Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Batteries, Heidelberg, and Amazon

I had issues coming up with what to write about today, I will admit. I’m also sounding like Yoda, which is never a good start for my mental process. Or a good sign.

So rather than try to write something insightful about writing, I thought I would share a snippet of 2011’s NaNoWriMo with you and share a contest that I do believe a good portion of people would be interested in.  First, the novel…

It’s from the novel entitled Battery Pack and takes place in our modern world, in Germany.  Heidelberg, to be exact.  The idea for this tale came about two days before November 1st, but I knew it was one that I wanted to set in Heidelberg.  Having spent 6 months living there, it was a city I felt I could portray well in a book.   Not only were landmarks an important part to get correct, but also small nuances, like how people react to non-Germans, or how shop-keepers respond to customers.  Even tourists play a part in the overarching feeling of a city.

These are all things to get right in a book that takes place in a real world time period and place, or people will get the feeling that something is off, even if they aren’t sure what.  This excerpt shows, I hope, a little insight into what Heidelberg is like.

After a stop off at the apothecary museum within the castle walls itself and a purchase of utterly pointless but amusing “Smile Pills” (Guaranteed to make you smile!), I headed out of Heidelberg Castle.  Taking the roadway this time, I  came across a park that had a slide that went from one level of switchbacks to the other.  With a grin and a shout of glee at the discovery, I took a trip down it, and nearly fell flat to my arse at the end. After climbing a complicated rigging of walkways, ropes and ladders three more times, I grew serious again, trying to figure out what was going on after catching the top of the Heiligenberg at the edges of my vision.

Guiltily, I started back down the mountain, the going easier than I had expected, though it was still hard to keep an even gait at some points. I came to Hauptstrasse at one of the large open areas and I paused for a moment, looking at what had once been a marketplace.  The Church of the Holy Ghost had stalls all around it, though they were selling souvenirs rather than grain, fruits, or fish. The City Hall was still where it had been centuries ago, even if the building wasn’t that old itself.

Heidelberg was a town of living history.

I wondered how people could live in a place full of constant reminders of the past and not only recognize them, but celebrate them as well.  There were so many times that I would want to change something that had happened, my choices regarding Beelzebub being but one. “Maybe” and “what if” was a word that haunted me, and something that I tried to hold off through the day until the last second before I went to sleep when it tried to consume me.

I bought an ice cream for eighty cents to distract me from my macabre thoughts and wandered until I eventually made my way back to the student cafeteria almost directly on the river.  Jim was seated on a picnic table outside, sipping a glass bottle of soda through a straw.  “Find out anything?” I asked him as I took a seat across from him.

Everything that relates to Heidelberg in those paragraphs are true, but none of them are clearly spelled out.  There are no clear cut, spoon-fed instances of what exactly something looks like, but it’s enough to give a feeling of what it might be. The nuances, I think, are what make it though.   A glass soda bottle, something not often found here in the states.  A church’s name and souvenir stalls, but no time taken to describe what they look like.  A quick nod to city hall, missing steps going down a mountain…  they all speak of landscapes and people without coming out and saying it.

I guess my setting in this tale is more that of experiences patched together to create a quilt than pictures cut up out of a magazine to make a collage.

 

For my news, Amazon is putting on their yearly contest: the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  There are two categories in which you can enter your over 50,000 word novel, and a winner comes from each.  The winner gets 15,000 and a publishing contract with Penguin books, a pretty nice deal if I say so.  I tried it last year, but didn’t make it past the first round. But you do get a letter (okay…email) if you don’t make it past, which basically equates to a rejection letter.  And everyone knows that you can be a real author after you start getting rejection letters!

Entries start being accepted on January 23rd, so start editing and polishing them now!  If you want to read rules, regulations, and what makes up an entry, take a click here: https://www.createspace.com/abna?ref=478921&utm_id=5957


It is Done!

I DID IT!!!!!

Started it while working two part time jobs, quit one, the other became full time, got a new job, packed up my belongings for a move on December 2nd AND managed to complete NaNo TWO DAYS before the 30th.

*faints from lack of sleep*

NaNoSprints on Twitter helped me through a lot of the tough times, as did Word Wars with friends who aren’t even in the same time zone as me.

I attended my first Write-In tonight as well, leaving me in a great position when it finished to power through the last 2,000 words to reach a final count of 50,028 words.

 

The sentence that pushed me to Winning: Through all their stories, none of them followed what we had learned in the trainings aside from “The Circle is Bad, don’t say their names” and the “Don’t be an idiot” rule.

 

Clearly, this is also good advice for life.

 

So for all those out there who have yet to reach your 50,000, I say this to you.  I’ll be waiting for you in the Winner’s Circle.  There’s a spot right next to me that needs to be filled by you.

 


A quick NaNo Update

I’m racing towards 30,000 words by the end of tonight, and have to stop every three sentences in order to find another Latin phrase.

The Lesson: don’t make your characters force you to have them use Latin for anything magical that they do, especially if you don’t speak it.

“Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur”

That would be Elle speaking there… Please excuse me while I go try not to just kill her off for being difficult.


Realm of the Gods Part Two

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday so far. I know I am. I just need to catch up to 18000 words on NaNo by tonight so I’m on track. Let’s see what I can do in three hours of free time!

“Thank you, father,” Migaru told him.

“I have a feast planned tonight for you, if you want it.”

She shook her head. “No thanks. I don’t want to be treated any different than the rest of Fire.”

He nodded slowly, understanding. “Very well. Will you at least dine with me in the mountain tonight?”

She smiled. “Of course. Don’t I always?”

“True,” he said. “I just thought you might have wanted to spend the night with that friend, Rifoe, of yours.” They left the room, doors closing behind them. “Do you remember the way back?” he asked, ignorant of her blush.

“I paid attention on the way here.”

Inferno ruffled her blonde hair a moment before stopping, remembering that she wasn’t as young as she once had been. “My little Fire. Always seeing everything. I could never hide anything from you.” He turned to meet her gaze. “I’ll see you tonight then? I need to head to the library and resume the meetings that I put off.” Inferno sighed with a shake of his head. “Apparently, someone’s field was gotten into by another’s Pferden and, well, I’m sure you can image where it went from there. And I seem to be the only one who can solve it.”

Of course,” she told him, seeing the dismissal for what it was. A quick smile to her dad, she walked past Inferno, retracing her steps until she reached the main hall again. From there, it was quite easy to find her way back out into the sun.

The blast of cooler air hit her like a hammer when she stepped outside. It was a welcome change from the temperatures inside the mountain. She remembered her promise to Rifoe and made her way through the houses to find him.

“Rif!” She shouted up to his room. “You there?”

His head poked out of the second story window. “Heyla! I’ll be right down!”

She moved out of the way. If Rifoe said he was going to be right down, there was only one way he would do that. He leapt out of the window a second later, using a blast of his Fire Aspect at the last possible second to slow his controlled fall to a stop. “You’re going to kill yourself doing that one of these days, Rif.”

“Afraid, lady Ficis?”

She punched him in the arm. “You wish. And don’t call me that. We’ve been friends since, what, we were born? I don’t need you calling me lady.”

“But you are one,” he pointed out. “And I’m still just a Fireling.”

“Only until next week. Don’t make me hit you again.”

“Fine. I’ll just keep calling you Mig then,” he said impishly.

“You do that, and you die.” There was a polite, yet evil smirk on her face. “Anyway, what did you need me for then?”

“Birthing day present. And it’s part Day of Power present too,” he told her. He reached into the pouch on his belt and pulled out something wrapped in a piece of red cloth. A moment of hesitation occurred before he nearly shoved it at her. “Uh, here.”

Migaru took it and carefully unwrapped it. Laying on the cloth was a silver ring with the two stones of Fire inset in it: ruby and obsidian. “It’s beautiful! Where did you get it?”

“My secret. Does it fit?”

She slipped it on her right hand and nodded. “Perfectly.”

“Great. Then my work here is done.”Migaru reached out and pulled Rifoe into a hug before he could leave.

“Necking in the woods?” came a scornful voice from behind them. She felt Rifoe stiffen within her arms and let go to see who had spoken.

“Oh, Fire’s tongue. Why did it have to be him…” Rifoe said quietly.

“Go away, Urien,” Migaru told him.

“Says the Air Child,” he said, voice full of hate.

“Take that back” Rifoe demanded. “That’s something that could get you killed around here!”

“Rif,” Migaru said warningly. She placed a hand on his shoulder and held him back from fighting the Fireling. The insult had hurt her too, but she wasn’t going to show that it had gotten to her. “Urien, I suggest you leave now.”

“Or what? You’ll throw embers at me? That’s all you could think about doing with your powers.”

Migaru closed her eyes and clenched her fists in an attempt to control her temper. “As lady Ficis, I order you to leave.”

“Revhia,” he spat at her, turning to go.

Rifoe leapt onto his back, bringing him down. He began to attack the other, little regard for his own self. “Take that back! You’re the Revhia here, not Mig!”

“Revhia doesn’t even look like us! Why, by Fire, should I treat her like she is? Besides, it’s not like I’m the only one who thinks it.”

“Because I am Fire,” Migaru declared. She pulled out her obsidian tube holding Living Flame and held it out. “I am lady Ficis of Fire. Lord
Inferno is my father and I am a keeper of Living Flame. I choose to make this known. Until such time when Rifoe is a lord, he is under my protection. If you or any harm him, you will answer to me.”

Urien glared at her, but fell silent. He stalked back into the village and when he was gone, Migaru and Rifoe looked at one another. “He’ll be back,” Rifoe said quietly.

She nodded. “I know. But by then, you’ll be a lord and he will still be a Fireling.”

“But only for a year. Then what?”


How Goes?

So, how goes NaNo, everyone?

If you’re like me, you’ve already decided that you hate one of your main characters and write them quickly out of whatever scene you put them into just so that you don’t have to deal with them. And have then decided that,because you don’t like writing them, you are going to make the the villain just so that you have a reason to not like them.

If only you could write them.

or your characters have decided that a night on the couch watching TV is NOT what they are after and begin to move it to the bedroom.

And it’s happening while you’re sitting, writing on the couch, next to your parents.

But roadblocks happen. The important thing is to keep going.

Is there one part of your story that you are really looking forward to writing, but you have pages and pages to go until you get there? Well, start writing that section when you get stuck on the one you’re currently on. It keeps you writing and you are also able to think about why you’re getting stuck as you write.

And remember, you can always bring in the Shovel of Death if you need to up your word count. You never know when a nice grisly killing is just what the author ordered.

The magic number is 1667 words a day to finish by November 30th. That’s less than a lot of college response papers. And completely possible to do if you take it in small chunks. Write 400 on lunch, 200 on break, 300 as dinner cooks, a 600 sprint as you wait to switch loads of laundry. And then you’re at 1500 and you only need a hundred and a bit more, so you might as well write before bed!

So keep at it, you can do it!

I’ll see you in the Winner’s Circle!


Realm of the Gods Part One

“Hey, Migaru!” shouted a teen.

A woman with blonde hair turned to see who was calling after her. She smiled when she saw him. “Heyla Rifoe!”

He shook the dark red hair out of his eyes and grinned at her. “Where you off to?”

“Inferno wants to see me,” she explained.

He made a face. “Have fun with that. When you’re done there, swing by my place? I have a birthing day gift for you.”

“Rif! You didn’t have to do that!”

“Migaru Ficis Inferno,” the teen said sternly, but with a smile, “You’re not a Fireling anymore after today! Twenty three years. If that’s not worthy of a gift, then I don’t know what is!”

She rolled her eyes. “Please. I may not be a Fireling, but I still can’t use fire as well as everyone else here can. Fire’s tongue! I don’t even look like the rest of you!”

“Your attitude fits in perfectly though,” Rifoe muttered darkly. Migaru tried not to laugh, intent on looking angry and stern, but her snort of laughter ruined the effect. “Go on. Get to Inferno before he fries you for being late.”

“And with that vote of confidence…” Migaru sighed out. Rifoe smiled as she turned away and continued her walk up to the start of the Fire Mountains and the main hall Inferno used for big events. There were two of Fire’s Elite Guard outside, but they were there more as decoration than actual use. There had been no need for the guards in Migaru’s lifetime and for several more before. She smiled at the two of them as they pulled the doors to the mountain hall open. They nodded solemnly, but there was a smile in their eyes. “Thanks Fumilt, Reigaf.”

“Our pleasure, lady Ficis.”

“I’m not a lady yet,” she spoke under her breath as she passed into the mountain. Rather than be cooler underground, it was noticeable hotter than outside. It was one of the quirks that the Fire Mountains had. Thankfully, the path to the main hall was short and there were windows inside that left some air into the room. Inferno was already there, sitting in a chair and reading a book from his great library. His red hair was sticking out at odd angles and looked like the flames of the element that he led. His clothes were simple and cool, the same that all of Fire wore. The only thing that set him apart from the rest of Fire were the bracers made from Living Flame. He had tamed the Flames when he became the leader of the element and wore them as a badge of office. “Greetings lord Inferno,” Migaru said, bowing low as protocol demanded.

Inferno smiled and set his book aside on a table of fire that he had called. He rose and the chair that he had been sitting in sunk back into the floor of the mountain as molten rock. “Heyla, Migaru,” he replied, his greeting as informal as possible.

She sighed in relief. She wasn’t going to be expected to maintain proper etiquette during the meeting. “What did you need? Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Can’t a father wish his daughter a Blessed Day of Power?” he asked, holding out his arms. She smiled back at him and hugged him, careful to avoid the bracers. He was careful not to touch them to her skin as well, barely engulfing her in his hug. When she had been smaller and thought herself to be a true Fireling, she had touched the Living Flame bracers as she had seen other Fires do. A healer from Water had been there with her for a month, nursing the huge burns she had received. “I have a gift for you,” he said, looking down at her.

“What?”

“Come, I’ll show you.”

Migaru stayed close to her adoptive father as they went deep into the mountain. She hadn’t ever gone this deep alone before, and had no wish to get lost. The room they came to was just as large as the main hall, but was circular instead of the normal angular room that the main hall was. A hole that led directly to the sky and the door they had come through were the only places not wreathed in flames. “This is the Hall of Living Flame. I gift to you a bit of it for you to do with as you please.”

She looked at Inferno in disbelief. “But…but dad! You know what happened last time I tried to touch this!”

He nodded. “But you were untrained. And though your fire powers are not as strong as mine, they are still there.” His mouth twitched in a smile. “To be fair, not many have powers as strong as mine though.” Inferno cleared his throat and moved from his place beside her and into the center of the Living Flame. The flames curled around him when he lifted a hand and created a sphere around him. He continued talking as he manipulated it, making it near translucent. “I have trained you in what other aspects of magic I know. But I am a Fire, after all. I am not suited to using the others. Lady Ficis, you are more than just Fire. You have all aspects within you, body and soul. I cannot train them all.”

“Why not?” she demanded to know.

The flames in the room flared with his anger. “Because I am unable to! Do not question me on such matters, girl.” Migaru shrank back from the heat as it, and Inferno, slowly cooled. “To…to not train all aspects is dangerous,” he said slowly. “But no matter what people say, you will always be Fire to me. And as such, you will need something to remind you of that.” He held out his hand and a tube from molten stone and fire slowly formed in it. Soon, he stepped out of the fire and handed it to her. It was made out of obsidian, one of the most revered and sought after jewels of Fire. It was dark, but when she looked close at it, she could see some of the Living Flames within. “This is my gift to you. Use it well.”

She bowed to lord Inferno, still gripping the obsidian. “Thank you, lord Inferno, ruler of Fire.”

“And so, Migaru, you pass from Fireling to a full Fire. Welcome to the mountain.”


Gearing Up One Last Time

This is it. You have less than 24 hours in which to finish planning your novel.

There are a few things left to do if you haven’t already done them. First: make sure you are signed up for NaNoWriMo. It’s really simple to do. Just go to nanowrimo.com and click sign up. Then fill out your author profile and you’ll be on your way!

Two: set up your region on NaNo as well. It’ll make is possible to go to writing events that people will be having around your area. Writing with people is always more fun than writing alone.

Finally, don’t be afraid to change everything you have planned so far, or throw it out the window. Sometimes characters have their own ideas on what they want to happen, or you come up with a brilliant idea that just HAS TO BE TOLD NOW. November is your chance to do that. Leap on that chance and make it yours.

And remember: if you need to up your word count, always always ALWAYS remember that the Traveling Shovel of Death is ready and waiting to help you kill off everyone.