Assessing #NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of May and the April 2014 #NaNoWriMo is over. I didn’t hit my #writing goal but I did get some things done. I finished chapter 13, completed chapters 14 & 15, and almost finished 16. My #fantasy novel is rolling along quite well.  I also got some things done in the short story department.

type15

Old Typewriter by Liji Jinaraj used under CC License

A new flash fiction called Everybody’s a Winner was completed, the first 7 pages of a #StarTrek fanfic were drafted, and a large chunk of a long dystopian short story called A Pound of Flesh was also edited. Not bad for a hectic month.

I almost forgot, 10 new #blog posts were also written in April, and the Tyrhennia Times newsletter was launched as well.

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by not reaching my goal for my novel. But as I looked back on the list of what I did produce, I am feeling a bit better.

Tell me about your writing accomplishments in April.

Unlucky Chapter 13

I breezed through the first twelve chapters of my fantasy novel The First Light. Two of the chapters weren’t even planned; they just grew as the story took on a life of its own. Then chapter 13 came along.

In this chapter there was going to be a fight scene and we were going to learn something about one of the secondary characters. I’ve noticed that fight scenes (even from best-selling pros) don’t feel visual enough. In a bind I stumbled across Writing Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall.

unlucky Photo by WoodleyWonderworks used under Creative Commons License

I gobbled that book right up and made up a few charts from the information that I gleaned. I wasn’t writing a huge battle scene, or an extended fight-to-the-death between hero and villain. It was just a small clumsy attack by non-professionals.

Thanks to Rayne Hall, I got through it, and it makes sense (to beta readers anyway). This situation was totally different from (gulp) writer’s block. I was still writing and editing short stories. I even wrote FIGHT SCENE GOES HERE and completed the rest of the chapter.

The working title for this chapter is “Assassins”; although, I’ve been toying with the idea of calling it, “Knives from the Darkness”, or something on that order.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a predicament like this one?

Rethinking Some Chapter Titles

For all who read and commented upon my previous post The First Dozen of The First Light, it should come as no surprise that I’ve since renamed chapters 2 & 4. Originally, chapter Two was called “Contemporary Antiquity,” which does fit because it reveals part of the history of Tyrhennia – a history that has ramifications for the current day. Of course, the key word is “part,” and that’s why the title irked me.

I’d love to call the chapter “True Confessions” but alas, that’s the title of a major film from 1981. Horrid thoughts about Robert DeNiro banging on my door and screaming “Are you talkin’ to me” made me drop that idea. I could use the word “Confessions” alone, but it isn’t very descriptive and sort of swipes an ancient title from St. Thomas Aquinas. (Catholic guilt alert) God knows that I don’t want to steal something from a Saint, and have Sister Attila the Nun smack me across the knuckles with a huge wooden ruler.

However, in the chapter, two characters do reveal something important to each other. Therefore, “Mutual Confessions” seems to be the winner.

QM Photo Dennis Hill (Creative Commons License)

I presented Chapter 4 to my critique group this past Saturday, and they all agreed that “The Creeping Shadow” was not a good title. In this chapter we get our first glimpse of the Tenebrae, and learn about how patient they are at implementing their plans.

However, much more is revealed about the personalities of two dark mages, Lamortain and Xymphilia (I think she’s getting a name change as well). They’re twisted, psychotic, and utterly violent. The manner in which their evil is shown within the chapter led a critique reader (Colt) to propose the new title “Lightning and Fire.”  I think I’ll stick with it. Thank you Colt, it’s so good to have author friends.

Do you perform mental gymnastics when creating chapter titles and character names as well?