NaNo Recap 2016 // I Wrote 90k and Finished My First Novel! (also snippets)

by - 5:17 PM

(Yes, the blog graphic is relevant...because I lost my marbles during NaNo. *cackles* Sorry, I couldn't resist. XD)

Waiiiiit a second. SOMEHOW IT'S DECEMBER 1ST. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? *squints suspiciously at calendar*

Ahem. Guys, it actually happened. I survived NaNo.

Not only did I survive but I actually had one of the most phenomenal months of my life. No joke. My first NaNo will forever go down as one of the best experiences I've ever had. (And yes, I said first...because no way is this going to be my only NaNo! IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN FOR SURE.)

In case you missed the title, I wrote 90k in November. 90,010 words. What even happened?! I thought 50k would be for sure impossible, but I almost doubled that. O_O Still in shock right now.

(I'm sorry, but even having never seen Sherlock,
I'm in love with this gif.)
AND AND AND. The biggest piece of news yet! I FINISHED MY NOVEL. MY FIRST NOVEL EVER.

*runs screaming into the sunset* (It's technically afternoon light right now, but that doesn't have the same ring to it.)

YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY. I finished Moonlit Mirror (my official title now) last Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, with a grand total of 105,355 words. AHHHHH. THIS IS THE BEST FEELING EVER!!! I've written stories in the past, but they were never really full-length novels. So this is my first official novel, and I'm just...on the moon. Someone is going to have to rope me back to earth.

Actually no, don't do that. I rather like being on the moon. They actually accept my madness over here. And they have chocolate so #winning

I wouldn't have been able to even come close to winning NaNo or finishing my novel without the help of my lovely cabin mates. THEY WERE THE BEST. <3 We had the most absurd conversations and probably spent more time talking than writing BUT STILL. Love them all and wouldn't be at the finish line without them yelling at me to write and stressing me out with mad word sprints. Who knew I could actually write over 1,000 words in 20 minutes? Sheesh.

My final word count EEP. <3

I didn't plot this book basically at all till the end...and even then, it refused to follow the outline I had made. *glares at story* I can already tell that it will be a rebellious child when I edit it.  So many plot holes...and bad character arcs...and gibberish. *cringes*

All that aside, I'm just so glad to be done. I'm going to enjoy the fact that I have a complete novel under my belt and take some time off from writing. I even started a short story after my novel was done about one of my characters' adventures. (*waggles eyebrows* Care to guess who?) Turns out, even that short story is a mess and bound to be a lot longer than a short story. #oops

SO. Enough of my guys want to see some snippets? Of course you do. *forces them down your throat* They're terribly messy and probably shouldn't be put on the internet for people to actually read, but oh well. I'm proud of my baby. *beams*

Le Snippets

She strolled over to the other side of the room and began to walk up one of the staircases. The room suddenly began to twirl around them, spinning in a full circle.

No, James realized. It wasn't spinning. It was peeling away. Layer by layer, the room began to break away, first taking with it one staircase, and then another, and then another. Soon, they were out on top of a turret of some kind, exposed to the elements.

James let out a cry and lurched back, feeling as if he were going to fall at any second. His chair was dangerously close to the edge of the roof.

Why do these things always happen to me? He put his hand to his heart and scooted even further away from the edge of the roof.

"Much better," Aunt said. She took the watch back out of her pocket and glanced at the face. Nodding, she turned back to them. "Sorry about the rough trip, dearies. Quite a few surprises here."

James nodded numbly, still recovering from the shock. It's official. I hate heights.


Charlotte pushed the door open with a loud squeak. Inside were the same familiar staircases, but up above them hung a giant chandelier. Perched on top were a dragon and one uniformed man.

"Alexander?" James asked. "Is that you?"

The lieutenant was clinging to the chain that suspended the chandelier, glaring at them. "Don't just stand there, you idiots. Get me down from here before the dragon causes the chandelier to fall."

James exchanged a smirk with Charlotte. "How did you get up there, Alexander? Did your innate sense of direction mess you up again?"

If looks could kill, they would be in their graves. Lieutenant Bradshaw sent a lethal glare in their direction, daring them to laugh at his fate. "Just get me down before I shoot you."

James held up his hands in defeat and turned to Tom. "Any idea how to get them down?"

Tom shrugged. "Maybe the dragon can just fly down? At least, that's what I thought."

James turned back to the chandelier. It was Scarlin, he noted. The dragon afraid of heights.
"Scarlin," he called. "Can you fly down here?"

The black dragon's eyes were wide with fear. Her ears flattened against her head. "It''s so high, though."

I know how that feels, he thought.

He forced an encouraging smile on his face. "You can do it. Just remember, you have wings."

Charlotte rolled her eyes. "Thank you for that enlightening thought, James. I would've never guessed that without your information."

Tom laughed, but James just cringed, realizing how awkward that sentence really was. He glanced back up at the dragon. "Just pretend you're a foot off the ground."

"It's all right, dearie." Aunt suddenly walked into the room, wiping her hands off on an apron. "I'll get them down."

She yanked something out of the pocket of her apron and hurled it at the chandelier. James watched in horror as the light fixture began to plummet toward the ground.

Crash! It hit the ground with a powerful impact. Scarlin and Lieutenant Bradshaw stumbled off of it, both shaking.

Lieutenant Bradshaw turned and glared at Aunt. "You could have at least given us a little warning."

Scarlin was trembling violently. "Yes, or maybe not have thrown anything at us at all."

Aunt patted the dragon on the scales. “Sorry about that, dear.” She glanced at Alexander and grinned. “Only partially sorry for you.”

“No appreciation,” Alexander muttered


Two more hours passed before James's hands began to feel numb from clutching the dragon's spines so tightly. He flexed his hands carefully, not wanting to let go of the dragon for long.

"James," Scarlin said.

He grabbed her spines again, already missing the security of having something to grip. "Yes?"

"Have you ever wondered what the island looks like?"

He took a breath. He knew what it looked like, which only made it more unnerving. "A human skull."

The dragon swallowed audibly. "A...a skull?"

"Yeah, but a friendly skull," Tom interjected.

"A friendly skull?" James asked, doubtful. "Tom, there's no such thing as a friendly skull," James said.

"How do you know? Have you ever met an unfriendly one?"

"I don't exactly have regular encounters with skulls.”

Tom smiled smugly, as if that proved his point. "See, you never know. You shouldn't cast judgment on all the poor, innocent skulls of the world."

"Oh, brother."


"Charlotte, are you listening to me?"

Tom was staring at her, an expectant look on his face. "Oh, uh, sorry. What were you saying?" she sputtered.

He didn't appear offended at all. Instead, he launched right back into his discussion on cakes. "Red velvet is my favorite, but James never seems to make it."

"I made it the day before I left for the Royal City," James called.

Tom rolled his eyes. "Sure, but that one was too small. Mandlam got to it before I even had the chance to have a piece."

James shrugged. "You weren't fast enough."

Tom crossed his arms and pouted. "Well, my point is, you need to make red velvet cake again."

"We're a bit busy at the moment."

"Can't you just whip it out of nothing with one of your spells?"

"You're the magician's son. Why don't you just 'whip it out of nothing'?"

Tom frowned. "I guess it's not that easy. But still, you could at least try to make me some food. I'm wasting away to nothing over here."

'You just had an apple."

"But that was ten minutes ago! I need something to sustain me."

James sighed and waved his hands in the air. A pie appeared in his hand, steaming hot.

"Here." James tossed the pie across the distance between them.

Tom strained to grab the pie, but his grasp fell short. The pie tumbled to the water below, disappearing beneath the waves with a splash.

Tom stared after it, looking as if he might cry. "That favorite kind."

Charlotte smothered a laugh behind her hand. "At least now some byrgon can enjoy a tasty treat."

Tom sighed. "Farewell, garkleberry pie. May you rest in pieces."


Tom strode over to one of the openings and stuck his head outside of it. “Nice view.”

James jerked him away from the opening. “Do you want to kill yourself?”

“If he doesn’t, I would be happy to oblige,” Lieutenant Bradshaw said with a smirk.

“Do you hate everybody around here?” Charlotte asked.

The lieutenant smiled dashingly. “Only mildly, love.”

“Only mild hatred then. That’s a relief.”


In a matter of seconds, the realm of memory began to spiral away, swirling in on itself like a vortex. All the colorful memories began to funnel down into a point somewhere far away, twirling around their bodies and whipping up a breeze as they went. Charlotte caught snippets of conversation as they passed, words of love and warmth. Each tale seemed to be knit together with love and pain, both of them simultaneously. Just a glimpse of the pictures filled her heart to the brim.

Pain and love. They went together. There was no solace from the pain outside of love, but no other way that love could seem so sweet lest it be paired with pain.

(*whispers* Enjoy my only serious snippet. ;P)


“Can we call it something other than the skull rock?” Tom asked. “It seems like we’ve known the island so long that we need to give the rock a better name. It’s kind of rude to call it ‘skull rock’ just because it isn’t fortunate enough to have a name.”

James blinked, staring at his friend in amusement. “What do you suggest?”

Tom tapped his chin, pausing to ponder the question for a moment. Then he snapped his fingers and grinned. “How about Herbert?”

Charlotte raised an eyebrow. “Herbert?”

Shrugging, Tom said, “It looks like a Herbert to me.”

“How about we kill you and name the rock after your skull?” Isabel suggested.

Tom held up his hands. “Whoa, no need to get violent.” But he grinned anyway. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Besides the killing part.” He nodded. “You can name it Tom if you want.”

James rolled his eyes. “All right, its name is Tom, if that will get you to actually move forward.”

Tom threw a grin at James and marched ahead.


He strode over to them and kicked Tom lightly in the side. He wisely decided not to do the same to Alexander.

"Don't touch my nuts!" Tom burst out, eyes flashing open in panic as he fumbled for the food in his pockets. Upon seeing it was just James, he relaxed and cocked a grin. "Thought you were the ravaging rodent rascals."

"Alliteration. I'm impressed."

Lieutenant Bradshaw stirred on his own, apparently awoken by Tom's outburst. He scowled at James and leaned back lazily. "What are you doing?"

"We're getting out of here,"

The lieutenant rolled his eyes, smiling at James like he was a child. "And how do you propose we do that, Mr. Magician?"

James walked toward the door and pointed at it. "Perhaps if you looked at something other than your own reflection, you might have noticed the door was open."

The lieutenant was not amused.


(Annnnnd finally, I present to you a preview from my "short story." I'm sure you can guess who it is about. ;D)

“Well, thank you very much for the compliment. I see your manners are as horrible as your stealing abilities.”

   He couldn’t help chuckling. “Why, thank you. Nobody has ever referred to my thievery as an ability. It makes me feel privileged.”

  She whirled around to face him, her eyes drilling holes in his skull. “That was not meant as a compliment.”

   Shrugging, he suppressed another grin. “Keep telling yourself that.”

   The girl muttered something under her breath and looked as if she were about to kick him through the bars. At the last second, she pulled her foot back and crossed her arms over her chest, pretending not to be interested.

   He knew better. Grinning, he scooted dangerously close to the bars. Time to have a little more fun.

   “Aren’t you a little young to be a guard?”

   “Why do you keep asking all these nosy questions?”

   He held up his hands in mock innocence, his chains clanging noisily as he did so. “I can’t help it if I’m curious, love.”

   She wrinkled her nose in disgust and scooted further away from him, arms still crossed.

   “What’s the matter? Afraid I might charm you?”

   “The only thing I’m afraid of is whether or not I’ll have the strength to resist strangling you.”

   He felt a chuckle rise up in his throat and come unbidden. She was angry. Brilliant.


*collapses because post is looooong* Ahem. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings on NaNo and very cringey snippets. :P Here, take some cookies for wading through the entire post. *hands you some*

For now, all I can say is: I BEAT NANO AND AM OFFICIALLY EXHAUSTED. Oh, and it's December so that means Christmas is coming up soon. *hyperventilates*

How many of you wonderful people survived? Anyone else cringing at their own writing? (Pssh, totally not me. *laughs nervously*) If you even got 1 word written, YOU ARE A WINNER. So go treat yourself to cookies. *shoves you away*

P.S. I promise I will get to all your lovely comments soon! I've been reading them all and taking great encouragement from them. So I'm not ignoring them at all. ^_^

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  1. Congratulations, well done, and I'm impressed!

  2. AHHHHH MARY. O.o You finished it?? Oh my goodness, congrats! You did seriously so well this NaNo. I'm in shock. I only hit 50k on the last day. xD

    Ack, I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to experience that feeling when I finish my first full-length novel. But considering how long my NaNo story is, it could very well end up being only a third done at only 50k. o.o So I'll be writing for a while, but all the plot twists are worth it. xD

    Do you know what you'll be writing next? Are you planning on editing or writing a new novel first? Eeep alll the excitement. <3

    1. Omw, thank you so much, Emily!!! And eep, just hitting 50k is an amazing accomplishment! So congrats to you. :D

      OH MY STARS. That is a loooong book, girl! I CAN'T WAIT TILL YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK, TOOOOO. IT WILL BE EPIC. *nods* It was so satisfying to finish my first real book. :D

      Ahhhh, yes, so I have a Peter Pan retelling brewing in the back of my mind. I'll probably be plotting that out (er, at least, *trying* to plot it out) over January and maaaaybe plunge into editing for Moonlit Mirror, too. I'm VERY excited!

  3. MORE MORE MORE SNIPPETS!! :) Sorry, just love your novel! Squirrel butlers? AWESOME! You are amazing. <3

    (Here, I just made chocolate chip cookie brownies. I hereby virtually send one to you.:))

    1. This comment made. my. day. SERIOUSLY GIRL. You are the sweetest. <3333 *hugs*

      Mmmmm. *devours them* Thank you kindly! Brownies + chocolate chip cookies = my favorite thing basically.

  4. I am real laughing. This story is hilarious!
    Your one serious snippet was really good as well. . . and true. Personally, I prefer serious stories, though I do really appreciate the ones that make me laugh. ;)
    All that to say, your story sounds fun, and congratulations on finishing!!

    1. P.S. I finished watching Dead Man's Chest for the first time last night. I think I liked Curse of the Black Pearl better, but it was still enjoyable. Jack drove me CRAZY, but I guess Will sorta' balanced it out. ;) They didn't bring my favorite pirate back though, which I'm still mad about.

    2. Eep, thank you, Hanna! I'm glad that my snippets actually are amusing to other people. XD

      Oh, I'm glad to hear it! I think I prefer stories with lots of humor myself, but it's always good to have a mix, I think. My book actually ended up striking some deeper themes near the end, which I was rather pleased with. :)

      Thank you again, dear! You are such a kind friend! :D

      (OHHHHH POTC!!! I love those movies. <3 Yus, Will is the best! It's good that he's there to balance Jack out. XD Oh, and who's your favorite pirate? I forgot whether you told me or not.)

    3. I can't remember her name. . . the girl pirate in Jack's crew. I really liked her, and I was so sad they didn't bring her back!

    I AM SO ECSTATIC FOR YOOOUUUU. *explodes the world in glitter* YAY MARY!!!!!!!!!!

    And you did an almost double NaNo! And just ROCKED YOUR FIRST NANO. I am so ecstatic you loved your first NaNo so much. There's something so magical about the first one. I will forever have the best memories from mine. And now you're hooked. BWAHAHAHA! The NaNo call is just too strong. XD

    SNIPPETS, SNIPPETS, SNIPPESTS!!!! *devours them like a famished piranha*


    MARY SUNSHINE HORTON (because Sunshine is your official middle name now) how dare you say these snippets are messy! Like...these are brilliant! I would give my right pinky toe to be able to write this well during NaNo!


    When you said you were writing a short story I just KNEW it was about Lieutenant Bradshaw. He is so bad and I just love him. XD Like, I may already have a major crush on him. SEE WHAT YOU'VE DONE, MARY?


    1. !!!

      (Actually, all of your comments are so I don't know how on earth I could choose one!)

      THANK YOU SO MUCH, LAURI! I had an EPIC Nano experience and cannot wait till next year already. XD IT WAS SO MUCH FUN AND I'M STILL IN SHOCK HONESTLY.

      "famished piranha" Oh my word, you are hilarious. XD

      BUT LAURI. You write such amazingly, fantastic brilliance like whaaaat. CAN SOMEONE SAY WRITING QUEEN?! But still, GAH. YOUR KINDNESS KNOWS NO BOUNDS. I am speechless right now. THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER!

      OH MY WORD, GIRL, WHAT CAN I EVEN SAY?! <333 seriously one of the best things ever. I'm SO excited that you have a crush on him already. XD (Psst, so do I...don't tell him that, though. ;P)


  6. I LOVE YOUR SNIPPETS! they're aawesome :
    AND I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GOT 90K!!! you go girl!


      D'awww, thank you! I STILL can't believe it myself. XD


Hey, look at you. You found the comments section. *applauds* So proud.

Now, if you're nice and keep your comment clean, I miiiiight just give you a cookie. *grins*