NaNoWriMo: Week One
This is by far my favorite time of year for various reasons. Around this time, California gets its fall and the temperature begins to cool a little bit. We get a smattering of rain if we’re lucky, but it’s always great when I can open the window and enjoy a cool breeze. Of course, there’s the holidays, too. There’s pumpkin pie everywhere and I love it.
It’s also NaNoWriMo, as many of you know. The time where writers frantically try to meet word count goals every day and start to hate themselves and their craft, but just can’t seem to stop. I love those people. I want to hug all of them.
I’m not really one of them, though. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that hitting 50k words isn’t much of an issue for me, it’s writing clear and concise and not getting bogged down in a character’s thoughts. So, I’m trying NaNoWriMo a little differently this year.
The challenge for me this NaNoWriMo is writing a cleaner novel the first time around. It’s a little less editing for me in the long run. Instead of worrying about cutting a novel out of a novel, I can see about adding in that darling I love so much in chapter eight.
Of course, I’m still fairly certain I can hit 50k. I’m already just below 15k words and I’m on chapter seven. But my chapters are shorter, my scenes swifter, and my adverbs lacking. I’m really enjoying the challenge of writing around adverbs. They’re necessary, don’t get me wrong, I still use them. But it’s so much more fun trying to convey a character’s emotions through actions.
I was definitely trying to do this before, too. I was just doing it wrong, lol.
So. How’ve I been doing so far for NaNoWriMo? Pretty damn well, I think. The story’s coming together nicely, we’ve got tension in nearly every chapter and some big moments already. I did want to do the YA SciFi story for NaNo, but that’s not how it’s working out. Instead we’re working on the third manuscript for the series Fabian and I have been writing. For whatever reason, we keep getting pulled back to these stories. We have to write them.
And those are the stories that are the best, I think.
How is everyone else doing for NaNoWriMo? Do you have any personal challenges for yourself aside from the 50k? Share in the comments!
And for your reading pleasure, check out the prologue!
Medroni’s original dislike of boats and ships was something he needed to overcome when he joined the Sun and Seas Company. Once he had, he found the open ocean to be somewhat freeing. A lone ship, or even a fleet of ships, was a little like its own floating kingdom. Medoni didn’t fancy himself a king by any means, but having even partial control of one or two ships gave him a sense of power he’d yet lacked in his life. Even when he stepped foot on land, in Mennos’ capitol of Hagia Sorva, the feeling of power didn’t leave him.
King’s Port was a bustling little city unto itself. Multitudes of ships docked here daily, carrying goods from all over the known world. Silks, perfumes, grain, jewels– it all came through King’s Port at some time or other. Most of it was none of Medroni’s concern. He eyed a line of shackled slaves on the docks, grimy from traveling in holding cells in the hull of some ship. No doubt they smelled as bad as the rest of the port– filthy, unbathed men, with grime and salt in every crevice. The scent of fish was as pungent as the sailors. He wasn’t sure how the fine goods that came through managed to avoid the clinging stench of the port. It was a secret he’d kill to know.
Medroni turned back to the deck of Storm’s Bane. “Get the wine unloaded,” he ordered, and men leaped to obey.
Storm’s Bane had docked beside a few other Sun and Seas ships and the crews seemed to know each other. They hailed one another and called their greetings as they worked, supervised by one of the low ranking officers. Medroni let it alone. They’d have a night or two in Hagia Sorva, spend some coin in Scarlet Row to rut between the thighs of some woman, then set sail again soon enough. So long as the shipment of Vinean wine was intact, Medroni didn’t care.
He might as well spend a little coin himself while they were there. “Marcus, I’m heading to Lord’s Market,” he called.
The captain waved him on with a grin. “Bring me back a turkey leg and the finest damn woman you can find,” he called.
Medroni scoffed and made a rude gesture with his hand, then waved at Marcus. He made his way through the docks to the start of Lord’s Street, which curved around the palace and led into the richest districts of Hagia Sorva. A small market lay nearby, simply called Port Market by locals. It was closest to the port and saw a lot of business from better off captains and lords passing through.
He turned off Lord’s Street and down Market Street — they were very simple with their names here — to browse the street vendors and shops. The usual goods were displayed; silks, satins, brocades, jewels. Street vendors sold small gifts, toys, food, and produce. Medroni paused and purchased a few skewers of roasted lamb, and another of shrimp and grilled vegetables. Fine fare compared to his usual meals. Their meat was all cured in salt so it’d keep at sea. He’d purchase a turkey leg if he could on his way back to the ship– Marcus could find his own woman, though.
The trip was rather short lived, but it was nice to be firmly in Mennosi territory again. He craved a brief sense of home and his walk through the market satisfied his nostalgia. He was grinning when he returned to Storm’s Bane with a turkey leg wrapped in cloth for Marcus.
“Gods, you’re an angel,” Marcus groaned, eyeing the cloth as Medroni set the leg on his desk. “I could kiss you.”
Marcus laughed, but it died as Medroni’s eyes landed on the hawk nearby. It sat on a little pedestal, fluffing its wings, a leather hood over its eyes. Marcus glanced between the bird and Medroni and he nodded.
“New orders,” he said. “The crew gets a night, then we set sail in the morning.”
Medroni dropped into a chair and sighed. “What’re the orders this time?”
“Shipments of dye and linen,” Marcus said. “We’re joining two other ships and sailing for Loth Illean.”
A faint smile tugged at the corners of Medroni’s lips. He liked Loth Illean. “We could have worse orders,” he pointed out. “The elves do like their wine. We might have a night of revelry in some tavern. The Blushing Maid is good.”
Marcus swallowed the giant bite he’d taken out of the turkey leg and sat back with a satisfied smile. “A welcome distraction, my friend!” He chuckled, then sighed and dropped the leg on the desk. “There’s more, though.” He brushed his fingers on a cloth and reached for a heavy tankard for a drink. “We received word from the frontier.”
That could bode ill. Medroni sat up a little straighter and eyed Marcus. The frontier was the large strip of land along the border of Night Star and recently there was talk of orc raids again. Forts were set up and manned in the wake of the orc war and the raids had ceased for the better part of almost five years. It seemed that was at an end.
“Word from the frontier can only mean on thing,” he muttered.
Marcus nodded and his expression turned grave. “The orcs are raiding again. Slipping between the forts and attacking villages. They’ve been doing so for a while, now, but their numbers are increasing.” He sighed and set the tankard on the desk with a loud thud. “They’re more aggressive and they’re going after some well-protected villages.”
Medroni scowled and ran a hand over his jaw. The orcs liked a challenge, they’d learned that in the orc war. He’d hoped the orcs wouldn’t stir up too much trouble, but apparently their memories were short. Or selective. Perhaps both.
“There’s talk of a young half-orc chieftain attacking forts and scouting parties,” Marcus added. He settled a solemn gaze on Medroni. “Sun and Seas may need to reinforce the frontier at some point.”
“A half-orc?” Medroni frowned and scratched his head, a little puzzled. He’d never seen a half-orc in the midst of the orcs before. “They’re actually following a half-orc?”
“Enough to make him chieftain,” Marcus said. “Which means he’s like to be extra brutal.”
“Certainly not a happy thought.” He heaved a sigh and glanced at the hawk. Probably sent by Doran. They’d release the bird the next morning before they set sail, to give the poor beast some time to rest its wings. Part of him wished he could follow the bird– it was some time since he’d last seen his friends and talk of orcs in northern Sataar brought back memories. Much as he might like sailing with Sun and Seas, he did miss them.
But Herald was happy to be a blacksmith again and Catori had children to wrangle and a household to run. Medroni was better suited to this work. He’d see them again, at some point. He only hoped it wasn’t for another orc war.
“Fuck it,” he growled. “Let’s get some good food tonight, Marcus. I’d like a belly full of crab and roasted anything. Just not pork.”
Marcus chuckled and nodded. “That we can do,” he agreed. “We’ll leave darker thoughts for darker times.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Medroni agreed.