NaNoWriMo Musings

Here’s what I had when I started this post (because I never seem able to start and finish these in a timely manner):

This has been a weird NaNoWriMo for me. Somehow the best, yet least productive attempt I’ve done to finish a novel (novella in this case) in all the years I’ve tried, I’m having fun though. The Swan Prince was chosen because I wanted to do something light, fun, and quick. I didn’t expect it to take so long, but after spending so much time on larger projects and fanfiction, I had a corrupted sense of time. XD I’ve forgotten how much work actually goes into a story like this. Not quite as much time spent constructing the world as my other projects that branch entire years and eras worth of made up history and futures, but also not as quick as throwing out a new idea that exists within a pre existing world with already well known and understood characters.

I used to write short stories with much more frequency, but then my ideas eventually became too big (and as I’m writing this I just realised how I can downsize one idea in particular) and I redirected my attention.

– Cass back on the 21st of last month

Tbh I wish I had completed this at least a day later because then I would remember what amazing idea I had to downsize one of my story ideas. I hope I wrote it down somewhere in my notes because I just cannot remember after re-reading all that. Great goings overambitious past me!

Self-annoyance aside, this forgotten post still follows, more or less, what I planned to say today anyway. NaNoWriMo went great! Did I win? No. Did I finish any writing? Absolutely not. But did I learn? Yes, so I think that makes me the real winner here, don’t you?

I’ve been having a lot of fun working on the Swan Prince. I had a breakthrough with my little darling protagonists and I can’t wait to really bring them into existence and get their story done and published (even if that just means me throwing my words up here as little chapters to read through on my blog). I don’t expect, or even want, much from this story. Like I said above, I wanted to do something simple and fun and this seemed the perfect story to do so. Last year I had Yaisha, but Yaisha turned into something much larger and more serious than I intended. I’m not mad about it, but working on it again after the year I’d had (and earlier attempts at working on it) seemed counter-productive.

I have a number of other projects still in the works, that poetry book, turned poetry/art book, turned IDON’TEVENKNOWIFICANSHOWANYOFTHISTOANYONEEVER, still looks like it’ll fight me all the way. I’d planned to get it done and out by now, but how silly of me to assume I’d be cooperative with my own self. Hah! The lies we tell ourselves when we’re in mourning and hoping to appease the dead. Silly me to forget my relationship with the non-living. Not any better than my relationship with the breathing.

I write so much, you’d think I’d have something finished by now, but I don’t, and what I do have is all poems I’d rather not expose myself with. Last year I’d made attempts and set things in motion to expose myself to more opportunity to be vulnerable, and I will say this year I did achieve that. I’ve interacted more with other writers and artists. I even gave out my address to an online friend and we exchanged a couple letters. Heck, I even went out of my way to do something I never do and am deathly afraid of doing. I traveled solo. I went all the way down South to the school that almost killed me and met up with some friends. (I keep forgetting that was this year, what a long year it’s been. Honestly, my trip and my issues with travelling are another post all in itself)

While I don’t think at an outside glance you’d be able to tell how much improvement I’ve had in my life this year, I know how much I’ve improved. To the point that I’m back on my italics grind because yes, I do need the extra emphasis. This year, I expected it to be very difficult, and it was. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much my entire life than I did this year. I’m sure you can blame some of that on hormones and unchecked health problems, but I think it can also be attributed to my own personal advancements in allowing myself the right to cry.

I may have mentioned this before on other posts here, maybe just on my music blog, but a big part of being an artist is the ability to be vulnerable. Vulnerability, as you may have guessed, just is not a word that is in my vocabulary. I hear the slightest sigh of an emotion and I’m already prepared to either punch it in the gut, run, or do all of the above and give an extra kick in the head while its down. I hate emoting. Hate it. I hate weakness, implied or otherwise. I hate not being in control. I hate irrationality. I hate, hate, hate it all. I hate vulnerability so much I’d rather die in a ditch than ask a stranger for help. I never understood people who talk bad about, “waiting for your prince charming” and similar concepts because they view it as an over-emotional fantasy of a weak and needy person. What are you talking about? That’s my favourite fantasy because it means I can pretend to be as strong as I want, but some magic perfect fella will come along, see through my bs, and force me to confront what I’m too stubborn to admit. I need help.

This year I definitely had to acknowledge that I need help, but that’s ok. Other years I…heard it. You know when you think of things but don’t really act on them? Or you acknowledge something in a, “noted” kind of way but never actually do anything about it, like when you cat harasses you for more food, but you know it’s still an hour before they need to be fed? That was me for the past sumntheother years. Trapped in a limbo of, “Ooh, this ain’t great” and “Lmao, shut up, we just trying to survive.” But the end of 2017 was like a big ol’ slap in the face of, “Well how long you plan on just ‘surviving’ hoe?”

While my writing still needs work, and it is frustrating being a writer who still seems so behind despite writing for over two decades now. I also have to remind myself that A. writing since you were in second grade kinda doesn’t exactly count. Like…it’s cute…but come on now. What were you really doing with your time back then, huh? You still wanted to go into space and be a vet. You weren’t thinking about being a professional writer, you were thinking about all the fun ways you can make your beanie babies and dolls have wild soap opera-y lives. B. Fanfiction…just isn’t the same as original. You spent a decade writing about making fictional boys you don’t own the rights to cry and work through their complicated emotions. It’s a little different from writing about your own characters crying and working through their emotions and that’s ok. And C. We all start somewhere, and none of us are perfect. As long as you don’t give up and keep working at it you’ll achieve something.

As a writer I really don’t care if I get the big bucks or become famous. Honestly, I’m not a people person so if I were to become a widely known author I’d probably hate every minute of it because ew. That sounds like the opposite of living in a cave and making enough to feed my pet moss frogs and keep the lights on. (I’ll use a nearby lake for water) But if I can complete something I feel really good about and wouldn’t hate reading over and over again? Then I think I’d have done a good job of things.

The Swan Prince

NaNoWriMo is afoot and I couldn’t be more excited. I just wanted to share the cover I’ve been using over on the NaNo website for my story for this year.

The Swan Prince

I’ve been working hard at bolstering my Pinterest board for the project, and I think this cover fits the aesthetic of the story very well.

While Emri and the Prince couldn’t come from more different worlds, they definitely share more in common than I think Emri realises. I just love gardens and nature so much, I couldn’t help but make them a central part of the story’s setting. Every time I think of their story, I can’t help but picture beautiful fragrant gardens, architecture that bends and warps to the environment’s will, food fresh from the local market and foraged in the woods, and air so fresh and sweet it makes you dizzy if you’re not used to it.

As a fantasy story, I want The Swan Prince to be something light and fresh rather than heavy, though a bit of surrealism might make an appearance here and there as the story goes on. I am regretting a bit the early start I gave my story, but I’m having fun writing the two MCs as silly kids. Kids know a lot more than adults think they do, but they’re still kids at the end of the day. These two are definitely a handful, and I’m glad they’re only fictional. XD Watching kids trying to make difficult decisions probably best made while older and more experienced is painful, always.

Howdy

A life update. I’ve been working on some posts, but they’ve been a bugger to finish and put out. I’ve been writing though, which is nice, and I’m extra hype to be working on my Swan Prince story for NaNo this year, especially after seeing this tweet:

I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since…about 2012 or 2011. I didn’t win until 2015, but I’ve enjoyed the attempts and any excuse I get to focus on my writing and be left alone about it. Also, with the past couple of months I’ve had, I welcome the distraction from life and it’s irrationality. I’ve never tried joining something like Voices On Fiyah before though, so this year’s WriMo is going to be even more exciting!

While, at least in my head, I’ve been thinking of doing at least 30,000 words for SP, I also knew I was doing it because I’d feel a kind of way about using NaNo to only write about 25,00 words, maybe even less. The story of the Prince and Emry isn’t one that needs much said, but now that I’ve had a spark of ideas for other existing stories, when I finish SP early I can work some more on them! Which would be really great. I might even finish ones. I remember that I finished 2015’s WriMo project because I had a sudden gust of inspiration one day and wrote about 15,000 words or so in one day. I don’t know what I ate the night before, but that boost really put me over the edge.

This year I’m hoping for another divine boost, but honestly I also want to take my time with this. I’m so in love with my characters for this story. The Prince is such a hoot, and Emry is a holler. I just want to get them onto paper and work them into life. I’m also hoping this year I can be more involved in the NaNo (And generally speaking, writer) community.

What are you guys excited about next month? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo too, what’s got you up in a happy tizzy?

Instagram NaNoWriMo Challenge

Fall is finally here (well, almost) and you know what that means? NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!

I heard about an Insta challenge via Tumblr that the WriMo folks created for this month and thought I’d participate. My art Insta has briefly been changed into a writer one and I’ve been sharing my pics for the past five days. Down below are my pics so far, and here is a link to my insta in case you want to follow along and have fun too!

I’m looking forward to NaNo this year, and I’m really looking forward to working more on my Swan story. This challenge has me hyped for November. How about ya’ll? Is anyone else participating in NaNo this year? Doing the Insta challenge?

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D1. A Selfie

D2. Inspiring Quote

D3. Inspiring Photo (picture by Ricardo Bessa)

D4. Why Do You Write?

D5. Cover

The End

So I hit 70,000+ words…I finished NaNo with time to spare…but am I done with my novel? HAH. That’s a good laugh. Nowhere near done. What pushed me over the edge was writing a bunch of scenes and notes and profiles, and everything but my actual story. Storywise, I got 30,000+ in, which I’m pretty proud of. It was a struggle this month, and I’m so glad I actually managed to write so many words, even if they didn’t exactly push the main plot forward, I’m glad I now have something to look back on and rework later. Winter is going to be very busy for me, I can already tell.

Anyone else still in the throes of NaNo? Finished? Nowhere near done? I’m rooting for you! Whether you cross the finish line or trip before you can, you did your best and that’s all that matters.

New Development

I just discovered my original idea for my NaNo story. It was in a book I lost but was returned to me yesterday and I am shocked I forgot about the intended idea of this story. No wonder why it’s been a hard going. XD

Originally Yaisha was going to be about a noble boy turned monk to protect his family’s name and stay out of the overwhelming politics of the nobility. He is sent by his mentor to take a powerful sacred relic somewhere to be destroyed. He teams up with a travelling band of adventurers who see him in town and devided to help him out.

The main cast involved:

  • The Monk
  • Twin Southerner elves, a mage and a rogue
  • A dwarf from the city with a lovely brogue
  • A country dwarf with Mid-Westerner charm
  • A pleasantly chipper human warrior
  • A charming “human” necromancer of unknown yet “I already told this story” origin.

Their adversaries were going to be members from a secret organisation that goes around the world collecting powerful relics and artifacts, and a deity. As you can see some of the original plot stuck. I think I’m going to work on this story too. I intended to make a fantasy world that’s less fixated on ancient history and myth and more intergrated with the modern era and people of today. 

It was also inspired by a Tumblr post talking about all the wonderful accents people could use for fantasy settinga beyond the usual Brittish. I for one am excited to being my NYC dwarf to life, and my slow twang of the South elves.

WELP

So I attempted to make a character sheet, but then I got distracted by actually writing the story and, wow, let me tell you. I had no idea how long this story was going to be. I should have known because it’s a fantasy but I feel catfished by the short fantasy novel I read before November. Foolish me, who forgot it was a novel done in an already preexisting world so half the build up and story has already been told in that universe. It’s just another piece of the pie. Like with comics.

I am glad though, I’m still behind but I think by the end of today I will be caught up, and if I really push it I can get ahead. Whew. I definitely will be taking a break from this story once NaNo is over. I can’t wait to finish the story, but I know I will work myself dizzy if I try to do too much at once. I even changed a lot of the story halfway and now my first few chapters are completely different setting wise from the ones I have now. We went from Tolkein to Outlaw Star in .5 seconds flat. I think I figured out why I was struggling so much though, so that’s good. Everything can be cleaned up and made to fit in editing which is great.

When people say don’t worry about the story and just write, that’s really good advice. It may be a mess in the end, but you’ll come up with so many ideas and even if it’s weird at first, it’ll feel so good to just get something down on paper.

Talk about a roller coaster of emotion…

So my NaNoWriMo journey so far this year started with a roughness, but after not even being able to get to a 1000 words from the start, now am looking at 5000+ and counting (nearly at 6000) and belatedly remember that I already written some scenes out a month or so ago after trying out 750words and forgot to add those to my word count (if all goes as planned I should be able to just alter them a bit and slide them right in). I even forgot to type up a scene I’d written as well, bringing my scene document to 5000+ words and putting me right back on track for NaNo seeing as day 6 is supposed to be 10000 words.

I am, beyond pleased with myself. While, I would feel comfortable to have my daily goals met because of my main document, I feel as if after I finish the scene I’m working on now and sleep I can meet the day’s goal.

Well that’s my update, how are the rest of ya’ll doing?

NaNo17 Plot Synopsis

So this year the title of my story is Yaisha, named for my nineteen year old main character, a young man raised by monks in a once peaceful valley after being orphaned. Despite the rising temperatures of the mid summer months and rising troubles in the region thanks to an increase in highway men and raiders from the coastal region of their small trading country, the monastery has always been a place where one could rely on for sanctuary and security. The monks being of the small yet well respected religious order have rarely faced great hardships thanks to the reciprocated love of the local population.

One day however, an apparent raid cutting through the nearby villages reaches monastery land and breaches through their gates. In the wake of the attack, Yaisha’s mentor, Gai, admits to him that there is more to his past then originally told, but that he can’t tell him more. If Yaisha wants to learn the truth behind his living behind monastery walls he’ll have to carry out a task for answers. Hidden beneath the monastery is a powerful weapon disguised as one of the many sacred relics their order has kept and watched over for years. Somehow related to his true identity and the raid, Gai tasks Yaisha with it’s safe keeping and sends him on a mission to return the object to its rightful place at a temple hidden away in the mountains on the northern border.

Already aware that as Yaisha aged, his existence would be harder and harder to keep secret, Gai called on some friends for help. Ki’tha and Axel are swords for hire, adventurers by trade that take up various odd jobs to afford their travelling exploits. Their latest of jobs being the task of escorting Yaisha safely from the monastery to the temple. Ki’tha is only a year older than Yaisha and from a big trading city on the coast. He was also orphaned as a child, but lead a much different life. Encouraged away from a life of crime by the older Axel, Ki’tha and Axel have been a duo ever since, working occasionally with the dragon Qrex, a shape-shifter and weapons aficionado.

The trio go together to the temple, but discover that whatever secrets Gai hid, they won’t stay hidden for long as it seems that whoever was behind the raid wasn’t the only one after Yaisha and what he now owns. Chased by weapon collectors, relic hunters, assassins, and a strange secret organisation against the rule of the king and rumours of a “true heir”, Yaisha and his crew realise that perhaps they are in over their head.

 

 

Ready for November!

So, I’m doing NaNo again this year, hopefully it will be another success like my 2015 attempt. This time I’ll be doing a proper novel. Original characters, a world of my own, and a completely fresh idea unlike my last NaNo attempts. While 2015 was a fun challenge, it was essentially a series of short stories all belonging to an overreaching main theme (various types of love) and it was all fanfiction. This year will be different, but I hope I can incorporate everything I’ve learned from the books I’ve read since, and the things I’ve written to pull it together this year.

Last year was a bust, but I’m really keen on this year’s idea. Wishing luck to everyone else doing NaNo this year and hoping lots of people complete their projects or at least get far enough that finishing it comes easy post November.