Well, November has come and gone. Unfortunately, I didn’t reach my goal of finishing the first draft of All Flames Cast this month; I wrote a touch over 50,000 words out of a projected 90k. It was an eye-opening month, however, and I learned a few important things about both the writing process and the story itself.
The main thing I discovered is that I can’t let myself sacrifice narrative pacing for the sake of word count. NaNoWriMo is a great idea, and works very well for a lot of people; I’m certain it could work for me if I kept to the spirit of the month and didn’t dedicate it to a preexisting project of mine. However, with a book like All Flames Cast, which is the product of years’ worth of worldbuilding, notes, and outlining, using a word count as a goal became a bit of a distraction. I had to constantly stop myself from letting my characters ramble, despite the padded word count it would give me. The pacing of All Flames Cast has been enough of a struggle as it is; slowing it down and letting it wander in order to fill out a word count isn’t the way to go.
However, the end result of all this is that I now have a much better idea of how I want the story to flow, and I overcame a major obstacle in keeping my writing on track. On top of that, of course, I am 50,000 words closer to finishing the first draft. Even though I didn’t hit my goal, I did finish Harael’s chapters, so another chapter will be popping up this week in celebration of that.
Happy (late) Thanksgiving, everyone! It’s a bit of a wake-up call to many of us writers, as it means that we only have a few days left of NaNoWriMo. And so, with the end in sight, I come to you with another update.
And it’s kind of depressing.
At this point, there’s no way I’m going to hit my 90,000 word goal. Between my late start, continuity struggles, and some hefty writer’s block last week, I am just too far behind.*
*But! I will definitely be hitting the 50,000 word mark, at least. I will be done with a significant chunk of the book, including all of Harael’s POVs and most of Tymun’s. All that’s left to do is finish off the climax for Tymun and then move on to Eritan’s stuff, which is the smallest of the three characters’ POVs. As a little bit of a celebration, I am going to relent and post another Harael chapter at the end of the month. It’s pretty crazy, and really kicks off the action for his storyline. Keep an eye out!
Well, last week didn’t really go as planned. I hit a major wall with All Flames Cast, and the result is that I am now way off my mark for getting to 90,000 words this month. I had a pretty big day on Saturday, trying to get back on track, but I still have a lot of ground to make up.
A big reason for this is where in the book I am. The parts I’m writing right now are smack dab in the middle: mostly exposition and character-building and setting up for the fun stuff at the end. The problem is, it’s easy to find myself rambling during stretches like these. I have had to consciously prevent myself from letting my characters go down tangents, even when it provides worldbuilding, because I need that page space to be spent moving the plot forward and helping the characters grow. I don’t want this to turn into a 250,000 word monstrosity. If I can keep the word total around 150,000 words, which was my goal from the beginning, I will be very happy.
So, as this third week of NaNo gets going, I find myself with a lot of work to do. All Flames Cast goes on, but we will see if I can really get to 90,000 words now. It was always a daunting goal.
The fog was finally beginning to thin out when they crested the ridge and looked down into a long, narrow valley. Harael could see a small lake, nestled against a sheer cliff along the east side. The village itself stretched along most of the length of the valley, hugging the shore of the lake for much of its breadth. As they made their way down the trail, winding back and forth against the slope, their view became clearer and clearer.
By the time they reached the bottom, Harael couldn’t help but stare: the valley was mostly brown, of course, but the winter couldn’t fully grasp the pines coating the far slope. Tall and oddly angular, they gave the area a sort of green fur unlike anything he was used to in Letaal—or even in his hometown of Arbor, many miles north of the capitol. The peaks, rising high ahead, were crowned with white.Continue reading
A brief note before the chapter: this will be the second to last Harael chapter posted on here, at least until the book is finished. Things are getting to a point where I don’t want to give away too much as the plot gets going. I might move on to posting a few Tymun chapters after a week or two, though.
It was late in the morning when Harael, Teramus, and their accompanying Guards and soldiers made their way through the Three Gates. Katreina and two of her own Phoenix Guards rode along with them. Harael was glad for the extra hours of sleep, especially considering how draining the clash had been the night before. He wasn’t used to the things demanded of him, and he had had unsettling dreams.
The sun was overhead, though, and only a few small white puffs of clouds marred the otherwise clear sky. It was unseasonably warm. He managed a smile, breathing in the crisp air—until they came out of the Second Gate and into the killing field from the night before. Then, his breath caught and his attempts to inhale were rewarded by the acrid stench of smoke and char.Continue reading
Yep, they keep coming. I’m in a good mood, what with hockey season starting, so I’m letting you all have another chapter—and a battle scene, no less!
The Third Gate loomed up before them as Harael followed Teramus, a half dozen other priests, and a horde of Phoenix Guards through the camp. The top of the Second Gate lit up briefly as fires were summoned and thrown down beyond it. The slopes of the mountain pass ahead flickered with light. Priests were involved already.Continue reading
Another chapter so soon? Crazy, I know. I’ve been really making these sparse for the last while, but with how close I’m getting to finishing, I thought I’d let a couple more trickle out here over the next few weeks. They’ll likely all be Harael chapters. And without further ado, I give you Harael’s fourth chapter…
Harael sighed in relief as he crested the rise in the road. Down the far slope, winding north, the stone road led to the sprawl that was Barrier. The military camp, and the city that had sprung up around it, pooled around the foothills of the Pirin Mountains, clutching the road north like a stone and metal fist.Continue reading