The Writer’s Tag

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I know, I haven’t done a tag since…well, since the Week of Blog Tags, and I don’t remember how long ago that was. But what writer doesn’t love talking about writing? And when May @ Forever and Everly tagged anyone who wanted to do it, why not do it…a month later? (That’s pretty good for me, actually.) Thanks, May!

So, it’s time for The Writer’s Tag! Where I talk about writing!


What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

Lots of things, but I suppose it’s usually the same things that I like to read about!

For genresFantasy with cool plot reveals and a dash of romance. But, you know, I’ve never read epic science fiction, and yet that’s something else I’m writing about? I need to read more sci-fi…anyone know of any books?

For styles: I usually write in 3rd person, past tense, but for Battle Song, which I’m starting to work on again, it’s actually in 1st person! And my writing style is usually fairly straightforward. I would love to develop better word choice and a more beautiful writing style, but mine is pretty simple right now.

For topics: I love to write about dragons, magic, fairy tale retellings, cultures/beliefs, deep characters, and war. Probably too much war. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure that I’ve written a novel that doesn’t have war in it…I just love the strength and heroism it brings out in people!


How long have you been writing?

For as long as I can remember! I still have old notebooks from when I was in elementary school with unfinished stories in them (usually about fairies or orphans…who knows?).

However, I never really took writing seriously as something I’d actually want to do with my life until my dad suggested we do Camp NaNoWriMo together, in April 2013. That’s when I realized how much I loved writing.

Then, 2014 was when writing became more a part of my life, when I took the 365K challenge and tried to write a thousand words every day.

And now, I’m trying to make writing my career, so I guess it depends on your definition of “writing”. Maybe I’m just beginning!


Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I write because if I don’t write, my mind fills with new ideas and new plots, and my Creative Dragon awakes within me, telling me that it won’t leave me alone until I write something. (True story.)

I write because I love to express emotions through words, because I can’t always speak, because there’s a beauty in showing how people progress through difficult challenges.

I write because weaving a story is my favorite way to spend my time. I adore my characters, I can’t stop the exhilaration of coming up with a new idea, and I love trying to puzzle out how everything fits together. In short, it’s awesome!


When is the best time to write?

All the time! Just kidding. I don’t know if there’s a particular time of day that I feel more productive to writing, because that’s not something I normally pay attention to, but on my new schedule I’m writing from 3:00-5:00 p.m. I don’t know, if I did it a little earlier, I’d probably be a bit more creative, but it still works! I like having a timeframe that I have to stick to–writing, and nothing else, during those hours.


What parts of writing do you love, and what parts do you hate?

Love:love that moment when everything just fits together! After you’ve been thinking hard and pondering how anything relates, and it’s so confusing, but this flash of inspiration comes and everything makes sense!

When you think of an awesome plot twist or plot reveal.

When you’re developing a character you didn’t really connect with before, and then you figure out something about them, and you just love them to death.

When thinking about a character’s death makes you want to cry (even if you don’t).

When you write that super emotional scene and your heart feels like it’s being squeezed and your characters are all so awesome and dramatic and everything is awesome.

When you have dreams about your characters being shippy. *nods*

When you have dreams that spark story ideas.

When you share your work and someone loves it! And not only that, but they connect with it. That’s awesome.

When you look back on old writing and realize that it’s not as bad as you remembered.

When you think of a deliciously sad and emotional ending or scene.

When you get to be the evil author. All too often done by me…but it’s so fun!

When you’re so in love with your story that everyone else can’t help but love it too.

…that was kind of long…

Hate/Dislike: Being stuck and not knowing where to go next.

When you have such a great idea, and it doesn’t turn out as good on paper.

When your characters are all refusing to develop themselves. Hence all the character-glaring that I do.

When you start to compare yourself with other writers and feel like a failure.

When you feel like you don’t know how to write anymore.

When someone doesn’t like your writing that you’re really proud of.

When you feel so inadequate and like you’ll never measure up.

Gosh, why do we put the “hates” after the “loves”? That’s just depressing.


How do you overcome writer’s block?

I don’t. Umm, probably through endurance, I guess? Sometimes all it takes is to keep going when it’s hard. But I think usually it helps to take a break and do something else (like drawing or playing the piano) to calm me down. After that, it helps to find where things went wrong and then try to fix it or go from there. Identifying the problem is half the battle!

(And fixing it is the other half. *sighs* Usually something needs more development…always more development.)


Are you working on something at this moment?

Yes, I’m writing this blog post. Yup! I just started working on Battle Song, a retelling of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, with warrior mermaids + cool characters + cool religion stuff + wars! (See? There’s even multiple wars in this one.) I started writing it last November for NaNoWriMo, but I’m restarting.

(I’d link you to the page, but some things are changing and I need to rewrite it. And also make a better blurb. Because I’m great at that.)

Anyway, I’m still working on re-developing stuff, but soon I’m going to start writing. This time, I’m going to write the last 10K first because then I’ll know where I’m headed. Plus, there’s some great emotional/shippy/awesome scenes at the end. *grins*


What are your writing goals this year?

Well, I do have goals from my New Year’s Resolutions post, buut a few of those might be changing. My new goals are to write every day, to publish at least two short stories, and have the first and second drafts of Battle Song done.

Unless you mean “year” as in a year from today, in which case to have Battle Song as ready for publishing as I can get it.

And, of course, to always be improving!


Tag–You’re it!

If you read this and enjoyed it, consider yourself tagged. Because I only have a few people who I could tag, and I’m also not sure how many you’re supposed to tag for this…so tag if you want it!

(Also, if you do this tag, feel free to use the graphic!)


we talk and talk and talk

Are you going to do the tag/have you done it before? I’d love a link! And if you don’t want to do the tag, feel free to answer the questions in a comment below! I especially want to know what you love and what you hate about writing.

Oh, and, P.S. I’m going to be gone next week on a family vacation. I was going to write a post and pre-schedule it, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. So if you don’t see me, that’s why!

Becoming an Author — Authory Updates, Goals, and Whatnot

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Yeah, I didn’t write a hiatus post…but it’s too late now. I was gone (church youth camp), I came back, and celebrations are in order. Or a virtual cookie handout. One of the two.

Anyway…this new post! It might turn into a blog series…who knows. It’s called Becoming an Author, with the emphasis on the unspoken “not just a writer”. You see, I’ve made a few decisions over the past few weeks that mainly culminate to this:

If I want to become an author as a career, then I had better start acting like one right now.

Hence becoming an author.

And I want to talk with you about my goals! And ideas! And how I’m faring after my first day at the “job” of being an “actual” author! (Decent…decent.)

But first, some updates.

So, you know I’ve been working on my Iris novella. I finished that last Saturday (the week-and-a-half ago one) at about a total of 24,000 words. It…was pretty great. It felt really good to start and finish something and to know that I put my heart into it. It was fun. It was emotional. And I’m so happy I wrote it.

(And, you know, if you were one of the people who read the Spotlights and decided you wanted more, tell me in the comments and I’ll email the story to you.)

Besides that, I’ve had a whole bunch of plot bunnies, mostly from my dreams, oddly enough. I wrote a 1500-word story/poem/story-poem that was vaguely Rapunzel based from a dream I had. And it was fun.

But I’ve been talking…to myself, to my family, to friends…and I know that I can’t keep writing short stuff like this. If I want to be an author, I need to write a novel. Like, an actual one. That I finish, and revise, and try to publish.

So, I had a little talk/counsel/thing with my parents yesterday and worked out some goals and a schedule for what I’m going to do this summer, and in the future.

First, I needed money. Because there’s things like college looming in my near future (eek!), and who knows when I’ll actually publish something. So I’m working part-time this summer for my dad & grandpa. (I’m transcribing my dad’s journals and editing my grandpa’s history. Both of which should maybe help me with writing, and I’ll enjoy them much more than some other entry-level job.)

And secondly, I need to write like it was my actual job. Well, not necessarily, because I’m only doing two hours a day. But I’m doing two hours a day! Which means I’ll be doing something consistently with writing, which I have not done in the past.

Also, I’m working on one novel that will hopefully be ready to be published by June 2018. If it’s not publishing-worthy or if I don’t publish it by then, whatever. But I just want to have it as ready as I can make it.

Want to know what it is?

Drumroll, please…

It’s Battle Song, the novel I started last November for NaNoWriMo! And, as a plus for me, there’s already a page for it. (An non-updated page, for sure, and everything’s subject to change, but hey, it’s there.)

Besides the novel ha, I make it sound like it’s so easy to write a novel, I’m also looking to publish a few short stories, whether through magazines or contests. If you know of a good one, please tell me! I’d love to hear it! I have one or two (or maybe just one) stories I could try to publish, so I’ll probably need to write more, but I want to try to get my name out there and maybe develop my craft a little more along the way.

I want to publish at least one short story by September 1, 2017. Because that’d be cool. *nods*

Aside from writing, there’s blogging! Yes sirree, you never thought this day would come, the day when I, Lana, at The Music of Words, would actually make…a posting schedule.

I’m going to spend two hours on “writing marketing” (which is basically just talking to people online and writing blog posts) once a week, and write two blog posts & set them to post. (Probably Saturday, since I don’t have “work” that day.) And then the other day that my post comes out, Tuesday, will also be my blog response day where I respond to comments. Which is only supposed to take 30 minutes. Heh. Heh. Heh.

But, as you can tell, it is a Wednesday, which isn’t on my posting schedule at all. It’s also not in my general schedule either, but I’m writing this during my free time. So if I have a brilliant idea for a blog post, it might appear on a random day. (You can thank me later.)

Oh yes! So, today was my very first day on the job. I actually followed a schedule from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Crazy, I know! (And then I had free time…ahh man, I’m going to love my free time.) So, how did it go?

Well. It went well. (Wahoo for good grammar!)

Okay, it was actually easier than I thought to keep to a schedule, though I was sorely tempted to stop and just finish the book I was reading. (I finished it during my lunch break, instead. And then read another book during my after-five-pm free time. *grins*)

But it was also hard to work on writing. I’m trying to figure out world building so that it’s actually cool (not to mention I think it’ll solve a lot of plot problems), but it’s more difficult than expected. How does one take influences from a real-world culture, put it into a fake world, with certain requirements and characters, and still make it realistic? I have no idea. But at least I’m trying, and that feels really good.


talk with me!

Do you like/not like the Becoming an Author posts & why? What should I do differently in the next one? (less updates, more advice?) Are you excited for my goals as well? What are your plans for the future & what career do you want to go into/are in? What are your best tips for keeping to a schedule? Or for writing? Or just tips for life in general? I’m a willing listener here to all the sage wisdom you have to give. Especially if it’s a little sarcastic. *wink wink*

 

Spotlight #6: Meet Samuel (Iris, Part 2)

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Spotlights: excerpts, commentary, and random stuff about my current writing. Previous Spotlights can be found here.

If you remember the last Spotlight, I introduced to you a new story that I’ve been calling Iris but will probably be called something else (The Flower of Esclia?). Well, it was supposed to be a short story, but I have 17,000 words so far and it’s still not done.

So it’ll probably be more of a novelette/ novella.

Anyway, I told you about some characters last time, and today you get to meet a new one! His name is Samuel, and he’s quite fantastic. He’s the son of a travelling merchant and was Rosie’s and Iris’s childhood friend. He’s perceptive and…I don’t know how to describe him. You’ll have to read the excerpt.

Random updates on the current writing: The story keeps getting more complicated. Shippiness is at an all-time low between Garic and Iris, but don’t worry, it’ll get better. And I basically have no idea what I’m doing anymore, so I’m making it up as I go along.

All right, all right, I’ll give you the excerpt.

A few minutes later, Samuel sat down next to her and flicked the reins, starting the horses into an easy walk. “The prince is in the back…but he’s right, you know. It looks like it might snow.”

Iris tilted her head to the sky, blanketed with clouds so that neither stars nor moon could be seen. “Maybe.”

“So what’s this about Rosie?” asked Samuel.

This was not how she wanted him to find out. If anything, she didn’t want him to find out at all. Rosie would be better in his memories as free and unfettered, not crippled and locked away in her room. “Last time you and your father left…”

“Yes?”

“About a month later, there was an…an accident.”

Samuel turned to her, dark eyes filled with pain. “What happened?”

Iris took a deep breath. Better to get it over with quickly. “A carriage driver lost control and one of his horses nearly killed Rosie. She survived but…but she has no movement below her neck.”

He was breathing heavily, and she thought she could see the memories running through his mind. Their times together had always been filled with physical activities, with running wild through the streets in a race, or playing tug-of-war, or dancing in the lantern glow of the autumn festival.

That had been the last time Samuel had been there, and Rosie had practically glowed all through those two weeks. And at the end was the festival, where the musicians played and the people of Eyspar danced, and Samuel and Rosie had spent half the night together, spinning around each other and whispering and laughing.

Looking at him, Iris knew that was exactly the memory in his eyes.

“She’s pulled through, though,” she whispered. “You know Rosie…she can find happiness in every situation. I don’t know how she does it, but she does.”

Samuel didn’t answer for a long time, the silence filled by the wind in the grass and the quiet clopping of the horses’ hooves on the dirt road. Finally he spoke. “It’ll be warmer in the wagon. You should go inside.”

It was easy to tell that he wanted to be left alone, so Iris nodded, and he stopped the horses so that she could climb inside.

The wagon was cluttered with wares and barrels and a dim lantern hung in the corner, swaying, illuminating Garic in the only clear spot, leaning against the wall.

She sat down as far away from him as she could, which was only a few feet, and looked down at the ground.

“You’ve been crying,” said Garic.

Of course he’d notice the one thing that she was trying to hide. But what did it matter? It didn’t change the fact that Rosie was never going to stand or walk again. That she could never be who she was once before.

“We haven’t seen Samuel for over a year,” she whispered. “He didn’t know about—” Her voice broke. “About Rosie.”

Iris glanced up at Garic, bathed in warm lantern light, extending his arms to her.

Tonight, when the wind whistled sorrowfully and Samuel’s heart was breaking, she let herself go to him. Tonight he held her, and his solidity dampened the pain, made it bearable.

Tomorrow she would push him away again, tomorrow, but tonight…tonight she let her silent tears fall on him until she fell asleep.



lettuce talk (hahaha I’m so clever)

What do you think of the Spotlight/excerpt/Samuel/everything? Does the block quote format make the text too big? (I’m kind of thinking so.) If you could put the characters into any situation & observe their reactions, what would it be? And randomly, how are you today? What’s been the best part of your day/week?

Beautiful People: Parental Edition (with Aleria, Iris, and Garic)

PAPERFURYThis month’s Beautiful People interview is about parents! The character we shall be talking about today is Princess Aleria of Esclia, whose parents are Iris and Garic, so basically I’m just talking about Iris and Garic anyway. See how clever I am, talking about what I’m currently working on?

If you missed my excerpt with Iris and Garic, you can check it out here (Spotlight #5: Iris) and understand why I’m casually just fangirling over my own characters…

Beautiful People is a monthly character interview hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.


Now for the questions!

  • Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

Pretty good. Garic and Iris both try to be close to their daughter, but they also try to protect her from a lot of things, which causes some tension. They’re also gone a lot and it’s hard for Aleria to always communicate with them, but she does know that they care about her.

  • Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

Yes, she does.

  • How did their parents meet?

Well, this is the story that I’m writing currently, so I could give you the very in-depth version, but in short, Iris is famed to be “the prophetess of Eyspar” and Garic comes to her for help because he’s the prince and he’s afraid someone wants to kill him.

  • How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

Aleria would get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside because she admires her parents, especially her mother. She wants to become like them, and if she were told that she was, she’d be thrilled.

  • What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?

Well, Aleria’s story starts when she’s younger than Garic and Iris are in their story, so nothing extremely exciting. Garic was doing princely things, like preparing to come of age and being tutored in all sorts of things and trying to deal with his father’s remarriage. Iris was probably embroidering pillows and starting to look for suitors and being dragged on adventures with Rosie and Samuel.

  • Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

Garic and Iris trust their adviser, but Aleria does not, and in fact does not like him at all. She wants them to get rid of him, but they won’t, and she doesn’t understand why.

  • What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

Raising her to not thinking that she could have whatever she wanted…which they didn’t exactly succeed at. She’s the princess and the only child, and she did get what she wanted. But they did manage to raise her to be kind, which was a partial success.

  • What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

Aleria remembers more with Iris, I think, and there’s not specifically one that stands out more than the others. She loved to sit and watch her mother embroider in the night, by light of a candle, humming…

  • What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

Adorable but willful. She liked to get into things she wasn’t supposed to, but you know, with that innocent smile and chubby cheeks, how could one be angry with her?

  • Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Aleria is Garic’s mother’s name, and she was awesome. They wanted Aleria to grow up as strong and gentle and royal as she was.


Also!

Because I love you, when I was supposed to be writing yesterday, I made a Pinterest board about my story with Garic and Iris. There are adorable pictures & mysterious captions and little quotes from the story, so check it out and tell me what you think!


let us talk!

What are your thoughts? What would you ask Aleria, Iris, or Garic if you could ask them one question? What are the best kind of parents in books/in real life? If you did this Beautiful People interview, link me to your post!

Spotlight #5: Iris

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I couldn’t find an iris, unfortunately…but this is a pretty flower too.

This Spotlight has been the most finicky one. I’ve written three full drafts of it, one about character voices in Enhanced, one about starting sentences when I was rewriting Enhanced, and one with snippets from the rewrite of Enhanced. But this post has nothing to do with Enhanced, so I’m crossing my fingers that it will work out. (Plus, the fourth time’s the charm, right?)

P.S. If you don’t know what a Spotlight is, the definition is “weekly hahhaha no excerpts, commentary, and random stuff about my writing”. Read my previous Spotlights here.


Anyway. The story.

I know I just talked last post about how I was starting a “new” writing project, The Blade. But you know those times when inspiration actually hits you? Yeah, you’ve just got to follow it. So I did.

Before I give you an excerpt (yay!), here’s some backstory & information on the short story, currently titled Iris.

A few years ago, one of my best friends and I wrote a novel called Eyes Closed, about…well, royalty, a throne, magic, and trust. One of the two main characters is a princess named Aleria, and this short story is a prequel about her parents’ story. (Because they die before the novel begins, we never get to know much about them.)

It’s probably actually going to end up being more of a novellette/novella instead of a short story, which isn’t good for The Blade, but eh–this is more fun! (Pro tip: Always write whatever is most fun. It’ll definitely help you finish things.)


And here’s your regularly scheduled excerpt!

There’s so many to choose from! *has small crisis* Okay, here’s one that should work (a.k.a. it’s not very spoilery, it includes both Garic & Iris, and I also just really like it).

She led him up a flight of stairs and knocked on a door. “Rosie? Are you awake?”

A few moments later, the answer came. “Come in.”

“I brought you a visitor,” said Iris, and he found he loved the smile of anticipation on her face as she opened the door.

He stepped inside to find a girl lying in bed. Though she was pale and obviously sick, she looked much like Iris, and he couldn’t help but smile at her wide, blue eyes.

Iris was smiling so widely that she could have rivaled the brightness of the sun. “Rose, this is Prince Garic. Prince Garic, this is Rose.”

“You can call me Rosie,” said the girl in the bed, a little shyly.

“Rosie. You have a name fit for a princess.”

If saying kind things to Rosie would make Iris smile at him like that again, he thought he’d never tire of it.

“Have you seen my garden?” whispered Rosie, nodding her head toward the window.

He was about to reply that he hadn’t, when he saw the handkerchiefs hanging down. He crossed the room to them. Beautiful flowers were embroidered on each one of them, each a different kind. Pansies, carnations, lilies, and a rose… He fingered it, knowing it was the one that Iris had been working on when he was last here.

Warmth flooded him as he looked at the flowers, then back at the two sisters. “It’s the most beautiful garden I’ve ever seen,” he said quietly, his voice wavering just slightly. “It rivals the castle’s.”

Rosie’s smile was beautiful and innocent, but he found Iris’s even more entrancing. She motioned subtly to the chair by Rosie’s bedside, and he sat down in it, unsure of what to say.

Rosie spoke first. “What is your favorite flower?”

Garic was tempted to say an iris, but he was sure that would leave Iris’s eyes shooting daggers at him, so he refrained. “Peonies. The yellow ones.”

“Iris,” Rosie breathed, “will you embroider me a peony next?”

He couldn’t help but wish that her smile was bestowed on him rather than Rosie as she spoke. “Of course.”


what think ye?

Do you like the excerpt? What do you think of Garic and Iris (and Rosie, of course)? Do you want to know more? Did I finally do this Spotlight justice? How often should I do Spotlights? And what are you currently writing? I want excerpts & commentary & random stuff about it!

Why I Disappeared + My New Writing Project

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So you may have noticed that I disappeared from the blogosphere.

I mean, it was just a slight disappearance that took up, yeah, about the whole month of April. Eek.

And I know what you’re all wondering: Why did you leave us with no warning? We’ve all been suffering without your fabulous blog posts! Don’t leave us anymore!!

Or something of the sort.

Well, there wasn’t a huge reason why I disappeared…mainly just a culmination of lots of little things that led to me not posting and only commenting on a few blog posts throughout the month.

Here’s some of the reasons:

  • I totally failed Camp NaNo. I don’t know how this affected me, but about the time I stopped writing in my novel, I stopped checking my blog as much. I stopped writing because I got to a point where I didn’t know how to write anything I liked (which I’m still struggling with, a bit).
  • The post I was working on was taking a long time to put together. Like, it was taking longer than my Dares posts do! It’ll still be coming to you, at some point, but I’m only about halfway through it at the moment. (For a sneak peek, it’s about positivity!)
  • Life was busy. Between school nearing the end of the year, choir festival, composing a choral song, reading lots of books, and procrastinating a lot, there just wasn’t any time. (Okay, I had some time. But not a lot.)
  • And…yep. I’m sorry for leaving you without your favorite blog.

But I’m back now, and hopefully for quite a while as well!



And now for more exciting things… I’m working on a new writing project!

Well, “new” might not be the correct terminology. I actually started this project two years ago, during April Camp NaNoWriMo, so it’s actually quite old. But I haven’t worked on it for a very long time, so right now I want to finish it! (Remember, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to finish writing three novels.)

It’s called The Blade (or, at least, that’s what it’s called for now), and despite there being a lot of fighting and war and stuff like that, it’s really about the internal struggles of a girl named Riven, trying to figure out who she is.

It also involves:

  • A sword-fighting teacher who doubles as an counselor
  • A boy with a crooked smile and great letter-writing skills
  • A sash
  • A loyal horse (or two)
  • A desert-y setting with canyons and red rocks
  • A mysterious man in black (yep, like Princess Bride)
  • A magic-less fantasy
  • A war
  • And a lot of heartbreak

And I know you’re dying for an excerpt now, so I tried to find something non-spoiler-y but still something I loved. So here’s this:

“Sometimes Malik sings to me when I can’t fall asleep,” said James, leaning up against the rock.

I stared. This Malik was sounding stranger and stranger. What sort of man would sing a little boy a lullaby to help him sleep? Well, perhaps the same kind who would take a whiplash for him. The kind of man who would love…so why would he be with the Bleeding Sun? “He sings to you?”

James nodded.

“What does he sing?”

“I can’t really remember all of it,” he said softly, a faint blush of embarrassment rising to his cheeks. Perhaps he didn’t want to have me intrude on this memory. Or maybe he just didn’t like singing.

“What’s the song about?”

James drew his finger through the red sand for a few moments before answering. “It’s about falling asleep and dreaming of a castle, and a princess.”



talk to me!

Did you miss me terribly? (Actually, don’t answer that, I know you did.) Did you write any awesome posts that I didn’t read/comment on & should? What was the best/worst part of April for you? How did Camp NaNo go for you? You must tell me everything I missed! And what do you think of my new project? Are you excited to learn more about it?

Dragons + Viking Culture + Middle Grade = Camp NaNoWriMo

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That’s right, friends, Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner (a.k.a. tomorrow), and today I’ll be sharing my novel idea with y’all!

As you can (hopefully) tell by the title, it’s a middle grade novel with dragons and a Viking-era setting, and what you didn’t know is that it also involves three banished children and a miniature, snarky dragon.

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I wrote those runes in on this picture; it means “dragon novel” in Nordic runes. The picture is a pretty good representation of a drake as well…


Who are the characters?

MIKAEL

Mikael is the main character. He’s quiet and creative, and he carries around a sketchbook with him. He has a big family and sometimes goes unnoticed, so he wants to become someone great that people will appreciate.

ASTA

Asta is the daughter of wealthy parents, and she’s extremely intelligent. She sees the world in a very direct and clear way, and she uses that to her advantage in order to get whatever she wants.

IZAK

Izak is a bit of an outcast compared to the other two. After his mother died, he and his father have been on their own. Consequently, he’s spent a lot of time out in the wild and knows how to survive.

LOKI

Loki is a drake (miniature dragon) who can talk and uses his clever wit to insult anyone around him. When that doesn’t work, he’ll bite them. He can be very influential and charismatic when he wants to be, but making jabs at other people is much more fun.

(I had a drawing of them, but Izak was drawn wrong, and the clothing was inaccurate for the time periods, so you don’t get to see it… Hopefully I can draw another one soon to show you!)

 



What’s the story about?

Well, here’s my synopsis:

The coming-of-age ceremony requires three children to work together to complete tasks, but even quiet Mikael knows that it’s not all about learning how to work together. Those who win are awarded with respect that no other child would receive–and with the loud, inconsiderate Izak in his group, Mikael is less than happy with their chances.

So when Asta, the third and cleverest member of the group, suggests taking one of the talking drakes with them, Mikael agrees, even though it’s not allowed. Everything falls apart during the competition, and when the drake is found with them, the three of them are banished for a week–the three children and the drake, Loki.

Away from their home for the first time, they find out what lies beyond the cliffs–runes and ruins that lead to secrets that have lain hidden for hundreds of years.

They must work together and develop friendship in order to uncover the deepest secrets and stop the forces that are combining against them.

It’s all very friendship-y and touchy-feely, but hey, it has a good message for middle-graders, right?

I’m very excited to write this! It came about partially because dragons but also because I wanted to write something for my younger brother. It should hopefully be short and sweet and maybe with a hint of plot twist



¡Háblame! (Speak to me!)

What do you think of the novel? What is your project about for Camp NaNo? Are you ready to write like crazy tomorrow? Do you like dragons? (If you say no, something drastic might happen…) What does your candy stash look like?

P.S. Because of this post, I’ve decided to try increasing my blog’s readability. I think my post is definitely more readable than others, but I feel like my voice has faded and this post was not as exciting as it should have been, since I love this project. Feedback? I would love to find a good balance and improve my blog.

P.P.S. If you are wondering where I’ve been, I went on choir tour (much fun!) and then I’ve also been procrastinating/frantically doing homework in the wee hours of the night/stealing the books my mom is reading/occasionally writing, all instead of blogging. Sorry?

Beautiful People: March with Bennett

PAPERFURYBeautiful People is a monthly character interview hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It’s been ages since I’ve done a Beautiful People (let’s be honest, okay, I’ve only done two ever) but here’s to starting again! *clinks glasses of sparkling cider*

I wasn’t entirely sure who to do for this one, but after some talking, I decided that I would do it with Charles Bennett, a young politician and somehow both a minor and major character in the epic sci-fi. How does that work out? Who knows.

Anyway, he goes by Bennett (honestly, calling him Charles is the weirdest thing) and I introduced him in the most recent update of the Enhanced field guide: Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part Two (Characters). Now, for the questions!

Oh! Also I decided to follow the example of some bloggers and ask Bennett the questions directly instead of answering for him. My comments are in [italicized brackets].


  • What’s your favourite book/movie/play/etc.?

[Pride and Prejudice, obviously.]

Um, no. *says something in Latin* It’s a play (and a movie) about life and death, revenge, pain, unrequited love, and heroism.

[Way to answer without actually answering what it is. It’s basically warmed-over Shakespeare without the cool language.]

  • Is there anything you regret doing?

I regret my naive view on life when I was younger–my belief that, somehow, I could make a difference to these people when they have never wanted to change.

  • If you were sick or wounded, who would take care of you and how?

[*cough* That’s a spoiler.]

What?

[I mean, you haven’t met her yet, so…]

*ignores Lana* To actually answer the question…no one?

[Come on, there has to be someone who would help you if you were near death.]

*frowns* There isn’t anyone.

[That’s almost sad.]

  • Is there an object you can’t bear to part with and why?

Yes, lots of things. Old books, papers, letters, computer documents, journals…I keep them in a special place.

[You “forgot” to say why.]

I can’t stand to look at them…but I can’t leave them behind either. I need to know that I have something to remember them by.

  • What are 5 ways to win your heart (or friendship)?

1. Don’t fawn over me. [*raises eyebrows*] Okay, don’t be obsessed with me.

2. Be intriguing and interesting.

3. Be intelligent and able to carry on a knowledgeable conversation.

I can’t think of any more.

[You know, maybe you could put something like “kind” on there, because right now those three are sounding a whole lot like all of your politician “friends” and nothing real.]

Fine, I guess you’re right.

4. Believe in me.

5. Be willing to stick with me even when you disagree, even when times get rough, even when I tell you to leave. Just always be there for me.

  • Describe a typical outfit for you from top to bottom.

Nicely-styled hair, fashionable suit, polished shoes. Oh, and a smile, of course.

  • What’s your favorite type of weather?

Sunshine…when the world is warm and the trees are budding into spring, and there’s a tiny breeze [not enough to mess up your hair, of course], and everything just feels so alive and peaceful.

  • What’s the worst fight you’ve ever been in?

What if I don’t want to answer a question? *folds arms* People are allowed not to answer questions that reporters ask them.

[Just answer the question.]

Fine. It was when I was thirteen or fourteen…we were being stupid…and one of us walked off with a broken nose and the other walked off with a broken arm.

 

  • What names or nicknames have you been called throughout your life?

Bennett is obviously a sort of nickname. People began calling me that when I started attending political functions–lots of people are referred to by their last name. A couple of people call me Ben, but not many. When I was growing up, I went by Charles, and my family called me Charlie.

[Charlie Bennett…hehehe.]

Stop laughing.

  • What makes your heart feel alive?

Changing someone’s mind. Showing them what is the right way to think and view a problem, showing them the solution and convincing them that it is right. Disputing their opinions until they believe like me.

[Come on, Bennett, actually answer the question.]

…The time I’ve felt the most alive is the time I’ve spent making a difference in other people’s lives. That time I spent in the Outer Regions…those smiles I got in return…they were some of the happiest moments I’ve ever had.

[And you still came back.]

Of course I did.



How do you like Bennett? Very mysterious, is he not? Indeed, he tries to avoid all of the questions…or lie about them…he’s pretty good at that. (Oh, stop glaring at me, Charlie.) Thoughts on [my brackets]? Annoying or amusing? What do you want to know about Bennett? I can probably force him into answering in the comments…

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part Two (Characters)

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I fully expect this to be the longest of the three parts of the Enhanced Field Guide (places, characters, and plots). If you missed the first part–Places in Enhanced, you can find that here: Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part One (Places).

Why will this be the longest one? Because I have a whole bunch of characters, both major and minor, and I fully expect that the more I write, the more characters will come up. So when this field guide is officially posted on its own page, I’ll update it with new characters when I start 105_0189-editedtalking about them. For right now, though, all of the characters in this post should appear or be mentioned somewhere in the first book, Enhanced.

Oh, and Kellyn Roth @ Reveries was the first one to guess which character this hairstyle belonged to: Meryn. Despite the fact that the hairstyle does indeed look like a boy’s, it is her hair. (Of course, Kell did just list all of the main female characters after I said it was a girl, so I don’t know how much effort it took.) You’ll get a full sketch of Meryn later on in the post–yay!–and she’ll look much less like a boy then.



POV CHARACTERS

BRIE ELLINGS

I just made up her last name right now. So it’s subject to change…but I kind of like it, so who knows?

Brie is my smol, emotional cinnamon roll who is thrown into this world with no experience and wants nothing more than to save her brother, Seth (see Plots–Rescue Seth and Characters–Seth). She has way too much hair and loves music and singing. She loves deeply and is extremely empathetic.

And because I know you want it, here’s my little chibi drawing of her:

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Isn’t she so adorable? I love her and so should you.

WILL ASHA

Will is extremely computer-savvy, and therefore the Reapers’ hacker. It might be weird to say that he feels some sort of emotional connection with computers, but he does–when he was part of the Delorem Program (see Places–The Delorem Program), computers were really the only thing that he could hold on to.

He also makes horrible jokes and puns that no one laughs at, and he likes cats. Going deeper than that, though, he feels responsible for his cousin, Taira (see Characters–Taira) and worries about her (and other people) a lot.

Fun Fact: In the original draft, Will and Brie were going to be a ship. Now, they’re not, but they do develop a sort of sibling-like relationship throughout the first book because Will likes to take care of people and Brie needs taking care of.

LILIAN SHAZI (also referred to as LIL)

Lil is the only POV character who is an adult, and she is definitely a mother figure to lots of people, but especially Will (see Characters–Will). Because of some time spent in the Enhancement Facility (see Places–The Enhancement Facility), she can’t feel physical pain. However, she has a very sad backstory (which I may someday write a novella about…) and her life is filled with emotional pain that just grows worse as the book goes on.

She always cares about people deeply and grows very attached to them. She notices the lonely soul and gives cookies to those with hurting hearts. And she’s so friendly and warm and inviting that you can’t help but be friends with her and want her love.

Fun Fact: She wears ribbons in her braids in her hair. I seriously use this for every fun fact I’ve done with her. But hey, if you have a good one, do you have to find a new one?

KAI WHITLOW

Kai is the hero. Not necessarily the hero of the story but just a hero in that he sticks to what he believes in, which is awesome. I adore characters like that. Despite being heroic, he’s also a little confused and a little lost about everything. He’s trying to grow up and figure everything out, and without a father, that’s especially hard. (His father died when he was young.)

He also has this desire to be strong and to show that he’s just like everyone else or better…which leads to lots of flirting with girls. (I don’t know whether to facepalm or headdesk.) But he just struggles and it’s awesome.

Fun Fact: In the first draft, Kai was totally honest. Like, he could only remember telling one lie in his life. *claps for Kai* So that’s part of what inspired me to have him be the hero, but yeah, no, he fails as much as the rest of us, don’t worry. He makes mistakes, too, but it’s just that in the end, good triumphs over evil.

MERYN …

Meryn who also doesn’t have a last name, oops. She’s the hairstyle up above, remember? She’s lived in the city (see Places–The City) her entire life, and she is a little spoiled (read: very spoiled). She goes on dates and flirts with guys and loves fashion designing. She fights with her sister Aislynn and also has some loving conversations with her at times as well.

And because I have nothing else to say at the moment, here is a full picture of her:

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She’s actually a little shorter than in that picture, but yeah, that’s a pretty good representation. And yes, she puts pockets in all of her dress designs because she understands the painnn.


MAJOR CHARACTERS (NON-POV)

TAIRA …

She actually has a last name, but I can’t remember it…I’d have to look at the first draft to find it. Anyway, Taira is very blunt and generally rude to everyone except for Will, her cousin (see Characters–Will). She’s rude to him, too, just not as much. And she glares at everyone because other people should not exist she has bad headaches the more she’s around people.

Mainly, she just chooses to stay away from people as much as possible. And she has some good reasons for it, but some would say that they aren’t really excuses. So yeah, she has problems and is very enjoyable to think about.

Fun Fact: Taira was one of the main characters in the first draft. Then, she was just going to be one of the POV characters in Enhanced, and then Brie decided she was more important and took over her spot. But she’s definitely going to show up as a POV in the second book, Cryonic, where you’ll get to see some of her internal thoughts, which will be fun.

SETH ELLINGS

As you may have figured out by now, Seth is Brie’s (see Characters–Brie) older brother. He’s adventurous and always looking for some new thing to do. He might possibly be an adrenaline junkie if he lived in our day. And he loves other people, but he kind of loves nature more. He loves to be outside and exploring the great outdoors, and that’s where he gets the most joy.

Fun Fact: He also has curly hair like Brie’s, but his is a bit more under control. Actually, he’s *coughs* kind of good-looking. I mean, according to the pinterest picture I found.

AISLYNN …

Aislynn is Meryn’s (see Characters–Meryn) younger sister. She’s very analytical and ordered and structured about things, which kind of clashes with Meryn’s very creative way of thinking. Hence fights. Also, Aislynn steals Meryn’s stuff, especially her holographic computer (she doesn’t really care about stealing clothes), and basically they fight a lot but also love each other deeper. Aislynn isn’t very good at showing that love, though. She’s also into science and psychology and loves learning.

Fun Fact: Hawaiian pizza is her choice of pizza. Because you need to know that for the story to make sense.

CHARLES BENNETT

He goes by Bennett (possibly because his name sounds like it’s from a Jane Austen novel–but if it actually is, then tell me, because I could use that) and he’s a politician. Or, I should say politician-in-training  or attempting-politician because he’s only in his early twenties and hasn’t done much yet.

But yes, Bennett has an oversized opinion of himself (which could be because he really is handsome and popular and all the girls flock around him) and he and Taira clash dynamically in the second book which is quite fun! He doesn’t do much in the first book, though, but, you know, he’s there.

Fun Fact: Bennett kind of spawned into the story by accident? I was writing the first part of Cryonic and Taira ended up meeting him, and they clashed so much that I developed him more, and he’s actually really important. For spoilerous reasons.

JETHRO CAVRILLO

Jethro is–do I dare to say?–the villian…ish. I need to develop his role in the story better because he’s kind of not at the moment and he needs to be. (Even though he has a heartwrenching reason for what he’s doing…*sobs in a corner because no one knows my pain because spoilers*)

Anyway, he’s the Lead Enhancer and founder of the Enhancement Facility (see Places–The Enhancement Facility), and he does lots of cruel things. Enough said. Possibly because his personality isn’t developed super well…shhh.

Fun Fact: His name used to be Javier until I realized that a) that was basically like Javert from Les Mis, and b) that Javier was pronounced with an ‘H’ sound rather than being pronounced like Javert from Les Mis. So I needed a new name, and I was reading the Bible…and yeah, even though Jethro is a great guy, I decided his name was awesome and would be used.

JULIUS …

I still don’t know how I feel about the name Julius. Like, part of me says yes, and the other part of me says no, and then the other part of me says yum, orange julius. So I may need to change his name, but I need suggestions. Anyone?

Julius is the leader of the Reapers (and they may be explained in the Other section of the Field Guide, if I do decide to post it?) and he makes elaborate plans but doesn’t share them with people. And then gets upset with people when they tell him something that conflicts with his plans even though that’s because he didn’t tell anyone.

He has a lot of annoying faults like this, and probably the most so is that whenever people try to tell him this, he won’t listen to them. So yeah, he annoys me sometimes, too, but he’s also really cool. He really does have a brilliant and strategic mind, and he does love people, but it’s even harder for him to show it than for Aislynn.

Fun Fact: He does, indeed, like orange julius. He’ll never admit it, though, because, let’s admit it, you can’t ever live that down.

RICK & RUBEN

I figured I should put them together to save times. They’re brothers and look very similar…but their personalities are fairly different. Rick acts stupid on purpose, and he pulls it off well, so he ends up being fun. He also has an obsession with old stories and fables. And he has a ponytail and a gold tooth.

Ruben, on the other hand, is more practical and refuses to laugh at Rick (that’s okay, Rick knows that he thinks he’s funny) and he likes to cook food and make lists and be ready for anything (while Rick takes things impromptu for the fun of it). Basically, he could be a butler?

Fun Fact: Rick and Ruben once broke into a chocolate factory…don’t ask.



Sometimes I forget about how much I love this novel until I think about how much I love all of my characters…seriously, all of them. *hugs them all* Anyway, be sure to watch out for the third part of The Field Guide–Plots! And if you didn’t see it the first part, here’s the link again: Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part One (Places).



Do you, too, ever have the problem of not choosing a last name for your characters? It happens to me all the time obviously. Which was your favorite character? Which do you want to learn more about? I need to choose one to use for Beautiful People this month, so opinions are obviously needed! Oh, and tell me about your characters! What are they like?

Enhanced: The Complete Field Guide, Part One (Places)

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I’m beginning a field guide to help you identify characters, places, and plots in my current novel, Enhanced (and in the entire series), including fun facts and more info than you ever wanted to know! It’ll be great, just trust me.

Plus, once I’m done posting all three parts (Places, Characters, and Plots (and maybe Other?)), I’m going to compile them into one huge field guide that can be found under the “Epic Sci-Fi” menu. That way, if you ever have no idea what I’m referencing in one of my posts, you can check out the field guide! Am I too excited about this? …Probably.



PLACES

THE CITY

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Here’s some of the designs I was considering for the layout of the city…I chose the big one in the middle, but I can’t show you the finished, larger one because I’ve lost my big sketchbook at the moment… *sighs*

The city that as of yet is still nameless is the central location of the novel. In the city, it’s like our life–but cooler, with interesting technology like 3-D computers and airtrains and awesomeness like that. It’s full of rich people who are busy and wrapped up in their own lives. It also rains all the time, but that happens in the Outer Regions (see Places–The Outer Regions) as well.

Fun fact: the city was inspired by my trip to NYC, so if you’ve ever been there, that’s kind of what it’s like. But cooler.

THE ENHANCEMENT FACILITY (also referred to as THE FACILITY)

This is a government-owned facility where genetic modifications (“Enhancements”) are done on people in the name of science and healing. If you were clever, you probably noticed the correlation between “Enhancement Facility” and the title of “Enhanced.” If you didn’t notice, that’s okay too. That’s because the main characters believe it’s a horrible place and want to break in and rescue some people (see Plots–Rescue Seth). Namely, a guy named Seth (see Characters–Seth).

Fun Fact: Throughout the book, six of the major characters spend some time in the Facility. By the end of Cryonic, all of the major characters except for two will have gone there. (And, trust me, there’s a lot of major characters.)

THE DELOREM PROGRAM (also referred to as THE DELOREMS or THE REMS)

The Delorem Program is another government-owned…thing. *headdesk* There, people are paid to experience pain. It’s basically a last resort for those who are poor in the Outer Regions (see Places–The Outer Regions) to support their families. Because of the desensitization to pain, it’s rumored that the people in the program (the “Delorems”) can’t feel any emotions.

Fun Fact: “Delorem,” in Latin, means pain. So, “The Delorem Program” literally means “The Pain Program.” Sounds happy, right?

THE SAFEHOUSE

The safehouse is where the Reapers (see Characters–The Reapers) hang out and basically do their criminal stuff without being caught by the authorities. Because there’s so little ground space in the city, the house itself is small, but the basement is large and stocked full of all sorts of stuff.

THE OUTER REGIONS (also referred to as THE REGIONS)

The Outer Regions is the area that surrounds the city (see Places–The City) and is full of lots of poor people (extremely third world conditions) under governmental control. However, because they don’t know any better, most of them love the government (see Characters–The Pinnacles). And, of course, the people in the city think that the people in the Outer Regions are savages. There are eight regions and each has a specific purpose in supplying and supporting the city.

Fun Fact: The Outer Regions actually have their own religion, called Cajinism. It comes to play in Cryonic, the second book in the series, with Kai and Brie. (see Characters–Kai and Characters–Brie).

REGIONS ONE AND SIX

Region One and Region Six are both variable regions, which basically means they are well-rounded and end up doing whatever the pinnacles tell them to (see Characters–The Pinnacles). *nods*

REGIONS TWO, THREE, FOUR, AND FIVE

Regions Two through Five are all related to farming stuff. Because, hey, somebody’s got to feed everyone, right? Region Two specializes in herbs and plants grown in greenhouses, Region Three does livestock, Region Four grows orchards, and Region Five is centered around farming (as in growing plants and harvesting them).

Brie and Seth are from Region Four, and Kai is from Region Five (see Characters–Brie, Characters–Seth, and Characters–Kai).

REGIONS SEVEN AND EIGHT

Region Seven and Region Eight both use metal-work. Because of this, they have to use more complicated machines are are less of a third-world place and a little more suspicious of the city and the pinnacles. Region Seven does the large metal work and Region Eight does the fine metal work.

Taira and Will are from Region Eight (see Characters–Taira and Characters–Will).



And…yeah, I think that’s it for this section. Yup, Places is definitely the shortest (and possibly the most boring) of all of them. However, the places in the city are rather essential in order understand the other ones.

How did you like the post? Are you excited or not for the other sections? Are all of the “see this” parentheses annoying? They were meant as a joke, and then I think they just got tedious by the end, so should I take them out of the other two sections? Any tips for how to make the next section better or improve this one? Are you excited about this novel?

And ju105_0189-editedst because you are awesome for reading this all, have a sneak peek at one of the characters’ hairstyles. For bonus points, be the first to guess which character it is!