NaNo Ishness 2017! (My Insane 8th NaNoWriMo, Skillet, and Other Epicness)

IT’S DECEMBER. *cue shocked gasps*

This means that a) we survived NaNo (whaaat?), b) I’m no longer trying to write large amounts of words daily, and c) it’s time for an Ishness wrapup of my 2017 NaNoWriMo!

And, y’know, other things that happened in October and November. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is mostly about November, but I’ll touch briefly on October (SO long ago; my goodness, was that even a thing?), to say that I was mostly busy prepping for NaNo, that I caught a cold at the last minute so that I was useless in my NaNo-prep the week before November hit (yay. XD) and that I got to see the band Skillet in concert AND IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING.

(image courtesy of my brother’s phone…)

Colton Dixon (who’s also a great singer whose music I love!) and a couple others were there, which was fun as well! But but SKILLET. They’re one of my favorites, and I especially usually listen to them a lot around this time of year — their fast and inspiring music is so helpful when I’m typing fast on wordwars during NaNo… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, I love their music and they also seem like such FUN people, so seeing them live on a stage with their amazing music and amusingness and just — IT WAS INCREDIBLE. They’re so epic and NICE and faith-filled and funny and I just love them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had an absolute blast, and the whole concert (them and the other artists) was amazing, and I came away so inspired and filled up and happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I did wear earplugs in my ears the whole time because rock concerts are LOUD; I was still able to hear everything despite that just fiiiine, and consequently still have my hearing. XD) Christian Rock may not be everyone’s favorite, but I absolutely love Skillet and this was definitely the highlight of my October. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Bookish

I read a handful of books in the last two months…

(in reverse chronological order, from a screenshot of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, because I’m lazy)

For my thoughts on them, see the Bookish Post I posted on my book blog a few days ago! ๐Ÿ™‚

In Other Book News: New Genre!

Also, the previously un-named genre which we all needed a name for (the kind that’s basically in another world but isn’t TECHNICALLY fantasy because there’s nothing fantastical, and is more like historical fiction but without needing to be historically accurate) was finally named: Kingdom Adventure! So if you read/write this, be aware! This is an exciting development. XD

Watched

Who has time to watch things this time of year?? Ahem. I sneaked in a few in the last couple months, though.

  • Zorro — I watched a few episodes of Disney’s Zorro with Guy Williams because it’s fun. Gracious, I love Zorro things. โค โค โค
  • Once Upon a Time — I saw a couple more episodes of this (I’m still not very far at all. XD) and it continues to be intriguing. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Treasure Planet — This was a re-watch, for… er… research. *cough* (Skyships, dontcha know. ;)) Much fun!
  • The Three Musketeers (2011) — Eheheh, re-watching this for research too. XD (Airships yesss.) Also fun, if messy. ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) — Very… erm… strange. XD But I enjoyed a lot of it… Also, the only reason they had the insane asylum bit was so they could have evil Moriarty. ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Thor: Ragnarok — I SAW THIS AT THE THEATER. And have complicated feelings. XD Epic and HILARIOUS (seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the theater laugh that hard, that many times), with lots of fun and coolness, and also a couple things that were Not Okay and which I have still not recovered from. *glowers at film-makers and mouths “how dare you”* But of course, spoilers, so I can’t say. *cough* Anyways, it was generally a ton of fun. XD (Other than, you know, those things. *cough*)

(I just realized I over-use the word “fun” in my discussion of movies I watched. But why would anyone watch ones that weren’t??)

Highlights of My November

  • Went to an epic booksale
  • Saw Thor 3 *shrieking*
  • Met up with some awesome authors! Shout-out to Kendra Ardnek, Claire Banschbach, Kelsey Bryant, Sarah Holman, J. Grace Pennington — I love these talented gals! It was such a lovely time getting to get together for a few hours. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • (Those three events were all in the first five days of NaNo! :O So much busy. Awesome, but busy.)
  • Had several fun writing events for my NaNo region and met such fun fellow-writers!
  • This was my fifth year as an ML, and it was a blast. Tiring, but so fun.
  • Thanksgiving happened (one of the best things about which is living on leftover dressing and pies after…)
  • My bullet journal told me what I needed to do each day and kept me sane (well… insane, but at least an organized kind so that I knew what I had to do?)
  • Scrivener is life
  • And so are wordsprints
  • Won NaNoWriMo for the 8th time!

Since this is a writing blog, I feel like I should mention that in addition to writing 50K words and learning a lot through that, I also absorbed some writing advice from a knowledgeable author at a write-in, and from a brief creative writing class I attended one day, and read a writing book (No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, who founded NaNo), so I feel all steeped in writerliness. ^_^

Oh, Right, the Actual Writing Part of NaNo

I was a bit of a rebel…

I wrote a 6000 word short story called The Dragon of Kedran’s Wood (or) Tare and the Puppies — which I will share on the blog once I edit it!

And I started my YA Steampunk-Fantasy novel The Siren and the Skyship and wrote 44,000 words of that.

I unfortunately had only done a small amount of plotting in October, so I was not as prepared for writing as I would have liked, which necessitated some hasty plotting partway into November. I feel like I did a lot closer to pantsing than usual. (This year and last year both…) So with that on top of how BUSY I was most days, I sometimes struggled to reach the daily goal. I have no clue how people with full time jobs/school manage to do this — I salute you all. O_O

It was a bit of a challenge to make it to the minimum each day, but I stayed on track except for two days early on. I was DETERMINED to stay on track and I did! ๐Ÿ˜€ (I fell behind when I was visiting awesome author friends, but I don’t even mind because it was so fabulous. ;)) Sometimes I got ahead and used that to take a break and relax and this was SUCH a good idea. I don’t do really well writing every day for long stretches. It worked out this year that I usually wrote four days and then took one off? Like, multiple times? I didn’t even plan that, it just… happened. O_O Because I love analyzing stats and noticed and I love it. XD

Also, I’ve now written 400K words in 8 years of NaNos and EXCUSE ME WHILE I FLAIL OVER THIS FACT. :O

The novel itself is horribly messy and only half done (if that) and I ran out of plot EXACTLY at the end of the month, so I need to plan the rest of it and finish it sometime, but other than that I’m fairly pleased with how it went. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really like the world and characters, and while the Little Mermaid part doesn’t seem to be showing itself as much as it could, the story itself is coming along. SKYSHIPS. โค Because I love nautical-ish things, and this is the perfect mix of 18th century ships, modern navy ships, and spaceships… just… better. ๐Ÿ˜€ And even though they’re frustrating at times, I do love my characters. ๐Ÿ˜‰ *hugs Rook and Tasmania and Auren*

ANYWAY. It’s a mess but I survived and made it this far, and I don’t know how I feel about the whole story, but I was particularly enjoying it later in the month.

And of course I wrote a whole short story first, about my precious Tare-and-the-Chess-Club, which was SO fun. I can’t wait to share it with y’all! โค

And I stayed on track nearly all month and finished early on the 28th.

I’m calling this 8th NaNo a success!

Quick Version

NaNo was exhausting and confusing and busy, and it’s honestly a miracle I managed it with all the insane running around and lack of plotting, but ultimately I had a mostly really good one and I’m so happy to have made it through to the end with another 50K under my belt! ๐Ÿ™‚

December Plans

So, what am I going to be doing this month?

all the blogging and reading and reviewing and basically wearing myself out with my to-do list guilt because I’m two months behind on everything and NaNo’s over so I have no more excuses

RESTING.

…Okay, so you probably know me well enough to know that I probably won’t do neeearly enough of that. But I have SO MANY plans about reading/reviewing/blogging/etc. since I feel like I’ve hardly done any of that for a couple of months due to WRITING STUFF (which was lovely but it will be nice to have a break). So hopefully some of that will happen on top of Christmas busyness and said other plans. I’m ready to chill a little… Doesn’t mean it will happen, but I’m ready for it. XD

I think that’s it?

Maybe I’ll share Siren and the Skyship snippets if y’all want them badly enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰

***

WHEW. *collapses* There you are. I hope you enjoyed this little peek at my NaNo and life! Thank you so much for reading! And let me know in the comments how your NaNo (or November. ;)) went! ^_^

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How’s the Writing Going? NaNo + Skyships (Beautiful Books: Nov. ’17)

It’s time once again for BEAUTIFUL BOOKS, a monthly blog-link-up for writers hosted by the lovely Sky and Cait. This month’s is focused on “How’s the Writing Going?” and looking in on the current progress of the novels we’re writing for NaNo… or writing for any other reason. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Join up in the linky at one of the posts linked above.)

Last month, I introduced my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel, The Siren and the Skyship, my YA Fantasy-Steampunk retelling of The Little Mermaid, so here’s an update on how this story’s coming along!

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

It’s going pretty well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m at 31,714 words for NaNo so far, so as of last night I was on track! I shall have to dash off and do today’s words hopefully after this post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was only behind for two days, early in the month, due to circumstances outside my control (this has been an INSANELY busy November, and I’m just like “SLOW DOWN ALREADY, IT’S NANO, HALP.”) but I’ve managed to claw my way to the on-par bar each night, somehow. I keep meaning to get ahead, but… not really happening. *grimaces* But at least I’m on track! Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

The novel itself is only 25K so far (since I started NaNo with a 6K short story about Tare and the Chess Club), so it’s a little less far along than I’d normally be, but that’s okay — the higher number is giving me more of a sense that STUFF HAS TO BE HAPPENING instead of “oh, I’m only 25K in, I can still do beginning stuff…”

I’ve finally got the three main characters on a skyship together — hurray! And I just dropped a major plot point so yes, things are going well. ๐Ÿ˜€

As far as my mental state — AHAHAHA. Ahem. Well, it’s been going back and forth between “Ugh, this story is a MESS, what am I doing; I should drop noveling and move to a remote island in the Arctic instead” to “this is fun! I wanna write the next scene!” and basically fluctuating between panic/loathing, and enjoying it immensely. So yes, I’d say it’s a normal NaNo. XD

2. Whatโ€™s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

(I’m sharing three, since I have three POV characters. ^_^ The first is the opening line of the novel; the other two are when we meet the other characters.)

Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley stepped out of her shipโ€™s cabin and met the dawn how she most loved to: flying through the dawn-hued clouds in her skyship.

***

Auren, an air spirit and the youngest son of the Cloud Siren queen, flew through the air by the Star Dreamer, moving with the wind.

***

Gunfire rang out, and a small explosion rocked the skyship, gunpowder smoke and steam mixing in the air to form a mist as Rook bounded along down a walkway in the depths of the ship.

3. Whoโ€™s your current favourite character in your novel?

(Image found on Pinterest)

Rook.

Oh, wait, you wanted more than that? Ahem.

For anyone who’s read my #WIPjoy post, you’re prooobably not surprised that my favorite character so far is Rook, the side character who wants to steal the show from Tasmania and Auren (who are the Little-Mermaid-esque romantic leads/main characters). I haven’t gotten to write with him as much as I’d like, since he doesn’t meet up with the other main characters for a little while, but so far he’s definitely my favorite. ^_^ And he’s kind of epic and just yes.

BUT I’M FOND OF THEM ALL. โค I just need to write more so I can get to know them all better…

4. What do you love about your novel so far?

I love my characters, and I love how it’s unlike anything I’ve ever written, and Iย especially love getting to play around in this sky-based fantasy world with the skyships and clouds. It’s gorgeous in my head and I’m having an amazing time exploring it, and — basically somebody just make a movie of this thing already because it would look amazing. โค

(Images found on Pinterest)

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

I don’t know, really, because my backspace-key-instincts when I spot a typo are faster than the speed of thought, which means I fix them ASAP in the midst of my writing (usually; if I see it in the mad rush of writing) and so I don’t remember what they were.

I did just realize that since I accidentally wrote chapter 6 before writing chapter 5, I referenced something in chapter 5 that happened later… which was very silly. Oh well, more words. We can all fix our mistakes after November 30. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

I’m going to have to say middles, because there’s a lot of pressure involved with beginnings and ends.

With beginnings, you don’t quite have a handle on the characters yet and you’re just starting out, not sure about how the story is going to go.

With endings (not that I ever reach there these days… >.> *COUGHCOUGHCOUGH*) it’s like “How am I supposed to wrap up all the things and make it awesome?”

Like I said: pressure on both counts. (Though I WILL say that starting a novel can be exhilarating — why do you think I start so may? *ahem* — and nothing beats the feel of finishing a novel… So I kind of like all three, but middles are especially fun.)

Middles mean you are just wildly running around playing around with your characters who are surprising you, and it’s just glorious fun.

7. 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!

I don’t usually eat while I’m writing because who can focus on both at once? (Spoiler: not me.) If I’m writing, I’m writing; the end.

I do listen to music, especially during NaNo, and it’s usually very fast to help with my typing speeds: either gorgeous soundtrack-type instrumentals, or Christian Rock/Pop, because FAST TYPING. Or Lindsey Stirling, if I have internet access while I’m writing (which isn’t as often as I would like, and more often than my wordcount would like).

I write best at night when there are no distractions and I can get in the zone, but these days I write a lot in the last afternoon/early evening, because that’s when I get around to it…

And I usually write in my comfy chair. Behold my NaNo life of late:

8. How private are you about your novel while youโ€™re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I’m a mix, because I’m very shy about sharing my stuff especially when I’m feeling unsure about it or stuck, BUT I do need the cheer squad to keep me motivated, otherwise I feel down. So I might mention what’s up in the novel (or share a small snippet) in an email/forum/Tweet, and I usually read my chapters aloud to my sister every so often, so she can cheer me on. (10/10 recommend getting yourself an extremely supportive sister to do NaNo with — she’s amazing and encourages me and is awesome.) And I have a couple of major NaNo-buddies who I keep up with and it’s AWESOME supporting each other. ^_^ I don’t know what I’d do without my writerly friends! Y’all are awesome! โค

(But yes, as far as writing goes, I work alone, like Batman and my character Tare. *nodnod* *puts on shades and wears black and walks away mysteriously to novel in some back alley of my imagination*)

9. What keeps you writing even when itโ€™s hard?

Um… the ever-demanding stats-graph on the NaNo site and the fact that I need to hit that on-par line each day. XD Falling behind is NOT something to do during NaNo, as I’ve learned from hard experience…

Other times, it’s how much I’m loving this story/characters. It flips back and forth between the two. ๐Ÿ˜‰

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

(Watch while I blissfully ignore my own advice… *cough*)

  1. Just start. Sit down and start writing, because you’re never going to feel ready.
  2. Don’t worry about perfection, just get the story down in its most basic form — and if that’s messy, go for it! First drafts are exploration missions — you’re exploring the terrain and drawing a map. The building of homes and fences and making it livable and such can come later.
  3. Use wordsprints to your advantage! Try the awesome one on the NaNo site, or just set a timer, and write until the alarm goes off. You’ll be amazed to find that at the end of every 10 minute session, you’ve written two or three hundred words… Then try it again. And again. And then you’ll be done before you know it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a look at my wordsprinting secret-weapon layout. Wordsprint timer from the site open in my browser in one window; very fast music in a playlist in another; and Scrivener, my PRECIOUSSS, where I can monitor how many words I have in my current little segment during the wordwar. It’s a stellar combination and makes me write SO FAST. โค

I had some more NaNo writing tips here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Welp, back to the drawing writing-board! I have a busy day and need to get on writing those words to stay on track, and try to get ahead because Thanksgiving, awk; MUST GET AHEAD. So it’s off to Life/Write for me! I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving, American friends! ^_^ (And a fantastic week, anyone else. ;))

How’s your novel going, if you’re doing NaNo? If not, what are you up to? Chat in the comments below! And if I possibly can squeeze in some editing between my novel-writing, I’m hoping to see if I can share a short story on the blog next week, so stay tuned! Thanks so much for reading! ^_^ *hugs all around*

#WIPjoy: The Siren and the Skyship

During October, I was following along (some of the time) with #WIPjoy (Work In Progress Joy) by Bethany Jennings, on Twitter, answering the prompts I wanted to answer, with The Siren and the Skyship, my NaNo novel.

I thought it would be fun to gather my answers and post them all here, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter or just want to read them all at once! (And, to be honest, so I can see what I said and remember it, for part of my plotting. XD)

I also just figured out how to embed tweets in a post, so I’m feeling technologically advanced. XD Bear with me… *cough*

I’ll be muchly busy with NaNo, and I know I haven’t replied to some comments and haven’t done much blogging because I’ve been busy trying to prep for this month-long writing adventure and had other road blocks like colds and computer issues, BUT I STILL LOVE YOU, I PROMISE. I do have some blog things coming up and hope to catch up on comments and things very soon.

Love you guys!

BRB, have a novel to write.

(And a short story since I’m minorly rebelling for NaNo and starting with a short story…)

Enjoy…

Day 1: Introduce your WIP!

Day 2: Tell us about YOU

Day 5: Ask a question other writers might be able to help with!

Protagonist Week

Day 8: Introduce the MC (share a pic!)

Day 9:ย  How would your MC use Twitter?

Day 14: Who is the MC’s best friend?

Day 19: Your biggest daydream about this WIP’s future.

Day 20: When your WIP is a movie, what would the credits sequence be like?

Character Takeover Week

Day 22: Antagonist – Favorite snack food?

Day 23: Protagonist – Last dream you had?

Day 24: Side character – Is the author evil?

Day 25: Antagonist – What’s something that keeps you up at night?

Day 26: Protagonist – How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Day 27: Side character – Your secret vice?

Day 28:ย  Protagonist – Worst way to die?

End of October Fun!

Day 29: What’s something that’s creepy in your WIP?

Day 30: How do your characters celebrate Halloween (or other holiday), if they do?

Day 31: Your dream cosplay from your WIP!

And there you are!

I hope you enjoyed this mini-look into my Work in Progress — thanks for reading! ^_^

My (Not-So-)Secret Weapons For Surviving NaNoWriMo

So, confession time. It’s Monday, which means I post here (usually). I had an idea for a grand POST TO END ALL POSTS about NaNo and surviving and EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW, IN ONE HANDY POST. Unfortunately, I’ve neither written it, nor have I taken my own advice and gotten prepared for NaNo yet, PLUS I realized that most of my tips are… well… in previous posts?

Therefore! I will mention a handful of new things I’ve discovered that help, and then leave you to peruse my previous NaNo posts (linked at end) for further tips, if you’re so interested.

Because we’re a half a month away from NaNo (WHAAT???) and I’ll be honest: I’m not ready.

I’m so, so not ready.

I need to go spend my time prepping for NaNo, plotting my novel, and trying to conquer my several-miles-long to-do-list. IN TWO WEEKS, MIGHT I ADD. *tries not to collapse and curl up and hide behind a tapestry* Rehashing all the stuff I’ve said about NaNo in previous posts is, sadly, not going to help with that. XD

ANYWAY! Behold, a few of my recently discovered (since my previous posts) not-so-secret weapons for conquering NaNo!

Tools in My NaNo Toolkit

Time

(pinterest)

Time is your enemy during NaNo (TICKING DOWN TO THE END NOOOO) but it can also be your friend.

How?

Well, I’m a long-time advocate of wordwarring (with friends, and with oneself on a timer), but also: during this last Camp NaNo, I discovered the magic of setting a timer for an hour and focusing on writing just for that time. Can take a break afterward, but focusing NOW. Just for an hour.

I can usually write 1K in an hour, which means (theoretically; hear my story laughing at me. XD) it should be a couple of hours per day, yes? *cough*Leavemetomydelusions.*cough*

Make time your ally: use it with timers and word-sprints and chunks of writing time for focusing.

Make it work FOR you.

Scrivener

Screenshots for this year (below, top) and last year’s NaNo (below, bottom)

SCRIVENER IS MAGIC, OKAY. I used it last year and it. was. amazing. I hate buying software and stuff because I’m cheap and like free things, but I tried it free for a month during NaNo last year and loved it so much I got it (half-off with a NaNo coupon).

The plotting and organizing features give me life, and having a word-count goal set on each individual chapter/section/day was SO helpful — and the fluidity of being able to merge or separate them at will was amazing. I also utilized the full-screen writing mode to lessen distractions, and loved to make it a slightly-smaller window to write in, with a small window of my browser open in another part of the screen, showing the counting-down wordsprint tool on the NaNo site. ๐Ÿ˜€ SO motivational!

All the planning

This one is both old and new. I’m keeping notes in a dedicated-journal just for this project, which is helpful/inspiring. The journal and the scrivener are the new things, but planning is SUPER IMPORTANT. Unless you’re a pantser, in which case I salute your bravery. I reeeally need to do a braindump scribbling-down of all my ideas (so many scenes and things in my head!) and then organize those and make an outline… But anyhow. Plot plot plot!

Bullet Journal to stay organized

Please note, I keep an “ugly” bullet-journal, which is to say, I don’t make mine a work of art and I don’t actually “journal” much (like talk about what I did; I just mark stuff off).

It’s like a daily/weekly/monthly/planner thing which I use with bullet-points of to-do-lists and things going on, and I usually plan it out a week or a month in advance.

I’ve done stuff like this before, but this is the first time I’ve had an actual bjournal (my abbreviation) to do it with.

I have a page or two of to-do lists for October, and will have one for November. I have a page for a to-do list for each week. And I have a page for every day, with info at the top about stuff going on, and a to-do list. Also daily trackers in a list on one page for keeping track of stuff I should do every day and don’t want to rewrite over and over, and a calendar list so I can keep track of what’s going on.

It doesn’t have to be fancy (in fact, please don’t try!) but both for pre-NaNo-prep, and for NaNo itself, it’s very handy to keep track of stuff!

NaNo runs at an insane pace, and I’m seriously going to need this in order to keep life/writing/ML-ing straight. Not to mention daily wordcount goals listed each day… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Draft Zero

Last but not least: Draft Zero.

I SERIOUSLY need to do a post about this, but it’s basically getting the story down in its most basic form. It’s a mix of extreme plotting (but super vague too? It’s hard to explain) and very rough first-draft. It kind of bridges drafting and outlining so that I can Howl* myself into writing without actually writing, and then it’s easy to expand into a real first-draft.

I have so far only done this in segments — like a scene or chapter at a time (often out of order) and then expand it. I used it especially for the ending of my short story Darkling Reflections (actually the last third of it) and my novella The Rose and the Raven. Super helpful.

I WILL post about it someday, but basically don’t worry about spelling/punctuation/sentences; just write down what happens in brief bullet-point order (dialog included!) and throw in descriptions/whatever, whenever you feel like it. Basically give yourself permission to make a mess on the page.

I may try to do this for NaNo, or I may just do it each day as my outline-plotting before turning each chapter into a first-draft chapter day by day. Not sure yet. Either way, it’s my biggest secret weapon, and with it in my toolkit, NaNo-doubt doesn’t have a chance. ๐Ÿ˜‰

*Apologies for those who don’t understand this Howl’s Moving Castle reference. It derives from a quote Howl said about being a coward — and the only way he can trick himself into doing things is pretending he’s NOT doing them. I’m very Howl-ish and am a slitherer-outer. XD

***

And there you have my 5 new tips. Thank goodness I only did five because otherwise this post would be enormous. XD

I hope these tips (and the ones below) help you. But you know what? Even if you don’t have tools or secret weapons, even if you’re not prepared for NaNo… you can still do this. If you have a story you want to tell, then that is all you need.

All you REALLY need is to show up each day in November at the screen (or pen/paper) and look in your heart and write.

You’ve got this, writer! I believe in you! Now get out there and conquer this NaNo. ๐Ÿ™‚

Check out more tips below. ^_^ THANKS FOR READING, AND GOOD LUCK! โค

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(click images to visit posts)

Beautiful Books: The Siren and the Skyship (NaNo 2017)

It’s almost NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, dontcha know), so that means it’s time foooor…

Beautiful Books!

Yes indeed, Sky and Cait have thoughtfully put together a questionnaire to fill out regarding our NaNo novels! (Or any kind of novel, really.) So check out the linkup and join in if you like, and read on for a look at the novel I’m planning to write this November! ๐Ÿ™‚

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’m not sure exactly what sparked the idea… it just sort of happened.

June 26, 2015: I wrote in my then-writer’s-journal (I keep a new one every year) about a steampunk fantasy Little Mermaid story with the roles switched (mer character a guy, prince character a princess/skyship-captain). The title arrived a couple weeks later, and a week or two after that, I met the side character whose subplot tied everything together, along with an explosion of other characters and details, turning into a novel I was dying to write.

It’s expanded somewhat since then, but the main story idea is all from June-July two years ago, and I’ve been excited to write it ever since!

2. Describe what your novel is about!

I don’t mind if I do! It’s a YA Steampunk-Fantasy retelling of The Little Mermaid… ish.

Here, have a burb. *tosses summary at you*

The Siren and the Skyship

by Deborah O’Carroll

(NaNo 2017 Novel)

It’s just another mission on a voyage through the clouds for Her Royal Highness Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Captain of the HRSS Star-Dreamer. Until she is saved from a fall from her skyship by an unseen rescuer, and an odd young man comes into her life with sky-blue eyes and cloud-white hair.

Auren never chose to be a cloud-siren prince; he would rather steer a skyship alongside the young woman he lovesโ€”who happens to be a princess and a captain. But to become human he must make a trade. Who needs a voice, anyway?

All Rook wanted was to serve in the skynavy, but everything he holds dear is taken from him. Fighting to forge a new life for himself, he carries the most dangerous secret of allโ€”one the Sorcerer of the Mist will be happy to take off his hands.

When assassins strike close to home and send Princess Tasmania’s world spiraling into disarray, she will need all her friends at her side to face cloud-city ambassadors, spies, more assassins, sky pirates, the Sorcerer of the Mist (who keeps collecting things that don’t belong to him), and ohโ€”maybe a little love.

These cloud voyages may turn out more interesting than the Star-Dreamer’s crew anticipated.

3. What is your bookโ€™s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Clouds. Skyships. Steampunk. Tea. Love.

(All images from Pinterest and belong to their respective owners)

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

(All images from Pinterest and belong to their respective owners)

Meet Princess Tasmania, captain of the skyship Star-Dreamer; Auren, the invisible/insubstantial wind-spirit-type Cloud Siren who wants to be human (okay, so he will be very early on…); and Rook, the former skynavyman whose father was a skyship admiral and whose mother was the daughter of a pirate king and an assassin.

Rook keeps threatening to steal the show because he’s awesome, but I keep trying to remind him that this is a LITTLE MERMAID RETELLING and he’s neither main character from that story. (Tasmania and Auren are awesome too, but, well… Rook…)

Anyway, consequently, I don’t know who’s the real MC, so I’m currently calling all three of them Main Characters and letting them fight it out. We’ll see what happens. XD

(All images from Pinterest and belong to their respective owners)

Other characters include: Noya (Tasmania’s best friend/right-hand gal), Xasper (a street-thief-turned-cabin-boy who may or may not be WHOOPS SPOILERS), an assassin lady, a couple of cool pirates (and some scary ones), various quirky/eccentric/epic crew-members on Tasmania’s ship, several villains, and Tasmania’s awesome brothers. The side characters are nearly as vivid in my mind as the main ones and I’M SO EXCITED TO WRITE THEM ALL. โค

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Getting ready for the hectic adventure that is NaNoWriMo, and prepping to write a book, are two separate (but in this case related) things. NaNo prep I usually do all or most of the stuff in this post: 30 Things To Do For NaNo Prep.

When I plot a novel, I like to have a summary, a rough outline, and a chapter-by-chapter list if possible, as well as names for characters, maybe some inspirational pictures, and just… well… to feel READY.

I also set up a pin board thing each NaNo. This is my current one (subject to change) and includes inspiring quotes by friends, NaNo stuff, inspirational pictures, and links to my Scrivener and folder.

This year I’m currently trying something new, which is having a dedicated journal just for writing down ideas for this story. I haven’t done much with it yet, so I’m not sure how helpful it will be, but so far I’ve jotted down some thoughts I’ve had over the last two weeks, which was handy. I’m hoping, soon, to really buckle down and write out a lot of my brainstorm ideas, and sort through old notes I have, and then see if I can organize (perhaps with Scrivener’s help) something out of the jumble that will hopefully end up resembling a plot outline… Hey, at least I have three weeks in which to do so, right?? *eye twitch*

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

ALL OF IT. Okay, so I’m really excited to do a Little-Mermaid-ish story; I’m suuuper excited about the skyships and this world, and just the FEEL of it; I’m in love with these characters and can’t wait to write their stories. ๐Ÿ™‚

7. List 3 things about your novelโ€™s setting.

  • It’s in a fantasy world, which largely consists of floating cities in the clouds (Princess Tasmania is from the palace at the top of one of these), lots of rocky pillars thrusting up into the clouds and mist, farms and forests on the land below, and lots of ravines with cliffs plunging down into the misty unknown (nobody goes down there because it’s Not Safe), with wooden slat bridges and/or rope nets strung across the ravines and between pillars in some places.
  • There is no ocean in this world. (Oh, look. The Little Mermaid without the SEA. XD It’s all in the sky, peoples.)
  • A lot of the story (theoretically) takes place on skyships (a mix between our seagoing ships of the 18th century and STEAMPUNKERY), because skyships are awesome.

8. Whatโ€™s your characterโ€™s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Auren wants to marry Tasmania, and, well, there’s a lot standing in the way of that, which will include the trading-away-his-voice thing. (How can you ask somebody to marry you when you can’t, you know, ask?) So, that is to say, the Sorcerer of the Mist is in his way, and he’ll have to do something about that if he wants his happily ever after…

Princess Tasmania’s ultimate goal is order and keeping those she loves (and her ship) safe. Standing in her way is… pretty much everything in the book. XD Assassins and pirates and plots and all the things. But mostly her goal is getting rid of the threat against her and her family and friends, and definitely standing in her way is the Sorcerer of the Mist…

Rook just wants a normal life in the skynavy, and a family to love wouldn’t be amiss. His family being… pretty much dead… is therefore awkward, and so is himself being presumed dead and therefore kind of out of the navy. Then his major problems are a captain with a vendetta against him, oh, and awkwardly ending up without a memory… Yeah… So — surprise — it’s the Sorcerer of the Mist’s fault again… (This guy’s behind a lot; he’s a very busy fellow. XD)

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

Whaaaat? And ruin the surprise?? (*cough* Which is another way of saying: I have no clue as of yet, since I haven’t written it. XD)

10 What are your bookโ€™s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

So I don’t really pre-plan themes? But I think I’d like a strong theme of love and also friendship and loyalty. *shrug* What can I say, it’s a YA romance-y-ish novel, and I want all the characters to learn to be friends too. XD

I’d like the reader to feel like they just read a swashbuckling, EPIC, fun (and hopefully amusing?), possibly feelsy story, one worth spending all that time reading (and all the time I anticipate I’ll spend writing it. XD). I want them to feel like they just read a GOOD book, and to close it with a smile. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And possibly hug it, but you know, that might be asking too much. :P)

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So there you have a look at the novel I’m planning to write for NaNo! I’m also featuring it for #WIPjoy over on Twitter, so if you’re curious for more tidbits, you can peruse those throughout October.

I’m also thinking about posting some NaNo tips here on my blog next week, maybe, so stay tuned for that…

Who else is doing NaNo?? You can find me on the site as Celtic Forest Dweller if you need another writing buddy, and, yes, I do have a Pinterest board for this novel (which is currently messy and in need of organizing, but for what it’s worth, there you are. XD).

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed. ^_^