I was a day ahead…

Just before I posted this. As of midnight, Thanksgiving Day, I’m right on target at 40044. I plan on writing in the evening when people can be in the region’s chat room.

It’s becoming clear to me my story will go over 50K by a large margin before I can actually go through and start editing. It’s always this way, actually, which is partially the reason I haven’t actually published anything. I write so much stuff I know I’m going to have to cut and I run out of steam by December 1st. It’s a cycle I have to break if I’m going to be published.

This year’s book has been more difficult because I have the first and third books sort of weighing on me. More things about my world are becoming clear–such as the source of conflict between the Hex and the Covenant. But I still haven’t defined the governmental policies, given proper names to the continents and countries, developed a timeline for my events–there’s so much that goes into world building. Since this particular story started with that still-developing world, one character, and her basic conflict, I’ve found myself skipping things I should do–like naming secondary characters! So, when I get as much finished as I can here, I plan on printing out all three books as they stand and trying to pull everything together. I’m told seeing it on the page makes a book a whole lot easier to work with!

Tough week!

This has been one tough week! We had three write-ins in a row, each at a different library branch. (I have one more tomorrow morning at the local independent bookseller.) I’ve had physical therapy on two of those days and a doctor’s appointment on Thursday (before the PT and the write-in). I’m still getting used to a new medication and totally forgot to take my bedtime meds on Wednesday night, which meant little or no sleep for Thursday. Still catching up on sleep even now!

Despite all that, my word count is right on target at 30,275. And I got several lovely messages and posts at the region’s Facebook group and official NaNoWriMo regional page for ML Appreciation Day on Thursday. Thank you!

Continue reading “Tough week!”

Fire drakes!

I’m at 11730, which is just past day 7’s goal of 11666. It took four 15 minute word wars to get there! My hands are sore; not sure if it’s from the cold of the house or a touch of arthritis.

There’s a lot I could talk about when it comes to my books but I thought I might discuss something I need to research some more: fire drakes!

Continue reading “Fire drakes!”

All caught up!

If you look at the word count widget on the right hand sidebar, you’ll see I’m at 10033. Since Day 6 is supposed to be 10K, I’m right on target! Yay!

Okay, I promised a bit about Lucanthea or about the social structures of my world. Since Luca isn’t fleshed out very well yet (other than being an artist, a scientist, and a shape-shifting majii), I think I’ll go with the structures.

Continue reading “All caught up!”

A character sample–Delphine di Wintersea

Okay, I’ve said I’m a character-driven writer, so let me introduce you to one of them: Delphine di Wintersea. She’s the protagonist from Dawn of the Hex and starts out the story in her childhood.

As a daughter of the house di Wintersea, she is a majii, gifted with powers from the Maj, Majere’s sentient spirit. (“Majii” means “the favored” in a long dead language of the world.) She is gifted as an auger–someone who dreams of future events–which is rather frightening if you’re only five or six. As a teen, she travels with her uncle Maslin to visit other majii he is acquainted with. It’s during one of these trips she discovers how her dreams are and have been coming true and spurs her to gather as many majii as she can find to form the Hex Majestorum, a guild for practicing majes. She hopes by working together they can defeat the strange beasts wreaking havoc on the other side of the Great Sands.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Dawn of the Hex.

Continue reading “A character sample–Delphine di Wintersea”

What kind of writer am I?

Well, according to NaNoWriMo, I’m a “pantser” which means I write with little to no preparation, research, outlining, etc. This may work against me; when push comes to shove I don’t always know what to write next. It works for me in that I can take my story in whatever direction I choose without stressing over not following my outline. (Believe me, if I went through all the trouble of writing an outline, I would stress over not following it to the last subpoint.)

I’m definitely a character-oriented writer. It’s probably because of my years of writing fan fiction–in fan fiction, your world is ready-made and keeping characters “in character” is the test of a good writer. My original characters tend to develop over the course of a story. I don’t start out with a character template or list of questions to answer as I create them. They also are known for hijacking the plot and taking it in an entirely different direction than I anticipate. A good example of this is last year’s NaNo novel, The Door to Anywhere. I started with a very staid, almost unemotional character as my protagonist. She gets into the plot and turned around emotionally. Then the whole thing developed into a Sherlock Holmes mirror-verse fan fiction! Not what I intended at all! My 2014 NaNo novel, Guardian Angels, Inc., began as a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist and morphed into a Thunderbirds fan fiction using a minor canon male character as the new hero!

Though I prefer writing third-person omniscient point of view, lately I’ve been trying to write third-person limited; as narrator, I present the experiences and inner thoughts of my protagonist and no one else. A small fan fiction I’m working on for The Flash fandom is written in first-person perspective, which means putting myself firmly in my character’s shoes, letting her tell her own story. It’s not something I’ve done before to this extent. (I probably should finish it in the next week or so; it shouldn’t take too long…)

I also tend to write in scenes, like bits and pieces of a movie or TV show. It helps sometimes because if I get stuck on one scene, I can go on to write another and come back to the unfinished bit later on. However, bridging the gaps between those scenes is sometimes a problem.  Scrivener, the writing software I use, is good for writing in scenes. You can move them up and down if you need to and much more. (I got Scrivener for half-price when I finished Camp NaNoWriMo a few years ago. Worth every penny!)

So, yeah, I write character-driven stories. World building is something I’m still working at; my planet of Majere is still under construction in many respects. And I am not immune to having my characters take a plot in an entirely unexpected direction.

Tomorrow, I might introduce you to a couple of my Majere world characters and give you a taste of their personalities.

Countdown to NaNoWriMo 2016

Yes, it’s less than two weeks until November 1st when the madness which is NaNoWriMo begins in earnest. My co-Municipal Liaison and I have all our ducks in a row as far as write-ins are concerned. The lounge is up and running with introductory threads and sign-up for the Kick-Off party on October 30th. Four branches of the county library system are working with us to provide write-in spaces and two are holding pre-NaNo plot parties next week. Lots to do on the way to that 50K word count!

So, let me tell you a little about what my novel this year is about.

Most fantasy novels are written in trilogies (or more) these days and I guess mine is no exception. My first story–still unedited and unpublished–takes place on Majere of the two moons, in a time when dragons (called fire drakes) are considered long dead and gone. The main character is a healer-empath who is recruited by a shady character to resurrect a long-dead shape-shifter knight from an extinct order. There are lots of shenanigans, of course, double-crosses, power hungry clerics, mysterious caverns full of unnamed dread–oh, and vampires, werewolves, and merfolk as you’ve not seen them before. The first written story is actually the third in the series and my second written one goes back to the time when the fire drakes invade Majere and how one young woman helps the magical folk of her day to cope with the emergency. She gathers them together and founds the Hex Majestorum, a definite player in the third book.

This year’s book comes chronologically after the first and deals with the founder of that extinct order we learn about in the third book. The hero is a wizard (called majii in the books) but she is more interested in science than her magic and applies to the Covenant, the cutting-edge learning institute of her continent. There, as the fire drakes lay siege to at the western border mountains, she tries to find a way to kill them before they can get past the edges.

Here’s my current summary at the NaNoWriMo site:

The fire drakes are decimating Majere, spreading slowly across the continents, killing majes and commoners alike. In defiance of the Hex Majestorum, Covenant-trained shape-shifter Lucanthea looks for a weapon using the one thing the Hex forbids: science.

In the meantime, the Covenant makes a deal which may save the peoples of Majere–for a price.

So, what do you think? Working title is Rebels of the Hex. I hope I can get an interesting proto-cover for it, too!

Some interesting Tumblr blogs

I’ve submitted an OC profile–that of Rhea Allison Tracy, from Moonstrike!–to a couple of OC blogs on Tumblr. The latest, Simply Original Characters, seemed to like the profile. She did point out the number of hobbies Rhea has, which I hadn’t even thought about before. The number could be seen as excessive, I guess, given how driven Rhea is as a character. Still, I have her doing at least two of them in the story so far, so I can work the others in at later times.

The owner of SOC has also started a new blog called, Hook Me. Writers who are still considered amateurs can submit the first three sentences of their stories to see if they have a good “hook”. I submitted the first three from Dawn of the Hex and Knights of the Hex. The second one needed a bit of revision to make it a better hook–something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I still have so much to do in the background of both stories, but I’ve been doing a lot of other little projects to distract myself from writing at all.  I hate myself for doing that, but then, getting the little projects out of the way should open up time when I can do nothing but write. Thursdays are particularly good right now as two family members are gone all day, leaving just me and my daughter (and the dogs). Getting to bed earlier would also be a boon, as long as I fall asleep and stay asleep. Here’s hoping I can do it!

Ugh. Behind, as usual.

Here I am, five days into Camp NaNoWriMo and I’ve written less than 300 words. Yup, that’s right. Less than 300.

I just can’t write at home anymore. There’s too much housework and responsibility swirling around me, pressing down. Cats walking across my desk and making themselves at home on my mouse pad. Dogs whining for no apparent reason and children lying on the sofa with headphones on, ignoring the dogs. Not to mention that my desk chair’s hydraulics are accelerating their downward spiral to non-functional status. My idea to update my WIPs is falling quickly by the wayside; I almost feel I should totally rewrite the stories from scratch! Plus, I checked out Jukepop today and I kinda want to finish off my first Hex Majestorum story to post there. It sounds like an interesting way to possibly monetize my writing.

My goal tonight is to go to bed at a decent hour so I can get up at one as well. I’ve left my husband with a list of stuff I’d like him to do, leaving room for him to play a game or two with the boys before the oldest goes back to his apartment. I also need to sit down with the two remaining kids–I use the term loosely as they’re both adults–about them pulling their weight here at home. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel less pressure from the housework and be able to write. If not, plan B is to take the van every day and go elsewhere: the library, a restaurant with or without wi-fi (I prefer with so I can access Thesaurus.com), the Y, just somewhere I can set up, tune out, and plug into my writing. Even two hours would be helpful!

Some revamping of characters and worlds

When NaNoWriMo 2012 came around, I asked what story I should focus on, the alternate history X-Men meets Harry Potter meets Girl Genius (most of which was finished) or the fantasy world with everything from mages to werewolves to dragons to vampires and everything but the kitchen sink. Both of the stories contained a cast of characters I had worked with in more than one venue, starting with a modern day tale that just didn’t work. However, I took the advice of my friends, ThatGirlSix and Lillehafrue, and started work on a prequel to the fantasy world, using a different cast entirely. I didn’t feel it went well; I was creating new characters on the fly and didn’t feel any too invested in them at first. By the end, though, I was invested in a couple of them enough to possibly continue the story at a later datel. I also had a chance to set some of my fantasy world in thick pudding, if not quick-drying cement.

Right now, though, I’ve got my eye on both of my other stories. I figured most of the characters had enough differences between them that I could feasibly do both and make them separate casts entirely. So, I’ve spent most of today (with my feet up to help battle both a swollen right foot and a diabetic ulcer on the left) doing just that.

Main characters got new names in some cases. Others got new names, backgrounds, and backstories entirely. One set of characters married; another will remain as lovers and still another will remain as siblings. Some nobility got demoted. One more minor character was elevated to familial status, and I’m working on creating an entirely new character to replace a deleted one. A handicapped character in one story is regaining the use of his legs, and is splitting his powers with this new character (who will be handicapped – as was his now-deleted counterpart). Following so far? Good!

My eyes are crossing from an extended period on both my favorite baby name site and on the fantasy name generator at ninefrenchboys. Hopefully I’ll be able to read the notes I’ve been scribbling on a pad of yellow paper. I brainstormed some of the names with the Girl, who gave me some definite ideas of what names sounded more “martyr” and which didn’t. I’ve been reimagining the looks of a few characters so they’re not quite so much like their counterparts.

All of this will mean some rewriting, along with more than one global find/replace (a reason I transferred both stories over to yWriter). Maybe, just maybe, by the time Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April, I’ll be able to flesh out some more of what I started and get one of these beasts done.

Now, back to setting up my character pages!