NaNoWriMo Update and Some Thoughts on Writing

After a difficult start on the NaNoWriMo novel I feel like I’m getting somewhere (well, I guess I should, I’m over 25K words now…). The story is flowing quite well, plantsing is really working for me this year, and I’ve sent the first part of the story on for a friend to read.

This, and talking about my writing over the weekend, made me think about how weird it actually is to be a writer. And I wonder if it’s stranger to be a fantasy/scifi writer. I mean, you’re not just writing in this world, you’re making up a whole new world – some of which are complete secondary worlds – along with the characters, and basically play around in it making up stories and adventures as you go along.

On the one hand I feel like a bit like this as soon as I start talking about my writing… tumblr_o7fchbsheb1sedg7ko1_500

And on the other hand, when I do let other people see my creations (especially the stories taking place in the secondary world of The Ruon Chronicles) I feel like…

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What has helped this past week is getting my first book review. Yes, I did read it, and I’m glad I did. It was a well thought out critique that will actually help me improve my writing. And they liked it, so that also helps!

This week’s aim is to reach at least 35K words by Friday evening. Let the sprints begin!

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NaNoWriMo Update – In Which Things Are Looking Up

Click here to read my first update for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

It’s day 4 of NaNoWriMo and I am extremely pleased to say that things are really looking up at the moment. I’m on 13 000 words and not stuck (again), so I hope this weekend will be two very good days of writing. If all goes as planned I’ll reach 20K by Saturday evening and 25K by Sunday evening – which gets me 25% to a doubleNaNo.

I find that I am writing slower that I was last year – in sprints I’m about 300 words slower – but I find that the quality is better. It’s not so much just trying to get everything in my head down than writing something that will be easier to edit in the end. So it seems that the planning in October’s really paying off.

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In other writing news

I’m still trying to do the flash fiction competitions every week and am working on my Patreon fiction for November. I’m really enjoying writing that story and if you’d like to have a look, you can follow this link to read part one of Grove of Graves. It is an Airtha-Eyrassa story and makes up part of The Ruon Chronicles.

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And otherwise…

Those following my Instagram feed will know that I crochet and knit a lot. I have received a few orders for mermaid tail blankets (a lot of fun to make!) and some other bits and pieces that are keeping my hands busy while I listen to podcasts. So November is promising to be a very busy month, but I still hope that I can finish the (new) first draft of Charms of Life and Death completely by 30 November.

And now – back to writing!

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NaNoWriMo Update – Day 1

Aka I get honest about my writing

So… Day 1 did not go exactly as planned.

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I was up at 11:30pm on 31 October as planned. Started writing at midnight as planned… and realised my opening scene did not work at all. No, it wasn’t my inner editor being picky… it just sucked because I used the wrong POV. I tried finishing the whole scene, but it still sucked. So I went to bed at about 2, hoping that things would look better in the morning…

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Surprise, it didn’t. It looked worse. I hated every word. I wanted to tear it up. If I didn’t need it for my word count I would have deleted it then and there. Honestly, I wanted to cry. All the preparation, all the excitement gone with the opening scene. I had written about 3000 words, but they just seemed wrong somehow.

Lucky for me the JoziWrimos have my back and talked me back into pushing through the hating-every-word-and-hating-myself moment to skipping a few scenes ahead and ‘starting over’. It really helped and I feel like I’m on my way again. It also nearly had me ugly crying happy tears in the office. Which would have been awkward.

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I was up early this morning and the writing flowed a bit, which was awesome. I also don’t feel like chucking out the whole outline and starting from scratch. I know that makes me sound like the biggest drama queen in history. But hey, if you saw that first scene you’d understand.

Jumping in at the deep end when you can’t swim

I can’t swim, so just that sentence fills me with dread. But perhaps this is more a matter of I have too much self-doubt (Can I even write?!)* and have no idea whether or not I can pull off the sprawling story I have brewing in my head (The Ruon Chronicles). But, I guess if I don’t try I won’t know. And the really silly thing about it all is that all the feedback I’ve received about the Chronicles has been very positive. So, I guess along with the writing, I should work on that nagging self-doubt as well…

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And now, onwards with NaNoWriMo and Charms of Life and Death.

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*This after I won second place in the story of the year division (with INK, an Afrikaans writing platform) with a Ruon Chronicles story.

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The Day Before NaNoWriMo Kickoff!

It’s the day before NaNoWriMo!

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My outline has been fleshed out, more character sketches made (characters keep on wanting bigger roles, don’t you know), iPod charged, playlists ready, snackies ready (bith healthy and the I-need-something-unhealthy-to-get-me-through-the-next-scene kind), and stationery ready.

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Okay, it’s chips and rock candy. What can I say. I don’t drink.

As a side-note, I found that doing my outline in pen first helped me to work through problems more easily.

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I’ll be using Scrivener software again and I’ll still rave about it to anyone who’ll listen.

The Ruon Chronicles

For those who would like to see some more of the inspiration I’ve come across for the books, you can check out my Pinterest board and YouTube playlist – both of which are still growing.

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The Outrageous Plan for NaNoWriMo Day 1

I’m planning to start writing at midnight on october 31st, and then write and sprint until I need to get ready for work. Luckily I won’t be alone in this endeavour as some of the other JoziWrimos are also planning on doing this!

If all goes well, I’ll then hit 20K on the first day, which will get me 20% of the way there (as I want to do a double NaNo – 100 000 words again).

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Nthato Morakabi – check out his writing! – is also taking part in NaNoWriMo this year.

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Weekly Finds – NaNoWriMo Edition

With NaNoWriMo starting next week, I thought I’d focus on writing and writing help in this week’s Weekly Finds post.

Podcasts of the Week

Videos of the Week

Brandon Sanderson (yes, that Brandon Sanderson) Writing Course.

This course consists of twelve classes which have all been uploaded to YouTube. Trust me, you want to watch this.

Lessons on Story From The Hunger Games

Articles of the Week

Culture-making Checklist – Netherworld Stories

A Collection of Worldbuilding Resources – Kenneth Jorgensen

Start Your Outline With These 4 Questions (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 2) – K.M. Weiland

3 Steps to Find the Heart of Your Story (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 3) – K.M. Weiland

How to Find and Fill All Your Plot Holes (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 4) – K.M. Weiland

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NaNoWriMo Prep: How I’m Writing My Novel’s Outline

I’ve always been a pantser – starting out with an idea, perhaps a few scenes in the back of my mind, and then just writing and seeing where the story takes me. While this works quite well for flash fiction, for longer pieces… not so much. Then came The Ruon Chronicles, with the story becoming bigger and bigger – and I realised that a lot of planning will be needed if I want to pull it off.

So I bought K.M. Weiland’s book on outlining (worth every cent, by the way) and started on the immense task I got myself into. In the end my outline is written in a few revisions as follows.nano2

The Skeleton Outline

This is the most basic outline with just enough info to get you from beginning to end. I didn’t bother with any detail, but only made notes like so-and-so-dies. (This seems to happen often in my stories.)

Notecards

Because I follow different groups of characters I needed to be able to slot them together in such a way that chronology is kept to best as possible and that no one gets left alone too long.

I wrote out all the scenes on notecards (rather than in Scrivener at this moment) and played around with them.

Warning: Your cat will try and lie down on them, making this step rather tricky.

The Not-so skeleton Outline

After getting the scenes in order, I add more detail, perhaps adding POV as well. By this time I can also see which parts do not work so I can work on those.

The Final Outline

Break up in chapters and scenes; perhaps add bits of dialogue you want to include as well as finer detail.

Ta-da! (Hopefully)

Final Week of NaNoWriMo Prep

As we enter the last week of NaNoWriMo Prep, I’m very glad to say that my outline for Charms of Life and Death is basically finished. There’s still one part I’m struggling with, but I hope that, as I iron out the scenes, I’ll see what I need to do there.

I’m also spending some time on Pinterest to get inspiration for characters, places, clothing, etc. and am also drawing up some of the charms used in the book (keep an eye on Patreon!). But I am using a timer when I am on Pinterest so that I don’t end up spending too much time there or getting too side-tracked. Though I would admit that I get side-tracked by crochet patterns when I’m on there…

Patreon Fiction

I’m also finishing up the final edits on my October Patreon fiction – Grove of Graves part two: The Burning. Head over to Patreon to find out more and to read part 1 of Grove of Graves (set in the same world my NaNoWriMo novel is set).

My NaNoWriMo Novel

If you don’t yet know what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo… behold! Epic fantasy! Magic! Mayhem! A world called Airtha-Eyrassa! More epicness!

copy-of-charms-of-life-and-death Synopsis

During the first age of Airtha-Eyrassa dark forces caused the world to be torn apart in the First Sundering. Then the Ruon were given the Talent to counter these forces through magical charms. However, some of the Ruon fell into shadow and called themselves the Vidolf. 
Finally a great and bloody war engulfed Airtha-Eyrassa, at the end of which the Vidolf and their leader, Elame, were captured and imprisoned. Broken, the Ruon retreated to the sanctuary of Holt Haliern. As the generations passed, almost all of the charms were forgotten and lost. 

When the pillars of Elame’s prison fall and set free the Vidolf within, Selena Tellah, a young Ruon, along with three others must find a way to recreate the Ruon charms in order to fight the Vidolf – and some of their own who are falling into shadow. 
Time is running out as the Vidolf draw closer to setting free forces that will once again tear Airtha-Eyrassa apart and start the Final Sundering.

 

NaNoWriMo Prep

NaNoWriMo is barrelling down on us at (what seems to me to be) breakneck speed and I, along with thousands of others, are busy prepping to write 50 000 words in November.

Here’s some posts I did previously about resources for prepping for NaNoWriMo:

Between prepping to write (and in some parts rewrite) Charms of Life and Death, I’m also trying to replace as much of the world’s story bible as I can after the files became corrupted.

I’n following the exercises in K.M. Weiland’s books about outlining and structuring a novel in my preparation and am finding them extremely helpful. I’ve been using Scapple to get some new ideas down on ‘paper’ (and basically to have a big enough sheet of paper to fit everything on!). As far as mindmapping software is concerned, I’ve found Scapple to be the best one.

All in all, there is still a lot of work left to do before 1 November, but I am quite confident that I’ll be finished in time. As it is a work day I won’t be able to start writing at 12am, but I do want to write for at least an hour before work.

How’s your prepping going?

 

NaNoWriMo, Patreon, and the Saga of the Flooded Apartment

An End to the Saga of the Flooded Apartment

What a whirlwind!

These past two weeks have flown by at a breakneck pace for me (which is partly why I haven’t been able to blog properly). But the good news – at least for me – is that The Saga of the Flooded Apartment is finally over. What started in May as a surprise when I came home after a weekend away finally ended when I got new carpets and tiles! Yay! So now my place looks like a home again (mini makeover included!) and I feel like I have space to live again after having stacks of stuff everywhere to get it out of the way of the water. Now all that’s left is getting all the books back to the living area and rearranging some things in the kitchen. Because I kind of also went into Spring Cleaning Mode. Which, I guess, isn’t a bad thing.

Being back to normal also means having my writing space back – whoohoo! And a good thing as well as I’ve started prepping for NaNoWriMo.

The Epicness of the NaNoWriMo Novel of 2016

copy-of-charms-of-life-and-deathFirst off, this year my NaNo novel prepping will be a lot more structured than last year. While pantsing did work well for some parts of the story (and I seem to do worldbuilding well when I’m discovery writing), the story morphed into a much larger story and I need to plan everything out – or at least most things out – before I get three quarters of the way and realise that I am stuck.

I’ve never sat down and planned such a long piece from beginning to end, so to help me I got K.M. Weiland’s outlining and structure books. This month will therefore be spent working through those books and getting everything ready so that I can just start writing – and rewriting in some cases – the first book of The Ruon Chronicles.

 

Patreon Fiction

Besides the NaNo prepping I’m also working on the October Patreon fiction. Because the story also takes place in Airtha-Eyrassa, it’s really helping with worldbuilding a part of the world I haven’t really touched on before. Rather than just going – well those guys over there are the bad guys – I want to get into the culture and mindset of the people so that it’s clear that they’re not just there to fulfill the role of the guy sitting in a large chair stroking a white cat.

Deadlines, deadlines, everywhere

So, all in all, October promises to be a very busy month (I’m also heading into double-deadline-crunch-time at work*), but I hope that it will all pay off in November when I can finish the whole first book to such a degree that only editing will be needed and not another rewrite!

* The “double deadlines” mean that, instead of having one deadline a week I now have two for a couple of weeks as we get closer to December and to Christmas when the printing of the mags go into overdrive to get everything finished. (I work in magazines, btw.)

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, how is your planning going? I’d love to hear!

Ps. Blogposts will be back to normal from next week.

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