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