Beautiful Books 2017 | Introduce the Novel

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Hey peeps and welcome to Beautiful Books, hosted by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up & Further In. What is Beautiful Books? It’s very similar to the monthly link up of Beautiful People, but this month it focuses on NaNoWriMo writing projects rather than specific characters in the novels. You obviously don’t have to be participating in NaNo in order to join; it can be any writing project. Click here or the picture to be taken back to the most recent Beautiful Books linkup page!

It’s time to talk about what I’m going to be writing this year and frankly… I needed this post because I’m still working out a few kinks in what I want to write and I’m just a mess. Ha.

Here’s the questions!

  1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
    • I’ve been wanting to write a character with dark powers since I started working on my NaNo novel last year. I had a character who was able to manipulate shadows and use darkness as a power, but it just didn’t fit right with the character and the world (of course I didn’t realize this until later on). And then… well, I wanted a way to cope with my depression, and so I decided to write about a character that uses darkness as a power, but this power controls her and consumes her (much like depression does with me). So… yeah.
  2. Describe what your novel is about!
    • Mahlia is unknown. She blends in with the crowd as much as possible and tries to just go through her day to day life without bothering anyone. But she has a secret that she can’t make known unless she wants to forfeit not only this life that she’s made, but also her freedom. If she keeps this secret any longer, though, it may just consume her – body and soul.
    • Vex is the third prince in line for the throne, and as such he gets away with pretty much whatever he can. As he was forced to choose between priesthood and the military, he decides to join the royal army alongside his second eldest brother. Fire courses through his veins just as it does through his second brother and his mother, but his magic is stronger, different, and one that could ignite a change he hadn’t expected.
    • In a world where elemental magic is abundant, the threat of war is upon the country of Arkin from their neighbors across the sea – Nyrrin, who craves their lands and their very prosperous resources. But these once comrades of Arkin come with weapons unlike that which Arkin has ever seen, and it could change the outcome of the war for the worse for Arkin.
  3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
  4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
    • Mahlia is a 19 year old apprentice to a weapons maker. She’s been under his care for the last six years and has been learning the ins and outs of how to make weapons suited for the person based on their power: swords that can hold fire for fire wielders so as to not melt the steel; bows and arrows for wind users that are both lithe and powerful and have secrets within them to carry farther than the average arrow; and so on. She has a good sense of humor and is often complimented on her smile. She loves to make others laugh and forget their worries because she knows what it’s like to be so down in darkness that looking for a light is near impossible. Her power is Darkness, a path from Spirit that is very dangerous and unknown to many. She wears gloves often because her hands are tainted with the black mark that signifies a Darkness user. As such, she rarely uses her power because it feels like a living thing, something that will consume her from the inside out – the marks on her hands prove that. She often has depressive episodes as a result, but she doesn’t often speak her mind when she’s in those moods because she doesn’t want to burden others.
    • Vex is a 23 year old prince, the youngest in the line of succession, and is a high spirited young man. He has three elder siblings: two brothers and a sister, and cares for each of them deeply. Family is very important to him and he couldn’t imagine his life without any of them, especially his second eldest brother, Maks, whom is also like a best friend to him. Vex is a Fire user like his brother and mother, and though their flames are strong, his seems to be stronger and he sometimes likes to show it off. He is part of the Royal Army, second to his brother, but he didn’t just earn the spot because of who he is, but he fought and earned his right to be there. He works alongside men and women who have varying powers and he views them as family. He has an easy going smile and attitude, but can be very serious when the situation calls for it.
    • Maks is the second eldest sibling of the four royal siblings at 28 years old. He has a good head on his shoulders and uses logic over emotions in almost all situations. He loves his family dearly and views his little brother as a comrade in arms as well as a friend. He is strong physically and in power, his flames very potent when used. He has a wife, Kema, who is 26 years old, and a two year old daughter named Camile.
    • Tilla is the only daughter of the four siblings and is 25 years old. She is very gracious and loving, but she’s also a fighter. She trained with her brothers with weapons from a young age with both of her parents’ blessings. But she much prefers being in dresses and being a woman of the court than being a soldier. She enjoys shopping and gossip, but she is also an artist and loves to paint and create. She is a Water user and her magic is fairly strong.
    • Berol is the eldest son of Arkin at 30 years old and is a Wood user. He is strong physically and in power and he has a good head on his shoulders. As he is the first heir to the throne, he has been trained in politics, military tactics, and general ruling of the country. He is married to his childhood friend, Sera, and they have three children ages 6, 4, and 1, two daughters and a son.
    • Geron is the king of Arkin and is a Water user who is incredibly strong in power and physically. He is a kind and generous king who truly cares for his people and family. His wife is Queen Sephie who is a Fire user, very powerful, and incredibly warm hearted. She is very family oriented and cares much for the people.
    • Serath is the master weapons maker that Mahlia has been training under and his bark is worse than his bite. He looks like a very bedraggled man in his late fifties, but there are hints of love and tenderness under his skin, especially when it comes to children and those close to him, like Mahlia. In public, though, he is all business and rarely smiles. He is a Metal user (surprise surprise).
    • Jaqar is the king of Nyrrin and a very strict ruler. He believes that power and money are the two things he needs most in life and because of this his view of the world has become warped in ways that have slowly been hurting his people more than helping them. He is an Ice user and is fairly strong in his power, but not strong enough.
    • Lucmer is the eldest son of Nyrrin at 27 years old and is much like his father, but crueler. He was trained under the sword from a very early age, and his power as an Ice user is one that would impress even the tribes living in the northern mountains. He is one that uses strategy and logic in many situations, but he also relies a lot on his power and brute force to get what he wants. He’s short tempered and one not to be crossed.
  5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
    • Cry a little. I’ve been trying to outline to make sure I have a loose plot that I want to follow. Once I figure out the main point of the story the rest should hopefully fall into place. Other than that, I get inspiration from other writers when they talk about their own work, and I read in the genre I want to write in to really get a grasp on how other writers write their stories and how I want mine to be, too.
  6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
    • Just seeing where it goes. I want the story to be about how Mahlia will conquer the darkness eventually, but it’s going to take a lot of trials and heartache to get there, and I don’t know if I’m ready for it. (Also the romance because I’m a super romantic at heart.)
  7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
    • Two countries are going to be at war with one another: Arkin, a prosperous country with lush fields, forests, and distant mountains with many homes and villages nestled together, where people come to start over; Nyrrin, a strong country with a thirst for gold and greed and power, with tall, stark buildings, crowded streets, and advancing weaponry.
    • Magic is abundant in both lands and across the world, and it’s elemental magic. As such, there are varying “branches” to the elemental magic, such as “Ice” is a branch under “Water.”
    • Many secrets to unlock (for me, too, let’s be real).
  8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
    • Mahlia’s ultimate goal is to conquer her own power from consuming her. She is what stands in her own way.
    • Vex’s ultimate goal is to make sure his country remains safe. Jaqar and Lucmer stand in his way.
  9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
    • Mahlia will most likely conquer her demons and feel like she can finally breathe again. But will she still have her freedom? That is the question.
    • Vex will go through a lot in the course of the story, and he might change a bit from what he was at the beginning, but one thing is certain: he won’t take life for granted anymore.
  10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
    • One theme is going to cover depression, and I’m going to do my best to make it #ownvoices because I’ve had depression for over 10 years now and I want to show what my depression is like through Mahlia. The Darkness is a symbol of that, but she’ll also have it.
    • Sacrifice is going to be another theme and one that I hope readers will understand that tough choices happen in life, especially in unforeseen circumstances.
    • Redemption is also going to be poignant because I want Mahlia to be able to overcome the Darkness and how strong of a hold it has on her.
    • Love is another theme, but not just romantic love. I want to also feature familial love because I just don’t see enough of it in books.
    • When the story is over I hope my readers feel a sense of connection with more than one character and that they, too, will find themselves in one of them.

That’s it for this month’s Beautiful Books! I’m very excited and nervous to start NaNoWriMo, but I honestly hope that it goes well and that this story is what I’ve been needing to write this whole time.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Are you going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How many characters do you have? What are three points about your setting? How do you want readers to think about your story at the end?

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NaNoWriMo Survival Kit 2017

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Hello beautiful people! Today is all about NaNoWriMo! If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, here’s a brief description: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month long challenge that takes place every November and challenges you to write 50,000 words in the month. It’s a fun challenge and I’ve participated for several years, and this year is no different.

So I was watching some NaNo Prep videos on YouTube and came across some NaNo Survival Kits – essentially items that you can’t write your novel without during the event. I figured I’d share my own items that I know I couldn’t be without when it comes to NaNo, so here’s my list:

  • My laptop. I mean. Duh. How else am I going to write this novel? I’m certainly not going to handwrite it because ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • My USB thumb drive. I’ve had this same USB for years and years now, and it’s the second most important thing to me when it comes to writing. I save my story after every chapter that I write. I don’t want to lose any of my hard work in case anything happens to my laptop, so I save everything to this USB as a backup.
  • Music. I can’t really listen to music with actual lyrics when I’m writing unless I’m super focused because then my attention will be drawn to the music rather than what I’m working on, and that’s kind of not the goal. I listen to a lot of Lindsey Stirling and movie scores; pretty much anything classical in some way.
  • My NaNoWriMo scarf, hat, and mug. Okay, so these aren’t like super essential for the actual act of writing, BUT I still found these items to be super comfy when I was writing last year, and a little comfort whenever I looked at them because I’d think to myself, “I’m doing this for me and for something I’m passionate about.”

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  • A bottle of water. I don’t know about you, but I need to stay hydrated. I can sit for hours writing, sometimes writing over 1k words every half hour if I’m super into it, so I need to stay hydrated while my brain goes into overdrive.
  • Candy and/or snacks. Not the healthiest option here, but sometimes those little bits of sugar can really make or break when it comes to having enough energy to get out just that last paragraph to call it a day.
  • Writing space. Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can’t really write when I’m in a super distracting environment. I need a place where my brain can associate that when I’m in that space that it’s writing time. This year, I’m not sure where that will be. Maybe my desk, maybe my bed. Who knows? I just know I need that space.
  • My writing program of choice! Obviously I need this because how else am I going to write this novel? I’m most likely going to use Microsoft Word to write it, as I have for a long time now, and I’m fine with that. I write chapters in separate documents and keep planning in one and I have it organized in a way I understand. One day I might use Scrivener, but not right now.

And that’s it! I’m pretty easy to please, haha, but that’s really all I need for NaNoWriMo to survive it. I hope that each of my items help me survive, anyway.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What’s in your NaNo survival kit? Anything that you’d suggest that I add to mine? Are you excited for NaNo!?

Inktober & NaNoWriMo Prep

Hello beautiful people! So it’s the first day of Halloween October and there are two major events going on that I’m going to be participating in, and they are:

Inktober and NaNoWriMo Prep.

In case you don’t know what either of these things are, here’s a little info about them & what I plan on doing:

Inktober

Inktober is a drawing challenge that has four rules:

  1. Make a drawing in ink.
  2. Post it online.
  3. Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017.
  4. Repeat every day of October.

That’s it! I first saw the challenge last year around the time I started my art Instagram and I wanted to participate this year. There’s an official list of prompts for the 31 days, and I’m going to be using that list to draw every day in October and – hopefully – improve my skills more.

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I’ll be using Micron Fine Liner pens for the majority of my work, but I may do some in color? I’m not sure as I’ve always loved drawing in black and white, but we’ll see how I’m feeling for that prompt that day. So if you want to see how the challenge is coming along then please check out my art Instagram linked above!

NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month is coming up NEXT MONTH (ugh, it hurts to say that) and OMG I NEED TO PREP SO BAD. Like. I’ve never really prepped for this before? I kind of did last year where I had an outline and things were going pretty good UNTIL THEY WEREN’T. URGH. But it’s fine. Everything’s fine.

So what’s NaNoWriMo you ask? It’s a 30 days writing challenge that takes place from November 1-30 where you are challenging yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a super fun (and kind of exhausting) challenge, and if you love to write or you have a story idea that you’ve been dying to tell, then this is probably the challenge for you!

Of course you don’t have to write 50,000 words if you’re unable to or if your story doesn’t need to be that long, but the goal is to reach that word count if you can in 30 days.

I don’t have a synopsis ready yet as I’m still working out some kinks in the story I want to write this year, but here are three keywords that my story revolves around: fantasy, depression, love.

This is a story that I NEED to tell. It’s a subject matter that’s close to my heart and it’s one in which I feel will not only be challenging for me to write, but also beneficial. I hope that during the month of October I will be able to successfully prep myself by doing the following things:

  • Write an outline of the whole story. I found that I actually like outlining as I’m able to use it as a guideline for my writing so that I don’t stray too far from where I had imagined the story going.
  • Come up with a synopsis. Honestly, this should be the first thing I do because even though I have a concept of the character and the power she’ll have (I was also going to originally make her a male, but I think I’m going to write her as a female… we’ll see), I don’t exactly have a plot figured out. Like, I know the general message I want to get across in the story, but I don’t have a way to get there. I sort of do but I don’t? It’s very hard to explain.
  • Work on small writing prompts to get to know my characters, the world, and what they have to deal with. This is a new thing I’m going to try this year. I usually already know my character as I have a file in my head of who they are in everything (imagine Bruce Almighty when he’s in that building meeting God for the first time and opens the file cabinet), but I think that this will also be very beneficial as I can write back story, side story, develop the world, figure out weapons systems and powers and stuff like that. I have vague concepts but not enough for me to really go on.
  • Participate in little NaNo Prep challenges here and there. I think it’ll be fun to join in with other writers and brainstorm and chat about our novels. Plus it’s a little encouraging to know that others will be doing similar things as I am.

Alright, so there you have it! These are the two challenges that I’ll be facing in October. I’ll try to do weekly wrap ups of Inktober to show the art I created for that week, as well as discuss what I’ve been doing for NaNoWriMo as well.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

If you’re participating in either of these challenges please let me know! I’d love to be able to go on this journey with you and see just what October has in store for us. Are you interested in either of the challenges? Let me know how you’re prepping for NaNo.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Week 5 – The Homestretch & Winning NaNoWriMo

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I WON! I mean, if you couldn’t tell by the banner and the title of this post. But yeah! I won! I’m so incredibly proud and happy with myself. I was honestly going to give up before I reached 40,000 words. But then I was like, “No. I need to do this.” And I pushed through it and I managed to win. It was a long month full of patterns of writing A LOT one day, a little bit other days, and then weeks without writing. It was crazy and exhausting, and I’m so tired, but so happy. Oh man.

To anyone out there who thought they couldn’t do it, but did: CONGRATULATIONS!

To anyone out there who tried but didn’t make it: YOU’RE AWESOME! You still wrote, you still tried, and that’s really all that matters. 50,000 is just a goal. The real goal is writing.

Goal

50,000 words total by the end of November 30th.

My average daily goal is to write 1,667 words.

Stats for Week 5

Day 27: 0 words
Day 28: 0 words
Day 29: 6,905 words
Day 30: 6,246 words

Total Words: 50,234 words

Chart

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That purple bar makes me so happy. But as you can see: I plateaued A LOT this month. See those huge gaps in the bars where they just suddenly shot up? Yeah. That was sheer determination. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I did, and I still can’t believe it.

What I’ve Learned & What I Look Forward To

Oh man, where do I begin? What I’ve learned this month is that I am so a writer. I love to create, to tell stories, to see where my imagination takes me. I want to be able to one day share these creations with the world, but first I need to finish them. But I’ve also learned that I couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband, who cheered me on all month which I’m super grateful for, as well as some of my lovely friends on Twitter who cheered me on as well.

I’ve also learned that I really like outlining! I hated it before. Loathed it, even. But man, I found that following an outline actually really helps! I tried doing the pantsing thing multiple times and I don’t think it helps me to stick to the story that I originally set out to do. This time I feel like I followed it very closely, took out the parts that I didn’t need, and formed my story around the ones I definitely wanted to hit.

I’ve also discovered that I like to write in bursts. I like to write 10k+ words in one day because I’m too tired throughout the week to do it, so why not do it on that one day? I find that if I’m really into the story that the words come easily for me.

I’ve also learned that wearing magical writing gear helps, too.

So what do I have to look forward to now that NaNoWriMo is officially over? Well, let me tell you: my story isn’t even close to being done. I just got to the part in my outline where it’s the beginning of the end, so I still have all of the ending of the story to write. I don’t know how much more that’ll be, but I will finish it soon! I am going to take a break, though, because my brain is so tired from pushing so much creativity out in one month. But damn, I missed it.

Once I’ve finished writing my first draft I plan to edit and revise it all before I let anyone beta read it or critique it or anything. I have someone in mind who I’d like to critique it, I just need to ask her if she’d be willing to. And of course let my husband read it (aka make him read it, lol).

I hope you all had a wonderful writing month and that no matter how much you wrote you are still proud of yourself for what you did accomplish.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Did you win at NaNoWriMo? What was your final word count? I hope you had as fun a time as I did this past month because man, what a ride it was! Tell me the ups and downs you faced this month as well as what you’re looking forward to for your project. Congrats to everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Week 4 – Take a Break

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I’m sensing a pattern here… I seem to be able to write nonstop every other week and then just not write for a week straight. This past week was particularly difficult what with the holiday and I’ve just been so incredibly tired. I just want to sleep constantly and I don’t know why. So I didn’t write any words this week, but I’m okay with that. I mean, I’m not, but I’ve accepted that life happens and it’s going to happen. If you’re stuck in a rut too, I hear ya. But we’ve got a few days left, so let’s make it count, yeah?

Goal

50,000 words total by the end of November 30th.

My average daily goal is to write 1,667 words.

Stats for Week 4

Day 20: 0 words
Day 21: 0 words
Day 22: 0 words
Day 23: 0 words
Day 24: 0 words
Day 25: 0 words
Day 26: 0 words

Total Words: 37,083 words

*I’m not including today, November 27th, as the day is not over yet. Today’s word count will be in next week’s recap.

This Week’s Advice: Take a Break

It’s probably not what you wanted or were expecting to hear this week. I don’t mean do what I do and take a week off in between writing; I mean give yourself a break. A few hours, a couple minutes, or a whole day. Your brain needs to rest if it’s going to keep giving you words to write, so you need to give it the rest it deserves and needs.

Sometimes it’s more beneficial than just chugging along to reach the word count or to reach your own personal goals. We all can’t chug out a crap ton of words in a single day. That’s fine! You have to do what you can and accept it and go with it. Don’t get discouraged if you fall behind as a result. Even if you don’t win, look at the progress you’ve made. Look at it! You’ve done that all on your own. So give yourself a much needed break and relax for a little while.

That being said, though, don’t just drop writing completely. I mean, look at my progress above: NOTHING written this week. Zero. Zilch. It happens. I’m not going to let it get me down. I’ll power through if I have to, but even if I don’t, I’m still very happy with the progress I’ve made this month and I’m so glad I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

Keep going! But take the breaks you need. Read a book, go for a walk, play with your dog/kid/guinea pig, play a video game, watch movies (Moana was amazing, go see it), but above all: don’t stress. R E L A X. I know it can be hard, but you can’t strain yourself over it.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

How has this week gone for you? We’re in the home stretch! Are you excited? Did you already reach 50k? How much more do you have to go? What are you doing to take a break during this time? Let me know!