Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: October 24 – 30

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 2,941

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Sunday with 754 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on editing Snow, writing my novel idea, and fanfiction.

The Good News: I chose my character names and my beginning line for NaNo!

The Bad News: I missed my goal this week by 100 words. 😛

Lesson Learned: My lesson learned for this week is that I never feel ready for NaNo. Even though this is my fourth NaNoWriMo and I’ve chosen all my character names, thought up my beginning line, and planned where the beginning of my story should go, I still don’t feel ready for tomorrow. I thought I’d feel completely ready and prepared, but instead I just feel nervous and excited all at the same time.

Goal for Next Week: My goal is to write 1,667 words a day for NaNoWriMo!

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

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At NaNoWriMo’s Gate

As Aragorn and the armies of Middle-earth stood facing the evil hordes of Sauron at the Black Gate so we writers stand before the greatest writing challenge of all time. In 32 hours, the battle known as NaNoWriMo will begin. Some of you have been ready to join the fight since December 1st of last year. Others may be standing on the sidelines of the battle not realizing what is about to begin.

In case you’ve never heard about NaNoWriMo, let me explain. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which is the slightly insane challenge of writing one 50,000 word novel in one month. Sound crazy? It is! But, it is also lots of fun. You get to connect with other writers in the NaNoWriMo forums and in your local area, enjoy the feeling of making so much progress in so short a time, and of course, write! It’s a great tool for letting your creative juices flow and finally silencing those excuses that keep writers from finishing their drafts. Last year, I completed my first novel thanks to NaNoWriMo, and every NaNo I’ve done since has helped me to grow and improve as a writer.

So what will I be writing about in November? My novel is titled The Future Teller. It’s a dystopian about a girl named Neve who was infected with a virus which gave her the power to see into the future. I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for a few months now and thought NaNo was the perfect time to write about it.

I know NaNoWriMo can sound daunting. I’m nervous, too! That is why, I’ve brought Aragorn in for a little pep talk.

“Hold your ground! Hold your ground! Fellow Wrimoers of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.  A day may come when the courage of writers fails, when we forsake our WIPs and abandon our characters to their fates, but it is not this day.  An hour of doubts and of procrastination, when the age of writing comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we write! By all that you hold dear in your draft, I bid you stand, Wrimoers!”

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to http://nanowrimo.org/ and sign up!

Are you joining NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what is your novel about? Comment below and let me know!

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote is from E.L. Konigsburg, author of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I chose this quote because it offers some good advice for winning NaNoWriMo or really for finishing any manuscript.

“Finish. The difference between being a writer and being a person of talent is the discipline it takes to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and finish. Don’t talk about doing it. Do it. Finish.” – E.L. Konigsburg

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 6

Welcome to the final part of Chapter 1 of Snow! Last week, Finley and his soldiers arrived in the village, threatening to take Snow away. There was an explosion right as Kiska attacked Finley, and that’s where I left it hanging! Speaking of Kiska, Snow originally didn’t have a dog. I came up with the idea after we went over to a friend’s house. The family had this big, husky dog that actually looked like a wolf. As soon as I got home, I knew I had to write a dog like that in for Snow.

“Kiska!” I shout, as I watch my dog fly back from the blast of the fusion rifle and fall to the ground. Dropping to my knees beside her, I press my hands against the wound, trying to stop the blood from pouring out. “You can’t die! You just can’t!” No matter how much I plead with her nor how hard I push, the bleeding won’t stop. She lays motionless in the bright red snow, and I know she is gone. I cradle her in my arms unable to believe my best friend is dead. “How could you kill my dog? How could you kill Kiska? She was just trying to protect me!” I ask, tears running down my face. Looking up at Finley, I am overwhelmed with rage, and I scramble to my feet. “I hate you! I hate you all! Get out of my home!” Unable to stop, I launch myself at Finley, and land a solid blow to his already bruised jaw before the soldiers yank me back to the ground.

Finley laughs and rubs his jaw. I push myself up off the snow, my fists clenched by my sides, longing to hit him again. My eyes rest on the ripped coat sleeve on Finley’s arm. I wish Kiska had done more damage.

“Why do you want me?” I demand, swallowing down some of my rage to force the words out.

“You really don’t know?” Finley asks, raising an eyebrow. At my blank expression, he sighs. “You’re one of them. And by them, I mean the Katari. And you better be worth all this work because I hate the cold.”

“And just what is a Katari?”

“Enough!” Finley commands. “Will you come voluntarily or not?”

“Leave my daughter alone,” Dad says, pushing himself up so that he’s hunched over, leaning against the stone. “Take me instead.”

“You instead of a Katari? Please. That’s hardly a fair exchange. Your daughter is worth ten times as much as you to NAUFA.” Finley glances at me. “Will you come voluntarily or not?”

“Never,” I snap back. I don’t even need to think about my answer.

Finley’s green eyes betray anger for a moment, but a bored look quickly replaces it. “Then, I will offer you one final deal.” Finley begins pacing as he explains his offer. “See, I can leave this horrible, cold village without my friends,” he gestures to the two soldiers. “They can stay behind, burn the village, and arrest everyone here. All of you will be relocated to NAUFA prisons.” Stopping to face me, Finley adds, “Well, you won’t be in prison. You’ll be with me at a different facility.”

He continues, “Anyway, I’m sure even you can figure out what will happen to your father and neighbors there.” He holds up his hands as if weighing his options. “I take you, the Katari, and I’ve eliminated a threat to NAUFA. A good deal for NAUFA, a good deal for me.” He pauses and shrugs slightly. “Not such a good deal for you.”

Finley puts his hands in his pockets, and turns to look straight at me. “Of course, I could promise not to do that. But for me to agree to that, you’d have to give me something in return.”

“What is it?” I demand, already guessing at what he’s going to say.

“You’d have to come with me voluntarily.” Finley holds up his hand as if stopping any protests. “That’s my deal. So, which will it be?”

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: October 17 – 23

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 4,288

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Friday with 2,451 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on editing Snow, writing my novel idea, and fanfiction.

The Good News: I made my goal and exceeded it by 1,288 words!

The Bad News: I still can’t decide on my name for my female MC in my NaNo novel.

Lesson Learned: Even though I’m a Pantser (meaning I don’t plan out my novels), I like to have my first line already in my head for NaNoWriMo. I’m trying to create the perfect opening, and I found this article from Go Teen Writers about dos and don’ts for creating good first novel lines. I tend to dump a bunch of information on the reader in the first lines, so this was a good reminder NOT to do that. Check out the article here: http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2014/10/intriguing-story-openings.html.

Goal for Next Week: My goal is to choose my character names, think up my first line, and write 3,000 words this week.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Merry and Pippin’s Hall of Grammar Mistakes

Disclaimer: I do not own Merry or Pippin. They popped by and asked if I’d like a day off since they’d like to guest post on my blog. I said yes, and here they are!

Hello, fellow hobbits of the Shire and any other man, dwarf, elf, or other creature reading this today! Merry here. Pippin and I have been learning so much about grammar we’ve been nominated as Grammar Guards, dedicated to protecting English usage throughout the Shire.  We even have special uniforms we wear when we’re out on patrol! We’ve been finding grammar mistakes all across the land. Today, we’ve rounded up a couple we’ve spotted and are sharing them in what Pippin has dubbed “The Hall of Grammar Mistakes.” Now, Pippin, put down that carrot and bring me the first card. No, not that one. That other one.

BovovWdIAAAuPV4

We saw this mistake on an appointment card for a dentist. (Didn’t know we had those in Middle Earth, did you?). Pippin was there because he needed a tooth pulled. He had cracked it when he fell off a table while he was dancing at the Green Dragon. He hit his head on the edge of the table, and that poor tooth just cracked in half. Ouch! There was so much blood! Rosie was so mad that we had made such a mess that she threw us out of the Green Dragon with a prohibition against any future dancing on tables.  Anyway, when we received the appointment card, Pippin saw this mistake right away. He kept pointing to it because he couldn’t speak with all that gauze in his mouth, of course, and I finally realized what he was trying to tell me. There’s not supposed to be a comma between appointment and is. We both agree a misplaced comma is a loss to everyone.

thankyou

One of our fellow hobbits sent us a letter with this ending as a “thank you” for the wonderful apples Pippin shared with him. Unfortunately, the letter’s closing is incorrect. Pippin suggested he should change it to read “Thank you. From, Unknown Hobbit” (The name has been changed to protect the identity of this hobbit.) Then, Pippin told him he wouldn’t share any more apples until he had fixed his grammar mistake. Now the two are no longer talking. Perhaps you took your authority as a Grammar Guard a bit too far there, Pip!

Screenshot_2014-10-23-16-41-24

This was spotted in song lyrics. We were supposed to be practicing singing for a birthday party when Pippin suddenly stopped singing and pointed to the page. “It should be ‘you’re my hope’ instead of ‘your my hope’,” he explained to the other mystified hobbits. Thankfully, one of the hobbits had quill and ink, and we were able to fix the grammar mistake before anyone else saw it. Grammar Guards to the rescue again!

Officers could not find the third person, beloved to be a man.

I was reading my local Shire newspaper one fine morning with a cup of hot tea when I found this mistake. I almost spit my tea out I was so horrified! Even though this isn’t a grammar mistake, the Grammar Guards had to take action! I showed our local Shire editor, and he was very apologetic. Because of that (and the fact that he offered me a strawberry tart), I didn’t see the need to arrest him for the mistake.

Even though we’ve been appointed Grammar Guards with special uniforms, we’re still learning about grammar ourselves.  We’re not perfect (and sometimes we even make grammar mistakes!), but we try our best to correct grammar throughout the Shire and help our fellow hobbits learn. We’ll be back another time with more grammar errors to add to the Hall of Grammar Mistakes.

Have you found any horrible or funny grammar mistakes before? If so, what were they? Let us know in the comments below!

~ Merry and Pippin

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote comes from James N. Frey, author of The Long Way to Die. Even though this advice is applicable throughout the year, it really reminded me of how great NaNoWriMo is. During that month, I’m writing so much I don’t have time to get writer’s block. Even if I do, I’m forced to just work through it so I can stay on track.

“You will never work through writer’s block if you walk away from your typewriter. That will only make it easier to walk away the next time.” – James N. Frey

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 5

Last week, a man from the government showed up in the village. This week, Snow finds out who it is. Okay, okay, I can’t stand it any longer! I’ve got to say who it is. His name is Finley, and he is my male MC. I actually still remember the exact moment I came up with him. I was brushing my teeth and trying to decide where I should take Snow’s story. I knew I wanted to add in a second main character, but I wasn’t sure who. Suddenly, I had it. I remember thinking, “I should have a really arrogant guy be the second main character who comes to Northolt and takes Snow for the government.I was so excited I ran out of the bathroom, grabbed a green index card and scribbled the idea down in purple colored pencil. Finley’s evolved a lot since he was just a scribbled note, but he’s still arrogant and believes he’s perfect. 😉

I step closer, just enough so I can make out my dad and three other figures in the fog. Two of them are large and tall, imposing dark shapes in the blur of the frozen cloud. They have to be NAUFA soldiers. The third figure in front of the others, is shorter and smaller but strangely seems to be in charge. He steps closer to my dad and says something so softly I can’t hear, and then I see my dad’s arm fly out and hear the sickening sound of fist hitting jaw. The man reels back. The two large figures rush forward and grab my dad. The one strikes him across the face, and Dad stumbles back. The other brings his rifle down on Dad’s back, and I see my dad fall. Kiska barks and runs forward charging the soldiers. The one soldier swings his rifle around and knocks her in the head, and she runs off with a whimper. I cover my mouth with my hand, suppressing a cry. The soldiers continue to hit my dad, even though he’s on the ground. “Enough!” the man’s voice stops the beating.

“What do you want?” I hear Dad’s voice through the fog, his figure doubled over, kneeling in the snow. “I’ll give you anything. Just leave my daughter alone.”

The man’s laugh is full of scorn. “What could you have in this pitiful outpost that NAUFA would want? Besides, she’s not your daughter. She belongs to NAUFA, and I’m just here to retrieve what is ours.” The soldiers roughly haul Dad to his feet, and I know I have to do something. I can’t watch them hurt my dad anymore.

I run from my hiding spot over to my dad. “Let him go!” I shout. “Let him go!” I look at my dad’s face, bruised and bloody, his one eye swollen shut, and I feel anger seethe up in me. “Snow, no,” I hear my dad say but I don’t pay attention. I run at the one soldier and push him with all of my strength. He lets go of Dad, more out of surprise than from my blow. The soldier moves to grab hold of me, but the leader laughs and waves him away. I turn to face this man, ready to fight him, too. He has an ugly bruise forming on his jaw, but his eyes flash triumphantly. He smiles slightly. “Ah. Just who we need. Looks like you’re coming with us, girl.”

“Who are you?” I demand.

“The name’s Finley, and NAUFA assigned me to your case. I’m here to take you away from this godforsaken place.” He pushes his bangs back, and adjusts his oversized, grey coat.

“I’m not going anywhere!”

Finley smiles reassuringly. “We’d really prefer that you’d come voluntarily. It makes the process so much easier when the subject cooperates and does as she is told” He adds, “But you really do not have a choice. You’re coming with me.” Finley takes a step forward and grips my arm. From the fog comes a deep growl. Kiska, her head low and teeth bared, advances toward Finley, snarling at him low and deep with a ferocity I’ve never heard from her before. Finley lets go of me and backs up slightly, startled. Kiska barks and lunges towards him. Finley scrambles backwards, but not fast enough, and Kiska’s jaws grab his arm. Suddenly, there’s a bright flash of light, and a deafening explosion fills the air.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: October 10 – 16

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 2,655

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Friday with 1,612 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on editing Snow, writing my novel idea, and fanfiction.

The Good News: I made my goal! *cheering*

The Bad News: I missed a day of writing this week. 😦

Lesson Learned: I found this awesome list on Go Teen Writers for all the steps Ms. Dittemore goes through while editing her novels. It was a great lesson learned of what I need to be looking for in my novel editing. Check out the post here.

Goal for Next Week: My goal is to write at least 3,000 words over this next week.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Monthly Link Share – Inspiration Emergency

Welcome to October’s monthly link share! As I’m sure most of my readers know, next month is November a.k.a. NaNoWriMo month! *throws confetti* Of course, with NaNo right around the corner, I’ve been doing a ton of research trying to prepare for my novel. Today I’m sharing some of the links I dug up that have helped me.

I was going through some old NaNoWriMo blog posts and found this one from earlier this month. I almost went with a steampunk fairy tale idea for my NaNo novel, but changed it back to my current one. I thought this blog post would come in handy whenever I decide to tackle that steampunk idea!

http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/98894282106/in-case-of-inspiration-emergency-re-imagine-a-familiar

As I mentioned in my character name post, I’ve been stuck between Gaelic names and more modern names for my characters. Thanks to this great list of Gaelic guy’s names from namenerds.com, I’ve decided on Taran for the guy. 😀

http://www.namenerds.com/scottish/gaelicguy.html

One of the hardest parts of writing a fantasy/sci-fi story for me is creating town names. Thanks to town and city name generators, I’ve been able to finally find some great names! This is one of my favorites as you can choose which country you want your names to be from, adding a touch of realism to the story.

http://www.mithrilandmages.com/utilities/CityNames.php

As I’ve been editing Snow, I’ve been doing a lot of research into Arctic life. There’s a small town in the very upper north of Alaska called Barrow. I’ve loosely based Northolt, Snow’s hometown, off of Barrow. One of the things that has helped me in writing a more realistic town is seeing the weather forecast for Barrow. I’ve been having a lot of fun looking at it, and it’s helped me have a better sense of just how brutal the Arctic is. I thought I’d share the tip and the link to the forecast. 🙂

http://www.weather.com/weather/today/USAK0025:1

Thanks for reading and clicking!

~ Kayla