Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No rest for the wicked...

...and no writing either.

This month so far has been devoid of any real writing progress due to life still rearing it's ugly head. The end of the year has brought home more realistic matters like finding a career job (my temp one will end soon) and other various life crises.

Now, let me assure you that I have not abandoned my endeavor. I intend to finish Nanfimo, it will just take a lot of finesse and pushing back my goal date of Dec. 20th.

Friday I challenge myself to get back on the writing wagon...we'll see how that goes.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Out with WriMo, in with FiMo

So today's the last day of NaNo.
Although I intended to write a lot more today, I was once again busy with other tasks. And now that I'm finally free I'm tired.

Either way I have two hours left to make a dent. Still I'm not too distressed because this is not the end. I plan to write until finished, hopefully before December 25th.

If you're like me at all and have an unfinished manuscript from NaNoWriMo, feel free to join me on NaNoFiMo here. The site isn't as fancy, but the support is there.

And now...a countdown and record of my word count:

10:08 pm - 51,964

11:46 pm - 52,054 (way too tired...little got written during a nap)

11:57pm - 52,283

Alright...that's it. It's midnight. Well it was a little disappointing to end just over 50k this year. But I'm not surprised...this NaNo has been pretty pathetic.

So with the start of December, I want to make up for it. Let's finish this novel before the year ends and work with impressive speed. End goal: 80k-100k or whatever it takes to finish Icarus. Bonus points if I finish Man Upstairs as well.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

50k! Whoopie...(not so enthused)

I finally reached 50,012 this afternoon and should be excited, but this year it feels like a very hollow win.

As I've said before, this was not my best NaNoWriMo. I was unprepared and far too busy (life, work and being sick just got in the way). Still I pulled it through eventually, but due to my sluggish progress all month I have left myself with a lot of work.

Rewriting Icarus has definitely been a test in what works and what doesn't. I made a lot of little changes from the first version to see how they would affect the story. Some have been surprising and successful, while others not so much. The negative of all this is that when it doesn't click, I get reminiscent and bitter. And I slow down.

Thankfully December is NaNoFiMo (but I'd be writing anyway even if it wasn't) and like last year, I'll write until the novel is finished. This time I hope it will be done before Christmas. Some of my tasks should lighten up in the coming month and even work should be manageable so that I can really dedicate myself to my writing.

So I will not look at the end of NaNo as the end (even though it sometimes feels that way)...it's just the beginning.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving...and 4 days to scramble

So things are going a bit better. I've been on quota for the last couple of days and hopefully will get much further beyond the winning goal of 50k (perhaps 80k?).

My partner in crime has not fared so well as she's been ill and far too busy with theatrical commitments. I truly want her to finish, but know that neither of us will be alone in December when we finish our novels. Huzzah!

Writing overall is going decently. Some of it is terrible but I've force myself to move on rather than dwell and let my inner editor win. After all, I'll have all year to edit now that my story is actually where I want it to be plotwise.

Looking back, this NaNo definitely did not go as planned and feels different somehow to the others. Perhaps I was overly ambitious and neglected the projects and work that would inevitably get in my way. And with re-writing this new version of Icarus, allowed my fears of inadequacy to make me stall far too long.

Still I plan to finish and as I'm only 3k+ away I think that is a given. As for the rest of the writing (because the novel itself will hardly be done) I will try to bang out what I can in the next three days...we'll see how legible it is once Nov 30th has finished rearing its ugly head.


Word count: 48,638

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sick sick sick...

So my quota slowed down this weekend due to being smacked by the Flu bug on Friday. I personally blame it on my new seasonal workplace, where sharing equipment means way too many germs in the room.

I'm still writing though. Tonight I caught up slightly but fell short of the full 38k required for today. I'm tired and congested, so I'm going to call it a night with the hope of starting strong tomorrow morning.

This NaNo really has flown by for me. And it's really weird because I've been working on two stories it feels like I'm doing NaNo twice. I've got a lot of work to do in order to finish by the end and make the 100k goal. I really want to push hard and hit 50k tomorrow, but I'm not going to expect it in my slightly sicker state.

So let's push it tomorrow morning and really write like the wind. Wish me luck!

Wordcount: 36,232

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On quota so far

I'm exhausted so I'll keep it short.

A late night sprint with other NaNo folks on Twitter kept me right on track. I'm currently at 30,022. Yes I'm a little behind for my 100k goal, but there is plenty of time to make up for it.

Icarus is going, but if I only had more time I could write more. Perhaps I'll make up for it this weekend.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lack of Sleep = Writer's Block?

I haven't a clue, but after being excited and thrilled and full of ideas. I came home to a headache, chores and finally writing. But by the time I sat down to write, I only managed to get out 342 words before the Sandman started to tug at my eyelids.

So I won't meet the quota tonight, but I will make up for it tomorrow full force. I must, there is a painting of a corndog on a plane at stake seen here.

Yes. Penny and I are racing for this beauty or at least a replica. I'm not sure what our goal is (finished stories, both stories finished, 100k or 50km who knows?), but it's got us motivated.


Word count: 27,595

So far so good.

I'm still on track at 27,253. I wish I had written more, but I'm tired and need to sleep. Icarus' opening went far better than The Man Upstairs did, which I attribute to my familiarity to the characters and all that practice narration in my head.

In fact, the opening scene was decent enough that I'll post it here (do mind my grammar and such, I don't feel like editing at all right now):

That morning in the sleepy town of Northport, a young woman crouched in a alley and wondered how she had gotten where she was. She was not wondering how she had gotten to that particular spot, of course, as she was quite aware that she that the reason she was in that spot was to wait for a friend, who by the clock in the town square, was running incredibly late. No, that girl, who when asked would tell you her name was Olivia and nothing more, was pondering how she had come to the incredibly dull port town which was currently her home. Her mind often went back to this question when she had spare time on her hands, as she did now, although her actual hands were quite full with a bunch of wrapped parcels containing laundry.

“Where is she?” The girl muttered bitterly as she shifted the packages and leaned out of the alley to search for her friend. Her incredibly late friend, who was generally never this late as far back as she could remember. Which was not very far at all.

You see, Olivia could only remember the last year of her life. And that life began waking up battered and bruised in the Northport hospital Sacred Heart to a bunch of strangers. The strangers had frightened her a great deal until she had realized they were doctors--that early period of her life had been quite confusing. Until she recovered. And then she was full of questions, which much to her chagrin they had no answer to give. It seemed that they knew as little about her past life and identity as she did, except that her name was Olivia because it was inscribed on the locket she wore around her neck. The only remnant of her past besides a horrible scar on her back. With no one to claim her and little more than vague dreams to guide her search, the poor girl was shipped off to a nearby orphanage, where she spent exactly three days before being sent back off into the town to earn her keep. And that, is what thrust her into the wonderful life of a delivery girl for the only wash house in town.
This had become her life, a life of obedience, repetition and errands.

At the moment she was not doing the errand she was expected to do. Instead, the girl who deemed her life boring (although if she was capable of remembering her past she would think it was quite the interesting life for one so young) was trying to make the dreary days more worthwhile by breaking the rules. But she would be unable to break them until her friend arrived and covered for her disobedience. Olivia was about to give up waiting and merely hide the package she was supposed to be delivering under a nearby barrel when a hand suddenly grabbed her shoulder,


Olivia jumped and turned around, brandishing the package like some sort of floppy weapon. The person on the other end of what could only be called a “sword” in jest was the very girl she had been waiting for. The girl was more red in the face than usual and breathing heavily.

“You’re late.” Olivia said dryly as she thrust her packaged at the other girl so she had no other choice but to take it. Then she began to walk in the other direction, determined to make use of what little time she had left.

“Of course I’m late!” The girl exclaimed, quickly shoving the bundle under her arm and charging after Olivia. Her face still flustered and pink. “I ran the whole way here!”
Olivia laughed but immediately regretted it when she was smacked over the head with what she had the suspicion was the laundry she had just handed off.


“I owe you that and much more.” The panting girl said between breaths.

“Calm down, Virginia.” The girl said as she rubbed her head, but did not stop walking.

“I’ll make it up to you I promise. Just deliver that package and meet me at the shop when you’re done.”

Then before her friend could say anything else, Olivia took off in a run towards the town square.

That's all for now. G'night folks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's time to fly, Icarus.

So tonight I finally begin writing Icarus, my other and main story for NaNo. I'm a little upset with myself for starting so late in the game on the one I care most about, but life reared it's ugly head and kept me from finishing my planning. So I focused on the one that had no planning at all instead of this one.

But now the time has come and I'm terrified.

I'm terrified because it will be the second time I'll be writing this story...sort of...because the story is different this time around, but some of the characters and plot elements are the same. And this time around my inner critic expects more from me than the jumbled writings of most hurried NaNo novels.

In fact, I've begun the story in my head a least three different times in the past week. Everything sounds better in my head of course, so I can only hope it will translate to the page.

Given the limited amount of time I have to write this, I have no other choice but to write and write fast. So I'm going to tell my inner critic to shut up. I'm going to avoid rewriting scenes and simply press forward. I will go beyond the quota and if I get stuck it will be okay to skip scenes. Likewise, it will also be okay to jump back over to the other story.

However, I will appease my inner critic in one way. I will outline my scenes in advance. I did enough planning that I can do that and have some path to follow.

Well enough stalling. Let's begin...

(Word count: 25,032)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's just terrible (pronounced: turrabull--it's that bad)!

It's been 10 days since NaNo started and we're on the second week.

I've made it to 19k and almost to 20k--I better get there by tonight. And it has all been for The Man Upstairs as I still haven't started Icarus yet. Even though TMU is the "fly by the seat of your pants story" it's definitely been interesting and the more I write the weirder that story gets.

I wish I could post some of it for people to read, but it is terrible. I know people generally complain about the state of their stories during this month (partly due to the rush), but I'm convinced mine is worse. I've even seen some of this supposed "awful" writing from people who have posted chunks of their novel out of bravery. And when I do check it out, I secretly hope that it will resemble the mad ramblings I've churned out so far, but no! They have paragraphs, indentations and proper sentence structure.


If that is bad, my current work would make eyes bleed--literally. I know I'm not the most skilled writer (was never an English major), but the ideas are good. And with some editing (someone Strunk and White me) the writing can be coaxed and polished into something that will not melt my reader's face off.

But in my defense I have been writing fast and hard. Not so much at the moment (hit a lull), but in general. And when one is typing so quickly that your wrists begin to hurt, you stop worrying about making grammatically corrected or even properly spaced passages.

Perhaps it will be better with Icarus. At least with that story I have a detailed outline and know where I'm going (for the most part). But only time will tell.

And now...I need to go write my quota for the day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


^That is the sound of me giving the NaNo counter a raspberry.

Because when my lazy butt finally got around to submitting my word count and clicked enter, it was practically at midnight so it put it on the NEXT DAY!

Oh well...I know I wrote 9981 tonight, so there.

Today was a day of procrastination and plotting. "Icarus" needs to start catching up to her little brother "The Man Upstairs" as in actually have something written.

Soon though...soon.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It begins with a bang

So I started NaNo with a bang. In fact I managed to knock out 4300 words the first day and hit 8037 the second day. And all of this writing has been on the backup novel, which has frankly both charmed me and become incredibly weird. And with any words quickly written, they sound as if a small child wrote them.

But they are written and that is better than nothing at all.

Now as for today...I wrote nothing. Yep. Nothing.

Illness and lack of sleep have caught up with me. I want to write but as midnight looms in under an hour, three thousand words looks daunting. That and I have a headache.

So I shall let Jean have her lead for another day and resume my writing fury tomorrow. The rest will truly make the difference for my sanity and my health.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Less than 12 hours....oh noes!

So NaNo fast approaches and I mean fast. Like under 12 hours. Eesh!

I've been trying to plan, but Halloween costume making has sort of waylaid my plans and sleep habits. However, that is what my back up story is for. It does not need definite names, places, etc. I'm allowed to just write without consequences and then see what happens.

So tomorrow or at least at midnight I start writing my random NaNo and then a few days later I shall start "Icarus".

G'luck everyone and prep yourself for the typing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 days and counting...

So three days til NaNo and I'm in a similar state to last year [no specific outline to speak of], but I'm more sure footed than ever.

For one, I will be re-writing Icarus. I had a few doubts at first, but after the responses to my post in the Nano forums, I feel that I should do it. Also, to prevent any possible boredom or failure if re-writing does not work out, I will be working on two novels (Icarus and a backup, just in case) simultaneously.

So it should be interesting this year. One rewrite. Two novels. And a goal of 100k+.

Plus I want to get a large chunk of writing done Nov. 1st (especially since it's a Sunday and I don't have anything to get in my way). Now usually, I would doubt any of that happening, but Penny has upped the ante by putting forth a word count challenge for the first day.

I shall be ready for her!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nanowrimo draws nigh

So it's October, which means NaNoWriMo is less than a month away. I'm both excited and nervous, but that's usual I think.

I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing yet, which is partly why I'm nervous. I'm also nervous because my laptop's keyboard is still messed up and if I don't take it into service soon, writing during Nano will be a chore indeed [currently using an USB keyboard, balanced on my knees, just type this and it's rather silly].

So this pre-NaNo season starts with a dilemma: rewrite my old NaNo "Icarus" or start something new. I think this is definitely the first time I've ever considered doing a rewrite for NaNo. In the past I would think of it as cheating, but after all the adjustments and changes the plot has seen during the past year it's almost like a new novel.

However, I spent nearly a year thinking about that story and sometimes we need a little break. So that is where the other story comes in. It's me trying to runaway from "Icarus" a bit--adult, lighthearted [near verging on silly] and unscripted. It is a story that will most definitely fly by the seat of its pants.

So it should be a "no brainer" right? Well it isn't. In fact I'm torn. Part of me wants to use NaNo to finish "Icarus" and make it reader ready. Another part of me wants a break from the serious--some fluff to keep my writing skills strong.

And that brings me to the third option of writing both at the same time. It's quite an endeavor for sure. But I've seen people max out 200k during NaNo [one person did 50k in a day], and I managed to knock out 80k last year. So I think with a good solid start I could probably aim for 100k as a goal [so about 50k+ each story].

Is it possible? Have others written more than one novel during Nano?
Hrm...I've got some thinking to do.

Til next time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Possible breakthrough

Gave myself some time away from "Icarus" to think clearly. It was to the point that I was nearly obsessing on how to make a part of the plot work (my MC has a set plot, but there is a much larger plot that she'll be involved with that needs to be figured out).
And sure enough, a possible plot came to me. I'm still getting out all the kinks, but I may just have my solution.

As for my upcoming Nano story, it should be a lot of fun. Let's just say it all revolves around a steampunk pick up line that goes terribly wrong (random example courtesy of the forums of Brassgoggles: "I've got an enormous zeppelin, want to see it?" Or "I've got a zeppelin, you have nothing to lose, wanna see the world?"). And the hilarity ensues. It'll definitely be more silly and mature in the adult humor category. And Nano dares will only make it more ridiculous.

Now true to what I said before, there will be minimal planning. Character elements and a few antagonists with goals, but no plots. Aside from the set up, it's all up in the air.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The state of things

So you'd think I'd have more done, but somehow when I'm less busy I find myself getting less done. Not to say that I haven't been thinking about the novel--actually I think I've been thinking about it a little too much.

I've dissected, come up with alternate options, gone down bizarre paths, which has basically taken me further away from a finished outline/layout and back into the realm of theories and ideas.

But as November draws closer, I hope that will change. I have been buckling down quite a bit and should have an idea of where the story is heading before NaNoWrimo rears it's ugly head.

As for Nano itself, I will definitely be taking a hiatus or at least putting this novel on the backburner so I can work on something else. Something less serious, a bit more adult (as far as the MCs are concerned) and far more by the seat of my pants. In short, I plan to come up with characters, motivations, the main conflict and a basic idea of the world they live in--nothing more. No set plots or outlines. I will use dares to hopefully lead the way.

All in all, it should be a very eventful November.

Monday, July 27, 2009

In over my head.

I'm making progress. Managed to outline the plot for the first novel, but the complexities of the whole damn thing has made me feel at a loss. Of course that's what rough drafts, editors and such are for.

Still...I can't help feeling as though I'm lost in my crazy world of planning with so many things to think about. All of the characters, the country, outside the country and the story's whole world.

It's all so damn epic that I can say without a doubt, I will probably write something flippant and/or short for next Nano to give my poor brain a rest.

Perhaps I need help or a fresh pair of eyes. Or to just write the whole story of this world and events down so that I can sort through it objectively--instead of letting in mill around abstractly in my head. July is ending soon, so I better get cracking.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A shift in villainy

After a lot of thought, I've figured out the grand scheme of my main "villains" in the series. Since the story will probably span three stories, these characters will make it into the limelight and then step back for the next one to take their place.

Tier 1: The Orvilles
The main antagonists of the original draft of the story, but with the story expanding their roles will change later on. So while they might be antagonists for the first book, they will also be the protagonist's link to her past and surrogate father figures in the future. In fact, it will turn out that their villainy is a misconception that comes from lies and secrets they must keep. With them appearances are definitely not what they seem.

Tier 2: "Magnus Edison"
Technically a new character, but I believe him to be an essential one. He steps into the role that the Orvilles once had of mentor and leader of a company/organization. He is responsible for a lot of the issues, but not the main cause. He is generally good intentioned and despite his best attempts they have backfired. He has become what he is out of desperation and a desire to preserve what he wants most in life: control.

Tier 3: "Cromwell"
As far as the overall story and world goes, she's the main antagonist, the top villain, the lady to beat. It is because of her actions and choices that everyone is in this mess. And so she will affect and alter the lives of everyone involved, even if she does not directly interact with them. This is similar to the original story, but the history, character traits (he is now a she) and role overall have changed drastically.

I have figured out a great deal about this intriguing lady and plan to make a much longer post later. But here are the key facts:
a. She is a woman with a plan and will see that plan to the bitter end.
b. She is the living representation of Minotaur, a person who has unleashed a lot of death and suffering--whether she intended it that way or not. And she is something both Magnus (based on Minos) and Vincent (based on Daedalus) feel responsible for and wish to deal with.
c. While she has dealt with similar issues to my protagonist, she has made the wrong choices and not learned from them--because of that, her end is inevitable.
d. She believes that her actions are in the best interest of her people.

So far...a good start.

Next time, a bit more about "Cromwell".

Friday, July 3, 2009


So this month begins another NaNoWriMo spin-off, for July of course.
I know a few folks who will be participating, including Penny. As for me, I'm not sure if I will be able to participate at all.

Technically I could start writing the first couple of chapters of the novel, as the current planning doesn't directly affect it. However, I really want to figure out the key plot elements before starting.

So if anything, I will use JulNoWriMo to create a chronicle of the historical facts, characters backgrounds, maps, etc. It technically counts as writing after all.

Either way, I don't think I'll start writing until next Monday. Sure I'll fall behind, but it's still possible to catch up and surpass if you try hard enough [something I've done quite a few Nanos.

We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So my rough [very rough] timeline is drafted.
I've mostly figured out the overall conflict--although it still needs some tweaking.
Most of the world/country history and technology is falling into place.

Now I just need to breakdown the plot across the three stories and do a bit of character work before I can start writing.

So much still to do!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dates, dates and more dates...

So although I've hashed out a lot of my historical timeline, it's more of a flow of ideas than a set timeline--ie no dates.

Part of the problem is that I'm not sure when to place my story.

Aesthetically it will be similar to the Victorian era at mid-point of Industrialization. But it is set in a fictional world [at least that's the current plan] with the main country having similarities to America [melting pot of cultures, land of prosperity, etc], but with Victorian/English manners and politics. There will be other influences as well, but that's the basics.

The issue is that 1895 in this world might not be anything like 1895 is in our own or at least the dates no longer have the same relevance assuming this world is more than just a slight alteration to the time-line.

For now I think I might use placeholder dates and then either omit the dates in the story [I've seen it done before with a very simple "5 years ago"..or "It was a new decade"] or pick dates I'll be happy with.

In fact, the only time I've seen dates used in some steampunk novels is to reference something that really happened in our own history or a variation of that event. Or to state factual dates for the reader to understand the world.

After all, if the date has no real significance to the reader, do they really need a number?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Historical business and easter eggs.

This week I plan to start laying out a historical timeline.
I'm not sure how indepth I will go, but I want to make sure I have a clear idea of the events in the past and the events in the future.

It's weird, but I think it's safer for me to layout the history and facts of the entire series before focusing on the novel. Or at least make it familiar enough that it's in the back of my mind as I write. That way you end up with nice little easter eggs that make more sense once you read the other books.

OOO...so excited.

I'll post an abridged version of the timeline at the end of the week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Absent, but not out of the game

I haven't posted in a little while because I've been so darn busy. But things are churning and I'm trying my hardest to get it all written down before it alludes me.

I have a lot of planning to do, or at least enough planning that I can rewrite the first book. I think it will all become clearer when I am forced to mark it all down on paper instead of floating in the endless "what if" of my mind.

Hopefully I can get a start on writing this month--if not, I hope to at least have it together enough to get some sort of encyclopedia together.

Ooo...so excited!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weaving plots is complicated...

The background/historical elements of the plot have been churning around in my head for the past couple of days. Slowly and surely things are starting to fit into place, but it's still a lot of work and questions. And even more questions.

Like what would convince people that an accident was an terrorist attack enough that they would willingly fight back and start a war?

Or how does one make a city hard to find/enter if people once knew where it was? Is it possible to make a stationary city able to travel or even fly?

So many questions...and hopefully I'll soon have some answers.

Otherwise, things are going quite well considering I have been busy with other things. Maybe, just maybe I'll have enough of the story together that I can start rewriting a chapter or two from the beginning of the novel.

We'll see.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Write what you know" causes a breakthrough!

So today I found myself having difficulty with the conflicts of the world. Somehow I just couldn't get it figured out. Then I thought about the phrase "write what you know" and it hit me. I want to have a war as a backdrop that will later become more important and what better war to write about than the one I know. The one I've protested, watched new reports about, seen young men die for. So of course, I had my inspiration.

I don't want to give out too much information, but two characters were involved in orchestrating an attack so that it looked like it was from another country in order to justify a war.

The plot thickens...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New month...new plans

So with the month of May already underway, I intend to make as much headway as possible with my novel planning. In fact, I want June to be my NaNoWriMo-esque writing month. Like my friend Penny I intend to finish my second draft by June 30th [or at least have most of it written].

So a breakdown of what I need to do:
1. World facts/history/elements
2. Character profiles and motivations
3. Plot summary/detailed plan
4. Sketches/photos
[Goal is to see at lot of this done by 20th]

And I'd like to get it nicely laid out into a grimoire or chronicle of some sort with character illustrations, world maps and other sketches. Then bind it up into a simple book that I can carry with me for reference purposes.

I've done a lot of thinking about plot on my main character's side, so it's really important to focus now on a more detailed idea of what my villain wants. And if he's really the "lesser of two evils" I intend him to be, who would the "greater evil be"?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Well I didn't even try...

Due to unforeseen business with my real life, Script Frenzy didn't happen at all. I'm not surprised of course, but I did want to give it a try at least.


I've been thinking about my novel again...world building mostly. I've learned a great deal from some of the steampunk and regular novels I've recently been reading and figure it's about time I tackle that task myself.

So, let the world building begin!

And now folks, I ask for your help--
All you have to do is ask a question about my world(i.e. what is the main country's traditional food, what do they call holidays, do they have a death penalty, etc)--any question and I'll try my best to answer it in the next post. Perhaps you'll ask something I have thought of yet.

Until then.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Busy busy busy...

So I've not been doing Script Frenzy as posted below, because I've been busy with job hunting and post-grad stuffs.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been planning for Icarus and working on a few other things. For one, the story of Miss Aetherly, my steampunk persona. As I have little time on my hands at the moment, I've found Twitter incredibly useful for telling her story in short burst.

Check it out here and feel free to follow it. Hopefully that will entertain folks until I post here again.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Script frenzy, ahoy?

Yes! Script Frenzy, ahoy!

After a bit of coaxing by Penny, I have decided to dabble in scripting for this year's Script Frenzy at the start of April.

What pray tell shall I be writing?

A steampunk radioplay called "Mystery in the Aether".
It's about three women who created an agency called Remarkable Investigations where they are "well versed in the exceptional, strange and unexpectable" and take on cases of a similar nature. While it will borrow influences from film noir, horror and classic mystery it will have comedic elements.

The three main characters:
The Reporter - Katherine "Kittie" Holmes
The Scientist - Amelia Wright
The Explorer - Effie Cook

I'm planning to write four episodes to meet the required number of pages, and they are titled as followed:
1. They Call at Midnight - a case of civilian snatching
2. The Dead Hear Clockwork - rumors of a murderous automaton
3. An Odd Case of Wanderlust - sleepwalking amnesiacs and magicians- oh fie!
4. An Untimely Displacement - time traveling gone awry

That's the plan.

Since scriptwriting requires quite a bit less descriptive writing than fiction, this should be a bit easier to do. Plus 100 pages is far less work than the 500 or so I cranked out for Nano. [And of course I will cover my progress with Script Frenzy here.]

As for my novel, I shall continue planning and plotting until it's ready. I have sensibly moved my writing date back until May 1st or whenever all my prep material is ready (should that be earlier).

Well off to bed I go.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quick check-in

Things are going fairly well so far.
I've been plotting out the novel's beginning and despite the changes, I might be able to salvage some of the originally written novel. Huzzah! Unfortunately I shall not be posting any plot outlines here for obvious reasons I'm sure other writers would understand.

Also, I've been doing some research by reading this simple little book called "Daily Life in Victorian England" by Sally Mitchell. It's my second choice to the first book I was trying to read "A writer's guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England" by Katherine Hughes. Unfortunately my leaving San Francisco required that I return the book. So it's next on my list as soon as PDX public libraries secure it for me.

Well that's all for now. Hopefully I'll start working on some character profiles in the next week or so. Those I plan to post.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Unemployment means more time...

...for writing.

So I've graduated from school and the insanity that was putting my final project/portfolio together is done. So in my down time I plan to work on my novel.

Hopefully I'll be posting actual things soon instead of these dull updates. I have a bit of world planning, character histories to write before I can start writing again, but the should prove to make more interesting posts than ones like this.

Let the planning beginning!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Does this count for NanoEdMo?

So months ago, I planned to be editing my first novel for NaNoEdMo this month, but unfortunately, the novel requires a bit of a rewrite.

So does that count?

According to NaNoEdMo.net, the site sponsoring EdMo, it does not.
So unfortunately I will not be participating, at least not until I have something to edit. I plan to use the last half of March for writing as I will be out of school and unemployed. Hopefully by April I will have re-written my novel so that I can edit it.

So penny...you may have to wait until May to read something from me, but we'll see.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So RL derailed my plans to be "prepped" to write by the end of this month. Which meant not reading my novel, writing character descriptions or planning the story.

Basically I've been so busy with my life that I haven't had too much time to do anything physical for my book. So it's all been in my head.

Despite the setback I have figured out a great deal of the plot and timeline for my story, as well as some political and world elements.

But those shall be locked away in the ol brain vault until I can write things down.

Til next time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What King Minos Wants; or Figuring Out Your Antagonist

As mentioned a few times before, antagonists have never been my strong point. I can come up with interesting characters and villain [the one dimensional big bad kind], but creating a multi-dimensional oppositional character is tough.

In fact, the first draft of my story relied entirely on the sub-villain so I could avoid thinking about/developing the main villain. Truly a mistake.

So this time, I'm doing it right. On to some notes about my antagonist.

A Study in Antagonism:
Important note: pretty much all of the plot and historical elements pertain to my alternative plot and not the original novel.

King Minos, as that seems like the most logical thing to do. Although he is not a king, he does act as a leader. He is responsible for the "minotaur" object hidden in the labyrinth except, unlike the character he is based on, he wants to retrieve it instead of hide it. He is the reason Vincent (based on Daedalus) fled and is still currently looking for him [despite rumors of his death].

A mentor and a father figure. He is outgoing, charming but in a platonic way instead of a sexual way. A very convincing man. Known for finding and fostering talent. He has a lot of social and political connections but is not directly involved in politics. He is a techophile and has a strong appreciation for science/technology and progress.

A logical and rational man--an intellectual. Not quite a control freak, but he likes to have things go his way. He enjoys perfection and skill. For him, everything is in the details. And he has been searching for a perfect world--or at least creating it. While his intentions are good and genuine, the negative comes in forcing others to conform to his desires.

As a young man, he was fascinated by the few bits of new of technological advancements (far more crude and less frequent than the present). In fact, he aspired to be a scientist himself. His parents, being fairly devout, tried their best to convince him otherwise. It was looked down upon by high society to be an inventor or scientist at the time. When he finally did choose science (medicine) as a study in university, he was disowned. But as luck would have it, he still managed to inherit everything due to a mistake or last minute change of heart by his father. So he immediately invested that large fortune in the further development of science.

His Kingdom
During his years after university he began meeting and fostering frienships and mentorships (Vincent, the Orvilles, etc) with other similar minds. In fact, many of those connections led to projects that greatly aided his country and served to make science slightly more acceptable. Despite this progress, it was still not enough and he decided that the world around him would not progress with the way it was: rigorous laws, anti-tech folk, etc. So he decided to create his own little haven where he could work without conflict. He opened an invitation to the world for those interested to come and create a technological commune. With his fortune be bought an island or large plot of land. It was with the help of Vincent Wells and a few others that he created the elaborate city that would become famous thereafter.

The city functioned as a giant factory/think tank. Everyone had a job and the city was fairly self-sufficient (from agriculture to metalwork to ideas). Some considered it a real life utopia...until things began to change.

Why He Is An Antagonist
What makes this character an antagonist is his desire to create a wide-spread utopia/progressive city based on his current design. Not a horribly evil desire, except that to achieve this he has to control the actions of others. He has to force this upon them. So his utopia becomes totalitarian.

Now the unique thing about this is that the result would be peaceful instead of violent. Still, having your free will--your humanity can be just as horrible or even worse than death. What is peace worth when you can't be who you are?

He was fed up with war, illness and religious intolerance. He was fed up with how progress could have improved many of those things. He wants to show the world that technology really can make man better than he really is.

So that's him in a nutshell. Now all he needs is a name.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Long time no post...

Not as long as most times, just forgot to write in the last week or so [my mind's been preoccupied].

Anywho...January is over. It was slightly productive, but not as productive as hoped. Still here's what I've done:
1. Read 3 books
2. Writing prompts [not as frequently as hoped]
3. Collected inspirational images
4. Wrote an incredibly long list of "what ifs" (for alternate plot ideas)
5. Came up with a few alternate plots

And I've learned a few things about my story...

Based on the original myth...the beginning of the myth (long before they flee the labyrinth)...Icarus' death is due to Daedalus' choices.
He was responsible for the Minotaur's existence, the labyrinth being built, the reason they were trapped inside and the method of escape. While my story is a more modern version, these facts hold true as well. The past plays a huge role and my MC will quickly learn how her father's actions deeply affected her life (at least by the end of the series).

The labyrinth and the Minotaur are as essential to this story as Icarus' fall
The more I think about it, I just don't think it will be a story based on the myths anymore if I dump those two factors. Not that I was going to, but for a little while I wondered if the first story needed to involve a labyrinth at all. But without it, the story seemed pretty paltry. So yeah...those motifs/elements not going anywhere.

I really need to define my villain, even if he/she is not in the first book.
Yeah...that good ol' villain wall again. I hit it. The first draft of my novel truly avoids the finer details of my antagonist and their motivations and I think it's pretty obvious (although I haven't read my novel in a month...so maybe not). So I need to figure out my villains, subvillains, bosses, etc. Otherwise, I'll end up BSing during the re-write, which is not good.

I need to define my world.
I was supposed to do this during January, but it was hard when I wasn't sure where the story was going. World building can sometimes be a "chicken or the egg" scenario as your world can define your characters, but your characters can also define your world. So I put it off until now and I finally think I'm ready.

So yeah...that's all for now. Back to planning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to end a novel

I found this article on novel endings and it was incredible helpful.

I decided to extrapolate the key facts and place them here as a lovely reminder. Because I really need to start thinking about my ending before I start editing.

The commandments of great endings:
1. Tie up all lose ends
At the end of the book, make sure to tie up all the loose ends except for one so that you leave the readers wanting more (particularly if you're writing a sequel).

2. Make the ending inevitable
Readers should feel like there is no other possible ending based on the character's choices and scenes leading up to it.

3. Characters choices lead to the ending
The ending should come as the result of choices made by the characters. It should be foreshadowed in the scenes that come before it.

4. Something must end
Even if you are working on a series, something must be resolved by the end of the book. Whether subplot or a plot thread. The circumstances must also end, so if there is a sequel, those circumstances will be different.

5. Something must change
Avoid endings where nothing changes. Whether it is character personalities, emotions, viewpoints or political systems--change something. Otherwise, your reader just wasted a lot of time.

6. The main character must change
Which means the character guiding the story (narrator or focal character) must change in one way or another.

7. Avoid Deux ex Machina
Do not let a natural phenomenon or coincidence solve the dilemmas of your story. The Greeks may have gotten away with it, but you cannot.

As my current ending is pretty darn awful, these rules will be very helpful. In fact, I plan to focus on how my story will end first and then work backwards.

We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Making it serial...part 2

So right now I'm thinking about my book in two ways [just thinking...no set plans yet].

1. Cram it all into two or three books.
2. Adjust the story to make it fit a serial format.

It really could go one way or the other, as both options have their positives and negatives.

If I go with option one, I have to streamline the story and really trim it down so that it's not overwhelming, but it means only splitting it between two novels instead of multiples. So I'm still going to be limited.

If I go with option two, I can take my time and really explore my world and characters--the question is would people want to read the series beyond the first book? If that's not the case, then I don't really get to tell my story.


On another side note, I finally finished 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which I began before Nano--it's one of my required books before I can read my novel. I will be posting my reviews/comments about these books in the Excerptlopedia as I finish them.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Making it serial...part 1

YA novels generally run 40,000-75,000 words, but you’ll find books on either side of that. Write the story in the length it takes to tell it, and then check publishers’ guidelines.

Yowza...and my current story is about 139k.

So I've begun thinking about this serial story thing as a possibility. I just think that there can be a lot of adventure to be had and I'm probably going to need a few novels to tell it--especially if the cap is at 80k.

But that means a lot of restructuring...and that brings up a lot of questions.

1. Where do I end the story?
2. If I end it before she leaves the Orvilles, what is the focus of the first story?
3. How do I keep each serial from getting too cliche?
4. Where does it all end--when she finds her father?
5. Am I losing too much of the original Greek myth after the first book?
6. What happens when she finds her father?
7. What is the formula for the novels? Is there one?
8. What are the other novels based around?

I've got a lot of thinking to do.

Monday, January 12, 2009

That is a long story...

So I printed my novel today--all 181 pages [double sided because I wanted to save a few trees] of size ten, single spaced text. And boy is it a whopper. It's thicker than my manuscript from Nano '07 [which was single sided and doubled spaced], which is really saying something.

As tempting as it is, I will not get to read it until February 6th as I have planned. However, I must admit to sneaking a little peak when I got home--only a couple of pages--before I put it away.

I also had a little talk with Penny about what to do with the length of my story and she suggested breaking the novel up into shorter serial books. I will definitely consider it.

Well that's all for now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time to feed my mind...

So after feeling a bit lost, I decided to do some reading. Part of me has been nervous about reading again because I kept comparing my novel to other ones--mine always ending up as the stupid one. I began with Tales with Beedle and the Bard, which was really nice.

And now that my appetite for literature has awoken, I decided to take a little trip to the San Francisco Public Library. Anyway, I came out with a couple books (all under my required reading for my hiatus from novel writing):

1. The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England by Kristine Hughes
2. Food and Cooking in Victorian England (A History) by Andrea Broomfield
3. Inside the Victorian Home (A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England) by Judith Flanders

1. Larklight (A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space) by Philip Reeve
2. Homunculus by James P Blaylock

Add to this (what I already have)
20,000 Leagues under the Sea [which I'm in the process of finishing]
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Plot & Structure
Characters & Viewpoint
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler
Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K Hamilton

January and February should be pretty busy. All in all I'm excited for my adventures of the literary kind.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I feel a little lost...

I have no idea why, but all day I didn't know what to do with myself. It was like something was missing. Whatever it is, I need to get out of this funk, because school starts today.

Maybe I need to read a book or do some drawings. Or I could distract myself with gaming or see a movie in the theatres [Twilight?]. I do have some sewing projects I could start working on...

Or maybe--just maybe--I need to spend a little time thinking about my characters but outside the book. Perhaps complete withdrawal is a bit too much.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The End.

I did it. I finished a novel for the first time in my life.

It took two months, six days and eleven hours, but the first rough draft of my novel is done. I say first rough draft because although I've written "the end" there are plenty of missing parts in the story itself. The biggest one being Olivia's memory of her Icarus like fall.

And the novel, if one read it now, could easily cause your eyes to bleed. Not all of it is that bad--in fact I really like some of the scenes. But there are a lot of sections that suffer from lack of description, crappy dialogue and scenes so cut/mashed together that they are the literary versions of Frankenstein's monster.

My final stats
Word count: 146,270
Pages: 448(at 11pt Tahoma, double spaced)
Characters dead: 0 [crazy, huh?]

So what's next?

1. A Break
I promised myself a long time ago that I would take a month off before reading my novel again. So I'm going to back up the files, print it out and then put it away until February 6th.

2. Reading
The deal is that I need to read at least three books before I can edit my story. I haven't read anything while I was writing--mostly to keep my inner editor in check--and now I don't remember what a good novel looks like. I plan to read from three categories:

a. Comedic novels/Novels with good narration (especially if it's of the omniscient, third person, all knowing type with a personality ala The Hitchhiker's Guide or A Series of Unfortunate Events).

b. Period/Victorian/Steampunk novels (as I really need a strong idea of the genre I'm trying to invoke and I haven't read any Steampunk novels yet).

c. Novel-writing/Reference/Historical novels (for research reasons as it will only make my world and characters more believeable and interesting).

3. Brainstorming/What ifs
Even before I finished my novel, I started thinking about alternate plot lines and options--even new characters. I figure that it will make it easier when I rework the plot for the second draft.

4. World/Character building
This is everything from character profiles and memories, world histories and maps to sketches and photographic references. My first draft is severely lacking in visual descriptions and I really want to fix that. Likewise, the more I delved into character histories the more real and three dimensional they became.

5. Editing
This won't happen until March, although I might start a little in February after I've done the first read though.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Rocks fall. Everyone dies. The end

I was fighting the urge to write that all night and then:

“But you heard what Cromwell said. Others will come.”
“And he was right, you know.” Thomas said softly as he put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “They won’t let you go without a fight, Vincent. Sooner or later the agency will send someone else for you. And in the end, you’ll never be at peace.”
“I know.” Vincent said bitterly. “But what can we do?”

The solution to the problem was this. Rocks fall. Everyone dies.

The End.

Yeah...not really the ending of my story. I actually have one last scene to write, which is the actual ending. And I have two options for my ending:
A. Olivia, Artemus and her father leave the city, hoping to hide from the others for as long as they can. Perhaps taking them to interesting new locations.
B. Olivia and her father decide to stay and enjoy what tiny bit of a normal life they can have until the others come.

In both cases, being found is inevitable. I had always planned it to be option A and then I was like..."Why not stay? That's pretty ballsy."

But when it all comes down to it--it doesn't matter because my story will probably not even end with that option. Who knows.

Disregard the options. Hell disregard the excerpt--cuz it's horrible. But that's what you get when you are writing at 4am in the morning instead of sleeping. Blah why can't I stop writing this blog entry.

I know!


Monday, January 5, 2009

As I lay my novel down to sleep...

...I pray to the writing lords my sanity to keep.

Tonight's the night I am supposed to finish my novel. I will be keeping a running tally of my progress throughout the evening. And for my sake the night is not over until I go to sleep--hopefully after typing the words "The End".

8:40pm: 138,644 [Artemus and Olivia are speaking with Vincent Wells]

9:24pm: 139,339 [Olivia lets daddy in on the mistake she made...the one that started this whole adventure]

10:29pm: 140,008 [Olivia begs her father to destroy his last invention]

12:18am: 141,556 [Olivia and Cromwell meet again]
Gah! I am typing so slowly!

1:18am: 142,159 [Cromwell meets Vincent again]
Why can't I type faster?!!

2:11am: 142,610 [Olivia gets the upper hand]
500 words, epic fail

4:11am:144,860 [Cromwell is arrested and friends are reunited]
Still slow as hell, but as I've basically reached the end, I shall call it a night.

What ifs rearing their ugly head as I near the end

So I'm making progress, in fact the final scene is just around the corner. Olivia has reunited with her father and all seems well [for now].

But despite my currently planned ending, part of me is coming up with different ending options [some which may be better than what I'm currently writing].
I know that part of this is my mind trying to stop me from finishing, but it's also rather useful suggestions that might be great to try out once I'm editing.

Nevertheless, I've been good. I just write the ideas down and keep focused on the ending I have. If I deviate now, I'll never finish before the end of Monday.

And I will.

Word count: 137,702
Scenes left: 6
Days left: 1

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Getting there.

So the ugly scene is finally over! And it was a really long one. I am heading back to SF today, which means a day on the train. Hopefully I will spend that day writing the rest of the novel. But we'll see.

Days left: 2
Scenes left: 9
Words written: 133,292

I'll post once I get back into San Francisco, hopefully I'll have made a lot of progress.

Until then.

Back in San Francisco and finally able to type up my notes.
Word count: 136,546

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new year and more writing

So I've been diligently keeping to my plan to get this thing written by Jan 5th.

Current word count: 132,237

Still tackling that one behemoth of a scene, but for once it's moving along. Gonna be a really long scene when it's done. Anyway, I should be done with it soon enough and moving on to the next ones.

I'm doing it.

Tomorrow/today is gonna be crunch day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The year may be over, but I'm not done yet.

So yeah...technically won NaNoFiMo at the required 30k, but my story isn't done yet. I'm so close that it's frustrating but time was not exactly on my side.

So I revise my goal as we enter this new year and make two new year resolutions:
1. I will finish my first draft by January 5th come hell or high water.
2. I will have a readable draft by April [as Penny and I have already agreed to trade].

Word count at the year end: 130,574
Chapters/scenes to go: 11

I can do this.

Happy New Years everyone!


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