Closer

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Sometimes it feels like I will forever be writing this novel.

For three years, I have hounded at it and still, I am so far from my goal – my vision. And I know I can make it much better if I only keep on working and working and working.

When will the working end?

But I know I am improving.

It’s not the delusion of a desperate ego.

I know I have a long way to go before my writing is anything close to my vision. But I can see the improvement. I can see progress when I compare drafts. I can read over my paragraphs and pull out jokes and romance and little pieces of description and feel the inkling of a dream coming to life. Imagine, perhaps, my goal is 100. With every draft, I move one number closer to my goal. It’s slow going but it’s going all the same.

Getting better. I used to be quite a tennis fanatic and the number one piece of advice I read would have to be this: make your goal “get better”. Don’t vow to win matches. Don’t promise too many hours that you may not be able to get in. But aim always for better.

I do feel frustration and the going does get tough. But every word I write brings me one step – it’s little but it’s something! – closer to my goal. And that gives me hope.

I Am Mad

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This is a sort of mission statement.

Writing is so so hard sometimes. But I do it anyway. I can’t help it. I have these ideas in my head and it feels like an injustice to them if I don’t write them. But I can’t just write them. I have to make them as close as possible to the vision in my head. That hasn’t ever happened before. My words on paper are clumsy and far short of my vision. But I need to keep working toward my vision. It means something to me. I think it’s beautiful. I believe in it.

Maybe I want to share my vision with someone? Maybe I just want something concrete?

I don’t know. It feels like something I’m meant to do. Right now, I’m having one of those despair and self loathing moments. I have all these ideas and how am I going to find the time and ability to do justice to them all? But time … really, I have no right to complain. I have plenty of time. Really, the only things I’m doing now are laundry, dishes, exercise, French lessons, and babysitting my pretty independent siblings. I should be writing a lot. I should be improving much faster. I should stop procrastinating, for goodness’ sakes.

I’m currently at a word count of about 15,000 for Grey Wars. Come on now. With all this time I have (and that list I wrote takes less time than it seems), it’s pathetic. I know I can do better.

I guess I’m writing this so I can look back on this post every once in a while and be reminded: “Every second spent refreshing blogs that have already posted the post for the day and reading twitters of people you aren’t particularly interested in could be spent WRITING! You have visions and dreams and stories, remember?”

Sometimes a writer just needs to rant, you know? Ffijfdwuovdhsofudhfdouhvdsjovhdsojvdhsiv. My brain is spaghetti! Fhfibjfjf just k ah what fndksmalaksixvir ffnejvhdwi f. V got to do it ah what! Fhdvdjsvjwriofrwjv

Ugh. I’ve got to write. I WILL write.

This post has been mostly negative so to end with some optimism, let me remind myself Ernest Hemingway wrote an average of some … 500 a day, apparently. And he wrote for … 8 hours?

I know I’m not Hemingway but let’s just ignore that for now, okay?

Beautiful Books November

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Here’s another Beautiful Books post. Check out here or here to learn more.

I know I say it too much but revealing my stories is so very hard. It’s like revealing a piece of my soul. It’s an intensely vulnerable feeling.

Now, I’m going to be throwing names about and you’re probably going to be confused. Sorry about that! I should write an introductory characters post but, frankly, I don’t have the time. I really should be, you know, writing the actual story now instead of writing about it. (Not to mention I’m behind on my French vocab – yikes!)

But I do have a blurb. Hopefully it’s understandable. 🙂 The novel is called “Grey Wars”.

Intermarriage between Nirans and Firnilans is strictly forbidden on pain of death and any offspring are likewise condemned. But the daughter of the Niran emperor is desperate to escape from her abusive father. Her path crosses with that of the prince of Firnile, who helps her escape and she marries him as a safety measure. Their daughter grows up in seclusion until she runs away to Rafik to protect her country. She meets three unlikely strangers. Together, they may be able to reconcile the countries. But more likely, the growing war engulfing them all will destroy both their lives and their souls.

1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

I am behind. I’ve written about 11,000 words so far, which is not bad but I do need to speed up if I’m hoping to reach 50,000 words before the end of November.

I have to say, though, I’m pretty pleased with the whole writing process, even if I am slower than usual. I’m enjoying writing and I had a breakthrough yesterday with 3,000 words.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

You want to read the first sentence?

Reeeeeeally?

(Intense self loathing and thoughts of “I’ll never be able to show my face in the blogosphere again”.)

Young Nerris was Prince of Firnile, born and bred for the throne since his birth in 1005, but that day, he failed all attempts to recover his dignified composure.

Well, okay. That wasn’t so bad. It doesn’t even tell you anything about the plot.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

Here are two of them:

These could be Rafikan boats.
These could be Rafikan boats.
This one reminds me of Carlan's childhood home.
This one reminds me of Carlan’s childhood home.

Why yes. I like black and white pictures. Why do you ask?

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

Sure! I’ll do a little character introduction while I’m at it.

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This is Letatin. This picture is perfect – exactly how I imagined him except he does, you know, have pupils. Because of his unusual looks (a foreigner in tightly knit Firnile), he has been an outcast all his life and lives in hiding for five years until he meets Sylvia, Meron and Carlan and tries his hand at life abroad.

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This is another perfect picture, except for the clothes. Sylvia’s parents were illegally married so her life is technically forfeit. That doesn’t stop her from capturing Letatin, building an army, and basically taking her life into her own hands.

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Miles is a soldier but, um, afraid of blood. Gosh, these character descriptions are hard. It’d be so much easier just to give you their Myers Briggs personality types.

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I like this picture for Letatin’s father (in the past), mostly for the hood.

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Terrinydan (I’ll probably change his name since his is so cumbersome) is plotting to overthrow the emperor.

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Ha! Another great picture. This is Irvena, princess of Nire. She meets the foreign prince Nerris who helps her escape from her country and marries her. But she hates him.

5. What scene are you most excited to write?

The Nerris and Irvena twenty years later meet up scene (because it’s awkward and sweet), most any Meron and Brigg scenes (because they are adorable together), and the Letatin and Terrinydan meeting (because they match each other in sarcasm. Actually, they don’t. Letatin totally wins.)

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

Um … let me go search for something semi decent.

Oh, by the way, while I left my notebook for a couple seconds, I found my sister trying to make out the words (upside down). It wasn’t anything too embarrassing (just a scene of a man walking through a village) but I still freaked out!

7. Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

Definitely. One character who was originally going to die is going to live now. Also, Nerris is meeting up with many characters, joining a band of rogues, and showing me he is a lot more badass than I gave him credit for.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

A character abandoned his sweetheart. That was painful.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

I love the character relationships. I’ve got lovers, parents, siblings, friends, enemies, all sorts. It’s fun, heartbreaking, and sweet at the same time. Oh, gosh – favourite character? I don’t know. In the whole series, it would have to be Letatin, Meron, and Miles. Oh, and Brigg. He’s hilarious. 🙂

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

I think all the stories I write are to some degree drawn upon my own experiences and those I read of but there was nothing direct here.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

I’ve been listening to Anberlin’s album “Devotion” on repeat while writing my story. And I’m not stopping anytime soon.

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Probably Ash. I always end up with the little kids. I might talk to Meron and Ada.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

You know what? Somehow rewards don’t work well for me. Internet breaks and Pinterest are too addictive so it’s better I don’t get started! And food is, I’m afraid, not motivation enough. The best push I can give myself is to remember how much I love the story and the scenes I’m looking forward to. Of course, there is also the overhanging threat of not finishing NaNo or writing too slowly and forgetting everything I had planned.

14. What your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

I love this one, among others: Thomas Mann — ‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

I’m so in love with this story. I’ve been working on this idea for four years but it feels like much longer. The plot and the characters are radically different from what they once were but the past years did lay the foundations. Sometimes, it feels like I’m flogging a dead horse. But at the end of the day, I can’t let it go. I keep coming back to it. I think I could work on it for all my life and stay in love. I don’t know … I believe in it, as dramatic as that sounds.

I have laughed a lot this month, which is rather awkward. What can I say? Surely I am not the only one who laughs at his/her own jokes?