We’re nearing the end of Week Two of NaNoWriMo, guys! WHICH MEANS WE’RE ALMOST HALFWAY THERE.
My second week of NaNo was slightly less crazy than the first. I only had work one day this week, I got to spend a lot of time at home just purely focusing on writing, I didn’t have to battle any monstrous spiders (thank goodness), annnnnd Friday night I got to see THOR: RAGNAROK AND I 10000000% RECOMMEND IT FOR ALL MARVEL FANS. IT WAS THE MOST HILARIOUS, EPIC MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN. It is officially one of my top favorite Marvel movies. Which is saying something, because I basically love them all. But yeah wow this movie.
Oh wait. I wait talking about NaNo. Ahem. (But seriously, go see Thor 3 you won’t regret it.)
Since this week was sliiightly less eventful, instead of doing a daily log like I did last week, I’m going to join in the second installment of Beautiful Books and babble more than I should about my novel that way! FUN STUFF.
1.) Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
Welllll, I’ve been going to bed at 1 in the morning basically every single night (and that’s late for this old lady), I’ve been writing 4k-5k almost every day, and I’m so behind on blogs/email/social media sites/my own life by December it’ll probably all just collapse on top of me and kill me.
I’m doing great!
No, seriously. I’m having THE. BEST. TIME. All that stuff happens every NaNo, so it’s just another November for me. What’s new? XD Yes, I’m literally only running on caffeine and get extremely overwhelmed when I look at all the things that need doing. But I’m also so utterly in love with my story I don’t even care!
Last week while, yes, I was having fun with my story, it wasn’t quite yet my absolute precious child. THINGS HAVE CHANGED.
Now that I’m way past the beginning and right in the midst of it, I JUST WANT TO HUG IT.
Saturday I finished up Act I of the novel and slipped into Act II where things start to get SERIOUS. And FEELSY. And also super creepy, with much higher stakes. AND I COULDN’T BE MORE THRILLED. The deeper and feelsier (we’re pretending that’s a word, don’t argue) a story is, the happier I am. Writing lighthearted stuff is fun buuuuut I thrive off the emotional scenes. Not that this story has been lighthearted until now. The characters have almost died like 53 times, but now things are getting really dark and personal and and and *CACKLES* I’m loving writing this thing!
(I may also have utterly destroyed Karis’ world but ya know.)
Though I am kind of bemoaning the fact that it appears the novel is going to be much longer than I anticipated. So my plans of taking this NaNo a little slower are slowly crashing away as I realize I really need to buckle down if I have any hopes of finishing this thing before December. We’ll…see how that goes.
But otherwise, I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN.
2.) What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
“Of all the many things Karis Levine imagined doing with her life—and she did like to imagine numerous possibilities—being flown to the most dangerous place in the continent of Ilderwind had never once occurred to her.
3.) Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?
THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION
I love my Karis and Jonah bbys EQUALLY. Honest to goodness, I don’t think I could ever choose between them. I feel a liiiittle closer to Karis only because the whole book is in her POV, so I’ve spent the last two weeks solely inside her head, which gives me a special bond with her. But that doesn’t mean I adore Jonah any less! I’ve just only experienced him through Karis’ eyes.
But AAAHHHHHH!!! MY PRECIOUS CHILDREN.
Truthfully, my favorite is both of them together. The other day I was just sitting there grinning and squealing while writing because their awkward, growing friendship gives me life.
“A thought struck her. “Hey, Jonah.”
He paused, swerving back around to face her, eyebrows raised. “H’m?”
“Thank you for saving me.” She grinned. “Again.”
His face relaxed, a hint of a smile reaching his eyes. “Any time.”
Those two simple words were like the burst of flames coming to life on the torch, bringing to light a realization. Jonah wouldn’t hurt her. In fact, he’d do anything to make sure she, or probably anyone else in the world, was safe. In less than a day, his actions spoke louder than any promises ever could. Any doubt about him vanished at that moment.
She may not know his past, why he had been sent on the Isle, but she knew the present Jonah. And he could be trusted. She thought she was sent on the Isle to die alone. Instead she found a friend.
She sidled up to him, laughing at the loud squishes of her boots. “Let’s get out of here.”
(Let’s just not talk about how I’m currently destroying everything. *cough, cough, cough*)
4.) What do you love about your novel so far?
I bet you can’t guess. I’ve made it suuuuuch a mystery. I love theeee…..
*GASP* RIGHT???? Such a plot twist!
Okay, okay. I’m totally enjoying other aspects too. The characters will always be my favorite part of any novel, but there are so many other things as well!
One thing that’s shocked me is how much fun I’m having putting a 1920s feel to the story. Yes, it’s steampunk-fantasy, but the world is very much based off the 1920s, just a steampunk version. I honestly didn’t even realize how heavily I was going to do it. I thought most things would just be made up, with maybe some 1920s undertones? But as I’ve been writing, the 1920s-esque setting has really been popping. AND IT’S FUN. This coming from a girl who vowed she’d never write a historical fiction. So…yeah. New surprises everyday, guys! Obviously, it’s not historical fiction in the least, but basing the world off of ours and putting a steampunk twist on it has been super fun! Which is shocking for me. Because creative settings is something I struggle with, but this go ‘round I’m very much enjoying coming up with the world.
Really, the overall setting is a BLAST. The Isle itself has soooo much crazy stuff like pathways that move and a magical library and a suuuper creepy forest area and just thiiiings. I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun in a setting as I have with this one!
Like I said, settings is not always my strong suit. This book is giving me new realizations on places and things I like to write about. And it is GOOD. VERY GOOD.
Goes to show, every single book we write is important in our growth as writers!
5.) Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
Well, there was that one day where I realized I had typed “cereal killer” instead of “serial killer” because that’s just how hard I fail at life. Good times.
Then another time this happened: “They went downstairs and opened the front doors. A rush of wet hair hit their faces.” That was supposed to be a rush of wet air. The Isle is weird, but it’s not so weird that wet hair just randomly flies through doorways. That’d be awkward for everyone.
6.) What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
Well, I’ve already mentioned multiple times now how beginnings aren’t my favorite because it takes me a bit to really get the feel of my story and accustomed to being inside my characters’ heads. It’s like that awkward stage of new friendships where you want to be friendly and enjoy time with them but like WHAT DO YOU SAY? HOW DO YOU WORD THIS? THIS IS HAAARD.
Climaxes used to be my favorite because HELLO. Everything is happening and there’s probably explosions and the story is almost over and YES. CLIMAXES. I still adore climaxes with all my being.
Buuut, honestly? These days I kind of think middles may be my favorite? The middle is where ALL THE STUFF HAPPENS. Where you’re watching the procession of the characters grow and getting deep into the root of it all. Not the beginning where everything is unfamiliar and awkward and hard. Not the climax where people are probably dying and you’re about to say goodbye. The middle. The CORE.
So yes, middles are awesome. They’re my favorite to write and read. (But I do still think climaxes are loads of epic fun.)
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?
My writing habits during NaNo?
Write until my eyes bleed?
All right, all right. I have been taking it sliiiiightly easier this year. Maybe? We’ll pretend? I usually get started right after lunch, with a cup of coffee in hand, and then continue writing as much as I can throughout the day. I don’t really do anything special to write. Just open my beloved Scrivener file (and yes, I’m looooving using Scivener this year) and write. Then feel guilty about the 234 things I abandoned that day. Sometimes I wave at my pile of Stuff That Needs Doing before going back to writing and ignoring it. (I think it’s plotting to kill me though? So…gotta keep a close eye on it. <.<)
By do I have a specific snack you mean coffee, right?
I absolutely listen to music! I detest writing in silence. This year, though, I don’t actually have a playlist. o.O IT’S WEIRD. But nothing I could come up with was working. So instead I’ve taken to using YouTube for songs to fit the specific moods I’m writing. Such as yesterday I was writing a super creepy scene, so I searched for something like “soft haunting music” and got this, which was perfect for the scene. This is my first time to do this—not have a playlist and just randomly search for “mood music”, but it’s turning out really well!
I get the majority of my writing done in the afternoon, buuuut I think my best writing comes at night. When everyone is asleep and it’s all dark and quiet, I can really disappear in my story and feel the emotions of it. But I do value my sleep a liiiiittle, so I try to write during the day when I can.
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)?
Cheer squads is my fuel! I honestly think I would have given up long ago if not for all my absolutely precious, amazing, utterly FRABJOUS writing buddies encouraging me every. single. day. (That’s YOU GUYS, by the way. <3333)
Here on the blog and over on Twitter are my favoritest places to connect with other fellow writers and readers and cheer each other on.
Writing DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT be a lonely career path. Social media saves writers’ lives! (And makes us procrastinate writing our books, but ya know…)
9.) What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
Mostly my obsessive urge to get the book done. Not even kidding. XD On those days I just want to be lazy and not write, I remind myself it’ll never be done unless I WRITE. So that makes me push on.
And, as we’ve discussed, my spectacular cheer squad motivates me like nothing else. <3
Lastly, I just love stories! Yes, writing is stressful and overwhelming and 87% of the time I just want to stop writing and go on a Netflix binge. But I always push on anyway because my love for stories and burning desire to get the thousands of ideas in my head on paper won’t let me stop.
(But if we’re talking about what keeps me writing this novel specifically, mostly Jonah and Karis, let’s be real here.)
10.) What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
I’m not even halfway through this book yet, and it has already taught me so much! I will repeat what I said earlier: Every single book we write is important in our growth as writers, no matter what you are writing.
So let’s go with some things I’ve learned thus far:
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Like basing your story setting on the 1920s even if you’re not much of a history person. *wink* You won’t know ALL the things you love to write until you’ve tried your hand at each of them.
Don’t forget to also write things you know you love. I know, I love contradicting myself. But, see, for a while with this story I had so much action going on, I forgot to write the quiet but emotional scenes. Those scenes where the characters have meaningful talks or consider their lot in life or pause to have existential crises. You know, good stuff. THOSE are my favorite scenes. The deeply emotional ones, when the battles have settled and the characters think on things, have sweet and/or heartbreaking conversations or inner thoughts. The ones that really makes the characters grow. The more emotional a story is, the more I enjoy writing it (and the better my writing gets, I think). Just the other night it hit me how few of those types of scenes I’ve been adding in The Nether Isle. It’s been lots of action, near death experience, and some lighthearted fun. Which I love, but the heart-aching EMOTIONS is what I’m here for. So ever since that realization, I’ve been adding in more moving scenes, and not only is it helping my story become richer and deeper (I hope), it’s helping me enjoy writing even more. So ALLLL that to say, if you’re struggling writing your story, take a moment to remember what types of stories and scenes make your heart soar and fingers fly, and try to integrate those more in the novel.
You’re probably going to change everything during revision time anyway, so just slap those words on and keep going. I’ve been a little upset with myself at how dull and messy my sentences have been. Like 90% of my dialogue action beats has merely consisted of “he smiled” “she laughed” “they nodded”. Like wow, Christine, creative much? But as I’m writing, I realize…what does it matter? I’m already seeing a lot of scenes that probably will be changed and maybe even removed come rewriting time. But I’ve first got to get the whole story down to see what I like and what works and what will be changed and taken away. So I’m trying to push past my annoyances at my gross writing and just GET THE STORY DOWN. It’s eventually going to be all changed anyway, so why worry about perfect and original sentence structure now? And yes, this is basically the “first drafts are supposed to be messy” speech we’ve all heard a thousand billion times, and something I’ve talked about on this blog about a hundred billion times. But for some reason with this book it really hit me? I’ll probably rewrite every single bit. Why spend hours perfected a scene that I very well may just cut anyway? But I won’t know until it’s written, so right now I’m just writing!
. . .
Overall, I’d say this NaNo is going very, very well! (My sanity and ability to go to bed at a decent time is gone though, but that’s fine. I’m sure I won’t regret it later. Right? Right??? Yeeeah.)
NEARLY HALFWAY THERE, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!
SPILL IT, GUYS. How has your second week of NaNoWriMo been? (Can you believe we’re almost to the halfway point like wut even?????) Is everyone surviving? Do you need motivational cookies? What do YOU love about your novel so far? I would absolutely love to hear about it! (Seriously, discussing stories with you guys is my fave. <3) And am I the only one who likes writing middles over beginnings and climaxes because I feel like I am…?