For Nanowrimo last year, I decided to tackle a brand new story from one of the ideas I had that I’ve never really drafted. My WIP at that time was incredibly ambitious – for me, at least – and I’ve decided to put it on hold for this new project. However, because of what I’ve learned from tackling that ambitious WIP, I realize there are things that seem to be holding me back from fully fleshing out my new WIP.

The most significant one, I feel, is the fear of world-building. I felt that this time, I’m not going to start on the world-building until I’ve fleshed out the plot. Yet even when I’ve completed the outline of my story, I still find myself afraid to really focus on the world-building. In the previous WIP, I was engrossed in the world-building and not so much in the story, and as a result, I built a story that would serve the world-building rather than the other way around. It was a mess (and still is, actually). Right now, I’m afraid I’d do the same thing again, even though I have a somewhat solid outline where I can pull out the parts that need world-building – and do only those parts. This is something I’m gonna have to tackle if I’m going to complete the story.

Another thing holding me back is fleshing out other characters. This is another fear borne out of my experience with my previous (still unfinished) WIP. That one had a ton of characters with POVs and some significant ones without POVs. For these characters, I know their character arcs, personalities, and relationships with other characters. And because of that, I have far too many subplots. For the new project, I found myself afraid to even touch the secondary characters’ backstories. I feel very little connection – or none at all – to the characters aside from the protagonist. A few of them would need some backstory – of which I have a general concept, but only in broad strokes – to sort-of explain their relationship or interaction with the main character, and I’m just afraid to flesh them out, afraid I’d end up with a runaway subplot and create random characters or conflict or scenes for that specific subplot, even though I know better now.

The last thing that I feel could be potentially holding me back is my resistance to writing in first person. Objectively speaking, I’m starting to believe that a first-person POV would enhance the storytelling given the character’s internal struggle, but I refrain from doing it for a few reasons. Let me start by saying that this story idea was inspired by depressing things, and I believe at that time, I was really into dark depressing anime. And for some reason when writing this story, I somehow wanted to preserve that kind of depressing tone which I feel works well with it being a dark fantasy. I don’t want it to end up being some kind of self-insert but in a depressing way, with me remembering how I felt back then when this idea came to mind. Or, I might mess up the tone because, at the time of writing it, I’m not really feeling depress-y. Also, the main character is supposed to have a personality different from mine. Would I lose track of her personality and end up inserting mine instead? I don’t know. Well, this issue is really just a thought and it’s not a big deal. I’m quite comfortable with third person limited and will continue to tell the story that way. (I also suspect these are all based on my own misconceptions of what it’s like writing in first person.)

If you are currently writing, is there anything holding you back?

I was planning to post an update of my current progress but decided on this topic instead because there’s really not much to update as of now. I am updating my outline based on the 50K+ words I’ve drafted and have grouped and regrouped the scenes into chapters. The outline is basically for me to check if everything flows well structurally without having to read through everything, but apparently, it’s not easy to summarize a scene (in paragraph or list format) and not that much fun either. I also can’t seem to make up my mind on which scenes should go together in a chapter. Right now, I’m looking at about 35-40 chapters for around 70 scenes. I hope to complete the draft and the updated outline by the end of Feb this year. We’ll see if I can accomplish that.

 

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.

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).

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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.

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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!