writer . reader . engineer . geek . shadowy figure

IMG_0783This is going to be a quick update: I’m proud to report I won NaNoWriMo with a total of 50,195 words! I was planning to update my blog as I go along, but I was just so drained every day that I really struggled to even catch up to the recommended word count even towards the end. Posting a blog update just felt like more struggle. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way, honestly, but I can tell you, if it weren’t for my outline, I probably would have completely lost. However, because I already know the direction it’s heading, writing the story became less exciting to me. Does that make me a natural pantser? Pantsing makes me go off-tangent pretty quickly, though, so that was why I felt – and still feel – that outlining is the smarter move for me. Not to mention during pantsing, when I get a writer’s block… I really get a writer’s block. Outlining means, even when I’m not feeling it, I know what to write about, even though it may not excite me at that time. Is there a nice and sweet middle ground for this? Regardless, I’m definitely learning more about myself and the kind of writer I am. And that’s one of the great things about NaNoWriMo!

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Did you learn something about yourself as a writer?

Poisoned lips

In fragrant breath

Glassy eyes

And frozen smiles

And marks

Of sudden death

Of feelings

And of blunt

Expressiveness

The soul

Is passionless

The heart’s

A bloody mess

The angry mind

Is crying out

Into the nothingness

Of selfish deeds

And selfish creeds

On poisoned lips

Craving trips

Of hushed exile

For kisses on

The demon’s smile

 

*This poem can also be found in my poetry book What Have You Done to the Angel.

It’s beyond midnight of Nov 3 (therefore it’s Nov 4 already, here in Singapore) and I just want to blog about a few NaNoWriMo stats. I don’t expect the same kind of progress during weekdays so I’m glad I have this buffer.

 

Day 1

Words Written: 1,773

Total Word Count: 1,773 / 50,000

Scenes Completed: 1

Total Scenes Completed: 1 / 64

 

Day 2

Words Written: 3,395

Total Word Count: 5,168 / 50,000

Scenes Completed: 3

Total Scenes Completed: 4 / 64

Special Note: I got a treat from my husband for hitting the 5K milestone. I got a snack called “Yan Yan” which is a childhood snack that I love but don’t often eat anymore. Yum! I can’t wait to find out what I get for 10K! 

 

Day 3

Words Written: 3,571

Total Word Count: 8,739 / 50,000

Scenes Completed: 4

Total Scenes Completed: 8 / 64

 

Reflections…

I ended up including two characters I didn’t plan for who each only showed up for one scene. I’ve also changed a character’s name (“Trisha”) because it sounded too much like another character’s name (“Tristan”, her brother). It was advised by someone who was nice enough to critique my outline. The new name is still similar (“Kristin”), but not too similar, I hope? Lastly, anything I ended up thinking about on the spot, I just added in “[ ]” even though it’s not actually related to the scene I’m currently working on, but maybe a big-picture thought, or something I want to add or detract from a previous scene. This keeps me from going back to read the previous scenes (and the risk of rereading and editing them). Usually, though, it’s something I want to include later in the current scene.

 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?

If so, have you met your NaNoWriMo goals this weekend?

Just a quick update from my previous post:

✔︎ Scene Outline

✔︎ Character Descriptions

✔︎ Aesthetics/Moodboard

✔︎ Writing Music Playlist

✔︎ Milestone Rewards

My husband agreed to provide my milestone rewards! I will be claiming them for every 5K increment. Nothing fancy, just sweets 😊

 

IMG_0245In a previous blog post, I mentioned a checklist of what I intend to prepare before NaNoWriMo hits:

  1. Chapter Outline
  2. Character Descriptions
  3. Aesthetics/Moodboard
  4. Writing Music Playlist
  5. Milestone Rewards

It’s now the end of October, and I think I did well for myself, although there are still a lot of kinks to sort out and a lot of details missing. However, the missing details won’t hinder me too much and I can work through them after, if not during NaNoWriMo (but I don’t want to spend too much time on them during Nano). Before I proceed with my update, I would like to mention the book that helped me sort out my story – Outlining Your Novel Workbook by K.M. Weiland. I’ve read the book and learned a lot so I decided to go ahead and purchase the workbook.

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I have not completed the workbook yet and don’t really have the time to complete it before Nano, but I enjoyed the exercises. Basically, the book presents exercises through questions that you can answer to flesh out elements of your story more. I have completed Chapter 1 (The Premise), Chapter 2 (General Sketches) is partly done and partly being worked on, and I’ve done a bit as well for the rest of the chapters (Backstory, Character Interviews, Setting, Extended Outline, Unconventional Outlines). Maybe next year I’ll do this same workbook again, but start my prepping in September. (Or earlier!) I am eyeing another workbook about story structure by the same author, which I will probably do when I’ve completed the draft and in revising mode. I don’t know when that will be because, after Nano, I plan to go back to the fantasy WIP I had been working on and shelve this story for the meantime.

Without further ado, here’s my progress so far:

✔︎ Chapter Scene Outline

Instead of a chapter outline, I’ve created an outline for all the scenes in my story. There are 64 in total excluding the Prologue and Epilogue which are just very short scenes and will be written last if I really need them. Of course, I intend to group the scenes into chapters, but for now, the scene list is enough. Here is a glimpse of my scene outline using the corkboard view in Scrivener:

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I’ve numbered and titled each scene but those are for my own use only. I’m definitely going to go with the chapter title (or just the number) once I’ve grouped them into chapters, which will be separated by folders in Scrivener.

✔︎ Character Descriptions

This is definitely still a work in progress along with my setting descriptions (which I didn’t put in my checklist, silly me), but I have properly identified which characters or groups of characters will be present on which scenes (as well as the location/settings). In case you don’t know, Scrivener allows you to link them through document bookmarks. This means that when you click a scene, you can see which characters are in it, and likewise, if you click a character, you can see which scenes this character is in. Below is a quick look at my character list.

IMG_0248

As you can see, it’s still very much in progress, and the names are not final either because they were hastily thought out. But for NaNoWriMo, I will stick to those names. My working title is “Claire of the Corpses” and if I’m gonna keep that, then I’ll have to keep the name Claire.

✔︎ Aesthetics/Moodboard

I went ahead and created a Pinterest board for my story and here’s a shot of it:

IMG_0243

It is a private board so I won’t be sharing it, but it helps me visualize the look and feel of my story. It is also still in progress (and will probably always be in progress?) and I will be putting images in there from time to time if something catches my eyes (or if I find myself going down the Pinterest rabbit hole).

✔︎ Writing Music Playlist

This is a private Spotify playlist I’ve set up for my writing sessions which mirrors the tone of the story.

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Most of the music on the list are instrumental versions of songs or soundtrack from games and anime. I would say it is also still in progress as I intend to add more music to it.

😅 Milestone Rewards

Although I have some vague ideas of what rewards I could give myself per milestone (mostly sweets), I don’t know which milestones to use. Do I do it every 5k increment? 10k? Do I follow the writing badges in NaNoWriMo? In any case, I know what reward I will give myself after Nano, and that is a new iPad. My current iPad screen is broken and since it’s old I’ve decided to get a new one rather than try to see if they can repair the broken screen. I’ve been thinking of getting a new one for a while now, but when Preptober hit, I’ve decided I won’t be buying a new one until after Nano. Note that the iPad can be a distraction, after all, so after Nano will be the perfect time to get one.

So that’s it for my Preptober Update! I still have some time to get that ✔︎ for Milestone Rewards, but in any case, I am now much more confident about winning NaNoWriMo 2019, which is why I’m gonna go ahead and order that winner shirt right now!

What a sweet fake person you are
Always wanting to be the star
You’ve hurt me a lot and brought down my guard
But I swear my revenge will hit you hard

Your innocent looks may do the tricks
But just you wait as the bomb ticks
You’ve always been guilty and I’ll blow you away
My revenge will be sweet and coming someday

Your beautiful face and dazzling smile
Could probably take my breath for a while
But it’s fact that you’ve hurt my pride and dignity
I’ll have my revenge, just wait and see

I know I was always hurting you bad
When I’m around you’ve never been glad
But still I don’t want you to stand on your feet
And my revenge will be very sweet

I’ve done more wrong to you from the top
But what I hate is that you don’t give up
And because of that I’ll make you pay
I’ll have my revenge every bitter way

We both know I’m better than you are
Sorry if I’ve always won the war
But still the same, I’ll make you pay
I’ll have my revenge… but what for, anyway?

Seeing your painfully attractive face
Your beauty, your self, I want to embrace
I’m under your spell and that’s what I hate
‘Cause that’s what makes my revenge come so late

Maybe we’d better stop this stupid game
I’m wild, I know, but you’ve made me tame
Forget my revenge, I know it won’t come
Forgive me for being so stupid and dumb

But still you’re guilty – you just don’t know it at all
You’re guilty of stealing and making me fall
I fell for you and that’s your work of art
And yes, you’re guilty of stealing my heart

*A poem I wrote in high school… probably two decades ago – let’s say, I was 16(?) then and I’m 36 now! 😮 I read a lot of romance novels back then, and based on this, it seems I was probably into the enemies-to-lovers trope! Fortunately, none of this was based on real life. Also, I didn’t have a life at 16. 😂

Legacy (Deity Rising, #1) by Kilian Grey

41711057._sy475_A fractured hierarchy. A buried past. The wind tells all, to those who listen.

Tension is high among the kingdoms of Alimphis and information about the past is prohibited. The Kingsley royal line has lived under restrictive rules from the deities, Emoris and Lathil, but the royal family also holds a great secret.

Prince Faust has kept his affinity for magic hidden by the order of his brother, King Konrad. His life is thrown into chaos when Emoris discovers he can wield all four magic stones and tries to kill him. King Konrad sends Faust away under the guise of a prestigious court merchant. Outrunning the deities isn’t easy, and Faust is exposed to the corruption and lies that have settled in the kingdoms.

With the help of a rather amorous mercenary and King Konrad’s allies, Faust embarks on a path to restore order to Alimphis’s kingdoms. Emoris and Lathil will stop at nothing to ensure he fails, even pitting him against his own family. Faust isn’t alone in his fight as those with power gather to assist him. But is he ready to shoulder the weight of war?

 

REVIEW: A somewhat confusing but enjoyable adventure | ★★★☆☆

I can see the anime and video game influences in this story, even from the way the characters react and behave… or it could be just my imagination. The world-building and magic-wielding are quite amazing here, however, I can’t seem to fully grasp the ranking system in terms of the deities, kings, *and* a high king, not to mention volants, servants of power, blessed, etc. – which, I believe, are over-powered high-ranking soldiers with fancy titles. The concept of having several kings when there are leaving breathing deities who can physically stand next to them, are more powerful than them, and rule over them makes me wonder: why bother having kings at all? I’d say anime is to blame for this. Also, the way “the wind” is always referred to is almost like it’s own character, which is half intriguing but half distracting. But regardless of all of the above, Faust is definitely a character I enjoyed following and I especially like his power set. Ignas is not bad either as the overprotective merc, despite my dislike with him constantly referring to Faust as “gorgeous”. Aris arrives a bit later but is just as intriguing and I find myself shipping him with Faust more than Ignas. The book is also full of action, which is something I quite enjoyed. It’s animated in my head. The steamy m/m sexiness definitely adds some spice, if you’re into that. Overall, this was a fun albeit confusing read and hope the sequel will be just as fun as well.

It’s officially Preptober and I am going to be working on prepping for my NaNoWriMo 2019 project for the whole month of October.

I have a fantasy WIP that I’ve been working on, the same project I did for last year’s NaNoWriMo, but that one’s massive. It has multiple characters, multiple POVs, dragons, sorcerers, war(s), fictional language(s), lore… definitely requires me to create a world map, and I don’t even know how to begin with that… Let’s just say the very thorough outline I’ve been (re)working on for that will definitely not be ready by November.

So, therefore, I’ve decided to revisit an idea that I’ve never drafted before and use that for NaNoWriMo. It’s dark supernatural fantasy with — and this is key — only one main character (YAY!).

I’ve started doing some prep work right at the beginning of October, and here’s a couple of screenshots of my synopsis and outline (using Scrivener):

Those are not final at all and I don’t even have a title or any character names. However, I’m excited to plot it for the whole month of October and draft it when November comes.

Can I get 50K words? Even though I was able to accomplish that last year, I’m not as confident this year because my personal circumstances were different. However, I have learned from last year so I guess this year may be smoother and I might actually accomplish it.

Here are the things that I will be preparing based on what I learned from last year:

  1. Chapter Outline
  2. Character Descriptions
  3. Aesthetics/Moodboard
  4. Writing Music Playlist
  5. Milestone Rewards

I feel that drafting will definitely be easier if these things are prepared beforehand. I have a tendency to get off-tangent, thereby ending up with subplots that don’t advance the story. A chapter outline will keep me on track, hopefully. I also spend a lot of time fussing over character names, descriptions, personalities, etc, so preparing them in advance will definitely save me time. The rest are just to help motivate me when the time comes, so they’re not really priority.

Are you planning to join this year’s NaNoWriMo? Will you be preparing for it this month? Do you think my prep list is good enough?

I’ll be sure to give an update on my next post. Thank you for reading!

Now that I’m back in the work force, I don’t always have time to read books. But with audiobooks, I get to listen to the story told to me by excellent narrators while I’m commuting, doing chores, doing errands, etc. Unfortunately, most of the books in my TBR are indie books and they don’t have Audible versions. So listening audiobooks is actually my opportunity to listen to popular books I’ve been curious about. I started with the first books of four series that piqued my interest:

  • Red Rising (starts the Red Rising series) by Pierce Brown
  • Caraval (starts the Caraval series) by Stephanie Garber

(Click on the links for the GoodReads page where you can read the synopses, if by some chance you haven’t heard of one or more of these books and are curious.)

I’m happy to say I enjoyed all of them and are continuing with their sequels. I have yet to actually sit down and write a proper review for each of them and I’m sure it’ll be daunting. I have so much to say, especially for Mistborn and Red Rising, I don’t even know where to begin. Just wow.

I’ve included below some snippets of my instagram stories when I was listening to these for last June.  

a calm solemn nod

lips in ephemeral smile

her blade reached his guts

 

 

zenith of your life

accomplished in the shadows

thank you, unknown spy

 

 

midnight shadows dance

swaying to a trance

of mournful peace ’til he appeared

vermillion, crimson, red

a grin inspiring dread

and all the things the shadows feared