Monday, November 20, 2017

NaNoWriMo ‘17 Week Three: In Which I Hit 50k and Squee About Christmas

 


ARE WE ACTUALLY NEARING TH 4TH AND FINAL WEEK OF NANOWRIMO?????
How. Did. This. Happen.


This NaNo is zooming by faster than any NaNo I remember. I cannot believe we’ve already passed the halfway point and are now careening full speed toward the finish line. Who’s driving this month anyway??? They are going way past the speed limit!


ANYWAYS.


I am back with another weekly update like I did with the first week, highlighting my days from last Monday to now.


Week Three had a bit of a bump in the road, but the highlights far outweighed the bumpy bits. Overall, I’d say last week, Week Two, has been my best week thus far. I was on a writing high all last week. I feel like Week Two tends to always be my favorite week, even though most people hate it, thus the term “Week Two Blues” started rolling around the NaNo community? But because I can’t be normal, Week Two is when I’m my happiest. I’m settled into my story and have gotten in the habit of writing every day, and it’s still early enough in November that I’m still somewhat bright eyed and bushy tailed and haven’t quiiite crossed over into zombie land yet. But then there’s Week Three. That is when I start getting that slump and the exhaustion of writing and writing and writing sets in.


That happened to me a little this week. But I think I’m getting out of it now that the excitement of the final week is in the horizon. Although, like I said, there were some great highlights of this week, too.


SO. What went down???

 

WEEK THREE OF NANO ‘17

 

MONDAY, DAY #13


I started the week off with a bang when this happened:



I HIT 50K WORDS!!!!


I. Was. So. Excited.


I wish I could say this means I’m nearing the end of my book but HAHAHAHAHAHA…no. I’m just laughing at the days when I guestimated this book would be around the 80k-90k range. Now I’m pretty positive it’ll  be closer to 125k????? Someonehelpme.


But regardless. I WAS STILL HAPPY ABOUT HITTING 50K.


And get this. My sister made it to 50k that very same day! We did not plan that, it was purely happenstance. But it was amazing! We were so exciting. She made it to 50k just two hours before I did, so she won. XD BUT I’M JUST SO PROUD OF HER. She rocked her first NaNo like a superstar! That day she finished up her project at 54k words, and thus was completely done. Which meant she’s leaving the rest of NaNo for me to do ALL ON MY LONESOME.



OKAY. I actually have some super amazing writing friends (basically ALL OF YOU), so I never feel alone during NaNo! It was awesome to have someone in person to do it with for at least the first couple of weeks though. The good news is, she’s already talking about what she wants to write next NaNo. I have officially created another Crazed NaNo Obsessed Person. *CACKLES* My work here is done.


ANYWAYS. Monday was absolutely amazing, but also craaaaazy. Mondays are always my get-chores-and-stuff-done days, so add that on top of NaNo and Mondays during November basically = Frantic Christine trying to get ALL THE THINGS DONNNNE. So yeah. That day I made it to 50k, celebrated with my sis (a.k.a took celebratory selfies with her #Duh), and then rushed around trying to do alllll the cleaning and laundry and other stuff. Which meant I did not get as high a wordcount that day as I’ve been doing.


Words Written: 2,694 (Which was my lowest to write in a day this NaNo up to this point.)

 

TUESDAY, DAY #14


Tuesday was a good day! I had absolutely nothing going on that day, was super pumped about making it to 50k the previous day, and was so productive the day before I felt like I had permission to solely work on my story this day. SO I DID. I did a lot of writing outside because it was super nice and was loooving where I was in the story.


For a bit there my main character Karis was, erm, not having a happy fun time. Eheheheheh. *COUGH* There was some seeeriously creepy stuff going on. Not that I was having totally fun writing it. Nooooo. *cooooough*


Okay, but seriously. I was actually feeling kind of bad for my bby girl Karis. But this day of writing was a place where Karis bounced back and got her drive to fight again and I was just squealing and rooting on my girl.


Karis dug her fingers into the journal and gritted her teeth. Enough of this. Enough running, being pulled underground, tossed to and fro and nearly killed. Enough secrets.

If the Isle was going to be rude, well, then she was going to be rude right back.


It was just a really, really good day of writing. The words were coming so easily and I had a blast.


Words Written: 6,064 (The most I’ve written in a day thus far this NaNo!!! And it didn’t even feel like that much work, miraculously. The words just flowed. Ah, how I wish writing could always be like that day.)

 

WEDNESDAY, DAY #15


THE HALFWAY POINT OF NANO!!!



Normally I have work on Wednesdays, but my bosses asked if I could work Friday instead of Wednesday this week, so I had another rather free day to write. Although I did have a couple of things to do early in the day (which included going to get McDonald’s coffee with my sister so, like, I’m not complaining). But then early in the afternoon I was able to dive into writing.


This was another really fun writing day. It mostly consisted of a scene where Karis was discovering something verrrryyyy interesting and just *griiiins* IT WAS FUN.


I didn’t get nearly as big of a wordcount that day as the previous day, but I had things going on during the first bit of the day, like I said, plus I was just pretty tired. I hadn’t gone to bed at a decent hour since…October 31st? *COOOUGH* I think it was catching up with me. I needed at least a little chill time, because when I’m not doing Life, I’m writing. I haven’t even READ anything since NaNo started! *GASP* *CHOKE* *ACK* So even though I could have continued writing that day and gotten in more words, I decided to take that night off and chill and paint my nails, and just RELAX a bit. Although…I didn’t go to bed early and catch up on sleep like I should have but…IT’S NANO! *throws responsible decisions out the window*


It was good to take a smidgeon of a break (even if was just a few hours before bed), and overall I was still pretty pleased with my words from that day.


Words Written: 4,005

 

THURSDAY, DAY #16


Officially diving right into week three and the second half of NaNo. Like WUT EVEN???


I was home all this day but ended up cooking supper with my sis and also had to get to bed at an actual decent time since I had work the next day, so I didn’t get the chance to go as crazy on the wordcount like Tuesday. It was still a nice day though. I even brought my laptop in the kitchen and managed to get in quite a few words whilst tending to supper. The things we do to get those words in, amIright?


I wrote some prettyyyy emotional scenes in the story this day. Which means…IT WAS GREAT. Because the emotional scenes are my fave. Make all the characters cry! Bwahahahaha!


Ahem.


Words Written: 4,005 (No, this is not a typo. I wrote the exact same amount of words two days in a row, completely unintentionally. I DON’T KNOW HOW.)

 

FRIDAY, DAY #17


And this is the day my Week Three slump reared its ugly head. >.>


Even though I was exhausted going to bed, I hardly slept at all, and had to get up early for work, so then I was beyond exhausted. Then work was pretty busy, making me more exhausted. By the time I got home, the idea of writing made me want to fly to a deserted island where my laptop could never find me.


So I chilled a bit and had supper. Buuut then my stubbornness won out. I was not going to let the day go without writing at least 2k words, though more would be better.


I…probably should have just taken the day off and let my brain refuel. But that’s not my style. #ForeverIrresponsible


I did write. In fact, I wrote 3k words. But…wow. Those were probably the most bland, awful 3k words in the history of ever. I had to painfully drag out every. single. word. I was just too tired, and had been writing a ton for days on end and not allowing myself to refuel much. Everything was dry and hard to write and bleh. Definitely my most difficult writing day so far.

 

Literally me that night.


I had work again the next day, so I gladly stopped at 3k and crashed. But I went to bed feeling discouraged and drained and fearful I didn’t love my story anymore.


Words Written: 3,046

 

SATURDAY, DAY #18


Whereas the night before I barely slept any, that night I slept like the dead. After such a good night’s sleep, I woke up and realized the world hadn’t ended and everything was going to be okay. WHO KNEW, RIGHT???


I went to work and had a pleasantly quiet day. I get off at 2 on Saturdays, so I planned on going straight home to write, hoping writing this day would go better. But instead my mom and I ended up running some errands and doing a bit of shopping and things. Thus I didn’t even start writing until after supper that evening.


And you know what? Writing went SO much better and quicker.


Because over the course of that day I learned 3 things:


1.) I HAVE TO TAKE BREAKS. I had been going for over two weeks so focused on writing and staying up late and just in Obsessive NaNo Mode, I had barely given myself a chance to rest and refuel. But after getting some good sleep and taking most of Saturday to just get out of the house and away from my laptop and live a little, I snapped out of my slump and found writing enjoyable again. I so needed this reminder, because even throughout the course of the day I was very hesitant to go shopping. My obsessive side kept screaming, “YOU HAVE TO WRIIIIITE.” I was kind of freaking out that I was going the whole day without writing. But that evening, once I did write, I could feel the affects taking a break and getting out of the house had made. The words came so much easier. So I’m trying my best to remember that. Breaks are so, so, so important. I’M JUST SO STUBBORN AND OBSESSIVE HALP.


2.) ENCOURAGEMENT AND PRAYER DO WONDERS. God was with me that day. While I was at work, since it was a quiet day, I was reading people’s blog posts on my phone, trying to catch up. Well. There was not one, but THREE encouraging writing posts my amazing friends had made.


First there was a post by my dear Savannah about taking a break when writing gets obsessive. YEAH. TALK ABOUT TIMING. Then the precious Jenelle had a post up that was an encouragement to overwhelmed writers. It was so uplifting I actually almost teared up! It was exactly what I needed to hear that day. Right after I read that, I found my one and only Tracey had just posted about writing from a healthy place, which was a post with 8 absolutely golden tips on balancing your writing life and not pushing yourself over the limit. I NEEDED THAT SO BAD THAT DAY. The timing of these posts was impeccable.


One of Tracey’s points was to pray over your writing life, to take a moment to say a prayer before each writing session and include God in your process. This is a habit I started doing myself last year, and something I even talked about in a recent post of mine. But do you know what? I hadn’t once prayed before any of my writing sessions since November started. Somehow I had completely forgotten! I’ve been so frantic and obsessive to get those words in, I haven’t included God in my process any. I am so ashamed. I felt like God used Tracey’s post to give me a good, heavy nudge to include Him in my writing process again and PRAY. And so I have, and I’m already seeing the good affects it is having.


I was so uplifted after those posts, and so in awe. I truly think God was reminding me He cared about my writing and to keep on, even when it gets hard, because He gave me this passion for words for a reason. (But maybe to also rest and take care of myself a bit. *cough*)


If you’re feeling discouraged, CHECK OUT THOSE POSTS. (And give those girls a follow, because they’re the actual best. <3)


3.) LOOKING BACK AT SOMETHING YOU’VE WRITTEN THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIKE IS A HUGE BOOST. This NaNo novel has been turning out so, so, so messy. Yes, I’m totally loving the storyline. But the words have just been horribly bland. I’ve had these occasional moments of panic where I think, “Do I even know how to write anymore???? Have I ever been able to write? Do I have as much writing talent as a boiled peanut?” So I decided to go back and read my short story I wrote back in February (shameful plug) because it was polished and one of my (hopefully) better works. And you know what? It was SO encouraging. I’m no bestseller, but it did show me that yes, I can string words together that don’t look like rotten marmalade. Seeing something I’ve written that I do actually like was just the boost I needed to continue this story.


Saturday was a day of learning and growing. Although, knowing me, I’ll forget everything I learned and slip back into Frantic Obsessive Christine Writing Mode.

 

I don’t know if you guys are aware, but Alice is actually me.


Regardless, Saturday turned out to be a good, refreshing day after the blehness of Friday. And that night it was super windy and rainy and cold, and since I had let myself refuel that day, writing was very nice and cozy and just fun.


Words Written: 3,100

 

SUNDAY, DAY #19


THIS WAS A HAPPY DAY. I was feeling good about my writing again, and since I had such busy days Friday and Saturday, I was going to dive in and write all day, maybe even do another 6k word day.


Welllll, that didn’t happen. Because…


WE STARTED DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS. The day we decorate is like my favoritest day of the year! Because CHRISTMAS! I was so excitedddd. We still have a lot we’re going to do, I think. But we got a good start and just lksdjflkjsdjlf. CHRISTMASSS. I LOVE DECORATING. AND CHRISTMAS. AND JUST THIS WHOLE SEASON. It’s cold and happy and exciting and I can listen to Christmas music (literally doing that right now whilst writing this post) and just CHRISTMAS, GUYS.



So yeah. I was okay with not being able to write all day. And on top of Christmas decorating, I also had to find time to WRITE THIS POST. Since Monday happens to come after Sunday. CRAZY, RIGHT??? Thus lots of writing time got pushed aside yesterday. Buuuut I had just learned the day before that taking a break IS GOOD AND NECESSARY so I was (mostly) chill. Sorta kinda. Maybe?


BUT CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS, GUYS!!!


Words Written: 2,025 (Annnd now this is my lowest wordcount day for this NaNo so far.)

 

CONCLUSION


My week was…something! I think it was mostly a good something? But something for sure.


Remember how I said I was trying to take this NaNo a smidgeon more easy this year than my past NaNos? Yeah. No. That plan breaks down more and more each day. I had made that plan back when I thought this would be a DECENTLY SIZED BOOK AND NOT A MONSTROSITY. But now I’m realizing if I don’t keep at a rapid pace, there’s no way it’s getting done by the end of the month. So…Crazy Christine NaNo Mode seems to be trying to take over again.


Case in point, I was pretty sad at my “low” wordcounts this week. Because, in my head, I want to hit 5k, or at the least 4k, every single day because I apparently hate myself??? So when I just get 2k-3k a day, I feel like a failure??? WHERE ARE MY PRIORITIES? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY SANITY? SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME A CHILL PILL. SHEESH.


I honestly think I can get this novel finished or very close to finished by the end of the month. And I’m reminding myself that if I have to continue writing throughout the first few days of December to finish it up, THE WORLD WILL NOT END. (But… *points back at Alice gif* I never listen to my good advice. Never.)


This coming week is looking to be a pretty full one, panicking me a smiiidge since I probably, again, won’t be able to do my ridiculous 5k a day goal. BUT IT’S OKAY. I’m still writing, I’m still having fun, and this book will end eventually. I’m currently on chapter 17 of 25, SO WE’RE GETTING THERE.


Also, I’m still utterly in love with my Karis and Jonah bbys even though this week I put them through so much horribleness. Ooooops.


BUT YES. EVERYTHING IS GOOD.


AND WE’RE ALMOST TO THE LAST WEEK, GUYS!!!!!! I hope this coming week will be absolutely fantastic.


AND I HOPE ALL MY FELLOW AMERICAN PEEPS HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

I’m pretty sure my wordcount would be double if I counted my blog posts as NaNo words. GOOD GRIEF. Enough of my babbles. I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU GUYS! How has your week been? How did the first half of NaNo go? What’s the second half looking like for you? Are your stories treating you well? CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW CLOSE WE ARE TO THE END???? Tell me everything!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Beautiful Books - How’s the Writing Going? {NaNoWriMo 2017}



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.

 

Visit Sky @ Further Up and Further In or Cait @ Paperfury to join the linkup!


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…..


*drumroll*


CHARACTERS!


*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…?

Monday, November 6, 2017

NaNoWriMo ‘17 Week One: In Which I Defeat Shelob’s Cousin and Fangirl Over My Own Characters

 


IT IS DAY 6 OF NANOWRIMO.


WHICH MEANS WE’VE ALMOST CONQUERED THE FIRST WEEK!!!


I can’t believe we’re already a week into NaNo! LIKE WUT? Wow. On the one hand, it feels like NaNo JUST started, on the other hand, I feel as if I’ve already been on a long, epic journey and probably need a nap or three (hundred). But psh. Sleeping is for December, right?


The past five days have been a blurry whirlwind of life and words and going to bed late and getting up early and wanting to marry coffee. Normal NaNo stuff.


The biggest highlight is MY SISTER IS DOING NANO WITH ME. I’ve never, ever, ever had someone in person to do NaNo with. But I’ve alwaaaaaaays desperately wish I had. THIS YEAR MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE. My little sister likes to write and has wanted to do NaNo for a while, she just hasn’t had the chance with school and everything. But this year she’s more free and chose to do it with me and WE’RE HAVING THE BEST TIME.


I thought I couldn’t write well with another person around. I do best when I’m alone and can fully immerse in my story, because people distract me. But when the other person is busy writing, too, there’s a quiet camaraderie there and I’ve been doing fine writing with someone around. We’ve spent a ton of time sitting outside writing, brainstorming with each other, fangirling together over our stories, and doing word wars. Soooo many word wars. Whenever one of us is stuck, we’re like, “Wanna do a word war?” and it fixes our block every single time. (DO WORD WARS, PEOPLE. THEY SAVE LIVES. At least NaNo participant’s lives.) IT’S BEEN SO FUN. Except she’s totally beating my wordcount, buuut thankfully I’m really only competitive with myself. Not really with others like…at all. So we’re good. XD HONESTLY I’M JUST SUPER PROUD OF HER. She’s rocking it, guys!


It has definitely, definitely been weird to not be writing a Colors of a Dragon Scale book (the fantasy series I worked on for all my last 7 NaNoWriMos for any newcomers). Between that and doing it with my sister and a couple of other things, this whole NaNo has just felt super different. And, like I knew I would, I’ve had quite a few bouts of nostalgia and moments of reminiscing over my past NaNos and missing my CoaDS cast. BUT, at the same time, I’m falling madly in love with the story I’m working on this NaNo, having the greatest time with my little sis, and just in general loving the newness and different things this whole NaNo experience is giving me. Every NaNo holds a special place in my heart, and I think this one will be extra memorable!


Buuuut since my memory is the actual worst, I thought it’d be fun to log each day of my NaNo for safe keeping. I’ve seen lots of other people do this, and I love reading those posts, so I’ve decided to try my hand at it. I have nooo idea if I’ll keep it up. I never really have any clue how my NaNo posts will turn out each week. I just kinda start typing in an exhausted state and hope something coherent comes out. (Spoiler: Nothing ever does.) But for this week, let’s give a daily log a shot! It’ll be fun!



FIRST WEEK OF NANO ‘17



DAY #1


I did not stay up until midnight on October 31st. Which made me WEEP. I have stayed up to countdown to midnight for NaNo and begin writing the moment the clock strikes twelve for every single NaNo I’ve ever done. It’s one of THE most exciting parts of NaNo. But this NaNo just had to have the first day land on a Wednesday, and I work Wednesdays. There was no way I could stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning writing like I normally would. I had to get my sleep so I could actually be a functioning human being for work. So, with much regret, I went to bed at a decent hour like a silly responsible adult. (I know! What has happened to me????) And worst yet, I couldn’t start writing until after I got off of work at 4. I guess I could have started my story on my phone. It was a very quiet day at work and I even got to finish reading a book while I was there. But I really wanted to at least start my story on my lovely Scrivener file, and I’m not wild about trying to type stories on my phone. So I just waited until I was home.


Right after work, I went straight home, made some coffee, snagged my laptop, and finally started the story I’ve been anxious to write since July! And it was glorious! That day was an overcast, drizzly day, and I just disappeared in my story all evening, immediately fell in love with my main character Karis, and was feeling excited for all the rest of the NaNo.


Buuuut I only got 3k words in. Which I know is good, but I’ve always used the first day to write the most amount of words. My average for first day NaNos is 7k-8k. And sometimes 9k. Yeeeah. This year was my record low wordcount for November 1st.


But then I reminded myself… I’m planning on going not as crazy with NaNo this year. I, erm, may go a little insane during NaNo. I actually basically always do a double NaNo and write 100k instead of the normal 50k. Buuuut well, after 7 years of that, and now that my CoaDS series is done, plus life is a bit busier, I decided I want to be at least a smidge more chill this year. So I told myself that writing 3k on the first day was FINE. Because THAT WAS THE PLAN. TO BE MORE CHILL.



Welllll, like I mentioned earlier, I like to compete with myself. And I get ridiculously obsessive with things. I just feel this urgent need to WRITE ALL THE WORDS EVER during NaNo. Buuut that’s not really even that healthy. So I’ve been forcing myself to be chill. It’s not easy, but I think it’s starting to work. Because as the days are going on, I’ve been a smiiiidge more laid back that my NaNo stats are much lower this year than they have been any other year. Though, at the same time, I’d really love to finish my story before November is over. Because that’s my actual goal for NaNo—not to write 50k, but to finish the novel. Unfortunately, I write really long novels. >.> I didn’t think this one would be quite as long as some, buuuut the chapters are turning out to be way longer than I anticipated. So I may actually do need to buckle down some this month and do some seriously high wordcount days. I DON’T KNOW. WE’LL SEE HOW THINGS GO. But for now I’m sorta kinda okayish with writing a smidgeon slower this year than usual. I’m even seeing that I’m way less weary and actually talking to my family some unlike most NaNos where I just hole away in my room for a month and turn into some frenzied, sleepless creature of the night. *cough*


But ANYWAYS. After the little hiccup of having work, the first day went really well!

 

DAY #2


Since I didn’t get to write as much as I wanted the previous day, I was determined to get at least 5k words in this day. And once I set a goal, I will move Mt. Everest to make it. Again, I can be a bit obsessive…


Unfortunately, it turned out to be a pretty full day. I had written 3k during the day, but still needed that 2k more. And my determined self ended up  throwing together words right before bed in a crazed, exhausted fashion. Good gracious alive, I was so, sooooooo tired that night for some reason. But I had to make my daily goal! Well, just before midnight, I made it! *cue trumpets and fanfare*


Relieved, but utterly wiped out, I stumbled to my feet to go get ready for bed, when my sister (who was already at 10k words that day because she’s awesome) suddenly LOST HER STORY.



*CUE FREAK OUT MODE*


Something happened to the file and it just disappeared. There were tears. There was much freaking out. I was literally scouring through her files both crying and panicking and praying that I could find it. And, praise God, WE FOUND IT! I still don’t know what happened, but it got lost in the dark depths of some weird files BUT IT WAS THERE AND EVERYTHING WAS OKAY AND WE BACKED IT UP FOR EXTRA SECURITY AND NOBODY DIED. I’m still praising Jesus for that one.


Whew. Okay, so everything was good there. Now I could get ready for bed and SLEEP…


Well, I went to the kitchen to do something and right there, chilling on the washroom door like it owned the place, was SHELOB’S COUSIN.



This spider, guys! It was solid black and I declare as big as my hand. I actually don’t mind spider. I find them very fascinating, really. As long as they’re small or outside. But this thing just hanging in our kitchen… NOPE. THE OPPOSITE OF OKAY.


Just then, my sister came into the kitchen and I screamed at her to backup lest she be eaten by the monstrosity before me. Neither of us had any desire to kill it, but we also couldn’t just go to bed with that thing roaming the house. I could picture it—all of us awaking wrapped up in web, a nice tasty breakfast for the beast to feed on.


NUH-UH. I HAD TO PROTECT MY FAMILY AND BATTLE THE BEAST.


………


After I stood there cowering in fear and staring at it in horror wondering hoooooow I was going to do this thing. My sister had the brilliant idea of using a fly swatter instead of a shoe like I was considering so I wouldn’t have to get within too close proximity. Heart pounding, I edged toward it, wielding my fly swatter, and slashed. Annnnd…the spider fell on the floor, unharmed. Not that my sister and I squealed and staggered away or anything. Noooo. Ahem.


Naturally, as bugs love to do, it got in the corner of the baseboards making it nearly impossibly to smush it with the fly swatter. But I had to. So I futilely swiped at it, making it scurry to another position. Well, after that, I was starting to get up my courage and I didn’t hesitate this time to hash at it again. Still, it evaded my attacks.


OKAY. Forget being scared. Now I was mad. How dare he come into my domain and mock me like this! I stepped right up to the beast and hacked at it like a raving berserker.


AND I WONNNN!!!



I smashed the beast so hard, it didn’t even look like a spider anymore. Just a distorted ball of black. HA!


And let us not forget I was doing this while I was so tired I could barely stand on my feet and two minutes earlier I had a mental breakdown due to my sister almost losing 10k words. Needless to say, I got to bed very late and fell asleep within 0.2 seconds and slept like nobody’s business. And no spider wrapped me up for breakfast because I was victorious.


Erm, yeah. Thursday was a wild ride…


But I managed to write 5k words annnd wrote the part where Karis finds the magic camera that takes pictures of the past. (Fun stuff, guys!) It was actually a good day after all. Just that night was…something.

 

DAY #3


Day 3, Friday, was absolutely lovely! (And, thankfully, a lot less adventurous and emotional than the previous day.)


My sister and I had the house to ourselves all day, and we took full advantage of it. We sat in the living room and wrote together for a while, made lattes, did word wars. Later we took a walk and wrote outside until the evening. Even though it was actually the warmest day of the week and way too warm for November. (I have not been pleased with the weather. I WANT IT TO BE COLD FOR NANO. *pouts* Okay, I want it to be cold all the time, I detest warm weather. But I especially want it to be cold during the months it’s supposed to be cold! #Rant)


I actually only got 4k words that day. I was sort of hoping for 5k, but knew 4k would probably be more realistic because that evening I had some things to do plus couldn’t stay up too late due to having work again the next day. And, at this point, I was starting to get a liiiittle more chill and learn to take NaNo slightly more easy and still enjoy life. (I’M TRYING, GUYS.) So I was mostly okay with the 4k. (Despite having dreams of grandeur of making it to 5k-7k for that day.)


DAY #4


I had work again this day, but it was Saturday, and we close at 2 on Saturdays (I work part-time at a little secondhand bookshop for any who doesn’t know) so it didn’t cut into my writing time much at all. (I’m not exactly one to be very productive in the mornings anyway. Honestly, I don’t really start getting busy with just about anything until after lunch most of the time… *sheepish grin*)


I was itching to write that day, super excited over the next scene that was coming up, and got busy the moment I came home. (I mean, after making coffee, obviously.)


THIS was the day I truly fell in love with the story.


I had been very much enjoying myself before. But, to be honest, I struggle with beginnings. It takes me a bit to really get immersed into my story. With the beginning, I’m having to set everything up and learning the feel of my story and figuring out my character’s voices, and it’s just a bit of a struggle for me. So the first few days of NaNo really aren’t my favorite.


But by day 4, I had really gotten a grasp on my story, was getting into the thick of things, and JONAH ENTERED THE PICTURE!!! <3


Before, it was mostly just Karis wandering around on her own. Which was good. I loved getting a feel for my Karis bby girl. She amuses me endlessly and I’m adoring being in her head. But then when Jonah appeared, I realized just how precious they BOTH are. THE AMOUNT OF ADORKABLENESS. I CAN’T. Karis is such a ridiculous bean who never thinks before saying or doing anything, and Jonah is totally an awkward, shy puppy. I was squealing and grinning and just wanting to hug my laptop while writing their meeting.


*sneaks snippet in*


The moment she made it to the tree line, what little sense she had left kicked in. She released the boy’s arm, snagged the hammer still in her pocket, and swerved to face him. “Are you a serial killer?”

He backed up, eyes widening as he took her in. It occurred to her what she must look like to him. A five-foot-five girl with torn clothes, blood and dirt caked all across her body, hair more knotted than a bird’s nest, threatening him with a hammer of all things right after he saved her life.

Heat rose to her cheeks. She lowered the hammer, breathing out a nervous laugh. “I’m so sorry, it’s just hard to know who you can trust on this island, you know? I think a lot of serial killers get sent here. And assassins. You’re not an assassin, are you? Wait. Sorry.” She shook her head, as if that would erase all the babbles that had spilled out of her mouth. “Um. I’m Karis.”

There you go, Karis. Tell the would-be serial killer/assassin your name.

Though she was really beginning to think this boy wasn’t a murderer of any kind. The more she talked, the more his face relaxed, until she could have sworn a hint of a smile tugged at his lips. Though it could be a trick of the shadows. If only it were daylight and she could see him better.

“Jonah.”

She just barely caught the soft word, and it momentarily stunned her. Jonah? Grandfather had a friend named Jonah—a big, bearded man who ate too much and always talked with a slur. Nothing like this boy before her.


My babies. <3


I was having so much fun writing that day, I wrote nearly 5k words without much trouble. It was also donation day on the NaNo site and I donated some, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS. I was so happy this year I was able to. NaNo has done so, so, so much for me. It honestly changed my world, and I was so happy to give back, at least a little.


So that day I donated, enjoyed keeping up with the donation day progress on Twitter (the NaNo community is my favorite, it’s so fun!), and happily wrote. IT WAS A GOOD DAY! My favorite day of NaNo thus far.

 

DAY #5


Now completely pumped for writing after the success of the previous day, I dove in right away. (Even got a smidge written before lunch. :O) I ended up only writing 3k though, because some life-ness. Annnd I had to take time to write this blog post. Usually I prewrite my blog posts on Thursdays. But since I want to properly log what’s going on with my NaNo, I’ll probably put my posts together on Sunday nights this month. We’ll see if I can keep it up. If posts end up being late, I apologize. It is NaNo after all. Sticking to real schedules this month basically…doesn’t happen.


Anywhoozle, yesterday writing was lovely as I wrote more adorkable scenes between Karis and Jonah and continued to fall in love with this crazy story. And I was okay with stopping writing after 3k words becaaaaause…


I HIT 20K WORDS!!!



I figured that was a good place to end the week. And I’m so very much looking forward to the rest of the month and getting deeper into the novel. IT’S GONNA BE SO FUN!



CONCLUSION


To sum this monster up (if I keep doing this, I need to summarize each day in way fewer words, sheesh), this NaNo is very different but in many good ways, I’m having a blast having my sister join me for the first time, I’m adoring my story, and I’m taking this NaNo a bit more slowly than any of the others and tryyyying to be okay with that.


Onward to week #2!

 

Now that I’ve talked way, way, way more about my week than I should have, I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR FIRST WEEK OF NANO. Are you having fun? Have you already gone over the safe limit of caffeine consumption? What’s something fun that’s happening in your story? I want to hear about it ALL. And if you’re not doing NaNo, how was your first week of November? (Am I the only one suffering through a warm November so far? Bleh.) LET’S CHAT. (Although if it takes me longer to reply to comments than usual I apologize. It is NaNo…)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Beautiful Books - The Nether Isle {NaNoWriMo 2017}



Today is the day you have ALL been waiting for. And by that I mean…probably none of you have been waiting for. But, like, let’s all just pretend? Yes? YES.


So what even is today about???


*drumrollll*


I’M TELLING YOU ALL ABOUT MY NANOWRIMO ‘17 NOVEL!!!


FINALLY. Here two days before NaNo. Took me long enough. Sheesh. (But can we also pretend NaNo is not the day after tomorrow for the sake of my sanity? K. Thaaanks!)


This NaNo is going to be wildly different from all the past 7 NaNos I’ve participated in. As I’m sure you alllll know by now since I constantly babble about it (seriously, I think I sound like a broken record sometimes), for all my 7 NaNos I was writing a 7 book fantasy series, one book for each NaNo. Which means, for me, “NaNoWriMo” has always just been synonymous for “continue my Colors of a Dragon Scale” series. NaNo was just the time for me to immerse in that world. I can’t even think about NaNo without thinking of my CoaDS series.

But, last NaNo, after years and years of working on it, I wrote the finale for CoaDS. Which meant…no more CoaDS for NaNo. And that feeling is WEIRD. You do get accustomed to something after doing it for 7 years straight.


It’s really, really strange for me to not be plotting the next CoaDS book this month. To not be working on it at all. But you know what? I’M ALSO REALLY EXCITED. I’m going to miss disappearing in the CoaDS world every November like I have for the past 7 years, but at the same time…I’m kind of really ready for something new. It thrills me to think I can now write absolutely whatever I want for NaNo. I adored writing CoaDS and making it my NaNo journey. But those books are written, and now it’s time to tackle something new and fresh. AND I AM PUMPED. SO VERY PUMPED. (Though I’ll still probably totally be feeling nostalgic over CoaDS for the duration of November. I love new experiences, but I’m also a sentimental person. YOU JUST CAN’T PLEASE ME SHEESH.)


The one lovely thing about writing a series for each NaNo is I never had to worry about what I was going to write each year. I had that figured out for 7 years straight. At first I was thrilled at the prospect of getting something new to write this year. On the other hand….WHAT WAS I GOING TO WRIIIITE???????


After much hemming and hawing and sleepless nights and a list or two, I finally settled on something. AND I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS STORY, GUYS. SO SO SO SO SO SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever written and yet has so many elements that are familiar to me and I love. AND I CANNOT WAIT TO WRITE IIIITTTT!!!!!!


Oh wait. You want me to stop rambling and ACTUALLY TELL YOU WHAT IT IS??? Fiiiiine.


Lucky for us, our dear Sky and Cait have brought back Beautiful Books, a linkup much like Beautiful People, but instead we get to talk about our novels! And you absolutely do not have to be doing NaNoWriMo to join in!

 

Visit Sky @ Further Up and Further In or Cait @ Paperfury to join the linkup!

 

Introducing…

THE NETHER ISLE


Mock cover I made just for fun. Image not mine.

 

1.) What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?


That’s a complicated questions because it just kind of…evolved over the past few months. Near the beginning-ish of this year, I was thinking about NaNo (yeah, that early on, I may be a bit NaNo obsessed…). It hit me that, hey, I’ll be writing a new book for NaNo this year and I HAD NO CLUE WHAT IT’D BE. As we discussed, this hasn’t happened in 7 years.


One thought I had was to take every type of story element I love and throw it all into one novel. Because WHY NOT? After that idea, I kept a list on my phone of any cool story elements that popped in my head. And I continued to add to it ever since. (I still add to it now and again.)


Somewhere amidst this I was thinking how I’d like to write a story that completely takes place in some sort of mysterious, creepy forest where all sorts of strange things happen. I don’t know, guys, I just really love creepy forests. That thought kept staying with me and I couldn’t seem to shake it.


Then, one day a few months ago…



I got this random idea of a camera that took pictures of the past. As in, you take a picture, and the picture that comes out is of some past scene, not the present. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS IDEA. I knew I had to write a story involving this.


The creepy forest idea was still at the forefront of my mind, so I decided why not combine that with the magic past camera idea? I was still thinking about adding all the story elements I love into one thing, although once this story idea started taking shape, that plan fizzled out a bit. Though it still has plenty of things I love in it. But it was the magic camera idea that really pulled things together.


Though, strangely, I didn’t have any semblance of a plot and no characters. Usually I get character ideas first or right with plot ideas. But this idea was so vague. For months all I had was the thought of some mysterious forest area and a magic camera… But I really wanted to write it anyway! Who needs a plot and characters, right? Right??? Eheheheheh…


Then, one morning at the end of July, everything clicked. It was like the flood gates burst open. All the ideas came in at ONCE. Plot, characters, setting, EVERYTHING. Within the span of about 30 minutes, I knew who my characters were and what my story was about. AND I WAS SO EXCITED. To the point that I was doing a jig I was so thrilled over this story. #truestory I had work that day, but thankfully it was quiet so I spent the work day on my phone making a list of alllll my ideas.


After that, the ideas kept coming and coming and I knew I had to write this for NaNo. It’s one of those things that will make me burst if I don’t write it!


And good gracious, that was a ridiculously long story and WAY more information than you all needed. MOVING ON!

 

2.) Describe what your novel is about!


Well, well! I just happen to have a (pretty rough) blurb handy.


The Nether Isle—a mystery, a danger. And a prison.

Seventeen-year-old Karis Levine had only ever heard stories of the infamous island where the most savage of criminals are taken. Never in her life did she suspect she'd be flying on a prisoner airship, doomed to live the rest of her days on the island herself. What few days she has left. For the Nether Isle is not a kind one.

The moment Karis is dropped from her cage into the Isle's clutches, she is swept up in all its oddities—from doorways that transport a person to different sections of the island, to ruins of a formerly thriving town, to items imbued with magic, to a redheaded phantom girl. Then there is Jonah, a young man who doesn't appear savage at all. With his help, she might just be able to stay alive.

But why does the Isle exist at all? And who once lived in such a place?

With the aid of a magic camera that produces pictures from the past, Karis and Jonah work together to discover the riddles of the Isle's forgotten days. But the closer they get to answers, the more Karis begins to question everything—including Jonah.

Because on The Nether Isle, nothing is safe.


As you can see, my “creepy forest idea” turned into a whole creepy, overgrown island. AND I LOVE IT.


This story will be a young adult steampunk-fantasy. The world, technology, infrastructure, and clothing are very heavy on the steampunk side. Though standard steampunk usually is based off the Victorian age, I feel like my world is closer to the 1920s? Technologically speaking at least. But, really, the majority of the story takes place on this mysterious island where the “fantasy” aspect takes over. Lots of magic, lots of weird stuff happening. Buildings that move. Doors that change colors. Possibly a super scary beast running around. The island may or may not be alive. JUST FUN AND CREEPY FANTASY THINGS. It also has a bit of a mystery vibe, too. But, come on? Having a camera that reveals things in the past is the perfect setup for my characters to be sleuths and discover the the Isle’s mysteries. And it’s both really creepy but also with fun, hilarious stuff too. Because why have one genre when you can have ALL OF THEM???


So I guess I did end up mixing a bunch of story elements I love. I love steampunk. I love fantasy (duh). Mysteries are great. Creepy stuff is awesome. I love funny stories. It also have a convoluted plot because I’m incapable of keeping things simple buuuuut, in truth, the more complex plots get, the more I love them. (It just hurts my brain when I’m the one writing them…) I AM ALL THE EXCITED.

 

3.) What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!


I love this question!



Creeping mist. Whispers in the night. Gnarled, swaying trees. Crumbling buildings. Dark shadows. Twisting vines. Crunching leaves. Morning sunlight filtering through the hazy woods. Creaking cages. Karis’ mirthful laughter. Jonah’s soft smile. Water ripples. Cracked stone steps. Overgrown gardens. Cogs and screws and old tools scattered around dusty rooms. Rainy days in an ancient library. The whir of airships. Phantoms, lost things, found things, doom and hope and family and sacrifice and friendship.


Okay, I need to stop. But if you want a more visual peek at the story I have a PINTEREST BOARD. And I’m quite in love with it. ^_^

 

4.) Introduce us to each of your characters!


MY FAVORITE SUBJECT! :D


There’s essentially only two main characters and two side characters. And one or more of those is a villain but I’m not telling you whoooo. *cackles* This is, to date, my smallest cast I’ve ever done. And…it’s kinda great! I mentioned in a post recently that I purposely chose a small cast because my last two NaNos involved like 20 main characters. O_O Sometimes I can’t even remember my own name. Why did I think I could keep up with all of those people??? Needless to say, I was ready for something manageable. It’s kind of a relief to have such a small cast! And I only have one POV even though it’s in third-person. Which is strange for me. I pretty much always have multiple POVs. But, again, I was trying to make this book more manageable than my last two NaNos. XD


But GUYS. I’m kind of head-over-heels for these babies!


KARIS
Karis is the POV character and my adorbz baby girl. She’s bouncy and energetic and smiles a ridiculous amount and laughs at just about everything. She struggles to stay still and focus—her mind a constant buzz of wandering thoughts and ideas. She hates when she’s forced to follow rules and practicality, much more thriving on spontaneity. But her heart is a big one. She deeply desires to help anyone in need. Even if her methods are sometimes a little…unorthodox. Overall, Karis is a kindhearted, creative, free spirited soul that just wants to bring goodness (and perhaps a little fun) to the world. She’s a mix of the fun-loving and whimsically chaotic personalities I talked about in this post. AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SPEND THE NEXT MONTH IN HER HEAD. I adore the fun, energetic characters!

 


JONAH
My other precious baby child. Jonah is quiet, calm, and caring. Putting others’ needs before his own is just second nature. Though at first he can be very shy and reserved, once he’s comfortable with a person his chatty and enthusiastic side comes out. He has a passionate personality, and oozes warmth and comfort. He’s a sensitive type, to others and his own emotions, as his emotions run deep, especially due to him holding them in most of the time. His tendency to be awkward causes him a lot of embarrassment. He’s also a planner, and gets frustrated when things don’t work the same way twice. He’s obviously a bit taken aback by Karis’ nonsensical methods of handling things. But with her creativity and his logic they end up work so well together. THE BABIES. <3 Jonah is absolutely a precious cinnamon roll.


Of course. They each have their secrets... *CACKLES*


My other two characters are Elisabet (“Bet” for short) and Darya. Buuut you’re not supposed to know anything about them, so. *zips lips*

 

5.) How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)


It tends to be different with each book. But for NaNo I always write a ridiculously detailed chapter-by-chapter outline so I know where I’m going and can focus on the words instead of getting stuck with the plot. For me, personally, it just works better that way when I’m having to write a whole story in only 30 days. If I’m pantsing, I like to have more time.


But ANYWAYS, as usual, I completely outlined this story. I started out making character sheets for each of my characters and really digging deep into their personalities, down to their Myers-Briggs types and love languages because I’m obsessive like that. Once I got them and their backgrounds all figured out, I then spent about two weeks feverishly working on my outline. Annnnd it ended up being 16k words. Just the outline. O_O Like I said…I like to make them detailed. I don’t even know, guys…


I also definitely like to assure I have ample supplies of caffeine and am not caught up on other life things before I basically ignore life for a full month. Very important. *nods*


OH. And this year I’m using Scrivener for the first time AND I AM SO EXCITED. It is the perfect writing program for a list-obsessed, OCD writer like me. I have everything organized on it, with sections for my character sheets, an outline (all sectioned off into chapters), my actual draft, ideas, reminders, everything I need all right there! I am soooo pumped to be using it this NaNo for the first time! :D

 

A screenshot of The Nether Isle’s file on Scrivener.

 

6.) What are you most looking forward to about this novel?


BASICALLY EVERYTHING. I’m thrilled to be writing something new and different. Between editing Burning Thorns and writing a CoaDS book for each NaNo, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve just written something utterly new. I cannot waaaaait to tell Karis’s and Jonah’s story because I adore them. And then just the plot itself is wild and crazy and kinda dark and creepy but also with some really fun and (hopefully) unique things as well. Plus feels. Lots of feels. Because feelsy stories and making my readers and myself scream and cry is my fave. (#ActuallyEvil) I think it’s gonna be a wild, amazing ride all the way through. I’m grinning just thinking about writing it!

 

7.) List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

 

  • A huge part of the story is these ruins of a weird city. There are buildings built on cliffs and upper levels with bridges running from one place to the next and river on the bottom. The buildings are cracking and a little overgrown by vines and things, but still mostly functioning. Annnd sometimes there’s weird stuff happening in the city ruins, such as the pathways moving like conveyer belts and all sorts of odd and magical items inside the buildings. The style of the city was heavily inspired by this picture…


 

  • There are “Doorways” which look like square archways placed around the Isle that will randomly deposit you on another place on the Isle.

 

  • Karis is from the High City of a continent called Ilderwind. The High City is the thriving capital of Ilderwind with a jumble of buildings, stoned streets, a big City Hall. Just a booming steampunk-style town. We get the occasional glimpse of it throughout the story.

 

8.) What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?


Karis and Jonah’s first goal is to not die on this crazy Isle that seems bent on killing them. Because, ya know, not dying is cool. Karis later is determined to discover (due to some spoilery circumstances) why the Isle exists at all and who once lived there. But her digging up its secrets leads to…lots of other things which I cannot tell you.


Who or what stands in their way?


 

9.) How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?


*points to above gif*


Come now. I’m not giving everything away.

 

10.) What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?


Even though I have a 16k outline, theme is something that always happens more prominently while writing. I never really choose a theme. It just…happens. I do know there’s a lot about sacrifice. (Because that theme pretty much always crops up in my novels. It’s just so important to me.) Despite appearances, there’s not all that much in the way of romance. *GASP* In a YA novel? I KNOW. CRAZINESS! Instead, there is a lot of focus on family because I feel like there is not nearly enough of that in the YA genre. But, come on, people! Family is amazing! Family, sacrifice, and standing up for what is right no matter how hard it may be would be the core themes I think. …For now. Who knows what it’ll all be once it’s written!


When my readers close this book I want them to feel like they were taken on an amazing, wild ride. I want them to have laughed and cried and maybe howled a time or two, but, by the end of it all, feel like it was worth it.


. . .


And there we have it! You probably now know waaaaay more about The Nether Isle than you ever wanted to. If it wasn’t obvious, I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY EXCITED TO WRITE THIS. Annnnd I’ll continue to be talking all about it throughout NaNo. #SORRYNOTSORRY


The day after tomorrow, guys! O_____O The next time you hear from me, we’ll be nearly a week into NaNo. And, for any of my newer readers, I’m going to apologize now. The posts I produce during NaNo tend to be my wildest, most incoherent, lack-of-sleep-caffeine-induced posts ever. So…yeah. It’s gonna be fun! *runs away cackling madly*

 


TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS, O’ READERS. What do you think of my NaNo novel? Are you in shock NaNo is the day after tomorrow????? (notpanicking notpanicking notpanicking) And for those of you not doing NaNo, would you consider setting up a donation for some of your sanity to the rest of us? Because we’re gonna need it! HAPPY NOVEMBER, EVERYONE! *throws glitter and confetti and fall leaves*

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