NaNoWriMo Update: Day 10

So it’s Day 10 of the NaNoWriMo challenge and I feel it as good a time as any to provide an update on my progress.

With a rocky start and a healthy handful of every day life issues going on, I have pleasantly surprised myself with my perseverance.  I’m the first to admit that when things start getting too hard or I see myself falling behind, I have an unflattering tendency to stand down and look to something else to succeed at.

Strangely this has not been the case, despite being behind in my word count since day one.  I can only attribute this to the following:

  1. Seeing other WriMo’s and their word counts soar have motivated me to keep up with the masses and tell myself that I can do it too.
  2. I took some advice before NaNoWriMo started, which was to tell as many people as possible that I was participating and would end the month with 50,000 words. It has made me vulnerable to the expectations of others, and so if I fail, I won’t be the only one who’s disappointed.
  3. My own expectations.  With life taking a bit of a tumble at the moment, that feeling of achieving something amazing for myself and following through with such a huge undertaking, is definitely something I know is worth working for.

So yes, I am behind, but I feel like I’m still winning.

The actual writing? It’s not brilliant, but it’s not awful either.  Okay, so there are some pretty awful bits, and a lot of it is more stream-of-consciousness writing, but it’s moving forward nonetheless.

Now it’s time for some NaNoWriMo fun facts!

Wordcount: 10,019
Words Remaining: 39,981
Days Remaining: 21
Words Per Day To Finish On Time: 1,904 (eek!)

Name of Protagonist: Arrow
Other Characters’ Names: Old Man Cracker, Eliad the Dragon, Prince Xander, Manacor, Dual, Lani
Places of Interest: The Kingdom of Dragarthion, Winter Hollow, The Forest of Whispers
Magic: The Mace (Defined by the abilities of Manipulation, Alteration, Communication & Evocation) once ran strong through the royal blood line, with each new generation of royals being trained as Wielders of the Mace to protect their kingdom and help it prosper.  But with the slow extinction of dragons along with infidelity within the monarchy, the Mace has become weak within the royal bloodline and a bastardised strain of it now runs through the common folk, untamed and undisciplined.  A true, full strength Wielder of the Mace has not been seen in many generations.
Animals: Are rare and seen as a symbol of wealth and power. Mace Wielders once had the power to communicate with all animals.

The Story So Far:
When Arrow loses her parents in a horrifying accident, she is appointed to serve as a maid in the castle with the other orphans of the city. When one day the prince’s cat, Manacor, talks to her, Arrow fears she has some skill for the Mace, and maneuvers to wait on the prince during his training sessions in the hope that she might uncover what her ability might mean.  Meanwhile, a threat grows in the South, and the truce that the royals once made with the Dragons of Dragarthion is threatened by corruption.

Extract: The Forest of Whispers
Once upon a time the trees whispered to each other. They cared more than they’d like us to know about the troubles of man. Sway they would, to encourage the voices of mortals to wander close with the breeze, passing from leaf to leaf, speaking softly until the words faded to a just a sigh. They loved especially to hear stories of friendship, tales of courage, and words of love, for in those words was a nourishment that brought colour to their leaves and strength to their branches. They fed off man’s desires and grew tall with their dreams.

Then came a time of great darkness, when whispers of love, courage and merriment became scarce. The trees shook desperately, yearning for the breeze to bear the pleasant tales of old, but instead the gentle winds brought them only grim tidings. Stories of war and death delivered a coldness that made their branches brittle and their leaves withered. They drooped heavily with the sadness that overcame them and the leaves fell from their limbs, forlorn and heartbroken.

Over the years they ceased whispering to one another, all hope lost at ever hearing again the happy voices of men. It is of common belief that in that time of darkness the trees lost their voices and their lives with the happiness of mortals.


How are you guys keeping motivated? And how are my fellow first timers finding the NaNo experience?

~storytelling nomad~

14 comments on “NaNoWriMo Update: Day 10

  1. I’m finding it hard to keep up, and constantly feeling like I’m behind, or I haven’t done enough, haven’t moved the story enough. But the word count is there. this morning I hit 14,000 words, which is still behind but not as much as a couple of days ago. the sad thing is that I still don’t know what the plot is, despite having a pretty solid main character and things happening.

    trying to avoid the feeling that it doesn’t matter, but the fact that my novel has been a higher priority recently than my university work must speak to something. whatever it is. good luck!

    • I feel the same way. I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t been a bit of a struggle and I think it has a lot to do with my lack of direction – I have no idea where the story is going so I do keep writing myself into dead ends. Despite that though, I am still finding it useful to just write. As I write more I find I’m discovering a lot about where I want the story to go, even if I have no idea how to get there! Plus, I’ve given myself the freedom to kill off characters in one chapter and have them alive and kicking in the next, simply because I realise I need them after all, which helps to keep rolling!

      Either way, you’re certainly not alone with your worries. And 14,000 words is incredible! You’re not far behind at all! Good luck to you too :)

    • Thank you Gretchen! It’s quite terrifying posting these sort of raw ideas to the world, because they are so far from being finished and, in the case of NaNoWriMo, are not at all thought-out, edited or developed. So it’s nice to hear the words aren’t too terrible :)

  2. Cheering for you, Katy! Keep at it! Sounds like you’re building on some terrific ideas; I’m especially interested in your system of magic and the Forest of Whispers as far as background and backdrop for your story. Don’t worry about it being first draft (i.e. rough or unpolished) right now, or hitting dead ends. Just keep creating and working toward those word count goals. You need to mine that raw material. Later, when you start to refine that ore, you’ll be amazed at all the shiny stuff that comes out of it.

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Joseph, and for your kind words. I’m certainly hoping this raw material will lead to some shiny stuff one day! In the meantime, I really appreciate your positive feedback re the background and backdrop of the story. I shall keep on keeping on!

  3. I’m finding myself swinging between thoughts of “this is really easy, I don’t see what all the fuss is about” and “Oh god my brain has liquefied and is dribbling out of my eyes.”

    I don’t think I really have any motivation, writing the 1667 or so words I need is now just “something I do” when I get home from work.

    • Well you’re absolutely killing the word count, so whatever it is you’re doing I’d say it’s working! I have very little direction with my story, so it’s hard to get excited about where it’s going when I don’t know myself. In saying that, as I continue to write, new ideas keep apparating, which is the part of the process I was most looking forward to. Okay, I better go add some more words now. Don’t think I’ll be catching up to you anytime soon though ;)

      • I think I just have a natural talent for waffling on about nothing. I’ve managed on two occasions to get 700 words out of climbing a ladder and 400 from walking through a door.

        I’ve found my outline plan really, really helped. Ordinarily I’d be spending hours upon hours thinking about what was going to happen next, but now I can just focus on getting as much as I can done.

        I’ve really been trying to build up a bit of a cushion of words as well, as I’m going to have maybe 3 days next week taken up by work stuff so I won’t be able to write. :(

      • 700 words climbing a ladder is impressive! I’d like to read that!

        Next time I’d definitely like to have a go with a plan. This was an experiment of sorts for me, and I’m actually surprised that I’m still hammering away at it all things considered. But a plan, in particular any semblance of a plot, would be really beneficial I think.

        Well, it looks like you have a nice cushion of words to fall back on. Doesn’t it suck when works get in the way of the fun stuff?! Good luck!

  4. You rock! You’re doing so well. I’m at 2,050 words per day to finish on time. I have no earthly idea how I’m going to finish.

    • You’re doing great too! We may be a little behind, but we will get there! I keep telling myself to have a catch up day, where I knock off about 5k, but the timing never seems quite right :P

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