NaNo ’16: The What and How

Since I’m currently set on trying my luck on the Dark Fantasy idea following the misadventures of the undead warrior Áleifr, I started to think a little about just what I’m trying to do with that idea.

Truth be told: I’m not looking into writing a stand-alone novel this time around. For a while now, whenever the Dark Fantasy idea came to mind, I was more leaning towards writing a string of short stories, perhaps a few novella-length pieces, or even some shorter flash fiction. So, chances are that his is what will happen during NaNo this year. Which, of course, is no biggie, since we only concern ourselves with the daily word count, not how we get there day after day. I don’t assume each and every story will be finished during the month of November, but, maybe, enough will come together to form a solid base for future development into this fantasy universe.

One potential benefit I see is the fact that I can just leave one story alone and work on a different one altogether, should I ever get stuck. I did that with scenes during last year’s NaNo, but being able to just pick up a completely different set of concepts and circumstances might just be refreshing enough to learn more about what I’m trying to do in the bigger picture–which, in turn, can help getting over whatever got me stuck in the first place.

To that end, I was looking at a few possible story hooks, titles for inspiration, rough pitches, and so on. So, follow me down that rabbit hole, if you will. Note that these are just rough ideas, some of which I came up with as I was writing this post.

(Potential Spoilers incoming.)

Citadel of Sunlight

Long forsaken, surrounded by a treacherous swamp, stand the ruins of a Citadel, where the Sunlight God (highest among the old pantheon of gods) was worshipped. Whispers speak of the undying God still slumbering beneath his most sacred place of worship—a place of forbidden knowledge and ancient sacrifice. It is said the old deities of light fought against the conjurers of darkness. Here, Áleifr hopes to uncover ancient, forgotten secrets about the magic even the most outrages mages of this age can only dream about. And within this lost lore, he might just find a clue as to what happened to the dark enemies and their corrupted magic.

Tree of Blood

Deep within a forest as old as mankind, a cursed tree spreads its roots to devour those that dare enter the wild, unnamable woods. Nearby villages offer sacrifices to the tree to appease it, stopping it from spreading too far to the outskirts of the forest. Áleifr takes on a contract that leads him deep into the forest, looking for a missing loved on. Soon enough, he’ll uncover the truth about the curse and its subject, the tree of blood, leaving him with a choice with no good outcome in even the best scenario.

The Binding of Áleifr

Áleifr and Hestar learn about a still-living practitioner of dark arts, who might be able to teach them a binding ritual for the summoned undead—a ritual Áleifr hopes he can cast himself to shield him from future binding attempts should he ever encounter a true necromancer after all. Of course, the person of interest won’t cooperate willingly, and Áleifr’s companion might have a motivation befitting of a witch.

Swansong of the Countess

Áleifr his hired to end a haunting in an old estate, where the ghost of the dead Countess still lingers. The current owners of the property want to sell it for a pretty penny, but with a ghost spooking around, that has proven to be difficult. Soon enough, a web of intrigue spins itself before Áleifr, turning the ghost hunt into a murder mystery he gets personally invested in.

The Buckough Witch Trails

Áleifr’s offered a job as personal protection by a witch name Hester, after the province of Buckough is being overtaken by zealot witch hunters. Not his usual type of client (since witches often end up on the target side of a bounty), the witch and the undead warrior form a fragile bond while overcoming dangerous odds.

Suicide and Other Comforts (Part 1)

After traveling through a valley where the only inhabitants are the undead, Áleifr’s bleak existence takes a toll on his mind, causing him to become hollow and plunging down the abyss of death until he reaches a point of no return.

This Day Hereafter Dies (part 2)

Struggling with his unlife, the hollow undead that used to be Áleifr has to regain control over himself to save something he thought he’d lost forever—or forever get lost in the darkness somewhere deep inside the broken husk of his heart.

The Army of the North

A throwback to his former life, Áleifr learns about the last battle of his people before the mainland conquered the northern isles he once called home. Driven by nostalgia and memory, the undead warrior tries to learn what became of his former comrades—a tale leading toward a threat hiding in the dark for centuries, waiting to return to the world of the living.

Children of the Night

They are called Immortals by the lore-bearers, blood-sucking vampires by the common folk. And for all Áleifr knows, they are nothing but folklore originating from far-east superstition. Yet, after the undead is invited as guest of honour to a masquerade in a castle far away from any human soul, the legends and myth reveal to be much, much more than simple superstition—and with it comes world stranger than the one Áleifr thought to know.

That makes for nine different ideas for stories–some more exotic than others. Which means I would only need little over 5,000 words per idea to reach my NaNo goal this year.

Well, I’m starting to get a little excited over this.

Hopefully I get to share a few more ideas, character concepts, world building, before November comes around. If not, you’ll just have to read along as the stories come together.

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