After a few fairly constant blogposts, I may have had some of you worried. But rest assured, I am back once again with my sporadic, barely-once-a-month content. A return to form, indeed.

A little writing update is probably in order, then.

After a fair few weeks of knocking my head against the wall with Shadow, I finally managed to break through those difficult Chapters. The result, uncommonly for me, was an uncharacteristically rapid steamroll through several considerably easier and simpler Chapters, following with one more hard-to-grasp but ultimately very satisfying Chapter. The result being, in about 10 or so days, a net gain of 13,000 words and 30ish pages, to a total of 36,000 words, 80 pages and the end of Part I of the novel. The Argo has finally left the harbour at Pagasa, the quest for the Golden Fleece is underway, and the real damn story can finally begin.

Which leaves me room to make a fairly shitty Suicide Squad reference.

I’m very much looking forward to getting into Part II and capitalising on this progress, though from this point on I’m going to need to do some more research and plan the overall plot outline in some more detail. It more or less exists in my head already, just not entirely in order, and mapping out all the plot and character beats together is always useful. Additionally, although my innate knowledge of Greek mythology is pretty damn extensive (more so than, say, my knowledge of Roman history), I’ve known for a while that I wanted to read more deeply about Heracles and the quest, so after so many months of putting it off now’s the perfect time to get into it.

So yes, I’m very pleased with my uncharacteristic soaring progress, and I’m hoping I can keep it up over the next couple of months as winter comes on and the world becomes smaller.

It’s all got me thinking about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month to the lay folk. Every November (and for some people, every March as well), the aim of the game is to get written 50,000 words of either a new or ongoing novel. This averages out to a little under 1700 words a day for the whole 30 days. There are apps and programs that allow you to record and measure your progress, as well as work out how much more you need. There’s also a huge online community of people who check in with each other and hold each other accountable to reach said goals.

A lot of writers swear by it, but personally I’ve never really seen the point of it. For the year and a half I spent writing Legion That Was, every month was NaNoWriMo. And even now, I’ve always felt it has a whiff of privilege. Not many of us can afford to drop all work or academic commitments and spend seven days a week, for four weeks, doing nothing but bashing away at a keyboard. Even fewer of us can put all our daily life admin on hold for that stretch of time, either, even assuming you lived alone, had no money requirements and no responsibilities. For those of us who can, there’s no shame in going for it, but I’ve never really got the near-religious hype that some people have for it.

But then, this November I appear to have had an unintentional mini-NaNoWriMo of my own, so there we go.

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