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Update: Week 1 NaNoWriMo

So after seven days of writing/gibbering, my grand total is 12,797 words. Somehow I managed to smash out 5000 words on day one and 4000 on day two. It must have been a case of divine inspiration on both days, as I officially peaked at 10,314 at the end of day three and the words have been hard to come by for the rest of the week. I hit the 15,000 mark this morning (day 8) and would like to be at 25,000 by the end of the weekend, but that would call for more self-discipline than I have, so I’ll be happy if I hit 20,000. How are my fellow NaNoWriMoer’ doing? Hitting your goals or hitting your head on table?

But I know that you’re all simply dying to know how my little side challenge is going. For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, I shall enlighten you briefly (the longer version can be read here). Each day, The Oxford English Dictionary shares their word of the day on Twitter – generally quite obscure words and terms that aren’t used a great deal in our time of ‘lol’, ‘OMG’, and ‘WTF’ – and I have challenged myself to use that word in my writing on whichever day it appears. I’ve had a couple of easy ones and a couple of extremely difficult ones that have forced me to get creative and do some research to see how I can fit it in with novel set in 19th Century London, which in actual fact is probably a good thing as I am learning things as I go along. Learning is good. One of the words even caused me to write an entire scene that had not even been thought of previously, and culminated in me allowing a character to live who I had been planning to kill since I conceived her in my mind. Now she gets to live happily ever after. For now anyway.

Such is the power of words my friends – they can alter a destiny.

So I thought I’d give you guys a rundown on the words I’ve had this week and how I used them. The first one is my absolute favourite, although strictly speaking I didn’t have to include it as I came across it prior to the start of NaNoWriMo, but I decided it would fit perfectly into my first chapter. Some of the usages are less inspiring than others, so please forgive me. They will probably get culled when I go over the draft anyway, so don’t worry too much! So following is the word, it’s definition from the OED and my use in italics.

obtenebration, n., a darkening; shade or gloom. Everything seemed to be in a permanent state of obtenebration.” 

old higue, n.,a witch, said to shed her skin at night and fly (sometimes in the form of a ball of fire) in search of sleeping people, esp. babies, from whom she sucks the blood. “The scream of the shells as they descend to the earth and suck the lives out of those who may be in their path, like the old higue of Caribbean folklore as she comes to suck the blood of children.”

ramekin n., originally a name for the food cooked inside the small mould or dish. On his tray were two ramekins with something resembling a cake rising over the top of each.”

cithara, n., An ancient Greek and Roman stringed instrument similar to the lyre. Her return to him was as joyous an occasion as if Nero’s cithara had been taken from him, and that ancient fiddle had been returned to him just in time for him to put his bow to it and it’s sound to ring out as Rome burned.”

aberglaube, n., belief in things beyond the certain and verifiable. We have a word in my country, in Germany, it is aberglaube. It means to believe in things that aren’t certain, things that we may not be able to prove.”

marplot, n., a person who or thing which spoils a plot. His reputation as a marplot greatly preceded him and therefore meant that people had little trouble in avoiding him, unless of course one happened to be involved in some form of business transaction with him.”

pocas palabras, int., as an exhortation: ‘be quiet’, be of few words’, ‘enough said’. “‘She’s discovered Shakespeare old man, The Taming of the Shrew. She’s been saying this one thing over and over again. Thinks it makes her sound cultured. Come on, Marie, what is that thing?’

Pocas palabras.’ 

‘Yes, that’s the one. “Pocas palabras”. What’s it mean again? That’s right, “enough said”. Enough said old man. I don’t need to give you anymore reasons why you should care about that money. Lord Whatsit has given you plenty over the years.’”



  1. Bravo on being well above your target word count and sticking with the OED words! And making a blog post update in the midst of it all. 🙂 I love the sections you’ve quoted – your story seems very intriguing.

    I don’t think it came up when we chatted over comments last week, but I’m also writing in 19th Century England. I’m enjoying it, but it lends itself to more research than I typically do during NaNo. Are you pausing for research or just making good notes as you go? (Or ignoring it altogether and just writing it as you please as I have been considering doing.)


    • Hmm, I’m really just sort of writing as I please, but occasionally there’s something I need to look up. Like last night I was writing about a doctor going to the Boer War in South Africa, and I thought, ok, he’s not a surgeon, what’s he going to do there? Turns out there was an outbreak of typhoid in the British troops pretty early on in the war, so that was very convenient for my character.
      But it’s not been too much trouble for me, as I’ve read so much stuff written around that time that I feel like I already know a lot anyway. There’s still lots that’ll need fixing when I go back over it, but not too much I don’t think. I’m finding that a little bit of research is helping me though, as I’m discovering things I can use later in the story, so it’s been more beneficial as opposed to being a hindrance.
      If you’re finding that you have to do lots of research, I would maybe just write what you want and go back and check it later, especially if you’re not 100% sure what you’re looking for. Hopefully you’re also not like me – I research one thing, then find something else I’m interested in and end up wasting half an hour reading about all sorts of things!

      The OED words…I wish they’d have more words of the day that were English rather than foreign language. It’s harder to work them in to my story, but as I said, it makes me get a bit creative!


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