Posts from the ‘Shynia’ 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.

So Much to Do

Yori stared at the object he’d come to retrieve. It was right there – inches away. Part of him was tempted to reach out and take it. However, he knew that wouldn’t work. No, he would follow Winnie’s plan. In order to do that, there were still things that he needed to do – preparations had to be made. Turning away, Yori headed back outside.

my most precious person

“Need a hand?” a voice said. Suddenly, a slight form dropped to the ground just behind them. With a single sweeping motion, he formed a shield at the end of the alley, blocking their pursuers.

Ian frowned and looked at Ophelia. From the way she was grinning, he could tell she knew the man. “Ophelia, who is this?”

“Keenan,” she sang. Then, she bounced forward and hugged him affectionately. “How are you? Are you well?”

The man smiled. “Yeah, I can’t complain,” he said. He looked over at Ian and gave him a sweeping bow. “I’m Keenan Meadows,” he said, straightening. Jerking a finger at Ophelia, he said, “She’s my nation.”

“He’s my sovereign,” Ophelia said. She danced back to Ian’s side and caught him by the arm. “This is my darling, Ian of Northern Cygma!”

Keenan’s eyes widened and then he beamed at Ian. “It’s so nice to finally meet you, Ian,” he said. “Ophelia always tells me how dear you are to her.”

Ian flushed faintly and set an arm around Ophelia’s shoulder. “She’s dear to me, too,” he said, his voice soft. He didn’t have the words to express just how dear she truly was.

certainty

Yori listened to the music and frowned at the lyrics. After a moment, he fussed with hair and sighed. He glanced at his reflection in the mirror. “I miss Rune,” he said, his voice soft.

Winnie glanced over at him. She nodded. “This song reminds you of him – of how you feel for each other?”

Nodding, Yori said, “This… is so him. I need to finish this mission and get back to him quickly.” He shrugged. Then, he flushed and looked over at her. “Do you know what I mean?”

Smiling, Winnie nodded. “I don’t think there’s a person separated from the one they love who wouldn’t,” she said.

You’re a devil meaning well

Malcolm smiled at Chris and shook his head. “Think nothing of it,” he said. “After all, the Agency pays us quite well to see that their people make it back safely in situations like that one.”

Chris chuckled softly. “It does at that,” he said. Then, he looked at Miriam and frowned slightly.

A curious expression crossed Malcolm’s face. Then, he smiled. “Miss Brighten,” he said, “I leave these gentlemen in your capable hands.” Then, before Miriam could even think to protest, he was gone.

She leveled a glare at Chris. “What?” she said.

Shaking his head, Chris said, “Don’t be angry at him. I’m sure he meant well,” he said. “After all, it was obvious that we had a great deal to discuss.”

“Yeah,” Miriam said, rolling her eyes. “He meant well, but he’s also full of mischief.” She sighed. “I came, hoping I’d inherit the ship. I was too late for that, but I decided I’d join the crew anyway.”

Chris nodded. “Does it bother you?” he asked. His brows furrowed. “That Grandfather left the ship to him?”

“No,” Miriam admitted. She shook her head. “It did at first, but now I know him and… this is his home. I couldn’t take that away from him.” She arched an eyebrow at him.

“I think he’ll do a fine job as the ship’s captain,” he said. He frowned. “The last several years, no one in the family even saw Grandfather. This boy… he’s more an heir than any of us are, blood kin or not.”

Love songs last longer than lovers ever do

Miriam’s brows twitched at Chris’s words. How could he be so blasé about this? “I should hope not,” she said, her tone scolding. His companion turned towards her, but Chris was unmoving. “Chris,” she snapped in exasperation. “What were you thinking? You could have been killed! What if you’d fallen?”

Then, he turned towards her, brown eyes wide with surprise. “Miriam?” he said, blinking. “What are you doing here?”

“I could ask the same of you, cousin dear,” Miriam replied, smirking.

Chris flinched. “I asked first,” he said. Then, he stood, brushing off his clothing. He straightened his tie and smiled at her. “Besides, it’s classified.”

Miriam fumed silently. Even if he didn’t say a thing: she knew the truth! He was with the Agency! Here, she’d thought he’d had the sense to open a little club and stay out of that organization. Really, the club was just a front!

“Seriously, Mir,” Chris said, breaking into her thoughts. He shook his head. “You… shouldn’t be here. It’s too strange.”

She snorted. “Imagine how I feel,” she said, folding her arms over her chest. “This is the last place in the world that I’d ever imagine seeing you and in the most unlikely of circumstances.”

His companion chuckled. “She knows you but little,” he said. He stepped forward, then, and bowed. “Miriam, I am Chrislyn Travis.”

“We call him Lyn,” Chris said.

The captain stepped out onto the deck and nodded. “Welcome aboard,” he said. He looked up at Miriam and a mischievous smile touched his lips. “It seems you are already acquainted with our magineer. Is he your boyfriend, Miss Brighten?”

“No,” Miriam gasped.

Malcolm looked shocked. “You’re ended the relationship over something so trivial?” he said, setting a hand against his chest. “Honestly, I knew love could be fickle, but I had no idea… Really, I’m surprised at you.”

Chris chuckled and said, “It’s not like that, Captain Emerson. I’m her cousin.” He bowed, then. “Thank you for the timely arrival.”

I believe in walls. That we need them.

They were gliding over the unfamiliar terrain. Miriam peered out though a nearby window. She could see a city far below them. “Where are we meeting these people?” she asked, Alistair.

“We’re picking them up from a roof in the city center,” he said. He pointed. “That’s it, up ahead.” He lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes and frowned. “Don’t see them yet, though. Odd… this bunch is usually right prompt.”

Miriam frowned and pointed at the side of the buildings. “What’s that?” she said, scowling. She could see something there, above the streets. “About halfway up the side of the building.”

Alistair shifted his view and then handed her the glasses. “That’s them,” he said.

As he hurried over to the communications array, Miriam lifted the glasses to her own eyes and took a closer look. There, on the side of one of the buildings, was her cousin, Chris. What, in the name of that was, was he doing there?

Miriam hated it when parts of her personal life and her public life intermingled. “Captain,” she called, “Permission to go on deck?”

“Granted, Miss Brighten,” the captain told her through the comm.

Sighing in frustration, Miriam spun out of the room and bolted up the steps. “Just what has he gotten himself into this time?” she asked herself.

By the time she’d reached the deck, they were laughing. She could hardly believe her ears. “Let’s not do that again anytime soon,” Chris said, smiling at the elf who sat beside him on the deck.

Girl meets airship. Girl loses airship.

Miriam hurried through the crowd, clutching the papers in her hand. Somewhere in this place, her grandfather’s airship was docked. She needed to find it quickly. She broke through the crowd and stumbled to a stop.

There, right in front of her, was the ship. It looked almost like the sea going vessels she’d practically grown up on. The biggest difference was the lack of sails. Instead, a large canvas balloon took their place. It was the most amazing thing she’d ever seen.

Her eyes widened as it started to move. She was too late. Someone else had laid claim to her grandfather’s legacy. For a moment, she nearly gave up. Then, she frowned and clenched her fists. Shoving the papers into his jacket, she ran forward. She jumped, just catching the ladder as they were bringing it up.

A young man blinked at her as she stepped onto the deck. “Well,” he said, “that was a near thing, miss.” His voice was soft and vaguely lilting. He smiled at her and then bowed. “Welcome aboard.”

“Thank you,” Miriam said. The ship wasn’t hers, not yet. However, she wasn’t about to give up without a fight. After all, she was a Starbright, wasn’t she?