NaNoWriMo take two

Being unemployed and generally unmotivated, I decided to use my first exam and essay free November in years to do NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write an entire book (50,000 words) in a month. Which is about 1,667 words a day.

For the most part, I kept with the 1,667 words a day rule. There was, however, at least one day in each week that I didn’t have enough time to write. I then had to write double the next day. Of course, I didn’t want to ruin my beautiful chart, so usually I put in that I hit the word count each day so it would look pretty:

NaNoWriMo chart

Of course, last Friday I stupidly did not do that and now my chart is ruined. Seriously, though, I loved this chart. It really helped me keep on track to update it every day, to watch my progress and to be constantly reminded how how much I had left to reach my daily word count:

NaNoWriMo words

I want one of these for every book I write. I’ll have to look into that.

Of course, now you’re probably asking what my book is about. As usual, let me back into this answer with a little preamble about how and why I chose my subject.

Everything I’ve written in the last two years or so has been quasi-autobiographical, pseudo-memoir creative non-fiction. But my true background, my passion for writing, comes from character based fantasy novels.

I haven’t been reading what I would call “good” books in the last little while. It started in January with a new addiction to a romance-fiction series by Karen Marie Moning that Alaina sent me for Christmas. Then, with so much school work and traveling for the next two semesters, I ended up needing books that were entertaining. That were an escape. I couldn’t concentrate on the literary type of books I normally read.

When I got home from England, I didn’t want to think about life much. So I kept reading about other people’s melodramatic lives in new romance serieses.

When I decided to endeavor to write 50,000 words in one month, I knew I needed to break away from my usual type of writing. I knew I needed something that was exciting and interesting to keep my attention for a whole month. I knew I wasn’t going to write the next great Canadian novel in one month.

So I decided to write a romance novel. A time travel romance set in Ireland. Ireland is the perfect place for it, because it’s already so magical and romantic in my mind. And I know it well enough to describe it in fair detail.

This was my plot description:

Lexi Kelly is a Canadian visiting some relatives in small town in the Connemara region of Ireland. Her cousins take her to a Beltane festival, where she gets a wee bit drunk. Costumed people start to blur as they dance about, and the next thing she remembers is waking up in the morning. Only she’s not where she thought she was, she’s in 1275 and servant girl is calling her “Lady Alexandra.” She quickly discovers that she’s recently married, to a bullheaded Irish lord, Aedh Muimhnech Ó Conchobair. Strangely, everyone thinks she’s always been there. Her and her husband, however, are not on good terms. He could care less about her and had to marry her as part of an alliance. Miscommunication and frustrations ensue.

To further complicate things: just as she’s starting to resign herself to her new timeline, she gets thrown back into modern Ireland. She’s returned to her Aunt’s house, where she’s apparently been off studying Gaelic for two weeks. Confused, she decides to extend her stay in Ireland and meets the beautiful Irish man she was always hoping for, a charmer named Dechlan Gallagher. Things progress and she starts to think that 1275 and Aedh were all just a really strange, whiskey induced dream.

At which point she gets thrown BACK to 1275.

Basically she keeps jumping between the two timelines at unpredictable (and hilarious) times. There’s a mysterious force at work and eventually she has to make a choice between the two timelines.

Fun, right? I thought so. And guess what? It worked! I won!

I'm a winner!

Apparently I can actually write every day and get somewhere. Considering I’m still unemployed and without a career path, maybe I really should be a writer! I’m pretty damn proud of myself, I have to say. Which is hard to come by when you do almost nothing with your life on a regular basis!

Check back soon and I’ll post an excerpt!

Some things you can’t keep

I want to see mountains again.

In my beautiful hotel, nestled in the enchanting mountains of Delphi, I wrote about shades of blues. I never knew that such a cool, subtle colour had so many hues until I saw the mountains. I never knew that there was a place you could watch the sun set over seemingly infinite shades of blue. A sweeping spectrum that took my breath away, that I failed repeatedly to capture perfectly on camera. Some things are just for looking. Some things you can’t keep.

On a train from Venice to Rome, I was struck by the beauty of the sky. Low wispy clouds, I wrote, running into mountains. Some dark grey-blue, others cracked with the yellow of the setting sun. A double rainbow from the train window, olive tree lined lazy roads in the sun. Rushing by the window.

I sat on a hill below a castle in Edinburgh, and I thought about stories. Of the stories we tell and the ones we keep and the ones, both kept and shared, that haunt us forever. I wrote about castles and fairytales and the dreams that I had to tell these stories, too.

Last year, I never had to be bored, because the next adventure was a week or a month away. There was a new place around each corner and a picture to take out of each window, from each park bench. There were seemingly endless possibilities. There was a dark and stormy sea, there was a hot and sandy beach. When I blinked, the world was a photograph. When I spoke, it was the pages of a history book.

How’s that for a pedestal? Gilded, gleaming and seven feet tall.

Guest post

My beautiful friend Chris, who I miss immensely, has an awesome blog that I’ve linked to a few times, Always Standing.

She sometimes does guests posts. She did a whole series of them this summer when she was travelling the world. I wanted to do one for her then, but I was in the middle of writing my dissertation and as such avoiding all other writing. But! She called me the other day and asked me to do a post for her on a painting and a Greek myth. How could I resist?

It’s a three part series, which will be posted on three Saturdays. The first one went up yesterday! Check it out!

Dead space

So, this has been some dead internet space for a while now. I’m sort of in the process of working out my life. And looking for a job. And writing a time travel romance novel. One of those three things is infinitely more exciting than the others.

But this is sort of a place marker to say: Don’t stop reading my blog! I promise I have some interesting things coming up soon. I just need to work my head around it and not depress you all with my rather pathetic life (seriously, today I apologized to an apple. Most of my conversations during the day involve cats, not as the subject but as the object.)

That being said, as I vainly love the sound of my own voice, I’m not out of things to say just yet and I do have some posts planned at some point in the near future.

Including one about the aforementioned time travel romance novel.