April Showers (Ishness!)

May the Forth be with you.*

Just getting that out there…

*Which is what would happen if Twinkle became a Star Wars fan. (If you “understood that reference”, you get cookies. Likely from the Dark Side, but still cookies.)

ishness

April 2016

Anyway! An ishness post for you today! (Because I have internet again, which calls for a huge celebration. Namely blogging.)

Here’s what I was up to this last month…

Writing

I did not in fact attempt Camp NaNo, for which I’m proud of me. I could definitely not have survived that. To anyone who even attempted it: I applaud you.

CampAprilFoolFunny story: Since Camp starts on April Fool’s Day, I pulled a prank on the fam, dramatically entering a room and announcing “I have decided . . . to do Camp NaNo.” (After repeatedly telling them not to let me do it, and that I didn’t WANT to, and that it would be very bad if I did.) They fell for it, too, since it’s just the sort of insane thing I would do (deciding ON THE FIRST DAY to do Camp, even when I said I wasn’t going to). It was rather hilarious. Don’t worry, I promptly said “April Fool” as soon as the stares-of-horror and face-palming had put in appropriate cameos. Then we all had a good laugh.

But that’s for what I didn’t do. So what did I do, you ask?

I wrote 2,000 ish words during April, which some may call puny but, frankly, given the state of my writer’s block and how little I’ve written this year, I will gladly take. 🙂

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IMcover3 That was a bit of The Other Half of Everything, wherein Teague and Meridian FINALLY (after, like, a whole page…) meet, ever so briefly… I must continue the scene sometime.

I also randomly wrote a scene of The Invisible Mask. Which likely no one remembers, given that the last time I wrote in it was like a year or three ago. Very random, I tell you. Quite mysterious. I don’t know what the writing life is coming to.

Snippets

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My poor Kenneth lad. ❤ And his day only gets worse! (If you think he gets a “quiet meal” then you’re as mistaken as Kenneth is.)

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I’ve never written in first-person longer than a short story. I’ve discovered that unreliable narrators are fun. I adore being in Meridian’s brain. XD

Blogging

Around here:

On my book blog:

I also went on a graphic-making spree, updating some of my blog things… What think ye? 🙂 (Yes, you’re allowed to say you liked the old ones better; I’m just curious. ;))

I kind of got addicted to making graphics. I sometimes go overboard and then get it out of my system. 😛

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(Honestly not 100% sure about this first one… but it’ll have to do for now.)

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(New header for my book blog, The Page Dreamer. I may or may not be hopelessly in love with its new look.)

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Reading

So… I hardly read anything this month. But, to be fair, King’s Folly was ginormous, so. 😉 I did at least love all the books I DID read, so that’s a plus. *nodnod*

Watching

I’ve been watching an old Western show called The Deputy. It’s a lot of fun. 🙂 It’s about a Marshall named Simon Fry and his (reluctant and occasional) deputy, Clay McCord, both of whom are awesome and so much fun together. Because “buddy movies” are awesome especially when they annoy each other. 😉 (Also, Clay looks a lot like Dean Winchester. Just sayin’.)

Life

  • You know how this post is called April Showers? Well it certainly rained a lot. And that leads to the next point…
  • The biggest “thing” that happened in April was not having internet in the second half of it, for over two weeks, largely due to said rain. I got it back yesterday. I’m super behind on internet things, for which I apologize!
  • I saw Toby Mac, Colton Dixon (yay!) and several other contemporary Christian music artists in concert together, which was a lot of fun!
  • I’m sure other stuff happened by my mind is blank as to what the nature of said stuff may have been. I should keep better notes. But really, April went by faster than it had any right to. Seriously! The nerve of that month! Sheesh.

May Plans

I’m a bit in shock that it’s May. Like, “Excuse me? WE ARE A THIRD OF THE WAY INTO THE YEAR THIS IS NOT OKAY” kind of shock.

May-ish plans include:

  • I have beta-reading to do. A LOT of beta-reading to do… Hopefully it will be fabulous and not involve as much procrastinating as usual.
  • I must review The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson, so watch for that. Spoiler: I loved it.
  • I’m going to be joining in the Paper Crowns blog tour for Mirriam Neal’s book Paper Crowns which I beta-read back in the day, LOVED, and is now available! (*cue squeeing*) Check out the giveaway and tour stops, because it will be going all month long!
  • I don’t know if I’ll get to see Captain America 3 or not but I’m very nervous/stressed about it. If I do see it, it will only be because Hawkeye and Bucky are the best of ever and I must watch every milisecond of film containing their precious selves. #TeamHawkeye #TeamBucky
  • I want to figure out what I’m doing in my writing life because it’s a mess, I tell you. Pretty much all of my stories have decided they hate life and/or me, for one reason or another.
  • I have lots of reading I want to do. ALL of the reading.
  • Of course, life is going to be so insanely busy this month that I have a feeling it’s going to take one look at all my plans, laugh in their face(s) and proceed to utterly destroy them like a hurricane passing by an innocent-bystander bowl full of rainbow confetti. But. You know. Such is life.

How about you? How was your April and what are your May plans? Tell me all! 🙂

Ishness!

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Happy February!

Wow, I haven’t done a real Ishness post in ages! So it’s time for another one. 🙂 Here’s a look at my January…

Writing

After the insane writing time that was November and December (which I now realize I have STILL to chronicle fully on the blog here…), I was pretty much burnt out on the writing front.

And by “pretty much” I mean “a completely blackened stub of candle-wick at the end of a very gone candle.” Ahem.

So I took a writing hiatus in January. Yup. The whole month off. Which may sound extreme to some, but I really needed it and found it super relaxing.

Obviously, I still blogged… a ton… largely due to said writing break. Because I always need to write SOMETHING, and when I “take off” it generally manifests itself in the form of fiendishly frequent blogging, and starting a book blog only amplified that…

I also cheated a liiittle bit and did writing in my writing journal/notebook, which is something I start every year and use to keep track of my miscellaneous writing ideas etc. So I wrote 25 pages in that. …Which is more than I usually do. Eheh.

OHEcollageAnd Teague and co. from The Other Half of Everything have been steadily bombarding me with ideas this last month, so I’ve been surreptitiously taking notes on that and may have kinda-sorta worked out a rough structure for the story. Which makes me happy.

So this is why I’m not entirely DYING to write just now, which is what usually happens after I take a break and starve myself on words. Instead of starving, I tried to just… cut back and give myself permission to not write. But I’m wonderfully refreshed after my writing hiatus and although I don’t know what I’m going to work on next — so many options! So many books! — I’m excited to return to it.

Oh! And I did write on my writing day. January 20th every year is designated my writing day, because a few years in a row I happened to write something on that day, so I turned it into a tradition. So I wrote a snippet of The Silver Forest. Because Taghdach demanded it. Because he was grouchy and wanted to blow up some diamond trees. So I let him and wrote it. Because I’m nice like that.

Some snippets from The Silver Forest (you’re welcome. XD)

SilverForestCoverFinalWithout warning, he swung round, his head jerking forward and down as if under a great weight, and he flung his arms out to both sides in a violent gesture which leveled the trees around them, at the same time that a howling wind seemed to spring inexplicably up around him, tossing his cloak wildly. At the movement of his arms and the power that brought the wind, every diamond tree within a few feet in a wide swathe around them seemed to constrict for a moment and then shattered, crashing to the forest floor in myriads of glittering, tinkling fragments.

***

His face was carefully sculpted, a cold marble statue under unforgiving moonlight on a frozen night, and no emotion could be found there. But his eyes burned a painful silver steel of starfire. Taghdach’s voice was as blank as his face as he spoke now. “He was my closest—and only—friend.” He looked unwaveringly straight into her eyes, his own like ice with not a trace of any thought readable within them, and finished, “And I killed him.”

Reading

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(I seem to be following a trend of reading books with blue-ish-grey-ish covers? Except for the white one, which is trying to shrink into the background because it’s nonfiction, which I rarely read. Also I feel the need to point out that these are listed in reverse order: I read Fire and Hemlock first and Half-Blood most recently… but Goodreads has these nicely listed — albeit backward — and I’m too lazy to go make a new image collection right now.)

I read 10 books in January. Which was nice, because in the previous four months, I read literally 6 books total and was starved for reading… (More about these books in my Reading Roundup over on my book blog if you’re interested in hearing further about ’em.)

Watching

I saw Sherlock: The Abominable Bride!

…Three times. *cough* (Once at a theater it was showing at, which was awesome — Sherlock on the big screen! — and twice afterward online. Because obviously I’m addicted.)

It was so awesome and I loved it. So many little (and not-so-little) nods to the original story and to the modern ones, all wrapped up in a clever plot. I just LOVE how clever the Sherlock episodes are. They make me happy, and this is definitely one of my favorites… And the setting! It was so awesome to see the beloved characters in that time period. All tidy and neat-looking in their clothes and combed hair etc. XD And so much humor. My goodness. So. Fun. I had a couple complaints (like the creepiness, but a lot of the original Holmes stories are creepy too…) but mostly just ignored those and had a blast. And the interaction and dialog and all the characters and Sherlock and John and Mycroft and Lestrade and Mary and just lskjflkjsdl SHERLOOOCK.

Basically, IT WAS AWESOME!!!

…Can you kinda tell I enjoyed a lot? 😉

Listening

January’s song-of-the-month for me was Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey… yes, I’m still listening to that. I discovered it at the beginning of the month, and it’s been constantly playing — if not actually, at least in my head. I love it so much and it’s sort of my “theme-song” for January that I associate with the month. 🙂

Life-ing

Humm… Not too much of interest going on here… I’ve been really busy (who knew that basically postponing your life for two months in favor of writing piles up??) but can’t think of anything specific of interest. I had a cold there at the end as I may have mentioned… And I’ve been trying to look after myself better, which has included trying to get outside more, which means that I’ve been actually noticing the weather. Which has been insane. Some days it’s freezing cold with a nasty wind and it’s all I can do not to run back inside to my heater instead of taking a little walk. Other times it’s been like 70 degrees, with a soft breeze and hot sunshine when I even *gasp* had to wear short sleeves.

Apparently our weather is confused about the fact that it was January…?

(Of course, one of those days taking a walk with short sleeves this last week, something — I suspect it was a wasp — decided to randomly sting me, so THAT was fun. I am reminded of why I actively try to avoid the outdoors. >.>)

February Plans

I still want to read. A lot. And I have plans of avoiding Goodreads so that I can focus on reading and writing (if you see me on there before March, feel free to yell at me. ;)), and of trying to consolidate my internet time. …We’ll see how that goes. *cough*

I still have a lot of life projects I’m behind on, so I hope to tackle those as well.

Now that I’m off writing hiatus, I hope to get back into writing again! Yay! …How exactly I’m going to do that, I have no idea, but pfft, details. 😉 There’s some Tare editing calling my name, and I’m throwing around the idea of working on a couple of different books, but haven’t officially decided what yet. Hopefully February will hold a wondrous return to the writing world, regardless of what exactly that entails!

I know that February’s going to be busy, but hey! At least we have an extra day this month, right? 😀

How was your January and what are your February plans? 🙂

Also, tomorrow’s Groundhog Day, and on behalf of groundhogs everywhere, I petition you: celebrate on this little-noticed holiday! (I don’t care how. Just celebrate. Because groundhogs. And spring(ish). And glorious things like that.)

Beautiful People: 2016 Writerly Resolutions/Goals

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IS HERE! With Writerly Resolutions and Goals for 2016. Sound scrumptious? Of course it does. Let’s get this proverbial show on the proverbial road!

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Beautiful People is a monthly meme for writers held by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In — join in the linky if you like! It’s a lot of fun! 🙂

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

R&RWriting and editing an entire novella (The Rose and the Raven) and entering a contest. Writing two short stories. And working on several novels and getting a total wordcount of over 100k words for the year. Also taking new approaches at my two series. And I learned how to do a draft zero, how to write a lot of words, how to write small things, and also how to CUT a lot of words. I also learned how to write utterly adorable romances (in my humble opinion) so I’m proud of that. XD Basically I made some achievements and learned a TON in 2015 about writing and vaguely feel as though I’ve taken great strides.

*blinks* …Wow, until I answered this question, I had no idea I felt that way about the year! o.o Hurray for Beautiful People bringing out our deepest thoughts! (If it works for our characters, it can work for us writers too!)

S&Scover42. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

Ummmm. Work on The Other Half of Everything, The Siren and the Skyship, The Silver Forest, continue The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2), and replot my entire epic fantasy series, the Starrellian Saga? Maybe? I know, that’s not one, but I’m sort of on writing hiatus right now and… yeah. Those are what I’m thinking about anyway and want to work on the most. 🙂 (Now watch something entirely different happen… >.>)

3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

  1. Plotting. I get so caught up in “I have to write WORDS and increase my number of actually WRITTEN writing!” that I often write when I’m not ready for it. I need to remember that plotting is a HUGE part of writing, even though it’s not easily visible.
  2. Actually writing. I’m very much a binge-writer, and I can’t write consistently to save my life (or… okay, during NaNo. But it’s exhausting and I usually would rather write 3k one day so I can take a day off than write 1667 words consistently every day). Consequently, it can be really hard for me to actually sit down and START writing! I need to work on this.
  3. Stop waffling. In line with the first one, I need to try to make my plots tighter and more interwoven. I tend to go off down rabbit trails and have a lot of stuff going on without actual plot happening, which makes for freakishly long and daunting books.
  4. STOP CHASING PLOT BUNNIES! …Okay, so this one is probably out of my control. *cough* But I keep getting SO distracted by attractive new plot bunnies that hop by me and drag me off down rabbit holes. I have oodles of perfectly good books to work on already and I don’t need any more until I’ve actually WRITTEN a few of these!
  5. Write what I love. This is actually a contradiction to the point before this, since many of those plot bunnies ARE what I love. But vaguely, I get caught up in stories the way they appear, and sometimes I don’t remember to throw in things that really catch my interest. I’d like to focus on that more this year.

4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

NO. …Ahem. Yes, I’ll probably participate in NaNoWriMo in November, because I love NaNo, but I’m kind of burnt out as far as challenges go so I think I’m going to leave it at that… (Of course, that was my plan last year and then I randomly entered the Rooglewood Press contest soooo there’s that. *cough*) Challenges tend to stress me out and make me feel guilty for not writing, and I really need to relax and rediscover my joy in writing without all the pressure. 🙂 Currently, writing is for ME so I shouldn’t get caught up in deadlines when I don’t have to!

5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

Hum. I have a few lovely people who like to read my things at times — I still don’t quite know WHY. O_O — and… I haven’t worked on this much. I still haven’t figured out what I want most from a critique, which also accounts for my struggles trying to be a good beta-reader for others (I’m sorry, everyone!) so… I don’t know. I basically fail at all things beta/critique. :-/ I guess if I had plans it would be to actually read and give feedback for the lovely stories people send me, and figure out what I actually am looking for in a critique? Basically: LEARN THINGS AND NOT BE A HORRIBLE PERSON. There. That can be “plans to expand,” right? 😉

writingmagic6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I’d like to read Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine and possibly On Writing by Stephen King and maybe a few writing books I have around. I do have like twenty random ebooks on writing etc. that were given to me. Not sure. *shrug*

Research… not really. I’m not much of a researcher. Reading fabulous books that I love is my research in general and always has been. 😀

7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

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Meridian

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know. O_O I do have a few characters who kind of lack something or I don’t really know what they’re LIKE yet… like Meridian in The Other Half of Everything, or Arielle in my Kedran’s Wood series (and also a certain spoilerish character from KW who I can’t even mention). So maybe someone like that. Or maybe just rediscovering my favorite characters from my Starrellian Saga, or any one of my favorites in the other books I want to work on.

As to how to achieve it? I have no idea. My characters do what they want and I can’t make them behave so I’ll just sit here and wait probably, because I’m lame like that. 😛 (Tips, anyone?)

8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I don’t knooow! *flails around* I usually edit somewhat as I go, and whenever I actually FINISH a thing I edit it… I don’t have a plan of attack and I have no idea about queries vs. self-pub and all of that utterly confusing industry type of questions. Basically I want to write and not worry about such things right now.

9. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

OHEcoverWhimsical, funny, epic, rollicking, insane fantasy adventures of the sort that Diana Wynne Jones wrote. The world does not have enough of these. I have no illusions that I will in any way approach DWJ’s genius, but The Other Half of Everything is SUPPOSED to be more along those lines… (Though it is still very vague and also keeps throwing dark subplots/characters at me… HONESTLY. It’s supposed to be lighthearted! Like I said, my books do what they want. >.>)

Also retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. There are definitely not enough of them. Which is why I’m going to totally return to The Silver Forest and write MY version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (and hopefully make it fabulous *cough*).

(Also, there need to be more YA heisty/con-artist books. But I’m afraid I can’t help there. Yet…)

10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

I’m really bad at making goals and actually sticking to them. My inspiration is a flighty and unpredictable thing, and whatever I think is the most important will probably get tossed to the wayside as my writing self tackles a totally random project I never heard of before (*cough* basically everything I wrote last year *cough*). So instead of having anything particular I’d like to have achieved by the end of 2016, I will only say that I would like to HAVE ACHIEVED. I’m not particular. As long as I can look back at my writerly year and say “I achieved”, then whatever that is that I did achieve, I’ll be content. ^_^

Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)

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I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!

2016

My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! 🙂

I’M EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR:

aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)

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I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance

READING

66 Books

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I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)

WATCHING

Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❤

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I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❤

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BLOGGING

87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. XD

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❤ You make my day every time. ^_^

WRITING

Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)

S&Scover4

OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.

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My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:

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***

PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. 🙂

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!

Checklist: 30 Things To Do For NaNo Prep

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The NaNo site has wiped and is fresh for a new year, so this means . . .

NaNo season is upon us!

*cue excited/panicked flailing*

Here’s a checklist for things to do to prepare for NaNoWriMo… This is actually mostly for ME as a reminder of what I should be doing during NANOPREPMONTH (er… I mean October), and sort of in the form of notes-to-self, but I thought you might enjoy it too, so here it is!

It’s a mixture of my ideal to-do list and things I think others might find helpful to do or know or think about. Whether you’re a beginner first tentatively dipping your toes into the NaNo waters, a seasoned writer of a year or three, or a veteran of a dozen years, I hope it’ll have something in it for all of you.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

The Checklist

(with longwinded explanations and miscellaneous gifs and NaNo-ish pics)

1. Decide what you’re writing

This is harder than you might think. I usually take months to decide… But be it an old plot idea you’ve been planning for years or a newborn baby plotbunny from last night, you’ve still got to decide. Be excited about it!

2. Give your shiny novel idea a title (if it doesn’t have one yet)

This helps. Honest. (And yes, you’re allowed to call it The Epic Novel #293857987 if that’s what you can come up with. But you should at least have a working title!)

3. Write a “blurb” for it

This will help you with knowing what you’re writing, and you’ll also have something for the novel info page on the NaNo site, which is very motivating. I find that I have a hard time writing a story these days unless I’ve defined it in some way and summarized it in a paragraph or three. It’s very helpful.

4. Make a “cover”

Don’t underestimate the inspirational value of a mock cover for your story. It’s like a banner to lead you into battle.

5. Create your novel page on NaNo

(I’m going to assume that you’ve signed up for the NaNo site already… if you haven’t, then do so at once! Seriously, you will not regret it.) This really makes the project “real” to me. It’s an important step. *nod nod*

6. Show off a NaNo participant badge to declare your intention of epically novelling during November

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareShiiiiiny.

7. Make a folder on your computer to keep all your nano stuff in

Or a physical one if  you’re a real paper sort of person. Organization is key!

8. Name your novel inhabitants

Names are important. And if you name them MC, Character1, or Bob, they’ll probably stick like that. Believe me. I know it’s a pain, but you’ll thank me later. If you can’t come up with any, there are sites like Behind the Name, and also this name generator site which has specific genres for generating, like Steampunk, Fantasy, Mermaids, Time Lords, Supervillains…

9. Figure out your novel inhabitants

Whether it’s just the main character, or the important ones, or all the minor ones as well, make sure you do some thinking about them. Anything from a word that describes them to full bios… whatever you like.

10. Plan out and roughly summarize your plot — beginning, middle, and end

You can go as detailed or not as you want. It’s up to you and your preferences. I like to be very plotted so that I feel like I know what I’m doing and have some chance of having something to write for 30 days without chronic writer’s block.

I’m also throwing in “setting” and “worldbuilding” collectively into this point because to me at least they’re so intertwined with plot.

  • Note: If you’re a pantser, feel free to disregard the two previous points.

11. Research if you want

If you’re writing a historical or a sci-fi or a fantasy or a contemporary, you may want to look up facts and figures and swords and time-zones. Or even if you think you don’t want/need to research, you may have something to do still… For instance, I’m “researching” by reading different versions of the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses and rereading books that contain characters I like of certain character types which I hope to understand enough to write similar types for myself. Basically whatever you need to feel prepared!

12. Find inspirational pictures

This can be for character faces, clothing, weapons, settings, etc. Pinterest is your best friend if you want to do this. (…It is also the biggest time drain in the history of ever, so exercise caution if you don’t want to emerge decades/centuries later like Rip Van Winkle, wondering how you managed to miss NaNo… and several dozens of NaNos since.) It can be SO inspirational though! 🙂

Whoa, hey, take it EASY! O_O It’s for inspirational purposes, honest!

13. Find good noveling music

Whatever inspires you. Instrumental music is good unless words don’t distract you. Fast music is ideal — those fingers will type faster if the music is exceeding the speed-limit. Epic movie soundtracks can inspire. Make a playlist on your computer/phone/ipod/youtube… I also recommend Pandora and I’ve heard some people like Spotify as well.

14. Make a schedule for NaNo

Both a daily one, and one for your overall month. It may not work out, but having something to shoot for is ideal. (Aim for moon, land in stars, am I right? Naturally. So pay attention. XD ) Whether this is a particular time of day you hope to write, or segments with a projected wordcount, or, for the month, blacked out days when you know you won’t be able to write, and highlighted days when you’ll have extra time for catching up… Whatever works for you, go for it!

15. Fill your calendar with NaNo goodness

Wordcount goals, local NaNo events, NaNo dates (like these). Or be nuts and overboard like me and have a whole spiral notebook with a page for each NaNo day and put all the relevant info for that day, the expected NaNo wordcount goal, my personal wordcount goal for the day, along with a daily schedule/to-do list and all other life events/importantness/reminders to remember in the midst of hectic noveling.

16. Download an awesome wordcount tracking spreadsheet

This amazing person has splendid spreadsheets for free download that are fabulous for tracking your words and other stuff about your NaNo novel. There’s others out there you could find, but these are my favorites. You can also track your daily wordcount on the NaNo site, which is fabulous too (watching the graph climb is one of the great joys in life), but I’m not always on the internet and it’s nice to have it right there.

17. Brainstorm more about your story and characters

You may think your story is ready. But it’s not. There’s no such thing as too much brainstorming. Give your characters new quirks! Add a devious plot twist! More villains! A letter from an unknown sender! Donkeys! Red umbrellas! A suspicious strudel that’s been in the pantry for seventy-three days and has malicious intent! Believe me, there are still more ideas and you’re not going to want to stop planning your NaNo novel just because you think it’s ready…

18. Fangirl* over your novel-to-be

Because it is awesome and you know it and you love your darlings and OH MY WORD THIS STORY IS GOING TO BE EPIC ALDKFJSLKFDLKJLKJSD

*I’m assuming most people reading this are female. I apologize if you’re not. Fanboy if you will, or find a more acceptable verb if you would rather. And please inform me of what it is because I’m curious!

19. Get excited

Because NaNo!

20. Post in the NaNo forums

Because there is so much awesomeness and community at the NaNoWriMo Forums.

21. Find noveling buddies so you can support/cheer/commiserate with each other

Noveling is lonely work but the camaraderie during NaNo is one of the great reasons for writing during November even when you feel too busy for it.

22. Catch up on everything you wanted to do recently, everything you might want to do soon, and everything you might want to do during November

Okay, tall order. But you’re seriously going to want to have your plate cleared.

If there’s something you think you’re going to have time for during NaNo…?

You’re not. Better do it now. 😉

23. Gather your writing fuel (i.e. food, chocolate, and caffeine)

Plan your meals, buy snacks and coffee/tea/beverage of choice. Because food and drink is almost as necessary as chocolate. Also, caffeine is your friend, unless you think you can get enough sleep during the month… Haha.

24. Organize yourself and make your writing den pleasant/liveable

Wash enough laundry for the next month, clean your desk…

25. Manage the fearsome hordes of internet obligation and distraction

Catch up on your emails now instead of later, and plan to turn off the shiny distractions during NaNo (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogs…) unless they are a) writing related, b) inspirational for your writing, c) rewards for having written, or, d) breaks to keep you sane. (Though really, insanity is much better embraced during NaNo. It makes the noveling process far easier to handle. I now want a t-shirt that encourages throwing the inner editor and sanity out the window together so they won’t be lonely.)

26. Make sure you have a timer and plan to engage in lots of wordwars

Also called word sprints. But I prefer word war. (Alliteration! More exciting! Even if the only person I’m warring against is my inner procrastinator/perfectionist!) Have wordwars with yourself, wordwars with others online, with your NaNo buddies, with people on the NaNo forums, with people at your local write-ins, with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, wordwars with your timer, your dishwasher, wordwars with your cat… (assuming dear Fluffy is willing to type). Wordwars pay off. They do. (I personally particularly like wordwarring against myself with a timer. That way I don’t get distracted between wars by talking with people online… But sometimes the companionship is awesome, so.)

27. Join your local NaNo region!

Find your local region from the list here, home to it, and join in the fun on the forum!

28. Go to the local kickoff/events in your region if you can

These events are organized by NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaisons (MLs), who are local volunteers and are awesome (I should know, as I am one. 😉 ). We work hard to support and keep our local regions together, and we love when Wrimos (that’s you, the writer participating in NaNoWriMo) come to events and have fun in the wonderful community of writers during November! Honestly, write-ins and other NaNo get-togethers are so much fun. The local, in-person support. The camaraderie. Meeting other writers. The clacking of typing. (There may even be stickers.)

29. Anticipate November 1st and die a little inside both from excitement and a feeling of woeful unpreparedness

You’re ready now, aren’t you???

…No?

It’s okay. None of us are actually ready, even if we’ve checked off everything on this list and all the lists out there. Just let the whirlwind of noveling take you where it will.

30. When NaNo hits… Write.

Seven is a favorite number of mine, so here are 7 essential tips for when NaNo arrives:

  1. Have fun
  2. Write
  3. Keep writing
  4. Don’t stop writing
  5. Don’t worry about it being perfect
  6. Don’t give up
  7. Have fun

(Oh, did I repeat myself? Well that’s because it’s important.)

Recipe for a successful NaNo: Write with abandon and have fun with it.

Did I miss anything? Are you doing NaNo? How do you prepare?

Was this a helpful checklist? (Or do you know it all already, you veterans, you? ;))nanoprepchecklistgraphic