Reviews and Essays, Stories and Poems

I Won NaNoWriMo!

I did it!

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2018 was my second go at NaNoWriMo, and my first win (to win, you have to make the 50,000 word count by November 30th, and validate the text through the nanwrimo website). Gotta say – it feels pretty good. And the story? Well, I’m betting it could use some cleaning up, which I fully intend to do.

How it Went

I went into NaNoWriMo this year with a pretty solid outline. I knew what all of my story beats would be and when they would happen – the seven anchor scenes were all plotted out. But once I got to anchor scene five, I realized it wasn’t where the story was headed. So, for 5 through 7, I was just along for the ride, my imagination at the helm. I’m really happy with the new direction, although I now realize that too many new ideas about the world were introduced at that point. Revision will have to include going back and sprinkling in these details from the top, down. And on that note…

What’s Next?

Revision! In my case, that will be a lot like reconstruction. I already know a few chunks of story in particular that will have to be moved from the second half of the story to the first. I also introduced some sub-plots that I’d like to flesh out earlier on (or at least nod to). Similarly, there’s at least one side plot I introduced early on that I never revisited – that will have to come out, entirely. It sounds like a lot, but I feel pretty confident about it. I feel like by the time I came to the end, I learned a lot more about my characters and my world, and now it’s just a matter of making the beginnings a little more in sync. NanoEDmo, anyone?

The Final Story

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Title: The Calling

Genre: Teen, Supernatural

Official Word Count: 50,101 (139 page doc)


Synopsis: It’s a weird time for Zelia. Her dad just left, her mom uprooted her life to a whole new town, and less than a year ago, she started to come into her magic. Like her mom, Zelia is a natural witch – which is a little exciting, but mostly terrifying! Especially when she’s just trying to make new friends. To top it all off, rumour has it her new house is haunted. She tries to brush it off, but when the strange dreams start to come, Zelia can’t help but wonder if someone is reaching out from the beyond. Could it be that this little-known town is hiding something bigger than anyone might have guessed?

Opening Excerpt: The first night in a new home is always pretty unsettling – and so is the second, third, and tenth; especially if a dweebo next door named Oswald Halfberry tells you it’s haunted. Well, that’s exactly what happened to me when dad left and mom moved me eight hours away to a little-known town called Woodland Heights, that is little known for exactly two things: Granny Oakley’s Delights Diner and The Great Divina’s Tell-All Fortunes. Mom decided this admittedly whimsical town was missing only one thing, a magic shop, which she wedged into the reasonably priced retail space right between the two. As if our being witches wouldn’t have made us big enough outcasts, she’s decided to advertise and profit. Okay – to be fair, she has no intention of telling anyone we’re real witches, and the shop is mostly filled with sage and forget-me-nots (stuff that non-magics like to dabble with), but it’s still a little risky, if you ask me. Which, of course, she didn’t.

Meanwhile, my nights are spent lying awake wondering if Oswald is right; if there’s an actual ghost in my attic. I listen to the symphony of the big, rickety, house; the creaks, the cracks, the clicks and the clacks. I tell myself it’s just the house breathing, which is what dad used to tell me when I’d hear strange noises in the dark. But now I can’t help but wonder, is there something else breathing here?


Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Are you on track to win?


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