Camp NaNoWriMo Returns in July and I’m Bringing Conflict With Me

Hello again, old friends! It’s been a month or so since I made it back from my first successful trip to Camp NaNoWriMo and came home with a winner’s button. Since then, I’ve been alternating between some casual editing on my unfinished Boyfriend Experiment manuscript (aka going through and just removing the “fluff”) and reading up on the craft of writing. I picked up quite a few reference titles during the Austin Book Store Crawl on Independent Bookstore Day, April 29th, and on a shopping spree over Memorial Day weekend. I cracked the cover on my Writers Digest book Writing Monsters, and I’ll definitely get back to it when I return to my other fantasy novel (there’s a really nasty shapeshifter dragon bad guy in that one). The other WD book I picked up, Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense, basically confirmed my suspicion that my current work-in-progress is going to need a bit more of a rewrite than I originally expected.

According to the book, “the stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be death” and “somebody has to be in danger of dying”. That somebody is your main character and s/he’s in jeopardy either physically, professionally, or psychologically. Now, when your MC happens to be an immortal, that makes thing a bit more tricky. Fortunately, Reese believes the cure to his curse is mortal death, so that’s in line with the psychological aspect. Maybe I’m not as far off the tracks as I thought.

Yet when it comes to conflict, I think I can do better by this manuscript. It needs some work on its pacing at the beginning, in order to get things zooming along to the all important middle. We’re on the countdown to the breaking of the curse, and I’m sure Reese can hear the ticking of the clock in the background. Still, unless I bring back the ex we haven’t seen since Reese scared the crap out of him by coming back from the dead, I’m not sure who my late-novel antagonist will be to add those elements of conflict. Well, external conflict anyway. I’m sure my leads will have many things to argue about between now and the start of the eclipse regarding how each believes the curse will end should all go as planned.

In any case, I will keep you guys up-to-date with letters home from Camp in July like I did in April. I’m also excited for my very first homemade writers retreat, which Meagan and I created for ourselves (we even came up with our very own swag!). It will happen smack in the middle of Camp this month, so stay tuned for additional updates from the Texas Hill Country.

You may also want to check out the Curse of Camlann excerpt page between now and July 1. I’ve updated the page with a scene from last session so you can see where our knight and lady have landed.

Here’s to another winner session, a great retreat, and all the words we’re all going to write!

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NaNoWriMo, Meet My Bullet Journal, Take 2

Click here to see my NaNo profile and read the new excerpt

Good afternoon, wrimos! I bet you’re wondering what’s been going on since my last post waaaaay back in July when I was last talking about Camp NaNoWriMo. Well, from the sheer lack of posts you can probably surmise that I didn’t do well at all. You are not wrong. I got about 3,500 words written out of my projected goal of 15,000 and then I went kaput. I can’t really recall why that happened, just that it did. What I do remember is that my plan to use my bullet journal to track my word count actually was the most successful thing about Camp this year. Fortunately, I have a much bigger support network for the real deal competition that is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Plus, many more friends are participating, so it’ll be much easier to get motivated and stay that way.

As a result, I am in full NaNo prep mode. Here’s a look at what’s been going on:

  • Official site updated. On the first day it was available, I went in and added all the details I could, including a brand-new excerpt from the story that I worked on last month. My BFF likes it, but I’m hoping she’s not just saying that because she’s my BFF. You’ll have to let me know. I also got to check off a bunch of personal achievement badges, including the one for Camp. Nifty!
  • Novel chosen. I’ve decided for the third year in a row to once more work on my story about an immortal knight, The Curse of Camlann. Hopefully I’ll finish the thing, or at least get darn close. It also earns me the NaNo Rebel badge, which is pretty cool.
  • Playlist page added. Since I’ve been listening to the thing for almost a year, I thought it might be fun to post it on the blog like I did the one for The Great Boyfriend Experiment. To see what tunes I’m grooving to while writing, or driving in the car thinking about writing, check out the page under About Nik’s Novels in the menu above, or you can go there directly by clicking here. This too earned me a badge, the Novel Maestro one.
  • Working lunches scheduled. Fellow wrimo and co-worker KellyLindy and I will once again be meeting up during the week to write together, inspire each other and have mini word wars during our lunch hours. We’ve co-opted a conference room with no windows so the only distractions will be those we bring in with us in the form of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks, and caffeine. This one got me the Wrimo Spirit badge. I’m racking ’em up!
  • Pinterest inspiration board updated. Not that long ago, I discovered a little gem of a BBC television show called “Merlin” during one of my summer Netflix binges. I am here to tell you that I have totally and without any remorse whatsoever stolen the Camelot they created and made it the one that Reese was born into back in the 6th century. Heck, the show’s finale two-part episode takes place during the battle in which he gets cursed, so it doesn’t get more perfect than that. To find out more, check out my Curse of Camlann board.
  • Word count pages recycled/created. As I mentioned at the top of this post, the best thing about July’s Camp was the word count chart I’d created. So, I’m going to do that again. In fact, I’m going to also reuse the one from July; it still has 86 books to color in as I’d set it up for a 25,000 word count goal. I’ll just use a different color, perhaps blue to match our NaNonaut, for November’s goals. I think this one definitely counts for the NaNo Prep badge, right?

Whew, that’s a lot to get done so far. According to my bullet journal NaNoWriMo task list, I have only a couple items left to check off. One is definitely optional, and the other is half optional. I need a reliable computer, and thanks to a failed Windows 10 update, I am now tied to my power cord since my battery got all mucked up. Cross your fingers I find a good deal on the laptop I’m looking for; I don’t need a lot, just something that will run a few Office apps and Scrivener. I’ll hopefully check back in before NaNoWriMo officially starts. If not, I will definitely keep you in the loop about how writing’s going once it’s in full swing.

Talk to ya soon, wrimos!

NaNoWriMo Novel Switch

Reese Llywellyn, aka Sir Rhys (Greyston Holt, Clayton Danvers from “Bitten”). I imagine him saying, "It's about time you got back to my story."
Reese Llywellyn, aka Sir Rhys (actor Greyston Holt, aka Clayton Danvers on SYFY’s “Bitten”). I imagine him saying, “It’s about time you got back to my story.”

If you caught my tweet from earlier today, you already know the jist of this post. So far, it’s been an interesting week. I started NaNoWriMo on Sunday writing Frankie’s story in a back booth of my local diner-esque hangout while freezing my fern off and wearing a tiara (and no, there are no photos of this phenomenon). My observant teen waitress discovered I’d left my writing mascot Mars the horse on the top of the napkin dispenser and returned him to me, so I didn’t have to wonder where he’d gone.

Monday introduced a new element, write-in lunch hours with a co-worker who herself is a NaNo veteran. I like this option, as it gets me writing at lunch and also adds the social aspect that is nice with other write-ins I’ve been to. That first day the lunch word count was pretty decent, so I thought I was golden.

Until Thursday came around and I was suddenly over my story.

The word count definitely tells the tale. As the week went by, my word count came in lower and lower each day, although at the time I attributed that to chatting too much. Then, on Thursday I got a lunch invite from my work BFF who will be going on maternity leave next Friday, and I didn’t even blink as I abandoned my write-in lunch to go out for enchiladas. To make matters worse, I’ve got a new obsession in bullet journaling brought on by my Michigan friend (I’ll say more on this later when I’m not supposed to be making word count goals) and I spent Thursday night prepping my new journal instead of flipping open my laptop and racking up the totals.

The fact that I could, at most, give a casual shoulder shrug that I wasn’t writing Frankie’s story told me I should perhaps rethink what I’m working on.

I think I knew last night what I planned on doing, as I’d already stuffed the necessary notebooks for last year’s “Curse of Camlann” into my tote to take with me today. After the car ride in and a chat with Meagan, it was official. Frankie’s on hiatus as I revisit Reese and his curse once again.

Fortunately for me, I’d printed out all chapters to date for an editing session some time ago — boy, are some of those pages RED — so I can read through the pages immediately preceding my pick up point to resume the story. That means I’ll be throwing myself right into the action as my hero, Reese, is about to put the hurt on the ex-husband of his lady. Even though he’s an immortal knight of Camelot and will conduct himself honorably, if the ex starts fighting dirty, it’s gonna be on like Donkey Kong.

Back from the Abyss

Surprise! I bet you guys thought I’d fallen off the face of the earth, considering how quiet this blog has been this year. All I can say is life happens and things don’t always work out the way you plan. Fortunately, sometimes things also turn out better than you expect, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Despite all this inactivity, I did have one event I wanted to share with you guys. Up until this summer, all the writing I’d done was on my NaNoWriMo novels, or short stories and writing prompts with my BFF. Some of them have appeared on this blog–see the menu links above–but most have been only in Scrivener or rattling around in my head. Then M emailed me and said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Hey, will you do the 24 hour short story contest with me? The entry fee is only five dollars.”  I was curious enough that I went and checked it out and said, “Sure, why not?”

So, come July 18th I found myself sitting in the library with M, not-so-patiently waiting for noon to roll around so we could go to the site and find out our prompt and start writing. After a couple of refreshes, there it was.

Aaaand that’s when the trouble began.

While M got her idea almost immediately and started researching and writing within the first hour, I struggled for a good two hours trying to find a way to use a character I’d created for a different short story that I’d wanted to use again. I admit, frustration almost got the best of me until I decided I needed some air and tossed my key chain onto the table.

I looked down at the clunk, and grinned.

WWLegoFigure
Wonder Woman LEGO character from “The LEGO Movie”, aka the one on my key chain and the story’s inspiration.

You see, earlier that day during lunch, M had given me a souvenir gift from her trip to LEGOLand® with her boys. She knew how much I loved Wonder Woman swag (and I have A LOT of it), and she’d found me a key chain sporting my favorite super-heroine. I was so tickled I’d immediately attached it to my car key ring. At that moment, seeing her laying face up and smiling at me, inspiration struck like she’d tossed out her lasso and whacked me in the head.

I could use Wonder Woman as the heroine in my story!

Well, once that thought took hold, I was off to the races. I’d remembered the beginning of the first episode of the 1977 “Wonder Woman” television show had taken place on Themyscira, Diana’s homeland, and so it was easy to picture exactly what the fabulous Lynda Carter looked like as her princess persona. On top of that, since I am quite familiar with Greek myths, I also pulled in one of my favorite small screen bad guys in the form of the character the late Kevin Smith as Ares, God of War from “Xena: Warrior Princess.”

Following a little research into the Amazon legends and myths, I found one that perfectly suited my story idea, and in no time my fingers were flying across the keyboard. A few hours later, I’d written 1136 words, and it was time to cut that down to the limit of 950. After a little reworking, I had a story I was happy with and sent it in.

Waiting the seven weeks to find out the results was maddening, although I’m not sure why I thought I’d win my first time out. I do find it interesting that this was one of the few times I didn’t immediately think “Nah, I won’t win anything, I never do,” but instead thought positively on the outcome. In the end, I was among the hundreds of folks who, for whatever reason, didn’t make the judges’ final cut. It took a day or so for me to be okay with that and just be happy I’d not given up and had sent in a submission. I think that’s why I like NaNoWriMo so much; while you may be in the same competition as your friends, you’re really only competing against yourself and the word count. In fact, I’ve already started prepping for this year’s entry. :)

I hope you like my story of what happens when a former superhero returns home to her paradise island and embraces her old traditions, only to find things aren’t what they seem. It is also posted as its own page, which also includes the prompt from which this story came, under the “About Nik’s Stories/Writing Competitions” menu above for future reading.

Isn’t It A Wonder

Diana, princess to Themyscira (Lynda Carter) from “Wonder Woman”
Diana, princess of Themyscira (Lynda Carter from “Wonder Woman”)

Diana carefully stepped down into the grotto and settled onto one of the underwater benches, sighing as the cool waters soothed her overheated skin. Catching sight of her sibling, she waved, glad she’d been able to attend Drusilla’s twenty-first birthday party despite her condition. Nearly everyone in the commune was also in attendance, laughing and enjoying the sun and surf, not to mention the picnic the queen had arranged.

As if summoned by thought, Queen Hippolyta joined her at the edge of the pool.

“How are you feeling today?”

“I’m fine, Mother. You can stop hovering.”

“I’m allowed to hover,” she argued. “You’re carrying my first grandchild, and she’s going to be the first Themysciran princess born in centuries. The gods may have gifted you with beauty, strength and wisdom, but you’re still a mortal and my daughter.”

“Yes, but even we Amazons slow down a little when it comes to childbirth,” Diana said, reaching for her sister’s hand as Drusilla settled down beside them. “Enough about me. How are you enjoying your party, little one?”

Dru grinned. “I’m great! The gift table is stacked with presents, I’ve snacked on every treat at least twice, and I’ve finally worn Atalanta down. I start my archery lessons next week. I couldn’t have asked for a better day! Thank you.”

“It’s our pleasure,” Hippolyta returned, smiling affectionately at her youngest child. “Now, I’ll leave you to your celebration. I still have work to do and last minute details to finalize.” Rising to her feet in that graceful way all queens seemed to possess, she bent to kiss each daughter’s temple.

Suddenly, a loud, shrill whistle cut through the air. In the silence that followed, the thunder of fast-approaching horses could be heard. A moment later, Hippolyta’s assistant rode up to them with two horses in tow and reined in hard. Ephiny acknowledged the queen with a quick nod.

“Majesty, we appear to have an emergency situation regarding tonight’s shipment.”

“What happened?” the queen asked.

The blonde briefly glanced at Diana, who didn’t like the panic she saw in her normally unflappable friend. “It seems one of our pets has somehow managed to free himself, and… Well, my Queen, we can’t seem to find him.”

Hippolyta wasted no time. “Drusilla, help get your sister onto her horse then return to your party,” the queen ordered, taking a set of reins from her assistant. “Tell anyone that asks we’ve gone to handle the preparations for the rest of the evening’s festivities.”

Ephiny cursed under her breath when the queen kicked her steed into a full gallop and took the path back across the sand. Diana reached for her sister’s hand and climbed out of the pool, then hauled herself onto the unfamiliar sidesaddle, following at the much slower and frustrating pace her condition required.

As she approached the island’s southern edge, she saw her mother, Ephiny and Tania the stable mistress deep in conversation. As Diana did not see any of their pets waiting to be loaded onto the docked ship, she surmised they’d been returned to their stables until the situation could be resolved. Dismounting awkwardly, she joined the discussion.

“Where have you searched for him?” Hippolyta asked. “He can’t have gotten very far.”

“We’ve searched everywhere he might have gone in the time since the midday feeding when he was last seen, Your Majesty,” Tania replied. “The second and third Circles hunt for him still.”

“What of his restraints? How did he break the chains?”

“That’s part of the problem, Majesty,” Ephiny admitted, crouching down to the pile of chain at her feet. Diana watched as her friend pushed aside the ring that Tania must have pried loose from its proper place on the wall and sifted through the thick, heavy links until she held up an undamaged manacle. “He didn’t break the chains, nor did he pull himself free. Even the lock’s still intact. It’s like he simply…slipped free.”

Hippolyta handed back the shackle and frowned. “You still haven’t told me to which pet these belong.”

Ephiny tossed the restraints back to the sand and straightened, her gaze capturing Diana’s. “These are Kairos’s chains.”

At this news, the Queen turned and regarded her daughter, disappointment etched on her face. “Diana, I had hoped that your agreement to participate in this, our oldest of traditions, meant that you’d finally embraced your true heritage once more. Please, daughter, tell me you had nothing to do with the freeing of your pet.”

Ares, God of War (Kevin Smith) from “Xena: Warrior Princess”
Ares, God of War (the late Kevin Smith from “Xena: Warrior Princess”)

“She didn’t.”

The warriors reacted instinctually to both the male voice and the amusement they heard in it. Spinning around to confront the intruder, each woman’s hand rested on the dagger at her hip. All were shocked to find the pet they’d been searching for casually leaning against the gate that led to the family’s private quarters, especially Diana.

“You knew the rules, Kairos.” Diana held her ground when he straightened and advanced, the prey now becoming the predator. “You served your year in the stables and earned your freedom. Why do this now?”

“It’s simple, princess. I want my child. I’m not going to let you kill him when he’s born.”

Her hands flew to her belly, the feminum bracelets she wore on each wrist glinting in the afternoon sun. “My child doesn’t belong to you, Kairos. She belongs to the Amazons.”

“Oh, my dear Diana, how wrong you are,” he drawled, and with a flick of his wrist vanished his disguise. Ares, the God of War, laughed delightedly as the women began to back away from his true identity. “That child isn’t just an Amazon, he’s also a demigod. Isn’t that a wonder?”

Author’s Note: no Greek gods or legendary characters were harmed in the writing of this tale. A few myths may have been slightly bent, however.

Now, anyone see where I put my Wonder Woman television show DVDs…?

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

Writer’s Blocks Scene 1

CF_FAN_DTH_ESCIn my last post, I talked about my newly acquired Writer’s Blocks, a fun new way for getting my creative juices flowing. As promised, I’m posting the first of the scenes I wrote from the roll of the WB dice that kicked the whole exercise off. Here’s how they came up, with the further explanation provided by the little insert that came with the set (click the image to see it full size):

  1. Hero — female child
  2. Genre — Fantasy
  3. Plot — Escape — hero must get away from an enemy, a place or an internal conflict
  4. Plot Twist — Death — major character unexpectedly dies

I thought it might also be interesting to show the actual notebook pages on which I wrote this exercise. In some ways, it was much more fun than using my word processing program and my laptop; you don’t get to do scribbles and cross-outs like this on a computer screen. Then again, my right hand doesn’t cramp up when I’m typing like it did with all this writing. As with the dice image above, if you click on a page it will bring up the full size version.

CF_FAN_DTH_ESC01 CF_FAN_DTH_ESC02 CF_FAN_DTH_ESC03

I am not surprised to see that my writing is much more normal and legible at the start and then gets smaller and more slanted as the scene progresses to the end and I’m rushing to get it on paper as though I’m racing a deadline clock. On this exercise, I struggled with the name of my villain. In the end, I took the name from a good guy character on a favorite television series and made him a bad guy (sorry, Castiel).

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the transposed pages with minor edits (because I just couldn’t publish errors from the draft pages online). Please forgive the repetitions; it’s just an exercise and not a true draft.

Scene 1

Trapped behind the glass and powerless, Keana could only pound against the barrier as she watched Castiel lift his sword high. Her scream echoed in her cage as the sword plunged down and robbed her of the little brother she loved so much. Castiel braced a foot on Jory’s back and pushed, shoving the young boy off his blade. As he stood there gloating, he pointed the end dripping with blood at the young man chained to the floor.”Give it to me now, Keana, and I’ll spare your other brother. Deny me again, and he’ll lose his head.”

“I can’t!” she screamed. “I haven’t inherited it yet! Not…” She shut up when she realized what she’d been about to reveal.

“Go on, tell me,” castiel demanded, stepping forward to rest the edge of his sword on Liam’s neck. “Or do you want to lose your last remaining brother?”

Save yourself, little sister, came Liam’s voice in her head. You’re the most important of us anyway.

Never! she shot back, her hand on the glass as she met his gaze. I’m nothing without my family so shut up and let me think!

Keana’s head dropped forward and pressed against the glass, trying to figure a way out. She knew what it would take to finally have her magic but wasn’t sure she was strong enough for it. But better she have it when she wasn’t ready than losing her family — or her magic — to someone like Castiel.

Backing up as far as she could in her clear cage, she lifted her arms and began to chant. The words she’d learned upon turning twelve flowed easily even though she’d never before spoke the old language aloud. When she finished, she stood there, waiting, but nothing happened.

Perhaps the gods didn’t think she was ready.

“See?! I told you! I can’t give you what I don’t have, so let my brother go!”

“I don’t believe you, little girl,” Castiel said, taking a step back and lifting his sword once again. “And your brother will now pay dearly for that.”

Keana screamed again as she watched the bloodied blade begin its deadly arc toward Liam’s neck. When her hand slammed against the glass this time, a sharp crack carried over all the other sound in the great room. Castiel barely checked the blow that would have killed Liam, and stared at the spiderweb cracks in the prison he’d paid handsomely for that the hag had promised was impenetrable.

Suddenly, Keana staggered back, and dropped to her knees at the sudden pain centered in her chest.

Ride it out, sister, and we can go home.

Concentrating on Liam’s voice, she put one hand [over] her heart and lifted the other skyward, and once more recited the chant. This time, the air above her outstretched palm began to glow and pulse. By the time she spoke the last word, her hand had already closed around the hilt of the long slender [weapon] known in legends as the Blade of the Gods. She could hear Castiel cackling in glee outside of her prison, but ignored him as she grasped the sword with both hands.

Until that moment, she’d never really believed the legends might be real.

“Now! Give it to me now, witch, or do you value the blade more than your brother?”

She stared out at the man she’d one called uncle, seeing he’d once again put his own sword to Liam’s neck.

“No, my brother is everything,” she replied, dropping the sword to her side. “Release me and it’s yours.”

“Gladly.”

Ignoring the screaming from her brother not to give in, she simply stood as the glass cage shimmered then disappeared. Keana slowly walked forward to where Castiel held her brother at his mercy.

“Now release him. Where can he go chained to the floor?”

In his eagerness, Castiel didn’t notice Keana had stepped too close, his attention riveted to the object he’d been searching for all his life. It wasn’t until he heard Liam throw himself to the floor that he realized her intent. A moment later, he shrieked in outrage as Keana skewered him through the heart with strength well beyond a fourteen-year-old girl.

“For Jory,” she said softly as she sharply twisted the sword in his chest. The killing blow dealt, Castiel collapsed, his weight sliding him off the long blade and onto the ground. With one more big swing, Keana’s blade broke the shackles keeping her brother tied down, and finally they were free.

Who knows? Maybe someday this will become a scene (albeit one much better written) that inspires a YA novel.

NaNo 2013 ~ Shifter Days are Coming

Kaia Kyncaid
Kaia Kyncaid

Well, it’s that time again where I’m going full out with the prep work for National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. This year it’s going to be a little different than the last few in that I’m working on something completely new. The goal behind this idea is not to abandon the other work I’ve been chugging forward on for the last *mumble mumble* years (that would be ‘GBE’ for those of you in the know), but instead to win the competition. The plan: create a brand-new story with brand-new characters in a brand-new genre that shall allow me to reach that famous goal of 50,000 words in 30 days time.

So, how does one such as myself prepare for such an undertaking? Let’s take a look…

World-Builder Me is really wanting to draw out the new realm for the story. I am tightly reigning her in on that one. I want to let the world create itself as the story emerges and then build it from there. That means the faraway city to which my main character may travel could end up named after the coffee maker or clock in the corner of whichever write-in room I find myself, but hey, that’s what makes things interesting.

Organized Me created a new board over on Pinterest to hold any and all photos of things I thought would fit in this new fantasy world (click here to see the board). I’ve chosen who I want to be as my as-yet-unnamed heroine and I’ve also decided there will be shape-shifting going on. Thus this board has great scenery, possible characters, a great sword and big cats who will be the clans of shifters. The board also includes the photo of the lass above who is my heroine, pictured here along with her beloved steed, and the white tiger below I believe will be my heroine’s alternate form. I’m still up in the air on that one however, mainly because there are just too many beautiful big cats to choose from and I may end up choosing a different one based on the animal’s traits so I guess we’ll all have to wait and see how that plays out.

Planner Me has purchased a NaNo notebook for keeping track of word counts as well as any other little tidbits such as heroes journey charts, character archetypes, copies of the inspiration board photos with notes as to who they are and how they fit into the story and the heroine’s world. PM also snagged a nifty NaNo 2013 mug sporting the 8-Bit logo NaNoWriMo theme for this year for both myself and my WriMo buddy Meagan that will hold our caffeinated beverages of choice while we make our own write-ins at her local library because the official ones are out of our way and also during work or class hours for me. PM will also be downloading a trial version of a very popular writing software that I will try out during the month, and when I win — notice the word choice there — she can download the full version for 50% off. On Sunday the 20th, PM will start working on the basics of the story, things like my heroine’s name, other pivotal characters she will encounter, stages of her heroic journey and the bare bones of the plot.

Writing Me is working with the other Mes to get everything set up, letting ideas flow through her head to discard or ponder at will, eagerly and a bit anxiously waiting for the evening of November 1st to arrive when she can officially begin writing “Shifting at Midnight.”

Okay, yes, it’s kind of a hit-them-on-the-head title, but like the novel, anything can change at any time and very likely will. After all, it will be a book steeped in magic…