Time for the yearly ‘I’m still alive and planning something more ridiculous than ever!’ post!
I’m still alive!
I’m planning something more ridiculous than ever!
This year, I plan to write 50,000 words. In Swedish. Wish me luck!
Writing has gone slowly, so posts here have been less than existent. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
But, how fortuitous that the date I happen to wander my way back to the fold is the very same date as I started this blog, four years ago.
Happy birthday, Elenia! Kaffee und kuchen für alles!*
So, while we sit and munch on our goodies, let me tell you a little about this year’s Nano…
I have spent the past few weeks confused and unsure, not even knowing if I would take part. I haven’t checked the forums since the reboot, I hadn’t the foggiest what I would write. I didn’t want to continue work on one of my wips, as I get too attached to them to recklessly add in another 1667 words every day for a month and besides, keeping track of totals would be too complicated.
And then it came to me…
Well, sort of.
Remember a few of my excited conlanging posts? Those efforts were not made out of the simple joy of conning a lang: they were attached to a story. And I thought ‘why not write this story for Nano?’
It will be difficult, I think. At this point, I don’t have much plot. I’m also not sure the story has more than 20-25,000 words in it, in which case I’ll fall back on plan B and rewrite a story I started ages ago which needs some major thought.
In light of that… why not plot out two novels for this November?
Well, it wouldn’t be a NaNo if I were doing the sensible thing, would it?
*My German hasn’t progressed much since then…
It’s me again! You caught me while I was thinking deeply about April!
Okay, no you got me, I’m lying. I came here on purpose to tell you about April. Who would have thunk it, huh?
I’m think maybe a way to get through April – instead of pushing myself to write MORE, MORE, MORE everyday; instead of trying to be one step ahead ALWAYS – is to be exactly on target. Each and every day. To reach my goal, which is a modest 45,000*, I have to write 1,500 words every day.
And so, with this new plan, I’d have to stop writing each day as soon as I hit fifteen hundred words.
A long time ago, I read that one great way to bust writers block was to stop writing in the middle of a sentence. And just leave it. It’s true, when you’re forced to stop writing for any reason, your brain falls over itself trying to continue where you left off**. Maybe you’ll forget what you were going to write, and think of something better, with more possibilities. Maybe in this time your characters will have a chance to grow and your plot, a chance to progress. I guess this is partly why I find October good for plotting. I want to write, but I can’t, so I do everything else instead.
In addition to this is the fact that I don’t think I can really sustain any particular level of quality for long periods of time. My friend over at Johannes Punkt told me he was planning to chunk up something he was writing, and I think that’s a brilliant idea.
And so, if*** I do Camp this year, I think that might be an interesting – if not the best – way to go about it. Well, I won’t know until I try!
*Bearing in mind, the most I’ve ever written for one piece was last years NaNo word count of 38,442
** At least, mine does. Doesn’t yours? Shouldn’t everyone’s?
*** Oh, who am I kidding?
Oh, go on then. If you must.
Well, Burgoyne house is a little project of mine that died last summer, along with my laptop. The house itself is a house of multiple occupancy (something like that) that is home, as a rule, to the less normal of society.
I had a few characters sorted out: Annie Valens, Caroline, Mirijam, Andy and Rhys Jones. I also had a vague idea for a ‘where did that come from?!’ fantasy subplot involving someone whose room actually contained (wait for it) … another world. Yep, I’m forever original.
And each of the characters would have their own storylines, but would interact with each other, and so with each others story lines.
This base idea had remained unchanged. However, the characters have all become more extreme versions of themselves. Which is a little worrying, actually. I don’t know if I’ll really be able to write them the way I’d like to. One of the characters is a truly horrible person, and they seem set on getting worse. Another is an absent minded genius who is actually accidentally evil. One of them is a stereotypical teen who has to make problems before he actually has any.*
But I hope that, if it goes, it goes well.
Have I plot? Sort of, actually! But not much of one. But these are all things that are there to be worked out 😀
*This last is, of course, the worst of them all.
So, you might have noticed the many, many categories this post has. Or not, but please, don’t hesitate to go and have a look right away.
Yes! They are almost all characters!
I managed to come up with them at yesterday’s plot in. A couple of them you might already recognise – Kristophe Andersen, Marquise Guerlaine. Some may strike you (Fiona + Mary = elaborate and disturbing in-joke.) The rest are, for this blog, completely new 😀
Most important is Nastasie Mullington, listed as the ‘Main player’. I trawled my baby names book for a suitable name, and finally settled on Nastasie, a Russian pet-form of Anastasia. (I know, I know. Russia again: I’m obsessed.) I chose Anastasia because of its meaning – rebirth (which led to a fairly interesting possible plot point…) but the full name is a little cumbersome and formal for my Nastasie. She is named more after the character of Charles Bovary’s first housekeeper than she is after the princess. I have the idea that her mother read the book years ago and took away from it an urge to name her daughter Nastasie, but also that something larger than this is possibly at play – more on that if and when it is developed.
Marquise Guerlaine has also finally found her place in my narrative. Monday saw my novel take on even more of a game format. As such, we need a dealer. Enter Marquise.
Karys Aldermann is the new Kristophe Andersen. That is to say, she is antagonist 2.0
And while on the subject of Kristophe and Karys, it has been decided that they’re closely related. It has also been decided that he looks like a better groomed version of Chris Hemsworth as Thor in The Avengers. What can I say, sometimes these things just happen :’)
Mary and Fiona are housemates, and Marlen and Yusef are, respectively the Black and Red Jokers. Yusef in particular is quite an interesting character. But I’ll leave you with that for now.
How’s your plotting going? All god on the developmental front?
Okay, so I mean changing names. What prompted this?
Well, remember when I said that Marquise Guerlain might be my ambivalent character? The catalyst that starts everything off? Well, no longer. I kind of always wanted to have my AC be a guy – a tattooed guy. I’d then have my character say ‘Ink has never really been my thing BUT’ – words to that effect. This was forgotten at the plot in, but I just saw a guy on the train who reminded me. I’ve never had character models before, but I legit would have stopped him and taken a picture had we not been on a busy train, separated by the crowd.
His tattoos were colourful – kinda pretty – and pretty much of the sort that my first imagining of the instigator would be (he wasn’t ambivalent back then).
Well, Marquise really isn’t a tattoo kinda girl. And she’s firmly a she, too. So, I’ll have to think of a new character with a new name. But wait… What about Kristophe Anderson? There’s a name I don’t want to lose! Et voila, Marquise has been benched (again) and Kristophe Anderson the former needs a new name.
My goodness this is confusing.
So, my Russian poem of choice, as mention mere minutes ago, is 225 buy Osip Mandelstam. For your viewing pleasure, I shall post it here
After midnight the heart picks the locked silence
right out of your hands. Then it may remain
quiet, or it may raise the roof.
Like it or not, it’s the only one of its kind.
Like it or not, you may know it but you’ll never catch it,
so why shiver, now, like a thrown-out child?
After midnight the heart has its banquet,
gnawing on a silvery mouse.
Moscow. March 1931
And, in the original Russian:
После полуночи сердце ворует
Прямо из рук запрещенную тишь.
Тихо живет — хорошо озорует,
Любишь — не любишь: ни с чем не сравнишь…
Любишь — не любишь, поймешь — не поймаешь.
Не потому ль, как подкидыш, молчишь,
Что пополуночи сердце пирует,
Взяв на прикус серебристую мышь?
I could go on an analytical kind of flex, talking about why I chose it, but later. Instead I’ll tell you this is the poem that brought me to my love of Russian poets in the first place. I found out about it three – almost four – years ago, now. It was in a creative writing group, and for the exercise we had to write something inspired by or as a response to the poem we picked. I picked 225.
Now I wasn’t too happy with what I wrote – I was going through a dry spell. But the poem was a good thing, and I haven’t let go of it.
So yeah. That is my theme poem.
Also, sudden title inspiration. This time it’s French. Les Jeux sont faits. The words have been playing about in my mind since I watched Bob le flambeur for one of my French modules. Oh, progress, progess…
Not many people know how I adore Russian poets, but I do.
That is not to say that I know a lot of them (in fact, off the top of my head, I can only think of Osip Mandelstam and Boris Pasternak), but I adore them indeed.
So I want to try and include them in this years NaNo. Last year’s NaNo had a theme poem*, and so I think I can do something with this year’s poem, too.
The main problem with a theme poem – a Russian theme poem, no less – is that in my experience they lend themselves to bleaker stories. Or maybe I just know bleaker poems. At any rate, I want this years NaNo to be a little lighter than last years**. But I think 225 by Osip Mandelstam could fit the story? I don’t know, I’ll have to go and check.
So, I’ll go do that now 😀
I’ll report back later, if I can stay cognisant that long.
*self promotion there!
For those who want to know what exactly it was I plotted Lundi soir (- see, all that French is taking effect!) I will tell you.
My antagonist is a woman named Kristophe Anderson. Yeah, I know, her name needs some work. I’m quite happy with her, though. She is very tall, very thin, with light eyes and white blonde hair. In this, she looks just as I had first planned, which is nice because I had actually forgotten to bring all my planning work avec moi. She is driven by her desire for power, (so cliché) and so is stealing les petits of people with influence in the Otherworld. Quite what she aims to achieve by this, I don’t remember. (The notebook with the planning in it is right next to me, but hell if I’m looking through it.) I also don’t know what she will do with her power if/when she gets it – that is something to explore, probably at the next London Plot-In*.
My MC is still, sadly, nameless. She has just moved into a large but sort of decrepit house in North London with four others. She thought the noises she heard coming from the wall was just her noisy neighbours… she thought wrong. Oh yeah, that’s my Otherworld. Of course, this realisation (enlightenment?) will be followed by lots of adventures of the card-game variety.
Card games? Yes. Remember when I said the brief thought of cards had come to me? Well, I have a sort of idea how this will work. Okay, so it’s a terrible idea, and I kinda of want to scrap it, but at the same time I’m simply too in love with it to do so.
My MC will have to draw cards to determine her next moves. Each card will have a certain significance, according to the rules for certain games. The games at current are blackjack and (wait for it!) Ring of Fire. I know, I know! Silly, silly Lily. But, erm. Should be quite fun. I need two more sets of card games where each card is related to an action or a penalty, so if you could help me out, that’d be grand.
Jokers are game changers, red for the worse, black for the better.
And that is pretty much all I got done, although I also managed to decide that the person who sets all these event in motion will be an ambivalent character, of sorts. Someone who does for the sake of doing, sans motivation.
I’m thinking that maybe that ambivalent character should be my dearest Marquise Guerlaine. It’s about time I find some use for her.
Anyway, I have bins to put out and an article to write – in French, no less. I think I will do the former, and then take the latter with me to bed.
Bonne nuit, mes amis!
*For those who are interested, this will take place on Monday at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub on St. John Street, Angel. Details here.
I provided a few (hopefully helpful) links to world building guides that others have written in a previous post.
Here, I’ll provide one more, you your planning pleasure. This is a link to a set of 130 (yes, I counted!*) questions to develop your characters. I’ve literally just started working my way through them, but I think it’ll be fun, more than anything else. I’m the sort of writer who lets her characters build themselves, and they’re usually miraculous in how consistent they are. But some characters need a little bit of a push, right? I want a really interesting and exciting antagonist for this years NaNo. If I can figure out what s/he’s like, I can figure out what makes him/her tick. And then I will (hopefully) be able to right him/her abundantly well, as voraciously as possible and most of all, they’ll be REAL.
Which would be nice.
Anyway, I think this is my last post for today. I’ve been told by two people that they think I have the flu, which I’m not impressed by – especially as I’m thinking they’re probably right.
It’s also my mum’s birthday, and I want to see her before the day ends, so adieu! and good luck planning them characters!
*Disclaimer: I in no way claim that I counted correctly. If I’m wrong, it is entirely Everyone Else’s Fault. If I am right, the credit is all mine.