A Nano Win, But It’s Only the Beginning

screenshotnanowin11272018_500

I finished my NaNoWriMo story. Not only did I reach the goal of 50K words, I also ended the story. What I’ve learned from this experience is that I’m capable of cranking out a full novel within less than a month. It’s not perfect and it’s basically a super rough and dirty draft but the story is done.

Goals going forward:

  1. Take a break from Marlowe and work on finishing Aeva.
  2. Publish Aeva.
  3. Write new story I’ve been itching to start.
  4. Continue with first edit of TLS fantasy novel.
  5. Return to Marlowe and clean it up.
  6. First edit of Marlowe.

Here is a cut-and-paste from my Nano page with the updated “Marlowe” synopsis (still somewhat rough) and an excerpt. The excerpt is the scene just after Marlowe fights a cyborg that detonated.

marnano

Ready, Set, Go!

2lfsbn

Did you prepare for NaNoWriMo? Some do and some don’t and that’s okay. Just write! As mentioned earlier, I’ve prepared but not thoroughly — just enough to know what I hope to write and enough to keep myself inspired and motiviated. Last night, just after midnight, I stayed up until 1am to write a little. I got over 400 words in. Half the time was spent making sure I had my story straight.

In the evening, I was getting nervous about not having my plot straight, worried about who really were my characters, and worried about the setting. Earlier in the day, I saw a post on one of the Facebook groups I frequent. The poster had provided some helpful worksheets for plotting, character development, and scene/world building. I went ahead and downloaded them. She had offered them for free, so I figured, I might as well give them a try. If they don’t work for me, that’s no problem. At least I gave them a try. If they do work, then I’ve found something meaningful in guiding me toward writing better and faster.

I’m glad to say, they worked in my favor. But, to be honest, I think everyone can get something out of these worksheets. I’ve been writing all my life and have my degree in writing. The majority of my classes were all about the story structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution). Even when I studied nonfiction, the same structure applied. These worksheets are simple and easy to follow. I’m not trying to advertise for the designer. I’m just really thrilled that she is offering these for free and they are exceptionally well made. The designer is also a writer. Her blog and where you can download the worksheets is, The Wonderful World of Whimsy.

The way I went about the worksheets is I printed them and read them over. Then, in Excel (because I like having everything electroncially done) I took the information from the worksheets and wrote out my outline. The reason I also do it this way is because I have one main plot and many subplots. My main character and secondary characters all have a purpose. They all have a reason for what they do. There’s a domino effect of sort. I’m writing through one main character who is compassionate and who yearns for the family life and love. She is envious of those who have it but she likes to be around those who have it so that at least she can maybe live vicariously through them until, if ever, she finds that. In order to build that type of emotion, I need more than a few lines. I break the characters’ purposes into blocks so that when or if I lose sight of who these characters are and their purpose, I can toggle to it on my computer and keep moving.

With that said, I hope you are doing NaNoWriMo. And, whether you “win” or not, at least you’ve tried. To quote Tony Robbins,

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

NaNoWriMo 2018

Last November, I didn’t do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) because I was finishing up my master’s degree. I had wanted to but knew it couldn’t be possible. I’m excited to say, I am able to do it this year.

The first time I did NaNo (2016), I didn’t make a cover and didn’t include a synopsis. I rushed into it. I didn’t outline but did have a pretty good idea on what the story was about. I finished my 50K words, but it was tight. I felt like I just threw whatever I could into the story to hit my numbers per day. In the end, I felt I lost track of the plot and the main reason for the story. This time, I’m outlining to avoid all that. I’m sure there will be moments of the aforementioned, but my hope is to have less of it.

If you are not a member and want to give 50K words a try, go to: https://nanowrimo.org/.

If you are a member and want to be buddies, my member name is, waltzoftheflowers.

My story is a sci-fi dystopian speculative with some cyberpunk. It’s called, “Marlowe.”

The rough synopsis (will likely change):

After the great war, in what was once the United States, a new government emerged. They hired a clean-up company to remove debris and junk to clear out land for homes and farming. This company used machines and robots to assist in the cleaning. The robots are cyborgs: half human, half robotic parts. Cyborgs could only be created by using dead human parts but there are secrets the government doesn’t intend for anyone to learn. A girl named Marlowe will unearth the truth.

The temporary cover:

Marlowecover500

I have a playlist I’m putting together for my story. Here’s one that I’ve imagined to go along with a scene. The scene is when Marlowe learns that her friend was converted into a cyborg without his consent. He finds a way to talk to her and asks her to turn his switch off (to kill him). She refuses.

A WIP Paranormal Fantasy Piece

I’ve been working on my main fantasy story but there was a moment last week in which a scene from my paranormal story needed to be written.  Here’s that piece:


“Don’t touch me.”

“I promise I won’t.”

“Don’t promise me anything. You took the one thing that made me want to live and now you want to make promises. What do you want from me?”

Kellan frowned, not knowing what he could do to mend what he was asked to do by the higher powers. There was no way to bring her father back. There was no trade off. “I just –“

“What? Do you want to take my life too? Tell me, if you take my life, will I see my dad? Because if I can then take me now.”

“I’m not going to take your life and I can’t take you to your father.”

“Then what are you still doing here?”

“I am mesmerized by you, Haylie. I’m sorry about your father, but –“

“You’re not sorry!” Haylie exclaimed, tears lined her eyes. “You are not sorry.”

“You’re right. I’m not sorry that I took your father’s life or that you’ll never see him again. I can’t be sorry for any of that because I don’t understand the connection you have with your father.  I’m not human nor am I the kind of angel who understands how human’s work. That’s what I’m sorry for. If you’ll just let me explain myself, then at least you’ll know why I’m here.”

Haylie stared at Kellan with his dark wings like the silhouette of a giant creature over him. She folded her arms and waited for him to continue.

“The carrier angel couldn’t make it to your father, so I came in his place. I thought I could do the job quickly – release your father’s spirit and leave. But, you interrupted me. I could have ignored you but hearing your voice was like hearing an angel talk. I’ve heard humans talk, but I’ve never had one talk directly to me, especially one that sounded like one of us. What confuses me is that I felt something for you, a feeling beyond my control. If I were to use a human term for it, I think it would be called, love.”

“You don’t know what love is. You said it yourself, you’re not human.”

“Yes,” he simply agreed.

“Where is my dad or whatever became of him? His spirit?”

“I’m sor –“ Kellan caught himself. “I don’t know,” he answered.

“Where do you take the spirits?”

“We don’t take them anywhere. They know where they have to go.”

“And where’s that?”

“I don’t know.”

“You liar! If you’re really an angel, then you would know.”

“I’m not that kind of angel.”

“What kind are you?”

“The kind you’re not supposed to see or know about.”

“What’s the point of your kind?”

“To regulate all angels to make sure processes and procedures are followed through.”

“You must have a nice big office.”

“No office. In human terms, it’s like seeing into their hearts. We know if they are true to who they are and their duties.”

“And if not?”

“They leave the kingdom.”

“Fallen angels,” Haylie stated.

“Yes.”

“You mentioned a carrier angel. Can one of those take me to see him?”

“No one can take you to him.”

“So, it’s true. Death is final. The pain of missing my dad is just a human thing.”

“Yes.”

“I don’t believe you. You know why? Because you exist. Angels exists. For all I know my dad could be an angel.”

“He chose not to be one.”

“What?”

“I asked him when I came to take him.”

“Why didn’t he want to be one?” Before Kellan answered, Haylie said, “Let me guess, you don’t know. You asked if he wanted to be one, but you didn’t bother to ask why not when he said, no. You don’t care to know because you were only doing someone else’s duty.” Kellen didn’t reply. Haylie shook her head from side to side in disbelief. “Why is your kind so cold? Why do you seem so evil? I hate you.”

“He said he had nothing else to give. He knew you…loved him and that was enough.”

Haylie fell to her knees and sobbed, covering her face.

“It shall pass. Time heals all wounds,” Kellan said, thinking he was helping her.

“Go away, whatever you are. I don’t want to see you ever again.”


 

Tips for New Writers

Many years ago, when I was a young writer, I never really worried about how to word things or where to begin writing.  I just went at it with my intuition, jotting emotions down, jotting how I heard conversations happened in my head, etc.  I had an urge to get those thoughts out on paper.  Personally, I had a thing for the written English language (if the English language was a handsome man, I’d be all over him) so I naturally paid attention in all my English classes. I also read a lot, and still do – a lot more than I did then.

I’ve noticed nowadays that a lot of new writers, who don’t have any experience in writing, worry that they won’t be able to write because they don’t know how to do it right or where to begin.  It doesn’t take an expert to explain what it takes to be a beginner writer, just someone who’s done it a ton.

Here are my tips on how to start.  Now, you won’t become a famous writer/author right away, or maybe ever because of these tips.  These are simply stepping stones to get you comfortable enough to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and make sense out of it.

Tip 1: Read. Read whatever you want, but read.  Preferably, read in your genre because it will help you think the way you need to think to write your stories.  When you read, watch for syntax, verbiage, sentence structure, etc.  Pay attention to how the author starts a chapter or a paragraph. I’d recommend throwing in a few classics just for variations.

Tip 2: In grade school, we were all taught the elements of a story.  It still applies.

The 5 Basic Elements of a story:

  1. Exposition – the introduction: setting of the story and characters.
  2. Rising Action – events that lead to the climax.
  3. Climax – the highest point of the action; the crisis.
  4. Falling Action – the events after the crisis.
  5. Denouement – the tying together of loose ends; the resolution.

Tip 3: Have a conflict in your story.  Being new, you should only focus on one conflict. Don’t worry about the different types of conflicts out there, it could confuse you more.  Just think of one thing that you feel can be resolved in your story.

Tip 4. Write.  Tell your story without it being perfect.  Let it spill out with all its imperfections.  Don’t worry about grammar.  DO worry about formatting.  It will help you read you own work easier in the long run.  This is the very basic way to format:

  1. Double space.
  2. Use 12-point font size and Times New Roman for the typeface.
  3. Indent for new paragraphs.
  4. Indent dialogue each time a different character is speaking.

Tip 5: Practice on short pieces.  Even if you have a long story playing in your mind, write out just the parts that are strongest.  Don’t try to get the story down in order.  Use place holders or chapters (with short outlines) for those pieces you have yet to flesh out completely.

That’s it!  Now, get to writing.

AEVA – The Last Hope

AEVA_BookCover_400

Last month, I worked on getting a sci-fi story into an anthology but missed the deadline by a couple of hours.  I’m now looking for other anthologies to submit the story to.  I found a few places that I’d like to submit to but I’m also debating on whether I should turn it into a novella or even a novel and have it published that way.  I never thought making these decisions would be so difficult.

Aeva is a speculative science fiction about artificially created humans and an alien race in dire need of naturally born humans to incubate their eggs.  It takes place many light years away from earth in a different galaxy.  The back story is that just before earth’s surface was destroyed through wars and global warming, a large spaceship was built, and carried in it where humans who were eager to survive and were willing to take the chance of surviving in outer space.  They traveled nowhere for some time until they began to run low on fuel, food, and oxygen.  They located an alien planet named Pfore (pronounced, P-4) where they were able to get what they needed, but they were cautious, and they had every right to be.

The aliens on Pfore looked exactly like humans with the exception that their chests and upper back (just below the neck) was dappled with round scales.  They also have a different reproductive system from humans.  They laid eggs.  Not all at once but one at the time.  A fertilized egg incubates in the female alien for three months before it is pushed out and then matures under the alien’s care.  Somehow, a virus interrupted the alien’s cycle and no eggs were able to survive in its mother’s womb.  The aliens found a way around it by using female humans.

The humans in outer space have their own issues, but long story short, they created artificial humans and removed the reproductive organs from the females.  The aliens can’t use these females to reproduce but they know there are females who can and they know earth is full of them.  After the wars and global warming, humans on earth rebuilt, making earth extremely technologically advanced.  The question now is, will the aliens find a way to earth?