Saturday, December 24, 2011

My First Edit

When I was in fourth grade, we were given an assignment to write our own legend. About how something happened, or why something is the way it is… etc.

I eventually came up with "How We Got Horses," which basically was about a boy and a donkey. Something happened and then there was a pure white horse in the world.

We had to edit these legends, though, and I ended up with one of the teachers that I think taught special education, but had ended up in Mrs. VanSkiver's room to help. He sat me down at a little table. A book about JK Rowling was there, kind of looking at me, and the table was yellow, but that's all I remember.

And he read the story, while I was kind of sitting there, and then he said, "Well, I don't like the word 'got.' So how can we change that?"

That is literally all I remember past the fact that the title was changed to How Horses Came To Be and we eliminated all use of the word 'got.'

During that assignment we also learned to read aloud— don't obstruct your mouth with the book or paper, don't tilt your head down, speak slowly and clearly and loudly.

And these two things have remained with me till now. Every time I read aloud I remember sitting on a stool in front of the class to read my legend out loud, and every time I get a weird thing like 'how we got,' I remember that man in the brown, short-sleeved, collared shirt saying, "I don't like the word 'got.'" And rewriting that thing in pencil in my terrible nine-year-old handwriting, and then typing it up and printing it out on… light blue paper with clouds, I think.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I get addicted to things.

 Sometimes I'm addicted to an artist, at other times it's a particular song. These are the harmless addictions, the ones that don't really hurt anything but my ear drums (and really… my headphones are never turned up loud, so even that pain is minimal).

In NaNo'08 I was addicted to Kiss Me, by Sixpence None the Richer. It's one of the awesomest songs in the universe, and spawned a story idea based on it. That story's still waiting. Doesn't seem so smart now as it did then. But Kiss Me always gives me a floaty feeling, as if everything is going well. I listened to that song… a thousand times? It was a good time.

I often get addicted to artists. Some people don't have one or two good songs— some people have an albumful of good songs. I've gotten addicted to ABBA (more than once), Mircea Vintilă (just… an awesome Romanian artist), The Beatles, Elvis (for a time), Buddy Holly (when I was five I'd put on his Greatest Hits CD and go to #5, Everyday), Taylor Swift… There's many others (including contemporary people), but I can make an entire post out of that alone.

All these artists will fade away for a time, and I can't bear to listen to them… but then I rediscover them. Especially Mircea Vintilă. I think it's because he's Romanian.

But I also get addicted to other things… things that aren't so easy to get out of sometimes.

Two are the most important:

1) Finding books to read. I have an iPod Touch. On this I have the FreeBooks app. This app has the benefit of offering about 20,000 books from pre-1923. It includes Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Andrew Lang, Jack London… etc.

EVERY TIME I go to search for a book, or browse the categories, I end up downloading many more books than I counted on. Things like Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. (Really?) Or Cicero's Orations (Unfortunately I haven't learned Latin yet. It's on the list.) Or Pinocchio. Or the Aenid.

I don't get these books because I have to read them (though I often do feel that I have to), but because I feel like they'd be interesting. My take on classics is that if they're classics… they're good. Of course, some classics like Catcher in the Rye absolutely suck, but for the most part they're all wonderful. (I'll make a post about awesome books later though.)

And every time I open up FreeBooks or GoodReads or whatever, I see these books, and I think, "Oh, goodness, I want to read this too! But this one's awesome as well! And the title of this one is interesting… and this is Dickens, and I want to read all Dickens' books… here's a book originally in French, so I'll want to read that, and then I really should find Don Quijote. Ah, here's Pinocchio! I should learn Italian so I can read Pinocchio too. WHY IS THERE NO TIME?"

2) Challenges. Yeah. Anyone who knows me off Write Write & Write knows that I will take practically any challenge you offer up. Later I'll figure out I can't really use it for anything, so then I'll say, "Listen, I changed my mind on this." But most challenges I do take, and then it becomes this entire fiasco trying to figure out how all this stuff is going to fit into just one month.

It also includes figuring out how on EARTH I'm going to: 
  • write a 50k novel 
  • while rewriting another novel 
  • while writing 31 short stories 
  • and 31 dictionary entries 
  • as well as reading 12-13 books (so a third of a book a day)
  • while reviewing 4 of them
  • not to mention reading one book in French 
  • and starting Don Quijote 
  • also updating Write Your World with 500 words a day
  • and adding a chapter a week to WeBooks for Riddle Rose.
  • Learn physics and psychology and math

These are the goals for just January, by the way. I'm probably going to have to fix this 365 short story gig… it's getting insane.

SO… do you guys have any addictions? I bet yours are probably more interesting than mine, and don't make your head hurt to think about them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Turning 17

Turning 17 is an interesting phenomenon. While 16 is widely celebrated in America, and 18 is celebrated in Romania (as well as 14, but that's another story), I like 17. For one thing, it's a prime number. For another thing, the numeral 7 is probably one of the most elegant. And I like it. For another thing, 'seventeen' has more syllables than any other year from one to sixteen, and from eighteen to twenty. And many other things I could mention but don't want to clog up the post with.

I'll be posting all the details of what we saw on Noi6, because it's a bit more public and that one needs views too, and focus on more writerly/readerly things here, because no one goes on an Around the World blog to read about my word count and book total.

The Liebster Blog Award

Lemme start off by saying I have no idea what the Liebster blog award is.

But it was a wonderful birthday present, from Coffee of The Land of Man-Eating Fairies. THANK YOU!

Receiving the award meant finding out what it is.

The Liebster Blog Award is awarded by bloggers to other bloggers whose blogs have 200 followers or less. (I think I have... 0. 0 is also a beautiful and elegant number.)

The rules ARE:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.

3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 3-5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.

5. Let them know they have been chosen, by leaving a comment at their blog.

Now, let me also start off by saying I don't exactly follow blogs. In fact, I never read them.
THAT IS NOT TO SAY that I do not have friends who blog. I do. Here they are. They're all writing related. You may hate me or love me because of it. XD

Kaedekit's Thoughts of a Paper Dragon hasn't got too many posts yet, but she's doing MilWordy. Instant win and instant follow. There are not enough people doing MilWordy in this world.

Katie G's MilWordy & Beyond is also about MilWordy. It hasn't started yet, though, so there's only an introductory post. BUT THAT'S OKAY! I only had one post once... and it was a terrible one. Katie's is a good one. It explains things. Mine didn't.

Bouchra Rebiai's Pink, Purple, and Fuchsia is awesome. For one thing, Bouchra (Boosh-rah) sets insane goals... just like me! For another thing, her blog is bright pink. Now, I like pink. And, she's been doing the Day Zero Project for about... 14 months. So... instant triple win. She's not doing MilWordy. She's studying her ... ICGSE's or some other strange acronym.

The Thoughts

Seventeen doesn't feel much different from sixteen, with the exception of the fact that instead of being in a plane this year, I was on my feet. I'll have the details of the things we did on Noi6, but suffice it to say that it was an AMAZING birthday.

But I've also got a couple of thoughts on what I want to do with the next year... more personal wise than writing goals:

  1. Stop drinking carbonated drinks. In the two months since we left home, we have drunk more soda than we have in the past year. It needs to stop.
  2. Start working out. I haven't done anything since we left, and I'm starting to wonder if my muscles remember what a split is or not any more. They definitely don't remember push ups.
  3. Count to ten before yelling at any one. Unless there's a rhinoceros charging them and they won't move... this means that before calling peoples' attention to things... I count to ten. This will hopefully stop me from being such a terrorist to people I know well.
And that's it! Three, simple, easy things that I'll be able to remember.

  1. Don't have more than 7 things on the to-do list for one day. This, of course, doesn't include things I haven't finished from days before. ^_-

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The End of 2011

2011 is ending, and that means that I am making New Year's Resolutions. Pluralized by a lot. I'm taking on the , which means that I'll be able to plan things out to my heart's content.

Of course, there are a couple of things that need to be finished in 2011: reading, for one-- I'm not about to lose the GoodReads challenge because of having to do a lot of things.

I'm also going to have 365 dares on before Dec 31st.

And I'm going to finish writing the Blood Feud; Riddle Rose is delegated to January 2012-- I'm not about to overload my schedule more than it has to be.

I also have to finish a spreadsheet for MilWordy, preferably before Christmas. It's going to have a looong list of challenges, books, and a word count spreadsheet.

Yeah... I don't know what I'm thinking either.

Anyway, what this means for the blog is that it's going to have a lot more updates.

For one thing, I'll be posting 1 book review here a week, as well as weekly updates (or more) on my progress in each goal. I'll also be revamping the Writing Schedule for 2012, and the Reading Schedule for 2012 will be created.

As well as a lot of other things.

Stay tuned...


Friday, December 9, 2011

Riddle Rose

Riddle Rose is now being posted on WeBook!

I'm planning on updating with a new chapter AT LEAST once a week-- but I have a lot of things going on-- not only do I have to plan Carl and Stella's story for Momoka, but I need to finish The Blood Feud (which is also being posted on WeBook)... something which I'm dreading.

December is really busy right now.

I'm writing two things at the same time and planning a third (do I HAVE to? says my Muse... but I'm evil and say 'yes, you do.'), as well as writing (well, let's be honest-- TRYING to write) 4k a day.

See, I want to hit 400k on MilHalfy by the end of December... that means 4.5k a day. It's NOT working out so well, since Muse has decided to go on strike, and everything looks vaguely uninteresting. And boring.

And annoying.

So... what is the answer to this?

SLOGGING. Slogging means putting a pitiful drop of 1k, 2k words a day into the bucket of the novel. It means TRYING to get up early to write for an hour and then going off to Facebook because you cannot muster the courage or inclination to write that conversation.

It means painting with broad strokes and leaving plot holes... JUST so you can say... "It's done. Here it is."

It means bad quality on The Blood Feud, especially at the end bits. I mean... I sure don't want to go back and figure out what I need to wrap up in everyone's stories! I mean, I love Natalie and Grigory... but I'm sick of the story. I want to get Frederick to tell Henry a couple of things and I want Henry and Marie to discuss a few things... and then I want to have a big family meeting scene and I want that to be IT.

And then I'll fix it all in any revisions once I get Muse away from vegetable-mode and more towards hyperactive-mode.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing while Traveling, and NaNoWriMo

It's a funny thing to write while traveling. Between absorbing all the things you see and hear and smell and taste and touch, you also have to continue writing a book that, for me, has absolutely nothing to do with what's going on outside your little world.

Writing while traveling takes discipline... almost more so than at home. At home I can waste time all day if I want... while traveling I may not have a plug or the location to be away from people talking and questions about the story. I was in a car for four days straight... and it felt ridiculously rude to pop out a laptop and start writing. So I didn't.

This means that I didn't write for four days. Part of this reason is that I was sick on Thanksgiving, which was ridiculously amazing-- I didn't visit one of the monasteries and instead spent the day trying to figure out how to watch High School Musical.

I didn't even like High School Musical the first time! I watched it out of a duty to figure out what's going on in the mind of tweens who are nuts about it. I think I was a tween when HSM came out... hence the research. While I only saw half(ish) of HSM, it was enough to realize that it's a cute movie... but not award winning. Zac Efron was freaking young though.

November 30th came and went... I think I wrote maybe 1.5k? A very measly drop in the pot compared to the 10k days I had in Lhasa... (8k+ three days in a row is exhilarating)... but I didn't care. I broadly sketched what happened in the scene and declared that there was not enough space.

And after that... I couldn't find anything else to write. I knew exactly what I needed to write, but I couldn't find the words. I couldn't even type properly. It was like my fingers had forgotten the keyboard in 5 days. So I stopped and went off to lose brain cells on something else.

Why? Because, though I'm about... 35k behind, I know I can catch up by the end of the 2011 year... at which point I will have 400,000 words of semi-coma-inducing genius. In 2012, it will be better-- 1,200,000 words of less-semi-coma-inducing genius.

Usually the best place to write is in the hotel room after a long day of doing nothing... or the train station, or the train, or on the street waiting for the streetlight-- I planned about 500 words a day this way in Japan on my iTouch. Those words formed the backbone of a lot of my characters, and so at home I could focus on the details instead of the basics. I also figured out a lot of motivations... and found out that Gerald is a victim, not a villain. He was very clear on that.

Thoughts on NaNo'11

It was ridiculous, to say the least. I wrote the book in a total of four countries and about six cities.

Japan: Tokyo Wrote upstairs in a tatami mat room.

China: Beijing Wrote in a hotel room
Xi'an Wrote in the hotel room... kind of
Xining Wrote a bit in a hotel room

Tibet: Lhasa Wrote a ton in the hotel room

Nepal: Kathmandu Wrote very little

The most productive place? Lhasa. I have no idea how. I spent a week in Beijing and only 5 days in Lhasa... and yet Lhasa's word count beats out Beijing's by about 6k. I think it's mostly because that is when I got my breakthrough-- Gerald would help Frederick, and he would be pretty normal when not attacked by the voices. It catapulted Gerald out of his one-man story and into something else, which for some reason made things much more interesting.

I'll be updating "What NaNo has taught me" with this year's notes, but this NaNoWriMo has been an adventure.

I realized that planning too far forward is one of my downfalls, that I like having a lot of characters (really), and that writing during vacation is actually pretty easy. I was writing in a lot of different places all the time, and I did a ton of word wars with the lovely people over at Write Write and Write! and NaNoWriMo Word Wars and NaNoWriMo WordSprints on Twitter.

So that was fun.

I only hit about 90k in the Blood Feud, which is slightly annoying, but I did hit 98,089 words... which means that September is the only month I made my quota... yes, it's rather annoying, but... -__- I'll get 135k in December to make up for it all. I hope.

A Rant on Bad Writing

I read books on the internet every once in a while. Usually they are fluffy romantic things that I use to fill up the time.

I found an interesting website and looked for one of the more popular books on the site which I hadn't read before. I'm not going to say what it's called, but suffice it to say that I was... horrified. The book had been chosen as a READER'S CHOICE... yet the sentence structure was... terrible, to say the least, and it was hard and choppy to read. The sentences are passive, and the writer TELLS everything instead of showing it.

I have never had experience with seeing something TOLD for such a long period of time (about 20k so far), and it is eye-opening. THIS is what they mean when they say, "Show, Don't Tell." Perhaps this book is an exaggerated version of that "don't," but it definitely explains what you're not supposed to do.

Let me explain what I mean:

She tried to be cheerful for his sake. They were both back home sitting on the sofa. They had just finished watching "Deal or No Deal." He must have been tired as he was yawning. It was getting late and she was trying to figure out if she was going to bed or not.

Could you read an entire novel like this and then vote for it so many times it gets reader's choice? There were other stories... stories where the above would be something like this:

She looked over at him over the back of the sofa and smiled bravely. He yawned, covering a hand with his mouth, and looked over at her with sleepy eyes. She glanced at the clock and frowned--  "Deal or No Deal" usually finished earlier than this. "Do you want to go to bed?" she asked him.

Okay, so it's not perfect and I'm not the best at this, but... really? How did something like Exhibit A get to be to be Reader's Choice? Has America's IQ gone down? Is it that there were no better stories when it was elected as Reader's Choice?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What NaNoWriMo Has Taught Me

We are in Tokyo, and I am not sure whether or not I should up my word goal for November. My father would say a very emphatic "NO." Me? I'm not so sure. As some of you may know, I'm a chronic overachiever in the reading/writing realm... and sometimes that even translates to schoolwork.

The current word goal for The Blood Feud is 300,000. I want to see if I can focus on a story for 300,000 words... without adding filler, pointless discussions, or strange revelations in the middle of oatmeal.

It's three times as much as I have ever written for a novel before; the last novel (NaNo'09) I tried this on ended up being an exercise in 'how much crap can you put in before you hate it?' (Looking back on it, of course. As I was writing it, I think I only had a very dim idea that things would not work out in the revision phase. Of course, I didn't listen to that little voice.) That book continues to not have a title. Its working name is In Which There Is Edward or NaNo'09, which are terrible titles, but literally the only ones I could think of that didn't prompt a gag reflex or a tweaked eyebrow.

However, if I think about it... that book was written when I was 14. Not many 14-year-olds decide to write a hundred-thousand word novel in 30 days. Not many finish it in 28. Perhaps it's forgivable, then, that the plot was terrible, that most of the dialogue revolved around my two main characters, who bickered incessantly... and I'm getting off track.

The point is, every year in NaNoWriMo, I learn something.


Sabanoud Doeslayer : 50k
In this first year, I had known about NaNo for about a year and six months. I did not participate in 2007 because I'd found it in June, thought "Oh, cool!" and then promptly forgot about it until something like the 5th of November, when my 12 year old brain decided it was impossible to do with an eight thousand word debt. (I don't know what I was thinking either.)

So when I found the NaNo site again in October 2008, I signed up promptly... and spent most of the time leading up to NaNo waffling around and looking lost. I'm not sure if this is a common phenomenon for NaNo Newbies. But keep in mind: I was a 13 year old who had never actually written anything complete in her life... except for maybe three stories which have been buried in my mind as: "Never Talk About. Ever." And who signed up for the YWP site at the same time because she wasn't sure she could hit 50,000. (I think I had a 20k word goal there, which mid-week one was updated to 100,000, and abandoned when I reached Week 2).

I finished NaNo'08 on November 19th, at something like 10 am, with a 50,100ish manuscript.

The Lessons:

  • NaNoWriMo is achievable. 
  • I like writing.
  • I like writing even more when there is
    • a deadline
    • a large word goal
  • Writing a character playing Solitaire is harder than coming up with plot.
The Aftermath:
  • Sabanoud Doeslayer was hastily edited for typos and sent off to our family's Kindle, where I forced my father, my mother, and my sister to read it. My brother, too young to read (or so we thought), was exempt.
  • I tried editing it, but... it was a quest plot. One of the things I've learned since NaNo'08 is that I'm not good at writing quests. I need character dialogue.
  • It has been relegated to the "Proof That NaNo is Achievable" folder.


In Which There Is Edward: 100k

In the second year, I was ready and waiting for November with anticipation when October arrived.

However, after waiting around eagerly in Romania, waiting for a plot to come out... and ending up with... nothing, October 28th I sat down and patiently wrote down, on paper, lots of strange plot ideas (hero falls in love with villain... pink talking ship... Title? Note: Your True Love Is Ugly <- this title persisted until I had to tell people about the book, at which point I changed it to: I have no idea what the title is yet), until I had the basic premise.

The basic premise morphed from a simple story into something quite convoluted (mostly because my brain inserted a talking wind spirit who tried to kill my MC and a mirror-watching [think TV] witch that turned my MC into a frog when he tried to mess with her Plan... and should I mention the time-hopping and the fact that my MC somehow spawned... a baby?!), and when November was over... I couldn't set it down. I'd promised my family they would be able to read it.

In Which There Is Edward (a better working title, no?) was finished November 28th. At about 6 pm, with exactly 100,000 words on the NaNo counter. I was very proud.

The Lessons:

  • Brainstorming for a plot is a wonderful way to get one
  • 10k days ARE possible (I'm not sure how big my word count was on my best day, but it was above 10k, and perhaps something closer to 15k. And there were TWO of them)
  • Time travel is HARD to write
  • Perseverance:  I learned to push through the slumps of "Week 2"-- those terrible days that hit (and last) anywhere from Day 2 to Day 29-- when you don't understand why you started writing the story in the first place. When you start thinking that NaNoWriMo is a waste of time. (it's not!)
  • I discovered Scrivener and the Dvorak keyboard-- and have been using them both ever since. 

The Aftermath:

  • In Which There Is Edward was printed out at my dad's office printer and was edited half-heartedly manually, before being typed up on the computer. The beginning was fixed, the ending was fixed, and it was shared with my family.
    • My sister commented on the typos. My father fell asleep every 2 pages (it was not his fault-- he was exhausted). My mother critiqued it, saying that the bickering (and there WAS a large amount of bickering) was overdone. My brother? LOVED IT.
  • I'm trying to edit it... but the plot is so overworked and complicated that I have no idea how to start. It's going to be edited for 50 hours in January. If that doesn't work... well, there's always February to rewrite the whole thing.
  • It has been sent to the "To Edit" folder.


Revenge and Grey China: 83k

By NaNo'10, I had learned of the amazingness of NaNoWriMo... and was stalking the NaNoWriMo forums from October 1st, looking through dares and 'adopt-a-lines' for inspiration.

October 4th, I had my premises: "A villain's fiancé breaks it off, so she decides to get revenge on him." and "Allegra conks a billionaire on the head with a teapot and is surprised to find he is desperately in love with her."

Those are not the original sentences, of course. This NaNo, I planned almost obsessively: taking a combination of the Snowflake Method and the Phase Outlining method (by Lazette Gilford, author of NaNo for the New and Insane).

But I soon found that planning was not always the best way... I faced many slumps throughout the month-- caused in part by large word count goals per phase which were unrealistic and much too strict: if I didn't hit the word goal, I would go back and add description and flesh out the scenes. In a way, this was good: I got a... 500 word bit to 3000 words (and improved it in the process), but I did not enjoy this NaNo as much as the others, with their highly wonderful pantsing.

I finished November at 66k, and continued writing into December.

The Lessons:

  • Being too strict about a phase's word goal is not conducive to motivation. It is, however, wonderful for description
  • Setting too high a word goal for a phase is not conducive to motivation.
  • The Snowflake Method is fantastic.
  • Planning is good.
  • Push through!
The Aftermath:
  • Revenge and Grey China spawned a sequel before I even started writing it. As such, I did not share it with anyone except my critque buddy on PonyIsland before sequestering it away to try and write the sequel. Secrets and Green Eyes was finished (ish) at 40k in October 2011, but it still needs many, many more words. 
  • Writing the sequel
  • In the "To Write" folder
July CaNaNo'11

Dashboard: 45k

With Camp NaNoWriMo, first edition, I could barely wait. I mean, this was NaNoWriMo we were talking about. In JULY.

 I had a story I'd started ages ago that I wanted to finish, with only 5k on it, and I figured... why not? It wasn't as if I had anything better to do, and I already had experienced the entire 'experience' of NaNo-- three times, I might add.

The story fell apart. This was not because I did not start a new story. Rather, it was because, as I began writing, the story started being less and less like a love story (which I like writing), and turned into more and more of a tragedy (which I don't like writing).

Okay, maybe it was because I didn't start a new story.

I did win July-- mostly because I hammered out a couple of short stories during the month and put them into the word count.

But Dashboard? Relegated to the 'don't think about' folder.

The Lessons:
  • Knowing when to give up: while this may not sound good, it is. You have to know when going on is pointless. I had been hating the story for about 10k when I simply decided it wasn't worth it. And this was on July 30th, too.
The Aftermath:
  • Immediate planning for AugCaNaNo'11
  • Immediate delegation to never look at again folder.
August CaNaNo'11

Princess Winnipeg: 60k

I'd had this idea... sporadically. It just showed up mid-July and demanded to be written. This has never happened before.

So, August 1st, I woke up early, and hammered out a large amount of words. Describing the dragon? We'll set down 1k for that. It turned into 5k. Riding off with the prince into the sunset? There's another 2k. Meeting the witch? Sure thing. Another 2k.

While these may not be the actual NUMBERS, the idea it conveys is the same: Princess Winnipeg was a lovely little story that grew quite easily. All I needed was to keep writing.

It morphed about halfway into something really strange, like most of my pantsed novels tend to do-- Winnipeg, the main character, died by a dragon's claw and was promptly sent off to Death, who is very nice and kills people by giving them a kiss on the forehead.

I finished Princess Winnipeg at 60k on August 21st, whereupon I went off promptly to a religious camp.

Came back with just 4 days left... and then sporadically decided, with the help of the Write Write & Write group, that I would get to 100,000 words in the month of August.

And DID.

The Lessons:
  • Planning is not necessary.
  • Dialogue is helpful. Do not overdo the bickering, but do it artfully. And things will grow around that.
The Aftermath:
  • Princess Winnipeg is waiting patiently on my computer for a full editing
  • Will be edited come March 2012. 50 hours. *gulp*
  • Sent to "to Edit" folder.


The Blood Feud: 90k during NaNo

This novel came about from my yearning to write something Romeo-Juliet-ish after reading Juliet, by Anne Fortier. I sat down and from my fingers spewed something rather unlike what I had been expecting. The book follows about eight people through their lives over almost two months as they battle with or against the blood feud that has been racking their families for nearly 200 years.

What they don't know is that their ancestors concocted the blood feud for fame and fortune... and that they shouldn't be at war in the first place!

Some of the words this year were painful-- excruciatingly. This year I slacked off a bit and quite enjoyed it, playing Civilization V in hours that might have definitely been better used... but when I simply didn't have the energy to literally tackle the words onto the page. On other days, I managed to get enough motivation up to write 8 to 12k... I never actually got past what I consider my record of 15,000 words in a day. Having written that in 2009... I wonder why I haven't hit it yet. One of these days... before next NaNo...

The Lessons:

  • Planning too far ahead causes slumps and annoyances. If I must plan next year, I'll plan my characters and settings, and only a small amount of plot.
The Aftermath:
  • The Blood Feud is awaiting completion in early December, and will be edited in May 2012
I'm waiting for next NaNo to figure out what I'm going to do... I'll be all over some random corner of the globe then.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Around the Year Writing

This post is out of date. I'll be leaving it as-is.

Since I'll be writing 1.6 million words from September 1st, 2011, to January 31st, 2013, I wrote down my activities per month, so that I can stay on track and not have to figure something new out each month.

A dictionary entry is for the language I have created, and which requires a word base so I can write the songs and epic poems.


- Pants: Pants a novel.
- Plan for February.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.

- FAWM ( Write 14 songs (a song is c. 400 words, so 6k)
- Novel: Planned out.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.
- Plan for March

- NANOEDMO : Log 50 hours of editing
- 100 Theme Novel: Write a novel based on 100 themes.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.
- Plan for April

- Script Frenzy: Write 100 pages of script.
- Epistolary novel.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.
- Plan for May

- NEPMo: Write 5000 lines of epic poetry in a conlang.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.
- Drivel

- Drivel
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.
- Plan for July/August. (optional!)

- Write a long novel, spanning from July to August.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.

- Complete novel from July.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.

- Drivel
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.
- Plan for October, November, December

- GothNoWriMo: Write a gothic story from 20k +
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.

- NaNoWriMo: Write 50k
- Write a long novel.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.

- Continue writing NaNovel
- Write a new novel.
- Dictionary: Add one dictionary entry per day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Master Document of Plots and Characters

Because I am telling so many people about The Blood Feud, I've compiled this master list of all the characters and plots.

The book currently has six main story lines, along with various ancestors' sub-plots, which feature as letters/short stories between main bits of narrative.

Main Plot:
Two families war against each other in a sham blood feud that no one knows is fake.

Then there are the characters (some of which have not been included). 

Main Characters:
Frederick Martin: Frederick is the Martin Head of House. He is a careful, conscientous man who weighs everything before responding to it. He has never believed that the blood feud has any sense whatsoever.

Marie Martin: Marie is a free spirit who firmly believes in trying something just to see what it's like. She hates dates and would rather be riding a fast horse or eating an exotic food than sitting in at a meeting. Her younger brother, Frederick, is convinced she's going to die some day from too much excitement. Marie is the Martin Ambassador and thus often goes on business trips to the other estates.

Grigory Martin: Grigory is 19, and will take any dare you give him,  be it jumping off the roof, eating a pound of grapes in ten minutes, or walking on coals. He's the youngest of the main Martin's: Marie is his older sister and Frederick is his older brother. 

Natalie Lundquist: Natalie is the beauty of the Lundquists and is their pride and joy. She works at the hospital as a Morale Booster: a person who sits and talks to patients to boost their morale. She is 19, and has a bad temper.

James Lundquist: Natalie's older brother and Head of Lundquist House, James is brutally killed by Gerald Hughes, thus foisting the estate onto his second cousin, Henry Lundquist.

Gerald Hughes: George's great-grandfather is George, and his grandmother is Arianna Martin, who married Daniel Hughes, who has Sirius Hughes, who had him. Gerald is schizopherinic, and he hears voices in his head that tell him to hurt people. His story is about struggling with his growing insanity.

Henry Lundquist: Henry Lundquist is a quiet, careful young man who does not enjoy adventure. His left eye is brown and his right is blue, giving him a lopsided look. Henry is the Lundquist Ambassador starting November 2nd, 2011, because no one else wanted to be and because he was the only one silly enough to say "Yes."

Jakob Anderson: The black, 5'11" journalist with dreadlocks that is paid to write stories on the Martins and Lundquists. He is working for the Martin Informer— a newspaper almost on the line between the Martin and Lundquist Estates. He is engaged to Eleni Carlson, and is working his tail off so that they can get married.

The Ancestors:

Thomas Lundquist: The founder of Lundquist Estate, Thomas lost half his lands to his best friend, Joshua Martin in a night of gambling. The same night, Lundquist Manor burned down. Thomas Lundquist has a few secrets secreted throughout the walls of Lundquist Estate. He married Athena Rothspar, and had three children.

Joshua Martin: Joshua Martin built Martin Estate with limited funds. The house is therefore added on to whenever there is money left, and it is somewhat mis-matched. Joshua Martin married Katherina, having courted her on a tree on the grounds of Martin Estate. Daniel, Richard, and Isabelle are his children.

George Martin: The great-grandson of Joshua Martin, George Martin died suddenly in a carriage collision— smashing head-on into Arabella Lundquist's carriage. His wife, Victoria, and he had Alexander, Aiden, and Daniel.

Arabella Lundquist: When Arabella married David Lundquist, she inherited an entire estate.She had George, Harriet, and Nicholas. She died in a carriage collision on June 12th, 1960 with George Martin.

Minor Characters:

Roxanne and Rebecca Lundquist: Clairvoyant twins, Roxanne and Rebecca are Henry's aunts on his father's side. They speak in riddles, finish each other's sentences, and generally confuse the other members of the family. They receive communication from the dead by telegram, and flesh out the ancestor stories.

Judith Martin: Marie, Frederick, and Grigory's mother, who offers hot beverages and large shoulders to cry on.

Eleni Carlson: Jakob's fiancée, Eleni has a disease that will prove fatal if she doesn't get medical attention. She is in almost constant pain.

Jolene Artemis: Frederick's girlfriend.

Chad Artemis: Artemis Head of House.
Sandra Artemis: Central Hospital Director

The Plots:
Natalie/Grigory Story Arc:
Natalie and Grigory have known each other for nearly six months in close quarters, and they absolutely hate each other. When Grigory gets sent to the hospital for an emergency stay, Natalie is the one chosen to keep him company.
The two cannot stand each other… so how is it that Henry is finding heart-shaped notes around Lundquist Manor, and why does Frederick feel as if he hears his brother calling "Nat" in his sleep?

Marie Martin Story Arc:
Marie's brother, Frederick, sets her up with an epistolary dating service. As Marie juggles various deaths, she writes to three men, all of which seem wonderful.

Gerald Hughes
Gerald Hughes is hearing three voices: Hera, who criticizes everything he does and everyone he sees; Thor, who finds something to be angry about in the smallest things; and Pluto, who is convinced that Gerald needs to kill people. 
As Gerald is put under house arrest for crimes he didn't mean to commit, he struggles with Hera, Thor, and Pluto— and ultimately himself.

Henry Lundquist
When Celia Lundquist, Ambassador, was murdered, Henry reluctantly became ambassador, hoping fervently that he'd be able to resign just a few months later.
But when the Lundquist Head of House is killed, Henry finds out that he is next in line for the estate. Going from simple man to ambassador to head of house has never been easy, but it's worse for Henry, who has never wanted to be in the spotlight.
He can't possibly abdicate: there's no such thing, and besides, the only other inheritor is a distant cousin so far removed that he's practically on the Martin's side.
To add to his problems, Henry's letter-writing is deteriorating and he's been rejected by one of the women he really thought was the one; his second cousin, Natalie, is fraternizing with the Martin boy, and people are dying, left and right.

James Lundquist
James Lundquist has always been a good leader, even if he is very young. But when his ambassador, and then two other prominent family members are killed, James becomes incensed and storms to Martin Manor to demand one of the largest blood payments in history.
What he doesn't know is that Pluto has been waiting for him… and Gerald is ready to kill.

Jakob Anderson
Jakob Anderson has troubles: his rent is due, his feet hurt, and it's hot enough on the streets to melt a candle. On top of everything, his fiancée, Eleni, is dying.
When he got the Martin-Lundquist column, he thought it was the best day of his life, and one of the best opportunities he could have ever had.
When he trips over a toy on the staircase and falls and breaks his leg, he thinks it's just bad luck: after all, Frederick's been nothing but kindness. But then he gets to his apartment, and he gets kicked out because it's booby-trapped.
And a knife was perilously close to his ear one morning when he woke up.
Suffice it to say, Jakob Anderson can't wait for this story to be over.

Frederick Martin
Frederick has never believed that the blood feud is real: it's just too nonsensical. The beginnings of it have almost been lost in time, but when Frederick finds a little note in his desk that hints at answers to the questions that have been plaguing him, he begins searching for more.
And what he is slowly finding out is that everything he's known is untrue…

The Blood Feud
Many people think that the blood feud started because Thomas Lundquist lost half of his estate to Joshua Martin and then his estate burned down.
But what Frederick is now finding out is that that isn't the whole story…

Interpersed between various points of view from the other characters are the stories of the ancestors: those that were affected by the blood feud, but are now dead.

Please note that this is a sort of master document, and that it may not be clear: in which case, please tell me, so I can fix it!