jayeless: photo of me at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain (Default)
Jess ([personal profile] jayeless) wrote2010-12-01 08:27 pm

I won NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo winner 2010!Yes, I won NaNoWriMo for another year ;D I'm pretty sure that I left victory the latest this year of any year — I crossed the 50,000 word mark on the 29th and I think I've usually finished around the 23rd or thereabouts although I don't quite remember — but regardless, I actually did pull through.

And I pulled through despite hating the way my novel was structured to begin with, and excising a point-of-view character before even getting to any of his scenes, and reworking the entire second half of the outline when I was halfway through the first half. I also fell significantly behind at one point and had to work hard to catch up (6,000-word days help), and then although I pulled significantly ahead, I didn't really stay there, hence the twenty-ninth-day victory. BUT ANYWAY I WON. That's the important part.

I basically like the idea I've had and the plot, but I don't like the way I've executed the plot, so I'm going to go back and rework it (again) at some point. I really want to do justice to this idea and construct it properly, and tone down the violence, and give the characters more scenes that demonstrate their actual characters in the first section of the novel. If you remember my last post, I was really irritated at how much my outline seemed to consist of gratuitous violence, so that's the section I need to fix up :P Yeah.

So apparently I have explained the premise of this novel, but clearly things have changed a little bit. For a start, there's now only three point-of-view characters, and all of them live until pretty much the end (I will say though that not all of them survive the end!). One of them is so contemptible to me that I really struggle to write his scenes and chapters (hence the slowdown as I approached 50,000... I got bogged down in one of his chapters. Then I gave up.), and the other two are more sympathetic although they're both flawed. I'm really glad that one of them turned out to be as deeply flawed as she did, because when I was outlining she was kind of the "closest to perfect" out of everyone. Then she turned out to be incredibly grouchy and judgemental and probably easy to dislike, if you met her, so it all worked out okay.

I think naming all the characters makes things easy, y/y? So, the character whom I hate is Kurthak, and he's a Stormfighter. The Storm is kind of a quasi-religious extremist movement, and its origins are rooted in imperial days when the Seranese were expanding their empire, enslaving the original inhabitants of the islands they invaded, the Platians. Although the Platians aren't enslaved any more they're still oppressed and face intense discrimination, and so the Storm is committed to "liberating" the Platian people by killing all the Seranese and destroying the Seranese state.

Then there's Stefia, who fills the role of "ordinary law-abiding Seranese citizen". She doesn't really question the state's ideology, so racism of the state is thoroughly ingrained in her head and all of that. Early in the novel she's doing her compulsory military service, and she has some moments of doubt but basically, she doesn't question the general principles and she makes her peace with the atrocities they commit. Her entire storyline is basically that no matter what she thinks, she does whatever has the best chance of keeping her alive.

And LASTLY there is Jaya, who is Platian but a quarter Seranese, and is influenced by her political dissident father to oppose the state on a left-wing and anti-racist basis. However, she's deeply pessimistic and cynical. She views working-class revolution, and solidarity between Seranese and Platian workers against the state, as key to building a better society, but she doesn't think it'll happen. She's become so disillusioned that she hates most people, and most people hate her for her outlandish (i.e. non-racist) views, but she has a tightknit group of friends who think similarly to her and not all of them are as misanthropic.

So basically half the novel sets up these characters as they are before the Storm takes over (i.e. what I just wrote above...) and the other half follows them afterwards. Circumstances bring them all together, and it doesn't really end well for any of them. It's a beautiful story.

Okay, for variable definitions of "beautiful", I guess. It's kind of not. But whatever!

Anyway, I like the idea still, so I'm going to try to write it all properly! And also think of some facet of Kurthak's personality I could play up to make him less of an outright monster, because that is annoying me :P Like... sure, he TOTALLY IS A MONSTER. But he could at least be a bearable-to-write monster with motivations that make more sense, yeah?

But in the meantime, I'm going back to my pre-NaNo and long-time project :) They're both set in the same world (hence why I'm using the "writing: kalambria" tag for both!) but they're disconnected enough that I don't know which it'd be better to finish first. Given that that one is more focused on one person, my NaNo novel is probably better as an introduction to the setting, but on the other hand the NaNo novel also takes place afterwards, so who knows. It probably doesn't matter at all.

So, I think that's all that needed to be said! I hope everyone else doing NaNoWriMo had their own successes, too :D