Know the Novel: Writing and Beyond (Siren and the Skyship & Tare)

It’s time for another Know the Novel post — hurray! The third and final in a series of writer linkups from my dear blogging buddy Christine @ Musings of an Elf!

You can check it out here and read my two previous installments here and here.

Once again, I’m answering with The Siren and the Skyship (S&S; my YA steampunk-fantasy Little Merman novel) and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2; wintry contemporary fantasy), since those are what I was writing for NaNo and they’re the only things my brain has been thinking about. (*pretends this is true and casually pushes aside other jealous novels who are looking over my shoulder waiting for their turn*)

Onward to the questions!

1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

S&S: Considering that I wrote it in about a year, which is fast for me, and that I actually got to the end, SPLENDIDLY. Though, on the other hand, it kept switching directions, which is going to make the rewriting a total headache. But I can’t really complain because each time it changed, it got so much more awesome. Overall, I totally loved writing it! It was fun almost the entire time and I had an absolute BLAST writing this thing!

KW2: I . . . don’t know for sure since I still haven’t finished it. *hangs head in shame* I’ve written nearly a thousand words since NaNo but have just been too busy to write these last couple of chapters and finish! But overall it seems to have gone pretty okay, other than taking years to write and wanting to be written out of order and stuff. XD Still, it’s been fun because I love these characters!

2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

S&S: I really don’t know because I haven’t had a chance to look at it since finishing. And I know it’s a terrifying mess and needs to be seriously rewritten. XD I think I’m pretty pleased, though. It’s just a rough draft so I’ll know more once I get to the rewriting stage. *hides* I think the main thing I’m surprised about is that I thought it would be basically a standalone, wrapping up most things, with the two sequels just following other characters we’ve met. UM. AHAHA. NO. There’s a whole lot left hanging and the books are so interlocked now and eeeee I’m really excited!

KW2: Again, can’t quite answer this since I haven’t finished. And given that I originally thought it would be a small holiday novella, and it’s currently at 120K+ and not quite finished, I’d say it turned out quite different. XD I do wish the plot would cooperate more and that the villains weren’t hiding all their villainous secrets until the end, though. Ahem.

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

S&S: CHARACTERS. I adore them all and they’ve been so much fun to write. Although, actually, the setting takes a close second, because this steampunk fantasy world with rocky pillars and mist and skyships and clockwork dragons and cloud cities IS MY FAVORITE.

KW2: Definitely Tare and the Chess Club. ❤ I love them so much.

4. How about your least favorite part?

S&S: I don’t know if I have a least favorite part of the writing. It was just fun, I tell you!

KW2: I don’t know… All the times I got stuck, I suppose. XD

5. What do you feel like needs the most work?

S&S: ALL OF IT. *collapses* Probably the main plot-lines of Auren and Tasmania, and just fitting everything together properly. The fact that it kept changing hugely as I wrote it, and then I’d keep writing as if I’d fixed it, has made it quite the patchwork story. It’s going to need a ton of work. But I’m excited too, because I love it so much and can’t wait to rewrite it to its full potential!

KW2: The length, the meandering plot, and the villains not being active enough. All due to thinking it was going to be a novella and then it got huge. XD And the fact that I hardcore hoarded plot-reveal-secrets. At the moment I just want to finish and get on to the next adventure, though! I’m writing this one for fun so at the moment I’m learning what I can but not bothering too much about making it The Perfect Novel — yet.

6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

S&S: I lurve themmm. My favorite would be Rook (haha. Don’t be too surprised, everyone . . . *cough*), BUT I have so many other favorites too! Like Tasmania and Gerias. Xasper, Rook’s little brother, surprised me by being so fun and sneaky. Noya surprised me by being kind of tense and awesome. Tasmania’s twin brothers surprised me by gaining their own personalities and being totally different — like how Durward apparently loves food. XD And Auren and Keller have surprised me by being totally different than I thought they were, which is awkward, given that they’re the main characters of books 1 and 2 and I kind of have to rewrite them now. 😛 As for least-favorite . . . we can give that one to Captain Haversham, Rook’s new boss, who is blackmailing him and is TOTALLY SLIMY. Okay, and the Sorcerer of the Mist, because eek.

KW2: I kind of don’t make any secret of the fact that Tare is my favorite character. 😉 I do have new favorite characters but they’re spoilers. The Chess Club are fun, of course, and I really liked getting to do more with Adrian and Ivy — love them! And how Lavender is kind of almost like a little-sister for Tare and slkdjflkdj she kind of looks after him and it’s the cutest. Least favorite would be Greg — yeesh. I think I was surprised how Harold “Perfect-Teeth” was less straight-up villain than I thought; like, he’s a jerk but he’s kind of mild about it. Or maybe it’s just the comparison with Greg. And both the new characters are surprising me a bit, just because I hadn’t met them before. And I had no idea Robin would be quite so bouncy. XD Also there’s a side character who is like “by the way, there’s something up with me” and I’m like “excuse me, you only just arrived and there’s only like two chapters left so there can’t possibly be anything at all up with you; and anyway you’re not important” and said character is like “fine, I’ll just disappear and be a loose thread, then” and I’m like “??? RUDE?” Writing. I tell ya.

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

S&S: Let it sit for awhile while I cry over what a mess it is let it simmer on the back-burner. After that . . . well . . . maybe I’ll start the major mess that is trying to rewrite it? *sound of characters laughing at me* Or possibly move on to writing the sequel instead. *cough* (What? I need to know what happens later so I can make the series make sense . . .)

KW2: FINISH IT. AAAGH. I’m so close. So. close. After that, I don’t know, but I might lowkey move on to sequels on this one too . . .

Thanks, Tare. I did have Christmas, you know. …Aaand you don’t care, do you.

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

S&S: Have it re-writtten just right, published with a shiny cover, and sitting on shelves — and people enjoying it. 🙂 Having it be super popular wouldn’t go amiss but is not 100% required. XD

KW2: I don’t even know. Probably having it make sense (*editing sobbing*) and maybe published? I don’t know… This series I just started for fun but in the long run I’d like it to be out there someday. 🙂

9. Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!

S&S:

“Hear that, Durward?” Percival called across Tasmania’s shoulder as their brother walked past them with a crystal glass in one hand and a plate of some kind of pastries in the other.

“Mmm?” Durward said, pausing and turning with eyebrows raised, in mid-chew on something delectable.

Percy repeated the appointment: library, midnight (ish) or as soon as they could get away from the ball, the three of them, talking.

Durward nodded. “Will do. I had my heart set on a night of real sleep, but”—he sighed dramatically—“I can sacrifice it for the good of the country so you can fall asleep at your coronation tomorrow.”

Percy snagged a pastry from Durward’s china plate, saying, “Is that so,” while Tasmania was laughing and trying to say she’d been saying the same thing.

“Now put those down. We need to find you somebody to dance with,” Percival added.

“Not a chance. I’m starving. All that paperwork makes a man hungry.”

“But we have already decided to find you a partner,” Tasmania said.

Durward smiled winningly. “Already have one.”

They paused, blinked, and stared at him in silent questioning.

He gestured with his drink at his plate.

They groaned.

“Food and I. True love. Won’t find me a better.”

“You’ll need to sign on as my cabin boy after this,” Tasmania said mock-seriously.

“And why’s that?” he asked, somehow munching on another pastry while still holding his refreshments in both hands.

“For the exercise, of course. Nothing like climbing rigging to keep a man fit,” Tasmania said innocently.

“You don’t see Percy doing that sort of thing,” Durward remarked placidly.

“You forget that all I’m ever doing is constantly running around after matters of state,” Percy said. “So much exercise. You’d be wise to take Mania up on her offer if you’re set on your true love and all. You’ll get fat sitting behind a desk doing paperwork and doing nothing but eating pastries.”

“Bah,” Durward said cheerfully and ambled off through the crowd.

KW2:

(The Chess Club and Tare are locked down in a cold, dark, underground room.)

Lavender sighed. “I wish we had our phones.”

“Me too,” Ivy said. “We could call Adrian.”

“We could call Mr. Larch,” Marie said.

“We could call both,” Jake added gloomily.

“You could call neither,” Tare said.

They all looked up at him and there were some noses wrinkled in annoyance.

“We were just getting comfortable with light and wishful thinking—don’t rain on our parade!” Baz complained.

“I’m not raining on anyone’s parade,” Tare said. “Just saying. No good. There’s no signal down here.”

“And you know this exactly how?” came Ivy’s skepticism.

Tare reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a shiny black cellphone, which he waved slightly. “Because I checked.”

They were taken aback. “You have a cellphone?” Marie said, catching onto the unspoken question from the others and voicing it for them.

“No, I have a magical box I keep in my pocket which can surf the Internet. Of course I have a cellphone; what’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing, but . . . you have a cellphone,” Lavender stammered.

Tare sighed, slipping it back in his pocket. “Not this again.”

“No, really,” Baz said. “How did this happen?”

“Someone gave it to me.”

“Now that I find hard to believe,” Ivy said.

The corner of Tare’s mouth twitched. “Long story.”

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

S&S: Draft Zero is still magical. Write in quick scenes like it’s a movie — you don’t have to connect everything because that’s boring. Keep going to the end because it won’t look the same when you get there. And once you get to the end, you’ll know how the rest needs to go.

KW2: I probably learn all sorts of life lessons from writing Tare. XD But a writing lesson I learned the hard way is make sure that big-important-things happen early on and keep happening — don’t hoard plot-reveal-secrets (okay, hoard a few for the end; but sprinkle some throughout!). And don’t write long books. *cough* Also, writing out of order is simultaneously the best and worst life choice ever. XD


I hope you guys enjoyed this look at how the writing went! I don’t know when I’ll find time to finish KW2 but here’s hoping it will be sometime in the next month! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading!

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Original Tag: Writerly Spring Cleaning Challenge!

springcleaningwritertagchallenge

Happy Spring, my dearest Roadlings! ^_^ *frolics*

Since today is, in fact, the first day of Spring (for those of us in the northern hemisphere), and this is, in fact, a writing blog (little as you may notice with all the bookish things going on from time to time. ;))… I’ve decided to combine the two in a fun way!

Behold, my very first original tag!

I’ve created a tag challenge for writers, themed around Spring Cleaning, and I hope you’ll join me in trying it out!

It’s fairly short (only three and a half questions, though some are multiple choice or just jumping-off points, so it’s rather flexible actually) and I just know it’s going to be fun. 🙂

Spring is that special fresh-and-new time of year when everything gets brighter and warmer and greener and more alive—there’s a new LIFE to everything and a sort of brilliance to it. While that time may not be here yet in actual weather, depending on where you live, what better time than Spring to get re-excited about writing?

So I encourage you to get your mop and duster (er… pen and pencil) and dive right into the . . .

Spring Cleaning Writer Tag Challenge

springcleaningwritertagchallenge

Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Share the picture
3. Answer the questions (naturally…) or even pick and choose which ones you answer
3.5. Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them (via comment/message/email or hey, even carrier-pigeon or smoke signal; I’m not picky)

THE QUESTIONS

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

Remember those writing goals/resolutions you made on January 1st or thereabouts and then stuffed under the bed to gather dust-bunnies and plot-bunnies? Well, it’s been nearly three months since then, and as that’s approximately a quarter of the year, it’s about time to pull those out and re-evaluate them (if the plot-bunnies have left enough to read after their chewing, or the dust-bunnies enough to make it legible after all this time of accumulating).

Which goals/resolutions have you accomplished? Which need to be re-focused on? Which are totally not happening and need scrapping? What new goals do you have? Give an update and get your goals cleaned out and reorganized!

Or, if you like, scrap them all and make some new goals to share—especially if the Deadly Bunny Duo of Dust and Plots and Doom have left no other options… which is okay! Spring is for new starts, anyway!

2. Which Stage Are You At?

Everyone’s writing (and spring-cleaning) processes are different, and at different stages. Pick the one that most applies to you and tell us where you are in your writing process!

  • a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
  • b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
  • c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
  • d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
  • e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

Speaking of cleaning out closets…

3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet: Snippet Love

This one’s for the “Oh, I forgot about that!” feeling of delight when you find something delightful tucked away. Those bits of writing you’ve scribbled off so far this year and need to be dug out of a pile and aired in the sun…

Share one to three snippets you love!

3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self!

  • Organize your notebooks and papers if you’re a physical type of writer
  • Sort your computer files and tidy them up if you’re a digital sort
  • Do some real-life cleaning up of your desk or writing space or room in general, if you exist in the physical world at all (which I rather hope you do)

Not required, but you get bonus points for any or all of these (in the form of… er… virtual cupcakes?), and I promise you’ll be a happier writer if you do some organizational writerly spring cleaning of your own! 🙂

You can even use the excuse to share a picture of your writing space or notebooks or computer—please do, because pictures make everything funner!

Here’s a copy-pastable list

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

2. Which Stage Are You At? Expound!

a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)

3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (and share a picture!)

Tagging

I tag/challenge YOU if you’re reading this and are a writer!

Do give it a try, and then link me to your post so I can read it! Or answer in the comments. 🙂

(I’ll be answering these questions here on my blog next week, in case you’re wondering. ;))

I also specifically tag:

Sarah @ Dreams & Dragons | Christine @ Musings of an Elf | Jenelle @ Jenelle Schmidt | Skye @ Ink Castles | Madeline @ Short & Snappy | Claire @ Overactive Imagination | Tracey @ Adventure Awaits | Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook | Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart | Kyle @ Kyle Robert Shultz | Daley @ The Invisible Moth | Lisa @ Lisa Pickle | Mirriam @ Mirriam Neal | Ness @ Of Words and Books | DJ @ DJ Edwardson | H.L. Burke @ Impossible Worlds

(No pressure, though!)

Meanwhile, what think ye, Roadlings? Fun? Complicated? Are you going to do it?? And what’s a writerly spring cleaning thing you’d like to do? (Yes, you may bemoan your lack of spring-ish weather in the comments-section if you like. XD)

The Wisteria Writer Tag

WWtag

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. Now on to The Wisteria Writer Tag…

The Rules

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

The Questions

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

What do you use to document inspiration and ideas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHEbannerfinal2

What authors or books inspire you?

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

What is the first story that you ever completed?

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

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

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

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

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

Who is your favorite character that you created?

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

TareBW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(very Meridian) (source)

What writing advice do you want to give yourself?

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