Tuesday, November 29, 2011


As I go through my writing life, I realize something.  Writing inspirations are like Sun flares.  They are random, rare, but powerful.

Last week, I was absolutely blank, I had NO IDEA for writing except for my Fan Fiction, but, I have been revived!

Some recent ideas:

 First off, I have changed my Pen name to Lillian Grace, as I can od all sorts of things with that name.

*Lily And Grace
*Lilly Ann Grace

If I get tired of one, I shall switch!
But, to the point of 'Dance'.
It will be a very different novel for me, thats for sure! 
Allison (MC) is suddenly thrust into a world that none could imagine, with a man who thought he could never love.  Daymon is much like Hades, and Allison his Persephone.  When the time calls, will Daymon give up his one chance for reaching humanity, or return her to where he knows is best?

This is sorta like a redo of the Greek Mythology of Persephone and Hades.

Very different then my normal.

Doesn't she look impish?  Thats cuz she is.
Personal friend of Peter Pan, master fairy tale teller, and Nanny to Cassandra.  Cassi's family might not particularly 'like'  Nanny Fae Mags, but  Cassandra adores her to Neverland and back.

Those are just the ideas that have names.
I'm being flooded, but this sort of flood is one you can't drown in!
CONGRATS to everyone who finished NaNo! I didn't do it this year, even though I wanted to.  But I give all of you'ins  a great big hug!

Oh, and I'm still on my Fan fiction.  I'm actually restarting from chapter 1.  One of my 8 siblings spilled coke on the notebook containing the story...thats one way to cut a novel short.  It really did need the rewrite, however, it was going crappy.  Thanks to siblingspillerofcoke, It's doing a bit better.  Another reason to buy a laptop, however.

Oh, (I realize this is the second 'Oh' in a row) I'd like to thank Ellyn. 
*Thank you for getting my addicted to Blakcmore's night.
*I am now listening to Way to Mandalay.
*Fearie Queen is cool
*But, when I listen to Way to Mandalay, I want to dance like a gypsy.
*I actually did dance like one, for about 3 seconds.  Then someone came into the room.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Jewel of Jeopardy

Last Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, I was sitting at my rolltop desk, eyes brimming with tears, tapping out the words, "...for the last time." Having finished Chapter 33, I sniffed loudly, put my computer to sleep, and a little shakily went to stand outside in the wind to clear my head.

I had done it.  I had killed the very character I had decided so firmly that I would not kill.  She is a central part of the story and I felt killing her would be the easy way out.  Somehow, such an act of rebellion did not make me hate my story, but it made me want to write more.

When I came inside, I gave my dad a few of the details so he would know why I was wandering around with a rather blank, empty look on my face.  After family prayers, I could think of nothing else, so I "went galumphing back" up the stairs, woke up my laptop, which was rather testy at me, fired up my radio, and started writing.

I listened to a variety of music that memorable night, including the soundtrack for Pirates, Crooked Still, Enya, and Blackmore's Night (an odd, Rennaisance-rock band whose lyrics I have been using as my post titles).

I had started with a word count of around 45 K and I kept checking my word count, thinking to myself, Only _ K more! You can do it! I think it was about three and a half hours later, ten minutes to midnight, when I did it.

I hit 50,000 words.

via pinterest

It was the most amazing feeling, even more satisfying than I had thought it would be.  Unfortunately, since it was ten to midnight, I couldn't scream and dance and jump on the bed and...well...you get the point.  So I spent ten minutes telling Facebook and the Nano forums about my victory, then I turned off my computer and radio and slipped into bed.

My Nano win was definitely something to be thankful for, as well as the fact that my family had a relatively quiet Thanksgiving holiday and I was free to spend that Thursday with them and help make some of the food.

The book's not done, of course - I thought it could be, but it would require a sequel and I didn't know if I wanted to do that.  So when I started writing again (during a relaxing hour on Thanksgiving), I just typed "Book 2" on a blank page and went from there.

Naturally, my writing has slowed down a great deal since I won, but it's still going steady.  For all of you doing Nano, if you won, I congratulate you! If you didn't, just remember that without Nano you probably never wouldn't have written what you did this month!

Anyway, the moral of the story is - when I defied myself, I shocked myself into a writing storm.  Sometimes a little change of rules and thinking outside the box is just what you need to get the gears of your story grating again.

Happy End-Of-November from a very happy and relieved,


P.S.  Link of the day: Minimize distractions with Write or Die, a web app that punishes you for cat vacuuming!
P.P.S. About my laptop - it needs a name.  I'm going to put up a poll soon so you can help me choose :) No guarantee I'll obey the majority, of course, but as Sarah always says, it'll help "cement" my choice.

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Updates

I'll keep it short and sweet.

4,294 words since I last updated.
I currently have two and a half chapters left.
Short story remains in drawer.

Those fires in the night...

The current most used phrase in my Nano novel probably goes something like "Later I will add in...."
or "Later, insert..."

Since last week, my desire to have a completed book at the end of November has increased.  I don't want just 50,000 words.  I want to type "The End" and be ready for revisions.

via pinterest

I guess I want to be done.

I'm not exactly tired of my story, but I can see the potential creeping in between the lines and I want to go back and polish it up and make it pretty - make it presentable for someone other than myself to read.

As for the steampunk vibe, that is not going well at all.  All I have are steamwalkers and steamcannons, which are pretty boring.  I'm thinking that when I go back, I'm going to make it either sci-fi, fantasy, or fuel/electro/something-punk.

via pinterest

To increase motivation, I made a "radiance" list, as was suggested in one of the Pep Talks on Nano.  On that, I listed all the scenes that I had really felt pleased with.  These scenes are my "fires in the night", spontaneous blazes of emotion in the black wanderation of Nanowrimo.  (Like that word, 'wanderation'? I just made it up :D)

So far, my story has made me teary-eyed twice - once in a flashback that involves a yellow butterfly, and   again when Dust discovers the mental state of her childhood best friend.  I think those scenes are gems indeed.

via pinterest
Fires in the night have come few and far between lately.  As I said before, I'm skipping over a lot, striving for a finished book whether it's 50,000 words or not.  Last night I hit 40 K, and I felt like a zombie doing it, although part of that was due to the fact that I had played paper dolls almost all day with a six-year-old cousin (how do little kids do it?) and Enya was putting me to sleep with her magic voice.

Anyway, I made 40 K and was happy, though not ecstatic because I knew that most of that would probably have to be cut out when I start editing.

Of course, Nano-ers aren't supposed to think about that, are they? Onward to Week Four!

- Ellyn

(No, I have not been keeping my writing log like a good girl.  Whoops.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Days one, two, and three.

Well, I was supposed to be posting everyday quick little word recaps of what I've done to motivcate/guilt trip myself into finishing a novel before the week is out. And then I forgot to do that. Never fear, I'm doing it now.

988 words

Tuesday & Wednesday; (mostly because I wrote sporadically
through the two days and the night between them.)
1,842 words

Whatever, I finished the chapter. That's all that mattered. Four chapters left. Unless I spontaneously throw in a sub-plot. Won't be the first time on this novel. Also, by random accident I seem to have written an extremely stylized short story. I'm not sure how many words that is. It's about four notebook pages long, so maybe around 600. I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do with it either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My turn

Tuesdays are the days I picked to post here, and I feel horrible, because ad of late, I've done nothin'! So sorry!

In all honesty, I hardly knew what to post.  Writing hasn't been so 'hot' for me as of late.  All I am writing is a Star Trek Fan fiction, which I guess counts as SOMETHING.  On my fan-fic, I've been going alright.  I'm not going as a racing horse through the words, but I'm pedaling on.  And, even though it is taking me a while, I'm putting out some pretty great stuff!  Makes me sad it is only a fan fiction, not something real.  But, I guess this is my writer's rehab, huh?  I took a pretty good downer a month or so ago, and felt really down and out about writing.  But, since 'The Araglin' (as I've named it) I've felt galaxies better!

So, that is about all I've been doing writing wise.  Fan fiction. Pedaling gently through the writing.  But, going steady. 

On a last thought, writing is sorta like marriage, isn't it?  It isn't a whirlwind all the time, but you always grow closer/better during those quiet, steady moments.  Ok, I might be a total freak.

Signing off for the week, Ashley.

P.S I don't normally like Enya's music, due to her being new agey. However. when it comes to writing inspiration, She does the job! I'm listening to her right now!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Real November Word Count/Real Writer

Bizarrely, I haven't updated since the end of October. I'm sure that's the opposite of what you're supposed to do for NaNo, but we've already discussed I'm a bit of a rebel in that department. I'd like to say that I have done nothing but write since then. This is true, I have written a lot. It is not, however, the only thing I've done. 
  I like this overall word count thing people keep doing. It's great. It makes it look like you accomplished something instead of 789 words the third day of the week. That makes it look like you have not accomplished something. I do not like this feeling. I don't like math either, so you should know that all my words are probably off by ten since I cannot for the life of me remember any order of any numbers. 

Overall count: 14,743 words.

Yeah, I don't know how that can be right for less than two weeks worth of writing, but that's what it's telling me. I think it's right. For some reason, it feels like I really haven't written at all. I keep saying again and again how writing this novel feels like re-teaching myself how to do this. My last novel took two months and it was done. I don't even remember writing it. This one has been the more traditional-chain-oneself-to-the-desk-scenario. 

Then again I did have my wisdom teeth taken out a few days ago and I'm still recovering from that. I'm also on narcotics which mean my life at the moment goes a bit like this; hmmm, I think I need to go to the bathroom. I'm going to get up and go to the bathroom right now. Whoa, the floor is moving. THE FLOOR IS MOVING! I must hang on to the wall. *forget what I'm doing on the way to do it* Remember suddenly I was supposed to be on my way to the bathroom. So, why am I in the kitchen... pouring myself orange juice... in a bowl? 

I am not kidding. That is pretty close to accurate. I cannot begin to fathom why in the world someone would be addicted to painkillers. Oh, and my cheeks swelled up so I looked like Alvin the Chipmunk's girl cousin. And the ice pack I have to wear makes me look like this:

It's a miracle what I've done anything writing wise. I had thought about saying, 'oh whatever, I look like that guy above and I can't think straight, I'm going to skip writing.' For whatever reason, every nerve ending in my body rejected this idea and I found myself writing while periodically spitting blood out. I like to think this makes me a REAL writer. But I'm tempted to make a sardonic joke about real writers being on narcotics all the time and ending up in treatment or shooting themselves. I'm not going to do that. Those people are not real writers. (Still, when you start thinking those 'real writers' it gets really disrupting. I don't like to think about it.)

So, since I'm a real writer, the blood sweat and tears type, and I kept writing, I have hit the spot where it gets really fun. The denouement, a French word that means 'we are close to the end, write like a manic.'

  I have five chapters left. I am currently 738 words into these last five chapters. I've been going at a pace, at least before oral surgery, of a chapter a day. We'll see if this keeps up. Truth be told, it's not too hard to do. But some small part of me wants to save this little bit until I can really appreciate it, i.e. stop walking into walls. 

I'm also going to post quick one sentence snippets of what I've written for the day. If only to make it really hit home for me that I'm almost done. Something I really can't believe is here already. 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 11

My relationship with my novel is comfortably dispassionate. It consists of a good balance of a lot of likes, a few loves, and one or two hates.

I've had a lovely week writing it. My word count is yet behind, but as far as the story is coming along, I like it. My problems are either rather small or quite large. Glossing over them or veiling them behind bids for extra words is working alright.

Problems I'm Encountering:

~Transitions between scenes. Page breaks when I feel finished/bored with a scene are as artful as they've been.
~Themes & philosophies: Exactly where should I draw lines on issues like power for the people or submission to authority? It's something I'll need to sort out pronto.
~Character arcs. I'm in the dark as to what they are shaping up to be, if they're even shaping up at all. 

Problems I'm Not Encountering:

~Progression of plot-shaping events. Writing these are exciting. They lead to most of the ungraceful tranistions, but writing them gives me a jolt. I love that.
~Worldbuilding. Aside from place names and the role of surnames, things are going swimmingly.
~My MC's personality. Yes, her arc is still being thought of, but on the day-to-day scale, I like her.

This lovely photo of Cate Blanchett comes very close to how I imagine her, if she was a couple of years older (my character Nym, not Cate):

I'm getting to close to the end of the chain of events that I had planned over the spring and summer. Hopefully, I'll have 25,000 words by then, and after that  . . . the great unknown. My excitement is mounting.

Current word count: 14,295. Only 4,000-some words behind.

Happy 11.11.11! I still need to decide what amazing thing I should do . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

Find out why the winds die... And where the stories go

I have so much swirling around in my head that I could tell you about my story and about Nano.  To keep organized, I've created a small survey for myself.  Feel free to do it yourself in a post, a comment, or modify it for your own use. :)

1. What's your first thought about Nanowrimo, now that you are one week in?
"Now this is the way to write a book!" Seriously.  I am really loving how I can just write, not dwelling on how I'm going to fix things in the future, just knowing I will fix things.

2.  What's the most radical thing you've done so far for Nano?
I switched from third person to first person about twenty pages in.  And I didn't go back and change everything else.  That's right, gasp! I was shocked at myself, but I'm so glad I made the switch early on, because third person was just not working for me.  I couldn't get as close to my characters as I needed to be for this book.  Now in first person, everything's going much better.  I confess I did think about doing first person with present tense (like the Hunger Games, cough), but past tense came more easily so I wasn't about to force myself into a style that would instantly label me as a copycat of Suzanne Collins. 

3.  How do you feel about the way your story is coming along?
Well...I'm mostly happy with it.  It's turning rather violent, though, mostly because of a rather...fierce... male protagonist.  I already have a woman being mutilated by a logging machine and a steamwalker accidentally stepping on a girl.  Oh, and there's a certain male protagonist breaking someone's nose and...maybe....killing him? Heh-heh?
I blame this uprising of violence on my First Aid class.  The pictures in my textbook have got to be R-rated.
But yeah, otherwise, so far so good...

4.  What can you tell us about your characters?
I love my characters, so much! Especially the protagonists.  Dust's perspective is so fun to write and she's so unpredictable, even to me.  She's tough and has quick reflexes, and yet she asks millions of questions and can't stand seeing any creature wounded.  Quite a contrast from almost half-animal Ethen, who attacks on instinct and forgets just how much physical strength he has.  He's angry all the time.  He's harder to write, but I can't wait for Dust to start working her innocent magic on him.  (Yes, his attitude does have to do with something in his past.  That may sound cheesy, but hey...it's Nano.)

5.  Even though the whole point of Nano is to plunge in wearing a blindfold and pound out 50,000 words paying no care to typos, plot holes, or anything, is there something you're being careful with?
Yes.  Character voice.  To me, it seems like something that you can't really go back and fix afterwards, or if you do, it sounds choppy.  So I'm trying to be careful in that when I'm writing Dust, I don't have her do anything or think anything that would be out of her character.  The hardest part of this is when I'm writing Ethen, making sure I make him act and think like a male and not a female.  I have no idea what it's like to think as a male, I really don't.  But I do my best.

6.  Do you have a song for each of your characters?
Yes! Well, most of them.  You can access my inspiration playlist / novel soundtrack here.  Most of the songs relate to my novel in some way...I think.  The Pride and Prejudice tracks are doubtful.   For those of you who like instrumental songs, I'd highly encourage you to go listen to "The Violet Hour" by The Civil Wars.  Beautiful song.
Dust: "I Hope You Dance" - Lee Ann Womack
Martin: "Hope in the Air" - Laura Marling
Ethen: "The Cave" - Mumford & Sons (Thank you, Sarah, for introducing me to this amazing band!)
King Archid: "Set Fire to the Rain" - Adele (I just have a cover on my playlist since I couldn't embed any of the real versions...)

7.  So...how's your chocolate stash holding up?
Heh heh.  Well....it's almost gone... It's been more of a companion instead of a reward, as I told Evergreena.  I did get a bag of candy corn after Halloween stuff went on sale, though.

8.  What's your word count, as of 5:55 p.m., November 7?

17,851 - Feels good to be ahead of the game. I haven't written at all today, so the count will change pretty quick - I plan to write after studying my gruesome First Aid book for my exam on Thursday.  Lovely.


That's it for now, my fellow travelers.  Here's the link to my Nano account - check out the background info / synopsis I wrote for my novel if you wish.  I'm sorry I was so terrible at keeping track of my hours and cat vacuuming - I'll do better for next week.  Good luck writing, all - I must fly!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day Four and Ideas That Weren't Supposed to be Used

Ever since last December, I planned to adhere to the No Outline Rule. No preconceived ideas about who or where or what the story would be about would be allowed into my mind. I thought it would be a big help and stress reliever. Inevitably, a couple weeks ago I started toying with ideas for characters and a theme. That would be okay, I thought; vagueness means flexibility.

Come Tuesday, I was hesitant to start. Almost afraid. It had to happen though, so I wrote the first lines and knew they were a mistake. For the first one hundred words, nothing felt right. Nothing. I didn't have the patience to let it pass, so . . .

 . . . I ended up throwing caution to the wind and used the idea that's been in my head since last March. The novel I was supposed to outline and write over the summer but never did. The one that I thought was so cutting edge, until I learned about Estonia's relationship with communism and read the Hunger Games. It took me while, but I have accepted that new ideas really don't exist and it's good to reinvent stuff. Now that I'm willing to be flexible, not main stream, and reinventful, it's a mixed bag of historic eras and radical themes.

I'm only on page 24. Things are bound to change. I think I like it.

On a more desperate note, I hopehopehope that it turns out!

Tuesday: 1298 words
Wednesday: 2042 words
Thursday: 1191 words

Total: 4531

Woefully behind, but determined to let this happen.
My to do list:
~Stop comparing this year to last year
~Stay caught up in math class
~Do some word sprints this weekend
~Keep being flexible. Even though it's a preconceived idea.
~Improve my handwriting. (Ha - probably won't happen just yet.)

It's Friday night. And I'm off to repair that wordcount.

How are the rest of you doing?