Novel

Completing NaNoWriMo and what comes next

Hello all!

I am happy to report that I managed to “win” NaNoWriMo for the first time, finishing with just over 51,000 words in the month of November alone. Even more exciting, this allowed me to finish my manuscript, which ended up being just over 120,000 words – it hasn’t been edited yet, of course.

If you haven’t participated in National Novel Writing Month before, I recommend you consider trying it out next November (here’s an 11-month warning) – it’s not only extremely fulfilling if you complete the task, it also gives you the push to keep writing whatever you may be working on, or to finally start the idea you’ve been pushing around your brain.

I started writing my manuscript on June 1, 2014, and by October 31, I had about 68,000 words. That’s a lot more than I’ve ever written, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough for a fantasy novel, and some days I would find it hard to get into the mood to write. I chalk this up to not having set goals – I was writing when I wanted to, some days only 500 words, some days 3,000 plus.

With NaNoWriMo approaching, I finally set a goal – finish the manuscript by the end of November, and also win the event.

During November, participants must write an average of 1,667 words per day for all 30 days in order to hit the 50k mark. Some days, I didn’t write at all, but I always made it up within a few days – sometimes this meant writing three or four days’ worth on a Saturday, but I just buckled down and did it.

And when I validated my word count in the early afternoon of November 30, the pride I felt was unbelievable. Writing a novel in a month – or in my case, the last half of mine – isn’t an easy thing to do, but the NaNoWriMo team gives you an amazing amount of support.

This support comes in the forms of daily emails, pep talks from authors, and various Twitter accounts that keep encouraging you to just write.

For the last six days or so, I’ve felt at a loss – my routine had developed into coming home from work, sitting down and writing until I had at least 1,667 words. Sometimes that took 30 minutes, and sometimes it took several hours.

Now, I don’t have any writing to do, and I’ve been bracing myself for what may be an even tougher job – editing the 120k word manuscript.

Since my goal is to eventually get this work published – I’m going to try to get it traditionally published first, and if that fails I will be self-publishing most assuredly – I will likely be changing this blog from the travelling one it is now, to something more book related. Watch for those changes.

In the meantime, I want to reach out to all those who have written/edited/published or even read a book, because I’m sure I’ll have plenty of questions, seeing as I’m relatively new to the process.

My first issue is with the character names. I used plain filler names for the main characters, and now I’m thinking I want more fantasy-sounding names. So my question:

How do you select the names for your characters?

I’ve considered looking up root words of certain terms – and I used that for a few characters – or perhaps combining two common names to create a new one. What do you do?

Thanks as always for following, and make sure to catch me on Twitter.

@CamMParkes

Love,

CP

Oh and PS: If you want to check out the prologue for my novel – working title Twin Killers, click here.

Categories: Adventure, Author, book, Canadian Literature, canlit, character, editing, fantasy, literature, magic, manuscript, names, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Novel, novelist, publishing, reading, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The long drive, Hobbiton, and NaNoWriMo

Hola amigos!

Yes, once again it’s been a while since a blog post. This time, I lay the blame on NaNoWriMo – or, as it’s known to n00bs, Nation Novel Writing Month. I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, since last time, we decided to drive from Auckland to Christchurch for some reason – about fifteen hours.

On our way, we accidentally stumbled into Middle Earth somehow. We took two hours and explored Hobbiton, then got a drink at the Green Dragon Pub. Here are a few photos:

IMG_6939IMG_6985IMG_6998 IMG_7015 IMG_7035

(Check out the full album here.)

After that we continued our long drive (long, but nothing compared to my Yellowknife or Bust adventure), stopping in Wellington for the night. We took a ferry the next morning – it was pretty big.

20141010_075435

Apparently it holds about ten thousand people, which is a lot of people.

The rest of the drive was pretty boring, except for the cool scenery and one time where we almost ran out of gas in the middle of the desert. I saved us, though, by continuing to drive until I found a gas station.

So we’ve been settled in our new flat for a while now. I’m back at the pallet factory and Kylie is done school finally. We’re going to both work until her graduation on December 19, and then explore all that New Zealand has to offer.

In the meantime, though, I am hard at work writing.

November is National Novel Writing Month – a challenge where tons of people across the world attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. I tried this last year and only got about 13,000 words, but this year is different.

I was already well into my attempt at a novel, and I’m using NaNoWriMo as a push to finish it. Currently, I’ve written 96,547 words for my manuscript – my goal is 100k, but it looks like it will finish off closer to 115k – and 26,975 of that has come in the month of November. By the end of today, to stay on the pace of 1,667 words per day, I should be at 26,672 – thanks to a fevered writing session last night where I wrote two day’s-worth, I was able to take the time out to write this blog.

Soon, I’ll be posting stuff about the novel, like asking people to edit it, or how I should go about trying to get it published, etc. In the meantime, you can check out the synopsis and prologue at the following link:

TWIN KILLERS on Tablo

Any feedback is more than welcome! I have another 25 chapters already written if the prologue piques your interest.

Thanks for reading all y’all, follow me on my social media things!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Holiday, New Zealand, Novel, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog/novel update

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged – the gaps seem to be getting consistently longer, unfortunately. The reason for this is because I’ve spent more and more time working on my novel, as opposed to going out and doing things. I was an extra for a project again, but I’m not allowed to talk about that until it airs, so that’s out.

I thought one way to incorporate my writing and blogging would be to simply post bits of the novel. I have no idea how it will be received, so for now, I’m going to merely post the prologue. If you like it, or hate it, I’d appreciate feedback – and you can follow me on Twitter for updates!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Thanks, and enjoy!

Love

CP

Prologue

The unspoken rules for traveling through the Rubble were simple: go quickly, and go quietly. The first was difficult, as debris lay strewn about the narrow alleys that wound through the glistening heaps of rock fragments. A lot of it was sharp, and a careless stride could leave you incapacitated – something you never wanted to be in the Rubble. The second was almost too easy; the dark aura surrounding the Rubble seemed made for whispers and quiet travel. While sunlight never reached most alleys in the Rubble, moonlight had an eerie way of glinting off the chalky material, making it seem to glow at times. It also created shadows that swirled and formed horrific images to behold. Traversing the ruins in the day was dangerous; attempting it at night was insane. Adam felt he had no choice, however; he had been caught late at the market, and upon beginning his journey home had sensed other presences skulking in the dark. The children of Dome quickly learned to trust their instincts, and so Adam had meandered around a corner and took off on silent feet. He lived in one of the most northern homes, and had a sinking feeling if he took the long way, he wouldn’t arrive. So the Rubble it was.

Wan moonlight turned inanimate ledges and turrets into clawed demons that danced over the ruins as Adam scuttled silently through the alleys. When you grew up in Dome, you quickly learned how to navigate the Rubble; groups of younger children played in there during the day, with relatively no fear of being attacked. Adam knew several paths through the debris to come out at various locations around town; no one knew the entirety – or even the majority, for that matter – of the mass pile of wreckage, but Adam figured he knew almost as much as anyone.

Adam took a left at a three-way fork. Everyone had their own landmarks; for Adam, this one was a brutal looking twist of stone that had always looked like a giant dagger waiting to be thrust down. To him, at least. Anna, his twin, claimed it looked nothing of the sort.

As he was wont to do when traveling through the Rubble, Adam found himself trailing his fingers over the material of the debris – most of it looked extremely resilient, but the whitish-gray stone had a rough, chalky feel to it – and contemplating his problems. He and Anna had always been close growing up – unusual for the children of Dome. They had spent a lot of time together in the Rubble, first playing, then finding paths as they grew older. If anyone knew the Rubble as well as Adam, it was Anna.

Adam paused as another fork in the debris appeared, one path partially bathed in eerie shadow, the other completely dark. He considered. Recently, Anna had been more and more distant. He hadn’t expressed his concerns to anyone, merely written it off as normal behavior for a seventeen year old girl. Now, he had to suppress an inkling of unease that rose in his stomach. He hadn’t seen Anna in a few days; their parents said she was staying at a friend’s home. Whose, they weren’t certain.

Adam firmly shoved the feeling back down into his stomach, then mentally stomped on it for good measure. Yes, Anna had been distant, but they were not only siblings; they were also friends. They had promised to meet each other unharmed in the Stadium, and not try anything underhanded before that. Still, Adam’s senses were screaming that he was in danger. He looked again to the paths in front of him.

The one that was only half dark would wind around some large chunks of grayish stone, and come out on the street just south of his home. The path blanketed in still, silent darkness took longer and was harder to navigate, but came out almost on his doorstep. Normally, the decision was simple; the distance saved wasn’t worth risking a virtually blind walk.

If Anna was waiting for him, Adam decided, she’d be set up along the obvious path. Just to be safe, he started along the dark one. Although it was used very infrequently, Adam had used the path a few times when he was younger, and still remembered the major obstacles. Climb over a rough, rounded piece of stone – it always brought images of a vast pillar to Adam’s mind – walk with hands waving in front to find the overhanging sheaf of stone, and then crawl under it. The stone came so close to the ground that Adam, bigger than the last time he used this route, had to get right down on his stomach and squirm along. Adam offered a silent blessing to the night that he wasn’t afraid of tight places, or all-encompassing darkness.

Clearing the debris, Adam stood up and brushed his pants off nonchalantly. He could see a line of light along the path where the Rubble ended. He strode quickly and quietly along the relatively straight alley, feelings of unease receding. Even if Anna had laid a trap for him, he had avoided it. He probably wouldn’t ever know if taking the dark route had been necessary, but he had escaped the Rubble at night unharmed, and he counted that as coming out ahead. Approaching the mouth of the alley, he paused, resting his hand on a smooth piece of debris.

Gazing out, he was still shrouded in darkness, but could see his home clearly. The second dwelling up, he could see his mother gazing out their window, probably awaiting his arrival. Grinning, he stepped out, raising his hand in greeting. Before his hand got all the way up, however, he felt a hand seize his hair and roughly yank him back. He opened his mouth to shout, but a cold line was suddenly pressing at his throat, and a voice whispered, “Don’t say a word.”

Adam’s mother continued to gaze out the window, apparently not having noticed her son’s brief exposure in the light. He would get no help from her. Feigning confidence, Adam felt at his throat, and recognized the shape of a knife. It was quickly whisked away, and Adam turned to face his attacker.

He found himself gazing into an almost identical reflection of his own. Mousy-brown hair framed an angular face with a nose and chin that jutted out. Adam couldn’t see the colour of the eyes, but knew they were the same deep blue as his.

“Anna,” he said, oddly feeling no fear and asking the first thing that came to mind, “Where did you get a knife like that?”

Anna stared back, silent, shadows flickering over her. Although their features were essentially the same, Adam towered over his sister, and was much heavier as well. He had filled out relatively early, and had always been thick. He knew from experience that Anna was strong for her size, though.

Adam continued to stare at her silently, and Anna apparently felt awkward at the silence, because she finally spoke.

“Adam, I can’t stay in this place anymore.” Anna stared at her feet briefly, knife held by her side. Adam’s instinct screamed at him to run.

“Anna, this is stupid. Let’s go inside,” he said, his confident voice not betraying his frantic emotions inside. He turned to walk out of the alley, and stopped. Several shadows blocked the exit. They had snuck in, probably using the shadow cast by the Rubble as cover. There was no way out. Adam turned back to his sister, who was now looking straight at him, with renewed determination.

“You’re bigger and stronger than me Adam,” Anna said. “There’s no way I’ll win.” She took a step toward him. Adam resisted the urge to step back; this was his sister.

“I have to ensure I’ll win,” Anna continued, continuing to move closer. “I don’t want to kill you, but I have to make sure you can’t compete. I can’t stay here.”

Adam felt debris behind his back, and only then realized he had let his sister back him into the wall of the ruin. His inner voice still screamed at him, and sweat beaded on his forehead. He attempted to smile at Anna, but it kept slipping.

“Come on, Anna,” he said. “Look, if it means that much to you, I’ll let you win.” He wouldn’t – he couldn’t wait to see the world – but it wouldn’t hurt to lead her on a bit, especially if she was willing to go to these lengths. But Anna was shaking her head sadly.

“I can’t trust that you’ll let me win,” she said. “I have to make sure beforehand. I have to cut something in your leg. You’ll live, but you won’t be able to fight. James showed me how.” A shadow at the mouth of the alley shifted slightly. The rustle sounded loud in the quiet of the night.

A single drop of sweat traced a trail down Adam’s face, showing up clearly in the dirt that inevitably accompanied a nighttime crawl through the Rubble. But he wasn’t through, yet; in fact, he thought he knew the way out.

“Anna,” he said quietly, confidently meeting her eyes. “You know there is no way I’ll keep quiet if you do this to me. I won’t pretend this was an accident.” Anna looked away, and Adam felt a trickle of encouragement. He continued. “If you just forget this crap now, I won’t say anything. You and your friends,” – more shuffling – “will be safe. The only other option is to kill me now, and I know you won’t do that.” Adam glanced to the mouth of the alley, gauging his chances of plowing through the shadows gathered there. When he looked back at Anna, she was staring at him again, tears in her eyes.

“Anna, wha-“ Adam began. He cut off as fire seemed to blossom across his throat. He tried to swallow and continue speaking, but all that came out was a gurgle. He put his hand to his throat, and it came away warm and wet. Adam stared at Anna, who had backed away, as all the strength seemed to seep from his legs. He fell in slow motion to the ground, his knees seemingly creating twin explosions in his ears as they struck dirt. The sound echoed in his mind, as he stared up at his twin. She stared back, refusing – or unable – to break eye contact. Adam opened his mouth to try one last time to speak; for a moment, his mouth hung open, and his eyes bulged with effort. Then blood gushed out, and Adam collapsed forward to lie still on the ground. The night was silent again.

After a surreal moment or two, one of the shadows stepped forward.

“Take his valuables, his shoes, everything but his clothes,” a rough voice ordered. “Make it look like a robbery.” Shadows swarmed around the fresh corpse of Adam, as Anna stood by, still staring at her brother. She did not shed a tear, and her knuckles were white from gripping the hilt of her knife so hard. When the task was done, the shadowy figures converged with the blackness of the night and disappeared.

Categories: Blog, Novel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.