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The Dare from NaNoWriMo 2017: My Biggest Mistake and Story Excerpt

By this point you should know I have ensnared myself in the NaNoWriMo Dare Squad and have a tiny, Doomful fate to fulfill…For while I accomplished my goal, and became a winner, Kenzie threw in a twist (which many of us encouraged her to do), making it possible for the winners to participate in all the deathly fun.

(I’m also planning on writing the Blooper Reel dare, so stay tuned.  Or maybe a parody, because I already have a little idea for that.)

My dare came from Lillian of Inky Insanity.  It reads:

DOUBLE WHAMMY!  Share your biggest writing mistake from your current project, and how you’re considering fixing it – AND share the first chapter/1k of your project. Mwahaha!

So.  There were plenty of mistakes in this ginormous, messy draft of The Desolation of Kaldoa.  What comes to mind first is that my outline got snapped in half by the sudden appearance of Cool Villainess, which I extensively wailed about before.

But deeper than that, I think my real mistake was not having a timeline.  Not pinning down dates. Ages.  Birthdays.  Events.  How long the war lasted.

All those matters.

Worldbuilding matters set in precise, firm sequences of time.


Those I never quite get comfortable with, so honestly I’m not sure how I’m going to fix it because when I try to approach it I feel like all my decisions will be arbitrary or for vague reasons and won’t get down to what the story needs.

But the whole thing is such a mess, and unfinished, that I sense I need to keep writing more and more mismatched scenes, just whatever pops into my head from what’s come up from this, and I’ll be able to muddle together enough raw material to get to the REAL story and hew down the stones enough to start polishing them up and build a galactic story palace of shininess and dreadful doom.

And quite honestly I just want to share the excerpt already instead of ramble in circles about not liking dates set in stone.  So.  I have a problem.  It will get fixed eventually.  Who knows how.

Excerpt time!

I did not write in proper chapters, so I’m going by wordcount.  The first 1,151 words.  I did not write in chronological order, so enjoy the contextless scenes!  Unedited. Because, Nano.

The Desolation of Kaldoa

Scene 1


Page opens up with a cityscape tinged in gray and morning pink/purple as a train rolls across a track headed through the heart of the city. Panel shows a close-up of the train with gleaming, reflective windows and wheels sparking against the rail (or maybe later if it brakes? Cuz that makes sense).

Inside, Sheyla looks out the window, her body mostly turned to the outside. Her face expressionless or slightly glum. View of rail lines and electric fences, which then blur into olive sight of the same. Sheyla sighs, or something.

“Why are you looking out there, it’s just ugly.”

“It’s Kaldoa,” Sheyla replied.

“ugh,” the other girl breathed.

Action 76 Sheyla saves them from spaceship fire

Sheyla climbed to the top of the turret, opening the back panel and searching for the wire connections, some of it was badly damaged, she doubted she had all of the component parts necessary. The main motherboard was damaged. She opened her kit and dug around for the right tools, glancing at the turret through olive sight. How was she supposed to repair that in time? The alien spaceship was bearing down on them once more, she struggled to twist off one of the damaged components and replace it. The AI was not working, how was it going to target the ship accurately? Huge plasma blasts were splattering the landscape. Soldiers were hunkered down in cover, but soon they would die. Sheyla had fixed one component but there were more. The fire mechanism was operable, but the command structure wasn’t. Sheyla lifted up her finger and faint olive light surrounded it. The turret hummed to life, and laser blasts struck the alien ship forecefully. Other turrets fired too. Sheyla tried to fix more of the turret one handed and kept concentrating on keep the command line up, but it was difficult, whatever happened, she had to keep the turret firing on the spaceship accurately.

Plasma bolts and lasers were flying everywhere, as was purple fire charges, and the spaceship was broken through. But it also blasted the tower Sheyla was on.

“Get out of here!” a familiar voice yelled. The tower began to shake and crumble and Sheyla was thrown off balance. She began to fall, but someone caught her around the middle. It was Nice Soldier, umm… Cpl. Good. Or Green. Grant? Green rushed to safety with Sheyla. Unforutantely she didn’t get all of her tools back, but maybe she still has her bag?

“Move out! The ships out, but more will come so we better get to the LZ!” the squad leader said. Or platoon?

“Good job,” Green said quietly to Sheyla. She was still shaking as they began running, so Green just carried her. They passed the old structures, robot escorts with them too.

“87% of the turrets are malfunctioning,” Robo Dragonface said. It had a “pointed” turret face and black coated body. Like in that airfield comic.

“Third platoon is coming from the east and first from the northwest. Base camp is destroyed. The fleet is in atmosphere,” the comm man reported to them. (Related to Action 78?)

Action 20 Dale leads mage record wipeout

He clicked the safety off. Or clicked the magazine in. Whatever, a gun clicky noise, holding his rifle down, gray armor/uniform and gauntlets thingies.

Dale Gray broke through the door and into the office. Several desks and filing cabinets were in the room. Everything had to be destroyed.

“Set up the incinerator,” he siad. That was probably known already. Or bombs

They began searching for the files, a couple panicked staff pitched in to help? One man came out and shouted at them, he held up a pistol and began shooting.

“They deserve to die after what happened!” he yelled. “All emps, this travesty should never have happened!”

He was shot and staggered back, his entire being off kilter. “Those children will kill everyone and the Union must know who they are!”

He clutched a stack of papers.

I guess he would run out of there. But Dale and the others chased him down and shot him, retrieving the list of names. I bet the guy was already trying to upload the names online, but I’ll bet there’s at least one refractor on the team who froze it and they stopped it just in time.

The crazed principal lay on the floor, dead. (I keep imagining everyone there in white lab coats, so I don’t know what that’s about.) Blood pooling around his head.

Dale picked up the stack of papers.

Names of children and past students were there.

They would destroy many of the records, but first they would memorize what information they could and find these kids. Or they would surely emp in fright and be killed. Or fight back and lose. They needed help.

Sheyla Klark, age 11. britanny Howell, age 12, Ryan Kaln, age 11… They would all need to be protected. Alissa Sanders, age 7...Dale carefully tucked the concise list into his pack. They regrouped, the explosives were set off and the whole school was engulfed in flames. The helo hovered and they ran onto it.

“Five more schools to go…”

Headquarters was dealing with the national mage registry.

Action 42 Dale splits the team

They gathered in the hanger. Or maybe they’re on a helo. They just heard about Andra and the capitol being conquered. Dale looked out over the land he loved. The once green hills covered in smoke and clouds, patches of ashes and burned buildings. Space cruisers hanging from the clouds on the horizon. He felt like he had been punched in the stomach. His normal sense of resolve felt weakened. He couldn’t believe this happened, he couldn’t believe the governemtn had surrendered, and that their allies had turned on them.

The Void Lord was willing to give asylum though…But maybe that hasn’t clicked yet.

Aleins destroyed the south central region of Provst. Some incursions into Kaldoa, but no one cared about that. The government was fleeing, not surrendering.

Dale turned to his team.

“We lost this round. The other alliances are against us. People are going to get hit hard. We’re going to need to go undercover however long this lasts, and some of us need to get our families out. Some of us have to regroup in the fringe so we can keep training and get back up. I’m staying. Other Leader, you take your guys and get everyone out of here, the eight of us will stay back and make Provst regret what they did.”

Shout of assent. Hooah or equivalent.

They split up. The other men taking various shuttles to double check that families had been evacuated and sneak away anyone else who needed it.

Dale turned to his team of sabotuers.

“Let’s get started.”

And they melded into the shadows of their land.

69 thoughts on “The Dare from NaNoWriMo 2017: My Biggest Mistake and Story Excerpt

  1. Man, it’s so fun seeing someone else’s writing process. I love how you’re fine just saying the things in your brain (for instance, the part about imagining the peoples in lab coats) instead of trying to force the details into the story right away (*cough* like me *cough*). I should try to do that a little more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe! I feel like showing off the writing process is a ton more fun than having a polished manuscript (I guess it’s that I prefer the process over the finished product?) xD It’s really great to add commentary in the narrative, because my brain got so used to the lab coat image, but WHY? It didn’t make sense why, but I needed to be sure to include so it wouldn’t be forgotten or be abandoned. So, yes, try it out, it’ll be fun! 😀
      (Plus my plan is to turn this into a webcomic, so noting down all the visual details and ideas is extra important for me.)

      Roughdrafts should be able to give details some room to breathe. Because maybe there will be significance to the lab coats someday, but I just don’t know it yet, but it’s there waiting to be connected to a future idea.
      And then you don’t have to sidetrack yourself by opening another document to make a note about extra details you’re unsure of, stick it all in the manuscript and sift it out from there!


  2. Once again I am struck by how fun it is to read through your first drafting. XD As a writer/reader, it’s so fun getting to see the story actually unfold and develop right in front of me, like I’m getting a chance to look inside your head or something. XD I LOVE IT.

    ALSOOOO. This story sounds like it is going to be heartbreaking??? All of those poor little emp children…. And Sheyla’s only 11???? SHE IS JUST A SMOL BABY. Why in the world would that terrible man try and KILL her??? And that seven-year-old girl!!!! Just UGH. This story. I love it. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to break my heart into a thousand tiny little pieces, but I can’t help but love it… And some of the imagery in here is just PERFECTION, by the way!!! Every so often there were these beautiful splashes of color that I just fell in love with, and I just had to mention it. “Page opens up with a cityscape tinged in gray and morning pink/purple as a train rolls across a track headed through the heart of the city.” << Like this. "The once green hills covered in smoke and clouds, patches of ashes and burned buildings. Space cruisers hanging from the clouds on the horizon." << OR THIS. I LOVE THIS.

    "Shout of assent. Hooah or equivalent." << And this made me laugh. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! 😀 It is so much fun! (And much less work and consternation than polishing everything up first. xD)

      It is going to be a heartbreaking story. This is why Dale and his team are so important, so they can catch all the pieces and patch everybody up. I’m very glad you still love it, I it’s a hard story to keep balanced between the heartbreak and the hope. And yes, Sheyla starts out at 11, but things really kick off when she’s 14.

      Yay! I want my colors to be very evocative and engaging. Sometimes I wonder if I should try writing this as novels, or fulfill the webcomic, or…both.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh, it really would be! I’m kind of a first-draft perfectionist, so it takes me FOREVER to even get one draft down. XD

        Oh dear… I’m not sure how much heartbreak I can take with these precious characters…. Don’t make it TOO heart-shattering, okay??? OKAY???? REMEMBER ME WHILST WRITING THE DEATH TOLLS. XD Awww, yes! Dale really seems like he’s going to be key character to this whole story. I love him already!!! 14?? BUT SHE IS STILL A CHILD!!! *squishes her close and refuses to let you destroy her*

        Hmmm… That’s a difficult question. I can totally see it both ways, so I guess it’s whatever platform you want it to be finalized on! But obviously you could do both, too! That way you could have the best of both worlds!!! XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Same, though! But I actually got to write just the other day, and it was SOOOOO nice after not being able to write for so long!!! I am so excited for this new year!!!

        This…this does not sound promising…. XP

        Perhaps you should write all the options down on slips of paper and choose one from a top hat????

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oooh nice! Writing after not writing is so satisfying! I’m still getting ideas about stories, but I’m just allocating my attention to other projects right now.

        Yeah…xD On the other hand, so far I only have one minor, named character marked for death thus far (aside from characters I specifically made to die [everyone in the Prologue…]). The death count of actual characters is really low. So far. >:) (I will probably keep sparing them, until, you know, I realize that I just haven’t been imagining that one character in all of these scenes, so I guess that character died some time ago. Huh. [Literally how I realized that minor character died. XD])

        I think I better keep first drafting before I choose my final format. xD

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I know!!! It’s one of the best feelings ever. XD Ooooh! Working on other projects while getting inspiration for stories is something I love to do! Because then, once you have enough ideas and all that, the story just kind of writes itself for a while!!!

        Oh goodness, this sounds like fun!!! YES!!! KILL ALL OF THE CHARACTERS, MWAHAHAHAHA! As long as they aren’t my smol precious babies that I have grown attached to… You can kill off the ones who have no names. XD OH MY WORD!!!! XD That poor minor character!!! So basically they’re already dead???? XD

        Yeah, that sounds good! That way, you’ll have more info on which platform you want to take this story!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes! And now that I’m getting organized, I’ll be a ton more inspired and ABLE to dive into stories and make something!

        Well, the character does have a name. But I’m not going to say anything else. >:) (That way when you meet the character you will grow attached to the character and then sob at the character’s demise. MWAHAHAHA!)
        Des: Can I die too? Because I would LOVE to aggravate all of the annoying shippers. 😡
        Astarta: Then I shall create an eternal memorial for you and everyone will know of my endless love and devotion for you.
        Des: I’m never going to win this…

        Yes, it’s even worse now because of how much the storyline splits between Sheyla and Des, and yet it’s intertwined. Agh.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. YESSSSSSS!!! It’s always easier to work and be more creative in an organized environment…

        OH MY WORD, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? This is terrible. This is madness. (Or it is perfection because honestly I would do the same thing… XD)
        MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Des and Astarta are #GOALS. XD

        Oooh… But intertwined stories are cool, though, right???

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Now, if I could just organize my plot outlines…

        It is perfection. And it’s terrible, because certain characters will also be sad…
        One ship to rule them all…
        Honestly, they’re kind of messed up enough that I would never label them relationship goals (except Kill Aliens Together goals), however the whole point of this story is taking a messed up/worst case scenario and trying to make the best of it.
        Des: See, our own author just declared us incompatible.
        Astarta: No, I think she just told you to go see a therapist (because we both know who is the messed up one of us two.)
        Des: Reality is going to deal you a crushing blow soon enough…
        Sheyla: Yeah, about that… *Galactic War Ensues*

        I might write a novel for Des and try to avoid the spoliery parts with Sheyla, then make the comic…

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Same, though. It’s a nightmare. XD

        Awwwww…. :(( Why do I have the terrible feeling that reading this story once it’s finished is going to make me extremely sad??? XD I AM SCARED.

        Ah, yeah, that’s true… But all of the best ships are pretty messed up, amiright???? *continues shipping*

        HA!!! YESSSSSS!!! Have Sheyla blow everything up. This sounds perfect… XD

        Oooh! That sounds fun!!!! And aww!!! My smol Des gets his own novel!!!!!! *squishes Des happily*

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’m hoping reading the story once it’s FINISHED will leave you with some hard fought for warm fuzzies, but reading it in the MIDDLE…yeah, everyone will be crushed.
        Unless a certain villainess keeps messing up the tone…

        Sheyla: More like the universe is trying to blow ME up, but sure…?

        Though now I’m starting to think that the main plot will end up revolving around Des and Sheyla slowly getting a grudging friendship…Rob sorta vanished in this draft…
        I’m trying to think of a short story prompt for Des, but I’m afraid to commit to anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. OOOOOH! Okay… As long as there is a happy ending, I think I’m good. I really love happy endings… Ha! Gotta keep that villainess under control! Villains are just as hard to keep contained, though. Sometimes they just want all of the attention.

        Oh dear…. Yeah, that doesn’t sound so good when you put it like that… XD Poor little Sheyla… :((

        OH MY WORD, WHAT??? But…but…but…my poor smol Rob!!!! XD I feel like I’ve grown too attached to him through Group Therapy, haha! XD Awww! I absolutely LOVE relationships (especially grudging ones!!) in stories!!! They’re almost better than romantic ships, in my humble opinion. 😛
        Ooh! A short story for Des would be epic! But yeah. I can totally relate on the commitment thing. I want to write ALL OF THE THINGS this year, but I’m trying to remind myself that I do my best work when I don’t stack loads of stories on top of each other. XD

        Liked by 1 person

      11. That’s that then, you will go on a gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching roller coaster of DEATH, but the ending will be happy and you will thus not be allowed to chase me with pitchforks and torches. ^.^

        She’s causing chaos and it’s the glorious kind.

        Sheyla: Yeah, I just stab or shoot people, I don’t blow them up. So far.

        I know, I know, there’s been so much happening without Rob, but he will show up around the middle it seems. It seems like I’ve ditched most of the romance for brotherly, soldier relationships instead. Though Destar is still important. 🙂

        I’m getting closer to maybe being able to draw a comic with him, slowly easing into digital art and coloring. Phew…

        Liked by 1 person

      12. As terrible as that roller coaster of death sounds, I am pleased with how this story is coming along. XD

        OOOOOH! GO SHEYLA!!!!

        Oh dear…. XD Actually, the stabbing sounds a lot like Adaline! But there aren’t any guns on Crocodoc… Still, I think these two would make very good friends!!!

        YES!!!! Bring back my Rob, please!!! I really like Rob… OH MY WORD, EEEP! This sounds really good! I love brotherly, soldier relationships!! At least, I really like unexpected FRIENDSHIPS, so this sounds slightly similar??? YESSSSS!!! Please keep Destar!!! I need that in my life. XD

        EEP! This is so exciting!!!!! *waits on pins and needles*

        Liked by 1 person

      13. >:) *Ominous cranking of roller coaster switches*

        Sheyla: Maybe I could be friends with her… (Unless she tries to stab me…)

        Well, I drew two colored sketches of Des, so maybe I’m getting closer? I just need to murder my perfectionism so I can draw at least his little parody…

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Oh goodness, I LOVE roller coasters… I hope I can go back to Cedar Point sometime soon… XD

        THAO: She would probably try to stab you.
        ADALINE: Not unless you give me a reason to.
        THAO: She lies.

        Ooh! Yes! It’s a good start, st least, right? Okay, so I totally need to murder my perfectionism, too… Have any ideas on how we can do it??? XD *grabs pitchfork* WILL THIS HELP???

        Liked by 1 person

      15. There are some I like, and some I don’t. I haven’t ridden one in a while, actually.

        Sheyla: Maybe you could go hangout with all my enemies and stab them? Then we could be friends…

        I keep slowly sketching more stuff digitally and sometimes get to the point where I must color something, and thus move closer to drawing comics…And I’m trying to focus on what my art style IS, and what story could match it, rather than envisioning a story and trying to make my style match it. Cuz that doesn’t work right now.
        I think I’ll use an ax. Or maybe the Dodge and Burn tool! MWAHAHAHA!

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Yeah. There are some that I don’t ride, but every time I ride a coaster that frightens me, I end up absolutely loving it. XD

        ADALINE: *gasps* Oh no. I don’t think I could stab THEM…
        (She’s crazy. Help. XD )

        Oooh! This is so exciting! I actually had an idea earlier that’s going to force me to make a small comic-type thing. I’m looking forward to it, but also not, because I’m really REALLY bad at drawing. XD That sounds like a good idea. Sort of like picking a genre you love and then writing a story around that, right??
        AXES ARE TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE. XD Actually, I finally pushed through and finished a scene that I’ve been procrastinating for like weeks!!! It felt SOOO good! I think my pitchfork is working… XD Dodge and Burn tool, hahahahahahaha! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      17. I think we work differently on coasters. xD Though for me it’s mostly: “This coaster is physically uncomfortable to ride, therefore I shan’t ride it again.”

        Sheyla: You can’t? But they will kill me if undeterred. Well, I gotta run before THEY spot me. *Runs off*
        Des: *Walks in* What was that little punk Sheyla talking about?

        Oooooh! Yes, a little comic sounds fabulous! Don’t worry, there are comics out there that don’t have the best art, but they still work really well to tell their story. So long as it’s a small, nice comic it should be fine. If it’s supposed to be a giant epic of grandeur on the other hand…*Dies*
        More like looking at your usual writing style and going with whatever the tone of it is? Like if one usually writes sarcasm with ridiculous scenarios…Probably not gonna write deep, literary dramas.

        Axes are nice. I don’t have many characters with them though. Yeah, the dodge and burn tool is something in my art program (Gimp), but I actually use the airbrush the most. It gives the best feel of using a pencil with different gradient possibilities without having to manually change things. Just go over a line again and it gets darker, etc. Sometimes it gives a watercolor effect, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      18. Hahah! But that’s part of the fun of coasters! They’re uncomfortable and wild! XD

        ADALINE: I believe she is preparing to stab a man.

        It’s DEFINITELY supposed to be a small little comic. But my problem is…because of certain things (SPOILERS!) the drawing style has to be good… 😛 I’m scared…
        AHHH! Okay! I got ya! This sounds like fun!!!

        Agreed. Oooh! I think I’ve heard of Gimp before!!! I might have to check that out sometime if I ever try to do digital art… That airbrush tool sounds FANTASTIC. I need. XD OOH! OOH! OOH! I LOVE WATERCOLORS!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      19. xD

        Des: Are you sure she isn’t about to destroy the whole galaxy instead?

        I know, that’s always the case with comics. >.< Good luck!

        And it's free! So I use it. xD


      20. ADALINE: Hmmmm… Definitely stabbing a man.

        Ugh… I wish it weren’t, though! XD Ah, well. It doesn’t have to happen for a long while yet, I suppose.

        Oh, it is??? I must look into this once I need to make my sloppy comic! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      21. Des: …

        Des: I’m wearing a black uniform with armor, what about that looks like HAY? And last I checked, stacks of hay don’t talk. (On the other hand, if the rumors of Other Magic getting in are true, there might be cursed hay out there…UGH!)

        Liked by 1 person

      22. Des: Wow, kid, don’t you know drugs are bad for you?
        Astarta: YES! They make you collapse in dark alleyways far from your friends where criminals can rob you or maybe stick a knife in your gut! >:[
        Des: …
        Des: So, if I were a haystack, what would that mean to you?

        Liked by 1 person

      23. Des: My hair has seen enough attention, thank you. Let’s talk about scrolling through this comment thread is extremely long on a mobile device. ):[
        Me: Let’s talk about confusing worldbuilding!

        Liked by 1 person

      24. Oh my word, I know!!!! I don’t even TRY looking at it on mobile device!! 😂😂

        Adaline: How do you build a world??
        Thao: With tinker toys. Obviously.


      25. Well, you could write a story about how miserable Kenzie becomes with tormenting you and then she is punished for the horrors inflicted upon you…But you’re right, I’m sure your job is much more rewarding than ours…

        Liked by 1 person

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