Guess Who Finished A Novel?? (Know the Novel 2: Within Siren & the Skyship and Tare)

NaNo’s almost over and it’s time to answer the super fun questions for the second round of Christine Smith’s fabulous writer linkup, Know the Novel!

I’m doing the two novels I’m writing for NaNo, The Siren and the Skyship (“S&S” — YA steampunk-fantasy Little Merman), and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (“KW2” — wintry contemporary fantasy sequel). You can read my answers to the first round of questions introducing the novels at that link!

1. How’s the writing going?

STUPENDOUSLY.

I hit a very exciting point on the night of the 27th:

I HIT 50K AND WON MY 9TH NANOWRIMO!!! 😀 I’m super excited. ^_^

It was super hard just to stay on track the first week or so, simply because life was SO BUSY, but I somehow stayed on par for the first 8 days, just barely.

On November 9th, I wrote over 8,000 words (beating my personal record for a single day) and FINISHED The Siren and the Skyship!!!

Guys, I’m so happy! This is my fifth finished novel, but I hadn’t finished a novel (novellas/short stories don’t count) in 5 years and just… the thrill of finally doing so again and getting to the end of this story I’m so in love with was absolutely amazing! ❤ It’s 95K words long, a total and absolute mess of writing, with draft zero bits scattered here and there, and is going to need a complete overhaul and rewrite because the story kept changing itself on me… but I still absolutely adore it AND IT’S DONE FOR NOW.

I’m so, so happy. ^_^

Bucky is grouchy because some random writer girl’s stats bars are hitting him in the chin. (gorgeous art/spreadsheet credit to Svenja Gosen)

So the first 9 days of NaNo, I worked on S&S and wrote 21K on that.

On November 10, I switched right over to working on The Secret of Kedran’s Wood. I’ve been making SERIOUS progress on that and it’s absolutely glorious! I’ve written 33K on it this month and finished part 2 and I’m in the final homestretch of the novel. AAAHH!

And, as I mentioned, I hit 50K for the month on Tuesday! 😀

I’m actually STILL writing, though, because KW2 is not over yet and I probably won’t finish this month but I’m close enough that I want to keep writing anyway! (Let’s just pretend the novel isn’t 118K already and not quite done. *dies*)

SO YEAH. At the time of writing this post, I’m at 55K for the month, and I don’t know if I’ll get much more done before December 1st hits, but it’s been going great and I’ve been having a blast!

a write-in I hosted

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

S&S: The characters I love and the steampunk-fantasy world and getting to write the ending! ❤

KW2: Getting to write scenes I’ve been looking forward to getting to for ages — and writing characters I love so much. ^_^

3. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

S&S: Given that I didn’t actually know all the details of the big-ending-stuff and how it would happen until I was this close to having to actually write it . . . I’d say yes. It’s been surprising me the entire book because I keep thinking it’s going to be a certain way and then the story veers off completely and leaves me going “OKAY THEN” with my mind blown but really excited about the new direction. It’s just going to make it really hard to rewrite. *cough*

KW2: I’m surprised at how it’s coming together finally because I thought I’d never get to this point. XD But I’m really excited!

4. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

S&S: I LOVE THEM ALL. Rook is definitely my favorite to write (hence why he stole the show and then proceeded to get a sequel), but Princess Tasmania is really fun to write too, and so are her brothers (love themmm!) and street-thief Xasper and sky-pirate Keller (who is also stealing a sequel for himself and earned an AHA epilogue at the end of this one), and even Gerias (young Sean Bean) and Noya who’s kind of intense and I lowkey ship her with Rook. ANYWAY. I love all of them and honestly the entire cast is a blast to write. 😀 I’m already really excited to write more about all of them in the two sequels!

KW2: I obviously lurve all of my characters in this, given that I am nearly done their second book when I was only originally going to write one book! 😉 Tare is definitely my favorite to write, being my favorite ever, but I’m also really enjoying a couple of new, spoilery characters, including one I just met the other day and am absolutely ecstatic about because I’ve been dreaming of meeting this person for AGES.

5. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

S&S: I’m never good at this question! I’d probably be a random crew member on the Star Dreamer? If I had to be a major character I’d be Tasmania but I’d be terrible at being as awesome and brave and no-nonsense as she is, sooo yes, my different actions would consist of sitting in the enormous library at the palace in the sky city, devouring books and scones and tea, instead of doing action and quests, and there would be no story. XD

KW2: Well. I’d like to think I’d be Tare but honestly I’d be no good at that despite our kindred souls, so I’d doubtless be Lavender, and since she’s kind of a timid, cautious kind of person, I’d probably do about what she does… Or maybe I’d be somewhere between her and Marie.

6. Give us the first sentence or paragraph and then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

Probably because I’ve been writing near the end of the books, most of my favorite lines are terrible spoilers so I can’t share them, but let’s give this a go…

S&S opening:

Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley fell through the clouds.

This was not usually a problem. Normally, she could catch hold of ropes hanging from her skyship—and anyway, her personal clockwork dragon was programmed to swoop down and catch her when she fell.

Normally.

Unfortunately, normal didn’t cover it this time.

***

S&S snippets:

“I didn’t even know he had a brother—step-brother,” Tasmania amended quickly before Keller could correct her, “until we ran into you. I thought Gerias was an open book.”

“Oh, he is,” Keller said breezily. “You just weren’t reading the right chapter.”

***

“I don’t know,” Rook stammered, running his fingers through his black hair. “I don’t remember. I don’t even know… That is… Do I know you? And who’s Rook?”

***

The front bell tinkled and Xasper clattered in through the door. “Noya, get going—we’re going to be late,” he said by way of greeting.

You’re going to be late if you order me around—late for what?”


KW2 opening:

Sporadic sleet and a biting December wind conspired to form a day not fit for man or beast. Marie Valerian and her brother Jake, being neither, were of course out in it.

KW2 snippet:

“Are you okay?” Lavender asked automatically.

“Sure. Fine,” Tare said.

“You’re tied to a chair,” Baz pointed out.

“Oh, really? People keep telling me that.”

Lavender skidded to her knees in front of the chair on the concrete and reached for some of the ropes, holding out her other hand. “Baz, give me a knife.”

There was a pause. She looked up to see Baz hovering uncertainly. Lavender dropped her hand and her shoulders slumped a little. “Seriously? I thought all boys have pocket knives.”

Baz coughed. “It’s been awhile since my Boy Scout days. I might have some gum if that helps any . . .”

Tare sighed and kicked his foot a little. “In my right boot.”

7. Have you come across any problem areas?

S&S: Um, how about THE ENTIRE BOOK? *headdesks repeatedly* Honestly, it keeps switching direction and is so full of inconsistencies, due to my continuing writing while acting like I’ve already addressed them, that it would make less than zero percent sense if anyone else were to try to read it right now. 😛

KW2: *sweeps sudden gaping plot holes and entire lack of a plot under the rug* Nothing to see here… *innocent whistling*

8. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

S&S: FINISHING IT! ❤ I’m seriously so, so excited about this, even though it feels like a long ago thing of the past since it was in the first third of NaNo. XD *cough* And a few mind-blowing plot pieces clicking into place. 😉

KW2: Finishing part two, which I feel like I’ve been writing FOREVER and was a huge milestone for me, and getting to meet a certain character… And honestly just getting SO CLOSE to the end of this thing! I still have big ending stuff and wrapup to do, and honestly no clue how to do a lot of that, but it’s still closer than I dreamed of getting on this thing. ^_^

9. Be honest, have you killed any characters off yet?

ER. SPOILERS, HELLO. (I mean, if you know me, you might have a guess… so probably not. *cough*)

10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this particular novel has looked like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

It depends but I usually end up writing in the evenings, and I’ll often see if any friends are online word-sprinting. I really like doing wordsprints even if it’s by myself. For S&S, I’d usually have Stay Till the Daylight by Skillet (Rook’s themesong for the sequel) or Skyworld on repeat while writing, with my earbuds in and a wordsprint timer open in one window, and Scrivener in another.

For KW2, it’s the same layout but I usually listen to Kate Price’s Planxty Amblade-Cruso (the themesong melody for KW2 because it feels wintry and just fits it). OR, lately, I’ve been listening to an assortment of various songs I like on youtube, most noticeably this GORGEOUS version of Rewrite the Stars from The Greatest Showman, done by the Piano Guys, which I had on repeat for forever. ❤

Also, I’ve been wearing my new fingerless gloves when it’s been cold, which I crocheted one week while I was procrastinating writing. 😉

At a write-in — and one of the rare times I had a coffee because peppermiiiint from Starbucks since I had a giftcard to use. Hence this “classic” writer photo. XD


Whew. That’s it from me today — I hope you enjoyed this look within the WIPs and hearing about my NaNo! How are YOU doing, NaNoers or otherwise? If you’re doing NaNo and still need to write, GOOD LUCK TO YOU!!! YOU CAN DO IT! Even if you’re nowhere near hitting 50K, keep writing all the same because it’s still writing! ^_^ Congrats to any fellow NaNo winners — you rock! And also to all you people not doing NaNo: we’re almost done flailing about it and getting back to normal life, promise. XD

One more day, guys!

Thanks for reading and lemme know what you think of the snippets or… anything! 🙂

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Tare & Steampunk Little Merman: In Which I Go Rebel For NaNo 2018 (Know the Novel Intro Linkup)

(Just to clarify on that silly post title: Tare and the Steampunk Little Merman are not in the SAME story. XD)

Today I’m joining in on Christine Smith’s fun new noveling linkup to share about my 2018 NaNo project!

But first, a little about my plans.

I’m officially going all-out Rebel for NaNo this year.

There, I said it. 😛

Fun facts in list form (because lists!):

  • We’ll see if it goes according to plan, but I’m currently hoping to work on two different books I’ve started before.
  • So I’m… like… a double Rebel. XD (Since you’re “supposed to” start a new work and only write one thing.)
  • This will be my 9th NaNo. (Whaaat?? Where did time go?)
  • PLUS, this is really my first purposeful time of going Rebel for NaNo!
  • I’ve rebelled two other times, but both were by accident. 😛
  • One year I got halfway into the month and totally scrapped the book, realizing I’d need to rewrite it, and so worked on two other things.
  • And then last year I wrote a short story as well as starting a new novel but that was kind of a last-minute decision.

At the moment my goal is to FINISH (or at least get quite close to their endings) TWO novels I’ve been working on:

1) The Siren and the Skyship (steampunk-fantasy YA Little Mermaid — I mean Merman — retelling) — I started this for NaNo last year, got 40-some thousand words written (because of said short story which filled in the rest of the 50K) and have been working on it all year since. It’s now up to 73K and I’m hoping that I can finish it next month.

2) The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (YA contemporary fantasy, book 2 in a series, featuring Tare — my favorite character. Shh, don’t tell anyone else. …Eh, never mind. They know already. 😛 ) — I’ve been writing this since… erm… 2014. *cough* It’s currently a monstrous mess of about 86K words, including snippets and bits all over the place and I really want to get those sewn together and the book finished up finally.

I have in my mind about how long I’d like them both to be, and to fill that up for each would be a combined total of about 50K. (I’m 10000% aware that my novels love to laugh in my face and be way longer than I planned. But at least I can make SOME progress??)

SO YEAH. No exciting new novel to announce this year — sorry! Just continuing on two old favorites of mine. Which, honestly, has me super excited because I love them. ^_^

Usually, I spend NaNo starting new books and not finishing them, so this year I figured I’d try something new.

But also, endings are scary and hard and whyamIdoingthistomyselfhalp, so… wish me luck. *bites nails*

SO. I’m going to do Christine Smith’s exciting new novel linkup, Know the Novel, to talk a little about both of these! I know I’ve rambled about both books before, but I’m excited about these questions so I’m going to talk more about my precious book brainchilds — so there. 😛 Hopefully y’all won’t mind. 😉


Giveaway Winner

OH! And last week I shared some NaNo writing tips and ran a giveaway for a copy of “No Plot? No Problem!” by NaNo founder Chris Baty, and today I’m excited to announce that the winner is…

Lilian S.!

Congrats, Lilian! I’ll be contacting you shortly. 🙂

Thanks so much for entering, everyone! ^_^


Now, onward to the Official Linkup Questions!

If you want to know more Tare things or stuff about my steampunk Little Mermaid book (including NEW AND IMPROVED BLURBS — YAY! — for both books), then read on!

Know the Novel, a writers linkup by Christine @ Musings of an Elf! Image from her post.

(Abbreviations: The Secret of Kedran’s Wood = KW2. The Siren and the Skyship: S&S.)

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

S&S: The idea of a Little Mermaid retelling in the sky instead of in the sea, with a wind/cloud siren instead of a merperson — and the siren being a guy, while the heroine is a princess and a skyship captain… because steampunk. >:D So yeah.

KW2: After writing the first book (which was supposed to be a standalone — hahahaHAHAHA — ahem), I still had adventures to explore with Tare and the Chess Club. I loved them too much to stop writing them. Originally there was going to be one sequel (which is now book 3) but then I had an idea for a fun little wintry/Christmassy short story or novella between the two, since I had some fun winter scenes in mind. So I started writing that. Then it became book 2 and is currently a monstrously long novel. Figures. 😉

2. Share a blurb!

The Siren and the Skyship (Sky Voyages Ever After, #1)

Searching for his father’s killer, Prince Auren the Cloud Siren needs to be more substantial than a wind spirit. But to become human he must make a trade. Who needs a voice, anyway?

Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley of the Royal Skynavy finds her life thrown into chaos when assassins strike. She’ll do anything to stop a war from erupting between the sky city states and tearing apart what’s left of her family.

Fighting to forge a new life for himself in the skynavy after everything he holds dear is ripped away, Stirling Rook holds the most dangerous secret of all—one the Sorcerer of the Mist will be happy to take off his hands.

Assassins prowl cloud city rooftops, the pirate king terrorizes the skies, unknown death lurks down the misty ravines where no one goes, and the Sorcerer of the Mist keeps collecting things that don’t belong to him . . .

Tasmania, Auren, and the Star Dreamer’s crew may soar through the clouds on skyships and clockwork dragons, but have they traded away the only thing that can defeat the darkness?

One thing’s for sure: they’ll need all the magic, tea, and true love they can find.

***

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, #2)

All that monster stuff the Chess Club of Kedran’s Wood went through in the summer is absolutely and completely over. Totally. Isn’t it?

There are mysteries afoot in the town by Kedran’s Wood. Mr. Larch’s sister is visiting, but the rest of the Chess Club haven’t actually seen her. What is the connection between the Wildlings and the new guy around town and his goons? And why are they looking for Tare?

Speaking of which . . . the resident leather-clad stranger (no longer so strange) returns from his absence one snowy December day. Tare does some investigating of his own into the people looking for him, but he’s haunted by nightmares and the approach of a night that might make his worst fears a reality.

Harold Starrford and his step-father aren’t going to stop until they know the information Tare possesses, and they don’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. Tare’s not going to have that — not in his town. Throw in a mysterious dog that keeps popping up around town, and a legend of a dark faerie (which might not be so legendary), and it’s business as usual around Kedran’s Wood for the Chess Club and Tare these days.

And, oh yeah, Christmas is coming. How is the Chess Club going to find time for gingerbread house making contests? And what on earth are they going to do for Tare for Christmas? If all of them can make it that long, that is . . .

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

S&S: IN THE SKY in a fantasy world. I absolutely love having floating cities, skyships soaring through clouds (and clockwork dragons to ride instead of boats/shuttles/helicopters/whatever), and mysterious pillars of rock all over the place hiding in the mist that skyships have to sail through. Plus creepy ravines nobody goes down because you… kinda die if you go down there. *cough* And I also love the steampunk-flavored touch to this fantasy world, with cool old-fashioned clothes and coats and ball dances and clocks and gears and steam-rifles and the occasional magical gadgetry and especially skyships. The skyships are my favorite. 😀

KW2: In a small town in modern-day America, next to a wood. Kedran’s Wood itself has to be my favorite part of the setting (it’s kind of mysterious and just so neat), but I’m also partial to using abandoned warehouses etc. for the villains to lurk in. And Tare lives in the deserted side of town in his own cozy “lair” as the Chess Club have named it. I kind of want to live there…

4. Tell us about your protagonist.

S&S: *nervous laughter* Which one? XD I kind of have three. 😛

Auren is a cloud-siren prince (okay, so he’s the seventh son, so not that important) which means he’s an insubstantial air spirit. Or, he was. Now he’s human, and he’s not at all used to it. XD He’s got white hair and he’s seventeen and super cool. I actually need to rewrite his entire plotline, and his personality also just changed, so I’m going to move to somebody else here. (But it’s his story, pretty much. He’s the “little mermaid” er… merman… er… siren. I mean, he’s neither little, nor mer, nor a maid, but it’s still a Little Mermaid retelling, I promise. *cough*)

Princess/Captain Tasmania is the princess of a city in the clouds, but since she has two older brothers in line for the throne (twins, actually; one the crown prince, one in charge of the sky navy — they’re awesome, by the way), she’s free to captain her own beloved skyship, the Star Dreamer, in the Royal Sky Navy. She flies around with her motley crew she’s put together (including Auren and Rook now… bwahaha), doing various missions. And she’s like seventeen too, and has curly red hair.

If I tell you about Rook I’ll be here all day because he’s my favorite and keeps stealing the show, but he’s in the Royal Sky Navy and is really cool, and if you ask him he’ll let you know that his author is super mean. *cough*

(Me: Stop stealing the spotlight in this book already, won’t you? I already promised you a sequel!

Rook: And then you made it book 3 instead of book 2. I’m only saying.

Me: Blame Keller! He’s a sky pirate! Of course he stole your book!)

KW2:

The Chess Club are kind of the protagonists, but, again, it would take awhile to introduce them all… Briefly, there’s shy Lavender, rambunctious Baz (the pun-master), fiery Ivy, confident Adrian (who clashes with Tare sometimes), and the siblings, solid Marie and cautious Jake. There’s also wry Mr. Larch (the only one who’s not a teen), and Small Occasion the little fluffy white dog. 😉

Tare is honestly the real protagonist, though. He’s my favorite character I’ve ever written, so… I can’t really sum him up in a paragraph. *cough* I can start, though. He’s 19 (ish… it’s complicated), has black hair and always wears a black leather jacket (usually carting a fair number of weapons in it to deal with any… situations that might arise, though his fists would work just as well). He’s a little mysterious and shady-seeming, with a dark past (like… Khazad-dum dark… Don’t even think of going there.) but honestly he has a heart of gold and you want him on your side in a pinch. Just don’t expect him to be social.

I will direct you to previous interviews and such if you would like more of a glimpse at what Tare is like. XD Here, here, and here to start with.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

S&S: The Sorcerer of the Mist, who’s… kind of like the stand-in for the Sea Witch of the original tale, but is actually a tall, thin man in a long coat who’s kind of elegant and totally creepy. He’s the main antagonist, but there are also sky pirates and assassins and a traitor sky navy captain (who is a total jerk, ugh) and some danger lurking down the misty ravines which makes no one ever return… There’s a lot of antagonistic forces in this one. I like to keep things interesting for my characters. *cough*

KW2: There’s more than one antagonist in this as well, and… er… awkwardly, one of them is Harold “Mr. Perfect-Teeth” Starrford (the nickname is what the Chess Club called him before learning his name. XD), the guy who’s dating Mr. Larch’s sister Robin. So yeah. But the other one is Harold’s kinda-shady/ominous secretary-slash-step-father, Greg Nobody-really-remembers-his-last-name. (Aaand there may be an evil faerie involved. I’m just sayin’.)

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

S&S: ALL THE THINGS. Literally. The characters (I love them all so much, okay?), the world, the complicated plot now spilling into three books, the fairytale retelling aspect, the steampunkery and fantasyness… I LOVE IT ALL. I’m absurdly in love with all of the things in this book. And writing this blog post is making me even MORE excited! Like… can it be NaNo already? (I’m not ready, honest, but still.)

KW2: My favorite character, Tare, being awesome… as well as getting to meet A NEW CHARACTER I’m rather excited about. But really I love continuing this series. And at the moment, I’m just really ready for this second book to be DONE! (…So that I can hasten onward and write book 3 which has been attacking my brain lately. Not that I’ll complain. ;))

7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?

They were both SUPPOSED to be standalones and are now series. XD Go figure.

S&S: This is the first in a fairytale retelling trilogy. Originally they were going to be standalones, just with a few recurring characters… but now they’re an awesome tangled mess of plot threads following all my favorite characters and being all interconnected and I’m so excited. Currently book 2 is a Jack and the Beanstalk/Snow White/Rapunzel book about a sky pirate by the name of Keller. Book 3 is about my fave character Rook (YAS!) and will feature The Snow Queen… and possibly Beauty and the Beast or East of the Sun, West of the Moon? I’m not sure yet. It’s being stubborn. They’re a bit more “inspired by” fairytales than straight-up retellings, but still fun. (Oh, and book 2 and 3 recently swapped places so MY BRAIN IS CONFUSED but don’t mind me.)

KW2: This is book 2 in a contemporary fantasy trilogy… with extras on the side. I’ve written book 1. Book 3 is going to feature the Chess Club and Tare on summer vacation, and scary agents and new characters and more secrets about Tare’s past and stuff. I’m excited. Then I have a smattering of short stories and novellas with the same characters, so yeah. Lots to write with this one! But it’s so much fun, I have no complaints. 😛 (There’s also the fact that Tare and another side character in the series recently teamed up in my head with some other side characters from two other books of mine to make me promise I’ll write a crossover Urban Fantasy heisty novel about all of them together. So there’s that. *cough*)

8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?

Er… some of both, for both. I have a lot of scenes in my head, and a fair amount of notes, but I’m not nearly as plotted as I’d like to be for an actual NaNo month. I do have a rough idea of where things are going, though. And I technically have a list of the rest of the scenes in each, all divided up into 30 days of writing, so in THEORY I should be okay… until it all falls apart. XD I’m just hoping both of them will listen to me and let me get to the end. *sound of both books laughing at me in the background* (Me: Stop it, guys.)

9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.

S&S: Hopefully it’s a unique take on The Little Mermaid, and I like to think the setting is unique too. 🙂

KW2: This one’s unique because it’s about modern teenagers but WITHOUT THE TEENAGED DRAMA/ANGST/LOVE-TRIANGLES yay! XD Um. I’m sure there’s other unique things too. *cough*

10. Share a fun “extra” 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!).

Well, for both, here’s a handy pinboard I always set up for NaNo, with various inspiration and stuff.

S&S: Drop by my Pinterest board for a look at the sort of “feel” of it! 🙂

And imagine a kind of Lindsey Stirling esque soundtrack going on. XD

KW2: And then I also have an inspiration board for this one.


SO. There you have a look at the two stories I’ll hopefully be immersed in for the following month!

And thanks to the ever-awesome Christine for the splendid linkup with the great questions! I’m extra looking forward to NaNo now, ready or not. 😀

Talk to me! What do you think about my NaNo plan? Learn anything new about my WIPs? Are YOU doing NaNo this year? (I’m HERE if you’d like to be buddies!) If you’re not NaNo-ing, I half-envy your sanity and hope you won’t mind a smidge of NaNo flailing going on this time of year — sorry. *cough* How is NaNo almost HERE?? :O HALP. #cuepanic

NaNoWriMo Writing Tips & Giveaway!

And creeping up, November came…
We readied, all, our hands and wrists;
Sat down before that pale white screen —
Lost in a Nanowrimo mist.

We’re just over a WEEK away from NaNoWriMo 2018 and I’m panicking eeever so slightly.

Because, well, when you’re going to write 50,000 words of fiction in the 30 days of November and you’re super busy and hardly ready at all . . . a little panic is probably healthy. *cough*

BUT I’m also excited because there’s nothing like National Novel Writing Month’s slight craziness to get the words flowing and to get swept away on an awesome writing adventure and basically live and breathe story for a whole month. 😉

For those who’ve noticed I haven’t been around much since the end of the Silmaril Awards… that’s because I just got back from a two-week roadtrip vacation, and I’m a little scattered right now (hopefully I can bring a new Ishness to y’all soon!).

But since it’s time to get excited (and scared… and prepared…) for NaNo, this post is here, and next week I’ll share what I am writing this NaNo season! I can’t wait to tell you guys. 😀

Anyway, I’ve done a few NaNo tip posts in the past, so I thought I’d revisit a couple of those, and share 3 current writing tips — and if you stick around to the end of the post, you can enter to win a copy of “No Plot? No Problem!” by NaNo founder Chris Baty.

3 Writing Tips

  1. Wordsprints with friends — Seriously, these are magic. I don’t always manage them, due to inconsistent internet in the room I usually write in, but this year during Camp NaNo I re-discovered how amazing they are. I always re-discover it, seemingly, so hopefully this time it will stay discovered. XD With or without someone to write with, the NaNo wordsprint tool is my favorite thing on the site and I use it all the time. ❤
  2. Find what works for you — I’ve discovered that I write out of order, that I write in draft zero bits, that I write to fast music, that I do well with wordsprints, and that I absolutely adore using Scrivener, and my new-found love, the companion plotting-software Scapple (by the same people). But something else may work for you. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter or a mix (*raises hand*), whether you write best by hand or laptop, whatever software you use… with music or without… Try all different ways and figure out what works best for you and then stick to it.
  3. Go to a write-in — Okay, so if you’re doing NaNo, chances are you’re in a region on the NaNo site. And while there are not write-ins everywhere, there are certainly oodles of them all across the states and the world. I may be biased as an ML (Municipal Liaison, organizer of local events/forums for NaNo), but write-ins are a lot of fun. They help you meet fellow writers so you realize that you’re not the only person on this crazy adventure, and they set aside a time and a place simply for you to focus on your writing. You’d be surprised how helpful a room full of typing writers is to inspire you to keep typing yourself! (And if there isn’t a write-in scheduled in your area… set one up yourself. Just go to a library, bookstore, or coffee-ish place, set up your laptop, and write. You can even post about it in your local forum in case other writers want to join you.)

Below are a few prep posts from my past! If you haven’t read them before, go give them a click — or if you have, refresh your memory if you need some ideas/inspiration. 🙂

NaNo Prep Checklist

Firstly, here’s my by-far-most-popular-ever post:

(And the actual checklist. ;))

Sherlock Holmes + NaNo = Fun

Secondly, if you need some humor, it’s just the right time to dig up my NaNo-as-told-by-Sherlock post.

Draft Zero

Thirdly, check out my Draft Zero solution to just getting the story down on the page — particularly useful during NaNo.

NaNo Survival Tips

4th… check out 10 NaNoWriMo Survival Tips:

Secret Weapons

And, finally, there’s also My (Not-So-)Secret Weapons for Surviving NaNo:

Giveaway

I’m giving away a copy of “No Plot? No Problem!” by NaNo founder Chris Baty to one lucky winner! (There may be a NaNo bookmark and sticker involved. ;))

(I think it’s not the most recent edition of the book but it’s the one I’ve read and I happened to have an extra copy so thought I’d share the love.)

The giveaway runs from October 23 (Tuesday) to October 28 (Sunday), 2018 (closes midnight Central), and is open to USA addresses only (sorry, international peeps! I love you too, but shipping!).

You can enter via the Rafflecopter link, HERE.

The winner will be chosen at random, contacted by email, and announced here in my next NaNo-ish post when I reveal what I’m writing for NaNo this year. Bwahaha.


Talk to me! 🙂

Well, are you doing NaNo? What are your favorite writing tips?

Thanks for reading, and may the NaNo prep be ever in your favor!

NaNo Snippets: Siren and the Skyship

And now for the long awaited party I mean snippets I promised you!

The time has come, the blogger said, to take you on some trips

Through NaNo! Clouds and sirens, and Royal Sky Navy Ships!

Or something like that.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse at my YA Steampunk-Fantasy Little-Mermaid(-ish) 2017 NaNo novel, The Siren and the Skyship . . .

Snippets

“Skyship off the starboard bow!” cried the lookout.

Auren wondered a) how the lookout had managed to see anything in this abysmal weather, and b) how anyone could possibly hear him.

* * *

In the mellow lamp-light in her cabin, Tasmania’s fine penmanship filled white pages with ink as black as the night the skyship was currently sailing through.

Nearly died today. Again.

Otherwise an uneventful day.

* * *

Rook crouched forward astride the dragon, keeping Emmy safely in front of him with his arms to either side of her as he steered the clockwork dragon into the night. He did not know if they had been spotted in the light from the explosion, or if they were being followed, and he did not intend to stick around to find out. Protect Emmy.

Navyman and girl flew with all speed through the clouds and mist, wind in their faces blowing back her fair hair, and what had escaped from the tie he kept his long dark hair tied back with. The barest silver crescent of the moon emerged from the clouds above and radiated soft white light into the dark night, gleaming on the metal of the clockwork dragon’s beating wings, and showing the looming forms of several dark stone pillars rising up in the night.

* * *

“And we’ll just be careful.”

“Always,” Tasmania said cheerfully.

“Says my reckless captain,” Gerias said, but he smiled as he said it.

“When was I ever reckless?” Tasmania said, and she breezed out the door on her way to some breakfast and tea.

* * *

Tasmania swiveled back toward Rook.

“Stirling Rook,” he said.

She frowned, looking somewhat confused. “What about him?”

“He’s me,” Rook said, knowing there was probably something wrong with the way this conversation was going, but not quite sure he had the brain power to rectify the situation.

Captain Tasmania blinked, then folded her arms and shook her head. “Impossible. Can’t be. He’s dead.”

Rook raised his eyebrows. “News to me…” he muttered. “I mean, I feel terrible, but not that terrible…”

* * *

Before Captain Tasmania could ask any more questions, a tall man with blond hair and a chiseled jaw, in an officer’s uniform, came down the steps into the infirmary room.

“Captain, you’re wanted on deck,” he said. “And how is my patient?”

“Fine,” Rook rasped warily, looking at the man.

“Mr. Rook,” Tasmania said, “this is Gerias Bridgington-Cramley, the First Mate and Medic aboard the Star Dreamer. Gerias, we have a name to our mysterious rescue: this is Stirling Rook.”

Gerias’s blond eyebrows raised. “The Stirling Rook? Admiral Rook’s son?”

Rook sighed. Not this again. “Yes.”

“I thought you were dead.”

“So I keep hearing,” Rook said.

* * *

“Why, oh, why, can’t I touch things!” Auren howled in exasperation and panic. He thought he was slowing her fall just a little, but not stopping it. The skyship was out of sight above them, obscured by clouds, and she was rapidly falling straight toward whatever was below the next batch of clouds. Auren hoped, for Tasmania’s sake, that it was one of the rope nets…

No such luck. They were near a net stretched between two pillars, with grass growing on the tops of the rock, but the trajectory of her course was aimed straight for the pillar or, worst case scenario, even down beyond that to who-knew-what—probably jagged rock or maybe a crevice down into no-man’s-land.

All Auren could think was: She’s going to die. Tasmania’s going to die and I can’t save her. And that was when he realized. I love her. It was completely a miserable thought to have at a moment like this, and extremely inconvenient too. Why did he have to care so much? But he couldn’t stop it now. Determination and anger flowed through him. He wouldn’t let it happen.

Auren bent his entire will and all his thought and strength toward becoming a wind, pushing her up, slowing her descent, fighting the air currents with wind of his own, fighting them to keep his Tasmania alive.

And as he did, he sang.

He sang with all his heart, siren song words which welled up from somewhere deep inside of him, half lullaby, half war song—a song to keep the most tired soldier fighting, to wake and put to sleep a child all at once, to say You are safe in my arms—let’s fly together, and don’t worry about anything.

Every part of his mind and wispy-wind-like body strained as hard as he possibly could and—he—slowed—her—down.

His nearly insubstantial touch that had never been able to hold anything, held her, stopped her fall, and, still singing, he slowly, gently, ever so gently, laid her very softly to rest on the green sward of grass at the top of the mist-wreathed pillar of rock.

* * *

Auren woke to find Rook standing by the side of the bunk bed, arms folded, looking down at him.

Auren stretched and yawned. “ ’Morning?” he said.

“Are you an assassin?” Rook asked calmly.

Auren blinked. “Pardon?”

“I didn’t hear you come in last night,” Rook said, as if this explained everything.

Auren yawned again and rubbed his eyes, wondering if this was a human thing to have no idea what someone was talking about this early in the morning. “I’m sorry, why is that a bad thing? I was trying to be quiet; that was just me trying to be considerate and let you sleep. What’s wrong with not hearing me come in and— why do you think I’m an assassin? Because no, I’m definitely not.”

* * *

“So . . . what you’re saying is that I’m an assassin, but I’m just a really bad one?” Auren said, incredulous. “I feel like I should be insulted, but I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why you think I’m an assassin.”

* * *

So he did the only thing he could do: he spun the wheel and steered them directly between two of the pillars. Auren had never steered a skyship before, but he knew the air and the wind currents, and if there was one thing he did know how to do, it was fly.

* * *

“Because like it or not, someone wants you dead.”

Tasmania sighed and dropped her face into her hands to rub her forehead. This was turning into a long day.

* * *

Auren had fallen in love with hammocks and abandoned his bunk in favor of sleeping on one.

“It’s like sleeping in the air, or flying,” Auren had said in raptures, completely delighted at this concept for some reason Rook could not make head nor tail out of.

Rook grunted. “We’re on a skyship. You’re already flying.”

Auren ignored him.

At least Rook had the bunk to himself now.

* * *

She saw Auren, across the deck, vault up onto the railing, rope in hand. Without hesitation, he leapt in a graceful arc, as one with the air, over the side of the skyship and out of sight into the sky below.

* * *

As soon as he was gone and the door closed behind them, Tasmania relaxed and slumped a little in her chair, grimacing. “Back to civilization, is it? Civilization can’t pluck you out of the sky when you’re falling a thousand feet through a storm. You’re very welcome for picking you up on this little not-civilization ship, sir.”

* * *

She laughed. “It’s Tasmania. Really. Or… my brothers call me Mania.”

Auren’s eyes widened. “I could never call you that.”

Her grin was infectious. “Believe me, if you’d known me as long as they have, you would.”

* * *

“I thought you were dead.”

“Yeah, I… get that a lot,” Rook said.


What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks very much for reading — I so appreciate it! And Merry Christmas! ^_^ I’ll not be blogging next week, so I’ll see you all in a couple of weeks with the turning of the year! Love you, lovely readers! ❤

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. 🙂

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… 😉 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. 🙂 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. 🙂 (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. 🙂 🙂

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! 🙂

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. ❤ ❤ ❤
  • 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. 🙂
  • 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. 😛
  • 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. 😛
  • 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. 🙂
  • (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! 😀 (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. 🙂 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. ❤ Because I love nautical-ish things, and this is the perfect mix of 18th century ships, modern navy ships, and spaceships… just… better. 😀 And even though they’re frustrating at times, I do love my characters. 😉 *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! ❤

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! 🙂

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. 😉

***

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! ^_^