NaNo '17 Recap // I FINISHED MY NOVELLA + Over 10k in a Day

by - 11:54 PM

I HAVE RETURNED!! *cue the fireworks and glitter and cookies* It's been far too long since I've posted, and I've missed blogging so much. I'm really looking forward to (hopefully) getting back to a normal posting schedule this month...though I'm actually not making a commitment because um, HELLO, Christmas is a thing.

It's December now, and I'm still wrapping my mind around that. CHRISTMAS IS LIKE THREE WEEKS AWAY. How has this happened? o.o

NaNo officially ended four days ago - four days ago - and I'm just now getting around to writing a recap. I was hoping I would post weekly updates in November...buuuuut that obviously didn't happen. I explained some of the reasons on Instagram (aka the place I spend way too much time *cough*), but the short version: it was a rough month. I was busy and stressed and it was just h a r d. I didn't even think I would finish NaNo - and I almost didn't. Just barely eked out the words on the last day.

I'm still trying not to beat myself up over the fact that I didn't slay NaNo and be the epic Glitter Queen I was last year - but seriously?? I'M. SO. MUCH. BUSIER. 2016 me didn't even have a clue.

So yeah, I'm very proud of the fact that I wrote 50k in November, but there are still times when I wish I could be epic like other people (shout-out to the queens - Christine, Katie Grace, Abbie, and Audrey - LIKE HOW ARE YOU EVEN THIS EPIC??) I'm so competitive with myself; it's kind of ridiculous.

Before I ramble on too much (ha, too late), let's get on to the actual recap!

// R E C A P //

Like I said, November was a difficult month. I had tons of college work, two trips, lots of Christmas program rehearsals, and one tragic event in the family. (My aunt passed away suddenly last week, and it's been hard on my mom and her side of the family. Prayers appreciated.) All of this combined to make writing time very scarce.

I was a good deal ahead going into the second week, but...things changed. :P Our Liberty trip was INCREDIBLE and honestly life-changing (I might post about it because wow - I received a huge revelation there) but it didn't leave any time for writing. Thus me being slightly behind when we got back and having too much homework to really crank the words. I got ahead again somehow but then, voila, Thanksgiving arrived! Cue a family roadtrip and studying for finals! *nervous laughter*

I must admit, though: Thanksgiving was lovely! I got to visit with family, see FALL COLORS, eat lots of food, visit a used bookstore (can I get an amen?), get lots of aesthetic pictures, and also visit my first tree lot! It was oh-so-magical. <333 I helped my cousins decorate the tree they picked out and basically turned into a Christmas elf the day after Thanksgiving. BECAUSE CHRISTMAS. YESSSSS.

When we got back, we had another big rehearsal for our program. I was behind majorly and getting very, very discouraged because where the heck would I find the time to write 14k words during the last week? I had finals and Christmas programs and allllll the things.

BUT SOMEHOW I DID?? I don't even know how except that I wrote 5,000 of those words one day and then stayed up insanely late the other nights after all the studying I did for finals. (How am I not dead? I do not know this either.)

The important thing is: I DID IT. I WON NANOWRIMO!!!!!! It was an exhausting push to the finish, but I did it. I know I could have written a lot more words if I had the time, but that just wasn't God's plan for this year. And that's okay.

Some noteworthy things:

- I finished my novella! AHHHHHH. It ended up being much longer than the word limit of 20k (it's currently at about 32.5k right now #help), but I already know some things I want to cut. The only problem is that the deadline is approaching fast. And that's also a lot of words to cut, people. *tries not to panic*

- I beat my one-day writing record. Last year, I wrote 10k in a day. I had made it my personal goal to beat last year's record and IT HAPPENED. I wrote over 10k in one day! Granted, it was only like 100 words more than last year but still. IT TOTALLY COUNTS OKAY DON'T BURST MY BUBBLE.

- I just loved my characters so freaking much. They're precious cupcakes. Who gave them permission to be this adorable?? *awkward silence as I realize that was me* xD

I had a fun time exploring their different personalities and backstories and playing with different writing styles/character dynamics. If I could just define NaNoWriMo 2017 in one word, it would be exploration. I did a lot of exploring this year, and I loved that.

So yeah. My characters from both of my projects are darlings. *hugs them*

- I made myself cry. For the first time. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT. My novella was the first thing I've written that's made me tear up. And it's also the first one that's literally given me chills because of the creepiness. I think it's safe to say this story impacted me a lot.

- Did I mention I was really busy? Yes? Okay, just wanted to be clear on that. :P

// S N I P P E T S //

Behind the Velvet Curtain: (I'm only sharing one because there are tons of spoilers xD)

Slices of cruel light burned her eyes. Adelia held up her hand to shield them from the painful glare and groaned.

Her whole body was trembling with chills. Pain shot through her muscles like fiery darts of torture. She clutched the thing closest to her and dug her nails into soft flesh.


Her eyes flicked open. Searing pain. She suppressed a cry of her own and blinked. The light burned her eyes—fire to her face.

Finally, she recovered from the intensity and made out the form of Theo by her side. She released her clawed grip and felt herself shudder again. She rolled her head to the side, too tired to even apologize.

But he just took her hand again and whispered, “Squeeze as tight you need to.”

/ / /
Vagrant Embers:

The man who had done me the lovely favor of shoving me to the ground, cutting my throat, and ripping my second-best shirt stood overlooking the entire operation just a few yards ahead. I knew it was stupid—I don’t claim to be the most sensible person at times—but I marched right up to him and practically dared him to stare me in the eyes.

He had his hood down now. I was surprised by how normal of a human being he looked. With his neatly-combed blond-ish brown hair and trimmed beard, he actually seemed . . . nice.

Just further proof that looks could be deceiving.

“Aren’t you supposed to be packing everything up?” He didn’t exactly say it threateningly, but his hand hovered near his hip. And consequently his sword.

I really hated him.

A stroke of impulsiveness on my part made me roll my eyes. Roll my eyes. That was definitely a decision I shouldn’t have made.

To my surprise, he didn’t retaliate. He actually smiled, and it wasn’t a cruel smile either. Not the kind I would have expected from a murderer.

Instead, his smile was sincere and something along the lines of warm. “Not many people would have the guts to roll their eyes at me. You really are an interesting case, Forest.”

How does he know my name? My mouth formed an “o” and I nearly spat out the question, but he answered it for me.

“The rumors. Remember?” His lip formed a half-smile. “You and your band of trained animals are the height of conversation in many areas of the Continent.”

A blush flamed hot in my cheeks. I knew what he was referring to: our counterfeiting. He had to have caught wind of all the stories about our false advertising and counterfeit goods. But why would that make him single us out as potential conspirators? We were just a family trying to survive in a cruel world where only the smartest and fastest made it.

I had found that out the hard way long ago.

There were so many questions peppering my mind, so the next words out of my mouth surprised me. “Do you have a name or do you just go by Hooded Murderer Number One?”

Now his grin was evident on his dark complexion. “I go by Stefan. But that’s a good suggestion. I’ll have to keep it in mind.”

Were we actually making jokes with each other? Something was wrong with this picture. I stifled the urge to laugh at his humor. No way was I going to laugh at something our captor had said.

Think serious. I put on my “serious face,” which was the equivalent of the expression I wore whenever Ren would do something stupid. Which was most of the time.

/ / /

Thorne returned a few minutes later with arms filled to overflowing with various herbs and some kind of tree bark. I wasn’t one to complain about what food I was putting in my body, but I had to admit, that bark looked a little on the sketchy side. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that because Ozzie’s little voice piped up.

“Why is there something black growing on that?”

Jareth hurried to shush him, but it wouldn’t have done any good anyway. Ren was already joining in the outcry against the tree bark and garnering support from Nellie and Bene.

Thorne just sent me a bemused grin. “Since you’re all so averse to the idea of my cooking, why not let Forest take over?”

“No!” Everyone joined in one shout of horror at that thought.

“It’s nice to know I’m appreciated,” I mumbled, smile tugging at my mouth despite my best efforts. I had to admit, they were right. My cooking was enough to age someone fifty years prematurely.

Despite the various grimaces and groans around the group, we all sucked it up and ate the stew that Thorne prepared. To my surprise, it didn’t taste half bad. It was a little chunky at times, but I told myself it was just pieces of uncooked herbs and not whatever had been growing on that poor tree.

It didn’t seem to sit well with Thorne, ironically, because he ran out into the bushes to spew the contents of the meal a few minutes after he had finished.

“If we all die of some obscure fungal infection, blame him.” Ren indicated our gagging brother with her half-empty bowl.

Ever the optimist, Jareth said, “I’m sure it’s fine. Just a little . . . textured.”

In other words, it was disturbingly lumpy.

/ / / 

Sorry some of those were so long, but I couldn't resist. Forest's family is just the best. xD

So was NaNo '17 a success? Yes, I would say so. It was hard. Very hard. But it was worth it.

Final word count: 50,368 words

Well, how was your NaNo, writers? Can you believe we're in the LAST month of the year?? LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING. Are you excited for Christmas?

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  1. Lovely snippets! And I want to read all about adorable cupcake characters. ;) Congratulations on winning - and on writing 10k in one day! That's impressive.

    I'm sorry to hear about your family's tragic event, though - are you okay?
    - Jem Jones

    1. Thank you! I guess you could say we gobble those characters all up!


      I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. xP

      Awww, thanks so much for your concern! I might need to go edit that so people aren't worried too much about me. My aunt passed away suddenly last week, and it's been really hard on my mom and her side of the family. :/

  2. I love your snippets! I didn't get a chance to do NaNo this year--too much school. Ugh, junior year :). Maybe next year!
    I can't believe Christmas is so soon!
    I'm sorry to hear about your family's tragic event--is everything OK? Definitely will be praying.

    1. Thank you, Allison! Yeah, I honestly don't know how I managed to do it...lots of crazy college stuff going on this year. :P Hopefully you can do it sometime! If November is too busy, there's always Camp NaNo in April and July. I've done both of those, and it's great that you can set your own goal, rather than just the 50k. :)

      Me either! Where has 2017 gone??

      Thank you so much! My aunt passed away rather suddenly, and her death has been hard on my family...particularly my mom and grandparents. :(

  3. You made yourself cry! For the first time! Wow, that is just awesome. I actually can't remember the first time I made myself cry with my own story, but when it does happen, I know I've done something right. Good for you!

    And congrats on winning Nano AND finishing your novella! I failed at both. Life goes on.

  4. WELL HELLO THERE. Congrats on winning!!! It seems like you've had quite the busy November. XD

  5. EEK YOU WON NANO CONGRATULATIONS, MARY!!!!!!!!!! *confetti everywhere*

    I'm super sorry about everything you've been going through lately. *hugs* You're still in my prayers, girl. <3

    Your snippets are SO fun! CONGRATS AGAIN ON THE WIN!!!


    And you won NaNo like a BOSS!!!!! I sooo understand being competitive with yourself. SAME. I get so unhealthily obsessed with NaNo because I get competitive with myself, it's insane. But MARY. YOU WERE SO BUSY THIS YEAR OH MY GOODNESS. I'm in awwwwwwwwe at your ability to write SO MUCH amidst SUCH A CRAZY MONTH. Your are the sweetest to give me a shoutout! But I am ANYTHING but a NaNo queen. I only manage to get in a lot of words because I'm NOT going to college and things. You've had schoolwork and a ton of trips and just SO MUCH STUFF GOING. I seriously, seriously doubt I would have managed to make it to 50k if I were in your shoes. YOU are the queen, girl!

    It breaks my heart to hear it was a rough month for you though! I am SO sorry to hear about your aunt. Oh, Mary. *hugs* Your whole family will be in my prayers!

    I am glad you did have some good things. Like Thanksgiving and your trip to Liberty. (I definitely want to hear about that! :D) AND YOU FINISHED YOUR NOVELLA. AAAAHHHHH!!! CONGRATS. Plus you wrote over 10k in ONE DAY??? See? You ARE the queen! I've never, ever, everrr managed a 10k day before!

    “Squeeze as tight you need to.” EXCUSE ME BUT I'M EXPLODING FROM THE PRECIOUSNESS.

    And Forest and the family! OHMYGOODNESS.
    “Do you have a name or do you just go by Hooded Murderer Number One?” <---DYYYYING. I am just in looove with the whole snarky, witty tone of your writing. It's the BESSST. *huggles all your characters and stories*

    CONGRATS AGAIN ON WINNING NANO LIKE A SUPERHERO. I do sooo hope you have a relaxing, beautiful December! <333



  8. Congrats Mary!!!! You totally won NaNo like a Glitter Queen. It's NOT easy to write 50k words when you have a busy month (and your November was insane!) You and your family have been in my prayers. AND CHRISTMAS IS SO SOON!!!! Eeeeeeppp!!!! *throws more glitter on you even though you seem to be completely doused already but I don't care because there's no such thing as too much glitter*

  9. Congrats on winning! I had a great time following along with your progress on Instagram! And yay on beating your one day record. At that high of a word count, beating it by 100 is a total victory!

    I also wanted to drop by and let you know that I tagged you for the Mysteriously Nameless Tag of Doom. My post should go up in about an hour or so (from the time I post this comment). I hope you're able to do it!

  10. YAY FOR FINISHING NANO!! And you're still alive! XD AND ACK THOSE SNIPPETS. *huggles them*

  11. Congratulations on reaching 50k!! You're amazing, Mary!!! :D


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