NaNoWriMo 2012, Day 4

National Novel Writing Month, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

I’m charting my daily progress on NaNoWriMo. Since you may or may not care, I’ll kindly hide it. Thanks for taking the time. :)

NaNoWriMo Progress: Magic, Psi, and Necromancy for Normals
Actual Required
New Words Today 2037 1667
Daily Average 2610 1667
Remaining Req’d
Daily Avg
1522 1667
Expected Total 50000 50000


  • I had another hard time starting today, but once I did, I found it kind of flowed well. I need to start early in the day to get that flowing and not wait until after 4 pm. Toward that end, I plan to get up early tomorrow and write for at least one hour before leaving for work.
  • I asked for help with something on Twitter and on the NaNoWriMo site in the forums as well. I’m writing the section of the “. . . For Dummies” book about magic where I talk about magical animals and plants. Now, as I’ve said before, I had a lot of this in my head before I started writing, but I have to admit that none of this was in there that I knew of. And yet, as I wrote, a lot of it “clicked” and just made sense with my world as I’ve designed it, so I guess maybe that’s a sign that my subconscious does know more than I’m aware.
  • Anyway . . . what I asked help for was coming up with magical plants. I could think of plenty of examples of magical animals of mythology: centaurs, dragons, manticora, sphinxes, phoenixes, giants . . . and I wrote some cool explanations of those and then turned to write about the plants . . . and crickets came out. Nothing. Nada. Not a single leafy vegetable from mythology presented itself. So I appealed to Twitter and NaNoWriMo for help, and I got it in spades. Dryads, belladonna, nightshade, mandrake . . . there are all kinds of herbs and plants involved on the periphery of magic that, while not being necessarily possessed of magic “abilities” themselves, are nonetheless commonly found in magical stories. What magic potion would be complete without henbane, mandrake, belladonna, wolfsbane, or similar plants?
  • I promised that I would give a little sample of the kind of thing I’m going for, and so I will. This is not a direct quote from the text of the book, but a retelling of it without using so many words. Note: I know there are logical holes in this. This is a first-draft, and I will fix such things down the road.
  • The case of centaurs is intriguing because, as far as has been discovered, there are no other intelligent species (or at least no more intelligent than apes, whales, dolphins, elephants, octopi, and squid), nor are there any species of thaumatofauna that has resulted from a cross-mating with humans. Instead, the legend of centaurs originated with unicorns. Unicorns have existed alongside mankind for millennia. They have a magical defense mechanism that causes the target (presumably a predator) to perceive another member of its own species. Thus, if a human encounters a unicorn, what he will see instead is another human.

    But as with many evolutionary adaptations, the “predator” species evolved a way to combat this magnificent defense: humans who possess magical ability are able to see through the compulsion, but not always perfectly. Some see the actual unicorn. Some with less magical ability see the figure of another human like themselves . . . superimposed over the image of the unicorn. The result is a half-human, half-equine mixture. Similar mechanisms involving other magical species are responsible for other half-human, half-animal hybrids such as harpies, mermaids, naga, manticora, and satyrs.

  • It pretty much goes on like that, kind of randomly discussing different creatures as I think of them, often tying them together like unicorns and centaurs. For instance, dragons are responsible for UFO sightings, and a genus of parasitic vine is responsible for dryads, naiads, and oreads.
  • I so want to work kudzu into this. I’m in Georgia, and grew up in Alabama. The kudzu vine is responsible for consuming half the southern states, it seems, and I very much want to figure out a way to make that magical instead of just something stupid and scientific like us bringing a vine from Japan that nothing here will eat, and it going nuts.
  • So, anyway, I’m having a lot of fun with this. I had no intention of going this fast, but I’m just kind of going with the flow. I’ve been avoiding having to write about my five kinds of magic: arcane magic (magic), psionics, necromancy, vampirism, and ‘batteries.’ Because I’m not at all sure what I’m going to say. It should be interesting to find out.
  • Interesting things I looked up: pretty much everything you see above plus more about genetics, typhoid, cryptobotany, Narcissus and Daphne, the legend of the weeping willow, harpies, kelpies, nymphs, fauns, etc. And I found that listening to celtic music is helping me get into the mood. I own 19.8 hours of “obvious” Celtic music (Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, Maire Brennan, Celtic Woman). I think that’ll do me.
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