Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beautiful Books Linkup #1

Once upon a time there was a linkup called Beautiful People which asked questions about writer's characters. I discovered it just as it was winding dying... but lately, the Notebook Sisters have revived it! Only, during the next few months, in honor of NaNoWriMo*, they are doing a book-version of Beautiful People called Beautiful Books. You can read all about it HERE.

What better way to prepare for NaNoWriMo, than to answer fifteen questions about my project?

1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
If I remember correctly, a snippet of plot came first (they usually do). We were in the Midwest visiting my grandparents last December and I went for a walk in the snow in blue jeans and by the time I got back inside, I couldn't feel my thighs. I thought, "Frozen thighs—that sounds like a good description! I should make that happen to a character in the snow. And what if that character was an elf who could walk on top of the snow? And he had to help a princess struggle through the drifts?" 
I've since nixed the elf-walking-on-snow idea, but the princess and the snow stayed, and that simple scene morphed into a book.

I tend to be more of a plotter, though with this book I've challenged myself not to write an outline. While writing without an outline is fun and allows the plot to change and develop as I go along, I dread having to wade through the shifting storyline when I go back to edit. 

2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”? 
*groan* Don't make me even THINK about a title yet; I have no clue. Here's the blurb I put on the NaNoWriMo website: "The hag has been kidnapped and the misfit and the princess—along with their merry band of tag-alongs—must rescue her."

3. What word count are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
Somewhere around 100,000 words. At least half of that has already been written. The other half will be written during NaNoWriMo.

4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
Uhhh... (Does that count as one of my sentences? Does that one?) There, I'm done! Just kidding, I'll do a serious one...
A book about a princess who must learn about civilization after being trapped, all alone, her whole life. A book about a misunderstood, mistrusted man who would rather hide away and ignore his problems than accept who he is. A book about a world that is so much bigger than anyone realizes (including the author).

5. Sum up your characters in one word each.
Rozella: Clueless.
[Spoilers-if-I-were-to-reveal-his-name-let's-call-him-Mr.F]: Misguided.
Draegond: Mysterious. (Even though he's not supposed to be.)
Lynnie: Sweet. 
King John: Manipulative.
Hag: Grumpy.
Mangle: Naive.
King Francis: Cocky.

6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them! 
I'm really looking forwards to introducing Mangle. He's a bard who speaks only in poetry or song, so I'm excited to delve into that! 

Mangle the Bard? Possibly, though he needs brown hair.

7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
King John is my villain. He wants to rule over the whole Kingdom and depose the other four kings.

8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
Mr. F's goal is to get out of prison, somehow survive, and live his own life far away from people and responsibility. Prison bars stand in his way, obviously, and also the person who put him there in the first place: King John. Later on, his goal becomes to rescue various damsels in distress (such as the kidnapped Hag) and reunite with his family.

9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
King John orders Mr. F to rescue Princess Rozella, who has been trapped in a tower since she was a baby. 

Inspiration for Rozella. I believe this is Barbara Kent, but I'm not sure because I didn't write it down.

10. Where is your novel set?
A made-up land with no name (yet).

11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
When Hag is kidnapped, when Mr. F escapes, and when Rozella is shot. (A theme with my books seems to be that the hero needs to escape from behind bars... hmmm...)

12. What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
Mr. F's most dynamic relationship is with Draegond, his best friend. Draegond is the only one he trusts completely and who knows all his secrets. He also has a bond with Hag, because they are both outcasts and because they are both different. 

Draegond looks like a mix between Patrick Dempsey and Patrick Jane (whose real name I can't remember).

Strangely, Rozella's most dynamic relationship is probably with her cat, Alonzo. He was her sole companion while she was growing up and even though he can't talk back, Rozella told him all her secrets. Rozella's also has a dynamic relationship with Mr. F, whom she longs to get to know better, but can't—because he won't let her in, though mostly because she's engaged to King John. She also has a special bond with her mother and brother.

"Allons-y Alonzo!" You don't know how happy looking up cat pictures made me... I used to search for cat pictures all the time when I did Warrior Cats roleplays. I found this picture on a Warriors roleplay site... his name is Redstorm.

13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Mr. F embraces who is and shrugs off the robe of laziness and cowardice that he has been wearing.

14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens? 
I know exactly what is going to happen. *evil grin*

What? No, I'm not going to tell you. Well, I can tell you that there is a battle (because what good fantasy novel doesn't end with a huge battle?) Actually, that's about all there is to the ending... of course there is the little matter of what happens after the battle, but I haven't got that completely figured out yet.

15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?
Eventually I would like to have it published, or publish it myself. Next year I plan to do extensive plotting (both in character, plot, and theme) and then rewrite the book numerous times. I don't expect it will be finished any time soon, as it is such a massive project. 
I hope this novel shows readers that even though it's hard to be human being sometimes, the solution isn't running away and hiding; responsibility can't be hid from. Hey, this sounds like the story of Jonah!

Live long and prosper.

*NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people write 50,000 word novels during the month of November. Find out more on NaNoWriMo's website.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pumpkin carving.

Confession: Until last Saturday, I had never carved a pumpkin before.
I don't know why—I obviously enjoyed myself! See?

Can you tell from the piece of pumpkin in the lower right corner what I carved on my gourd?

Star Trek, of course! Did you really think anything else?

Drawing and cutting out the Star Trek symbol didn't take very long, so I decided to tackle something a little harder while everyone else was still working.

The TARDIS! Also known as the Doctor's time traveling machine.

Did YOU carve a pumpkin this year? How about help the kids to carve a pumpkin? What did you—or they—create?

Live long and prosper.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Putting of baggy pajama pants after a long day in tights/leggings/pantyhose and a skirt.

Gratefully taking off those pinchy high heels.

Snuggling in bed with a P.G. Wodehouse book you've never read before.

Burrowing under three blankets and a quilt on a cold winter's night.

A notebook (especially a moleskin) on one's lap and a sharp pencil in one's hand.

Placing frozen feet on a warm hearth.

Harry Connick Jr.'s music (especially his instrumental jazz).


A Star Trek episode.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NaNoWriMo Approacheth

Only 24 days, 4 hours, 26 minutes, and 45 seconds until NaNoWriMo! 40 seconds 39, 38, 37...
I'm not starting a new novel which, technically, is against the rules... but since I know the rules, I'm allowed to break them, right? Oh, that only has to do with writing conventions and correct grammar?
Anyway, I'm going to be (hopefully!) finishing the fantasy story that I started writing at the beginning of the year. For a long time I thought I was very far from being halfway finished but now, I think I'm closer than I thought! I'd estimate there is about 30,000-50,000 words of story left. And I'm hoping to get those 30,000-50,000 written during NaNoWriMo. It will be tough, however, since I am writing this story out by hand in notebooks. I'm only eight pages away from finishing the Beatles notebook. I'm going to finish those eight pages and then write in a new, blue, 5-subject notebook bought especially for NaNoWriMo. It's pretty thick and I don't anticipate having to use the whole thing; the rest of the notebook will be used for world building, character building, and a very, very detailed outline in the future.
I can't wait! November is my favorite month.

Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo? Are you writing by hand or typing on the computer? What will you be writing?

Live long and prosper!