Rambles on Writing #2: Things Are Looking Up

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In my last post, Rambles on Writing #1, I talked about how everything in my novel seemed to be falling apart and I didn’t know how to write it and the plot was terrible and blah blah blah all of my complaining. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who encouraged, advised, supported, and commiserated with me in response.

I said I wanted my next post to be more happy and so it is! I am much more happy. There are still things to work on (like maybe actually writing something in Enhanced, but I figured out most of the problem and kind of how to fix it. (I found more problems, too, but mainly smaller ones.)

The main problem with my plot, I realized, was that none of my characters really changed. I’d made all of these lovely little plots for them to go through and struggle with, but they weren’t really struggling because the plots didn’t really affect them.

First of all, I added in the moralistic dimension that my writing had been missing. Obviously, you don’t want a book to end with, “And that’s why you should always…” because that isn’t going to change people. But if you can write a book with inspiring characters and play with the reader’s emotions, then they can learn a lesson from it and apply it to them. That wasn’t happening before, but hopefully it will now.

For that, I wrote down a list of a lot of the life lessons that I’ve learned (or should have learned) and a lot of them just fit with characters. Like, “You can’t change other people, so change yourself,” goes definitely to Taira. And Kai’s is clearly, “Heroism means integrity. You have to keep to your standards no matter the situation or justification,” which is possibly my favorite one.

Some of the others were tricky, like with Will or Bennett, but I figured them out. (“You can make a difference” and “if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything,” respectively.)

Then I took the plot and altered it just slightly so that it would affect all of them personally. Since Meryn is so separated from the rest of them and really isn’t participating in the main plot, she was the main problem, so I spent a couple pages figuring out why their plan would affect her.

And now I’m feeling much better about the plot. There’s still so much to do, but at least I know where I’m going and why it’ll affect the character and so hopefully I have enough to get back to writing on.

I may do a very short and basic outline so that I can figure out what I’m already supposed to have written and included, but I might not and instead just continue where I left off with the better plot. *shrugs*

Anyway, I know this is a rather short and bland post, but, hey, things are working out more and I’m feeling happy about the development I’ve done, so I figured that was worth sharing. (Don’t worry, I’ll have some more exciting posts after this busy weekend.)


Oh, and before the questions at the end of this post, here’s a quick update on blogging that I forgot to post a week or two ago-I’ve gotten to a thousand comments! The thousandth comment was done by Kellyn Roth, who well-deserved this honor due to her many comments on my blog (somewhere around 150 by now. Actually, I lied–nearly 200 comments!). Thank you all for all of your comments and your conversation with me! It’s been lots of fun.


How has your writing been coming along? Have you had any breakthroughs like I have had, are you stuck in writer’s block, or are you still just breezing along with amazing skills? I would love to hear about all of your novels–go ahead, ramble!

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Mermaid Clans, Fairy Tales, War, and Adorable Princes (a.k.a. my NaNoWriMo Novel)

It has clearly been too long since I last posted, but I have been busy. (And also procrastinating, but let’s just focus on the busy here, hehe.) Anyhow, I’m back today to ramble for a little while for the novel I’ll be writing for National Novel Writing Month this November!

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is who are you child, it’s where you try to write a novel in a month. Obviously. If you want more info, head on over to http://nanowrimo.org/

Butttt my novel! Let’s talk about that. It’s called….drumroll please…Battle Song. And I’m sure you’re wondering what it’s about, and, to be honest, most of it’s in the title.

I actually did talk about it a bit in this post, which also had this picture I drew:

mermaid colored pencil 2

Of course, at that point I didn’t know I’d be writing it for NaNoWriMo, and it’s more developed now, so I’ll just give you a quick summary right now. Basically, the idea is a retelling of The Little Mermaid where the mermaid loses her beauty rather than her voice, and also where the mermaids are a warrior society.

This idea has been developed more and I just want to ramble a little bit more about the stuff I’m really excited about, mentioned in the title.

Mermaid Warrior Clans

I am so happy about this. The MC is named Amrya il Osamarii, from the Osamarii clan. Basically there’s these huge family clans/tribes and they all war among themselves because…well, because I can’t resist having fighting or war in my stories. I just can’t. I’m pretty sure that there may also be something with some of the tail scales being valuable or increasing your position in society…but yes, they’re all warriors, including Amrya.

The reason I love this besides the whole warrior thing is that we get lots of new culture with a clan thing rather than a typical nuclear family, and there’s also going to be a strong theme of family. Amrya has five older sisters (or maybe only four, I can’t remember…), and one of the main points in the story is about her mother who died a while ago.

Her mother’s death is especially important because in the original Little Mermaid story by Hans Christian Andersen, the whole reason (besides love) the mermaid becomes a human is in order to have an immortal soul (which, of course, Disney took out) rather than turning into sea foam. So the whole sea foam/immortal soul/life after death is going to come into play in the novel, which I’m really excited for.

Fractured Fairy Tales

Okay, I just love fractured fairy tales and retellings and all that fabulous stuff. I’m just going to fangirl over those until the end of my days. I adore Ella Enchanted and also there’s some great ones by Jessica Day George that I read recently, and if you have any recommendations of adorable and awesome fairy tale retellings, please tell me.

I think it’s so interesting to see how many different twists you can take on one story, and I especially love the twist I’m going to be using. It’s going to be more about falling in love because of what you say and how you act and actual friendship rather than the annoying “love at first sight” stuff. Which’ll be great. And just people who are able to be actually in love and don’t just care about beauty. (I’ll probably talk about this more in the adorable princes section.)

And then I’m so excited to be writing a fractured fairy tale just because I get to include all of these extra little tidbits from the original story. Like, the palace is a yellow-ish color, and there’s a river thing that runs under the prince’s balcony where the mermaid watches him which, you know, isn’t creepy at all, and the girls who find the prince after the little mermaid has rescued him are actually part of a convent. There’s all sorts of cool reference things that help develop the culture, and I’m very excited.

War

I told you before, I can’t resist including a war in my novels. And just because continuous battles between the mermaids isn’t enough, the humans are also in a war. Is it bad that I’m already fangirling over this? And this is made so much better because the prince that Amrya is trying to get to marry her is also trying to deal with a war and generally just annoyed with her because of that. But since Amrya has grown up learning how to fight (and more than that, underwater, where it’s so much harder because of the water resistance), she gets to show off her sweet skills and totally be better than him. It’s wonderful.

Adorable Princes (who I just want to hug because they’re great)

This is possibly one of the things I’m most excited for. I always fall for romances with princes. (Ella Enchanted again.) They’re just my favorite, especially when the princes are so cute and sweet and just the perfect gentlemen.

And there are two fabulous princes in Battle Song. I can’t wait. I haven’t really developed their characters yet, not like I have with Amrya, but I know the basic idea about them. There’s the older brother (and the fact that they’re brothers makes this even better because siblings are fantastic), and he’s the crown prince. He’s a little arrogant and rude but I still love him so much because arrogant princes are so dramatic and fabulous. He also happens to be the one Amrya saves from drowning and also makes the deal with the sea witch to marry, but no way does he want to marry her.

But, there’s also the younger prince who is so squee-worthy because he’s one of the perfect gentlemen kind of guys. And he becomes Amrya’s friend and they’re adorable and sort of fall in love, all while Amrya’s trying to get the other prince to marry her before he marries anyone else. Which creates this love triangle-ish sort of thing, but it doesn’t really count because we all know who she’s supposed to end up with.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but there’s this one scene that just makes me die a little inside when I think about it because of its cuteness. Basically, there’s that whole thing where, because the little mermaid’s deal with the sea witch, every step feels like stepping on knives, right? And, in the original fairy tale, there’s this scene where the little mermaid is hiking with the prince and her feet start bleeding. And so I decided that Amrya’s feet get worse as time goes on from walking on them, and they eventually start bleeding. She tries to hide it from everyone, but eventually the younger prince finds out–and basically adorableness ensues because he’s worried about her and gahhh the damsel in distress and valiant knight thing always get to me.

And the best part about the younger prince is that he loves Amrya even though the sea witch took away her beauty, because he knows who she is inside, and that’s what he loves. Which is exactly the kind of guy I want to marry me.

And one more thing that makes me excited and also a little nervous: I haven’t yet decided whether or not it will end happily. I mean, you look at any other fairy tale retelling, you start the book, and you know it’s going to end happily. But with The Little Mermaid, the original doesn’t end happily. And so you actually have a chance of a sad ending where things don’t work out, and the girl doesn’t get the guy, and it’s not happily ever after.

Which I both hate and love at the same time. I hate it because I want Amrya to have a happy ending and I love ships that work out and fall in love, and that’s how I feel it should be. But that’s also why I love the idea of a sad ending: it’s not supposed to end that way, and you know it. But, that’s how life is sometimes. There’s tragedies and pains and there’s all that feeling and that’s the part of me that wants it to end with the prince marrying someone else and Amrya turning into sea foam.

I’m undecided right now, and it’s possible I won’t even decide until the very end. I think I’m procrastinating the decision.


Anyhow, that was a very long post, but also very fun! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this November? What are you writing? I’m so excited for Battle Song (if you couldn’t tell). Tell me what you think. Do you love fairy tales as well? Wars? Adorable princes? What are your favorite fairy tale retellings?

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Note: This post is rather long and very rambly. Enjoy at your leisure (and at your own risk).

I recently (as in a few minutes ago) realized that today is New Year’s Eve Eve. For some reason, I thought it was farther away, but here it is, almost 2016. Since I’ll probably be spending tomorrow writing this short story thing (see here), as well as the usual New Year’s Eve traditions, I decided I’d write my end of the year post today. In which, I shall be writing about some of my accomplishments from this past year, as well as my goals and resolutions for next year (most of them being centered around writing).

Goodbye, 2015.

This has been a good year for me, and I’m sad to see it go. There were some sad spots and some stressed spots, but overall, looking back on it, it’s been a good year. I feel like I’ve come leaps and bounds in my writing since January, despite that the year felt so short. So, some of my accomplishments.

1. The 365K challenge. I accepted this challenge in late 2014, and it was to write 1,000 words every day for a whole year, thus resulting in 365,000 words. I didn’t write that much, but ultimately, taking this challenge changed my writing drastically.

Though I started NaNoWriMo and writing novels in 2013, I didn’t really do much in between NaNo sessions. I would write in April, July, and November, sparing a little bit of time in the middle to work on my novels, but never writing much more outside of those three months.

365K changed that. I started writing nearly every day, if not daily. It became a habit. It became part of who I was.

Now that I look back on it, remembering that there was once a day when writing didn’t mean so much to me is like trying to remember a strange dream, I’ve changed so much since then. It’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s now ingrained into my life. I don’t know if I could ever go back to the way I was before.

Though I won’t be doing 365K in 2016, due to that I should (hopefully) be doing some revising instead of writing, I’m so glad that I decided to do it this year. In total, I wrote 336,587 words, and in the end was only 28,413 words behind. I’m proud of myself for that.

2. NaNoWriMo. I love NaNoWriMo (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month, if you haven’t heard of it). It was what first truly showed me my love of writing. I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember, but NaNoWriMo was what really got me started. So, of course, I’ve continued doing it.

In April, I participated in the first Camp NaNo of this year. I wrote 130 more words than my goal of 40,000 in a fantasy novel I tentatively titled The Blade, though I just call it my Riven novel, since the MC was a girl named Riven. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s in the works.

In July, I participated in the second Camp NaNo of this year. I finally came to my senses and realized I had way too many unfinished novels that needed attending to, so I started a project called A Thousand a Day, coinciding with the 365K challenge. I had a goal of 31,000 (a thousand a day), and had a total of 32,323 by the end of the month. I don’t know if it really helped all that much, but it helped some, at least.

In November, I wrote in the official NaNoWriMo and the YWP NaNoWriMo, writing an urban fantasy that was called Behind the Closet Door but shouldn’t be called that now, as that name doesn’t fit. However, I do still call it BCD when I refer to it. I wrote 53,016 words in it (or 53,017, depending on which site you look on), but haven’t touched it since.

Overall, NaNo was kind of crazy and I don’t know that my writing was even that good during it, but I love doing it anyway. It encourages me to write more, try harder, and also gives a sense of community that you don’t get when writing on your own. Besides, all rough drafts are bad, so who cares, anyway?

3. Finishing novels. I’ll tell you right off the bat, I’m not good at finishing novels. I like to chase after random plot bunnies, and I’m not the kind of person who can work on one thing at a time. I always have tons of writing projects going on at the same time, and, in short, I am a procrastinator.

However, this year I managed to actually finish two of my novels. Rough drafts, of course, but they are finished, and I’m pleased with that. In the two years before, I’d finished three novels (all of them shorter than these two), so this was a good improvement.

I first finished DotW, which is short for Daughter of the Wind. (I give all of my novels nicknames, so…be warned. For something. Something evil author-y, obviously.) I started writing that novel for NaNoWriMo in 2014, and finally finished that this June. I have to say, it was really, really nice to not have that hanging over my head anymore. I may revise it at one point, but it’s a mess. It involved time travel and I also didn’t plan much for it, so it did turn out really messy, heh. But it’s finally finished, so yay!

I also finished KT, which doesn’t actually have a title, but its two MCs are named Kai and Taira, which is why it has that nickname. I started this last December, and I wrote it in between NaNos. I wanted to finish it before this November’s NaNoWriMo, and I did — I finished it on Halloween. I’m not really sure what genre it is, somewhere between sci-fi and dystopia, but I liked writing it a lot, and I do have plans for it in the future.

While I didn’t actually finish any other novels, I came a lot closer to finishing some of them, like Riven. Of course, I did start several, but I promise I fought off as many plot bunnies as I could. (I won’t pinkie promise, though…)


I don’t know how well it showed up in all of that rambling, but I did progress a lot this year. I wrote more than I did before, finished more than I did before, and my writing improved a lot. So, yes, I am very satisfied with 2015, but I am also excited for 2016.

Hello, 2016.

I have a few writing goals for this new year, and thinking of all of them makes me feel very professional, hehe. (However, it probably fills you with dread for how much longer this post will go on. Too bad. The post must go on!)

1. Zel novel. This is a plot bunny idea I had just a few weeks ago and have been trying to nurture into health. And novel-ness. It’s a retelling of Rapunzel, beginning with Rapunzel La’arenal (a.k.a. Zel) as a foreign criminal, captured and kept in Davacas’s castle tower as her cell before she is to be executed for her crimes. When she escapes, however, Crennan Torvyr (a.k.a. Cren), a Davac soldier, chases after her in order to capture and bring her back to her cell, and to her death.

Well, that’s the premise, anyway. I’ve done a little bit of planning on the plot, but mostly I’ve been working on the world building (as well as a bit of character development). I’m planning to start work on the rough draft of this novel in early January, and I’ll probably be rambling about it a lot. I’m excited to write this draft, and we’ll see how it goes.

2. Revision of KT. You know that novel I finished up this year? That weird, half sci-fi, half dystopia one? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to revise/rewrite it this year. I’ve never actually revised one of my novels before, so this will be exciting. Despite my inexperience, I do have a few things I already know can be changed, and I really am excited to change this rough draft into a much better second draft. I’ll probably be blogging about this quite a bit when I do it too, so be ready.

3. KT 2. Which is the best nickname I’ve been able to come up for KT’s sequel. After all, it’s still about Kai and Taira, and considering neither have an actual title, I’m calling it KT 2 right now. Anyhow, I’m planning on writing the sequel to KT, if you hadn’t already figured that out from the above sentences, and I have absolutely no idea what it’s going to be about, but I’m going to write it anyway. (Okay, so I have a few ideas, but not many.)

This will actually be the first sequel I’ve written (aside from the sequel to my first novel ever, both of which were pretty horribly written), so this will be interesting. I’m glad I feel excited enough about one of my novels to actually write a sequel to them, and that gives me hope for the future of KT.

4. NaNoWriMo. I’m going to do NaNo again. Yup.

5. Finishing novels. Again, this is going to be a priority for me. I want to finish some of the novels I’ve started, like Riven and AAA and ICS. And some others, of course. There are always more novels that I can finish…


Yep, I have some plans for 2016. Hopefully I can get even more done than that, but so far, that’s what I have, and I’ll do my best to reach those goals.

I now formally welcome in 2016. *drones on in long speech, finishing in a ritual that involves good food, music, and some magical words that sound like they’re in another language which also sounds kinda like pig latin.

“Elcomeway ootay uhthay oonay earyay!”


Utway areay oaryay oonay earsyay esolutionsray anday oaryay olday earsyay achievementsay?