NaNo Prep, a.k.a. WHAT?!? Only five days until November?

As you can probably tell from the title, I am not prepared. I am not even less prepared than I usually am and less than I planned (which is par for the course, really), I’m spectacularly unprepared. I don’t have a story that I can rewrite that’s not either already rewritten and being edited, waiting for the previous novel in the series to be edited, or postponed indefinitely. Well, unless you count Underhanded Deals, but I haven’t been able to sort out the huge, enormous problem that is the plot. It’s the kind of story where you need to know where it’s going, or you’ll end up with a huge mess, which I have already tried. Twice.

Ignoring the option of rewriting something for now (not editing, by the way), I usually have at least a few new ideas that I would like to try out, except that this year I don’t. I have what I think of as the Kitchen Sink story, where I throw in pretty much everything I think is cool, but I haven’t got a plot yet. Not sure I can get one in so few days, when I only have a very vague idea of the setting and barely any characters. I do have some other ideas, but I tend to get stuck after just a few thousand words, so I need to work on them some more before I attempt to write them.

So that’s basically it. One story I need to work on before I can write it without getting stuck, and one idea I really need to flesh out before I start writing. In other words: I’ve got some work to do in these five days. Or three, since I’m busy all day today and tomorrow. And half of Saturday. And most of Monday. Let’s try again: I have a LOT of work to do on Sunday. I guess tidying and cleaning my apartment before NaNoWriMo just went out the window. The annoying thing is of course that I will probably have to plot both, just in case. I am aiming for 100k this year, maaaaybe 150k if I reach 100k very early, so I might very well need to write more than one story. This year I won’t have time to plot as I go either.

The reason I’m not pantsing this year is because I have so little time. Not only do I have a new job with slightly longer work hours, but it’s also a full time job, so I’ve lost an entire writing day all of a sudden. I don’t have my usual November vacation. I can’t skip dance classes as I’m one of the instructors now. I work out a lot more. In other words, if I am to write lots of words, I need to be able to make the most out of what little writing time I do have. That means spending as little time as possible thinking about what needs to happen, and knowing what comes next every time I sit down to write.

I guess I technically could have lowered my goal, but where’s the fun in that? At least I have the sense not to try to beat my personal best from last year, which was 211k. At least not yet…

Hopefully I can figure out a plot for my Kitchen Sink novel. If any story’s fun to write, I think that would be it. It has vampires, werewolves, sinister and not-so-sinister sorcerers, creepy old mansions, a bit of romance, a bit of everything, really. Hence the name. Basically, the only thing it doesn’t have is a plot. But I think I’m going to find one of my trusty writing books (I’ve read a few lately) and simply pick a method and follow it to create the plot. Or find my own method. Who knows, it might be fun!

Are you prepared for NaNoWriMo, or are you flailing like a headless chicken like I am?


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 😉

Saturday Snippet 8th of August

Saturday SnippetWelcome to the Saturday Snippet! This is a bi-monthly column, normally posted every second and fourth Saturday of the month, where I and others post bits and pieces from whatever we’re writing at the moment, at various stages of completion. If you would like to join us, there’s a linkup at the bottom of this post, where you can add a link to your own blog post, or post in the comment section. There are only three rules: Link back here, only post your own writing, and have fun!

This week my snippet is another beginning – one that I started writing many years ago. I am thinking of writing a story to upload on Wattpad, and this will most likely be it. I like it. I like the combination of scepticism and sheer enthusiasm (the main characters are a young boy who loooves dragons and everything else his village considers “imaginary”, and his older brother who is everything his family wants in a son – practical, down-to-earth and, most importantly, a firm non-believer in the strange and magical creatures his younger brother is so fond of). Here’s the snippet:

Imagine a society based on logic, hard facts and common sense. A society that, in their own eyes, was an oasis of reason amongst villages and cities ruled by superstition and old beliefs. A society where a bad harvest was explained by bad weather, ill-tended soil and vermin, instead of the whims of a supposed witch, lambs born on the wrong day of the week or the miller’s daughter getting pregnant out of wedlock. A society where the magical creatures so familiar to the rest of the world were considered the sign of an over-active imagination, or possibly too much strong drink.

This was the place the dragon decided to make its home.