Over the last few days I’ve been reading through the story I wrote as part of NaNoWriMo in November 2016. I honestly hadn’t even read any of it since starting the challenge on 1 November. I realised that the story needed more work before I even thought about finishing it. At the end of November, I didn’t quite reach the end of the story – estimating that I was maybe 5000 words short of the end. My NaNoWriMo buddies both finished their novels before end November.

What surprised me in my read-through were the little story arcs that I didn’t explore later. I guess I forgot all about them. Even though I’d written a rough plot for the novel before I began NaNoWriMo, it didn’t include that level of detail. I’m excited now to go back through and give the story some cohesion. I’m also going to pick out some of these intriguing story arcs to open them up.

Because this story is set somewhere around 800 years ago, I had to get a little creative in naming characters. Usually I don’t have any issues with names. They often introduce themselves as they walk into the story. I did take one protagonist’s name from a sandwich board sign outside a church for a yoga instructor. It meant my protagonist had to take up yoga as some sort of acknowledgment (self-imposed) but that was fine.

For my NaNoWriMo novel, I went to Welsh folk stories, Knights Templar history books, Cathar history books, and even Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to inspire character names, place names and snapshots of the era. I also gathered some words from the Bundjalung language because the words were beautiful and their meaning was significant to the story. I wanted to weave the culture of many regions into my story to keep it from having an identifiable location from a map.

Some writers will run competitions to name their characters, or at least to give the competition winner’s name to a character. I quite like that idea. Maybe I’ll do that with some future project.

I have a feeling I’m going to need to do some serious plot planning for my NaNoWriMo book, tentatively named “Pursued” after the flash fiction story that inspired it. I may eventually need to figure out what sub-genre it fits within. It’s probably leaning towards low fantasy given that some form of woo-woo magic may come into play and it’s high on violence. I may need some genre advice once I’ve finished the writing of the novel.

Currently there’s no estimated release date for this novel, but I anticipate that it will be in 2018.