NaNoWriMo – Week 1

I’m already at 30,000 words.  See the graph for yourself.  Even I’m amazed at the progress.  Check out the graph below:


Today’s the 9th, so the orange bar on the far right will be higher at the end of the day, but check it out!  I started off quite modestly, getting ahead of the daily word goal of 1,667.  However, with the story world and characters so vivid in my head, the plot just seemed to write itself for a good amount of the time.

In this time, I also had the wonderful benefit of being linked by Seventh Sanctum and Brass Goggles, just a handful of my favourite sites.  I send them both my deepest thanks, for they have encouraged me to really stick with a genre that just seems so interesting.

What I Have So Far

Plotwise, I really don’t want to spoil anything, since I anticipate that either I will put the raw draft version out on the blog, or edit it later and try to get it published.  Seriously, I absolutely love my characters and the world that they live in, even though it’s stock full of corruption!

What I will give you though, is a taste of the characters themselves, and the setting too!

Nagasaki – Instead of basing the story in the heart of Japan in the ‘new’ capital city of Edo, I decided to centralize the action in Nagasaki in Kyushu island, far isolated from the main world.  This gave me freedom to really make Nagasaki its own city, unique from whatever I may have in mind for Edo, which will be absolutely ridiculous when it gets introduced later in the series.

Yes, I said series, meaning that I have novel ideas for this universe beyond the novel that I’m currently writing about.  In the absolute BEST case scenario, that this book gets published with a multi-part deal, I have freedom to create a far-out Edo that will blow expectations out of the water after being exposed to Nagasaki.  In the worst-case scenario, I will turn this universe into a serial fiction on this blog, and I have an awesome Edo idea if and when the main characters travel there, for whatever plot reasons.  In either case, the readers win!  *does a little jig*

Here are a few maps of Nagasaki from the Edo period that I’ve been using for reference and inspiration:



Shown above are two maps that were created in the late 19th century using woodblock printing, the first maps of its kind in Japan, done in a European style.  Circled in red is Dejima, the center of the Rangaku movement.  It is major location of importance, since one of the main characters, Hanako, lives there!

Hanako is the character in my main cast that embodies the essence of what I loved about anime and manga: fighting spirit, limitless energy, naivety, hope, idealism, and the hot-blooded temperament that seems to get her into all sorts of trouble.  She’s the Japanese interpretation of Genius Girl, but instead is given the moniker of Tensai-Onna, which is my best literal translation of the term.

The best part about her?  She pilots a steampunked version of a gundam called a guardian.  Guardians in the Steampanku universe are mechanical constructs that are powered by steam, and are capable of surreal hand-to-hand combat.  In a world without space travel and infinite ammo (and automatic machine guns for that matter!), guardians are the prototypical version of Japanese Mecha, and Hanako is a master of building and piloting them.

She is hoping that her guardian, Sakura-2, will win the guardian games, an annual competition that pits the best minds and hands against each other, in a guardian-versus-guardian battle that has now replaced sumo as the national spectator sport!

Closing Thoughts For Week 1

At 30k, I’m quite confident that I will be able to finish this novel long before the due date, but I will be slowing down this week, due to my priorities set on finishing my application to the JET programme, a teaching exchange program that may potentially net me a gig working as an assistant language teacher at a high school or elementary school in Japan.  I really hope I get accepted, and I hope the experience will give me a more profound appreciation for the culture and its ins and outs.

See you in week 2!


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