Early attempts at writing novels

I wrote a lot from 2008 to 2012 – my high school years. 2008 was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo. That, I think, was what got me into writing seriously. I’d written a couple of things before November 2008, both for fun and for school assignments, but I’d never finished a longer story until I started participating in NaNoWriMo.

I had a ton of energy and wrote A LOT during those four years: 978,123 words from November 2008 to the end of December 2012. Not all of this was done during NaNoWriMo, CampNaNoWriMo, or Script Frenzy, either – I did a lot of writing on my own.

The title of this post says “novels”, but it probably should say “stories”. I didn’t just write novels – I participated in Script Frenzy when it was still a thing and wrote a couple of scripts. I even wrote an epic poem. I also wrote plenty of short stories, but I won’t be mentioning them here. This post is solely about the longer stories.

Runes – November 2008 to March 2011

At 168,305 words, this is the longest story I’ve ever written. I started it during NaNoWriMo 2008 and worked on it on and off until I wrote the last word on March 03, 2011.

Runes is a mess. It was imagined as a fantasy novel and it stayed that way, but the level of technology changed drastically from beginning to end. There are characters I thought would be important in the beginning who I then realized wouldn’t be useful to the story. At least I knew the ending I was working toward – it probably would have been more chaotic if I hadn’t decided on that early on.

I also ended it in such a way that I could write a sequel, and I was thinking about doing that for a while – mostly when I was writing Runes. By the time I was done writing, I didn’t want to do that anymore.

Project XLVI – May to June 2009

Aside from Runes, this is the story I was obsessed with in early high school. I drew so much artwork for it! I even had a bunch of character pages for it on my Freewebs site.

I wrote fourteen chapters of this story, which turned out to be 37,951 words. I even posted some of the chapters up on Fictionpress. And then…I stopped working on it. I don’t even know why. I was so excited about it for years. I spent so much time on this story – worldbuilding, creating characters, outlining – and then it eventually turned into nothing.

As an aside: Most of my notes on Project XLVI are actually in various old notebooks that I seriously need to digitize and NOT in the Project XLVI folder that I’ve managed to keep across five different computers. I genuinely thought I’d lost all my character information until I started looking into the Freewebs webpages that I’d saved. All the info was there on those character pages. I was literally worrying about nothing.

Revenge of Python – November 2010 & November 2011

I started this during NaNoWriMo 2010, stopped at the end of November, and then came back to it and finished it after I was done with my 2011 NaNo novel. I genuinely have no idea why I didn’t just finish it in December or January. I wasn’t really working on anything else at the time.

This ended up being 62,285 words long. It was the first novel I wrote that I actually liked. It’s in need of some rewrites, but nothing serious. Who knows when I’ll get around to rewriting it, though.

The Colorless Ones – December 2010 to April 2013

I genuinely have no records of when I started writing The Colorless Ones. I only have a couple of finished comic pages which date back to the end of December 2010, so I’m assuming I started the script a few weeks before that.

Apparently I worked on this during Script Frenzy in 2012 and Camp NaNoWriMo in 2013. Then I gave up on it because I had no idea where I was going with it. I genuinely had no idea how to end the story.

Everflame – April to December 2011

This was another script, started during Script Frenzy 2011. It was supposed to be a six-arc story, but I didn’t even get through the first arc. I had way too much planned for this story. I didn’t really know how to go from one thing to another.

One good thing did come out of this: I learned that I like writing scripts.

The Children of the Dark – June 2011 to December 2012

This is a story I never finished because I didn’t know where it was going and I had no idea how to end it. I did actually try to revisit the story in 2016, but I never got past organizing some of the character information.

I am actually planning on coming back to this sometime! Also, this is the only Young Adult story I’ve ever considered writing, so I think it’ll need a lot more rework and care than the rest of my usual fiction.

24 of 38 – July 2011

For the first ever Camp NaNoWriMo session, I wrote and finished a 50,381 word novel. I don’t know if it was possible to set goals other than 50k for Camp sessions back then, or if I was just used to doing 50k during NaNo.

This was my first attempt at a mystery novel as well as a prequel to Welcome to Nowhere. It was fine for what I had planned, but I also learned I didn’t particularly like writing mystery stories.

The Fire in the Night – August 2011 to February 2012

This one is…an alternate-history western? I think? It also ended up being around 50k words. It was good writing practice. That’s really all I have to say about it.

BUTCHER – November 2011

This was my first attempt at a horror novel, and also the first novel I wrote while being part of a writing group. I don’t remember doing a lot of planning or really having much of an idea what I wanted to do with this novel, but I still managed to finish it in a satisfactory manner. It needs some heavy edits, but it’s not unsalvageable like some of the other things I’ve written.

Jhilhit – January to November 2012

I genuinely don’t have any memory of writing this. I know I did, because I have the whole manuscript, but…I don’t remember writing it. I couldn’t even tell you what it was about or who the characters were, because I seriously don’t remember a thing.

Brave Aertène – May to September 2012

This is the first and only epic poem I’ve ever written, started during National Epic Poetry Writing Month. I’m glad I did it, because I now know that I have no interest in writing another epic poem.

This is THE GAME – June 2012

Like with Jhilhit, I don’t remember writing this at all. I’m assuming it was good writing practice, but…I really have no idea.

The Man with No Face – June to November 2012

I don’t remember much about writing this. Years ago, I was wondering if I was going to go back and finish the story, only to open up the manuscript and find out that it had already been finished – for years.

That makes three entire novels that I really don’t remember writing. Has this happened to anyone else? I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about this before. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing.

Welcome to Nowhere – August to October 2012

This was my second attempt at writing a detective story. It was actually a collection of short stories instead of a novel. I never finished writing it because…I don’t like writing mysteries. I learned that with 24 of 38, and finally confirmed it with Welcome to Nowhere.

Šinathu – November 2012

This is the first novel that I actually revised! I ended up deciding not to do anything with it in the end, but it was a genuinely good learning experience, and I’d like to revisit the story sometime in the future.


I jumped around to a lot of different genres from 2008 to 2012. Most of it had to be abandoned, since I was still learning what I actually wanted to write. I actually spent another couple of years (until some point in 2016, I believe) figuring this out, but those years aren’t nearly as formative as these ones.

So, a question for all the writers out there: how long did it take you to figure out what you actually wanted to write?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s