Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Get to Know Me Tag | Writers' Addition

Yep. You read the title right. Today I am completing a tag. And it could be worth doing seeing that I like getting to know people! Thank you muchly Savannah for making this tag, and thanks Jane for ‘tagging’ me in it. So, without any further blathering from me, onwards with the questions!



Vital Stats And Appearance


Name: Jessica Penrose

Nicknames: Not all that many these days. I mean, my pen name is J.A.Penrose, most people call me Jess, a fair few call me The Jess, and some call me Legolas. Nicknames don’t tend to stick to me.

Birthday: A well guarded secret. But sure, whatever. 16th of November

Hair colour and length: Brown, and 4-5 inches past my shoulders.

Eye colour: Brown

Braces/piercings/tattoos: None.

Righty or lefty: Righty. But my handwriting is equally appalling with either hand, so, take your pick! (typically right though)

Ethnicity: I am an Aussie. Somewhere back in the family tree there’s some Scottish and cornish, but I can tell you the entire history of the Penrose family in relation to the properties in the area and at what point we owned what and which great great ancestors sold to who.



Firsts


First novel written: Ashes. No, that was not the book’s name, but that’s what it is now. Twas actually a collaborative thing, but it kept on deteriorating and blegh. Then again, it never reached 50K, but I suppose it was the first one I tried.

First novel completed: Uhm… *goes to check* Ahhh, yes. Sweep, the first book of the now being fixed and replanned Survivor Trilogy. Gotta love some nice sci-fi time travel stuff.

Award for writing: I have a habit of winning the writing section in the local Gunnedah Show, and getting good marks in class? :P I’m made a profit of around $50 all up of my winnings. *nods wisely* Very good at this. But I haven’t really entered that many writing competitions, so, no.

First publication: Erm, I’ve had musical compositions published in anthologies before, and I’ve published some things online, but not actually fully published, no.

Conference: I live in Australia. We are very short on these. But I really want to go to one! *sobs dramatically* Particularly when all of the writerly people I know in U.S are going to Realm Makers.

Query/Pitch: Hoooopefully once I get out of school I’ll be more available to get around to doing this. Or at least once the workload has dropped a bit.



Favourites

Novel (that you wrote): Favorite?? That’s just mean. I love them all. Ugh. Sorry. Pick between Chosen by Fire (fantasy with some really fun world building and magic and ideas) or Flightless. (fantasy that was amazing to write) (and I plan to edit and tear apart this year. Ack!) Chosen by Fire needs to be re-written, cos it didn’t turn out too well, but I love it all the same.

Genre: Speculative Fiction. Mainly sitting in Fantasy and Dystopian. (or both)

Author: But…I LOVE ALL OF YOU GUYS. Agh. Nadine Brandes is amaaaaazing, but so is Jill Williamson, Jaye.L.Knight, Brandon Sanderson… UGH.

The one that I can say I ‘know’ the best would be Nadine Brandes though. *flails*

Writing Music: Sooooo, every story I write has a different playlist, but they are mostly made up of songs by Antti Martikainen, or are from the Kaladin soundtrack. Pandora’s music is epic too.

Time To Write: Heh. Whenever I get the chance. Typically though, due to school, I write whenever the sun isn’t around. Either early in the morning, or in the evening. On Saturdays I tend to churn out words fairly consistently.

Writing Snack/Drink: *sips chai tea* Chai, everyday. NaNo months tend to result in the boxes running out…

Movie: Soooo, I have a little thing: I don’t actually watch many movies? Most quoted one would most likely be Prince Caspian though. *nods* We’ll go with that.

Writing Memory: Hmmm…I think probably back when I was around five, my siblings and I built this huge tree fort. We dragged dead trees to make walls and generally make it really good. Like, walls that were 3 meters high, areas to shoot our bows from, traps, working doors, a sparring area, etc. Only issue was that I was five. And my brother was about twelve, and my sister fourteen. Soooo, I had a major disadvantage. Thankfully though, I became the scribe. I wrote down all of our adventures in a little notebook, including misspelling some crazy words that turned up. Gotta love it when you, ‘Were thron in the dunjeons.’ (Thrown in the dungeons.) But yes. That was fun to write. Many adventures of our crazy family.

Childhood Book: Adventure books were my thing. Famous Five by Enid Blyton and Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome were some big time favorites. But also, there were fun fantasy adventures like the Gorgie Tanner books by Justyn Walker. All of those were good.



Currently


Reading: Sacred Rhythms, by Ruth Hayley Barton, and The Enclave by Karen Hancock.

Writing: At the moment, I’m kinda rewriting parts of Flightless to make them more consistent and fill in the worst of the plot holes and fix as many spelling errors as I can before moving into properly editing it. Mostly, I’m actually plotting for my next NaNo Novel, Stormwielder, which I plan to say some more about at a later date.

Listening to: My playlist for Stormwielder. (Yes, I have made a playlist and haven’t finished plotting yet. Go me!)

Watching: Nothing. Although, when I’m distracted, I tend to watch birds fly past. Very dramatic little things. *happily stares out of the window*

Learning: A lot. I mean, mostly about people, and how stubbornly they can stick to beliefs that they know are wrong. (Amazing how many straight-A students get to exam week and are certain that they are going to fail. But there is no logical reason… *taps chin thoughtfully*)



Future


Want To Be Published: Yessss. Very muchly so. One day. Ideally before I’m in my 50s. Or 40s. Or 30s…

Indie or Traditional: Traditional. Most of my audience is overseas, and Indie Publishing is a pain when it comes to that.

Wildest Goal: Oh my word. Uhm… Probably to hear from someone that my writing has changed their lives. I know that so many books have helped me, and I really want to be able to do the same for others.



Tag over?? What? Hopefully I answered those questions sufficiently. Anyone who want to do this tag who hasn't already, feel free to! It was lots of fun.


What's your favourite writing memory? Do nicknames stick to you?


Saturday, 15 September 2018

Inspiration's Origin

I’ve decided that today calls for a prompt. After all, prompts are useful, fun, and can result in entire stories born.

Or more often, (in my case at least) hours wasted getting distracted by interesting writing prompts that have nothing to do with me needing inspiration, and everything to do with being highly distracted on Pinterest…Oh well. :D


Despite what I was just saying about getting highly distracted by prompts, they have been good to me in the past. Here are a couple that ended up sparking ideas…




This one resulted in the actual plot for what will hopefully be my next NaNo Novel… (Shall tell you more closer to the time)




I haven’t talked much about the story for this one, but Immortal Hero came directly from this little prompt, and it was lots of fun to write. Hoooopefully I’ll get around to rewriting it someday.




Last, but not least, is the one for my rather morally grey character, who is yet to be put in a definite story. Really want to include him somewhere, but we shall see. *pats him sadly*





Sadly, for every one of that I use, there are proooobably a good 15 that are just distractions. :P But hey, keeps the imagination going.

Now for the prompt of my own creation that I wish to give to you today…





Have you come across any decent prompts lately? How do you get your story ideas?

Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Art of Show Don't Tell

There are a few different things that people seem to struggle with in writing. One of these things is Show Don’t Tell

I reckon that everyone has heard this term before, and I’m pretty certain that everyone struggles with it at times. It’s a trap that everyone slips into. I’ve been helping out some school friends and other writerly people with managing to identify telling and replace it with showing. I also felt that it could be a worthwhile thing to write a blog post about so that other people can look at it a bit more. 

There’s a lot of articles out there on Show Don’t Tell, and hopefully I’ve drawn off the best of them to present what I think is the most widely accepted view by a variety of writers and readers. 

I’ll also be including a list of these different websites and resources that have super duper helpful articles on this at the end of this summary. 

Now onwards to delve into the art of Show Don’t Tell!



“In writing. Don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "delightful"; make us say "delightful" when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, "Please will you do my job for me."
~ C.S.Lewis

What C.S.Lewis wrote in 1956 still applies to us today, as many people will note. Writers are regularly talking about, ‘Show Don’t Tell’ and how invaluable it is to writing, but it is kinda hard to actually know what that means, and how we can do it. 



The Difference Between Telling and Showing

Telling is giving the bare basics of the information to allow the reader to know what’s going on.

Showing is bringing to life those bare basics to allow the reader to experience what’s going on. 


There are four main types of telling that I see commonly in writing, and they are: emotion telling, action telling, description telling, and information telling.

‘John was sad.’ -emotion telling. 

‘John ran away.’ -action telling.

‘John had blond hair.’ -description telling. 

‘John had been a fighter in the third war of the twelfth sector of the ANL Corporation in 2032.’ -information telling.

To turn these into showing, you need to do a few different things:


Emotion Showing

When you’re trying to show a character’s emotion, you need to try and write about the symptoms of the emotion. Think about a person's posture when they’re dealing with an emotion. Their thoughts. Their internal sensations. What they’re doing at the time. Their voice. How they view the world around them. If you say some of these things instead of the emotion, the readers will know what the emotion is, and will be able to visualise it better. 

Let’s look at John being sad again.

John hunched over his desk, sniffing slightly and trying to stop his lip from trembling. Why did they go? We’re meant to stick together…friends. A dull ache pressed against his chest and his heart lodged itself firmly in his throat. Get a grip. It's not that big of a deal. A hand landed on his shoulder, but he kept staring down at the scratched surface of the desk. 

“Something wrong?”

He forced himself to swallow the lump and look up through a film of tears at his teacher’s face. He blinked a few times, sucking in a shuddering breath. “No,” he gave him a wavering smile, “It’s…it’s fine.” He bit his lip, mentally willing the tremor in his voice to go away. “Fine. Honestly.” There. That sounds more confident.

That is considerably more interesting than just saying that, ‘John sat at his desk and felt sad about his friends abandoning him.’ Why? Because it was elaborated and removed the telling word of the emotion’s name, ‘sad.’ 

A good way to see if you’re emotion telling is to see if you’ve used the name of the emotion somewhere in the section. If you have, that’s a fair sign of emotion telling. 


Action Showing

Main way you can look at this one is elaboration. It’s actually somewhat difficult to define just as is. Rather, it’s complicated and involves many different details to create the effect of showing action instead of just telling it. More about elaborating and allowing the readers to see, to be honest. 

Again to John.

John’s feet pounded against the ground and he spared a glance over his shoulder—his heart in his throat. They were catching up. Jerking his head back around to face forward, he skidded across the ground a few meters as the traffic lights turned green. His heart thudded an irregular beat in his chest and he sucked in a deep breath, running across the road, starting and stopping as the cars continued roaring past.

Again with this being far more interesting that the told version of, ‘John ran away because he was being chased. He got away because he ran across a road while the cars were moving.’ Suddenly, we can see the detail. Not in such an extent that it clogs down the story, but enough that it allows us—the readers—to visualise it fully. 

Using words and phrases such as, ‘was,’ ‘had been,’ ‘had,’ ‘because,’ ‘since,’ and ‘when,’ are all defining red lights that should warn you that your excerpt probably has action telling. (Same goes for their relatives in the present and future tenses.)


Description Showing

Also called ‘woven description,’ this is something that people tend to find difficult. How can you describe your character or place when you can’t specifically say everything? Basically, your readers don’t need to know all of that…at least, not in one hit. 

For characters: 

Weave in those descriptions naturally. You want the readers to know that John has blond hair? Feel free to have him shove blond hair out of his face, or look through a haze of blond strands.

John fell to his hands and knees and looked up through a blur of blond. His gaze met the pair of eyes as vividly blue as his own and he swallowed. Not here. Not now. He tore his gaze away, panting. The grandeur of the palace loomed over him, trying to swallow him. Always second best. Never good enough. He blinked, and the eyes were gone again.

This way it seems natural and isn’t just randomly mentioning that he has blond hair. As is, John has been described in a bit more detail, and it seems somewhat natural. 

Let’s move onto the place that John was in…

For places:

Also, weave in those descriptions. You want the readers to know that the room was large and well furnished? Seeming to be well looked after by years of care? Cold and unfriendly? Let them know casually, don’t have John stand there for a solid ten minutes mentally describing every little detail. Just mention what matters. 

John looked up to glare back at the room, trying to force away the oppressive air enveloping him. Polished bronze glinted at him from the banisters and portraits stared down at him, their gazes disapproving. He shook his head and pushed himself up from the carpet, casting his gaze over the ebony and glass. Where did he go? He kicked a cabinet and a resounding, thunk, broke the silence of the room.

This way, we can see what it looks like as well as seeing what’s going on in the plot side of things. Plus, it is far more interesting to see John interacting with the room, rather than just observing it. He point of view on the situation allows for the entire room to be more of a manifestation of what’s happening to him. Had he been happy and there of his own will, we would have described it differently. 


Just by weaving your description into the story, it instantly makes it more reader friendly then great slabs of description that no one really knows what to do with…aside from possibly skip over. 


Information Showing

Information telling, is often called an ‘information dump.’ As it is, we want to try and weave that information into the story itself. To be honest, this is one of the types of telling that I come across the most. It seems to like to turn up in most stories, and is really painful to get rid of. Why? Because it seems very important and necessary. 

Hello John! Let’s look at some info dumps in your life. 

John stopped outside the Museum, tingles running up and down his skin. The simple, box-like building was said to be one of the most secure places in the world. It had a regularly rotating guard, over a thousand security cameras, a laser maze, voice recognition security, DNA scans…the works. It had been erected in 2022 in order to protect the only remaining plant that was left on earth. Over five hundred million dollars were spent on building it, and all of those who made it were killed a few weeks after its completions. No one could get in or out without being registered. 

John had spent years studying it and wondering if he could get in. After all, it isn’t all that hard when you know what you’re doing to break into a high security building, at least not for him. He actually knew what he was doing, not an amature like the rest.

As you can see, that was a lot of words just telling us about what the building was. Did we need to know all of that? No, not really. 

Had we not been told much about the Museum for half a novel, but kept getting hints and desperately wanting to know, you maaaay be able to get away with it. As it is, we want to avoid this sort of information telling. 

Quick ways of spotting it are basically when you explain something. If you’re explaining much more than basics, then it is most likely info-dumping. Instead, try to show events. Instead of having John thinking about all of the protective layers, maybe have him watch a recording of someone trying to break in, and him experiencing all of the security layers. 

Again, showing is all about experiencing. You want the readers to experience, so you show it to them. 



There you have it. Those are what I can find as the four most common—and deadly—cases of telling in people’s writing, how to recognise it, and how to avoid it. 

A quick recap: 

Emotion telling is identifiable by locating the emotion names (sad, happy, scared), and able to be fixed by instead describing the emotion’s physical, mental, and internal effects. 

Action telling is identifiable by explanatory words and phrases (‘was,’ ‘had been,’ ‘had,’ ‘because,’ ‘since,’ and ‘when’), and can be fixed by elaborating on exactly what is happening instead of just stating it happening. 

Description telling is identifiable through chunks of description that are not woven in to make sense (John had blond hair), and can be fixed by instead weaving it into the text and having the character interact with the item of description or have a reason to focus on it aside from just for the sake of description.

Information telling is identifiable by a dump of information that is explaining something to the reader (purpose and function of the Museum), and can be fixed by allowing the reader to experience it for themselves. 


Finally, here are some helpful sites and resources to look at that help with it:

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression - Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi



Now you’re all ready to go out and tackle Show Don’t Tell for yourselves! 

Any other thoughts about Show Don’t Tell? Ideas? Tips? Feel free to share below! 


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Writing the Climax

Lately in school, we’re having to study maaaaany texts. Some, are awesome. Others…well…I can’t say that I am a huge fan. However, something seems to run in common with these texts: They lack a decent climax.

What is a climax exactly? Well, according to a quick internet search, it is: “The most intense, exciting, or important point of something; the culmination.”

K.M.Weiland said in one of her articles, that, “it’s the moment when the two speeding trains finally collide into a single unforgettable scene.”

Both seem to carry the same message. (Unusual for that to happen to be honest.) That probably means we should be paying attention to it. We clearly are needing to be including a climax that somewhat follows this concept. But how? What is it in a climax that makes it so good?


Now, the books we’ve studied at school do still have value for what they appear to have been designed for. They were more written as ‘art’ in which authors specifically break rules in order to make the reader question the purpose of a novel.

As a Christian writer, I feel that the purpose of my writing is to bring glory to God through the words He gives us, and to convey messages and themes in a way that makes it more relatable to the reader than simply stating them. Therefore, I do not go along with the beliefs of authors who chose to write purely to break expectations, but I am not saying that they aren’t valuable works in their own rights.

But how can one write a good climax? What is it that sets an amazing one aside from one that’s just, ‘meh’? Hopefully, I’ll be able to cover that in this post with two main points.


1. Internal Is Important

A lot of people assume that the climax is just when the plot reaches its peak. The point when the hero and the villain face each other on the rooftop of the tallest building in a city as the war goes on down below them—probably with the hero’s side losing.

But there is more.

This should be the point in which the hero has to officially take on their new way of living. This is where they have to have changed on the inside in order to make a difference and win the battle at its climax. They need to be at the height of their emotions and internal conflict at this point. Most of what makes a climax really intense is that the character is seriously undergoing this crazy change inside of them, and they are having to fight within themselves in order to win the fight externally.

A lot of writers—particularly newer ones—struggle with this. They get so caught up in the moment that they skip the internal entirely…possibly for the entire book. Now, this tends to mean that the battle wasn’t actually as epic as it should have been.

“We're our own worst enemy. You doubt yourself more than anybody else ever will. If you can get past that, you can be successful.” ~ Michael Strahan

This is fundamentally why books where the character has to overcome that internal struggle are so powerful. If you can convince yourself to go against everything you’ve always believed because you’ve finally come to terms through a lot of pain that the other way is right, you will really struggle if at the matter it matters most, you get given an option to go back to how you were before.

Let’s imagine a girl called Katie now. Katie has always run away from her problems because she didn’t want to get involved. She’s never been caught, but once she ran away and her friend was. She felt bad, and since has been stewing over her decision.

After a lot of thinking, she decided that she was going to go and face the villain and get her friend back. So she left.

Upon arriving, the villain was standing there, in front of her friend. Katie could see how dangerous this was. She was terrified. The villain then gives her the choice: Stay and die, or run away and be safe. Katie stands there for a few agonizing minutes, thinking. Her friend meets her eyes. Katie looks toward the escape. It would be so easy for her to back down.

Resolve sets in her and she chooses to stay.

Now, to be perfectly honest, those are the moments that seem to be the most powerful in books. When the character could easily give up, but they overcome that fear. Even if Katie did die at that point, it still feels right. She changed. The climax occured, and she chose the right path. In a way, that is both the climax and the resolution.

So in short, do not skip the internal.


2. Real Readers Read Realistic Writing

Explosions. Massive magic battles. The duel to the death on a tightrope. Flames cover the entire world. He drops to his knee and proposes in spite of the tragedy they’ve just been through. The court case where all that can be heard after the main character finished their speech is the soft breathing and the stilled silence of shock.

Pure epicness. And it belongs in the climax. They are all different forms of epicness, and all belong in different genres. But you want it to be there. After all, it is meant to be the intense part, ‘where the two speeding trains finally collide.’ You don’t want another part to overshadow it. It has to stand out as the most major part of the story.

However, you don’t want it to go too far.

C’mon Jess. How could you make epicness go too far? Isn’t epicness meant to be the epitome of grandness? You can’t really go too far—or too wrong—surely?

Trust me. You can.

Simple way to tell: If the climax is unrealistic, it has gone too far. Has the last living dragon in the world swooped down out of nowhere and decimated the entire enemy lines while the hero cheers and uses the chaos to defeat the villain? Not likely to happen.

What about the hero managing to shoot down the alien ship just as it was descending…blindfolded, in the middle of a chaotic battlefield, with only one point being likely to knock the ship out of the sky? Nuh uh. Still not happening.

Did the car manage to jump the span of a kilometer, only just scraping through at the last minute despite the jump being virtually impossible? The readers are going to sit back and sigh.

No one likes it when a book does this. You can see how epic it is going to be, and something huge happens! But then you sit back and frown at it because you know it can’t have happened.

This makes it look like that writer was being lazy. Don’t know how they can win? Let’s make this magical explosion work really well and be so huge that it wipes them out.

Really, it is heaps more interesting if the hero can win in a realistic way that is still epic. Think about you climax and make sure that it is realistic according to the laws of your book. If it is, go ahead!




There you go. Those are the two main things I think need to be kept in mind when writing a climax. If you use both of these points, it should seriously help strengthen your climax and make it more interesting, as well as meaningful.

Climaxes are one of the most memorable parts of any book, so you want to make sure that your readers are satisfied with yours. If they aren’t, chances are, they won’t like the book. So be sure to put effort into that climax, and don’t let it get lost in the rest of your novel!


What do you think are the most important parts of a climax? What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Finding the Time to Write

Life is busy. Crazily so. And us writers tend to want to find time to write, but never manage to because time is just so hard to find. If you attend school, your teachers are giving you tons of work, your friends are giving you tons of drama, and location is giving you tons of travelling. If you're an adult and are out of school, then you've got work, friends, family, and scary adult stuff that's drinking up your time like that thirsty writing dragon that comes along and slurps your chai when you're not looking.

So how can you find enough time to write?



It's definitely something that I've been struggling with over the past year. Teachers are loading me up with school work, friends are throwing drama at me, and life in general seems to have very little concept of the fact that it takes time to write words. Don't get me wrong, I love school, friends, family and life in general, it just does make it quite challenging to manage to write among all of that. So I figured I'd give you a few ideas and tips that have been helping me out lately.


1. You can write small amounts.

This is one of the things that took me a while to work out. I'm used to being able to sit down and churn out over 1000 words in a day, but when you need to churn out two essays in a day as well, it just can't happen.

As it is, I find that it is helpful to remember that even if you just write a few hundred words in ten or so minutes, that is still writing, and it is still getting you somewhere. If you have a teacher who is late for class, you can just write a few more lines and enjoy that bit of freedom to write.

Sure, it doesn't produce much when you do this, but it helps you feel more like you're getting a chance to write.


2. Make the things stopping you from writing, start you writing.

I managed to put my novel that I wrote in July under the banner of my Extension English project that was taking up tons of precious time. I've also written two short stories for other English things, given my friend a novel for her birthday, given another friend a collection of poetry, worked out the statistical variety in newspaper articles for Maths, interviewed Jackie French (an Aussie author) for Geography, and gotten to research about the Phoenicians for Ancient History who may well end up scoring a story from me later on... *taps chin thoughtfully*

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to do any creative writing or writing related things in Biology. So note to treat this one with caution. :P


3. Write on the way.

I spend approximately three hours a day on a bus. Those three hours are pretty darn boring unless I'm writing. Mostly, laptops are able to work offline on word, scrivener, or even docs, and that means that you can use this boring bus trip, or train trip, to write. Yes, screaming kids can be a pain, but if you put earphones in and block out everything but you and your characters, you'll manage! (Hopefully)

WARNING: Do not tune out so much that you can't get out if there is an emergency. Also don't do this if you're the one driving. *nods wisely*


4. Get the other things done ASAP.

I'm horrible at following this one, but I'll say it any way.

If you've been given an assignment that isn't due for another three weeks, don't leave it until the last minute. Get it done early. Otherwise, you'll spend the entire last week stressing over it, and won't actually get it done until the night before, but will have spent the entire week leading up to it procrastinating furiously, all the while being freaked out cos there is no way you can finish this thing on time.

Basically, if you finish it early, then you can say bye-bye to stress, and sit down and write when you would have been freaking out over a project.


5. If none of these are working, wake up half an hour earlier.

Unless you are so frantically busy that you aren't even getting enough sleep, waking up a bit earlier to get some writing in at the start of the day is a good option. I have a tendency to wake up a bit earlier some mornings if I really want to get some writing done, and it actually doesn't work too badly. Don't wake up an extra two hours before you normally would, but a little bit doesn't hurt.



I hope that helps you guys out for being able to write!

Have you got any ideas on how to make time to write? Ever used any of these ones?



Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Finale | A Project Update

It is over. 

Flightless is finished. Or at least, the first draft is. 

I figured I’d share a few things about this novel with you guys, and just wrap up my WIP posts for a while. Seems like that’s all I’ve been doing lately. So, here we go. May I present the last Flightless Post that you’ll see for a while at least. :D



Links to the previous posts:

Flightless | A Project Update
The World of Caldor | A Project Update
7-7-7 Tag

So, now that you’ve been refreshed with all of those, let’s look at some fun things about the story that have changed from the original plans.

Glayde became tall. Glayde was originally small. And about five years younger. Then I realised that that would have meant he had been in prison since he was about seven. And stayed there for ten years. *coughs awkwardly* So yes. That was upped a bit. *squints at my Glayde who is now a bit over six foot* 

The Etani came in a whole heap more than planned. Like, they actually have a place in the plot. *dramatic gasping* 

A plot twist happened.

Stats and Facts:



Look at how awesome those cabin stats are guys!!! I’m so proud of you! *happy claps* 

Number of cups of chai drunk: Well, We’ve gone through three over the last month, and I spent over a week consuming chai at other houses…and each packet of chai contains fifty tea bags…so, you can do the maths! (Note: There were sometimes other chai drinkers in the house. I can however confess that I was the greatest consumer.)

Most bizarre story research: Probably was my multiple hunts on how the brain is affected from years in solitary confinement and sensory deprivation. And no, you do not want to know what I’ve been doing for my characters.

Most words in a day: When I was doing a 10K day with Jane, I managed to get 10411 written. So, that was the most. 

Most listened to song (regarding writing not schooling): Well, lyrical, it would have been Who I am Hates Who I’ve Been by Relient K, and non lyrical would have been Flight by Mitch Chakour. 


Questions from a friend: (Same one who threw a shoe at me actually)


How would trio react if in this world? 

Goodness. They would freak out. A lot. Individually though, it would probably go something like this… 

Caution: Where is this place? Where are the trees? This is not on my maps. 

Glayde: *is silent* *internally* What has she done to us now?

Suitini: HUMANS. EVERYWHERE. WHERE ARE THE DRAGONS????


What does normal life look like for them? 

Ooooh, I like this one.  

Before story starts: 

Caution would be spending most of her time studying and learning more about how to act as a queen. She also does a fair bit of horse riding and often goes on walks around the courtyard with her father who she’s quite close to. 

Glayde would spend most of his time doing stable hand things. He likes horses and spends a fair chunk of the time looking after them. He feels that they are the least judgemental of his past in prison. When not doing that, he’d be practicing with his sword, vaguely hoping to get revenge against the person who threw him in prison ten years ago. 

Suitini? She would be chilling in her cave. Reading books, doing some sword drills, and raiding nearby farms for food. She also would be hunting about for money to help build up her book collection, the one good thing she can find about being a human. She also would be given lessons and dragon training things from her mistress, Harani. On the side, she often tries to work out where her dragon/human blood mix came from. 

After the story? Welllll, too many spoilers there. (Mwhahaha)


If you had to retitle it, what would it be? 

Goodness. Well, I didn’t even come up with the title of Flightless so I’m not sure…Hmm… 

*One bus trip later*

*Nervous laughter* Still no clue. 

(Yes. I literally thought about this for a whole bus trip and couldn’t come up with anything. So, obviously it isn’t meant to be retitled.) 


Theme and message?

Ooooh, good one good one.

Freedom. Freedom was definitely my main theme in this book, as you can kinda derive from the title. Everyone is flightless in some way. Caution is ignoring her captivity to her forced lifestyle, until she nearly ends up in a messed up marriage, Glayde has lost more than his
voice, and is trying to free himself through revenge, and Suitini is held captive by her own inability to help others. 

So what is my message?

Basically, that freedom is found through sacrificing yourself to help others be free. Only when you are willing to lay down all that you have and can offer is it possible for you to really be free. 

Hopefully that made some sense.


Why did you write it?


Because about a week before Camp I had no novel, so I got myself a novel. :P

But in all seriousness, I wrote it as a way to convey that message, and to look into it more myself. I find that I am often writing about freedom, and it’s making me curious as to what that may be reflecting about me. I think most Christian writers write for a few reasons.

To glorify God.
To show others of his goodness and love despite our broken world.
To entertain.
To actually get to explore these ideas ourselves and to look into some of the deepest parts of our lives that we otherwise do not touch. Things that you need to see be played out on paper in front of you. Some things just need that extra layer of discovery.

Phew. End of questions. 

Snippet?

Hahaha. I guess I can put in a little snippet. Hmm…which one… 

This is from Suitini's POV nearish the climax.

Coward. 

The word echoes dully through my skull as the wind batters against my face. 

Coward. Traitor. Deserter. 

That’s all I am—everything that a dragon is not. My heart throbs in double time to the beating of my wings as the blur of green and grey passes beneath me. Trees and grasslands mesh together in a hazy jumble of emotions, all the same and all different. Why am I running away? Why didn’t I stay and fight? We could have overpowered them, surely. Trees had tried to get free. 

Am I worse than him?

Am I more of a coward than a man who makes deals in the middle of the night to betray an innocent girl?

Did I just betray them both to the King, as well as betray the entire kingdom of Corohan—all of Caldor?

I let out a roar and some of the pain in my chest vanishes. Startled squawking of birds rises on my left and the small feathery things fly off in mass. Sticking together. I grit my teeth and
angle my head for the cliffs. I’m not like a stupid pigeon. I’m like an eagle. Eagles fly alone. Solo. They don’t need anyone else, and no one has to depend on them. 

Like me. 

I’m not a pigeon. If they mistook me for one, then that’s their own fault. Anyone can see the difference. 




What about you? Any fun facts about your WIP? Why do you write?

Saturday, 14 July 2018

7-7-7 Tag | Flightless

No, I am not dead. I was so good and did two posts earlier and was a good girl, then missed one, but hey. I can blame Jane for that, as well as thanking her for this tag!

Basically, last week, our mini, ‘Writing Retreat’ was held at her place, not mine, so lots of words were written! Yay! (Although, we normally write fairly well here too…) Over the course of five or so days, I managed to add another 20882 words to my novel. (10K was in a day, so yay! I can tick that off the July list.) But, no blog post. :(

But hey! The stats are looking awesome! *cheers for my Cabin* Keep it up guys!


However, now I am back and shall be presenting a tag to you. I haven’t done one of these since last September, so, I guess it is high time I did one. Here we go. Thank you Jane for tagging me with the 7-7-7 Tag! (And for a bit under a week of word wars.)


It seems fairly simple, and gives me an excuse to have yet another post on Flightless. (You can find more about Flightless here and here.) Basically, I have to go to the seventh page of my WIP, count down seven lines, and then share the next seven paragraphs from there with you guys.

This lovely snippet is from where two of my three main characters meet. And, you know, first impressions are overrated anyway. :P It’s from the POV of Caution when she first meets Glayde.


***

A shadow moves on my right and I lurch to the side, falling against a stall. My heart thuds in my chest as I scan about. I’m sure…I’m certain something moved. The quiet sound of animals breathing is all I can hear when straining my ears. An assassin? Could someone have come to kill father? Or me? I bite my bottom lip, trying to even my breathing out. No one knows yet. The missive will take at least three days of hard riding to get to Ahlonae. I can still race it. Three days for the message to get there, and three days for the reply to get back. I can’t be too late.

My hands pressed against the smooth wood of the wall, I push myself up. No one in sight. The shadow must have been a trick of the moon light. I let a shaky breath out and continue forward, peering into each enclosure as I go. Where are you Farlen? I squint into another dimly lit stall, sighing at the sight of a dapple grey. I suppose any horse would do really. But then that would be steali—

My wrist is seized by a hand and before I can scream, my body swings in an arc over a shadowy figure’s head and into a pile of hay. I choke as a cloud of dust rises and try to yank my arm out of my attacker's grasp, my shoulder throbbing. “I order you to release me!” I hiss as another arm falls over my neck, pressing down, “By the order of her royal highness Princess Caution of Corohan, let me—” I cough as the pressure gets heavier. Blood roars in my ears and dots swim over my vision. What am I thinking? An assassin isn’t going to release me because I’m the princess. I slap at the arm, scratching and shoving against it. I’m going to die. The thought seems dim as my strength weakens.

Suddenly the pressure vanishes and I suck in a gasping breath, rolling away. I lie there, coughing and massaging my throat. A thudding sound comes from beside me and I look up into vividly blue eyes. I open my mouth to say something, then break off coughing again. But that face. It looks so…worried? Surely it wasn’t him who attacked me. A hand touches my shoulder, then the touch turns into a slight pat. I continue coughing.

A shiver runs through me and tears stream from my eyes as I huddle on the ground, reality beginning to sink in. I nearly died. Died. I could’ve been killed. A skin of water is slipped into one of my hands and I fumble at the stopper. The gentle hand from before, so different from the one strangling me, removes it, curling his fist over the piece of wood. I nod gratefully, still half choking as I raise it to my lips, letting the water trickle into my throat. Not that I overly care whether it’s water or poison. As long as it means I can breathe. Because coughing to death is not how I want to die.

The choking subsides and I swipe at the tears on my face. I’m alive. I’m alive. But I nearly died after being out for less than an hour. A trickle of doubt pushes its way into my mind and I grimace. Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Who am I kidding? I’ve only just come of age.

“Thank you,” I murmur to my attacker, and rescuer, “I’m good now.” I look up and start backward. No one’s there. Again. Quiet attacker. Maybe he is an assassin. Glancing around, I relax as I make out the rather small figure, leading a horse toward me. Farlen.

***


Yeeeeup. That is how they met. Not a particularly good meeting if they’re meant to work together for an entire book, but hey! They mostly manage to cope with each other. Mostly. (Mwhahaha)

Well, now what? All of the people I know have probably already had this tag, so I won’t re-tag you. Instead, aaaaaaaaaanyone who wants to can do this awesome tag. I mean, snippets! Who doesn’t love snippets?


How do your characters tend to meet? Are you enjoying Camp NaNo?