Nanowrimo continues: words miraculously appear in Word document

After going back and trying to inject a little bit more High Fantasy writing convention into my High Fantasy Nanowrimo project, I came away roughly doubling my word count from yesterday; I’m now at 1222 words, and will be writing more this evening – wanna see if I can’t pump it up to a nice even 2k. Writing in 2k-word segments just kinda feels good. That’s an average undergrad final essay.

I also ended up doing some drawing, that thing I keep telling myself I need to get good at in order to feel better about myself, and it was nice. Having visual aides is one of the great things about High Fantasy, where not only do you get the ubiquitous inside-cover map, but sometimes even illustrations by John Howe or Alan Lee. Whoever decided that pictures in books should only be for kids is a miserable asshole.

I would totally illustrate this book (and all my books) if I could do so to a standard that I was personally happy with, and not just because having a book for adults with honest-to-Frigga pictures in it would be a fantastic gimmick. Pictures just add that little bit of attention, I feel – while I love full-page spreads as much as the next person, one of my favourite type of illustrations is the lineart that happens in the margins, or that interrupts the text, forcing it into interesting shapes to accomodate the space that the illustration takes up, blending the two together in what is at once a glaringly obvious and completely seamless manner. I like illustrations that interact with the written text of the book, and basically do what comics do in treating that written text as a pictoral element, not just looking at grammar and syntax but also font size, font shape, and placement on the page. The dedication that opens The Deathly Hallows is a very ostentatious (though I think appropriate) use of this, where instead of Align Left or Justify it’s a lightning-bolt zig-zag down the page. I mean if it wasn’t the final book in the franchise I might have been a bit disapproving of how gimmicky it was, but it was the last book in the franchise, and for that reason I think it was completely appropriate.

I wonder how you’d factor illustrations into a word-count …

Going back and making the chapter a bit more High Fantasy conventional turned out to be … well, it was fairly easy, but that’s partly because I went back and realised that I didn’t actually have the wrong idea; it just could have been implemented better. I did take the time to explain the setting a bit, even tying it in with character-relevant information, but without getting all Prologue-y about it. It’s a very brisk kind of introduction to the world, and part of that is because, rather than explaining why things are they way they are, I’m just saying “here this is a thing please enjoy”; but I’m hoping that the words I’m using and the way I’m using them will entice readers to apply their imaginations to the setting and fill in the blanks that way, rather than having to pull a Tolkien to get my ideas across. As to whether I’ve been successful – only time and beta-readers will tell.

But I’m glad I wrote about my problems with the project and then went back and rewrote a little – I’d hardly written anything as it was, and it does feel a lot more solid for the edit. And I’m almost up to 2k words already.

… and stopping at just over 1900, simply because it’s a natural stopping-point. Cool. So that’s 1300+ words written today; that’s double what I wrote yesterday! We have the beginnings of a positive trend, folks.

I suppose I wish I’d started Nanowrimo ten days ago when I said I was going to, but now that the ball’s rolling it doesn’t really matter. It’s getting done, and at least when it comes to art, that’s all that ever really matters.


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