November 2012 - further up and further in

Friday, November 16, 2012

the NaNo diaries: week two

Friday, November 16, 2012 1
the NaNo diaries: week two
a little motivation.
i have no idea who made this. if you did, let me know and i'll credit you!

I was going to do a vlog like last week but the past few days have been extraordinarily bad for me physically (more info on that here). I did end up recording a vlog but I haven’t decided whether I’ll post it or not considering I sound completely brain fried and ramble… a lot. So in lieu of a vlog, here’s my update for week two before time passes us by.

The main points:

I introduced Charlie Baldwin and his bald eagle, Pixie. I also realized some weird parallels—Charlie is a cross between Robin Hood and Peter Pan, and Ryll (the place for all the outcasts) completely fulfills my childhood dreams of living in the forest. Ironically enough, I named his eagle Pixie before I even realized the Peter Pan connection.

I also introduced Ryll and its inhabitants, including but not limited to Enda, Clay, Fritz, Spice, and Anchor. The first four all came to me at once one day, introducing themselves, showing me their appearances and personality almost instantly. (I’ve had to dig harder to discover more about some of them, but they’ve been very cooperative thus far. I haven’t been sorry. Oh, except for the fact that Clay hates Lynx and radiates hatred off of himself like an oven. What a jerk. Don’t worry, he’ll reform.)

Enda is birdlike, and she and Charlie are totally shippable. (Speaking of shipping, I’ll cover that later.) Fritz and Spice are the cutest kids in the world and completely inseparable. I love them already. And Anchor is a late arrival, even though he’s been around since last year’s NaNo. I came up with the idea for he and Lynx last year and they made a brief appearance in Silver Tears, but in that book Anchor just wasn’t gelling so he’s gotten a major age, appearance, and personality overhaul, and several secrets about him have come out that I didn’t expect. It’s kind of amazing.

One thing that’s been a subject of discussion amongst my NaNo support group is shipping. We all ship each others’ characters (canon or not canon…) and it’s overall been a lovely experience. After all, it’s not every day that someone ships your unpublished characters. Oh, and several keysmashes have been received. That was doubly lovely.

And now for the more somber edge of things: I’ve discovered that Rane and Lynx’s story is going to be a lot more heartbreaking than expected. Earlier this week I was writing an extremely emotional scene and my heart literally ached along with theirs. That’s one of the first times that’s happened to me. It was wonderful and awful and beautiful and horrible and one of the worst parts of writing and one of the best parts of writing all at the same time.

My plot is going interestingly. It’s been coming to me in chunks—I got the beginning chunk a bit before NaNo and then I got the middle chunk early in week two. And let me just say wow. Like I said—it’s going to be heartbreaking. I really don’t know how I’m going to write it, and that’s been part of the problem. I don’t know if I should write it, if this is the direction I should take my novel, or if I should try a different angle. This direction, should I choose to accept it, would be pretty devastating to Lynx and the people around her. Really devastating. But as long as there was some redemption in the end, I might be able to handle it. I’ve been kind of undecided about it all which is affecting the writing process. I’m lagging behind and really lacking inspiration. I have to wonder if this is because I’m not looking forward to what I have ahead of me to write. Any ideas on how to balance that out a bit? I have a feeling that I need to add things to my plot that I can look forward to, even amidst the bad.

Writing itself has been hard and laggy. Earlier in the week it was okay but in the past few days it’s been a little harder. Like molasses. I’m thinking this is probably because this week has been insanely hard for me physically. I did have a good writing day today, though—and I hit 30,000 words! WOOT.

But in the midst of all this sluggish molasses and plot uncertainties and physical pain, it’s been good. Really good. This NaNo has helped me remember once again how much I love writing.

Guys, I really love writing.

I want to do it for the rest of my life.

As a random side note, earlier this week I got inspired for Souvenirs. Yeah, guys, my two-year-trouble-child. I figured out a majorly troublesome character and everything just finally clicked.

The only problem? This inspiration decided to hit right in the middle of NaNo.

So it's faded a bit since then. I'm hoping the inspiration sticks around until after NaNo, until I can actually start the blasted thing.

Until then, I’ll be procrastinating, hanging out on Tumblr, and reblogging lovely photos on Pinterest. See y’all over there.

:: little snippets::

I'm keeping a snail's pace for NaNo this year. BUT AT LEAST I'M KEEPING A PACE.

I've had so much inspiration flowing out of me for my NaNo novel... and other novels that I want to write when I'm done pouring out my heart this November. I love being a writer; best thing there is.

i feel like i should take the day off of using capital letters just because
it feels like too much energy to hit the shift key.

- from my facebook

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

the NaNo diaries: week one

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 7
the NaNo diaries: week one

So I took some time to put together a "little" vlog for you guys and myself, as a recap of week one of NaNo. Here it is, in all its thirteen-minute glory.

And for those who have asked--YES. Absolutely add me on the NaNo site. My username is ScarlettGamgee. Though if you do add me I may have to ask you who you are if it isn't fairly obvious. :P

:::


:: favorite NaNo memories ::

being nicknamed Gomer Pyle

going crazy in all caps

creating John, a secondary character for a friend. I wish he was real, guys. he's pretty much perfect.

having someone fangirl over Rane. that was pretty dang awesome.

having a good friend tell me she'll send me a box every time I finish a novel. 
whoa, really? that's pretty cool.

writing about rose petals today in one of the most heartbreaking scenes, ever. period. ♥

trying to brush my teeth while writing my novel. true story.

writing. writing. writing.

thinking of my novel. breathing my novel. living my novel. 
living in my own little world when the rest of my world can seem so dark.
using my writing to make sense of the world I live in.
remembering how much writing captures my soul.

it's pretty beautiful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

winner of The New Recruit giveaway

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2
winner of The New Recruit giveaway
Thanks to everyone who entered The New Recruit giveaway on my blog! I’m here to announce who won. I tallied up all the entries and then, using random.org, discovered the winner…

*drumroll please*
Comment #22:
Ashley @ Cheery-O!

Congratulations, Ashley! Please email me at mountainfireflower [at] gmail [dot] com to claim your prize.

If you’d still like to obtain a copy of The New Recruit, check it out on Amazon! And don’t forget to thank the lovely Jill Williamson for offering to do this giveaway.

Thanks to all who entered! I enjoyed reading all your answers—and Jill Williamson did, too!

One last thing: If you’d like another chance to win, head on over to Go Teen Writers, where another copy is being given away.

{And may the odds be ever in your favor.}

Monday, November 5, 2012

brave down the open road

Monday, November 05, 2012 5
brave down the open road

“You never know what's around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you've climbed a mountain.” 
― Tom Hiddleston

It’s the first of November. I stand at the edge of an ink-stained road, right about to take my first step into something unimaginable. The toes of my black Converse are halfway-dipped into the pool of ink in front of me, and halfway firmly anchored on the ground. I’m pretty sure my head is in the clouds, though that’s a subject for another time. As for the rest of me, I’m hanging back with butterflies in my stomach. It’s November, and the month ahead of me promises late nights, laughter, an abundance of typos, and inspiration flowing through my veins.

But I hang back, because I am scared. Scared to write. Scared to fail. Scared to write something that’s less than perfect.

The clouds above me are dark shades of gray, and suddenly they open—dumping black ink onto my head, on my face, my clothes, my Converse. It has begun—the deluge, the storm. November has come. People around me are writing, accepting the ink, letting it come, but I’m scared to begin. The ink road ahead of me has turned into a blank white page, and I stare at it. I hesitate for hours before I write one word.

And that one word turns into many. A sentence.

That sentence plunges me into a novel.

The greatest adventure of all time.

***

So. NaNo. Up until recently I had no plot, as you learned in this vlog. In the five days before NaNo, I manage to come up with something. But it wasn’t much of something.

The day I took Georgie back to the airport, a novel idea occurred to me. No, literally. A novel idea. In Silver Tears, there was a place I invented that was a slight detour on my characters’ journey. It was Ryll, the place of outcasts, the place where people go when they are rejected by normal society. The place itself and its inhabitants were intriguing. But I didn’t think I could explore it fully in Silver Tears, and in actuality, I thought it needed its own novel.

So, this year’s novel is a prequel to Silver Tears. Its working title is Broken Wings. I had some thoughts on where I wanted to go with it. It’s Lynx’s story, the story of how she was pushed to the ground, rejected because she wasn’t normal. It’s also the story of how she finds a home: Ryll. It’s the story of how she rises again.

The only problem was, I didn’t know how to accomplish that. I still don’t. Not only that, but I kept comparing this year to the last. Last year’s NaNo was positively amazing, in contrast to the two years I’d done before that. Silver Tears is one of my favorite books. It needs work, yes, but it wasn’t an absolute mess like the other novels I’d written were. I wanted this NaNo experience to be the same, but it wasn’t turning out that way! I had no outline and this year’s plot seemed doomed to failure.

And so it was that I woke up on November 1st, absolutely terrified.

What on earth was I thinking?

Once I’d gotten up, instead of starting my novel immediately like I did last year, I logged onto Facebook. Chatted with some friends. Perused my list of writing buddies on the NaNo site and saw all the grand word counts people had acquired.

And I felt absolutely daunted.

I had to finish a writing assignment before I could begin NaNo. The whole time, I was getting more and more stressed. Finally, I just sent the writing assignment off and decided it was time to start Broken Wings.

I put the first words onto the page that came into my head and then I just kept going. I wrote some parts that gave me chills, and I introduced Rane and his pet wolf, whom I absolutely loved. By the end of the day I had a pretty good start to the month.

Even so, the first day was like pulling teeth. It felt like I was slogging through miles and miles of acorn butter. And I didn’t like that feeling. At all.

I woke up on the second day, absolutely discouraged. I didn’t feel like I could or even should go on with this. Why was it so hard? Maybe I wasn’t meant to do this. I was wondering if I should give up, if this year just wasn’t my year. But then something happened that was amazing. As I wrote to a handful of friends,

Oh my gosh, guys.

GUYS.

I'm writing. It's clicking. I think I know where I'm going with this, I think I understand my MC Lynx. I think I get her now. To some degree, anyway.

See, normally I need to have a period of time to get into my character's head and figure out what they feel and think. But because of all the learning I've been doing on the craft of writing, I figured you should show your character's life externally rather than have long monologues about how they're feeling. So the way I was writing was really impersonal, barely taking the time to delve into my character's thoughts. I was merely guessing at what she was feeling. Shooting in the dark.

I actually took some time just now to write a scene exploring how she feels. Once this novel is finished, I can go through and figure out how to show her emotions externally, without having to have an internal monologue. But unless I have the internal monologue exploring how she feels, I won't even know how to show how she feels because I'm just guessing. I'm realizing, this first draft is for ME. It's for me to figure out how to write this story. Then, when I'm done, I can focus on making it better. You can't edit unless you have something written, something to go on.

Yeah, I know this is the basic focus of NaNo, and it's really not all that brilliant and you may already know all this. But it was kind of a light bulb moment for me just now. I think maybe this NaNo could get a lot easier if I remember that this first draft is for me to explore the story and it doesn't have to be perfect yet.

After that, the words came much more easily. Surprise, surprise.

On the third day, I had barely slept the night before and was feeling awful physically, so I didn’t get a lot done. I’m learning that even though I have a chronic illness, that doesn’t mean doing things like NaNo are impossible. However, they can be really hard. I just have to learn how to make it manageable for me.

Day four, I generally wasn’t feeling well either, even though I’d slept. I ended up writing 2k, though. Slowly. Steadily. (Even if half the words were written when I was supposed to be off the computer. :P) And like the first day, I wrote parts that took my breath away and shocked even me. I still wonder, Did I even write this?

It’s day five now, and I have a headache, so I haven’t written much. I absolutely love my characters (especially Rane! ♥) and I’m a little more willing to let them take the reins now. Their stories are becoming apparent, layer by layer. The absolutely terrified feeling has dissipated a little, but it’s still there, lurking beneath the surface. I’m a bit more confident in myself, but not much, and I’m still afraid that what I write will be total junk. I’m just a little bit more willing to let the junk come out than I was at the start.

And so here I am, relearning many lessons. I can’t believe that I’m still here, still completely unsure of myself, after three years of NaNoWriMo under my belt. And if I’m completely honest, it baffles me that I nearly always stress out with every novel I begin. It makes me wonder if I will ever truly feel like a real writer. This morning, though, I read this post by Dandi Daley Mackall which was greatly encouraging to me. She has written over 450 books and yet she still doesn’t feel like a real writer. And that makes me wonder, will we ever?

I don't think we will, sadly. I think it’s funny (and slightly ridiculous) how we never really arrive in our writing. Unfortunately, even when we are published, we will always have doubts. We will always be scared to death to tell the stories trapped in our bones. Each time I finish a novel I think, maybe this is it. Maybe I'll feel like a real writer now. And then I start the next story, and I’m quaking in my leather boots, feeling my inner editor screaming at me every step of the way. I wonder, is this the story that will make me famous? Or will it ruin me?

But we keep trudging on through the acorn butter anyway, because our stories matter to us, and they need to be told. And we keep relearning lessons, even the ones we thought we understood.

And this lesson is one I just have to keep learning over and over and over…

Just write.

The rest will come.

And one day you’ll look back… and you’ll have a novel.