I have, in my life, written three novels: one mediocre, one awful, and one considerably better than anyone, least of all myself, expected. That's not counting five novellas and innumerable short stories. So I'm working on my fourth novel, but it's the first I've done for Nanowrimo (the past three novels have taken me, at minimum, a year each).
It's been three years since I've written a novel. Until I typed that last sentence, I hadn't really processed that. I've been working on novellas because they're so much quicker, and I can hone my craft without dedicating a large portion of my life to it. But I'm so, so glad and excited to be back writing a novel.
I have a few goals for this novel:
- I want to enjoy writing it. This is the highest priority for me. I always love writing, but sometimes it's in the awful, why-is-this-so-much-work sort of way. I understand that what I'm doing is hard, but I want to have fun while I do it.
- I want it to (and I expect that it will) be of a higher quality than my previous first drafts. I have a lot, lot more experience as a writer than I did when I wrote my last novel. (Bless you, little novellas!) I know some tricks that make the writing process easier for me, and I'm employing all of them.
- I want to exceed fifty thousand words. There. I said it.
Three goals! We'll see if I reach them. Please note that one of my goals is not finishing the novel itself. It's been a long time since I've written a novel, and this one is, so far, significantly chewier than I expected, with more characters, subplots, and unexpected (to me, at any rate) twists. I honestly have no idea how long it's going to be. I guess I'll find out by the end of November.
I know I've briefly mentioned my work-in-progress. It has the working title The Winter Court, and it is heavily influenced by Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Macbeth (I'll give you a hint: one of these is not like the others...), as well as the innumerable fantasy novels I've read growing up that roughly seem to follow the same outline. I'm trying to take all the tropes and stereotypes that I love so dearly and, with some grace and luck, perhaps show a new side of them to the audience...
At least, that's the plan. We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to be flexible this year.
And to reward you for having so patiently waded through this post, I present a snippet from The Winter Court. It's about my two main characters, Valerian and Yarrow. (Everyone in this culture is named after herbs.)
“You’re right,” Valerian repeated. He ran a hand through his dark hair, dragging it out of order. “You’re right, and I’m sorry. My only explanation, feeble as it may be, is that I have something important to tell you, and I’m nervous.”
“Apology accepted,” Yarrow managed to say, as her heart beat quicker. A moment before she had been unbearably tired, like she hadn’t slept for a week. Now her pulse raced, her veins felt like they flowed with champagne, and she felt dizzy, intoxicated. Don’t smile, she ordered herself. Don’t act like you have the faintest idea what’s coming. You need to look surprised when he says it.
“Yarrow,” Valerian began. He bit his lip. “You know you’re my best friend, right? And that you always will be?”
“Yes.” Don’t smile, don’t smile…
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you. It’s—well, it’s something I should have told you a long time ago. A really long time ago. And—I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
Her heart stopped beating. Smile, smile! her subconscious screamed at her. Act natural!
“Yarrow,” he said, glancing over her shoulder, the reflection of another form glimmering in his eyes, “I want you to meet someone…”
Yarrow turned around. She saw the elf.
I hope you enjoy, dear readers! I wrote that portion just today, which means, although I'm fond of it today, I may bitterly rue sharing it tomorrow... but that's the risk of writing, and it's one I'm prepared to take.
My Nano username is ARuvidich. Visit my page and add me as a buddy!
Happy writing, dear friends.