Monthly Archives: July 2013

Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo — July 29, 2013

Well, it’s all over but the crying.  Er… editing.

Not only did I hit 50,000 words (despite a somewhat slow start), I also wrapped up the story.  (That almost never happens to me.  50,000 words, yes.  Finished story? I think maybe once before.)

So, what’s next?
Um… Life?  Or counted cross stitching, terrarium making, dollhouse renovating… maybe even some scrapbooking.

Well, there are 12 books in the series and the plan is to have rough drafts of all of them by the end of the year.   Six of them are already done.  (They are not anywhere near ready to show anyone, but at least they are written).

Of the other six, only one hasn’t been started it yet — it’s going to be November’s NaNoWriMo project. 

Next month I hope to finish Books 4 and 5.  No, I haven’t gone insane again.  (Although someone does want to read one of the novels that I wrote that month, so I need to beat it into some semblance of coherence in the near future.)   Books 4 and 5 are both about half done.  Book 4 actually was done, but I’m changing it because part of it will work better with Book 5.  And Book 5 is probably almost done — just need to merge in what I moved from Book 4 and untangle some stuff that belongs in Books 6 and 7 — especially Book 7, and maybe put in some filler.  So, hopefully, they can both be wrapped up in August.

In September I’ll write Book 6 — hopefully I’ll have a complete outline by then.  (Currently it is just a collection of scenes and one vague – very vague! – plot idea.  But it will come together – I’ll just have to start writing it and see where it goes.)

Ditto for Book 7 in October.   So far it also primarily consists of some random scenes, although it has a good start (once I untangle it from Book 5).  But it also has a lot of potential plot, and could lead to some interesting developments.  (Developments which will no doubt have an impact on later books.)

November, of course, is NaNoWriMo, so I’ll write Book 12 for it, since it’s the only one that isn’t already started.  I don’t mind being a rebel for Camp, but for November I just can’t bring myself to do it. 

And in December I’ll finish Book 10.

As I finish them they are being printed and put in binders, and once they are all done they are going to be put away for awhile so I can work on the Other Mages trilogy and get those three books turned loose on the world next year, hopefully by May or June.

Oh, and I plan on resurrecting my long lost but never quite forgotten Wytch’s Cauldron blog.  Just one post a week, though, on Wednesdays.

So, that’s the plan.   I’ll keep you posted on progress.  Meanwhile, however, you are now being returned to your normal blog posts.



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Sunday Excerpt — July 28. 2013

It’s Sunday, and Book 8 of the Academy of the Accord series is no longer a WiP so it’s time to move onward to an excerpt of something else, so I decided to post the opening lines of Song and Sword, which is available from Amazon for the Kindle, and from Smashwords for every other e-reader currently known on this planet.

Marlia didn’t know if she had killed him:  she only knew that she had to get away. 

Away from the man who had attacked her, the man now lying, bloody and motionless, on the floor of the barn. 

Away from the flames engulfing the home of the people who had offered her a bed for the night.

Away from this place.


Check out Weekend Writing Warriors  and Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.


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Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo – July 26, 2013

I hit 50,000 words and am a verified winner.  I’ll hopefully get the story wrapped up today, but I’ll be writing around going out for lunch and a trip to Sam’s to stock up on Diet Pepsi and whatever else looks good.  (Hopefully I’ll be able to avoid being sucked down the office supply aisle.  I have absolutely no willpower for that aisle.)

If I don’t wrap it up today, I’m fairly confident that it will happen by end of the weekend.  I am so close to finishing another book in the series I can taste it.

(Not that I eat paper or anything.   I mean, I may eat, sleep and breathe writing, but not physically.)

So, where does the story stand now?
Well, the battle is over.  It needs some major editing (I have too many people standing around doing nothing) but since (as I may have mentioned a time or two) I hate writing fight scenes just getting the first batch of words out makes me happy.  (Well, happy until reality (aka: editing) sinks in.)

What’s happening now?
An interrogation scene.  I don’t much like writing them, either, but at least dialogue is fast and relatively easy.  (I tend to have a lot of talking heads in my rough drafts – I always have to go back and add detail in the editing.)

What’s next?
Wrapping it up.  All that’s left is to finish the interrogation, and a couple more scenes and the epilogue, which will be part of the prologue to Book Nine.  Of course, that means that for the sake of continuity of style I need to add epilogues and prologues to all of the other books, too.  Otherwise these two will stick out and not fit in, and I don’t want anyone to tell them that their mother dresses them funny.

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Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo – July 22, 2013

Woot!  Two-thirds of the way through the month and I seem to have finally hit my stride.  I’m just past 40k, less than 10,000 words from goal.  If all goes according to plan I’ll be at or beyond 45k by the end of the day and will hit 50 on Friday, if not before.   

Will the story be wrapped up by then?  Who knows?  If it isn’t, I’ll keep chugging away at it and hope to finish it at a write in with Stevie next Monday.  (If it is finished I’ll work on… something… at the write in.  Maybe I’ll make a stab at organizing this mess to see what all I still need to do.)

There haven’t been a whole lot of surprises in the story since Friday’s post.  I do need to go back and work in a scene that I meant to write and didn’t.  And since I had two of the characters talking about it I suppose I should put it in, as they rather glossed over things to avoid worrying Terhesh.  I left myself a note in-story to do that, though, so if it doesn’t happen now it will in the edit.

(I am really dreading the day when I start to edit this thing.  Not just this particular novel, but the whole series.  Fortunately, that’s not going to happen for a year or so.)

So, what’s currently happening?
Well, Bry and Yhon made it back with their surprise for Terhesh, and I’ve jumped ahead a bit to the end of summer.  It’s orientation time – new students are arriving at the Academy.  (I have to check Book 5 to see if orientation was one week or two.  Continuity is a major pain in the posterior, especially in a series, but, hey, at least I remembered which book I need to check to find out!)

And what’s next?
Well, the plan for today is to get the battle with the evil wizard who is still known only as [NAME 1] over and done with.  (I should probably try to come up with a real name for him before then…)

And after that?
After that it’s pretty much just the wrap up and then the segue into Book 9.    And when this book is finished, it’s on to another book in the series.  (Although I probably should take some time to sort out what’s what and what’s needed.)

You know, as frustrating as this series is and has been, I’m going to miss working on it.  

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Sunday Excerpt — July 21, 2013

Happy Sunday!  It’s time for another excerpt from my current project for July Camp NaNoWriMo, which is Book 8 (sadly still lacking any other title) of the Academy of the Accord series.  (This is still a WiP so still a rough draft.)

Terhesh is of a non-human race and has been having trouble accepting the fact that there are humans who want to be friends with him, having previously encountered nothing but prejudice.

He was attacked from behind by one of the men trying to kill him and Draethlen (another cadet at the Academy) turned to defend him.   The two of them are in the infirmary.

“Thank you,” Terhesh said.  “I was still conscious enough that I remember you standing over me.   If you had not come back and blocked his blow, Bazlov would have killed me. You risked your life to save mine.”

 “You are my friend,” Draethlen said. “Can you tell me you would not have done the same thing for me?”

 Terhesh was silent, turning the question over in his mind.  “I hope,” he said quietly, “that I would have the courage to respond as you did.”

 “You will,” Draethlen assured him, his eyes closing as he yielded to sleep.

 Terhesh lay awake, listening to Draethlen’s deep breathing, watching him, wishing that he could find the courage to risk calling him a friend.

Check out Weekend Writing Warriors  and Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.


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Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo — July 19, 2013

After my last post bemoaning the fact that my word count goal wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted it to be, and complaining about stray plot bunnies, I got an email from my friend Stevie (who is going to do a guest post here someday).  She basically gave me hell – in a very nice way.

So, here it is (with her permission), because it’s an awesome primer for what NaNoWriMo is all about:

Also remember that in NaNo, the purpose is word count. Bad word count. Irrelevant word count. Crazy word count. Random porn scene word count. Working a freaking trebuchet into the story for godssakes!

I know that you like to hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else, and you like to do double the word count, two books in one month, complete coherent drafts, all that insanity. But if you get to the end of the month and you have 50,000 words, of some kind, in some document that will one day, after lots of editing and revision and re-thinking and uppity characters not doing what they’re told, be a novel…then you’ve succeeded.

You have a scene for a sci fi story? Good. Write it. Right in the middle of this manuscript. And cut it out later and put it where it belongs. Write it all in brackets if you have to. It’s still word count, it’s still fiction, it’s still progress towards your goal.

There is no shame in being “on par” with the NaNo word count right now. Consider how many people aren’t there…not just those who are attempting NaNo and are behind word count, but those who don’t even attempt it at all. Or, as they like to say about running–“No matter how slowly you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.”

She also said that she hoped that this time I’d take her words to heart. (She knows me too well! LOL)

Later that day I checked for an update on one of my favorite webcomics, and this was that day’s post:

Yeah… some days you just need a win.

Or a reminder that a win isn’t always what it looks like.

And now back to our regularly scheduled update on Book 8 of the Academy of the Accord series.

So, what kind of progress was there?
Well, the good news is that I hit 30k a day ahead of schedule.  The bad news is that I don’t know if I’ll hit 35k today or not. It’s so blasted hot I can’t breathe, let alone think.  I may just pack up my laptop and head for the library for part of the day, except that means getting dressed and it’s too hot for real clothes.

(Speaking of the library, I am now officially a volunteer at the Ford City library:  I adopted the writers’ resources shelves.  This is going to be fun!)

What’s happening in the book?
Well, Draethlen and Terhesh are both conscious now.  It took longer than expected to get to that point, which isn’t a bad thing.  I always worry about running out of plot points before I hit 50k, and while I could take Stevie’s advice and plunk my sci-fi story (or another brand new shiny plot bunny that hopped into my mind yesterday morning) into the middle of this novel, well, I prefer not to.  Yes, NaNo is 50,000 words of creative insanity (or insane creativity) but I would just confuse myself more, and I’m already hacking stuff out of books in this series to rearrange it into other books.  Besides, I like the challenge of making it just one novel that will more or less make sense – after a lot of gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair and wearing of sackcloth and ashes.

(Um, not that I hate editing, or anything…Whatever gave you that idea?)

So,what’s next?

Yhon and Bry come home today – I hope.

Then comes some stuff that is going to be tough to write.  No, it’s nothing emotionally heavy – I  just need to show the characters becoming close friends, and Terhesh finally accepting their friendship, and I’m really not sure how to go about it, so it’s going to be an interesting experience.  And I’m not quite sure yet, but his final acceptance of them might have to wait until after the final scene.  It’s going to be a matter of writing it and seeing how it plays out on paper.  Er, in pixels.  Or whatever.

I do need him to resolve his trust issues by the end of this book, though, as I have them all working together as a close, cohesive unit when the next book starts.

(Gotta love writing a series out of order!)

Speaking of writing – I’d best get to it.  See you on Sunday for a snippet!

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Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo — July 15, 2013

I have never been this de-railed this early in any NaNoWriMo event.  I am now just barely ahead of par and we’re midway through the month.

Part of it is work-related stress, but another rather large part is that I am not staying focused.  The NaNoWriMo group on FaceBook is especially distracting, but it’s so nice to have kindred spirits that I can’t seem to (electronically) walk away from it.

But even without that group, my attention is wandering everywhere except where I want it – even when I go to bed.

Bedtime is a prime time to work out plot issues.  I let the scene play out in my imagination, like watching a private movie.  Lately, however, I seem to be watching and working out scenes that don’t belong to this book.

And this weekend there has been a persistent little plot bunny hopping through my thoughts.  He belongs to a sci-fi first-contact type novel that has been kicking around in my head off and on for years.  I only have a couple scenes in place for it, and the characters don’t even have names yet, but it’s been popping up in my thoughts a lot lately.  Maybe when Book 8 is done I’ll take a break and see if I can come up with an outline.  (Hopefully that will satisfy it and it will leave me alone.)

Speaking of Book 8…
Don’t ask.  I’m hoping to get back on track today.   Not much has happened since Friday’s update, except that they found Radenth.  The plan is to get Draethlen and Terhesh both conscious and talking today, sometime between my doctor appointment and a meeting of the local writers’ group.  And sometime this week I’d like to get Brythel and Yhonshel back to the academy.

Word count goal?
I would like to hit 30k by Thursday night/Friday morning, and get to 35k by Friday night.  Ordinarily that would be more than doable, but it may be a bit ambitious given my recent track record, but I’ll give it a shot.  (I’m currently just a hair over 25k.)

But right now the thing I want most is sleep…


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Sunday Excerpt 7-14-2013

Another Sunday, another excerpt from my current project, Book 8 of the Academy of the Accord series.

Following Bazlov’s  attack on a student at the school, Marsden, Vinadi, and Kordelm have gone into town looking for Radenth, another instructor who has also been targeted by the people who sent Bazlov.   Kordelm is worried that Radenth has been attacked and left to die somewhere.

“I don’t think Bazlov was quite stupid enough to have left without making sure he was dead,” Marsden said. 

 Kordelm nodded.  “A quick clean death is something I can live with.”

 Marsden stared at him for a moment.  “Not for long.”

 Kordelm groaned when he realized what he’d said.  “I meant…”

 “I know what you meant,” Marsden laughed.  “Come on, let’s go find Radenth.  And if he’s sitting in a tavern somewhere flirting with the serving girls I’ll help you give him a quick clean death.”

 Vinadi shook his head.  He would never get used to the ease with which warriors joked about death:  he understood that death was a constant reality for them, and that jokes were their way of dealing with its ever present shadow, but their cavalier attitude toward it still disturbed him.

Check out Weekend Writing Warriors  and Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.


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Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo — July 12, 2013

I am brilliant!

At least, I currently feel brilliant.  I took my non-outline (that I posted about on Monday) and developed it into a more detailed real outline.

I am now a much happier writer:  not only do I know what is happening in the rest of this book, I have also solved another problem.

The scene that I moved from this book (Book 8) to Book 10 was Marsden, Vinadi, and Yhonshel going after The Evil Wizards In The Tower (the wizards who had destroyed Terhesh’s village).  Ever since I moved it, I’ve been trying to figure out why they wait so long to go after them, and I have been struggling to come up with a legitimate reason for them not to go off and deal with them now.

Then while working on the outline, I realized that I already had something in place that will divert their attention for a while, and things started to fall into place.

And along with that diversion, came an awesome segue into Book 9.

(Of course, now I’ve challenged myself to create segues in all of the other books as well.  *Looks at my plan to release this series in 2015, sighs, crosses out the 5 and makes it a 6.*)

So, how has it been going this week?
*sigh* Not so good.  Work has been horrid and has sucked everything out of me:  life, energy, inspiration… I want to write, I just feel… drained.

So, I didn’t get anywhere near my goal of 25k by today, which means that there’s no way I’ll hit 30k today.  (I might make it to 25k, though.  It’s iffy, but it might happen. Just don’t any one make book on it.) 

I wrote the worst death scene in the history of the written word this past week.  It was so bad that I couldn’t stand to leave it there so I rewrote it.  (I know, I know.  You’re not supposed to rewrite during NaNo – or any first draft, for that matter – but seriously, I wrote better stuff than that in third grade: I just couldn’t leave it there. The scene still sucks, but at least it no longer sucks rotten eggs.)

So, what’s happening in the novel now?
Well, let’s see…
Draethlen and Terhesh are in the infirmary.
Radenth is missing.  (Marsden, Vinadi, and Kordelm have gone looking for him.)
The Evil Wizards In The Tower still need a name for their organization.
[NAME 1], the member of The Evil Wizards In The Tower that has infiltrated the school, still needs a name.

So, um, yeah, not much progress has been made.   I am still slightly ahead of par, though.

And what’s next?
I’m hoping that by Monday Radenth will have been found. (I’m not quite sure where he is, although I do know that he’s alive.)
And I’d like to hope that The Evil Wizards In The Tower and [NAME 1] have real names by then, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo — July 8, 2013

One full week gone.  I didn’t make it to 15k on Friday, but I am ahead of par with word count so it’s all good, and I am (hopefully) going to hit 20k today and 25k by the end of the day this Friday.

No, I’m not trying to be an overachiever by pushing so hard to be ahead of the minimum requirement.  I’m just trying to give myself some padding in case life happens.

Like a doctor appointment next Monday that is going to take a bite out of my writing time.  It’s nothing serious — I have to have some teeth pulled at the end of the month and it’s going to be done under general anesthesia.  I made the mistake of admitting that I occasionally (rarely!) need an inhaler for allergy-induce asthma and now I need a note from my doctor that I won’t die in their office.  And, of course, I can’t get the note without seeing my doctor — never mind that I don’t think I’ve used my inhaler at all this year.

So, anyhow.  Life happens, and, sadly, it often happens to word count, so I try to have a cushion built in.  Plus, I know from experience that once I hit 30k writing becomes a real struggle and every word has to be forced out of my fingers.  (Once I hit 40k it’s all golden, but those 30s! Ugh!)

And now it’s update time.

So, just how is it going, working without an outline?
Eh.  It more or less sucks.  I feel like I’m rambling far too much and am going to have to cut a lot out when I edit, as well as add stuff that I missed, and move stuff around into a better order.

On the other hand, though, it’s kind of fun to just ramble and see where I go.

But on the other hand (I’m a nurse and a fantasy novelist — I have as many hands as I need!) I feel like one of my characters is not acting like himself — an outline so that I knew what to expect would probably have prevented this meltdown.

But on yet another hand, Terhesh believes that his wizard, Azlea, is in danger, and pretty much all bets are off when a Warder is protecting his wizard.

So, what’s happening in the novel now?
Well, I got them all out of the meeting.  As expected nothing really got resolved.  (This group of characters can talk in circles for hours.  They should run for Congress.)  Caristen did manage to accidentally destroy the letters, though, so at least they don’t have to worry about what to do with them.

And Terhesh got a letter stating that Azlea was being  held captive by the evil wizards.  (I really need to name their organization) and that he has to give himself to them and they’ll release her.  The others have (for now, at least) convinced him that the letter was a lie and that Azlea is safe at her family’s home for the summer.

What happens next?
Don’t ask me, I don’t have an outline, remember?

I think that Bazlo, the officer who is working against the Accord is going to try to get Terhesh off the school grounds so he can take him to the evil wizards.

And after that?  Hmmmm… I think Yhonshel may have a surprise for Terhesh.  (He and Brythel have gone to Tuanae Woods to try to get some information regarding who is trying to kill him and Radenth.)

And then I think that the as yet unnamed evil wizard at the school may have a shot at Terhesh.  (Which means I should probably start calling him something other than “[NAME 1]”)  And [NAME 1] is going to give them a clue, of sorts, when he mentions a necklace that Terhesh has.  (I left myself a note about it the other day that said, “AHA! The necklace!”  Um… Okay… I love notes that I leave myself.    A couple days ago, though, I came up with more detail about said necklace and why they are so desperate to get it back, and I figured out how Terhesh came into possession of it, so I think I’m solid there.  (And I wrote myself better notes this time.)

And that is about as far as my non-outline goes.

Except…  I cut a huge scene out of this book and put it in Book 10, but now I’m thinking that maybe it belongs in this book after all, just not where and when I had it before. If I do move it back, it won’t count toward my word count because it was written in June.

But I’ll figure that out later, when I get that far.

Meanwhile, someone please pass the Excedrin.

And if you have read all of this and are confused…

Welcome to my world.  Have some Excedrin.

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