The beginning of a new adventure

National Novel Writing Month starts in two days. This year, i am writing two pieces which together should total fifty thousand words. The first is a series of short fairy stories for children. The second is a piece meant to fit into a larger narrative. They are both being written from scratch, but neither on its own qualifies as a novel, so i am participating as a rebel.

My plan is to do a little blogging here during the month of November. Obviously, my posts won’t be long or deep, as i’ll be spending my writing time actually writing my stories, but i will be using this space to chronicle the writing itself (and perhaps to post excerpts). i need to keep my best reader in the dark during November, so posting publicly isn’t the best option, but this blog will work as a compromise between silence and indiscretion. After November, i’ll try to keep it going with more posts about the writing process, snippets of my writing, and perhaps a few writing exercises. It’s been awhile since i’ve kept a blog, so bear with me—i’m out of habit.

Now then, since my amanuensis isn’t listening, i can tell you about my projects.

Both pieces are written for Nirth, a feudal medieval-plus fantasy world that my husband created. i love living and writing in his world, and have several projects going in it. One is a cooperative storytelling group, in which my character is a young woman named Rocket. Her younger sister, Rixi, is arguably my main character. Rixi’s narrative is expressed primarily through letters between Rixi and her aunt, although several narrative snippets punctuate the letters, allowing me to step outside of Rixi’s head at times. These snippets may be written from Rixi’s perspective, or from her best friend’s, or her aunt’s or uncle’s, and they enrich the story while not infringing upon the letters as the main vehicle for the unfolding drama. Another thread in this world began as last year’s Nano novel, Durom Falls. The main character in that book is Lily, who began life as a friend of Rocket’s but will require a full three-book cycle to complete her journey. i am not yet ready to move past the first book in that cycle, so i am left without a plot that will require 50K words to complete. Thus, my rebel status.

This year’s projects are both part of the Rixi narrative. The children’s book is actually intended to be an artifact in the world—a book Rixi finds in the school library. i’ve never written in-world literature before this, and i am looking forward to the challenge. It’ll be completely different from everything i’ve written before—innocent, beautiful, simple. The second project is a longer piece of narrative that will chronicle an adventure of Rixi’s during one of her field assignments in school. It is also a departure from my usual writing, as i haven’t yet written anything this long in the Rixi narrative, nor have i written a full descriptive account of one of her adventures before. Her adventures, before this, have mostly been told in the form of letters to her aunt or brief accounts in a snippet which isn’t meant to explore the adventure itself, but her reaction to it. This one will necessarily explore her reactions as well, but it will be much more action-driven than anything else i’ve written for her. Rixi tends to live in her head, and doesn’t relish adventure, so her stories have always been more about schoolwork and relationships and growing up—her own personal journey—than they are about adventures. The full story is already written down in note form as a very robust outline, so this is another departure for me—i tend to let the story tell itself as i go, without an outline at all or with only a very vague idea of where the story should end up and one or two things that might happen in the middle.

i am still struggling with an appropriate word count for the fairy stories. Depending on which existing children’s books i take for a model, it might be appropriate to set it at 13K or 23K. (My models are Beatrix Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh.) Either way, the remainder of the 50K can easily be taken up by the adventure story, as the notes already come to a bit more than 21K.

The children’s book is titled Twiry Glitterwing and the Moss Palace. The adventure story has a working title of The Call South.

i am beginning to be very eager for November and the beginning of another adventure! If you’d like to follow along with me, here is my Nano profile and this year’s project page, including my word count tracker. And of course, i’ll be posting here.

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