NaNoWriMo 2018: Finishing It Come What May

I participated in NaNoWrimo once, in 2016. I had some words written, but the story didn’t satisfy me. I knew I needed to go back to the outline. So, I did.

Problem was, I never left the outline.

And so, that novel is still stuck in limbo. Its characters are still running around my head, waiting for me to finalize the outline. My biggest problem on that was the tone and my main protagonist. I wasn’t quite sure what his personality was–quirky and weird or secretive and mysterious. I wanted him to be both, but it never translated well unto the page the minute I started typing. I needed to sit on it first.

And while I did, I came up with another story. This time, it was high fantasy, set in a world of monsters and not-quite-magic.

Many elements of this story was inspired by Filipino culture and history. I always loved listening to Philippine history in school, and I always take the opportunity to learn more and more about my country’s folklore, culture, and history.

I prepared the outline and whatnot months ago. I started the draft in October, and now I’m just a few hundred words shy of hitting 30,000. I’m hoping that this November, I’ll be able to completely finish my first draft.

It’s shitty, has several problems, with dialogues that are too on-the-nose, my prose flip-flopping between lyrical (fantasy-ish writing) and practical (modern swears and straightforward lines). And while writing, I’ve been changing names of characters and places and re-working the world they inhabit.

But I’m not going to stop writing the draft. Why? Because I have yet to finish Draft 1 of any novel I’ve had in my head. I’ve written short stories but never a full-length novel. And I know I have a lot of things I still need to write and edit to make this novel of mine work.

So, this serves as a written commitment from me to my novel, a way to spur my writing. Right now, the blurb isn’t exactly how I want it to be, but here’s an idea of what the story’s about (tentative title: Sword and Shield):

The Newly minted Captain Rico Riveran leads his first mission outside the Eridan district, taking High Lord Alejo to the southern citadel to welcome its new steward. They’re accompanied by several soldiers–one of which is Lieutenant Lakan vi Sintarum, a Shadow, one of the best soldiers in the country who serves under a military squad commandeered by Rico’s own father.

Rico harbors jealousy and rivalry in his heart, convinced that Lakan was only sent there because his father didn’t think he was competent enough to see the mission through. Lakan himself thinks the mission is a bore, and he doesn’t think much of the man Rico has become, constantly remembering the young boy who wanted his attention when they were children.

But the uneventful mission takes a dark turn when they’re suddenly attacked by monsters they have never seen before. And with this comes death and the revelation of secrets that threaten the safety of their country.

Rico and Lakan share a strained history and a connection neither of them have the courage to name, but they will have to trust and defend each other if they’re to have a chance at saving their people.

I was actually going to focus more on the action, the mystery, the monsters, and the secrets revealed, but I think my Draft 1 has tightly dragged Rico and Lakan’s budding relationship to the front and center of the plot.

I didn’t really go into it with the idea of tagging this as M/M or gay fantasy because other readers of those genres might be disappointed by the lack of explicit sex scenes in this story. In fact, Rico and Lakan’s relationship will not get established yet in the first book because, story-wise, it just doesn’t make sense for them to hook up that quickly. Also, I’m just not an explicit-sex-scenes person unfortunately, and while there’s talk about their sexual identities, the focus of the story is their mission and their duties as soldiers.

Well, here’s to hoping I can finish this novel this month–or at least write a good chunk of the book this NaNoWrimo 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: