Tare Turns 5 Years Old

(Kedran’s Wood collage I made. Some images belong to me, others were found on Pinterest, here.)

Some of you are probably squinting at the title of this post, going: “…Wait, what??”

(Especially since, as those three or so people reading this who have beta-read some of the books would know, Tare’s actual age is so confusing in the story itself that he doesn’t need any more confusingness added on.)

(For anyone who is further confused due to not knowing: Tare is the name of my favorite character I’ve ever written [sorry, all you other characters] and he inhabits the contemporary fantasy series I’m writing.)

Let me set you straight.

No, it’s not actually Tare’s birthday (which is in January).

No, this post is not actually about an adorable Tare when he was a small boy (apologies).

But a week ago, on April 5, 2017, it was in fact the 5-year anniversary of the day I first started writing the book in which I first met Tare, the first book in the Kedran’s Wood series, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood!

Yes indeed, it’s KW1’s book birthday!

Here, have a cupcake to celebrate:

Today’s post is a conglomeration of random things about the series, including the first book, and basically just A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS KEDRAN’S-WOOD-ISH!

How it Began

It began with the forging of the great rings…

…Whoops, wrong story. How about this?

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.

Wait, wrong one again. How about this one:

In an abandoned apartment down a dark alley there lived a Tare?

Closer.

Ahem.

Anyways, it actually began in early 2012 when I “randomly” started writing what I thought would be a fun standalone novella or short novel called The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. I wanted to try a little modern fantasy story and just… started writing. I knew a few things about the story, but for the most part, I was as in the dark as my main characters, the Chess Club. It was a first for me in many ways. I hadn’t done a lot of “pantsing” stories before, and it was also my first modern story.

I never thought I would write a modern story. Contemporary books were never my thing, and I think it’s because I don’t enjoy the kinds of things that modern books can rarely seem to resist including, like school and its petty backstabbing and bullying and drama (ugh), annoying teen characters who don’t get along and have family life problems, and love-triangles… etc., and just general ick. Many modern books just seemed petty to me and I always enjoyed fantasy worlds instead.

So the idea that I would write a fantasy book in *gasp* modern times? Unheard of!

But it happened.

I started writing a modern fantasy book, and ended up writing it (unintentionally) in direct opposition to all the problems I’d had with other modern fiction. I made it a book that I wouldn’t mind reading myself. On the way, I completely fell in love with this cast of characters — the Chess Club became more than friends, they became MY friends, and Tare became my favorite character I’ve written (so far). It also turned out to be 100K words. So much for “short.” XD

From being a one-time random story I thought I would finish and move on from, it wrapped itself around my heart and turned into a series which, five years later, I’m still working on writing, and foresee being happily involved in scribbling for many more years to come. ^_^

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about this particular book in the series (since it’s been awhile since I finished it) so, in celebration of its birthday, let me direct you to a handy new summary I wrote for it recently.

The Owl of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, Book 1)
by Deborah O’Carroll

Welcome to the town by Kedran’s Wood

  • Where teenaged best friends (but not, y’know, the angsty kind) don’t need to backstab each other (though they might the recent outbreak of monsters).
  • Where it’s not about life in highschool (because who wants to spend more time there than necessary?) but about life outside it.
  • And where the local chess club (see best friends) does more than just play chess . . .

Meet shy Lavender, rambunctious Baz, fiery Ivy, confident Adrian, and wry Mr. Larch. Oh, and Small Occasion (who is tiny, white, and fluffy, and barks like a tree).

This book is about how they play (badly) at being over-reacting amateur detectives more often than at chess; fight monsters (with some—okay, lots of—help from the resident leather-clad stranger); and still find time for friendships old and new, and small occasions like summer lemonade and puns (yes, that last one is always Baz’s fault).

But mostly it’s about the mysterious young man called Tare (see resident leather-clad stranger), how the Chess Club meets him (though whether that’s a terrific or terrible thing is part of the question—Baz would say both, if only for the puns), and how just at the edge of an ordinary small modern town, lies Kedran’s Wood . . .

And that’s where the pieces are beginning to move for a game that’s far from a friendly match of chess.

Books in the Kedran’s Wood Series

and a little bit about them

Novels

  • 1 The Owl of Kedran’s Wood — the summer when Tare and the Chess Club meet, featuring cake-baking disasters and the (almost) end of the world (#awkward). Status: draft written.
  • 2 The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — wintry novel, current work in progress, featuring mysterious villains and (possibly) an evil faerie. Status: 1/3 done? Hopefully more?
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood — featuring summer vacation, more about Tare, and of course secret agents. Status: snippets.

Novellas (to write)

  • 1.5 Son of Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare does stuff between 1 &2, + prequel about his past (yay!)
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare and Adrian accidentally switch minds/bodies (because that won’t be confusing at all…)
  • 3.5 Celebrations at Kedran’s Wood — in which there is a birthday party and a wedding (no, I’m not telling you whose)

Bonus Novel (to write)

  • The Quest of Kedran’s Wood — in which Marie undertakes something NaNo-ish and writes an epic fantasy book starring the chess club and Tare in medieval roles. And reads it aloud to them. (What could possibly go wrong?)

Number of KW words written so far

According to one calculation:

190,780 words

  • (105K book 1 current finished draft)
  • (65K book 2 current + 10K snippets out of order later in book 2)
  • (10K snippets total from book 3, 1.5, 2.5, and bonus)

That averages out to approximately 104 words of Kedran’s Wood writing per day for 5 years. XD (Not counting previous versions or plotting, of course.)

#WIPjoy

In celebration of my Kedran’s Wood series turning 5 years old, and in an effort to get myself immersed again in the writing of KW2, I’m doing #WIPjoy on Twitter all this month, featuring The Secret of Kedran’s Wood!

For those who don’t know #WIPjoy is to celebrate and answer questions about your work-in-progress (WIP), with a different question for every day of the month.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, check it out! …For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, where have you been?? (Just kidding. 😉 I will excuse you if you don’t have Twitter. XD Ahem.)

It’s been a blast so far!

Tare is an INTJ (surprise)

Yes, I took the MBTI test as Tare (or rather, as Tare IS, not how he would answer, because I’m 99% sure he wouldn’t want a random test knowing things about him so he’d likely be less than truthful in that case) and he came out as INTJ, which is the category most villains and awesome dark people like Mr. Darcy and Batman and Sherlock tend to fit into. Yes, I was monstrously pleased at this. XD It’s creepy how well he fits it, too…

(He’s not shy but he’s definitely not a people person. I love that he’s 80% introverted. XD)

Tare is the only character I’ve taken the test for, since he’s the only one I know well enough.

Some posts about the series

This seemed like a fun time to highlight some favorite posts in the past about the Kedran’s Wood series or (usually) Tare.

And there you have it!

This concludes my reminiscing about this unlikely but beloved series of mine. (Now to just finish writing it and get it published, amIright?? Ahem. That may be far down the road, but it’s an eventual goal. ;))

What most intrigues you about this series, or what was your favorite part of this post? Thank you so much for putting up with me flailing about this stuff (and reading this post), and celebrating with me the 5-year birthday of this series! ^_^

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The Return of the Ishness!

Ishnesses of Late a.k.a. the Return of the King Ishness!

Heya lovely blog-readers! ❤

It’s been quiiite awhile since I did an ishness post of any sort (it comes to my attention I haven’t Ishness-ified anything from 2017 yet…) so here’s some of the ishnesses I’ve been up to in the last two+ months, ever since 2017 began!

LIFELY THINGS

GRAPHIC DESIGN IS FUNNNN. ❤

I designed my first “official” website for the Vintage Jane Austen series, as I may have mentioned.

I’d like to possibly get into setting up websites for people, as well as freelance copy-editing, so I’m starting to think about working toward these things. 🙂 I’ve just discovered that I really enjoy designing websites, graphic design work, and freeing the world from pesky typos, so I’d like to pursue these things in the future!

In related news, reading the punctuation section of The Chicago Manual of Style is beautifully refreshing because the punctuation is all correct. Be still my beating heart; what a breath of fresh air. ^_^

(On a related note: It pains me to use incorrect punctuation etc. on Twitter, but I often have to. The problems of being a long-winded perfectionist with only 140 characters in which to say something. -_-)

I started a Bullet Journal this week… It’s really mostly things I’ve been doing for ages now, but streamlined into one notebook with a couple new ideas. (Thanks to Lisa Pickle for introducing me to the concept, and Kyle Robert Schultz for a wonderful post on How To Make An Ugly Bullet Journal which inspired me to stop procrastinating and start).

Hopefully it will help me be more productive! (The notebook was a lovely birthday present from my sis. ❤ The epic Sherlock bookmark I won in a giveaway — and got in the mail today AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH — and was made by Hannah McIntyre of simplywalkintomordor @ Etsy. :))

WRITING

I’ve been creeping cautiously into writing this year. I’ve done more than I had this time last year, but less than I used to; I’m just trying to get back into it, carefully, without overwhelming or stressing myself. (I’m aware this makes me sound like a very small, very startle-able rabbit. Excuse me for being twitchy after burning myself out on writing and having too many expectations. XD)

I wrote a short story (Wintertale) and worked a little bit on The Other Half of Everything and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (also know as Teague and Tare, respectively). And some random stuff like for a dare etc.

I’ve written 6000+ words this year so far, though I’m not keeping too close track (another thing I’m trying… less hounding myself like a police dog — remember the startled rabbit, self!).

SNIPPETS

“That’s none of your concern,” Greg said.

“I’ll find out,” Tare said. He raised one eyebrow, adding, “But you’re right, I’m not concerned. Threats don’t work on me.”

“Then what does?”

“Maybe I’ll let you know if I find that out.”

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2)

***

Tare tilted his head. “Oh, I’m not playing this game.”

“What makes you think,” Greg said, bared teeth glittering, “that it’s a game, little boy?”

Tare smiled.

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2)

“With how absentminded you are, it’s a wonder your food doesn’t always burn to a crisp,” I grumbled.

“Oh, it usually does,” Teague agreed placidly. “Just not with so many—erm—flames.”

The Other Half of Everything

***

“What is it you do?” I asked, unable to stop my curiosity.

Teague beamed, staring dreamily off into the middle distance, and announced, as if it was the most natural thing in the world: “I write books.”

That was when I knew I had made a horrible mistake.

The Other Half of Everything

READING

Aside from short stories, re-reads, and beta-reads, this is what I’ve read lately (a.k.a. new novels I’ve read this year).

  1. Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede — Regency Fantasy with a former-street-thief heroine and a one-of-a-kind magician hero and humor and shenanigans and a dash of romance and basically Austen + magic? Gimme. (Seriously, I need more Regency Fantasy — where has it been all my life?) 5 stars
  2. Nyssa Glass and the Hall of Mirrors by H.L. Burke — Steampunk/sci-fi reminding me of Doctor Who a bit, with a catburglar heroine and a snarky computer? Yum. A little creepy for me and a touch short, but I quite enjoyed it. Humor makes me happy. Looking forward to the rest of the novellas in this series. 4 stars
  3. The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton — Historical fantasy; I admit, I’m only here for the faeries in Victorian (?) England and the mysterious dark guy named Rieker; oh yeah, it also features thieves (is this a trend??) and the heroine annoyed me etc. but still fairly fun. Ought to be 3 stars, but make it 4 stars for Rieker and creepy faerie things and the prince.
  4. King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — I FINALLY READ THIS ONE. Dragons and fantasy goodness and BRANT AND KIERNAN KANE. <333 I’m very attached, I tell you. ^_^ 5 stars
  5. The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué — Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling? I’M ALL THERE. Great fun, a few annoyances, fun princes, conflicted about the villain. 4 stars
  6. Wild Robert by Diana Wynne Jones — Very short, very strange, stopped too suddenly but enormous fun and I loved the twist. One of the only books I’ve ever considered writing fan fiction to continue because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Oh well. 😛 5 stars
  7. Aunt Maria by Diana Wynne Jones — MORE STRANGENESS BUT WOW. I can’t even describe it. Definitely one of the more strange DWJ books (but they all are) and… yeah, haven’t totally wrapped my mind around what I think, but it had time travel and a girl who writes, and actually delved into some deep stuff too, and was very interesting and fun. Plus Chris is the best. XD 5 stars
  8. Mort by Terry Pratchett — Um. It’s full of strange Discworldness because how else do you describe these shenanigans? I got very attached to Mort — he’s a great hero — and it’s dark in a way, so not for everyone, but quite funny. 4 stars
  9. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Finally read all the main 6 Jane Austen books! It was so difficult for me to read about all the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PEOPLE in this book… ahem. But I ended up finding it a pretty good book all the same. 🙂 4 stars
  10. Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett — Another Discworld book, sequel-ish to Mort. Everything I said about that one applies; though Mort himself is not in this one. Bizarre/funny. 4 stars

I’ve also been doing much beta-reading, trying to catch up.

And re-reading lots of things, including the rest of the Chrestomanci books. ❤

I also read Howl’s Moving Castle for the 5th time. #NoRegrets

(See everything I’ve been reading here.)

WATCHING

  • The Deputy — I finished this and enjoyed it muchly. ❤ Favorite Western show ever! The humor and characters Deputy Marshall Clay McCord and Chief Marshall Simon Fry (Henry Fonda). Such a great “buddy story”!
  • Sherlock season 4 — I… um… don’t know what to think about this except the last episode was too creepy and the first episode was… yeah. But the middle one I liked muchly (I think?) and overall naturally it’s fun to have Sherlock and company doing stuff again. 😀
  • Gladiator — So I’ve heard a lot about this? A lot of people I know like it for some reason? I guess it was okay, but I don’t care much for Roman things and SOMEBODY neglected to tell me what happens at the end, so… yeah. But it figures. XD I like the music, though.
  • Archer’s Goon — I had no idea this existed until recently (a BBC mini-series from 1992 which is a total of 2.5 hours) and while it was super cheesy and 90s and lacking in budget and the actors weren’t quite right, nevertheless there were a lot of lines from the book and I just greatly enjoyed seeing a Diana Wynne Jones story onscreen. 🙂
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) — Yes indeed, I FINALLY saw the one with Anthony Andrews and Ian McKellen, and I must say, although it wasn’t totally like the book, I did quite enjoy it. 🙂 (Gandalf was young and black-haired and a villain once?? :O) Percy was cool (although huuuugely annoying sometimes XD), Chauvelin was an interesting villain, and Marguerite and Armand are like the most adorable siblings for some reason? I just irrationally enjoyed it a lot, so yes, quite fun. XD
  • Persuasion (1995) — Yes indeed, this is the one with Ciaran Hinds, another one everyone always said I needed to watch, so I finally was able to because I won it in a giveaway (thanks, Rachel!), and ’twas quite enjoyable. 🙂 Now I want to re-watch the other one to compare them. 😀

LISTENING

I’ve been listening to smatterings of gorgeousness by Michael Card and Lindsey Stirling, and various Celtic things like by Andy M. Stewart.

There’s so much gorgeous music in the world, and I don’t often remember to listen to it, so I’m trying to remind myself!

I’ve also been listening to Stars by Skillet, their acoustic version of it (which I hear is for a movie or something but it’s just SO PRETTY). Seriously if you haven’t heard this, go listen to it. ❤

ONLINE THINGS

I live on Goodreads and Twitter a lot lately. *gasp* So if I’m not blogging much about life or reading, I may still be talking about it over there!

In case you missed them… (Feel free to skip this bit. XD)

Book Blog posts this year:

Posts around here:

It’s March Magics! Celebrating Diana Wynne Jones (and Terry Pratchett) all month long. ❤ I’m having a blast, y’all. 🙂

It Is Not Too Much To Ask For A Happy Ending (from The Invisible Moth) — THIS POST MAKES ME HAPPY. PLEASE READ IT. ❤

Speaking of happy endings… This is the end of this (long) post, because that’s all I can think of just now. I hope you enjoyed the Return of the Ishness! Thanks so much for reading! Thoughts? Share them below, along with what you’ve been up to lately! ^_^ I hope you’re having a lovely March, roadlings! ❤

My Year in Writing {2016}

2016writingpost

2017.

A new year.

2017 always sounded like one of those far-away numbers, you know? Just fancy it being here now!

Time, my roadlings. Time is mysterious.

This last year of 2016 was in many ways a tough year for me, but filled with good things too. 🙂

If you’d like to see my Top 12 Books I Read in 2016 and other miscellaneous info about my reading life this last year, you can check out my post on my book blog! You know, in case you’re curious. 😉

This post, however, is all about my year of writing! (I know, I know, you would never have guessed from the title…)

2016 Writing

I wrote 71,854 words in 2016. Which… is less than my usual 100K, but I will be thankful for it. 😉

Since 51K of that was NaNo, my non-NaNo writing amounted to 20,720 words… which is why I feel like it was a slow year. Most months I was writing 2K in a month, which… well, let’s just say I won’t get my enormous 100K+ monster books written in a hurry at this rate. But all the same, I’m very pleased with the writing I DID get done, and I think I needed a slower, casual year of writing anyway. We’ll just go with that.

WRITING THAT I DID…

lscover

I started The Library in the Stars and wrote 51,000 words of that — huzzah! (Now I just need to write the ending. *cough*)

OHEcover

I “officially” started The Other Half of Everything, wrote part of the first chapter, and proceeded to keep writing it out of order later on in the book in snippets. Oops? 6,000 words this year.

KW2coverP

Filled in holes in The Secret of Kedran’s Wood and did editing on a few chapters and officially finished the first draft of Part 1! *celebration* I also started the next chapter, wrote a bit of that… and proceeded to keep writing it out of order later on in the book in snippets. Oops? (Wait, did I just say that earlier? *cough* Apparently it’s a trend.)

I wrote 6,800 words of KW2 this year.

On that note, I’m convinced Tare ambushed me and made me write an extra thousand words post-NaNo solely to be able to show Teague that KW is still ahead of OHE in the word department this year. Nicely played, Tare.

And we will NOT talk about the fact that I’m over 63,000 words into it and only a third done the story. AHEM.

IMcover3

And I wrote over 3,000 words of The Invisible Mask, and hit 20K, which was very exciting! I consider the “opening” done, so I’m kind of thrilled about this.

MidnightFearIMG

Rewrote an old short story, Midnight Fear, which used to be just over 1,000 words, and now is just under that. Very pleased with the rewrite.

silmarillion-awards-facebook

I also wrote that Silmarillion Awards Strangest Character presentation post poem, featuring Tom Bombadil and Puddleglum, which was 800 words.

Other than that, I wrote another 1000-ish words on random things like my New Year’s poem, short story Hairdo Havoc, The Silver Forest, and other Kedran’s Wood series jots, including Book 4… even though I’m still on Book 2. Yeah, don’t ask. #TareAndChessClubProblems

PLOTTING THAT I DID…

I did various plotting on various books, including The Silver Forest and The Invisible Mask, but mostly for The Other Half of Everything and the Kedran’s Wood series (mostly KW2), and for The Library in the Stars.

The biggest news was The Library in the Stars exploding into being, out of a bunch of different previous ideas, and being plotted and started.

I also had some exciting “clicking” moments for Once Upon a November, The Siren and the Skyship, and my short story Hairdo Havoc.

And new ideas happened too, of course. My Fairy Godmother Muse has been quite busy.

I suppose I should be grateful I only have half a dozen new “official” ones, if I include The Library in the Stars? (Which did actually combine some ideas, so maybe I’m at about the same number? I don’t know, my Fairy Godmother Muse confuses me so much these days.)

  • Painting Rainbows (Underground Rainbow spinoff involving heists & the painter artist Kevin Johnson)
  • From That Shadowy Land (inspired by various ballads and featuring Faeries)
  • The Treasure of A Distant Storm (futuristic London short story)
  • Wintertale (I don’t even know. Thankfully, it’s a short story)
  • (And an untitled novel to be written sometime farrr in the future, involving fantasy tropes)

#FairyGodmotherMuseProblems #PlotBunnyProblems

OTHER RANDOM WRITING FACTS…

  • Best writing day: 7,589 words (Nov 27.)
  • Completed my 7th NaNo!
  • Was an ML on my own for the first time
  • Was interviewed!
  • Got Scrivener (a.k.a. the Preciousss <3)
  • Started a book review blog and managed to write 61 posts on that during the year!
  • Additionally*, I wrote 76 posts on this blog
  • Yes, that is 137 posts total this last year
  • Somebody save me from myself

*I typed that as “addictionally” the first time. Oh the irony.


And that’s about it! Overall, not a bad year (Fairy Godmother Muse and her antics notwithstanding). ^_^

I don’t know what this new year of 2017 will hold for me in the writing arena (and I’m avoiding making plans, since historically plans and I do not mix well together — they tend to laugh at me, attack, knock me out, steal my everything, and leave me looking very foolish) but I’m looking forward to finding out! 🙂

How was your year of writing in 2016? Do you have problems with a Fairy Godmother Muse of your own? Any exciting writerly pursuits in the last year? Tell me all!

P.S. I’m thinking of going on a blog/internet break for two or three weeks… so I may disappear for a bit and come back around the end of January, give or take. Just a heads-up. Have a great month, everyone! ❤

#DescribeYourWIPinThreeWords Tag

#DescribeYourWIPinThreeWords

#DescribeYourWIPinThreeWords

Quite some time ago, the lovely Rebekah Hendrian (@booklass13) tagged me for a writing tag on Twitter, #DescribeYourWIPinThreeWords, which is exactly what it sounds like. I promptly did not do it, due to not knowing which WIP to try. So I thought I’d turn it into a tag on my blog and expand it.

I decided I’d take a dozen of my WIPs (don’t worry, I’ve only started half of them; the others are in plotting mode) and do all of them with three words each.

It’s really difficult, by the way, so I don’t know how well I did . . . But I tried and it’s all in fun anyway. 😉

KW2coverP

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

Winter, doubt, friendship.

OHEcover

The Other Half of Everything

Writer, worlds, siblings.

NewIMcover

The Invisible Mask

Secrets, mansions, gentlemen.

CoverHeartseeker

Heartseeker

Heartless love. Bard.

SPcover

Song of a Pirate

Memory, sea, selkies.

HH

Hairdo Havoc

Bizarre. Traveler. Humor.

SilverForestCoverFinal

The Silver Forest

Curse. Faes. Princesses.

S&Scover4

The Siren and the Skyship

Steampunk. Love. Tea.

lscover

The Library in the Stars (NaNo 2016)

Time, minds, space.

Once Upon a November

Magic, writing, pumpkins.

From That Shadowy Land

Changelings, shadows, Tamlin.

StarrelliaBannerNew3

The Princes of Starrellia

Adventure, princes, bears.

***

So there you have it! What do you think?? Also how would you describe your WIP in 3 words?

The Ghost of NaNos Past

The Ghost of NaNos Past

As we approach the NaNoWriMo season (*sound of panicking in the background*), I thought it would be fun to look back at the last six years of NaNos, ever since I started.

It’s amazing how different they’ve all been! Ups and downs… And each year I step deeper down the rabbit trail as it were. 😉

(I did also do 4 Camp NaNo sessions — a 20K goal and three 10K goals, all of which I reached — but for the sake of continuity I’ll be ignoring those this post. XD They are, however, little footnotes in my NaNo history, so maybe someday I’ll do a post about them! But 6 + 4 = 10 times I’ve participated in (and won) a NaNo-ish event! *celebration*)

Here are my NaNo experiences . . .

NaNo #1: 2010 — The Chaos Year

1nanoAAstats

(Since I didn’t join the NaNo site my first year, I don’t have a handy graph from the site of my wordcount, so this one will have to do. Blue bars = where my wordcounts should have been to be on par. White bars = where my wordcounts actually were.)

Twelve Fugitives in the Wild — set in another world, without fantasy elements but with an 18th-century time period. Muskets, carriages, a dark tower, missing persons, and lots and lots of unexpected plot-twists…

Brave new step: Undertaking my first NaNo.

My first year was utterly insane. It was an unofficial NaNo (i.e. I didn’t sign up with the site) and I had no idea what I was getting into. I decided to do it the night before, and pantsed the whole thing, which I had very little experience with… I managed to reach my goal but not without falling dreadfully behind most of the month, and having to do an enormous catch-up day, writing 8,000 words on the last day. It took the entire day and much chocolate and family members pushing me back to the computer every time I wandered away in despair… *cough* But I made the 50,000! I was so happy.

NaNo #2: 2011 — The Perfect Year

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Far-mark’s Dream — to this day, the only novel I actually finished during NaNo. A fantasy adventure story featuring prophecies and salt fairies and bats and a serpent, and three friends (one reluctant; okay, he hates them and opposes everything they stand for, but to be fair he’d been enchanted. *cough*) who set out to defeat the Empire, with much epicness along the way.

Brave new step: Joined the NaNo site and forums.

My second NaNo was a complete dream come true. Learning from my mistakes of the first year, I planned ahead and had the whole novel plotted before day 1, made sure to stay on top of my wordcount, and just had a blast. I hit a few snags through the month, but always came through, and finished two days early… actually finishing the novel itself as well. I still look back at this year as my ultimate NaNo experience. ❤ I loved the book too. I still do… though I’d like to rewrite it a bit and expand some of the things. *nod*

NaNo #3: 2012 — The Overconfident Year

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Grey Betrayal — Book #1 in my several-book Epic Fantasy series, this one features plots and war and mountains, a talking bear, and the adventures of two friends, one of whom has many secrets…

Brave new step: I stepped out of my introvert writer shell and went to write-ins and a victory party at the end!

Oh, this year. I had grown arrogant, I fear… After my insane impromptu first year, followed by one where I took precautions and nearly everything went smoothly, I thought that NaNos were a breeze, apparently, as long as you planned for them. Alas, I was wrong! I didn’t realize that my second year had been the best and easiest NaNo I’d ever have the pleasure of being a part of. I started out pretty well on this third year, especially thanks to the numerous rambling thoughts of my main character, which gave me lots of words (thanks, Faron). But then I hit a snag a third of the way through called running-out-of-plot. I had neglected to plot further, and the rest of the month was a serious struggle. I pushed through at the end, but emerged a humbled NaNoer, realizing my good fortune of the previous year for what it was.

NaNo #4: 2013 — The Leading Year

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Underground Rainbow — contemporary fantasy featuring a young photographer and his adventures with various fantastical creatures: gnomes, griffins, leprechauns, and the like.

Brave new step: I stepped into a co-leadership role as a NaNoWriMo ML for my region. (Municipal Liaison: volunteer event organizer/local leader.)

This year started out all right, and then life crashed around me. It was my first year as an ML and that took up a lot of my time and creative juices, plus I was kind of in a writing slump, so that took its toll. This year is actually kind of hazy in my memory… But the story was a lot of fun, despite that, and I did make it in the end. Not to mention the wonderful camaraderie of my region this year, which was fantastic. ^_^

NaNo #5: 2014 — The Roadtrip Year

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Heartseeker — original fairytale YA fantasy romance type thing, featuring the princess who goes on a quest to find the heart of her betrothed.

Brave new step: Well, it wasn’t very brave, exactly, since I had no choice, but it was definitely crazy. I managed to do NaNo while being on a roadtrip most of the month AND ML-ing at the same time. It. was. insane. But I’m also very proud of me for surviving and doing okay. XD

Although it was arguably my most difficult year, due to a roadtrip in the middle on top of life and ML-ing, this is also one of my favorite NaNos, looking back at it. I’d say this and the Far-mark year were the best. Writing in the car was a new challenge, and one I only survived due to helpfully-pestering family members, and the kindness of my co-ML lending me a power adapter so I could use my laptop in the car and some rewarding letters from her characters which I could only open at certain points. I also was thankful for being snowed in at my uncle’s house for a couple of days, which allowed me to catch up in the middle of the trip. I finished off this NaNo with a spectacular write-in at a library late at night, which is my favorite NaNo memory. ❤ I can’t believe I survived it, and I definitely wouldn’t have without the support of wonderful friends and family, but it was a challenge and, despite the stress, was a blast as well.

NaNo #6: 2015 — The Rebel Year

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  • The Silver Forest — retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Rose and the Raven — novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — book #2 in my modern-fantasy series starring Tare and the Chess Club

Brave new step: Turning rebel (not so much brave as insane) and actually working on THREE different stories during NaNo in order to hit my 50K goal, instead of just one like the “rules” (made to be broken. ;)) state and like I’d done every year.

I did all right with my 12 Dancing Princesses story until exactly halfway through the month when it decided to inform me that I’d gotten the whole beginning wrong and would have to scrap everything I’d written and completely restart the novel. Um. It was going to be so much awesomer with the new twists that had emerged, but SERIOUSLY?? IN THE MIDDLE OF NANO?? What kind of bad timing was this? (Answer: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . . You can read the story of my Mid-NaNo-Crisis here.) I ended up abandoning it for the time being and instead taking the opportunity to work on my novella for the Rooglewood contest, with bits of KW2 to help whenever the painstaking shortness of the novella got too much. I survived this one too (despite a nasty cold near the end and running out of plot a couple times) but wow, it was definitely a new challenge! Writing more than one story in a month is super hard, because you have to get into the right mindframe for each of them, and switching between them is difficult. But it turned out okay, so huzzah!

NaNo #7: 2016 — ???

Story to write this year: To Be Announced…

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Brave new step: I’m going to be ML-ing this  year totally on my own. In my previous three years as an ML, I’ve had wonderful co-MLs and helpers with whom I’ve shared the burden. I’m all alone this year and just hoping I’ll be able to do it without those wonderful people having my back. Wish me luck, because this is scary. XD

Obviously, this year’s NaNo adventure is a mystery yet to be discovered (unless you happen to be a time-traveler, which I, unfortunately, am not…). What will happen this year? I’m as curious as you are!

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will (hopefully) be all about what I hope to work on this NaNo! (No promises, of course; NaNo projects are notoriously slippery beasts.)

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So there you have my past NaNo exploits! What about yourselves, my roadlings? Have you done NaNo? How many? What were your best (and worst) NaNos? Tell me aaall in the comments!