Day 30 for a NaNoWinner!

NaNo-2018-Winner-BadgeAfter validating my draft into the NaNoWriMo word-count validator (more than once, actually), I have officially accomplished 50,886 words. I am nowhere near completion of this project, not even halfway, but I have reached the 50,000 mark two days ago, and still continued updating my word count after that. This was an incredible experience and one I’m willing to repeat next year.

With that said, I have the following advice to myself:

  1. OUTLINE. Having an outline was very helpful for me, and so I should do the same prior to next year’s NaNoWriMo (this is probably what “Preptober” is for). I definitely still go off-tangent from time to time, but an outline is not set in stone… or it keeps me focus. Next year, I have to be more detailed with my outline than the one I have this year, like from which perspective or point of view will I be writing each chapter.
  2. Prepare CHARACTERS. Prior to NaNoWriMo, I had a list of characters and which kingdom they belong to along with a quick description. But that’s it. Having to think of a more detailed description for these characters, and even their personality, takes some time and kind of distracts me from the story situation I’m writing. If I had these prior to NaNoWriMo, my writing process would have been much smoother. (To be fair, I knew this beforehand but didn’t have time, as I learned about NaNoWriMo late October already, and I prioritised the outline.)
  3. Prepare SOUNDTRACK. I didn’t have one. I just sometimes played the Skyrim theme on repeat, and that one had words. I need to prepare instrumental music.
  4. SKIP chapters. Earlier during NaNoWriMo, I didn’t do this. When I come to a chapter that I particularly didn’t like doing, or didn’t know yet how to execute, I end up getting easily distracted. If I had thought of actually skipping that chapter and write for one I’m more interested in, I would have spent less time procrastinating. Because I have an outline now, the story can still end up connected when I do finally write that empty chapter.
  5. Use SCRIVENER. I doubt this will be an issue in the future, since I’m planning to purchase Scrivener soon. I’ve copied my project onto Word documents to save on my trial period in the middle of November. I’m back to using Scrivener now since I still have a few days of trial left, and will be purchasing it on December 1 or 2.
  6. DON’T EDIT. I’ve struggled with this and I bet I’ll still struggle with this in the future. (But I swear I was getting better at it towards the end.)
  7. Prepare mini REWARDS. I’m thinking I’d be more motivated if I give myself a reward for every 2,000 words put in. Like, give myself a small pack of gummy bears for every 2k increment, and prohibit myself from eating gummy bears aside from that.

Now that NaNoWriMo is done, I am in the process of editing what I have so far. And here is what I’ve found:

  • Story. Most of it I’m not happy with, but can be improved on. About a quarter of it I will scrap and replace with new ideas. A part of the main outline will have to change.
  • Characters. Some side characters have become more interesting than some main characters. Some characters who are not supposed to interact at this stage are interacting and seem to be getting along when they’re not supposed to. I may need to make more changes to the outline because of this. But for now, we’ll see.
  • Lore/Backstory. I’ve somehow come up with more, but I feel it will enhance the story. Or it will add more boring info dumping. This definitely needs review.
  • Magic. When a sorcerer doesn’t use sorcery in a situation where he should, it should be explained. (Or fixed.)
  • Action. Some action scenes need to be expanded.
  • Romance. Any romantic aspect in this thing is completely lacklustre. I need to improve on this. My sisters like romance and I want them to enjoy my story someday. I don’t want them to have to endure lousy romance.
  • Title. I may need to change the title from “The Moonseeker’s Medallion” to something else.

All of the above are totally understandable for a first draft, so I’m not so frustrated about them. It just means I’m in the process of polishing a rough piece.

I am currently looking for books on the craft of writing. If you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments.

For everyone who accomplished 50,000 words or more, CONGRATULATIONS to us!!!

 

Day 25 of NaNoWriMo — Almost there!

nanowrimoingToday is a busy day because my sisters are coming over to Singapore! I have also left my job and will be taking a break from work for the meantime. I’ve really needed a break for a long time and I’m finally taking it. Next year, I will be stepping into the unknown world of job hunting and interviews, but for now and the remaining days of this year, I am FREE!!!

My NaNoWriMo story is progressing quite slowly, despite the growing number of words. It will definitely need some heavy developmental editing 😬 (among other types of editing). I have jumped from chapter to chapter just so I could write the stuff that I felt like writing in the moment. I should have done this in the beginning. It definitely helped me with putting more and more words especially in a slump!

As of this writing I’m at 43,014 words and closer and closer to “winning”! So good luck to me and all writers out there! We’re almost DONE!

Day 20 of NaNoWriMo: Recovery!

laptopandninjamugThis NaNoWriMo update will be quick! I have recovered to 35,073 words as of this writing. Focus and a surge of positivity really helped a lot! My draft is nowhere near completion, though, or even the middle, but I’ve already come to expect that.

I have also set my calendar to attend a regional NaNoWriMo event, which I’m looking forward to. I have never been to any Write-Ins (yet?) so it would be nice to see what a gathering with a bunch of writers would look like nowadays hahaha!

I have also written my first review in this blog, which is of new Fantastic Beasts movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald. It was not well-received by critics and a lot of fans, but I’m glad I’m one of those few who managed to enjoy it, despite not really being a fan of the two main characters Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein. I think the visuals helped a lot. I genuinely was blown away and interested to learn more! Screenwriting may not be working so well for J. K. Rowling, as it feels like she’s trying to do too much in a limited time. But I’m hoping against hope she’ll write a book about this, especially expanding on Dumbledore and Grindelwald. There are no budgets and time limits for books, or at least not like the movies (and their screenplays).

My original plan was to update every 5 days, but I missed Day 10. Hopefully, I’ll be updating for Day 25 :)

My 7 Thoughts on The Crimes of Grindelwald

mv5bzjfimguzmtatndawmc00zjrhltk0otutmmjimzm5zmvjodqxxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymdm2ndm2mq-_v1_Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was a breathtaking ride for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Here are 7 things I want to talk about without giving away too much:

1 | Visuals

The visual effects were top-notch and exceeded my expectations. But it’s not just the effects themselves, the cinematography was great as well. This is definitely a movie meant to be seen in the big screen.

2 | Beasts

The smaller beasts were cute, but my top 3 were the big ones. I have a special place in my heart for Thestrals, which we’ve seen from the Harry Potter movies. I’m happy every time I see them. And sad at the same time. Of course, I also loved the Zouwu, the Chinese creature. It had adorable eyes and the way it moved with its flowy vibrant tail was so mesmerizing. My favorite, was the Kelpie, which was just utterly majestic. It didn’t have much of a role in the movie, though. There is another creature that I was surprised and happy to see, which made me anxious and nostalgic. But this is all I will say about it.

3 | Grindeldore

Both Grindelwald and Dumbledore were excellently portrayed here by Johnny Depp and Jude Law. I felt that these two actors captured the magnetic charisma of their characters and it makes me excited for seeing more of them in the future.

4 | Newt & Tina

Newt Scamander is a sweet quirky fella for sure, but I’m not that huge of a fan. Jacob, Queenie, Leta, and his own brother Theseus, seem much more interesting to me than Newt himself. Unfortunately, it’s the same for Tina Goldstein. I do like, though, the juxtaposition of Newt’s eccentric personality to Tina’s composed and purposeful attitude.

5 | Flashbacks

The flashback I expected to see did not turn up, which was slightly disappointing. But the ones I did get to see were thought-provoking and had a haunting quality to it, which made me feel for a character I did not expect to care for.

6 | Credence & Nagini

We have already seen Nagini turn into a huge snake from the trailers (not Basilisk-level, but still huge for a snake) and I prefer not to say anything about Credence. But let me tell you, I definitely want to see more and know more about these two.

7 | Not Enough

As I tweeted, I wish we get an actual novel of this movie, as well as the previous one, so we get more into this world, these characters, these events. This is a story that takes place in the adult world, with a character who is not a star athlete (Newt doesn’t seem the type to play Quidditch), not the “Chosen One”, and not even a sociable one either. We’ve had the wonderful coming-of-age story of a hero school boy. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have one about a struggling creature-loving dorky adult in the midst of a brewing war?

OVERALL | 4 / 5 Stars

Disclaimer: This rating is based on my overall enjoyment of the material, whether it was time well-spent, whether it was worth the money, whether I would be likely to repeat it. It is not a measurement based on structure, technique, flaws and perfections. FYI.

Guilty Reader Book Tag

bookandstuffI wanted to post something non-NaNoWriMo-related and decided to go for this tag, which I saw from pensitivity101, who got it from The Haunted Wordsmith, who picked it up from Cole Campfire Blog, who mentioned The Discerning Couch Potato, who credited Kristin Kraves Books, who was tagged by Orange Owl Diaries… and that’s all I got.

Anyway, here goes…

 

1. Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?

Not really.

But I do know someone who claimed my gift for someone else, and she replaced it with a slightly used book that was a gift to her. I had asked her to do the gift-wrapping, and she liked one of the gifts, so she asked if she could have it. I allowed it as long as she replace it with something else. To my amusement, she saw the book in the room (her room), just took it, and wrapped it.

 

2. Have you ever claimed to have read a book when you haven’t?

I’m almost pretty sure that I have, especially for school, but I don’t remember a specific book.

I vaguely remember we were supposed to read around five of Shakespeare’s works, and I only read, like, three. OR we were assigned one of the five plays the teacher listed and I read three anyway. I remember being in the group assigned to Romeo & Juliet, which wasn’t very exciting because everybody knows that story already. So I read more. But I think we were still supposed to read all those five plays for an exam… I think.

 

3. Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

Yes! I borrowed a Pugad Baboy book from a friend but never returned it.

Pugad Baboy is a Filipino comic strip usually in newspapers that has political satire elements to it. This book is a compilation of these comic strips.

I don’t know where it is now, probably still in Cebu, and I forgot who I borrowed it from except that it was a classmate from college.

 

4. Have you ever read a series out of order?

I used to read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley, and the like, when I was a kid. I don’t know if this counts, though, because each book has a different mystery or story that is resolved within that book. I’m pretty sure I read them out of order.

 

5. Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

Yes, usually because they ask for it. I have friends who watch Game of Thrones but haven’t read the books. Sometimes they want to know what happens.

 

6. Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

Yes. Usually, when I skip a chapter it’s because it’s boring or I don’t care and I just wanted to get on with the story.

This is true for Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, which I read recently. I really did not enjoy the book and I think I am not the target audience for it. I think I enjoyed reading the footnotes more than the actual story. But, I’m happy to say, the movie was enjoyable. I guess this is a case where I prefer the story told in a visual medium than a written one. In the book, I felt no attachments to Rachel Chu or anyone (in fairness, maybe I would have if I hadn’t skipped sections). In the film, Constance Wu, the actress portraying Rachel Chu, was charming and charismatic and I enjoyed watching her. The same goes for Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina. Henry Golding was not bad to look at, either.

 

7. Have you ever bad-mouthed a book you actually liked?

Yes. Lord of the Rings! The first thing I used to tell people about these books was that they’re boring! This is another case where the movies were the more enjoyable medium for me. But interestingly, I never skipped a chapter or section. I just felt like the author really made so much effort that I owe it to him to trudge along. I actually loved these books as a whole, and the epic story and characters captivated me. But honestly, I will still say that the books are “boring” and I will recommend the movies instead – well, except maybe to someone who is the type who loves to read paragraphs and paragraphs of world-building.

 

Verdict: GUILTY!

I am so sorry to J. R. R. Tolkien, Kevin Kwan, and the classmate who used to have a Pugad Baboy book!

(I would like to tag absolute0 on this.)

Day 15 of NaNoWriMo and my many distractions

IMG_5708I am officially behind in my NaNoWriMo word count. As of this writing, it stands at 21,761 words when it should be 25,000. However, I still think I can reach 50,000 words on time, if not earlier, so I’m not that frustrated about it (yet). My concern, however, is with regards to the progression of my story. I am still in Chapter 4. My outline calls for 45 chapters. I am now more and more certain that my story will have way beyond 50,000 words, and that my first draft will not be finished by the end of November. At this rate, I’d probably only have written 10 chapters by then.

I have temporarily stopped using Scrivener and have switched to Microsoft Word for the meantime. I learned about Scrivener from YouTube/AuthorTube and downloaded a trial version when I decided to join NaNoWriMo and actually write a novel. I realized recently that it was almost the end of my trial period, but also that one of the perks of “winning” NaNoWriMo is a Scrivener discount. So I decided to wait and copied all the relevant stuff into Word documents for the meantime. As I type this, I realize I could have used Pages since I’m on MacOS (my personal laptop is a MacBook Pro). I guess Word just instantly came to mind because I use it for work too, for reports and such.

LinzMunro commented on my previous post about name generators. I did not know there was such a thing, but now I do! Thank you LinzMunro! It was easy to find a fantasy name generator… like a site called fantasynamegenerators.com. Anyway, as a result of this discovery, instead of just generating names for the insignificant characters that show up as I write, I am now planning to change a lot of names, including place names.

There are many distractions since my last update that have led to my low word count. The very main one is the frustrations I have because of work. I often come home frustrated and depressed and not in any mood at all to focus on my story. So I end up doing other things…

The first distraction I will mention is: Bodyguard. I have completed the entire season on Netflix. I may talk about it more in a separate blog post (a review maybe?) but the gist of it is I love it and I highly recommend it!

Another distraction is the second season of The Sinner. It’s not bad, but I enjoyed the first season more, the one with Jessica Biel. I really like these types of crime stories so I will definitely watch a third season if there is one.

I also watched Outlaw King, a movie in Netflix. I love Chris Pine and his performance in this, but I can’t help thinking… why not Richard Madden? Isn’t he Scottish? But I guess having him in that role will only remind everyone of Robb Stark and Game of Thrones. Also, as you know, I just recently watched Bodyguard so Richard Madden is fresh in my mind.

Another thing that I did that distracted me from writing is my Goodreads library. I have now organized it such that it will only show the books that are in my Kindle app. I realize that I have a lot of books that I bought that I have not read (actually this was also true when I was still reading on paperback) and I have decided that from now on, I am not going to buy any other book until I have read all the unread books on my Kindle (not including language learning books). The books in my to-read shelf are the books I have bought but not read. I created a new shelf called “wishlist” for the books I want to read in the future, but have not bought yet. But you know, as I type this, I am still doubting myself. It’s soo easy to buy ebooks! You don’t actually need to make the effort of going to a bookstore! I need to make up for all those years I haven’t touched a novel and only read manga! (Manga refers to Japanese comics.) There are popular fantasy books that I am interested in but haven’t read.

So… because I was organizing my Goodreads library (there’s actually not much), I ended up finishing the books that I have started reading but haven’t finished. Therefore, more distractions! I actually managed to finish the non-fiction ones, namely: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, Accessory to War and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Next month or early next year, I’ll probably write a quick review of all the books I’ve read in 2018 including these four.

I am now down to two unfinished books, which I have told myself not to finish in November. There’s The World of Ice and Fire, which is fiction but reads like a history book, and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. I actually got the complete collection of the Inheritance Cycle in Kindle, but I read the first three books a long long time ago in paperback and hardcover (I bought Brisingr in hardcover because I couldn’t wait). I am still trying to decide if I should reread the first three books first before proceeding with Inheritance.

Lastly, I have recently received the mood board from my events stylist via my wedding planner. I am getting married next year in Cebu so my wedding planner is keeping me up to date and asking about decisions. I don’t know if I consider this a distraction, though, because it actually relates to an important life event. I will not go into details, and I might write a blog about my wedding in the future, but for now I will say that I’m happy with everything so far.

That’s it for my current update. I hope for better news in my next one.

Update: I forgot to include links to the stuff I mentioned. Fixed!

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo

IMG_5679This will be my first update on my NaNoWriMo progress. I am at 9,587 words, which is not bad in general. I really wasted the weekend, though, having made no significant progress at that time. I did have some responsibilities during the weekend, and did do some writing, but not for my NaNoWriMo story. Grr. I somehow was able to write another poem about certain frustrations. I think I’m gonna hold back on posting that one publicly. I also managed to complete “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” on Netflix. Definitely procrastination.

My Weaknesses. My being a pantser is getting the better of me. My compulsion to edit my work also. Within the five days of NaNoWriMo, I have finished the first draft of… two chapters. Two. Considering that I already had an outline, I felt that I could do, maybe five? One for each day? It makes sense to me. I kind of did that for day one and day two, but somehow I spent day three and so on editing those two chapters and somehow adding more and more stuff… and now I have longer chapters. I have not been listening to my own advice.

Naming Characters. Because my story takes place in a made up world, it would feel out of place if characters get real-world names. So now, as I add more non-significant characters, I had to come up with names for them. At some point I’m gonna have to review those names because I basically just mix letters together out of sheer laziness. I named one character Redwent (is this a real-world name, by any chance?) but somehow named him Derwent in others places. So now, I’m confused which one to use because I’m not particularly fond of either. Eventually, I went with Redwent because there was a can of Coke in front of me at that time and it was red. Then there are characters I started to come up with backstories on, and I just had to stop myself there. I reminded myself that it’s not part of the plan.

Gummy Bears. So I found out that gummy bears are actually perfect writing companions. And by “companion” I mean stuff I put in my mouth while typing away on my laptop. Gummy bears are yummy bears ^_^

Deepavali. Thankfully, tomorrow is a holiday. Singapore celebrates Deepavali tomorrow, Nov 6. What is Deepavali? Deepavali is the annual Hindu celebration of the triumph of light over darkness. I can use this extra free time to catch up on my writing. And to Hindus out there who might be reading this, Happy Deepavali!

That’s it for my update, thank you for reading.