#NaNoWriMo, Day 1 recap

by Doc Coleman on November 2, 2012 · 2 comments

in NaNoWriMo, Novels, WIP

D’oh! I completely forgot to work on my NaNoWriMo diary entry last night. I’ve been planning to do the diary again this year, but last night after I got finished with my writing, I was so focused on what I need to write next, I completely forgot about doing the diary entry. So… I’m starting this year’s diary off a little late… but I had a good day of NaNo yesterday!

This year’s story started off as an attempt to do a twist on a modern fantasy story. The typical trope for modern fantasy has a young apprentice discovering magic under the guidance of an older teacher. While the old teacher is always amazing, the apprentice is special, and once he gains his confidence, he can do unbelievable things. The twist I wanted to do was to make the special one the old teacher, who thinks he is past his prime, but hasn’t realized that he has yet to come into his full power. The apprentice is just a POV character to show the teacher’s story. Think Harry Potter with the focus on Dumbledore. This was the story I thought I was walking in with when I work shopped my story on The Roundtable Podcast (that episode will go live on November 6th). That’s not the story I ended up walking out with.

First off, I discovered that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Maybe someday I’ll have the chops to do that kind of story, but for right now, I don’t have the kind of skills needed to pull that story off. I still had a story there, just not the one I was thinking of. My characters got a bit younger, and the target audience shifted as well to Young Adult. It wasn’t a market I’d ever thought about before, but it does seem to fit. The themes of the story have remained. Magic and madness and how they go hand in hand. Loyalty, family, and self sacrifice.

The new story is more traditional, but some interesting things happened when I started thinking about how a society of magic using people would structure itself. When the only limit to your ability to alter the world around you is the price you pay in your own sanity, but you can’t NOT use the power because it needs some form of expression, how does a society keep itself on this side of collapse? The answer was surprising when it finally hit me.

They’d practice small magics, and they’d change themselves. In short, they’d become fairies.

So now my Harry Potter (with a twist!), has become a fairy story. Talk about the strange places your writing will take you!

And all that was before I even wrote a word.

But write I did. I got an early start on it yesterday, grabbing my iPad for the morning commute and writing 490 words while riding the car pool in to work. Coming home, I added another 497 words to that count. 987 words is pretty good for writing in a car! After getting home, my wife and I hit the gym and got a good workout. I didn’t get back to writing until after dinner. At that point things bogged down a bit. I needed to introduce some new characters, but I hadn’t really planned them out in advance. My progress slowed as I tried to figure out who these new characters were, and what part they were going to play in the life of Casey, my main character. It took me a couple of hours to map out Casey’s friends, but once I did, things got moving again. I also discovered a new mentor character that I think I’m really going to like. When I packed it in for the evening, I had a total of 2002 words, putting me nicely beyond my daily goal, and I’d established my cast of characters, aside from a few bit parts.

Today… well, today will have to wait for its own post. Time for that later.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa (My World...in words and pages) November 2, 2012 at 8:29 am

Wonderful! Sounds like a great start for first day. The starts of the story is always scary, for me anyway. Sounds like your characters and story told you a few new things. I love when that happens. You can plan, but when you start writing it the means and innuendos take on a different feel, explaining a lot more…for me I learned a few things I didn’t plan on too. My character had a past she wasn’t telling me before I started, and the pieces I did know started to make more sense then.

But, I had fun, which is the best part of it. Here’s to another amazing day cracking out the words. 🙂


2 Doc Coleman November 2, 2012 at 9:22 am

Last year I had been working with my characters for so long I pretty much knew all the major points of the story before I got started. This year the story is a twisting snake that is materializing before me as I go along. I know where the story ends and one or two points along the way, but for the most part it is coming together as I write.

I also need to do some more research. My main character is a military brat, and I need to confirm that the way I’m handling her isn’t going to be glaringly wrong to folks in the military. *sigh*

This story looks like it is going to re-define “discovery writing” for me.

Thanks for the comment! Hope you have a great day of writing, today!



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