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NaNoWriMo (November 2019)

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Valka D'Ur, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Time for an update (thank you, @Zkribbler! :)).

    Day 9 total: 15,848 words
    Day 10 total: 17,551 words
    Day 11 total: 19,262 words
    Day 12 total: 21,025 words
    Day 13 total: 22,739 words
    Day 14 total: 24,481 words
    Day 15 total: 26,309 words

    Par for Day 15 is 25,005 words. I'm still ahead, even allowing for the fact that my characters do talk to each other. I'm managing at least 1700 words/day, occasionally gusting to over 1800. That's a reasonably comfortable pace, although I had to really step it up on the nights when I was distracted by a 2-hour episode of Survivor and my usual Friday night Downton Abbey indulgence.

    Over the past several days (RL, not game time), Sir Michael has taught one-and-a-fraction classes of aspiring young soldiers, and was interrupted during the second one by a note from his father, Duke Stefan. As instructed, Michael dismisses the class and when he meets with his father, that's when he learns that the king is dead and his best friends have been blamed for it. Michael's father has ordered him to get out of the palace, go home to the ducal residence, be prepared to flee the kingdom if necessary... because he is friends with the men accused of the king's murder. Duke Stefan is not unreasonably afraid that his son and heir might be questioned under torture, so getting him out of the Queen's reach is what's going on at this point.

    Michael, for his part, is torn between obeying his father and desperately wanting to track his friends down and help them. But he concludes that his father is right, that loyalty to his own family has to come first. As he prepares to leave, there comes a knock at the door to the family quarters in the palace...

    And it's bad news. Michael is floored when he's told that his best friend's father and brother are dead, and that his friend's whereabouts are currently unknown - but a damning 'wanted dead or alive' poster has been circulating around the court and the capital city.

    At this point in the story, the readers know that Sir Randall has been captured and is undergoing torture (in the game he was rescued by his brother, but in this version, the brother was killed, and no rescue is coming). But Michael, his father, and the rest of the Council of Dukes and the common people don't know that. Some of the Queen's people at court were in on the assassination plot, although only a few know everything that's going on.

    Duke Stefan still wants his son to get out of the palace, out of the city, and prepare to get out of the kingdom. The stakes just got a hell of a lot higher for everybody.


    This section is a little awkward to write. Michael's father already knows who the dead king's rightful heir is, but can't let on that it's one of the men who has been accused of killing the king. One of the reasons for writing this alternate version is to get inside the heads of some of the minor characters and the characters I invented. Depending on which character I follow at this point - Michael or his father - the story becomes different, with a different emphasis. At this point Duke Stefan is both lying outright and lying by omission, and frustrated as hell because the 30-year plot to put the king's grandson on the throne has not only gone sideways, but in every other direction as well.

    But this is stuff that Michael doesn't know yet and won't find out for another year or so (game time) and will be somewhat pissed off with his father when he does find out. For that matter, so will the king's heir, who at this point has no idea at all of his true lineage.


    Following the character of Sir Michael isn't what I had originally planned to do with this particular NaNoWriMo. I had a whole list of about half a dozen other parts of the story planned, but when November 1 rolled around, Sir Michael Westmore just stepped up from my subconscious, tapped me on my writer's shoulder, and said, "Hey, my turn. You created me a year ago, and over that time I went from an extra, unnamed soldier to one of the major characters. I have a story to tell, so tell it."

    And here we are.
     
  2. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Day 16: 28,084 words
    Day 17: 29,898 words
    Day 18: 31,607 words
    Day 19: 33,333 words
    Day 20: 35,058 words
    Day 21: 36,770 words

    Duke Stefan and Duke Owen just had one of the most annoyingly circular arguments I've ever written. I'm desperately trying to make one or the other of them try to rescue Randall, because they know he's the rightful heir to the throne, yet they're not doing anything! There's got to be a reason, so I think I've just about nudged Duke Owen into staging a futile rescue attempt. He's a character I created just because I needed Stefan to have a fellow Duke to talk to, and he finally started to take shape as a workable character. Right now I'm not happy with Stefan, though. His current self isn't like the more self-assured one I wrote about earlier this year for one of the Camp events. I need to do some work to make this character more coherent.

    Michael is still on the way home, although he's not happy about it. He's experiencing some personal conflict over whether it's more honorable to obey his father or rescue his friend - if his friend is still alive (the readers know things Michael doesn't).

    And a couple of the dead characters have a chat in the afterlife. Things are going to be revealed, old bits of family strife worked out, and so forth. The two of them realize they have eternity to figure things out, but even so, there's no point in putting it off.
     
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  3. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    And... another NaNoWriMo competition is done.

    Day 22: 38,473 words
    Day 23: 40,097 words
    Day 24: 41,800 words
    Day 25: 43,539 words
    Day 26: 45,048 words
    Day 27: 46,611 words
    Day 28: 48,359 words
    Day 29: 50,279 words
    Day 30: 51,488 words

    As November events go, this one was both easier and harder than the others I've won. In 2016 I novelized the game book Caverns of the Snow Witch (one of the Fighting Fantasy series of game books). I finished that one with something over 62,500 words. I had computer issues in 2017, so I did not finish. In 2018 I started my Kingmaker: Rise to the Throne project (note that for legal reasons Artifex Mundi has officially changed the game's title to King's Heir: Rise to the Throne; however, I will still refer to it as "Kingmaker"), and finished with over 52,000 words.

    Thankfully I did not have the same problem this year as last. Last year I had writer's block for part of the first week and that's when I switched to the Kingmaker project and it just took off. I've been working steadily on this project for an entire year now, through four separate NaNoWriMo competitions, and it's not going to be finished any time soon (new elements of the story keep popping into my head and demand to be included).

    That writer's block last year put me behind to the extent that on November 30 I had to write several thousand words.

    This year? I set a goal of 1700 words/day and kept that up on most days. There were only 4 days when I didn't make the 1700 words (including November 30, as technically I didn't need any words, having validated on the 29th... but because writing every day is important, I did another 1209 words).

    Story-wise, more of the content this time consisted of dialogue. Most of the action was from the point of view of Sir Michael Westmore, the best friend of one of the major characters, and Sir Michael's father, Duke Stefan. These are original characters, and I wanted to get to know them. So Michael interacted with his father, his students, an acquaintance or two, Count Chocula, several servants, and his mother. I left off with Michael and his mother having a conversation in which Michael has informed her that the king has been murdered, his (Michael's) best friend has been framed and arrested for the crime, and that Duke Stefan thinks it best to prepare to flee the kingdom if it looks like the traitors will turn on any other of the noble families. Duke Stefan intends that his family will survive this mess.

    My immediate plans for the continuation of this part of the story is for Duke Owen (who was involved in that annoying circular argument I mentioned) to attempt to rescue Randall from the Tower. He will fail. Such is the fate of characters who pop out of nowhere and annoy me, but it does satisfy the requirement for someone to attempt a rescue. In the computer game, the rescue was successful. In the original version of my story, which follows the computer game, it's successful. But the alternative version is basically a "what if the rescue was not successful?" scenario.

    The aspect of the contest this year that was hard has to do with the fact that NaNoWriMo "upgraded" its website. In my view, the results are horrific, as in it is not even close to user-friendly for visually-challenged people (my stats page is dusty pastels on a greyish-white background), there are so many fields that are cluttered with useless icons and pointless information (seriously, I'm supposed to record my start and end time when I write?). The graphs are no longer straightforward, but are now hard to read and very annoying. The buddy lists were zapped, and so was quite a bit of other information. I was informed that this year was my "0th" win (not true; this is my 3rd NaNoWriMo win (in November; I have several other Camp NaNoWriMo wins).

    Oh, well. They have plenty of feedback now on what people don't like about the website (the forums can be adjusted for which theme is most comfortable on the eyes, but the stats pages can't), and hopefully things will get fixed in time for the April Camp NaNoWriMo event.

    This year marks my third time in making it to 50,000 and beyond, and also my third hat trick (both Camp events and the main event). I didn't think I'd ever finish even once, but 9 years of trying finally paid off and I think I now have a good handle on what it takes to make it on a consistent basis.

    I've always recommended having an outline, and I still do. I did have an outline this time, but right from the first day, everything veered off-course and I ended up winging most of it. I had some ideas where the story had to be at certain points, as I was trying to synchronize certain actions Michael took with the actions other characters were taking. The only anomaly was the conversation between the two dead characters. I could excuse that by saying, "time runs differently when you're dead", but that's a bit of a cop-out when they're talking about real-time events. That part is going to need some serious editing.

    In conclusion, even with the annoyances of learning to navigate a new and "improved" (not!) website and being distracted by RL things going on (had a health scare around Remembrance Day), having several characters run away with the story in directions I hadn't expected it to go, and still not figuring out a proper name for Count Chocula (no, I am NOT keeping that name permanently!), it was still a positive experience. I got to know some of my characters a bit better, and it's just been in the last 2-3 days that I decided to include Michael's mother as an active character (before she was briefly mentioned as being away, visiting family). I've found that I like her, and have decided that she's one of the characters who will get to have a happy ending... eventually.

    Or maybe not. :p

    Anyway, this is what the winner's badge looks like:

    nanowrimo-2019-winners-badge (nov. 29, 2019).png
     
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  4. Synsensa

    Synsensa - Retired Moderator

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    Congrats!
     
    Valka D'Ur likes this.
  5. Chukchi Husky

    Chukchi Husky Lone Wolf

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    I ended up writing 67422 words.
     
    Birdjaguar, Valka D'Ur and Synsensa like this.
  6. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    :agree:

    :clap: Zounds! Good job! :rockon:
     

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