Ready for NaNoWriMo!

finishedoutlineI have completed my outline for my NaNoWriMo story, which is a feat coming from a (former?) pantser! Basically, I divided my novel in three parts, each with several chapters, and wrote little synopses of each of those parts, as well as each of those chapters, just to get an idea of what I want to write about for that section. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done for this story, such as descriptions of the settings and the characters. I only have vague ideas for both, and will definitely be doing research on them, but that will have to come after NaNoWriMo. For now, I will just focus first on writing the events of the story and the personalities of the characters rather than what they look like. Even though I’m not as prepared as I should be, I’m glad I prioritized outlining and somehow completed it. Good job, me!

After reading a bunch of NaNoWriMo tips as well as how other people prepare for NaNoWriMo (thank you, bloggers!) the biggest advice I must give myself, knowing myself, is:

DON’T EDIT. DO THAT AFTER NANOWRIMO. AFTER.

This is because, for some reason, I actually enjoy editing my work. I don’t even know if I’m good at it, I just somehow like doing it. Argh.

I hope to achieve 50,000 words or almost 50,000 words by the 25th which is when my sisters are coming to visit me here in Singapore. Hahaha! More likely, by the 30th, they’ll be making me coffee while I type away furiously on my laptop.

Currently, my manuscript has 4,200 words. This includes bits of rough drafts of a few random chapters, including the prologue and epilogue. I will not include this count for NaNoWriMo. Well, that goes without saying.

I have also come up with planning targets for next year’s NaNoWriMo, which is to: (1) outline, (2) prepare settings, (3) prepare characters, (4) create a Pinterest board, and (5) create a playlist. I have only done #1 this year, but I’ll be more prepared next year!

I will be blogging my progress regularly, at least once a week (mostly for my own sake).

Ghost stories

cutesy creepy voodoo witchyIt’s Halloween!

I personally do not believe in ghosts. I do believe that our minds can play tricks on us. But I still have stories of ghostly-ish encounters anyway, so why not share them on Halloween? ;)

Aside from my own experience, the others were recounted to me verbally maybe ten or more years ago. So all these I’m recalling from memory and cannot guarantee all the details are correct.

I will start with my own experience.

It was already around 4 A.M. when we finished our work on site. It was still dark out and my colleagues have decided to take a cigarette break before heading home. I felt nature calling so I decided to go to the restroom.

The lights were off, but understandably so. There were only very few night shift staff around, as well as security personnel, and most of them were male. So I went ahead and turned on the lights.

To my surprise, there was a woman standing there near the corner. She looked as startled as I was so I apologised. She said, “It’s okay.” After a hard night’s work, my brain was mostly in zombie-mode, so it didn’t really register with me until much later that there’s something weird with this picture. What was she doing there with the lights off?

I went into a cubicle and did my business. Then went to wash my hands on the sink. The woman was still there but she wasn’t doing anything at all, except standing there.

As I was about to leave, walking towards the door, I saw the light switch. I turned to the woman to ask if she wanted the lights off like it was initially.

To my surprise, she was not there anymore. I looked around and all the cubicle doors were open. I couldn’t see her anywhere. So I turned off the lights and left.

Only later when I arrived home did I realise how creepy that really was. Even if she wasn’t a ghost, that was still kind of creepy. 

I may be a skeptic with the supernatural, but a lot of my relatives aren’t, including my mom. Here is a story she has told us of when she and my aunt were still young girls visiting their grandfather who lives in a hut in or near the forest. Their mother and aunt were also with them at the time.

It was early in the morning and they had ventured out into the woods wearing their clothes inside out because their grandfather had said it will prevent them from getting lost. Their grandfather also told them not be too loud or it will disturb the spirits, warning them there are spirits in the forest who leads children astray. 

But at the spot they were playing at, their voices produce echoes. Being kids, they enjoyed shouting out names and hearing the echoes. So they shouted out their mother’s name, their grandfather’s name, their aunt’s name, and each other’s names while running around.

They saw their aunt nearby beckoning them so they followed her. She led them through the forest, always walking ahead of them. When the path they were going through was turning dark and shadowy, they got scared and called for her to stop. But she didn’t stop or turn around, she just kept walking. 

They stopped following and was able to find their way back to the place where they were initially playing. Somewhere around there they saw their aunt conversing with their mother and grandfather. 

They went to her and asked her why she didn’t stop and kept going through the dark scary path. But she said she never went anywhere, she was just there talking with their mother and grandfather the whole time.

The next ones are a series of stories relayed to me by a friend of mine who, at that time, lived in an old house with extended family.

My friend’s neighbour would sometimes be surprised to see her when she gets back from school or work because the neighbour saw a woman with long hair combing her hair by the window of their house, and she thought it was my friend.

She lives with her mother and cousins and none of them would look like that woman. And when she goes into the room where the window was, there was no woman there.

Here is another one:

Sometimes brownouts (no electricity) would occur in the area and her mother had made a rule on what to do during times like these, which is to gather at the living room of the house. So if a brownout occurs, and you’re not in the living room, then you better go to the living room. There they will light candles and just talk and whatever until the electricity comes back.

One such time there was a brownout while her mother was upstairs. So she started calling for everyone to go to the living room, waving her arms about. She felt a boy’s head and told the boy to go to the living room. 

When she herself got to the living room, she eventually found out that everyone had been gathered there even before the brownout, and none of them were upstairs with her at that time.

And here is the last of this series:

One time, my friend was in the office (with me actually) doing overtime. She later called home and told her mother that she will be coming home soon.

Her mother was surprised that she was actually still in the office. Because she was in the bedroom with her nephew when they heard outside the bedroom door someone singing Happy Birthday. It was her nephew’s birthday just recently, though not that day.

They thought it was her. When they opened the door, no one was there but they thought she had just left and went back to her room.

So then when she called them from the office, they realised it wasn’t her after all. 

This very last story was told to me late at night while visiting a friend in the hospital.

Two men were in a lift in the hospital. When the lift opened its doors at a certain floor, there was a young girl wearing a hospital gown about the enter the lift.

One man immediately rushed to press the close button and kept pressing it in panic until the doors closed and the young girl was not able to get in.

As the lift continued to the next floor, the other man asked him why he did not let the girl get in.

He replied, “Did you see the wristband on her wrist? They only put those kinds of wristbands on the dead bodies at the morgue.”

The other man showed him his wrist. “You mean like this?”

He also has the wristband.

And that’s it for my Halloween post. Hope you enjoyed it!

 

Curse

Immortality was the curse
That she thought was the prize
When she summoned that demon
With the gleam in her eyes
It was flesh and blood, she offered
Of pure innocent souls
For power, for eternity
And her wicked goals

Love was the curse
That she thought was the prize
For they all quickly loved her
With a gleam in their eyes
It was possession, she wanted
Of these beautiful souls
As they hauntingly praise
All her twisted goals

Time was the curse
That she thought was the prize
When a thousand years ended
The gleam in her eyes
It was flesh and blood, she offered
Of her own lonely soul
To the demon that grinned
At her desperate goal

Death was a curse
But to her, a prize
And she begged the demon
Who had a gleam in his eyes
Who shook his head No
At this poor tired soul
Who forever shall live
Yet never be whole

Wrote this to celebrate Halloween :)

My NaNoWriMo project…?

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So I got this tag from Smudged Thoughts, a blog that I discovered while checking out NaNoWriMo-related blogs (I wanted to to know how people were preparing for this thing, being a newbie). It’s actually quite quirky, I had a lot of fun reading it. The post basically introduces questions prompting some info about your NaNoWriMo project, which I think I should do for myself anyway. Aside from that, her project seems kind of cool, so it’s worth the read! Anyway, here’s for my own NaNoWriMo project…

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?

Sathepine

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?

I am a pantser at heart :) But I’m trying to be a plotter because I actually want to finish an actual novel this time ^_^; My imagination gets distracted by other ideas, pantsering won’t help me finish them! T_T

How many years have you done the NaNo?

Zero. I am a NaNoWriMo virgin. This will be my first time.

What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?

I finally decided I will go finish a book and have it published. I stumbled into Authortubers in YouTube to get some writing tips and such, and there was mention of NaNoWriMo. (I also learned the terms pantser, plotter, and Authortube, among other things.)

Do you have any writing “lucky charms”? 

My black fleece blanket which I use as a cape. #dontjudgeme

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?

Discovering NaNoWriMo.

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? 

Na-No-RYE-Mo because of Authortube — they pronounce it that way!

PART TWO. . . PREP

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?

“The Moonseeker’s Medallion” is my tentative title.

What is your project’s genre?

Fantasy

Introduce us to your cast!

Because the names are by no means final, here are just a bunch of descriptions #heregoesnothing

A sorcerer king who, disturbed by an oracle, tries to invade or outright destroy certain castles of certain kingdoms.

A secret society of fighters or the like who wants to stop him.

The monarchs of the kingdoms the sorcerer king is attacking.

A few captains and commanders of certain armies.

Prince and princesses – the story’s main point of view will come from them (but not in first-person).

A character who doesn’t quite know what she is (but I do!).

What is your novel’s theme?

The main theme is supposedly about the price you pay for power, but that’s on the villain’s side. Since I’m planning to write it strictly from the point of view of the protagonists, I am still struggling a bit on the theme… or rather, how to phrase this theme.

What are your novel’s main settings?

Settings will have to be castles and battlefields and various different kingdoms because this story is essentially about a war.

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?

I already have little bits and pieces of the story from my writing when I was younger and after so many years of not touching it, I’m picking it up again.

I am definitely plotting it first. The winging will be in the details and storytelling.

What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?

I have just finished a rough outline of my story (yay me! #plottermode) and I’m planning to hone that outline a little bit more.

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)

It’s not much: laptop, mouse, notebook, pen. I am also using Scrivener.

laptopandstuff

PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?

At first, back in high school, I wanted to write a story about gods, basically a mythology of sorts. That time, in school, we were introduced to World Literature which involved Greek Mythology, so I got inspired.

Then somehow I thought about what conflicts or events could arise from their view of the mortal realm.

Then somehow I ended up imagining a story about humans in the mortal realm in relation to the gods.

Then somehow I ended up imagining a flashback of a particular character’s history about a great war involving that character’s kingdom. So, here we are.

See, this is why pantsing is not ideal for me when I’m trying to complete a story. So I’m going the plotter route this time :D

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?

sorcery, magic, soldiers, spies, fighters, warriors, legends, oracles, fire, ice, earth, wind, metal, light, crystal, kingdoms, royalty, council, woods, castles, medallion, moon, and so on…

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!

I don’t have them for my story, and now I’m thinking about making some…

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

How do I fight off writer’s block? Should I put off Netflix, movies, reading books, YouTube, games, and other distractions in November? What if I decide to revise and or remove an entire chapter or segment from my story? Do I go to Write-Ins? Would I be more productive there, or less productive?

Oh sorry, did you say advice? I thought you meant questions :P #totalnewbie

(Additional note: I have eaten my 3 cookies and I send my regards to Fanny, the familial bunny over there at Smudged Thoughts)

I would like to tag my friend absolute0 because he is the only person I have spoken to about NaNoWriMo and I don’t know if he is even planning to join :P In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little late to the party ^_^; (Forgive me for all these text emojis, I actually like using them for some reason…)

HERE IS THE CLEAN LIST

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter? (because you are actually a plant, but SHHHHHH. no one can know this.)

How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?

What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?

Do you have any writing “lucky charms”? (a stuffed dragon, a favorite pen, a paperclip that fills you with all of the inspiration???)

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)

PART TWO. . . PREP

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?

What is your project’s genre?

Introduce us to your cast!

What is your novel’s theme?

What are your novel’s main settings?

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?

What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo? (mentally, physically, eating five bars of chocolate at once because #energy)

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)

PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

 

 

And that is it for my blog post for today!

 

Two Steps Back

One step forward
Two steps back
When I think I found the answer
I’m suddenly off-track

One step forward
Nice and slow
When I think I’ve got a starter
It’s a no go

One step forward
To success?
But can’t even get through
All this mess

One step forward
Counting days
And then a sucker punch
To the face

Can’t step forward
Can’t attack
Even just to try, I’m always
Two steps back

Blogging again, NaNoWriMo

bloggingI have just posted a recent poem “Trap” which is actually the first poem I have written for a very long time. It was written in September, but describes my emotions on certain things for the past three years up to the present. I’ve written a bunch of poems before, especially in my teenage and young adult years, but just recently set them all to private, except for one – “What Have You Done to the Angel?” (There is a reason for that, which maybe I will share some other time.)

I have decided to start blogging again, regularly. This is because I want to get back my creative writing juices, not just in poetry, but in prose as well. Blogging about my thoughts and opinions on certain things will allow me to express myself through writing again, and then I will be comfortable with getting back to writing poetry and prose.

And with that said, I have decided to join NaNoWriMo this year. This is my first time – I have never heard of NaNoWriMo before. It also means that I have to write 50,000 words in one month, starting November 1. Hmmm… Can I do really do it? This, plus, well, life?

For NaNoWriMo, I have decided to write a fantasy novel with the (tentative) title of “The Moonseeker’s Medallion”. The synopsis goes “With aid from a mysterious medallion, a sorcerer king invades the Elder Kingdoms to prevent a dreaded prophecy, while a secret society aims to stop him and restore balance.” Yeah. It needs a little work. Or a lot. I’ll try my best.

I will also post poetry from time to time, of course.

I will end this post with this quote that I love, which rings true for me.

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”

– Lewis Carroll

Trap

I knew it then, but didn’t care
So much to do, so much to bear
Just trudge along and do my thing
Gotta try to please the King

And try to endure Captain Unpleasant
And work the wings for Bumbling Bee
I’ve been through worse, I tell myself
So there’s no one to blame but me

I knew it then, but didn’t care
Heedlessly cycling this head affair
Into darkness and out of it
Grab onto light that’s dimly lit

And I get a surprise but unpleasant
And there’s no one to blame but me
They don’t give warnings in this place
I must quickly pay the fee

I knew it then, but didn’t care
Got used to life being unfair
I knew that while I struggled not to snap
I’ve somehow laid myself a trap

And to get out is so unpleasant
And there’s no one to blame but me
Done my hardest but it’s not enough
I can no longer just let it be

You knew it then, but didn’t care
You still chose our lives to share
While I was caught in my own trap
You were ready to fill the gap

And it must have been quite unpleasant
To be entwined with a lifeless me
Yet still you carefully set your trap
That I’ve fallen into happily

Your beautiful black diamond trap
That we’ve fallen into happily