Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Nano (page 1 of 2)

Better Progress on the Writing Front

Well, as the title says, I’ve had better progress on the writing front. Most of this has been over this month (November), but not for the obvious reason, which is NaNo. I didn’t participate in National Novel Writing Month this year.

Instead, I’ve been working on reverse outlining and outlining a couple of different mystery stories. Back in October, I started with working on Independent Investigations 1 again. You may all recall this as being titled, “Boost.” Well, in early October, I realized why I wasn’t working on it—the story I originally conceived was too dark. I used to be able to write dark stuff. Not only that, I actively sought dark ideas to write in my stories. However, I just could not maintain the level of darkness necessary for making the POVMC, Mat, suffer a downward spiral into drug addiction as originally planned. So I rethought things, and realized a way to make it more optimistic while keeping the basics of the story. This was aided by my fiancee, Tess, who made some suggestions about discoveries Mat could make outside of xyr focused investigations into murders. The series is still Independent Investigations, but the new story is titled Acid Reflux.

This meant I basically tossed everything I had of the original story. Outline, notes, all but one of the scenes I’d already written. All of this went into files I’m going to mine for future stuff. Then I restarted the outline in Scapple, without looking at the original outline overmuch. I basically took off from what I remembered of the original manuscript and notes and developed a brand new style of developing stories in Scapple to fit the mystery genre, and I’m writing directly from the Scapple file’s outline instead of transferring the salient points to a plot card in Scrivener. Mainly because most of my Scapple outline notes have too much salient information for me to be able to do that with any ease. Right now, I can’t recall just how many plot points I developed in Scapple, but in about the first week of November, I started writing the new second scene at 500 words a day. Sadly, I didn’t complete it before moving on to something else, but even with the more optimistic future for Mat, the “present” in xyr story was still dark, especially where I was outlining ahead. I just couldn’t make myself go on, and I had fresh ideas for another mystery, so I moved on to that one.

Which one? Masks. To be honest, I hesitated two or three days before digging into this, mainly because I wasn’t sure I wanted to make the leap—or any of the changes to Masks I was already considering. No changes in what I’d already written, aside from edits and stuff, but changes to the latter portions of the story. In order to refresh myself on the project, I did a read-through, then started reverse outlining what I’d written—in detail, and in Scapple, using the new Mystery Outline Method I’d developed for Mat’s story.

I’m still working on the reverse outline, getting about one a day. One of those things took me two days, mostly because it had a lot of information to unpack. I’m being as detailed in these as I have been with the standard outlining I’ve been doing for Mat’s story, and it’s turning out well. Not only that, I’ve come up with a few minor changes for the series Masks kicks off. For one, Yavaniel’s mother is still alive; I decided to make her the source of Yavaniel’s Sublunary Elven heritage. I also realized that my original concept for how the overarching subplot develops needs some work—it was originally crammed into too short a time period. I haven’t quite decided how to handle it, but knowing what needs to be done has enabled me to make progress on concepts and ideas for finishing book one at least. Also, I’ve sketched up a map of Jodalur as a whole so now I have a better idea where specific things are located in each of the different districts. Not all of the districts are named, but I have determined a couple things about the city: 1) They’ve kept up the habit of walling new areas as they’re annexed or settled; 2) Most of the walls around older more central districts are intact to this day; 3) public transit availability varies according to district; and 4) the Maireadi District is actually one of the largest districts, and is comprised of several smaller districts whose walls fell into disuse and disrepair before the section was granted to them by an earlier First Chancellor of Jodalur over 100 years ago—and they’ve rebuilt and repaired the sections of the Wall that lie between their district and Jodalur “proper” in order to give themselves some protection from mobs who periodically gather to invade the Maireadi District.

The past couple days, I haven’t worked on it due to real life stress and stuff, but I plan on getting back to it this weekend. I’ve got some relaxing activities planned that should put me right back into a good mindset for working on my writing. Sadly, these days I don’t seem to be able to use writing as a way to relieve my real-life stress as consistently as I used to be able to.

Turning on the Faucet

I’ve decided to apply Louis L’Amour’s philosophy to my writing from now on:

Start Writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

Why am I doing this? Mainly because I realized earlier this month that I’ve been functioning, with my writing, on a basis where I wait for inspiration. This has not been working well for me. Even with realizing myself beyond being a writer, I’ve been most displeased with my lack of actual writing. So, I’m employing L’Amour’s philosophy. And I think it’s already working.

Remember how I said sometime at the beginning of the year (or last December sometime? I forget precisely when) that I was going to take my writing more seriously? Well, I haven’t exactly done that this year. I’m actually quite fed up with myself, though I don’t think I’d realize where I stand if I hadn’t had the epiphany about dealing with my writing on an inspirational basis. I needed to have the conscious realization what I was doing in order to be able to really be willing to buckle down and move my writing into a more professional habit.

What led me to this realization? A video called How to be Creative: How an Artist Turns Pro. I came across it on a publishing news aggregate website I visit on occasion, and it hit me like a brick. At first, I didn’t want to believe it, because it shocked me so much. Part of me resisted the idea that writing is nothing more than disciplined exercise of my skill. But as I thought about it, I came to accept that I was not a professional writer, as this video explains it; I’m still very much an amateur, or a hobbyist. And I didn’t like that.

This epiphany got me looking for methods of making writing into a daily habit. One thing a friend of mine suggested that I’m working on putting into practice is doing a freewrite session every day. She suggested 100 words, but I decided to do it for 5 minutes instead. Each day I’ve freewritten, I’ve tried to spend some time at least working on my writing for a while—at least an hour. The past few days, I haven’t had any specific goal aside from the time I’ve spent on my writing activities; I’ve decided that anything writing-related, whether it be editing, taking notes, brainstorming—anything is considered “writing” for the purposes of this goal.

And I decided that I’d use National Novel Writing Month to get into the habit of writing daily. Because of this, I’ve selected an incomplete WIP to work on for Nano: Unwritten Letters. My base daily wordcount goal is going to be 500 words a day. If I feel like doing more, I’m going to allow myself to, but I’m not going to force it, no matter how much I may be wanting to make the month’s 50k goal. You can find my Stats here, and my Novel Information here.

Turn of the Year Update

It occurred to me that I should probably give a rundown of the past two or three months since my last Nano post, which, according to my records, was around about the 14th of November. This will encompass the end of Nano through the 15th of January 2017.

To begin: Nano.

For Nano in November, I ended up writing on four different projects. The first, Independent Investigations I: Boost, I’d started in October. I think I mentioned I was going to start off November with that project. Well, that fizzled up ’round about the 10th of November. But, thankfully, my Creative Mind wasn’t done with writing, it just switched gears and got me going on Dagjhir’s second book, The Prophet of Venjhelin 2: Uncertain Times. I worked on that steadily until the 18th, then did one final scene on it on the 20th. On the 19th, and for the next five days, I worked on a brand new project set on a brand new world, Brother Exile and Brother King, which is a standalone. Then, on the 24th, the last day I wrote on BEBK, I started another story on the same world, The Legend of Boikal I: Unspeakable Evil. TLOB1 broght me to the end of Nano, with just a little over 100k words for the event. So, Nano was a grand success! I’m still proud of that word count. I’ve never gotten a 100k Nano before, and I’m not ashamed to admit my Creative Mind took me on a tour through four different projects to get me that count.

I didn’t write again until the 6th of December, beginning what’s looking to be a trilogy. There’s no series title in the first few entries of the story, just the book’s title, No Man’s Child. It’s set on Dagjhir’s world, in another country, and will, if I can write the entire thing before I die, a revolution. That dried up around the 8th.

Another brief dry period followed, and then I wrote on TBK1. Made a bit of progress on it, but it didn’t last long. Just 4 days, including the first.

Then I wrote a little on a couple of gay romances whose titles I won’t share, one new, one a rewrite when the desperation for words got to be too great. I appear to be making it a habit to rewrite incomplete gay romances I’m not satisfied with. Given my last experiences with them, I wish my Creative Mind would forget about them altogether. I do not want to repeat 2012. But writing on those gay romances happened on the 25th and 26th of December.

On the 27th and 28th, I worked on a new story, Mirrorsoul I: Revelation. I’ll let you ponder just what a Mirrorsoul may be. I’m not sure about keeping that series title, but I may have figured out a way it applies—to the last book in the trilogy. This is set on a new world, and I decided to experiment a little with the chapters. Instead of multiple scenes per chapter, I decided to see if I’d feel in any way comfortable with doing one scene per chapter. It was a tad bit uncomfortable for me at first, but the second story, set on the same world, that I started and wrote over the 29th and 30th, helped with that. I haven’t decided if I’ll rearrange my other writing, but to be frank, the task is rather daunting, though I really like the 1-scene chapters. This second story is titled, Return of the Moribund God I: Life After Tavrinia (ROTMG1), and it’s the first in what is currently a planned 4-book mystery series.

And that’s December. January has been much less . . . busy on the writing front.

On the 2nd of January, I wrote a scene on ROTMG1. Then I lost interest in all my writing. At least, until the 15th. That day, I wrote a bit on Mirrorsoul1.

Happily, the periods when I haven’t written haven’t been completely noncreative. I’ve spent a lot of time plotting and worldbuilding during those dry spells, especially this month. When I say, “writing”, I mean, specifically, putting new words down in a story file.

I’ve also been reading a lot. I was gifted a new Kindle Paperwhite by my sister for Christmas, and with the $50 Amazon gift card she sent me, I’ve purchased some books, including an omnibus edition of an old favorite trilogy that I’ve been devouring. I’ll admit, there are some obvious similarities in what I’ve got planned for my Mirrorsoul series to this old favorite trilogy, but there are also some very stark differences. The necessary twisting to make my stories different from this trilogy, and fitting the story into this new world, have created something of its own. I suspect this is as close to writing fan fiction I’ll ever get, and it’s not the first time I’ve lifted various ideas from some book I’ve read and twisted them to my own purposes.

One big difference? The MC in my favorite trilogy to read ultimately dies. My MC won’t, but he’ll certainly wish he would.

Nano Update

Posting a bit late, but this is an important post. I’ll get the story behind this switch up here next week. This week, I don’t have the time for writing even a short blog post on it. All I have time for is a link. Short version—I’m working on a fantasy project for Nano words now and updated my Nano project page so the address has changed.

New Stats Page

Nano 2016

As has become my annual habit, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. It starts tomorrow, and I’ve been looking forward to it for the past few months. My aim is to hit substantially over 50,000 words. By at least ten thousand. Hopefully, I’ll my wordage will come out somewhere between seventy and eighty thousand.

Normally, I spend all of October preparing a project or more. Since 2012, I’ve leapt into the month before November with excitement and enthusiasm for some project or another, and I manage to prep something to an acceptable level for myself. And I run like this the entire month of October—until the last 3-1 days of it, when my creative mind suddenly switches gears and throws me into a totally different project.

This year, I resisted that urge. This does not mean I had a project I wanted to work on for November in mind. I did. My new Science Fiction idea, Boost. I’ve gotten character bios, worldbuilding notes, plot points, and various notes for the story and universe thus far. But I resisted setting it up as my Nano project because I fully expected my creative mind to decide on something else. I intended to stick with that decision until the end of the month.

Well, a few days ago, I finally set up Boost as my Nano project. I couldn’t resist it any more. But I refused to get excited about it. I figured, the less enthusiasm I expressed, the less likely it would be for my creative mind (read: Bipolar) would be to jerk me into something else. It’s now Nano Eve Day (the wee hours anyway, as I write this), and I’m still quite firmly on Boost as my main wip. I’m hoping—again, without much enthusiasm—this will remain the case the rest of the day and all through November. Yes, I’m afraid of jinxing this. I think I’ve never been as superstitious as I’ve been all this past month, and I don’t expect it to end until November starts and I’m either on Boost still, or on something else.

But, in the spirit of the event, I’ll give you links to my Nano pages with the pertinent info (all subject to change):

First: The Stats Page for Boost

Second: The Synopsis

Independent Investigations I: Boost

Independent Investigator for the Haefen Planetary Police Mat Kelly goes with xyr gut in choosing to investigate the death of the prime suspect in a criminal case. Virgil Coleman died of a toxic potion, and Mat feels absolutely certain someone close to him did the deed.

At first look, Virgil seems to be a deplorable person. The detectives who investigated him as a criminal believed he cheated on his wife and participated in a crime ring involving a new series of drugs, called Boost, that bestow a variety of temporary powers upon their users. Having pegged Virgil as a Recruiter, the detectives did their best to prove his guilt, but failed to. And, in the process of their investigation, angered and upset nearly everyone they questioned.

Mat steps into a difficult case and discovers few wish to cooperate with xem, despite professions of their desires to know who committed Virgil’s murder and see that person brought to trial. Even after the suspects begin to respond to xyr patient and careful questioning, the clues fail to help Mat determine who murdered Virgil.

So, in desperation, Mat does the one thing xe thought inconceivable . . .

Third: The Excerpt:

Because, no matter what else, Mat could not believe anyone would imbibe that particular toxic mix in an effort to commit suicide.

In addition to that consideration, Virgil had gone to get groceries. In Mat’s experience, people who were committing suicide wouldn’t take a toxic potion then blithely go grocery shopping. No, they’d sit at home and wait for their guts to dissolve. They did not behave as though life were normal. Suicidal people didn’t plan for the future, and there were few activities that more strongly indicated someone doing so than shopping for food. Why go buy food you weren’t going to eat? Sure, he had a family, according to the detectives’ investigation into Virgil’s apparently nonexistent criminal life, but even so—if Virgil had been suicidal, he’d far more likely have taken himself either off to some secluded location if he didn’t want to be discovered, or if he wanted his body found by someone in his family—perhaps in some misguided hope of punishing them—he’d have stayed at home to die.

So, he’d been murdered. By someone angry about the infidelity? Perhaps, though Mat wasn’t willing to decide yet. According to the detectives’ file, Virgil had a wife, a boss, a brother, a lover, and there was at least one displeased parent bent on seeing Virgil’s conviction, if not utter ruination, for his presumed role in the death of her daughter. Any one of them could have done this.

Mat called up the map of the area around the scene of Virgil’s death. His home was within twenty minutes of the store, even if he were in a ground hover and had to stop at every single intersection. Virgil’s boss was out of the way by a good fifteen minutes, but that didn’t mean his boss hadn’t visited him and somehow doctored his beverage, though why Virgil’s boss would want to kill him was a bit of a mystery in itself at present—maybe Virgil’s boss had a role in this possible Recruiting scheme and wanted to get rid of Virgil because he knew something? Perhaps. The bereaved parent who’d been after Virgil lived right down the block—no more than a five minute walk away. The lover and brother were out of the way by about thirty minutes for the former and twenty-five for the latter, but, again, either could have visited and somehow fixed Virgil’s tea to their desires. And then there was Virgil’s very own wife. Right there in the house with him, she had an excellent motive in his infidelity, and more than ample opportunity. But possibly too simple, too easy, too straightforward. Though not out of the realm of possibility, not enough reason to focus on her exclusively just yet.

So, five suspects. A tougher job than xe had anticipated, but not impossible to solve.

Saga of the Lost Nano WIP

I spent most of Thursday not writing. Don’t get me wrong. I was up bright and early, and I was ready to write, but after a little adjustment of my plot points in Scapple, Homer II, my desktop computer, decided to throw a fit twice in one hour. It had been having problems for the past several days, where the computer would freeze and I couldn’t access any of my programs. But Thursday morning, between the hours of 10:00 and 11:00, it did it twice, and I decided I’d had enough and shut the computer off for good, using the power button.

Now, I neglected to make sure the tower was completely off. Usually when I shut it down with the power button, my screen goes off first—turns blue with a “No Signal” box that drifts around bouncing off the edges of the screen. Thinking that the computer was all the way off, I disconnected my USB hub that I use to pretty much constantly keep Portaplotty (my portable external hard drive) and the thumb drive I keep my writing on connected to whatever computer of mine I happen to be using.

Then I set up my laptop, Rover II, and connected all its peripherals, including the USB hub—with Portaplotty and my Writing thumb drive still attached. I proceeded to start up the different programs I use on my computer, and since I hadn’t turned on my laptop since Scrivener’s last update, which changed the format of files for upcoming mobile apps, I had to download the new version of the program. I did that off of my BlogPosts Scrivener file and opened no others before the download was complete, which took a few minutes and the closure of the BlogPosts file. In the meantime, I finished starting up all the other programs I use

And I spent a while looking for a way to get rid of the idiotic Windows 8 Start Menu which hijacked the Windows 10 Start Menu I happen to like.

That pissed me off, so I reopened Scrivener, now assured it was fully functional with my new files. I opened BlogPosts again first; this is generally the first Scrivener file I have open. Then I opened another Scrivener file which I usually have open.

Then I opened my Wevae Scrivener file—the world where my Nano project is set.

And found it lacking.

I had the original first two scenes, all the plot cards I’d made for the new version, and notes with the most recent character list. But no story file. Just two old scenes I didn’t want any more.

Fine. I went to, where I had just the previous night, after doing all the day’s writing, backed up the Wevae file (among others). Opened the correct folder. Downloaded the backup copy, saving it to the file location of the original file, confident I would discover my work in all its glory in the downloaded copy.

Opened it.

Completely blank writing file. I still had the character list, plot cards, and story notes, though, so I wasn’t completely lost, though I did weep a bit. But I was willing to keep trying. I was not going to give up on the 14k+ words I’d written over the course of the past four days. I was determined that if I was not able to restore the actual story file, I would write like the wind to replace what I’d lost.

So I tried again. From Dropbox. Downloaded the same thing. Wept a little more, got more determined. Aha! I’ll go to the backup that I keep on Portaplotty! Searched it out, copied it to the file location on my thumb drive I open all my Scrivener work from—to find the two original scenes I wrote and didn’t want any more, five piddly plot cards, and a character list with a grand total of three names on it.


This was around noon, and about this time, one of my good efriends came online. I lamented the loss of my Nano project to her over instant messaging and she offered to help. I emailed her the share link to my Dropbox backup file. She opened it, and discovered it had bee corrupted—it lacked the story, but had the plot cards and character list and notes.

I wept a little, but decided now was the time to admit defeat—only my friend wasn’t willing to call it just yet. She advised me on how to find the backup file my computer had. So moved Rover II aside and turned on my desktop once more, hoping I’d be able to get into it, start up Scrivener for the search, extract the file, and get out of the program before Homer II decided to freeze again.

My good friend gave me the file path to seek out the file, but I couldn’t find it outside of Scrivener. So I opened Scrivener and checked the backup page in its Options section. There I found the file path, and I copied it to paste into a window in my file search. And there I found five copies of my Wevae project. I chose the most recent by date and time (about 11:30 or so Wednesday night).

Sent it to my friend. She opened it. Everything was in it. She emailed me a copy of the Wevae Scrivener file, then departed her computer to take one of her kids to work. I tried to open the file, found I could download a completely blank file, wept, then decided it was time to go exercise. I needed some stress relief, and I wasn’t willing to spend money on ice cream or donuts. Hit the gym, came home, told my friend that the email attempt had failed.

I think we tried it again before she came up with the idea of sending it to me as a PDF. This worked, after a fashion. I got the character list, some story notes, and the body of the story, but not the plot cards. And I also wasn’t able to import them into scrivener because it doesn’t recognize PDF files for import. Tried copy-pasting and that didn’t do very well since the PDF file wasn’t editable on my end.

Contacted my friend, thanked her again for the help she’d given, and asked for everything as RTF. She sent that in two files. 1) Project notes, character list, and body of wip; 2) plot cards. This worked! I was able to copy-paste everything into Scrivener—did it that way ’cause I wasn’t sure just what importing would do to the files and I wanted to be picky about how my outline was handled—and spent the remainder of the evening thanking my friend over and over for helping me recover my wip.

All told, this took five or six hours from the time I shut Homer II off between 10:00 and 11:00 this morning. I cried a lot, despaired, and, just like the heroes in some books, made things far worse before they got better with the help of a friend.

Nano 2015 Project Decided!

After much flailing about, I’ve at last figured out my Nano 2015 project.

But first, the Saga of the Selection:

Way back at the end of September, I was in limbo. I’d just completed The Power of Music III: Measure of Resistance, and I thought I’d very much like to get started on the next book in the Discordant Harmonies series, A Life of Note I: Antiphons. I in fact quite looked forward to doing so, and set to work on it with anticipation of having an at least partial outline for it ready for November, as I’d decided that it would work perfectly as my November Nano project.

At first, work progressed well enough. Not as quickly as I’d have liked, but I was in a bit of a writing downswing and gave myself allowances for it. I didn’t push myself, but I got plenty of plot points entered into Scapple, and was working up something of a playlist for it since I’d decided to create a new one instead of using the one from TPOM, which I was rather weary of. It was easy to feel good about ALON1; I’d enjoyed finishing TPOM3, had the MCs firmly in mind, and could see a mostly-clear path from beginning to end of the first book of the ALON set which gave me the confidence I needed to work on it.

Then my writing downswing deepened, sometime within the first week or two of October. I lost interest in ALON1, but kept trying to work on it, even as my bipolar mood swung into a nesting phase. I cleaned house, then, in the third week of October, the nesting phase induced me to rearrange my living room, clean out my real-life files, and organize the files I keep for my writing. Over the course of the nesting phase, I threw out much, and I started working on another story set in the same world as ALON1.

This project was The Horseless Carriage I: Clockworks, which happens in part in tandem with the ALON series. Enough so that the characters cross over. I figured this was fine, as I needed to write both first books before going on to even outlining the second books of both series, because those books are where characters cross over. Even though I didn’t intend to have the same scenes written from the different points of view in the books, I do need to coordinate the storylines so I’m aware of what each of the characters are saying and doing in the books so there’s no confusion of the timeline.

Because I hadn’t quite lost interest in ALON1, I arbitrarily declared I was prepping both for Nano and would decide, at possibly the last minute, which one I’d work on for November based on the one I’d been able to do more prep for. This lasted until the beginning of the last week of October.

And, on Monday or Tuesday, I’d been up past my bedtime and was contemplating going to bed when another member of Forward Motion mentioned, on twitter, getting a steampunk comic idea. That induced me to open up one of my defunct projects which I hadn’t done much work on. It had a number of plot points, two scenes, and two reverse-outline plot cards written on it. Nothing much. I read through the two scenes and realized within myself a desire to read the rest of the incomplete story, so set to work on it.

I was rather willing to be distracted by Masters of the Schism I: The Elect because neither of my two Chraesti projects, one of which I’d already entered as my Nano project, were moving. I felt enthusiastic about MOTS1, though, and I was enjoying fiddling with the MCs’ lives. Over the next couple of days, I named more characters, brainstormed a major plot issue (Why is magic dying—and what’s the solution to bringing it back?) for the entire series, and wrote a couple of plot cards.

By the wee hours of this morning, it was pretty obvious MOTS1 was going to be my Nano 2015 project. I’d managed to write almost 15 plot cards, and decided at some point to do full plot cards for the first two scenes, cut them from the main WIP, and save them to another file so I could rewrite them for Nano and decide at the end of November which versions of the scenes I liked better. I’ve since entered the project as my Nano project, stats to be found here, and it comes complete with a full synopsis which I agonized over for all of about 45 minutes. I’ll add a snippet when I have something written after the first few days of November.

I probably won’t be staying up all night to write just after midnight on Sunday. I have church that morning, and I really want to be alert because I didn’t make it to church last week due to not sleeping the night before. I’ve also got a couple other things to do, but I hope to get to writing at some point before midnight so I can enter a wordcount on the first. As always, I’m not going to sweat it if I don’t write every day, but do my best to maintain a consistent wordcount ahead of the goals for each day.

Slow on the Writing Front

My writing downswing seems to be over, but I can’t really say as I’m tearing through any projects with regards to writing right now. I’ve been trying to divide my attention between two projects set on Chraest in preparation for National Novel Writing Month in November.

The books I’m trying to prepare for Nano are A Life of Note I: Antiphons and The Horseless Carriage I: Clockworks. The reason why I’m trying to tackle both of them right now is because I have this notion that during the course of both series they’re going to touch and tie in to each other somewhat. As I see it, Géta’s friend Udé is going to train one of his Gifts by assisting the MCs of THC1, and I’m considering having Géta and one of the MCs (his name keeps changing) of THC become romantically involved. This means, either way I go with the books, I need to have both books 1 written before I start working on books 2 for both series so that I can tie them together.

I’m thinking THC will be only two books long, unless I send Juner and the other MC of the series off to war for some reason. ALON will of course be three books long, and I suspect may carry some of THC’s characters’ lives into the third volume.

But I started on THC1 late. LOL Only last week, I started getting plot points on it. Actually, I outlined a couple of scenes, then realized plot points would help me there and started on them. I’m excited to work on this project. More than for writing on ALON1. I’ve been concentrating on getting plot points into Scapple for THC, and intend, if I do write that book instead of ALON1, to do my usual thing of getting two plot cards per scene written until I have a total of 15 cards and then run with an open-ended outline.

Getting the plot points is slow, though. Only two or three a day. The way my scenes build upon one another, I’m wondering if the plot points won’t come faster until I’m actually writing on the project. Same with the plot cards for the outline. Over the next week or so, I’ll be outlining from what plot points I have to see if that shakes something loose like writing can sometimes help with the outline. That’s part of the reason why I prefer an open-ended outline. Sometimes a scene I write gives me an idea for a future scene, or feeds into a subplot thread in a way I didn’t see prior to writing the scene out. I’m hoping the outline will work like that for the plot points.

It would probably help if I were a bit more enthusiastic, but this year has been a low year for writing enthusiasm in general. When I have written, I’ve not been as into it as I was last year. Knowing my luck, my writing enthusiasm will surge up the moment I start classes in January. LOL

Nano 2014’s Project

I didn’t intend to work on my current Nano story for Nano this year. I was trying to line something else up when the characters for Masks started yakking at me. Since it was a couple weeks before the event started, I decided to run with both projects for a few days to see which one produced more. To be honest, it was about the same amount, but I was getting far more in the way of plot points, characterization, worldbuilding notes, and other ideas for the fantasy mystery characters than I was on Autocrat’s Rise.

But my Fantasy Sleuthing Duo (FSD), as I affectionately call them, first popped their heads up about six or so months ago.

I’d kinda-sorta put it to my subconscious some months or even years ago that I wanted to write a mystery. I didn’t care what kind it ended up being as long as it was a murder mystery. Sometime during May, I conceived the first notions of my FSD. When they announced themselves, I didn’t get their names right away, but I knew just where they’d go: Elindu, a world I’d resurrected and renamed for another project, a more regular fantasy story I thought may become a series—but which hasn’t (yet). I knew they belonged in the city-state of Jodalur, and I suspected they belonged there during an era either approaching industrialization or just afterward. And I knew one of the children of the First Chancellor would die during the course of the book.

After that initial day, my characters retreated back into my subconscious. I was pretty okay with this, as I wanted to focus on another story at the time. So, I must say, them popping back into the front of my mind two weeks away from Nano was quite a surprise.

This time, though, as I said, they brought a truckload of info on themselves, their stories (yes, plural), and the city-state of Jodalur. I now have worldbuilt Jodalur up to a technological level allowing electricity (but not automobiles—yet, if at all). There are now about half a dozen or so stories lined up to be written in the series. I have PLANS! for making my FSD suffer.

National Novel Writing Month 2014

Every year since 2011, I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo, as it is affectionately known. Last year—yes, even in the midst of cancer stuff—I worked on two novels for the duration of November. This year, I’m working on only one.

I was originally going to write the first book of Autocrat’s Rise, which is set on Chraest. Unfortunately, I got about four plot cards on this story, and the characters all shut up. I haven’t been able to think of a way past this block.


Instead, I’m working on a totally new concept set in a resurrected world. This story is a fantasy mystery: Jodalur Investigative Division: Case Journal One: Masks. If this story makes it to the end of November with any sort of word count above 10k, I’ll be adding it, and the world its on, to my Projects page here on the site. If it doesn’t get more than 10-15k, I’ll set it aside and let it percolate for a bit longer before taking it up again—and in the meantime concentrate on one of my listed projects.

In part, I’m using this Nano as an opportunity to try out a new genre. Writing a mystery has been on my Writing Bucket List for a while now, so I’m glad to have the chance to do it now. I expect, if it makes it to 50k by the end of November, I’ll be setting it aside once I’ve validated the word count. I’ll also likely be taking a brief hiatus from writing, if Nano does to me like it usually does and makes me sick of my work. For this, I’m kind of glad I’m working on something so different from my other stuff; it’s my hope that instead of not writing for a couple-few weeks after this November, I’ll simply set aside Masks and go to work on something else.

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