My NaNoWriMo Novel

So I’ve decided. I’m going to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. National Novel Writing Month. Writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This is the first year I’ve been in a place where it sounded like a good idea (click for my thoughts on the subject a year ago). It’s a whole month where I won’t be working on Wanderlust, true, but I’ll be getting great writing practice, learning how to fit writing into my schedule, and maybe even making some writer friends in this area. I think it will be a lot of fun.

And you probably want to hear about the book.

It’s…

Well.

It’s something that I’m personally really excited about, and that I haven’t been able to get out of my head for the past year. Yet even as I’ve been world-building, collecting pieces of plot, and making exciting discoveries about how everything comes together, I didn’t think I’d actually be able to tackle the project for years and years. For a number of reasons. You see, it’s about these two guys. With Wanderlust my main focus right now, it doesn’t seem entirely wise for my secondary project to be ANOTHER story about a couple of guys—even though they (Cor and Tristan) are entirely different characters from Taniel and Vanya, and their story is a completely different sort of thing. The second thing is… it’s high fantasy. Swords and sorcery. Battles and blood. I have read a lot of high fantasy, and it’s one of my most favorite genres, but there’s a lot of it out there, and a lot of it is crap. I… this is probably my own issue, and I’m probably accidentally discounting some really good work, but I have trouble asking people to take me seriously as an aspiring author writing high fantasy when I know there are so many people out there writing books in LOTR inspired worlds with all their made up, fantasy-sounding names and it just isn’t any good. I wanted to establish myself with the urban fantasy, maybe that dystopian kinda book I’m working on, before I ask anyone to take my high fantasy seriously. And this project… It’s not just high fantasy. It’s high fantasy with history, with lore. The actual storyline I want to write deals with the aftermath of the big war ten years before. Beyond that, there’s some really long-ago history about why this [special] [magical] country functions the way it does. And farther back, the mythology. Looking forward, I even have an idea for the thousand years later story when all the magic has faded from the world (… or so everyone thinks!).

And those are the reasons I find my own story problematic for me, myself, right now. They’re also the reasons I think it will make a great project for NaNoWriMo. I need something that I’m not under too much pressure to take seriously, especially if I’m going to be banging out 50,000 words in a month. I also tend to have a really scattered writing style on a first draft anyway, and (not sure if this is entirely kosher with the nano rules, and I don’t really care) I’m giving myself permission to work on the lore, the backstory, all the connecty bits, whenever I want to, even if I’m not sure how they fit into the main narrative. It’s all part of the project, and I’m going to let all of that count towards the 50,000 words. And this really is a project I’ve been putting a lot of thought into, despite everything, and I’m excited to see where it goes if I let myself get to work.

The project. I haven’t even field-tested the title, you know? What if it just sounds dumb? I called it Tredaf back in high school (yes of course this is a resurrected project, but it’s really honestly changed A LOT since then and anyway I’m starting over from scratch) but that’s the name of the magical country and I think the country itself needs a name-change. The current working title is… badadadum… The Legend of the Blood Tog King. Or just The Blood Tog King. And here’s my question; a real, serious question. You can put your answer in the comments. Does it sound dumb?

It’s about this guy, Cor Daggerhand, who is blood brother to Tristan, the king. It’s a country where bonds between people have magical properties, and none more powerful, or more dangerous, than a blood bond. [These bindings are symbolized by tokens, worn around the neck or pinned to clothing. Over many years of use, the word “token” degenerates to “tog”, which now describes the whole concept.] Ten years ago Cor and Tristan won the great war, and Tristan reclaimed his rightful throne. Days after the victory, however, Cor skedaddled, and left his brother and the entire country behind him. Upon his grudging homecoming (the start of this book), he discovers that the past ten years have changed Tristan into someone almost unrecognizable—someone with terrible plans for the nation they both call home. Can Cor battle his own blood-brother to keep his beloved country free? And has the king truly turned evil/gone mad, or can Cor save Tristan from himself?

Someday I will finish this sketch.

Tristan and Cor (an unfinished sketch)

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9 Comments

  1. You’re brave to put all this out there. I’ve never told anyone (except Mary) anything about my first NaNoWriMo novel, except that it’s too autobiographical (even though it’s a fantasy) to ever consider publishing. I’m hoping my second one will be more fictional and will grow through the process because I’m not much of a planner. I know how it’s going to start but I have no idea how it’s going to end. I admire your willingness to dig deep and I don’t think you need to worry about the rules. Even if you break them, you’re just a NaNoWriMo Rebel and there are plenty of those. Just don’t break the rule about not typing the exact same word 50,000 times. I think that’s a reasonable rule. I do hope Cor can save Tristan from himself. I like happy endings.

    Reply
    • I’m not too much of a planner either. I tend to think ahead in fully developed scenes rather than plot points, so this week has been torture not being able to write any of it down until the November 1st. I don’t understand the folks who can plan a whole novel ahead of time, because I can’t DO dry planning without it turning into interesting bits of dialogue and such. I do have an idea of how this ends, and mostly how it starts, but there are a lot of question marks for most of the middle. Hopefully we’ll both figure it out as we go! And I’d love to read your work some day, if you write something fictional enough to share. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sounds like a great idea … And I’m loving the sketches! What app did you use?

    Reply
  3. Also, I did mean to say: welcome back to blogging, my dear! =D While I’m sure real-life is glorious, it is nice to feel your presence again in the digital-verse. And just in time for Nanowrimo, of course!
    I understand the complicated view of writing High Fantasy versus wanting to be known for WRITING High Fantasy. I actually hardly even read HF–I guess the only books I’ve ever read that might be under that category would be The Hobbit and the Merlin series, and that last one could be stretching things–which was why it was so surprising to me when I realized that the book I was actually WRITING, and close-to-finishing-now-finished, was ACTUALLY fantasy. It was kind of life, where the heck did THAT come from?
    However, I don’t truly consider Life of Gaia to be HF–it has a world, and history, and stuff like that, but it is honestly more YA than anything, and the story deals more with the here-and-now, giving just enough history to make sense of things, because the world doesn’t matter as much as the people in it.
    YOURS, however, sounds much the opposite, and more like the OTHER fantasy book I started writing, (honestly, how can someone who has no affinity for fantasy start writing TWO fantasy books??) where it’s the whole shebang–languages and backlore and fancy names and all that jazz.
    And while I applaud you for going for it, I also acknowledge and understand your hesitation.
    All I can say is, just try to make it your own. If you love it, chances are good someone else out there in this big world will, too. 🙂 (And hey, don’t stress about writing another book with 2 close guys. The world needs more bromance, and examples of good male friends. Guys don’t get enough encouragement to have good friends.)
    UNFORTUNATELY I’m not 100% about the name. D: It made much more sense when you explained it, but I’m afraid if I were just browsing through titles I would be confused. Maybe that would be a GOOD thing, maybe not, who knows. I’d be like, ‘What the heck is a tog??,’ because in my mind I was thinking Pogs–you know, that old game from the 90s where you threw little cardboard disks around, or something like that? And then in my mind I just got this impression of a King sitting on a giant pile of Pogs, and that was it. xDD
    BUT WHAT DO I KNOW. I’m never certain about anything, and titles are a giant pain in the A$$ anyway, so.
    /End long comment.

    Reply
    • Long comments are the best kind! Thanks for your feedback on the idea and the title. Your reaction to the title was kind of exactly what I was anticipating when I asked if it sounded dumb. It’s a title that works really well in my head, so I’ve gone ahead and used it on the NaNo website and everything, but if this ever turns into anything publishable I’ll probably be looking at the title a lot more, and trying to find one that works for people other than myself. My boyfriend actually liked the “tog” part of it, but he thought the whole thing just sounded really stuffy, which is actually one of the reasons *I* like it but will probably make it less marketable. Oh well, titles can definitely be changed. And speaking of marketability I usually think of myself as writing YA books too, and I think this book I’m writing is the sort of book that I as a teenager would have loved, but the main character is a bitter thirty-two year old, and that pretty much puts it well out of the current definition of YA. Oh well, at least it’s getting written. That’s the important thing.

      Reply
      • LOL, amen! Getting written is the best thing for a story to be. 🙂 And titles can totally be changed! But hey, until it’s totally necessary, go ahead and call it whatever appeals to you. Code names are always fun. You could even call it ‘That fantasy-thing I’m writing,’ which, of course, is a pretty big hint.
        And YEAH, main character as a 30-year-old tends to be a bit outside the jurisdiction of YA, ha ha… xD But hey, it never hurts to branch out. 🙂

        Reply
  4. Good on you, Grace! Best of luck!

    Reply
  1. When Life Happens, Change Your Plans | Writing Is Hard Work

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