“Not Quite Who I Had In Mind”

518 words, bringing me over 6000, so halfway done.

What I got tonight is too expository, and I’m going to have to fix it in revision, but the bones of it are pretty good—and it sets up the “reason why” for what I hope to write as a a series of short stories.

How were your words?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

72 comments… add one
  • WandersNowhere Nov 21, 2010 @ 10:34

    This weekend was a write-off, but I did listen to pretty Romanian folk music and do a lot of historical and cultural research. This story is going to be a lot more challenging than I anticipated.

    I also have to decide on a word length, I’m not going to let another ‘short story’ turn into a 50,000 word novel like Ithnaluk did. >.>

    The goal is to keep it tightly focused on the protagonist, his family (wife and son) and their farmhouse.

    In the first scene, the weary, embittered soldier stops to rest at a lookout and plays the shepherd’s pipes, dreaming about the future he hopes to find back where his life began.

    A column of riders approaches with dragon banners flying, and their leader recognizes the tune and stops to talk with the protag. The protag and the voivode recognize each other from the old campaign, and the prince tells the protag he has just reclaimed his throne and has a place for strong warriors, which the protag politely (and carefully) refuses, citing a familial obligation.

    The prince eyes him shrewdly, and comments that the love for one’s homeland can drive a man far from it. He then tells the protag a new age is coming for their country, and if he has need of the protag, he will call on him. After Vlad and his men ride off, the protag continues, pondering the implications, and as he tops the next rise he sees a field of impaled bodies.

    Thinking of how he might never escape the carnage of war even in his homeland, he moves on, ever further into the mountains and further from civilization, toward the remote village where he was born.

    • WandersNowhere Nov 21, 2010 @ 22:38

      I need to tone down my writing style, I’ve got 843 words on the first scene of the new story.

      If this keeps up I am going to end up with another novel 🙁 Does anyone know any good places for learning how to write SHORT fiction?

      • thepencilneck Nov 22, 2010 @ 1:11

        Not a link, but I think the whole issue comes down to choosing a story that doesn’t have a lot of scope to it and then don’t let yourself let it grow. I think a lot of writers (and I include myself in this) have a problem with short fiction because it’s difficult to keep the story from creeping to a larger size than you intended when there’s so much you want to put in and because there’s so much you CAN say.

        I’ve only tried to write 1 short story recently. I intended it as a character sketch and the thing quickly tripled in size. I haz no short story disciplines.

      • Gabby Nov 24, 2010 @ 13:21

        I think it’s all about scope too. they’re so short LOL.
        I would look at your goal word count and your typical number of words per scene. And then figure out what type of story you can tell with so few scenes. Just at a glance, it seems like it would be hard to tell a short story about such a large topic.
        I loved Asimov’s Nightfall or Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html
        They are both very focused on one event (leading up to getting out of it).
        I think I would handle a short story in the same way. Possibly come up with one interesting event and how it impacts a few characters.

        • Gabby Nov 24, 2010 @ 13:55

          so now I have all these short story faves running through my head… monkey’s paw and sound of thunder… 🙂

          • thepencilneck Nov 25, 2010 @ 1:54

            OK. Now you’ve got me going.

            There was an author who wrote the GREATEST short stories (or at least, I thought so at the time.) I do not remember his name. But does anyone remember this story and who wrote it?

            There as this strange creature that lived on a planet and it was the only living thing on the planet. It was shaped like a giant man but it sat on a stone with its chin on its fist and did nothing else. Scientists from all over the Human universe came to study this thing but no one could make heads or tails of it. One day, a scientist is standing by the thing and is talking to himself out loud. The scientist poses some question and the creature stands up and answers the question and then sits back down. At which point, the scientist slaps his forehead and says, “Of course! It only stands to reason.”

            Does anyone remember that story and the author of it? That guy had some HILARIOUS short stories.

            Anyway, back to writing…

          • WandersNowhere Nov 25, 2010 @ 2:50

            -slaps forehead-

          • Danzier Nov 26, 2010 @ 0:18

            Sounds like Asimov meets O. Henry… both of whom also had some great short stories.

          • Gabby Nov 26, 2010 @ 12:43

            no, I’ve never heard of that one… funny though

        • thepencilneck Nov 25, 2010 @ 1:46

          Yeah, I read Asimov’s Nightfall And Other Short Stories when I was about 11 or 12 and it really had a huge impact on me.

          I read The Lottery in grade school and it just gave me a weird feeling. I mean, it was spooky but for some reason, something always struck me as unreal about the whole thing so it didn’t really impact me much.

          But, I remember a lot of the short stories I read as a kid. I was an Alan Dean Foster fan for a few years and he had some great short stories (Let The Ants Try gave me nightmares but With Friends Like This was a huge fave of mine.) I was into short stories when I was a kid and first getting into reading. I wanted stories that I could finish in a single setting. I didn’t get into novels until later.

          • thepencilneck Nov 25, 2010 @ 1:48

            OK. I wuz worng. Let The Ants Try was Pohl.

  • thepencilneck Nov 21, 2010 @ 4:03

    625 words. Partial scene.

    A prisoner tries to help with the fighting but he’s pretty useless.

    We had guests over tonight. So I didn’t get my words. 🙁

  • Danzier Nov 21, 2010 @ 3:39

    473 words = 5 pages of script. If I’d gotten the spacing right on the first ten pages, they’d be 18, so I’m either on page 16 or page 23. 😛

    I don’t think I filled you guys in on this project yet. So…it’s a murder mystery. There’s a dead person who the sleuth thought was i.d.’d but isn’t, a theft supposedly committed by the dead person’s wrong i.d. (but not), and some karmatic elephants that are misaligned. Ambiguous enough? 😀

    I haven’t written much due to car problems that may or may not involve a broken transmission, and that’s the clear version… but I know I have to have 10 more pages of script done for class next week, and I really wanted to nail the end of the scene. It’s good, but it still reads a little stiff.

    Welcome to our new friends!

  • Incandescent Nov 20, 2010 @ 11:37

    I’m starting today. No words yet, but I know where I’m going.

    For added kick (read as: because I can’t leave well-enough alone), I’m going to be writing a short story intended for Rebel Tales at this pace, in addition to my much-beloved, much-procrastinated novel Only Child. I think my constant guilt over taking days off with Only Child is what keeps killing it.

    I’ve been working on this story for 5 years.

    If I merge all of my drafts together (because fool that I am, I keep rewriting material at the beginning of the book instead of moving ON), I think I’m somewhere close to 30k in. I tend to get into the 20’s and suddenly realize that I despise the starting point I chose for the story. So I shove it in a drawer for six months, wail about how the idea will. not. leave. me. alone, and dust it off half a year later when the guilt overwhelms me.

    No-pressure writing.

    God, that’s a hard concept to get through.

    I think I need to print off the rules so they’ll be glaring at me while I angst about how many days I’ve taken off.

    -grins- But if I’d just gone with this method in the first place, writing the minimum of 250 per day (which is going to be difficult for me, since I almost always write in 500-word chunks), I’d already have a finished draft, and two years’ worth of work on the next one.

    Would someone please shoot the overachieving in my head? It’s currently screaming “But BUT BUT BUT! If we’re only writing 250 words per day, we could definitely juggle FIVE stories. I like stories. Don’t you like stories? We could write MORE stories! More is better!”

    Slow and steady wins the race. Or, y’know, finishes the race at all.

    I think this is going to be a harder change-of-mindset than initially fighting off VICTIM.

    So. Goal for today is 500 words on Only Child (novel) and 250 words on Hart and Hind (short story).

    • WandersNowhere Nov 20, 2010 @ 23:12

      I like your story titles. Hang in there and welcome aboard!

      I also like to have at least two projects going, but I’m learning that I really should keep it to two maximum: my big series, and something else I can work on when the big series isn’t biting.

      • Incandescent Nov 21, 2010 @ 0:11

        I always tell myself that I can juggle more than I’m actually able to maintain. I feel like I should be able to keep three or four stories straight at any given time. The logic is that I can jump from one file to the next whenever I get bored with working on one of them. Hitting a dead end in Only Child? Open up Kinsman Redeemer and keep typing. Can’t get into Kahiron’s head today? Switch to Hart and Hind. But maybe you don’t feel like writing about a caribou shapechanger? Open the other file and type a few hundred words about the benevolent bloodmage.

        What ACTUALLY happens is that I write myself into dead ends in all four stories, lose all faith in my ability to write and collapse into a spineless pile of self-pitying goo for a few months while I lick my self-inflicted literary wounds. -__-

        I’m already failing at the “no guilt writing” concept. My brain is shouting “It’s almost midnight! Oh god! You haven’t written a single word today which means you’re clearly going to rot in the depths of the foulest, hottest, most mildewy-disgusting hell that you can imagine as soon as the clock strikes 12:01am AND you won’t have even written a book by the time you died, which means no one will ever be able to love you, even in just 20 years, because everyone you know is destined to live a short, tragic life and anyhow, they never loved you in the first place, so you’re going to die ALONE and UNPUBLISHED and UNLOVED (so I hope you feel bad, you lazy piece of filth).”

        My brain likes run-on sentences and exclamation points. (A lot.)

        Sometimes it seems like such a strange idea to remind myself that I like to write.

        I figure I’ll at least get project files going for all of the major ideas that I want to stick with for the long haul: one for the Only Child universe (all fifty bajillion books), one for Blood Debt, one for Sarcasm, Sex and Demons if I ever get around to seriously reviving it, one for Stormy Side Up’s universe and probably one for Hart and Hind’s universe, because H&H seems like it’s probably going to start spawning a series in the next few months. I’ll give myself the goal of 500 words per day, and I can choose at any given time which story I want to work on.

        Logically, I know this is a bad plan. That means I’m going to end up with half a dozen stories all stranded in the 20k zone (also known as the Devourer of Manuscripts And/Or Souls) at the SAME time, which spells d00m of the double-zero variety (because it’s too doom-y for regular O’s). But for the moment, it seems Brilliant! and Clever! and other complimentary words followed by excessive exclamation points.

        So for now, that’s what I’ll be doing.

        I expect to change my mind within the week.

        (Oh dear. This reply is longer than I meant for it to be. -_- Count on me to write a half-page response to a three-sentence post. If only my fiction filled out so smoothly.)

        • thepencilneck Nov 21, 2010 @ 2:33

          One of my dangers is when I’m developing my characters and I’m coming up with their backstories, then I realize that their BACKSTORY is a better story than the one I’m working on and I change my focus to work on that story. Then I’m working up the backstory of another character and THAT backstory lures me off…

          My current WIP is actually the backstory of the backstory of a story that I was trying to write 4-5 years ago. At that time, I didn’t have the experience or the discipline to cut it off and not get lured away. I got 20k words in, threw that away, worked on a character, got enamored with the backstory story, started working on it, ran into problems about 20k in, started exploring my characters looking for a way out of my problem, and hit on another character’s backstory that was better than the story I was working on. I don’t allow myself to get distracted by those shiny baubles anymore.

          And I KNOW I can’t effectively write more than 1 story at a time. I’ve tried but it doesn’t work for me. It’s better for me to throw myself into one world and one idea and bang it out. If I get stuck on the story, then my time and energy should be devoted to figuring out why I’m stuck because if I just set the story aside to work on something else, then it will never get done.

          I can’t even really effectively revise one novel while writing another.

          But that’s just me.

          • Incandescent Nov 21, 2010 @ 18:17

            I’ve been falling for this one with Only Child. Only Child is my novel-that-won’t-die. I’m fifty different kinds of in love with it. But actually writing it is like pulling teeth, and I don’t know why. I keep getting hung up on one of the antagonists. I adore him. He’s awesome. But I can never put my finger on exactly WHY he’s awesome. My Muse just shrugs and says, “It’s KOHI. He’s awesome because he IS. What more do you want?”

            Then his backstory hit me like a freight train, and I HAD to write it…. except it didn’t come with any details. At all. It was a really cool concept, I really liked the characters, but I had no idea what actually *happened*. So the story stalled.

            Then I realized that Only Child’s MC was actually a much better antagonist than protagonist, and from ANYONE’s viewpoint except mine, he *is* the antagonist. But, since I’m the author, I get to choose the moral spin of the story, and as far as I’m concerned, Tanuel’s good. He just has a very, very strange way of expressing “good.” But the realization that the majority of the people who remembered him would remember him as a villain got the ball rolling in my head, and suddenly I wanted to write the same story from the point of view of the… victim, I guess, for lack of a better word. The guy Tanuel manipulates into doing all of his dirty work, whose reputation is completely destroyed and whose life pretty much winds up in the gutter after he meets Tanuel. So I eventually want to write a Kalduin-sympathetic version of the story, to see what Tanuel looks like through other eyes.

            Tanuel has two children. Because of the weird family structure in this world, paternity doesn’t matter in the least. Both children are raised by their mother and their mother’s sibling(s). So one, whose mother is part of the noble class, is raised for diplomacy and politics. The other, whose mother is an officer in the royal army, is literally raised on a battlefield. I have a story brewing in which the two daughters meet under less-than-ideal circumstances.

            Any time I get frustrated with Only Child itself, I tend to find another story set in the same universe. I love the world-concept, and I just can’t let go of it, but Only Child hits too close to home to actually write sometimes.

        • Danzier Nov 21, 2010 @ 3:45

          Tell your mental editor you plan to live forever, that everyone loves you and are simply too much in awe of you to adequately express their feelings, and then open a text file or find a blank notebook page and write “One word.”

          My mental editor hasn’t recovered from that yet and it’s been two years.

          • Incandescent Nov 21, 2010 @ 18:20

            If I wrote “one word” on a piece of blank paper, I think my hands would automatically scribble it out and replace it with “TWO words” so that the number of words written matched the meaning of those words. x_X

            I’ll have to give that a shot, though. I know my NaNo last year started with something like “Oh hell! Oh god! It’s time to write. It’s midnight. Okay. These should be words. Why aren’t these words? I mean, they’re words, but they aren’t the ones I’m looking for. I don’t have a plot, I don’t have characters. Some people are up the creek without a paddle. I’m up the OCEAN without a SPOON. There is no spoon. I have no spoons here.

            There’s a saying in the lower provinces of my kingdom: it’s a rare man who sees a blackbark tree.”

            And then suddenly I was writing.

          • WandersNowhere Nov 21, 2010 @ 19:25

            http://wandersnowhere.tumblr.com/post/1542167294/heresy

            :p That’s the best advice I can give.

          • Danzier Nov 22, 2010 @ 1:55

            I like that opening sentence!

  • dkelblaine Nov 20, 2010 @ 8:48

    I bought and read through Holly’s plot clinic and then used one of the tools to do 15 minutes of timed writing and I got 878 words this morning, though it’s more a conversation with myself about what’s wrong with the novel and where it could go as opposed to a scene but hey it’s writing!

  • Julian Adorney Nov 20, 2010 @ 3:54

    Did final edits for my publisher on a short story tonight. Pretty easy; it was all superficial stuff. Which is encouraging. My last few stories required bone-deep edits before publishers considered them up to par, so hopefully that means I’m getting better!

  • thepencilneck Nov 20, 2010 @ 3:40

    1656 words. 2.5 scenes.

    One inmate saves some other inmates when the fighting breaks out. The Bodyguard walks into the central control room and captures the commandant after some gunfire and they talk about surrender. The Bodyguard frees the Sarge who’s in the torture room and they figure out which guard was the interrogator who tortured them.

    I’ve got another couple of scenes with the Bodyguard in the lead before I get back to the Princess and her mission to come save him.

    I’m sitting at 35,673 words for Nano so far.

  • Leah Nov 19, 2010 @ 15:27

    Hello, fellow writers! May I join? 😀

    I wrote 456 words today on a brand new project. I’ve got more than one story around needing work, but most are short stories and I wanted to do a novel project for this. Plus I’ve had a new character begging for her story to be told for a while now.

    So I’ve thrown her out in the middle of the desert with a bad case of amnesia and sore muscles, and I’m taking it from there. Should be fun!

    • thepencilneck Nov 19, 2010 @ 16:08

      No. You’re application has been revoked.

      JOKE!

      Welcome to the group. Congrats on the new project.

    • DasteRoad Nov 19, 2010 @ 20:30

      Of course you may! Welcome onboard, Leah! 😀

  • DasteRoad Nov 19, 2010 @ 6:21

    On Nov.18th I looked over several of Holly’s resources and my notes, and I laid out my brand new revision plan. Here it is!

    – Read the first draft for PoB and build a scene-by-scene outline, noting down *anything* that doesn’t work storywise.
    – Tear apart the first draft outline until it starts making sense.
    – Fill worldbuilding holes as needed and make sure characters are earning their pay.
    – Build the final outline.
    – Based on the final outline, go through the manuscript, editing the surviving scenes or writing the new ones. This is no more first draft, so we’re editing for plot, style, pacing, structure, description, involvement and so on.

    I’ll be out for dinner so I don’t know if I’ll start tonight, but I’m ready to rock. I’ll be keeping the notes I took for the first 9k words, of course, since they’re useful anyway.

  • thepencilneck Nov 19, 2010 @ 2:27

    1619 words.

    With the alarms blaring, the Bodyguard found the armory and got some weapons. But then the alarms turned off, apparently the Imperials are rewiring the prison and have had a bunch of issues with the alarms being accidentally set off. And then he got some guards and took their uniforms. He sent one guy to take the extra weapons to the main room and had him send back the guy that knew the layout of the prison the best. Then the Bodyguard went in search of the primary control room dressed in a prison guard’s uniform with blood smeared all over his face as a disguise. Another guy went to the main cell block with a bunch of weapons and all hell broke loose.

    I had a long busy day at work and I haz a tired. I’ve got a ton of deadlines. I’m averaging over 1800 words a day on Nano so I’m feeling good about my chances.

  • Mervat Nov 18, 2010 @ 22:49

    This is exactly what I set out to do two months ago. It worked really well until I started placing deadlines on myself and kept increasing my target word count for the day ahead. Not surprisingly, my ever-increasing daily aims became quite unobtainable (three children, two part-time jobs…you know the drill). I will start again, but this time with you Holly. It is a new and fresh opportunity to rip away the duct tape that mutes my character’s mouths and to enjoy writing again. Thank you.

  • WandersNowhere Nov 18, 2010 @ 19:38

    Tentative Sentence for the new story:

    ‘A failed crusader returns to his homeland, becomes a farmer, and starts a family – only to discover his sins have followed him home.’

    I have also tentatively decided to set it in Vlad III Dracula’s Wallachia, or a neighbouring state, because I can use the historical campaigns of John Hunyadi and Vlad himself as a backdrop to the main character. And because I have a grim, bleak idea of the war-weary protagonist returning to his homeland to find the horizon dotted with the impaled bodies of the new voivode’s enemies.

    Dracula himself will…probably not appear at all, and definitely will not appear as a vampire. But there will be vampires.

    • thepencilneck Nov 19, 2010 @ 2:34

      I like it.

      The “failed crusader” reminds me of my idea for Javier Bardem as an exiled knight.

      • WandersNowhere Nov 19, 2010 @ 4:06

        Damn, I hope it’s not too close o.o
        I think this character will end up being very …dark…though. He’s done bad things. He regrets them, but he’s still done them.

        • thepencilneck Nov 19, 2010 @ 11:53

          I believe that there’s enough knights with guilty shadows to go around. 🙂

          You can even use Javier as your muse. You have my permission. But seriously I believe that two writers could start off with the same exact Sentence and they’d still write two completely different stories. I wasn’t trying to say that you were encroaching on my turf or anything, I was trying to say that I think it’s cool that we’ve got stories that have a similar character. Great minds and all that. 🙂

          • WandersNowhere Nov 19, 2010 @ 18:21

            If you want I can send you this one when it’s done 😀
            I just like the darkness of the middle ages and figured a returning crusader would have a lot of demons I could play with (and torment him with) as opposed to my initial idea of ‘just a farmer’ for a protagonist.

          • thepencilneck Nov 20, 2010 @ 0:05

            Definitely. I’d love to take a look at it when it’s done. 🙂

            Strangely, my idea developed from an idea about a gunslinger in the wild west who was hanging up his guns and trying to retire as a farmer. But when I started playing around with it, I was drawn more to the Medieval period and the Teutonic Order, Livonia, and that patchwork quilt of kindoms around the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea. He grew into a Knight who had done things he was ashamed of and decided to go on a pilgrimage as penance.

          • WandersNowhere Nov 21, 2010 @ 21:19

            I confess a morbid fascination with Vlad and his era; I did a lot of research to understand what would drive a man to do what he allegedly did.
            In doing so I became even more fascinated by the turbulent politics and pitched battles on the frontier, as it were, between Christendom and the Islamic world during that period. I don’t think I’ve ever studied a more volatile place and time. GREAT stories waiting to be told.

    • DasteRoad Nov 19, 2010 @ 6:25

      I love the idea, especially the “coming back home to find forests of impaled people” part. It’s exactly the kind of “horrible in a good way” that would lock my eyes on the page.

    • dkelblaine Nov 19, 2010 @ 13:23

      Just an interesting aside, I took one of those silly quizzes the other day (which I don’t normally do but I was procrastinating). Anyhow the topic was past life lovers and mine came up as Vlad! Go figure…I didn’t even know who this was until then, now I see the name again in your comment.

      • WandersNowhere Nov 19, 2010 @ 18:23

        Hoooo-boy. Hope your past life self didn’t make him mad.

        • dkelblaine Nov 20, 2010 @ 8:40

          Actually I teasingly told my oldest daughter (she’s 21) that the reason I’m such a “people pleaser” in this life is because I learned how to be a good peasant when I was Vlad’s lover….for I so feared being impaled upon a stake if he was displeased. My daughter says “geez that makes sense cause you are such a people pleaser, it’s so annoying.”

  • Teri Nov 18, 2010 @ 16:59

    I didn’t get any more words on Wednesday, but on Thursday I got 453! Which brings me past my goal for the week already. I’d hoped for 750 by the end of Friday, and my total is already just shy of 800.

    And Zhaer is getting worried by the orating demogogue. A crowd is forming, and heading to the palace gates to protest what the demogogue considers an unsanctified succession. Zhaer believes this will not end well.

    • Incandescent Nov 20, 2010 @ 11:42

      We share a taste in names. =) I wrote a story set in a world called Zhaer a few years ago. Out of curiosity, how do you pronounce yours? I’ve always switched between zjair (almost sounds like “share”) and z’hair (the aspiration of the Z actually becomes its own pronounced sound).

      • Teri Nov 20, 2010 @ 15:09

        My pronunciation of Zhaer is closer to your second option, with the aspirated Z. Although I often pronounce each vowel separately, making it almost two syllables. Almost because while the vowels are distinct, they are also run together so it becomes zheher. I could use his first name which is easier to pronounce, Rennor, but that’s also his father’s name. And since both father and son are POV characters, it would get confusing to use the same name for both. 🙂

        And there is a reason why the names Rennor and Zhaer don’t sound like they come from the same language. They don’t. Actually, neither name comes from the country he lives in, and there’s a lot of talk about how a man with a name from a country they were at war with at the time he was born, and a surname from a country too far away to have significant dealings with, ever became a baron in the first place. It’s a plot point.

        (Why yes, I do like babbling about my WIP, characters and cool creations. How did you guess?)

        • Incandescent Nov 20, 2010 @ 23:57

          -grins- I’m completely capable of chattering on about my WIPs for days, so I have no room to point fingers.

          I originally made the name as an acronym for a handful of important characters in a roleplay community I ran. I knew we had Zikorei, Halneya (? Something like that. I didn’t spend much time with her), and Reskual, plus a pair of other characters that hadn’t yet been named. I knew the region was named after the founding characters, and I knew both of the other RPers were comfortable using names starting with vowels. I called the place Zhaer. The site died within around two weeks x_X

          When I was writing my first novel back in ’05, I needed a name for the planet my MC lived on. I knew the enemy was called Ra’asi. I was still peeved that I hadn’t been able to use the name Zhaer, which I’d become quite attached to. So I scavenged from myself and recycled the name ^^”

          It’s interesting that it’s the son and not the father who goes by the last name, since in most cultures that’s a sign of respect. Does the son command more respect than the father? Or was everyone else already calling dad Rennor, and it was easier to tack a new name onto the kid?

          • Teri Nov 21, 2010 @ 10:47

            Unfortunately the reason for the names isn’t that simple. Naming the son Zhaer was an authorial decision that had to be justified after the fact. 🙂 You see, book one was the father’s story. I was going to give the explanation without giving the plot away, but that required needless convolutions, so here follows spoilers for my unpublished story.

            In book one Rennor Sr was mistaken for Prince Arral. By the end of the book, the prince is dead and Rennor agrees to let everyone continue to think he’s King Arral. There’s no one else who can take the throne without another war. Only a handful of people know who Rennor really is, among them his wife, who was betrothed to the prince, and his mistress, who is given a baronacy in the middle of nowhere and politely invited to retire there. She left the country instead, and Rennor never knew she was pregnant. Book two is twenty years later, and while everyone’s been calling Rennor Senior “King Arral” all this time, I still use the name Rennor in prose. I figured changing his name between one book and the next would be too confusing. So when the son returned to the country to claim his baronacy, I needed another way to address him, and had to figure out his mother’s surname, since it was never mentioned in book one. (I edited it in after I picked it.)

            I could have save myself all the hassle by just choosing another name for the son, but it so fits the mother’s sense of humour to give the boy the father’s real name. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if Junior was presented to the king and queen for the first time, (in front of the whole court!) as Baron Somethingelse Zhaer. 😀

  • Texanne Nov 18, 2010 @ 14:26

    For the past couple of months I’ve been held hostage at Grand Central Station, with side trips to Bedlam, so my total output for the month of November is about 10k words–and I was trying to do NaNo! Fail.
    Today I discovered new tensions and rivalries among a group I had thought was monolithic. (Thank you so much for HOW TO WRITE PAGE-TURNING SCENES.) This is good, IMO. It’s the only way to make this necessary scene into something interesting, and it will jazz up the rest of the story, too. Funny, but these guys had already shown a bit of this rivalry, but I wasn’t smart enough to catch it at first. Argh. Slow writing has some rewards.

  • Ruth Ellen Nov 18, 2010 @ 12:30

    720 words today, following an exciting event I hadn’t planned, getting my heros hands dirty again, secondary character kidnapped by hybrid savages and a demon is on the loose. exciting stuff 😀

  • Gabby Nov 18, 2010 @ 10:13

    spent a lot of time procrastinating and being stuck. doing a bunch of replotting but still stuck. lol it’s really sort of deflating to have so much trouble with the end. i think i have to re-think the whole last half. eek. not fun at all. i know we’re supposed to just go with it during first draft but when it doesn’t work… makes me wish i’d stuck to the plan cause now i’m kind of attached to the stuff that isn’t working. ugh!

  • DasteRoad Nov 18, 2010 @ 5:40

    1480 more words assessed on Nov. 17th.

    Conclusion jumping seems to be the theme of the scene I’m currently evaluating. Contradictions arise between what has recently happened and what Erthel’s mother always told, and it makes sense for the Matriarch to point them out, but suggesting that she might have something to hide is a fat bit of conclusion jumping. The high bloodline’s job is to keep the paranormal in check so that civilization can go on, NOT investigating over every lie they come across. Unless it’s common procedure to double check the background of every nomad out of security, which could make some sense given that nomads have unstable and often dangerous powers, but even in that case, contradictions would have arisen much earlier. I’ll have to think about it when it comes to troubleshooting the worldbuilding.

    On the other hand, I like how Erthel is reacting in this scene. She is fragile, scared about what happened, hurt that her mother always lied to her (or so it seems right now), yet she has the strength to swallow back her tears and defend her in front of the Matriarch.

    The process is still fun, but I’m having second thoughts about the time it will take. I really want to be done with PoB before Xmas so I’ll be free to start Project PC with the new years, but going at this rate, given that moreover this is a very busy period at work, it would take me months. I’ll have to think of a new plan tonight as soon as I come back home.

    Also, yesterday I realized once more how much I need to turn writing into my day job BADLY. During lunch break a little curiosity about a particular scene of PoB occurred to me, then I wondered if I still had the backup of the first draft on my USB flash drive. I checked, I found it and looked for that particular scene to check the detail that had come to my mind.

    Then I spent more than a hour reading from that point on. Almost to the end of the novel.

    I really need to make writing become my day job. At least so I can stop stealing time from my actual job for it: stolen time is never enough for doing what you really love.

  • thepencilneck Nov 18, 2010 @ 2:35

    2951 words. 4 scenes.

    The Bodyguard went to the gym and met the Sarge and the Sarge asked the Bodyguard if he wanted to be part of their escape attempt. The Bodyguard went back to the Captain and told the Captain about it and tried to convince the Captain that instead of trying to stop these guys, they should work with them. But the Captain wasn’t buying it. Then the Bodyguard watches as the guards come in and cart off the three guys that he had told the Captain were the ring-leaders. The Bodyguard goes to the real ringleaders and tells them that they’ve got to move on their plans immediately even though they’re scared and worried. And the Bodyguard and one of the ringleaders put the plan into motion but when they sneak into a computer substation and turn some things off, the alarms start sounding.

    I didn’t write yesterday because I went to dinner with the CEO of my company and came back tired. I had today off and I got a lot plotted out but less written than I expected. I’m pretty pleased with how things are going so far, though. I’ve got to work through this subplot before I go back to the Princess’ main plot.

    • WandersNowhere Nov 18, 2010 @ 2:44

      RL has a way of intruding, I know this well. Good luck, mate. At least you’re progressing solidly. 🙂

  • BeccaBooG Nov 18, 2010 @ 0:31

    I know this is yesterdays thread, but as there is not a new one yet and I am going to bed I’ll just post here.

    I found a spare few minutes to write and I got 586. Set up the story I had in mind. This is a new story and it’s for my nano. It’s the first words I have written for it, lol.

  • WandersNowhere Nov 17, 2010 @ 23:42

    Two things:

    First, I am going over ARC I again, and weighing my new villain / ending against the first draft edition of the novel.

    The first draft progresses as such; the first half of the book, the heroes explore a cursed, abandoned village and discover clues to a sinister cult before an explosive battle with a demonic horror the cult had summoned and left sleeping under the village.

    The second half of the book, the heroes go to meet the new king, participate in a tournament, and get embroiled in the political turmoil surrounding the king’s ascension and a plot to assassinate a foreign princess and trigger a war.

    These almost felt like two separate books, despite Snake Eyes showing up in the latter half and vaguely tying things together by being his usual mysterious self.

    With the new villain, both halves of the book are about the cult, and the cult is the main antagonist force. But I have to restructure things to establish the relationship between the evil foreign king / assassins and the cult. And it begs questions like ‘if the cult was behind this why didn’t they just send their own killers and not involve another country in an elaborate scheme?’ There are reasons, but I have to make them clear.

    Book II will go into how deep this cult goes, and the dark forces it serves…should be fun!

    SECOND topic, and a question for you fine folks:

    I am thinking of writing a vampire story.

    I have three options:

    1) An extensive fan-fiction I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, redefining the classic fiends of gothic literature – especially Dracula – and tying them together into a dark and complex epic of torment and betrayal set within Dracula’s labyrinthine castle.

    2) As above, only with a whole new cast of characters instead of the familiar names and faces. As above, sweeping, gothic themes and loads of characters.

    3) A short, intimate, and brutally realistic story focusing on a small medieval village or even an isolated farmstead. Dirty, harsh, and uncompromising themes, five characters maximum.

    Which should I write, in your opinions?

    • Danzier Nov 18, 2010 @ 1:44

      All of them.

    • thepencilneck Nov 18, 2010 @ 2:34

      Write whatever you feel strongest about.

      And maybe even consider merging all three options into one. (Except that it’s no longer fanfic.)

      • WandersNowhere Nov 18, 2010 @ 2:43

        Hmmmm….

        Option #3 could make a succint and pointed prologue for the saga.

        I’m writing down the rules for the vampires as we speak. I already know that rather than being ‘pretty people with fangs and super powers’, these are going to be demon-posessed corpses. The demon only mimicks the personality of the original person to lure its prey; the soul of the original human is trapped in limbo and doomed to stay there until the vampire is destroyed. This setup will be a PIVOTAL plot point of Dracula’s storyline (and is canon to Bram Stoker’s vampires) if I choose to go with that option.

        Regardless of option, though, expect some extremely cruel, twisted and sadistic vampires.

        Option #4 would be a modern day story pitting the ‘old blood’ demon-corpse vampires vs the ‘new blood’ modern aesthetic vampires, with the new bloods still posessing their original souls with the standard vampire powers – but being almost helpless against the more powerful and much more evil Old Bloods.

        • DasteRoad Nov 18, 2010 @ 5:48

          A merge of the first three options sounds very intriguing, Wanders! I also really like the whole “demon-possessed corpses” concept. 😀

          Especially if they’re not sparkling and still going into high school, but that’s another matter 😛

  • Dkelblaine Nov 17, 2010 @ 20:16

    I’m jumping in on this because my biggest issue is finding the time to write EVERY day! I’m cheating a little bit here in the first day or so because I decided to work on a story that I started waaaaay back in high school so I’m typing it in as I wrote in then (only about 6 handwritten college ruled pages)–whew I was a horrid writer back then (I turned 41 this year)! Once I get it typed in and edited, my hope is to finish the story by the end of the month. I typed in 1,495 words thus far and hope to finish typing it in tonight.

  • Teri Nov 17, 2010 @ 13:09

    I got my first words yesterday since March! 338 new words on my WIP, plus a bit of preparation for continuing my work for HTRYN. And that with a new daughter who’s just a month old. Being pregnant after 7 years of trying was the main reason my writing fell off the map this year. Not that I’m complaining. I had more important things to think about. 🙂

    And now I’m beginning to get back into the writing as well. My goal is 150 words a day, five days a week, which should get my first draft finished by the end of 2011. I may increase that, later, but for now I’m happy with making haste slowly.

    • thepencilneck Nov 18, 2010 @ 2:33

      Woot!

    • Texanne Nov 18, 2010 @ 14:20

      338 words after a long dry spell is exciting in itself–then I read the part about the new daughter. My hat is off to you, Teri! Making hast slowly is a good process, too.

      • Teri Nov 18, 2010 @ 16:02

        Thanks! Both of you 🙂

    • Holly Lisle Nov 22, 2010 @ 0:39

      Congratulations! And writing with a new baby is no small feat. Have fun.

      • Teri Nov 22, 2010 @ 7:00

        Thank you, I am having a lot of fun :).

        And a thousand thank you’s for your Motivation gift. Just the first part of it was worth at least the price of HTRYN. Being able to say “I matter”, and believe it, is amazing. And now I have goals to the end of 2011 that I CAN achieve.

  • thepencilneck Nov 17, 2010 @ 12:28

    0 words.

    My CEO was in town and I had to take him to dinner. And when I got home, I was wiped out so I just watched a couple of movies and relaxes.

  • Lisa R Nov 17, 2010 @ 11:43

    3080 words. I wrote the first part of the last scene incorrectly after I checked out the area yesterday. I am writing about the town I live in and was off on a couple of things; plus, I found a little more detail. All in all, it was a good writing day.

  • DasteRoad Nov 17, 2010 @ 5:40

    2368 more words assessed on Nov.16th. I’m done with the flashback with Erthel’s mom’s disappearance, now back to the present.

    I’ve met quite a few character glitches in this scene. Erthel is very, very passive in this phase and her watching-being shocked-thinking routine really slows down the narration when it should be something frenzied instead. It makes sense for her to be shocked, but even shocked people usually do something instead of just watching and thinking. When she eventually realize that there IS something she can do and reacts, she’s awesome, but there’s a lot of filler around.

    I’m still not agonizing over the flaws I find though, and this phase of evaluating my process of finding the story and characters page-by-page is still fun and interesting – to the point that when I go to work, I can’t wait to be home again so I can read more pages.

    I’ve also noticed that I’ve slipped in here and there a couple of minor swearwords that don’t make sense outside of western culture (i.e. the Italian equivalent of “what the hell is happening”), more stuff that I’ll have to watch out for when it comes to the edit phase.

  • Danzier Nov 17, 2010 @ 1:43

    819 words on SP. I fixed the info dump and set up the ending better.

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