So, Week 1. In NaNo's past, Week 1 has always been my favourite. There's the burst of productivity as you charge through the gate, aided by the excitement of exploring new scenarios and meeting new characters, and the small pit of apprehension in your stomach as you wonder if what you develop in the first week will actually be able to sustain you over the entire month. This year was no different, though there might have been a bit more apprehension than usual, given that I'm "pants-ing" this year (that is, writing the novel "by the seat of your pants", with little to no planning), and I'm a writer who generally fails without at least a general guide of plot points. But I've been carrying this story around for almost two years now, mostly doing world building work on it since then, and I'd only written maybe two little scenes during that time, about 200 words each, to get a feel for how I felt about it as an actual story. The problem is, I have no patience for world building. Most of the fiction I write doesn't require it, at least not on a large scale. So I decided to just push it all aside and dive right in.
Going into NaNo this year, there was a lot I didn't know. Only one of my characters had a name, and I had no idea what any of the characters looked like or what their backgrounds were. Of the world building I had done, most of it was big picture stuff, on a worldwide scale, rather than small, specific details which would immediately affect the story. The plot was basically non-existant; I knew how it would start and had a general idea of what was going to happen but actual plot points were a mystery.
Despite all that, Week 1 went well. I finished Day 1 with a short chapter that was really poorly written but also a 200 word lead. I reserved judgement on how well the month was going to progress from there because I still wasn't convinced I could do it. Things took a nosedive on Day 2 when I sat down, wrote 50 words and then realised that I didn't actually understand enough about the world I had created to write the scene I wanted to write, so I took my notebook and went down to talk to my brother who is a much more logical, analytical person than I am (he's a math/computer person; my forte has always been English and the social sciences). We talked for three hours about my world and how it all sort of worked and, together, we figured out enough to get me around the wall. Of course, by that point I was exhausted and couldn't write at all, so Day 3 dawned with the prospect of two writing sessions before the end of the day which, I'm pleased and proud to report, I actually did.
Since then, things have been going really well. I've got two POV characters (I had expected to have only one, but the second occurred really naturally so I let him have his say); I've got a villain; I've got what looks to be the beginning of a subplot; I'm taking copious notes on the world I'm creating as I go; and I'm heading into Week 2 about 800 words ahead! My plot seems to be working itself out as I write. So, by the time I've finished a day's writing, I've got an idea of what I'll be writing about the next day or, at least, how the scene will begin. Even more importantly than all of that, the more I write, the more excited I get about writing more. And I really don't think 50,000 words is going to be enough. I mean, I always knew enough about the plot to know the entire story would need at least 2 books, but Book 1 is shaping up to be longer than I expected, which just makes me more excited!
To finish up, I'll leave you with a snippet of the scene I wrote yesterday. It's from the start of Chapter Four. All you really need to know about the story is that it's an urban fantasy, set in Melbourne, and that there is another dimension, parallel to our own, which is inhabited by demons. Teams of Warlocks (not wizards, I was very deliberate in my word choices) exist to banish the demons back to the other dimension.
See you next week!
12465 / 50000 words. 25% done!
“What’s going on?” Balthazar asked, as soon as he and Garron had stepped back into the corridor and the door had been closed behind them.
“I might have an explanation as to what’s going on,” Garron said and folded his arms across his chest. “You noticed the bandage around her arm?”
“Well, I did too. She was getting chatty in the car ride over so I asked her about it. Turns out the demon grabbed her last night.”
Balthazar breathed in sharply and his head shot around to stare at the closed door that separated them from Mel. “You think she’s possessed?”
“Not entirely. I definitely banished the demon last night so what she was doing, no matter how she did it in the first place, stalled it long enough for me to arrive and Mel to get away.”
Balthazar turned back to Garron, a look of deep concern on his weathered face. His fingers came up to rub at his lips. “But that doesn’t mean that the demon didn’t have enough time to begin feeding its energy into her before it was interrupted. That would explain the magic. Maybe she’s not a Witch at all. She might be carrying a piece of the demon inside her as we speak and that will draw her to demonic activity. The piece inside her will want to complete the possession and we must avoid that at all costs.” Balthazar hummed and tapped his fingers against his lips. “Does she know what you suspect?”
Garron shook his head. “If she does, she hasn’t said anything, and she’s remarkably calm. I doubt anyone who knew they faced certain death waste time worrying about warts.”
Balthazar frowned in confusion. “I’m sorry?”
Garron shook his head and waved a dismissive hand. “Doesn’t matter. She doesn’t know.”
“All right then,” Balthazar said, determined now. He rubbed his hands together and then clapped them once. “Let’s not tip her off. There’s no telling how much she might know about our procedures but right now she’s totally out of her depth. She’s familiar with you so if she looks to you for guidance just follow my lead.”
Garron nodded. “You’re the boss,” he said and swung the door open again.
Mel was still seated, although now her elbows were propped on the table and she looked to be chewing on her thumbnails. Her head shot up when the door opened and she watched them enter with wide eyes.
“Sorry about that, Melanie,” Balthazar said charmingly as he sat in one of the chairs. There was no evidence in his voice at all that he was worried about what he and Garron had spoken about in the corridor. “Warlock business. Nothing for you to be concerned about.”