I Won Camp(!) + Discussing Battle Song’s Problems & Positives + Too Much Parenthetical Commentary

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Photo by samsommer on Unsplash–thank you!

Okay, so my Camp NaNoWriMo goal was less than any other NaNo goal I’ve had in the 4.5 years I’ve done it (only 20,000 words). But it’s been over a year since I won a NaNoWriMo event, so just winning felt awesome and like I could do amazing things.

Screenshot 2017-08-01 at 4.16.21 PMLook at my lovely chart…. Clearly, I did not do very well during the first half of the month (partly because I went on vacation for an entire week), but I pulled in by the very last day. (Go procrastination!) Not quite as awesome as the NaNo where I wrote 12K the last day to win, but still pretty great.

Also, this draft (rewrite?) is turning out much better than the first one–and also very different. It’s become more emotional (I hope) and a lot more centered on war and fighting and the results of that/how that affects people. But also still about family and religion and love and all of that fun stuff. (Not sure if I told you this, but there’s an actually semi-decent synopsis/blurb on the Battle Song page! *nudges you to check it out*)

But there’s still some stuff that I have yet to figure out. My biggest problem right now is figuring out what exactly Amrya traded with the sea witch. You see, the whole idea of this novel came about from the idea that the little mermaid traded in her beauty instead of her voice. But then…that didn’t work. It didn’t affect the story at all because it’s not about beauty or about a society that really cares about beauty.

So then I decided that she was going to trade out her fighting skills, but that didn’t work because when I began writing this second draft, Amrya’s personality changed a bit. Rather than liking being a warrior, she hates fighting and killing but feels honor-bound to do it. So giving up her fighting skills was not going to challenge her enough.

When I wrote the scene between her and the sea witch, I had her trade some heartscales, which are like tokens of war + mer currency, which worked but also doesn’t affect her after she becomes human.

Now I’m wondering, should I just have her lose her voice like the original? It would better follow the original fairy tale narrative, and I think I can make it work and still have decent character development, but I still don’t know if it will affect her enough. The story isn’t about not being able to communicate; it’s about not wanting to fight. And though having her lose her voice could work, I’m afraid that it’ll detract from the point I’m trying to get across.

(What is that point? you may ask… Well, probably something along these lines: life has value + war is sometimes necessary + family is important + faith + true love and friendship + something else maybe? But that’s what it seems like it’s heading toward.)

So…what do you think? Do you think that it’s okay to have her not trade anything that really affects her (considering that the part that really affects her is that she has to marry one specific person)? Should I have her lose her voice at the risk of it sounding like it was just put there because of the original fairy tale or would it work because it’s from the original fairy tale? Or maybe she just loses it partly (like only the magic part or only for a certain amount of time)? Or do I need to find something else entirely that would make it hard? I don’t know, but I just really need someone’s opinion besides my own.

Okay, we’ve talked about my issues with Battle Song; what about the good parts? Well, there are actually quite a few.

1. The mer culture decided it wanted to be something different and it was awesome. Like, it’s still the same basic warrior clan idea thing, and there’s still a lot I have to develop more fully, but there’s magic that’s awesome and relates to singing! (Points for reference to the little mermaid’s voice being important.) And I kind of figured out why they’re fighting…which kind of leads to the next point.

2. The big problems with the mers got figured out and incorporated into the plotline! The problems were:

  • Where did the mers come from?
  • Why don’t they have immortal souls while the humans do?
  • Why are they always fighting?
  • And I also figured out why the humans are fighting, so points for that too!

And I can’t tell you the answers (because spoilers) but they’re pretty great and are actually important to the plot.

3. The minor character becomes more important. So in the original, after the little mermaid saves the prince, some girls from a convent/temple find him and he thinks one of them was the one to rescue him (and the little mermaid can’t tell him otherwise because she can’t talk). Of course, he thinks he’ll never see her again (she is in a convent, after all), but–surprise! Turns out she’s a princess from a neighboring kingdom, just put there to learn “every royal virtue.” And then the prince falls in love with her and the little mermaid turns into seafoam and that’s the end.

Anyway, this princess (Malena is her name) made a brief appearance in the first draft of Battle Song, but she becomes much more important in this draft. Not only as the character from the original fairy tale but also as Amrya’s friend and the one who introduces her to the religion of the island (which I just now realize should probably get a name). And I wrote a scene with her yesterday and I learned some deep stuff about her and she’s a great character.

So yes, I have been having fun with it (despite all of the struggles)! Somehow I doubt I will finish this first draft before the end of summer…but I do want to keep writing every day and make this story as awesome as it can be!


let’s talk!

How much do you think I should write this August? 30K? More/less? And please help me and give me some advice for what Amrya should trade! (Or at least commiserate with me and offer me chocolate?) And what did you write for Camp NaNo (if you did)? How did it go? And have you ever read the original little mermaid fairy tale, and what did you think of it and its ending?

Also I hope you enjoyed the rambling because I did and I will probably ramble more about stuff in Battle Song, hehe.

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5 Random Updates

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I should make all my headers like this…it took me about three minutes. Then again, it’s rather uncreative. But it works in a pinch when you’re tired and want to go to bed.

Well, some of them are random, anyway. They’re less random and more rambly. I should’ve called it 5 Rambly Updates. So, I don’t know what to post about but I decided I should probably post before I leave on hiatus for a little bit.

So randomness/ramblyness (rambliness?) ensues.

#1: Update on Blogging & Hiatus

Okay, this isn’t random, really. But I’m going to be gone next week. *nods* And maybe longer than that because I don’t know what to blog about if I’m not writing regularly. And I haven’t been writing regularly. *hides in shame*

Also, I now have over 100 followers! Thank you, everyone, for reading. It means a lot that you read and (hopefully?) enjoy my blog!

#2: Update on Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about college and stuff and whyyy does it cost so much? Some days it seems so far away and I’m like, “Oh, I’ll just not worry about it,” and other days I’m so overwhelmed and I feel like I’ll never be ready. (I spend a lot of time between two conflicting emotions like that.)

I also don’t want to think about school, so I haven’t started my summer homework. And I have been procrastinating a lot recently. It’s a problem.

I read around 20 books in June…some have yet to see the light of a goodreads review, though. But I’m working on that. Actually, I’m reading rather than writing reviews. Probably not a good thing, but I’ll get around to them sometime.

#3: Update on Self Growth

Hm. Hopefully I’m not getting any taller, but I think I am getting better as a person. More or less. I don’t really know. I’ve been praying to have more charity, and it’s helped, but then I also have days where I get frustrated and take it out on everyone around me.

And I complain way too much. Any ideas? Say two things positive after every complaint?

#4: Update on Musicality

After all, this blog is called The Music of Words. So, what musicking have I been up to? Not much. I’ve been taking voice lessons but I haven’t practiced much since my last one…eep. So I know my voice is probably getting worse as I sit here, not singing.

But I’ve been playing the piano recently, not practicing, but at least playing. Mostly as a form of escapism from the world. I can’t escape through singing…it’s too much of me, I think. I know people hear it and they hear me. But when I play the piano, they hear the music and I hear the music, and I don’t have to worry about improving my voice or how I breathe or that I miss a few notes. I just play.

#5: Update on Writing

*sigh*

Yep, that’s a pretty good description on it’s own. Lots of sighing. Lots of glaring at myself in the mirror (and at my characters if I feel like it). Basically, I haven’t been writing much even though I’ve had time to, and that just makes me feel all guilty inside. Grrrrr.

Plus, Camp NaNo? Ha! Especially since I’m going on hiatus. I’m going to lose again. And it’s because I’m too lazy to write.

But I have made some progress on Battle Song! I’m at a grand total of 8,570 words so far and I’m having a lot of fun exploring the world and some of the magic of the world. (The mers can do magical stuff through singing, which is so fun to play around with. And traumatize Amrya with.)

I want to talk to you about it! Though I’m not entirely sure what to talk about…what do you want to hear about? Characters? Plot? Setting? A Spotlight with an excerpt or snippets? What I’m struggling with? I don’t know, you tell me what you want to hear. I’ll try to oblige, unless inspiration suddenly strikes…


Alrighty, there’s my updates & basically my tired, late night version of a monthly wrap-up post. (What happened to the Dares? I don’t know. I would still like to do them, but the posts took a long time to write, and I never seemed to accomplish much.)

Anyway, how have you been? Any updates you want to share with me? Tell me how your writing is going or what thoughts have been on your mind lately during life. Do you play an instrument or sing? How do you feel about music?

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?

Let Me Introduce You to the Cast of Enhanced

I wasn’t sure really what to post about today, but I finally decided that I would talk to you about Enhanced, the novel that I have been preparing to rewrite during this month.

More specifically, the characters. Because I know that even though you may have read the little summary on the page for Enhanced on this blog, you probably still have no idea what it’s about. (If I just read that summary, I’d have no idea what it was about either.) I was originally going to throw my rambling for the entire novel into one post but that might be a little too long…hehe. So instead, you get to meet the main cast of characters…and learn a few things about the novel along the way.

Have fun! (Also the (POV) next to the first five characters’ names indicates that they are POV or Point of View characters)


KAI (POV)

Up first is Kai, mainly because he is the first character I came up with from my very first idea of the first draft’s first scene (which was (fun fact) originally conceived in biology class and then written in choir).

Basic Premise/Role: Kai has grown up in the Outer Regions (think third-world living) that surround the city (think first-world living), working as an agriculturalist. Yes…he’s a farmer. His father died when he was young, but now his mother has contracted some sort of disease that he has no medicine for–that no one has medicine for in the OR (Outer Regions). He decides to travel to the city in an attempt to earn money to at least give her some comfort before she dies–or maybe find the medicine that will save her.

Personality: Kai is…kind of complicated. He’s friendly and will talk to people, but I can’t say he has any real friends, except for maybe his mother. He sort of keeps his important thoughts all to himself, and kind of feels a need to impress people. Especially the ladies. But inside, he’s really not as shallow as he seems.

Fun Fact: Kai’s name was actually chosen by a friend of mine when I asked her to give me a name, though she was actually thinking of the name Ky. I heard her say it as Kai, however, and have therefore spelled it that way since. However, writing this post, I’m now thinking of actually changing it to Ky. I actually had this big long frustrated rant with myself about possibly changing Kai’s name to something else, but I couldn’t think of what to change it to. I do like the name Ky though…so maybe…0.0

Character Interview: Character Study: Comforts


TAIRA (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Though Taira (POV character) was born in the city, she grew up in the OR with her cousin, Will (soon to be introduced). She went with Will when he decided to go back to the city, however, and what she really wants is to fix herself. When she was younger, she was Enhanced (genetically modified) to have the ability to feel/detect other people’s emotions. The thing is, she can’t turn it off, and even just standing a few feet away from a person gives her a headache. Standing right next to someone makes her feel like her head will explode. So she’s determined to go back to the Enhancement Facility and force them to change her back to normal. if that made any sense at all.

Personality: Taira is very grumpy and rather pessimistic (though she prefers to call herself “realistic”). She basically restrains herself from ever laughing or feeling happy because why should she. She does occasionally show happiness around her cousin, Will, though otherwise she keeps it inside. She spends a lot of time alone and is introverted but blunt and can be rude. Quite fun to write, really.

Fun Fact: Well, there isn’t exactly anything “fun” about her…okay, okay. She has a younger brother that she hasn’t talked to in years. (She also hasn’t talked to her parents in years, but eh, the brother is more interesting.)

Character InterviewCharacter Studies: Introductions with Taira


WILL (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Will is Taira’s cousin, and he came from the OR to the city like I said before, and trust me, there’s some reason why he did that, but I haven’t figured it out yet. (I will, though. Haha, I will. So funny. *facepalms*) Oh, also, he comes to the city about a year before the book starts, whereas Kai comes at the beginning. The Reapers (who are like this subterfuge criminal/rebel group that for some reason has only four people in it before this point) recruit him to be their computer hacker. In Enhanced, he finds out that there’s a new computer code and he has to figure out how to use it, which is easier said than done when you don’t have tutorials or books or websites to explain it.

Personality: Unlike Taira, Will is very happy, and he also tends to make stupid jokes. (He actually laughed at the one I did above. I mean, I did too, but that’s irrelevant.) He really likes to talk to people and never really thinks about what he’s going to say before he says it, which makes him simultaneously fun to listen to and also makes you want to headdesk repeatedly. He can get distracted by anything, except when he’s doing computer work–then he’ll talk to you, but only if you talk to him first. Otherwise he’ll just zone out everything.

Fun Fact: These are surprisingly difficult to think of…  Well, Will can actually be serious, though that is rare. And if he were back a few hundred years to our day, he would very much enjoy cat memes.

Character Interview: Character Studies: Will’s Flaws


MERYN (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Meryn is one of my very favorite characters, though I’m not exactly sure why…? She’s just awesome. And also really spoiled. She grew up in the city in a wealthy family, in contrast to a lot of the other characters, and she loves dresses and dancing and music. But her parents have actually lost a bunch of money recently but they’re unwilling to change their lifestyle, which leaves Meryn to try to earn enough money to pay for taxes…well, something like that. I’m still ironing out plot details. It doesn’t help that her younger sister, Aislynn, is also sick.

Personality: Meryn is fun-loving and like I said before, fairly spoiled. She loves to be with her friends, fights a lot with her sister Aislynn, and her favorite part of the week is dancing. The worst part of her life is school, and she mainly just leads a very carefree life…at least at the beginning of the book. She’s…pretty normal.

Fun Fact: In the first draft of Enhanced, Meryn was blind. Now, I’ve decided to alter that so she just can’t see very well out of her left eye.

Character Interview: Character Studies: Meryn’s Hobbies


LIL(IAN) (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Lilian, or rather Lil, which she goes by, is a member of the Reapers. She found them after her young son and husband were taken away by government officials and killed in the Enhancement Facility. Throughout the novel, she’s trying to get revenge on the government and the Enhancement Facility, while figuring out how to live without them.

Personality: Lil, despite what she’s trying to do, does not have a vengeful personality at all. She’s actually really sweet and motherly, but she’s confused with desperation and sadness and all of that. I feel like her personality can be summed up in one word: “mother”. She tends to put others’ needs before herself and tries to see things from others’ points of view.

Fun Fact: Lil always wears her hair in lots of little tiny braids (she’s also black, which is cool, though there’s really not any racial discrimination in the books, so it doesn’t really come up much) and she weaves ribbons through several of the braids. Throughout the book, she occasionally redoes her hair with new ribbons of different colors. When she first appears in the book, the ribbons in her hair are gold-colored.

Character Interview: [coming shortly–this post may or may not be updated when it’s done]


JETHRO

Basic Premise/Role: I suppose you could call him the “villain” of the book, although in my opinion that’s not really a fair title. He’s the Lead Enhancer of the Enhancement Facility and also its founder. He doesn’t appear much in the flesh throughout the novel, but he does play an important role and the characters definitely know about him.

Personality: Jethro is on a conquest for knowledge and to push the limits of all known science through his genetic testing–his “Enhancements”. He keeps most of his thoughts and ideas to himself and has a fantastic poker face. He does not show outward joy in successes, or pain at failures. We could call him stone cold, perhaps.

Fun Fact: He actually travelled to all eight sectors/regions of the Outer Regions when he was much younger, before creating the Enhancement Facility, but he’s never told anyone what he saw or what he thought about it.

Character Interview: [possibly forthcoming, possibly not]


AISLYNN

Basic Premise/Role: Aislynn is Meryn’s younger sister, and basically her role in the book is to be sick. Okay, just kidding. She’s actually convinced that the Pinnacles (the four “presidents,” shall we say, over the city) have a million secrets that they’re not revealing to the people, and she’s determined to figure them out. Of course, Meryn thinks she’s crazy, but she won’t let that dissuade her.

Personality: Aislynn absolutely loves reading and learning new things, and she’s very determined to prove herself right. She feels a little outcast by her peers (which Meryn really doesn’t understand) but makes up for that by reading lots of books and hanging out with Meryn and with her friends. While Meryn loves to go out, Aislynn is definitely more of a homebody.

Fun Fact: According to Meryn, Aislynn has no style, and Meryn is constantly trying to dress her up and make her look all fancy. Also, she likes dogs.

Character Interview: Beautiful People: June with Aislynn


RUBEN

Basic Premise/Role: Ruben is part of the mysterious Reapers and also very underdeveloped, so I can’t really tell you what his role is, exactly. But he does stuff. Important stuff. It’s just stuff I haven’t figured out yet. I think he’s in charge of basic supplies and stuff, and he’s also their cook, but I haven’t worked on developing him yet, so he’s just kind of…there. Yay.

Personality: I’m not really sure how to describe him… He scoffs at teasing and Rick’s (to be introduced) jokes, but he secretly enjoys them. He just…finds joy in being around other people. He likes everyone to feel welcome and happy and well-fed…I don’t know if there’s a specific way to describe him. He’s just Ruben.

Fun Fact: Ruben is famous for his pancakes. Also, he has a fake gold earring that I’m pretty sure Rick gave him…

Character Interview: [non-existent currently, though who knows, maybe I’ll do the next Beautiful People with him]


RICK

Basic Premise/Role: Rick is Ruben’s clone at least I think so? It could be the other way around, I suppose… and could be called the comic relief. He’s very amusing to me, mainly because he does stupid things, knowing that they’re stupid. I also haven’t really worked on developing him yet, so he’s also just there, like Ruben, but he’s also the Reapers’ weapon master–which I really don’t understand. I would not trust Rick with a gun.

Personality: Rick has a very good self-worth, I guess you could say. He does what he wants and he doesn’t ever care what other people think of him, no matter how idiotic he looks or how other people look at him, which I think is admirable, even though he’s not really someone I aspire to become like. He’s daredevilish, makes even worse jokes than Will, and teases everyone mercilessly, especially Lil.

Fun Fact: Want to know why the Reapers are called the Reapers? Because of Rick. He’s fascinated with old stories/legends/fairy tales, you name it. After learning about The Grim Reaper, he decided it would be awesome for them to be called the Reapers…and the name just happened to stick. I think even Julius (to be introduced) calls them the Reapers, which is amusing to me.

Character Interview: [not applicable at the moment]


JULIUS

Basic Premise/Role: Meet Julius Shaw, the gruff and quietly mysterious leader of the Reapers. His role? The leader, the planner, the strategist, the one who makes everything fit together.

Personality: He’s very secretive, and doesn’t give any clues to what’s going on in his head until he finds it to be the proper time. He always has a plan, no matter the situation. He’d be a brilliant chess player and is great at predicting things. However, he’s not very good at showing or receiving affection to/from other people, and he always seems a little bit distant from everyone else.

Fun Fact: He thinks fun facts are a waste of time. But I, as the author and creator of these people, will override his opinion and tell you that he really likes sandwiches. Roast beef, specifically.

Character Interview: [nope not yet]


SETH

Basic Premise/Role: A few months or so before the story begins, Seth leaves the Outer Regions to go find out what the city is like and have a grand adventure. He ends up trapped in the Enhancement Facility with no way of getting out, until Kai comes along and they start forming escape plans.

Personality: Seth is really cool. He’s the “let’s go have an adventure!” type who loves doing things with little-to-no notice and is definitely never over-prepared. He makes do with what he has, and what he doesn’t, he does without. He is a little bit of a risk-taker and loves being in the outdoors.

Fun Fact: Seth has this really awesome walking stick that he carved himself from an orchard tree branch years ago. It has little drawings all over it, and what’s even better is that his younger sister, Brie, really wanted to carve something in it at the time, so Seth helped her carve a picture of the two of them in it. He is the sweetest big brother ever.

Character Interview: [there isn’t one yet, but I should definitely do one of him]


BRIE

Basic Premise/Role: Brie is Seth’s younger sister, and she’s actually kind of what sets the entire story in motion. Once Seth hasn’t come back after his long absence, she decides to go looking for him, in case he’s in some sort of trouble. She almost gives up before finding the Reapers, at which point she finds out that Seth is in the Enhancement Facility and convinces them to help her rescue him.

Personality: Brie is very emotional and acts like a child a lot of the time, though no one can really tell if she’s just never grown up or if she does it by choice. So she’s also fairly innocent and naive, and she finds it hard to alter her small home in the orchard region view of life to the big city, with all its new technology and people and everything inside of it. She has unfailing faith and optimism in people that a lot of the other characters lack in exchange for a more “realistic” view of life.

Fun Fact: Brie is a devoted follower of the religion of Cajinism, and she loves singing, birds, flowers, and all sorts of bright and happy things. She’ll also talk to you all day if you just half-pretend to to listen.

Character Interview: [there isn’t one, but I did do a Spotlight on her last Monday]


Hm, yes, perhaps I do have too many characters…but now you know all of them! And now, for a quiz on everything you learned…just kidding. But seeing as this post is really long already, why not make it a little longer with some updates?

So, first off, I lost Camp NaNoWriMo but it really doesn’t bother me for some reason, and I’m finishing up my 40 hours of prep during these first two weeks of August. You can find my progress on the blog sidebar.

Also on the blog sidebar, you’ll see that I have lots of new books that I read! While procrastinating from Camp, I finished 12 books in July, which was awesome, and I’m working on reading more.

And lastly, apparently now I have a Goodreads created on a whim that I don’t know what to do with… What else do you do with a Goodreads account besides read books?

Anyway, yay for August! How was your July and what did you accomplish?

The Finish Line

Well, it’s the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo, and I have met my goal of 40,000 words! I’m am now officially a 2016 Camp Winner!

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Screenshot 2016-04-30 at 4.08.27 PMScreenshot 2016-04-30 at 4.08.49 PM

 

To everyone who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, good job! No matter what your final word count was, you made the effort to write something this month, and to me, that makes it a success whether or not you met your goal. So pat yourself on the back and eat some ice cream.

Now, back to me because you know you all want to read about me instead of anyone else. So, after Camp, I have 40,518 words under my belt (well, 40,396 according to the validated count) but Cryonic isn’t anywhere near being done. Since it’s supposed to be of epic size when it is done, I’m thinking I’ll have a goal of 200,000 words, by far the longest novel I’ll have ever written. That means I’m only about 20% of the way there.

I’ve learned while writing Cryonic though, about what exactly is going to happen to my characters. A whole bunch of new minor characters popped up (and out of those, I may have killed about a fourth of them? okay not that many, but still) and I’m getting more in depth with the plot.

However, I’m kind of putting the draft of Cryonic away for a little while, ish. I’ll still be working on it occasionally, but I want to work on revising (well, rewriting) the first book in the series, Enhanced. (Cryonic is the second book in the epic sci-fi series.)

I finished Enhanced last October, and ever since then I’ve been thinking about revising/rewriting it, so I think that’s what I’m going to be doing next. There’s a lot that has to be done before I start though, including research, and, best of all, WORLD BUILDING.

Okay, maybe I’m really weird and crazy, but I love world building. Both for my own novels, and hearing other people’s world building ideas and how their societies work. I just find it all super fascinating for some reason, especially the religions. So I’m super excited for this next little bit in the process!

So what kind of posts will I be giving to you during the next few months? World building, character/plot development, revisions once I get to it, a special research project, and maybe a post about writing realistic prophecies. (I know, that has nothing to do with anything I’m working on, but still. I think it sounds awesome.) And of course, random ramblings about stuff.

So yeah, there’s your mostly meaningless post and update on stuffs. 😀


How did Camp NaNoWriMo go for all of you who did it? Did you meet your goal? Did you finish your novel/project, or do you still need more time? What is everyone planning on doing in May and the coming months (either writing-wise or otherwise)? Are you excited for summer? (I am–school will be out!)

Don’t Think, Just Write

This post is sort of a mix of a pep talk thing to those participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month as well as some advice for first draft writing. (So, if you’re not doing a first draft for Camp NaNo, you may not find this very helpful…but too bad. You can read it anyway. 🙂 )

Recently, I’ve noticed a bit of an increase in my typing speed as I’m writing, and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It mostly came one night at dinner when we happened to bring up the subject of NaNoWriMo.

“Doesn’t NaNoWriMo just encourage people to use a lot of words instead of an actual story?” said my mom. “It would just make people write things like, ‘I went to the store. When I got there, I couldn’t decide whether or not I should buy peanuts or cashews. Hmmm. The peanuts, or the cashews? Finally, I decided on buying the peanuts instead of the cashews, because they were cheaper.'”

I thought about this for a moment and said, “Yes, but they’d have more of the story than they started with.”

That’s the whole point of NaNoWriMo–not to write words, sometimes not even to write a novel, but to write more than you had before. In the example my mom gave, yes, the writing is pretty terrible. Yes, the conflict is also terrible. But you have more. If those 42 words hadn’t been written, you wouldn’t have anything about your character visiting the store, and who knows, maybe the cashew/peanut debate will become important later on! Although, the decision should be obvious. Always go for the cashews. Always.

So you may be looking at your unfinished manuscript right now, thinking that this is wildly out of character, or it doesn’t even make sense, or why are there evil talking cats this isn’t supposed to be happening. Maybe you’re horribly behind on your word count and the few thousand–or even the few hundred–you’ve managed to write just don’t seem good enough.

The amazing thing is that you’ve already written more than you had before. No matter how horrible, how confusing, or how small the writing has been, there’s more story than there was before, and that’s something that you should be proud of.

I’ve found that the best way to write more, and faster, is this simple motto/phrase/whatever-you-want-to-call-it: don’t think, just write. Stop worrying about whether what you’re writing is good or bad, whether it goes with the story and fits with the outline. Stop thinking that this description is taking way too long or this chapter should have finished already or where did this character come from or why on earth are these characters being shippy. Just write.

Yes, it’s hard not to stop and try to figure out what’s going on, especially when you want this novel to be as good as your original idea for it was, especially when that one word you used really doesn’t seem right, especially when this wasn’t in the outline at all. Usually, I have to find some way to force myself into this frame of mind. Two ways that I do it are:

  • Word wars or word sprints with other people. I find that competition really helps me want to win and I don’t go back to fix things or stop to think because I want to win.
  • Timed goals with myself. (Ex. “I’m going to try to write 700 words in 15 minutes.”) It’s especially helpful if you choose goals you’ve never achieved before, because it encourages you to really push yourself as hard as you can, with no stopping.

The key is to not stop to think. (Again, don’t think, just write.) If you think about what you’re writing, you’re inevitably going to realize that it’s bad writing, and you’re going to want to fix it. Don’t think. The trick is to trick ourselves into writing without thinking, to keep our fingers moving even when the sentences start to sound like, “Then I met a guy named Bob. Bob was weird. He had weird hair that I can’t describe right now. He liked to eat cake.”

People will tell you to not go back to revise, because you’ll take up time and delete words. The fact is that stopping to think about what to write next will take up just as much time, and the time you waste will cost you just as many words anyway. (Well, maybe not just as many, but still.)

So if you’re struggling with whatever writing you’re working on, all you have to do is remember these four words: don’t think, just write. Actually, don’t even think about not thinking. Don’t think about purple elephants…too late.

And remember, even if you feel completely stuck and at a loss for what to write, you’ve written more than you had before. Be proud, pat yourself on the back, because that really is the most important thing.


How is Camp NaNo going for all of you who are doing it, and how close are you to your goals? Do you have any other tips or tricks on how you get yourself to write? And, most importantly, cashews or peanuts? (Or you can just tell me your favorite kind of nut; that works too. I bet you can’t guess mine…)

And So it Begins…

CNW_Participant.jpgYes, Camp NaNoWriMo has started! The excitement will wear off in a week or two, I know, but right now I’m excited about Camp and life and everything. Plus, I get Spring Break off of school next week, and it is fantastic how it coincides with the first week of Camp. That way I’ll have time to write while I actually want to.

Yesterday, for my first day, I wrote 1563 words, and I’m fairly pleased with that. It would’ve been nice to write a bit more, but I’m satisfied with how much I wrote.

I’m also kind of satisfied with the content I wrote. Obviously, it’s a first draft, and first draft + NaNoWriMo = blehhkghh, but not counting that, it’s actually okay, and my writing is ever so slowly improving.

One thing that was particularly fun to write about was about the airtrains, which is a public transportation system with railroad tracks that are about ten stories high. It was kind of inspired from my trip to New York City this year, where I rode the subway everywhere, but I altered it a little bit to be more sci-fi-y.

So it was fun to add a few of the setting details in that I’ve been thinking about, and I liked having a conversation between Will and Taira, and seeing the dynamic between them (they’re cousins, but their relationship is a little more like a brother and sister).

Other than that, I haven’t really written much that I can report on, or give advice-y things about, so I think I shall wrap up this post soon. I’m super excited to continue writing and see the plot take shape, and I’ll keep you updated on how my writing goes throughout the month.

For those of you who are doing Camp, how are all of your novels coming along?

 

Reformatting and the Epic Sci-Fi

As you can see (or maybe you can’t, if you’re on the Reader or your email), The Music of Words has undergone a marvelous transformation. Okay, it’s not really that amazing, but I think this design has a more professional and clean-cut feel to it than my previous one.

So, there’s that. And I’m also finally going to tell you about the Epic Sci-Fi! I’ve had this idea for a couple of weeks, but I haven’t gotten around to telling you about it until now. Here’s the story.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Lana had an idea for a story. (Well, it may have slightly been stolen from some sort of adopt-a-prompt thing where someone actually took it before she could, but she altered it anyway, so that was okay.) And the idea for the story fascinated her so much that she wrote the first scene during her choir class, which was rather difficult, since in choir, one is supposed to be singing, not writing.

She wrote anyway.

It was about a guy named Kai (the name suggested by one of Lana’s friends) and how he had to go through something painful without showing any pain, or else he would die. And yes, there may have been a girl watching him.

When Lana came home from school, she typed up what she’d written, adding in a dying mother, and continued to write. The girl became Taira. Kai stayed Kai, because Lana didn’t have any ideas for a better name.

And, slowly, the story evolved. She wrote in it between NaNoWriMos, scenes here and there, and in just shy of a year, she’d finally finished the 98,000 word draft. Lana loved that story so much that she decided she would come back to revise it.

Throughout the next months, it stayed on her mind. Ideas for its revision started to pop up, as well as ideas for a second book. Though she wrote other things, it was the thing she kept having new ideas for.

And then the idea hit her, just a few weeks before Camp NaNoWriMo was supposed to start and she was supposed to write the second book: this could be an epic sci-fi. (Which was like an epic fantasy, only in a sci-fi setting.)

This idea intrigued Lana, so she started to work on it. More POV characters than just Kai and Taira rose to the surface (there became six total), and new plots were added in. The setting became slightly more developed, and she just ended up loving the idea even more.

Lana never expected to be a sci-fi writer. She always thought that she’d be a writer of fantasy, since that’s what she loved to read, but these books became the ones that she’d always wanted to write. They were awesome, with a plot and characters and a villain and battles and run on sentences (the grammar could be fixed later).

The novel that was once called KT (based off the names Kai and Taira) became Enhanced, and its sequel, Cryonic. (Remember that post where I told you what I was doing for Camp NaNo? Yeah, that’s the same Cryonic as here.) Lana was totally ready for Camp (note the sarcasm) and she was ready to take on any challenges that her new series, her Epic Sci-Fi, would give her.

-TO BE CONTINUED-

I know, that was a cliffhanger. You can hang on to your cliffs for a little while longer, though, because we don’t know how this story will end yet. We have come to that blank page that is called “the present”.

Camp NaNoWriMo starts in two days. (Or maybe three, I never know how to count these things.) And while I certainly don’t feel ready for it, I am excited for the story to continue and to work on Cryonic. It’s going to be so much fun, and I am definitely going to enjoy myself.


You can find summaries of the first two books with the “Epic Sci-Fi” link-y thing at the menu bar at the very top of the page. Enjoy!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Cryonic

Well, guess what email I received in my inbox on Tuesday?

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Yep, Camp NaNo is in a month.

I haven’t even been thinking about it recently, let alone started planning for it. I knew that I’m writing the sequel to KT, a novel I finished last October, I just had no idea what the plot should be about. Plus, I wanted to finish the first draft of my Zel novel before April. Yeahhh…I don’t think that’s going to happen. But I’m still going to try, because apparently I like to put myself through lots of stress by pushing necessary goals and deadlines on myself.

Like Camp NaNaNoWriMo.

For those of you who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is like the normal National Novel Writing Month, only it’s not in November, you can choose your word count goal, and you don’t have to write a novel. (I’m thinking of maybe writing a screenplay this July…)

April Camp NaNo was actually where I finished my very first novel, so it has a little bit of a special place in my heart. It also means that this is my anniversary of doing NaNoWriMos for 3 years. This is also going to be my 10th NaNoWriMo experience. So…it’ll be fun.

What’s even more fun, though, is that I had an idea for the actual plot of my novel the day after I got this email. I was researching stuff for history class, and I somehow ended up reading articles on cryonically freezing people.

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Here’s the little google search definition for you. I’m wondering if there’s bodies inside those tanks in the picture…

I’d never heard of it before, and it was really fascinating to read about. (If you haven’t heard of it either, the link to the Wikipedia page is here.) And just by reading about it, I decided that I really wanted to write a book with it. The plot bunny specifically that came to me was that the villian-ish person of the novel had been cryonically frozen about a hundred years ago, and science had finally gotten good enough to revive him and bring him back to life.

KT and its sequel are set in a sci-fi setting, and thinking about it, I realized I could use this plot bunny for the sequel I’ll be writing this April. There were actually a lot of ways it could relate to the first book, and I already have a reason for why he would be revived.

Now, his name, personality, and why exactly he’s “evil” are yet to be discovered, but I’m really excited about writing this. I think it’ll be especially interesting to explore how someone would react to waking up a hundred years later (or maybe even more, depending on how long I decide he’s been frozen for), and seeing how the world has changed. And what about the people he knew? They’d all be dead. It would be like falling asleep and waking up to find yourself in a completely alien world.

I’m also excited to explore a lot of the side characters in this second book, because I introduced some interesting ones at the end of the first book, and I really want to see their personalities and how they interact and stuff like that. I think it’ll be lots of fun.

And since I decided I needed a title for the novel while I was creating it on the Camp NaNoWriMo website, I have given it the working title of Cryonic. It’s fairly simple, but I think I like it, at least right now. Maybe I’ll come up with something later, but I like the symbolism this one could reflect. In the story, people’s hearts could be “frozen” and things like that.

So I’m finding myself very excited for this April, and I can’t wait to get back to Kai and Taira and all of my other characters from the first book. It’s going to be lots of fun!