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 Liebster Award 2.0

And the saga CONTINUES!

Thank you Mary for tagging me!

For a refresher, here are the rules again:

  • Acknowledge the blogger that gave it to you and display the award.
  • Answer 11 questions that the blogger gave you.
  • Give 11 random thoughts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and notify them of their nominations.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.

And here I am already trying to brainstorm 11 people I can tag when Mary managed to tag 22 people. O.o

Anyways, on to Mary’s Questions!


 

#1. Who is your favorite Marvel superhero and why?

Loki!

What? He’s not a superhero? Hmm.

Bucky then!

He isn’t either?

Okay, okay. Captain America or Spiderman. πŸ˜›

 

#2. What Hogwarts house are you in, and why?

I have not read Harry Potter (…and the crowd gasps…) but! I do have some friends who have.

According to their judgement, I would be in the Ravenclaw house, which apparently is the best one. πŸ˜‰

For those who are as clueless as I was:

There are four houses of Hogwarts that the students are sorted into. Here is an overview:

  1. Slytherin. This is for very cunning, β€œwhatever it takes” kind of people.
  2. Griffindor is all the brave/hero sorts, the confident ones.
  3. Hufflepuff has all the sweet laid back types: small and innocent.
  4. And Ravenclaw is for the more focused and studious types. 

Shout out to aforementioned friend (you know who you are!) who gave me a quick crash course on this. (:

 

#3. If you could spend one day hanging out with one character in a book you’re writing or wrote, who would it be and why?

Arthur from my WIP, 51.

I started on version 2.0 (or 1.5? since I didn’t finish the first one…) and was realizing how much I want to better understand his character. Perhaps hanging out with him for a day would explain a lot.

 

#4. Out of all the superpowers out there, which one would you want to have? And why?

Is having an unending store of wisdom considered a super power? xD

Cause honestly that’s what would be the extremely helpful. If not, then the ability to fluently speak every language on Earth. That would be pretty helpful too.

 

#5. What inspired you to start your blog? 

My longing to write consistently, to own a place to scrawl thoughts, and to see my words live in the daylight.

 

#6. What is a book or book series that you would recommend to anyone?

I thought long and hard on this one and then it hit me, and now I feel bad I did not think of it earlier.

The Bible!

(duh… πŸ˜› )

 

#7. If you could go into your own world that you wrote or are writing, where would you go to first and why? 

I would go to the Urlynwagh of the Anielian Dwarves. It is the very heart of their deep underground world: a large cone room with walls slanting to the base, covered in paintings, history, and old inscriptions etched from centuries of ancestors. It is there one may find the Dwarf counsel gathered in their battle armor, or the ancient Elders in their solemn garb. I’d love to listen to their arguments and cases, and the wisdom of their luvoren.

Then I would travel through the city to the castle and sit and hear the songs of the largest and most famous verhona played by the most skilled and aged musicians.

Maybe after that go visit a ynwalu trainer above the caves in the fresh mountain air, or try to discover what the trifelines actually do in their spare time…

 

#8. What food do you absolutely LOVE the most, and what food do you loathe to the ends of the earth?

This is a hard question to answer. Thanks to those ole green bean wars of my young childhood, I am not a picky eater, and on the other side there are so many tasty things in the world, and the majority of them reside happily in my mother’s kitchen via her amazing talent of creating delicious meals.

I’d say my mother’s homemade bread and white chicken chili are high on my list along with the grits casserole she makes. (I always request it for my birthday breakfast…)

Speaking of breakfast foods, her pancakes and waffles are the best I have ever had.

Red peppers, bagels, and grape tomatoes are also great.

Did I mention that my mom’s homemade salsa is from heaven?

I could keep going. xD

Just the other day my family was discussing how we love being in the “I Love Mom’s Cooking Club.” It’s amazing guys.

Anyways, as for something I dislike… Hmm. Ranch dressing comes to mind. It has a weird after-taste for me. And I’ve never really been fond of Ketchup either.

I hope condiments apply for this question…

(And I told you guys I don’t rant about food. Ha.)

 

#9. Which of the four seasons (summer, spring, fall, winter) is your favorite and why?

Oooh. Um. Hmm.

Did you just ask that? Really?

Summer is so beautifully, toasty hot. Days spent in the sun and bare feet squishing fresh green grass between toes. And the satisfaction of surviving another year of school and tying it up in a bow.

Fall is spectacular with all the trees turning red, brown, and orange, then carpeting the roads in their hair. It’s cool again and perfect for quiet, peaceful walks of awe.

And then winter is beautiful because they are the days curled up inside in a thick sweater by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, listening to Christmas carols, and watching the snow cover the backyard in yards of brilliant white icing.

And the beauty of spring comes from the end of winter, as you wake up one morning to the sound of birds and open your windows to the sun and realize there’s a batch of flowers waiting beside your door step.

Sooo

Does that answer your question? xD

 

#10. What is the biggest goal you have in life right now

That I can think of off the top of my head?

Well, it would probably be the goal to start over and write an entire first draft for 51 by August.

Or maybe not dying during Driver’s Ed this summer.

Yeah.

One of those.

#11. What is the one thing you love doing most in life?

How can I narrow it down?

Well…

Experiencing life with people I love.

Creating something beautiful for a fellow human.

Telling a story that touches a soul.

Watching young children.

Watching people grow up.

Geeking out over books with other writers.

And finishing a trigonometry problem and actually getting the answer right.

 

 

Now 11 random facts about me.

 

– I love music and currently I have 34 playlists on Spotify. (Is that too many?)

– Apparently, I am a first alto.

– My earliest nightmare I remember included me being kidnapped by a troll and taken to his treehouse. (Someday I’ll turn it into a story…)

– Ey, guys!! I am officially a professional artist! This week was the first time I was paid for my work.

– Now I am currently brainstorming what to do with three empty canvases.

– My name is a combination of the name “Eve” and “Lynn” so it means “life and light.”

– I have named a villain once after a name my parents were considering for me if I had been a boy.

– This summer is going to be a combination of reading, writing, pulling weeds, learning to drive, and hoping to start a small calligraphy business.

– I have discovered writing a note to a friend with a dip ink pen late in the night is lovely.

– I’ve been to 29 of the 50 states of America.

– I cry at the end of Toy Story 3 because the baby doll in it looks just like the one I’ve had all my life.


 

Well, now time for some tagging.

I tag…

  • all those tag thieves prowling around out there (I promise I won’t look if you steal it…)
  • anyone who has not done this award yet (Does this species even exist anymore?)
  • any fellow Ravenclaws (High-five guys!)
  • any book characters out there who feel up to the challenge of hacking into their writer’s blog and posting (Muhahaha.)

 

And your 11 questions.

– What type of music do you enjoy? How has your music tastes grown over the years? (And how many playlists do you have??)

– What is one of the weirdest/scariest dreams you’ve ever had?

– Where is your favorite place to do homework? What about reading or writing?

– How many draft posts do you currently have for your blog?

– What is the worst experience have had in your writing life? (Or written life for those characters who are answering here. πŸ˜‰ )

– Where is the weirdest place or situation you’ve found inspiration for a story?

– What was the last book/movie that made you cry? (Unless you’re one of those people who never cries…)

– What is a recent piece of insight you found that you really appreciated?

– What is something deeply satisfying that happened this week?

– What are you looking forward to this summer?

If you had to pick one of your characters to haunt you the rest of your life, which would you pick? (Or for characters… which of your acquaintances would you love to go haunt your writer for you?)

 

And ten points for a bonus question! Who started the Liebster Award? Whoever they are, they’re a genius and they’ve taken over the blogging word with their self-multiplying device.

I’ve always wondered who is behind it all…

Well, friends, this is the end, but I’m curious. Does anyone else dislike Ranch Dressing and Ketchup? Or am I the only one?