7DN on WriYe

The summer of half-baked writing challenges is officially over, and I challenged some of my fellow writers to go out with a bang. So after #50in5 and after double novel July (to go hand in hand with Camp NaNoWriMo), I challenged them to:

7 Day Novel(la)

It’s based off of the 3DN (3 Day Novel) that very few want to participate in, especially around Labor Day. So I thought that I could get more crazy people on board if I raised the day count to seven and lowered the word count requirement to 15,000 words.

I was right.

The WriYe 7DN ran from Sunday, August 4th until Saturday, August 10th. I, of course, had to participate. And it was a success.

I wrote a novel called The Seventh Pretty Maid based off of the fairytale The Elf Knight (or one of it many other names). There were a few planning parties that I had with my fellow WriYers in the months leading up to sort through our plots, our characters, and figure out just how long the novel(la) might be.

During it, I made an outline via a method erin had devised years ago. And I did something new with it that I hadn’t tried before. Instead of figuring a word count goal per day (though, let’s be honest, I had one), I figured out the number of plot points on my 30 point outline that I wanted to finish.

So far, this is is the best method I have found.

Here’s a glimpse of my process, with some word counts included:

Those were my first five plot points for day one. Dividing the novel into five per day gave me six full days of writing, which meant I ended on Friday. Yesterday, I added in two scenes that I needed to make the novel feel complete. And then I called it a complete zero/first draft.

Things I enjoyed: Finishing a novel in a week because, c’mon. If I could write that quickly every time? I could be more prolific than Stephen King.

Things I did not enjoy: I took off from work this week and made the mistake of letting family know. I had my days booked with activity Tuesday and Wednesday, which did not help my writing. So there were some days when I felt like I was ignoring the spouse and child just to hit word counts.

I do not like doing that.

I purposely schedule my time so that I can devote whatever the toddler needs to the toddler and to help around the house with things. My spouse didn’t seem to mind, but I did.

Things I fear: Editing this thing. I sent it to a few writing friends (who seemed excited to read it) and we’ll see how quickly they’ll throw it back with “WTF?”

I edited briefly first, of course. No spelling or grammar mistakes I could find on the read through (not an in-depth one). But I have a feeling I can hear some of their comments already…

Next Steps: Editing it and seeing if maybe this is something worth preparing for query instead of something that was a fun experiment.

Stats

Total Count: 66,335
Highest Word Count Day: Monday, August 5th (12,129)
Lowest Word Count Day: Wednesday, August 7th (8,006)
Favorite Character: Prince Kenelm
Least Favorite Character: Queen Ysabel (I have to work on her)

[Camp NaNoWriMo] Week Four Wrap Up

In which I finish things.

Just three days left in Camp NaNoWriMo but I don’t want to break my Sunday tradition. I’ll have a short wrap up on Wednesday also including my overall Yays and Nays.

I finished #50in5 on Friday. On those five days only, I wrote 55,167 words between two novels. I finished my first draft of Shard of Sea and am maybe 10,000 words away from finishing the first draft of The Lies of Jade and Ivory. If I can finish that up by Wednesday, I will consider myself all set writing-wise until the beginning of the semester in September.

Draft one of my thriller is also finished! I finished it around 3:30 pm, after a series of sprints. There’s a lot to do to make it a little more coherent (I had gone off tangent once or twice) but overall, I am pleased.

It’s a strange feeling, finishing up a trilogy. I know there are subplots I carried through all three that are now concluded. There’s a twist that I liked at the end, that I think I foreshadowed in the first novel. And the story of Mae reaches a satisfying conclusion to readers, I hope. She never succumbed to the monster inside.

Things I’ve Noticed During Week Four

July is my writing month.

The Wrap Up

Words Written: 30,587
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: 10,076
Thriller: 19,013
Shard of Sea: 1,498 (last minute clean up)

Total So Far: 134,185

Favorite Scenes:
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: The confrontation in the throne room
Thriller: Bay finally seeing Mae’s true eye color.

Biggest Concern:
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: Figuring out how to tie the ending together. I wrote something too soon, I think, and it will take a bit to catch the rest of the plot up.
Thriller: Editing. The whole trilogy.

Biggest Celebration:
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: Hitting the climax and now moving to the big battle.
Thriller: It’s Done!

Goals for the Last Few Days:
Words: 6,000 words
Challenges: Finish up Camp!
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: Try to get to the battle scene.

I Hate These Word Crimes…

The Yeas and Nays of Building Beta Armor

This year, I participated in an anonymous beta event over on Absolute Write. They’re an excellent resource, even though I don’t say much on there. The Bewares forum is my go-to whenever there are #pitmads or magazines I want to submit to.

I participated in the beta project because right now, with how the non-writing life is going, I can’t commit to a long-term CP swap. I tried and I just cannot find the time between the child, the ever-changing work situation, and the extra classes I picked up to teach to afford reason one. My time is limited and I’m not very good at balancing critiquing and writing (oh, and editing).

This involved a mandatory three crits on the first 750 words (and the hook, if you wanted to) and that’s it. You could do more if you wanted, or you could stop at three. If you wanted to request something to beta, you were free to during or after the crits were submitted. It sounded perfect: minimal commitment to stretch those critiquing skills and an opportunity to be exposed to many critiquing styles.

Now, a little known fact about me: I am an origami crane.

My skin is as thin as paper. I don’t think it’s because I think my writing is immutable, magnificent art. I think it stems back to a feeling of not being good enough mixed with perfectionism. When people point things out, I experience this strange mix of acute embarrassment and shame.

Why didn’t I see that to fix? Why did I think that was good enough? I should rewrite this entire novel. Every word is bad.

I was hoping the beta project would help me stop that cycle of thoughts. It’s anonymous, which let people say whatever they’d like without it being attached to their names and reputation. It’s also something on a short amount: my first 750 words.

The amazing organizer of the event (who deserves a bottle of her favorite liquor and a few spa days after this) posted last night and my group of writing friends and I read/skimmed through them. I won’t lie: I skimmed and then went to erin and asked if any would make me angry. She said no, and she was honest.

Thank you for preserving my safe space, erin.

So I went back, in between rounds of being Grandma and Grandpa Shark because my daughter cannot curl her fingers to do that part of the Baby Shark dance, and read through them.

All of the critiques had solid advice. I saw where I had confused people. I saw where I had some iffy grammar and paragraph styles. I had one person do a lot of line edits, which I wasn’t so interested in this round because I’m still fiddling around developmentally, but s/he said that my writing was good so I’ll take that.

I even was able to see the common denominator and come up with was to improve it (where I started the start).

Did I feel that acute shame?

A little, to be honest. But nothing like I have in the past.

Did I see some that I scoffed at and went, “You just don’t get it!”?

Sure. And I’m sure when I look back, I’ll put that reaction aside and be able to see the good in it.

Did it help thicken my skin?

I think so. I’m nowhere near alligator (at least theoretically) and maybe haven’t even moved into chinchilla stage, but this is another attempt at putting myself out there that I can count as successful.

Will I do it again?

Yes. And I’ll look for CPs when I have a better time management and/or more time. And I’ll always ask for beta readers. Because even if I have that initial reaction, the benefit of having more eyes on a project and more brains helping me work through the sticky bits, the better the project is.

And if I want to publish someway, somehow, this is vital.

Anyone else have any fun beta stories to pass along? Horror stories and/or celebrations?

[Camp NaNo] Week Three Wrap Up

(Sorry this is late. I went to update on Sunday and we had a major blackout. We’re still without power so this is sneaky work writing.)

It’s almost over! Camp NaNoWriMo has been successful this month, as July usually is for me, despite the two lab classes I’m teaching. My last day of classes is Tuesday, so I expect to be able to finish off the two novels I am working on sometime next week, provided the parents and the in-laws are still willing to babysit (they are loving it and I would never want to deny them…).

I have technically beaten both of my Camp goals:

60,000 words in my Thriller
30,000 words in Shard of Sea

But that last one was meant to finish that novel. Shard of Sea is being stubborn, having great scenes come to my mind that I need to include. But it’s nearly done and I expect it to be so.

The thriller wasn’t meant to be finished, but it very well might be. This series has always written very fast for me because the MC’s voice and head is easy to slip inside and write. I hit my goal faster than expected and with ten-ish days yet of 3k planned a day, I can finish that one off as well.

And then I take a shot of whiskey and get ready for edits…

The Wrap Up

Words Written: 39,706
Shard of Sea: 23,286 (and the novel is finished!)
Thriller: 16,420 (and the novel is not finished!)

Total So Far: 103,720

Favorite Scenes:
Shard of Sea: Battling a Sea of skeletons in the eye of a hurricane-like magical storm.
Thriller: Striking Kerrington… with a car.

Biggest Concern:
Shard of Sea: Well over 90k now. The concern is to find the plot of the third book and tie in all the loose ends.
Thriller: Wrapping this thing up…

Biggest Celebration:
Shard of Sea: IT’S FINISHED! Draft One Done!
Thriller: I think I figured out how I should move forward and who will die. Blackouts are helpful.

Goals for Next Week:
Words: 25,000 words
Challenges: The last day of #50in5
Shard of Sea: 0 – Replacing with…
Lies of Jade and Ivory: Figure out where I was…
Thriller: Get to the 80% mark!

[Camp NaNo] Week One Wrap Up

Week One’s Nays, Yays, and Numbers

Here we are on day seven of Camp NaNoWriMo. I like competition so this really helps me focus on finding every ounce of free time I can to get words onto paper (or screen). It also helps that it is during the summer and the normal course load at the university is lightened. Two lab classes and minimal administrative responsibility is much easier than four classes and full administrative responsibility. I can even sneak in some words on the (rare) lunch break.

The Split

I’m writing in two novels for Camp NaNo: Shard of Sea (high fantasy); and my final installment in a thriller trilogy. Shard of Sea is the novel I am doing #50in5 with, so it’s word count will be really boosted once a week (with twice a week happening next week). The thriller I am trying to get at least 2,000 words in every day. So far, it’s been good!

Things I’ve Noticed During Week One

I found that if I am warring, I can focus on words for a short amount of time. Unfortunately, the baby does take away from that if she needs something, but I can do them after she’s fallen asleep for the night, or when she’s cooking dinner with the spouse. Waking up early is productive, but it all depends on how sleep was the night before. If I had a bad night of sleep once, I can handle it and go on. If it’s been multiple (as in the week I’ve had with Miss Teethy Sick), I’m pretty useless.

The Wrap Up

Words Written: 33,401
Shard of Sea: 10,289
Thriller: 23,110

Favorite Scenes:
Shard of Sea: The fight between the elfin scouts and the necromancer
Thriller: Mae finding out de Milo is the new chief

Biggest Concern:
Shard of Sea: Figuring out how the magical map works. It came up mid-writing.
Thriller: Who the real Big Bad is. I had an idea but now…

Biggest Celebration:
Shard of Sea: Slipping right back into the partially finished novel without a hitch
Thriller: Recalling Mae’s voice and being able to “think” like her again

Goals for Next Week:
Words: 25,000 words
Challenges: one day of #50in5
Shard of Sea: Get to the reunion scene
Thriller: Have Kerrington escape and the fallout from that all squared

[Camp NaNo] Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah.

Here I am at Camp NaNo July! (I hope that song is stuck in your head forever now.)

As I mentioned in my last post (about #50in5), I have decided to work on two different novels during this session of Camp. One is under a different pen name and will be the last novel in a trilogy.

The. Last.

I have never finished a trilogy before so it’s actually really exciting that it’ll be done. And at the same time, I think it’ll be sad. Which is why the first thing I did this morning for camp was to write the first paragraph and the very last paragraph. The ending 50-or-so words that will cinch the rest of the series together with a callback to something the character said in the first book.

So if you’re into thriller/suspense following a federal agent, let me know. I’ll give you that NaNo name.

The other novel I am working on would be under this pen name. It’s title, for now, is Shard of Sea, part of the Albica trilogy, as I will call it for now. I’m using that for #50in5 (which, pst, if you want goodies…). With luck, it will be every Friday along with July 21st, to coincide with Mandi Lynn’s #10kWritingChallenge.

Shard of Sea already has ~65k written in it, so I expect I should be around 60% done with the novel, if not further along. It follows Lady Thilda Rouk, who is the leader of the quickly-going-bankrupt nation of Lasiris. What’s even worse than that is the hints that the Lich who killed her mother and sister, and caused her father’s death in war, has returned. So she, along with her guardian Sir Auciet and her lover, Sir Rylis, go to the Vrolki for help.

The Vrolki tell her two things: first, she has to collect and repair the Lightbreaker; second, they’re sending emissaries along with her. These are their stories. (dun dun)

The only downside of working on this novel is that I haven’t touched it since 2016/2017. Many family events happened – good and bad – so I left writing for awhile. Coming back, it is a joy to read but some of the subtle things I was weaving in are still lost to me.

But that’s why I have planning documents and plot journals. So if I don’t figure out the few things I was hinting at by the end of my re-read, I’ll have to search out which journal all the details are in.

So, I will be taking a page out of erin‘s book and trying to check in weekly here. Maybe I can get back into the blogging swing of things…

Stats:

Words Written: 2,514 words
Chapters Completed:
0
Favorite Scene so Far:
The only one I have written so far, haha.

[30 Questions for Writers] It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night…

Life has this way of getting to you. For me, the end of the semester consumes most of my time (in my non-writing life, I work in academia) and therefore, I disappear. But commencement is over, the first rush of summer paperwork is complete, and I have exactly one day to relax before my summer classes start.

Long story short: I have written some, edited some, #pitmad-ed semi-successfully and now can rearrange my schedule to work for me. I have a series to finish this coming month (and book two in a trilogy to finally get down), a series to plan, and more edits on The Final Rose.

But first, to keep my moment up… (and give you far too much to read):

30 Questions for Writers

(tagged by erin)

Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

My favorite writing project/universe would have to be the one I am editing, The Final Rose. There was something when I was writing that just felt right. All of these ideas rush to me, connecting subplots and creating symbolism and twists that I didn’t have on my original outline.

Even now, re-reading it, I think there’s a lot of depth to that story and universe. There is another series set in the universe which I will be working on by the end of the year.

How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

For a fantasy writer, I actually keep somewhat small casts. I do have some novels that are more sprawling with split parties and adventures in different places, but most of the time, I try to keep it to a handful of major/main (5 or so) and then just a few important minor characters.

I don’t prefer either, but I know I seem to write more male main characters in my fantasy stories and more female main characters in my non-fantasy stories. I have no idea why.

How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

Well, with the fantasies, I usually go to generators until I see something I can play with. A few times the names have just come to me (Wenna from Bottle of Sunset or Task Tannes from The Final Rose). Places are much of the same.

There was one novel when I was much younger (at least 13 years ago) when I would smash the keyboard and go with whatever was there.

Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

My first story? “The Friendly Ghost” when I was seven. I don’t think that counts…

My first completed novel was Sub Rosa. A fantasy (surprise) that followed a female main character who was an assassin with a very stylish elf partner. They were tricked into helping the Big Bad resurrect himself, which turns into a whole quest.

The female character was Rosalin, the orphaned daughter of (what turned out to be) quite famous parents. The elf was Ardre, who was a variation of elf that had him unaccepted by both wood and water alike. The two misfits did well together.

By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

If we’re just counting characters under this pen name, my youngest character is either Fyran or Cecily from my novella duology, Midsummer’s Reflection and Midwinter’s Choice. They’re both sixteen and at the cusp of becoming themselves.

My oldest is Ikala from The Final Rose. She may appear young but her true age is part of the story.

My “youngest” would be the idea I just came up with last night (because why turn the brain off). The main characters have yet to be named but they are a set of quadruplet princes.

My “oldest”… That has to be Aralyn, the Roc-riding character in my high school short stories. Long red hair, penchant for wearing yellow, loved birds. I haven’t written anything with her in a very long time.

Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

My preference is on my laptop, early morning, with warm coffee by my side. But it isn’t often that things go to preference when there is a young child and a full-time job.

So I usually either write at night (anytime after 9pm is late) or fountain pen and paper on the train during the commute.

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

I am big on listening to video game remixes while I write because there are no words to distract me and I can hum along without thinking about it. OCRemix is my go-to.

Sometimes I will hear a song and relate it to my characters but it isn’t too often.

What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

To Write: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about.

To Read: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about. Also non-fiction about historical figures, science, or the writing process.

How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

Well, I come up with my story ideas a little strangely (I go Title -> Plot -> Characters) so usually, once I have the first two, I think of what type of character would serve well in that plot. Once I start thinking about that, usually something comes to mind: gender, some description, personality, etc.

Occasionally, I’ll get the idea for a character first, mostly the problem they need to solve. Then it is fleshing them out, seeing the plot around their problem, and eventually building the novel around them.

What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Weird situations…

Well, in Bottle of Sunset, the explorers are mucking around in the swamps, trying to call on pixies. It’s not so successful…

In the sequel, Shard of Sea, they get captured by desert-dwelling elves. Everything is just not where it’s meant to be.

Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

With this pen name, my favorite character is Jene from the aforementioned seven book series, hands down. He is a cranky old bastard which I can relate to.

Least favorite character would be Ziove from The Final Rose. I’m never truly in her point-of-view so it’s hard to relay some of the things she’s going to do or things she’s thinking via her body language and cryptic dialogue. It’s the reason that the edits for The Final Rose are taking so long!

In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

The story with the best world-building is definitely the universe of Terrosya where The Final Rose and the seven book series is located. I have maps. I have magic systems. I have political intrigue.

What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

The Oriadians from Terrosya. They’re musically-inclined people who have a city full of spectres and hauntings which are just normal for them. They’re the most urban of my many settings in Terrosya which makes for a much more fun atmosphere.

How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

Inkarnate is my go-to tool. Sometimes I just draw maps out and save them for later. Here’s one of the land of Adomar (which isn’t going to be quite the best map).

Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Brandon Sanderson. I want his output, his affability and his book deals.

Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?

I think most novels I’ve written have some form of romance, either in the forefront or as an established relationship. For example, the romance of Task and Ziove is the driving force for some of The Final Rose. Counter to that, the already-set marriage of Ceack and Val in Obscura is just a part of their character.

I don’t think that full-out sex scenes are appropriate for most of my novels, but I’m not afraid to go there if the story calls for it.

Favorite protagonist and why!

Wenna from Bottle of Sunset (and the rest of that unnamed trilogy). She’s a strong character who just has one thing after another shatter the illusion of knowledge she has. By the time the third book comes, she’s going to be almost completely different.

Favorite antagonist and why!

Airaethon Ardhor from Obscura (and the rest of the Mist Trilogy). He’s very serpent-like in his actions and causes a lot of behind the scenes chaos before he’s revealed.

Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Actually, this is from what I’m writing now, but Wilford Garnot from The Lies of Jade and Ivory. He was meant to just be the roommate of the main character but now he’s become integral to the plot.

What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Arguments. In my first drafts, I’ll let them play out longer than they should so I can explore the emotions and true feelings of the character. Once I go back for edits, I can streamline it and bring in more characterization.

Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

In my fantasy novels right now, no. Under a different pen name, I have a few characters with children. Getting the right age-appropriate reactions and development takes some research, but no one has pointed out that I’m so far off with the ages just yet.

Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before!

I had to think about this one for awhile. I reveal a lot of things to my beta readers and critique partners. But though this scene is referenced in the novel, the original scene where Geir lets Task go in The Final Rose has never been written. It’s too far in the past to be relevant in the current novel, but serves as an important reference.

How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

I am (and I’m not sure if I like the term) a “fast drafter.” When I have the time and motivation, I can write a significant number of words a day and my typing speed is relatively fast.

I usually can deal with planning and plotting in a month or so, unless it is a challenge novel (which I have a few from WriYe). I like to have a basic stats sheet with a small synopsis. A title is a must. And at least my main character, a minor character and the antagonist (whether corporeal or non-). Some world-building is necessary but I let a good amount develop as I write the first draft. I just make note of it in a notebook.

Then writing can take anywhere from a month to three. It depends on the challenge, the ease of writing (my thrillers are far easier for me to write than fantasies), and the POV. I can write first faster but I like deep third more.

How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Oh yes. Many characters have died. And many more will yet.

I won’t say what novel, but I do have a character who is eaten by a sightless, underground wyrm.

Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

One of my characters (in a series I am developing) has a pet griffin who acts like a cat. His name is Griff. They pretend he is a cat.

Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

I have zero artistic ability. I suppose others could draw them if anything was published – either self or trade – or shared on the internet, but it is not. Yet.

Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

The only time I bring in appearances is when I am introducing a fantasy creature. Or if the physical feature has some significance to the plot or is symbolic in a way.

Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

I have. One of the characters in The Final Rose is revealed to be an addict (which I suppose is a stretch for this question). One character will be crippled by the removal of part of his body.

In other novels, I have had characters with limbs missing, characters with fractured personalities, and one with PTSD (in a sense). I tend to be very careful when writing these sorts of things since I do not have firsthand experience and I don’t want to offend by getting it wrong.

How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

All the time? Okay, that’s not truthful. A lot of the time I think about writing. Outside of my digital world, there are instances where I may be reminded of my writing (especially when I have students who act like some of my less mature characters) but that’s rare.

Final question! Tag someone! (And the part I missed: And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his characters! )

Paging Liz. Liz, to your blog please.

edit: So I somehow copied this question down wrong. Because that’s my life. So! What I admire about Liz:

  1. She has NEVER stopped trying to perfect her writing and her novel. I have been around with her with MoD since…almost day 1, I want to say. And she has been so dedicated about getting it done, getting it edited, and perfecting her craft to make it perfect.
  2. She’s always willing to try something new, even waking up at 4:30 am ;).
  3. She has thick skin. Thicker than mine by far! She never lets things stop her completely. And I won’t let her so… Tough. You’re stuck, Liz.

[#reviseandrevive] An Introduction

This year is the year I’ve decided to get serious with my writing. And to do so means editing, revising and eventually publishing. Last month was editing – developmental on my side – so this month is putting those edits to work in my revision.

My novel is the same I was doing last month for #editnfriends.

The Final Rose is an epic fantasy novel that I hope feels like a Final Fantasy game has been written in prose. It’s currently long at 137,000 words and is only looking like it’ll get closer to 150k that I’d like.

The basic premise is:

Every seven years, droughts hit Adomar. To appease the Gods and bring rain, a tribute bearer is chosen by the divine to travel to the Floating Islands and barter for blessings. Never before had a tribute bearer returned.

This time, the chosen tribute bearer is the princess of Adomar, Ziove. In an effort to save her from the fate of the others, a traveling part is established. The strongest knight. A well-known mage. A summoner with knowledge beyond time. And a peasant to serve as bait and barter.

To choose the peasant, the king frames it as a challenge to be won, complete with prize purse. Task Tannes, a local con artist and thief, decides that the purse is worth the trouble it will take to flee his responsibilities.

But when he can’t escape and is forced on the journey, his life changes completely. It turns out that there are things more important than gold, and it is worth the sacrifice to save it.

The main character is Task Tannes. The other POV character is his rival, Sir Geir, the knight master of Adomar. In alternating (not symmetrical or in any given rhythm) POVs, I hope to show how each goes closer toward the middle (and beyond) to understand each other and help save the princess.

Right now, my romance is lacking. I need a lot more set up scenes. And there are parts I need to revise and expand (many). So that’s my focus for the month.

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to watch me suffer through it by reading along. Bonus mission? Participate as well. Use the hashtag on social media. Bother others to do it as well.

Writing and editing may be solitary, but venting is communal.

[#editnfriends] I Used to Love Her, But I Had to Kill Her…

“[K]ill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” – Stephen King

It sucks. You reread your novel, that took you months/years to write. You get to this line/scene/chapter/character you love and you still love it. It’s something you couldn’t have written this well if you tried… Except it doesn’t fit. It’s not progressing the plot. It serves no purpose. The character is melding with another.

So you have to do it. You have to take your Red Inked Vorpal Sword and slice it through. (Or, since we have computers, cut and paste it to a Darlings Document that you can visit to pay sympathies to. Like a little row of writing gravestones.)

And it hurts. Because that was a part of you, for a short amount of time. Not forever, not eternal, but your thoughts and hopes that you spat out on paper. That you may have perfected through drafts. And now you’ve determined that piece of you is no longer important.

Removed. Trashed.

But maybe instead of thinking of it like garbage words, let’s think of it as a vestigial organ. These darlings are our appendix (or multiple parts of one giant appendix). They served a purpose once: they helped us get our first draft down and explore our world. They were characters that brought out parts of our main characters to help us develop them more. They were words and phrases that we can look back on later and perhaps repurpose into something new – like an awesome experiment discovering penicillin from mold.

Two things could happen if we leave this appendix in. We (our novel) could survive. There’s a chance it’ll just look a little strange but it’s not going to do any harm. One or two bacteria may be trapped there (one or two things that could be cut) but they’re not causing destruction. Some people (betas) might comment on it, and some doctors (editors) may suggest just removing it during your next surgery (draft), but it’s not dire.

However, the problem arises when this appendix swells with inflammation and becomes this festering organ housing thousands of bacteria. It runs the risk of bursting and infecting your whole blood supply (your novel). To save it requires some major surgery. Sometimes it’s too far gone, unable to be saved.

So, what’s better? Leave in a darling appendix that may burst? Or take these problematic things, cut them, and create a graveyard where you can visit and leave flowers in thanks to darlings past?

Editing Update:

Chapter: 8/24

Pen refills: 0 (but getting there)

Scenes sliced: 3

Darlings killed: 1

Tears: 0

Current Concern: Halden’s entrance is so boring. The fight is interesting but the way he just appears needs an overhaul.


[#editnfriends] Danger Zone

That’s the nickname I’ve given my editing space at home. It’s really my everything space, since I have a one year old who destroys everything she touches. But for this month (and maybe-but-hopefully-not next month), the main use is editing.

I have most of my document in my Google Drive, which is where my crit group edits and chapter by chapter split is. I reread from there, and then printed chapters one by one. They are in this binder (This is fantasy so it better be thick!):

I’m using tab dividers for chapters because I have a few things I know I’m going to have to go back and forth to for reference. Did I foreshadow the even in chapter thirteen enough in chapter four? Did this character’s last name suddenly appear in chapter six but not chapter one? Things like that.

Most of my plot issues will be figured out in the binder with flags and Post-its and huge red letters asking what I was thinking.

As I block my scenes, I’m using these index cards:

They’re color coded by character POV or character arc, if the character is a non-POV character. This is my main party (note the RPG lingo) so I need to make sure their arcs are complete and sensible.

What I’m ignoring this go-round is any sort of line editing. Why fix words that might change? Or scenes that might get sliced?

The last piece of my editing go-to kit is The Book and The Pen:

(Classic moleskine)

Every critique I do goes in here, written with my no-name fountain pen. I leave my expensive ones to things that don’t make me angry enough to throw them.

Every editing thought. Every comment on a beta read. I have flags which color code based on the community the crit is for (RFIC, WriYe, etc) that I remove once the crit is typed up and delivered.

My own stuff is sprinkled throughout with much harsher words than I write for anyone else. Because who can I abuse best but me?

When I work, I either spread out on the ground (when kid is asleep) or spread out around me on the couch (when kid is occupied with something else). I work best in chaos. When the next post about my work editing space comes up, you’ll see.

Editing Update:

Chapter: 03/24

Pen refills: 0

Scenes sliced: 0.5

Darlings killed: 0

Tears: 0

Current Concern: To make Sayine family or keep her as friend