#CampNaNoWriMo July 2016 : excerpt 1

[Before going off for a break, I thought I’d offer up that scene – actually the scene I enjoyed writing the most so far. So much drama! Bear in mind, it probably needs a lot of editing.]

She cradled their limp bodies in her arms, rocking back and forth slowly, caressing their soft hair lovingly. Her mouth moved but made no sound – as though in silent prayer. The floor was cold, the flames of the torches were going out, but she wasn’t fazed.

My children.” She whimpered. A river of tears cascaded down down her face, half-hidden by her flowing red hair which fell upon them like a cloak. Angry scratch-marks on her cheeks bled red and mixed hot tears with hot blood. There was skin under her fingernails. Grief rendered her almost unrecognisable. She seemed to have aged abruptly. “Come back to me. Let it not be true.”

He burst upon the scene, sword drawn in hot anger. As soon as he witnessed the terrible tragedy before him, his knees buckled. Upon seeing him, she seemed to recover immediately from her grief. Her face contorted into an expression of twisted pleasure and pain.

What’s wrong, Jason? Does it hurt? Does it ache like a dagger in the heart? Have you suddenly remembered where your loyalties lie?”

What terrible sight is this? What have you done, witch?” he spat, his voice breaking. “What have you done?!”

This evil is your doing, Jason,” she growled.

My children! What have you done to them?”

They were never your children,” she embraced them tightly, like a poor, starving woman hanging onto her last piece of bread, or a dying soul clutching onto a final breath.

What are you saying, Medea?” He crawled over to her, brandishing his sword, anger carrying him through. “Give me my children, viper! I will bury them with my own hands!”

Are you going to kill me, Jason?” she hissed like a serpent. “You condemned them, Jason. When you shunned them to consort with that- that-” She could not even say the words, her white-hot fury maimed her. “You did this! This crime will be on your soul, husband, not mine!”

His weapon clattered to the ground.

This is a dream,” he told himself, shaking his head. “This is just a bad dream. A nightmare. That’s right, it’s not happening.” He pressed his eyes shut, then covered them with his hands.

Always closing your eyes to everything! To house, to wife, to children. Not seeing it will not make it go away!” One hand tugged at his violently, while the other was still wrapped around the bodies. “Open your eyes and look on them! Look on what you have done! Coward!”

Your own children! There is no boundary to your wickedness, woman!” he barked back. “When will your revenge end?”

Oh no, my darling,” the sorceress menaced in a dangerously soft tone. “This is just the beginning. You will die, miserable, tired, and alone, on your precious Argo, like the slimy, lecherous wretch you are!”


#CampNaNoWriMo July 2016: status report 2

God, I thought yesterday’s first 5000 words would have been the steep uphill struggle, but turns out that I was wrong. Today’s 5000 were just plain evil… Yesterday, the first few hours flew by, mainly because I had plenty of ideas, I was well-rested, started at a reasonable time, and there were fewer interruptions. Today, I woke up about half an hour later, which threw the entire schedule out of whack, and it just didn’t flow as easily.

So far, it’s taken a completely different turn to what I thought it was going to end up as. Yesterday, I was convinced this was going to be Medea’s story, a story that exists in a total fantasy world with a few hints of the modern. Today, it started turning into a modern crime-mystery novel with a lot of mythic elements. I have no idea what it will be by tomorrow evening.

Also, I’ve realised I keep writing open-ended cliffhangers and jumping back and forth between time-periods, characters, locations, and ideas. While I took a break this afternoon, I counted out how many different plots I have going on at the moment. I estimated I have about five plots that I plan to link into one. There’s the main Medea plot (which ironically seems to have turned into a side-plot rather than the main thing!) and then four different characters in the modern-day world – each in a different location and different backstory – that ‘have to’ end up in the same place at the same time for the same reason. So far, I have three out of four… kind of.

At the moment, the whole structure of the thing is a mess – I actually wrote half the ending yesterday, in the first two or three hours, so I’m having to work backwards. I decided I wouldn’t read over what I’ve already written (except for reference purposes- e.g. to make sure I keep a character’s eye colour the same and stuff) until I finish this, because I know I will want to fix things. This month is just for getting it out onto the page. Considering I tend to go back and edit while I’m writing, I was surprised I had the discipline not to do that this time around!

On the positive side, I made some progress with the main characters. Exactly because I got stuck at some point, I started trying to figure out a bit of backstory, how they came to be where they are, and so on. I’ll admit, I’m not sure any of what I wrote today is going to be in my next draft, but all the verbiage-vomit on the page today certainly cleared things up for me. I now know where I want to go with it (more or less), although it seems that my characters dive into the inkpot and take control of the quill whenever they want to.

I’m just making things difficult for myself, aren’t I?

Today’s final word count: 10,207 (Words written today: 5,206)

P.S. 5,000 words a day – what was I thinking?


#CampNaNoWriMo July 2016: status report 1

Well, that’s me signing off my first NaNoWriMo day. I estimated that, in an ideal situation, I can actually finish this challenge 10-20 days early – if Medea will let me, of course! I’m not sure how long the text will end up being… My usual writing pace in full flow is about 250 words in 15 minutes, so approximately 1000 words an hour. If I achieve full flow for 5 hours a day (this is just an estimate, remember!), I’d be at 5000 words/day. 50,000 would then take about 10 days.

It took a bit longer than expected, but I got there in the end! I realised how bad I am with editing while I’m writing. Also, I discovered that for something this long, I can’t write it in a linear fashion (I don’t know if anybody does?).  In the past, if it was a short piece (under 500 words), it made sense to start at the beginning and then write all the way to the end. For longer pieces, my muse doesn’t work like this. Since this morning, my plot has jumped all about the place, from the middle to what I thought was going to be the end, and then back to what I thought was going to be my beginning. Anyone else have this ‘problem’?

Still, it seems to be working. I have yet to figure out who the characters are (aside from Medea, of course), how and why they end up doing what they do, but it seems to be some form of progress…

The trick I used to stay focused and in the writing mood: music. I just plugged myself into a playlist that inspired certain ideas (mainly witch-related chant-like tunes) and started writing.

Today’s result according to the official word count: 5001 words.

I can only hope that tomorrow will be equally – if not more – fruitful…

The quality of the outcome remains to be seen.