Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo: It's a Wrap!

Before anything else, I want to apologise for doing only one real pot last week. Between the holiday and my race to complete my NaNoWriMo novel, I had very little time for full fledged blog entries! Even with overtime at work this week, I should have more time to devote to the blog now!

The good news is that I completed my NaNoWriMo novel today. In the end it turned out to be 50,796 words--796 words over the 50,000 needed to win National Novel Writing Month. I am not sure I have ever said what my novel is about in this blog, so I suppose I should now. It is entitled Witchhunter and is set in Cromwellian England during the rule of the Major-Generals. Just as in the real world, innocent old women and men are sometimes accused and convicted of witchcraft. Unlike the real world, witches are very much real in the novel. They are also very powerful, and they have their own agenda. Since witches are real in the world of my novel, this also means that there are those who fight them. The plot of my novel then finds its hero, a Royalist trained in fighting the occult, trying to save a small village from the onslaught of witches. Of course, to do this he must also avoid the Parliamentarians in power, who would gladly see him in jail.

I must admit that in writing Witchhunter I took quite a journey. On 1 November I started the novel with no intentions of it eve seeing publication. I was simply writing it as a lark, to see if I could indeed write a 50,000 word novel in a month or less. As I continued to write, something unusual happened. I started to fall in love with the characters and became engrossed in the plot. While I knew that writing so many words in so short a time, much of what I wrote was, well, crap, I also realised that it was crap with potential to be something more. Quite simply, it occurred to me that my unpublishable NaNoWriMo novel could be whipped into shape as something that might just be publishable.

I realise that Witchhunter will require a lot of work. Writing at such a high speed, I had little time for research. While my knowledge of England during the Cromwellian tyranny is considerable when compared to the average American, it is not that of an expert. I know some historical inaccuracies crept into the novel. I will have to do research to correct those, as well as to better capture the flavour of the era. As I mentioned earlier, I am not quite happy with the McGuffin of the novel. I intend to change it into something that is more interesting and more original. As to the plot itself, I think that I drew my big guns too fast--flying demons appear as early as Chapter 5. I think I am going to turn the plot into more of a mystery, unfolding gradually, with nothing so obvious as flying demons until later in the book.

I must say that over all I am happy with the characters. I might change my hero's first name. Currently he is named Lieutenant William Reade. I am thinking that Lieutenant Geoffrey Reade might sound more interesting, not to mention hint at his genealogy (he is descended from the Plantagenets). I am also thinking I might rewrite the character of the vicar, Reverend Thomas. As Witchhunter is now, Reverend Thomas starts out as a staunch Puritan and Parliamentarian, who is very hostile to Lieutenant Reade. He later becomes an ally of Reade in his battle against the witches. I think this is a bit unrealistic, given how strong feelings between Cavaliers and Roundheads were at the time. I have then decided that while Reverend Thomas will still be a Puritan, he will not be a Parliamentarian or a Royalist. This would make him a bit more receptive to Lieutenant Reade's agenda and more likely to be won over by him.

At any rate, I do think I will rewrite Witchhunter with the goal of having it published. Whether it will ever be published I cannot say,  but I think even in the very rough, 50796 draught I produced in the past 29 days, there is some worthwhile material. I suppose this just goes to show that sometimes one's own writing can surprise him or her.


Andrea Eames said...

Your novel sounds cool - great premise!

As you know, it takes a long time to produce a publishable book (takes me about a year), but if you feel like you can get there, you should definitely pursue it.

Raquel Stecher said...

Go Terry!!!!

Terence Towles Canote said...

Thanks cat and Raquelle! I know it will take time to get turn my very rough draught into a publishable book, but then I think it could be worth a try! I have always wanted to be a published author of fiction--it was my first love!

poppedculture said...

Impressive! These days I feel I am barely stringing a few sentences together and am putting off two 400-word pieces I need to complete, so 50,000 words leaves me in awe.

Holte Ender said...

Congratulations on completion of, (let's call it) your first draft.

Jim Marquis said...

Congrats, Merc. That is quite an impressive achievement.

Toby O'B said...

I hope you'll be taking us along on this journey, keeping us up to date on what happens!

Icy said...

Many congrats on completing NaNoWriMo!

Witchhunter does sound interesting. I ran across the same problem when writing my book; research needed to be done but got left by the wayside.

I too would love to have my book published, and I'm working towards it.

Yay for NaNoWriMo!

Terence Towles Canote said...

Icy, I think that was the one down side of NaNoWriMo--no real time to do research! Fortunately, I doubt any anachronisms that might have crept into Witchhunter couldn't be rectified with a rewrite!

I do hope Miss Lyon and the Mystery of the Jade Mask gets published. It sounds like it could be fun!