Quoth the Raven

Wearing orange and black and candy corn socks. Carving pumpkins. Baking and eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Decorating the lounge with ghosts and bats. Dressing up in costumes. Reading aloud “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. Dancing at the Celtic Soc Halloween Ceilidh.

I’d say it was a very good Halloween.

Alas, I am not celebrating NaNoWriMo Eve. Best of luck to all of you brave writers about to embark on this mad, crazy adventure! Write like the wind!

(I only read one book this month: Miracle on the River Kwai by Ernest Gordon. So I’m not going to make a separate post for books read this month…)

50,000 words

At 50,077 words I finished my NaNoWriMo novel THE HERO, or THE KNIGHT WITH THE SWAN.

An excerpt:

“Is that my ward, Mellayne? Who ran away at the beginning of summer? Why, whatever has gotten into you? You used to be such a quiet child,” said the queen. She snapped her fingers. Mellayne gasped and one hand clutched her throat. She bent over, making choking noises.

“Your quarrel is not with Mellayne! Let her be!” commanded Lukas.

Instantly Mellayne stopped choking, but no sound came out of her mouth when she opened it. She leaned against his back, trembling, and gave a great sob.

“No,” said the Queen of Marschon. “My quarrel is with you.”

“Then come down and face me yourself!” shouted Lukas. The Pooka danced, its hooves ringing with his words. “Come, unless you are too much a coward!”

“I am not afraid of you, little knight,” answered the queen. She disappeared into a whirl of smoke and landed in front of him. The Queen of Marschon held a sword. “Now who is the coward?” she asked. “Will you dismount, as an honorable knight should?”

Mellayne tried to hold him back, but Lukas dismounted. He drew his sword, the one given to him by the Mistress of the Night. They started to circle each other. “I will fight you, false traitor, for you have enslaved my people,” he said.

Did Lukas defeat the Queen of Marschon? Did he survive his battle with the basilisk? Well, you will just have to find out.

This month was not without its ups and downs. This was perhaps the most difficult WriMo I’ve had. I was so busy that often my creative well was dry that when I sat down to write I couldn’t come up with anything. My stats page reflects this:

But I still won, because after a few days of resting the creative well would be refilled, and I would write up a storm.

A few more stats:

This is my sixth NaNoWriMo and my ninth WriMo since 2003. Since 2009, I have written four novels. More importantly to me, I have successfully written a four-book series, with interesting and different characters and stories in each. I’m quite pleased, if I may say so myself.

Now, something just as exciting in my point of view: because I finished NaNoWriMo today, and because tomorrow is a university holiday, I am taking the rest of the week OFF. Sleep, glorious sleep!

Quick update

Hello all.

Thanksgiving on Saturday was a success. I will post pictures later, when I have time. This is just a quick update to say that I love turkey and food, that it’s Advent already, and that I’ve begun the final chapter of my novel and, quite possibly, the series.

I have mixed feelings about this. I am so ready for November to be over. And yet, I am sad about saying good-bye to the Pooka. I suppose it isn’t good-bye really, as I still have to revise the four novels…

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are still 4582 words left to write, and three days to write them in. Can I do it? I think so.

Word count: 45,418

Half-way!

Last night, after a rather long writing session in which I wrote 3000 words, I finished Chapter Five. I have now written half of my novel. Huzzah!

And may I present to you, the Pooka:

A black shadow leapt onto the bed. When Lukas did not first acknowledge it, the small creature pounced on his feet, its claws pricking him through the covers. “Agh!” exclaimed Lukas, jerking his feet away. The black cat chased after them, attacking his feet even as they moved.

The cat stopped only when Lukas threw a pillow at it. Leaping over the pillow, the cat sat down gracefully. It proceeded to wash its face, winking its golden eyes. “Well?” asked the Pooka.

“There is a monster in the forest,” said Lukas. “Time and again Lord Cadigar has sent knights out after it, but they have never returned. The game has left his parks. Save for me, there have been no other travellers. They do not know what kind of creature it is, but they fear it.”

 The cat began licking its shoulder. “It is as I suspected,” said the Pooka.

“I told them I would ride out to meet it.”

The Pooka did not answer. The cat lifted its leg, moving on from its stomach. “Pooka!” Lukas tossed another pillow at the indecent cat.

“I heard you,” sniffed the Pooka. It turned itself in circles on the pillow before lying down. “They asked you about the gryphon and the chimera. I know. I was there.”

I’m fairly certain that the Pooka is the reason I keep writing these novels…

Word count: 25355

This crazy month

This is what November looks like:

  • 30 hours/week – PhD work
  • 20 hours/week – MUSA
  • 14-20 hours/week – Novel writing
  • 6 hours/week – Extracurricular (choir, dance, swimming)
  • 4 hours/week – Church/PGCU
  • 2-3 hours/week – Skyping

Now I know why I feel like I have three ‘identities’ — because I have three jobs and a life.

Word count: 17,267

Dancing dwarves

Cookies and milk and Princess Agnes for inspiration:

From Chapter Three:

            A dwarf pressed into his hand a sandwich of ham and cheese and another gave him a flagon of beer. He took both hastily and hungrily, and then he kept his own bargain. He played the traditional yuletide dancing songs first, following with a few he had made up of his own. The dwarves linked hands and danced, weaving in grand chains around in circles and looping under arched arms. Owls and robins swooped down onto branches around the dancing company. The owls bobbed their heads in rhythm.

            Lukas played himself breathless. After the dancing songs he played calmer ones as the dwarf children fell asleep in their places and the adults refreshed themselves with beer. The werelights dimmed with the first rays of sunlight. The dwarves packed up their children and their beer, leaving a basket of food for the mortal who had played for them. The grandfather dwarf brought his granddaughter over to thank the mortal knight one last time. “You are very welcome,” Lukas said to the dwarf girl with a smile.

            “The best dancing night we’ve had in years,” said the older dwarf. “I haven’t heard such music by a mortal since your grandfather’s day, or his father’s before that. Good luck, Prince Lukas.”

            The dwarf girl’s mother called and with the snap of their fingers the dwarves were gone.

Word Count: 14,015

Chapter Two

Today I finished Chapter Two and began Chapter Three of my NaNoWriMo novel.

I left Sir Lukas in pursuit of a chimera. In the snow. That will prove interesting tomorrow…

Word count: 10,363 words