NaNo 2019: Know the Novel, Part 3!

The fabulous Christine Smith is hosting the third part of her writerly linkup this month and I’m hopping on to share about how my 10th NaNoWriMo (Nov. 2019) went! (Spoiler alert: It went REALLY well.)

Firstly, I should explain that I’ll be talking about two different stories, since I ended up going Rebel for this NaNo and writing some of Operation Foxtail (codename) and also working on my novella WIP Double Lives at Kedran’s Wood.

Also, near the end I’m sharing a few snippets from the Tare novella!

THE QUESTIONS

1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

Operation Foxtail: Smashingly well! I wrote 35K, which, although not 50K, is gobstoppingly fantastic considering I didn’t even know if I could write a chapter. XD And I already had some snippets and stuff for this, so I got to connect a bunch of those, and it felt AMAZING. I got stuck a couple of times but was able to pants through the difficult bits until I got to the end of my rough outline and decided I should stop (instead of floundering around with a part I didn’t know what to do with). I think I’m probably about halfway… which I’m super excited about.

And then I switched to something else to finish up my 50K for NaNo. Because Rebel. 😛 (I’ve been doing a lot of NaNo rebelling lately. XD)

Double Lives at Kedran’s Wood (KW2.5): Pretty well! I mean, I wrote 15K on this one and I was able to more than double the wordcount I had before NaNo. I binge-wrote 15K in 5 days so that’s pretty good for me. XD I’d been stuck in the middle part of this novella for a few months and this gave me the chance to finish the middle and get probably half through the big ending stuff.

2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

OF: I’m not sure! I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thiiiink it turned out pretty well so far? And how do I feel? ECSTATIC. I am just so, so, so happy that I got to write so much on this thing, and while I do have a couple of not-sure feelings about one or two things, and it got progressively messier as I went, I’m still super pleased with what I wrote! *happy pterodactyl screaming* Some aspects are definitely different than I expected, but I didn’t really know WHAT to expect, so. And some parts were even better, and I just had a BLAST. 😀

KW2.5: It turned out more rambly than I thought it would and I hoped to be done with it by now (it’s at 27K), but anyway. XD I’m pretty happy? I feel like it’s a mess and for some reason I’m not totally happy with how this one’s been turning out, buuut I’m glad to be getting the rough draft down, either way. And writing it during NaNo and pushing through the parts I didn’t know forced me to pants a little which actually turned out really interesting, especially near the end there… So I guess I’m pleased I got this far. 🙂

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

OF: Definitely the characters and dialog. So much fun! I love them so much. 😀 And certain plot/theme/settings that I’m just super excited about! *zips lips*

KW2.5: Probably the dialog and shenanigans that are clearly a part of any story involving two opposite characters ending up looking like each other and having to fill in for each other’s lives. XD A buddy-story where they look like each other instead of themselves is proving to have lots of fun. And I loved the unexpected fantasy parts at the end that happened when I was figuring it out as I went.

4. How about your least favorite part?

OF: Probably the parts where I didn’t know what was going to happen, since that’s scary to a plotter like me. XD But they all worked out so far? But honestly, until I got stuck there at the end and decided to switch, and aside from the times when I didn’t want to write just because of life, I pretty much enjoyed every single part of writing this thing so far! IT WAS SO FUN. AAAAHH.

KW2.5: I was having a tough time with this one, just in general. I think I’m second-guessing a lot of it because it had a lot of new dynamics I wasn’t used to writing with this series… So nothing specific, just trying to get through difficult bits. And using it to try to finish NaNo early since the last week of the month was CRAZY.

5. What do you feel like needs the most work?

OF: I’m not sure I’m revealing plot things at the right pace… But it’s in first-person so it’s a little hard to gauge that. XD I’m sure I’ll need to deal with more PLOT things since, you know, plot is important and I still only have a hazy idea of the second half, which I’m sure will affect the first half. 😛 But otherwise it actually feels a little more polished than sometimes, at least early on.

KW2.5: It just feels messy and rambly, honestly. *hides face* I don’t really know. XD

6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

OF: My favorite is definitely the hero. HE’S JUST GREAT OKAY. But I love all of them. And yes, they all surprised me! :O That time my heroine yelled at a dragon… That time my laid-back hero got furious… That time one side-character’s attitude was so much more attitude-ish than I thought… That way another side character manages to contain two opposite sorts of temperaments and also ended up in the story way more than I thought she would be… It’s been interesting!

(Yes, I’m sharing this pic collage for KW2.5 again and I’m not sorry. XD)

KW2.5: Tare is always my favorite, but I guess it gets complicated who’s my favorite when Tare looks like Adrian and Adrian looks like Tare. XD I sort of enjoyed writing some of Adrian’s parts more because he’s filling in for Tare’s life, which is fun. XD And I guess they both are a little hard to predict in their different settings… So that’s been fun. Heheh.

(Also I realized that both of these don’t really have character-villains at this point in the story at least, so I don’t really have a least favorite. Is it fair when the antagonist is more of a… magical mishap for KW2.5 (left over from book 2’s villain) and… TBD for Operation Foxtail? *cough*)

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

OF: I’m not sure. I’m taking a break, definitely, to work on KW2.5 and just recover from NaNo and deal with holiday busyness, and then I guess at some point I need to plot the rest of the book and write the second half. Heh. Eheheh. Not sure how soon that will happen, but at some point!

KW2.5: I’m taking off a bit to recover from NaNo and then I would love to see if I can finish this novella this month… if possible, in the midst of Christmas and general life-catch-up. 😛 I probably only have a couple of chapters left? Hopefully?

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

OF: I really want this one published. Like. Really. Obviously, I don’t know in what way or when, but maybe someday. XD In the meantime my dream is to finish it and for it to turn out how I want it and to manage to edit it, at least enough to get it to beta-readers! Which I’m really excited about. So. We’ll see. 😛

KW2.5: I don’t really know. XD It’s a novella for fun, in the middle of a series for fun, so… have it finished and how I want it? Maybe publish it someday? It’s a little far out still, though.

9. Share some of your favorite snippets!

I’m not quite ready to share Operation Foxtail stuff yet, so you get a few from Mixup at Kedran’s Wood! 🙂

(Context for this first one: Tare-who-looks-like-Adrian, along with Adrian’s sister, Emily, are talking over speaker-phone with Adrian-who-looks-like-Tare.)

***

“We just kind of assumed you broke up with Ivy or something.”

“What?” Adrian said, alarmed. “She—I—we didn’t!”

“Mm-hmm,” Emily said. “It’s just one of the only reasons I could think of why you might actually be acting like this.”

“Tare, stop acting like my girlfriend dumped you. Me. Whatever.”

“I’m not,” Tare snapped. “I’m acting normal.”

“You never act normal.”

“I’m acting normal for me,” Tare said.

“I know. That’s why I told you to stop.”

Tare narrowed his eyes. “You’d better be glad we’re not in the same room.”

***

“We need to get a selfie!” Baz said.

Adrian blinked. “Does Tare do selfies?”

“I’m quite certain he doesn’t, which means we have the once in a lifetime opportunity to get selfies with Tare while he’s not here. I understand that doesn’t make sense when put into words, but . . . anyway,” Baz added.

“Oh, fine,” Adrian said with a half smile. He got up and slid into the side of the booth with Lavender and Baz and leaned over toward them. He grinned (which looked wrong on Tare’s face) and made a peace sign at the camera which resulted in Baz and Lavender both laughing way too hard while Baz snapped the photo, so it looked like they were having the life of the hilarious party.

Adrian dug out his—Tare’s—phone and took one on that too.

“Tare’s going to kill me,” he said, grinning.

“Oh, he’s going to kill all of us,” Baz said cheerily. “It was toootally worth it though.”

***

Tare covered his face with one hand. “What did you do?” he groaned.

“I was just a little conversational—it’s not a crime,” Adrian protested.

“Conversational,” Tare said, “is something that I am not. If you just made it where people are going to start making small talk with me for hours, I’m going to kill you.”

“Add it to the list,” Adrian said with a grin.

Tare scowled all over Adrian’s face. “You do that. And stop grinning with my face.”

“You’re one to talk,” Adrian said, tossing a twig over the fire in Tare’s direction. “Scowls look terrible on me. Cut it out.”

***

“You don’t own anything not-black, do you,” Adrian said. “I was thinking maybe I could find something else to wear, maybe even some grey, but nooo, it’s all black. It’s depressing, that’s what it is.”

“You know what’s depressing? All the yellow you have,” Tare said, pushing aside a branch and not bothering to hold it, so it sort of tried to thwack Adrian in the face before he could catch it. “I had to work to find this.” Tare turned half-way around and flicked the dark grey fabric on his chest.

“It’s no wonder people thought I was depressed and had broken up with Ivy, with you dressing in dark clothes like that,” Adrian said. “And there’s nothing wrong with yellow.”

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in most of your wardrobe. And your jeans are too blue,” Tare said over his shoulder.

Adrian threw his hands up. “Jeans are supposed to be blue!”

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

I learned, as I often do during NaNo, that I’m capable of writing large amounts of words in less than a month, even when I feel stuck, as long as I just sit down and do it. I also learned that writing a book that you’re excited about is the. most. fun. And that pantsing does occasionally lead to exciting unplanned things, which I don’t like to admit, since pantsing scares me because I don’t like not knowing what’s going to happen. XD


I hope y’all enjoyed this little peek into how NaNo went for me!

All told, I wrote 50,188 words in 25 days, and finished the earliest I’d ever finished NaNo! Life was kind of stressful but writing-wise it was a spectacular 10th NaNo! ^_^

Also, partway through, I hit a million words, which I shared about in a previous post. I’m still pretty excited about that. 🙂

If you did NaNo, how did yours go? And let me know if you liked the snippets. XD Who else is in denial it’s December?? *raises hand* I hope you had a good November, regardless!

A Million Words Are Keeping Me Awake…

Something exciting happened this week — I hit a million words!

In the summer of 2010, I started keeping a daily/weekly writing log, and I also started tracking how many words (of actual manuscripts/stories) I wrote. I had already been writing for a few years before that, but ever since July 2010 I’ve kept fairly detailed records of my monthly manuscript words written. And I just hit a rather exciting milestone . . .

Since starting to track my wordcounts, I have now officially written

one

million

words.

Of course, I had been writing for awhile before that. And I am not including plotting or emails or the gadjillions of blog posts I’ve written, etc. Just actual draft words, counted since July 2010.

Some people say that once you’ve written a million words, your writing starts to be good. I don’t know how true (or not) that may be, but regardless of any writing mythology, 1,000,000 is still a pretty exciting number to hit.

Like a million dreams (you have the song in your head, now, don’t you? You’re welcome), a million words represent this single subcreator’s adventures of the written page so far.

I’ve journeyed through dozens of fantastical far-distant lands (who’s to call them imaginary or not?), with hundreds of characters who have been friends and enemies and kindred spirits, and it’s been a decade-long journey of a million words poured onto pages physical and digital, like ink or blood or the essense of the soul.

And I’ve learned a lot on the way — probably more than I even know that I learned, because that’s part of the journey, you see. Many sights still await. Many discoveries. The words that have been written — some of them are pretty good, and many others of them will never see the light of day, but they served a purpose; they served Story. And they’re the stepping stones that lead to a farther path. Regardless of their state, I’m terribly glad that I decided to write those words. You can’t be on a journey without those first steps — sometimes those first hundred, thousand, or million steps.

The numbers don’t matter, on their own. But it does help, sometimes, when the road seems long, to look back and see how far you’ve traveled. One step in front of the other. One more word on the page. Until you realize that you’re partway up that seemingly insurmountable mountain, after all.

The words, or their amount, are not the point. But the story is. And you can’t have the story without the words.

Here’s to a million more.

In Which I’m Kidnapped (Interviewed) by the Frabjous Ness Kingsley

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know that I’m being interviewed today over on Ness Kingsley’s blog and it’s a total blast!

She is always one of the MOST DELIGHTFUL of bloggers and humans, with one of my top favorite blogs (it’s so funny, halp!) — plus, being from England and probably ranking as the world’s #1 fan of Georgette Heyer are further marks in her favor!

Also, her questions are hilarious WHILE being insightful, and I had a blast answering them, so you definitely don’t want to miss it.

So please go here: [i totally didn’t kidnap deborah o’carroll for an interview. pfft.] unless, as Ness delightfully puts it “DON’T READ ON … if you don’t want book recommendations, VITAL TIPS on participating in NaNoWriMo, and a banquet of scintillating conversation.”

Thanks for reading!

Undercover, Gifs, & NaNo Know the Novel Intro

The frabjous Christine Smith is hosting her three-month Know the Novel linkup for writers these last three months of the year and I’M EXCITED. The first one is INTRODUCTION which I’m doing today. (Go join in if you like! It’s fun!)

Last week I announced that I’d be writing my NaNo project under a codename (Operation Foxtail) to put less pressure on myself, and then got kind of sad when I realized I couldn’t partake in Know the Novel if my novel was a secret . . .

But you know what? I still can because I want to! I will just be vague and nebulous like a mysterious secret undercover agent writer. XD

This post is going to be full of vague answers and way too many sunglasses/secret agents gifs.

Let’s do this thing.

Know the Novel: Part 1: INTRODUCTION

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Actually, it was the title! (Not Operation Foxtail; the real title. XD) Which, funny story, is half my sister’s fault.

It sort of latched onto a swirling of vague ideas and somehow the story appeared and… I don’t really remember where all the ideas came from but the title definitely pulled everything together.

Even if it’s . . . you know . . . a different title. 😛

2. Share a blurb!

Characters do stuff and things happen and there is drama and banter and doom and we will hope that at least most of them get to live happily ever after eventually!

Okay, I know that’s a rubbish blurb. XD But I don’t even know all the important plot stuff for later-on myself, even if I was sharing what the story is. So.

Here, have the shiny codename cover again to distract you from the lack of information. *cough*

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

It’s actually going to take place in several places, which is both exciting and daunting, because I have to figure them out. XD But my favorite is how at home I feel with this idea/places and yet also totally out of my depth. It’s gonna be interesting!

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

We have a heroine who is spunky! (Actually rare for me.) And a hero who is awesome and I love! And side characters who I also love but are kind of a mess too! And a rather small cast, for me. And yeah, everything else is a spoiler, so. 😛

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

GOOD QUESTION. I should probably know this, shouldn’t I. >.> *cough* I think there’s a couple different antagonists but some of them are relationship problems instead of actual physical people… but there are some of those too.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

The characters and fun of it and just . . . IT. I’ve been wanting to write it for a long time and I’m terrified I won’t be able to but I’m gonna try!

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Standalone, ish. Like I might have some spinoff things? Mayyybe? But mostly it stands alone.

Of course, I usually say that and then KABOOM it’s a series and I’m questioning all my life choices. But anyhoo…

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Ahahahaha. WHO EVEN KNOWS. I’m planning to do some planning but haven’t if you know what I mean. I have SOME notes but definitely need to gather them and do more. So I’m probably plantsing. 😛

Which is slightly terrifying but when am I ever prepared for NaNo? *nervous laughter*

9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.

*squirms* THIS IS HARD. Without spoilers, I mean. Let’s just say I’m taking some tropes and I’m totally hoping to twist them around and it should be fun.

  • It’s (kind of) a subgenre I haven’t exactly written before?
  • It’s in first-person which I usually only do for short stories.
  • It’s going to have all the feels.

10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Well, let’s see, most of those things would probably be spoilery.

Still. We’ll see what we can do. XD

Here is a section of my inspiration board for NaNo! I always do one of these, with a cover and to-do list and inspirational memes, and also pictures for inspiration (not shown because it’s undercovaaahh).

So there you are. And now it’s back to plotting for this story and pretending it doesn’t exist because I’m being an undercover writer agent.

I kind of like this sunglasses thing…

How about you? What are you writing for NaNo (if you are)?

And are you going to drop over and do the linkup tag? You shoullld! It’s fun!

Thanks for reading! 😀

10th! NaNo 2019: Operation Foxtail

It’s . . . October? I’m not really sure how, but since it is, it’s time to start thinking of NaNo. *cue screaming*

So I’m introducing what I’ll be writing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) during November 2019! (A challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.)

Or, at least, sort of introducing it. *cough*

Say hello to . . .

Operation Foxtail.

Which doesn’t actually involve any foxes, but there you are.

Operation Foxtail is a codename for another story.

See, I want to write this other story, but I’m afraid of getting it wrong or getting stuck, and I’ve no idea if it will work to write it for NaNo. Plus, sometimes if I announce something, it suddenly doesn’t want to be written. (Awkward.)

I’m giving this vague story a codename to take the pressure off myself, so that if it turns out it doesn’t actually work, I can switch to something else, or several something elses, without feeling like a failure.

In the words of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle:

“Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”

So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m very obviously not writing this something. I’m writing something called Operation Foxtail.

Obviously.

You see? Less pressure.

I’m Howling myself into doing it (perhaps) by saying that I’m not.

(And because codenames are cool and this sounded vaguely better than a Super Secret Project.)

(Also, I like the name, and adorable little cover I made, enough that someday maybe I actually will write something called Operation Foxtail. Just to be more confusing. Ahem.)

(And I’m entirely too fond of parentheses, if you didn’t notice.)

10th NaNo

Also, also, this is my TENTH November NaNo! And since this is NaNo’s 20th, that means I’ve been here for half of the journey. XD

I’ve done and won 9 NaNos so far and I’m looking forward to (hopefully!) rounding out the decade. Here’s to a frabjous November! Which we still have nearly four weeks to prepare for, THANK GOODNESS.

Let’s be buddies!

Sooo, since the NaNo site recently had a serious overhaul (and is still slightly glitchy and new and I’m still not used to it, halp), if we were buddies in the past we’ll have to re-buddy each other. If you’d like to be buddies (new or old!) you can find me under the name Celtic Forest Dweller or at this link! Or drop a comment with your username or link for me to find you! 🙂

NaNo Tips

And if you are new to NaNo, or would like a refresher, feel free to check out my most-popular post ever, from ages past, featuring a NaNo Prep Checklist! Not all of them will necessarily apply, but there’s a few ideas in there! (And lots of gifs. XD)

So anyway…

Thanks for reading, guys, and sorry I’m not more forthcoming about my current project. XD It’s an experiment, so we’ll see how it goes. 😛

Who else is doing NaNo?

If you are, good luck on this writing journey! YOU’VE GOT THIS. (And to those souls who aren’t doing NaNo, I salute you and your sanity.)

*disappears to do frantic outlining for a couple weeks because NaNo will be here before we know it*