Lessons From My Works-In-Progress #2: Under the November Moon

Each month, I’ll be featuring a different WIP. All projects featured have at least one completed draft and are of novella or novel length. (You can check out the first installment here.)

This month, I’m featuring my 2009 NaNo project, Under the November Moon.

  • Under the November Moon

What it’s about:
After she is kidnapped during her birthday celebration, Princess Meera must choose what she believes when faced with upsetting truths.

Second draft complete at 34,646 words.
15 chapters + prologue and epilogue

I’d heard about NaNoWriMo about a year before I participated the first time, and signed up for the Young Writers Program in 2009. I’d been thinking over the idea for UTNM for a couple of weeks and spent that October outlining. This was the first project for which I wrote an outline.

The pink and yellow notebooks on the left are Under the November Moon’s first draft.
The three on the right are its sequel, Beneath A Summer Sky.

Really, the second draft didn’t change very much from the first draft. For a while, I had UTNM posted as a serial story on an older blog as well as the site Inkpop. From the feedback I received, I was able to get a fresh outlook of the story. It’s one I eventually want to return to but it does require a bit of work. (It’s major flaws are some moments which are cheesy and cliché. But I was sixteen when I wrote it so….)

What I learned: 
  • How to challenge my writing style. Because I wanted to figure out ways to better meet my word-count goals for NaNo, I gave myself a mini-challenge for that year: Use no more than one contraction for the entire project. Doing this meant figuring out other ways to phrase things and play with the style a bit.
  • How to outline. While it was an outline with a lot of room for changes, it was new for me to follow one. Mostly, the story stuck close to it, and having an outline did make it easier to keep track of my plot threads.
  • How to fast draft. I’d been in a slower phase of writing, usually taking a few months to finish even short projects. 
  • How to write longer pieces of fiction. Prior to UTNM, most of my longer fiction hovered between 10K-15K. Writing double that was entirely new for me.
  • How to write an antagonist instead of a villain.

Meet the Characters:
Honestly, this is one of my favorite casts I’ve ever written, so choosing a few characters to feature was a tough choice. I decided to focus on Meera and Tormin, two of the main characters.

  • Only child of King Luthan and Queen Remelia.
  • Has a good heart, though not always obvious.
  • A bit conceited.
  • Very curious.   
  • Oldest son of two.
  • Very serious, sometimes to a fault.
  • Good at following orders.
  • May or may not be a human teddy bear.

What are some of your favorite lessons from your works-in-progress? What was your first NaNo project? What would you like to see in future Lessons installments?


  1. Looks good! I love how you've broken down the different aspects of this project! Isn't it fun when you can look back over your writywritying journey and see how you've changed and improved???

    1. Yes! The nostalgia and progress have been some of my favorite parts about writing these posts. It's so fun to look back and see how each project changed my writing habits and processes.


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