Camp NaNoWriMo & All That Jazz [aka: an explosion of all my craziness about my WIP]

April Camp NaNoWriMo came to a close last Monday, and I’m happy to say it was a successful month for me!

[Warning: Kat from Sparks of Ember gave me permission to just be myself here on Penprints, so the proverbial hair is coming down. Prepare yourself for a super casual post full of run-on sentences and my explosive excitement for my WIP.]

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Now, for those of you wondering what Camp NaNoWriMo is, here’s the short version: “NaNoWriMo” is slang for “National Novel Writing Month”. National Novel Writing Month is a virtual event that takes place every November where writers around the world try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July and has a similar idea except you can join virtual cabins with nineteen other writers where you can chat, compare your goals, word war and such. And speaking of goals, you set your goal any way you want for Camp. Lines, hours, minutes, words, pages, etc.


I had planned to continue pulling teeth working on Beasts for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set myself a goal of 55 hours. Three days before Camp started, I decided that Beasts and I needed to take a break and come back to reevaluate our relationship after we both had some time away (why, yes, I did just refer to Beasts and I as a “we”, as if Beasts was another person and not a figment of my imagination. #unashamed) Unfortunately, at present, it seems like it’s a toxic relationship. Hopefully this detox from each other will bring us around to a better state of mind and heart. Hopefully.

So I had to scramble for a project for Camp. Should I just write a bunch of flash fictions? Finish a sci-fi short story that’s been rolling around in my head for months? Revisit Flickering Lights and finally make decisions about its fate? Not do Camp at all??

Ha. None of that happened.

Instead, I went straight for False Gods, the novel I drafted last November (during normal NaNoWriMo). Because I’d been dying to get back to it (no, I have not been mentally cheating on Beasts, hush) since December 1, 2017.

So I stowed my Beasts notes and playlist and pulled up the False Gods Pinterest board, the character playlists, and the embarrassingly rough first draft that I somehow still adore even though it’s a complete mess.

An Example Of What A Mess This First Draft Is:

*second week of NaNoWriMo 2017*

*in the midst of drafting False Gods for the first time*

*my small group was also in the midst of a study on the book of Acts and we had just finished the part where Paul is on Malta, a snake comes out of the fire, bites him in the hand, the natives expect him to swell up and die, and then he doesn’t die because God*

Me: *whining* I don’t know why this character is going on this trip with them! I don’t want him on this trip! He ruins the whole dynamic!

Daddy: What if a viper bites him, he swells up, and dies?

Me: Haha, psh. You’re cute. No, I would never do that. *laughs* That would be ridiculous.

*literally 20 minutes later*

“… So-and-so let out a sharp cry. A viper hung from So-and-so’s calf…”

And yes, this character definitely swelled up and died on the spot. Problem = solved. Don’t worry, kids. I’m a professional.

Anyway, April began with a huge bang and kept right on steamrolling. About halfway through, I lowered my goal from 55 hours to 50 hours because there were a few days when I had far better things to do than work on False Gods (and if I’m saying that about The Novel That I Love, you know it’s true).

With the help of my amazing cabin, I made it to my goal of 50 hours by the end of April, and I made so much progress!… sort of… okay, so, looking back at where False Gods was at the start of April, I’m like, “Woah!! I’ve done so much work on it! It’s come so far! Woohoo! FULL SPEED AHEAD!”… but then when I think about having spent 50 hours (50 HOURS) of work on it, I’m like, “How is this all that’s gotten done in 50 freaking hours of work??!”.

So here we are.

I’m going to briefly share a few things—we’ll  call them fun facts—that have happened with False Gods over the month of April.

  • I read and annotated the first draft.
  • Existing plot points and new plot points went on index cards and were arranged into the semblance of a plot. (Side note: why the heck do we even have plots? Who needs them? *distant sobbing*)
  • I dug into Asha (my main character who I adore) and his past, figuring out more of his history and emotional wounds and such. (Hint: hurt people hurt people, people.)
  • I dug into Adele (my secondary POV character) and her past a little more, but she’s been in my head longer than Asha, so I already knew more of her history, but I was able to smooth some things out with her.
  • Asha and Adele were classified and explored according to their personality. Asha’s a rebel according to the four tendencies and a ESTP according to the Meyers-Briggs system. Adele’s an upholder according to the four tendencies and an ISFJ according to Meyers-Briggs. (Yeah, they ended up as almost complete opposites. #oops.)
  • While working on Asha’s brain, I compiled a list of his flaws and his virtues because that’s what professionals do. It turns out that he has eight flaws and counting. His only virtue is his wicked sense of humor, which I don’t think actually counts, especially since “wicked” describes it perfectly.
  • Despite how depraved it turns out Asha is, I still like him, and I think other people will too.
  • Adele, on the other hand, has seven virtues and counting with only three flaws.
  • I cemented down some of the major history for my storyworld (particularly, Asha’s heritage).
  • I finished sorting through an entire book of baby names and compiled a complete list of characters and why they’re there.
  • I revised the first sixteen chapters (part one) of False Gods.
  • A rough map of the storyworld has been drawn.
  • I did some focused work on Adele’s POV voice and settled on a tone that suits her.
  • 47 hours into Draft Two, I finally came roaring out of the honeymoon phase with False Gods (meaning: I started to despair about how much work it needs, began to hate it, etc.).
  • 52 hours into Draft Two, I zipped right back into the honeymoon phase. (Something about these characters, people. I can’t hate them or ignore them.)
  • I realized that False Gods is indeed the correct title for this story. If you remember from my recap post from NaNoWriMo 2017, I wasn’t sure if it suited Asha’s story after I brought Adele out of her story and into his. Spoiler alert: oh, it works.
  • Speaking of Asha’s story, I also figured out that Asha is indeed my main character. One would think I would have already known this, but alas. For a while there, I wasn’t sure which of them was my main character because they both have so much at stake, are so dear to me, etc., etc.. But then I realized that this isn’t about the mortal who goes toe-to-toe with an immortal pantheon; this is about the immortal who gets defeated by a mortal. This is about a dude who actually thinks he’s a god and all the lies he believes that have to be unraveled for him to become truly great. So, yeah, that was just nice to finally get sorted out in my brain.
  • False Gods is not subtle. At all. Most of my flash fictions have been fairly indirect in how they reflect Christ. That’s not at all the case with False Gods; the themes are very direct, born from a season in my life that’s felt like a spiritual wilderness. I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I want to write subtle fiction, False Gods is just not one of those stories. It never has been, and it never will be.

Anyhoo. That was a crazy long post, and it’s not even helpful or anything like that. It’s just me spazzing my way from one thought about April and False Gods to another like a rabbit on caffeine (Out of Time series reference, yo).

Part of me is like, “Oh, this level of hyper is probably incoherent and/or annoying”, but then the rest of me is like, “Lol, do it anyway.”.

SO. This is one of the things I’m super jazzed about right now. What is something you’re excited about right now? A project? A trip? A novel?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – thanks again to Kat for telling me I don’t always “have to be on” here on the ol’ blog.

P.P.S. – don’t forget to sign-up for the 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash and check out the giveaway that’s currently running.

An Introduction to My Latest Novel (the nanowrimo 2017 edition)

So I wrote a new novel last month. I’m pretty jazzed about it (it’s a major mess right now, but I’m ignoring the First Draft Disaster and basking in the satisfaction of it being well on its way to Wonderful).

Today I’m going to introduce you to it as much as I’m able. I’m going to be using some of the questions from the Beautiful Books link up put on by Cait and Sky.  Let’s get to it.

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~ What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea? ~

I don’t know even know what inspired the original bits for this novel. Over two years ago, I somehow (I have no remembrance how) ended up thinking about wolves and a medieval mage with a strong sense of justice who traveled between worlds.

And then a little over a year ago in my imagination wanderings, I came across a sassy creature who was worshiped as a god and in dire need of a humbling experience.

And then a few months ago, lightning struck my brain…

~ Describe what your novel is about! ~

I think this is the part where I’m supposed to give some sort of blurb.

Lol, that’s not gonna happen.

I cannot currently write an understandable blurb about this novel (I know, we’re all so despairing), but here’s the general gist: I plucked my world-tromping mage out of her travels, dropped her in the sassy so-called god’s world, and pitted them against each other. Thus, this novel was born.

~ Introduce us to each of your characters. ~

Adele is my mage. She’s… so amazing. The natives call her the Moon One for her pale skin, moon tattoos, and the crescent moon on the hilt of her sword (between you and me, the sword’s pretty amazing too). She travels to various worlds to set captives free and make truth known (aka: JUSTICE) in the name of her Lord. And sometimes she’s a wolf.

adele collage

adele 

Asha is my sassy creature who thinks he’s the god of fire and ardor (among other things). He’s the eldest of fourteen siblings, each with unique power which they refer to as their “birthrights”. Asha’s birthright is fire (hint: his power with fire is not limited to the everyday candle variety), and he’s been worshiped by the humans of his world as a god in the pantheon since he was born thirteen hundred years ago. Worship and bad parenting have made him quite the something-something who thinks quite a lot of himself.

asha collage 1

asha

~ List three things about your novel’s setting. ~

1. The myrtle tree. There are many myrtle trees, but I’m talking about the myrtle tree have fun figuring out what that means. Lots of things go down at the ol’ myrtle tree. Most of the book occurs in a landscape similar to the near to mid-east of our world, hence myrtle trees among other pieces of beautiful near and mid-east landscapes. But this myrtle tree is a special one.

 2. A river that was bent to flow in a circle by one of Asha’s younger sisters (Gomti, the water goddess). (And, no, the river does not have a name; I’ll figure something out in the next draft.)

 3. The temple of Chanderkala. Chanderkala is the ruler of Asha’s family of gods (he also happens to be Asha’s father, but they have issues–father/son/firstborn problems), and his glittering temple sits in the heart of Chena, the holy city of the humans where they worship Asha and his various fellow so-called gods. Just like the myrtle tree, Chanderkala’s lavish temple is also the setting for many pivotal scenes.

~ What’s your character’s goal, and who (or what) stands in the way? ~

Asha’s goal is to become the ruler of the gods. His father (Chanderkala <—–that name though; it’s so over the top, just like Chanderkala himself) and Adele stand in Asha’s way.

More than anything, Adele wants to hear the voice of her Lord one more time, but she doesn’t know what’s in the way (spoiler alert: it’s herself, and later on, Asha).

~ What are your book’s themes? ~

– Spiritual dry season. Dealing with loneliness and silence. Remembering the truth you knew in the beginning. You are not meant to be alone, and you are not alone. –

– Owning weakness. Living alive. You are not the end all be all. Lose your life for His sake and save your soul.  –

Perhaps that’s too many themes, but those are the things that kept cropping up as I went through the characters and story. I guess we’ll see what it looks like after a few rounds of edits. You can read some of the verses at the heart of this story here, here, here, here, and here.

~ And is there a title? ~

Um, that would be a no. Back when they were two separate stories, Adele’s was called Howl and Asha’s was False Gods. Now that it’s become one story, neither title seems to fit, and I can’t come up with another one to save my life. For now, I refer to it as False Gods in all my notes and such, but that title is likely to change as soon as I can come up with a better one.

And that’s about all I’ve got.

What about you?? Did you write a novel for NaNoWriMo? What’s it about? For my non-writer friends, did you have any big projects you tackled in November??? Also, any title ideas for me?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – if you want to check out a really amazing novel that was written for NaNo this year, stop over by Katie Grace’s blog to see the info about her superhero novel (that is, if you haven’t seen it yet).

P.P.S. – have any of us really gotten over the cover for Fawkes? (No, no we have not.)

P.P.P.S. – tomorrow I start in on edits for Beasts. Send help.

P.P.P.P.S. – so this whole “p.s.” thing is getting a bit excessive, but I just want to publicly acknowledge that I used way too many parentheses in this post. Wait, actually, that’s impossible (mwahahahaha!).