Nanowrimo Week One Check-In + We Don’t Bite (Much) Excerpt

Week one of National Novel Writing Month is up! I have 9635 words so far in my draft. I’ll probably write some more this evening in an attempt to catch up to the 11667 goal to be right on track, but I wanted to record what I’ve got so far while on my lunch break.

I have been writing exclusively on my Freewrite Traveler (not sponsored, not affiliated) this year. A digital typewriter really helps with just continuing to press forward rather than getting hung up on the details. They also have a Nanowrimo button on their Postbox site to record daily word counts, so that’s super nice.

Speaking of daily wordcounts, here’s what it looked like during the first week:

Nov 11606
Nov 21387
Nov 3640
Nov 4810
Nov 52505
Nov 61845
Nov 7842

During the week, I write a few hundred words first thing in the morning, then some more at lunch, then some more in the evening. Thursday and Friday were crazy busy work- and social-wise, so it’s really a miracle anything got done.

Of course Saturday and Sunday had the biggest uptick in words overall. I went café hopping on Saturday to three different places and wound up being very productive. The perceived pressure of people “watching” what I’m doing motivates me to concentrate, as do the ambient sounds in coffee shops. Sunday I had a LOT of chores to do around the house and didn’t actually get to writing until the late afternoon but still was able to churn out something.

Bouncing between three different main characters with very different voices and storylines is a lot of fun. Ren is my favorite, because, well, mean, uppity jerks are fun to write, but the far more cordial Zack and timid Paisley are coming to me just as naturally.

I cut down my main cast from four to three major characters at the last minute before Nano started. While the fourth character that I demoted to minor character status is still present, I think it would’ve been much harder to write an entire lengthy storyline around him. Sorry, K! Despite that, he is the focus of the excerpt at the end of this post.

All in all, I’d say this is going pretty well! This is the second time I’ve done Nano while not in a school setting, which I think really helps with me not feeling panicky about getting it done on top of other responsibilities. I’ve also fully embraced that I write things out of order and am just going with the flow.

As promised in the title, I’m putting an excerpt of something that I wrote yesterday as a little treat at the end here. It may or may not constitute an unofficial WIP Wednesday for this week; we’ll see how busy am when the actual day rolls around.

Warning for mentions of animal death and blood and other vampire-relevant icky things.

Ren: I suppose I can let you in on a secret. After all, who would you tell? I doubt they would take interest in this little story, regardless.

I had—have—a brother. It feels more appropriate to speak of him in the past tense than the present, for he might as well be dead for how much I’ve seen him these past few years.

His name is Ken. Yes, yes, our parents’ creativity is visionary.

In many ways, that boy who’s always following Zachary around reminds me of him. What was his name again..? Paisley.

Much like Paisley, Ken would get ill at the sight of blood once he grew old enough to understand what it was he was being fed. Our mother suckled us on milk and blood both. As all pureblood vampires do, we grew like humans, albeit more quickly and efficiently. By the time he could speak, Ken was expected to hunt small animals. He shied away from the task. And I… well, I relished in the chance to show off to him, so I would catch him prey. Rabbits, rats, voles that made the mistake of intruding in our garden…

I would capture larger, more dangerous things to entertain myself. And, I think, in an attempt to show him that we are stronger than the things that he seemed so very afraid of. I once dragged him by the wrist into the woods to see a bear that I had killed with no more than my preteen claws and teeth.

He was sick. Not out of fear of the animal, which is what I had thought up until then, but disgust in reaction to its blood.

Even now, it confounds me. Blood is our nourishment. It’s food. It sustains many living things, flowing through the body to deliver energy to all parts of the body. In much the same way, it flows down our throats and into our stomachs, a beautifully simple way to keep us strong.

Ken didn’t see it that way.

He drank as little blood as possible, no matter what prey I brought him. The only thing that could compel him to feed in earnest was if I threatened to bring a human.

“I’ll suck them dry, right in front of you,” I said. “Would you prefer more deaths on your conscience, or will you drink from that which I have so lovingly prepared for you?”

…I’m a cruel creature, aren’t I, human? But I loved my brother. I still do. Now, just as much as then, I will do what I believe is best for our family. For him. Whether he likes it or not.

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