Beautiful Books (a nanowrimo update)

beautiful-books

You have probably seen a million and one things about it on social media already, but November means NaNoWriMo! I’m doing it again this year, for the 3rd time, although I do NaNo a little differently to many people I think… But that’s kind of what I’ll be sharing in this post, I guess. I’m linking up with the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In for Beautiful Books. 🙂

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

This is going to be a bit of a roundabout answer — so, this is my 3rd time doing NaNo, as well as more Camps. In the past I’ve written 30k, and that’s manageable. I can normalyl write 1k in around half an hour. But each time I’ve done this and had to abandon whatever I’d written, because it was basically just crap. I never produced anything good or worthwhile because I was always trying to get SOMETHING down. That whole approach just didn’t really work for me.

This year I’m aiming for 15k, which is 500 words a day. Although it isn’t much, it’s still loads more than I normally write. And I’m actually enjoying NaNo a lot more this time. I don’t want writing to be a chore for me! So I think it’s going pretty okay so far. My writing itself is kind of terrible but the basic framework is wayyy better, in my opinion. (Probably because I’ve been sitting on this idea for about a year.)

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

NOOOO. Starting is the worst. Also, any actual writing style has basically just died for this month in favour of, like, a kind of framework. But anyway, here’s my first paragraph:

nanowrimo16-snippet

Lots of angst. That is Junjie. *nods*

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I’m gonna be real — I’ve only introduced two of the four mostly-main characters so far. Junjie’s narrating so, like, probably him? But also JEM IS REALLY SMOL AND CUTE. Even though they have spoken approximately three lines so far, but who cares.

What do you love about your novel so far?

*winces* THERE’S FUN STUFF COMING IN THE FUTURE, I PROMISE. I am currently enjoying my characters and the general internal dialogue, because I always give my characters stupid angsty internal dialogue. Otherwise, the cool technology is also pretty fun.

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

I mean, I haven’t been doing any crazy word wars so far so not as many as usual! Although I have picked up a habit of writing little notes to myself in square brackets as I go. So here are two of them. The second one just made me laugh as I scrolled through my document.

nanowrimo16-notes-to-self

nanowrimo16 snippet2.PNG

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

HAHAHAHA. Well. I’ve never actually reached the end, and my middles always have no plot, so probably the beginning? But not the very beginning. Just after that.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

I sometimes to listen to music, and I do actually have a playlist for this WIP! But if I find it too distracting I put on some kind of background noises through my headphones. Or I just put my headphones on and don’t listen to anything, because I kind of like the weight and the way they block stuff out? Otherwise, I guess I normally just write after homework haha. And I’m also partial to a cup of tea. 😉

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

Eh, I’m pretty private. I don’t talk about my writing to anyone in real life and not even that much online! But what I do love is the whole atmosphere of writers writing together — like, that’s basically the reason I do NaNoWriMo. It makes a very solitary thing slightly less solitary. It’s really cool to cheer people on (or commiserate) on social media. 😀

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

The knowledge that it’s supposed to be hard. Like, writing is hard. I know this. The people who write the books I love say that writing is hard, and sometimes I don’t enjoy it that much. But my story is one that I want to read, and if I want to grow as a writer I have to write it.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Okay: me, writing advice?! Yeah, no, I don’t really have that much. *scratches head* LOTS OF FOOD. Or another reward. Something to motivate you. (Even if it’s just writing an extremely gratuitous scene which is basically what I do.) I’m trying to think of things other people have told me, but quite frankly all pretense of good writing is abandoned for NaNo. JUST GO FOR IT, MY FRIENDS.

are you doing nanowrimo this year? if so, how is it going? or are you doing any other writing at the moment

Beautiful Books // introducing my nano novel

beautiful books.png

IT IS THAT TIME AGAIN. November, aka NaNoWriMo, aka I try to juggle way too many responsibilities at once and fail to write a novel. But despite this bout of pessimism, I am still very much here and thinking about The WIP. You may have seen me discussing it here and there on the blog, but overall I think you guys should hear a bit more. Because I like to talk about my smol children. 😉

Beautiful Books is a great link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Please don’t laugh at me, because I have an extremely embarrassing origin story for this idea. (Even more embarrassing to people I know in real life. SAVE ME.) So I went to see my school’s production of King Henry V, and Henry (as well as a bunch of others because you know the original is almost all-male) was played by a girl. And I just thought… This seems really cool. And it would be EVEN COOLER in space.

Describe what your novel is about!

My WIP is essentially war, extremely-hyped-up-Wikipedia, and angst ALL IN SPACE. It revolves around four characters surviving through a conflict semi-started by one of the characters. (That is, Eleanor.) And there is also another royal who spends her time hating everything, a moody guy who doesn’t at all want to be in the armed forces, and a small mechanic who is possibly the only positive character in the whole book.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Here I direct you to my Pinterest board. All the time I have spent making that board should have been spent on planning, because now I have like 2 weeks to rewrite my whole plan, but NEVER MIIIND. *laughs manically*

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Okay, I’ll interest you to the four main characters and tell you a bit about them:
-> Junjie, an accidental hacker who roped himself into serving in the armed forces in order for his various wrongdoings to not be released. His mother is pretty important in the government, but she and Eleanor hate each other’s guts. And Eleanor doesn’t know that he’s in the army. Also, he has a cool cyborgised hand. (Is that a word? That’s super not a word. Oh well.)  Although no one thinks it’s cool because they all hate androids, but there we go.
-> Eleanor, a very determined newly ascended space queen. Originally my Henry V figure, although I’m not really retelling it anymore. But THAT’S WHAT SHE’S LIKE. She can have a very volatile temper but she is super patriotic.
-> Neus, who is also the heir to her city — I mean, there is a really weird political system that is still slightly in the works. So there is voting but also…not voting. (I KNOW AND I AM SORRY.) But she takes it in a completely different way; she doesn’t want to govern at all, and basically no one else wants her to, but she feels like she’s letting everyone down. THERE IS A LOT OF ANGST AND GUILT WITH THIS ONE.
-> Jem, a small mechanic who is literally still completing school but somehow is old enough to help out with military things. In an actual war. I’M SORRY I NEED TO THINK THIS THROUGH BUT NEVER MIND. They are a precious science-loving person. And also they are very sceptical of Junjie’s ‘I DO NOT CARE’ attitude. Hmm.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Well… I’ve been trying to write this for about a year now, and I do have an 8k plan filed away on my computer. I’ve done a bunch of patchy worldbuilding and I also have character sheets, but I’ve basically had to abandon the first draft of my plan. *cries* I’ve been trying to do a bit of general research to help me with my character backgrounds and stuff — because I really want to get them right. And I also did read Henry V when i first thought it was going to be more a retelling.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Being able to write the character interactions. I am absolutely TERRIBLE at plot, but I’m kind of just looking forward to getting all my characters to finally meet up. (I don’t know. As I write this I’m actually realising that most of this novel has been STRESS. And I think that I do need to remind myself why I wanted tot do it in the first place.)

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

1. It is in space, and there are space pirates, and there are also spaceships and planets and lots of geeky space things.
2. Everyone is obsessed with finding new information and uploading it to, like, a giant inter-galactic Wikipedia. This is kind of sad because creativity isn’t really valued. 😦
3. I need to desperately do worldbuilding… *coughs*

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

I’ve flitted a lot between who actually is the main focus of this book, and I feel like it will probably change yet. It used to be Eleanor, and her goal is to achieve the respect of her people and live up to her parents’ legacy. But now it’s more about Junjie and he…kind of needs a goal? I guess that is his goal at the start. But then I think he comes to realise that he needs to escape and find his own life. And the main thing standing in the way of that is that THERE IS A WAR HELP.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Are we going with Junjie for this? Yeah, okay, let’s do that. At the end he’s learning that it’s okay to express his emotions instead of repressing them — and how to care about people and things again.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I’d like to think that the main themes are what it means to be human, how people value information in a digital age, and self-acceptance, I guess? Those sound really cheesy… I promise it’s better in the context of the book ahaha. The end that I currently have planned is a very strings-heavy epilogue. (As in, violin strings.) I slightly constructed it around Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die; if you listen to that song really loudly then it will give you an idea.

Okay, this exercise has DEFINITELY highlighted for me some things that I need to work on. It makes me a little nervous to write so much about this idea, because I’m kind of scared? And I do actually want to finish it. But PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GIVE ME YOUR FEEDBACK. ❤

are you doing nanowrimo this year? if you plan your writing, how do you go about it?

Playlist: starcross (my camp nano project!!)

YES. This Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a new writing project! I’ve been planning it for a few months now, and I’m super excited to get started. The current pitch is lesbian Henry V in space — which I know sounds slightly crazy, but I am slightly crazy. I’m not keeping strictly to the plot — Shakespeare buffs, please don’t kill me, I seriously chose to swoop in on this on a whim. IT WORKS IN MY HEAD, at least. 😛

Pretty soon I realised I was going to actually need to plan this project. ME, a pantser. The very thought made me want to cry.  But I’ve…actually rather enjoyed it? Hopefully it means I can get down to actual writing this April!

My first line of development with any writing project is picking music. I find it extremely difficult to write without songs. They help me to get into the mindset of my writing infinitely better. Within this playlist I have songs for all my main characters, whom I have briefly described below. (my smol children) Bonus points if you can figure out which song goes to which character! 😛

-> Eleanor Lin, a volatile young space queen/general/queen sounds way better though right. Newly ascended to the leader of her system after somewhat manic teenage years.
-> Neus Felices, self-loathing angsty heir to the bustling interstellar empire.
-> Jem, an excitable small mechanic with a lot of enthusiasm for flying.
-> Junjie, angsty son of a general with secret illegal doings he has yet to inform his mother of.

And also there is idolisation of a universe-wide Wikipedia, travel at the speed of light, and artificial intelligence. *dances in excitement*

starcross

starcross v2
cross me and i’ll cross the stars to get my revenge.
listen on spotify / youtube

judge and jury (paul dinletir remix) – audiomachine
can’t kill us – the glitch mob
radioactive – imagine dragons
gasoline – halsey
dance anthem of the 80s – regina spektor
elastic heart – sia
glory and gore – lorde
born to die – lana del rey

I know it starts off with very scary electronic songs. It gets less scary and electronic as you progress. (Although scary and electronic is probably quite an accurate aesthetic description of my WIP.)

are you participating in camp nano? are you a plotter or a pantser? do you make playlists for your writing?

Writing Playlist: static/silence

I am weird about writing playlists — I absolutely love them, and I think they help me so much, but they’re really bloody difficult to create. Usually with a playlist, I’ll choose a few songs and then see a connecting story; that’s why I’m awful at sticking to themes. And probably part of all why I’m awful at finding what I actually want in a writing playlist. I end up describing characters as ‘this artist plus this artist plus some of that one’. XD

Not to mention all the different facets you have to cater for in a writing playlist: songs with lyrics that actually make sense with a character, mood songs with irrelevant lyrics, all the different plot points and emotions in a book. UGH. Anyone else who manages it, you’re fabulous. It’s taken me, like, several months to concoct this one. Whoops. It’s been working really well for my NaNoWriMo project so far, even if my plans have gone entirely out the window haha.

static silence cover

static/silence

for when the white noise becomes as familiar as your heartbeat. for running through darkened streets. for desperation and deceit and trying to find a reason to stay alive when your world is falling apart.
listen on soundcloud

female robbery – the neighbourhood
creep – scala & kolacny brothers
take me to church – ellie goulding
blood on my hands – danielle parente
control – halsey
forest fires – lauren aquilina
shadow preachers – zella day
forest fires – lauren aquilina
laura – bat for lashes
broke – lauren aquilina
little dawn – ted leo and the pharmacists

I had to condense it down a bit and remove some Lauren Aquilina songs, because, erm, I think I had most of her discography on it. Even if I could only get covers on Soundcloud. And also, the Ted Leo track isn’t there either, sorry! UGH I still haven’t found a good site to curate playlists on. Any recommendations, guys? 🙂

Do you like to use writing playlists? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo too then how’s it going?

November Favourites!

November favourites

I’m looking at the quality of this photo now, and wincing. Ah well. Dark afternoons are the price we must pay for the holiday season, it seems. On with my November favourites!

1. The Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater I got all three published books out of the library (why not?) and devoured them in less than a week. The cover for The Dream Thieves was particularly beautiful.

2. The Graveyard Book I had to return this one to school, but I put an image of the cover in there anyway. I think that it was more of a children’s book than I am used to, but it was still wonderful. Neil Gaiman is an excellent author.

3. Mockingjay Part 1 Yes, yes, that is a mockingjay pin; it’s just a little small. I wore it to the movie, which in my opinion was as good as the others, if not better. (Although a tad *coughs* more gloomy, like the book.)

4. The Body Shop gingerbread body butter This makes me smell like a Christmas candle. LOVE.

5. NaNoWriMo I completed my goal, yay! You will note that neither the novel title nor the author name are on my certificate, and that is because a) I have not yet decided on a title b) I blanked my name out. (Yeah, no. Don’t think you’re getting it out of me that easily. 😉 )

6. Matchy-matchy oyster card cases The blue one is from my last trip to the Japanese Matsuri, and the pink one is from my most recent one. I didn’t see a chocolate one, unfortunately, but I’ll look out for it next time.

7. Rulers Granted, this is not exactly a favourite, but: do you know how many rulers I have lost in the last month? Three. THREE. Including my nice fold-out one from Muji. 😦

That concludes my monthly favourites! How was November for you?

What’s Up With Me and NaNo? part 2

Okay, this isn’t so much of a ‘what’s up with me and NaNo’ as a ‘what’s up with me, NaNo, books, school and pretty much everything in between’. Let the ramble commence!

What’s Up With Me and NaNo
In your absence, I have become a master thief, stealing a variety of different things including:

– a large amount of plot from the roleplay I started like 2 years ago
– and also one and a half characters from said roleplay
– all the best jokes I overhear, because I’m terrible at humour
– the name of my cousin’s friend whom I have never met, but doesn’t sound awfully nice
– my own backstory, slightly changed to become my MC’s backstory

And probably some other things too.

But seriously, guys, I’ve only just remembered how good roleplays are for writing. I was a pretty active RPer around a year and a half or so ago, but not so much anymore. If you join a ‘literate’ RP, you can meet up with some excellent writers, as well as getting the chance to practice character creation and play around, like writing as an utterly evil and selfish character. Hehehehe, that was fun. I was only aiming for 15k, but I’m more than on track since I’ve now got up to the point where I can write up to 500 words in 10 minutes. (Although only in short bursts, sadly.) I’m hoping to continue my novel/novella throughout December and the following months. 🙂

What’s Up With Me and Books
WELL I WENT TO SEE MOCKINGJAY OKAY AND IT WAS SO…SO…intense.

Yeah. I hopped along to the cinema on Friday night with my wonderful friend Anna, mockingjay pin in hand, and basically spent the entire time either a) fangirling or b) clapping my hand to my mouth in horror. Despite its darker nature, I thought it was as good, maybe better, than the other films. (Although the book wasn’t as good as THG or CF, so I had lower expectations.)

I took a visit to the library this afternoon, and came back with around 12 books, including the entire Raven Boys series. (‘Cause, you know, why not?)

Library Books

What’s Up With Me and School
I’m being flooded by homework, and once I’ve finished this up I’ll be going to revise the final draft of my English essay. *sighs* However, I’m participating in my school debate which I am pretty excited for, because the movement my friend and I are arguing is:

This house would make the Cruciatus curse Forgivable.

I thought it was very lucky on my part, because everyone else got the usual things such as ‘This house would ban zoos,’ and ‘This house would only go on holiday in the UK,’ and such. Those ones are still perfectly respectable, but they’re not from Harry Potter.

What’s Up With Me and Everything in Between
1. I keep stumbling across fanfiction for Supernatural, which I haven’t even watched. Can I do that? Anyway, now I kind of want to watch it, despite the *coughs* large episode number.
2. I’ve been sucked into the Snowverse again, and I spent an hour in bed on Thursday night mentally writing my Simon Snow fanfiction.
3. I keep getting the urge to call people ‘honey’. Where is this coming from?
4. I went to see the sixth form production of Anything Goes, and it was excellent, although slightly different in tone to last year (‘Anna Karenina’).

What’s up with you?

New site design??

So. I’ve been a little…unhappy with the way my blog looks, and I’ve been playing around with various header/colours schemes and whatnot. After spending such along time looking at page after page, I can’t really tell what looks good anymore so if you could tell me if you COMPLETELY HATE IT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE like it or don’t like it, that would be great.
EDIT: I’ve reverted my site to its old colours whilst I get myself a new header. So if you’re wondering where the said changes are, they’re not actually there at the moment!

NaNo is going alright; I’m still ahead of my goal, but I keep getting distracted by other things. (Books. Fanfiction. A little poetry. Also, homework, which sucks.)

I’m not feeling too great today, but hopefully I’ll schedule some more stuff over the weekend.

(Oh, and MOCKINGJAY COMES OUT NEXT WEEK! *squee* I mean, they kind of ruined it by making it into two parts in order to get more money, but I’m still pretty excited.)

Bookish Bingo, Chips, and NaNo Music

Bookish Bingo

Aggh, I’m so sorry for leaving this as long as I have. I’m participating in Bookish Bingo which is by Great Imaginations. I think this is the first real community book thing that I’ve done. Plus, if you stick around to the end of the post, I’m giving a general update on life (i.e. food), NaNo, and my noveling music.

The Bookish Part
So, the books I ticked off from holiday bingo in October were:
Reread: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Green cover: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Romance: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (I feel kind of embarrassed. But it was still fun.)
“Ice,” “Snow,” or “Frost,” in the title: The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill (I’m still partway through this one, but I’m hoping that I do actually finish it.)
Black cover: The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting by Holly Bourne
Set during Christmastime: My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins
A book that was a gift: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, as seen in my October favourites. It was a birthday present from a friend. And OHMIGOSH IT WAS AWESOME
Orange cover: Castle in the Air by Dianna Wynne Jones. At least, the edition I read had an orange cover.
Fall Autumn or Winter release: Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Steampunk: House of Many Ways by Dianna Wynne Jones. (Again.) Does this count as steampunk? I don’t know many steampunk novels, so I’m going with yes.

The Food Part
And it’s an extremely short (but delicious) part. I go to Girl Guides every Monday evening (it’s not like you think it is; it’s cool) and, for some reason we went down to the chip shop and got bought an entire bag of chips. Each. I hadn’t had real chips in such a long time, and my confusion over the Monday opening was overtaken by that delicious…golden…crispy…soggy with vinegar…salty…mmmm

The ‘How’s NaNoWriMo going?’ Part
It’s going okay. I’m ahead of my daily goal at the moment. I have an actual plot now. Some of the songs inspiring me are:

I. Love. Studio. Ghibli.

(Apologies for this slight mess of a post. I have English homework to do. *cries*)

October Favourites!

October Favourites

We’re a little thinner on the ground this time, but no matter. It was still a good month. Happy Halloween!
Let the proceedings begin:

1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson I got this as a birthday present from a friend, and wow. Seriously. The writing was beautiful. The characters were beautiful. Everything was beautiful. I COMMAND YOU TO READ IT

2. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas I’d already read the four novellas separately, but this one has a fifth. When I spotted it the library (along with two copies of Heir of Fire; I was very impressed) I just had to get it. And then, obviously, I had to read all the other stories too. *sobs* It’s so sad…

3. Monopoly Deal Have you heard of this game? Unlike the original Monopoly, you can actually play it to the end. I taught it to my friend whilst on holiday, and we played it loads. I went on a streak and got 9 and 8 sets in consecutive games. (You have to get 3 to win, to put that into perspective.)

4. Poetry As represented by my beautiful biro, because why not? You haven’t been seeing any evidence of this, but I’ve been writing a lot of poems recently. They’re mostly mental. They’re not beautiful, but I guess it’s a way of helping me understand things when I get *coughs* emotional.

5. Badger Balm I love lip balm. I’m a little bit obsessed, and Badger Balm is one of my favourites. It’s the time of year when you can use lip balm without people looking at you like you’re mad.

6. CHOCOLATE I was given a bag of dark chocolate for my birthday by my parents. (It’s the best kind, guys.) Omnomnom

Those are the things I’ve been liking this month! Did you have a good October? I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month, so I won’t be as active, but I have a few things scheduled and I’ll hopefully be updating on NaNo and such.

On a side note: are Chuck Taylors the same thing as Converse? Like TFiOS? Hazel Grace? Because I call them Converse.

On another side note: I joined this awesome site called Guardian Children’s Books where you get a book or more each month, sometimes pre-publication, as well as the chance to interview authors, get bookish news and review things. So far, I recommend. I’ve written a few reviews. But mostly I’m there for the FREE BOOKS.

 

What’s Up Me and NaNoWriMo?

Nanowrimo 2014 v2

November.

For your average person, November is not a good month. It’s not close enough to Christmas to feel the wintery cheer; it’s probably cold, dark, and drizzly. Altogether, not great news. But look! Over there! A blue badge sitting behind that tab! What is it, you ask? The unassuming icon of Nation Novel Writing Month, of course. And it’s been giving me a real headache.

I participated in NaNoWriMo both last year and in April for Camp NaNo. Both times, my novel fell apart and I was left with 10k. I was determined to do it this year, and I have been commenting as such on preparation posts and other participants’ blogs. But at the same time, I had no fixed idea and I knew from last year that I really didn’t have that much time.

Still, I’m going to do it.

I’m not aiming to write an entire novel. 30 or 40k words would be my minimum for any satisfactory book (I tend to draw things out), and there’s no way I can make time for that considering my writing speed. Instead, I’m aiming for 20k. Maybe 15. I’ve told myself it’s a short story, because if I call it a novel my brain freaks out and I have to get every detail perfectly planned out.

I might disappear on you in the coming month. I’ll be scheduling some posts over the next few days, though, and I’ll probably still be replying to comments and stuff. I hope you understand, and if you have any tips then I’d be very grateful.

Are any of you planning to do NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo? Are you getting in as much of a muddle as me?!