One Name to Rule Them All

The other day, as a fun side project (AKA a distraction from AWTTU), I started expanding out the story scrap I call “Premonition.”  I got pretty far with the narrative until I realized, when I got to a piece of dialogue where our narrator is addressed my name, I didn’t even have a name for her.

At first, I chose Holly;  then, Julia; then Illana; then Olivia.  Also, I was considering Amy, but because I just so happen to have another character in the story named Rory, I’m a little bit hesitant about that one.  Wouldn’t want to get into trouble with the BBC over that!  (Amy Pond and Rory Williams are two characters from the British serial Doctor Who, for all non-Whovians out there who wanted to know what I was referencing.)

I’m don’t usually pick unusual-sounding names with special, plot-relevant meanings.  That sort of thing really doesn’t matter to me.  I prefer “ordinary” names that have a certain ring to them (no pun intended, honest!).  I do like the names I’ve come up with so far – they all do have that ring to them – but I can’t decide on which one name rules them all. 😉

*In Dora the Explorer’s voice* I need your help!  Can you help me choose a name for my character?

I suppose I ought to give some background information for the character, although at this stage of development, these details are wishy-washy-er than good ol’ Charlie Brown and highly subject to change.  That might help in determining a name that really, truly fits her character….

My character is approximately fifteen years old.  She recently lost her mother in a fatal car accident.  She’s been trying to suppress her emotions, not wanting to wallow in depression and despair, but can’t simply “move on” from the experience just yet either.  As a result, she’s somewhat apathetic and reserved, but she’ll eventually come out of her shell and rekindle her adventurous spirit.  She is also frightened by her bizarre, supernatural ability to foresee the future, but over time, she will learn to use her ability to help others and, in the process, help herself.  The events of my story will (hopefully) shape her into a more confident person.

Thanks in advance for your help, dear readers! 🙂

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Story scrap: “Premonition”

The other day, I decided to freewrite something.  The end product is a short piece that I suppose could be a prologue to a much longer sci-fi fantasy story.  I don’t know how far I’d be able to take this one, since I’m not particularly good at fantasy stories.  I’m calling this one “Premonition,” about a girl who can foresee future events, some calamitous, some not.   The question is, what is she supposed to do with this information?  Is the future – and the past – writ in stone, or can her actions in the meantime make a difference?

 I saw the flames as they licked the tops of the tallest trees, destroying not only the dry, autumn leaves, but the creatures that called the forest their home.  I saw the wreckage on the highway, the crumpled heaps of two cars and an eighteen-wheeler truck.  The truck was relatively intact, the bright banner advertising a soft drink company still emblazoned on its side.

My mother’s body was being wheeled away from the scene on a stretcher by two paramedics, a sheet covering her from head to toe.  Her bloodied arm dangled limply off the side, exposed; somehow, the charm bracelet she’d worn for as long as I could remember had survived better than she had.

The orange blanket around my shoulders did nothing to quell the chill going through my body.  It wasn’t just the shock of the crash.  It wasn’t the throbbing pain in my shattered leg.  It wasn’t the droning of the tactless police officer to my right as he asked me questions I couldn’t answer.

I’d seen this exact event before.  If only I could have stopped it from happening.

 

It’s definitely in need of extreme polishing, but it’s a start. 🙂

Writing Goals: Status Update

In my earlier post, Writing Goals (for Now), I set some tentative goals for what writing-related activities I’d like to do:

Main goals:

  1. Work on a new full-length children’s novel I haven’t discussed before on this blog.  It may or may not involve spies.
  2. Research cool time periods in history for Adventures with My Time-Traveling Uncle.  (Currently considering: assassination of John Lennon in 1980, ancient Mayans, and the Boston Tea Party, and the French Revolution.)
  3. Lead a multiwriter story project for a Doctor Who fan group I administrate.

Side goals (aka the ones I don’t really know if I’m going to do at all):

  1. Edit Secrets in Seaport one last time due to some minor typos that were brought to my attention only now.
  2. Make Secrets in Seaport available in eBook format(s).  (I’d make the aforementioned edits before doing so.)
  3. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo.

Well, I did fix the minor typos in SIS that I intended (but then I found two more miniscule but, to me, glaring, errors *facepalm*).  Lesson learned: if I truly want to self-publish professional quality books, I really ought to invest in having a professional editor’s guidance for at least part of the way, because self-editing really isn’t my strength.

I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and found it to be an enjoyable experience.  I was invited to join a wonderful “virtual” cabin with good company of both old and new friends, and we’ve been having  a grand, old time just hanging out, kvetching about our goals, and giving each other encouragement as we each work towards them.

With regards to my main goals, I am making some progress with Adventures with a Time-Traveling Uncle.  So far, Kimberly and Daniel are hanging out with the ancient Mayans, trying to find Uncle Jake.  I have a bit of a crazy idea for how they’re going to find him.  Mwahahaha!

To tell you the truth, most of what I know about the Mayans, I picked up while playing a Nancy Drew PC game, Secret of the Scarlet Hand.  I mean, I did learn about them in school, but they didn’t make it quite as interesting as Nancy does.  But here’s another idea – maybe Jake will upset the sitting Mayan king and get locked away in a monolith or something.  Kimberly and Daniel will have to save him!

Well, that’s where I am so far.  Have a great weekend, folks!

P.S. This blog was originally to showcase a lot of my old writings.  I still do post new materials from time to time, but I realize I post more about my writing process than post the actual fruits of my writing labors….

All Done!

I met my Camp NaNoWriMo goal about 35 minutes after I posted my last update.  Whew, what an experience!

I think I’ll do this again next year, maybe even twice in a row if my schedule permits.  Doing a NaNoWriMo of sorts in the spring and summer months is so much more convenient for my schedule, and I like how flexible the challenges are.  Instead of committing myself to writing 50,000 (FIFTY THOUSAND) words in a month like I’d eventually have to do in “proper” NaNoWriMo once I graduate from the Young Writers’ Program, NaNo-ers young and old can set their goals to be between 10,000 and 100,000 (?) words – a much less daunting task for first-timers – without feeling too silly. 😀

I didn’t finish some of the short stories I started; if I got too overwhelmed, I’d press “CTRL+Enter” on my keyboard and start a new one on a fresh word processor page.  The last story I was working on before I met my goal was a Wild, Wild West story about Dr. Loveless and hot air balloons.  It’s begging for further additions and improvement (especially because I feel my portrayal of the title character, James West, is severely lacking in this story).  I do hope to add more to it, and maybe then, I’ll post it here for all to see (and laugh at).

Part of me wonders, should I up my goal to 15,000 words for an additional challenge, or should I get up from my writing desk (which, in no way, resembles a raven,) and enjoy this gorgeous summer weather a bit more?

The Four Questions

Why is this post different from all other posts…? 😛

Today, I was invited by published author and blogger, Claire Banschbach, to answer four questions on writing and then invite three others to do the same.  Thank you so much, Claire, for this opportunity – I feel honored. 🙂

 What am I working on?

At present, I’m working on a collection of short stories and story scraps for Camp NaNoWriMo and a time-travel story (which amazingly, has nothing to do with Doctor Who or Back to the Future :D) called Adventures with my Time-Traveling Uncle.  I’m also thinking of working on a story about spies, but I think it would be wise for me to make some room on my plate of projects before I focus on that full-time.

How is my work different from others of its genre?

In general, I try to keep my writings appropriate for readers of all ages, even if I’m writing for young readers to begin with.  While the story itself might go completely over the head of a kindergartener, if they opened one of my books to any page, they won’t be exposed to any “bad words.”  Frankly, I’m not impressed by some of the contents that publishers are allowing into middle grade and YA fiction.  Some people, it seems, are putting inappropriate content in young people’s’ books for shock factor, to “help” kids by exposing them to things their parents may be sheltering them from indefinitely (often for good reason), or because their publishers require it.

Why do I write what I do?

I write the things I wish were already written, partly to entertain myself, and partly to put in my two cents towards making the world, with concentration on the world of literature, a better place.  It isn’t enough that I recycle cans and bottles every week to make this world a better place.  As Miss Banschbach said in her own answer, “I … want to write stories that I would feel comfortable letting my younger siblings read and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to a younger audience. I think that’s something we’re lacking in this day and age.”  I agree with that sentiment completely.  I write what I do to improve the variety of books targeted at young people; in the process, I’m writing the kind of books I enjoy, clean books.

 How does my writing process work?

When I first think of an idea, I’ll usually daydream about it for awhile, playing with it and expanding it out in different hypothetical situations.  Once I have some material I like, I’ll either start outlining the story around it, or I’ll freewrite based on a few “fixed points” that I want to include, making up the rest as I go along.  The outlining phase tends to happen in my head, where I’m relying solely on memory (and that’s not always so reliable), because I haven’t yet developed a neat way to outline my stories on paper.  While I know how to outline essays just fine, the thought of using that system on something ten times bigger seems daunting to me.  Alternatively, if I need to get the general storyline on physical paper, I’ll write a long, Wikipedia-style synopsis of my story and work with that. 😛

When it comes to the medium I write on/with/in, I find I’m partial to using a word processor.   I like playing with cool fonts for things like Chapter Titles or excerpts of characters’ handwriting.  (I really tortured my readers with Dr. Adams’ Very Horrible penmanship in Secrets in Seaport, didn’t I?)  In that sense, my manuscripts tend to be very “graphic.”

I used to write my stories in notebooks, but when I did that and then started transcribing the words onto the computer, a) I couldn’t read my handwriting, and b) I’d subconsciously go into editor-mode and start making changes right then and there.  Why the heck did I write that?  If I wrote it this way, it’ll sound better.  But if I do that, then how do I tie in that later plot point?  I know, I’ll just scrap that entirely and do this instead….

Pretty much, the story that went into the electronic document tended to end up dramatically different from the one in my notebook from a certain point on.

I rarely type my manuscripts in the “proper” format one uses when submitting to a publisher.  Since I intend self-publish, the onus of making the pages look visually pleasing will inevitably be on me.  And since I’m interested in graphics artistry, it’s a part of preparing the book that I really enjoy. 🙂

 

Thank you again, Claire, for inviting me to take part in this activity.  It’s been loads of fun!  Now, I shall invite three more writers/bloggers to participate:

  • Becky Laine – blogger, seamstress, ABBA fan, and published author
  • Faith Johnson – blogger, poet, and novelist
  • Hannah Song -blogger, writer, and fellow founder of the Figgies in the TARDIS

I think that’s what bloggers mean when they say “I’ve been tagged,” and proceed to answer a set of questions.  In that case, tag, you’re it! 😉

“Oooh, I’m halfway there….”

Hello Readers, hello Writers:

It’s my sixth day over at Camp NaNoWriMo.  I haven’t started writing fiendishly today, but I figured I should share the good news: at this point, I’ve passed the 50% mark.  I am now half way towards my writing goal of 10,000 words.

To celebrate, I’m going to take a break.

Just kidding. 😀

The show must go on!  I’m going to try to write a thousand words today, but not necessarily in one sitting.  The weather is gorgeous today and I’m not going to waste away a beautiful day cooped up indoors pushing myself to the brink of writer’s block.

Good luck, fellow Camp NaNo-ers!  Remember that this isn’t only about meeting a goal or winning a contest.  It’s also about having fun.  🙂