Hi all! I’m officially done with Autumn Semester as of 2.30 this afternoon, so yay for that! I’m celebrating this evening with romcoms, pizza and wine with my friends, so life is very good right now. Like last year, I took part in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, where you attempt to write 50,000 words (essentially the first draft of a novel) in one month, the month of November. Now this year wasn’t quite as successful as last year, I didn’t actually get to 50,000 words, I was very close though, just under 6,000 words away from finishing and I thought over 44,000 words was still pretty good especially considering how many deadlines I’ve had in November!
This year, I started doing a Fiction writing course, after I found an offer on Groupon and I started writing the story which became my NaNoWriMo novel, Underground Magicians. It was inspired by a conversation with one of my friends, where she was telling me about a programme she watched about underground tunnels in Europe and I thought, how cool would it be if those tunnels had been created by magicians as hiding places? That was the start of Underground Magicians.
This year my NaNoWriMo experience was a little different to last year. Whilst I am normally a complete Pantser when it comes to my writing, this year, I was so excited about the story that I had already written the first chapter by the time NaNo rolled around. It gave me a good head start, I don’t know if I would have even got as many words as I did if I didn’t already have over 4000 before I started!
However, I didn’t complete let my pantsing tradition go, I didn’t really know where the story was going after the first chapter and I certainly hadn’t planned any of it. Funny story, my main character’s name actually ended up being Sophie because it was the name of the main character in the book I was reading when I started Underground Magicians over the summer. I tried to change it, but any other name just didn’t feel right, Sophie had stuck, so Sophie she stayed.
I approached the story a little differently this year. Whilst last year I wrote This Is Not A Love Story in chronological order, I found I just couldn’t do that with Underground Magicians. By about chapter 3 or 4, I had worked out how I wanted the story to end, but I still didn’t have an idea for the middle, so I jumped right to the end and over the next week or so, wrote the last three chapters of the story and the epilogue. I’m actually really glad I did it that way, because I’m honestly still kind of stuck on the middle of the story and I was so excited about the ending, so it was nice to get to jump forward and write the part that I really wanted to. I’m not saying that I’d write non chronologically every time, but it certainly worked for this story.
Underground Magicians was very different to This Is Not A Love Story. They do have certain things in common, the underground aspects are very similar but other than that and the fact that they both involve magic, they are very different. UM is a 21st century story, which meant I could involve technology and real places and things which was quite exciting to me, much as I loved creating my own world with TINALS, it was nice to actually be able to draw from the real world. In This Is Not A Love Story, I obviously had no romance at all and Underground Magicians I did. The romance surprisingly has actually been my favourite thing to write in this story, I realised quite early on in the story that Sophie was a lesbian, when I wrote her first scene with Mo and could see that there was chemistry between them, I knew that this story was going to involve an f/f romance. I just hope I’ve done it justice, as I know how scarce f/f rep is in fantasy! I was waiting for ages to write Mo and Sophie’s first kiss and when I finally did, it was so satisfying!
The magic in this book is also quite different to in TINALS, Mo and Tiffany share the same power, but that’s where the resemblance ends, UM isn’t an elemental based magic system, there’s a wider variety of magical powers, so that’s been fun to explore. I also had a real villain in this story, whereas I don’t really have one in TINALS (at least not yet, that’s something I’m hoping to get to in editing) so that was awesome to get to do.
Sophie is a lot different to Tiffany, they’re both kind of snarky but although Sophie has a tendency of putting her foot in her mouth at times, she’s not as impulsive and more willing to work with the team than Tiffany is. She’s also a couple of years younger than Tiffany, so that obviously makes a difference when writing. I wrote both novels in first person though, so I think there’s naturally a lot of me in both of them, but I’m hoping that their voices do sound different!
I don’t know if my writing inspirations can be seen as strongly in this one as in TINALS, I think if you read both of them then you could definitely tell I wrote them both but I’m not sure you can see my influences as much in Underground Magicians as in TINALS, I don’t know if that makes it better or worse than TINALS, it’s just the way things worked out this time around.
I actually wrote every single day this time (bar the first day, where I just used what I’d already written) even if it was only a few hundred words, and that respect, I actually think I did better this time than last time, because last time yes, I finished, but I didn’t write every day, so I’d actually rather have lost and written every day than won without writing every day.
There were also things which surprised me in this story, as in TINALS. Sophie’s whole backstory with her mum and dad was something that just evolved naturally over the course of the story, I haven’t written all of it yet, but it’s something I’m excited to explore whilst writing the rest of it. Mo and Sophie’s romance just evolved naturally after their first meeting. The entire ending sequence just came to me once I came up with the idea of the tunnels moving and people getting sucked into them. I’m sure there’s going to be even more that surprises me as I continue writing this story.
I still have a long way to go, 44000 words of this story is still only like nine chapters and an epilogue, so there’s going to be a lot more to write before this story is actually complete! I’m hoping to keep writing this story over the course of December and maybe even finish it by the end of the month? That might be a little too ambitious but it would be great if I could!
Did anyone else take part in NaNoWriMo? Did you win? Anyone close like me? Anyone do it for the first time this year? What are your stories? Let me know in the comments!
I’m hoping to have more stuff up in the next few weeks with all my newfound free time, I’ll have a review of my latest read up for you guys very soon and I have some fun writing features planned for the next few weeks as well, so stay tuned for those!