Been here before? Skip the intro and head straight for the main piece of work then 😁
I’ve been asked by someone for a post about how I did NaNoWriMo.
Firstly, I’m a newbie when it comes to writing. My 2017 NaNoWriMo project was my first one and I had no plan and no clue what I was doing or should be doing. Since then I have done plenty of research, attended classes, practised, read my work out loud, workshops, and more research.
This blog series will be about my journey to creating a story from idea to the first draft via NaNoWriMo and beyond. Hopefully, you will get some ideas too on how to do your project. The series will go every Monday from the 16th September all the way up to the start of NaNo with the last post on the 28th October just in time for the start of NaNoWriMo.
I plan to go through all the major aspects of storytelling: the idea, the world-building and plotting, outlining and writing. In all these, I will share how I did it and all my resources. I will move on to how to prepare for NaNoWriMo, how to complete NaNoWriMo and how to get un-stuck. The series will end with me sharing the first 800 words of my NaNoWriMo 2018 projects, slightly edited and spellchecked.
- The Idea – NaNo 2018 experience + resources for 2019 NaNo – 16th September 2019
- The world and character – NaNo 2018 experience + resources for 2019 NaNo – 23rd September 2019
- The outlining and writing – NaNo 2018 experience + resources for 2019 NaNo – 30th September 2019
- NaNoWriMo prep – How I prep for NaNoWriMo 30 days of writing 50k words – 7th October 2019
- Undertaking the challenge – 50k words for NaNoWriMo 2019 – 14th October 2019
- How to get unstuck when writing – 21st October 2019
- First 1200 words of my 2018 NaNoWriMo project – 28th October 2019
Disclaimer; I have no background in writing and I do not know what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it and that’s what’s matters. I’m also getting positive feedback on my writing which should indicate that I’m doing something right.
This is scary.
I read my work out loud over the summer to my group at the writing course, but that was confined space. This is very public! But I might as well do it…
Remember its a work in progress and constructive criticism is very welcome. But also this is not perfect and I suck at text formatting and splitting my text into paragraphs etc.
Here we go:
“I’m telling you! This is the best chance we’ve ever had! I had to take it!”
Jac leaned over the desk on her elbows and looked from her second in command, Kin, to her best friend and cook, Cora, and back again. They had to understand her predicament, no? Cora repositioned her skirt and frowned in her seat. Kin on the other hand just looked at her, not a single expression or fraction of his face out of place to reveal his thoughts. He was too good at this. No looks thrown to Cora at his side. No movement to indicate anything. It was unnatural, but to him it was natural. Jac still didn’t know how he did it.
“Come on!” Jac’s hands shot up out of control and she forced them back down.
The Belladonna hit a wave on the side and glass globe she used as a paperweight chose that exact moment to lose control of its own momentum and rolled across the desk separating Jac from her friends. She snatched it, ripped open the top draw, threw the globe in and slammed it shut. If another thing rolled in front of her eyes again she swore to … someone, she would nail every last thing down in this cabin! Most of her stuff was already nailed down, but she would find something that wasn’t. Jeeze! Would she ever learn? 8 years of sailing the high seas as Captin of the Belladonna and she still chose a prfectly round object as her paperweight. She lived on a ship. A ship that sailed the high seas between the Seven Isles. A ship that constantly moved! God, she was a useless captain.
“Jac”, Cora sighed, scratched herself behind the ear and met her gaze. “We had a deal.”
“Oh come on! It was too good to miss out on! 800 points for one trip!” She held up a finger to emphasise. “One trip!”
“We have a deal for a reason, Jac!” Kin’s voice was sterner than usual. It took Jac by surprise. She fixed her eyes on him as Cora continued about their deal, and their history and all that. She loved Cora and all but that lady could talk. Kin just starred back at her. His eyes were darker than normal. Not a good sign. Surely, she hadn’t done such a bad thing, had she? Why were they so mad? She would bring them to the top.
“And you’ve already signed the contract! I mean why would you do that Jac?”
Cora’s high pitched voice drew her back. Her head turned to find Cora pacing instead of sitting in her usual place: to Jac’s right across the desk. Cora had picked the chair out herself. It was yellow with red dots all over it. It almost looked blood splatter, but Jac hadn’t mentioned it. Kin’s chair, on the other hand, to the left across the desk was barely holding itself together under Kin’s nonexistent weight. He didn’t want to waste the money on something new and had turned up one night carrying the dark green chair. It creaked with every motion, including heavy sea, and it wasn’t fun to listen to so Kin hardly sat in it. Today he did. And yes it creaked.
“The usual type of contract I presume?” Cora continued.
There was an unpleasant tone in her voice but Jac let it be.
“Yes, magic paper signed with a bloody thumbprint. Why?”
“Why? Cause there is no way out of it now, is there?!” Cora was panting and red-faced. She had thrown her arms out in frustration but now folded them back in on herself. Jac watched her as she took a deep breath as if to calm herself, and dumped back into the chair. She almost missed it as the ship hit another wave knocking her slightly off course.
How could they not understand that 800 points would get her? It would get them to the top and win this year. Yes, 800 points indicated to a high-risk cargo but these type of jobs were rare. Anything over 500 points was deemed dangerous, but the type of danger was never explained. 800 points was a risk she was willing to make. But was it a risk she was willing to put her crew in? They had never transported anything over 600 points before. An uneasy knot tied itself along her lower spine. Had she done the right thing?
“What Cora is trying to say, is that the deal we made specifically states that no member of this trio should sign any magical contracts without informing the other parties. That being us”, Kin pointed at himself and then at Cora.
Jac tilted her head and looked him in the eye. There was a wicked glint in them that Jac recognised.
“Oh cut that crap Kin! I know the deal. And yes I broke it.”
Kin sent her a smirk in reply. One nill to Kin. She knew he was counting.
She leaned back in her chair. It didn’t look like a murder scene and it didn’t make a sound.
“But I did it for a good reason!” she exclaimed.
“You did it for a selfish reason Jac! Pure and simple.“ Cora’s anger was still soldering in her tone.
Jac didn’t make a retort. Had she really? Selfish? She didn’t consult them because she never got the chance, the offer was too good and the trader insisted on her making a decision right there and then before he went to someone else. Someone she didn’t want this job to go to.
“The deal was made to prevent this sort of thing from happening. I wouldn’t get you a job you couldn’t finish and you wouldn’t go on a revenge trip, and Cora here”, Kin gestured to the women at his left, “wouldn’t lead us back to Mariko Market, again.”
Cora’ already red face darken with a blush. A smile crept into the corner of her mouth and she scratched behind her ear again.
“I’m annoyed because the points are too high, the risk is too high, and it doesn’t make any sense. Why did they come to you directly?” Kin’s chair complained loudly as he shifted in his seat a frown burrowed deeply between his brows. He wasn’t looking at her anymore. His eyes glanced over her shoulder and out the window behind her. She had to admit it was a great view from the back of the ship straight at the horizon.
“Kin’s right. It doesn’t feel good. We can’t break the contract because it’s attached to your blood until completion.” Cora’s voice was milder. “I won’t leave you, but Jac, I don’t want to die so you can have some sweet revenge, though I completely understand.”
Jac’s pinky twitched. Had she done it to get revenge? Had she really sunk that low? Yes, 800 points would bring them to the top of the leader board and if no one else had a similar score within the next 6 month she and her crew of the Belladonna would be “Traders of the Year”. But was this too easy? She had worked 8 years for this; built her way up from 105th place to 19th place. First place had belonged to the same company for as long as she knew, and she wanted them off. Preferably buried.
“We would be in the lead if we succeed”, Jac’s voice was calm and low. “We could win.”
“Yes, if!” Kin sighed in relief. “If we survive!”
Until next time, keep writing 😁