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 :)

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.

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).

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!

 

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