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!

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, so I guess I’m overdue for an update. My social media is pretty much updated (more or less) but it seems that blogging is a different beast. Without further ado, here are a few updates:

Wedding

I recently got married (last May) in Cebu, Philippines and I’d say the wedding was quite fun and great and it went better than we expected. 😁  It’s a black-and-white beach wedding and here’s a few shots:

Credits: Venue — Plantation Bay Resort & Spa | Coordination — BridesBestfriend.ph | Event Styling — First Of April | Photography — Blinkbox Photos

WIP

I joined Camp Nanowrimo in July… and failed 😭. My plan was to go for 50 hours and I got in about 5 😂. 

Right now I’m reworking my entire outline (again). But this time, it will be very detailed, as I will be fleshing out story and character developments starting from the ending and going backwards as much as I can. I want to make sure that all the necessary loose ends are tied up nicely as I seem to have that habit of creating new subplots as I go without any idea as to how they’re gonna be tied up in the end.

For those points in the story where I have no idea what to do, I do some writing sprints to get the juices flowing. And if I find something I can use in the outline, I get to put it in there and scrapped what isn’t really needed. If I write a particularly good scene or idea, I’ll keep it in my notes for reference later when I start drafting.

So This will definitely take a lot more time as my story is quite massive and I may not be able to fully complete my outline by the time NaNoWriMo in November comes along. But we’ll see! I still intend to join NaNoWriMo regardless of my WIP progress (and win it).

Here are a few things that are helpful to me:

MyWriteClub is in beta right now, Scrivener is a paid app but there is a free trial period, and WorldAnvil has a free tier but I’m using a paid tier for the option to make my world private.

Work

Right after the honeymoon, I started working again and I found that I really like the company I’m working at right now compared to the last one. However, my time for writing will be incredibly shorter now but I’m planning to write on weekends and weeknights.

Weekends

… specifically Sundays shall be the days I’ll be uploading new content here on a regular basis! (Starting with this one!)

Website

I have another website mainly for my poetry book at sathepinemarco.com created by Partridge Publishing, the supported self-publishing company I hired to self-publish my book (because I didn’t know anything about self self-publishing the time I bought their services). The website is part of the package so that’s nice, but I don’t know if it can even be updated without having to pay them, or if I can update it myself. I did ask, but no response as of yet.

Lastly, this website (sathepine.com) is the one I’ll be updating, of course. Since my last post, I have made some changes to the design and layout, including the theme, so hope you like it!

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I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo last month and achieved my initial goal of 30,000 words a bit early, so I increased it to 45,000 which I still achieved with the final total of 45,349 words!

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Unfortunately, it feels like a hollow victory.

I wrote 50,000+ last NaNoWriMo and realized that I needed to change the outline of my WIP and rewrite some scenes in a different POV.

So I rewrote the 45,000+ words with the previous 50k-word draft as a guide.

But that is only Part I of my novel, which is meant to consist of 3 parts.

It feels like I haven’t progressed at all, even though I did make improvements. But even then I felt that I should have just let it be for the meantime and continue on writing until I complete the whole novel. I would still have the chance to make improvements later on, anyway.

It’s just that Part II is so daunting because of the scenes that it requires. So I guess I chickened out and revised Part I instead (and it’s not even finished, some scenes are incomplete!).

Actually, the whole book is so ambitious! For example, I have a spreadsheet full of made-up words because the seventeen-year-old me — who started this whole thing — decided I needed a made-up language. Now I feel compelled to translate anything “ancient” that I come up with. I can’t just name random characters normally because all the other names are made-up — again, courtesy of seventeen-year-old me — and I have a shit ton of characters. And there are three magic systems. Not one, but three.

41sc1mtntjlRight after Camp NaNoWriMo, I started reading Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. The first part talks about the hero… and with my multiple characters, I’m kind of stuck. But I am enjoying the book and learning a lot from it. I love the exercises at the end of each topic but I want to do them in sequence. I’m still stuck with handling the character arcs of the potential main characters, and choosing the one true main character from among them. According to the book, “If you’re writing a story with multiple main characters and/or multiple points of view and you’re still having problems figuring out who the hero is, or whose arc is the biggest, try asking yourself, Which of my main characters is most like my reader?” and this is definitely helpful for me.

The title itself is also a struggle for me. At first it was supposed to be “The Moonseeker’s Medallion”, then I changed it to “Davathad” which is supposed to mean war in my made-up language, but I’m not quite satisfied with either of these. But I’ll leave it be for now and I’m definitely coming back to it once I’m done with the first draft.

Like the title, I’ve now come to the conclusion that it might be better to write or rewrite the prologue and first chapter of my novel once I’m done with my draft. I’ve probably revised both of them 10 times or so, wondering if they set the right tone or if they provide a good hook. Instead of worrying about them, I should just continue on for now and by the time I get back to them, I’ll be a better writer with a better grasp of my story. Here’s hoping.

Last week, I let my fiance read my prologue and first scene of the first chapter. When I told him the story verbally, he seemed quite bored and I felt quite bored telling it. 😬 Not a good sign. I had ended up telling him a bunch of backstories and when I realized he was bored, I just stopped and decided maybe he didn’t need to hear it right now 😅 When he read the synopsis, he said it’s too generic it could be written by an A.I. 😂 It’s true because I feel that the not-so-generic plot points are spoilery so I just gave a broad overview of the story.

With aid from a mysterious medallion, the Dragon King and his forces invade the Elder Kingdoms to prevent a dreaded prophecy, while a secret society aims to stop him and restore balance. 

This has got to change. I want to change the term “Elder” as well but I can’t think of a replacement. (Off the top of my head, “Elder” has been used in Harry Potter “Elder Wand”; in Skyrim/”Elder Scrolls”; in Witcher “Elder Blood”, “Elder Speech”, “Unseen Elder”; in Monster Hunter “Elder Dragons”; and I’m sure other places as well! I use “Elder Kingdoms” and “Elderblood” in my book but if I could change them into some other term I will.)

Anyway, before I let my fiance go, I asked him to read the prologue and the first scene of the (very long) first chapter which was only a few pages. I was hoping to get some constructive criticism and maybe some idea on how to improve it because I’ve been revising them several times already. He was able to provide some good feedback, and surprisingly he actually liked them. He said I shouldn’t change them and that they give enough reason for the reader to continue with the story. But note that he himself did not continue because he wants to play his MMORPG already 😂

Something else on my mind is getting a Critique Partner. I don’t have one. But I don’t know how much I can commit to writing my own work and critiquing others because I’ll be going back to work as software engineer in June. My writing time will be decidedly limited then. My very ambitious novel will probably take a long time, considering I won’t be satisfied with one draft. It has to undergo at least five revisions before I will be satisfied to even get to the beta reading phase. I have to plan out my timeline first as well as what I intend to so for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo and November’s NaNoWriMo because I’ll be participating for sure.

This post is meant for future me more than anyone else. But if you’re reading this, I give you my thanks 😊

Internet was kind of spotty where I was so I put off blogging until I’m back from the Philippines.

Indiecember

I’m happy to report I’ve completed flush style for my Indiecember board which ultimately looked like this:

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I also wrote about Indiecember in the following posts:

Here are my Amazon reviews for the last few books since my last update:

Sorted: Freedom Through Structure by Gillian Perkins

img_6375This book feels like 40% instruction and 60% encouragement. That 60% is working because I am very encouraged to apply the principles laid out in this book when my vacation ends. Although both my fiance and I are slightly organized and our place is not that messy to begin with – and we try not to have too many stuff at home as well because we move to a different apartment every two years – I still feel that there’s still a lot of clutter and a complete lack of routine. A routine is something I feel I personally need, especially in the near future, since I plan on doing a personal project in addition to… well, adulting. I think that this book will provide a great guide to achieve a doable routine. I can even start by using the author’s examples and tweaking it to fulfill my needs. I’ve been eyeing this book for some time now, and I’m glad I finally got it. And for sure, this won’t be the last time I’ll be reading this.

So To Honor Him: the Magi and the Drummer by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

img_6398The Little Drummer Boy has always been a song to me – my favorite Christmas song actually – and I never came across a telling of it as a story. So to take notice of this as a historical fiction type novella intrigued me, especially during the Christmas season. (I’ve long since become an atheist, but I respect and appreciate Christmas, be it fact or fiction. It’s a wonderful holiday to spend with family!) I enjoyed reading and learning through the slave drummer Arash’s perspective, and it was eye-opening to discover what it would have been like during that time period. Both Arash and Saman are likeable characters and I would have liked to continue following them beyond the events of this story. Overall, this is a charming retelling of The Little Drummer Boy and I wish there was more to it.

Boracay Vows by Maida Malby

img_6447I haven’t been reading a lot of romance novels and I’m not really the target audience for this book, so I don’t know how it compares to other romances nowadays. The sexy parts were definitely spicy for sure but storywise it wasn’t as impressive as I’d hoped. However despite the plot feeling contrived and rushed, the male character quite bland, and the conflict kind of lackluster, it still was quite an enjoyable read especially with all the Filipino touches. I’m also Filipino, so I really appreciate that. It’s also a nice look into multicultural romance, and the relationship between these two individuals – despite their somewhat adult arrangement – was kind of sweet.

I was definitely more active in Instagram when it came to updating my Indiecember progress and the link to my Indiecember stories is here.

I’ve somewhat became a bookstagrammer in December (because I wanted to record my Indiecember progress) and now I think I may continue to post bookstagram photos. It’s just a little bit tricky with ebooks because the light reflects on my iPad and I have to get creative in getting good shots. I don’t also know if I can read as much books in one month as I did in December so I may not post as often as I did then. But if you’re interested, you can follow me on Instagram here.

Lastly, I won a prize pack! I got an email from Megan Tennant – the creator of the Indiecember Reading Challenge – saying, “Congratulations!!! You won a prize pack with multiple physical books, a $10 Amazon gift card, and some other assorted goodies!” Yay! She also announced the winners in this YouTube video. Some, if not all, of these books in the prize pack (I don’t know yet what the books will be) will definitely go into my 2019 reading goal of 50 books. It would also be nice to take photos of physical books for Instagram!

2019 Reading Goals

img_6512I definitely intend to read more books this year, especially fantasy books, because I am planning to write a fantasy novel myself. For the past two years or so, the books I’ve read and re-read are mostly the Witcher series and A Song of Ice and Fire series.

I also have five indie books in my December TBR that I was not able to read in December in favor of other indie books for my Indiecember board. So I’d like to finally read them this year, within January or the next two months if possible.

Lastly, I’ve been intending to complete The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini but I’ve put that on hold for Indiecember. I got all the four books in one compiled volume in my Kindle app but I’ve read the first three a long time ago. I am thinking of rereading the whole entire thing.

My Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal for 2019 is 50 books. I feel optimistic about it and I think I can accomplish it. Wish me luck!

In summary:

  • Read 50 Books in 2019 (some of them can be from the prize pack)
  • Finish The Inheritance Cycle
  • Read the 5 indie books in my December TBR, namely: Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci, It’s Killing Jerry by Sharn Hutton, The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana, Echo: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne, and The Lone and Level Sands by Emerson Grey.
  • Read at least 12 Fantasy Books (where a series would count as one)

2019 Writing Goals

img_6198First of all, I definitely want to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year as well as Camp NaNoWriMo.

Secondly, I want to continue writing poetry so I’m setting a goal of 12 Poems for this year – in theory, one for each month. I could end up doing much more, but I think one per month is a good goal to set.

Lastly, I want to complete a first draft of my fantasy story which now has around 50K words thanks to NaNoWriMo 2018. The story is not finished yet (far from it!) and I estimate around 120K words, which means I’m lacking 70K. I don’t think I’ll wait for NaNoWriMo to do the 70K but we’ll see where life takes me in 2019 hahaha! My goal right now is basically just have the experience of finishing a first draft of a story, regardless of whether the story ultimately ends up getting published or not.

I don’t have any goals for blogging right now but I may think about it and set up some goals in the near future.

Thanks for reading and have a great year, everyone! Happy New Year!