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.


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.

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?

The First Dozen of The First Light

I thought that writing a novel was going to be an easy task compared to short stories. For the first twelve chapters I seem to be correct. I could almost say that the book was writing itself. The words just came out of me and then they took on a life of their own.

I started by giving each chapter a title, which is a simplistic version of light planning. New chapters and sub characters were created on a whim, as if the story and the characters were directing me rather than me directing them.

Tap Photo: Rennett Stowe Used under Creative Commons License

Chapter 1 got an award from the San Antonio Writers Guild, and it was smooth sailing for the next eleven chapters. Not only is the story building, but also subtexts, themes, Jungian Archetypes, psychology, and relationships, are becoming more complex and subtle.

Also, the most noticeable difference is the amount of editing. Chapter twelve doesn’t need half of the editing that chapter one needed. On top of staying busy with the novel, I’ve been pumping out short stories along the way. I guess writing can be no different from riding a horse or playing a guitar. The more you do it, the better you get.

Here’s a list of the titles of the first twelve chapters. Some are definitely written in stone, but others I just consider working titles.

Chapter 1………… Signs and Portents

Chapter 2………… Contemporary Antiquity

Chapter 3………… A Short Walk, A Long History

Chapter 4………… The Creeping Shadow

Chapter 5………… Secret Delving

Chapter 6………… A Rogue is Born

Chapter 7………… The Stolen Kiss

Chapter 8………… To Pursue a Mouse

Chapter 9………… Parleys, Provisions, and Preparations

Chapter 10……… The Caravan

Chapter 11……… An Identity Revealed

Chapter 12……… The New Apprentice

So the work keeps rolling along. In the meantime, what do you think of these chapter titles?