Daily Writing Check-in: October 26, 2017

Words/Time: 136 words of writing practice

During the last few weeks as NaNoWriMo approaches, I get to my evening writing time and work on NaNoPrep right up until midnight, when I stop and blog about how much I got done. I’m calling it quits 40 minutes before midnight…and I haven’t done any actual prep. And the 136 words were written last night, after midnight, so I count them for today.

I started coming down sick today. My daughter has been sick for a few weeks (mostly shook it, but still has a sore throat), and my husband has been sick for 4 days, so apparently now it’s my turn. I am having some serious joint aches, along with sore throat, and my brain is a bit muddled. Prep will not happen today, and most likely I’ll feel even worse tomorrow. I hope that’s all, though, because I do still need to do a good amount of prep work, and (when I’m not medicated as I am now), my fingers hurt too much to type.

The 136 words, though, were a pretty big deal, so that’s something. I wrote them starting with a writing prompt from this site. The word I used was “correspondence.” I had recently wondered if my protagonist could write a letter to his favorite person (a very wise man) right before the climax, and if that could make the climax better. I hadn’t decided 100% to do that, though, so I decided to see what that letter would look like.

By the time I’d reached the end, I had another sudden moment of realization (I’ve been having those a lot while working out this story, and it’s incredible!). What if the protagonist has been writing letters to this wise old man the whole story?

See, without getting into too much detail, because I want to go lie down, way back in the day, I had thought this story would be told through journal entries by Vin (who is currently the protagonist). I figured other things would have to be mixed in there too, a sub-plot that was more normal prose, but it made sense. But when I started outlining, I forgot (or maybe just figured I didn’t need to do it that way). I got through a page of broad outline and realized it was just too much detail. Not just in my outline, but it would be too much detail in the story. Way too much happens in this story to tell it all, but that’s okay, because a lot of it has already been told in other stories. So why rehash it, just because it’s a different point of view?

So I went back to the journal entries idea, and it started to feel better again. But then this morning, I thought…letters to the wise old man, instead of journal entries, and suddenly–it felt great!

There’s just one problem though…I don’t think he can be the protagonist anymore. These letters are going to be more introspective than anything exciting or action-y, and I don’t want the story to drag. So I think that sub-plot I mentioned above will need to actually be the “main plot,” with these letters being every 2nd or 3rd chapter.  I have no idea about the flow yet, but something like that maybe.

And the biggest issue with that now is that I’ve spent the last several weeks getting to know Vin, which is totally fine and necessary. But I have not outlined the other plot at all. At all. I know very broad strokes about what happens, but no clue at all what fills between those. And I can’t stress this enough–I am not a pantser. I don’t need a super-detailed outline, but I need a little more than what I know.

And now I’m sick.

I will take advantage of every medicated few hours where my fingers don’t hurt to try to find this plot…well, except when I’m binge-watching Stranger Things with my husband tomorrow. In that way, and that way only, maybe this is a good time to be sick. (Unless I get really sick and can’t even enjoy the show.)

Seriously, this post is crazy long for how little work I did, and the fact that I’m achey and ready to lie down. I think I got an adrenaline shot remembering my excitement this morning. It’s going away now. Time for bed.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Advertisements

Daily Writing Check-in: October 25, 2017

Words/Time: 1.5 hours of NaNoPrep

So I finally went back to my outline for my NaNoNovel, “Vin.” I changed a few things that were decided during my recent musings, made it through a few more plot points, and then I was struck with a sudden thought. It was one of those, “This is a plan I had years ago, it’s been set in stone, but now suddenly, it makes perfect sense to change it a bit to be connected to this story!” moments. I’m sure you’ve had them too. But, once again, it wasn’t just a definite yes. There were questions, reasons that it might not work.

So now that I have realized that talking directly to Vin can produce such clarity, I went right to him. I may have yelled at him a bit for lying to me yesterday (because this new idea went directly against something he said yesterday). But we were cool again by the end. So that killed an hour and a half, but honestly, I’m having a lot of fun with this type of prep work.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

A Monday Moment: Vin & Missy

Normally I put any prompts involved with a Monday Moment writing at the bottom, but I thought it was important to state it at the beginning this time.

From my Writer’s Emergency Pack, #9, question 1: Picture your hero on a date with each of the major characters in the story.
Vin and Missy are both major characters in my NaNoNovel, “Vin.”
The following gets a little meta.


They stared across the table at each other awkwardly.

“So…which one of us is the hero in this scenario?” Vin asked with a smirk.

Missy rolled her eyes.

“Hey, it’s a legitimate question. We don’t even know how much you’ll be in the book.”

“Oh, please,” Missy said, straightening up in her chair. “Every time a new book is written, I manage to push my way in to a near-main-character role.”

“Not the ones about Alexander.”

“Alexander is on his own quest so much, he is fine as the lead. You, on the other hand…”

“What about me?”

“We’re all still getting used to the idea of you not being a sociopath. It was all a lot easier when you…”

“When I was just plain evil?”

“Well, yeah…”

“So why am I not anymore?”

“That’s a better question for someone else, but I’d say it’s because you weren’t interesting enough to drive a story that way.”

“And now I am?”

“You’re complex. You have real motivation, as skewed as it may be.”

He opened his mouth to protest, but she silenced him with a raised hand.

“You garner sympathy–that’s the important thing. You saw a need and tried to help. Your somewhat broken past may have led you to a dark place during your quest, but your underlying intentions were good.”

He didn’t even try to say anything. What she was saying reminded him of Pastor Lede. Considering how he had always treated Missy, she was giving him more kindness than he deserved.

“This is supposed to be a date, you know,” he said.

“I know.”

“But how do you leave him out of it?”

Missy shook her head. “I think we’ve already ruined the premise. I’ll try to do better with Alexander.”

“There you go again, presuming you’re the hero,” he said, stopping short of sighing.

She stared across the table at him intently. “Vin, you may be the main protagonist, but do you really expect anyone to buy you as the hero?”

“Maybe it depends on who you ask.”

 

A Monday Moment: Vin Begins

I had just started this series of “Monday Moment” posts a few months before I disappeared for a while, and I want to start doing them again. Because revision work (or in my case right now, planning work) isn’t usually as fun for me as the actual writing, I want to try to do writing practice more often too. So then every Monday, I will post a piece of writing practice from the previous week (or a little further back if necessary).

I won’t revise any of this, except for a spell-check. They’ll probably rarely be longer than 500 words. The prompt, if I used one and if I choose to include it, will be at the bottom. And I can’t even call them all stories, because there’s not always a beginning and end. Usually it’s just a moment in time.

This first one is very related to my NaNoPrep. This is a bit of writing I did with no prompt, as I first tried to delve into the mind of the protagonist of my possible NaNoNovel. It’s very short, but so much about Vin and the plot of his book came out from this writing:


My dad was a hard man. He expected perfection from both me and my mom. The older I got, the more I realized that he was anything but perfect, but my mom always said he was embarrassed by his mistakes, and that’s why he wanted more from me. He was doing me a favor.

I thought Cleric would be the only path that would allow me to be what I thought he wanted—good, righteous, perfect. I had already enrolled at the Academy when my dad died during a Madness run. I felt so much relief at his death that it flooded me with guilt. What kind of monster was I?

I turned to my mom for…not comfort, exactly. Absolution? Reciprocity? She was almost a shell of her former self. She acted like nothing was different—never grieved, barely even talked about his death. At one time I wondered if she was fully aware he had died. She went on with normal life, except something was just different about her. Any spark my dad had left her with was gone.

Daily Writing Check-in: October 12, 2017

Words/Time: 1047 words

I answered the first 17 questions from this list, with Vin in mind. I think he has sufficiently changed even from the realization I gained about him 2 days ago. I had motivation for his actions, but even those turned out to be shallow. Unfortunately, the more I discover about him, the more I fear that I will be unable to write him well.

 


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

A Monday Moment: Homecoming

This is part of the scene I worked on a lot of last week. It continues past this, but goes into novel spoilers. Leahna is the secondary main character in “Pursuit of Power.”


After everything that had happened, Leahna could only think of one thing—seeing her dad. She waited until the morning and then went to the house where she had grown up. There was a sign on the door that announced the house would be sold to the highest bidder on a future date. Leahna stared at the sign for a full minute, trying to process it. Her father was moving out of her childhood home.

She tried the door, but it was locked. She knocked, but there was no answer. Though it was a little early for him to be at work, she went to the Academy anyway. There an old friend of the family told her that her father hadn’t been in for months. Leahna asked if the man knew where her father might be, and she was told to try her brother’s house.

After thanking the man and leaving, Leahna felt like she was in some strange dream. Her family’s house was being sold, her father wasn’t working at the job he loved, and he was staying with Ronald? In that moment, the year she had been away felt like ten. It was as if she was returning from being away at war for a long time, finding everything she left behind gone or different.

She ‘ported directly outside her brother’s house in Jaffna. She had only been there a few times, so she felt awkward as she approached the front door. At least there was no sign on this one.

She knocked tentatively, unsure what she could expect to find behind the door. Ronald answered, laughing at something to which Leahna wasn’t privy. As soon as he saw his older sister, his smile froze and his eyes grew wide.

“Leahna!” he said with exuberance. “You’re…here. You’re back.”

“Yes, I suppose I am,” she said, unsure how he even knew she’d gone anywhere.

“Are you…okay? Is everything okay?” he asked uncertainly.

There was no easy answer to that. “Not…exac—”

Her father appeared behind Ronald. As soon as he saw his eldest daughter in the doorway, he pushed past his son and pulled Leahna into his arms. She didn’t know how to react and simply stood still until he stepped back.

Once she could see him better, she realized that this was not the dad she used to know. He looked ten years older, and yet somehow happier.

“Come on in, Leahna, please,” he said. He backed up, and Ronald did likewise. All three of them moved further into the house. Abner led the way to the living room, where a woman was seated. She stood up when she saw who was with Abner and Ronald.

Betany reacted similarly to Ronald, asking Leahna if she was all right.

“I’m well enough,” Leahna said. She was staring at Betany’s stomach, where there was a noticeable protuberance. She looked to her brother for an explanation.

He offered a pained smile and said, “Betany and I are married, and she is five months pregnant.”

“You are going to have a baby?” Leahna asked, looking between her brother and his wife with some confusion. It was wonderful news; she didn’t understand why everyone looked unhappy about it. Even her father wouldn’t look her in the eye. “That’s wonderful, Ronald!”

He raised his eyebrows and let out a relieved chuckle. “It is?”

“Of course it is! Why? Is there something else going on that I do not know about?”

“No, of course not,” Abner said, going to stand next to Betany. “We just didn’t know how you would feel about Ronald and Betany being married while you were gone.”

“I am sad that I missed it, but I…I suppose I did not expect that you would wait your ceremony until I returned. When I left, part of me thought none of you would ever want to see me again after what happened.”

Her father’s face darkened, and Ronald sighed.

“We were probably harsher with you than we should have been after she died.” Ronald glanced over at Betany and added, “We were definitely harsher than we should have been.”

“What about Noelle?” Leahna asked. “Does she still feel such anger toward me?”

“It is difficult to say,” Abner replied. “We don’t see her much these days either.”

Daily Writing Check-in: April 21, 2016

Words/Time:  627 words of free writing, continuing what I started yesterday, a scene showcasing Leahna and her relationship with her family, which is usually pretty strained. It ended up being a lot more involved than I ever expected it to be. Whether I continue it tomorrow or not, I can’t say. I’ll be working for probably around 12 hours tomorrow, so when I come home, I can’t say what state my mind will be in. But having a scene to jump back into is better than starting something from scratch, so who knows.

I’m letting this free writing (which  might actually turn out to be producing scenes that will work very well in the actual novel) ease me back in after my break. I remember that my revision is stalled at needing to figure out how to start the novel (after the prologue) with the narrator, rather than forgetting that he exists. Until I can figure that out, the revision will go nowhere, but at least I’ve got something to do.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 19, 2016

Words/Time:  566 words of free writing. Before I stopped writing for a while, I was planning to focus on one character during free writing time for a while, to try to draw them out a bit. Some of the characters in “Pursuit of Power” aren’t as developed as I prefer. Back in February, I started with Leahna, the secondary main character in the novel. I’m going to stick with her for now, and today’s writing started with me asking her the question, “What do you really want me to know about you?” This was because, as I mentioned once before, though she has a very big role in the novel, she’s been mostly one-dimensional so far. I think she comes across as being nearly flawless, so I let her ramble on a bit about that today.

A Monday Moment: Between Life & Death

My first Monday Moment now that I am coming back to my writing is the piece that I’m strongly considering using as the prologue for “Pursuit of Power.” It introduces the reader to the main villain of the story, who as of right now doesn’t enter the story nearly soon enough. That’s one of a long list of things to work on. But for now, hopefully this will be of interest.


They think I’m an animal. Some kind of creature. They come into my home and disrespect me, and they’re offended when I break their necks?

Dressed in tattered clothes, standing in a large patch of desert grass and weeds that were matted down in the center, the “beast” stood over the most recent trespasser. The smell didn’t bother her, but the recent piling up of bodies was troublesome.

The first thing she really remembered was waking up in the sand, with blood all over her hands and clothes. She barely even noticed the bladed weapons at her side. For a while, she was in fact like an animal, with no real thoughts, only acting on instinct. At first, she killed only to eat. Then, somehow, her dwelling began to draw unwelcome attention. Then she had to kill to protect her home.

After a time of being around other humans, for as short of a time as any managed to live, she would hear them speak, and began to remember a past life. One in which she was an assassin, and a highly respected and greatly feared member of a powerful order. She was…

She was nothing now. A creature, a thing to be feared by man as death itself. She didn’t know what had happened to her, but she knew that she would never be the same again.

She kicked the body to the edge of the tall grass and brushed her crimson hair out of her face with a blood-stained hand. The sun would be up soon, and the only way she survived the day was to remove herself from it. She lay down amongst the tangle of grass and weeds and disappeared from sight.

At the same time, deeper out in the desert, three men hurried north, following a man mounted on a horse. The man in the lead, Drune, was leading his men—a Cleric, a Power User, and a Bowman—to the location east of Torreo where the creature was said to live. Their orders were to bring her back, but Drune had a feeling that wouldn’t be possible. He didn’t doubt that the creature was, in fact, his boss’s daughter, but he didn’t think she’d come willingly.

After a few hours of traveling, they could just barely see the lights of Torreo in the distance. Drune held up his hand, and the others stopped. He made a few other gestures, then moved ahead alone, slowly. The Cleric held up his hand and created a Power barrier around himself. When Drune called out a command, the other two men moved forward and stood on either side of him. They were thirty yards away from the nest of grass.

Drune sat silently for a moment, listening to the sounds of the desert around him. The approaching morning should have brought a plethora of animal calls, but all were absent. The only sound he heard now was the buzzing of many flies, a noise that clearly came from that large patch of grass.

“She’s in there.”

“Are you sure?” the Bowman questioned. “She’s a Shadow; she could be anywhere.”

“I’m quite sure.” Drune looked out at the horizon, where the first rays of dawn were chasing away the night. “Very few of the reported sightings and deaths happened during the day. She’s there. Go.”

Despite the command, all three remained still for a minute, as if waiting for something. Then, they stepped forward, positioning themselves around the perimeter of the nest.

The User knew it was his move next, but he hesitated for a moment. Regardless of what Drune had said, he didn’t hold out much hope for finding anything human amongst this graveyard of man and beast alike.

There were bodies, both fresh and in the early stages of decay. When his eyes rested on the small bones of a young girl, as evidenced by the tatters of clothing, he shivered. What could kill so indiscriminately? Would the force they brought be enough?

“Do it!” Drune snapped, obviously agitated at having to remind the User of his job.

The User removed a dagger from his belt and held it out in front of himself in trepidation. Finally, he waved his hand in the air. A bright light flashed around the immediate vicinity like lightning.

Then there, between them, appeared a woman with crimson hair. She was standing, no weapons drawn, but clearly ready to attack the intruders. When she realized she’d been uncovered, she didn’t make a move; she only waited.

The same ability that had removed her cloak, though, had also revealed others. A ring of Shadows stood around her, in line with the other three.

She stood still, only moving her eyes to take in the numbers. These new enemies brought the total who had come to stand against her up to thirteen. Then she looked at the Swordsman, still on his horse, who was moving closer to her. Drune stopped just outside the hedge his men had made.

“You know who I am,” he said.

Of course she did. She hadn’t lost her brain.

“We do not want to hurt you.”

I’d kill you before you could try, her thoughts mocked.

“We only wish to bring you back.”

Back? She cocked her head, communicating the unvoiced question.

“We are still your family; you belong with us.”

He said no more, giving her time to respond. She remained silent; she only stood and waited, empty hands at her sides.

In the growing light, Drune could see her better now, and he could tell something was different. The most obvious was her hair. It used to be black. Her skin was paler, her eyes were darker, and if it was possible, she even seemed taller. As she stared into his eyes, he felt her coldness and endless anger and hatred. She hadn’t exactly been compassionate before, but whatever callousness she possessed then was nothing compared to what he saw in her now.

Then she was gone. The User flashed his light again before Drune had to give the command, but it didn’t reveal her this time. Somehow she had moved fast enough to be out of the range of the light in only a second. In another second, the group’s Cleric grunted as his neck was snapped. She was there, behind him, and as his body fell to the sand, she was gone again.

“Find her!” Drune screamed. He felt his stoicism begin to fade. With every second that she remained hidden, her advantage grew. Fear was not something he was used to, as a man in such a powerful position within the Class of Morano. But he felt the fingers of dread creeping into him, and he did not enjoy the feeling.

There. The User’s light caught her. She was visible, and four men charged at her with weapons drawn. Drune watched as she drew her own weapons and threw each man aside as they came. She spun, kicked, stabbed, and sidestepped as the rest came at her at once. The User began to form a simulated blade in the air in front of him, but she cloaked herself again, appearing in front of him a heartbeat later. She buried a dagger in his chest.

Drune’s team was failing, and fast. But he didn’t move. His job was not to die with his men, and he knew it wouldn’t help anyway. She was like nothing he’d ever seen before. For as much as she scared him, she also intrigued him.

When every one of the dozen men he’d brought was lying in bloody ruins around her, she stood in the middle of them and looked at him again.

His heart began to race as she took slow steps toward him. He could already feel those blades slicing through his body. He wouldn’t die though; he could outrun her if he had to. But he didn’t want to leave.

“You don’t have to be alone out here. Morano can offer you so much if you come back.”

Still she walked towards him. When she was five yards in front of him, she stopped—and was suddenly gone.

He swore as he backed his horse up a few steps.

“Rusalki!” he yelled into the emptiness around him. “Your father wants to see you again. He wants you to come back!”

Nothing. He backed up a bit more, and was a heartbeat away from turning around and running when she suddenly appeared next to him.

Rusalki spoke the first words he or anyone had heard from her throat since she had died.

“I want to see my father.”