My NaNo Experience in a Nutshell

So I know the real reason all you read my blog–for the stories. I know the truth. You use me for freebees, don’t you?

That makes me happy. 😀  Really, it does.

But for now, I have something I want to get off my chest–a reflection for my first year participating in NaNoWriMo. If you are lucky, I will get whatever Wednesday–no, it’s Thursday, isn’t it–freewrite that I left off on done today.

The important thing about NaNo is not getting your daily wordcount in. No, actually, if you can devote an hour a day to writing, you could get your novel done in a couple of months–assuming that you do not sit there and think. Remember, thinking is what takes the long time. Once you formulate a scene, typing it out goes quite quickly. I could meet my wordcount (1,667 words) in an hour. That is about 26 words per minute, which is rather slow. Of course, I dinked around on the net on occasion and got distracted. This is all besides the point. I’m scatterbrained today, my apologies.

The important thing about NaNo is learning to take an idea, run with it, and grind with it all the way to the conclusion. I will be honest. I did not think I was going to see this one all the way through. If it was not for NaNo, I think I would have orphaned the story. It did not have enough tangible conflict. I had to force conflict. I had to force the characters. But I had a few shining moments there in the story. Like when my main character, Gayle, uses enchanted brushes to bring to life paintings for a circus show. I did not go into the actual show, though, and that would have been the place for my villian to make an ominous and startling appearance. And it was only thanks to NaNo refusing to accept 1000 of my wordcount as valid that made me write the most pivotal scene at the end, in which Gayle confronts her uncle (villian) and suddenly we know his endgame, and how all the random events tie together. To be honest, this scene is exactly what made the book real. It made me care for Gayle.

See, I did not love Gayle.

Not the way I love Feralyne. When I think back to my characters in my first book–whatever I decide to finally call it–I get that warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. She is that spunky, intelligent, mystery-solver that I never thought I could write. And I adore her.

Gayle…well, Gayle grew in Merlyn’s Amulet. She went from a character who was perpetually hiding, a character in strict denial of herself, to a character with grit and ingenuity. When she faced down her uncle, I saw his blunt cunning. I saw her unprecedented bravery and stubbornness. She went from a shell to an inspired, thinking woman who was full of vibrancy and guts. And once I saw that, I wanted to go back and write in all the little scenes that would show glimmers of this gutsiness, little rays of hope for what she was going to become.

More than anything, Gayle and Merlyn’s Amulet showed me something. It showed me that I have a special world and a special cast in Ferlyne’s world.

And I think I’m going to make it a series.

See, that had never occurred to me before.

I did not think I was cut out to be a series writer. I thought I would get bored of the characters. Bored of the plot. How would they link together? But when I printed off Feralyne’s manuscript, my brother picked it up and leafed through it. I set the margins to 1/4″, TNR 12 pt, 1.5 line spacing. And it was 154 pages. That is about two inches thick. I was floored. When did it get so big? What would it be like with the recommended editing settings–1″ margins, double-spaced? Anyhow, my brother flipped through the pages, skimming through the lines. He said it reminded him of the Dresden series.

Lord, I love Dresden. I did not read the books (bad me) but I did watch the short TV series they did. I thought the basic plotline and characters (which is all they get right when they come off the page) was fantastic. And it was refreshing to have someone compare me to Jim Butcher instead of JK Rowlings. Though…that is kind of spectacular to be compared to two big names like that, isn’t it?

So, the series idea is why I have started to reconsider(again!) my chosen title. I want something flexible, something that I could do an unknown number of books to.

And I have plenty of overarching plot elements. I doubt I have any as obvious as Voldemort, but I have Feralyne’s relationship with Mordon, her relationship with her friends, her relatives, and budding relationships with Nest and Trish. I plan to expand on the importance of the Blakk Kettle Kafe. While it is another thing to do, I think I might start up another blog (The Blakk Kettle Kafe) for my world-building. Including places, people, and items. Maybe it will be an organizational tool I keep for myself. Maybe it will be open for all to see. It is a thought.

The most important thing I learned from NaNo was to go back to my first storyline again. Though…Merlyn’s Amulet did shine light on how the Blakk Kettle was originally started. I had always wondered about its origins. This year, NaNo was more than worth my time. I would not have thought to start a series without it. I would not have thought it worthy. I would not have thought myself capable.

And to think…when I started writing this post, I thought I was going to tell about Merlyn’s Amulet and the trials I had to do it. For now, I will store Merlyn’s Amulet in Google Docs to keep it safe. Maybe one day I will have the inspiration to read it again and turn it into something beautiful. For now, I know where my heart is. That was a greater gift than anything I thought NaNo could give me.

Now that I’ve talked your ear off, I’m signing off.

Time to do a final read-through of Feralyne’s book, finish the cover, and name it.

Your dearest writer,

Nicolette Jinks.

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