Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I'm going to Camp NaNo

Next month I'm doing camp NaNoWriMo. If you don't know what that is you can visit the website: campnanowrimo.org, or read my explanation.
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month (though I think it should be international). In the month of November people all over the world try to write a 50,000 word first draft. I have never done it. In the months of April and July there are smaller writing challenges where you set you own goal and these are called camps. if you wish you may be part of a small group of writers called a cabin that provide each other with accountability and encouragement.

I kicked off my first book by doing Camp NaNo July last year.My target word count was 18,000 and my final word count was 20,139. This time I'm aiming for 21,000 words, which is an average of 700 words per day.

Because of this I will be posting sporadically if at all next month. I'll mostly likely put update on Facebook and Google+ every so often though and I'll certainly tell you all about how I went at the end. If you like you can check on my progress here.

Aunt Valentina
I'm still working on my preparation for writing. The plot is thickening though, character connection and motivations are emerging and sometimes I feel like this story is going to be great. Yesterday I discovered that there has been a 5 year feud between tow of the realms and that Selvarrans are rather superstitious. Also Aunt Valentina is someone-else's aunt as well. 

I don't think I've introduced Aunt Valentina yet. She is Natalia's uncles wife and one of those wealthy, overbearing, middle aged women, who seems to grumble about everything. Not that I've ever known of any people of that sort who weren't fictional.

I hope you all have a lovely month, while I'm gone. Are any of you doing Camp NaNo?

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A Few World-building Pictures

Sometimes it's hard to find something to write. I started two posts before this one, but they weren't going anywhere. SoI thought I'd write a little bit about the world building I've been doing in the last few weeks.

My setting is inspired partially by medieval Italian maritime republics. I have port cities and islands. I wish I had a map to show you, but my drawing isn't that great and trying to make it look nice just makes it harder to get anything down.

I have three republics, Vecoa, Trione and Fison, and two duchies, Selvarra  and Doranto. Here are a few of my inspiration pictures.


Now I'll see if I can tell you which picture belong to which place. The first one is for Vecoa, the second may be Doranto, the third could be anywhere, the fourth is Fison and the fifth could be Selvarra, but I think it's actually the Palazzo Selva in Vecoa. It was built to be reminiscent of Selvarra though, hence the name. It was built by Fedrigo Rizzetti, for his bride Claudia Hadri of Selvarra.

I hope you enjoyed that. I you want to see more little bits of my story creation you can follow my Facebook page. And if you don't have Facebook you can still have a look. I may have another post before next Tuesday, but we will have to see about that.

Monday, 14 March 2016

MYSR: Nobody, by Susan Warner

MYSR = Maybe You Should Read.
I'm starting a new series of posts. There are a lot of books out there that I think ought to be better known. So I'm going to give you recommendations and tell why I like them. I'm afraid I might not be able to completely avoid spoilers, but I'll try.

One of my favourite 19th century authors is Susan Warner. I don't like all of her books, but some of them are very good.

Nobody is the story of Lois Lothrop, a New England country girl, who catches the eye of a young man of good family, while visiting a cousin in New York. His family don't think she's good enough for him, that she has no style and beside she is religious. She, on the other hand doesn't perceive value in the same way and is not quite willing to marry an non-christian.

Things I love:

Lois and her sisters are hard workers. They do everything themselves and never sit around. She also had a strong sense of Christian duty. But she doesn't just blindly accept the beliefs of her community. She has a taste for higher things. She ponders the purpose of beauty.

There are other deep questions discussed in the book, but not too deeply. They just fit in nicely.

This book has one of my favourite heroes. A perfect gentleman who goes to great lengths to make it possible to marry the girl he admired even though he knew there was every chance she wouldn't marry him.

And Lois is rather like me in a lot of ways. It's true that I'm not as comfortable in social situations, nor as good a gardener, but we have similar traits and values.

Here's a quote from it:
"But it is matter of astonishment to me, how you have so soon acquired such keen discernment. Is it that you do not enjoy these occasions yourself?" (said Mr Dillwyn)
"O, I enjoy them intensely," said Lois, smiling. "Sometimes I think I am the only one of the company that does; but I enjoy them."
"By the power of what secret talisman?"
"I don't know;—being happy, I suppose," said Lois shyly.
"You are speaking seriously; and therefore you are touching the greatest question of human life. Can you say of yourself that you are truly happy?"
Lois met his eyes in a little wonderment at this questioning, and answered a plain "yes."
"But, to be happy, with me, means, to be independent of circumstances. I do not call him happy, whose happiness is gone if the east wind blow, or a party miscarry, or a bank break; even though it were the bank in which his property is involved."
"Nor do I," said Lois gravely.
"And—pray forgive me for asking!—but, are you happy in this exclusive sense?"
"I have no property in a bank," said Lois, smiling again; "I have not been tried that way; but I suppose it may do as well to have no property anywhere. Yes, Mr. Dillwyn."

And another:
Lois stayed for no more, but ran in. The interior room of the house, which was very large for a bathing-house, was divided in two by a partition. In the inner, smaller room, Lois began busily to change her dress. On the walls hung a number of bathing suits of heavy flannel, one of which she appropriated. Charity came in after her.
"You ain't a goin' for clams, Lois? Well, I wouldn't, if I was you."
"Why not?"
"I wouldn't make myself such a sight, for folks to see."
"I don't at all do it for folks to see, but that folks may eat. We have brought 'em here, and now we must give them something for supper."
"Are you goin' with bare feet?"
"Why not?" said Lois, laughing. "Do you think I am going to spoil my best pair of shoes for vanity's sake?" And she threw off shoes and stockings as she spoke, and showed a pair of pretty little white feet, which glanced coquettishly under the blue flannel. 
There may be some longer discussion that tend toward theology, but the same happens with gardening and clam digging. It's not too much.

As you may have seen, you can get the book as a free audio book from LibriVox. (it has me in it) Or you prefer text (the recording is a bit mixed in quality) it's on Gutenberg.
If you read this book or any others by Susan Warner, let me know what you think.

Thank you everyone who voted on my poll. I now know that there's at least 21 people (which may or may not include me and does include my mother) who read my blog. I think I'll stay with Girl of the Rumours for now.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Beautiful People: Joane

I was looking forward to Beautiful People this month. Actually I have every time, but not quite this much. I don't know why exactly. Maybe because I didn't know what else to do.

On Monday morning when I went to starting writing this, Cait hadn't put the questions up yet. I almost panicked. I hadn't though of what else to say. I came up with a few ideas I wasn't really excited about. Then I checked again, just in case it was there, and it was. So here we are.


Before I saw the questions, I had decided to do Joane, unless it was a special focus that didn't fit her. When I read the questions I almost changed my mind. Not all of them really fit her. But then I realized that I might be able to show off her character even better.

What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?

I was reading something about diversity in fiction and breaking stereotypes. I thought I ought to stick a few girls among my brigands. And quite a mixture of them. Tough girls, not just Maid Marian. I decided I wanted there to be one who lead the others, and was very bossy and not at all welcoming. A name sprung to mind, Joane Artyn. 
Ever since then she has grown in importance and changed somewhat. I think she is now one of the most dynamic characters in the book. And no, she isn't based off anyone. 

Describe their daily routine. 

Wake up, grab something to eat if there is anything. Go scouting to check nothing is wrong. Come back and give everyone else their commands. Either go hunting for food, or try to catch something, or rather someone else. Call everyone but the sentries in for practice. Eat supper. If Nylf is around talk big plans. Stare out into the darkness for a while before going to bed.

If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?

There isn't a high school around where I live and I know very little about them. She would be a tough girl, with a group around her who look up to her, yet afraid of getting on her bad side. Or she'd be a drop out.

Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives…

Nobles, most men, weak people, being forced to get by in the woods, Wil, Aydel, Mim's superstitions, anyone who believes  the rumours of Lady Adlayda reappearing and saving them all.

How do they react in awkward silences?

By glaring at the other person and making them feel uncomfortable. Joane refuses to do awkward silences. If she doesn't quite feel comfortable about something she did, that's none of your business.

Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?

I'd never thought about swimming. I don't think that proper swimming is very common. Perhaps bathing at the rivers edge. Joane would be able to swim a bit though. Well enough to not drown when crossing a river. The rivers aren't all that deep though.

What is one major event that helped shape who they are?

Losing her mother. Or more the fact that she never knew her mother. Being brought up by an brigand certainly had a big affect on her.

What things do they value most in life?

Holding fast to her father's legacy and keeping promises.

Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?

It depends on what they've done. If they broke a promise, never. If they were just unfortunate, maybe. 
No, she's never fully trusted anyone and hasn't had any problems from it so far.

Your character is having a rough day…what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?

Why do people think you need to be happy? If you're upset with someone, you just work them harder and they turn out better for it. Being angry brings energy, which gets things done.

Yes, Joane certainly has some problems. That's part of what makes her interesting. Besides, perfect people can't improve, brigand maids can, though She wouldn't agree. She wouldn't consider herself to be a beautiful person and she isn't exactly. Not in her outer personality at least, but deep down inside...

Well I don't want to spoil the story for you. Anyway I do have a picture for Joane. It's not perfect, but it does give an idea of her looks. Just imagine a quarter staff and leather padded armour.

I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I did writing it. If you were hoping I was going to tell you how my new project is coming along, it is. Very slowly though. I still don't have names for characters but I have a whole lots of cool ideas. What do you think of having a wooden legged man who isn't a pirate or a beggar, but a naval captain? I rather fancy it. It's likely to be a very fine wooden leg given the setting.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

I finally finished something.

In fact not just something, but the first draft of my first novel! Even though it's terribly and will need extensive rewrites, I'm really excited. I'm done, for now.

Since I have written it all out longhand, I really don't know what the word count is, but I estimate 76,000.Once I rewrite and edit it may be longer or shorter. I won't being doing that for a couple of months though. I've seen recommendations to leave a book for a bit.

I finished on Sunday and the night before I had started freaking out a bit. 'I've spent over 8 months working on this! Sure, I'd like to work on something else for a bit, but can I? can I really just stoping thinking about this enough to work on anything else?"

Yesterday I started my proper written planning of my next book. It's going fairly well. I'm not having the adjustment problem I was afraid of. It's still in the very early stages, nothing very concrete, no names or even appearances. If you want to know more, have a look at the 'What I'm Writing' page.

I'm still a bit uncertain about what the title ought to be. Once I have other people look at it, I know I can get some advice, but for now I thought I'd have a poll.

  • Who to Trust
  • Girl of the Rumours
  • Maidens, Rangers and Brigands
  • Call of the Green Woods
  • Escaped from the Treehome
  • The Maiden and the Brigand
  • Dark-haired Girl
More polls: Free online poll

Of course some of them don't fit so well, and most of you don't really know exactly what the book is about, so I won't just pick whichever one has the most votes, if you think you have any other good ideas or advice about starting a new novel, leave a comment.