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Plot Bunny Bag

plot_bunnies_tote_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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Names (And The Lack Thereof)

If you ever get a chance to see my rough drafts you would see a lot of things that look like this:

[Elf King]
[Elven King]
[King of the Elves]
[Elven King I really gotta name this dude since he’s Pash’s father]

Um, yeah.  Naming things is not my forte.

Titles are even worse than character names.  My list of Word docs looks something like this:

Book One
Book Two
Book Three
original NaNo novel
NaNo 2010
June Camp
AotA bk4
AotA Marsden and Vinadi (That one’s at least slightly helpful.)
(It should probably be noted that Book One, Book Two, and Book Three have been without real titles since 2008/2009.)

The problem is that names define things.  Once something is named, it becomes permanent and… limited.  Some of its potential is lost.  Therefore, names have to be perfect.

(I often run into this same perfection problem with counted cross stitch when it comes to choosing a fabric for a project. “Yeah, this will look good on it, but what if there’s a better fabric out there for this chart? Or what if another chart comes along and this fabric would be perfect for it?”)

Names have power.  Some cultures believed that knowing someone’s real name gave you power over them.  (Remember Rumpelstiltskin?  Only by knowing his true name could she void the deal they had made.)

Names give you power over demons, too.  To summon a demon, you have to know its true name. That is how you control it, confine it, bend it to your will.

You know…

Novels are a lot like demons…  They possess you and refuse to give you their names.

 

Need naming help?  Don’t look at me!  (But do look at my links page.)

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