Hello, all! We’re two weeks into November already (wow!) and that means two weeks into National Novel Writing Month – aka, NaNoWriMo (yikes!) I had thoroughly intended on participating this year in full, not writing a new novel, but making serious headway into edits on book three of my Falcosbane WIP. I thought I could dedicate every spare moment of my afternoons and days off to really crack down, but you know what happened? After the editing marathon I did that last weekend of October to finish book two, I’ve crashed and still feel like I’m burning. And I keep thinking of all the things I want to go back and change, story elements and character developments that spring up and mull in the back of my mind, and I’m having a real bear of a time setting those things aside and moving on, knowing I’ll have to go back and make more changes later anyway.
So now it’s day 13 of NaNo and I’ve only managed to write a couple thousand words of lore that really have nothing to do with the narrative part of the story. Procrastination much?
Anyhoo, November is also the second month of the annual Know Your Novel link-up by writer and blogger extraordinaire Christine, and though I’m STILL working on the same project since joining NaNo and discovering this link-up several years ago, there have been some changes and developments in the past year that I thought it might be interesting to provide a fun little update on.
Therefore, without further ado, I present to you:
1. How’s the writing going overall?
Eh. Not as great as I’d like, honestly, but far better than last year. I struggle to maintain a habit in the summer especially and am still trying to figure out the best schedule. That said, since setting myself deadlines for when to have each book ‘done’ (like Oct. 31 for book 2 and Feb. 28 for book 3) I have had some motivation to work on it even when I don’t have the ideal time/energy. These past two weeks excepted, apparently. Starting is always the hardest part, especially since I’m adding new content from different POVs and need to brainstorm, but once I get over that hump we should be rolling.
2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?
Seeing how the story has developed, and discovering elements that fall into place – those rare moments when it actually looks and feels like I have any idea what I’m doing? Spending that time with my characters is also nice, since I’ve been feeling so disconnected for so long.
3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?
I think my boys are shaping up. It’s taken a LONG time to get to know them, but this relationship has been years in the making and I’d like to think I’m finally getting a handle on who they are.
As for my favorite to write about? One might think ‘the MC, of course!’ but he’s exhausting. I enjoy writing Job and Judah (and the conflict between the two), but Ma’tayo is also fun, and then there’s Era . . .
I can’t do favorites, okay? Okay?!
4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?
I don’t think it’s my novel so much as who I’m writing my novel with. I mean, when you create with God, amazing things are bound to happen! I have been blown away time and again with how he’s helped shape this story in ways that definitely weren’t from me. It gives me hope that this story could actually be something meaningful someday and not the empty ramblings of a cliched girl with cheesy ideas. ?
5. Have you come across any problem areas?
Pfft. Every single slogging uphill step of the way. Most of it’s probably self inflicted, though. I’m still struggling with those important things like theme and character ideal – you know, all those things that make a story worth reading.
Again, it’s my MC. He needs counselling. He and I need to talk to somebody to sort some things out, because every time I feel like I’ve got it, I’m shown that I haven’t actually got it. Or how best to progress through the conflict.
6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
That I haven’t thrown it out the window yet? Does that count? If this project has been anything, it’s been a learning experience – about writing, about myself. Working on this story, reading some of the books I’ve gotten to of late, going through session replays from this past summer’s Realm Makers conference – it’s all blended into what can only be a God-crafted maelstrom of development. It’s been painful, learning about myself as a person as well as writing and creativity, but also so refreshing and encouraging and life giving. Hard as this story has been, I can’t give up on it. Hard as it might be to admit, but it might be a long time yet before I can share it .
I think that’s to say that, the biggest victory with writing this novel so far has been just writing this novel.
7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
Roscha, the MC. Hands down. Because he and I are so much alike fundamentally. Which is why he’s so exhausting and been such a struggle. Would I do things differently were I in his boots? Probably, but only because I know things he doesn’t (mwahahaha). I’ve had different experiences that give me a bit of insight into some of what he’s dealing with.
And I would definitely have clocked that dude in Garmouth. It would be worth the bruised knuckles.
8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!
Ah, man, this means I’m gonna have to switch computers . . .
*dreadful hold music*
Azel didn’t know what woke him, but the pervading dread that seeped into his stomach yesterday had not gone away. Maybe that was it. Something was off, and it didn’t have to do with their deployment later that very morning. He’d felt it the moment Shyloh and Roscha were called off the field during drills. Hadn’t seen Shyloh since, and only a glimpse of Roscha before turning in and finding him already asleep. Shyloh’s bunk was stripped, meaning one of two things. Either he’d been canned—highly unlikely—or he’d been assigned a mission. The question left the barracks room of Krost Platoon buzzing long after lights-out, but it’d seemed wrong to wake Roscha and press him for answers. That could wait until morning.
Snippet the First:
Not ten minutes later, a shadow passed over them. Quick as a blink. Then a hissing rumble sounded overhead. Roscha looked up. Above them, high but not high enough, circled a dragon. Its long, lithe form soared on the broadest wings Roscha had ever seen. A heartbeat later it dove towards them. It swooped low over their heads, jaws snapping, then pulled upwards once more into the heavens, shrieking. The rush of hot air as it passed blew Roscha’s hair into his face, would have buffeted him from the saddle had he not been clinging so firm to the pommel.
The horses screamed, panicked. Nostrils flared at the dragon’s scent, ears pinned. Barely kept from bolting. They danced and shied as the dragon arched for a second strike.
“To arms!” Judah hollered. Reins gripped short in one hand, he drew his sword with the other. Its narrow, curved blade gleamed in the sunlight. “Yaedon, ground it.”
Roscha could hardly believe the order. Was this man serious? He actually intended on fighting that thing? Only a fool went looking for a fight with a dragon! Surely Yaedon wasn’t daft enough to—
Yaedon had his bow strung and an arrow nocked in an instant, drawing and taking careful aim at the descending beast. There followed a brief pause, and then he released. The arrow zipped through the air quick as thought and struck the dragon in the joint between its wing and shoulder. It screamed and pulled out of its dive, but faltered. Fumbled to the ground.
Apparently they were actually doing this. Blood pounded in Roscha’s ears, body tingling. Ma’tayo shifted uneasily beneath him, ears twitching this way and that. But he didn’t try to run. Brave creature. Roscha wanted to.
Snippet the Second:
Era hummed into his bowl as he took another sip. “How’re you doing with the spiders? Have you seen many lately?”
A knowing twinkle sparked in Kopyr’s rust colored eyes. He shook his head. “Ever since the cat ate two of them, the rest seem to have gone into hiding. The cats have got their eyes out, and now that they’re really looking, they’re starting to find spiders all over the place.”
Era nodded. Viktr and Vasak had mentioned that two of the brethren had been killed here after being found out. “So I’ve heard. That’s unfortunate, we don’t want the flies getting out of control.”
“They’re getting bolder, I’ll tell you,” Kopyr said, leaning against the table. “It seems they’re finally recovering from the near extermination a while back. Just the other day I saw one buzzing around the market with hardly a care in the world.”
“Did it?” Era set the bowl down and leaned forward. “Tell me, was it a house fly?”
“A horsefly, and a juicy looking one, too. My guess is it was heading west, they breed a lot of horses out that way.”
Kopyr cocked a fine eyebrow. “Why do you say that?”
Era allowed a smirk to pull at the corner of his mouth. “Because where there are horses, there are spiders.”
Snippet the Third:
Help wouldn’t be coming. Azel understood that, lying flat on his back under a feed trough just tall enough to clear his nose. His good arm was partially rolled under him, pinned against the wall and sore from the awkward position. The other was bound to his side, immobile. They’d shoved him and Shaní under the trough hours ago when the Edonians attacked again. At least, it seemed like hours ago. He remembered it being dark, and now he could see a sliver of sunlight on the straw strewn dirt floor not far away. He remembered it being noisy, too, but now an eerie quiet hummed in his ears.
He must have passed out.
9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)
My only typos are the basic ones, like capitalizing the first letter of your character’s name for EVERY word that starts with it. Or insisting on spelling ‘home’ ‘hime’ (which is basically ‘princess’ in Japanese. ?)
One tidbit that slapped me a new one at two in the morning happened while writing a scene on the fly. One of my bad guys was mistaken for a good guy, which caused a lot of confusion when he attacked his companions, and I thought ‘OH NO WHAT IF HE’S A TRAITOR?’
It would be an interesting element, having a Judas Iscariot, but I’m not sure yet if that’s the road I want to go. It would hurt, making that change. It would have to be worth it. I don’t know if it’s worth it.
10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!
A normal writing day? Does such a thing exist?
Well, normally, I write in the afternoons/night, after I’m home from work or the distractions of the day are over. To-do lists and other humans are very distracting. I hole myself up in my room, spurn my desk for either my bed or the floor, and sometimes remember to light a candle. Much tea is consumed, and I’ve discovered that playing some ambiance on YouTube is a great compromise between silence and music. It’s a bit like white noise. Maybe someday I’ll compile a playlist of my favorites and share it? I will then proceed to take an hour or more to get into the ‘zone’, and by that time I usually have to go do something else (like use the toilet or make dinner or go to bed). The irony, no?
But yeah, that’s about what a ‘normal’ writing day looks like. Nowadays I’ll even turn on my heater so I’m not freezing and typing with purple fingers – which is always a plus!
And there we have it! I know, not super exciting, but the most integral parts of a performance are what goes on backstage and behind the scenes. The unglorious bits upon which the shining jewel of a story is built on.
Have you been working on any projects? (and it doesn’t have to be writing! It can be anything! Woodcraft. Home improvement. Art. – Anything!) How is it going? What does your creative process look like? Have you been surprised by anything along the way? Learned anything?