Finally, first day on the actual project!

Published November 11, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

LOL, only took me ten days of other stuff before getting to what I would have started on the first if the NaNo site hadn’t been such a train wreck!

Anyway, so today I’m gonna get to the word count first, and then the actual talking about things.  I wrote 1,886 words of the first chapter of the official November novel, making my word count for the month 26,340.  Or possibly 359 words more than that, because that’s how many words I wrote finalizing some plot details.  (Actually, I wrote a few more than that in other parts of the document, but I forgot to count those.  And technically I also wrote down a couple of plots for things I want to write later, but I don’t want to just count every single word I write without any rhyme or reason, y’know?)

The annoying thing about today’s word count is how small it is.

You may be thinking that it doesn’t seem all that small.  I mean, it’s over the official “how many words you have to write a day to reach 50k” after all.  But the thing is…between one thing and another, I didn’t actually start writing until almost 4:30 this afternoon.

Which’d be fine if I’d, say, had to go to work today.  Or had to leave the house to go to lunch with my parents.  Or had a doctor’s appointment.  But no, I didn’t leave the house all day.  Didn’t even get out of my pjs.  (Yes, I’m that lazy.)

It’s just that I slept late, and then I’m reading this really interesting book, and I had a couple of figurines I wanted to finally debox but then I had trouble getting them correctly assembled with each other, and…just all sorts of little stuff kept happening.

Aaaaaanyway…about that plot summary.

I think I mentioned before that I had bought this book called Querent, which has a system to use tarot cards to help DMs for tabletop RPGs come up with storylines.  And that I was going to use it to help out with coming up with the story for this project.

Using it was actually slightly derailed because although I’ve been collecting tarot decks lately, they’re all actually really hard to shuffle because the cards are too big.  (I have no idea how people do it!  Maybe I should look up a how-to video on shuffling tarot cards…)  But then I remembered those cheap little racks of square book-and-bonus things at the checkout at Barnes & Noble and how one had a deck of small tarot cards, and I picked that up.  (Formerly, they had had one with a smaller version of the standard Rider-Waite-Smith deck, but they one they have now is new art only inspired by that deck.  But the important thing is that it’s the same size as standard playing cards, so I can successfully shuffle it without hurting my hands.)

It’s kind of interesting how it turned out.  Some of the results really played beautifully off each other.  Trying to write down the results as they come in is actually really hard (the Querent book is huge) so instead of doing that this time, I just took phone pictures of everything.  I don’t want to bog down my blog with all those pictures, so I’m putting them in a Google album if anyone’s interested.

I’m going to go ahead and retype the plot summary, though.  It’s kind of entertaining how vague it is.  Also I like how it’s both clearly inspired by the results I got and yet also totally my own thing.  So here it is:

At the start of the main story (ie after “Before the Flood”), Merlynne has just dropped off the career path she embarked on after being accepted to the wizarding academy (as it were) she’s writing the application for in class in “Before the Flood.”  Most likely, she’s done the equivalent of dropping out late in a PhD program.  Wolfgirl will also have just given up on something, but I’m not sure what yet.  They meet at rock bottom in a pub.  Something terrible and tragic happens in that pub, and they get swept up in events together because of it.  Probably what happens is that the pub gets flooded, destroying that section of town, causing untold harm to thousands, but because they were in exactly the right place when it happened, they not only survived but gained new abilities.  They’re hoping they can somehow trade away these new abilities to undo the flood, or at least reverse it a bit.  They will eventually learn that they could, in theory, undo the entire flood, but that would wipe out dozens of sentient species and destroy the economies of pretty much every civilization the flood has touched, and they know they can’t do that.  Before they set out, though, it’s a local nobleman who tells them about the way they might be able to undo some of the flood’s effects, though he begs them to stay on at his court, offering such great rewards that they’re sorely tempted to stay.  The proferred rewards include things they’ve secretly wished for.  By the time they learn that they can’t undo part of the flood without undoing all of it (perhaps by visiting the equivalent of the Southern Oracle), they should have learned about the villain and the threat he poses to…um…whatever he poses a threat to.

It went on slightly longer as I theorized about what he posed a threat to, but I’ve omitted that part because a) I’ve decided what it was and b) it would sound really weird.  I mean, like, more so than usual with me.  (Like weirder than what I said yesterday about drunk velociraptors.)  “Before the Flood,” obviously, is the first chapter.  Or possibly prologue.  Or maybe it’s the first of a series of short stories if this doesn’t really turn out to be novel length.  Dunno.  (Oh, and as you may have guessed, the flooding in question in the plot summary does not involve water.  It’s a more magical type of flooding.)

Oh, and no, the secondary character’s not actually named Wolfgirl.  It’s her nickname.  Because…um…actually, I forgot why.  I came up with something really fun on that, but…I thought I was going to remember it so I didn’t write it down only then I didn’t remember it.  I think maybe she’s part werewolf.  Or something.  I really don’t remember.  I’ll figure it out when I get to her introduction.  (I know, I’m such a pantser, even when I plot.)

A couple of other things about today’s writing session.  So, this was the scene I mentioned in the summary, because it was always how I planned to start this chapter, wherein Merlynne is applying to a magical university (no, it’s nothing like Hogwarts) and working on her application in the middle of a history lesson that gives the reader a bit of background information about how our world became her world.  (I won’t go into full details but I will say that elves from outer space play a part in it.)  I was getting a giggle out of writing the history lesson, because it’s a full-on Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off type of thing.  ;P  Because why not?

I agonized briefly over what to name the university she went to, because as soon as I got two words into it, I realized I wanted it to have a stupidly generic acronym.  I thought about trying to contort the English language to give it an acronym that was pronounced (even if not quite spelled) “school” but eventually I settled on CAMPUS:  Centauri Academy of Magical, Pseudomagical and Unknown Sciences.  Because ridiculousness is its own reward.  (In fiction.)

I also had to invent the name of an alien, magical, or future animal of some sort.  (I haven’t decided any details about it yet, only I wanted to have her say something less sweary and more creative than “bullsh*t”.)  I’m terrible at making up names.  Which is why I used this:

This is a Dice Coin, which spins like a top, and you stop it with your finger then use whatever’s to the side of your finger.  This one has the alphabet on it (and sometimes it has given me brilliant, almost Adamsy results, and other times it’s given me gibberish), but most of them have numbers and function as ordinary dice.  Today, it gave me only consonants, so I inserted a couple of vowels and got “wigvadh.”

I’m not 100% satisfied with that, to be honest.

But I’ve come up with worse in the past, so for the moment it’s staying.  (It did, at least, serve its purpose of letting me keep moving with the scene instead of sitting there agonizing over what to name the beings whose tripe the rumor of Merlynne being part-elf was a load of.)

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