Chasing Shadows (NaNoWriMo 2019) – Update 3

So that’s it! NaNoWriMo 2019 has come to a close with the dawning of December. This has been my first ever NaNo, so I thought I would reflect a little on my experience of the event and how I felt I have done.

For those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, this snappy little moniker simply stands for National Novel Writing Month. For the month of November the aim is to write daily with a view to completing a 50,000 word first draft of a novel by November 30th. With my other blog to maintain and a full time job I knew that would never happen for me.

So why bother taking part in NaNoWriMo if not to achieve 50k? Well for me it was about building habits. For two years I struggled with my first attempt at a novel – Our Boy Jack. I laboured over it, writing, cutting, rewriting, researching, restarting for the better part of two years. I struggled. I think my need to get the historical facts correct made it a chore. I fell out of love with the idea and couldn’t take it any further at the time. I always put off writing saying “next weekend I’ll sit down and write”, then the weekend came and I put it off again.

Then a new idea came to me. Set in a steampunk world, something I’ve always been interested in, the idea blossomed and grew. I could visualise parts of the world, the characters, the objects that filled the space. So I started scribling these ideas down, making notes, building a Pinterest board of inspiration. These all started to form the ideas of what is becoming Chasing Shadows.

My wife has always encouraged my writing, and seeing me taken with this idea she really helped push me to give it a shot. I’ve been lucky in my time reviewing books over on Books and Beyond Reviews to meet some fantastic authors who have independantly or self published their work. Some I have come to consider friends in the time I have known them. Two of these in particular have been massive supports in my endeavours.

Firstly, Australian author A.K. Alliss has been a source of constant encouragement. I met him some years ago when he contacted me to review the first book in his Ouroborous series (which I highly recommend). Becoming friends over the years has led to us offering support to one another in our writing journeys, and for that I am very greatful.

English author Richard Dee has also been an incredible support to me of late. I met him through reviewing Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe, the first in a cozy crime series that I absolutely love reading. He has offered advice on occassion that has helped, but most importantly he has always applauded my achievements no matter how small they seem, or helped by likeing and sharing posts. Without the encouragement I’ve received I am not sure I would have got as far as I have.

So where does this leave Chasing Shadows at the end of NaNoWriMo? Well I did not hit 50,000 words unsurprisingly. I set myself a mental goal though, of at least 12,000, if not 15,000. I am really pleased to have closed the month on 16,637 words. This feels like a really solid position to find myself in. I am not targeting a final word count, I will just write the story until it’s done. NaNo has shown me it is possible to write something every day. Some days I only managed a hundred or so words, others over a thousand. What I really wanted from the month was to make daily writing a simple to follow habit.

So how is the book progressing? Well things have taken a little turn in a more serious nature. Conspiracies abound as the crew of the Arcos seek answers for some unexplained happenings. As a result Captain Edison Crow eschews his theatrics and dapper Victorian gentleman’s attire for something more suitable for action. Selah, more prone to simple attire follows in a similar vein, gearing up for whatever may be coming their way. These two images are my inspiration for their new looks.

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