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November 17, 2017

50,000 Words

I have hit 50K on Day 17 of NaNo.  I just wanted to post that the day of.

Tiny excerpt of the winning sentence:

She began to cry, subtly, her tears just barely coming out as someone took her hand and steered her into the car.

I actually have no clue what is happening in the story, I just wrote random imagery that popped into my head.  The bolded "her" is my 50,000th word.  Yay.

And the font is really weird... Whatever. I tried to fix it and it's almost midnight.  Later.

November 16, 2017

NaNo Report for Week 2

What has happened this week?

Messiness.

Broken outlines.

And 21,567 more words.  Which is pretty good, though a little slower than the first week.  I'm almost to 50k and maybe I will manage to hit it before midnight and have 25k weeks each time (except I'm a day or two late for that already...whoops!).
Except.

It has been messy.  I got the beginning out of my outline well enough, but the middle was in some ways too vague.  And then the Cool Villainess came in and wrecked the whole thing.  Or at least wrecked in such a major way that I'm going to have to carefully think through the next stages of this story, the story that already felt kinda vague to me, and...I feel Doom closing in on me.
I also had a yellow day, not a green day.  I only wrote 1,280 words on the 13th.  Sadness, sorrow, despair, it's not a green square on my nano calendar widget!  (Though Kenzie told me I must not disparage its uniqueness nor crush its dreams, so I shall leave it be now.)
But.  My outline.

It's just a little bit dead and I'm slowing myself down by sometimes rewriting scenes (not deleting old scenes, just adding more bits to them), and now my story feels like a slog and it's terribly inefficient.  And dang it I need this story written in a way I can work with in the future!
But trying to clean it up sounds just about impossible at the moment.  My mind keeps screaming for more wordcount (at least I've written 1,111 words so far today!), so it's hard to pause and slow down and go off to a notebook or other document for story notes.
I feel like I keep flinging my story's theme and focus to too many different places and it's getting all confused, especially because of the villain and side-characters-with-POV count.

Protagonists: 2, Sheyla and Robert (who hasn't been truly introduced yet).

Major Antagonists: Alien leaders, Cool Villainess, Void Lord, at least 3 national/galactic leaders, Evil Villainess, a few more antagonists over there I am not at liberty to discuss...So, like 10?  Oh, wait, maybe 12 ultimately.

Minor Antagonists: Mz. Murdervulture, Mz. Malverran, all their associated staff members Sheyla must deal with (this is where the confusion happens, probably two major ones for each), two bullies...Okay, that's only 8.

Side Characters with POV: Dale, Des, Astarta, Naomi, Andra, Ryan...Potentially a ginormously wide assortment of other soldiers with bit parts here and there.

See, I have too many characters and I always view my story cinematically, so hopping around everyone's view doesn't seem that strange, and yet...it's getting busy.  Way too busy.
Also, the Void Lord and his voiders seem far too nice to Sheyla and they need to step up their villain game.

I just can't tell what the problem is with the story's focus, so it's nerve-wracking to head into the second half of Nano without this sorted out.
Help.

I want to feel like I'm making progress on this story, but now I feel like my road map has been stolen from me.  Now wherever I go it might mean I'm moving forward, or it might mean I'm driving in circles and getting lost in a rainy, misty day and I'm doomed.

TALK TO ME, THEMATIC ELEMENTS OF THE STORY!  THIS STORY IS TOO BIG TO RISK STALLING EVEN IF I'M AT 47K ALREADY!

November 12, 2017

Angry Snail

My Nano had been going so well, then I came to a point where everyone was going to be mean to Sheyla for multiple scenes, and it sounded so dreary I couldn't start writing.

So I described myself as an angry snail.

Thankfully, I dealt with the scene and another character crashed it and changed the entire mood.  It went from helplessness in the face of societal cruelty to helplessness in the face of mysterious magic.
It was great.

Also, there is a character named Desmond who was once a mere side character in the story, with a bit of hidden potential and now...
Now I'm contemplating giving him a spin-off story of his own.  Or at least a short comic parodying what I wrote for this Nano (it involves fighting aliens and mysterious, sudden outfit changes.)

That is my short, impromptu Nano update (just to upload the image so I can post it on the Nano forums. :P)

I am currently at 39,292 words.  Oh that is an unaesthetic number. >.<

November 8, 2017

Week 1 NaNo Report

Something strange happened to me this Nano, something very strange.  Last night, right before midnight, on Day 7, I hit 25,640 words.
I am halfway through the basic Nano goal in the first week.
The data I have available to me shows the earliest I hit the 25k mark before was on Day 14 in 2016, one day ahead.  Now I'm a week ahead?!

I'm even ahead on my higher wordcount goal of hitting 57,000 words this month (I have a secret higher wordcount goal too, and that has certainly propelled me forward).

But I am rather surprised at this because recent years of NaNo have proven difficult for me, and even this years Camp NaNo's where VERY difficult.  July I had a goal of writing 30 pages and got 31.  For the whole month.  In seven days I've written 49 pages of The Desolation of Kaldoa.  In April I wrote for a goal of 30,000 words.  Which was a struggle.
Now I'm 5k away from that at the start of the second week.

Apparently I'm writing a good story for this.

And I did figure out a fab outlining method for myself.  Which I shall describe in another post.

But still, I've finally found a way to flow with Nano?

Crazy talk!

I'm a little worried that I have written through the clearer parts of my story and as I begin week 2 I will start to slow down and not know what is coming next.  Sure I have an outline, but I haven't really imagined a lot of the scenes clearly and I still can't put my finger on how society's ills shall play out in the next portion.

Also, Sheyla will be stuck in a school for a short time, and school is boring.  Especially if it's a drab prison school for Wretched Kaldoan Scum who sometimes get dragged away and are never seen again if they break too many rules.
How am I going to write that tension when I don't care about creepy emotional manipulators threatening their students?

Or at least don't get them.  Or maybe it's that I really hate manipulative, control-freak villains that you can't directly fight against.

Except Sheyla has been through some pretty tough times compared to others, so she might be a bit snarkier than I expected.
And she will get in trouble.

I feel like I'm glossing over a lot of the details in this story.

October 31, 2017

The Writer's Halloween Tag

Kenzie tagged me for some spooky question-answering!  Thanks!

So let's stab some pumpkins, carve out their faces, and sit back with a cup of hot apple cider.

The Questions

I: Are you a scaredy cat or a horror aficionado?

Meow.  Purrrrr...HISS!  *Scrambles away from the scary monster in a split-second*

II: Would you ever consider writing a horror novel?

Well, now that you suggest it, maybe. I want to play with some eerie themes eventually.  Maybe a gothic style?

III: What is the favorite bookish Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Ummmm.....I once took a white robe and a bunch of random scarves and accessories and made myself look like some mysterious fantasy person, and then I wrote a story with said fantasy person in it, who was a sorceress.   So, I dressed up as my own character.  It was for my second Nanowrimo.

IV: What is the best bookish costume you’ve seen someone else wear?

I have no idea.

V: What literary villain is your favorite?

I've talked about some villains in another tag post, so for a new literary one I would say...I have no idea.

Evil Emperor Zurg, even though he's from a tv show, not a book.

I feel like there was some villain I ran across in a book who I liked, someone not generally known, maybe a villain in an Agatha Christie mystery?

VI: Will you be visiting a haunted house this year?

No.

VII: Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go Trick-or-Treating?

I'd probably prefer Trick-or-Treating in order to collect free candy and stock up for Nano (and have quiet time for last minute planning), but I'm a little too old for that.  I'll have to go to the Nanowrimo kick-off party for my Halloween festivities (I've dressed up as my characters twice in previous years).

VIII: What’s the best Halloween song?

Ain't got a clue, man.

IX: What scares you the most about the writing process?

Trying to find the balance between a harshly dark, realistic, but ultimately good story vs. a harshly dark and realistic story that makes everyone miserable.

X: Monster mash – if you had to say your antagonist was a mix of two traditional monsters what would those be?

Which antagonist?  Some of them are already monsters, and kinda a mix of monsters...buuuut the Void Lord is the only antagonist I'm willing to talk about right now, so...I would say he is...A ghost?  Because he can appear out of nowhere instantly (seemingly) and is hard to kill, and also a...a...
A dragon because he's cool and powerful?
And I always stick dragons in.  To the point they feel unimaginative to me.  Drat.

Or maybe he's a ghost and a headless huntsman.  That's more fitting for his atmosphere and frankly I don't know if I ever reveal his face.

XI: Would your MC be more scared of being left alone in a dark forest or an abandoned castle?

Hmm...I think Sheyla would be more scared of a dark forest.  It's harder to guard herself in one, and she does have scary times in a dark forest.  There might be monsters around, waiting to devour her.

XII: Does anyone in your WIP believe in ghosts?

Well, there was that one time Robert and Sheyla had to talk to a ghost in a silly short story, so I would say canonically they haven't heard of ghosts as a concept, but if they did, they would think ghosts are real and weird magic is to blame.

XIII: Which character would last the longest in a scary movie?

Probably the Void Lord, followed by Rob, then Sheyla, and finally Naomi.  (She is not genre savvy enough.)  Except Rob would sacrifice himself to save Sheyla, and the Void Lord would do the same for Naomi cuz he's her dad.

XIV: Good witch or a bad witch – do you enjoy torturing the characters in your WIP or do you feel bad about it?

If it's the main characters, I will throw everything I can at them and laugh.  Or sometimes tear up if it's dramatically poignant, but I don't feel bad about it.  I feel pretty sad for my side characters though, the world is pretty much stacked against them.  And a lot of them are going to die. 

XV: Pick a love interest from your WIP; would they be most likely to scream like a little kid or punch someone in the face if they were scared abruptly?

More likely to punch someone.
Technically, Sheyla would be more likely to gasp than to punch someone, but she's pretty good about volume control.  So no screaming.

Unnecessary Retagging

Cuz all the bloggers I know already got tagged.  :P
       

October 30, 2017

Beautiful Books 2017

 I decided to do Cait and Sky's book tag in preparation for Nanowrimo, so time to learn the secrets of my story! *Hisses and pulls spoilers further into dark cave*



Just a quick note, my Nano novel this year is actually a script for a webcomic, but I suspect some prose will sneak in there (or completely take over) anyway, so close enough.  It's all story words!

I should specify that this year's Nano is The Desolation of Kaldoa, or TDoK.

The Questions

 

One: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

 I think it's been a couple of years now.  My two surface inspiration points were a webcomic called Not A Villain and The Hunger Games.  I read the Hunger Games first and was intrigued by the dystopian genre, but the ending felt so depressing to me I couldn't stand it.  And often enough I heard about other dystopian stories, and felt intrigued and...bleh about them.  So, I had a jumble of vague ideas in the back of my head and once I read Not A Villain, I thought, "What if there was a mage who could control electronics or fry them to smithereens with a magical electro-magnetic pulse (EMP)?  And her high-tech society hates her guts?  And wants her dead?"

Mostly that clicked with me because I've wanted to play with EMPs in stories for a long time, since they are a real threat and can be made by nuclear bombs blowing up, and if blown up in atmosphere can have a devastating EMP area of effect that can destroy the energy grid of the country.  Or at least large swathes of it.  Rendering electronic devices inert and useless.
And then we would all die.
(Hey, it's Halloween, that's why we're all scared, it's not like there's any lunatics in the world throwing rockets around and testing nuclear bombs and stuff...totally. *CoughNorthKoreaCough*)

The real backbone to all of this is survival stories, plain and simple.  I always wondered, "Would I be able to survive?" when I heard war or genocide survival stories from WWII and onwards.  Especially after learning more about communist regimes.

My stories get darker the more news and history I read.  Particular, real events have shaped my story.

Sorry characters, but you're here to help real people figure out how to survive, not yourselves.

Well.  That was a heavy intro.

Two: Describe what your novel is about!

Death.  And the avoiding of it.  Also, true love...that is highly inconvenient politically and civically, and in a survival-related way, and yet isn't wrong.
It's about the nation of Kaldoa trying to free itself after a devastating war.
So, there's lots of war.

It's basically about Sheyla solving all her problems in life by crying and getting hugged by soldiers.
And MAGIC!

Three: What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

 [Insert drab pictures of DOOM here]

I kinda  wanted to draw some stuff for this, but I never got around to it, and that tells me I shouldn't delay my post any longer.  Maybe later.

Basically, imagine rainy, gray military camps, and prisons, and orphanages that feel like prisons, and everything is drab and bleak, but then it's contrasted with glittery and dark high society, as well as space, which is also all dark and glittery.  Except sunny planets break up the darkness a bit more.  And there are spaceships hovering around the place.

Raindrops on barbed wire.  Scratched up helmets.
Shining champagne glasses.  Sparkly evening gowns with huge trains.
Silence of space with only the glimpses of spacecraft propulsion and safety lights in the distance.

Four: Introduce us to each of your characters!

Sheyla Klark: sad mage girl.  Who manages to get better at fighting in each draft.
Robert Darhurst: dude who can't handle galactic politics.  Is good at shooting.
You may have met them during the Deathmatch Tournament.

Other Characters:
There are so many, how can I choose them???
The Void Lord
Naomi
Umm...Everyone else feels like spoilers at this point.

The Void Lord can void magic.  Sheyla has reason to fear him.
Naomi is the Void Lord's daughter and she is the opposite of everyone in the entire galaxy personality-wise.  She's kind of happy by default.  Which is weird.  Really weird.

Five: How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I have an outline that's pretty thorough for the beginning towards middle, and then the dramatic pivot point happens and...
Everybody fights after that?
And eventually they fight enough that Sheyla gets a happy ending by saving Kaldoa?
Maybe?
I hope.

Also, perhaps the most important factor is that I listen to multiple hours of epic music and get action snippets from them and spend a lot of time imaging scenes.  I plan my story through mind movies I hone over days before I ever write anything.

Or sometimes I make a random doodle and instantly something clicks. (But not so much with this story.)

I don't really research things, I just discover some random things here and there that I add in if they seem relevant enough.  Otherwise I would panic and turn in a paralyzed perfectionist wondering if there's one more detail out in the world that would ruin my entire plot.  Agh.
I just work with my present knowledge base.  Which I think is pretty usual advice for first drafts.

I will be stocking up on some candies and snacks.  Absolutely.

Six: What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

GETTING ALL OF THIS STUFF OUT OF ME AND DEALING WITH ALL THESE HARD LIFE/DEATH THEMES AND AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!!
Making a fabulously beautiful masterpiece that is also entirely horrific!  (I better add some more heroes or something. [I need to add more aliens too...cuz there's more than just bad aliens.  Maybe some evil robots...])

Seven: List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

-Sad Kaldoa.  Muted colors.
-Robert's fancy house that is kinda too empty.
-Provst, an unhappy, angry, vicious country of doom.  Except Provst was supposed to be a particular region, so I need a name for the country as a whole? Unless it's completely morphed now.  Well, it's a WIP, so it's not a problem for now.

Eight: What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Survival.  Just plain survival when it all gets down to it.  Which means Sheyla had better free Kaldoa so her life is not jeopardized and lame.
Half the galaxy wants her dead.
Did I mention I have way too many villains?
I HAVE ALL OF THE VILLAINS IN THE UNIVERSE!!!

I'm surprised the Evil Spatula from Outer Space isn't trying to kill her too.
But that would be a real genre paradox and the universe would explode, so bad idea.

Nine: How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Well, she gets tougher and is able to fight back and not hide her magic.
Or maybe she's finally happy again?

 No, she probably just ends up dead given how things are going.
(NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!)

Ten: What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over? 

I want them to feel like they've just been part of an epic piece of history and witnessed a hard-fought victory that was 100% worth the battle to get there.

Also, I want them to think my sci-fi stuff is cool, and that the art is cool. (But that comes later!)

That's it for now!

October 11, 2017

Sketch of a Dark Enemy


It's like I'm inadvertently participating in Inktober or something...Except digital.  And no prompts.

Anyway, this is Huntress looking at some sort of shadowy robot dragon spirit with magic laser eyes.  Good thing she's immortal or she would be dead by now.
It's a very messy, simple doodle painting, but that's the only way I can relax my way into using digital tools.

I might work on her story during nanowrimo.