This is the second week of November and I’ve officially been writing for NaNoWriMo twelve days and it have been twelve crazy days. At the beginning of week two of NaNoWriMo (last Wednesday), my motivation was so low! I just couldn’t get myself to write and eventually had to force myself to keep going. After that Wednesday, things went up and down, my motivation is still not that high but it’s better than it was. On Friday I almost didn’t write at all, which was so demotivating! However, on Saturday, I suddenly wrote 3k.
NaNoWriMo has started and I am so excited! Last week I wrote about how I really wasn’t excited and since then a lot has changed! On Tuesday, the day before NaNo started, I finally realized that working on a WIP that didn’t excite me anymore wasn’t gonna do me any good. I, instead, changed my story idea to something that I’ve been wanting to write since this summer and had been afraid to start. And it is so much fun to write!! More about that story idea later.
What I noticed already is that my drafting is going way easier and faster, because I’ve finally come to realize that drafting does not need to be perfect. My draft is gonna be a mess, with incoherent sentences, spelling errors, repetitions and messy dialogue and you know what? THAT’S OKAY. This draft can be as messy as I want it to be because in the words of Jen Wang: First drafts are like practicing dance moves in your room alone in the dark; it doesn’t matter what it looks like because it’s just for you.
So what’s my story idea?
You might remember, I once wrote a post with several story ideas that I was considering writing for NaNoWriMo, one of those was a transgender Mulan retelling. I was so excited for that one and I’ve finally decided to just go for it. Research can come later, now I just need to get the story out.
The story initially was set in 5-6th century China because that is where the story of Mulan originated but I’ve decided to change it to modern-day China. I wanted to include modern media and it was much easier to make the story diverse, which is something I really wanted.
My current working title is Making Mountains Bow. The story is about Xiulan, who is a transgender boy but not openly because his family doesn’t understand. I don’t want to spoil the entire story but it includes: an amazing sibling relationship, quirky friends, a tragic death, a war, dragons, expectations, betrayal, battles, strong male and female characters, and much more!
I have created many character aesthetics for my story, some of which are below! Some of these characters I haven’t introduced yet and there’s even one that I have no clue how to work into the story.
I’ve currently written 6.813 words and I’m really happy with that! I hope to write another 1-1.5k today, but I have obligations so I’m not sure I’ll be able to write a lot. So far I’ve had one day on which I just couldn’t write more than 1k, which was because I wasn’t feeling very well.
I’m having a hard time finding snippets I love, because the prose I use right now is not that good. But that doesn’t matter right now, anyway, I can change it in the rewrite. I do have a lot of dialogue that I just love so here are some snippets from that:
“You look like shit,” she said pointedly. Another thing about Kailee, she never knew when not to talk. She had no filters between what she thought and what she said.
“Well, thanks, I hadn’t noticed,” he said sarcastically. He felt like it too.
“Wild night?” she smiled, “got to meet any cute girls?” She and her girlfriend had just broken up a few weeks ago but she was already on the look-out for new flings.
“Ha, if you call my sister cute, then yes. Or champagne, is champagne a cute girl? I met a lot of champagne.”
She grinned widely, “ooh got a little tipsy, then?”
“I think I rambled on about the stars, walked into twenty people, puked in a bush and then woke up with an axe hammering my head. Figuratively then.”
“So your ordinary Friday night.”
“I’m sorry for ruining your night,” he said softly, the guilt biting at his voice.
“No! You didn’t ruin it, you were a sweet drunk. Very… wise.”
He chuckled, “oh god, I made a fool out of myself, didn’t I?”
“Only a little bit.”
How is writing going for you? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? What’s your favourite snippet that you wrote in your NaNo project? Any tips or tricks you’ve discovered?
I am looking for people who are Chinese and/or transgender and would like to help me out with the representation, so if you’re either of those and don’t mind me contacting you ask some questions while writing, please let me know!
I have mentioned NaNoWriMo and Inktober a couple of times on here probably, but I’ve never updated how these things were going, so that’s what I’m gonna do right now.
Let’s start with the basics: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place in November, and people from all over the world attempt to write a novel of 50 thousand words. Inktober is a drawing challenge that takes place in October and basically it means you draw one ink drawing per day for each day of October.
Inktober was a bit of a mess. I did not realize how much time it was gonna take me to draw every day. And then it was not just the drawing, I was much of a perfectionist and wanted to make them look good when I uploaded them. This meant, scanning them with my printer, then editing them in photoshop (making the background completely white) and then uploading them. This was just too much work to keep up for an entire month. I also didn’t prepare anything the month so I had to think of topics while I was drawing and it became too draining combined with two big projects and university. I had to stop. I made it to day 8… Anyway, here’s what I drew in those 8 days:
I wish I could tell you how excited I am for NaNoWriMo, but I can’t. I’m still doubting whether taking part is even a good idea. I was planning on continuing with my current WIP. I’ve been referring to it as Our Shattered Minds and it is a YA fantasy about four magical outcasts who get caught up in a rebellion that wants to steal their magic. The concept is quite fun and I love the characters but I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos lately and it has made me doubt about every single thing about it. I don’t know if the plot is strong enough, I still don’t have an ending, I’ve been doubting whether my writing is good enough and basically everything has just put me off from writing it.
A couple of days ago, I was scrolling through pinterest as usual and got inspired for a title for another one of my story ideas. I’ve talked about the one before but I’m trying not to tell people (spoiler: I fail), anyway, it has sparked my excitement over that other story so much I just want to start on that one instead. The problem with this is that I can’t start it right now. I need a plot, outline, character profiles and I need a hell of a lot of research. I really want to do it right, so I wanna do a lot of research before I actually start writing it. And 3 days before NaNoWriMo starts is probably not the best time to start this.
So what am I going to do about NaNoWriMo? Honestly, I’m still in doubt. I want to try to participate, I really do. And I guess I could continue with my WIP, like I was planning to do. I might try that? But I also might give up after day 1, which would be really sad. It’s also so sad that every time I get stuck in this cycle of getting a story idea, being super excited about it, writing quite a big part of the story and then losing all motivation to continue. It feels so hopeless.
Well. Anyway. I guess I should try to get excited for NaNoWriMo because if it’s not gonna happen in the next couple of days I don’t know if it’s gonna happen at all.
I really wish this was a very happy post about how I completed Inktober and was super excited about NaNoWriMo, but I guess life is not always about the successes and more about what you learned along the way. If you want to follow me on the NaNoWriMo webite: go here (you can also see the complete synopsis of my WIP there), and if you’d like to see more of my art on my instagram: go here.
Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? How are the preparations going? What do you do against the writing blues (Idk if that’s a thing but I just made it up). Or are you taking part in Inktober?
Beth from My Own Brand Of Wisdom is here today to talk about why she loves writing! With NaNoWriMo coming up, it’s a lot on my mind as well, so I hope you enjoy it!
Tell us something about yourself: Who Are You?:
I’m Beth, I’m 19 and a Journalism student who can often be found with her nose in a book.
What is your blog about and what are your plans with it?:
Initially, I started a blog to write book reviews and but run in tangent with my instagram (@bethsabibliophile). However, a desire to be more creative in my writing has led me to also compose posts that are more diverse. I’ve begun to do more ‘rambling’ and ‘ranting’ type posts which I think a larger audience might find more interesting.
Why did you start blogging?:
I started blogging due to a love of writing. The concept of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and spreading a message is amazing.
We all have our own reasons for writing, be it a way of expressing ourselves or simply a love of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys).
Admittedly, most of our ‘masterpieces’ and brilliant ideas flop. They say everyone has an unwritten book in them and most of them stay that way, completely unwritten or abandoned part way through. So there are notebooks and Word documents scattered around the world, with stories with no conclusions, perhaps poorly rounded characters or chapters neglected mid-paragraph. What motivates us to start something, but never finish it?
I think most people that write, love the idea of their work getting out there. Perhaps some are motivated by money or fame, but most are motivated purely by the idea of having something we’ve completed ourselves; a world that we have created and successfully composed.
I think there are many people out there who have a brilliant novel in them, who possess great writing ability but will never even reach the first chapter. Then there some (me) who aren’t necessarily blessed with an innate ability to tell a captivating story yet are still full of a desire to get it written.
For years, I couldn’t remember the difference between an adjective and an adverb, didn’t know how and when to use a semi-colon, didn’t know the meaning of words like hyperbole (let alone how to pronounce it). I still spend half the time I’m writing trawling through a thesaurus to make my sentences flow or googling words to see if they actually mean what I think they mean.
But does that make me less likely to finish writing a novel? No, of course not. When you get a burning desire to complete a task, no matter how hard you think/know it will be, it gets done. If you want something enough, you do it.
Recently, I’ve gotten a bit in a writing slump. I just didn’t see the point in writing anymore. I’ve been thinking a lot about: if nobody’s ever going to read it, what’s the point in finishing it? Thoughts like that. But I’ve come to realize something else too, writing a line, a paragraph or a page that I really love makes me infinitesimally proud. I love writing. I just have to stop pressuring myself to write much. There is nothing wrong with taking a long time to finish a project, as long as you enjoy doing it.
I saw this award over at Smudged Thoughts and I couldn’t not do this. It sounds like such a fun tag and there is no doubt I’m an evil writer *evil laugh*, all of my characters had the worst childhood ever and people drop dead like leaves in autumn in this story.
How many characters do you typically kill per book? And how many people have you killed in real life, dear? Do you… feel any remorse about this? I’m concerned about you.
I haven’t finished my book yet but I’ve written about 20k and there are is only one death on paper, but there are probably about four-ish that died before the story started. I plan on having a massive kill-party near halfway and probably another near the end. But okay seriously, I expect there to be at least 20 deaths (not including the ones that died before), but probably no major characters.
I’m not going to answer the second part of this question 😛
Do you prefer to use weapons of mass destruction like explosions and famine and world war or more personal torture like killing family and friends and pets?
Personal torture, thank you very much. That way I can cause my characters some more pain because apparently, I like doing that.
Are you more like Loki, who perpetrates great evil with a creepy grin, or… give me a minute… Darth Vader, who secretly weeps inside his… fake head, whilst destroying the world?
Creepy grin. But at the same time, I cry for my characters.
What is the most dastardly crime you have ever committed as a writer?
So far, killed the (only?) person my character loved, in a very very awful way *grins*.
What kind of chocolate do you most like to devour as you burn things? White, milk, semisweet, or dark? Bonus points if you are so evil you find unsweetened cacao palatable!
Milk! I love milk chocolate. While we’re on the topic *takes a bite of chocolate*. You can never have enough chocolate while writing.
What is your villainous title? You may not have “Evil Overlord” because that one’s mine.
Uhm… Miss Heartbreak. Because I like to break my characters’ hearts (I’ll fix them again, I promise).
Which of your characters would actually be a match for you if you were to duke it out one on one?
Emery. No doubt. She’d kill me on sight. But honestly, I wouldn’t want to meet Felton or Noa in a dark alley either. Brim I could probably fight, and like, not lose to in the first few seconds.
Which character, in all the many books you have undoubtedly written, is most likely to be your Archnemesis?
*has not even 1 finished draft of book*
I don’t know.
Do you wear a cape? Face paint? A mask? Special underpants? Or do you hide in plain sight… like Moriarty? Give me details!
I wear my special cloak because CLOAKS.
Are you an evil writer like me? Then you should do this tag, because it’s lots of fun! What is the worst thing you’ve done to your characters? How many characters will die in your book?
Welcome to another edition of Newbie Bloggers, in which I introduce you to new bloggers! This week I’ll introduce you to Tina, who is not only a blogger but also a writer!
I give the word to Tina:
Who is Tina?
Tell us something about yourself: Who Are You?: Hi, My name is Tina Grant and yes a newbie. Less than a week in fact and I’m excited to be a part of this community. I live in southern California and trying to grasp the fact that I will soon be a published author. (Yeah!) I just signed the contract earlier this week with my publisher to publish my works “Reckless Beginnings.” A fiction novel based on actual events. I’m married (24 years). We have a son and two wonderful grandkids. My husband is a professional falconer, We built our home in the mountains of Frazier park. My passions are reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, boating, gardening, fishing, exploring small remote towns and antiques.
What is your blog about and what are your plans with it?: I just launched my blog yesterday announcing the news of my book. I plan on using it to share with others the process and events that evolve up until launch day. It will be used to promote the book and other works. (Right now I am working on a sequel “Better Endings”) I plan on sharing writing tips and ideas and making new friends with my same interests.
Why did you start blogging?: I started blogging to mainly promote my book and share my interests with others. I also find it a great way to learn from others too.
My passion is writing and reading. there is never enough hours in the day for all the books I want to read. I developed my passion for these from my father famed science fiction writer James P. Hogan. Books were his world and are now mine. Sadly he passed away suddenly seven years ago but I cherish the lessons he has taught me and lives my life by them.
Never Give up
If you have pushed yourself hard, give yourself one more shove
Never use the word carn’t. [note from Lia: I am assuming this word should be can’t but I would also recommend to never use the word carn’t 😉 ]
If you are afraid to do it.. just do it.. you will discover that it wasn’t that bad after all
Your mind can be your worst enemy.. sometimes you just have to stop listening to it
I could go on, these are just a few lessons my dad taught me.
I live a content life in the mountains with my husband of 24 years with our two dogs (a Brittney named Tess and a Jack Russell named Ellie. We designed and built our house ourselves (When I say ourselves .. I mean just that. We did most of the work ourselves.)
My husband is a professional falconer and does bird abatement for a living. I’m at an exciting time in my life with the launching of my first book in the near future and I’m very excited to be here.
What did you think of Tina’s life lessons? What is one lesson you learned in life that helps you write? Or just in general? If you liked this post and are interested in more of Tina’s posts (or her book!), go check out her blog here.