Monday, November 28, 2016

NaNoWriMo Week Four: 100k Words, So Much Turkey, and Benedict Cumberbatch


Oh, what is that I see? *squints* It looks like a…finish line? It couldn’t be. But maybe it is because….because…IT’S THE LAST DAYS OF NANO.



Just think. Thursday morning you will open your eyes and it will be DECEMBER 1ST. No more NaNoWriMo!

Unfortunately…I’ll probably still be pounding at my keyboard like a mad octopus (not sure why octopuses would be mad at keyboards but…?) on December 1st. And the few days thereafter. Because…my novel is not done. In fact, I have 11 chapters to go, and seem to only be writing about a chapter a day. BUT. Having 11 chapters out of the 46 that this book will hold IS NOT BAD. I’m gonna finish this things, guys, I AM.

Week Four was pretty great. Muchly exciting things happened!



  • I hit 100k words. Which means I did a double NaNo and I’M HAPPEH. Especially since this book is probably going to be near 150k. o.O I needed to get as many words in as possible! I try to do a double NaNo most years, but this year I wasn’t 100% I was going to be able to, but it has proven to be a much less busy month than I suspected. So HUZZAH for writing time!



  • Two news ships began this week. Because I didn’t have enough couples in this series. *rolls eyes* But one of these ships involves two hilariously energetic people and the other involves two quiet, awkward ones and they both amuse me endlessly. Though right now they’re just friendSHIPS but ya knoooow. #IStillShipThem (Am I the only one that gets obsessed with their own couples? Please tell me I’m not alone in my weirdness!)


  • THANKSGIVING. Thanksgiving happened. Which is important because TURKEY. AND OTHER FOOD. And I may still be full from it and have eaten turkey and dressing every single day since Thanksgiving with NO REGRETS. *twirls* Ours was a pretty quiet Thanksgiving, but I suppose that’s not always a bad thing. It was very pleasant and foooood.



  • ALL MY CHARACTERS ARE TOGETHER. I’m pretty sure this book is just one big ol’ reunion. But they are ALL together. FINALLYYYY. I feel like this is a historical moment because they separated at the beginning of book ONE. I’ve literally never written them all together for 7 years now. But this week I finally got alllll meh dragon riders +friends/family together and just LET ME HUG MY BABIES. (Although I’m discovering I’m not the best at writing scenes with a big group?? It’s fun, just…hurts my wee brain. Oops.)


  • I made it to Part 3 of my novel. See, I sectioned my book off into 3 parts, and as of Friday, I am on the last part! WHOOO! Somehow it feels so less overwhelming now. Like…I can maybe see the end? Speaking of which…


  • I’m on the pre-climax climax. Because layering climaxes makes sense, yes? Okay, what I mean is my characters have officially made it TO THE FINAL BATTLE. Like, the major battle that involves their entire WORLD. Yes, that battle. Buuut a lot happens in it. So it’s not like THE climax yet. But it’s kinda the climax of the whole series, if not the specific climax of this book. Make sense?? No…? Yeah, I don’t know either. ANYWAY. The point is, I’ve got to get through this battle, then wrap things up, then IT’LL BE FINISHED. Let’s just pretend that this whole last climax doesn’t overwhelm the socks of me because all. the. fighting. I mean, there are other things like rescue missions and hilarious conversations IN THE FIGHT. But also fight scenes. So many fight scenes… Who outlined this book anyway???


I almost died when I saw this in Civil War because THEY STOLE IT FROM ME. I’ve had this exact thought toward my characters for yeeears. They always end up talking in the middle of war and I’m just like YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY BAD GUYS PAY ATTENTION.


  • I SAW DOCTOR STRANGE. Been meaning to do that…almost all month. But, ya know, NaNo. I finally saw it though! And really enjoyed it! Not my faaavorite Marvel movie, but who even cares because BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. AS A MARVEL HERO. The world is complete now. Although he had an American accent in this which is NOT OKAY. You don’t cast Benedict Cumberbatch as something and then tell him not to use his gorgeously perfect British accent. IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. I do not care that Dr. Strange is American. GIMME THE BRITISH ACCENT. But aaanyways, I totally enjoyed the movie. There’s really nothing I disliked about it (though the whole spiritual world type stuff was…weird), I just love a bunch of the other Marvel movies so suffocatingly MUCH this one got placed a bit lower on the totem pole.



  • I killed another character. Oops? But wait now! They were actually a villain. SO THERE. Except they were also related to one of my main characters. Sooo it was kinda sad, but also kind of a relief since THIS PERSON WAS SO EVIL. A sad relief? (I have no idea…)

And that was NaNoWriMo Week 4. Between turkey, Marvel, and endless reunions in my book, I’d say I had an amazing official last week of NaNo!

Although, I’m gonna admit something to you guys. I’m tired. Like REALLY TIRED. Like want-to-bury-my-computer-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean-and-sleep-for-54-years tired. My creative juices are draaaained. Even writing this post just hurts my poor, tired imagination who really needs to go take a walk. To the moon. And not write another sentence. Like…until I’m 40 or so.

BUT. I’m gonna contradict myself here (what’s new?) and say I looooved my writing sessions this week! All this week I was writing the “calm before the storm” part of the book. Letting my characters rest and regroup and form deeper bonds (thus the two new ships) and just BE ADORABLE. Am I the only one that tends to like those sections of books? Especially to write. Like I said, battle scenes…overwhelm me. But fun conversations, I can do that! So even though I’m getting reeeally tired of writing and desperately need a break, I had a wonderful time this week! Like last week, I think the big problem here is I have no motivation to write when I’m not writing. But once I START I enjoy myself. Which I seem to forget…on a daily basis.

So did I have a good week? Yes. Am I still enjoying my book? YES. Am I ready to be finished? YESSSSS. I love writing. I. LOVE. WRITING. I think that’s preeetty obvious. But I have to say, writing around 5k words a day for nearly a month will drain the energy out of even the most enthusiastic lover of words. Eheheh.


Basically me at this point.

I shall not despair though! (Or just drink coffee and force my over-caffeinated brain to push forward.) I think I can finish this thing by the end of the first week of December, or somewhere thereabouts. If I don’t die first. Which is entirely possible because I think this book is secretly trying to kill me. *glares at it* My characters are behaving oddly well though. Probably because they know the faster I write, the quicker I’ll finally be DONE destroying their lives, and leave them alone. They just don’t yet realize the things I have planned for the climax. *cackles*


Since this will be my last post before NaNo ends (!!!), I wanted to give a shoutout to all you amazing NaNo participants. You guys have done AMAZING. I’m so proud of each and every one of you. I know some of you have even already completely finished your novels of which I say YAAAAAY!!!!! *throws confetti and pulls out the pizza and cake* I’M ECSTATIC FOR YOU GUYS.

But, if you haven’t finished yet, DO NOT DESPAIR. A lot can be done in 3 days. I’ve seen people write 30k words in one day! With that said, just the fact that you participated is a complete and utter pizza-worthy accomplishment. Joining NaNo is a brave feat! WRITING is a brave feat! Any and every word you put down is a step of growth, a step toward getting those beautiful stories from your head to paper.

You are all amazing people and it has been the best doing this crazy NaNo thing with you. <3

And another shoutout to those not doing NaNo and putting up with and encouraging us crazies. Even when we completely explode your inboxes and blogger dashboards and what-have-you with NaNo posts, you still cheer us on. YOU GUYS ROCK!

Here’s to the last days of NaNoWriMo 2016! *raises coffee cup*

SPILL IT ALL (but not the coffee ‘cause that would be tragic). How was your last full week of NaNo? Are you almost done (or are done) with your novel? Did you have a good Thanksgiving? AND WHO ELSE HAS SEEN DOCTOR STRANGE??? (Fangirl with meee.)

Monday, November 21, 2016

NaNoWriMo Week Three: Explosions, Frozen Fingers, and Christmas Decorations





It’s a little shocking, to be honest. Didn’t this month just start???? HOW ARE WE PAST THE HALFWAY POINT?

I had an absolutely fantastic Week Three myself! Both on the writing front and with lifely things. *le gasp* Am I saying I actually did LIFE stuff this week? That happens during NaNoWriMo?? Bwahaha! Of course not. What an absurd thought. I just happened to glance over the top of my screen and accidentally take note of the real world for half a second. Scariest half second of my life. (Okay, okay, yes, I did step away from my novel a couple of times this week, but we’re getting to that.)




I passed the halfway mark of my novel.
This is both something to jump up and down and scream excitedly over AND something that makes me want to curl under my bed and cry for a million years. Becaaause, I hit the halfway mark of my novel at 76k words. Which means…I have around 76k more words to write before this monstrosity is finished. *diiiies*

BUT. Currently I’m at 91k words, and so far I’ve managed to write around 30k every week. So I think I can finish this within the next few weeks. …If I survive that long. 30k a week is no joke. Z_Z I’m noticing my enthusiasm to go write has been fading, but once I do start writing I enjoy myself. I’m just kinda ready to, well, start living again and enjoy the Christmas holiday. But I’ve been working on this series every NaNo for SEVEN YEARS. I think I can give it a few more weeks. And then I’ll be DONE. FOREVERRRR. (Let’s just pretend rewrites don’t exist for now, okay???) I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Fortunately, like I said, I enjoy myself for the most part once I do start writing those words. This book is seriously the MOST. FUN. THING.

This week’s writing sessions included…


  • Bryth single-handedly killing three bad guys. I haven’t written a fight scene with Bryth in a long time, and I was just sitting there cackling to myself as I remembered what a deadly force she is. (I’m perfectly normal, I promise.) (Actually that’s a total lie. I’m a writer. “Normal” doesn’t come with the title.)


  • Airen and Eryth doing a rescue mission together. Airen and Eryth together. AIREN AND ERYTH!!!!! Only my favorite ship out of my all characters. *coughity cough cough* Okay, technically last week was when a ton of the Airen and Eryth things took place like…THEIR REUNION. Since they haven’t been together since the beginning of BOOK ONE. I’ve only been waiting for this reunion for 7 years. Let’s just ignore the fact that they’re not an official “couple” yet. Psssh, details.


  • There may also be a slight love triangle that played a part during this week’s writing. Oops? It’s only slight. And I think this is my first love triangle to ever write…? *actually likes love triangles*


  • Not just one humongous battle but TWO. Whyyy??? I AM NOT GOOD AT BATTLE SCENES. Do I look like I know how to fight? That I have any knowledge at all how to maneuver around entire armies??? NO. And yet I do it all. the. time. I should count one day how many fight scenes have occurred in this series. I honestly bet it’s nearing 100. Just…so many fights! And this week I had entire, ridiculously large battles going as full KINGDOMS were trying to be freed and just… *collapses* Battle scenes overwhelm me because I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. (Let’s not talk about how the whole climax will be one enormous battle scene with, like, the whole WORLD fighting. *dies*) Okay, actually, these battles weren’t too hard, and sometimes I do have fun with them. I put on fast paced, epic, ear-bleeding music and just type probably utter nonsense (because, again, I don’t know how to fight), BUT IT IS EPIC NONSENSE SO THERE.


  • EXPLOSIONS. Well I did say there were battles, now didn’t I? What good is a battle without EXPLOSIONS??? Never mind this is a medieval fantasy novel. I will still find ways to explode things. *cackles*


  • Reunions. So. Many Reunions. ALL THE REUNIONS. Okay, okay, not all of them. BUT A LOT. In fact, I’m rapidly nearing the section of the book where alllll meh babies FINALLY get together. I’ve got most of them in one place. IT ONLY TOOK 7 BOOKS. But I’ve done it! Just a few more and then they can have a big ol’ party before the world ends.


  • Did I mention reunions? I feel like it deserved a second point. I LOVE REUNIONS OKAY. That’s the biggest reason this book is so FUN. I’ve never had all these characters working together so much, and it’s a chaotic, amazing mess. Literally, for a couple of scenes I had to make a list of who all was there because I couldn’t keep up with everyone. o.O IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND ABSURD AND I LOVE IT.


  • Also three semi-major deaths happened. Huh? What? I said nothing!


  • Character developmeeeent! Quite a few of my babies had some major breakthroughs this week and I AM SO PROUD. :’)


  • I also had a certain one of my ships sail away happily into the sunset this week. (No, it wasn’t Airen and Eryth.)

So as you can see, it was a very productive week.



Like I said, I actually acknowledged the real world a teensy itty bit this week. But it was for a good cause! Because…

We decorated the house for CHRISTMAS!!! Only one of my favorite things to do ever. Is there anything happier than putting on the Christmas music and decking the house out in all the festive, wonderful thiiings. I THINK NOT.


Unfortunately, I haven’t been really feeling the Christmas spirit because the weather hasn’t been cooperating. It’s a little hard to bellow out the Christmas tunes while you’re MELTING. Buuut apparently the weather finally remembered what season it was (perhaps it’s doing NaNo too and got distracted writing…?) and this weekend was COLD. Like, I got freeze warning alerts on my phone kind of cold. I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER. Cold weather is my faaaave! It finally feels like the proper holiday season. Excuse me while I go put on my boots and scarves and blast the Christmas music and eat all the cookies and hug a Christmas tree because THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HEERE. Not that I’m excited or anything.



The cold is perfect initiative to write fast. Oh yes, I’ve come up with a solid new way to get those words out quickly. Go outside and don’t allow yourself to return to the warm indoors until you’ve met a certain wordcount. Then type as fast as you can before you freeze and die. Genius! BONUS POINTS: Meet your word goal before your fingers go numb and chip off.

So maaaybe I’ve been writing out in the freezing cold this week. Do I regret it? Neverrrr! I am the ICE QUEEN. (The cold doesn’t effect your brain, does it? Naaah!)

Ooookay, so I did actually learn something useful this week.

Near the end of the week, my creative barrels were getting dry. My writing was bland and I had to painstakingly force out every. single. word. I had been writing so MUCH every day, and was getting really tired. But I told myself I had to keep going, I had to keep writing. This book is gonna be LONG. I have to write and write and write if I ever hope to get to the end. No matter what.

Then Friday came and I had to go to work, which forced me to stop writing for a little while. Work was slow that day, giving me some relaxing time, I even got to read a little (something I really haven’t done since NaNo started… o.o). After work, I got myself a vanilla latte at McDonald’s (#obsessed) and dove back into my novel.

Suddenly, the words flowed without any effort, and they came (I think) in much more quality than I had been producing. That evening, I easily finished up a chapter, and the next day I wrote a whole 6k words without any trouble. While any other day I write 6k, I have to really push myself to get in that many words, and am dead by the end of it.

That’s when I realized: TAKING BREAKS IS A GOOD THING. A necessary thing. You only have so much creative energy before it’s completely run out. If you keep pushing yourself, all you’re doing is scraping at the bottom of the barrel which is slow, tedious work. The best way to refuel those juices is to put a little distance from yourself and your novel (or whatever your creative pursuit may be). Read a book, watch your favorite show, take a walk, go shopping with friends—just step away for a while. When you come back, you’ll be shocked at how reenergized and inspired you feel. Now, I understand it is hard stepping away to do something else when you could be using that time to write. But, in the end, you may find you write faster once you’ve refilled yourself, meaning you didn’t waste any time at all.

And yes, I realize this is something we hear all the time, and something I know, but experiencing it this week reminded me of how true it is.

Unfortunately, I never learn my lesson and will probably once again pour myself out to the bottom of the barrel, and refuse to take breaks because I MUST. FINISH. THIS. NOVEL. But I’m not anything if I’m not a useful role model of what not to do. You’re welcome.



I had a very good Week Three of NaNo! And I also write the most absurd, unorganized posts during NaNo. I really don’t know what this is, guys. I promise, once I’ve finished this monstrosity of a novel the blog will return to actual subjects and not just what it looks like in the inside of my brain (as in: a thousand different thoughts with sooo many caps and question marks).

Who am I kidding? My blog is always full of rambling chaos. (Just maybe a liiittle less during non-NaNo months? Yes? Anybody???)

I hope everybody has an amazing Thanksgiving week! And to my non-American friends, I hope you have an amazing week period! I hope you all do! JUST BE THE AMAZING PEOPLE YOU ARE.

How did your NaNo Week Three go???? What is something exciting that happened during your writing session this week? (Did you kill any of your characters?) Is anyone else already pulling out the Christmas decorations? (DO NOT BE ASHAMED.) And, just for fun, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? (I’m allll about that dressing.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Beautiful Books – Novel Update {NaNoWriMo 2016}


What is this glorious thing I see before me? I think it’s a…HALFWAY MARKER.

That’s right, Week Two of NaNoWriMo is nearing a close, and come tomorrow we’ll be halfway finished!!! HALFWAY, PEOPLE. Can you believe it? How are you surviving? Week two tends to be the hardest of NaNo as the excitement of week one fades into weariness, a dozen empty coffee cups, and the knowledge that the end is still far, far away. But once we get over that halfway hump, the rest of NaNo just zooms by. So if you’re feeling discouraged, DON’T GIVE UP. You guys are doing AWESOME. We’re going to survive this NaNo, I promise!

My week two went along quite well! Perhaps not the complete euphoria of the first week, because things started to pile up and I was gone some of the days, and probably didn’t sleep nearly as much as I should (but, like, who sleeps during NaNo????). BUT I did have some verrrrry exciting things to happen during this week’s writing sessions.

Such as on Wednesday…

Erm, so yes. I hit 50k words in 9 days. O_O (I did mention I don’t sleep during NaNo, yes? Yes.)

My ecstatic screams and flails of celebration were halted when it occurred to me I’m not even halfway through my story yet. And I want to finish it before Christmas, sooner if at all possible. Except I may die before then from being crushed under the enormous amount of words. Or my characters might just kill me because they’re sick of me destroying their lives. Being a writer is hazardous, okay??

But still. 50K WORDS!!!!! I AM HAPPY. And I’m still totally loving my novel so maaaybe I won’t die before it’s finished. Maybe.

But how is the actual writing going? WELL. Our illustrious Sky and Cait have compiled a new list of questions for this month’s Beautiful Books to help me answer that very thing. And aren’t you glad? (Because we all know I can’t construct an organized post in any form or fashion during NaNo judging by last week’s post or…any NaNo post of mine, ever.)


Visit Sky @ Further Up and Further In or Cait @ Paperfury
to snag the questions and linkup yourself!


1.) Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

Mental state?

I’m fine. Juuust fiiiine!

Okay, okay. Honestly, I’m doing pretty good mentally thus far. The words have been coming fast and easy, I’m absolutely 100% loving my book, and life has allowed for writing time so the stress that usually comes has been (mostly) low. The biggest thing causing stress if just realizing how BIG this book will be. But then I tell myself it’s okay. I’ll just keep plugging away at it until it’s done. It’s not the end of the world. Besides, it’s FUN to write in.

So yes, I’d say I’m great! I mean…as far as stress-wise and things. But if we’re talking how sane am I still? Pft. I threw my smidgeon of sanity out the window the second November 1st hit.

And my novel is going AWESOMELY. But I shall answer that more specifically in the other questions…


2.) What’s your first sentence?

Iavin fidgeted as he listened to the status report of the end of the world.

I…may be kind of totally in love with my first sentence. *cough*


3.) Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?

Well, this is a loaded question!

Remember how I had mentioned in the last Beautiful Books post how I have 15 main characters or so? And I loveth all meh babies. And…like…I HAVE SO MANY HALP.

Okay, okay. I do have specific favorites even though I do love each and every one of them in a special way (and technically you’re not supposed to have favorites amidst your children. I never claimed to be a nice author, now did I??).

I think we’re all quite aware of my favoritism toward my antihero/villain/who-even-knows-what-he-is character Cael. WHY? Because he’s a polite villain. And charismatic and hurts my poor brain which I love because GIMME ALL THE COMPLEX CHARACTERS. He’s also just absolutely hilarious and I honestly never know what will come out of his mouth next.


Cael sighed. “I get it, I know. With war comes messes. I guess we'll just have to buy some dragon-sized brooms when this is over and done. So I believe we were discussing Ilvra Evien?”

Azrot blinked. Even after months, the man hadn't gotten used to to Cael's ways. Iavin rubbed a hand through his mussed hair. It did take some accustoming to.

BUT. As much as I love Cael, my favorite character to actually write the point-of-view in is, without a doubt, Iavin. Not just from this series but out of ALL the stories I’ve ever written. I don’t know what it is about being in this awkward child’s head that delights me, but I love every second of it! Whenever I switch POV’s my first thought is, “Oh yay, now I get to be in this character’s head for a while, I’ve missed them!” but then immediately after I’m thinking, “This is great buuuut…I miss Iavin.” IT’S A PROBLEM. His constant pessimistic, doom and gloom attitude amuses me endlessly.


Sayleth’s face softened into a smile. “I've missed you, Iavin.”

This time his heart didn't miss a beat, but somersaulted into an erratic, dizzying flip. “I...” ...thought about you every day. ...wished I had gone with you. ...feared for your safety every single waking second. ...don't ever want to leave your side again. ...don't deserve you as my dragon rider partner. ...should probably just jump off this dragon right now before I say something really, really stupid. “...missed you, too.” There. That wasn't so hard. And yet... It didn't feel right. It wasn't enough. He spoke up before he could talk himself out of it. “A lot. I mean, I was scared something had happened to you. I didn't know... I'm just glad you're here. Safe, that is. Well, here and safe.” He groaned internally. He should have stopped while he had the chance.

And I actually think I like Cael best through Iavin’s POV. I know, it’s weird. But their friendship is my FAAAVE. And by their “friendship” I mean their attempt to be best friends while one is destroying the world and the other is trying to save it. But hey, all friendships have their ups and downs now and again!

Though I do have another favorite POV which I shamefully FORGOT was one of my faves until I was writing his first scene in this book! Darven. Somehow my complete and utter love of being inside this guy’s head slipped my mind. Then I wrote his first POV in this book and all the memories of my happy times with this dude came rushing back. What’s funny is Darven is as opposite from Iavin as a character can get. In fact, Iavin is totally intimidated Darven. He’s large, he’s quiet, and he’s not exactly one for smiling. So yeah, he can be intimidating. But he’s also the protector. He’ll take charge and risk his life to protect everyone around him, without a second thought. There’s something comforting about being in his head. And that probably sounds so weird, I don’t even know…

Darven just shrugged. “I'm fine.”

Leiden rolled his eyes. “Says the man with bags as big as Barveris's scales under his eyes. Get some sleep, Darven. I insist. Besides,” his bright green eyes gleamed with mischief, “I'm an elf. I don't need nearly as much sleep as you silly humans.”

Rem pressed a hand against his chest. “I'm hurt.”

“And technically I'm part dwarf,” Darven pointed out.

Leiden shuddered. “Even worse.”

Rem and Leiden burst into laughter, and even the dragons rumbled in amusement. The corner of Darven's lip tilted up, but he just shook his head and settled against Barveris. “Fine. This silly human tainted with dwarven blood will get some sleep. See if I care when the enemy comes and gets you both.”

This only brought more laughter. He draped an arm over his eyes, acting as if he was entirely done with all of them. He would never admit how much he valued the companionship of each and every one of them.

Sometimes Darven is the stereotypical broody hero, but I still love my Sir Broods-a-lot. (Yes, I tease him endlessly and it drives him crazy. What do you mean he’s not real? I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

Annnd then there’s Airen…

Unable to hold back his smile, Airen pulled her close. “So I said the right thing?”

Eryth’s cheek pressed against his chest vibrated all the way down to his heart as she giggled. “You always do.”

“Well, I do have a way with words.”

What can I say? Just…Airen.

(Gracious alive these things need to stop asking about my characters because I will babble to the end of time.)

4.) What do you love about your novel so far?


You’re gasping in shock. I know, I know. I am the most unpredictable human alive, you have to admit it.

But seriously now, THESE PEOPLE. Not only is it a delight spending time with them again, but this go round I get to see them ALLLL interact! So. Many. Reunions. In the other books, they were all paired off into twos. But now everyone is running into everyone else and battling together and being awesome and just…ALL THE TEARS AND HUGS AND HAPPINESS. Technically there were supposed to be a lot of reunions in the last book, but that didn’t happen much. Like, can you guys stop going to COMPLETE OPPOSITE sides of the continent, hmmm?

After having most of my characters separated for 6 books it’s the most exciting thing in the world to see them get back together in this 7th one. One reunion actually brought tears to me eyes, and another involves my favorite ship I’ve ever created *cough*ErythandAiren*cough* and just SDLKJF:LKSDJF.

I also just love the fact this this is the FINALE and THIIIINGS are happening! Things I have imagined writing since I started the first book! (Because apparently you start dreaming of writing the finale of a series before you’ve even finished book one…?) These scenes that have only been daydreams in my head for yeeeears are actually being WRITTEN, and it just feels so surreal.

I’m basically loving everything about this story.

5.) Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Probably half a billion! (Except I only have 62k words right now so you can figure that math out.) Okay, I do actually go back and fix typos while writing. I know, I know, it’s NaNo. I should just write and not worry about these things, but I can’t stand having those evil red squiggly lines plaguing my document. >.> BUT. I’m notorious for my typos (you’ve probably already spotted half a dozen in this post knowing me), so I am 100% sure there are a TON of them I haven’t caught in my novel.

I did glance up at one sentence while I was happily typing away and paused in confusion for a second as I read “your hear”. Because…I meant “you’re here”. *pats brain* You tried, you tried.

6.) What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I could write a post about my thoughts on this! Oh wait, I did. But long story short, endings are DEFINITELY my favorite. I live for writing climaxes. It’s the biggest thing that keeps me writing, knowing that if I keep at it I will eventually make it to that exciting climax.

Beginnings are my least favorite. It’s a lot of work for me to get settled into the feel of a book and into the habit of writing in it. I usually don’t start having fun until I’m past the first few chapters. Though this book is the exception to that because, well, I’ve written 6 books before it in the same world and same characters, so I’m quiiite familiar with the feel of it. XD

And, I feel like I’m in the minority here, but I do actually enjoy middles! I mean, that’s where basically everything happens. It can be daunting though, I totally get that.

7.) What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

My writing habits during NaNo? Um…I just write every single free, waking second I have, and then continue during the seconds I shouldn’t be awake.

Okay, I usually don’t really get started until after lunch, but once I’m going, I pretty much just spend the whole day writing as long as I’m home. I make a rule where, once I start writing, I have to keep at it until I get that first 2k in. Then I’m allowed to update my wordcount on the NaNo site and take a little break (usually for food, I don’t really eat while writing). Then, from there, I update my wordcount every 1k words, and maaay take little breaks in between. I don’t actually allow myself to write any past midnight. Not because I’m a responsible person and go to bed. What a silly thought. It’s actually because I’m OCD about these things and it bothers me that if you update your wordcount after midnight, it’ll show it as words for the next day. Perfectly legit reason. Once I’ve finished writing, usually sometime right before midnight, I then proceed to check twitter and see how everyone is doing and update on there my own progress for the day. Of course, I’m checking twitter all throughout the day, too… *cough*

I definitely listen to music. During ALL of my writing. But I think you all already knew that being as how I was flailing for half of last week’s post over the Skyrim soundtrack and things. *grins*

I tend to write best at night, when it’s dark and everything is quiet. But I actually get the majority of my writing done during the afternoon.

During NaNo, since I’m writing so. very. much. I try to switch positions pretty often. I have multiple writing perches.

First, my main place, is my chair in my room:


I spend most of my computer time there, to be honest. I love opening my window on these nice November days, my bed is right there for a footstool, and I totally think having books above my head provides inspiration. *nods* AND it gives me a perfect view of my other two bookshelves on the opposite side of the room. Staring at pretty books all day is very motivational. (Or distracting.) Occasionally I’ll use my actual desk, but it’s my least likely place to write. #Logic At night, I like to lounge in my bed. So basically you might find me all around my room. I’ve even sat on the floor before.

I also like to go out on the deck a lot. Sometimes I’ll sit at the table, but more often than not I’ll just use the porch swing we have out there.


But then once the sun goes down (which it does way too fast now *glares at time change*) and the giant creepy flying things decide to whack into my computer screen or my face and give me a mini heart attack, I’ll move to the other swing inside the protected screen porch, should I still want to be outside.

Yes, we do have a fake tree with stringed lights on it, and it’s the best, happiest thing ever. This may be my favorite writing space this year. I’m loving bundling up and getting all comfy on the swing and just writing away. I think my best writing memories of this month thus far have happened on that swing during the late evenings.

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)?

Well, being as how I just basically wrote a novel-length post about my novel here, how private do you think I am??

Okay, actually I’m funny about this. When it comes to blogging and emailing and things, I can babble about my stories until the end of time. But if you ask me about it face to face, I totally clamp up and get all nervous and self-conscious. My family has to drag information about my writing out of me, and I’m just like, “Go read my blog posts!” whilst wanting to hide under the covers.

Hey, I’m a writer. I’m comfortable using the written word, but when it comes to verbal usage…I’m an awkward potato. Which I hate. Because I want to talk about my writing, I just get…nervous and fear no one cares and that I sound dumb. I don’t even know. It’s silly.

But cheer squads are amazing! I thrive off cheer squads. My love language is actually words of affirmation, so, like, even one sentence of encouragement can make me flail happily for daaaays. And I have the BEST writing buddies whose encouragement and support keep me going. Seriously, FIND WRITING FRIENDS. I couldn’t do this thing without them!

9.) What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

Oh look, I already answered that question. But I shall say it again: MY WRITING FRIENDS. Without them keeping me accountable and constantly building me up, writing this insanely long series would probably have killed me years ago.

Also, GOALS. NaNoWriMo is perfect because I thrive off goals. I’d never write a single word if I didn’t make goals for myself, or have something like NaNo to do it for me.

Lastly, the motivation to be DONE does wonders. I love writing, but I love even more finishing. But, of course, I will never finish a book if I don’t keep writing in it. Thus I write.

10.) What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Write to the end. I used to never finish my stories, and that got me nowhere. Actually, I think I only ever finished one book before my first NaNo, and I had been writing for 9 years before then! But then I did NaNo, and it taught me I can write and finish a book in a decent amount of time, and that’s when my writing hobby blossomed into a full-on pursuit of a writing career. So keep writing and finish that book! I promise it is absolutely worth the time. And with that said…

Write now, edit later. I know how tempting it is to slow down, to rewrite that first page for, oh, the 5th or 6th time because it’s still not…quite…right… But STAHP. Actually don’t stop. Keep writing! As Shannon Hale said: “I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” You can’t make a castle until you have the sand. You can’t perfect anything until it’s written. Because you won’t know what needs editing, what bits need foreshadowing, who needs broader character arcs, etc., etc. until you have the whole story in place. First drafts are meant for exploration. Explore, blow something up, throw in a rampaging Chihuahua named Herbert. It doesn’t matter. Just WRITE.

Write what you LOVE and do it BRAVELY. I actually wrote a whole post on this one, but the main point is, you should have FUN with your story, and not let doubt hold you back. If you have a crazy idea, don’t “play it safe”. Go for it! Write that crazy idea! And write the things you love. Make a list of your favorite types of story elements and incorporate them in your novel. Let loose. Try new things. This is your story. Have fun with it!

WHEW. We made it to the end. You may all breathe in relief now! (Seriously, if I added my blog posts to my NaNo wordcount it’d practically double…)

We’re nearly halfway done with this crazy NaNo thing, guys! Can you believe it??? Did you survive the Week Two slumps? How is YOUR mental state? *passes around motivational cookies* Tell me all about your November thus far!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Epic Music, Lots of Words, and Giraffes a.k.a My First Week of NaNo


And just like that, we have survived the first week of NaNo! (Or am I the only one who has already exploded things in their novel? *cough*)

But, GUYS. The first week of NaNo has happened. Are you still alive? Am I still alive? WHO EVEN KNOWS??? I’m pretty sure NaNo’ers are just mad typing zombies for all the month of November. Like, who even needs sleep and a healthy schedule? Pssh. That’s what coffee is for.


How is my NaNo going so far?? AWESOMELY. To say I’m having fun is the understatement of the year. I’m bubbling with excitement and basically wanting to high-five and hug my novel every five minutes. This NaNo is going SO. WELL.

As I have done every NaNo thus far, I stayed up on October 31st, counting down for the clock to strike 12 so I could begin writing that very moment November 1st hit. To me, it’s one of the most exciting times of NaNo. You have all the buildup, all the excitement, and now, finally, when that clock hits midnight, you can begin your story. And then it comes, and so many, all around the world, are staying up at ridiculously late hours bringing to life an empty document, bringing those characters and stories that had only existed in our heads to something tangible, to something REAL.


Unfortunately, I was kiiiinda totally exhausted Monday night and those magical first words turned into my squinting at the screen trying to figure out how to construct a coherent sentence. But I did manage to push forward and write the first 2k words. (And I only stayed up until nearly 3 in the morning doing it. *cough, cough, cough*)

I was a little discouraged. Those first words were like pulling teeth, painfully forcing each one out. As I finally collapsed in bed, the fears came, the doubts. Was it going to be like this all month? Would I ever finish this novel? Was this going to be torture?

The next morning, I got out of bed, miraculously feeling not nearly as exhausted as I worried I would, and stomped down all those worries I had the night before. After all, I had been tired, and I always do have a hard time at the beginning stages of a novel getting back into the writing groove. I’ve actually been in editing mode all YEAR, since I spent this year editing Burning Thorns. I haven’t written a first draft of anything since last NaNo. Naturally, it was going to take me a little bit to settle back into the first drafting stage.

So, feeling more hopeful, I sat down that morning to start my first full NaNo day. And the words came. Without thought, they just flowed out of my fingers. During my first writing session, I had a few hundred words within a few minutes. All the doubts and fears blew away into pure, writing bliss. I suddenly realized how much I had missed pure writing.

That afternoon, as I was typing away, Mom came home from a trip to town with a pink gift bag. Now, remember in my last post where I joked about November being National Eat a Burrito Month or National Ride a Giraffe Month? I mentioned it in the first paragraph HERE. Well, I took the bag from her, confused, and when I pulled out the tissue paper, even more confusion ensued. Then I remembered my blog post and burst into laughter. Inside the bag was a burrito from Taco Bell and a little giraffe ornament.


What? You thought I was kidding?

Obviously, I was delighted. I mean, what better Happy Beginning of NaNo present is there besides a burrito and giraffe? Really now. And points to Mom for actually FINDING a giraffe. She’s the best. Period.

I immediately dubbed the giraffe my official NaNoWriMo mascot, and he is sitting next to my desk, and shall be brought out every single NaNo as my mini cheerleader. I call him Ivan. He’s such a precious NaNo mascot. I feel motivated to write every time I look at his adorable face. He’s also fuzzy and sometimes I like to pet him for inspiration.


I love my little Ivan. <3

Between that and having a complete blast returning to my Colors of a Dragon Scale world and characters, I ended the first day with 9,032 words (2k of those being written the night before, of course), and collapsed into bed happy and looking forward to the next day.

The rest of the week continued much like the first, the words zooming by, me grinning at my screen over my characters’ antics, consuming as much caffeine as I could get away with, all the normal things.

By the 4th day I maaaay have hit the halfway point to 50k…

Writing 25k words in 4 days is normal right? Eheh. Heh. Heheheheh. *cough*

During one of those first days, I was trying to think of some music to help inspire me. Something new because I’ve kind of listened to the songs I own to death… But I have to write to good inspirational instrumental music that fits my story. Then it hit me, and I smacked my head wondering why I only just now thought of this.

There are these video games called the Elder Scrolls games that I sometimes obsess over, where you’re a person in this fantasy world—exploring, doing random missions for people, basically just LIVING. They’re really cool and make you feel like you’re actually in a fantasy world. (Though they can be super violent, creepy, and have language, so just throwing that out there.) Anyways. I kind of totally forgot my series was heavily inspired by those games. Just the whole feel of the world in those games inspired my CoaDS books. And it occurred to me: These games have amazing music. So I rushed over to YouTube some of the songs and was instantly reminded how much those games inspired this series and how the music was basically like a perfect soundtrack for my series and and and WHY HAD I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE???

Needless to say, I went to buy one of the soundtracks. I bought it after hitting 25k, so it was kind of like a happy reward to myself. I’m thinking buying epic, inspiring music at the beginning of NaNo may need to be a new tradition. Few things make me want to write more than epic music.

I bought the Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim soundtrack and ooooh man. I want to write just to have an excuse to listen to the songs. They. Are. Perfect. They have this eerie and yet…calming fantasy feel. (Contradictory, I know, but it’s true.) The type of thing you’d hear while your characters are chatting around a campfire in the forest or exploring dark tunnels or having council in a majestic castle a.k.a EVERYTHING MY BOOK HAS. I mean, it can be rather mellow music, so I still have my go-to fast paced battle songs and whatnot, but still. I just wonder why I only now thought of this now that I’m at the finale of my series. I should have been listening to this stuff since the FIRST BOOK. *facepalm*

Seriously, listen to THIS. Or this one. Orrrr this. Okay, I’ll stop. But literally all of the songs are amazing! It even has one track that is 42 minutes long (not even kidding) that is just a variety of softer music with atmospheric sounds like birds and rain and crackling flames and such. Perfect traveling music for your characters. (I actually kind of want to just go to sleep to that track. It’s so peaceful.) If you’re writing fantasy, you need this soundtrack. Except word of warning, the physical CDs are $180 on Amazon. O_O Um, excuse me? Yeah, I don’t even know. But you can download the full track for $15.99 on iTunes which is what I did because WHO WOULD PAY $180 FOR A SOUNDTRACK??? Aaaanyways, just sharing helpful hints here. (I’m always looking for good writing music, FYI. #Obsessed So I thought others might be as well.)

With this new music, writing became even more enjoyable. Then, Saturday, I pulled out my official NaNoWriMo drink: A french vanilla cappuccino.

Back in the olden days when I didn’t like coffee (*GASP* it’s truuue!), I tried to find a substitute before my first adventure into NaNoland. I needed a hot, caffeinated drink of some kind, after all. I discovered this powdered cappuccino stuff that you put in hot milk or water and fell. in. love.

I drank it all during my first NaNo and all the NaNos thereafter. And since I only ever bought it during NaNo, it became the NaNo Drink. It smells like NaNo. If I want to get in the NaNo spirit, I just take a whiff of that warm, vanilla-y stuff and am slammed with a dozen happy NaNo memories. Funny how smells do that. So yep, for me, NaNo smells like a vanilla cappuccino.

Except, since I discovered coffee, I don’t think I had this stuff for the last NaNo or two. SHAMEFUL. I knew I could not write my CoaDS finale without it. That would be totally wrong. And, as I suspected, as I made that first cup Saturday afternoon and it overtook my senses, I was utterly overwhelmed by CoaDS memories. Add that to the new music I had bought the night before and ahhh, pure writing bliss.

I’ve also been super active on twitter, the only time of year I ever am. Usually, I’m practically nonexistent on twitter. Then NaNo rolls around and BOOM I’m a total twitter addict. (…Oops?) One of my favorite things about NaNo is the community, knowing you’re doing this crazy venture with thousands of others. And twitter is a great way to actually be a part of that community without taking up too much writing time. (And it’s also fun for flailing about crazy things that happen in your novel. *cough*notthatIwoulddothat*cough*) So if you’re nosy dragons and want to keep up with my process, just stalk my Twitter feed.

But seriously now. This novel has been going epically. Like, the-words-are-flowing-the-characters-are-behaving-the-plot-is-a-blast-is-this-really-real-life-or-am-I-dreaming type of epically. I’m preeetty sure I’ve made it clear that I LOVE NaNo with all my being and basically revolve my life around it. Buuuut it can be a little…tiring. I think we can all agree. After staring at the screen for 7 hours straight, typing and typing and typing, by the end of the day a horde of wild dragons can’t force one. more. word. out of you. (I mean, my novel is about dragons, but they’re all rather polite. But I digress.) But you know what? I’m having no trouble getting the words down. Usually I end my NaNo days bleary eyed and exhausting and wondering what I’m doing with my life. Then drag myself out of bed the next day and do it all over again. But this week? None of that. The words have just been coming. Quickly! And I’ve even had time to keep up with everyone’s blog posts (mostly) and emails (some of the time) and have even spoken to my family once or twice (though probably not totally coherently). Usually none of this happens during NaNo. But I kinda suspect this won’t last. I’ve had some unexpected free time this week. Soon Life and my novel will fight in an epic battle of doom and despair for my attention. So I’m just soaking up this fantastic first week, grateful for the head start!

Speaking of which, I may already have 35k words.


My NaNo Stats

Have I mentioned I want to get this novel written as fast as possible, and I’m pretty positive it’s going to be well over 100k? x_x I kiiinda think I’ll still be trying to finish it up on through December, buuut let’s not focus on that right now. I’m just gonna write as much as humanly possible in November and hope I can at least get the majority of it done.

But ANYWAYS. I had a good first week of NaNo. If it isn’t obvious.

One reason I think the words are coming so well is because this novel is basically second nature. I’ve spent 7 years in this world. Have written entire books about each of these characters. They’re HOME. It’s the most natural thing in the world to slip into this story, into these character’s heads. They’re such a deep, intimate part of me. Sometimes with writing, I have to take a moment to break away from the real world and transition into the story world, but with these books, they are my real world. During NaNo I actually have a hard time breaking away from the story back into the real world. My mind is utterly consumed in Story. And that’s one of the reasons I love NaNo so very much. You are literally living and breathing your novel, making it your world. It’s magical. (Even if you seem a little spacey to non-NaNo’ers. But we’re writers, we adapt to strange looks.)

And I meant to gush some about my characters (because my BABIES <333) and the actual story and maybe even share a snippet or two but I apparently got distracted by music and giraffes and twitter… But hey, it’s NaNo, these things happen. Maybe next week?

Also, if you expected to come over here and read a well constructed, coherent post, I apologize. Those don’t happen during NaNo. ALL THE CAFFEINE WORDS AND NO SLEEP. *frolics away*

The big question here is: HOW WAS YOUR FIRST WEEK OF NANO??? Or if you’re actually a sane person and not participating in NaNo (I admire you, teach me your sane ways), are you enjoying November so far? Do you have a favorite writing soundtrack? (Give meeee!) Also, what’s YOUR favorite warm, wintery drink? Let us discuss all the wonderful November things!

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