A NaNoWriMo Blog

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Over Halfway!

I'm now officially over halfway to the goal--25,005 words, leaving 24,995 to go. I've hit the halfway point on 11/12, meaning I've got eighteen full days to accomplish what took me twelve so far. Huzzah!

Write On!

Went to my first write-in last night at Nina's in St. Paul. Amazingly, I actually advanced the ball a bit--it was nice also to be among a group of similarly suffering folks.

I just may get over 50% done this weekend, which would be nice; I am coming up on the most difficult writing, the "road of trials" section of the book, which is basically my traveling party running into a series of tests that, while entertaining, are only tangentally related to the main narrative drivetrain.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Well, I passed the 20,000 word barrier, hitting 20,298 tonight. It was a bit of a struggle at the end; I don't think the stuff I wrote in the last hour was my best, but who knows? I may reread it tomorrow and marvel. Or I may mark it up mercilessly. Time will tell.

At any rate, just so you can see that I am, in fact, writing stuff, here's a battle scene:

It was about a half an hour later when they heard the groan.

Lorelei had just recomposed herself; Miia and Malcolm had given her a wide berth, and while Radulf had come and lain by her feet, she wasn't talkative. Indeed, the first words anyone in the party had spoken since entering the battlefield were spoken in unison, as Malcolm, Lorelei, and Miia all said, at once, "What the—"

None of them could complete the thought, as there was a sudden tremor, followed by a tremendous quake that dropped them all.

"Swords!" called Lorelei by reflex, bouncing up and forcing herself to hold her feet. Miia was a bit slower on the uptake, but soon enough she had risen to a defensive position.

Malcolm, for his part, was being bounced away from the two Valkyries, hollering bloody murder—until his howls were replaced by terrible howling..

Out of one of the tarry places, a huge tendril had suddenly shot forth, twelve feet high at least. It flowed upward, and stopped in place.

And turned.

"On your guard," Lorelei called out. "I don't like the looks of this."

"You think?" Miia shouted. "What is it?"

A deep rumbling thrum came from the monolith.

"Lassies!" shouted Malcolm, trying in vain to remain upright. "Get away! He'll kill you!"

The top of the column slowly distorted into three divots. Two at top. A larger one below.

Eyes and mouth.

"Hhhhhhyyyyyyooooouuuu!" the beast cried, and threw a tarry tenticle out, grasping Miia before she had time to react, and lifting her five feet off the ground, her sword clattering to the ground.

"Go, Lorelei!" she cried out.

"Like Hell," came the reply, as Lorelei strode forward. "Drop her!"

The beast roared out something like a cross between peals of derisive laughter and a small earthquake.

"He's not scared of you, lass!" said Malcolm, crawling over to her position. "Your swords can't hurt him!"

"What is he?" said Lorelei, dropping to a crouching position.

"He's a huge tarry monster."

"I can see that."

"He's an ardbeg!" continued Malcolm. "What's left of a shapeshifter after he dies."


"'Tis deep magic, lass. Concentrated ambrosia is just part of the potion involved. The person taking it is mortal—all things are. But the residue of the spell remains for years after the creature dies."

The conference was broken up by a piercing scream from Miia.

"All right, enough chitchat. What kills it?"

"Nothing, lass. 'Tis already dead."

"You've been a lot of help, Malcolm," said Lorelei, leaping to her feet and accelerating toward the beast at full speed.

She looked at the creature, looking for a weakness. Seeing none, she did the best thing she could; she leapt, and struck at the tendril that was holding Miia.

The ardbeg roared in protest as the tar cleaved partially. Unfortunately, Lorelei's sword remained stuck fast.

"That's a problem," she muttered, falling back, hand searching the ground as another tendril shot out.

Lorelei dropped and rolled away as the tar impacted the earth, shaking the ground. She kept her eyes up; the ardbeg's grip on Miia had loosened just enough that her friend was slowly working her way loose.

Another tendril shot at her just as her hand touched paydirt; she grabbed and rolled away, springing up and swinging the sword with wanton abandon at the trunk above.

The ardbeg screamed as the tendril dropped, and hit the ground, bringing Miia in tow with a sploosh.

Lorelei rushed to her friend, who was already busy extricating herself. "Get the steel!" Miia called out, and Lorelei immediately obliged, seeing happily that both swords had stuck to the fallen side of the tendril.

Miia pulled herself free like a kid pulling taffy—she stretched the tar until it broke. She and Lorelei then rushed back to where Radulf was dutifully propping Malcolm up.

"How are you?" asked Lorelei, as she tried to think of some sort of defense.

"Well, I'm sticky and oily," said Miia. "But not in a good way."

"Lasses, I hate to repeat myself, but let's go!"

The beast shot forth an arcing tendril that landed behind them, and it slowly began to pull itself toward them.

"No, I think this one wants to dance," said Lorelei, moving her sword slowly. Then, suddenly, she paused, and smiled.

"I'm going to owe you another bottle of whisky, Malcolm," she said. "Miia, get the flint ready."


But Lorelei was already at her pack, pulling out a bottle of tan liquid and the blue tunic she'd purchased; she hated to lose this already, but there wasn't time to debate. She doused the tunic, pushed it into the bottle, and shouted, "Spark!"

Miia had realized what she was doing; she struck the flint and the shirt ignited.

Lorelei rose and tossed the flaming bottle to the foot of the ardbeg. "Grab Malcolm," she said, "And run!"

Miia grasped Malcolm around the middle, paying no heed to his protests, while Lorelei urged Radulf into a dead sprint. They dove behind a rise just as the bottle exploded.

The ardbeg screamed out in a dull roar as it was overwhelmed by the flames. Slowly, they crept up and down every tendril of the beast, until it slowly melted into a pool of black, which slowly cooled to obsidian.

The party had watched in fear and fascination; it was just as the beast was starting to cool that Miia spoke up.

"Well, that explains it," she said, pointing to a bit of charred cloth and a partially molten bronze ensign in the shape of a cannon.

"He was one of Fowler's men," said Lorelei, laughing. "I bet one you killed."

"Trying to return the favor, I guess," said Miia, smiling in spite of herself. And for the first time in over a week, she laughed.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Riding the Rollercoaster

14,240 and counting. That's ahead of pace, still, and makes me feel all good.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to realize a few things:

  • While I may hit 50,000 words this month, there is no way I'm going to be "done" with my novel. That's well and good, of course--you still "win" as long as you get 50,000 words down, and I think that's increasingly attainable--especially given that the last half of the month favors me more than the first. And I never expected to have a draft worthy of submission by December 1. But I'm 14,240 in, Lorelei hasn't met her God-Teacher yet, and they've still got a heretofore unplanned excursion to a meeting of the Urusks' High Council. Not to mention that even when they meet Zvonimir, we're at maybe 25% of the way through the story. And that's not including a few things that I intend to add in the editing process--details on battles, a bit more shading, and so forth. I'm figuring 100,000 words will get 'er done--or about 300-400 pages. Whee!
  • Characters are starting to morph on me. That should happen--characters should start insisting that pace my early intentions, they have their own lives and views on things, thank you very much. Lorelei is more reserved than I thought, and more plagued by self-doubt. Miia is more fiery, and more reckless. Malcolm is more noble than I thought, by a large, large margin. That necessitated the stopover with the Urusks. And I haven't even met Zvonimir yet, other than as a few asides--and he's arguably the most complex character I've conceived of.
  • I'm starting to hit the rollercoaster. I'm blowing very hot and cold--one minute I think I might just have something, and most other minutes I think I'm churning out garbage. The nice thing about NaNoWriMo is that the goal of 50,000 words keeps you marching forward in the face of doubt; once I've written half this story, I'm going to finish it up through sheer intertia. That's why I started this in the first place.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Comment Spam!

Sorry, Robin, I've added word verification to the comments. So while this site will still be good for reading about stuff I'm writing, it will no longer give you your penis enlarger fix.

As for my current stats--11,932 words, just shy of 24%, a pace of 1704 1/2 words a day--in other words, right in the ballpark. Odds are I won't advance the ball much over the next few days, but I'm in a good position. Plus, shades of deus ex machina, Miia's no longer dying thanks to Malcolm and his whisky, rosemary, and ambrosia potion, so I'm feeling less bad about how I've abused poor Miia and Lorelei so far.

Biggest problem now? I'm starting to be plagued by self-doubt. That still, small voice that tells me that the stuff just isn't good. I'm trying to ignore it--and I think it's just possible I will.