The Wisteria Writer Tag

WWtag

Grace @ True and Pure tagged me for The Wisteria Writer Tag! Thanks, Grace! 🙂

Since there were ten questions she answered, and then she made ten new questions… I’m adding a few of the questions she answered because I wanted to answer them too. 🙂

I’m also not tagging anyone, but feel free to consider yourself tagged if you’d like to do it! Just let me know if you do so I can read your post. ^_^

Speaking of posts… would you lookit that. This is my 175th post. *confetti* Go me. XD

ALSO! If you haven’t voted in the Silmarillion Awards yet, do scurry on over there and vote by the end of July 14th! Your favorite fantasy characters need your vote!! 🙂

Okay. Now on to The Wisteria Writer Tag…

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the ten questions asked.
  • Add ten (writing or book related) of your own.
  • Nominate ten people.

The Questions

  1. What do you use to document inspiration and ideas?
  2. Can you share a snippet of one of your current pieces of writing?
  3. What authors or books inspire you?
  4. What is the first story that you ever completed?
  5. What story (short story or novel) do you consider your best work so far?
  6. Do you outline your novels before you start writing, and if so, how?
  7. Who is your favorite character that you created?
  8. What style of prose are you best at writing (description, dialogue, action, etc.)?
  9. What is the first thing you do when you start revising a piece of work?
  10. When do you write (in the morning, after lunch, before bed, etc.)?
  11. Where do you write (on your bed, at your desk, etc.)?
  12. What is your favorite music to listen to while you write?
  13. What writing advice do you want to give yourself?

What do you use to document inspiration and ideas?

For several years now, I’ve been keeping a series of writing notebooks/journals. I have one each year, either a nice journal or notebook, which I label for that year, and all my random ideas and a lot of my plotting goes in there. I do have folders and files on my laptop where I keep track of bigger things for specific stories sometimes, and my actual-writing mostly happens on the computer as well, but as far as inspiration and ideas, most of it goes in my notebooks. …I really should go back through them for ideas.

Can you share a snippet of one of your current pieces of writing?

Here’s a snatch of later on in The Other Half of Everything:

Having gotten free of Ivan, Teague folded his arms, turned away, and stood staring at a wall. Lulin scurried to fetch first-aid supplies to clean Ivan up. I hovered anxiously, flickering nervous glances between the brothers.

“Dinner,” Teague proclaimed shortly, pointing me toward the kitchen.

Normally I would have been annoyed. Not today. Gratefully, I fled back to my soup.

OHEbannerfinal2

What authors or books inspire you?

Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, George MacDonald, Mirriam Neal. Also Tolkien because we’re kindred souls.

What is the first story that you ever completed?

QLcoverQuest for a Legend, which was then book #4 in my Starrellian Saga. …Which is now in a complicated position what with me reworking the whole series. (No, the three small “stories” I wrote when I was maybe 10 or so that were 500 words, 900 words, and 1400 words, respectively, which we do not talk about, do not count. *cough*)

What story (short story or novel) do you consider your best work so far?

Whoa. This is a really interesting question! It’s complicated because my opinion of my finished stories change over time… So at the moment, I’d say Darkling Reflections, my 11,000 word mystery/romance story. Which is odd considering it’s the only thing like it that I’ve written and I’ll probably write nothing like it ever again. It’s not even fantasy, precisely… But it’s my favorite right now, since with most of my other things, I feel like they need a bit of work to be perfect… 😉

Do you outline your novels before you start writing, and if so, how?

I usually do, but it depends. I tend to have at least a rough idea of the story, but I prefer to outline it pretty well. It doesn’t always happen though, and sometimes I just start writing. XD As for how… it changes so much from story to story that I’m slightly at a loss for what to say on that subject. I like to have a “blurb” sort of summary, and if possible a rough list of the main events, at least, and a list of characters. From there it depends.

Who is your favorite character that you created?

*clutches heart* HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME. Ahem. I don’t want to offend anybody. >.> But… yeah… probably Tare. *cough* I can’t help it. I love everyone else too though!! (Also… *twitches at the word “created” since I actually “discover” my stories*)

TareBW

What style of prose are you best at writing (description, dialogue, action, etc.)?

Wow, I have no idea. O_O Um… mayyybe dialog? I do enjoy that the most, I think. But I don’t know if I’m “better” at writing it than other aspects… I would of course love to be equally skilled in all kinds, if I could be!

What is the first thing you do when you start revising a piece of work?

If it’s something pretty big, I print it and go over it with a pen or highlighter. Usually. Not that I’ve revised a lot of things. >.> If it’s just a smaller thing, I just… I don’t know, read through it and fix typos and make sure it actually makes sense? *shrug* I don’t analyze my revising process much since I don’t always make it that far. 😛

When do you write (in the morning, after lunch, before bed, etc.)?

All over the map. I think I WISH that I wrote in the morning, but that I usually write before bed… and, more likely than not, after I SHOULD be in bed… Ahem. I don’t want to be a night-owl but a lot of my writing tends to happen then.

Where do you write (on your bed, at your desk, etc.)?

At my desk on my preciousss my laptop. Unless I happen to be at a write-in for NaNo, in which case I write at a library or restaurant, or if I am writing in my writing-notebook, notes/plotting/etc., in which case I’m usually on my bed or in my comfy reading chair, or occasionally in a car.

What is your favorite music to listen to while you write?

I don’t always listen to music when I write… but if I do, it’s usually something that is a theme-song of sorts for the story in question, or else instrumental Celtic music, usually.

(If I’m writing The Secret of Kedran’s Wood, I’ll sometimes have this one playing. I listened to Stand in the Rain wayyyy too many times when I was writing Darkling Reflections and have no regrets. XD I sadly don’t have a theme-song for The Other Half of Everything. Which is dreadful because it actually is supposed to have music involved because Meridian is a music-nut like Teague is a word-nut. And yet I don’t have any music I associate with the story. No wonder I’m uninspired. -_-)

(very Meridian) (source)

What writing advice do you want to give yourself?

Don’t be afraid. Just write down the stories. Don’t let fear hold you back from putting those words down. Fear of less-than-perfection and all the rest of it is just a trick to make you not write. So just do it — write the tales on your heart, fearlessly. You can perfect them later. What do you fear? Don’t fear it. The pen is mightier than the sword.

November Saga, a.k.a. That Time That I Had a Mid-NaNo Crisis, Accidentally Became a Rebel, And Was Extremely Confused

NaNoHelmetCoffeeA belated chronicling of the saga of my November 2015 NaNoWriMo writing adventures.

It all started with NaNo. (As things often do…)

Things were going all right, I was writing very hard on The Silver Forest and having a blast writing about my twelve dancing princesses and half-fae prince and gardener and soldier and other prince and jester and all of the rest… It was going okay, though it was definitely taking a lot longer to get finished with the beginning of the story than I thought… (For instance, chapter 3, which is when they first find the Faerie realm and meet Prince Taghdach, ended up being over 15,000 words… Whoops.)

SilverForestCoverFinalThen suddenly, I ran into an entirely unforseen circumstance. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because insane things happen all. the. time. with NaNos… but I didn’t see this one coming and it had never happened to me before.

I got exactly halfway through the month, caught up on my wordcount and got a day ahead, and went to bed quite happy with myself at 26,680 words on November 15th, feeling on top of the world and like I could totally do this NaNo thing. (Even though, at  halfway to 50K, I hadn’t even introduced all the characters yet…)

Then it happened.

Below is an excerpt of what I actually typed that fateful November 16th morning to chronicle the entire incident, when I was trying to make sense of the insanity that invaded my brain:

That moment when…

You’re halfway through NaNo and you have a dream about talking to someone about your plot and in your dream you come up with a crazy new idea that would entirely change everything about the story and might fix all/most of the problems with it but could also make twice as many.

Wakes up at 5:33 a.m.: WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EVEN DO WITH THIS INFORMATION???

*spends next hour in bed at war with self, brain wide awake, fully alert, gears spinning like fast-forwarded clockwork*

Body: It’s cold, it’s rainy and dark out, blankets are warm, I’m tired, go back to sleep.

Brain: BUT I’M WIDE AWAKE LOOK I HAVE ALL THESE IDEAS I CAN’T TURN THEM OFF OH MY GOODNESS THIS COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING MUST PROCESS ALL OF THE THINGS WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WOW I’M SO CONFUSED THIS HURTS MY BRAIN JUST WHAT BUT I THINK I LOVE IT BUT WHAT IF I DON’T BUT AAAAHH

Body: coooooold raiiiiiiiny daaaark warm bed sleeeeeeeeep tiiiiiiiiiired

Brain: BUT BUT BUT CAN’T YOU TELL I’M HAVING A MID-NANO CRISIS THIS IS IMPORTANT GAAHH

Body: Sleep. Now. Turn off. I don’t like you. Much too early for this nonsense.

Stomach: *wakes up* Why are you awake this early? Oh. Is it morning? I’M HUNGRY. FEED ME.

Brain: *distracted momentarily from chaos of NaNo thoughts* Whaaaat? Since when are you hungry for another four or five hours??

Stomach: HUNGRY. GET UP. EAT THINGS. (You can also think about your mid-NaNo crisis while you’re eating, because I’m nice like that.)

Practical half of brain: So go back to sleep; sleep on it; think about it in the morning. You went to bed at midnight, you need more sleep, plus you don’t want to catch that cold that’s going through the house so you need proper rest. In the morning–

NaNo half of brain: BUT BUT

Practical half: (No, it’s not morning yet, hush, stop arguing; it’s still dark out and no sane person who has a choice to sleep more should get up yet.) In the morning, as I was saying, you can feed your tummy at a more usual hour and after some rest your mid-NaNo crisis will still be there but you’ll be in a less sleep-deprived state and further able to process it and everything will make sense. I promise. Go to sleep, get some more rest, sleep on it and remain calm.

Creative side of my brain, utterly ignoring everything else that’s going on and still churning on a mile a minute: But see, what if……….

After that, there were about about 2,000 more words of totally incoherent thrown-around babbles about the new plot idea and all of its myriad implications, as well as screeching and flailing about the shocking realization that if I used it there would be no going back, and that I’d have to totally stop writing The Silver Forest for the moment because it would require me to basically restart the whole story. Which I was not ready to do.

I finally came to the conclusion that this was the perfect excuse to finish writing The Rose and the Raven, which I wanted to write for the Rooglewood Press contest but had only gotten about 5K words into it when NaNo interrupted.

Obviously, this would mean turning NaNo Rebel.

NaNoStarbucks

In the five previous years I had NaNoed, I’d always been a rule-abiding little writer, working on one story and only one story, starting it out fresh without anything previous… Now, halfway into my 6th NaNo, I was contemplating switching to an entirely different story… and then likely switching to a third, since the remaining 14K words of The Rose and the Raven which it would take to hit the 20K wordlimit, when added to my Silver Forest words, would still leave another 8K words to be written to hit 50,000 words for NaNo… so my plan was to switch to continuing The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2) to fill in the final words.

It was insane, but I did it. I switched mid-month.

(Obviously this meant I had to change my inspiration bulletin board from this…)

2015NaNoBoard

(To this…)

2015NaNoBoard2

And it totally broke my brain to switch stories, especially from going from a rambly mindset of WRITE ALL OF THE WORDS LET’S JUST HAVE WORDWARS AND SPILL WORDS EVERYWHERE AND HAVE FUN RAMBLING WITH CHARACTER DISCUSSIONS AND IT DOESN’T MATTER IF I HAVE 15,000 WORD CHAPTERS to a mindset where I had to try to tell a story in as FEW words as possible and actually move the plot along and try not to write too many words because it can’t pass 20K because that would make for a headache of editing. WHILE also thinking BUT I HAVE TO WRITE LOTS OF WORDS BECAUSE I CAN’T FALL BEHIND ON MY NANO WORDCOUNT. WHY ARE YOU ONLY WRITING 800 WORD SCENES?? YOU NEED TO BE WRITING ONES DOUBLE THAT LENGTH! YOU’RE FALLING BEHIND AAAAAAAAHH.

R&RIt.
was.
excruciating.

Trying to write small things for NaNo just does NOT work, and at least I have learned this… But it was an excellent way, despite all that, to actually get a lot of progress done on R&R during NaNo.

KW2coverPI ended up switching back and forth between R&R and KW2 constantly: writing a whole bunch of words of KW2 whenever I fell behind, so that I could catch up, then going back to slowly getting out those novella words. (Somehow it’s much easier to write long scenes with the Chess Club ramblings, and with Tare being all messed up in his mind, poor dear. *is knocked out of screen by an out-of-sight-Tare* *crawls back* Ahem. Sorry about that…)

And I did it. I hit 50K and won NaNo for the 6th time, as a proud Rebel!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

nano2015wI wrote approximately:

26,600 words of The Silver Forest

13,500 words of The Rose and the Raven

10,000 words of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

Added to what I had before, here’s what my writing bars looked like at the end of NaNo:

statbarsendofnano2015

But there was a slightly awkward fact in there… which was that I hadn’t finished the novella yet. I had nearly gotten to the 20K word limit, but I still had a few chapters left to write.

This meant, obviously, that it was time to . . . !

(No. Not celebrate. Pfft. That would be ridiculous. No, it was quite clearly time to…)

. . . PANIC!!!

But this is getting long. So. The follow-up saga of my December and my further adventures with The Rose and the Raven will recommence in my next post!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-SquareIn the meantime, now you know about my craziest NaNo yet. (Which is saying something, considering the fact that the NaNo before, I managed to complete my 50K words while on a roadtrip for half the month… >.> Yes, this Rebel NaNo was still crazier.)

And this is why The Silver Forest is currently at an odd in-between place where I’m not currently writing it, and I kind of need to restart it but have no idea how to go about that… *cough*

Next up: December Chaos!

To be continued . . .

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

BPvalentines

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.)

OHEbannerfinal2

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. 😛

Snippets Galore! (NaNo 2015)

In which there are snippets from the three stories I worked on writing during NaNoWriMo 2015. (Since I turned Rebel this last NaNo, which is a topic of its own for a later post, perhaps…) Enjoy!

SilverForestCoverFinal

THE SILVER FOREST

Beast and rider swept up at a gallop and came to a halt directly in front of the princesses. The animal pawed at the ground with a hoof and snorted, prancing in place for a moment before standing very still.

Silver stared at it in awe, for it was not a horse but a magnificent kingly stag, silver-white, with a grand array of sweeping horns.

Except, in this point there was later an argument. For some of the sisters distinctly remembered it being a horse, others a stag like Silver, and others in fact a unicorn. Some of them claimed it was white, others that it was silver, and a few that it was a solid black like the clothes of its rider. They were all adamant about what they had seen, convinced they were right, but the accounts varied so much, and they could not come to an agreement.

As for the rider of the black or white or silver creature (horse or stag or unicorn), he was quite as magnificent to look at.

His hand clutched the reins in the act of reining his steed to a halt, in an effortless yet strong gesture, and he sat very straight in the saddle—if there indeed was a saddle (or reins, in fact), for there was some confusion over the existence or absence of that as well—and he had very tall shiny black boots and was dressed entirely in black. Pants, tunic, and great caped cloak, all were deepest black, edged with intricate silver embroidery.

He had a mane of black hair that flowed loose and fell past his shoulders. His face was very handsome in a fierce and frowning way, with the angles of his jaw and nose and cheekbones all sharp but smooth at the same time, in the way of a statue carved of stone. He looked to be about twenty-five years of age.

There was a strength of presence about him that Silver had never felt before, and she thought it was as one with the wild calm of the feeling of the silver forest itself. He belonged there, she felt. And yet . . . at the same time he did not. He was like no one she had ever seen before, though at the same time almost familiar.

A pair of shadowed silver eyes set in that distinctive face keenly took in the group of twelve princesses standing among the silver trees staring back at him like a captive audience.


“And where is ‘here’, if I may ask?”

He seemed to pause. “Faerie,” he said at last.

“And where is that, please?” Silver asked politely, wondering at the strange name.

Taghdach raised one black eyebrow and the corner of his mouth curved into a sardonic smile. It was the first expression he had made yet that was not remotely related to a glare. “It’s . . . difficult to explain. I thought you would have known better than to ask such a question.”

“Indeed, I did not,” Silver shot back, rather nettled at his tone of condescension, and losing her temper rather. “I have never heard of any place called Faerie, or for the matter of that, of any king called Sisceall, so unless you wish me to believe you are entirely making all of this up and deliberately giving us falsehoods for your own amusement, I should advise you to at least explain where we are.”


“Are you not going to dance at your own celebration?” she asked, stopping beside him.

Taghdach did not move for a moment or make any acknowledgment showing he had heard her. Just as she was about to ask again, he stirred and finally glanced over at her.

“Did you say something?”

“As a matter of fact, I did. I was asking if you were not going to dance at your own celebration.”

His silver eyes appraised her for a moment. She tried not to back down from the steely look. He said finally, “Dancing.” Then he shrugged, tossing his mane of black hair. “And it is not my celebration.”

“It is a ball held in honor of your day of birth,” she protested. “That is as much your celebration as anything can be.”

“I do not see that my being born is any cause to celebrate,” Taghdach said in a low voice, his eyes burning past her as if they did not see her at all. “In fact . . . more specifically the opposite,” he added, glancing at the floor, a subtle note of harsh bitterness behind his words.


Taghdach strode off, a swirl of dark cloak and mane of black hair, and disappeared into the silver forest.

“Oh, and he can go off the path, I suppose,” Emerald said.

“I believe, my dear Emerald,” Silver said, “that he does whatever he pleases.”


Seamus gave Peach a flamboyant bow, and casually pulled a silver coin out of Rosie’s golden curls with the deft fingers of his outstretched hand and flicked it through the air to Peach, who caught it.

“If you keep doing that, Father’s going to wonder why he pays you,” Rosie teased.

“You raise a good point,” Seamus mused, rubbing a hand over his jaw.


Seamus always said of himself that he was vain as a peacock, and twice as handsome.


“Well then, how about I make it an extra-special juggling lesson?”

“Like what?”

“With daggers.”

“Oooh!” Rosie’s eyes lit up.

“Oh no you don’t!” Peach cut in quickly.

“Come on, Peaches!” Rosie protested. “Don’t give me that. Since when are you all practical like Silver?”

“I’m not, and I don’t mind if you get dagger juggling lessons sometime, but not just now. It’s almost the ball tonight, and I came to fetch you to get ready. I don’t exactly want your arms slashed all to bits right before, thank you. No offense, Seamus.”

“Oh, it’s taken,” Seamus said. “Are you implying that I’m a poor teacher? I’ll have you know that when I’m teaching your sister to juggle daggers, she’ll be as safe as a baby bird in a dragon’s nest.”

“You’re not reassuring,” Rosie and Peach both said together.

“Did I say a dragon’s nest? I meant a patch of daisies and soft fluffy harmless dandelions. Naturally.”


Finnigan gasped a lungful of breath and threw himself mostly clear of the falling stones, tumbling to lie on the wall top and glancing up to see what— That was when he saw the enormous golden dragon, the cause of the fire and falling masonry, blasting through the air overhead.

He shut his eyes a moment, and reopened them to see if it had been his imagination.

No. Evidently not.

He would have groaned again if he had not been so winded and also busy flinching away from smaller bits of stone falling on him.

A dragon.

This was all he needed.


The guardroom was empty . . . probably because half of it was on fire. That was the problem with dragons. Too much flame.


“Why did you take us this direction?” Finnigan asked, glaring in the direction he thought Kern was, not that it would do any good as neither of them could really see each other in the dark. “You could have taken us to where my father and the rest of the army is.”

“No, I could not,” Kern growled. “I took you the easiest way, through the least enemy soldiers. The castle was surrounded but there were the least the way we took. The way to toward where the king and the rest went would have been through the bulk of the enemy, through the worst part of fighting and the most fire, not to mention the fellow I don’t like with the lightning, and I might add the dragon. So unless you wanted both of us to end up extremely dead in a very short amount of time, this was the best way we could have gone, and taking you to your father would have defeated my orders because you would be dead, and keeping you alive was half of them. Taking you somewhere safe was the other half. So that’s what I’m doing.”

“But—! You—! That—!” Finnigan couldn’t seem to get his words to work with how exasperated he was. He threw his hands in the air. “Why am I even talking to you?”

“Excellent question,” Kern said dryly. “Finally one that I’m glad you asked.”

R&R

THE ROSE AND THE RAVEN

Derrick was up early that morning, walking along the corridor in search of breakfast, minding his own business, when a whirlwind suddenly ran into him.

“Whoa—!” He regained his balance, grabbing at the arms of the whirlwind, which on further inspection proved to be a wild-eyed, frenzied Princess Brier-Rose apparently in an extreme hurry, with quite untamed hair and seemingly still in her nightdress.

“What are you in such a—?” he began.

“I have to save the tower room!” she exclaimed distractedly in one breath—so that he was not entirely sure he had even heard her correctly—even as she tore away from his steadying grip and off along the corridor.

“Wha—?” Derrick wavered a fraction of a second, then gave up and switched directions, hurrying after her. He caught up in time to witness her bursting into the room where the two kings were talking over breakfast and a game of chess. These activities were paused as they looked over to see a very disheveled ten year old princess standing at the flung-wide door, apparently with something on her mind, and Derrick in the background as unsure of what was going on as they.


“Funny, you’ve always seemed quite grown up to me. At least, I always thought so,” Brier said.

“I always did too,” Derrick said with a laugh.

“Even when you were five?”

Especially when I was five,” Derrick said with mock solemnity.


“Derrick!” Brier said, quickly moving to stand in front of the roses. “What—?” she began.

Derrick answered distractedly, looking past her, “I met a maid coming down the stairs from bringing your breakfast—she said I could go in—and why do you have roses in your room?”

“Roses?” Brier laughed. “What are you talking about?”

Derrick looked uncertainly from the roses—which Brier now reflected must be visible behind her no matter how much she tried to block the sight—to her, and back again.


“You will be dead before the day is out.”

“Good luck with that, then,” Ev said cheerfully.

KW2coverP
THE SECRET OF KEDRAN’S WOOD

Tare turned to Baz. “Move.”

Baz quickly elbowed Lavender out of the seat so he could scoot over and hastily move out of Tare’s way, making a mental note that he should never ever block Tare’s way again, even unintentionally.


The Chess Club were running around hither and yon, messing up the blanket of fresh snow, pelting a rain of snowballs in every direction, making enough noise to wake the dead, and clearly having the time of their lives.

Tare folded his arms and watched.

They weren’t making very good use of the various snow forts and the impromptu shelter made of a snowman which Baz was using. Their military strategy was very much lacking, he observed, except perhaps—he had to grudgingly admit—for Adrian. Chucking snowballs every which way, dumping arm loads of snow on other people and giggling seemed more to be the order of the day.

He was about to turn to leave, but one of the teams rallied and began rushing at the other, and somewhere in the midst of it a stray flying snowball hit Tare square in the face.


“Um, Tare . . . is that a gun?”

Tare glanced down at his hand that wasn’t holding on to the door, and almost looked like he hadn’t known he was holding the black handgun. “Yeah, why?”

“And your knuckles are bloody,” Marie observed.

He looked like he hadn’t noticed that either. “So.”

“What happened?” Lavender asked.

Tare gave her a flat look and blinked once. “A wall ran into them.”


“Are you all right?” Adrian asked straightforwardly.

Tare closed his eyes and said wearily, “Leave me alone, Adrian.”

Adrian nodded slowly. “I will,” he said simply.

Tare watched him another moment, appraisingly, then finally turned away and reached for the doorknob. He paused with his hand on it. Adrian waited.

Then Tare said in a low voice, “Tell them I’m sorry.” And with that Tare pulled the door open and disappeared inside his lair.

Beautiful Books #2: NaNo 2015

So… I have stuff scheduled for the blog throughout this month, and was going to entirely ignore blogging (after my Ishness post) until December, because NANO! Because I’m so insanely busy and can’t even seem to get around to replying to comments till like a week later (sorry guys…).

…But then I saw that Cait and Sky have a second round of Beautiful Books up, and I fell in love with the questions and just HAD TO DO IT!!! *flails around*

So, for those who care, you’re going to get a peek into how my November writing is going and what’s up with The Silver Forest. 😉

bb-redone

Join in the linkup if you want! (You don’t have to be doing NaNo to do it.)

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?

My goodness. HOW DO I EVEN ANSWER THIS QUESTION??? *rides on roller-coaster of emotions and gets off, panting*

SilverForestCoverFinalUm. Some of it I like and is turning out wonderfully. Most of the princesses are kind of how I want them, especially Emerald… Fun dialog, gorgeous description of Faerie. I love some of the other characters too. But it also has a lot of poor quality writing, just thrown together. Some of the characters are being stubborn and not turning out how I want them to be (i.e. not cardboard…), not to mention I’m 16,700 words in (which is a third of NaNo’s goal of 50k) and I still haven’t gotten out of what I was originally planning to be chapter two…? Um. Yes.

I basically am going up and down between passionately loving it and loathing it with the loathing of a thousand burning suns.

I was sick of it last night and thinking of just ignoring it forever and going to write something else instead, or, ya know, just ignoring the fact that I need to write at all this month and just read books… when suddenly I read over some of it and fell in love again and a whole bunch of things clicked into place and now I want to go back and rewrite all of it that I have so far BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT NOW AND IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING. …But I’m going to make myself press on instead, just knowing that I’m going to know how to fix the beginning after I finish the story.

So right now I adore it and can’t wait to write more (even though I’m behind and am apparently blogging instead…?) but probably by this weekend I’ll be in the depths of despair again, I dunno. *shrugs* Such is NaNo.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

As the first chapter was written between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. after a week of sleep deprivation and absolutely no plotting whatsoever, the first chapter (including its first sentence/paragraph) is not fit for any living being to see and is going to be SCRAPPED. So, instead, you get the opening of Chapter Two:

     Peach skipped along a white-pillared, tapestried corridor and ducked out a side-door into the castle garden in search of more sisters. At fifteen, she was the youngest of the twelve, and that was perfectly fine with her. She was full of life, constantly curious, and tended to move at higher speeds than any of her siblings besides Emerald. So it was not surprising when she came around a magnolia bush in the glory of summer bloom and ran smack-dab into someone else, and they both went down in the grass in a tangle of arms and legs and skirt.
      “Oh, stars! I’m so sorry,” she said, scrambling back to her feet and surveying with curiosity the person she had run into, who was doing likewise. It was a boy, perhaps her own age, whom she had never seen before.

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?

I am a plotter. I need plot, otherwise I flail around and make messes and the story gets monstrously long and sprawled-out. I always try to plot extra for NaNos, but most NaNos I seem to end up pantsing more than ever because I don’t get my plotting finished because I was too busy. THIS IS A PROBLEM BY THE WAY.

So I’m currently using a mixture of both methods because I have a rough outline for the first several scenes, and after that a VERY rough Three-Act-Structure (which I’d never used before) outline of the rest of the story. But the details, I’m pantsing ish, and as soon as I get past the scenes I have in mind, I’m basically doomed, so we’re not going to think about that right now…

4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?

I update my wordcount on the NaNo site so that I can see the little graph looking as it should. *nod nod*

statsNaNo2015twelfth

(Yes, yes, I know I’m behind. Hush.)

5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?

I don’t usually have themes for my names, but this time I do, so YAY! 😀

The princesses are all named after colors, mostly gems/precious metals. Silver, Ebony, Amethyst, Sapphire, Turquoise, Emerald, Ruby, Auburn, Ivory, Goldie, Rosie, Peach.

For most of the other characters, I’m using Celtic names, mostly Irish ones, or tweaked combinations of words from an Irish dictionary. 😉 Irish names like Finnigan, Brogan, Seamus, Rory, Fergal, Etain, Niav, and Alanna, some of which I pulled from memory; others I looked through some books of Irish fairy tales for inspiration. Niog is a Welsh name, I believe, which I ran into somewhere and just LIKED. Justin and Tristan and Kern just sounded right. Taghdach (moody), Cothrom (fair), Dilis (faithful), Riogal (from rioga/riuil: royal), Prechan (rook), Bronach (sad), and Leithshae and Sisceall, were derived from Irish words or tweaked.

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I have no idea. I’ve only written endings a very few times, so I don’t feel I can even answer this question… But probably endings because it gets so exciting and I’m almost done and just yes. I only wish I got to them more often… 😦 HOWEVER I also enjoy beginnings, getting to explore the opening of the story and meet the characters. But middles might be the best too because you’re over the awkward figuring-out stage of the beginning and are just zipping along with the plot. I DON’T KNOW OKAY. Maybe all of them? Or none of them? Or something.

7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

My half-fae prince Taghdach. ❤ …Also Niog the enigmatic gardener boy. And unexpectedly, Seamus the court jester who appeared fully formed on the page without planning and stole my heart. I imagine the only reason there aren’t several others on here is that we haven’t met them yet in the story…

8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)

(See my review on Goodreads.)

I researched the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, which means that I read a collection called Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World edited by Heidi Anne Heiner.

I also “researched” character types that I like, meaning that I went through my list of favorite characters from books I read this year, and previous years, and categorized them in the categories I wanted to use, and then made lists of the characteristics and stuff. (Dark guy; sweet romance hero; young enigmatic lad; awesome fighter; rogue/thief; and Undefined — which is a favorite category of mine, which I cannot describe, and is where Seamus is going.)

And I’m going to eventually have to research magnolia bushes and wharfs and causeways and such things because I threw them in there in the heat of the moment when I was writing, and then realized I don’t know if they were really what I was thinking of. XD

9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?

It depends. I think in the long run I write better in a room entirely alone. But sometimes, being at a write-in will make me actually write because everyone else is writing.

And I like to share my work sometimes; it also depends. I usually read each day’s work aloud to my sister to get a feel for it and some immediate feedback/encouragement. Most of the time I like having beta readers as well, but during NaNo it’s far too horrendous for anyone to see, so I like to keep it to myself for the most part during November. 😛

10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

During NaNo, I usually open my bulletin board on my laptop (a feature that came with it) where I keep inspiration, and open my document and plotting file, start some music, and — hopefully — write.

NaNo2015BulletinBoardSilverForest

(Bulletin board for my NaNo this year.)

I don’t eat while I write; I can’t multi-task like that. I listen to a playlist of fast or inspirational music I have on my computer; or, if I’m somewhere with internet, I’ll have Pandora or my youtube playlist. Music is so helpful! I think I write best late at night, which is unfortunate. But I do want to try writing early in the morning to see if that’s better… it just hasn’t happened yet.

nanowritingspace2015

(Le writing space.)

And there you are. My Writing Process. Huzzah for Beautiful Books!

Now it’s back to NaNo for me…