Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Published: Behind the Scenes (March 2017 edition)

Published- Behind The Scenes.pngIn October of last year I signed a contract with Glass House Press for my alternate-history fantasy series to debut in 2018. For fun and for the benefit of anyone interested, I started up this blog series chronicling monthly updates of the behind-the-scenes in being published. Read the introductory post here! A list of all the other posts I’ve written so far can also be found at the end.

In my previous post, I got in-depth about developmental editing and progress with that. This post, I’m going to have a little less to talk about, because as mentioned before, I’m writing a prequel to my series. So what’s primarily happening behind the scenes? Lots of writing. Which, hey, we’re all doing, that isn’t anything new. This entry is going to end up a little diary-like.

The basic reason for the need of this prequel is that my world is very complex, and a lot to jam into a first chapter. Additionally, my first book arguably starts out too far into my character’s arc. My editor thinks there too much for the reader to catch up on and takes away from getting the reader into the story. It can easily be too confusing, with all the cultural terms along with hints about character and world history I’m throwing about.

I personally think it’s fun to have a bit of mystery about the character and world to drive the story… but I can’t be sure I’ve created enough of a reason for the reader to care about Fairian and hang around for getting answers.

(So we’ll see how that all works out when we get to the editing of the actual writing and how the story works out bit, but meanwhile — )

I’ve been assigned to writing the prequel. Which is unfortunately slow going, as I haven’t really written anything (fiction) on ‘contract’ before, so I’m discovering the jarring difference between writing for oneself and writing for someone else. There are many author-ly laments on all platforms of social media about this problem, so I don’t feel like I need to go into it here. Needless to say the experience will be good practice.

Despite the reasons for actually making the prequel happen, I am discovering my love for the story. The events in the prequel I’ve always treated as past history, as influencing ‘current’ events and seen through the lens of the present. Writing the prequel as present, in the eyes of my main character that’s 5 years younger… well, that’s pretty interesting. And hard. A lot of the characteristics that make up Fairian (my main character) have developed in part because of The Events in the prequel, so they’re not in place in her personality yet. But I can’t have her a completely different person. So I have to plant the seeds of her later personality, then have The Events, and then show the start of her personality change.

This is surprisingly hard. Mostly in the sense that Fairian is kind of a spoiled, naive brat at this point in time, and I’m kind of wondering how to make her even likable. I read an article the other day that mentioned something like this, but emphasized that (in the beginning of a story at least) you need to make your characters interesting before likable, worry about likability later. That, I’m pretty sure I can do.

One of my editors suggestions for clarifying my giant world for readers while still keeping mystery for my characters was to write from another point of view. I struggled with this for a little while because this is really Fairian’s story, and I have a weird complex with keeping things mysterious and throwing questions around like confetti. But, I found a happy medium. Inter-spliced between chapters from Fairian’s perspective are reports from … basically this world’s version of the magical CIA.

So in essence, I get to write Incident Reports and Correspondence of global magical clandestine operations in an alternate reality.

Just reading that I get excited.

(Now just to make sure they end up being exciting as they sound, ha!)

Camp NaNoWriMo hit just in time to help complete this thing. It’s going to be a novella (I think anyway…) so less words to write, but unfortunately I’m being so nitpicky about the craft and details it’s getting in the way of getting words down. I’m re-remembering to just get the words down and worry about editing later. Thus, Camp NaNoWriMo is helpful as the kick in the pants I need. I want to have this thing done by the end of April. I’ve written 50k in NaNoWriMo several times before; getting out 30k more should be just fine as long as I stay focused.

Speaking of focused. I need to turn my attention to writing all those words! This whole weekend ended up being “manual labor weekend” with barn cleaning and house building, and before that I was flat on my back as a migraine reminded me I’ve been messing with my sleep schedule a little too much (excuses, excuses). I need to get back at it. I still don’t feel fully recovered, but maybe the fuzzy-headedness will help just get the words out and not have a complex over all the details…

Thanks for reading, friends! Stay tuned for April’s update in a few weeks; this post ended up being a little late for a variety of reasons, next time’s should be on time. Let me know what you think, share experiences, feel free to commiserate …

Happy writing!

Advertisements

Swiss Cheese Manuscript

Well my NaNoWriMo manuscript looks like swiss cheese right now with all of the holes in it. No, not plot holes – literal holes in the… plot.

(Okay, ‘plot holes’ is misleading. I’m talking about holes in the linear A-Z structure of getting from beginning to end. Holes in the… what else would you call it? GAH)

Whatever, the point is, the manuscript isn’t finished. There’s a decent chunk in the middle and the ending stretch is riddled with them — and I haven’t actually written the ending either.

Pfff – did you think it would be done, at only 50k words? No way, that’s like, half done in my world.

*cough* Anyway…

I started with 6610 words and ended up writing 62k. Sooo… the book is almost 79k words right now. I’ll probably add 10k more. (I’m repeating myself from my last blog post — moving on)

really don’t want to work on this manuscript anymore. What is wrong with me? I’m right at the finish line — the exciting part, it’s all coming together — and instead I’m daydreaming about other stuff. And, my main character for my INITIUM series is throwing images of naked men into my consciousness she’s so annoyed I’ve been ignoring her.

(Don’t ask… because I don’t even really know what she’s talking about yet)

Which is actually pretty awesome, because I’d been feeling a little drained from writing that series. This has been a great break. I think I scared my characters into talking to me again.

Now, I have one last thing I need to finish, a fun short story project that needs to be done mid-December… then it’ll be back to torturing Fairian and Daimyn. I’ve been mulling over this book three problem, and I’ve got some devious ideas…

But back to the point of this blog post. My November project needs some work before it’s even a real draft yet. I think I know what’s bugging me — I’m not used to writing in third person, and my main character isn’t compelling enough — but I’m going to let it sit for a little while. I need to do some research and devise a better game plan. This manuscript is definitely a lot more craft and less… intuitiveness. It’s good practice for me, but not something I’m quite used to.

NaNoWriMo is great for getting the words out — but they’re not always the best of words.

I hope you all had a great create NaNoWriMo 2016. And if you didn’t get to 50k — whatever. You still wrote, you got a little farther in your novel. That’s an accomplishment. We’re all proud of you.


Surprise!

I wrote 52,000 words in 23 days. As of now, I’ve written 59k in 27 days, and that’s not with what I will write today. This is definitely the most I’ve ever written for NaNo! It comes as a surprise, considering how much I disliked this manuscript about two weeks ago.

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-2-05-52-pm

I hit a stride… as my last blog post can attest… and I’ve hit the final stretch, which always comes easier. I’ve actually left a few major holes in the middle-end of the manuscript, difficult areas that need more research or more patience and time than I have right now.

My hope is that I will be able to get to the ending scene by the 30th — but even if I don’t, I’ll continue on into December. I won’t be able to write quite as intensively on this manuscript due to other projects arising, but I want to get a draft done by 2017 — then I’ll leave it and come back it when I’m ready to start overhauling all this craziness.

… it’s going to need some serious overhauling. For one, I keep finding myself flipping between limited and omniscient third person. And my MC has a bunch of problems. And I need to be sure…

Yeah. You know what I mean.

How’s everyone else doing?? Still fighting the need to voraciously edit?


#NaNoWriMo Update: I hate my novel?

the art of.png

So a few days ago I wrote a rant about how much I hate my current #NaNoWriMo project. I can’t remember if I’ve hated projects before for NaNo — and I don’t have time to go back through blog posts and find out — but I’m pretty sure I’ve disliked or been disinterested in them before.

Anyway, this is what I wrote:

I don’t remember hating a manuscript as much as I hate mine right now.

My main character is kind of a bitch. Beyond that, she’s kind of boring. She also doesn’t have enough agency or drive, beyond the whatever monologue in her head. Sure, there’s supposed to be a big character arc (if I can do it right) but nobody is going to read to that point anyway if they can’t connect with her at all in the first chapter.

My world is also boring. I mean, come on. Enough of the western civilization-esque crap that’s been written over and over again. Why can’t I write something original? Why can’t I write something really poignant and fresh and part of a culture we don’t really know much about or something?

My stakes are also crap. I’m really good at making my characters comfy in their situations and finding safe places to hang out for moments in time. UGH.

Then there are my tropes. Oh Lord, the tropes. Every time I’m like — I’m going to this! And then — wait… it’s turned into that instead (which had been done a million times already, of course).

I suppose all of this would be okay if I trusted my ability to edit afterwards. I’m really good at line editing — but developmental editing I struggle with, a lot. Once I’ve written something, the box has been created, and I somehow get myself stuck within it. That’s why I usually end up editing and writing at the same time, because I can really think through what I’m writing and make sure I’m happy with when it gets ‘on the page.’ But with intense, fast writing like NaNoWriMo, I cannot think much about problems or situations that arise in the moment because I just have to keep writing.

I have done a lot more plotting this time around, but not enough to deal with everything that arises (does anyone, really?). So I’m spitting out words and new exciting things are evolving and some more disappointing things are developing, and I’m feeling… like I don’t know what I’m doing.

This may be partly having to do with some poignant writing advice I’ve absorbed lately (and feeling overwhelmed by), which is another blog post all together (upcoming).

But either way. Is anyone else having these doubts and problems? We’re halfway done with NaNoWriMo. How are you feeling about your manuscript now?

… and then something weird happened. Here, let me show you the results of this ‘weird thing’ that happened:

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-9-26-05-pm

That’s SEVEN DAYS AHEAD on my word count.

*cue shock and blank staring*

I’ve never done this before. Somewhere in all my insecurity I hit this weird plateau and just starting writing. It helped that I had several hours blocked away to write, and hit an interesting part, and suddenly my characters were talking to me, and I got excited about the current way my story is going.

I can feel the little doubt demons in the back of my head going — yeah, you’re going to regret doing this later because it’s too much like ____ trope.

And… somehow I’m ignoring them. I’m just writing my little trying-to-be-a-plotter-actually-a-pantser butt off and rather enjoying the ride.

But seriously — how is everyone else doing? Are the doubt demons kicking your butt? Are you hating/post-hating your manuscript?

 


NaNoWriMo Update: Tough First week

I knew this NaNoWriMo was going to be a little different, mostly because of how busy I am compared to the previous years I participated. But it was a real struggle to keep up with word counts!

Most of this can be attributed to the lack of real time I had (thus the lateness of this blog post). Between working and goats and building a house, there isn’t a lot of time lying around.

I started getting into a groove and making progress when I began writing during my breaks at work. Even if it was on my ten minute breaks, I could get out a few hundred words if I really focused. That helped a lot — probably because it got me in the mindset and routine of really using any time I had.

Also, I was really struggling with my main character and writing in third person limited. This is the first time I’ve written something long in third person limited. I’m used to first person’s ability to get right up in the character’s thoughts, and felt really distanced from my main character. Also, maybe because of that or maybe because I’m writing a bit of a selfish character… I didn’t like my main character much until lately.

But the plot — and her development as a character — has picked up a lot more lately, and that’s been helping with churning out the daily word counts.

 

So while I lagged behind the first week, I seem to be getting my groove the second week. I had Thursday off as well, which really helped me catch up. Since then I’ve been staying above the needed word goal for each day.

Screen Shot 2016-11-12 at 5.58.48 PM.png

I hope everyone’s first two weeks of NaNoWriMo have been going well!


Obligatory “What am I doing for NaNo” Post

270795_10150246023736962_4453524_n.jpg

Synopsis for the win:

The banished king of the Underworld has a plan: kidnap one of the Fertility Daughters, who’s magic powers the prosperity of the Overworld, and force her to marry his son to save his people from starvation.

Fox, one of the seven Fertility Daughters of her generation, wants more from life than to marry her Prince and make babies. She knows that her magic fuels the abundance of her kingdom — but she wants more than filling a prescribed role.

When she’s kidnapped to the alien and gritty Underworld, the harsh, pale-skilled prince is bad enough. Between the cruel military rule and the starvation, all she wants to do is go home and escape the hell of the Underworld.

Yet when she finds herself at the mercy of the people she can help the most… she finds herself falling in love in a way she could have never imagined. She’ll have to marry her alien prince, fight for survival, and now — prevent the Overworld from stealing her back.

ELYSIUM meets BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, this is an NA cyberpunk romance… with a twist.


Camp NaNoWriMo

Hey, so, apparently November isn’t the only day to join up with pals and use word goals to kick your writer-butt in the pants. Only for Camp NaNoWriMo, you get to choose your writing goal. And you also are put into “camps” with other writers to help facilitate and make friends.

Mostly I really want to work on the project I’ve tasked for it. But I can’t, as I want to use the word counts for the month of April, and this project I’m working on can only be 17k words (it’s for the contest I mentioned in my last post), so I’m constrained that way. Which is actually kinda fun and I’m looking forward to it. But impatient for April to be here.

So instead of writing on the novella I’m writing this post. I probably should be outlining and researching for the novella, but I’m feeling too restless. Probably because it’s sunny and I actually should be outside working on the barn.

Because look at these faces that will greet me: