Time for Final NaNo Prep

As my fellow Wrimos are aware, tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo. Eek! I’m not quite as well prepared for the arrival of November 1st as I have been in the past. I’m trying to be okay with that, mega planner than I am. Parts of my plot still need to be worked out, even though technically I do have something jotted down from my original thoughts on the story a few weeks ago. The fact that both M and my mom decided on Sunday and Wednesday respectively that I need to know the spell Morgan used to curse Rhys with his immortality isn’t bothering me at all, either. Not a bit.

*moment of slightly hysterical laughter, followed by blank stares at the monitor*

So, I’ve spent random moments since Monday trying to compose a curse. In the car, on the couch, in between this and that at work. As luck would have it, the one good idea I had I don’t remember because my iPhone with its handy recording app was in the trunk.

Planner, indeed.

Finally it all came together and I admit, I really like it. It’s got all the elements it needs, especially the 7-9 pair pattern and the rhyming. Oh, the rhyming!  I now know how Shakespeare must have felt, composing the spells for the witches in “Macbeth.” I was inspired a teeny bit by one of his verses, and I give him full credit for that. Although, I bet he didn’t sit there tapping fingers against his desk counting syllables.

Morgause, the model for my Morgan, casting a spell of her own on TV's "Merlin."

Morgause, the model for my Morgan, casting a spell of her own on TV’s “Merlin.”

I know you won’t let me off without sharing the curse, so picture this: Morgan le Fay, wounded and pissed off and feeling very vengeful, ringed by nine fat white candles with steady flames as she crouches before her grimoire under a clear night sky. She holds a bloodied dagger in one hand (the blood’s from the who called out to the universe for this curse and sliced her hand open with it before Morgan stole it for the spell) and tosses the spell’s ingredients into the flame of the candle before her. Her voice is properly ragged (she’s casting this thing with her dying breaths) and suitably witchy as she chants:

Beneath a moon full and red,
With fiery comet overhead,
By thy wish I speak this spell,
To curse he whose sword a maid did fell.
In that fateful battle fight,
against Table code did act a Knight.
Her death he caused unaware;
Sir Rhys a greater price must now bear.

Death too swift a curse to cast,
his suffering must be made to last!
Unto him this curse shall fall;
with Rhianwen’s blooded blade I call
upon the earth, moon and sky
to bind this spell and my will apply.
Life to death and back the key;
from this day hence, immortality.

Each death gains him pain anew,
each Rebirth memories of his due.
Others deaths he’ll watch through time
while his unending years but climb.
From this curse no respite he
will find, not until Time doth decree:
when moon, comet and blade are three,
join spell, love and death to set him free.

Thrice for thee and thrice for thine,
and thrice for she summates sacred nine.
Called and cast through woman’s will,
for woman’s honor ‘tis now fulfilled.

As she wished, and as I’ve weaved,
this spell ‘tis bound, thus I mote it be.

There you have it. Now, on to the counterspell. Aw, man…

Update! As of 8 PM Friday night, the counterspell is also complete. Yay me! You’ll find it here on its own page. Morgan’s curse is also its own page as well, and the synopsis of COC is also online. I got a lot done today, and for now, I’ll worry about the plot later in the month. Now to go home, watch a scary movie in honor of Halloween, and get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a busy day!

NaNoWriMo Prep: Time Management

Nikki B.:

What Kate said! I will be re-evaluating my post-NaNoWriMo habits and hopefully begin writing more than once a week. Although, to be fair, at least I do that! :)

Originally posted on Kate M. Colby :

Have you ever heard or read an interview with one of those writers who does everything? Specifically, I’m talking about those hip, independent authors who work a full time job, have a marriage, raise children, run a successful blog and/or podcast, do all their own book marketing, run a business, do charity work, and write (if not PUBLISH) at least four novels a year. Well, I have. And let me tell you: I feel equal amounts of bewilderment, envy, and admiration whenever I stumble upon them.

superheroHow do they do it?! They MUST be superhuman!

After happening across these individuals, I typically go through simultaneous phases of inspired and ashamed. I mean, these people are living my dream (give or take a few details), and I aspire to be in a similar position of my own design. Yet, at the same time, I look at my daily routine and…

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A Fly on the Wall of NaNoPrep

As I sat with my fellow NaNo prepper M yesterday in our usual Sunday library corner, I managed to get all of the plot for “Curse of Camlann” I’d already sketched out officially written down. I also downgraded one character to a supporting role and introduced a newer one, based on my musings and input from Mom, because one should always listen to Mom. Furthermore, I renamed Obsessed Ex-Husband because his name was too soap opera-y and found his photo on Pinterest, posting the latter to my COC board for future reference. Fortunately, only that last one was an official distraction, unless one counts the chips, sour straws and Reese’s that M tossed onto the table oh so cavalierly.

Mmmm, writing snacks.

Anyway, as I was saying… My plan for Sunday was to get farther along with the rest of the plot. As in all the way done. M had to keep reminding me anything done is better than nothing done at all. So I kept plugging along. Occasionally I’ d ask her random questions on random topics, checked with her writer brain that works differently than mine to see if an idea I had made sense or was completely off the mark, or if one scenario would be more appropriate than another.

For example, after one exchange, M had this opinion: it might be a little bit scary for Reese (immortal hero of the story), who has just resurrected from being shot by the Obsessed Ex-Husband of Rowena (heroine of the story) and whom she thinks is dead because moments before Reese had no pulse, to touch her on the leg where she kneels within reach next to him to let her know he is not in fact dead after all.

Smart woman, that BFF of mine.

It was then that I wondered just what others around us in the library think of our topic-ranging discussions. Between last year’s shapeshifters and hyena massacres and this year’s immortals and resurrections and a brief consideration of just how evil was Vlad the Impaler really, we have to sound a little bit odd. Oh, to be a fly on that wall to hear what interesting things come out of brainstorms and aha! moments and the imbibing of copious amounts of caffeine in all its forms during NaNo around the world…

fly-on-the-wall

NaNo Prep In Full Swing

Well, it’s halfway through October and I am well trenched into that time-honored activity called NaNo Prep. As my previous post explained, I am totally a planner, so it’s not unusual to find me working on characters, plots and all the other things I can do early before writing begins on November 1. The last couple of Sunday writing sessions have been abbreviated due to things like M taking her oldest to a birthday party and me singing during two services at church. For me, that means not so much productivity on the things that I should be working on.

Instead, I’m doing things like updating my NaNoWriMo dashboard with all the new details — click here to visit my author dashboard and see what I’m up to — and creating a book cover for that very same page. I find it fascinating how long it can take to crop an image, add some text, rotate it this way and that in order to get it to look the way you want just so you have an image for the site instead of a sad blank square.

In case you are curious, this is the cover I settled on and uploaded to my NaNo dashboard. You may also have also seen it pop up as my new photo on Facebook as well:

Working Title for NNWM 2014 novel: The Curse of Camlann

Working Title for NNWM 2014 novel: The Curse of Camlann

Now, I think it’s time to get back to plotting. I’ve got a lot of story to figure out, not to mention the mechanics of my character’s immortality. Hmm. Mechanics of Immortality. If my current book title doesn’t work, that definitely sounds like a winner.

NaNo Prep: Panster or Planner?

Hello! I know I’ve been quiet lately on the writing front, and NaNo is to blame. Instead of working on flash fiction, I’ve been solidly prepping my NaNo novel. Yes, I am fully aware that November is still over a month and a half away, but this is me were talking about. Interestingly, in my email this morning, I find NaNoMail on this very subject. Figuring the Fates are giving me a poke, I thought I’d check it out.

As I read the “how to prep” article, I laughed because M and I discuss pieces of this every year at NaNo time. One of them was almost prophetic, as we talked about this very thing at our last writer session:

nanopantserorplanner

I am most definitely in the planner camp, and M leans in the pantser direction. I like to know who my characters are, what my plot is, who’s doing what and why, and where the story will take place. This year, my story contains a character who gets cursed, and I knew that I had to know a) exactly how the curse came about, and b) how my hero and heroine were going to break said curse. I didn’t want to find myself stuck without the answer and staring at a blank Scrivener page trying to figure it out. I even enlisted M to help me out when I was stuck in Stuck Mode, as this Messenger conversation we had shows. She posted it on Facebook to give her friends and mine a glimpse into the writer process:

nanodilemma

Yes, I most definitely groaned when I read her “helpful” suggestion, and called her on it later, but yeah, it was pretty funny. Fortunately, I’ve since worked out how to break Reese’s curse. Now I’m working on Rowena’s ancestral family tree to see how many times in the last 1500 years the curse could have been broken but was thwarted by one thing or another.

Yeah, planner I be. :)

Note: for more information on this year’s NaNo novel, check out the sidebar under “NNWM 2014 Project” (click the three horizontal lines to access).

Flash Fiction: Cobalt Gargoyles of Dublin

This post is a bit overdue, but as they say better late than never. It’s based on TerribleMind’s flash fiction challenge from August 15th. I went a tad over the allotted word limit, so I didn’t post it as part of the challenge. I also hadn’t had a chance to edit it yet. After taking a few minutes to clean things up a little, I think it’s ready for posting.

Here’s the deets on what the challenge entailed:

“Colors are pretty. I want you to write a story using a title that incorporates a color into it. I don’t care which color. Only requirement is the incorporation of a color in the title.

CobaltGargoyle_Griffin

Leader of the Dublin Cobalt Gargoyles, Griffin

The blog’s author included a random color table for our convenience, and I chose #10, cobalt. It’s a color with a nice name, and also happens to be one of my favorite glazes in pottery class. I also chose to stick with the winged theme I seem to have going this summer, and I might also have been influenced by watching I, Frankenstein on video the weekend I wrote the story.

Here’s what happens when I settle gargoyles on top of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and melée ensues. You can find it later as its own page under the “About Nik’s Stories” menu above for future reading.

Read the story: The Cobalt Gargoyles of Dublin

Writer’s Blocks Story Weekend

It’s the end of July, and Meagan and I were scheduled to meet for our monthly writing session. We chose a new place to eat on Sunday, and surprise, it was a order and go sit kind of place instead of a restaurant with actual waitstaff. As a result, we had a lot more time to kill than usual before we could head off to the library.

Did we sit and chat about our lives while eating copious amounts of yummy queso? Of course.

Did I show off my writer charm bracelet that I’d made and had worn for inspiration, and smile when it tinkled? Yep.

Did I dig into my laptop tote that I brought inside with me because I didn’t want my chocolate covered raisins to melt into a big blob of ickiness while sitting inside my trunk in the Texas summer heat to find that tiny little pouch containing my writer’s blocks? You betcha.

writersblocks0727We spent the next half hour or so rolling those little dice onto the tile tabletop of our booth and seeing how they landed. We laughed at some options, and I groaned each time ‘horror’ popped up. I started handing Meagan the die that rolled an option I didn’t like for her to do the re-roll, and she the same. By the time we left, I had seven options to choose from and she five.

We arrived at the library, settled in, and the deliberation began. Which option do we choose? Meagan did a coin toss to pick between her two favorites. Me, I just picked one that sounded interesting.  Here’s what I selected, with the further explanation provided by the little insert that came with the set (click the image to see it full size):

  1. Hero — Non-human
  2. Genre — Fantasy
  3. Plot — Revenge — hero means to take vengeance on some other characters
  4. Plot Twist — Betray — major character unexpectedly dies

This then prompted a discussion as to what constituted a non-human. I made the argument that alien non-humans fell more into the scifi category, and supernatural creatures such as vampires and werewolves would be non-humans in a fantasy world. She gave me an “uh huh” and ignored me to work on her own story.

Having just had a SyFy Channel “Bitten” binge watching session not that long ago, I knew just the werewolf that I wanted in my head when writing, although I didn’t use his character but my own. I wrote this one directly into Scrivener versus long hand, too. It didn’t write itself very fast, but it’s a good beginning of something. So here it is, coming in at 2,748 words and edited a little for content. Let me know what you think. Oh, and it’s been added as its own story page, so you’ll always know where to go and find it when you want to re-read it later. :)

Read the story: A Brother’s Betrayal