NaNoWriMo, 2019 — 10 Days In

10 days into NaNoWriMo, and things are still going really well. I’m 999 words shy from hitting the 40k mark, which is fantastic. I’ve had a lot of really good writing days and one slog day where I got my words in, but was really distracted.

This novel that I’m writing this year, The Sixth Cleric, has been a blast to write so far. However, I found myself questioning whether or not the story is too slow. I wrote an action scene today that finally sped things up, but I feel like that was the only place where the action was needed so far. I’m not one for adding in needless action just for the sake of having it.

On the other hand, having a story that’s too slow can bore the reader. I love a good drama, but the genre is important too, and too much drama without enough action in a fantasy story would just suck. Imagine A Song of Ice and Fire without all the death, would it be the same story?

Question for writers: How do you find that balance for writing action and dramatic scenes?

Advice for writers: Make sure when you’re writing something that you’re not throwing in stuff just to have more stuff there. Yes, you want your story to have substance, but needless and pointless scenes are just that, needless and pointless. If it doesn’t further the plot or enhance your characters, cut it out.

There is a day-by-day journal at my personal blog, The Paradigm, if you are interested in reading a more detailed account of what I’m writing and what experiences I’m having this year.

-Andrew Ronzino

Five Days In

We are five days into NaNoWriMo, and I’ve been doing very well. I have already crossed the 20,000 word mark. 20k in five days isn’t bad at all.

Just today a friend of mine said, “You’re so close to the goal, you’re going to be done super early.” I told her that though the goal of NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words, I don’t stop there. My personal goal is to finish the novel. I don’t just want to write a bunch of words, it’s National Novel Writing Month, so I want to actually write “The End” in 30 days.

I look forward to this every year. I like to use the challenge to try new things and experiment with my writing. I don’t like to just do the same old thing year after year. I experiment with genre, style, POV, and various other elements.

Because this year I’m continuing a series I’ve been working on periodically for several years now, the setting isn’t new, but the story arc isn’t something I’ve handled before; underlying religious tones of tested faith. What happens when your faith gets rocked and you learn that something you believed in your whole life may have been a misconception? It’s a little challenging. I want to do my characters justice and not just have them react how I think I would, but rather how I think they would.

Question for writers: How do you handle this, when you want to keep your personal convictions separate from your characters’?

Advice for writers: Don’t be afraid to rock your MC’s boat a little. It’s okay to make them question their faith and explore what that means for them. How will it affect their future?

There is a day-by-day journal at my personal blog, The Paradigm, if you are interested in reading a more detailed account of what I’m writing and what experiences I’m having this year.

-Andrew Ronzino

NaNoWriMo 2019 is About to Begin

National Novel Writing Month. The month where hundreds of thousands of people all over the world dedicate their time to writing a novel in just 30 days. I thought it was insane when I first heard of it, but now, 10 years later, I’m going for my 10th victory.

During the month I will be sharing how things are going. For a day-by-day more in-depth look at my experiences and process, visit The Paradigm, my personal blog.

Join me for this journey.

-Andrew Ronzino

Experimental Writing

I primarily write science fiction and fantasy. It’s the two genres that I enjoy reading and writing the most. But I don’t like to put myself into a box. I like to play with my writing; try new genres, POVs, and styles. I enjoy experimenting with my writing. I think it’s best to keep things fresh and attempt to think outside of the box. I may not be good at it, but I’m at least willing to attempt it.

I’m writing a short story for a challenge posed by my writing group, and I thought about what kind of a story I wanted to tell and how I wanted to tell it. I decided to go with something raw and real and with a set POVs that is unusual and different to have in a short story. I chose these things purposefully. Will it work? I honestly have no idea. It’s still in rough draft mode, so I don’t know if any of it meshes together until it’s finished. However, whether it works or not, I will have learned something.

One of the best bits of advice I can give other writers is to experiment with your writing. Play around with what you normally do. Try new things. You may discover that you enjoy writing a genre you didn’t think you would be any good at, or in a style that you never considered before. If you’re unsure how to write in a genre you’re unfamiliar with, check some books of that genre out of the library and read how others have done it. Familiarize yourself with how the genre works. I’ve done that myself to great effect. You might find it worth it.

I Need to Get My Butt in Gear

You may have noticed that I don’t update here very often. I need to change that. I need to actually post so that I can have content for people to read. It’s one thing to know I need to do this. It’s a whole other thing to actually do it. Being an author is harder than I ever thought it would be. Not being a writer (though, that’s not easy either), but being an author. I want to write novels for people to enjoy, but one can’t just do that. It’s like any other job, it requires hard work and dedication, and having a website with consistent content is a task that needs to be done. So, buck up, Buttercup, and just do your job! (It’s okay to yell at yourself via your own website’s blog, right?)

The last time I posted, it was November 30th, now it’s March 21st and WordPress has made a lot of changes, so not only do I need to post this, but figure out how to use the new interface. But they added a feature where I can have the big first letter. Hence the large “Y” which makes me so happy.

So I will try to do better. Yell at me if I don’t.

NaNoWriMo Day 30: Finished

The road was long, and I walked more steps than I ever thought I would, but I’m finished!

On November 1st, 2018, I started to write a novel in only 30 days.  Here I stand with over 100,000 words written, more than double the amount of the original challenge.  Today, on November 30th, I wrote “The End”!  Readers of The Paradigm, I have written a novel in 30 days!

This novel was a joy to write, it flowed out of me.  I may do something with this one someday, after some intensive rewrites and editing, that is.  Mistcraft is complete, but it’s not finished.  It’s still a vomit draft, the roughest of rough drafts, as it was written so fast.  One day, I will polish it until it shines.

I would like to take a moment to thank some people.  *Imagines he’s standing in front of an audience with an award in his hand*  I want to thank God for helping me through this year’s challenge.  I want to thank my family, friends, and my readers.  Thank you for all the encouragement, advice, and sticking with me to the end.  A special thank you to the few people who have asked me almost every day what was happening in my story.  You’re all the best.

Here is this year’s winner’s certificate:

NaNoWriMo Winner's Certificate 2018

The Stats for Mistcraft

Here are the final stats on my 2018 NaNoWriMo project:

Title: Mistcraft

Genre: Fantasy

Words: 101,632

Chapters: 40

Pages: 349 (that’s in Microsoft Word, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font)

What I learned this year: Every year for NaNoWriMo I like to learn something new, either about myself as a writer, or some new technique.  This year I learned how to craft a realistic magic system, it needs some smoothing out and some kinks fixed, but it’s not a bad magic system.  I also learned that I can push myself to finish by a deadline if I really want or need to.

Thank you again to everyone who stuck with me and encouraged me this month!

Until next time,

Andrew Ronzino, A Man Who Wrote a Novel in 30 Days


NaNoWriMo Day 29: The Final Excerpt

One final day remains.  I have one short chapter left to write, but I will do that tomorrow.  However, I would like to say that today I hit 100,000 words!  That is so many for 30 days.  We’ll see what my final count will be tomorrow.

Today, I have the third and final excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel.  If you would like to go back and read any of the previous excerpts, you can do so here:

Excerpt one and excerpt two.

I would like to remind you that like with all the other excerpts, this is a vomit draft, and thus may have a lot of grammar issues and a wrong word here or there.  The only editing I did was just enough to make sure it’s readable for you.  Please enjoy!

“Don’t use mistcraft!”  Rike shouted again.

He looked around.  A few of the other horses had been calmed down, and were being pulled along to the caves.  Others were struggling.

Natty was standing out in the middle of the chaos.  She looked like she was frozen.  Her eyes were glowing and misty.  Rike ran for her.  “Natty!  Release your mist!”

She did just that.  But that didn’t stop the lightning.  Rike got to her just in time.  He leapt in the air and crashed into her, knocking her to the wet grass, which allowed them to slide a little.  The lightning hit where she was standing only a moment before.  Rike stood up, grabbed Natty’s hand and pulled her up.  Then, fearing to let go of her, he dragged her towards the cave.

It was dry inside, there were already three horses inside with Nico who was tying them up to some stalagmites.  Natty was sopping wet and had a terrified look on her face.

“Stay here,” Rike said.  “No matter what happens outside, you stay inside.”

“Don’t go!” She pulled his arm back.

“Jassa is still out there.”  He ran back out into the storm.  There was still a lot of lightning, but everyone seemed to get the idea that using energetic mist in the Break storm was a bad idea, so most of it was up high in the clouds, not striking the ground.

Naroli was pulling two horses towards the cave.  Visrium had another two horses.  That was eight of the nine living horses accounted for.  Tanroa and Epress were pushing the cart of their supplies out of the storm.

Where was Jassa, and where was Mistress Marenti?  Where was the last horse?

He spotted them near a tree.  Marenti was on her horse, its reins were tangled up in the branches of the small tree, and Jassa and Marenti was trying to get them undone.  They were also using mistcraft.  Either they was taking the risk like fools, or they never heard nor picked up on the fact that Break lighting was attracted to mistcraft.

Rike ran for them.  “Jassa!  Release the mist!”

“Rike, help me get this horse!” She shouted back when she spotted him.

“No, Rike,” Marenti shouted into the wind.  “Get back to the shelter!”

“Release the mist!”  Rike yelled.  “The lightning is att—”

The lightning struck.  It missed Jassa and Marenti, but struck the tree, catching it on iridescent fire.  Jassa was screaming.  A large branch snapped off the tree in the wind.  It fell on Jassa dropping her to the ground.  Her screaming stopped.

“Jassa!” Rike shouted.

The horse tried to flee from the blaze that swiftly descended the burning tree, nearly throwing Marenti in the process.  The fire was too fast.  It engulfed the tree in iridescent fire, and engulfed the horse as well as Marenti, burning them to ash in a moment.

Rike ran forward.  “No!”

He wanted to use mistcraft, but that would call down the lightning on him.  He needed to just rely on his own strength.  There was nothing he could do for the horse or Marenti, they were already gone, and their ash was turning to mud in the rain.  He ran for Jassa, who wasn’t moving.  He hoped she was just unconscious.  He tried to lift the branch, but it was too heavy.  By the strange light of the misty fire, he could see that she was bleeding.

“Lady of the Mist, help me!” he called.  Then he took the risk.  He drew in a little mist, and used it on the branch to empty it of weight.  He heaved it off her, then pulled her into his arms.  Then he ran.  As soon as he moved away, a second bolt of Break lightning struck the branch he had just infused with all his mist.  He ran as fast as he could with Jassa in his arms.  They were the last ones into the cave.  It was deep enough that they were probably all safe from the storm.  The eight remaining horses were starting to calm down.

Rike put Jassa down and put an ear to her chest.  Her heart was beating, and she was still breathing.  But she had a cut on her head from where the branch hit her, and she had some blood pooling on her side.  He lifted her shirt, protruding from her side was a small stick lodged into her.

“Help,” Rike said.

-Excerpt from Mistcraft; Chapter 30, by Andrew Ronzino

That will be the last excerpt this year.  I love this scene, I’m as glad I was convinced to kill a character and not just horses in it.  (Wow, that sounds so bad.)

Current word count for Mistcraft: 100,146/50,000!

Until the final day,

Andrew Ronzino, Master of Mistcraft

NaNoWriMo Day 28: Who Killed Him?

Ansan, the boy who was courting Jassa for nearly a year, has died.

The sad part about it is that the characters don’t even know who killed him.  It happened in a fight with the antagonist, Brayol.  Brayol, Jassa, one of the nacre masters, and Krola were fighting.  Rike was staying out of it but then threw some mistcraft into the mix to protect his family.  There was four-way effect was thrown off balance, and it struck the wall and went through it.  Ansan was behind the wall and was killed by one of the effects, but there was hardly anything left of his body, so Jassa doesn’t know which of the four deadly effects killed him.  It could have been her’s.

This was her first relationship, and it ended in ash right after her brother betrayed her and swore loyalty to the villain.

She is having a bad day.

I only have the resolution left to write.  I’m so close to the end, I can feel it.

Current word count for Mistcraft: 96,008/50,000!

Until tomorrow,

Andrew Ronzino, Angel

NaNoWriMo Day 27: The Beginning of the End

So…I hit 90,000 words today.  I had two fine days of writing.  Between yesterday and today, I wrote about 14,500 words, give or take a few.  I will likely break my NaNoWriMo word count record, which was 92,320 words (that was my 2015 novel, The Priest of Tears).  I may or may not break 100K, we’ll see.

I started the climax of the story, well, technically I started it yesterday.  The villain of the story, who was long thought dead, is really alive and was put into an endless sleep.  Rike just woke up him.  Brayol, the Nacre that Broke the World, is active again.

I have awesome plans for the end, and it should be glorious.  I’m excited to write it.

I’m going to call it there though, I’m tired.

Current word count for Mistcraft: 90,036/50,000!

Until the end comes,

Andrew Ronzino, The Nacre that Broke the World

NaNoWriMo Day 26: Over 8,500 Words

Today is my day off.  I also had my normal Monday night plans cancel due to weather.  I started to write, and I hit the best groove ever.

Today I wrote a little over 8,500 words.  That is a lot for me.  That is, by far, the most words I’ve ever written in one day for NaNoWriMo.

I also hit–and passed–80,000 words!

I’m all written out.  I have a pizza in the oven, so I’m going to devour that and watching Netflix.

Current word count for Mistcraft: 84,000/50,000!

Until I write more words,

Andrew Ronzino, Pagemaster