NaNoWriMo 2019

While working on my Inktober Writing Gauntlet 2019 prompts I realised that I wanted to write more for some of the prompts. But due to time constraints and the fact that I really played the catch up game more than once, I kept all of them fairly short.
Instead I decided to change my NaNoWriMo topic from developing a city to writing a novel. Well. A novel in the form of a collection of short stories. As with my old plan I will use this article to serve as a sort of headquarters. I will keep it updated during NaNoWriMo with my progress and each chapter will be linked here as well.
There may be quite a few contradictions in this text as my idea develops as I'm writing. As such, for the final version refer to the finished chapters. Anything you find here is in a constant flow.  


The current working title of this book is The Lives of Others (though this is more than likely going to change). It is written from the perspective of a bard-ish character that lives in the world of Asteria and went out to experience more than one adventurer. He met several famous adventurers and managed to always be there when something important happened.
I plan to write a total of 17 chapters, including a Prologue and an Epilogue. Chapters 2 to 16 will be the main part of the story.  

NaNoWriMo Prep

Session 1: Develop a Story Idea You're Passionate About

Plot Idea. A young boy sets out to experience great adventurers to write about. On his journey he meets a boy who would become one of this world's greatest heroes as well as greatest criminals. This is their story, as told from the young boy's perspective.
Characters. The main character and narrator is a young boy, who's father was a soldier and who's mother worked as a barmaid. His love for telling and listening to stories let him out into the world after his mother's death leads his father to try and bring him into the military.
The other main character is another boy, just barely older than the narrator. With both parents dead and having to take care of himself from a young age, he aspires to make a family of his own that isn't tied by blood but instead by experience.  

Session 2: Create Complex, Believable Characters

Despite many more people existing in the story, these are the four main characters. For those that are interested in reading the story at some point, beware that these descriptions contain spoilers.  

Myrin Yesmoira

Myrin is a young elven boy at the start of the story, roughly about 13 years old. He grew up in a human family, his father a soldier in their country's military, his mother a barmaid. Despite knowing from the start that he was different to other children in their town he thought of the two people who raised him as his parents. He always had an affinity for certain forms of magic and he loved listening to travelers' stories. Myrin had a fairly good life despite not knowing his true origin. But just before his story begins, his mother was killed in an accident during a bar fight. Devestated by the loss, Myrin was sure he would never smile again. His father, not knowing what else to do with the boy, send him to the military. And there our story begins.
Myrin also functions as the narrator. He wrote this book many years after the events happened, when he was much wiser and quite a lot older. Nowadays he isn't nearly as rash in his decisions as he was back then. He prefers to stay at the side as an onlooker and simply observe.  

Delmar Amabile

Delmar was a young boy, about 14 years old as the story begins, who would grow up to become one of the humans' greatest heroes. Long before this story starts, when Delmar was about 5 years old, his father was conscripted into the military. He sent a few letters and money back to his family before dying on the battlefield. This started Delmar's dislike for war and the military. His mother raised him in a small village, though she succumbed to an illness just before the story begins. Delmar had always been fascinated by the adventurer stories and especially the mysterious dungeons. But much more than listen to such stories, he was looking to live through them. If the dungeons were so hard to conquer, surely there must be something amazing hidden inside.
From a young age it was clear that Delmar had the favour of the gods, somehow always managing to find the right path. He also always had a clear sense of what was right and wrong, though at the same time he believed his view to be the only correct one.  

Rhys Vatoris

Rhys had been born into an assassin organisation and was raised according to their believes. Family or friends didn't exist for him. At the start of the story he was about 10 years old. He is one of the assassins send after Delmar and Myrin after they conquered a dungeon. His parents suffered an unknown fate which left Rhys with the organisation since he was a baby. He is skilled with the knife and doesn't hesitate to solve a problem with murder. As such he has always been met with distrust if not hatred. The kindness that Delmar and Myrin showed him later therefor had quite the effect on him. Rhys is a half-elf, even though he keeps that a well guarded secret. He becomes one of Delmar's closest and most loyal friends.  

Shirin Esrel

Shirin grew up in the palace of the City of Ice. More as a pet than as an actual person. As a water genasi she was fairly rare and her beautiful voice often had to serve as entertainment for the senate leaders. Losing her voice in an accident Shirin was first send to the slums, where she did her best to survive. Later she was found alongside Delmar and Myrin who were both trying to provoke a rebellion. The three of them were sentenced to death and were sent into the Tower of Icy Death - a dungeon.
Shirin is about 17 years old at the start of the story. She is rather beautiful and used to have an even more stunning singing voice. After she was cast out of the palace she took up the sword to try and survive. She often looks rather strict and serves as the silent voice of reason within the group.  

Session 3: Construct a Detailed Plot or Outline

I have a rough plan as far as structure goes (see above). I will most likely write the prologue last. The remainder of the book will be split up into several short stories that are all more or less loosely connected to each other. After having planned through the chapters once I came up with a slightly different structure. One that is probably more of a technicality but I still think I'll make that differentiation. The book will be split up in three different parts, which will be separated by several years. Each chapter will be made up of roughly 3,000 words (meaning it should take roughly two days to finish each). Show Spoiler
  • Prologue. written at the end
  • Part I: The Beginnings of a Hero    
    • Chapter 1: A young boy is conscripted into the military by his father after his mother's death. Despite that he makes a new friend who shows him the fun of telling stories. But when he is send to the battlefield he is forced to watch this new found friend die.    
      • Scene 1. Myrin at military camp, other boy (calls himself a friend) his age starting a conversation
      • Scene 2. call to arms (camp has become frontline due to heavy losses)
      • Scene 3. Myrin returning from fight to find his friend died
      • Scene 4. Flashback of story that boy told Myrin about dungeons
    • Chapter 2: After fleeing from the military the young boy hides between refugees in a small village in a different country. His past catches back up with him when this country's military sets up a base in the village, planning an expedition into what they are calling a dungeon. But his plans of escape all get thrown overboard when he meets another boy, by the name of Delmar Amabile, with big dreams who's planning to enter the dungeon before the soldiers do.    
      • Scene 1. Myrin hiding on a caravan between refugees
      • Scene 2. Myrin standing by and watching as bandits/thieves steal remaining valuables from refugees, Delmar jumping in and "saving" them
      • Scene 3. Myrin and Delmar left behind and talking, Delmar offering Myrin a place to stay
      • Scene 4. Delmar telling Myrin about his dream, ending with standing in front of the dungeon
    • Chapter 3: Inside the dungeon a world of wonder and danger unlike anything they've seen before awaits the two boys. They make their way through deadly challenges and somehow manage to make it to the treasure room. But once there the dungeon's guardian warns them of what lies ahead when they choose to finish their conquering of the dungeon.    
      • Scene 1. Myrin almost dying, dangling down a cliff
      • Scene 2. the two having to solve a riddle to continue
      • Scene 3. the Dungeon's guardian warning them of what lies ahead of them
      • Scene 4. Myrin and Delmar returning from the dungeon with riches, being celebrated by onlookers
    • Chapter 4: Having made it out of the dungeon alive and with massive amounts of treasure, the two boys are welcomed as heroes in the nearby town. Delmar seems to be enjoying his rising popularity much to the dislike of his young friend. But the two quickly realise that treasure rarely brings true friends as a group of assassin's tries to kill them.    
      • Scene 1. Myrin watching from afar as Delmar enjoys the party in their honour
      • Scene 2. Myrin talking to Delmar late at night in their room, about what to do now and about the parties
      • Scene 3. assassination attempt on Delmar's life
      • Scene 4. Myrin buying supplies as things are dying down and planning their journey with Delmar
    • Chapter 5: The two boys escape their would be killers by hiding on a caravan to the north. They hope to hide out in the City of Ice, known to be the first true democracy, and they also heard rumours about a dungeon there. Little do the two know that the city is built upon the suffering of their weakest citizens.    
      • Scene 1. Myrin and Delmar reach the City of Ice, seeing all its wonders
      • Scene 2. Shirin steals from the two boys, chase scene
      • Scene 3. Myrin and Delmar see how life is like in the slums and find out that the city's wealth is build on that
      • Scene 4. Delmar giving a public speech to try and get people to realise how wrong their city is before the three get arrested
    • Chapter 6: Promising their new friend to show them a better life, the three of them enter the dungeon of the High North. Little did they know that they wouldn't just have to pass the dungeon's psychological tests, but also survive attempts on their life by the assassins. But things start to turn in their favour when the three of them risk their lives to save one of the assassins.    
      • Scene 1. Shirin, Myrin and Delmar in front of the queen, getting sentenced to death in the Tower of Ice
      • Scene 2. The group moving through the dungeon, getting attacked by assassin's
      • Scene 3. Delmar having to choose between saving Shirin and Myrin, and the artifact of the dungeon
      • Scene 4. The group reaching the treasure room, everything collapsing when Delmar takes the artifact, assassin's getting burried under rubble and Delmar saving one
      • Scene 5. Myrin and Delmar deciding to continue on their adventurers, Shirin asking to follow them and Rhys not wanting to owe Delmar something
  • Part II: The Importance of a Hero    
    • Chapter 1: After becoming more and more famous the young adventuring group travels the High Seas on a merchant ship to reach a new continent. The journey seems to be going as planned until a magical phenomenon draws them into its deadly effects. But luck again proves to be in their favour as Delmar receives the blessings and protection of a powerful being.    
      • Scene 1. The group on board a ship, discussing the founding of an adventuring company
      • Scene 2. During the night the group's ship is caught by a strong storm caused by a magical phenomenon that threatens to pull the whole ship below the surface
      • Scene 3. As Rhys goes overboard during the storm, Delmar jumps in after him to try and save him, while Shirin and Myrin try to keep the ship together
      • Scene 4. A mysterious godlike creature appears to Delmar to tell him about the greatness he could achieve but also warning him not to make mistakes
    • Chapter 2: The group reaches their destination, not used to the heat they decide to rest for now. Despite having seen so before, they are surprised when they find this society to be build upon slavery. But trying to change things in far away countries isn't always a good idea.    
      • Scene 1. The group reaches shore, seeing many exotic things and suffering under the extreme heat
      • Scene 2. To acclimate and rest the group gets room at a local inn, enjoying the luxurious comforts and servants, eventually realising that these people are slaves
      • Scene 3. Delmar tries to rally the slaves to rebell but Myrin argues with him, reminding him of what happened last time
      • Scene 4. The group gets warned by the guards not to interfere any further, receiving an explanation how slavery works in their country
      • Scene 5. Despite the warnings Delmar tries to free the slaves at night, none of them except one wanting to follow him though.
    • Chapter 3: Despite only having been able to free one slaves, the group accompanies the girl back home to her tribe in high spirits. There they learn about a grand celebration that his held every year and are invited to take part in it. But not everyone is as talented at capturing unicorns as this tribe.    
      • Scene 1. Delmar being depressed and not understanding after only having been able to free one slave
      • Scene 2. The group reaching the girl's village where she's welcomed back
      • Scene 3. The group participating in the village's festival
      • Scene 4. Delmar and Myrin talking about the creature from the sea and Delmar's stubborness
    • Chapter 4: Through unknown reason the group gets dragged into what is known as the Feywild. Everyone seems kind and caring and they quite enjoy their time there. But their ignorance of fey customs might prove deadly to them.    
      • Scene 1. The group walks along through the landscape talking about their plans for their adventuring company
      • Scene 2. They get pulled through a portal into a strange forest where strange creatures await them
      • Scene 3. The group gets brought before the queen, being recognised despite them not being fey
      • Scene 4. Myrin gets pulled aside after the conversation with the queen, returning to the group with a way to leave the Feywild
    • Chapter 5: Having found an exit from the Feywild, the group now travels through what seems to be a dark cave network. They didn't expect to find anyone else down there, though one lone elven looking young man explains in what kind of situation they have found themselves in. It doesn't seem to bad to be returning from the Lowerdark to the surface world, but they didn't expect an ancient old creature to be standing in their way.    
      • Scene 1. The group ends up in a dark tunnel, finding out that it belongs to a massive cave network and meeting a young elven man.
      • Scene 2. The group encounters an Aboleth, forcing them to flee for now.
      • Scene 3. Delmar and Myrin discuss what to do first when they return to the surface and how to found their company.
      • Scene 4. The group gets past the Aboleth and returns to the surface.
    • Chapter 6: Returning to the surface as heroes the group gets invited to stay for a party on the invitation of a queen. According to rumours the royal jewellery is not just intricately decorated but also possesses magical powers. Their curiousity wins, but of course stealing the royal jewellery to "take a look at it", usually doesn't bode well with hosts.    
      • Scene 1. The group in front of the royal palace after having had an invitation, Myrin explaining to the reader why they were invited.
      • Scene 2. The group enjoying the party, Myrin hearing rumours about the royal jewellery
      • Scene 3. Myrin sneaking off to take a look at the royal jewellery
      • Scene 4. The group forced to flee after Myrin's stunt angered the queen
  • Part III: The End of a Hero    
    • Chapter 1: The group around Delmar has grown and become a famous adventuring company. As such it was only natural for him and his company to get conscripted into military service to serve their country in a war that has lasted too many years. Despite throwing himself regularly into fights, Delmar isn't a friend of war and he wishes to end the bloodshed, even if there's only one way to do so at this point.    
      • Scene 1. Everyone at the company, having a big building now and famous, military showing up to announce Delmar and the company are asked to "join" the war
      • Scene 2. The former main group (Myrin, Delmar, Rhys and Shirin) discuss wether or not to join, Myrin refuses to use his powers for war
      • Scene 3. Delmar and the company reaching the battlefield, giving orders to get civillians out before heading off, only Rhys and Shirin following him
      • Scene 4. Myrin heading to the battlefield to at least be with his friends, seeing a massive clearly magical explosion
    • Chapter 2: Having turned himself into a mass murderer by exploding a magical artifact, Delmar breathes his dying breaths alone. His oldest friend returns to late to stop him, and only finds the horrors of the aftermath. Having been with him through so many adventurers, the two friends are reunited one last time.    
      • Scene 1. Battlefield is now quiet, everyone who was there before is dead, told from Delmar's PoV
      • Scene 2. Myrin reaching the battlefield, shocked, looking for his friends, finding Rhys and Shirin dead
      • Scene 3. Myrin finally finding Delmar who's still alive, spending his last moments with, last conversation
      • Scene 4. Myrin burrying his friends, to make sure they are safe while he's gone
    • Chapter 3: The young boy from long ago isn't willing to accept his friend's death and as such searches for powerful help. He finds the Creation Dragon and demands for his friend to be returned to live. But the words of the Mother of all crush his last bit of hope.    
      • Scene 1. Myrin at Icespire Peak, thinking about rumours he heard and his plan to revive his friends
      • Scene 2. Myrin passing through a strange white world after having reached the peak, getting "taunted" by a voice over not knowing who and what he truly is
      • Scene 3. Creation Dragon appearing to Myrin, the two of them chatting about reviving Myrin's friends and why it's not possible
      • Scene 4. Myrin musing about life on a cliff, overseeing the city where the company is at
  • Epilogue. Myrin musing about what a hero is, talking about how he's trying to restore Delmar's image over the years, and revealing a nice little happy end

Session 4: Build a Strong World for Your Characters

This is a slight issue. Since this is a writing exercise more than an actual to be published novel, I won't do any of this planning. I have some images in my head that I'll explore through writing. After all the world building of Asteria is in its very beginnings.  

Session 5: Organize Your Life to Support Your Writing Goals

There's not much here to do for me. Only one thing. And that I need to get done on a time crunch. Plan the next four weeks of D&D. The good news is, I already have a basic idea. The bad news ... I wanted to make the switch over to Foundry VTT and somehow it ended up falling into this month. I'll see whether or not I'll actually do that.  

Session 6: Find, Schedule, and Manage Your Time

Okay, so I have a fairly busy schedule. Always. Every month. But I still am planning to get through this. Except for the weekends I get up at 5.30 am every day. On those days I'm home at around 5.00 pm on average. Sometimes I'm home sooner, sometimes later. Two days per week (usually Tuesday and Thursday) I have cycling training which takes about 2 hours of my time on average. So my free time starts around 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm. And fridays is D&D night. So no time after 7.00 pm and probably some time for prep beforehand, though I'm also home a little earlier, around 3.00 pm. That means Monday to Friday I have about 1 to 2 hours to write. Weekends are a little different. I usually go for a run up to an hour, so I should be able to have more time for writing.
50,000 words in 30 days means around 1,667 words per day. According to my last writing test I can crunch out 226 characters per minute (with a 1.4% failure rate). Let's go with 200. The average word length in English apparently is 4.7 (thanks Google). That brings me to roughly 42.6 words per minute. Am I taking this too mathmatical? Oh definitely. But I love numbers. So perfect. Let's continue. Roughly calculated that means I need 40 minutes of continuous typing to reach my goal. Well that's a relief. But that's only, if I manage to type without a stop. Which technically is the goal. No going back. No correcting. To be safe I'll plan one hour per day from Monday to Friday. Any word goals I didn't reach I'll catch up on, on the weekend. Or I'll work ahead. Or take some time off. Whatever suits me best.
You'll find an overview of my daily writing down below and I hope you can watch me sticking to those goals!  

NaNoWriMo 2019 Word Count Overview

DayWordsTotal %DayWordsTotal %

NaNoWriMo 2019 Status

Current Word Count

NaNoWriMo 2019 Current Word Count

Working on
Finished Chapters

Cover image: by Dariusz Sankowski


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