The Final Countdown

This week has been a very emotional one for me. Before you get too concerned though, I should clarify that the root of this problem is fictional characters.

fictional characters

If you watch Doctor Who and saw the lastest episode, well, that was not a fun time. And I also went to see the final installment of the Hunger Games last night. Again, not a fun time. And all that emotion on top of trying to do NaNoWriMo so of course, I dealt with it by listening to sad songs. Mostly this song on repeat with a few plays of the Hanging Tree thrown in.

But apart from the emotional distress, this week has been super productive. Hopefully, by the time this post goes live, I will have written almost 10,000 words in the last three days alone and have caught up to the official NaNo word count and might actually have a chance to get to 50,000 words this month which, honestly, I did not think was even a possibility this time last week.

Moving on, you may have noticed that today is Wednesday. Again. Does it seriously not surprise anyone else the frequency with which Wednesdays occur??? My work for this week, Enarenel, has been progressing really well although the inner edito in me needs constant distraction so it doesn’t overtake my plans. Hopefully after tomorrow, I’ll be able to move onto my newest and least complete work Sorcerer Soldier Healer King. 

For this week’s WIPpet, a section from the 25th page I’ve written of Enarenal this November. I was thinking of sharing this passage anyway some how because I wanted feedback on the info-dumpiness of it.

Context: Eriden has run away from the temple of Rena/brothel where she’d been living fot the past few years in order to reunite with a pair of assassins from her past. As they plan their attack on a guild master in the city, the pair of assassins tell Eriden to meet them in a temple dedicated to Rena. Yes, that’s right, the goddess (of life, no less) she just ditched to join a rag tag team of assassins.

Eriden took a deep breath, still trying to steady her nerves. In the eerie half-light the statue of Rena by the altar loomed large. The shadows of the leaves of the marble vines encircling the goddess dragged along the checked floor in sharp, dagger-like points. As if the statue was both Rena and Nare at once, life and death, joy and sorrow; everything and nothingness all at once. There were those who believed the four gods were merely separate aspects of one divine being. The circular design of the temples was meant to reinforce this idea but for Eriden, it had never seemed to hold much merit. How could one part of a being embody life and everything in it while another embodied death? It made no sense. Until now. Rena and Nare were like two sides of a coin. She realised that maybe, she could serve both goddesses. Be a priestess of life and a handmaiden of death. The fog of thoughts which had been clouding her mind for days now evaporated, replaced by a sense of calm.

She pulled her hair around her right shoulder, raking her hands through the long strands. “So,” she said as she rebraided her thick hair, “When do we leave?”

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WIPpet Wednesday

So again we reach Wednesday and the third Wednesday during NaNo which means you get this lovely, fresh, hideously unedited snippet of Rebellion. And yes, if you saw my post about my plan for NaNo, I should be working on Enarenal by now but as so often happens, things didn’t go exactly according to plan.

After I handed in my last undergraduate essay on Monday (woo!), it took me a day or so to get myself in a novelling headspace rather than an academic one and I’d already slipped a bit behind because I had to focus my time on my essay and, you know, staying alive. However, although I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t entirely idle. This week, I was supposed to be working on Enarenal but, upon opening the document, realised it had been two years (NaN0 2013) since I’d even looked at it and I had no idea where the characters were or even who half of the were, let alone what the plot was supposed to be. (Yes, you may have guessed by now, planning novels is not my strong suit, nor my preferred method. I like the feel of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style, at least until I fly face first into a tree a la George of the Jungle – which is sort of what happened here…) So I read it to get myself up to date and, I may be a little biased here but I enjoyed it. And wanted to cry. You know that feel when you have characters in two different stages of life and they’ll say or do something when they’re younger that you know is a lie. So yeah, a lot of feels. I hope that this will eventually translate to the reader as well otherwise I’m going to be that mad author of poorly written books who cries over things none of the readers pick up on.

Anyway enough rambling. For the tl;dr: didn’t write words, did some reading, used Epic Music Hour/music writing sprints to get words on the page, am catching up to the official word count! :)

Our WIPpet scene today is from the Enarenal. Sweet young ones saying things that those of you who beta read Queen of Hearts for me may be able to recognise and understand why I’m so emotional about my fictional children.

19 ‘paragraphs’ – 18 for the day + 1 for good luck. Eriden, a young urchin/spy/house maid is sitting on the roof of the house where she works, looking over the night draped city when a young boy, Bren, suddenly appears.

‘What are you doing here?’ Eri demaned.

Bren grinned. ‘If I told you, I would have to kill you.’

Eri frowned. ‘Really? Why?’

‘Coz it’s secret guild business.’ he said.


‘The assassin’s guild,’ Bren divulged, ‘I’m Alyan’s apprentice. You have heard of him haven’t you?’

Eri shook her head.

Bren crouched down beside her, his tone conspiritational. ‘He’s the best assassin in the city. They say he’ll be guild master one day.’

‘Are you allowed to tell me this?’

‘No. I told you, I’ll have to kill you.’

Eri could tell from the tone of his voice that he wasn’t serious but she tested him anyway, sliding her knife from its familiar place in her sleeve and pressing its narrow point against his neck, ‘I would like to see you try.’

Bren laughed. ‘You can’t kill me, you’re a girl.’


‘Girls can’t kill anyone. Everyone knows that.’

‘I could. If I needed to.’




‘I could,’ Eri argued hotly.

Bren laughed, ‘You couldn’t.’ He stood, walked to the edge of the roof, waved jauntily and slithered away down the drainpipe.

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A NaNo Update

So we are just over half way through November and National Novel Writing Month which really, by now, should have been changed to International Novel Writing Month. Then we could call it Inno. Y’no?

Anyway, it will come as no surpirse to those of you who have been follwoing me the last few years that I struggle with NaNo. I struggle meeting the word counts, I struggle with ideas. This is not an uncommon problem. After all, NaNo is designed as a challenge, not a walk in the park but however much people (and *I*) say that the point of NaNo is the personal challenge rather than the word count, I really would like to make the word count on year, purely from novel writing. This year will not be that year. Maybe next year will be, or the year after. As long as I *am* writing, I suppose it doens’t matter how long it takes to make an arbitrary deadline.

The point of the post though is to let you know that not being up to date on the official word count is no reason to give up, to be disheartened. Don’t do that, please. My old headmaster had this saying which I find really motivational – those who start have already beaten all those who didn’t start. So start, keep going. Believe in yourself, in your story, in this weird improbable world that we live in. <3

*insert title here* WIPpet style

How is it almost the middle of November already?? It is now less than a week until my final undergradaute assessment is due and I’d like to say it is further along than it really is. This week has been quite successful with NaNo. Hope all of you who are particpating are also doing really well*

*as defined by you yourself alone because who needs other people’s ideas of success forced down our throats?

If you saw my post at the end of October, you’ll know that each week, I was planning to work on a different manuscipt. At the time, I knew it was a bit ambitious and more than a little impractical. Nevertheless, I perserved, staring with the “easiest” task in the first week – editing Queen of Hearts. I ended up rewriting most of the section that I’d set aside to edit but there you go. On Sunday, the plan was to switch to Rebellion. After my initial few weeks of writing this piece in late 2012, I have really struggled to continue it. The tone and the voice I used in the earlier parts of the work feel so different to what I felt I could write and I couldn’t bear to add to it. I hadn’t touched it since last November and although I know what happens, when I sat down to write out a plan, nothing would come. And so, for the first few days of this week, I continued to edit Queen of Hearts and focused on writing my essay (coz at the end of the day, novels don’t get degrees :P). However, yesterday, I was able to add to Rebellion‘s word count and so I am goin to share some of what I wrote with you today. :)

Context: I don’t know where to start. Do you guys even remember anything from Rebellion? Oh well, context is overrated. Have some words. 121 (11 x 11) + one more sentence for funnsies. ‘Tis unedited, as is probably evident.

When the sun rose, the exiles could see the acrid smoke that they had been breathing for hours, the ashes of their homes and menfolk rising into the air. The sun struggled to be seen through the thick haze, its warmth dimmed. But it didn’t matter. The cold edging its way into the bones and hearts of the exiles was not one that could be eradicated by sunlight. It was the coldness of missing things, of people untethered to the earth. They walked on in silence as the sun climbed the sky. Aemi led them, her long straight brown hair flowing like a banner in the breeze. Rea walked beside her, her hand on the small of the other girl’s back. Thoughts of Tasyn made Rea place one foot in front of the other and her hand pressed against Aemi’s back pushed the other girl along with her.

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Progress is Sweet

We are half a week into NaNoWriMo 2015, one day before my last ever undergraduate exam and two days before I have a final essay due. As always, NaNo falls precisely in the middle of final assessments in the southern hemisphere which provides us upside down folk with a few extra challenges. Thankfully, however, I am on track with my goal. This week (ending with the 7th) I have 12,500 words of Queen of Hearts to edit/rewrite. And let’s be honest, most of it has been rewriting. I’ve also been tossing up the idea of spliting it into two books but if I do that then the first book would be entirely set up so do I really need it in the first place but yes but it also only works if the second part is published in the same book and… you get the idea. Lots of thinking happening. As of a few minutes ago, I only have about 5,000 more words to edit which means I’m over half way to meeting my goal. Yay :D

For this week’s WIPpet I’m going to share with you a scene from Queen of Hearts that I’ve rewritten. It relates to the date because I rewrote it this week and today is a day in this week. It’s science.

Simple version: Kara, Anjez and some friends have decided to go for a ride.

Complicated version: Kara has freed a slave who turned out to be the prince of her nation’s enemy and her father imprisoned her for three days but now apparently everyone’s chill and they’re going for a ride together in the forest…yep…

As they neared the forest’s edge, Kara manoeuvred her horse slightly to the left, aiming for a small game path hidden beneath a sparse-leafed ironwood. Her horse, familiar with the path, charged into the forest, barely loosing step. Behind her, Kara could hear Anjez’s heavy breathing and the squeal of his horse as it ran through a prickly bush. He soon found his way to the path, closing the distance between them. A few seconds later, Kara burst into a clearing, swinging her horse around to see Anjez emerge soon after, his mount frothing at the mouth.

Kara grinned as she patted her mount’s sweaty neck, adrenalin still coursing madly through her veins. “I warned you I would give no quarter.”

“It was a fair race, well won.” he bowed in his saddle, a smile on his face.

It looked odd on him, Kara thought. She hadn’t seen him smile before, truly smile, in their short acquaintance. He had a face made for smiling, Kara decided, but it was out of practice. Realising she was staring, Kara quickly looked down, fiddling with the reins. Silence stretched between them. Kara’s horse danced under her, sensing her unease as she realised she was alone in the forest with a stranger and the son of her people’s enemy. “I wonder where the others have got to?” Her horse took a half step backwards.

“Will they know where to find us?” Anjez asked.

“Yes,” Kara replied, trying to sound surer than she felt. “Hrithur and Laena know the spot.”

As if summoned, Laena trotted into the clearing, pulling her horse to a stop beside Anjez. Kara smiled, hoping the relief didn’t show on her face.

“You’re getting slow, Laena.” Kara joked.

“I thought I’d let you win today,” Laena shot back. “So you don’t completely loose hope in yourself.”

“Ha,” Kara raised an eyebrow, grinning. “How thoughtful.”

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So soon…to doom!

Okay, that was maybe a little to melodramatic but hey, creative license and all that, right? In three days another round of NaNoWriMo begins and as usual, I’ve left my prep to the last minute because “I work well under pressure”* but I have finally decided what I’m going to do. Instead of choosing just one project to work on, I’m going to spend a week each on four different projects (and use the leftover days as some much needed leeway).

Week 1 – I’ll be working on rewrites/edits of Queen of Hearts. Yes, I still haven;t finished this. And tbh not sure I ever will, so…

Week 2 – Adding to the stagnated word count of Rebellion or, as I’m NaNo calling is, Hollow is the Crown because drama.

Week 3 – Working on Enarenal which was my 2013 NaNo attempt, which I promptly ignored as soon as December 1st rolled around.

Week 4 Sorcerer. Soldier. Healer. King. A.k.a., a newish project that I’m actually quite excited about and did plan but may or may not have misplaced that plan when I moved back from Edinburgh…Hopefully, by the fourth week of November, I will have found it.

So that’s the NaNo plan. Remember, you can join the madness at this facebook group. :D

Onto WIPpet, because I’m sure it’s still Wednesday somewhere and after a six month absence, I owe you guys one. From Chapter 28 of Queen of Hearts. After all the battles etc and *spoilers*, Kara still has to fight for her crown. This scene takes place soon after she returns to the capital. Please bear in mind that it is hideously unedited.

When a page came knocking on the door, Kara leapt from her seat, book forgotten in a heartbeat. A stern glance from Lyea saw her promptly re-seated. The maid ushered the boy in. He bowed, “My lady, I bear a letter from the Council of Lords.”

Kara stood, taking the letter from his outstretched hand, “Did they ask for a response?”

“No, my lady.”

Kara thanked the boy and watched him leave, noting the red stitching on his black clothes. Thoren’s messenger.  “A summons then.”

“They mean to force your hand.” Laena spoke.

“It was just a matter of time,” Kara sighed. Breaking the seal with a knife, she scanned the contents, “The Council of Lords requests your presence…blah, blah…not important…ah, here, to decide the matter of succession.”

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*this is potentially a lie…