Week 1: Femme Fighting (NaNo2013 Edition)

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First paragraph: “It was a special week at the War House. Jefe Orono caged a new girl, who he called Hero. Ivy had been throwing up every morning at breakfast and sometimes after lunch, not that Jefe Jace would notice. And here came Jefe Braun to introduce Peregrine to her new keeper.”

Word count: 15,063 words

And technically, that Week 1 started after midnight on Nov. 1 with our local NaNo group’s Kick-Off Party at IHOP. Don’t get too excited about how many words that is. All 4k words I wrote at the party ended up getting scrapped, which for NaNo means that I turned all the font white so that the words written still count but I don’t have to look at them. 🙂

As it happened, I set out to experiment with first-person, present tense, because the story felt more contained within one perspective and the immediacy of present tense would have worked for the story. However, 4k words in, I decided I still really dislike first-person POV. (The only stories I seemed to like in FP is anything by Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant and the Animorphs and Goosebumps novels. Don’t judge me.) It lacks a depth and richness that I get from third-person, even when it’s limited.

This probably speaks more to my incompetency as a first-person writer than the concept of writing this story in first-person, but I just wasn’t feeling it. So I rewrote the first chapter in third-person limited, which still narrows the focus to my MC, Peregrine, but I like her better from a slight distance.

I’m still not sure whether this first draft is going to stick or whether I’ll need to rewrite it like I did the nightmare novel (which I’m continuing to send out to agents, btw, although I’ve paused in sending out the FTR1 novel until I can fix the beginning). I’d prefer having a solid first draft to edit rather than rewrite, but at least the concept is still interesting to me. I have to give myself some leniency, because I’m writing a non-supernatural, uncomplicated novel, which I just don’t do.

By uncomplicated, I mean it only has one or two things going on. Most of my other novels have at least three things going on, which usually puts it over 90k words by the end of it, and my fairy tale remix series…well, there’s a reason it’s a series. So… simpler is new to me. Simpler does not, however, mean simplistic or lazy, just that the story is relatively straightforward.

On the bright side, it means that with my new accelerated quota plan of about 20-22k words a week, I’ll probably be finished with the novel (along with NaNo’s 50k words) well before the end of November so that I have some breathing room to watch the last season of Angel. It’s the little things, y’all, and that was one of my resolutions for 2013.

Another interesting consequence is that my chapters are shorter. I basically write chapters until I feel like they’re finished, and that ends up anywhere between 7k-15k per chapter for most of my novels. But this one has faster pacing, so my chapters are more in the 4-5k range.

I will say this: Why are all my YA novels so damn bleak? I mean, the nightmare novel is horror, so bleakness goes with the genre. This femme fighting novel is speculative (which in the fiction world has come to mean “genre fiction,” but I learned it as “set in a future based on a logical progression of the present” – ex: Margaret Atwood’s novels), and set within an underground femme fighting league of abducted and enslaved girls, a cross between sex trafficking, no-rules MMA fights, and cock and dog fighting. Gee, what could be bleak about that?

My New Adult stories are so much more optimistic. I guess I should write at least one YA that doesn’t make me want to hide in my closet with sharp objects near me.

Sorry I’ve been so radio silent since the end of writing FTR2. I just didn’t have a lot to say and I had a lot on my plate. You’ll get regular updates throughout the femme fighting novel, though, and after that, some fairy tale blogging and the edits on FTR1 and 2 before starting on FTR3 in April or May.

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