Keep On Keepin’ On

Today I had a minor setback (also apparently I can’t spell anymore, as the first version of that sentence came out “toady I had a minor stepack”).

I realized that I had written a scene that did nothing to advance the plot forward.

In it, our intrepid Princess was very hungry, thought about food for a while, and then they came across a house and ate dinner and slept and kept travelling.

…I’m not kidding.

Doesn’t that sound boring? It was. There was no conflict! There was nothing important happening! It was not, to borrow a word from my friend Tami Moore, Plotcritical.

My reaction was to have a total panic attack and convince myself that I’d wasted a day of writing and I should delete everything. Continue reading

In Which Princess Takes Over

Holy moly, guys. I used to think writers who said that characters did things on their own were crazy.

They’re not.

Okay, I don’t mean that my characters actually refuse to do what I’ve planned. They’re imaginary. I can make them do whatever I want.

But sometimes I start a sentence intending to write “Kel turned around and walked across the room” and instead what comes out is “Kel pressed her face into the corner and didn’t move, nuh uh, no way”*.

(*That’s paraphrasing. In case you weren’t sure.)

I just updated the sidebar, but if you’re following along at home you can find my most up-to-date wordcount here:

Because I am Made of Insanity

I am Ridiculously Busy. No, I mean it.

These are the things that I do:

  • Go to school. Take 7 classes.
  • Attempt to not fail those 7 classes.
  • Participate in extracurriculars. I am the chair of a club and an editor for a journal.
  • Nutcracker! That’s 5+ hours of rehearsal every week. Plus additional time dealing with planning the schedule/writing emails/other assorted tasks.
  • Volunteer at a hospital. Incredibly interesting, incredibly rewarding, incredibly time consuming.
  • Teach ballet to little ones. Also rewarding, also time consuming. Plus involves getting up quite early in the morning.
  • Sometimes do other fun things, like take ballet class. Or go to the zoo for my Natural History of the Mammals course (coming soon: a post on the animal that made me cry).

 So those are a lot of things.

Now, I’m not listing them out like this to complain, or even to boast. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who do this much and more. And if I was really feeling overwhelmed I could drop a few of these things. My intention here is to give you an understanding of how nice and full my schedule is right now, so you can fully appreciate the insanity that is about to happen.

So Many Things! Let’s Add Another

The reaction of any sane person to the above would be to stop adding more things. Of course, I am not a sane person. So what did I go and do? Add bullet point number 8:

  • Write 50,000 words in a month.

Yes, I’m doing NaNo. Or rather, I’m pretending to do Nano.

My Insanity Has Its Limits

Yes, I am crazy. I think we’ve pretty well established that. But I’m not that crazy.

I fully recognize the fact that I am not going to be able to devote as much time and attention to each of these as they need. Unless I never sleep, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day! And unfortunately while I would like to write half a novel in a month, the 60+ pages of essays I have to produce must take priority. (As an aside, if anyone has a great interest in the Neandertal cranium or bone histology or reproductive strategies of Marsupials, let me know).

If you go peek at my NaNo profile, you’ll see that in half a month I’ve written one day’s worth of words (really it’s a little more, as I haven’t counted handwritten pages). I’m not going to get to 50,000. But if I write a little every day, even if it’s just a sentence scribbled in my notebook during the fifteen minutes between classes, I’ll call it a win.

Who’s With Me in the Nuthouse?

We’ve all got our own special brand of crazy. Mine is apparently trying to do EVERY SINGLE THING all at once. What’s yours?


I’m seriously doing a happy dance as I type. Princess has a plot!

It was a hugely difficult labor but at last it is over and it is BEAUTIFUL. And only 10 days late 🙂

Just a few loose ends to tie up and then I can start writing!!

Plan of Action

Behold the side bar! It is no longer at 5%.

I decided to work through my Princess planning using more or less the strategy outlined in Tami Moore’s NaNo prep posts. I’m currently on number 7, about to start number 8, so 7/31 = 23%. Yay math!

I’ve got a pretty good grip on Kel, and what kind of person she is, and how she’s different from her little sister Bria. (By the way, Bria was not supposed to be a big character at all, but being a bright, outgoing and adventurous child, she had other ideas.)

I’m also discovering how Princess will probably have 2 sequels and end up a trilogy and is a lot more epic in scale than I originally thought. Bria gets her day to shine in Book 2. There are dragons involved.

In terms of worldbuilding, I’ve got a bunch of political entities, be they individuals (Kel, the evil king) or groups (the prosthelytizing democratic army – long story) with complicated motives which interact in interesting ways. Still to be fleshed out: the religions of the world (which will have a lot to do with magic), the ultimate big baddie, and the general trajectory of the trilogy as a whole which will have a HUGE impact on the plot of the first book.

Oh yeah, the plot. That too. We’re getting there.

That’s okay, this is totally normal for the stage of preparation I’m in. I’m also going to consciously try not to think about books 2 and 3 right now – if I’m struck with a brilliant idea I’ll write it down, but I am going to shut down any actual development on them until I am done writing Princess. Aside from, of course, the most general, high-level story arc which I need to know in order to set it up properly in Princess. 

In which Faith uses a Bad Word

I sat down with the intention of writing that post on rereading that I said I was going to write like two weeks ago, only to discover that I actually don’t have enough to say for an entire post. I mean, I probably could get an entire post on it if I tried but seeing as I’ve been putting it off for so long obviously it’s not going to happen. So instead, a series of comments, starting with rereading and ending with blog things:

1. Rereading is totally acceptable, and I will happily ignore those people who don’t understand my desire to reenter worlds that have particularly engaged me and revisit characters who I’ve particularly identified with.

2. Sometimes I reread a book from a long time ago and I have changed so much that I no longer feel the same way about it. This usually happens when I’m rereading a book with writing flaws (info dumps, flat characters) that I was too young to notice the first time around. I find that I’m a much more critical reader than I was (though not as critical as many).

3. A section of the princess plot decided to make itself known to me yesterday. Progress! And yet, a lot of work remains to be done.

4. I will be doing NaNo this year, although I will almost definitely be participating with a reduced word count goal. I shall consider myself a winner if I get, let’s say (excuse me while I do some math here)…15,000 words, a.k.a. 500 words a day. This is kind of a low bar but A) I have waaaaay to much work this semester, seriously it’s insane and possibly unconstitutional, and B) then I can be pleasantly surprised and feel all proud of myself if I write more!

5. I may have said this already (I forget) but the progress bars will be staying exactly the way they are until I get out of the planning stage and into the writing. I don’t even know how to begin estimating percentage completion for world building, when I won’t know how much I need to do until I’ve already done it!

6. Marvin posts are now scheduled to run on Wednesdays from next Wednesday  until it’s done. There are a lot left so it should last a while. Will there ever be a Marvin sequel? I really don’t know. Perhaps a Freddy spinoff? [EDIT: Marvin will run once a week until February, at which point it will speed up so certain significant installments coincide with Valentine’s day and my birthday]

7. I have a confession to make. I AM A BOOK GIVEAWAY WHORE. (There’s your language). I appear to have notoriously bad luck in anything chance related that has to do with winning things (I’m looking at you, Urban NY), but I figure if I enter every single one I come across, I will eventually win something! Probably. Hopefully. Maybe. Knowing my luck, not until I’m 80. Anyway the point is that means my twitter is currently almost nothing but tweets/retweets about giveaways, which is usually counts as an additional entry. So yeah, I will at some point attempt to tweet more other things so that my twitter is not just a giveaway entry machine, but:

8. This is the order of things which I do: 1. Homework (at least in theory), 2. Writing, 3. Ballet, 4. Reading, 5. Other fun self-fulfilling things, like photography, or talking to other humans, or eating food, 6. Sleeping, 7. Blogging, and finally 8. Twitter. So, priorities being what they are, you understand why the blog has such long gaps between posts and the twitter is mostly barren.

NaNo 2011 Day … 7? Also, more books!

One week, wow.

I broke 10k, but I’m running out of steam! Need some inspiration. Anybody have any brilliant ideas?

In other news, THEY HAD MISTBORN AT BARNES AND NOBLE. This is a Very Big Deal. Here’s the short version of the story:

-Checked the first one out of the library after reading Warbreaker and deciding I kinda liked this Brandon Sanderson guy.
-Adored it.
Became obsessed with the aforementioned Brandon Sanderson guy.
-Requested the second in the series from the library.
-Waited for months.
-Still waiting.

And the last time I was in a Barnes and Noble they didn’t have anything by him. I checked. Multiple times.

So yesterday when I was in Barnes and Noble (for a preview Nutcracker performance) and I was walking by the F/SF section which is conveniently right next to the event space, and saw ALL THREE Mistborn books and OH YEAH A BOX SET I just about died. They also had Warbreaker, and Elantris (which I haven’t read yet but want to) and a whole bunch of other authors and books which I REALLY want and I almost cried because I just can’t spend that much on books and besides, I have nowhere to put them.

And finally, in more superdeduper exciting news I won an All Hallow’s Read contest at Tor! Yay! So I get two copies of The Monster’s Corner, which is a collection of short stories from the monsters’ points of view. Still deciding who gets the extra copy…:)

NaNo 2011 Day 2

3194 words at the moment. About 200 more until I hit the target.

I’ve stopped writing chronologically and started jumping around. It’s quite spastic really – I even wrote the ending.

Yep, NaNo day 2 and I’ve written the ending.

NaNo 2011 Day 1

1,785 words

The lion’s eyes were yellow and hungry. 

Shakily, she stood up, and raised her sword to salute the cheering crowd. 

It was very possible that she wouldn’t survive another fight. But the gates on the far side of the arena were already opening.

“Did you honestly think I would free you? When you earn me more money than all the others? Stupid girl.”

Now she was angry. Kel pushed away from the wooden pole, her fear forgotten. “I think you’re forgetting something, Kaspar,” she said. Kaspar missed the warning note to her voice, smiling and coming closer to grab her chin with his hand. He tilted her face up to his and leaned in close.

“And what is that, my darling lioness?” He breathed.

He started to leave the room, then turned back as a though struck him. “And find her some clothes.”