Daily Writing Check-in: May 14, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 5 minutes working on the new outline of “Vin”.

I had already put the broad outline into Scrivener from the first draft, so I’m starting with that. Some of it can definitely be kept (not necessarily the writing, but the plot), and some of it is being moved to the end and marked as “cut.” I want to wait until I have solidified the outline before I delete those.

I’m also adding in the new direction the story takes after the first act, which is where I left off today.

I haven’t completely decided yet if I will completely rewrite this story, or keep and revise the scenes that are being kept and just rewrite all of the new stuff. I’ve always struggled with rewriting, because I’m too inclined to try to write it the same way it had originally been written. But I think it’ll be more complicated to just try to make the scenes that I’m keeping flow into the new stuff. So…decisions.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 13, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin”.

I finished the character interview with Naolin, and let me just say…wow. I can’t say that this, or any other character interview I’ve done, was 100% helpful, or that something that came out during it won’t be changed later. It’s not a perfect method of solidifying plot. But my goodness, did a huge idea come out of these last couple of pages of conversation. At least, it was a huge idea to me. It’s probably one of those things that future readers will just pass right over, but of course they won’t know what the plan was before I changed it to this. Anyway…I’m rambling a bit because I’m pretty excited. Today was a minor “Aha!” moment, but I’ll take it!

I’m ready to get to the actual outlining! Whether or not I’ll need to stop and do more brainstorming or character interviews along the way, I can’t say, but I’m looking forward to starting on the new outline tomorrow.

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 with Naolin, 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 Naolin to be the protagonist. After some insight I gained during the writing today, I think Naolin 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.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 11, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 3 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin.”

I continued the character interview with Naolin, which was no less insightful than character interviews ever are for me. Then something that was said led me to decide that it’s finally time to put “Protector” into my timeline of all of the Pithea Books, so I started on that. I am not going to put in every event, since the more solid outlining of that story is still ahead of me, but just the parts that connect to “Vin.”

Daily Writing Check-in: May 9, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 17 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “Vin” as well as some free writing with a prompt.

I again started out with the writing practice, which took about 50 minutes. I may have to try to write shorter bits for the writing practice, if I want to keep starting my writing time with it every day, because while writing practice is always good, it doesn’t help as much with the actual moving forward toward producing books as the real work does. And this one was a doozy. I didn’t even really write that much. I haven’t counted it, but it didn’t look like 50 minutes-worth of writing. Granted, it was handwritten, but still.

It’s possible that the lengthy free writing lately is just a reflection of how much I miss the actual writing when I’m doing a lot of work in other phases of writing, like now. Today’s prompt was almost too easy though–“The first time falling in love, years after the death of your soulmate.” It allowed me to explore the beginnings of a relationship that I have really only so far written about after the couple is established. Maybe that’s also why it went so long.

The rest of the time was spent starting a new character interview in the hopes of understanding some of the main plot of “Vin.” This one should be interesting, as I will be talking with Naolin, one of the main characters in “Pithea.” The very first time I ever thought about trying to talk with my characters, it was with Naolin, discussing “Pithea.” But it was all in my head while I worked in my dad’s blacksmith shop. It produced some brilliant insight, but when I tried to re-create the conversation on paper later, it just wasn’t the same. Then I didn’t really try anything like this again for about 3 years.

I’ve brought him into character interview since then, but there were always other characters. As strange as it might be for me to say this (I’m aware this is all a bit strange), I’m looking forward to a one-on-one conversation with him after all this time.

The Pithea Books

Go here for an explanation for this post.

“Pithea”

This book introduces the island country of Pithea, and its citizens’ dependency on Power, as well as their eternal struggle against the Madness. Our narrator, Drear, tells us about his friend Missy and his brother Naolin, as they attempt to find their places in society, but are met with the harsh realities of life in a series of unlikely events, menacing villains, and both triumph and tragedy.

Current status: Final draft completed, but pending future first drafts could force changes

Pithea

“Outcast” *

In this book, Drear introduces us to some people who are important to future events, and shows us how they are connected. Natos Morano has been a member of a band of mercenaries known as the Class of Morano since birth. He is faced with a personal crisis, as a woman he’s never met tells him that he is not meant for this life, and forces him to choose between the only family he’s ever known, and his true family that is long gone.

Remiel Azrael finds himself caught between family and his own morality as he attempts to help a woman who is in desperate need. But when her situation turns out to be more dangerous than he realized, he faces a crisis of his own, and is forced to face his demons.

Current status: New outline finished, second draft currently in progress

Outcast

“Pursuit of Power”

Drear introduces us to Alexander Surett, a driven man with a tendency toward obsession if given the right target. In this first book of the trilogy, Alexander’s drive to find out about questionable circumstances surrounding his dad’s death leads him to ignore some of the region’s highest laws, which regulate Power usage. In doing so, he attracts the attention of the leader of the Class of Morano, who wants to recruit him. When he refuses, she takes it personally, and he has to set aside his search for answers about his dad’s death to try to stop this madwoman. The result is all-out war.

Current status: Draft 3 completed, structural changes ahead

Pursuit of Power

“Unexpectedly” **

The small island nation of Pithea has been at peace with its neighbors for hundreds of years. However, when a destructive force rises up from within, the rest of the country has to decide whether to choose sides or remain neutral. What follows is a civil war with a high body count. In this book, Drear tells us about some of the men and women who fought in the battle, on both sides, and the effect the battle had on their lives afterward.

Current status: Outline finished, first draft pending

Unexpectedly

“The Seeger Book”

Jonathan has been given an amazing gift in the form of exclusive access to a highly desired instruction manual written by a master blade smith. When it comes to light that someone has been making copies of the priceless book, tensions rise between Jonathan and the friend who owns the book. The mystery deepens with the death of someone involves, and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect. Drear shares this tale of intrigue in which no one is who they seem to be, and years of trust will be shattered.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

The Seeger Book

“Vin”

There was a time when Missy was plagued by mysterious men who seemed to wish her harm. They spoke to her as if they knew her, and seemed to be connected in some way, but she had no idea how. In this culmination of smaller events from previous books, Drear tells us of the shocking events around the revelation of the mystery that these men created around themselves. He shares glimpses into the mind of a dark, twisted, lost soul, and the final outcome won’t be what anyone expected.

Current status: New outline completed for re-draft

Vin

“Protector”

Drear takes us outside of Pithea and the union of nations it belongs to for the first time. Altmoor is a country that has never even heard of the Power, and certainly does not use it in any way. Altmoor and its king are entrenched in a centuries-long war with their northern neighbor, but suddenly learn that there is much more to fear than a mere border feud. When a single man wreaks havoc on the entire region with a sorcery that they cannot combat with swords and bows, it draws the attention of powerful people in Pithea who offer to help, but also open their eyes to a whole new world.

Current status: First draft done, at least first half will need rewritten (purpose of story changed by the end of the book)

Protector

*The order of “Outcast,” “Pursuit of Power, Book One,” and “Unexpectedly,” relative to each other, is subject to change. They all have some commonalities that could spoil each other, so I have been spending a lot of time trying to decide which order they should go in. I’m settled with this order for now.

**The title of “Unexpectedly” came from a fanfiction that is the basis for this book, but it will be very different than that fanfiction. So the title is a working title, and most likely won’t stay.

Beautiful Books 2017, NaNo in Progress

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If you don’t know what “Beautiful Books” is, click the above picture to find out!

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
I have been having a lot of fun writing so far! After a year and a half away from writing, just getting back into my story world and back to these characters has been so much fun. Because of that, my novel isn’t progressing very quickly.

For one thing, this novel takes place after five other plotlines that involve mostly the same characters, and are already either drafted or at least solidly planned. As the story goes on, various events that happened in other stories come up. And one character has been away for over five years, so he wants to know about those events, and the other characters tell him the story. (In some cases, he’s the one who was involved in the story and gets to share with others.)

So at least half of my words so far have been telling these stories. I know for certain that it won’t stay in the story when it’s edited someday, because this book would come after the others, so readers should already know all of this already. It will be redundant. But boy, has it been fun reminiscing with them.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
When my brother went on his first date, he asked me for advice. I’m more than a year younger than him, and had no experience with things like dating, but then, neither did he. It may have been because I’m friends with the girl he was taking out. It may have been because he frankly didn’t have much knowledge about the country outside of his town and the capital city. Or it may have been because he was simply nervous. Either way, I think I helped him come up with quite the wonderful first date.

3. Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?
It’s definitely Naolin. In my last Beautiful Books post, I said the thing I was most looking forward to about writing this was getting to write about Naolin again. And I have loved it.

4. What do you love about your novel so far?
I suppose I already explained that above. I’m coming to the end of stories that they can tell, and will have to really start into the plot. But I think that, after 1.5 years away from writing, this was a great way to start NaNo.

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
I have so many typos. It’s how I’m able to write so much in the amount of time I do.
But there was this gem: Aeldrim’s face held a look of quizzicality(?) for a brief moment, and then he recognized his once-unit underling.
I realized as I was writing the word “quizzicality” that it wasn’t a word, and I had no idea what word might replace it. So I just typed in the question mark and moved on. I’m pretty sure it actually is a word though…it just seemed wrong to me at the time.

I also wrote: “There is more drama here than in a soap opera,” the author interjected. Everyone ignored her.
That was during one particularly high-drama story that started going even further into emo-town than I wanted. I wrote this line, at first thinking to attribute it to one of the characters, but soap operas don’t exist in their world, so…I just put myself in.

6. What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
Hmm, I’m not sure I’ve really thought about this before, but I think the end. I really like the climax, as it’s usually something I’ve been planning and looking forward to for a while. Sometimes I think that my excitement about the final scenes leads me to write them in a way that feels rushed, so that may be a down side. But I try to fix that in editing.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I write best at night. Sometime between 8pm and 3am. It’s quieter and my responsibilities are asleep. I sometimes listen to music, but the most consistent audible tool that I use is some kind of white background noise like from Coffitivity. As for snacks, during NaNo I tend to consume an unhealthy amount of day-after-Halloween-sale candy. Outside of November, I can’t keep up that habit due to both expense and it’s so unhealthy.

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
Sort of both. I would share every day’s writing with people if I could. But I know that anyone who is interested in knowing the story is better off reading it start to finish after it’s done. However, I have often used my husband as a sounding board when I’m stuck, or shared exciting break-throughs with him.

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
The knowledge that if I don’t keep going, I will never be able to share my stories with anyone else. I’m not looking to be a bestselling novelist; my aim is to find an audience, whatever size that might be, who will enjoy the complex and exciting plots I’ve weaved together as much as I do. But that will never happen if I don’t get them out (and then get them revised).

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
Oooh, three? I’ve been happy in the past to come up with one. Let’s see here…
– “Write every day” is a nice goal to shoot for, but it can’t be something that you let rule you. If you have other full-time endeavors, whether that’s a job, kids to raise, or whatever else it might be, you have to write in your spare time. And sometimes spare time is hard to find. If you miss a day or two here or there, but don’t let it break your overall habit, you’re still making progress.
– Keep everything. As soon as you change a word in your first draft, save it as draft 2. If you take out an entire chunk while in the middle of a draft, consider saving it in a different file. You never know what you might wish you’d kept, what you might be thinking about later and wish you could remember what you’d written. Save it all.
– All of those writing tips and “rules” you’ve read? They don’t mean anything. They can be helpful, and if some of them work for you, then great! But don’t force yourself to stick to anything that doesn’t feel right or makes writing less fun. They’re not rules. They’re tips and helpful hints.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 28, 2017

Words/Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes of NaNoPrep of a sort

I’m still trying to get a handle on what the main plot line for my NaNoNovel is going to be, after realizing that what I thought would be the main plot line is now going to be told in letters, and wouldn’t work as well as the main plot. So a sub-plot that has been in the back of my mind this whole time needs to step up, and it’s being resistant. I worked on sorting that out today for almost 2 hours, but I’m not sure I got anywhere. It’s going to be an interesting next 3 days as we careen towards November 1st, and I feel unprepared. (I’m still trying to convince the main character that he should be the main character!)


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Introducing Naolin

Finally posted something new over on my Made in Pithea blog, where I post more about the story and story world. This is an introduction to the secondary main character, Naolin Dark.

Made in Pithea

From the pen ofDrear

Naolin Dark is pretty much my favorite person ever. Maybe that’s not the most objective thing for me to say, since he’s just one of many people who I’ve researched and whose lives I’ve connected. But I do have a reason to be biased—he’s my brother.

Though Naolin and I lost seven years when we were growing up, when we reconnected, you’d never guess we’d been apart. The most fun I’ve ever had has been when I’m spending time with my brother. Training in the domes is definitely better when he’s with me. I don’t enjoy caving as much as he does, but I’ll go with him anytime he asks.

He’s smart, generous, fun to hang out with, and he cares a lot more than he lets on. On the other side, though, he is also one of the rudest people I know. Some…

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