Hey, guys! I know Camp NaNo is so last-April, but I never posted a recap and really want to, so here I am, defying time boundaries and common sense.

A quick note — this post is a monstrosity of a long one, recapping an entire month of writerly work. Just in case this is not your cup of tea. 😉 But at the end I do give away a novelette I wrote, so… 😉

Without further ado… my Camp NaNo recap!

My Project

Don’t worry about trying to read the picture, it’s just there for show. 😄 And don’t ask about my profile pic.

I wasn’t originally going to do Camp NaNo in April because I hadn’t planned to write anything that month, just work on plotting the second book in my Loyalty trilogy series — but my lovely cabin mate Sarah convinced me! I tracked my progress in hours vs. word count and am so glad I did!

*Temporary cover… I think the real thing is going to be a silhouette of my two main characters hugging with the sunset or moon behind them or something, from the end of the climax scene. 😂

Loyalty – Book 2: Pursuit of Nothing / No One

Yeah, not sure what I’m deciding about that title. 😄

Synopsis

In the second book of Madison Lorfing’s Loyalty trilogy series, ninja Ari Xiang-Su has successfully escaped the grasp of tyrant Daku Maruko once again; and discovered she is not an only child after all. Even after Maruko is turned in to the newest shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan, Ari cannot rest at ease. Her previous enemy, a samurai warrior named Hinoki Ajinomoto, and her forester friend, Yakana, have disappeared without a trace.

Ari suspects it’s the work of a ruthless and cold bounty hunter named Hora Sakenomi who works for the evil man Hinoki owes forgotten money to — and Hinoki wonders if there is more to Hora than the bitter front she puts up. In desperation and devotion, Ari gets together a group of Hinoki’s most trusted samurai, her newfound brother, and a previous spy for the government named Anata Tsurai to try and find him.

Even though Ari has to work with her sworn enemies, the samurai, to try and find the man who has saved her life so many times, her loyalty to him drives her on as she finally admits she really does love him. But when her team around her gives up hope, claiming the pursuit of Hinoki a “pursuit of nothing”, how far can Ari’s loyalty go to find the man she loves?


I can’t believe this entire thing has turned into a romance when I specifically set out with the “unwavering” purpose of not doing that. XD

Sometime soon I hope to do a post about how I’m plotting, so I’ll go into more detail then!

My Stats

Don’t worry about trying to read that. I’ve so graciously ranted about each and every single day for you! Now isn’t that so considerate of me? 😄

April Goal: 30 Hours

I think this is all out of order… I screenshotted my cabin messages about my updates before the cabin disappeared but it didn’t give me any dates, so I’m just guessing, and I know it’s all wrong. 😛

Day 1

Hours Today: 3
Hours Total: 3

I sat down at my desk with a notepad, sticky notes, and my loft bed wall ready to plot. I had all these amazing ideas in my head and it was AMAZING. I plotted until 4 AM but only got 1.5 hours in then. XD In the evening, I got another 1.5 hours in.

I listened to these really cool epic instrumental drama tracks while plotting. I literally collected them all into an album on iTunes I named “Pursuit of No One.” 😄 Still undecided on the name. Here’s one of them!

Final Frontier Battle

Day 2

Hours Today: 3
Hours Total: 6

My cabin mates had to deal with the following:

“AAAH GUYS I JUST PLOTTED TWO EVIL TRAGIC CHARACTER DEATHS. BOTH OF THE CHARACTERS ARE SO BEAUTIFUL AND INNOCENT. AND I DID SUCH VALUABLE RESEARCH. I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN OH MY GOSH!”

… and a bunch of other crazy messages. XD On this day I plotted three character deaths total, heated arguments, fight scenes — all things thrilling and dramatic.

Day 3

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 8

I actually took the liberty of taking a picture at, like, 12 AM. X’D

Ignore the sewing machine and fabric… I was making doll costumes for The Goodbye earlier that day. 😄

All of the light blue and purple sticky notes are what I plotted in April so far — I had a few dark blue ones there beforehand. The ones at the top by the brown Plot Board sign are very brief character bios (left) and plot points I’m thinking of adding but don’t know when will happen yet (right).

I hit a hard stop here from the constant inspiration and really had to spend time brainstorming.

Day 4

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 10

My missionary friend gave me a great plot twist idea. It broke my heart just thinking about it, so I really hope it will trigger emotional response from my readers when I write it! I literally plotted five entire large notepad pages just of the next scenes in one person’s POV. XD

Day 5

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 12

I tortured my cabin mates with “I was so caught up in this one absolutely incredible scene that I actually began writing it out without even knowing what I was doing — I was on such a roll and took up three entire notepad pages of what I’m plotting next! I’m still rolling furiously, just forced to stop because my phone’s about to die so I have to charge it. I can’t believe it! I’m having so much fun!”

I would post the snippet I wrote, but it was after a fight scene so my characters were all bloody and infuriated. XD If you really want to read it, it’s HERE under Excerpt. I’ve actually decided to switch to present tense, but I wrote the snippet before that decision, so don’t get too confused. XD

Day 6

Hours Today: 3
Hours Total: 15

I typed up what I wrote the previous night and had 1.7k words just in the first four pages. :O

I hit 15 hours and plotted the most beautiful, tragic, sweet, amazing, intense, thrilling, AWWWW and OWWWW scene so far. 😂 My idea of fun… 😂

Day 7

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 17

I may or may not have plotted an unintentional but fake love triangle.

Hopefully it will make my readers divide into epic sides or something. 😂

Day 8

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 17

Upon urging from my cabin mates, I saved myself a bit of sleep deprivation and didn’t stay up until crazy hours in the morning of day 9.

I got up early to plot on day 9 instead. 😉

Day 9

Hours Today: 5
Hours Total: 22

Sorry, cabin mates…

“HAHA. I fixed my plot hole with ‘a millisecond of hesitance’ and an order to ‘Go, Hora! Run! >:)”

Day 10

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 24

“So where are we going? To a place that doesn’t exist?”

Rasako shakes his head. “Not all places exist to be found, Ari.”

Days 11-15

I took a break from all plotting during these days to work on The Goodbye.

Day 16

Hours Today: 1
Hours Total: 25

While waiting for The Goodbye to upload, I stayed at my computer until 1 AM multitasking comment-replying, online chatting, and plotting. Despite going back and forth and only getting an hour in, I actually got some valuable brainstorming for book three done during this time (so I could foreshadow the plot in the coming cliffhanger).

Day 17

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 27

My plotting style is so funny. I literally draw hearts, emojis and smiley faces to go with the desired feel of the plot point or how evil I feel plotting it. XD The picture below is just a sample of how many smileys I used. 😂

All these updates aren’t on the right dates since I didn’t date my updates when I posted them in the cabins… so we’ll just go with snippets from here. XD

Ari’s POV

“So what are you going to do about it?” Rasako asks.

I shake my head miserably. “I — I can’t. We’re both under Code — I don’t think he’d even admit he loves me. It’s so dangerous.

“What if you broke the Code?”

“Break it? How could I? My oath of loyalty — I can’t break that!”

Rasako studies my eyes. “Who do you love more, then — Sensei Kira or Hinoki?”

Day 18

Hours Today: 1
Hours Total: 29

Hora’s POV

As Hinoki mounts his horse, I turn my head to face him and ask, “How did you fight? You’re drugged. I specifically made sure you couldn’t do anything like that — I pumped you full for six days.”

Hinoki shrugs. “It was adrenaline.”

“So why did you fight?” I ask quickly. “Why didn’t you take the chance and escape in the midst of all confusion?”

Hinoki calmly stares at me for a while, then shrugs again. “If I hadn’t fought, who would’ve been at the right spot at the right time to keep you from getting shot?”

Day 19

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 30

I was almost-done with the biggest section of my plotting — the storyline. I was really excited to have finished before winning started! Then I just kept going. XD

I took a small break and began writing the backstory of my antagonist, Hora Sakenomi, so I know everything about her past before diving into book 2.

Yes, that’s the best excuse I could come up with for stopping all plotting and writing a super tragic, dramatic and beautifully heartbreaking backstory.

I have had so much fun with this character — roleplaying with her, writing her backstory, giving her whole entire chapters in her point of view… I love her so much. XD

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

He works for Maruko, I am a new recruit for Keisuke. He owes money. Keisuke wants it. My mission? To bring him in or take him out.

We meet not knowing who the other is; he is atop his horse leading his warriors, I am atop my own leading mine. Both of us are curious as to who the other is, but the horrendous thunder and lightning storm worsens as both of our teams stop in front of the other on the now muddy path. A streak of lightning splits the sky and strikes a tree in the distance and as the torrential downpour continues to drench everything below, it crashes to the forest floor with reverberating vibrations.

I am about to open my mouth and start conversing when lightning again strikes a tree much closer to us. Thunder claps ahead with such a ear-splitting crack that causes our horses to rear as the tree struck beside bursts into flames and comes crashing down.

I’m thrown off my horse and collide into the muddy path, as is nearly the entirety of both of our teams. I open my mouth and cry out in pain as my shin cracks and pain courses up my leg, but that is the least of my worries. Lightning flashes again, and the tree right in front of me begins to fall.

In terror, I hold my arm up as if that’s actually going to stop the falling tree from crushing my bones — and all of the sudden feel strong arms grab mine and pull me out of the way just in time. I look up with a gasp, half-relieved, half-embarrassed to be looking up at the face of the man who just saved my life.

I began illustrating what Hora looks like, but because I stink at faces I finally decided to just draw her basic bounty-hunting outfit without the weapon belt. That is why she is headless in my drawing.

She is not headless in my stories.

Day 20

Hours Today: 1
Hours Total: 31

The snippets are out of order, too. I didn’t write all of them on the days they are posted under. XD

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

My smile fades quickly. “Wait — you’re Jikan Shoto?”

The man, now obviously Jikan, nods in confusion.

I moan. “I’m Hora Sakenomi.”

Jikan’s eyes widen. “Oh. You’re the bounty hunter after me. And you also happen to be the bounty hunter I’m trying to kill.”

I laugh nervously.

Jikan laughs nervously, too. “I’d say nice to meet you, but…”

Day 21

Hours Today: 1
Hours Total: 32

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

  Jikan shakes his head, gritting his teeth as he stares at the branches that crackle and break as the fire consumes them. He faces me again, grabbing my arm. “Do you trust me?” He asks quickly.

I search his dark eyes, hesitant. This man had literally been hired to track me down and kill me. Trusting him was insane. “What?” I ask as thick smoke invades our air inside the cave, hoping he will repeat the question.

“Do you trust me?” Jikan asks again.

I am going to die either way.

“Yes?” I answer unsurely, unknowing as to what on earth will happen next.

Day 22

Hours Today: 4
Hours Total: 36

I got in the habit of writing 2k a day here! It’s one of my favorite things to accomplish now.

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

He raises his eyebrows. “I can see why you think that, but not all samurai are like what you think. Have you ever met one?”

I let out a scornful laugh. “I’m talking to one.”

“And am I everything you think of when you think of a samurai?” He asks, less out of curiosity and more to tease me.

“I don’t know who you think you are,” I finally hiss. “You’re here to turn to Keisuke in?”

Hinoki raises an eyebrow. “Why would I?”

My mouth hangs open. “You don’t know,” I say softly.

Day 23

Hours Today: 2
Hours Total: 38

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

“Uh, what was that?” I demand.

“People,” he returns. “Wasn’t it obvious?”

“What people?” I demand once more as the path begins to steepen.

“People we really don’t need to be meeting during this hour at night.”

“Who?!” I inquire persistently.

“I literally just told you.”

I clench my jaw and exhale in frustration. I can’t imagine how on earth I am going to be working with Hinoki over the next five days.

Day 24

Hours Today: 0
Hours Total: 38

I forgot to document my time. 😄

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

You can tell a lot about a man if you watch how they treat someone they don’t need.

Day 25

Hours Today: 4
Hours Total: 42

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

“Hi,” he greets back. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Nor did I,” I tell him. “Thank you again for saving me — twice — last time,” I smile.

“Thanks for not turning me in,” he grins.

“Oh, yeah. Thanks for not killing me, either.”

Jikan laughs. “It was a fair trade.”

I smile knowing it was not. He very well could have taken the chance to stiff me right when I had no one to back me up. The kill would have been almost effortless.

Day 26

Hours Today: 4
Hours Total: 46

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

“You know him?” Hinoki questions as he turns to me.

“Well, duh.”

“I mean how?”

“Why do you ask?”

Hinoki shrugs. “Curiosity.”

Day 27

Hours Today: 0
Hours Total: 46

I didn’t document my time… 😄

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

“I was ordered to track him down and turn him in to Keisuke a few weeks ago, and he was ordered to track down and kill me,” I answer. “Only we got caught in a lightning storm and Jikan saved me before knowing who I was.”

“And that complicated things?”

“Um, it might have? He ended up saving me twice and then finally told me he couldn’t kill me… and I told him I couldn’t turn him into Keisuke.”

Hinoki hmphs. Then he nods.

“Why do you ask?” I demand.

Hinoki looks back toward the crowd and points a finger at where Jikan disappeared into it. “Just letting you know — that dude right there is madly in love with you.”

So blunt. XD

Day 28

Hours Today: 0
Hours Total: 46

Think I forgot to document my time again? 😄

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

I am about to pull myself to my feet when Jikan pins me down with his iron-hard clasp against my throat and a strong foot on my stomach. I helplessly meet his gaze as he raises his dagger with tears in his eyes.

“Just do it quickly,” I beg. “It hurts too much to stay alive.”

Day 29

Hours Today: 6 (probably carrying over from previous days I forgot to document)
Hours Total: 52

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

Shimesu raises both eyebrows. “You can’t be serious.”

“I am.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“I’m not.”

“You didn’t just say what I think you said.”

“I did.”

*

I need Jikan. I need him like I need my next breath. I need him to sit up and wrap his arms around me and tell me he’s okay.

Only he’s not.

I cry harder, burying my face in his shoulder as I feel his heartbeat fade. The pulses get softer, fainter, harder to sense — then they become too far apart. I weep miserably, shaking with the violence of my quaking sobs as I hug him tighter.

*

“I don’t have the ring yet, but — Hora Sakenomi, will you marry me?”

My heart stops. He’s holding my hands and asking me the most life-changing question I’ll ever answer. He’s asking me to break Code. He’s asking me to break all the oaths I’ve ever taken and instead to vow to be with him for the rest of my life.

Day 30

Hours Today: 3
Hours Total: 55

Snippet of Hora: Everything I Never Said

Keisuke is really enjoying himself. “And other times, I was really convinced you were in love with someone.” Then he laughs. “You guys are so obvious. What possesses you to kiss on property? You don’t think I make sure almost every move my hunters make are watched? If there’s anyone who keeps you guys accountable to Code, it’s me.”

I want to shrink back and turn invisible at his last statement. Accountable to Code — is he suggesting our death sentence, then?

I lower my gaze from his dancing, taunting eyes. He walks closer to me, and I turn my face away. “You realize I can kill you for doing that, right?” He asks.

If at all possible, my face pales even more. I feel as if I’m blazing 150 degrees and about to pass out. My heart won’t quit thrashing widlly back and forth against my chest, and it’s hard to even breathe.

“You realize Maruko can kill Jikan for doing that, too, right?” He asks again.

I close my eyes as I wince momentarily.

“You may be Elite, Hora, but I don’t need you. I can replace you like that and kill you as easy as anything.”

*

That night, I’m sitting in the captain’s quarters of the ship and on the floor, at the small desk that resides there. I bury my face in my hands, unable to stop crying. I bite my lip to keep back the sobs, but the silent tears don’t stop flooding down my face and into my hands, streaming and dripping down my arms, staining the wooden desk I’m sitting at.

I hear a knock on the door to my quarters, but I don’t answer it. I sit there motionless, then begin to tremble with each shaky breath I attempt to take.

Upon no answer from me, the door opens anyway. I don’t see who it is, for my face is still buried in my hands, but I hear a metal clink on the space on the desk right next to me.

“Just hang on to the hope that maybe one day, he’ll come back,” Kedo’s much gentler, kinder voice sounds in front of me. Then I hear his footsteps turn and leave, and the door shuts behind them.

I pull my hands away from my teary face and look down at my desk.
There’s my wedding ring, on the thin, broken cord. I reach out to curl my fingers around the ring but only cry harder when I feel its weight in my hand.

If you wonder why I’m the way I am today, this is why. Now you know why. Now you know why I hunt down and track the culprit and make them pay. Now you know why I murder them if they can’t. Now you know why I do the things I do. Now you know everything.

This is everything I never said.


DUN DUN DUN. THE ENDING IS SO TRAGIC. But Hora’s backstory explains her more so you don’t 100% hate her in Loyalty – Book II. XD

I actually didn’t finish writing Hora: Everything I Never Said until May 3rd, but you know. The snippets have their way of showing up in my daily recaps anyway. *shrugs* It’s 33k and I had the time of my life writing it! So much so that I stayed up until, you know, 4 AM almost every night to work on it. 😂

If you’re still here, I can’t believe it! You read through over three thousand, six hundred words of pure insanity, and for that, I thank you. If there’s anything I stink at, it’s personal blogging, but I do like giving out rewards, so…

If you want to read the novelette I wrote, you’re absolutely welcome to! It contains parts that may be too violent or mature for young people to read, so I would advise anyone under thirteen years old to ask an adult to review it before reading. It’s located at the message board I moderate on this thread: Hora: Everything I Never Said

Please, tell me how Camp went for you, if you did it! Share a snippet of what you’ve written lately (Camp or not) in the comments below! I’d love to read.