Beyond the Crash and Burn

Life hasĀ  never been more overwhelming than it was this month. And I’ve never underestimated something as much as I underestimated how overwhelming it would be. Above and beyond my regular amount of time that I spent doing classwork, I also did my first show at college this month (I’m a Tech and Design for Theatre major). My November became swallowed whole between studying and rehearsals. It’s not that I mind the rehearsals so much, but it left me very little time to dedicate myself elsewhere. In short, my NaNo project folded like a glorious house of cards. Fear not, Continuum is still in the works. I’m still very intrigued by the characters and the constructs of this world bouncing around in my head. However, after the utter desolation of the project this month, I think I need to put it to bed for a little while.

Instead, I’ve already decided on a project to devote myself to as the year draws to a close; a novel entitled Secrets of the Dark Land. It’s late and I don’t feel like writing up a full synopsis right away, but I will tell you that it’s a Southern-set ghost story/murder mystery/thriller/family drama. Tonight, I came home and immediately began plotting out the novel. Already I’m excited about what waits for me in Dark Land– the twists that are running through my head right now are absolutely wicked. Writing this book is gonna be a hell of a ride.

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Past, Present and Future

NaNo 2013 is looming on the horizon, only a few weeks now, and I have finally nailed down my story for this year’s month of insanity. While I had originally tackling a Peter Pan-based piece entitled The Never Star, which would have been the starting point of a trilogy, I decided to put that idea to the side for the time being. While I love the characters and the story, it needs some time for development before I dive into it. Instead, I’ll be working on a science fiction novel entitled Continuum. The summary is as follows.

New York City in 1922: a city drenched in glamor, sex, sin- everything we Thomas Bates holds near and dear to his heart. Thanks to the vast wealth his family accrued in years past, he enjoys a luxurious life with no rules and no limitations.On the day of his twenty sixth birthday, however, his father, Arthur, reveals a startling secret; the Bates bloodline contains a genetic mutation that allows those afflicted by it to jump to various moments in time. Despite Arthur insisting that they can only travel, at most, one day into the future or past, Thomas soon discovers he can traverse entire years with his ability and decides to use this newfound gift to set everything in his life exactly as he wants it- perfect parties, perfect wife, perfect children.
Everything changes when he meets a beautiful young woman named Anna Van Saint and he learns that something is causing tears to run through time, threatening to tear the universe apart. Suddenly, the perfect life he constructed for himself is blown apart and he must decide whether he will accept the responsibilities of a Time Traveler or if he’ll choose an unexpected new life with Anna.

Continuum is a stand-alone novel intended for adults, but given the ending I have in mind at the moment, I could very easily see myself writing other novels in this universe and perhaps a young-adult geared spin-off series. Time will only tell where theĀ Continuum universe leads me. For now, I’m just focusing on developing this story and getting it started next month!

Restarting the Writer Within

Has it really been since last November that I posted on here? Wait, has it really been since last November that I worked on a book? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding, unfortunate Yes. I’ve been spending most of my year dealing with college applications and (now) class registration for my upcoming freshman year this fall. All of this has left remarkably little time to work on writing. But I’m back in the swing of things now and working on a new novel: The Iron Queen- the first installment in The Legend of Agrydon, a planned trilogy. The synopsis is as follows:

Twenty miles from London, in the small country town of Addleby Hill, Lily Faris has lived a rather unremarkable life for the last seventeen years. She’s a restless, wild soul who, though she loves her family, strives for something larger than life itself. Lately, however, something strange has been happening to her. For the better part of a month, she has been having strange, cryptic dreams only to wake up and find herself standing in front of the lake in the forest by her house.
Lily is perfectly content to write these strange coincidences off without a second thought until a group of ominous, cloaked figures descend on the town in the middle of the night. Suddenly, she finds herself whisked away by the stranger from her dreams.
Immersed in a dangerous new world of magic and dark politics, Lily discovers she is a lost princess of the Kingdom of Ironstead- a member of the Greater Nations of Agrydon. What should be a joyous homecoming, however, is only the beginning of a great battle. In Lily’s absence, the Kingdom of Ironstead fell to the rule of Marys Blackthorn, an evil witch who has brought with her a reign of unending darkness.
With a war approaching that threatens to tear Agrydon apart at the seams, Lily must come to terms with her true identity and rise to take back her rightful place as the Queen of Ironstead.
That’s what I’m up to- I started writing last week- and I can’t describe how great it feels to be working on something again!

By the Skin of My Teeth

I just validated my 2012 NaNoWriMo project Dark Angels and passed the 50,000 word mark! For a long time, it looked like I was going to crash and burn this month, but my inborn sense of guilt won out and I actually made it through! Of course, I’m nowhere near finishing the first draft of the novel- that’s still quite a ways off- but something happened today the last 5500 words that even I didn’t expect; I came up with a new plot device for one of my characters.

Seriously, in the last couple thousand words of the day, everything I thought I knew about this book changed. The ending that I have planned out is still in place, but getting there just got a whole lot different! Which is definitely a good thing, considering I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with this story. I’m really good at that- having great beginnings and endings but sucking all life and joy out of the middle. Well, today I overcame that hurdle and created myself a plot twist that will definitely add some life to the middle of the story!

So….just in case I didn’t brag about it enough……….

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The End is Near

No, not the apoclayptic, “the world is going to be destroyed” kind of end. I mean the end of NaNoWriMo is near. With only one day left to go before NaNo 2012 is a thing of the past, I’ve finished my writing for the day to find that I only have to write a little less than 4,500 words tomorrow in order to win! Even at the beginning of the week, I was wondering if I was going to be able to pull everything together in time to squeeze out a win, and it’s definitely going to be by the skin of my teeth this year, but it looks like I’ll be able to pull this off!

However, as I wrote today, I found myself not nearing the end of the novel, but rather just beginning it. I had figured that these first 50,000 would certainly not bring me close to the end of the story, but I hadn’t realized just how sprawling this novel is. Right now, as I approach 50K, I would estimate that I’m not even halfway through the story I want to tell. At the very least, it’s going to take another 50K to wrap this up, probably even more. The crazy part is, it doesn’t seem that daunting. These characters have made these first 50K a blast to write, even if it was a bash-my-head-against-the-wall type of process every now and then. I’ve had these characters shouting at me this month, which I always consider to be a good thing: that means I’m learning more about these people. What’s more, I’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s a story for me to tell beyond this one book. The story I planned for this novel will remain intact as is, but the ending is going to leave it open for a second book, which I had always planned on doing anyways. Honestly, this is the sci-fi trilogy I’ve always wanted to write. Like I said, I’m repurposing my Cycler work to make it fit this story and the next two books would open up the opportunity to use even more of that work.

I don’t totally know how long it will take me to finish this book once this month is over, but I’m on the way to having something really spectacular.

Inch by Inch, Step by Step

It’s time for a confession that I’ve been avoiding for a while; I am so majorly behind schedule on my NaNoWriMo project. I’ve had chunks of two or three days in a row where I just don’t have any motivation to write. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the characters or plot, they’re all great. I just didn’t have it in me to sit down an write for whatever reason. So now I’m about 10K behind schedule. Yeah, these are some bleak looking prospects. Never fear, though! I have a plan! All I have to do is write 4,000 words a day and I can get back on track without a problem. Easier said than done, right? Actually, I’m not having much trouble with it so far. I’m breaking up my day into two sections; I write my first 2K in the morning, then I tackle the second 2K after I eat lunch. It makes an otherwise daunting task much more manageable.

I’ve gotten myself into this kind of a situation in previous years and usually I just give up and leave the project to sit and collect dust. And I’ve always hated myself for it. I’ve got a lot of partially finished stories that are actually great, but I’ve never gotten around to finishing them. Maybe one day I will, but for now they’re just laying around on my hard drive. But this year is different than before for one reason; I don’t want Dark Angels to end up like that. It’s the first time I’ve made considerable advances on a sci-fi project. Some of my longtime readers may remember a project I was working on called Cycler that never took off. I’ve actually managed to repurpose some of the locations of that universe for Dark Angels and it’s helped immensely. Cycler never amounted to anything because it was completely directionless. There was no endgame to it and there wasn’t a strong plot at its core. Dark Angels, however, has that strong story and it’s been a great place to bring back some of my Cycler work.

So for now, I’m just carrying on, trucking uphill. And every time I skip a day of writing, my characters start screaming at me. You’d be surprised how good that is for motivation.

Alive and Kicking

So, here we are on the 13th day of NaNoWriMo and I haven’t been keeping up with my blog as much as I’d like to. Believe me, I know I’ve been slacking on keeping this updated this year, but I plan to fix that next year. As for NaNo, it’s going…..well, it’s going. I took an unacceptable three day break because I hit this massive wall of not having any muse for the project and not having any motivation to keep going. Then I realized I did have motivation; I’m stubborn as hell and I’m not gonna let this thing defeat me. And that’s why I got up this morning and laughed in the face of the 6,000 word margin that makes up how many words behind schedule I am.

On second thought, rereading that sentence, I kind of sound insane. I mean, I do, don’t I? 6,000 words behind schedule, and I’m just laughing at it. That’s the kind of stuff they medicate you for. But I figure laughing at it and deciding that I’m not going to let it bother me is the only way I’m going to tackle it. I refuse to let NaNo chew me up and spit me out this year. This is a book I seriously want to finish because the characters just deserve it. They deserve an author who can keep telling their story. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I have to admit that I’ve got this clandestine feeling attached to Dark Angels. I think this could seriously be the book that I submit to agents. Of course, I’ve got PARADISE LOST, but that’s a project I feel needs some serious work. It’s already taken me about four years, and I haven’t even gotten to the second draft of the first book yet (despite the fact that I’ve already written the first draft of book 2 and have gotten a little bit of book 3 written).

Anyway, back on topic. I hereby solemnly swear that I WILL hit 50k mark on Dark Angels by November 30th. I WILL finish the first draft by the end of January. I WILL finish editing by the end of March. I WILL start submitting to agents next summer. You’ll probably be hearing me say that a lot more, but hey- I figure if I say it enough, I’ll actually start to believe it myself.