Know the Novel: Tare 3 (NaNo 2020)

Um . . . hi, guys! Long time no chat! A lack of internet and a general insanely-busy time has distracted me from blogging for the last few months.

But today I want to join in on the fabulous Christine Smith’s Know the Novel writer linkup to talk about my writing plans for November/NaNo! (How is that so soon?? SEND HELP.)

So. I’m writing the third book in my modern fantasy Kedran’s Wood series, so that I can hang out with Tare (my fave) and the Chess Club and have a hopefully chill/fun November for once!

THE QUESTIONS

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Wow, it’s been so long . . . Well, I guess since it’s book 3, it would be because of starting a random modern fantasy back in April 2012 . . . which then had more spinoff ideas. I don’t remember the original spark for this one off hand, but origianaly it was going to be the sequel to book one, to be the adventures the Chess Club and Tare had the next summer, after The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. But then a snowy Christmas short story crept between them, eventually becoming a massive novel (145K words; please send help), so book three this one became! But the idea of the Chess Club and Tare on vacation has long been a fun one for me, and various things from the first two books and other Tare backstory stuff are leading up to this book. I’m excited. ^_^

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!

(I’ve had this cover foreverrr. Maybe someday I’ll update it or come up with a new title, but it works for now. XD)

The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, #3)

Road trip from Kedran’s Wood!

All the Chess Club wants is a fun vacation at the cabin Robin found them for the summer. All Tare wants is — well, probably for the Chess Club to stay out of trouble. (Saving teens, as well as the world all the time, gets exhausting.)

They find more than they bargained for with agents, a sinister secret lurking in the pine woods, a new side to Tare’s past, and of course McAllistair Mansion — which, let’s face it, is cooler than a cabin.

A storm is coming for the Chess Club and Tare.

So much for a quiet vacation . . .

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

Still set in a vague/undisclosed part of modern-day America, but this time since the Chess Club road tripped away from their hometown, I have some new settings to play with. Pine woods and a cabin and a cool mansion and . . . other . . . things. I’m excited because, while I adore Kedran’s Wood itself, this gives me some new settings/dynamics I can play with — and Tare has an unexpected connection to this place too, so I’m going to have loads of fun with that! *cackles*

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Meet the cast!

  • Tare20 years old – black hair – Enigmatic monster-fighting, black-leather-wearing guy and also my favorite character I’ve ever written

Chess Club

  • Lavender17 – blonde – Shy, softhearted, heart of the Chess Club
  • Baz17 – brown hair – Happy-go-lucky, fun-loving prankster and pun king
  • Ivy18 – red hair – Feisty, no-nonsense, go-get-’em Chess Club member
  • Adrian19 – blond hair – Easy-going, laid back guy, very protective of the Chess Club
  • Mr. Larch32 – brown hair – head of the Chess Club, dry and reserved, voice of reason
  • Robin Larch26 – light hair – Mr. Larch’s sister, enthusiastic, planning The Perfect Vacation

New Players

  • Arielle Everglade20 – long black hair – Appeared briefly in book 2, now shows up mysteriously (spoilers, sweetie)
  • Roderick Hendricks29 – dark brown hair – British, lawyer, basically an awkward penguin, lives at McAllistair Mansion, permanently anxious about Tare (not that we can blame anyone for being anxious about Tare)

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Um. Spoilers? But there mayyy be a group and it mayyy be connected with villains of earlier book(s) and there is also a return of a side antagonist-ish or two . . . it’s complicated.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

That it’s a new book with Tare and the Chess Club! I finished a novella with them last December, and while I’ve fiddled with things since, I haven’t actively been writing a KW book in ages (a.k.a. all this year!) and I’m excited to start this one. Also, I mean, it’s going to be a blast with Chess Club vacation and new characters and Tare being done with everything and yeah. 😀

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

Well, it’s in a series . . . book 3 of 3! :O Sort of . . . I currently have an “official” trilogy of novels in the series, but also (either written or planned) 4 short stories, 2 novellas, a sort-of-for-fun alternate-ish novel that doesn’t really count, and a spinoff novel that also spins off of some other books I have. Not to mention sometimes my short story ideas turn into novels, and I have ideas for new adventures occasionally . . . (So there’s 10 . . . or, well, 11 . . . currently. But kind of just 3. XD I’ve drafted 2 novels, 2 short stories, and a novella so far.) BUT I still think of these three being the main books, so in that sense I’m starting on the last “official” (currently) Tare and Chess Club book. But I’m so excited because I felt like I’d never get this far! XD

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Hooopefully plotting? I haven’t done a lot yet but I do like to have an idea of how things will go. I have tons of it in my head already, and some basic notes/lists/snippets. I always mean to plot more for NaNo than I usually get around to, resulting in some flailing around, and with Tare and co. you never know when something might dash out of outline plans, so . . . call it a mix?

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Um. Mansion + secret agents (ish) + modern fantasy + British penguin lawyer (he’s not actually a penguin but he’s basically an awkward penguin, more or less) + Tare Doing Things + Chess Club shenanigans + road trip + camping + Tare backstory info (bwahaha) + I’m also planning a cameo of a character from one of my non-KW books. 😀 I don’t know how unique any of that is, but I’m looking forward to it!

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

I’m drawing a blank on this since I don’t have a playlist yet (oh, help) and haven’t really made any fun things . . . Sooo, here, have my ancient KW series Pinterest board which I haven’t messed with in ages but should have some inspiration stuff for all the books, including this one!

Talk to me! ^_^

And there we are! Do join in on the linkup if you’re writing anything for NaNo, or just, you know, writing! (Find me on NaNo here!) And let me know what you think of this? I know I’ve been very absent from blogging, sorry! *hides face* I’m looking forward to hopefully starting writing this in November, and I wish you luck if you’re writing as well! Thanks for reading! ^_^

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…)

Flailing/Panic/Denial/Cupcakes

ccake

Helloooo blogosphere people…

I was going to have a book review post up today, but, PLOT TWIST: I haven’t read the book yet! Heh. Heheh. I’ve had no time to read this month, it’s crazy…

So, instead, you get a flailing-around post of a sort of update of what I’m doing just now.

Because we’re in the last week of NaNo prep. And as everyone knows, the three stages of NaNo prep are: Flailing, Panic, and Denial. I don’t know what order they go in, as I appear to be doing all three of them at once…? So there’s that. (I don’t actually know if those are actually the three stages, but we’re just going to pretend I know what I’m talking about.)

Anyways! What I’m up to.

Firstly, I’m at a cupcake place. Why? Well, because cupcakes. (Do we need another reason?) But actually, it’s because there is internet here and my internet has gone ka-boom due to storms. YAY. *insert heavy sarcasm here*

I happen to be internet-less right when it’s almost the start of NaNo, which is causing extreme doses of panic ’round this here brain of mine (especially as I’m supposed to be being a good ML and all that which largely involves… you guessed it… INTERNET).

Secondly:

SilverForestCoverFinalI’m also panicking about NANO PLANNING. Or rather, lack thereof. I need to have my novel plotted BEFORE November 1st at midnight hits, otherwise I’m basically doomed. So I’m currently flailing around trying to untangle all the gajillions of plot threads and character arcs that is supposed to make up my Twelve Dancing Princesses NaNo retelling. Who knew that there would be so much complicatedness?

Kingdoms being taken over + complicated curse including my favorite character slowly dying + dancing princesses mystery + a dash of timey-wimey because why not + four or five or a dozen romances + a thief running around trying to steal the story + 32 characters to keep track of = confusing complicated mess.

If I can actually plot/survive this, it’s going to be the awesomest thing ever.

I say “if”.

(…RIP me…)

Thirdly:

(Pinterest)

(Pinterest)

Oh yeah, and I’m ALSO panicking (noticing a theme here…?) over my so-called possible Rooglewood contest entry, that old Sleeping Beauty retelling I mention sometimes, The Rose and the Raven. Because I’ve written 5k, which means on the plus side that I’m theoretically a quarter done. But on the MINUS side (we’re talking 40-below, here… Brrrr. *shivers*) it means that I still have give or take 15,000 words left, plus who knows how much extra, plot-wise (meep), AND all of this right before NaNo; i.e. I don’t have time to write it before (unless I decide to be utterly insane), I don’t really want to write it DURING since I’d be liable to mix up my two fairytale-retellings-with-dash-of-romance-and-princes-and-princesses-and-faes-and-with-strong-emphasis-on-fairytale-curse stories, which would be bad, and after NaNo I’ll likely be too dead to write it, and/or not have time. So there’s that. 😉 I’ll just sit here in polite denial and ignore all of this, because that’s how I roll.

Oh yeah. And I also may also kinda-sorta-maybe-possibly be camping-ish. Just another plot-twist in there. Because who needs sanity? NOT ME. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA. *spirals into insane manic laughter* (Ahem. >.> That wasn’t me, in case you were wondering…)

WE MUSTN’T PANIC

WE MUSTN’T PANIC

Basically, it’s NaNo in 4 days, 8 hours, 6 minutes, 10 seconds (less, now that you’re reading this…), I’m insanely busy, have no internet, am not even remotely close to ready for said NaNo in less than 4 and a half days, and I’m doing a lot of flailing, panicking, and denialing (totally a thing).

If I’m not around, you will know why. XD

If you are in much the same boat as I, I wish you the best of luck with your NaNo prep and/or other busy madness. (And if you are all prepared, congratulations: you are a step above us poor mortals and I bow to your superior planning/time-management skills.)

WE CAN DO THIS! (?)

Tip: Cupcakes help. Because cupcakes.

…To be continued…

Checklist: 30 Things To Do For NaNo Prep

nanochecklist

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

Into the Silver Forest (Beautiful Books)

Well, NaNo’s just around the corner (lessthan3weeksohmygoodness *hyperventilates*), and the Beautiful People hosts, Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In are being considerate enough to hold instead a BEAUTIFUL BOOKS post this month… WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT TIMING. So methinks it’s about time for me to introduce my NaNo novel!

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(Go join the link-up, do!)

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’d had an idea for a long time that I wanted to maybe write a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses someday, since it’s my favorite fairy tale and I’m sort of on a quest to read all the retellings of it I can find. But I didn’t get the idea for this particular version of a retelling until February 17, 2014 (yes, it’s less than two years old! *pets baby plot bunny*) and the idea was actually from a DREAM. That’s how it started, anyway. It’s kind of expanded a bunch since then…

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

I am not excited to write it. Nope. Not at all. You know why? Because I am SUPER excited!!! Because it’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and in case you haven’t noticed, it being my favorite fairy tale and me loving retellings as I do, and all… I’m kind of SUPER SUPER excited. It’s going to be a challenge, because I DO love it so much, so I want to do it justice but also do my own spin on it; and there’s also the fact that there are twelve princesses who must be differentiated, not to mention about the same number of fellows, a few romances to follow and keep track of, and several different story threads that I hope will weave together enough to make something plot-like. BUT IT’S BASICALLY GOING TO BE AWESOME.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

My novel is a retelling, as I continue to stress, but I will tell you more about it now since you’re so kind as to ask. 😉

Without further ado, meet my 2015 NaNo novel . . .

SilverForestCoverFinal

(Disclaimer: yes, I made this cover; no, I don’t own either of the pictures I used, and found them on Pinterest.com. No copyright infringement is intended and this “cover” is just for fun.)

The Silver Forest

Escaping an unwelcome suitor, Princess Silver and her eleven younger sisters find a way into Faerie, despite the dying curse of a bitter king which casts a shadow between the realms of human and Fae. Then Princess Sapphire finds her heart captivated by a disinherited prince on the run, who was grudgingly saved by a reckless soldier–the same one Princess Emerald finds in a ditch when she’s out riding and brings home.

That’s only the beginning. Kingdoms are falling one by one, bringing an onslaught of royal refugees seeking shelter in the last undefeated castle, and some wish to court the princesses whose home they find themselves in–from the twin kings of the far North to the enigmatic young gardener who most interests the curious youngest princess. To get away from the stifling tension of a castle filled with the looming threat of war, not to mention suiters royal and otherwise, the princesses nightly visit the beautiful realm of Faerie.

Princess Silver is increasingly drawn by the mystery wreathing the brooding Fae Prince who wanders the silver forest on the boarder of Faerie, haunted by a curse slowly tightening its noose around him. If the twelve princesses can’t unravel the interconnected threads surrounding them and find the right answers, the realms of human and Fae alike may face the same horrible fate.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

The twelve princesses first. I don’t have “faces” for them, but since each of their names is a different color of gem etc., and they tend to wear the color in their name — helpful for parents and peasants and readers alike to tell princesses apart — I gathered pictures of the sorts of colored dresses they wear. (Not to mention that this was a FABULOUS excuse to scroll around Pinterest for hours looking at gorgeous medieval gowns. ;))

princessdresses

PRINCESSES:

Silver = leader. Amethyst = gentle. Turquoise = devious. Ebony = reclusive.

Emerald = spirited. Sapphire = anchor.  Ruby & Auburn (the twins) = mischievous.

Ivory = timid. Goldie = bookish. Rosie = funloving. Peach = inquisitive.

FELLAS:

Prince Taghdach (half-fae) = tormented.

Niog (gardener lad) = enigmatic.

Kern (soldier) = reckless.

Prince Finnigan = selfless.

Prince Cothrom = snobbish.

Rory (thief/con) = devious (whoa; he and Turquoise should get together. 😛 ).

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Honestly, I’m excited about ALL of them, including a few I didn’t mention. This is going to be one of the funnest (not to mention largest) casts of characters I’ve ever dealt with! That being said, I’m really looking forward to writing the devious ones. And I think Kern, Niog, and Finn are going to be super awesome to write.

But… yes, Taghdach. My half-fae Prince Tagg. ❤ (I’m sliiightly addicted to T names as you may have noticed. >.>) He’s probably going to be my favorite to write. He’s nephew to the Fae-king, and his own parents are… well… spoilers. 😉 But he lives in the silver forest at the edge of Faerie and he has a haunted past and uncertain future. Plus he’s kind of dying. So yeah. There’s that. 😛 Huzzah for mysterious fairytale curses which make stories so interesting!

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

…Which one? O_O Seriously, I have so many characters who might be considered the “protagonist”. But… okay, we’ll go with Silver for now. Because if it’s mostly about anyone, it’s probably mostly about her and Taghdach.

Silver wants to look after her sisters, which currently includes keeping annoying suitors at bay… which is a little difficult since the suitors are LIVING there. So that’s where the visits to Faerie come in. Her developing goal in the book becomes to try to unravel Taghdach’s problems and how they’re related to an old curse and the kingdoms falling (which would help with getting rid of the suitors…).

What stands in the way includes the fact that curses don’t like to be broken (especially ones made by very angry very evil kings on their deathbed), the fact that Taghdach isn’t one to open up and might not welcome the help of a parcel of princesses, and of course all those suitors, some of whom are up to no good, and the fact that the kingdom may shortly be attacked. Yay.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

In a faaaantasy world! (Surprise, surprise.) It’s set mostly in a castle in the human world, and also a lot in the silver forest etc. of the Fae world.

SFcastlesilverforest(pinterest)castleblossoms

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

The princesses’ relationships with each other. Which are fascinating, by the way. But they’re a fairly close-knit sister package. *nod nod* I’m also throwing in several romances, so those are important relationships. 😉 Also the king and queen, parents of the princesses, are important to them.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Again, I wail: Which ONE? I don’t know yet. I’m going to write the thing and I just figure that while I’m writing it they’ll all change over the course of the book… and will never be the same again. Mwahaha! Hopefully they’ll all (most?) be better people. *shrug*

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

Good versus evil. Love (both family and romantic). Heroism. The ability to change for the better and go beyond oneself to do good. …Fairy tale retelling. (That can be a theme! Honest!)

I want people to come away feeling like they read a good story, a good retelling, and fell in love with the characters and entering a new world. Basically I want it to be a good book and for readers to feel the same way. 😉

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

  1. Don’t go in blind. Know what you’re going to write and figure it out. (And if you’re a pantser, not a plotter, at least KNOW that you are.)
  2. Wordwars. I can’t stress these enough. Even if it’s just wordwarring yourself with a timer, they are so helpful for getting words down.
  3. Have fun and don’t give up.

(I’m actually going to do a post later this week that will be a checklist for prepping for NaNo, so stay tuned for that!)

[PINTEREST BOARD for THE SILVER FOREST]

And there you have a look into what I’m going to (hopefully) be spending next month working on!