Posts from the ‘Story Arcs’ Category

Camp NaNo Review – Week 2

Words this week: 6564
Total words: 12866

In spite of trying to be better about planning what I would write each day, there were still a few times that I sat down to write with no idea where to start. That’s something that I need to work on next week. The days where I did plan ahead were the days that I had the least difficulty writing.

However, that said, at the rate I’m going, I fully expect to finish the story next week. In actual fact… I have already written the end of the novel! It’s something that I’ve done with nearly every novel I’ve written. I reach a certain point in the story, usually about the midpoint, where I can guess where I’m going well enough to write the end. At that point, it becomes a signpost that I just keep working towards.

Looking ahead to next week, I’m feeling much better about things than I did last week at this time. I think writing my end last Tuesday was a big reason for that. My characters are still surprising me, so I don’t expect that to change as I begin Week Three, but I’m feeling loads more confident about both the writing process and my story itself.

My best writing day (by word count) was Sunday evening, when I wrote 1413 words. My best sprint happened on Thursday afternoon, when I wrote 681 words in half an hour.

The last line I wrote was: “On the other hand… what would I do about Elayne?”

My favorite line from last week (because it brings up something from an earlier section of the story): “Do we want the place to be destroyed in another explosion?”

My favorite scene (because it’s just so typical of Keenan) was:

Tristan frowned and nodded thoughtfully. When he spoke, it was in carefully measured tones. “Tell me,” he said, “do you know of the Death’s Cloak Spell?”

“I’d heard of it,” I admitted. After all, he’d spoken of it to Nicolae in my presence. I frowned, my brows drawing down low over my eyes. “It gives anyone over whom it is cast the appearance of death, right?”

He nodded. “Would you know of any potions that would have such an effect?” he asked. When I blinked at him, he smiled. “I’ve read only enough about potions to know that there are some that mimic the effects of spells. Is there a potion that would place someone so deeply asleep that they would appear as if they were dead?”

“Yes,” I said, frowning. “There are… a few.” He nodded, silently asking me to go on. “The Briar Rose Unguent is applied to something sharp and, when it pierces the flesh, the victim is rendered asleep. They can only be awakened…”

“With a kiss?” Arthur supplied, smirking.

I shook my head. “That’s the Snow White Brew,” I said. “To awaken someone dosed with Briar Rose, they need to smell a freshly plucked wild rose or… rose water made from such.”

Tristan blinked. “Fascinating,” he said. “Are there any others? Ones where the person is, perhaps, less obviously merely asleep?”

My brows furrowed and I nodded, dropping my gaze. I knew that I could lie, but it would be a simple matter to check my words and know that I’d lied. “I’ve heard talk of a potion,” I said, my voice faint, “it’s a nasty piece of work that places the victim in a state like death: Star Crossed Lovers’ Draught.”

“I would like you to brew that potion for me,” Tristan said, his gaze locking on mine. “Would it be a difficult thing for you to craft?”

“The ingredients are a bit dear and specialized,” I said, scowling. Then, I shook my head. “Once I’ve got them, though… it shouldn’t be too great a challenge.”

“Excellent,” Tristan said. He waved across the room and said, “Tell Jakob what you need and he’ll see to it that you have the supplies you need.”

Camp NaNo Review – Week 1

 

Words this week: 6302 words

Total Words: 6302 words

 

My characters never quite do what I expect and they always completely ignore my outline, which is why I’m not the sort of person to write an especially detailed one.  This project was no exception.  Keenan and his fellow characters took the story off in their own direction almost from the third day of writing.  However, I think I’ve figured out what’s going to happen next and how to keep the story moving in the direction that I want.

One thing that I need to keep in mind for this week is that I really need to plan ahead.  Before I sit down to write each day, I need to decide what I’m writing and where I want the story to be when I’m finished for the day.

I’m nervous, but hopeful, about next week.  I’m a full third of the way through my writing, so my word count is great.  However, there are things that I’ve planned as happening that aren’t even close to occurring.  Some things may never occur and that will be fine.  However, other things really need to happen, so… yeah, I need to steer Keenan towards those things.

It’s incredible to me that, even after having Keenan in my imagination for over twenty years, I’m still learning things about him.  This last week, I learned that he’s the sort of person to panic if things don’t go how he’d anticipated.

I had a couple of big successes last week.  I got a lot of words done at the Tuesday night write-in hosted by our region’s ML.  That was the most words I wrote in a single day (1336 words).  My best word count during a sprint was the following evening, when I wrote 799 words in just twenty minutes.

The last sentence I wrote was: “They [Keenan’s parents] were important citizens in North Lake, even if the Berklians who occupied the town didn’t think so.”

My favorite line (because it is so typical of Keenan) was: “Just one time, it would have been nice for things to work out the way I’d planned.”

 

My favorite scene:

“Can you get us inside?”  That was the first challenge and it was one of the things that I needed Nicolae there for.  The man knew every opening charm in existence.

“Phillip set his hand on a panel,” Bartholomew said, his ears pinning.  “An opening appeared and he entered it.  From there, it’s fairly straight forward, but I’d bet that entrance is keyed to him as the Lord Elder.”

“Then we just need to trick it,” Nicolae said, his voice soft.  He began rummaging in his bag.  This was the moment of truth.  Whenever Nicolae was about to do magic, it was a gamble, because he was constantly experimenting or using lost spells.  Sometimes, they worked just as he expected.  Other times, they worked… but not how he’d thought they would.  Every once in a great while, they didn’t work at all.

I watched as Nicolae rummaged in his bag.  “I have just the thing,” he said, his voice faint.  It was a sign that he wasn’t quite as certain as he was trying to act like he was.  After a moment more of rummaging, he pulled out what looked like a metal tuning fork.

“What’s that do?” I asked, shaking my head.

He grimaced.  “According to my research, it makes it impossible for anything to block your path,” he said.  He struck the thing on the wall of the tower and then frowned.  He looked as though he was trying to figure something out.  Then, he grinned and set the wand end of it against the door.  Then, with his other hand, he reached for the door.  His hand passed straight through.

“Right,” I said, mirroring him.  My hand also passed through the door.  I ducked inside.  Raanan hurried through behind me and then reached through the door to drag Nicolae inside after us.  I heaved a sigh as he tucked the tuning fork away in his bag once again.

There were stairs prominently as we entered the tower.  Nicolae took a step towards them, but Bartholomew appeared in front of him.  He thumped his foot in a threatening manner – as threatening as a rabbit can be, anyway.  “Not this way,” he said.  “It’s a trap.  They’ll crush you.”

Nicolae stopped and looked from the stairs to me and then at the rabbit that was angrily thumping at him.  “Well,” he said, ducking behind me.  “Lead the way, Keenan.”

I stifled a chuckle and nodded.  “Show us the way, Bartholomew,” I invited.  Bartholomew appeared a few feet to the left and began hopping along down a corridor that I hadn’t even noticed.  I fell into step behind him, with Raanan and Nicolae close behind.

We entered a room and the door slid shut behind us.  Raanan gasped and whirled to face it, immediately tense.  “It’s an elevator,” Bartholomew said, hopping over to the wall near the door.  “Phillip set his hand over that blue crystal and the elevator went to the top of the tower.”

There were a fair number of crystals of many colors on the wall. I looked at Nicolae and arched a brow.  “The blue crystal?” I said.

Nicolae hummed and drew a book out of his bag.  “It’s keyed to the aura of the present Lord Elder,” he said.  Then, he grinned at Raanan.  “Phillip is a warlock, like me,” he said.  Then he set his hand over the blue crystal.  There was a low hum and we could feel movement as we rose to the top of the tower.

After a moment, the movement stopped and then there was a hiss as the doors slid opened.  I smiled and waved into the room.  “Behold, the promised land,” I said, glancing at Nicolae.  He looked like a kid in a candy store who had been told he could have as much as he pleased.

“Don’t touch any of the jewels,” Bartholomew cautioned.  “Everything else… go for it.”

“I will,” Nicolae breathed.  Then, he began gathering books off one of the shelves. I had to hand it to him.  He wasn’t greedy.  Anyone else might have taken every book they could.  He was very selective: taking only the things he wanted.

Leaving Nicolae to his work, I headed off in search of the Mystic Key of Master Ezra.  I crossed the room to a rack of keys and frowned.  “I’ll bite,” I said, looking to Bartholomew.  “Which one am I after?”

“The pretty one with the stars on it,” Bartholomew said, affecting a lisp.  He fluttered his eyes at me in an overly flirtatious manner that made me laugh.

That was, of course, just what he wanted.  I shook my head as I grabbed the key and tucked it away in the folds of my cloak. Then, I turned back to Nicolae.  “Now,” I said, arching my brows at him.  “The next trick is getting out of here with everything.  The Vault’s got to have a way of keeping its contents from being removed.”

“My research said there was a book,” Nicolae said.  He crossed the room to a large book that was already opened.  Lifting a pen out of an inkwell, he began writing hastily in the book.  “It’s a ledger – Merlin’s Ledger.  You basically need to sign things out.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea of signing out things we were stealing.  I waited until Nicolae was finished.  Then, I stepped over to it and took the pen.  Following his example, I wrote my name and the item that I was removing from the Vault.  For the reason, which Nicolae had written as “research” for himself, I wrote, “Sorry, Phillip.”

Then, I set the pen aside and turned to Nicolae.  “Ready?” I asked.  At his nod, I looked at Bartholomew.

Going off to Camp

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“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

For the months of April and July, the people who created National Novel Writing Month have challenges called “Camp NaNoWriMo”. For those two months, participants are asked to choose a writing goal – it can be anything and any kind of writing: short stories, scripts, biographies, etc. Rather than the strict 50K on a new novel that happens in November, the Camps offer you a chance to sign up for something more flexible.

This year, I’ve decided to write the last two sections of my novel, A Tangled Web. For April, I’m working on the final section. For July, I actually plan to write what will, ultimately, be the first section. When all is said and done, I’ll have a novel that is over 80K. It will be my longest piece of fiction yet and it will feature one of my oldest characters.

I first “met” Keenan when I was just twelve years old. At first, I just role-played with him. Then, when I was in college, I began writing original fiction. I had a series of very short stories featuring him on a Geocities page. I also played him as a character on GaiaOnline.

For the last several years, I’ve been trying to write out his story in novel format. I got a good start on it one summer many years ago. However, my energy fizzled out before I reached the end of the story. Since then, I’ve been trying to find the inspiration to re-write that novel. This year, I’ve finally gotten that inspiration. In January and March, I wrote the two middle sections of his story. Now, I’m writing the conclusion. I know how the story ends. It’s just a matter of actually writing it.

This year will be the year that I finish Keenan’s story. Next year, I will edit it. My goal is to have it published – even if only in a non-traditional fashion – by the end of next year.

The Ashes of Youth

A little story featuring some new characters.  It was inspired by a phrase prompt at the WriYe DreamWidth (which became the title).

**

Franz Edelstein hadn’t expected the case to turn out like this.  They were supposed to find that the girl had simply run off with her boyfriend.  Instead, they’d found that the boy had been sent off to join the military, so the girl couldn’t be with him.  Now – less than a day later – he was standing in a field of tall grass, looking down at the body of their missing girl.

“How long do you suppose it’ll take before she arrives?” the peace officer beside him murmured.

He heard a coarse voice floating across the field.  A woman was scolding someone about being too slow and needing to pay better attention to what he was doing.

“She’s already here,” Edelstein said, grimacing.  He didn’t care much for the Ministry’s special investigator, but he had to admit that she was good at what she did.  If anyone could solve this crime quickly, it was Erin Von Brenner.

“Edelstein,” her companion said, giving him a weak smile.  Richard Moore was holding an umbrella over his head.  From the frilled edge, Edelstein could guess that it was Erin’s umbrella, used in a moment of desperation.

“Hello, Moore,” Edelstein said.  He smirked.  “Did you lose your umbrella or is this a new look for you?”

“The idiot who came to fetch us here slammed it in the door of the carriage,” Erin snapped, shooting the man in question a glare.  She stepped carefully towards the body.  “All things considered, it’s a good thing vampires don’t combust in sunlight, or I’d be out a partner.”

Read more…

Birds of a feather…

One of the challenges I was working on this month (well, week… it ended today) was to make something in honor of Fawkes the phoenix for my Hogwarts on Ravelry group. Well, I found a great pattern for a little bird. I was able to stitch it up over two nights and finished it last night. It came out really cute and the little tail feathers and crest I added helped it look more like a phoenix.

It was a fairly simple pattern, but one I might not have done if not for the challenge. Now, my little mini spirit has something to ride on! I also have decided that I’m going to use the same pattern to make yellow, blue, orange and white little birds – the birds that show up with certain Hetalia characters. (Prussia has yellow ones, China had a blue one, Lithuania had two little orange ones and France has many little white ones named Pierre.) Obviously, I can’t start them quite yet – not with so many things on my plate right now. However, I really am looking forward to making them up.

wait

Madeline stood at the edge of the water, staring out at the water. She was shaking. She startled at every sound, expecting the person who had attacked her to return. Jeffrey was coming for her. He’d said he would and she believed him. She would stay there until he came, no matter how long it took.

She saw something on the waves. As it came closer, she could make out that it was a boat. Someone was rowing towards the shore. She reached out with her mind and touched the person there. “Jeffrey,” she breathed, in relief. “Please, hurry.”

laugh

Madeline watched, hardly daring to breathe. She saw the impression of boots land just inches away. Then, they continued on, deeper into the trees. Soon, she couldn’t hear the crashing of the feet anymore. She lay there, panting softly and trying to get her racing heart to slow down to a normal pace.

Finally, when she was sure it was safe, she crawled out into the open once more. She spun and ran towards the clearing. Tears filled her eyes, but the sound that escaped was not a sob. No, she’d escaped. Soon – very soon – she would be free.

chase

He cursed when her fist caught him in the lip. He fell back and then, as she ran from him, he glared after her. Did she truly think she could escape? Growling, he ran after her once more. She ran towards the thickest part of the forest and he followed after her.

The branches stung his face, opening little cuts, as he forced his way through them. He didn’t care. He would have her. She would be his! He leapt over a break in the ground and continued on through the trees without pausing. Where could she have gone?

hide

Madeline managed, somehow, to pull away from him. She spun around and swung at the space where he must have been. Her fist connected with something, but she didn’t wait to see what. She spun away and ran down the slope a second time.

This time, she didn’t try to run for the clearing. She ran, instead, for the thickest part of the forest. She crashed through the trees and then tripped and fell. She could hear him, coming after her. She rolled back, hiding herself under the overhang over which she’d fallen. Heart pounding, she waited in silence.

catch

Madeline screamed as arms closed around her shoulders. A hand covered her mouth and then she was being dragged back towards the trees. She squirmed and struggled, but it did no good. Her attacker was strong – strong, even, than her.

Soon, she was back amongst the trees. Still, she fought to break free – to get away. She lost her shoes as he dragged her up the hill towards the house she had so recently escaped from. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but she didn’t care. She hadn’t given up. She reached out and took hold of a branch.