#WIPpet Wednesday and Tales from 10 years ago…

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Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), the leads from Sleepy Hollow. Because pictures of attractive people are a thing one should have on one’s blog.
Image pinched from tvline.com

Is anyone else watching Sleepy Hollow, the new series on FOX (also known by the fans as “Ichabod Crane vs. the 21st Century” because that’s actually the best part of the show and no one’s really caring that much about the supernatural element)? Essentially, the premise is that shortly after beheading the Hessian soldier in the Revolutionary War, Ichabod Crane (in this version, a dashing Oxford scholar who defected to the American side) awakens in the 21st Century, along with the Headless Horseman, who is actually Death, of Four Horsemen fame, and this is the start of the Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Ichabod must learn about showers and handguns with more than one shot in them and taxes on doughnut holes.

Anyway, whilst discussing the second episode with my friend, Casey, last night, I remembered about the story I wrote in late primary school/early high school which also had a time traveling character named Ichabod (I had recently seen the Tim Burton Sleepy Hollow movie; he got renamed Archibald when I was typing things up because I wanted him to have a nickname and Ichy just didn’t work for me, even at age 13).

In the ten years since then, our home computer has been replaced a couple of times, and I’m on my second laptop (which is dying! Ahh!) but I’ve always kept the outline in my Stories folder. I pulled it up last night and, for the first outline I ever actually bothered writing (and even then, I’d written the first half when I figured out where it was going), I was kind of impressed with it… so much so that I almost feel I want to give it another chance… Cos, you know, I totally need more ideas.

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I’m taking you back to Operation: Sugarplum this week, as I’ve finally started working on it a bit more. And by that I mean, forcing myself to because I keep procrastinating and that’s just not good enough. This is the scene before the one I posted last time, and basically immediately after this one from a few weeks ago  (I just jumped a couple of lines to make the maths work better). I’m writing this on Thursday morning, but it’s still Wednesday in parts of the world, so this is 25 lines in honour of the 25th of September. Also, disclaimer: I’m actually not that skilled at writing fight scenes, and a lot of this is still in the “at least write something so you know what’s going on and then you can fix it later” stage.

[The creature] shoved Clara unceremoniously to one side. She tripped on the uneven ground where footpath met grass and fell against the brick wall that closed in a front yard from the nature strip. Her shoulder took the brunt of the impact, and she subconsciously raised an arm to rub it, though her eyes were glued to the scene unfolding in front of her.

For the first time, Clara got a good look at the thing which had been holding her. In place of fingers, it had four long claws and its face protruded in a small snout that put Clara in mind of the mice her brother had kept as pets when he was younger. As Max advanced towards it, its body shimmered slightly and Clara’s eyes widened as six identical copies split off from it and took up positions on either side.

The original one in the middle held up its hands in front of it and a glowing blue orb appeared in between them. It grew steadily larger until it was about the size of a basketball and then the creature lobbed it at Max. It wasn’t until Max raised a sword and deflected the blue orb that Clara realised he’d been holding anything. He took a defencive stance, the sword held in front of him, as the energy from the first blue Orb dissipated and it disappeared.

As if responding to some silent cue from their creator, the six clones then raised their hands in unison and all began creating similar pulsing blue orbs. Clara saw Max stiffen slightly, his eyes darting from one end of the line to the other, but then he squared his shoulders and waited for the onslaught The leader of the creatures laughed its throaty laugh again as the first of the missiles was launched at Max.

“What good is a sword, your Highness, against our powers? They sent you here to protect you, but Look at you! Useless!”

“You’d… be… surprised…” Max grunted, but it was true the odds were not in his favour. While he had been able to defend himself from the first couple of missiles, they were coming thicker and faster, forcing him to manoeuvre awkwardly. To make matters worse, each time one of the orbs was thrown, the thrower would immediately begin creating another, and they seemed to be becoming more powerful. Soon, Max was forced down onto one knee, holding the sword up in front of him like a shield and seemingly hoping for the best.

If you would like to join in on WIPpet Wednesday, just post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow correlates to the date (we encourage being creative with the date because you just Really. Want. To Post. This Bit!) then link up at the linky and check out what others have offered. As always, thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. 🙂 And now it’s probably time I go, since I have to finish a job application. Just because I’m having the day off today because of a sore back (damn not being able to get into the chiropractor til later!), doesn’t mean I should be unproductive. I’ll catch y’all later! 🙂

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#ROW80 Check-in: Yay, feedback! and #WIPPet Wednesday: “We would’ve believed you!”

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Upon posting this post, WordPress informed me this is my 150th. Yay me! *passes around the champagne*

The other night I was doing some work on AMCF and I got to one of my very favourite scenes (for those who are reading it, it’s the scene in the restaurant). I read through it and didn’t make a single change… and that was when I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing I have beta readers.” I am discovering things I had forgotten, too, like the fact that I was already halfway through this draft when I got around to giving Cait’s mother a name – so I had to go through the first few chapters and figure out which “Her mother”s should be changed. I also had a minor character whose stage name was “Lorenzo the Magnificent”… which I completely by accident discovered was how Lorenzo de’Medici came to be known, so I promptly changed him to “Alfonso”, which I feel gives the same effect, but as far as I know doesn’t reference any Florentine noblemen of times gone by.

I got my first bit of feedback in my email today (thanks again, Shan!), and have spent most of the night reading through it, which is why it is already 10:20 and I’m only up to this part of this post. Reading the comments is much less scary than I initially expected, and even on the bits which I love don’t want to change, I tend to end up saying “… that is a very good point you make,” whilst pouting at it. And then there are other bits where I’m like, “Dude, that is the best idea ever! Why didn’t I think of that?!” And there are other bits again where the comments confirmed the mixed feelings I already had about particular scenes, and make me all the more determined to make it work better. I want to dive into those parts already, but I am convincing myself to wait until I have heard back from a few more people and consolidate the comments from at least a few of them. I sent it to eight people, I think, and I know a few aren’t going to be able to get to it until later in the month/early October, so I’m telling myself to be patient.

I’ve also decided on one plot I’m going to use for NaNoWriMo, which is exciting. If my writer’s group meets up again this Sunday (which I think is the current plan), I’m going to bounce some ideas off them. I have the premise and a vague idea of where the story needs to go, but no idea about the resolution at the moment. So that’s quite exciting.

And now I’d best get onto WIPpet Wednesday, since it continues to get later and I continue to write this post at a snail’s pace. WIPpet Wednesday is where a bunch of writers come together and share something from their current Work In Progress that somehow relates to the date. The linky is here, feel free to join in! As always, thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. Today is the 18th of September, so I’m flipping those two numbers around to get to Page 81, and then adding the two digits,  together to give you nine lines. Also, look I made a banner! Sure, it’s just a screencap from Phantom of the Opera, but on my whole AMCF Pinterest board, it is the picture I feel is most representative of Cait and Felipe (even if by the time they’re at that stage of the relationship, Felipe’s leg injury would prevent any scooping up of Cait and swinging her about. Knowing Cait, she’d probably see this as a good thing).

Anyways. It’s no wonder this post is taking so long to write when I keep rambling like that. This scene takes place just after it’s become reasonably common knowledge in the war hospital that Cait and Felipe are friends, and that she’s the woman there were all the rumours about.

amcfbanner “Why did you never tell us you were the prince’s friend?” Hattie asked, “I’ll admit, even Meg and I thought it a bit strange the way you were always asking about him.”

“I became quite used to rumours spreading about me,” Cait replied, “and besides, most people wouldn’t have believed me anyway, had I said that mine and the prince’s meetings were simply borne out of friendship.”

“I would have!” Hattie exclaimed, sounding affronted, “and I’m sure Meg would have as well!”

All right! That is posted, and it’s now past 11pm, so I should consider going to bed. At least I had dinner and showered and things at reasonable times so that I could then just sit on the computer until bedtime. I shall try to get around to as many of your posts as I can tomorrow night, and will try and catch the rest of you on Saturday (Friday is out, as I have a free ticket to the local production of Footloose, which should be fun! I shall see you all then!

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#ROW80 Check-in: Accidental new WIP and #WIPpet Wednesday – Wait, what?!

So I was thinking. I had said I was going to do a quick line-edit-type-of-thing on A More Complicated Fairytale before I sent the second draft out to beta readers. But I also needed a break form that story, and I am working on Operation Sugarplum and Keep Your Enemies Closest at the moment, so… instead of just having it sit there, I figured the second draft might as well be being read over by people and getting some feedback. It’s about 37k if memory serves, and WIPpet Wednesday excerpts can be read here if you’d like an idea of the type of story it is (to sum up, for those not familiar with it, it is a quasi-Regency/Victorian setting and there is an outspoken heroine and a war and a dashing prince and drama and romance!). Either let me know here, or send me an email at fuzzyagent999[@]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au. If you aren’t interested/haven’t the time/whatever else, but know someone who might be, please feel free to share this post/my email address/whatnot.

In other news… this is a thing that happened on Monday night:

newwipoopsrow80-2So. Um. Yes. Annoyingly, I can’t really even use it for WIPpet Wednesday posts, since that would get confusing when I’m regularly posting sections on Saturdays. But that’s okay. I spent all three of my breaks (morning/afternoon tea and lunch) on Monday writing new stuff for it. I also realised that the section I’d written last year, I had written before the further world-building I did  in which I discovered all Mireille’s people are all born with magical abilities was done. So I’ve gone through and edited some references to magic in.

A couple of people in my writer’s group have stories that they serialise, and post as they go, pretty much, and it’s interesting hearing them say that one of the perils/thrills of doing it that way is having to live with what you’ve already posted, even if it doesn’t work with something you come up with later. I’m actually planning on cheating a bit with mine. This Saturday will start a few lines before the end of last Saturday’s post, but with an amendment that gives a bit more depth to the end of that scene. My blog may have over 120 followers, supposedly, but I’m fairly certain only maybe 20 of those actually read it regularly, and I think they’ll forgive me. 🙂 Obviously, if something three posts ago affects what I’m writing now, I’ll try and work  with it, but… well, we’ll see how it goes. I was thinking that maybe when it’s finished, I’ll put the whole thing into a PDF and just have it a link on my Writing Projects page, with full disclaimers of it being a bit inconsistent and all.

wednesdaybannerBut on to WIPpet Wednesday! Want to play along? Simply post an excerpt from a WIP, or write the opening of a new one, that somehow corresponds to the days date. This might be as simple as 28 lines (maybe from Chapter 8) for August 28, or you could get more creative and throw in some more complicated operations and such. The linky is here and as always, it’s thank you to K. L. Schwengel at My Random Muse for hosting.

I’m adding 2 and 8 together today to give you 10 lines, because I don’t actually have a huge amount of Operation: Sugarplum to pick from at the moment (kind of stuck on a fight scene where I don’t know how I want it to play out). This scene is not long after last week’s, in which Clara was being followed on her way home from uni. She’s been caught by a creature with long claws and bad breath, who wants to know where “the Prince” is. Clara is trying to insist she doesn’t know any princes when Max (her boyfriend in this newer version, if you remember) shows up, and the creature is all, “Your Highness, so nice to see you.” Or words to that effect.

Wait – Max was the prince the creature had asked about? Under other circumstances, Clara might have laughed at the suggestion. She had known Max a long time and while she loved him to bits, of course, “princely” was hardly a word she would use to describe him. “Adorkable” (with the additional ‘k’) was usually what she went for. It summed up everything she liked about him, but also gave a sense of how he’d been known to cancel a pre-arranged date night to sit in his room and continue work on the app he was building. Afterwards, he’d given her a big, doe-eyed expression, handed her his phone and told her she could be the first one to play the new level, and she found she couldn’t stay mad at him for long.

Right now, however, Max didn’t seem at all surprised to be addressed with the royal title, and was making his way determinedly towards Clara and her captor.

“Let her go,” he said, his voice raised. “It’s me you want.”

In my head(/on my Pinterest board), Max looks like Josh Groban in fetching suits and scarves and things. I wouldn’t be able to stay mad at him after getting doe-eyed expressions either.

And now I must leave you, as I hope to get up early enough in the morning to ride my bike to work. I have a writer’s group gathering tomorrow evening, so hopefully I’ll get my other hour of writing in for the week. I might bounce some ideas off people for that fight scene I said I was stuck with. So it might be Friday before I get around to your posts, but I will see you then! Cheers!

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#MirthMusicMon – The Very Model of a Modern Major-General and #ROW80 Check-in: Damn that book being good!

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The other night, I finally got around to doing something I’ve been meaning to do for years and downloaded a version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado from iTunes. The following night, I did the same with The Pirates of Penzance, and as such, have been listening to them all week. So it only makes sense that something from one of those is my contribution to Mirth and Music Monday this week. I did manage to pick about the longest song that I could, but it really is the best one. This is the version of Pirates that I grew up with on video, and it never ceases to amaze me that the guy playing Major-General Stanley is the same guy playing Nanki-Poo in this production of the Mikado. Said productions were only a few years apart. I think Mikado was second, too. The same company also did HMS Pinafore, that was the only one I got to see live, and I’m pretty sure I was too young to understand half the jokes, but it was still lots of fun. Anyway. I am rambling! Video!

And now onto my ROW80 check-in. Um. Well. You know how I said on Wednesday that I had started a new book and it had grabbed me in the first two pages? Well, it continued to keep me reading so much so that I gave up any plans of getting anything else done until I finished it. Which was yesterday. The book was The Amulet of Samarkand, the first in the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathon Stroud. And it was awesome. But that did mean I basically had today to get anything done. And I did write for two hours! The two hours preceding the writing of this post, in fact. I wrote about 300 words on Operation: Sugarplum; not the best result, but  the scene that I’m currently working on is proving tricky to actually make turn into words on a page.

I did, however, also manage to add 500+ words to my Short Story Saturday serial, Keep Your Enemies Closest. Actually, I also worked on that a bit yesterday, going through what I wrote last year and fixing it up and making it better. The story is coming along nicely. I’ve come up with a bit of world-building tonight that I wasn’t expecting, so that’s exciting. Also exciting is that people seem to be enjoying it so far, even if it is basically me foisting a first draft on an unsuspecting audience.

… I am vaguely worried it is going to turn into a full-fledged WIP, but… I could actually live with that. It is a prequel to Friend of the Enemy, so if I end up writing one instead of the other, I’m not hugely bothered. The plan I’ve got for it in my head is paced reasonably quickly, so even if it does take over, hopefully it won’t be for too long.

Anyway, it’s time for me to schedule this post for tomorrow morning and go to bed. I shall catch you all at your check-ins. 🙂

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Belated Short Story Saturday – Dodgis-Trilvain Relations

So fellow WIPpeteer over at the Ink and Papyrus Blog has started up a blog hop called Short Story Saturday, and from the name, it should be fairly self-explanatory what it’s all about. After a bit of fiddling, I managed to set up a linky for it, so feel free to join in, if not today, then next weekend! I know, I know, the time of posting says nearly 5pm Sunday, but it is still Saturday on the West Coast of America for another… 40 minutes, so I’m totally justified! Right? I will try to be a bit more on time next weekend, though, yeah. Had a busier weekend than I expected.

Anyway, I decided to use Short Story Saturday as a way of exploring the history between the two countries in Friend of the Enemy, the WIP I plan to start working on while I take a break from A More Complicated Fairytale (I know, some of you probably would like to see more of Operation: Sugarplum; I’ll try to get some more momentum going on that, too, if possible, but I’ll have to see). I’ve tried to make this excerpt sound like it comes from an older academic text book, hence masculine pronouns to indicate ” everyone”, and that sort of thing; while I haven’t entirely figured out the setting in terms of approximate time period, I’m thinking that Dodgis, the country the main protagonist is from, will be something like a slightly anachronistic, maybe even almost Steampunk(ish) Renaissance – think TV show Da Vinci’s Demons, if you’ve ever seen that. If not, looking up a trailer on YouTube should probably give you an idea. The Trilvainians are probably a little more behind, since they are religious and magical, rather than engineering and scientific.

Without further ado, here is is my contribution for Short Story Saturday:

Extract from A War Goes On by Professor Shyem Mosan, Modern History Faculty, Orhess University

Introduction

The war between Dodgis and Trilvain may have officially ended nearly half a century ago, but the effects of it linger on. People of either nationality refuse to look each other in the eye, each blaming the other for the damage that was wrought on his country.  Even before the war, a Dodgish child who exhibited any form of magic was told to hide his ability, lest he be ostracised by his peers. This treatment has only increased since the war. One can only imagine that the same is true of any Trilvainian child who expressed an interest in engineering or another of the careers valued so highly in Dodgis.

It must be said at the outset that Dodgis did not invade Trilvain expecting a war. The first Dodgish forces to set foot in that country honestly thought they would be going in to help. The Trilvainian people accepted their rulers’ words blindly, were taxed to their limits without objection, and the majority had very little while the few had far too much.

These Dodgish humanitarians made the mistake, however, of expecting to be welcomed with open arms as the saviours of the Trilvainian people. They didn’t realise how steadfastly even the poorest of Trilvainians would cling to their religion and their magic, how distrustful they would be of Dodgish technology and how vehemently they believed everything they were told by their rulers.

Soon a rescue mission turned into bloody violence, magic against firearms, religion against science. Enemy spies were captured on both sides and some remain in prison to this day. At the end of the war, Trilvain agreed to better conditions for its people, and during the biennial Peace Fair, Dodgish and Trilvainian officials meet to supposedly ensure these conditions are being met, but life for the average Trilvainian has not changed much.

Will Dodgis try again? Perhaps. But given the bad blood between the two countries, which only seems to be increasing, it is unlikely that the goodwill that those first soldiers entering Trilvain attempted to extend will be felt in any way by present-day Dodgish. We can only hope that somehow, prejudices will be challenged and that better relations can be established between our two systems of government.

There may or may not be some foreshadowing of what happens in the actual novel in that final line. ^_^ I shall leave this post here, since it’s now only 25 minutes until midnight in LA, and will see you again tomorrow for ROW80 check-in and MMM. I’ll try to get my blogging schedule a bit more like what I wanted it to over this week. Catch you later!

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#WIPpet Wednesday: an Honest Conversation

It’s time for another WIPpet Wednesday! *drum rolls*

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The rules are simple: just post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow corresponds to the date. Today is April 3, so you could post three lines or paragraphs, or a part of Chapter 3, or Page 3… you get the idea. When you’ve posted, come on over to My Random Muse and click the blog hop to join in.

I’ve chosen three paragraphs from Page 31 of A More Complicated Fairytale… It was going to be page 30 so that I’d have a multiple of 3, but Page 31 is more interesting. This scene takes place after the funeral of Cait’s sweetheart, who is killed in the war their country is waging against the neighbouring one (really must come up with some names for these kingdoms!). Prince Felipe showed up there, and then insisted on chatting to her afterwards. She thought he was going to be irritating, which is what usually happens when they’re in the same room, but she is surprised.

“I know this man meant a lot to you, and while I am sure this would not have occurred to you while you are consumed by your own grief, I understand what you’re going through.” Cait opened her mouth to argue but he didn’t let her. “You will remember I lost my brother to this very war.”

Cait looked away. She had forgotten this fact in her own grief. The Prince Felipe she knew was always so self-assured, always trying to irritate her, and it had simply not occurred to her that perhaps he had once been grieving his brother.

“I’m sorry,” was all she could manage.

“It’s perfectly all right,” he assured her, “I know how I come across to you. It’s quite deliberate, actually, the charming playboy with nary a care in the world act. It’s what I prefer to show the world.”

Okay, I cheated, it’s four paragraphs, but the WIPpet people seem like a nice enough bunch that I think I can get away with it. Besides, Cait’s apology doesn’t really count when it’s only a line, right? 😛

To make up my dishonesty, here’s an extra bit for this post. I spent yesterday properly casting these two characters and now have actual pictures for both of them. So, introducing, Felipe and Cait!

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Also known as stage actors Hadley Fraser and Stephanie J. Block. You do have to imagine both of theme a little younger, since Cait and Felipe are both about 20 when the story starts and 22 at the most when it ends (I still haven’t got my timeline completely sorted). While I had always had a picture in my head for Felipe, Cait proved harder to get an image for. I finally managed it yesterday, though.

Oddly, in the end, they were both cast from the sounds of their voices more so than their looks. I really like musicals, and despite the fact that it failed on Broadway, The Pirate Queen is an album that gets a lot of play time on my iPod. I had long ago decided the voice of Hadley Fraser, who played the male lead, matched the voice of Felipe I had in my head, and a Google Image Search assured me that yes, he was also handsome enough. 😉 Conveniently, he has also played Roaul in Phantom of the Opera, which means there are photos of him such as the one above where he’s actually wearing the type of thing I imagine Felipe would also wear (since the story has a quasi-Victorian setting). So that was nice. I don’t like the Raoul hair, but I’m rolling with it.

Usually, I have a rule of not casting people who have played a couple in actuality as the couple in my stories, just because then I run the risk of just writing fan fiction for those characters rather than the characters I should be writing… but considering a) Felipe and Cait were already well-established in my head when I put these faces to them, b) I never saw The Pirate Queen and c) even if I had, from what I can tell, the characters in that are quite different from mine, I think I’m okay.

This is, of course, how they appear in my head. From the little snippets you’ve seen, how did you guys imagine them?

Also, also! As I mentioned in my ROW80 post yesterday, I got some really good feedback on the first draft of this from one of my post-NaNoWriMo Writing Group (known as PoNoWriGro) buddies. She made a really good point about the climax of the story, namely that I build up some really good tension, and then resolve it basically straight away. So I’ve found a way to keep the tension there a bit longer, but I don’t really know how to resolve it later on in the piece if I follow this course of action. So still I’m puzzling that out.

Anywho! This post is long enough! Catch you all on Sunday, or on your own blogs, or wherever!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Round 2, 2013 – Goals Post

row80 For those who are new around here, A Round of Words in 80 Days is the “writing challenge that knows you have a life”. Round 2 for 2013 started yesterday (April 1) and goes through until June 20. I was rather under the impression that it would not start for another week, hence my goals post being a bit late. In fact, I haven’t really thought about goals for this round yet.

My primary project will still be A More Complicated Fairytale, the first draft of which is currently with beta readers. I have received feedback from one beta already, and it was fabulous and has given me some new ideas for the second draft. That said, I’m trying to convince myself to wait til I’ve heard from a few more so that I can see whether there are any running themes in what people say, and also because I don’t want to be writing a new draft to take into account each person’s feedback.

My secondary project will be my modern-day adaptation of The Nutcracker, tentatively titled Operation: Sugarplum. So far this project consists of half a plot outline and a few character sketches. I’m currently reading a couple of different translations of Hoffman’s original story, upon which the ballet and all the other adapatations are based, and then I’ll need to get started on my world-building… the real-world stuff is set present-day, but currently I have no idea about the magical other world.

I considered doing Camp NaNoWriMo and using this story, but, well, Round 1 of Camp is upon us, I didn’t have enough plot and didn’t really fancy trying to pants it. So I’ll be setting my own writing schedule for the next couple of months, though Camp is still on the cards for July, especially since I’ll be traipsing around Europe in November and won’t be participating then. I have to say,I love that you can now set your own word count goal. Maybe I’ll do Camp instead of the “official” event more often in the future.

So having now waffled on for four paragraphs, I suppose some goals are in order. I found last round that I am much better at setting aside a couple of nights a week for writing than trying to squeeze something in every day. If I do manage to write every day, that’s fantastic, but I don’t want to feel guilty if that doesn’t happen. I don’t have uni to worry about, having cancelled my enrollment a couple of weeks ago, which leaves my weekends nice and free. Therefore, I think my goals for this round will be to work on A More Complicated Fairytale for two hours a week, and spend another hour a week brainstorming Operation Sugarplum. Friday night makes a good week, and for the first couple of weeks, Wednesday can be my other nominated writing night, at least until my Italian course finishes on April 16. After that, I’ll probably go for Tuesday and Friday nights. This round, I don’t think I will stipulate when I write my Check-in posts. Now that I do WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy enough to do a Wednesday check-in at the same time, and I like writing Sunday ones to sum up the week, so sometimes I’ll do that, too! Yay!

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’m going to go have some afternoon tea and then push through for the last hour or so of work. I’m trying to comment on some of your goals posts as well, so I might see you there!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in #9.5: Completed my WIP! and WIPpet Wednesday: Introducing Cait

row80Last night I went to bed in a very good mood. I finished my WIP! Or the first draft at least. Just a few formatting fix-ups and then I’ll send it off to beta readers. I often have trouble finishing off a story with a concise, punchy closing line, but the one for this story came fairly easily.

While this story is with beta readers, I have a couple of options of other things to work on. I have two different versions of the Nutcracker out from the library, as well as the Penguin version newly purchased on my Kindle… I want to read as much as possible of this story before I start working on the modern-day retelling of the story that I am throwing around ideas for. I also want to do some work on last year’s NaNoWriMo, which I reread recently and realised was nowhere near as bad as I had convinced myself it was. Obviously being a NaNo MS, it has inconsistencies and typos and all that sort of thing, but I think it has potential.

So there’s also that, though at the moment the reading seems the most appealing, since lately I’ve been in “Write all the words!” mode and haven’t really taken any time out for just reading. I’m currently in the middle of the second Temeraire book, but I think I’ve read maybe 70 pages in the last 10 days. Being able to justify reading something during my designated writing time sounds like a plan.

And, since it is Wednesday again, it’s time for another WIPpet Wednesday!

The rules of WW are as follows, you simply post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow corresponds to the day’s date. Today is the 13th, so you might post 13 lines, something from Chapter 13… etc. Last week you guys met Prince Felipe, a bit of a playboy but new heir to the throne since his older brother was killed in the ongoing war between their kingdom and the neighbouring one. This week I wanted to introduce you to Cait, perhaps the only girl in the kingdom who hasn’t fallen for his charm at some point.

Though this wasn’t a conscious decision, while I was writing, I found Cait reminding me a bit of Elizabeth Bennett, in that she allows her preconceived ideas about the prince – most of which come from what she reads in the newspapers and a five-minute conversation she has with him at the beginning – to prevent her from actually seeing him as a person. I think this comes through a bit in the 13 lines I’ve chosen for today’s post. The conversation takes place just after it has been announced that Prince Felipe has chosen a wife and that the wedding will take place in a month.

“Well, I’m happy for them,” Cait declared one afternoon a few days after the news had been announced, “now it’s only a month and all the fuss will be over.”

“Cait, you’re always talking about Prince Felipe as though you really dislike him,” commented her sister, Ginny, whose hair Cait was brushing, “he only wanted to dance with you. Was he really as bad as all that?”

Cait shrugged. “I suppose not. I guess I just didn’t find him as charming as all the other girls seem to. Everyone seems to think I should have considered it a huge privilege that he asked me to dance with him.”

“Well… he is the prince.”

“Oh, not you as well, Ginny.”

Ginny does have a point. He might be a bit of a prat, but he is a good person underneath it all, I promise! This is it from me as it is now actually Thursday and after my grand intentions to grab the links to the blog hop when they appeared (which is never til Thursday evening my time). The ROW80 blog hop is here and you can join in the WIPpet Wednesday fun here via myrandommuse. See y’all Sunday! 😀

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in #7: Ergh.

Edit: WordPress just informed me that I just reached 50 followers on this blog! Wow! I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve that, but thank you to everyone for your support, encouragement and other kind words over the last year. I appreciate it all! ♥

Well, the second half of this week was nowhere near as productive as I might have hoped. Mostly I was feeling restless and just not in the mood for writing, which I know is no excuse, but just every time I sat down to write, my mind was completely blank and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where to go from where I was.

row80Of course, this has happened enough times in the past that I really should know by now that all I have to do is force out a couple of lines and then things usually tend to start flowing properly. This I finally did last night (Sunday; I am writing this on Monday morning), and got about 750 words out… so not great, but…

In light of that, my “write 3000 words for every week in February” plan has kind of died, but that’s okay, if a bit disappointing. If I can write another 2500 words before Thursday, I will be at 10000 words for the month, and will be able to say that for the first time ever, I have written that amount in a month, two months in a row. As I said back in Check-in #2 for this round, I’m never this productive outside of NaNoWriMo!

I did realise, though, that those 2500 words I want to write this week may well see me through to the end of my WIP, or very nearly. Which on the one hand is fantastic, but on the other hand is completely terrifying! I think part of the reason I haven’t done much with either of my NaNoWriMo manuscripts is that I’m actually scared of completing the process any further than the writing part… well, I’m okay with self-edits and redrafting, but actually giving it to beta readers and an editor and finally getting to actual publication and having to do all the work associated with that is quite scary. But I figure I will cross those bridges when I get to them.

I’m going to finish up here, and actually attempt to comment on some fellow ROW80ers’ blogs, unlike I did on Wednesday. I shall see next Sunday!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Update – Thank Goodness That’s Over

Well, I won NaNoWriMo 2012, which is nice… My story really started running out of steam at about 45000 words, but I was determined to win again this year, particularly since I will be traveling next November and unable to participate. So I just threw in an epilogue (the title of which was literally “Emily has run out of story before she ran out of words”), which gave me the last couple of thousand words that I needed. I actually like the epilogue more than some parts of the actual story, though, so you never know, it may survive revisions. My villain turned out to be rather useless and easy to defeat; I need to develop him some more so he doesn’t just stand there and do almost nothing and end up being really easy to defeat.

https://i0.wp.com/files.content.lettersandlight.org/nano-2012/files/2012/11/Winner-120x240.jpgI have to admit, though, that while I definitely enjoyed going to the write-ins and meeting other participants, something I didn’t really do last year, I don’t think I enjoyed the writing as much as last year. Maybe this is because last year, though I got three days behind early on in the months when I went home for a weekend, I then wrote fairly consistently until I caught up again two weeks later. This year, I seemed to get behind at the end of each week, and have to force myself to catch up on the weekend, something that wasn’t always fun. I definitely wouldn’t have won without four-hour write-ins on Sunday afternoons, plus a couple of other 3000-4000 word days.

Now that NaNo’s over, I need to give that story a rest for at least a month before I start looking at it again, though I might get it printed in time to read on the way home for my Christmas holidays. In the meantime, I’m trying to come up with a Christmassy idea to spend my December working on.  To quote what I said on my Livejournal, “I have no ideas, and don’t know whether I want to write something like Love, Actually, which is about people at Christmas time, or a more whimsical thing with Santa and elves and stuff. I always feel a bit intimidated by the idea of the latter, because there are already so many good stories out there like Arthur Christmas or that upcoming something of the Guardians movie with the Tooth Fairy and Santa and the Easter Bunny and stuff.” Someone at work suggested have someone plotting to kill Santa, which does interest me, but there was a really good Avengers fanfic where Loki was plotting just that, and it was SO GOOD, and I would just be all influenced by that and don’t think I’d write my own story. But it’s still an idea. Any suggestions or prompts in either vein would be quite welcome.

Of course, if nothing comes of that, I can always just write something else. I am going to be at my parents’ place for two and a half weeks over Christmas and they have limited Internet (1gb/month, which is plenty for them, but I’m like, “PARENTS Y U DO THIS TO MEEEEEEEEE?!) Plus there is the six or so hours of travel each way. I don’t drive, so I’m always on a bus or train or whatever. So there will be plenty of time for new inspiration to strike. And if all else fails, I keep plugging away at that story that I’ve been trying to get out of my head all year, but which remains stubborn.

On that note, I shall love you all and leave you, as I have dinner plans for this evening and should probably start getting ready. I shall catch up with your check-ins tomorrow! 😀

~ Emily