Daily Writing Check-in: May 12, 2019

Words/Time:  2 hours, 32 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” and a good amount of free writing with prompts.

I continued the character interview that I started a few days ago, which led me to once again question who was the actual protagonist in “Vin.” I went through this while I was planning the story in the first place, before I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo in 2017, and in the end, I don’t remember what I decided. Whatever I did decide, I apparently threw out the window when I wrote it, because there’s no clear protagonist or main character in the first draft. But the plot is also very thin, so really, I was just getting the word count.

When I started this character interview a few days ago, I had decided that I wanted the character I’ve been interviewing (can’t say more due to spoilers) to be the protagonist. After some insight I gained during the writing today, I think he can be the main character, but that Vin is back to being the protagonist.

This decision led me to go back to do research that I also did back in October of 2017, in making sure I understood the difference between a main character and protagonist, so I had them straight in my mind. In the end…I think I do, but to be honest, people differ on which one is which. I think it’s just not that cut and dry overall, but I also think I have an idea of how to move forward.

However, this research led me to have a strong desire to go through all of the Pithea books and make sure that I could identify a “story goal” in each book, as well as the main character, protagonist, and antagonist. So I did just that. It turned out to be very difficult for at least 1 book that I have planned, but maybe that means I need to do a little more work on the structure of that book before I draft it.

I also used 3 different prompts for some writing practice, trying to drum up something for tomorrow’s Monday Moment. I’ve done a lot of writing practice over the last week, comparatively, but it had all been too spoiler-filled. The first two that I did also couldn’t be shared (though to be fair, one of them is because I don’t think it turned out very good, rather than because of spoilers). One last one tonight at 11:30 finally gave me something I can use.

Also, I have learned in the last few months or so that I am what is called an “external processor.” That’s probably the reason that I include so much detail in these posts sometimes.

A Monday Moment: Foreboding

Monday Moment - Foreboding

Todd grasped his wife’s upper arms. “You must take the magistrate’s fastest horse and warn everyone in and around the village that they need to escape before it’s too late.”

Tears streamed down Rachel’s face. “Would it not be wiser to ride straight to Northbay and ask them to send an army?”

“You know we don’t have time for that. We’ve all heard the tales—once Antios’s men show up outside the village, it’s only a matter of time before Antios himself arrives and destroys the village. Our town only has hours left. If we can warn enough people, maybe someone will survive to tell our story too.”

She nodded and took a deep breath. “I will warn who I can.” Then she pulled her husband into a quick embrace.

“We’ll keep Antios’s men engaged as long as we can to allow those escaping to get away. As soon as you have sounded sufficient alarm, make for the nearest town.”

She pulled back and looked him in the eye. “I won’t leave without you.” Her jaw was set and eyes unwavering.

“Rachel, my love, you know that those of us staying to fight will leave before Antios arrives if we can. We must stay as long as we can, to give the rest of you a chance. But listen to me—if I do not make it, it would be better for Laura and Joshua to lose one parent, and for Shanna to lose one grandparent, than two. They will need you.”

Prompt used: After a powerful enemy destroys 2 major cities, they arrive at your main character’s city

A Monday Moment: Favor

“So, can you do me a favor?”

“A favor?” he scoffed. “You must be joking!”

I stared at him, trying so hard to keep my face as stoic as possible.

“Don’t think of it as a favor for me then. Think of it as a favor for your homeland. For your friends and family there. For you, even.” I could see his jaw jumping as he clenched and unclenched it over and over. He was angry. He had every right to be. Still, he had come to see me.

“If this has anything to do with Linus, you can save your breath. He’s not getting out any time soon. And neither are you.”

“I don’t want him to get out. I don’t care if I’m released either. But he can still do a lot from prison.”

“Not from prison in Pithea,” he countered.

“You don’t think so? Do you know anything about the operation he was running back home? About the operation he was running here?”

For as cold as he had been, his tone turned to ice when he replied, “I think I know enough.”

I lowered my gaze for a moment. I would have apologized for my part in all this, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I’m only saying that Linus is very connected, very smart, and very determined. I wanted him caught here in Pithea, but the truth is—”

“Wait, what?”

I looked back up at him to see narrowed eyes.

“You wanted him caught? Don’t you work for him? And you got yourself arrested too.”

“I’m well aware of that, thank you. But if you haven’t noticed, they don’t have much in the way of charges against me. My guess is the worst they’ll do is keep me here for a bit, and then send me back. I can’t go back—not after getting Linus thrown in jail.”

“I’m supposed to feel bad that they’ll hate you back home after what you’ve done?”

“They won’t just hate me.” I searched his face for the slightest hint of the compassion or kindness I once knew. “They’ll kill me.”

Prompt used: favor

Daily Writing Check-in: April 23, 2019

Words/Time:  54 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I finished the character interview with one of the antagonists of the book. I worked on that interview for 8 days in the end, (actual days working on it, not counting days off), and at times felt like I was just stalling, because it was easier than getting back to the outline. I don’t really know why I thought that, though, because every day that I worked on this conversation, insights came out. Maybe some days the insights were small, but it was always productive.

I honestly don’t know how I got by for so long in my writing life without talking to my characters…

Tomorrow it will be back to the actual outline, which will likely still involve some questions that I need to brainstorm answers to, but I am a lot closer than I was. It will also involve going back and reading parts of the 20-page conversation many times, reminding myself of what I came up with. I’m looking forward to it!


The 20 pages were written in the smaller book in this picture, so it’s probably not quite as long as it sounds.

I’m down to needing to write 46 minutes per day to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time. I am optimistic about finishing, but not necessarily confident.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 22, 2019

Words/Time:  49 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I’m nearing the end of the character interview, and am still shocked by the fact that it is, by far, the longest one I’ve done. I went into this thinking that it might stall out and get me nowhere. I just don’t think I realized how completely empty the underlying conspiracy that drives this plot was though. Now that I have talked to one of the main antagonists of the book (and up until this character interview, I thought this person was The Main Antagonist of the book), I’m actually uncovering the complexity of the plot. I think I might just be ready to go back to the outline soon, and actually finish this writing goal.

I’m up to needing to write 47 minutes per day to finish Camp NaNoWriMo on time because I skipped yesterday. It’s no fun if it’s easy to win, right?

Daily Writing Check-in: April 20, 2019

Words/Time:  45 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I was starting to think this character interview is just a stalling tactic. But what I’m actually realizing is that I am writing an outline for the story in a way. This is a side to the story that the reader won’t see much of. Just the parts that push through to the protagonist’s side. But it’s going to be really helpful to have all of this down when it’s time for me to go back to the actual outline. The sequence of events is coming out really clearly (I think).

I’m pretty happy to have worked another solid chunk of time that will keep me on track to finishing Camp NaNoWriMo with just a few more words per day as my goal. Monday is coming, and more work that has been my main reason for skipping so many days this month, but we’ll see how it goes.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 19, 2019

Words/Time:  43 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I’m still working through this character interview with the book’s antagonist. In the past, I have not been above pulling a ret-con in my conversations when my thoughts on something change part way through the conversation. But this one has been long enough, several things have changed, including some comments at the beginning of the conversation. As long as I don’t let it confuse me later when I re-read this, it’s okay.

But then there was one whole section that I realized needed to be different than we’d discussed, and different enough that I had to go back and make some changes. It’s a good thing I use erasable pens. I’m very excited that I’m really starting to get an understanding of the underlying forces at work in this story. I think the empty late-middle of the story is finally starting to get filled in with actual tellable story now too.

I’m hoping to still hit my Camp NaNoWriMo goal by the end of the month. That’s why I wrote exactly 43 minutes today (the amount the site says I have to write every day in order to win). We’ll see how well I continue to do with that.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 18, 2019

Words/Time:  44 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I don’t have a lot to say about today’s work. I continued my conversation with the antagonist of the book, which I think is now the longest character interview I’ve ever had. And it’s not over yet–I’m really starting to get more of a handle on this story, thanks to this conversation, so I’m not stopping ’til I’m satisfied.

According to the Camp NaNoWriMo site, I only have to work 43 minutes per day in order to still meet my goal this month. But that’s if I do it every day. And I’ve been struggling with working on writing every day. Because I work every day, and it’s soul-sucking work.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 16, 2019

Words/Time:  37 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

And this is why it’s better to do at least a little writing work every day. The last time I posted, I said that in my conversation with one of the antagonists of the book, I had one more bit of information to get out of the character before moving on to lay out the plot points and see where we hit questions. But today…I had no idea what the bit of information was. Because I missed 3 days of writing, I read over the conversation so far, and read some other thoughts I’d written out on Friday when I last worked on this.

Doing this did lead me to some more solid ideas for the mystery-solving side of the story, so I’m glad for that. And then I decided to just go ahead and start talking to the antagonist about the events leading up to the climax. Hopefully if there really is something else I need to ask her outside of this, I’ll remember it along the way. Also hopefully I won’t keep taking days off.

Not surprisingly, I’m about 2 hours behind par for the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo. I may not win this month, but if I can keep coming back to the writing without letting this turn into another month-long break (or worse), it’ll still be something.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 12, 2019

Words/Time:  55 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued the character interview with the antagonist of the book. There’s just one more bit of information I want to get from this person, and then we will lay out the things that happen “behind the scenes” in the book, so I can see if any of it will actually be seen in the book in some way. I can’t quite remember why I thought this was an answer to my missing later section of the book, because most of it is really just lending itself toward a better climax. I can only think of one scene it adds, so it’s not exactly a huge filler. But we’ll see what the rest of the conversation brings.

I didn’t write for the last 2 days, so I’m about 50 minutes behind in the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m so over this work I’m doing–this work that leaves me wanting to do nothing more than play games in the evening. It will eventually end, but not soon enough. I’m glad to be making progress though, however sporadic.