Instead of Writing 002: When She Cries

There’s a notable lack of NaNoWriMo wrap-up posts over the past few days. That’s because life interrupted my original plans. Sorry.

But yesterday I was able to get back on the writing bandwagon and churned out a couple thousand words in the story. I also fell in love with it all over again because I now have a clearer picture of where it’s going.

When I decided to call it an evening, I was struck with a teeny bit of insomnia. Instead of cracking open the netbook to write some more, I grabbed a sheet of copy paper and my pen and did a doodle of one of my main characters.

Her (temporary) name is Elestine. She’s not human. However, she’s lost all memory of who and what she truly is and why she’s where she is. And there’s a scene in the story where she cries…putting a point of her not-normal-ness since her tears aren’t exactly liquid. That was the inspiration for the illustration.


And because I wanted to illustrate a few aspects of her physical appearance, I decided to add a splash of colour. (The scan is horrid. I’m sorry.)


Yes, her hair and eyes and lips are a greyish blue colour. And yes, I’m aware that those also should have been giveaways of her not-normal-ness, but it’s complicated…and, I hope, properly handled in the story.

Finally, the feathers. No, she is not an angel. However, the feathers do offer a clue as to where she’s from.

Here’s hoping that I can get a couple thousand more words written today.


Posted in Art-ing, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 4 Wrap-Up

Writing longhand is much slower than typing. But I like it, and I get to use my magic pen, so I won’t complain.

And yes, Day 3 is missing because I wrote a grand total of zero words and there’s no good way to summarize that. (Not sweating it, though. It’s still early. I have time.)

Today I only wrote about 1000 words. It’s not what I anticipated, but it’s progress. Now without further fanfare, the shitty first paragraph:

Elestine looked over at her mother before returning to her studies. She wondered if there might be a way to escape, but she knew that her mother was aware of everything that happened in the room, even if she didn’t show it. Elestine’s punishment was bad enough; she didn’t need to make it worse.

Even though midnight is around the corner, I’m going to continue writing until I’m face down and drooling on my notebook.


Posted in Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ex-Library Book Easter Eggs as Inspiration

A few weeks ago, I ordered a couple of books from the United Kingdom. They arrived a short time ago. When I started to read one of them, something stuck out…a small piece of paper, folded tightly.

When I unraveled it, there was a brief message: Justine is allowed to bring in some make-up on Thursday. Miss Vince. I decided to flip through the remaining pages and found another one, slightly more ominous: I can’t take it anymore!


I decided to glue the scraps into my commonplace for future reference. But beyond the obvious questions the notes prompted, they got me thinking more deeply about the people behind them. Who wrote them? (Was it really Miss Vince or was it one of Justine’s friends?) Why? And why stick them in a library book?

They may seem arbitrary, but these scraps of papers are stories within themselves, begging for context. Now I’m inspired to purchase even more ex-library books, from all over the world if possible, to see what other Easters eggs they may contain…and what stories could come of them.

Posted in Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 2 Wrap-Up

Finally, I made it. I got in today’s words. But I had to cheat a little bit.

I ended up typing the last 1500 or so words rather than write longhand with my magic pen. Maybe that’ll explain why this shitty first paragraph has an extra helping of shitty. Apologies in advance. I will look back on it and weep. *sigh*

[...]* and with only a brief glance over her shoulder, she ran after Trayan to her mother’s chagrin. The QUEEN was not one to give chase after anyone, not even her own daughter, plus she knew the PRINCESS would eventually return and when she did, she would need to face a severe punishment. So the QUEEN gave the LIASON a final glare before leaving to the palace to contemplate what exactly the appropriate punishment for her daughter would be.

(*I’m doing this thing where I stop writing mid-sentence, so I’m starting from where I left off at the end of Day 1. Also, I haven’t decided on a name for QUEEN or LIASON yet. Oh, and LIASON is actually PEDDLER from Day 1.)

All day I’ve felt like I was walking through a slow-motion movie sequence or something. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better.


Posted in Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 1 Wrap Up

Wow. Where did the day go? Oh, yeah, that’s right…I spent 99% of it dillydallying.

I went shopping. Found some awesome soap, grabbed a birthday present for my niece, and came up with an amazing idea: THE MAGIC PEN. You read correctly, I decided I would make myself a magic NaNoWriMo pen (and possibly a notebook, too). So I went shopping for those supplies.

Then I got home, looked at the clock, realized that if I didn’t start, I wouldn’t finish. So I paused the making of my magic pen…

My Unfinished Magic Pen

…and decided to write.

Well, luckily I managed to yank a miracle from my ass and finished my first 1800(-ish) words before the clock struck midnight.

And in keeping with my shitty first paragraph theme (hmmm…haven’t posted one in a while), I shall provide the first paragraph from the NaNoWriMo Novel (as yet untitled) Day 1:

From the clouds, she watched them. She watched as they flowed from their homes into their vehicles, down their streets to their destinations. She thought about what it must be like for them, to live; to have such freedom shackled by their routines. Sometimes she’d see one of them laugh. She liked that the best. They’d throw their heads back with abandon, their mouths would open so wide it seemed they could swallow the whole of creation and tears would sometimes gather in the corner of their eyes. The first few times she saw them laugh she feared for them because the expression was too close to that of pain. Soon enough she learned to decipher the difference. She wished she could hear them, though. Sometimes the peddler would tell her of their words and stories. She loved listening to the peddler because he was the only one in all of the court who didn’t dismiss her curiosity in the race below as a passing fancy. But without the peddler and his stories, she had to imagine what they said to each other.

OK. So, I know it’s long and rambly and all kinds of confusing. But hey, it’s NaNoWriMo…it’s not supposed to make sense yet.

Maybe I’ll be able to finish the magic pen tomorrow. (It’s supposed to be A LOT more sparkly.) And if I do, I’ll post pictures…with a proper explanation.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Preparing for NaNoWriMo on a Soggy Halloween Night

First, it does not feel like Halloween at all because it’s been raining all day which means the ghouls and goblins have opted to stay inside…where it’s dry.

But at least this weather is good for something: Inspiration. The deep grey clouds and silver fog lining the ground are eerie and melancholic and absolutely my kind of mood.

Too bad I’m not supposed to start writing until tomorrow. It’s just as well. I should probably use what little time I have left to prepare, especially considering I have no idea which story I want to tell or how I intend to tell it.

The plan right now is to create my NaNoWriMo care package which will consist of three main items: the perfect notebook, the perfect pen, and caffeine. The bonus items will be a book of prompts and some visual aids (think storyboard-type stuff).

I’ve learned a few things from previous NaNoWriMos. Although I completed the last two, last year’s was a bear because I let myself get so far behind that I stayed awake for three solid says straight just to meet the word-count threshold. It wasn’t pretty. And I was so sick of my novel that I never wanted to see (or think about) it again. To this day it remains unfinished.

This year’s going to be different though, because…I have a plan.

  • Keep Writerly Hours: I’ve scheduled a specific time each day where I will write for an hour and a half. (The half hour is for the warm-up.) Even if I don’t feel like writing, I will still write because I can always go back and edit later…it’s all about getting the words out.
  • Cut Back on Extracurriculars: Although I’m not a big TV watcher, I do have a Netflix and Hulu account, plus I do a fair bit of reading. This month needs to be about writing. I’ve decided to severely limit my Netflix/Hulu/Reading time. (I can, however, listen to as much music as I want–it helps with the story inspiration.)
  • Have Fun with It: A big problem for me the past couple of years was how seriously I began to take myself toward the end. That can’t happen this year. I want it to be a fun and enjoyable experience so I won’t loathe my novel afterward.

With that, I’m ready to take on this year’s NaNoWriMo.


(Is it normal to still be scared? Gosh, I thought I’d be over that by now.)

Posted in Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Childhood Pleasures

The shift in temperature as summer flows into autumn always reminds me of childhood…and the things I miss from that bygone time.

  • Drinking a mug of hot Ovaltine on a chilly evening
  • Chewing fruit punch flavored Bubblicious gum
  • Skipping rope in the backyard
  • Hiding in my secret cubby under the stairs (which transported me, quite like the wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, to a completely different realm)
  • Watching episodes of Fraggle Rock while wearing my pajamas

As I look back over the list, I realize I’m not too old to do any of them (except the cubby thing…I’d need to find a space large enough for grown-up me). Maybe I should try them some time.

Posted in Everything Else | Leave a comment

Goodreads Book Recommendations

It looks like someone at Goodreads has their eyes and ears open. A while back, I talked about how there needs to be a rating/recommendation system for books similar to Netflix. Today, when I logged in to update my Goodreads account, I noticed a new box mentioning the number of books I’d rated with a link to book recommendations.

Goodreads Books You've Rated

My first thought was, Has that always been there? Until I realized the giant site announcement: Announcing Goodreads Book Recommendations. (Answer: no, it hasn’t.)

Checking out the titles recommended for me, I’d say it’s fairly psychic so far because a few of the recommendations are books already on my want-list (or have read, enjoyed, but forgotten to add list). A nice touch is that whenever you hover over a book’s title, it gives you a little pop-out explaining what the book’s about and why it ended up on your recommendation list.

Goodreads Recommendations

What concerns me, however, is that it ultimately won’t be as psychic as Netflix. And books do require more of a time investment than a movie or television show. Also it would have been nice if the new recommendation system offered a how much you’re likely to enjoy it star rating similar to Netflix.

Netflix recommendations

Maybe in the future.

(Random thought: I figured Amazon would have been the first to jump on this, implementing their own Netflix-style recommendation system, but whatevs…I’m just glad someone is showing some initiative.)

Posted in Everything Else | Tagged , | Leave a comment