Tag Archives: names

Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.


I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)




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Song and Spam

I don’t know what it is about NaNoWriMo that brings forth plot bunnies.  Does it emit some sort of pheromone?  Does some favorite treat only grow during NaNo months and lures them forth?  Does my muse just put out a casting call for out of work plot bunnies?

I have no idea, but whatever it is, it never fails.

This morning, with three weeks left before NaNoWriMo, a new plot bunny climbed out or the woodwork and jumped into the bathtub with me.

On the positive side, it is part of the Elven Bard series (which is growing out of Song and Sword), is pretty much fully grown, and helps me eliminate some of the potential scenarios in the one I’m currently outlining.

On the negative side, I don’t know exactly where it’s going to fit in the timeline for that world.

And on an even more negative side, it wants to steal the title for the one I’m currently working to get ready for NaNo.

So now the question becomes, do I continue with the current book or do I stop and work on an outline for this one?

And what do I do about titles?

I was sort of falling out of love with Song and Shield for the current project anyhow.  The use of “Shield” makes me feel like I need to get the Shield of Truth from Palora’s Crossing to use in it, and it doesn’t really fit into the book at all.

Actually, the shield doesn’t fit into either the one I’ve been outlining or the new one that hopped in, so I’m thinking that they both need new names.

Because, yeah.

Three weeks.

Two stories.

No titles.

(Or maybe lots of titles, courtesy of Cassy and Danielle and Danielle’s dictionary.)

(Song and Spam is not going to be one of the choices.)


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Four More Days

Remember on Friday when I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t really have a bad guy?

I now have two.  Maybe three.  Okay, two and a half. (The third is behind the scenes, manipulating bad guy number two.)

Sadly, the only one who has a name is the one behind the scenes.

(I should probably work on correcting that sometime in the next four days.)

Overall, though, the outline is shaping up.  (I’m not going to say what it’s shaping up into, but it is shaping up.)

The antagonists are making me tear my hair out.  They’re all after the same seven year old boy.

One wants him dead.

One wants to use him to blackmail the first one.

And the third? The third wants to use him as a pawn to destroy Vinadi and the Academy of the Accord, and is using the second one to get him.

The problem now is figuring out how to weave all three of those together.  The first two aren’t bad, but that third one…

I really want that third one in there, as it will be a great way to tie this into the overall story arc of the series, but I’m not really sure how to make it happen. I’m hoping that as I keep tweaking the outline and moving stuff around and asking and answering questions I’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, another problem has cropped up, namely, the order of events.  Specifically, the length of time between the arrival of bad guy number two at the school, the arrival of a messenger, and the disappearance of the seven year old boy.

This thing is seriously giving me a headache.



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Cleaning Out

I’ve been on a cleaning and de-cluttering kick, focusing on the kitchen, mostly.  But the other night I decided to tackle some papers.

See, I have a computer hutch.  My monitor sits pretty close to the front, and I have a tendency to shove “important” notes under it.

And then I add more “important” notes on top of those.

And eventually I have to tilt the monitor to get more “important” notes under it.

And somehow stuff migrates to behind the monitor. (I’ve yet to figure out exactly how that happens.)

Sooner or later, though, I have to do something about the pile of “important” papers – usually after I’ve survived an avalanche or two.

A couple nights ago I decided that the time had come, mostly because I couldn’t find my bamboo crochet hooks, which I was sure were behind the monitor. (They have since been found – on a shelf in the hutch, where I put them so they wouldn’t get lost in the mess of papers,)

So, I dove into the pile of “important” notes.

I found several old work schedules – one dated from the end of December.

I found random phone numbers with no name attached so I have no idea why I wrote them down. One of them did have something written beside it.  It looks like it says “Protection Center” but that makes no sense.

I found notes like: “Patchwork Writing.”  I know that was supposed to be a blog post but I don’t know what I was going to say.  And a search tells me that I wrote a blog post with that title back in August, so the question now becomes: “Is the note that old or did I have another idea along those lines?”  And if the note is that old, why didn’t I cross it out after I wrote the blog post?

Then there was this interesting note: “Pellar — white witch for a village.”  Stunning in its simplicity and its total lack of any useful context.  Is Pellar male or female? What village? Why is s/he important?  I’m pretty sure Pellar wasn’t meant to be a main character because I’d have at least some sort of vague memory about what I was going to do with him or her. But was Pellar supposed to go in something I was working on or in something new?  And either way, what was it supposed to be a part of?

There were random names scribbled in corners of papers, like the above mentioned old work schedules.  Those I can at least explain, though – when I come up with a name that I like the sound of I write it down for future reference.   (Somehow, however, when I actually need a name none of the names in my lists ever seem to be “right” for the person, place, or thing that I’m trying to name.)

Then there was the word “Sentinels” written all by itself on a paper. Really?  I expected me to remember what that meant?

“Did I put in V asking C and T about sharing their room that night?”  Um…. I don’t know if I did or not, but at least I knew what this one was referring to.  I wrote sort of a side scene to Book Two of The Academy of the Accord and I need to check to see if I put it into the current version.

Then there’s a list of fairy tales.  Why was I making a list of fairy tales? I think maybe I was going to modify them by doing a gender switch, which means it’s actually a list of plot bunnies, but there’s also a note across the top of the page that says “Good idea for a theme.”  A theme?  For what? Sometimes I worry about me.

I especially worry about me when I find things like a recipe for something involving ice cream and the oven. That can’t possibly end well.

I found two or three pages with notes and ideas for book promotion. (I really need to get them all in one place – I know there are other ideas scribbled down somewhere.)

A couple “to do” lists from the end of December turned up in the pile of “important” papers.  There wasn’t anything all that important on them and I have no idea why I was saving them.

Oooh! Notes for a talk about NaNoWriMo.  They were probably a good idea at the time, even though no one showed up for the talk.

“Fairies/bubbles.”  Other things on that piece of paper helped figure that one out – it was some notes on memoir writing.  I don’t do that and no longer go to the memoir group.  I’m sure I must be keeping them for some reason, though.

Two pieces of bright yellow paper contained a couple more plot bunnies, or maybe two parts of the same plot bunny.  No names for characters, though, and I only vaguely remember what I was thinking. I’m pretty sure the pages are related, though.

Then there were half a dozen or pages of lists of random words.  I think I’m supposed to combine them to make prompts for Wednesday Words. That’s what I’m going to do with them, anyhow.  (I should write them on individual scraps of paper and put them in a basket or something and draw out sets of three.)

Almost everything under there, though, related to writing. Even the “to do” lists from the end of December had writing-related things on them.

I’m still not sure about that recipe, though.


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Camp Ramblings

Well, I didn’t get caught up.

I did make it to only being 9k behind, but then midnight happened.

I’ve learned a few things though.

1) Pain is not conducive to writing.  Fortunately, a great chiropractor and three days off work have done wonders for that.  Now if I just don’t fall apart during the next four days at work, I’ll be all set.

I hope.

2) Smaller chunks of writing help me a lot.  Instead of focusing on writing a couple thousand words I need to just write in sets of two or three hundred – more if I’m on a roll – and then add it to the main doc and take a break for a couple of minutes to sort through the next bit of dialogue or whatever.

3) I am apparently immune to 5 Hour Energy Drinks.  I wanted to pull an all nighter Wednesday into Thursday, but after a lengthy battle to get the outer seal off of the bottle, and steeling myself to drink the stuff, I got a brief rush and an hour later was ready to crash.

4) I really like detailed outlines and wish I had one and I swear that whatever I write for next camp session will have one.

Actually, I did have one.  Well, I had an outline, at least – not very detailed, but an outline nonetheless.

But that was for book three of the name-challenged trilogy, and I finished it on Wednesday.  (Yay!  Now it gets to sit for a while before I start editing.)

And that brings me to a summary of progress made.

The nameless trilogy is done, although I am still going to write the alternate version of book one.

When I finished the trilogy, I gave myself a break from novels by writing a short side story for The Academy of the Accord series. It’s really rough and needs work, but it was a fun little diversion.

Then I skim read what I had written for Book Two of  The Other Mages trilogy and couldn’t believe how much I’d forgotten.  I’m currently working on it and it’s flowing pretty well, considering that there is no outline to speak of.

This is what is currently passing for my outline for the rest of this book. I’m not even sure what I was thinking when I wrote some of it. (The part in italics is actually an excerpt from the current version of Book Three and I have no idea why I put it in this outline.)



  1. Journey to Besembe

          — Go to see Marnetta’s tower. [WHY?]  It turns out to be the one that Katheri knew as Kelennor’s.  [WHAT HAPPENED TO MARNETTA?]


          — Undines?


III. Besembe

Aithen and Zari not there.
Luthen is.
Sidden is.
Kaeriya is.
Enisha is.  Recognizes Katheri.


Time there spent:

Learning more about her Gift

Learning about their path

“They’ve all pulled out of Besembe, then,” Katheri said softly.  “There was some talk of it when I was there, but no decision had been reached.”  She frowned. “They must have done it pretty quickly.”

“I cannot imagine Besembe not being there,” Trebor murmured.

“I know,” Zaren said.  “I was only there this once, and then just briefly and there weren’t any others there, but still, it… It’s home.”

Katheri nodded.  “I got the sense that there were fewer people there than normal when I was there.  And the ones that were there — they were still discussing the best course of action.”

Final test


Role of a Priestess (Priestess training)


Still having trouble accepting her own Power
          — advised that she will grow into it and come to terms with it.

Meeting X can be the catalyst that triggers it?
          — or should that wait until Book Three when she has to defend Zaren?


Some of that is no longer even applicable, or will need to be moved and rearranged, and something I totally didn’t plan on happening is going to happen in Besembe which will probably mess with book three.

But book three is already such a mess that I doubt I’ll even notice.

So, there you have it.  One trilogy (that has no name but which was at least written in order) completed.  One very rough draft of a short story.  And book two of another trilogy flowing well and should be finished by the end of the month.

Oh, and I’ve managed to keep up with a poem a day for NaPoWriMo.

Now, if I can just get caught up on word count for Camp.




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Names! (Sort of)

It should come as no surprise that names are one of my worst stumbling blocks.  Actually, probably my number one stumbling block.  I still have Word docs with names like “Kel and Tirza” because I can’t seem to come up with a name for the novel so I named it after the main characters.  (And that file is from November of 2011 – I have even older ones with even more ambiguous titles.)

Names are important and I really struggle to get ones that are just right, that have the right sound and feel.

Right now I am 12,000 words into book two of a trilogy, and I am missing several important names.

Like, oh… I don’t know… a name for the trilogy? A title for book one? A title for book two?  Oh, and the king is still nameless.

But even worse? The Prince, who, while not really a main character is more or less the central focus of the entire trilogy, is still semi-nameless.

Semi-nameless?  How can you be semi-nameless?

Well, it’s simple, really – I can’t decide on a spelling.  (The joys of being a fantasy writer…)

His name is:


I’m leaning mostly toward Corin… I think.   Or maybe Corren.

But for now he’s still [PRINCE] in the manuscripts.

But on a brighter note, as soon as I finish my 1000 words for today I’ll still be 2000 words ahead on my challenge.  And I’m off for the next four days so here’s hoping for some good progress.

And maybe a name or two.

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To Do

Anyone who knows me knows that I am fond of lists.  In fact, it’s something of a running joke.  (That, and my addiction to tote bags and other “things to put things in.”)  So, it should come as no surprise that I have a list of things I need for my novel, hopefully before November.

Mostly what I need are the things I hate dealing with the most: names.

My outline is looking pretty solid (it’s currently coming in around 2000 words, well, outline and some background notes) and I think that I have the plot holes all patched, at least for now, but things still aren’t looking pretty.  This is what happens when you start world-building from scratch three weeks before NaNo…


mob boss(es)
person who owned the ship before Taliya bought it
name(s) of crime syndicate(s)
name(s) of their legit business(es)
names of law enforcement agencies
— planetary, intrasystem, interstellar
name of “police” lieutenant who questions Taliya and then goes after her
family (grandmother, father, brothers)
Taliya’s lover
Need home world and race and name and description for person in cryo chamber
Need home world and race and name and description for alien slave
name for M’s organization/business
name of company that trained CCG
— name of facility he was at (it was on an isolated asteroid)
Taliya’s company
broker she bought ship from
company/ies that Taliya transports for

Yeah, I think that about covers it.  *sigh*

The trouble is, every time I think I’m getting something knocked off of my list, 2 more things replace it.  It’s like trying to kill a hydra with a spork.  I have the feeling that this draft is going to have a lot of things in it like [PLANET ONE] and [STAR SYSTEM THREE] or even [ASTEROID THREE OF PLANET FIVE IN STAR SYSTEM TWO.]

But hey, I still have ten days!  And I have managed to name one secondary character who doesn’t even show up until the end of the book.  That’s progress, right?



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Plot Bunny Bag



So I finally got brave and dove into my Plot Bunny bag.  It’s a canvas tote bag that I’ve been using as a catch-all for scraps of paper with writing-related stuff on them. (I got it from Cafe Press, if anyone is interested. Not affiliated, yadda yadda…)

Going through it was an all afternoon and half the evening project, but I finally made my way through all of the pieces of paper in it.

I found some incomprehensible notes, partly due to my atrocious handwriting, and partly because I had no clue what I was trying to tell myself. Of course, that’s not the first time I’ve done that, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I found lists of names. As a fantasy writer, a good set of names is a good thing to have. Even better would be a good non-clunky way to organize them.  Any suggestions?

I found old fan fiction. Some of it made me cry. (Yes, it was that bad.) Some of it will be typed up, names will be changed, settings will be changed, and the words will become part of something new and different.

I found opening paragraphs, tentative outlines, starts of stories, and, perhaps most mysteriously, middles of stories. (Seriously — I found at least four different sets of pages that were the middles of stories. Two of them I think I have files for, somewhere. A third I really hope I have the start of.  And one — one I have no clue about.  (I think I vaguely remember starting it, once upon a time.)

Oh, and lists. Lots and lots of lists. Lists of names, of settings, of random events.. I think I’m going to put them on 3×5 index cards and draw a random of one of each for a writing prompt: woman on a horse at dusk in spring at a cemetery, anyone?

I found some things that I have added to the Plot Bunny Orphanage, in case anyone wants to adopt them and give them a new home.  I’m sure there will be more later, when I go back through it again.

I found a lot of stuff I’d forgotten that I’d started.  (That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?)

I think my favorite things that I found were the outlines of the novels from my month of insanity.  They bear… no resemblance… to what I ended up writing.

Sword Dancer… it took a sharp turn somewhere and I have no idea what to do with the rest of the outline. Maybe a sequel? I think I could see it as a sequel. (Why am I planning a sequel?)

The Sword and the Shield… Don’t ask. I should pretty much just trash the rest of the outline as it was based on a premise that flew out the window somewhere in the middle of the story. Pack rat that I am, though, I’ll keep it, change names, and use the plot for something else.

Anyhow, that was Round One.

Round Two should involve the stash of papers crammed beneath my monitor, but I’m slightly more afraid of it than I was the bag. (Besides, I think most of them relate to The Academy of the Accord.)

The next round involves going through what I haven’t thrown out and organizing it somehow. For instance, I noticed that I have notes for the same novel written on 3 or 4 different pages, usually with notes for other things included: I need to combine those so that everything is on its own page.

And then I need to get everything typed into a Word doc, saved, emailed to myself for back up, and printed to be put into a three ring binder.

I have no idea when or if I’ll ever get to any of these Plot Bunnies, but at least they’ll be tamed when it is time to wrangle them into a novel.

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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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Well, I did it!

Too late to back out now.  Song and Sword  is available on Kindle.  And I am… relieved.  Still a little nervous, but mostly relieved.  And tired.

Formatting isn’t hard – but it sure is time-consuming and monotonous. I was going to use Scrivener  to do it, but I haven’t played with it yet other than the tutorial when I first downloaded it last fall, so I wanted to have my copy of Scrivener for Dummies on hand, but I can’t find it.  Fortunately their “how to” book is great.

I know I had it in January for the “show and tell” meeting of the local writers’ group.  The other book I took to the meeting is on the shelf where it belongs, but not that one.  The next logical place for it to be would be near my computer, so I dove into the piles of papers and notebooks and miscellaneous items too bizarre to mention and came up empty.

(On a brighter note I can now see roughly half of the stand next to my computer, and the floor beside it is a little more user-friendly.  And I found a scene I’d written for one of the Academy of the Accord books.  (I was beginning to think that I’d dreamed writing it.)  I also located a bunch of cross stitch charts (that need to be entered into the inventory file) and I tamed a couple piles of scrap paper that I keep for my printer.)

So, anyhow, what’s next?   Getting Song and Sword out for Nook, for one thing.  And available as a hard copy.

And more writing, of course!  (And a continued search for Scrivener for Dummies.)

The plan (Ha!) is to finish rough (very rough!) first drafts of all of the books in the Academy of the Accord series by the end of the year.  (Except for the mess in the middle — that might take longer to sort out.)

After the first of the year I want to return to The Other Mages trilogy that came out of my first ever NaNoWriMo.  Book One is almost done — I just have to figure out how to get them out of the mess I left them in.  Book Two… I think I’m about halfway through it, but I’m not too sure about it.  It’s over 50,000 words and still seems to be in search of a plot, so I need to sit down and make an outline for it.  And I need to do the same with Book Three, since it needs a complete rewrite.  The goal is to get them published by the end of next year.   Of course, that means that they are going to need real titles, and I hate naming things.   (I’m thinking that books two and three might be Camp NaNoWriMo projects next year.)

Then… something completely new for November 2014 NaNoWriMo.

And in 2015 the focus will be on The Academy of the Accord series.  Getting that patched up and edited and turned into a cohesive whole will be a massive undertaking, but it’s a project that I’m looking forward to completing.

But for now I’m still caught in a feeling of unreality regarding Song and Sword.  I can’t believe that it’s over.  Done.  Not something I have to work on anymore.  And that I’ll never write those characters again.  (Unless I do a couple side stories or a sequel.)

I think I feel… a little sad.

Excited and thrilled, but sad.

I wonder if this is how mothers feel when their children go off to kindergarten, or college, or… wherever.


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