#NaNoWriMo: Week Three

Alright, let’s do this thing. I finished Andrew’s third lover, Aurelian, on Sunday of last week, and I’ve got some writing ahead of me that doesn’t equal actual words. I need to research Heraclius, the emperor that his next lover, Dimos, is serving under in the army. (Lolllllll @ this poor boy trying to date a soldier so it won’t be as awful when he dies, HONEY.) This book is way more involved than I usually am, too, so it’s not just a quick Wiki search and call it a day, but I’m going to save the actual breakdown of what researching a lover looks like for the day that I do it.


Literally no one, including myself, thought I was going to write today. I think I talked about it last week, but we’re leasing a small office down the street for hoteling desks, which meant that I stole every single chair in our conference room to fill out the annex because we wanted to replace the chairs in the conference room before our next board meeting. However, we didn’t get into the annex until Friday afternoon, and the board meeting is Tuesday, so that meant ya girl had to build ten chairs today, and now my fingers are grey. I’m so hecking tired, and I didn’t finish building until about 4PM after several interrupts, and I never actually thought I was going to research today. I’m okay with that, though. Here’s hoping tomorrow has some free time while everyone’s tied up with the meeting!

Daily word count: 0
Final word count: 20,905


And that’s a nope on today. It’s been batshit getting everything together, but the next couple of days should be quieter.


Finally had time to do some work today! I just finished doing location tags for each of lover four’s scenes, so I thought it’d be fun to break down what, exactly, I have to do with each new lover.

Last year, I think, I finally sat down and decided which time periods I wanted Andrew’s story to touch upon. I knew I wanted there to be nine lovers in total with Rafael as the final one, and I knew that I wanted Rafael to come early into his story so that when we know Andrew in the 21st century, Rafael & he have been in a relationship for several centuries already. Thus, I first decided when Rafael was born before going even farther back. I knew that I wanted Alexander to be Andrew’s first, and it was just a matter of figuring out the seven lovers in between Alexander and Rafael.

Thus, things are a bit easier when I set out now. I know what time period I’m looking at, and I’ve figured out the historical figures for most of the lovers. I gave up doing historical figures halfway through, it seems, so I am going to have to go back in for the second half of lovers and reassign them because I’ve really enjoyed following history so far, and I’d rather carrying on doing that. For this one, though, lover four is interesting. Dimos is a fictional soldier in Heraclius’ army, who was a Byzantine emperor. These middle three lovers are the worst sort, and Andrew’s definitely going through a bad period of his life while he’s with these three, so Dimos was always meant to be kind of terrible, but I hadn’t quite realized how terrible I was looking at.

Heraclius is known as the First Crusader, and boy oh boy, but the emperors that follow him also have a lot of religious zealotry going on, and I’m hyped to get to include all that implies in Andrew’s history even before we get to the actual Crusades. But, now that I know what emperor I’m working with, it’s time to dig in.

Normally, when I outline, it’s very flippant. It’ll include things like “we’re just getting to know the characters” or “a big battle here”. Very laissez faire. Sadly, I don’t have that luxury with Andrew because, if I’m going to be following history, things need to, you know, follow history. Thus, his outlining has gotten pretty crazy, but it’s also made writing his story a lot easier.

First up is research. I’ve got to dig into Heraclius’ entire life, note any important battles, figure out what kind of an emperor he was, and decide how he’s going to fit into Andrew’s life. I usually take about five pages of notes in a small notebook I’ve set aside for Andrew, and the story mostly comes to life while I’m researching. This mostly looks like the kind of notes you’d take for a history class, with the occasional “dude Heraclius is so religious, he goes about with an icon on his brow.” Heraclius is particularly fun, too, because he’s going to have Andrew in captivity for about 26 years, and it makes sense that the changing of an emperor, particularly if they’re of Heraclian lineage, means that Andrew stays in captivity. Thus, I also had to do some light research on Constans, Constantine IV, and Justinian II until the Heraclian line was finally removed from the Byzantine empire.

After research is done, it’s time to work on actually outlining. This has become much more specific, too, because where I’d normally just be like “I don’t know, xyz happens at some point”, I’m trying to create character arcs that mirror each other in length. I want lovers one & eight to be around the same length, lovers four, five, and six to be short and angry, lovers two, three, and seven to break our hearts. It makes me endlessly happy that Philip & Aurelian are both twenty scenes long, even more so that Dimos is shorter at sixteen. This is a 2000 year history, and if I’m breaking it up with each of the great loves of Andrew’s life, there’s got to be some kind of structure. Thus, the outlining is highly specific, and every single scene moves the plot forward through history. For example:

  • Sergius is named regent in 622
    • this particularly sucks,
    • so we’re here two more scenes until
  • Constantinople is besieged in 626, and Sergius uses Andrew in a ritual that he pretends is not magic

Once outlining is completed, the last step is location tags. For Dimos, this actually turned out to be absurdly easy in comparison. For Alexander, this was an actual nightmare. Not only did I have to follow Alexander’s complicated path through Asia as he tried to conquer the east, but I had to figure out what those places were called in 300 BC. With Dimos, it’s less difficult both because Andrew’s in captivity for most of this section, and 600 AD means that most places are retaining their names at this point. I won’t lie, I did enjoy Andrew being in captivity so I could just label half of the scenes as Constantinople, Byzantine Empire and only have to worry about what year I wanted to place them in. I’ll likely return to it being difficult with the next lover, given we’ll have finally arrived at the Crusades.

As you can see, this is a lot of work, and it’s taken me pretty much all day. Granted, I’ve also been working, and I’ve had a lot to do today, so this certainly could have taken around two hours if I’d had uninterrupted time, but it’s about 4PM, and I’m just finishing up with the location tags. I probably won’t get any writing done today, but I do need to read through the last five scenes of Aurelian’s section so I can edit what I wrote last week, and I know that I’m going to add a few hundred words to Rafael’s modern chapter, so we’ll see!

Daily word count: 310
Final word count: 21,215

I know it’s a very small amount, but that 310 means I’m done with Aurelian and time to move onto Dimos, so we’ll hopefully be writing tomorrow!


hahahahahaha I want to take a nap


I’m hopeful that I’ll get some writing done this weekend, but I’m also not confident. I may end up closing out the NaNo wrap-up here depending on how next week goes, but if you don’t see a post from me next week about NaNo, that means I continued to not write, and I’m okay with that. I set out to finish Aurelian’s section, and I did that! It was nowhere near the 50k that I’m used to, but I also said that I likely wasn’t going to get 50k and wasn’t truly shooting for it.

It’s been an insane week at work, too, and I should have known that I wouldn’t have time to write. Between building out the annex and preparing for a very large investor visit, I’ve been nonstop every day all day, and I’m shocked I managed to squirrel away so much time on Wednesday to research and outline. If I don’t end up writing next week, I’m glad that I at least got to do that work so that I’ll be ready to dive into Dimos when I’ve got some more free time.

It’s also unlikely that I’ll get any writing done today because I’m not planning on going to Jaho tonight. I really want to watch Army of Thieves, and I can’t believe it’s been out for a few weeks now without me watching it, so I think I’m going to do that tonight. And I would like to refill the creative well a bit before I start the next section, so we’ll see what happens.

All in all, if this is it for NaNoWriMo, I’m happy. I hadn’t written in over two months, and to come back and whip out 20k in two weeks feels like where I was before, and that honestly makes me ecstatic. Here’s to another 20k soon.

Daily word count: 0
Final word count: 21,215

3 responses to “#NaNoWriMo: Week Three”

  1. Stuart Danker Avatar

    I, for one, prefer using a weekly word count rather than a daily one, because not all days are the same, and it’s great to be able to divvy up the numbers over seven days instead of trying to make the same word count every day without fail. Great work on 20k words in two weeks. Here’s to more!


    1. Mary Drover Avatar

      Agreed! Daily word counts are so difficult to manage because, like you said, sometimes you’ll have a ton of time to write, and sometimes you won’t have any. My daily word counts can swing anywhere from 0 to 5k, so it’s much better to look at it on a weekly basis. Thank you, and happy writing!


  2. November Wrap-Up – Mary and the Words Avatar

    […] a lot of writing updates. Here’s the announcement post and the wrap-ups for weeks one, two, three, and […]


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