NaNoWriMo 2021 Winner

Certificate certifying winning National Novel Writing Month for 2021.

Tonight, we will drink mead from the skulls of our enemies. We will roast their entrails upon our fires. Warriors, we were victorious in our battle. So, eat and drink your fill. Stumble to bed, nestle in next to your wives if they’ll have you — the lot of you have a stench so foul that I doubt any woman would. But, dream sweet dreams of the enemies you laid waste to today. For tomorrow, we will set out again to fight a new enemy. Pray to the gods that we either return with new songs to sing or that we die upon our swords as true warriors.

I have officially won National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the second time! Writing a frickin’ book, 50,000 words, in 30 days is kind of insane.

OK, well, 50K is only roughly 200 pages. It’s a bit longer than your typical novella, falling more into the short novel range. But, it is still a massive accomplishment. Even more so when the challenge takes place in November, often one of the busiest months of the year for many folks.

Technically, I hit 51,177 words (~205 pages) tonight. I hope you, dear reader, will allow me to boast at least a little.

The journey has just started for me. I am writing an epic fantasy manuscript, so the work I have ahead is far from over. I finished Part 1 of a three-part story. My planned structure actually looks like the following:

  • Part 1
  • Interludes 1
  • Part 2
  • Interludes 2
  • Part 3

After wrapping up the main storyline for Part 1 tonight, I jumped into the first interlude. These will be three or four side stories that provide some history to the world the characters are living in.

I also have some backstory that I have not filled in. Once I got rolling with the present-day story of my characters, I kind of just glossed over a lot of their history. At the same time, I am OK with not having written all of that yet. The characters are slightly different than what I initially had in mind. Their present selves now better inform me of who they are and where they came from.

Typically, the toughest part of writing any story is the middle, and I think that is one reason I have not struggled much with this year’s challenge. I have spent 27 days just writing the opening act. I have yet to dive into the big, beefy guts of this work.

I am excited about this story. On October 31, less than a month ago, I was sitting down and wondering whether I would even be writing a novel. I had a WordPress-related tech book in mind with an actual outline already in place. It was an easy call. I knew that I could publish that and make a decent return on my investment.

But, my heart was elsewhere.

I had no clue what I was going to write about. I had a picture of a pirate ship in mind for whatever reason. I threw in a princess. But, I really wanted to do something with a western theme.

I am not a big fan of westerns, but they are my grandfather’s favorite thing to watch on TV. He can rattle off the name of every star from back in the genre’s prime. I have always wanted to write about a gunslinger that embodied the characters that he would like. I know he would never be able to read my work — he never properly learned to read because he was pulled out of elementary school to work the family farm. However, in the off-chance that I could write this thing, get it published, and picked up for TV, maybe Papa would get to watch it.

So, my story began with pirates, a princess, and a gunslinger. I decided to follow my heart, and I am glad I did. I have fallen in love with my characters, and I am not ready for their journey — our journey — to end.