steal them a lot. Dragons do like collecting things, you know. They go above at night quite often to take things.”
“Including people,” Midas murmured.
Syram has a knack for dragging Midas on crazy escapades…
“It looks safe,” Syram whispered. “Come on, quick.” He lowered the plank off the ledge, looped the part of the rope around the hook and held the other end. Then he hopped on and pulled at the rope, keeping the plank from plummeting.
Midas’ heart skipped. “What are you doing?”
Now Syram’s impish grin made an appearance. “I’ve done it tons of times. Though usually I’m by myself, so you better keep a good grip on the rope too. Once we’re both on, we’ll slowly lower ourselves.”
“This is insane.”
Syram cast a nervous glance behind him at the guard dragon. “We need to go.”
With a huff, Midas reached down and took the end of the rope Syram held to keep the plank steady. He took a deep breath, held his foot out, and stepped onto the plank behind Syram. It jerked down, nearly throwing him off his feet, and the rope slipped between their fingers. “Whoa!” He snagged it tight and they halted. The plank rocked underneath them.
“Shhh,” Syram hissed.
He gritted his teeth, more concerned about falling to his death than keeping quiet.
“All right, on the count of three loosen your grip, then grab hold of it again. One, two—”
Midas grunted as both their weight tugged on his arms. Slowly, heart pounding, he loosened his hold. The plank shot down as the rope slid across his gloves. With a yelp, he snagged it again, but Syram did as well, and they lurched to a halt.
Syram tossed a grin over his shoulder. “See? It’s easy. Ready to go again?”
“One, two, three.”
Midas loosened his finger despite himself, and his stomach flopped as they jerked down farther, but now he was getting the hang of it. After four more session, the plank plunked to the ground. Breaths heavy and arms sore, he stumbled to the earth. “This better be extremely important.”
“Very. Come on.” Syram dashed down the path, ducking in the shadows of the hills.
Groaning, Midas hurried after him.
Introducing Princess Ahleri (and her odd pet) of my African inspired kingdom. I only just met her officially at the tail end of November and may totally love her. XD
“Something black and white hurtled toward Midas’ face. He cried out and snatched it from the air before it made contact, but even as he held the wriggling thing before his eyes, he couldn’t comprehend what it was. At first appearance, it seemed to be a white rabbit with black tipped ears and specks along its lower back. But that wouldn’t account for the wings sprouting from its back and three tails. Its wings and tails, too, were tipped with black. It wrinkled its noise and made chirping noises as it continued to writhe in his grip.
“Suru! What do you think you’re doing?”
He pulled the odd rabbit down just as two young woman bustled into the room through a door to the left. One was the young female warrior who had escorted them to the castle. The other appeared a year or two younger than him. Dark hair piled atop her head in a haggard up-do and a smudge of something black streaked across her cheek. Her robe resembled the Queen’s in style, but had patterns of green and brown, save for the stain of black across the front. She wore no jewelry, and rough leather gloves covered her hands.
“I’m so sorry about that!” She ran up to Midas and took the winged-rabbit and held it up to eye level. “Will you please behave?”
Queen Malkaya cleared her throat.
The young woman snapped her head up and seemed to notice Midas for the first time. “Oooh, are you him? The one that can turn things to gold?” Her mouth spread into a delighted smile, and that’s when he saw the resemblance, and it took him by surprise. Was this Queen Malkaya’s…daughter?”
“I am,” he said slowly, offering a slight bow.
She gasped and scowled back down at the winged-rabbit. “See what could have happened, Suru? You could have become a gold statue to stick on the mantel.” The rabbit just squeaked. Rolling her eyes, she placed the creature on her shoulder. It clung there obediently, eyeing Midas with enormous black eyes.
Queen Malkaya stepped forward. “Midas, Korinna, Syram, this is my daughter Ahleri.”
So she was a princess. Amusement tugged his lips up. Her appearance reminded him of the days he and Nikolas would come into the castle after one of their “adventures”, tracking in mud and their clothes ripped, much to Mother’s chagrin. “It is an honor to meet you, Princess Ahleri.”
“Oh, you as well!” Despite her rather disheveled appearance, she curtsied with all the grace of her mother, and grinned wide. “Can I see you turn something to gold? It sounds fascinating!”
“Ahleri, dear, this really isn’t the time,” the Queen said in a long-suffering tone.
“Ahleri handed the book to Syram, whose grin reached all the way across his face. “Thank you,” he breathed, holding it on top of his other book.
“I think we have more like that in the library,” she said.
He snapped his eyes up from the book at this. “Library?”
Midas shared a grin with Korinna. The keyword to Syram’s happiness.
Syram, a man of my own heart.
“I’m going to fix this,” Midas said, and he meant it with every bit of strength in his being. “If I leave, the dragons will just come searching for me again, so I’m going to stop them. Forever.”
Korinna’s brow furrowed. “How?”
“I highly doubt any person on Ellador will be too happy to hear that there is a horde of dragons right under their feet, just waiting to rise up, block the sun, and take reign. And so I’m going to rally forces, all the forces I can across Ellador. And we are going to fight.”
Slowly, Korinna rose to her feet, as did Syram, and the looks on their faces fueled his determination like a burning fire. Hope. He had given them hope.
“Syram.” He held his hand out.
Wordlessly, the man dropped his golden rock into his palm, but a smile crept across his face, and Midas smiled too.
“Let’s get me up on that pillar. It’s time to make a war.”
And there we go! I’m honestly proud I managed to find so many lighthearted ones. XD (And, yes, I may have just picked ones featuring Syram. *cough*)
Despite some bumps in the road, I had a wonderful time this NaNo. I was talking with some of my NaNo-ing buddies and one of them asked us to describe this NaNo in one word. It took me a minute to think of a single word, because this NaNo had so much. And then I realized, that was the answer right there. FULL. I’d describe this NaNo as full. Full of hard days, full of amazing days, full of all around cRaZy days, full of sleepless nights, full of emotions good and bad, full of words. Just very, very full in every sense of the word.
I think that’s what makes NaNo so special. It is an experience, and though sometimes it’ll make you want to pull your hair out and wonder whyyyyy you took on such a ridiculous challenge, in the end, the memories made, lessons learned, good writing habits formed, and novels created is invaluable.
I’d definitely call my 9th NaNoWriMo a success. I’m already looking forward to next year!
Buuut we’re not quite through with the NaNo talk yet. Yeeeah. You guys are gonna have to put up with it for just a bit longer, because next Monday I’ll be posting the 3rd and final installment of the Know the Novel linkup! And will hopefully be answering questions about it for Kings Bleed Gold soon after. Hope you don’t mind!
But seriously. Sooooo many of you have been cheering me on, encouraging me, praying for me, and just all around being a huge, huge, huge blessing to me through this crazy venture. I am utterly grateful for your friendship. I love my internet community so, SO much! Thank you for being the most supportive, enthusiastic friends in the world! <333
Also, I have to give out a huge CONGRATS to alllll of you who participated in NaNo. I watched so many of you conquer those words, carve time out of some craaazy days to write, and do insanely amazing feats to get those words on the page. I’m so beyond proud of ALL my writing buddies. And whether you hit that 50k mark or not, you WROTE. You took the initiative to get words on the page, even when it was hard, and that is the greatest accomplishment of all. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now go, take a nap, say hi to your family, eat some well-deserved Christmas cookies, CELEBRATE, because IT’S DECEMBER AND WE MADE IT TO THE FINISH LINE!
TALK WITH ME!
If you made it through this beast of a post, you get another congratulations! Now TELL ME EVERYTHING. How was your NaNo??? Because I MUST KNOW. How was your November? Are you excited it’s December? (I AM. *cranks up the Christmas music…even though I’ve been listening to it since the beginning of November #NOSHAME*) Let’s discuss all the things!