NaNoWriMo 2021 – writer’s journal

NaNoWriMo 2021 Writer Badge

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a yearly world-wide event in which writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

November snuck up on me. Ready or not, NaNoWriMo waits for no one.

NaNoWriMo 2021 Writer Badge

This is my third nano. I won 2019 and 2020 (and every camp I participated in). I’m psyched to win this one as well.

NaNoWriMo 2021 goal:

I would love to finish writing Cursed, Book 2 of The New Order of Merlin, an epic, multi-fandom fanfiction series I’ve been writing for three years already.

Current status: The book is at about 75,000 words. Plot-wise it’s close to the mid-point.

I foresee that the biggest challenge this nano will be to rival the excitement of a new project. It’s much easier to word-vomit on a new idea. Here, I need to come through on all of the ideas I had already started. And it’s been a year since the last time I worked on it. The last nano I tried to finish it too. And I didn’t. It is an awesome book though so I am excited to write more and I’d love to add it to my finished pile. I’m definitely motivated.

If I get stuck, I can switch to work on the second draft Medium of Eidolon Falls, a paranormal novel I’ve been working on since February. That project is slow-going though and is far from an ideal nano material. Cursed (book 2), or even book 3 of the same series has much more word-vomit potential so I’m psyching myself for it.

Let the words be with you.

Ready? Set. Go, nano!

Goal: 50,000 words

Written: 51,221

Week 1

Day 1

I got started at midnight of November the first and knocked out one Remus scene.

Favorite quote so far:

Remus overheard a very unfortunate encounter of a Gryffindor third year, Neville Longbottom. One evening when Neville was returning to his dorm, he encountered Severus Snape in a dark corridor, the one person he feared more than his own grandmother. Frightened Neville tried to make his scary professor go away by continuously shouting Riddikulus at him, only to discover that it was Severus Snape in person, and not a boggart.

Draft of Cursed, Book 2 of the NOOM

It’s been a very productive first day. I got to finish several partial scenes and wrote a couple of new ones. Things are coming along very nicely.

Day two went even better than day one. I’ve decided to tackle this one pov/storyline at a time (there are six in this book alone—yup, I’m crazy). So this time I focused on Merlin. I knocked out a lot of his scenes and have started the finale. It feels so cool to be writing what will be the final chapters. Even though it’s only one of the storylines, and the other ones still need the same amount of work, the fact that I got to this part in two days makes me very happy. There’s hope that I can finish this book this time. There’s hope.

In other news, my last minute prep is paying off big time. After working on each individual plot separately, I made one global list of scenes/moments to be written and tried to arrange them into a proposed order of events. There are nearly 80 of them on my list and I got through 14 already! This is a great start. Go, nano!

Two days, 6,247 words in the new document and over 2,000 more in the old one, which I’ll add properly to the nano total at the end of the month. Great start, but I was off for those two days. We’ll see how many words I can produce on a workday.

Day 4.

Writing during a workday is definitely harder.

Today was a good reminder of why it’s worth it to do NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t feeling like writing today. I was tired, in a poor mood, unmotivated, but I got my butt in the chair and I got my daily par down. The result is a really awesome scene that didn’t exist before: Jack is training air powers with his father, and it ends on an epic snowfight.

There are several excerpt-worthy lines in this scene. It feels a bit too raw to share, but, well, that’s how nano drafts are. For reference, Enlin is a Sylph, an air spirit, and he’s small enough to fit in Jack’s hand.

Jack heard nothing more than his bare feet crunching through the snow. The world was bright white and delightfully muted. Enlin’s wings fluttered so fast, they stirred up a wind barrier that kept all snowflakes away from him. They had to look huge to him. Jack imagined what it would feel like if snowflakes the size of car wheels floated down from the sky and felt impressed that his father dared to fly in this weather. Enlin was brave enough to be a Gryffindor if he could pass for human.

Draft of Cursed, Book 2 of the NOOM

Day 6

The weekend is going well and I still have one more day to go. The last couple of days, I’ve been writing Jack’s scenes and just got to his all is lost moment. It’s so sad when the character loses everything they had been working toward.

Let this feeling of loss stand as a motivation to continue. There is a positive resolution on the horizon, but I have to write it first. The story must go on so that I can make Jack happy again.

Day 7

Milestone time! I just broke 15,000 words. It took a lot of perseverance and blue collar work but it paid off. I’m currently working on Elsa chapters, trying to fill in what she’s doing during this time. I began writing a cool Old Religion lesson about elemental magic. It’s not finished yet so I guess I know what I’ll be working on tomorrow. 🙂

Week 2

Day 11

Milestone time: 20k passed!

Another week is coming to an end. I made little steps forward as far as writing, but I also had a couple of epiphanies on how to fix Elsa’s story. I was struggling with two things:

  1. How to maintain the mystery about what she’s doing when it’s her point of view?
  2. I was struggling with details of her story.

The solution: rethinking the genre of her story. I thought her story was a caper (the protagonist is committing crimes for poetic justice), but after researching capers, I realized that nope, that’s not what I’m writing. I focused on her internal genre, which is Worldview-disillusionment. After that, everything fell into place. i know what I need to do.

But to be honest, her point of view always comes hard to me. Words don’t flow as easily, especially since I need to be sneaky about what I’m letting her say and think. Otherwise, instead of a mystery, I’ll have a dramatic irony. Sigh. Oy, Elsa, Elsa. What am I going to do with you.

Day 14

Another milestone: 25,624! Halfway there!

I’m getting closer and closer to the end and I worry if I have another 25k left in this book. We’ll see.

Week 3

Day 16

I was stuck trying to figure out how to get Harry to do the stupid, reckless thing. Finally, I found a way around it – trouble came to him instead. Skipped a couple of scenes actually, didn’t need them anymore, but at least one problem solved.

I already began setting up the finale and was getting excited about how close the finish line is. Then I remembered that it’s only one of the storylines. I have three more finales to write. Why do I always make things so complicated? The good news is, these climactic scenes usually write themselves, so I hope that they’ll give me a nice boost of words. It was fun and easy to write sequences of scenes for each story but in the end, they all need to come together. And this is the end. Crunch time!

Day 18

Milestone! 30k crossed.

For the past few days, I was worried about my multiple storyline climaxes not intertwining enough, but today I figured out how to join the last three climaxes that I wasn’t sure what to do with (Harry’s, Remus’, and Jack’s). I’m excited. This is really coming together.

I just wrote Harry’s climax and the barebones of Elsa’s climax. And omg. This is incredible. I can already see the finish line! The biggest climax is still yet to be written (Merlin’s) – this one will conclude the full story. It’s also the most dramatic – will take multiple chapters.

For a while there, I was worried if I had enough words left. Let’s see. At least 12 scenes left. If each is at least 500 words (and many will be more), that’s 6000 words. Hmmmmm. I need more. Let’s hope the 500 word estimate is very undercounted. But there are also a few other things that need to get written earlier in the story, though those are just scene moments that I hope to add to the existing scenes to help set things up so they won’t be huge. But maybe it will add up. Let’s hope.

Week 4

Day 24

Milestone! 40k crossed.

The last few days were rough in the “find the time to write” department. I’m barely on par.

Wait. I’m rereading what I wrote last time. Last time I was about to write the final climax. As of right now, I’ve written a few scenes that lead up to the climax and now the climax has began (will they be able to save Hogwarts?). That was 10,000 words????? Wow. Just wow.

Day 26


Day 29

Another nano won! I’ve crossed 50k.

Final status: Cursed is written till the end (yay), but there are scenes or moments I want to write earlier. So while it’s finished, it’s not, but at least I have a skeleton to work with. And let me assure you, it’s a lovely skeleton. I’m clearly very biased when I say this, but this book is absolutely awesome. I can’t wait to start sharing it!

Day 30

Today, I’ve started reading and editing the book from the beginning, this time, looking at it from the point of view of the complete story – does this scene do anything to set up the global themes? Are the characters in the right headspace that they’re supposed to be in the beginning, and all of that. Since I won’t be counting words anymore, it is now safe to start merging the old and the new documents. Hard work is ahead but I feel very good about it, knowing that there is a completed story somewhere within this puzzle.

Another nano event won, goal fulfilled, and I’m ready to put this book in the finished pile. Let’s go!

Isobel Lynx

Fantasy author and tech professional that turns her love of myth and magic into unique universes.

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