Failing at NaNoWriMo and Other Adventures!

November has been the month I failed at everything and I’m okay with that.

I’ve been looking forward to participating in NaNoWriMo since last year when I started watching vlogs about it. There is something so inspiring about watching someone complete a book in thirty days. As the year went on, however, NaNoWriMo slipped to the back of my mind and by the time October of this year rolled around, I started thinking about it again. For the first two weeks of October, I debated with myself on whether or not I should actually participate in it. A week before NaNoWriMo started, I told myself I was going to do it. I had it all planned out. I was going to write two thousand words a day and it was going to be so easy. I was going to have everything on a schedule. I was going to be ahead of the game and although the book would not be finished when I hit fifty thousand words, I was still going to feel like I’d accomplished something.

And then two days before NaNoWriMo started, I decided to start a new, lighter story–something just for NaNoWriMo. Needless to say, this idea blew up in my face big time. I didn’t start actually writing until the fifth day of November. That day, I wrote close to four thousand words and then I gave up. Not because I didn’t think I could catch up, but because there were other things going on.

So, I’ve been expanding this website and trying to plan out my future, or at least figure out what I’m going to be doing for the next few years. I have a degree in Scriptwriting but I live in Missouri. I can’t really use my degree until I move closer to one of the coasts; I’m just being honest with myself. During this economical draught, all of us in St. Louis are experiencing, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to either get a second job or start marketing myself as a freelance writer for a little side income. You see, although the main focus of my degree was film and television I had to take the same core curriculum as journalism, mass communication, and public relations students. So, I’m actually well versed in commercial writing and I’ve been trying to market my services.

Around the time I started NaNoWriMo I actually got a client that wanted me to do some technical/legal writing for them and build them a website. I was super excited about this opportunity but I was really nervous because I’d never done legal writing before. If you can understand something and mimic it, then you can learn any type of writing style but the thing about legal documents that will catch you up a bit is the fact that there is rarely an example or template you can work from. So, while I was coming up with a story for NaNoWriMo and trying to get caught back up, and expanding the website and promoting my other services, I was also working really hard on something I’d never done before. I wanted to do well on this, not just because someone was paying me to do it, but because it was a legal document that was going to help them start a business. I was very upfront with them about not having done any legal/technical writing prior to their assignment but they had faith in me and they were patient with me. The final version of the legal document turned out very well and after it gets notarized by an attorney, I’ll get started on building my client’s website.

As far as NaNoWriMo goes, I’ve failed and I’ve come to accept that but I’ll be ready for it next year.

Growing Frustrations With My WIP

If you’ve been following my “Writing Logs” you may have wondered why I haven’t posted the latest one yet. Here’s a bit of an explanation.

So, I haven’t been writing because I’ve become frustrated with my story. I don’t hate my story. I love it. I haven’t jumped ship or anything like that, I’ve just grown frustrated because I realized that I started the story too early. I’m an over writer—that has always been my problem which is why I didn’t freak out at the idea of writing an 85,000 word novel in 3 months. I thought it would be a fun challenge but now I’m just sitting here frustrated because I’ve come to the conclusion that my first act is dragging on. It’s not boring but I’m also aware that a lot of this information can be cut down and told in a more engaging way to make sure my pacing stays in a good range. If I shorten the first act, everything moves faster. The only problem is, that would mean a rewrite is coming.

I should wait until the second draft to fix it all but the fact is, I have to get through the first act in my current outline; I still have two more chapters to get through. That’s about 8k more words/2 more weeks of writing something I know I’m going to cut and rewrite. I’m frustrated. I love this story so much because it’s helping me work through a lot of internal emotional turmoil I’m dealing with right now and I don’t want to give up on it. Sigh.

Writing Log 5: Trying to Balance Writing & Working

Day Twenty-nine—Sept 17, 2017

Today was a pretty good writing day. I hit 1k before sunset and I created a character and subplot that was unplanned. The only reason it’s staying in the story is because it helps me fill in my main character’s back-story without a whole bunch of exposition and the character will help me wrap up one of the larger storylines. It’s great when that happens. I killed two birds with one stone and the character is a fun character to write because she can be used to show what the world looks like from the perspective of someone who is not part of the main plot.

Total Word Count: 13,586

Day Thirty—Sept 18, 2017

Today was my first day back at work. I work evenings and nights so I decided to write in the morning. I feel that it’s important to note that I’m not a morning person so actually getting words on the screen was hard but once I got going, everything seemed to flow.

Total Word Count: 14,859

Day Thirty-one—Sept 19, 2017

My brain and my hands needed a rest day.

Total Word Count: 14,859

Day Thirty-two—Sept 20, 2017

So, after I wrote the sentence above, I shut down my computer and tried to fall asleep but I couldn’t. So I turned my computer back on and started making changes to one of my central characters. For the past few days, I’ve been trying to decide on whether to use a Western name or an Eastern name for an Asian character I’ve been developing. It took two hours for me to decide to switch the name from a Western name to a more ethnic name. Because I’d stayed up to like 4 a.m. doing this, when I finally fell asleep, I slept hard. I actually overslept and ended up waking up really close to the time I had to leave for work. I rushed out of the house, trying to make sure I wouldn’t be late, only to realize I was actually an hour early. So, I went back home and wrote for about 20 minutes and then went to work. I couldn’t work on my story during my break because I am training a new employee.

Total Word Count: 15,044

Day Thirty-three—Sept 21, 2017

Work is killing my writing time.

Total Word Count: 15,209

Day Thirty-four—Sept 22, 2017

I wrote for one hour and 15 minutes before going to work. On my break, I couldn’t focus enough to work on my novel but I did start working on a blog post that I will publish probably four days after this writing log is published.

Total Word Count: 15,908

Day Thirty-five—Sept 23, 2017

Today was a productive day. I learned all about wood burning stoves because I wrote a scene that took place in a kitchen where someone had recently cooked. I used some advice from a video about World Building. I have a multicultural cast of characters existing in one location (much like the USA but on a smaller scale) so there is bound to be some differences between the ethnic groups and sub-cultures. But my world exists in a future in which the past has been largely (and forcefully) forgotten or ignored and the countries that used to exist are long gone. I’ve been struggling to describe people ethnically or racially without using terms that people in the story wouldn’t use because they are irrelevant to them and without using harmful stereotypes. So, thanks to the video I came up with the idea to use small bits and pieces of a culture to try to reinforce what I might be alluding to and it works great with the idea that these things were at some point, part of the culture but has been watered down over the decades as people were forced to assimilate as history was covered up.

So although my story is set in the future it is still a dark fantasy set in a medieval-ish pre-industrialized world because it is easier to control people in a world where the spread of information is slow and technology has regressed. I can honestly say that a lot of the ideas I’ve put into my world are the things that are happening around me. The idea of having the erasure of history become a running theme as well as part of my world building came from what is happening in the U.S. There are states, mostly southern, that are erasing important parts of U.S. history such as the reasons why the U.S. civil war started and the U.S. involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. Angry parents have been posting their children’s syllabi and textbooks, highlighting areas of the text stating that the enslaved Africans were immigrants who immigrated to the colonies. And there have even been passages from textbooks that talk about the U.S. civil war as being a war over property versus a war over the right to keep enslaved human beings as property.

Everyday things happening in the U.S. have influenced how I’ve built my fantastical world. The rise in conservative influences in government helped shape my religious and political systems and the tension between the two institutes. Race relations both present and historical helped me write the history of the world and explain why there is tension between the Enhanced and the humans and even the level of classism displayed within the Enhanced species.

So, the big take away from this is everything you encounter in life can help you build a believable world. People say write what you know and that’s what I did. Even though my major plots are very fantastical, the blood and bones of this world are heavily grounded in the world we live in and I hope that whoever reads my book takes the time to reflect on some of the real world issues presented in it.

Total Word Count: 17,781

Writing Log 3&4: Procrastination and Finally Hitting 10k

Day Fifteen—Sept 3, 2017

I finally finished that scene I’ve been working on for the past week. Lucky for me, it reads pretty fast but it took forever to write.

Total Word Count: 9,311

Day Sixteen—Sept 4, 2017

I didn’t even open my document.

Total Word Count: 9,311

Day Seventeen—Sept 5, 2017

I realized that I wrote a scene that isn’t in chronological order and it wasn’t a flash back. I should probably fix that.

Total Word Count: 9,311

Day Eighteen—Sept 6, 2017

I actually wrote today. So, first, let me explain the last few days. I’ve been binge-watching a television show. I covered 28 hours worth of footage over the span of three days. But anyway, I finished the show so I’m back to writing. You know how you create all of these really cool things and then you have to figure out what they look like. That’s where I’m at right now. I created a world that isn’t set in a particular historical setting so now I’m constantly trying to mix and match my ideas with things that actually exist because I’m such a visual person. I wrote for about an hour and spent two hours learning about the different parts of the uniforms clergy wear and learning about medieval and ancient armor. I’m starting to lean towards leather armor because it fits in with my world visually, it looks cool and it’s pretty functional although it’s not the safest compared to metal. So, I’m thinking about placing metal armor only on certain characters to show their rank.

“I love doing all of this research on things that I’ll never use in real life,” I say sarcastically. One day, I learned about ancient sewer systems, toilets, and how to generate power in an age without electricity. Another day I spent five hours learning about medieval and ancient kitchens—how they worked, how they looked, and what was in them. Being a writer is the reason I know so many random facts, I swear.

Total Word Count: 9,980

Day Nineteen—Sept 7, 2017

I’m sick because my brother got my mom sick and she got me sick, although she’s blaming him for getting me sick. Anyway, I didn’t write anything today, but I did do some world building. Now that I’m actually writing, some of the ideas I had for the world have either changed a little to better fit the story or they have become fleshed out. I worked on my mythology a bit and worked on descriptions of clothing worn by soldiers and members of the Cloth (religious figures).

Total Word Count: 9,980

Day Twenty—Sept 8, 2017

I watched TV all day.

Total Word Count: 9,980

Day Twenty-one—Sept 9, 2017

I watched Korean television again because apparently I don’t care about my deadline.

Total Word Count: 9,980

Day Twenty-two—Sept 10, 2017

I can’t write in my room right now so I’ve been trying to write in the living room. When I sat down to write, everyone decided they wanted to have long conversations with me. I kept trying to write but by the end of it, I was no longer in the mood.

Total Word Count: 10,114

Day Twenty-three—Sept 11, 2017

Television and the chores that come with adulthood took up my writing time today. But let’s be honest, I’m also procrastinating for some reason.

Total Word Count: 10,114

Day Twenty-four—Sept 12, 2017

For the past week I’ve been binge-watching Korean dramas for some reason. They’re entertaining and distracting and whenever I go through internal struggles, I always search for distractions. Usually I just throw myself into my writing but this time I chose TV. I’ve finished four dramas with running times of 1 hour and 5 minutes per episode with anywhere between 16—24 episodes per drama. I’ve been watching a lot of TV.

I went back and read my story from the beginning so I could keep the same tone throughout the work. Plus, I needed to jog my memory on what has already happened.

Total Word Count: 10,468

Day Twenty-five—Sept 13, 2017

Didn’t even open the document.

Total Word Count: 10,468

Day Twenty-six—Sept 14, 2017

I wanted to write today but I ended up spending most of the day doing some online training for my job. I also had the sniffles so I took some cold medicine and went to sleep early.

Total Word Count: 10,468

Day Twenty-seven—Sept 15, 2017

I actually wrote words. Yay. These past two weeks have been weird. I haven’t been able to write. Like even when I sat down, the words just wouldn’t flow. And it wasn’t like I had writer’s block. I knew what I was supposed to write I just couldn’t. It was weird but I’m so glad whatever that was, has passed. I only had about 30 minutes to write today but tomorrow I’m pretty sure my word count will jump back up to it’s normal 1k.

I’m a month into this project—nowhere near where I should be word count wise—but I finally feel like I’m writing a book. It wasn’t until today that I slipped back into my standard literary style of writing. Yes, that means this whole time I’ve been writing the book the same way I would write a screenplay. Not format wise but style wise. It wasn’t until I looked over what I wrote today that I realized the reason my other stuff felt so dry (not boring just dry) was because it wasn’t as full as literary works can be. It was bare in the same fashion that screenplays have to be due to the limited amount of pages available. So later on, when I’m bored, I’ll go back and fix the first three and a half chapters but for now, I’m just glad to be writing again.

Total Word Count: 11,080

Day Twenty-eight—Sept 16, 2017

I wrote words two days in a row. I guess it is just like walking. You have to put one foot in front of the other in order to get anywhere.

Total Word Count: 12,264

Writing Log 2: What Type of Writing Hell Is This?

Day Eight—Aug 27,2017

I didn’t even open my document today. But can we all appreciate that Game of Thrones season finale? It was great.

Total Word Count: 6,747.

Day Nine—Aug 28, 2017

I wrote a little. I’m not un-inspired, I’m just sleepy for some reason. I worked on a smaller scene today and enjoyed how eerie it was. I’m starting to develop the dark undertones of what the Dream World (the barrier between different planes) is like. It’s definitely not the kind of place you want to wander around in by yourself.

Total Word Count: 7,504

Day Ten—Aug 29, 2017

I didn’t do any actual writing but I did do some plotting. I have a seven-page outline for this book but I’m super detail oriented. To explain better, I’ll tell you how I outline my screenplays. My screenplays run around 90 to 120 pages. My outlines for my screenplays are super detailed (because the beats for the scenes are included) and they usually run around 7 pages. My novel is probably going to be around 80-85k words. I’ve never tried to outline a book because all the ones I’ve written before have been pantsed. This one is planned and I’m still developing a way to outline this project. I tried for a few months to outline the book the same way I outline films and it didn’t work. I kept getting hung up on what to write next because of how big the project is. So I decided to use the same format I do my screenplays in, just not as detailed. That’s how I ended up with my current outline.

It tells me the beginning, middle, and end of my story. This outline also has the key plot points, subplots and character arks integrated into the overall story. I have three central characters so I had to figure out how to outline their journeys in order to make sure all three characters progressed. Today, I took some time to basically plan out the beats per chapter. I think doing the outline this way made it manageable and by the end of the first draft, my outline for this book will look like my outlines for my screenplays.

I’m realizing I may be too organized.

Total Word Count: 7,504

Day Eleven—Aug 30, 2017

I actually wrote words in the document today. Woohoo! After yesterday I was inspired to do something very stupid. I’m rewriting my prologue and first chapter. You know that sinking feeling you get as you write something that you know you’re going to have to rewrite later on down the road but you’re trying to push through and finish a project. That has been me this whole time. I have one scene that I feel is great. The rest of it is word vomit that barely explained what I was trying to express. So today, I took it upon myself to give in to my inner editor and re-write the problem areas. I completely rewrote the prologue and now it is so kick ass. And I’m currently working on the first chapter again to make it awesome as well.

I know, I should have left the inner editor in the dark hole it was in but it was really bothering me that my writing was so bad. And what made it worse was the fact that the events that happen in the prologue are super important and would be retold over and over again in the book from different character perspectives. So every time I was going back to fact check the prologue I was seeing how horrible it was. Today I wrote 2,025 words. Before this is done, I’ll probably write an additional 4 thousand words and then I’ll delete the older versions of the scenes. So when my word count suddenly plunges, you’ll know why. As of right now, I have my chapters broken down into scenes and I label each scene using numbers: Scene 1, Scene 2, etc. but now I have scenes named Scene 1.2. Also, I’m so close to the 10k mark. Too bad I’m going to lose so many words once I cut the older scenes. What type of writing hell is this?

Total Word Count: 9,529

Day Twelve—Aug 31, 2017

Sad day. I started cutting scenes. I would like to say that before I started cutting I’d made it to 11,283 words. My new word count is listed below. I’m sad now but it had to be done. I’ll probably reach 10k on day 14—two weeks after I started writing.

Total Word Count: 7,699

Day Thirteen—Sept 1, 2017

I decided to give myself a rest day, plus, I’m still bummed out about losing so many words.

Total Word Count: 7,699

Day Fourteen—Sept 2, 2017

I only wrote a little bit and I realized why my writing has slowed. This is the first “summer” I’ve had in four years. And when I say “summer” I mean duty-free summer—childhood-like summer. I’ve been enjoying this little two-week vacation from adult life but I know after Labor Day, adulthood is going to come crashing in and it’ll be back to schedules and work. The sad part is my word count will probably go up once I start working because I’ll have a set time for when I can write. Until then, I’ll be enjoying life. I am sad that I missed my goal for this week. I was hoping to hit 10k this week but it’ll probably happen on Monday or Tuesday.

Total Word Count: 8,204

Writing Log 1: Start With A Bang, End With A…Whimper?

Day One—Aug 20,2017

Last night I finished my seven-page outline in under three hours. I was so excited about this project. I thought that when I woke up the next morning I would still be excited and ready to write but I wasn’t. I guess I realized I no longer had my lack of an outline to hide behind. Suddenly I realized that this was the first book I was going to actively write with the intent of publication. I guess that frightened me a little bit. So I put off writing until after I watched Game of Thrones. I also had some problems with tense. I thought I was going to write in third person past tense limited and then I kept slipping back into third person present tense limited. I know a lot of people don’t like it but I’m used to writing in present tense. I’ve been writing films in present tense for four years. I guess it’s a little harder to shake than I thought. Prologue complete.

Total Word Count: 1,116

Day Two—Aug 21, 2017

I didn’t get a lot of writing done today although I can say it was much easier to write today than it was yesterday. I guess I was just rusty. The last time I wrote something in a narrative style, it was back in May so I can see how that happened. The Solar Eclipse happened today. That stopped me from writing earlier in the day and then after the eclipse passed, I got a headache and ended up taking a nap. I woke up from the nap a little later than I expected but the headache was gone and I was ready to write. Or so I thought. I ended up having to sit and think about what the city and certain rooms in the story looked like. I ended up looking at lots of pictures to try to match the vagueness in my mind with some real images to help me narrow down what things actually look like because I’m a visual person. But after that, I started writing and really loved it and then I started playing with Scrivener’s compile setting because…why not? I love wasting time. It’s midnight. I’m going to sleep.

Total Word Count: 2,142.

Day Three—Aug 22, 2017

So I thought I was going to get up and write but it was raining and my mom is so paranoid about the rain that I ended up pushing my writing time back. We did laundry today and that took longer than usual but overall today was a pretty good writing day. I also washed my hair today, so that’s a plus. 👍🏾 I think the hardest thing I had to do in regards to writing today was trying to figure out how to describe racial/ethnic markers on people without sounding racist. I never realized how much I relied on generalizations or cultural understanding until I tried to describe a diverse group of people in a world without our established countries and racial categories. I didn’t do as much writing as I wanted to but there is always tomorrow.

Total Word Count: 3,583

Day Four—Aug 23, 2017

Today I actually got up and wrote when I was supposed to. I only wrote for about 45 minutes before I took a break and went to the gym for an hour. When I got back, a laid around for a bit and watched a few YouTube videos before getting back to writing. Things were going well until I spent four hours on Netflix. Chapter 1 complete.

Total Word Count: 4,972.

Day Five—Aug 24, 2017

It was a good writing day, I just didn’t write for very long.

Total Word Count: 6,747.

Day Six—Aug 25, 2017

I picked greens, baked cupcakes, styled my hair and worked on a physical map of my fantasy world. I put off writing because my sister was supposed to bring my nephews and niece over, but in her typical fashion, she broke her promise. I’m going to bed three hours early because I’m irritated and I might have plans tomorrow that requires me to wake up before 8 a.m.

Total Word Count: 6,747

Day Seven—Aug 26, 2017

Oops. Not writing for the second day in a row, huh? I’m not trying to justify this, I’m just stating what happened. I had a really busy day. I actually got out of the house and had some fun. My sister also brought the kids over for a few hours and then I got drunk by myself and went to sleep early. It’ll be better next week. I swear.

Total Word Count: 6,747

Crafting The Look And Feel Of My World

If you haven’t noticed already, I took a little hiatus earlier in the month so my posting slowed down a bit but never fear, I’m back and in popular demand. I actually stopped posting because I was down in Texas for two weeks being a live-in nanny and I thought that the child I was taking care of deserved my undivided attention. I’ll do a post about that soon because it was actually a pretty cool and enlightening experience.

I would also like to note that any posts I do about the book I’m writing would be tagged as TWE. It’s the shortened title of the book I’m working on, so just in case you’re not subscribed to/following my blog or Facebook page but still want to check in on the progress of the book, you can always come to this website, go to my tag cloud, and click on TWE.

Today I’m going to explain how I came up with the environmental concepts for the book I’m working on and you’ll get to see how I worldbuild.

What I Did Wrong

For the book I’m working on now, the idea for my story started nearly four years ago when I was a freshman and college and was too overwhelmed with my school-related writing projects to even think about working on something for fun. So I just let it sit on the back burner of my brain until I had the free time, which wasn’t until I graduated from college. Over the years, the idea of the story shifted and with each new shift, the world changed a little bit. But it wasn’t until I sat down to write out the story that the world truly started to form. That’s how I worldbuild. I build the world around the story that I have in mind and if the story changes, the world changes.

That happened to me while I was in Texas. Earlier in this month or at the end of last month, I announced that I was writing a book. I knew I was going to write the book way back in January but the announcement was a way to force myself to start writing. I wanted the Internet to hold me accountable if I didn’t deliver the goods. I was struggling with my outline and I knew I couldn’t write without my outline because I had no idea where the story was headed. I didn’t have a middle or an end. I just had a killer start and some basic (and somewhat vague) plots/storylines for my three central characters which I have now fixed. That’s part of the reason that the summary of my book that I posted read so poorly (in my opinion). It’s because I still hadn’t figured out what I was doing.

I’d spent so much time world building that I’d lost my actual story. Yes, world building is that addictive to me. It’s crazy how wrapped up I get in it. So while the child that I was taking care of was napping, I would sit and try to think up ways to fix my problem. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t having problems with my outline. I was having problems with my world. I’d designed a beautiful world that had one huge flaw. It was set in the future but it had no guns. I omitted guns from my world because guns could solve so many problems so quickly and I just didn’t want to have gigantic plot holes. Sorry, not sorry. But by doing that, the story couldn’t function because it just didn’t make sense. Why didn’t they have guns? And if they didn’t have guns, what type of weapons did they have? Once I started looking at older weapons, the idea of them running around with swords (even if they were fancy futuristic swords) just seemed so wrong in a world that also had hover cars. So I scrapped it all.

How I Fixed It

I stopped fighting the enviable—I changed my genres. My story went from science fiction to fantasy. I set my world in a more pseudo-medieval world. Why was I fighting this so much? Because I’m tired of reading the same thing over and over again. When people talk about fantasy worlds, they’re normally talking about pseudo-medieval Europe and once they start talking like that, it opens the doors to arguments against people of color being in stories. This in its self just doesn’t make sense. People really try to act like trading wasn’t a thing back then. Or that Europeans were the only people who were exploring other countries/continents back then.

Following that same train of thought, I was suddenly hit with the best idea ever: when coming up with the look of the world, look at what the rest of the world looked like during the medieval period. So I did and it was amazing. The rest of the world was just as developed as the Roman Empire had been before its fall. Some places were even more developed. The reason why the medieval period/dark ages looked so dreary for Europeans was because they didn’t take care of all the infrastructure and architecture that the Romans had already laid out. As things fell apart, nature reclaimed most of what humans didn’t fight for. That combined with western Europe’s climate, religious superstitions and the dumbing down of forward-thinking lead to a lot of the darker parts of Medieval Europe. The rest of the world wasn’t dealing with that, so the medieval period looked very different for them.

When coming up with ideas to help shape my fantasy world I looked at what medieval life and architecture looked like in Africa and Asia. I can’t post any of the pictures because I don’t own them and don’t want to get hit with anything copyright related so I’ve linked some in the post.

Décor

While looking at some of these places, I tried to envision what the inside of my world would look like. Game of Thrones came to mind. It’s one of my favorite shows and I love how they blend modern touches of fashion and décor within medieval settings. So looking at the color pallets for their Southern settings (which are filmed in Spain and some other country that escapes my mind) I was able to locate a style that fits my story and the world I was building around it. I discovered Moroccan style/décor. Moroccan décor is a beautiful blend of bold and vibrant colors such as gold, brown, orange, blue, and green. The colors are linked to the environment. Moroccan décor also incorporates a lot of elaborate patterns stitched into textiles and carved into wooden furniture. There is a lot of fabric and metal that gives the sense of lushness and excess that fits well with my story. And the architectural style is beautiful because it is a fusion of Arab and Moor history.

Weapons and ClothingDSC_2161

When coming up with the weapons and transportation for the story I did return to Europe although I’m trying to incorporate more medieval weapons from Asia such as the sai. We have the standard long-swords, rapiers, crossbows, javelins, and so much more. When coming up with the clothing style for the world I wanted it to be something that was different but functional. As much as I love the steampunk aesthetic, I’ve never tried to write a steampunk novel because I don’t feel like it would be functional in the actual situations that I like to write about. So I went with something that is considered high fashion right now. I looked for the tattered and layered look. Earth-toned fabric with lots of belts to hold up clothing or to hold weapons. Since the first book takes place in a warmer climate, I haven’t played with what furs would look like in this world but a lot of the clothing is asymmetrical and extremely functional. I wanted the people to look almost nomadic—a fusion of past and future. I wanted to create something that was different. When coming up with ideas for how the people would dress, I looked at clothing that had been tagged: post-apocalyptic clothing, dystopian future clothing, dystopian future nomad, costumes from the show Vikings, and the Dorne costumes from Game of Thrones.

Religion and Political Systems

Here comes the fun part: politics and religion. I created my own religion for this project because religion and religious superstition were so important to the story that I decided to just create my own instead of perverting an already established religion to suit my needs. In my world, Church (I call it the Cloth) and State are separated but not by much. It’s one of those situations that if the Cloth pushed hard enough, the state would become a theocracy. Speaking of the State, the State in my story is a weird blend of an Absolute Monarchy and Authoritarianism and there is no feudalism. So although this story will probably fall into the genre of dark fantasy, it has plenty of dystopian appeals as well.

IMG_0984

This is how my mind works. This is how I world build: one connection at a time until the world and the story work. And this version of my world works. The other day, I sat down and started a new outline and finished it within three hours. It felt great. The storylines for the three central characters changed a little bit, but the core is still there and I’m finally writing. Words have actually been typed into my document. The world is right again.

I’m Writing A Book

When Was the Last Time A Made A Post About Writing?

I haven’t been doing a lot of posts on writing or what I’ve been working on lately because I’ve actually been doing a lot of writing or, more specifically, planning. I’ve been worldbuilding, outlining, and planning three novels. I took about a month to world build because I think I like this world enough, that when the three stories I’ve planned are written out, I’ll still want to write more in this world. It’s beautifully dark and flawed and has a lot of room for a lot of characters and stories.

The Set-Up

The story I’ve been working on is a near future post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy. Yeah, it’s a mouth full but that’s the best way to describe it.

Version 2The year is 2814 and the world looks very different from what you might have envisioned. In the early part of the twenty-first century, nuclear war covered the world in darkness and flames. After the dust settled and the world began to rebuild, there was a new world order and humans were no longer in control—the Enhanced were.

The Plot

In a world where lineage means everything, an orphan with a past like Celeste’s had to grow up hard and fast. Questions about her identity and where she came from have always sparked a fire within her but as her twenty-fourth birthday approaches; she can feel a different kind of heat spreading just beneath the surface. She feels that the vivid dreams and nosebleeds she’s been experiencing lately are omens, warning her that her dark past is about to catch up with her. It’s not until she sees someone from one of her dreams in a crowded nightclub that she starts to think maybe it’s something more than omens and jittery nerves. But she has bigger problems, after all, she’s being watched.

Ezra’s life was already complicated by being a Hybrid in a world that only sees Humans or Enhanced beings but after asking his Shield captain if he was being put on the fast track for career advancement because of who his father is, things become even more complicated. Instead of being the lead investigator in a local drug sting, he’s put on surveillance duty. For any other rookie, this would be exciting news but for him, it just means late nights followed by early mornings and paperwork which makes his already sleepless nights, thanks to some very vivid dreams he’s been having, even more “fun”. During one of his plain-clothes assignments, he sees a familiar face. At first, he can’t quite place where he’s seen her before but then it hits him like a bolt of lightning—the dreams.

Rhena lives a life of excess and to an onlooker, she’s one of the elite but she knows better than to believe that. After all, she’s just a bird in a gilded cage. She has been the property of the Cloth ever since she was four and demonstrated a rare ability, even amongst the purist of the Enhanced. She’s a Watcher. She can see the past, present, and future and over the past twenty years, the Cloth has been grooming her to become their greatest weapon. Once she masters her powers, she’ll be able to find anything and anyone no matter where or when it is. She’ll be the ultimate watchdog. But when she’s given her first “real” assignment—find a dead person—she realizes she’s not the only prisoner hiding in plain sight and this assignment could change everything.

Three bloodlines, one destiny…

 

Are you interested yet?

The Blue Sky Tag

Hey everyone, this is going to be a different type of post today. I’ve been branching out and making friends in the blogging community and I was fortunate enough to be tagged by Anne Pyle to do the Blue Sky Tag. Here is her post. Check it out. She answered a different set of questions.

The Blue Sky Tag

 

Describe your life story in forty words exactly.

I was born in 1995—the middle child of three. I’ve always loved writing but before writing became my only viable claim for “fame” I used to sing and had aspirations to be a ballerina. Hahaha. Look at me now.

What is your favorite dessert, and why?

I love ice-cream. I’ve had affairs with cookies and cake but ice-cream has always been my love. I don’t know why I love it but when I’m really craving something unhealthy and lovely, ice-cream is the first and only thing that pops into my mind.

How did you come to be a writer?

I don’t know. I stumbled on it when I was younger. I’ve always loved movies and television. That love came from long nights staying up with my dad—our bonding time. I guess I just really liked the way stories made people sit and listen and as a child, that’s all you ever want people to do. Thus, I became a writer.

What made you pick your genre to write/publish in?

I love science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes, it can be a nice break from reality but the genre also allows you to talk about pressing social or political issues without it being all in the audience’s face. That is why I write primarily in sci-fi/fantasy. I plan to publish in sci-fi/fantasy for a very different reason.

I started wanting to publish works of sci-fi/fantasy once I became old enough to question the lack of diversity in the genre. The lack of racial diversity. Location diversity. Economic and social diversity. Sexual orientation and religious diversity. Diversity within the authors themselves.

What is your favorite aspect of the writing community?

It is not as competitive as journalism, which is where I started at when I was trying to become a professional writer. I also enjoy the idea that we exist in all cultures and lifestyles.

How magical was your experience with your first burrito?

Must not have been mind-blowing because I don’t even remember it.

Tell me all about your love for–or hate of–a warm gooey brownie.

I love the chocolate and the warmth of one that’s fresh out of the oven. I can envision myself eating one right now with some vanilla ice-cream.

How did you learn from your worst mistake?

I consider myself a humble know-it-all so when I’m wrong or I fail, I take it to heart and I try not to repeat whatever it was that made me fail/wrong.

Cat person, or dog person? Or bird/lizard/snake person?

I’m a dog person. I grew up with dogs and they seem friendlier. I have friends who have cats and I think they’re adorable but dogs have my heart.

What has being in your family taught you about writing?

Every family gathering will unfold like a paperback novel. Complete with a beginning, middle and end.  Laced with surprise guests and plot twists.

 

My questions for the Blue Sky Tag

  1. If you could time travel, would you? If yes, where would you go and why?
  2. What is your favorite color?
  3. Tell me something you’re really bad at?
  4. Who is the one person who can make you smile even on your worst day?
  5. What is your favorite childhood snack?
  6. What was the last television show you watched?
  7. What country are you from?
  8. If you had magical powers, what would they be based on your personality?
  9. What is your favorite music genre?
  10. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
  11. How was your day?

Who do I nominate?

All of you of course. Comment below with your answers or do a blog post about them.

 

Times Are A Changin Pt 2

So, I think I’m going to make the “Times Are A Changin” a serialized post. It will be used to update you all about changes to the website and general life updates.

The Website

So, have you looked at the website lately? Take a look around. Click on some things. Check out the homepage, about section, contact form, and the company page. Did you look? All the photographs used for the featured images are photographs I took. How cool? But anyway, the website also has a new URL and domain name because I finally own it. There has also been some cosmetic changes to my previous posts and the addition of the category cloud, to make searching for posts simpler. And a Facebook page has been created for the blog to help it get more exposure. You can find a link to the Facebook page at the bottom of the screen. Just click on the Facebook icon and you’ll be sent to the Facebook page. This is all part of my rebranding efforts because I finally figured out what I want to do with the website. Having some direction is a wonderful thing.

Traveling Thursdays

You may have noticed a few posts that have been tagged “Traveling Thursdays” and wondered what they meant. Well, I’m here to tell you that Traveling Thursdays will be serialized posts about travel and things related to travel. Traveling Thursdays are only posted on Thursdays and will become a mixture of photo-assignments and articles over time. This is my attempt to live up to my tagline: live, write, travel because there has been plenty of living but not enough traveling or writing.

Graduate School or Nah?

So, I think I’m going back to school. Not this fall, but next fall. The only problem is that it’s really expensive. Like, although the program is only one year it costs more than two years of my undergraduate education. The reason the program is so expensive is because of the amount of traveling involved and the fact that you’re doing internships and shadowing as well. Plus, it’s a graduate program so the expenses are a little bit higher.

I have to figure out a way to get the money and it probably won’t be a Go Fund Me because it’s just way too expensive to even try it that way. I’m currently looking for full-time employment that does tuition reimbursement. I’m looking for scholarships and grants to apply to and I’m looking for grant writers. And yes, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably still end up taking out loans but at least it won’t be as much as I previously thought. I have a network—a community that wants to see me succeed and they’re really helping me out.

Writing

I am currently developing a sci-fi trilogy in book form and I’ll probably even do a screenplay for the first book to see if it’ll sell. Now that I’m not in school, I can finally work on book ideas that have been building up over the past four years and it’s wonderful. I’m going to do a longer post about the trilogy soon, I just need to get some other content out first because I’m terribly backlogged and I can’t even figure out why. I guess these summer days are just slipping away from me.

Which reminds me, what have you been up to this summer?