After seeing so many awesome character aesthetic boards, tried my hand at one for Sonata Apostle‘s narrator, Rosemary Keegan. Come November, I’m going to be living in her head.
So in NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem!, he brings up an exercise in which you make two lists. The first consists of what you believe makes a good novel. The second is what bores and depresses you about a novel. I usually remake mine every October, but I figured I would post this year’s magna cartas.
Curious to see other people’s magna cartas!
In case if it wasn’t readily apparent, prequel week turned into “four bits of varying quality” until I won the gold prize for feeling both sick and realizing that, if these pre-story events could be easily summed up in a sentence, trying to stretch them into a three-four page one-off that doesn’t completely suck is an incredible challenge. In fact, I can pretty much tell the stories that were missing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Hold onto your butts because these were major doozies.
Wednesday: Rilke, with Ava’s support, challenged Uriel for the Emperor job. Rilke won. The denizens of the Court of the Moon barely reacted because they are pretty much a bunch of blank-faced apathetic jerkoffs with unspecified magic and awesome clothes. Seriously, that drabble was all about talking about how awesome the Court of the Moon dresses. I want black dresses with shifting rune symbols on them.
Thursday: Queen Artemis of the Court of Summer and Helena, High Druid of the Triune, bum out on some ramparts at Summerdawn Keep. They’re observing a patch of the Wald shifting about while also talking about Princess Lorraine and Lysander, Helena’s student. The Great Eclipse happens. We know from the letters on previous days that Queen Artemis is going to die during this, so this bit had all the narrative tension of cottage cheese. Next.
Friday: Lysander is running around the Dawn’s Rest while Wald rips it apart because, spoilers, the Great Eclipse made the Wald and Wastes extra pervasive and extra nasty. He finds Princess Lorraine, they spat out a bit, ends on a hang with them trying to evacuate the Dawn’s Rest while also getting their asses kicked. Of course, a previous day revealed that Lorraine survived the Great Eclipse. Not much of a cliffhanger when someone can just scroll back and go “Oh, yeah, she survived because she’s getting letters from Natanael.”
Basically I was unhappy with Monday and Tuesday’s entries, especially compared to Saturday and Sunday, because I was trying to stretch out little sentence summaries into actual stories. If there’s anything the spectators of the Internet can learn from my past week of flailing, it’s that trying to put a lot of extra wheels on a unicycle, especially if you want to keep it a unicycle, doesn’t really work.
On the plus side, Shadows in Summer is turning out to be a delightful romp and I’m sure I won’t keep to that thought past the end of this week. National Novel Writing Month is really just my self-loathing writing process in full-out overdrive where there are days where I can kick out thousands of words and they’re all as awesome as brownie lava cakes, and then there are the days where I stare at the screen while my eyes roll upward and I go, “Holy fuck this is really awful” and I find someplace to curl up and hide from Microsoft Word lest it decide that I really need to pay for the transgression of being awful by making my computer explode.
But I’m finding, in the craziness of these first dozen or so hours, that post-it notes are beautiful and miraculous things. Seriously, due to the amount of beloved relatives who decided to have birthdays on the first day of November, I have spent more time dotting out little snippets of dialogue (either overheard or happening in my own head) and little ideas to be tossed into the storm of nonsense as I work.
So I guess my newfound NaNoWriMo knowledge is to invest in a butt-ton of sticky notes. No joke, there’s a pad by my computer, a pad by my bed, a pad in the car, and a pad in the purse. The desk is all ready more pale-yellow than oak now.
Anyway, best of luck to all the other crazies out there and…I might get back to posting daily, now that I’m feeling less sick and less hatey towards stuff that I don’t have to force myself to write.
I’ve been super excited for this year’s NaNoWriMo, in case if that wasn’t evident in the week of worldbuilding and the little bits of the idea taking form. Given this is the week leading up to the first of November, I decided to take my ridiculous file of notes and images and start writing. Not the Shadows in Summer story itself, but of the events that lead to it. In essence, seven days of prequel freewriting.
I’m also giving myself the rule that I am not going to edit them at this time. I will sit down with the little bit of information and just write like the wind, like, you know, you’re supposed to be doing in November. The impulse to go back and edit is a powerful one for me and, in much of daily life, I’m encouraged to do so. So it’s getting the same treatment as the entries.
As such, they probably won’t be the best writing to ever drip from my fingers. But damn it, if I am not excited for this.
So excuse the mess, and excuse the meaningful entries until about, oh, December. I have not been as excited for NaNoWriMo since my first year in 2005 and it is showing.
For all the literary self-loathing, sometimes it’s nice to look back at what you’ve once written to see how far you’ve come, especially when you line it up with something more recent. I’m sure the effect is similar to that artists have when they redraw a piece of work they did years ago, to see that growth really pop out. In settling into my NaNoWriMo account, I had to look at my unedited schlock from 2005 next to that from 2013. Just for kicks, I’m including the first page of each just to demonstrate the side-by-side effect.