November & NaNoWriMo | 2019

Hellooo there. Lovely day isn’t it?

Well, I’m back.

After being gone for a month, it’s strange returning, but let me start with my two main pieces of great news:

  1. I am alive.
  2. I wrote 50k words for NaNoWriMo with two hours to spare.

Yep.

That’s right. I survived NaNoWriMo without any prep beyond a list of things to include in the story (which the characters took the liberty of editing when I was off drowning in mashed potatoes and gravy, but we’ll return to that later)

Yes… no prep. Result?

The story smells like week-old cans smashed in a plastic bag and living in a bin outside and away from the house.

In other words: it is trash.

The plot is terrible, the world 2D, and the characters are all cardboard, and it’s not just because it’s a NaNoWriMo project.

I mean this is actually bad even for nano.

And that’s saying something.

Out of the 50k worth of events, only two – maybe five – things that have happened made me feel a little satisfied. And the story isn’t even finished. Meaning, it ended on a cliffhanger, but to be perfectly honest I had no idea what was coming next.

It was actually interesting how less stressful it was this year as compared to last one, when I was more invested and had plotted most of it before November even started.

Last year, every moment was about NaNoWriMo. I was thinking about writing. Living, breathing it. Plot holes piling everywhere I look and haunting me in my sleep, but this year, I honestly did not think about it unless I was sitting down in front of the computer with the document open.

And so on one hand, it was not as crazy, but on the other, I’m less satisfied with the content of the latter method.

Maybe it has to do with everything going on this November. There was a point where I was falling behind and getting too overwhelmed and gave up.

Completely and absolutely gave up.

There was debate going on over here, choir prep for our huge Christmas concert over here, family in town, school papers and prep for finals.

I decided that was it, which made my competitive side feel cheated and angry, but that was washed away with the flood of immediate relief.

For eight days straight, I never touched it. Instead I memorized my speeches, attended my scrimmage, did my schoolwork, and even got some time to enjoy some doodling.

And then everything changed.

I finished school two weeks early.

Out of the blue, I finished everything and found myself blinking at an empty to-do list. At which, I thought, hey. There is something I could fill all that white space with.

The conversation went something like this:

Answer:

Me:

At which point, I knew I would have to throw myself all in to catch up (you know catch up on *coughs* 20,000 words) so I went to my room, opened my closet, and pulled out my laptop.

It’s a serious thing to pull out my laptop, let me tell you.

My dad likes to say this laptop teaches the virtue of patience.

I like to say it’s the NaNoWriMo-er’s dream come true.

Or the procrastinator’s nightmare.

Look at it whatever way you want, but this tiny device I got used is so slow it can not process more than two (sometimes three if we’re lucky) things at a time. When I say things, I mean tabs open on a browser. Two programs – say the weather app and a browser – that kills it.

(The laptop also so light and small, it’s easy to walk around and type on at the same time, see? NaNoWriMo-er’s dream come true. FYI I’m selling it to the highest bidder, starting all the cost of all your books and mugs.)

In the end, it works like this:

  • Tab one: document with story.
  • Tab two: NaNoWriMo.

And I am here to tell you it works like magic (mixed with some coffee, chocolate, fellowly desperate writer-friends, and a stubborn nature)

And so on November 30th, right at 10 p.m. I reached 50,000 words.

And won.

And got this cool badge:

And this one:

Here’s how it ended up looking:

(the light blue line is the ideal spot to be every day for a casual and perfectly evened out win.)

My most written in one day was 8,537 words.

So I finished. Now what?

Like I mentioned, the word count goal was finished but the story was not. So do I plan to finish it?

The answer is, no not really.

Perhaps someday I will dig it out of the dumpster and completely start over with a new plot, some new characters, but the same seed of an idea and hope the mutation doesn’t happen again.

As I wrote November 30th at around 10:55 p.m. in my victory acceptance speech:

In the end, this is a jumble of confused sentences strung together with random items and phrases woven within. But do I care? Sure it is trash – I’d be the first to admit it – but I am happy with it for the single fact I won. Oh life, oh stress, oh busy days, where is your sting? I went ten full days without writing a word and yet I am the victor. I finish with a blast and blow the stress to bits, burn it it all to dust, and throw the ash into the four winds to be carried off by Euros. And so I plant my flag of victory of β€œ50,009” into your throat and declare to all the world, I beat you oh monsters. How does that taste? The taste of defeat and shame. You have no hold on me. I wear the flag of victory.

Yes, in the end it is trash, and I will never go as far to even write a second draft, but I care not. Someday perhaps I might take the initial idea – that of the task of taking up a pen and writing about three hurt and broken people struggling to make sense of a broken world – that small glimmering jewel I took hold of for the first day and lost somewhere in the mist – but until there, small cardboard empire, wash away and erode into the murky sea. 

Good novel of NaNoWriMo 2019, I give thee leave to do it. In fact, until further notice, when I might take ye out for a laugh or a mighty cringe-attack, I command thee to collect dust in the utmost darkest corner of the valleys in my google drive.

Yeah. I was excited. πŸ˜›

Let’s look back and see what changed from what I did have in my brainstorming list of things to include. (list from before)

| outcasts |

Check!

Though my unique, wingless, outcast character stumbled somehow upon a wingless society which she fit into perfectly, and then the rest of the story happened there.

Yeah.

Don’t ask me where that country came from.

| fog monsters |

Yes! Though again. For some reason my characters aren’t actually frightened of them… even though they are extremely deadly… and they never truly show up even though they are amazing hunters…?

Maybe the fog monsters were on vacation.

| towering treehouse mansions |

Do you realize houses are hard to spread over multiple trees, because trees bend and shift in the wind?

And there’s lots of wind in my story.

So there are towering treehouse mansions, but there really shouldn’t be.

If I rewrite this thing sometime, it will be more of a Swiss Family Robinson with swinging bridges. Except that people who can fly don’t need bridges.

| old maps |

There were two. But they were just old maps. Nothing spectacular about them. I’m going to assume that I meant something more exciting by this in October…

| pirates |

Honestly, I forgot my old man was going to be an ex-pirate. He ended up just being a retired sailor with a tragic backstory.

| locked sea chests and riddles |

HA.

Nothing even close.

| angry mobs |

They weren’t angry.

Just silent and still. And kinda frightened.

| a quest (to what though I have yet to discover) |

Yeah sure. There were a couple quests.

But the main one I thought of in the first week (and the best one) fizzled out. πŸ˜›

| magical ship with no crew |

AH ha. Finally. Yes. There was a magical ship with no crew. Well. Depends on your definition.

Which brings us to what random things my characters did behind my back…

| ghosts |

I’m not even sure where these guys came from, but once the first showed up, the rest followed.

Including a whole host that haunts my poor, old (not pirate) man and the host that is rumored to run the magical ship.

Yeah.

But it gets worse.

| lost mc |

I’m not even joking. I legitimately have no idea what happened to my main character.

Is she on the boat? Or not? Because if she’s on the boat then there is no way back and she’s lost forever (not to mention maybe stuck with a bunch of ghosts), and if she isn’t, then where in the world is she? Because the other alternatives aren’t that pretty either.

Please someone help. I’ve lost a character, and this time it’s not on purpose.

(And now that a certain person will see this, she is not going to be super happy sooo)

ANYWAYS

On to the things I do have under control.

Right.


Other November Writings

Beyond my NaNoWriMo project, I did not write much. No poetry. No plot bunny attacks. No partially baked stories stuck back in the microwave.

Again, unlike last year when this big furry time-traveling monster wearing a trench coat and sunglasses kidnapped me for a couple days and held me at gun point until I wrote something for him.

The main thing beyond NaNoWriMo was compiling a list for 51 of

  1. major edits to enforce like filling in major plot holes, general renovations, character development, etc.
  2. minor things such as particular scenes I want to fix the feel of or things I need to research, and then
  3. people I hope will read it and give feedback.

In fact for a month dedicated for writing, there was a extremely small amount of time I actually wrote, but at the same time it felt very productive. I had been needing to compile that list for a while and will probably continue to add to it.


Random other achievements of November:

  1. Watched BBC Pride and Prejudice my sixth(?) time and wrote half a post on why it’s obviously better than the Keira Knightly version.
  2. Helped my family put on a English Country dance.
  3. Watched one of my older sisters die twice in Frankenstein the New Musical. (Was there an older musical?)
  4. Celebrated Thanksgiving twice.
  5. Made some earrings to sell at a craft fair.
  6. Baked some cookies with my little sister. Because. Christmas cookies.
  7. Listened to the This Beautiful Fantastic soundtrack non-stop. Except now Christmas music too.
  8. Watched The Matrix for the first time. (It’s amazing guys. Amazing.)
  9. Reorganized my bookshelf for the 50th time. (Yeah, I’m slightly obsessed with doing that.)
  10. Raked leaves.
  11. Lost at the strategy game I am renowned for winning. πŸ˜” (Any Seven Wonder Duel fans out there?)

And now I’m wondering how to present the title of a game. Italicized? In quotation marks?

Anywho.

In conclusion, writing a book is a fun and crazy experience, and I had an amazing break that thoroughly enjoyed.

And oh.

Did you do NaNoWriMo? How did it go? What’s your next step with your novel?

One Down, More to Go | novel celebrations, considerations, and introductions

Let’s ignore last week.

Because skipping out on blogging to go on a field trip is nothing in comparison to my news of this week.

Are you ready for it?

It’s kina big.

Just kinda.

Are you ready? Okay here it is:

I have finished 51.

Wait.

Say WHAT

I’m DONE?!?

…and in the meantime all the rest of you are wondering why in the world it has taken this high schooler to finally learn how to count to 51.

No, its not because I’m homeschooled (thank you very much)

It’s because “51” is the title of what use to be my W.I.P. (which work-in-progress for those wondering).

Though to be honest it’s still a work-in-progress, but we’ll get to that later.

For now, confetti! Balloons! Cake!

In order to celebrate I will be ranting, rambling, and well. More rambling. Gifs.

And watching hobbits celebrate my great feats.

All that jazz.

But first, for those lost: 51? The initial seed of an idea was planted last November when I needed a break from NaNoWriMo (you know that thing where you write 50,000 words in a month) and so asked a writer-friend for a short story prompt so… I could write even more…?

I know it doesn’t make much sense, but wait until you are cranking a couple thousand words a day for the same project.

You get kinda tired of it. Especially the end of the second week. (Which is the point you decide that there are dragons in your world.)

NoNaWriMo in seven words:

Well I wrote a couple thousand words of a short story that felt more like a novel. I started plotting. I wrote a couple pages on how time-traveling might work and how it would effect users. By the end of those pages, I had met my characters. They had brought to me their problems, which I prodded and poked and plotted from.

Since then it has grown. It has had its highs and lows. Things developed and changed. Including the method of story-telling.

All until last week. I finished at the personal-award-winning length of over 75,500 words (what a big plump rabbit that plot bunny has become!).

It’s an experience.

Everytime I finish a novel, I sit back and stare as I try to swallow the fact that I just wrote “the end,” and I think, “Wow, maybe I do know how to do this writing-thing…”

And then I close it and step away. An hour later it hits me. When I’m scheduling maybe. Or passing the computer. Or unconsciously hurrying through chore because of those 1,000 words waiting to be written. Suddenly the mindset is shattered.

There dumps that all confusing but amazing sense of joy, sadness, relief, fear, and confidence. And then that renewed energy.

All of a sudden, it is done. I did it and as comma-depraved and pitiful the prose is and as sagging as the plot proves to be with every chapter, it is mine. All the sweat and mental circles I ran, the sleepless nights I poured into it, the long afternoons squinting at the pixels blinking back at me. All the scrawling’s in my school notebooks. All the holes I must have drilled into my wall as I sat at my desk oblivious of humanity and the schoolbooks before me.

But wait…

Done?

Actually done?

And that original fondness and excitement you had for the characters? It was never lost, merely muddled with the day-to-day grind. And you will no longer visit them.

At least not like this. Not like how it’s been.

It will never be the same with them.

All those problems they brought you have meddled away your summer with. And they’re less of a jerk for it too.

Maybe it will never be the same, but I will be returning. After a break I plan to edit a lot, starting with all those filler {ELEPHANT}s and {helicopter flight check?}s that I stick in when I don’t have time to research. And that I forgot about until handing it to a friend.

I always finish a novel with renewed vigor. When I sit down to write I find myself pulling out the upbeat tunes to dance through as I rip apart pages and scribble with red pens. Or something like that. πŸ˜‰

Well summer is now gone. Fall has already arrived with all its luggage: Shorter days. School. Cold. Flaring colors.

And then another revelation rocks my little universe.

NaNoWriMo is just two weeks away.

And yep.

I’m doing it.

How could I not? Last year was fantastic and after spending almost the past year just on one novel, skipping from section to section, rewriting, and overthinking sometimes, I feel like a good rush of new words and ideas, and that feeling of defenestrating perfectionism and care. Kidnapping a couple new characters and also holding my inner editor for ransom.

Look sometimes you just have to write a random novel and that’s the truth.

*and everyone says amen*

I felt quite lost the other day realizing I have no idea what I was going to write. That since of complete loss. Overwhelming nothing-ness. There is a huge difference between a new chapter in a book, and starting a new book. Facing that blank white page with no history.

Suddenly all that confidence about knowing what I’m doing?

Out the window.

And suddenly I’m sitting at the computer wandering what the temperature is outside.

Where is inspiration when you need it?

Well, after waiting for a sudden creative revelation to hit for a week I gave up only to be most pleasantly bombarded by Eden.

How can you say no to her inspiring bubbliness? Or the prodding by a couple other people I had kinda convinced to do NaNo in the past hundreds of flocks of other eager writing friends. Well she came up with some ideas, which I absolutely loved and twisted together into something I hope will be digestible.

And so now the minor dumping…

Short Teaser

She was born without wings. He was born deaf. And the man was cursed, but he was not born that way.

Hopefully that mini dwarf blurb left you with a couple questions. (Or at least made you want to know more.)

Winged people a norm?

…and now thinking about it, I’m starting to grow extremely excited, scared, and about ten other emotions.

Want to hear more?

What else this novel will include*

  • outcasts
  • fog monsters
  • towering treehouse mansions
  • old maps
  • pirates
  • locked sea chests and riddles
  • angry mobs
  • a quest (to what though I have yet to discover)
  • magical ship with no crew

{*Disclaimer: This is by no means a complete list and is in fact only a list by the author. It has yet to be pitched to the characters. It is very much subject to change. Thank you. πŸ˜‰ }

Extra Fluff

I tried my hand at making character collages/inspiration-boards…

Cora:

Salar:

And Azo:

And with that I think my introduction is complete-

Wait… I need a title?

You’re saying most books have titles? And ones not just randomly pulled from the number of playlists I have on Spotify? *cough51cough*

Okay confession. I’m terrible at naming books especially when I have no idea what they are about especially out of thin air.

I promise 51 is firstly: not about aliens. And secondly: relates to the story. And thirdly: no I don’t have 51 playlists anymore.

(Don’t look at me like that. You go count your playlists. They multiply like rabbits.)

Well, we will work on that one.

WELL

And that’s that.

You think the party is done though? Never. πŸ˜‰

Chalice tagged me for this really cool music tag so return next week for another dose of ramblings, this time about music.

Prepare to be drenched.

Until next time, let the joyous hobbits dance!

~ evelyn ~

**all gifs extracted by my personal crew of dwarves from the mines of giphy**

The Ballad of the Hungry Poet

I don’t normally rant about food. But ranting about it in poetry form? What could possibly be better than that? πŸ˜‰ 

Last year during NaNoWriMo, I needed a break and asked a writer-friend for a premise for a poem. This is what she gave me:

“Write a comedic poem about someone who’s really hungry and thinking about all sorts of food, but who is too lazy to get up off the couch and make lunch.”

And thus I set out on my quest, writing the largest piece I ever have on food.

Enjoy!


 

The Ballad of the Hungry Poet

 

My stomach growls and I begin to dream,

Of banana splits and chocolate ice-cream,

Some celery sticks and popcorn strings,

And many peanut butter covered things.

 

Of pies and meats and sugar sweets,

Of juicy pears in giant heaps.

I look across the room and see,

The kitchen shining heavenly.

I can smell the food that sits in there,

Hear it’s taunting call haunt through the air.

 

Ah food! A glorious thought that makes me shiver,

Baked beans, broccoli steamed, and cooked liver,

Bring them to me please, I beg you!

How I long to taste them all anew.

 

But the couch is such a comfort – so soft!

Why would I leave such a comfy loft?

But then, there’s pizza in the microwave,

The beeping signal it loudly gave.

Think how the cheese must melt so,

And how rich and tasty that would go.

The soft and warm bites I could take,

Now what a meal, that would make!

 

But the pillow is so soft and sweet,

That props my legs up and my feet,

Could I leave such a dreamy chair,

From it how could I myself tear?

 

My head is cradled by the cushions here,

My food is calling me to draw near,

To make some lunch,

For me to munch,

For me to crunch,

For me to cup in my hands.

To savor every little crumb of food

But then, I sigh and yawn, in the mood,

Not to move.

 

Must one give up one thing to receive another?

How come life has to be such a bother,

So measure what you want the most.

Oh how I long for buttered toast!

But do I want to move for that?

Which wins when they combat?

 

Mm… I can almost smell the turkey,

That in a tasty sandwich could be,

Or what about potato soup?

And something from the veggie group?

 

Like a handful of fresh tomatoes

So full and red and juicy are those,

Or some crunchy, tasty, cucumbers,

Of which could be eaten in great numbers.

 

Pickles always top the cake,

(Though not literally for goodness sake!)

And carrots dipped in hummus sauce,

Freshly cleaned and freshly tossed,

Come marching up for second best,

But are they better than my rest?

 

Oh I could go on and on!

From dawn till dusk and dawn again.

Of tasty food that brighten up my days.

Peppers: yellow, orange, and bright red.

And-

 

Or, you know what?

What if I just read a book instead.