Friday, 9 May 2014

My First NaNoWriMo Novel: "Only a Peasant"

Yep, 2001.  NaNoWriMo had been running for about three years.  (To be honest, I can't remember if I participated in 2000, the second year of NaNo. I can't seem to find any records of it anywhere.  But I was often an early adopter of Cool Stuff, if I was in the right place at the right time.  In this case, good old misc.writing, that introduced the OWW to me, also introduced me to NaNoWriMo.)

Anyhow, I thought, why not give it a go?  I'd been entranced by the idea of a Book in a Week (BiaW). Honestly didn't know if anyone could crank out a full-sized novel in one week. (Since then I have learned,Yes, you can. I've seen it done.  Will give it a try sometime.)

So, a book (albeit a short one at 50K words) in a month?  No problem!

So I came up with a vague outline for "Only a Peasant".

When Anmury is abducted and taken to the palace, she fears the worst. It is not for tortuous purposes she has been taken. Anmury is to become queen.

How can she be queen?  She's only a peasant. Besides, bad fates befall queens. They all die in childbirth.

But that is exactly the reason the King wants a peasant for a wife.  It seems royal ladies are far too delicate to bear children.  Yet peasants pop them out, strap them to their backs and return to work. The king fears not having an heir, even a half-breed, worse than contaminating his bloodline with that of a peasant.

The King is willing to accept Anmury. The nobility would not.  A plan is hatched to train her up and present her as a foreign princess.[Think Eliza Dolittle meets Princess Caraboo.] Will Anmury be discovered before she can give the king an heir, or will their plan succeed?  Can they maintain the illusion forever?  For any child she bears will be seen as a traitor to the crown, should her true origins be discovered.

Alas, I could not meet the deadline. For someone who's never written that much in so little time, 50K in a month was nigh impossible. I never finished "Only a Peasant", and it languishes, pretty much forgotten.  It can't qualify as a completed novel.  But I list it here, for it was my first foray into NaNoWriMo.  With the exception of a year I gave birth, I've participated in NaNo ever since.  With each passing year, I get better and better at writing cleaner draft quicker.

Very useful skill for a career novelist.

You know, I have absolutely no desire to complete this plotline.

For fun, here is my winner's certificate for 2004:

Her Grace has always been fond of NaNoWriMo. But, like a good, faithful pair of The Perfect Jeans, she feels she may have outgrown it. She honestly doesn't know if she'll participate next time.  It all depends on what her project schedule is like.

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