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!

Seeing the light and it’s not a train!

I’m at 35508, just past the word count for Day 21. At this point, I’m trying to develop origins for things that happen in the third book–things I’ve already written. It has meant weighing each element and seeing where and how and if it actually works.

For example, I have the main villain in the third book vaguely describe just how she came to be where she is. I’ve taken that description and fleshed it out a lot, though as I think of it even now, I don’t know if part of it still works. We’ll see; this is draft zero, after all. I had to come up with a background for a building that is in dispute during the last book–who built it, why did they build it, why did they build it where they did, and why is it now in the hands of another family? Not sure if this works either. I might have to write the scene with the original owners and see how that goes.

Part of my problem is that I’m still near the start of the story and I’m 35000 words in! A lot of this will be cut in order to make things move along faster and a lot will be added to give flesh and color to my world. But that’s for December. Now, it’s time to get the bare bones down and make other decisions later.

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!”

Character excerpt–Alain di Wintersea

My current word count is right on track: 3494. The word count widget is in the right sidebar.

Just to prove that I don’t write just female characters, let me introduce you to Alain di Wintersea, from my novel, Knights of the Hex. He is majii but has what many would consider a low-key power: he can turn one inorganic thing into another. He is the current head of the Wintersea clan, known for the long line of majes that the Maj (the world’s spirit) has chosen. A scholar and historian, he is considered a good overseer to his region and quite a handsome, virile catch, even in middle-age and after two marriages–one failed, the other ending with his wife’s death. He is in love with Elise and he inadvertently sets into motion some of the plot’s events when he sends his son, Denys, to a disputed island that has been lost to the family’s records.

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Another character sample–Jenestra of Drake’s Hammer & Elise di Michaux

Okay, these two are from my first book (third in the trilogy but first written). They are friends and traveling companions. Both are majii; Jen picks up on languages, both spoken and written, unusually fast, while Elise is considered “twice-favored” as she is both a healer and an empath. They are also of different kindreds. Jenestra is a dwarf (called dwermer in my story) and Elise is human.

Jen protects Elise to some extent. She is a fighter, handy with a glaive, and keeps Elise from wearing herself out healing–or tries to. Elise hates to see anyone in pain–partially because she feels their pain–so she’ll do what she can to alleviate it, even to her own detriment. They travel in a well-equipped wagon pulled by creatures who look like pangolins. Elise was originally a character I developed for a role play I participated in and she’s pretty much stayed the same from story to story. (It took me a long while to settle on what kind of story she would work best in. I started with her in a current day Earth and branched out from there.)

So, here’s a little bit from Knights of the Hex.

Continue reading “Another character sample–Jenestra of Drake’s Hammer & Elise di Michaux”

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!

Nearing the end

Well, I’m a hair over 45K in word count now. The story? I have no idea where it’s going. I have another murder, I killed another secondary character (brings the body count to three). Sherlock Holmes is a bad guy, so is Watson (unless he’s totally clueless in the Nigel Bruce fashion), Moriarty is at least Chaotic Neutral, and Henry Jekyll has yet to meet his Mr. Hyde. My main character’s boyfriend is having blood-tinged visions and the Door has broken down at least once so far. It’s been hard to word war when I haven’t even made a list of characters and am using the terms “whatshisname” or “whoever” to designate names I’ve forgotten.

On top of all that, I’ve missed the last two write-ins because on Monday I got the result from my x-ray: it’s Charcot foot again. Now I’m waiting for either the referral office at my doctor’s practice or a call from the orthopedic office. That won’t come until Monday at the earliest now so I am being very, very good at staying off my feet. Fortunately, Son #1 showed up earlier than expected and took over most of the Thanksgiving cooking. I was stressing out tremendously over the fact I really couldn’t do what was needed to prepare. But between his picking up the cooking slack and the Girl doing a yeoman’s job of cleaning, I was able to rest my feet and write in the evenings.

I think once NaNo is over I’m going to pick up the story I’ve been working on for so long and do a rewrite. Get it finished and in a proper first draft. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this story it’s how to focus on my main character. I tend toward ensemble writing, as if I’m writing a drama on TV, with little glimpses here and there of other characters but, on the whole, keeping a core group as the focus. That doesn’t exactly work all the time. I think a third-person limited is going to work better for me in the long run. We’ll see.

In any case, more words for the validation file and less for my general word count later today. Even though I can’t be at the write-in, I can join them virtually and continue slogging through this current project.