Why am I celebrating failure? Well, I am going to explain that, but first, I think I’d better catch you up.
When last we spoke, it was the 20th, and I’d hit 32,067 words after three straight days of over 2500 words a day. On the 21st, we set out to visit my father for Thanksgiving, my wife driving, and me in the passenger seat writing away. I managed to get in 1191 words on the trip. I probably would have done better, but the trip wasn’t very long. Then, once we arrived, family tended to get into the way of much writing. I tried to do some writing on Thanksgiving day, but only got in another 523 words what with the feasting and games of dominos. On Friday, we headed back home, but my wife was too tired and I had to do the driving. After we got home and unloaded, I was too tired to write, so Friday was a total goose egg. Saturday, the 24th, I plugged in to make up some of the backlog, and wrote 3009 words. A very promising day and it looked like I was going to be able to catch up nicely. Sunday didn’t go so well, but I did get in 1710 words, holding my own, and bringing my word count up to 38500 words. Monday, it was back to work, and a tough day at work it was. I came home and wrote another 830 words, but soon tuckered out. And at this point, I realized that I just wasn’t going to make it. I had too few days left and too much of a deficit to make up. So I tapped out at 39,330 words.
I had intended to put in some more writing and push over at least 40,000 words, but I just didn’t make the time. Also, I’d written myself up against a wall and I didn’t know where else to take the story. I finally figured out where to take the story on the 30th, just after I’d gotten to work. Unfortunately, after work, I went to take a nap and ended up sleeping through until December.
So what happened with Casey in these 7000 words?
Casey wakes the next morning in a dark room. She wanders to the balcony to look out over the complex and witnesses the stars as they flare to daylight. This is definitely not the world she knew.
She dresses, and is about to set off to explore the complex when a knock comes at the door. Before she can answer, a short woman walks in carrying a heavy tray laden with food. Casey sits down for breakfast and chats with the woman, but can’t help but noticing the woman is lying to try and hide something from her. She realizes that this woman is another aspect of the Primus and is testing her. The Primus tells her that she has a rare magical gift and she will need to find a teacher to learn to use it. Casey doesn’t believe it. She’s just a normal girl! She doesn’t have magic!
Casey has always known when someone is lying to her. All of her life. But now the Primus uses it against her. She lies and tells Casey she is an ordinary girl. She lies again and tells her that she is just dreaming everything she has seen. She lies a third time and tells her she has no magic. This throws Casey for a loop. She blows up at the woman, who just lets her rant and yell herself out.
The woman coaches Casey some at using her gift to find illusions, and promises that they will talk more later. In the mean time, Casey is free to explore.
Casey wanders in the gardens and ends up sitting down by the river. The naiad of the river appears to Casey as a towering figure. Casey asks her if she can appear as a smaller figure, and the towering woman of water collapses and a small girl appears from the river. She explains that this was her original from many thousands of years ago. Her family came to the Bright Lands thanks to a wizard, who brought them here to escape the dragon that destroyed their home. Unfortunately, the dragon followed. When it destroyed her village, the girl dove into the river and became one with it. Now she was the spirit of the river.
Casey is puzzled, and asks how it is possible for her to become part of the river. The girl explains that all the creatures here in the Bright Lands are like her. They are people who have been changed by magic, or the descendants of those people. All magic has a price. Either it can change you in mind, or in body. The pixies, the elves, even the dragons, in the beginning they were just people who either used magic, or were used by it.
Casey continues her wandering, thinking on what she has just learned. She runs into Roderick, who says that he is staying with her until he is sure that she is truly safe. It is then that they both get summoned to talk with the Primus.
And there is where I stopped. Casey has been pushed around a bit too much, and she’s getting tired of it. She’s ready to push back, no matter what it takes!
I’ve finally figured out what it is going to take for Casey to find her way back home, and deal with the situation there, but there are still some pretty weak areas in there. So instead of pushing on, I’m going to put the draft on hold for a bit while I work with some plotting tools that Lou Anders recommended for me back when I workshopped the story. After I get things plotted better so I know what I’m writing, I’m going to get back to the draft and try to write around 5000 words a week until I get this sucker done.
I also need to get back to editing the Balticon panels I recored at Balticon 46 and posting them here. Give me about a week or so to figure out a schedule. This will be the last of this year’s #NaNoWriMo series, but it won’t be the last you’ll see of Casey!
So, why am I celebrating, when I missed the target word count for NaNo? It has been said that you learn more things from failure than from success. In my writing career, I’ve had an odd series 9f successes. Nothing ridiculous, because if that happened I’d have book deals and royalty checks rolling in. It just seems that everything I’ve tried I’ve succeeded at. That sounds great, but it means that I haven’t been able to learn anything and improve my craft. This year’s screw ups have taught me some good lessons on how to prepare to write a story, and why I should not write until I’ve done my prep. These are lessons I’ve been looking to learn for a while.
See you soon!