First story online, and more to come!

Back when I joined deviantART, I also posted some of my stories there. They weren’t good stories, to be honest. Most of them were small snippets I didn’t know what to do with, and worldbuilding stuff, like the creation story for my world. I also wrote little stories/snippets in the description box for many of my paintings, since nearly all were characters for my stories. Or ended up being so by the time I had finished with them, anyway. However, it did not last very long, and currently I have not posted anything online for quite a few years. Not that I haven’t written – I write more and more every year – but all of it has been novel-length and unedited.

NOW, however, I have finished my first short story! It started largely as a cool idea and an experiment, but it was really fun to write! So now my woefully empty Wattpad profile has gotten its first story, too. You can find it here. It still has almost no views yet, but I haven’t gotten around to reading and commenting much, so that’s to be expected.

After uploading The Trick, I kind of wanted to do more of it. There’s something awesome about being able to write a story in just a few days, and then just put it online. With a novel you invest so much time in it that the quality really matters, but I think there’s less pressure with a short one. If you write a bad one, well, you haven’t wasted a lot of time, and your reader hasn’t either. You can always write another one.

This entire day has been a steady flow of ideas. Not only did I realise that all those ideas and beginnings that sit unused on my hard drive perhaps fit better as short stories or something of the sort, but I also have a new project. Of course Rogue Sorcery takes priority, as does my current Wattpad project, but I think this is awesome.

The project is a collection of related short stories and excerpts/snippets. They take place in the general region where Rogue Sorcery takes place, only not in the same city and quite a few years later. Initially I wanted them to take place right before instead, but it would either mess with my timeline OR I would have to cut the one character I have wanted to write about for what seems like forever.

The setting is two places that got their names almost without thinking about it. One is the city of Whitebridge, half of the so-called twin cities of Whitebridge and Wirun, or more specifically the Whitebridge university. The stories here will focus on seven/eight characters (one of them is a messenger whose route goes between the two places) who all have some connection to the university – student, teacher, staff or just someone who is there a lot.

The other is a village that I called Trade Road Crossing in my notes, and now, two hours later, the name has stuck and I cannot get rid of it. It’s located right by one of the largest border fortresses in the empire (it’s right by the northern border) and also by the place where the main trade road from outside the empire (through the mountain pass) crosses another trade road that runs along said mountains, as well as the river from which goods are transported further south into the empire. Sort of like a fantasy version of Border Control. Most of the characters here are either soldiers (patrolling the smuggler routes or checking who and what comes into the empire) or connected to the inn where most traders and merchants stay when they’re in town.

I don’t know if this sounds interesting or super-boring, but I like the idea and I love the characters. There will be action and mystery, and most of them focuses on the common people, not those high up in the system. There is one who is the son of a lord, but that’s about it, and he won’t inherit anything whatsoever anyway.

I also have no idea how many stories there will be – if there will be only one or two before I lose interest, or if it will be an ongoing project, but I would rather like it if it was the latter. Besides, think of all the possibilities, all the plots! It would be a great chance to explore different types of plots, stories and characters.

Besides, there will be at least one novel set in this world that will be set in Whitebridge, possibly at the university, so it could actually do double duty as research/worldbuilding too 😉

Wherein plans are changed

Cicilie and I have been reasonable for once – more incredible for me than for her, frankly – and adjusted the original deadlines for our spring projects. Not only does it allow us to have a finished story to post on Wattpad sooner, but it will give us more time to edit our novels (RS in my case) before exchanging manuscripts again. That last point is particularly important since I am a part-time student now, and have to study for exams in the first half of May. I can’t use my regular strategy of bullshitting my way through it either, since it’s business finance and I have to know stuff. Anyway, the new and updated plan (let’s all just pretend that I don’t actually love revising plans just as much as I love making them, which is a lot) is below:

April

  • Write the short Wattpad story, somewhere around 5k. (It’s fully plotted though! Yay!)
  • Edit the short Wattpad story, and actually post it (deadline 30th of April)
  • Enter the new ending for RS into the timeline in Aeon
  • Edit at least 10 chapters of RS

May

  • Edit the rest of RS (deadline 29th of May)
  • Re-read again
  • Finish the plot of the Wattpad novel

June

  • Write the Wattpad novel
  • Revise/edit the Wattpad novel (deadline 30th of June)

In the original plan I had some painting goals as well – they remain the same, so I won’t repeat them here. Except with the caveat that I’m not allowed to, you know, overwork myself, so I’m only going to do two of the six goals. One of them must be the goal of making a map of Wirun, since I need that for RS, but apart from that, as long as I finish one other painting goal, I’m happy.

So there it is!

Deadlines galore

Sorry for the lack of updates here in what seems like forever. I’ve been completely buried in work and have hardly had any time off whatsoever, neither for blogging nor writing. Cicilie and I had two write-ins, I believe, but neither of us was able to write anything at any of them. On the positive side: Extra money.

Lots of work or not, 2016 is the year I’ll do things with my writing. As such Cicilie and I (well, mostly Cicilie, to be honest) have come up with some deadlines to help us reach our goals. I also made some sub-deadlines for myself:

  • Goal: Finish second draft of Rogue Sorcery. This time Cicilie will be able to read a fully finished draft. I hope…
    • Revise the ending. Something feels off, and I don’t know what it is. Finish by 1st of April
    • Write the entire draft from start to finish. Finish by 25th of April
    • Double-check the new scenes and hand the draft to Cicilie. Finish by 30th of April.
  • Goal: Publish a short story on WattPad. I’ve had an account since sometime last year, but I’ve never posted anything. Mostly because I’ve been writing Rogue Sorcery, which I’ll try to get published, and because I haven’t finished much else and suck at writing short fiction. I also suck at actually uploading my writing. Time to do something about all those things!
    • Plot the story. Finish by 15th of May. Wanted it to be on the 10th, but considering I have an exam on the 9th… Not gonna happen. (Look, I can be realistic!)
    • Write the first draft of the story. Finish by 23rd of May.
    • Revise and publish the story on Wattpad. Finish by 29th of May.
  • Write a novel to be published on WattPad. This has quite tight deadline, but the idea is to plot it so carefully that the actual editing process will be relatively short and sweet. In addition I have already started the plotting, so I might just have the first draft done well before June starts. Famous last words, I guess, but at least the actual deadline isn’t overly optimistic… I hope.
    • Plot the novel completely. Finish by 15th of May, but preferably in April.
    • Write the first draft of the novel. Finish by 10th of June.
    • Revise the novel fully. Finish by 30th of June.
  • Aaand what would this blog be without overly ambitious painting/drawing/misc. goals? They’re all related to my stories anyway. I’ll not write individual deadlines for these, but a collective one of 30th of June:
    • Finish the new version of Queen of Sorcery
    • Paint illustration of Shanni’s cottage
    • Make an artsy map of Ayamar
    • Paint Arodhi’s fortress OR Wirun OR Whitebridge OR the village in the forest.
    • Use up my sketchbook (mostly because I want a new one :P)
    • Make a city map of Wirun and/or the village. Doesn’t need to be fancy, but I certainly need to know what’s where.
  • And finally… DON’T accept so much translation work that I don’t have time for any of this, and/or work myself into another breakdown. In other words, the most important goal of them all. 

I know this amount of goals seem overly ambitious and probably are. But most of the things need to be done anyway in order to meet the three actual deadlines (30th of April, 29th of May and 30th of June). I work far better under pressure, and the specific deadlines are the tools I need to ensure that I spread the work over a reasonable period of time instead of just the week before the main deadlines, as well as to make sure that I actually get the work done AND prepare properly. I won’t have time for endless rounds of editing for the Wattpad projects. Besides, I really like detailed lists (who hadn’t guessed by now…?)

To be honest I don’t intend to be too firm on the painting goals. I would like to get everything done, and these deadlines make sure that I actually work for it, but I’m not going to panic if I’m unable to paint/draw everything on the list. I do need the city maps, though.

 

Revised editing plan

Apparently I am more fond of making plans than I am of following them. On the other hand, planning can be done everywhere, and writing… cannot. Plus I haven’t had the necessary brain power, energy, focus or anything, really, to write for the past few weeks. Busy doesn’t even cover it. (Somehow we started talking about the number of jobs that I have, followed by a discussion of whether homework is good or bad, in my German class today, which led to this gem from one of my students: “If Catrine can survive everything, we can handle a bit of homework.” It was amusing.)

Aaaanyway. It’s clearly not just that class that was filled with digressions today…

I have made a new editing plan! This time I have even done some research! (Wow.) Also, I have edited. A little bit. Most of my research comes from the eminent blog of Rachel Aaron/Bach at Pretentious Title, who both writes books that I love, AND has perhaps the most useful writing blog I have ever encountered. There is something to be said about taking advice from people who write the kind of books you like to read, I think… Also I got some advice from Holly Lisle, whose advice I have read for years now and who has a blog post about one-pass editing. Perhaps the most useful advice from these two was that there is no editing process that works for everyone, and because of that, I have picked a little bit from both.

The magnificent plan, v. 4 (or something)

  1. Take the timeline and write down all the new stuff (that you know of), both big and small. DONE
  2. Find the old scene overview. DONE.
  3. Make a new scene map over the current story after the changes. DONE.
  4. Note down theme and a short summary of the story. DONE… sort of. Will probably have to do again.
  5. Write down everything you can think of that you need to fix, round 1. DONE. (But will need to be updated as I think of more things)
  6. Split up the Scrivener file by scene (currently the entire chapters are together) in chapter folders, to make it easier to move scenes around.
  7. Write the new scenes that are missing from the current draft. I have actually written one of these!
  8. Triple check that the ending works – something bugs me about it.
  9. Go through what the generals are doing this whole time, when they’re not shown in the story. Make sure they seem like they normally know what they’re doing…
  10. Write down the questions that need answering, and answer them. Does everything make sense?
  11. Plot routes and cities on map to check that they’re not using two days to a place to which it takes two weeks or months to travel to, or vice versa.
  12. Write the next draft.
  13. Read through and write down everything you see that needs to be fixed.
  14. Rewrite again
  15. Repeat the last two as needed.

As usual the “just a few” steps turned into quite a few, but I am more optimistic about this plan than the previous ones. It took me a few rounds to find something I think will work and which fits the way I work (without necessarily doing everything chronologically).

We will see! Considering I have already done a few steps on it, I think it is promising.