Behind the Scenes: Writing Tag

behindsceneswritertag

I was tagged by Madeline @ Short and Snappy and Abi @ Rambling Writer quite some time ago for the Behind the Scenes Writer’s Tag (here and here) — thanks ever so much to both of you! ^_^ (And everyone, do check out their blogs!)

I may have done this one or something like it before but I honestly don’t remember so I’m doing it regardless. 😄 Because who doesn’t enjoy a look behind the scenes at how writers write? And it seemed an appropriately writerly kind of post for NaNo. 😉

Here we go!

1. Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?

I don’t eat while I write because I can’t multitask like that. 😄 I don’t even usually drink a hot drink because if I’m writing I forget about it and it goes cold… (And I don’t have a Meridian to remind me about it like Teague does; not that he notices…)

2. When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?

Usually at night. Unfortunately. *cough* It makes for some late nights, I’m afraid… But it seems to be when my brain wakes up enough to be creative.

3. Where do you write?

At my laptop at my desk in my room, usually. Sometimes on my bed or in my big chair though.

4. How often do you write a new novel?

Bahahaha! *collapses from laughter* Um. Yeah, I’m just going to pretend this question is hilarious in order not to get bothered by it. 😄 I’ve written 3 complete novels so far, over several years, and they were all at random intervals and took totally different amounts of times. There is no “usual” with this odd duck of a writer.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?

Sometimes, if I remember to turn it on (see above snacks question).

6. What do you write on? Laptop or paper?

Laptop if it’s actual writing. My writing notebook if it’s notes or small amounts of plotting.

7. Is there a special ritual before/after you write?

I usually have to be in my room with no one around, and the doors closed, with no distractions and some idea of what I want to write. …This suddenly explains how little I get written. O_O A revelation, I tell you! Moving on… I sometimes turn music on, or go find my plotting notes for that bit, or read the last part I wrote. Other than that, not really.

As for an afterward ritual… not in particular, unless it counts to get up, stretch, stare at the clock as if it’s gone insane because where on EARTH did all that time go, and wander off to get a drink and possibly find some poor soul and make them read my latest scribbles. 😉

8. What do you do to get in the mood to write?

I only wish I knew. >.> I’ve discovered walks are helpful, though. Also going to bed, because that’s when my brain wakes up and wants to keep me awake and make me go write when I want to sleep, because it’s helpful like that…

9. What is always near the place you write?

My laptop? Maybe my notebook and pen. And my phone? Or a glass of water? I don’t know, not always anything particular. *shrug*

10. Do you have a reward system for your word count?

Not usually. It tends to be its own reward, I guess. 😉

11. Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

I usually have to play the entire scene out in my head a time or two before I can write it.

I also have discovered a helpful phenomenon which is something I call “draft-zero scene-plotting” wherein I just scrawl out the rough scene and dialog without punctuation/capitalization/proper sentences, in order to get the scene down on the page in its roughest form, so that I can then elaborate on it and flesh it out into real writing. That way I don’t have to worry about being “perfect” at first. It’s sort of an extreme sort of plotting, crossed with a very sloppy first draft technique. I don’t use it all the time, but when I do it seems to work wonders.

Speak to me, writers! What are your writing habits? If you’re doing NaNo, how are you doing? (Three weeks down, guys! We can do iiiit!) Did you enjoy this peek behind the scenes? Feel free to take the tag and do it yourself!

Return of the Ishness! {March 2016}

We will just ignore the fact that while I was trying to write this post I got distracted looking at Sherlock pins on Pinterest for far longer than I would care to admit. Yep. Because That Would Never Happen. John-est. Honest. Never.

Ahem.

Anyways, THAT was a sidetrack. But HI! Hello everyone! ^_^ I’m… trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s April? Say what?

I’ve also kind of… forgotten to post over here. *shifty eyes* I’ve been posting bookish things on my book blog, so it vaguely slipped my mind that I hadn’t posted here in awhile, what with not having life/writing things to say. But I am back! 🙂

And now that we’re a week into April *cough* it’s time to look at what happened in March…

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WRITING

R&RThe month started off with the Rooglewood Press announcements, putting a bookend on my first writing contest, which was definitely an interesting experience! I’m very glad I wrote The Rose and the Raven and glad I entered; and actually, now, glad I didn’t win. I’m not ready for that kind of pressure, that kind of being-edited, and it’s quite clear that my somewhat whimsical, more fantasy retelling would not have fitted with the selection that was finally made…

Anyways! I learned a lot about writing and cutting words and editing under a deadline and all that good stuff. 🙂

Now that this chapter of my writing is closed for now (I’ll likely go back to the story and re-edit/add some eventually but not right now), I feel ready to focus on something else! …What that something else will be remains to be seen, though. 😉

OHEcoverAs far as what I actually wrote in March, I wrote a bit of The Other Half of Everything for later on in the story (Teague and Meridian are so fun to write…).

I also finally edited the horrendous bits of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood that I wrote during NaNo (they were a mess) and wrote a bit more of that, officially finishing Part 1 of KW2! *confetti* (We’ll just ignore the fact that it’s passed 60k and only allegedly one-third done… *cough*) But that was a HUGE milestone for me! I’ve been trying to get to that point for a looong time. Very excited about that! Though… my characters are not. Ahem. Tare may or may not be verrry done with me right now. >.>

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I printed out Part 1 as a reward/incentive

And as per usual, there’s a lot of plotting of various books going on. I changed the title of my epic fantasy series from The Starrellian Saga to The Princes of Starrellia (because… er… there are many characters of a princely variety… And I like the sound of it). I’ve been working a bit on that.

I also have a new-ish book knocking at the back of my brain to be let in, which is actually a combination of several different ideas I’d had before (namely a sci-fi/mind thing, an alleged Doctor Who fanfic which I’m taking the germ of the story and just making it an original, as well as a steampunk time-travel thing, another time-travel thing involving books, and another vague idea featuring a very special library). This new/old story is called The Library in the Stars and it’s still in fledgling state, especially since I haven’t sorted out exactly how all the threads fit together, but I’m excited to see what happens with it.

libraryinthestars

So that’s what’s going on on the writing front for me! I’m still a bit writer’s-blocked and having a hard time focusing. I consequently decided to spend much of March reading instead.

Speaking of which . . .

READING

march2016reads

Again, these are in reverse-order of when I read them, because it’s from my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

I read 13 books in March which is… a lot for me.

What a mix! Some Moomin books (a fun, hilarious children’s fantasy series originally written in Swedish); a couple of Regency books; two utterly different fantasy books set in modern-day Ireland (Blood Ties and Skulduggery Pleasant); a time-travel book; a collection of essays on writing; a splendid Beauty and the Beast retelling from Melanie Dickerson of which I got an ARC and hope to review soon; and another Diana Wynne Jones book, featuring centaurs and a Sci-fi/Fantasy Convention and tons of wackiness.

I will likely post a reading roundup on my book blog soonish… (I know, I know, I still haven’t posted my roundup for February. *cough* It will happen, it will…)

ON MY BOOK BLOG

I took part, slightly, in March Magics, which was quite fun, most notably listing the books by Diana Wynne Jones that I’ve read so far. Yay!

WATCHING

I got to see Thor: The Dark World again (yay!) and greatly enjoyed being able to actually see the faces and what was actually going on due to not having a bunch of fog between myself and the screen. Thor and Loki together are the BEST. 😄

I also finally saw The Guardians of the Galaxy, which everyone and their Groot have been telling me to watch ever since it came out, and found it extremely odd but quite fun and sometimes hilarious.

I also saw Megamind, which… again, quite weird but more fun than I’d expected.

(Are you noticing a trend? Lots of superhero movies…)

And I pretty much finished watching Jeeves & Wooster. SO fun!

But most of all, I saw the first season of an original fantasy webseries, Ren: The Girl with the Mark, by the people who made the Lord of the Rings fan-film prequel, Born of Hope, and I loved it! Now they just need to do a second season! O_O (Seriously though, they need to. NEED!!!) In case you are wondering, it was AMAZING and I have very definite opinions on if you should watch it or not. (Hint: YOU TOTALLY SHOULD.)

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MUSIC

Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that I got to see my favorite singer in concert this March for my birthday? Hearing Loreena McKennitt live on stage was MAGICAL. ❤ (If you’ve never heard her gorgeous Celtic music, you’re missing out.) Loreena herself was so lovely — charming, witty, insightful, and gracious. I just love her music so much, and it was so immersive live! So many emotions with that amazing music — one moment achingly beautiful, another hauntingly sad, and the next laughing at one of her jokes. It was so much fun, so gorgeous, and I was utterly enchanted. An incredible experience that I’m so thankful to have had the chance to have. ^_^

LIFE

‘Twas an interesting month, was March.

I kind of struggled through the Rooglewood announcements and other involved things (though I’m over that one now, thankfully! :)), Daylight Savings Time (argh! I still have not recovered. -_- *shakes clock because surely it must be incorrect*), a lot of various writing self-doubts (thanks very much for all the support on that! I love you guys! ❤ ), and a bout of writer’s block, which is lurking still, slightly…

But aside from that, the rest was really an amazing month. 🙂 I read a lot of fabulous birthday books (and a few review books), saw Loreena McKennitt, enjoyed my very first Twitter Party (for Diana Wynne Jones. It was SO FUN!) and generally… lived. Which is good, I guess. 😉

I’ve also gotten back into listening to Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor, since it’s handy to have something to listen to while exercising, and I had wanted to get back to listening but hadn’t found an excuse. So this is awesome and I’m very excited to get caught up on some of his awesome (free!) podcasts and lectures on Tolkien and Faerie & Fantasy and other works of literature. 🙂 Corey’s a really awesome guy, both funny and really interesting, to listen to. I always have great fun with his lectures! ^_^

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APRIL THINGS

*ignores fact that we’re already a week into the month* Dunno what my plans are for this month besides all the reading I need to do. I’ll (hopefully) have a few book reviews popping up over here soonish!

I am not, in fact, doing Camp NaNo, but for those of you who are, I wish you the best of luck, you awesome people! YOU’VE GOT THIS! I do however hope to figure out what writing projects to work on and get some writing done all the same… but we will see. *fingers crossed*

That was my March! How was yours? Any plans for April? I hope you’ll have a wonderful month! 🙂

(Not?)Valentines: Teague & Meridian (Beautiful People)

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Beautiful People is a monthly linkup for writers with lovely questions to help figure out our characters, held by Cait and Skyejoin in if you like!

This month’s Beautiful People is out… and this edition is a Valentine’s Day themed one, because character couples. Yayness!

I was trying to figure out who to pick for this… (A lot of the questions don’t seem to fit well with my Silver Forest couples, and I’d have to pick one of the bajillions from that, which sounded like a difficult task…) But I wasn’t sure if I could use Teague and Meridian from The Other Half of  Everything, because they’re not really a “thing”. Yet.

But I do want to figure them out more, so I ended up picking them all the same. (You knew I would…)

They’ll be assisting me in answering the questions. (Ha, like that’s a good idea…)

(For those who don’t know, Teague is a twenty-something year old writer fellow and Meridian is the eighteen-year-old heroine of my story The Other Half of Everything, which is still in snippets-all-over-the-place stage, and a mix of genres: contemporary, possibly in England or some version of it, with world-hopping and fantasy involved.)

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Now we begin… Let the bickering commence! Bwahaha.

(It’s going to be long. Just a warning.)

If you want the short version, it’s: a) Meridian griped, b) Teague was oblivious, and, c) the author was too amused for her own good.

QUESTIONS

1. How did they first meet?

OHEcoverTeague: Oh, you know. The usual. Eye contact was made (admittedly not much of it), words were said (admittedly I don’t recall all of them). We met because she knocked on my door. I remembered to answer it. She really ought to have been impressed over that, you know, but she wasn’t…

Meridian: I applied to be his housekeeper from the advertisement he had posted. Because I needed the money for college and it was a job which wouldn’t require me to drive anywhere because Gran has the car all the time. Since he lives on the top floor of the big old house I live in one of the apartment-like parts of, it was a simple job, right there, all I had to do was climb the stairs. …Lots of them, but still, just stairs. And I do know how to be a housekeeper because Gran is particular about that sort of thing. *shrug* Of course, if I’d known what would come of it, I would not have applied.

Teague: *for a miracle, hears her remarks — or a least most of them — and grins*

Meridian: *suspiciously* What are smiling about?

Teague: *quickly returns to ordinary vague expression and looks alarmingly innocent* Nothing.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?

Meridian: That he was a lot younger and more goodlooking than he should have been. *realizes how that sounds* I mean… I thought he was going to be an old man! Because of the advertisement and the name and… an elderly man used to live up top and… Anyways, that; and that he was extremely absentminded. And infuriating. Still is, actually.

Deborah: What about you, Teague? What was your first impression of Meridian?

Teague: Er… I’m sure I had one…

Meridian: *shakes head* …Yeah, I know, but if you did, you forgot it. And you kept forgetting my name.

Teague: *throws up his hands* I forget everyone’s names!

Meridian: Make that: you forget everything.

Teague: *twitches an eyebrow with a vaguely dramatic kicked-puppy look* Not true. I remember some things.

Meridian: *challengingly* Like what?

Teague: *makes noncommittal Hmm-ing noises* …Something. I’m sure. I just don’t remember what…

3. How long have they been a couple?

hugDeborah: *elbows both of them out of the way and hastily answers this one* Erm… strictly speaking, they’re not. And… won’t be, officially, for quite awhile. But I don’t care because they’re adorable all the same. I’m answering this one because Meridian would exclaim that they’re not a thing, and Teague would just cluelessly go “hmm?” soo… sometimes the author can be more useful about answering these things… >.>

4. How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?

Teague-ishMeridian: *blinks* Ummm… Did I miss something?

Teague: *tilts head* What’s stress? What’s disagreement? Secrets are the natural way of the universe, or if they aren’t, they ought to be, because people make fusses over things when they learn them, so they shouldn’t until they’re ready. Which they rarely are. “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” *aside to Meridian:* That’s from Peter Pan, by the way. Not that you would know, not being a reader… Judging. In case you didn’t notice.

Meridian: *drops face into hands* *groans:* Can we just have another question please…?

5. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc… and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

meridianagainMeridian: He has no food quirks. Or, rather, he has one very enormous one which is this: He quite simply doesn’t food.

Teague: *mildly* Really, Meridian. You and your grammar…

Meridian: Fine! He doesn’t eat. Because he forgets to. Because he’s too busy reading or writing or whatever it is that he does. Which is why I cook. It’s a miracle he didn’t starve to death before he hired me.

Teague: *nods complacently* *then unexpectedly says:* She eats croutons.

Meridian: *sends Teague a startled look* What?

Teague: She likes to eat plain croutons out of the bag instead of putting them on salads. Like chips. And when she’s focusing on something like leaning over a batch of something she’s cooking up, she has a little crease between her eyebrows and impatiently pushes her hair behind one ear with her little finger when her hair gets in the way — actually she does that all the time. And she always flickers a look sideways to the left when she steals a taste of batter or whatever it is, as if checking to make sure nobody sees it, and she likes marshmallows in her coffee even though people think its childish, and you can tell she’s always humming inside her head because of the way she moves to the tune.

Meridian: *blinks very wide eyes* Um…

Teague: *smiles faintly* See? I notice things… sometimes.

Deborah: *beams and squirms and aren’t they adorable asdfgklakjdljljlkd*

6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?

Meridian: There isn’t one. And even if there was, nobody would care because nobody would know, because I certainly would never admit to liking him… Even if I did. Which I don’t.

Teague: Are we talking about theoretical scenarios, then? Because theoretically, yes, nobody would care enough to disapprove, really… My sister Lulin thinks that anything involving me actually interacting with other humans is a good thing. I can’t imagine why.

Meridian: *curiously tilts her head* What about Ivan?

Teague: *stiffens* *short bark of laughter with almost imperceptible touch of bitterness* He wouldn’t care either. Definitely. No caring. *Teague’s face becomes extremely vague and distant and uncaring as if he’s forgotten the entire thing already*

7. What would be an ideal date? –> evening spent in each other’s company

williamblakequotedoorsDeborah: *surreptitiously changes word from “date” to something less specific, to avoid their suspicious remarks*

Meridian: *wrinkles nose* If it was an ideal evening, it wouldn’t be in his company… but okay, probably we’d be somewhere far away from his books and writing and I’d be playing my violin and instead of being off in his own head, he’d actually be paying attention to me. Not that I can imagine why I’d want him to? But… well, he never does. So. *folds arms*

Teague: If it was ideal, I’d be writing, and she doesn’t care to be around when I’m doing that… Can’t imagine why. But if I wasn’t writing, then there are two options. No, three. 1: we’d go questing together. It might take more than an evening… 2: we’d walk under the stars and talk. 3: we’d sit in my study and she’d read aloud to me one of the books I’ve written.

Meridian: You are vain, you know that?

Teague: Hmm. Of all the things you’ve accused me of being, that one’s never come up before… I must be branching out.

8. What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?

bookpilesMeridian: We’re opposites. Mesh perfectly? *laughs* Nope. I fight a lot, and he… ignores!

Teague: *blinks absently and doesn’t answer* *then seems to wake up momentarily* Wait, you fight a lot…? With who?

Meridian: *rolls eyes* No one, apparently.

Teague: *frowning* How can someone fight when the other person doesn’t respond?

Meridian: *throws up hands* They can’t! That’s why it’s so annoying.

Teague: I don’t know why anyone would want to… *shrugs*

Meridian: He doesn’t even notice when I’m angry at him.

Teague: *blinks* You were angry at me? When?

Meridian: This is what I’m talking about.

Teague: *scribbles a note somewhere because he forgot entirely that he was being interviewed or even talked at, and had a sudden inspiration from a story which demanded his attention*

9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?

portalarchwayDeborah: *cough* Editing it again… >.>

Meridian: Best? Um… there haven’t really been any. Worst? Well. That time. *gives Teague a hard stare*

Teague: *protestingly* I thought you would like going there.

Meridian: Well I didn’t.

Teague: *sadly* I observed.

10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?

notthatcomplicated

Meridian: I’m his housekeeper, he’s my employer. The end. It’s not a relationship.

Teague: Technically speaking, you do know that that is a relationship, of a sort…

Meridian: Oh, right. He’s not my employer. He’s a dictionary. *glares*

Teague: *blinks mildly* Inaccurate. Dictionaries are boringly factual. I’m a writer, remember?

Meridian: How could I ever forget?

Teague: Precisely. That’s my job. *half grin*

Meridian: As for where we see ourselves in a few years: I see myself, hopefully, studying at university, far from here. Can’t speak for him. Teague? *nudges his shoulder when he appears not to hear*

Teague: Hmm? Oh. Let me think. I see myself…. *trails off with a dreamy absentminded private smile and forgets to say it out loud… unless it was intentional*

Meridian&Teague

Well, there you have it. One of the longest and most off-topic Beautiful Peoples of ever. They kinda ran away with me. Because that’s what they do. 😉 Hope you enjoyed it all the same. 😛

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. 😄 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?

meridian2

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. ^_^

Of October Madness

IsItNovember

I know I used this in my last post, but I’m posting it again because it’s an accurate depiction of my feelings right now. (Which is why I put together this handy graphic. ;))

I’m a little in shock about it being November already. How. Even.

Still, my October madness ishness was as follows!

ishness

Life

I feel like I was gone all month — if not literally, at least mind-wise.

I went to a fair/rodeo thing for the first time in forever, which was a lot of fun. Also some NaNo events — yay!

Then last week I was camping . . . Just the right thing to do before NaNo instead of plotting, am I right? 😉

I was also sick for a week smack-dab in the middle of the month, which totally threw me off. Not to mention my dead internet.

I basically spent the month in a blur of being insanely busy and unprepared, flailing around trying to get caught up on things and prepare for NaNo and panicking over The Rose and the Raven and not having my NaNo novel plotted. …Actually, I’m still panicking over those things! Funny how that works…

Watching

moviesoct2015

I saw Ever After: A Cinderella Story, which I always hear about but had never seen. It was not what I was expecting, but fun.

I finished my re-watching catch-up of the Hunger Games movies (paiiin) because for some reason the final one is coming out in a couple of weeks… I still haven’t read the books so I know next to nothing about what’s going to happen in Mockingjay Part 2, except a certain couple of deaths; but I have a feeling I’m going to be very upset about the entire movie. *sigh* I don’t even know why I inflict this series on myself…

I also saw Age of Ultron again. HAWKEYE!! 😀 No, I’m not going to shut up about him; he’s just the best, okay? Don’t deny it.

Star Wars Youtube Stuff

starwars7posterI saw two Star Wars things recently, so that gets its own category this round of Ishness. 😉 Have you seen the new trailer for Star Wars Episode VII (The Force Awakens) yet?? It is HERE and looks amazing.

And it’s not new, but I only just saw it and thought it was funny enough to share if you haven’t seen it: a Star Wars Episode I (The Phantom Menace) parody of the song American Pie. It’s really funny.

Reading

I read nothing in October.

I know, I know, you’re probably as shocked as David Tennant… And so am I. But my month was SO insane I had positively no time to read. I was going to read a very long book for review (that I happen to be EXTREMELY excited about. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for a year now) and didn’t get to it and consequently got to nothing else.

So. No books. It’s sad.

Writing

Mostly my writing this month was (trying to) plot The Silver Forest. And getting distracted by Tare from my Kedran’s Wood series (because he has no sense of timing) and ending up plotting his series as well accidentally, and being informed there’s yet another novella in the series, bringing it up to 9 stories. Also Teague, from The Other Half of Everything, who has, if possible, an even WORSE sense of timing, tried to distract me too. So I ended up writing snippets of both of them (not together, though; thank goodness).

R&RI also did some writing of (my possible Rooglewood Press contest entry) The Rose and the Raven, bringing its total up to 5k words, as I believe I mentioned. It’s currently on hold (perhaps indefinitely…. I don’t even know right now. But I can’t focus on anything besides NaNo at the moment).

My total words for October was about 3000. Which, for the month before NaNo and considering the insanity, I’m calling a win.

October Snippets

For fun, here are some snippets of The Other Half of Everything, and of Tare and friends. In which Teague makes it his life goal to turn Meridian into a bookworm, and Tare makes spicy tea.

The Other Half of Everything

    Teague sighed as if he carried the burden of the world on his shoulders, and stood up. “My new life goal is to turn you into a bookworm. Preferably of fantasy. Read this.” He held out a book with a plain brown cover.
    “What?” I said.
    “Read it,” he repeated.
    “Why would I want to read a book?” I protested.
    “Pretend it’s a movie.”
    I gave him a look. Then I tried again. “Why would I want to read this book?”
    “Because I am selflessly lending it to you. What do you do when people are kind enough to lend you things?”
    “Normally I put them carefully on a shelf and then do my homework,” I said without thinking, forgetting momentarily that I had graduated.
    “And then?”
    “And then I procrastinate over doing them until the last second before I have to give them back, because I never actually want to do them and am just being polite.”
    Teague gave me look of mild disbelief. “Polite? You?”
    I leaned forward slightly, looking him squarely in the eye, and said very seriously in a lowered voice as if it was a secret: “Are you talking to a mirror?”
    He pushed the book toward my face and I was forced to grab it as he dropped it—which apparently he knew I would do. Infuriating. Then he turned and started crossing the room. “Just read the book.”
    “Again: why?” I asked his retreating back.
    “It’s homework,” he said over his shoulder.
    “Homework?” I repeated.
    Teague spun halfway round. “Yes. Because I am your employer and I said to read it.” There may have been a glint in his eye.
    “You’re evil.”
    “Nope. Just your employer. And are you not listening? I said this was my new life goal. It would be extremely considerate of you to go along with it, you know.”
    I shook my head and gave up. It was too ridiculous. “If you say so, ‘boss’.”
    “ ‘Teague’, thanks,” he corrected as he sailed off through the door back to his writing.

***

A series of loud thumps proceeded from the direction of the kitchen. Then silence.

“I don’t want to know what that was!” I called.

“Remarkably wise of you,” Teague called back.

“I still don’t want to know what that was!” I warned.

“That’s probably for the best.”

***

Mixup at Kedran’s Wood (KW 2.5 novella)

Tare leaned over and poked the fire in the hearth with the poker. “Anyone want some tea?” he asked.
    They sat in stunned silence, blinking at him, until he finally looked over his shoulder at them.
    “Some what?” Ivy demanded.
    “Tea,” Tare repeated with a flat look. “You know—that thing that people drink.” There was a strong note of sarcasm behind it.
    “But why would—?” Lavender began, trying to understand why Tare was talking about tea or why he would have any.
    “Because it’s there,” Tare cut in, exasperated, “and I thought I’d offer you some. Have it if you want.” He flapped a hand in the direction of the table. “Otherwise, forget it.” And he dropped into a chair.
    Now that they looked where he had waved, they saw the brown tea pot crouched on the table among the other stuff, steam curling upward from the spout.
    “Did it not come in black?” Baz teased.
    Tare tilted his head with a fake and humorless smile. “Haha.”
    Marie poured some of the hot tea into a few brown ceramic cups and handed them around.
    “Ooh, cinnamon!” Baz said happily, staring into his cup.
    Tare sent him a weird look. “There’s . . . no cinna—”
    But Baz had taken his first sip, and started to cough. After a cautious sip from each of the others, most of them were coughing too. Tare just looked at them all like he couldn’t figure them out.
    Adrian grinned. “Come on, guys, it can’t be that bad.” Adrian took one large gulp, choked, coughed several times, and managed to splutter, “What is in that?”
    Tare gave him a hard stare. “I told you. It’s tea.”
    “That’s not tea, that’s dragon fire in a cup!” Jake gasped, clutching at his throat.
    “Well excuse me for not noticing the dragon when I was making it. I guess I need to work on my observation skills.”
    “No, really, what is it?” Marie asked.
    “It’s ginger tea,” Tare answered, nonplussed.
    “No way—what else?” Adrian said.
    Tare shrugged. “Lemon and honey . . .” He paused as if thinking. “And cayenne pepper.”
    “Seriously?” Ivy exclaimed
    “Oh my goodness,” Lavender managed.
    “Is that what the little floaty red specks were—not cinnamon?” Baz squealed indignantly.
    “What is wrong with you that you would ruin perfectly good tea like that?” Marie said.
    “And then feed it to your friends,” Adrian added.
    “Maybe he wanted a good laugh,” Jake said.
    “Maybe he wanted to kill us,” Baz put in.
    “Maybe, I’m neither laughing nor killing anyone and don’t understand what is wrong with you that you are all dying on me over some tea.” Tare folded his arms.

What’s Next?

SilverForestCoverFinalSo that’s what was up in October. As for November, well, as you may guess I’m very busy writing! If you’re doing NaNo and would like to be buddies on the site, you can find me here. 🙂

I don’t know how “around” I’ll be online this month, but never fear — I’ve scheduled some posts of some old writings of mine on the blog this month so that I won’t entirely forget and abandon y’all. Hope you’ll enjoy them!

And good luck on whatever your plans are, especially all you NaNoers! (Only because you may need more “good lucks” than less insane people. 😉 ) YOU CAN DO IT!

Meantime, I’d best get going on filling this November with some Ishness of its own.

I’m off into the Silver Forest. I may get lost on the way, but it’s bound to be interesting all the same. See you on the other side…

(And I’m just going to leave you with this thing I made, even though only Leverage fans will get it…)