Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Sixteen

NaNoWriMo: Day 16! Wrote 1,536 words and I'm hoping to get in another 100 before bed. Just wanted to pop on to share some of Thorberta's adventures! It's a rather long passage.

“Oi, gimme that thar fiddle an’ see what a real sailor does wi’ it!” shouted one of the dwarves when Finginnian finished the last note of a ballad. Thorberta could see the affront building behind the cleric’s short, rectangular glasses and wondered if she was about to witness her first brawl. Sailors brawled a lot according to Grunkelheimer [author of Grunkelheimer's Encyclopedia of Nautical Things and How They Might Function.] That was how they kept fit when not clambering up ratlines. But there was no fight. Finginnian stiffly held out the fiddle and bow and the gnome could just make out the icy words, “Do not dare drop her!” as the dwarf seized the instrument greedily. He waved the elf cleric away and stuck the fiddle under his chin, plucked at the strings, tested the bow, fiddled with the tuning, and held the bow aloft for a suspenseful moment before he attacked the strings with a lively tune. The third dwarf and the elf girl kicked up their feet to the music.

“Yea ho!” shouted the Halfling from his perch on one of the strapped down barrels. He started clapping to the beat and a few others joined in. Some of the crew playing cards took to stomping their feet instead so they didn’t have to set down their hands.

“Yea ho away!” came a roar of response from most of the other sailors.

Thorberta licked the nib of her pen again and poised it over the paper to catch the lyrics. It was a call and response shanty with a leader singing the verses and everyone else joining in with the response. The Halfling male had a gusty voice that somehow carried above all the stomping, hooting, clapping, and fiddling.

“A fair ship she be in all weathers,” he sang.
Yea ho, Yea ho away!” sang everyone else.
“Here she come gliding o’er the waters
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

Her decks be polished wi’ spit ‘til they shine
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Her bow rises proudly above the brine
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

The Catspaw in her finest array
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Ne’er a chance o’ goin’ astray
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

Now ‘oo d’yoo think was master of ‘er?
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Cap’in Blakeney an’ ‘is cursed skipper
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

An’ what d’yoo s’pose they had for suppah?
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Shelled sweet peas an’ a pound o’ lubbah
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

With pinkies curled an’ a nap’in propah
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Diamond forks an’ a tub o’ buttah
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

O come an’ git me things in order
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Go’ta run ‘fore she sails yonder
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

Kiss me once for luck we're stallin’
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
Kiss me twice, the mornin’s dawnin’
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 

With me rucksack packed, all’s in order
Yea ho, Yea ho away! 
On the Catspaw I’ll sail o’er yonder
Yea ho, Yea ho! Yea ho away!

“An’ what d’yoo s’pose they ‘ad for suppah!” cried out the non-fiddling dwarf.
Yea ho, yea ho away!
“’ow ‘bout a parrot’s tail an’ a monkey’s livah!”
“My cooking isn’t that bad!”

Thorberta looked up to see Kalikusa standing on the outside of the crowd, hands on his hips, and a wide grin spread across his thin face. The company roared with laughter and hands slapped on thighs. Finginnian snatched his fiddle back and promptly re-tuned it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Twelve

NaNoWriMo: Day 12 complete! 1,983 words for a grand total of 21,524!  Some of these are actually kind of good.  They say to write what you know.  Apparently writing about a character who's also going through writer's block is working for me!  -keep writing, keep writing-

Today's snippet:

“It seems the gods smile favourably on you, little gnome, to place you in my path just as you need the services of a fully trained and highly skilled cleric.” The elf pulled a pouch from his belt and slowly untied the strings. He dipped his fingers inside and pulled out a few dried leaves between his middle and forefingers and held them out to the gnome. 

“They are quite potent, so you will only want to use one a day.  I have enough here for three days.  Sniff them.  The scent will temporarily help.” 

Thorberta looked down at the leaves in her palm somewhat skeptically.  She wasn't sure what to expect, as the only cleric she had ever met had been the life of a Ghouls and Goblins party with the animated skeleton of his grandmother.  A person can't exactly ask a pile of bones how it feels to have someone manipulating them with spells or strange poultices as any and all opinions would originate from the spell-caster.  However, these leaves looked harmless enough and certainly not as scary as the mustard and garlic poultice she’d been instructed to wear on her chest that one winter to ward off the bitter cough.  How much harm could one little sniff do, anyway?  Besides make her sneeze, or grow six feet in height, or somehow turn into an ostrich.  These things had been known to happen, after all.  Yet if they could quell the awful sensations in her tummy, wouldn’t it be worth turning into an ostrich just to get rid of the nausea? 

Of course it was.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Ten

NaNoWriMo: Day 10 complete!  I'm now sitting with a total of 16,036 words.  That's 631 words short from today's goal after having a practically wordless day yesterday [only 429 for an RP post-- no novel writing] and low counts the two days before!  If I repeat my performance tomorrow, I'll catch up so well I'll be ahead again!

Ladies and gents, I think I can do this!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Days Seven & Eight

NaNoWriMo Update:  12,373 total words.  Wow, what a week this has been!  Somehow for the first six days I managed to have the time and words to shoot past the 1667 goal and I am truly thankful to have that experience of satisfaction and accomplishment.  However, it seems life is reminding me that it exists this week.  Yesterday I only had twenty minutes to sit down and write, but I added 635 words!  Tonight I added another 1030 words while trying to not sit and stare at the live election coverage.  So if you mesh those two word counts together I'm two words short of a day's goal.  That's respectable and I'm happy.  Most of what I wrote today is, I think, worth keeping.  I could envision the Thorberta.  I felt the Thorberta.  I was the Thorberta.  I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be inside a character's head.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I get more days like this!  Even if I don't make the word count, I want to live those words I write.  Like I used to.

As a thank you for your enthusiasm and encouragement this past week, have a good portion of those good words while I still feel good about them:

Captain Blakeney bit his lip to keep from laughing at the gnome’s question.  It was either laugh or bristle with indignation at the very thought that his beloved ship could have such egregious shortcomings.  He decided not to go with the latter, for he knew that gnomes in general detest water and therefore probably know or care to know very little about water transport.  Besides, the innocence he espied in those large brown eyes seemed incapable of intentionally insulting.   Much like a child’s wondering look, now that he came to think of it. 

“Fall through the floorboards?” he repeated in a patient tone, much like a parent explaining something to a child.  “Now, Miss Bertie, what kind of ship would this be if there was a chance I could lose my entire crew between the cracks? I can assure you the deck is solid and whole and even if you chanced to fall through, there are three decks below to catch you.” 

Of course that had been a silly thing to think, believe, even suggest.  Thorberta suddenly felt extremely foolish and utterly relieved at the same time, though she did visibly relax at the feline's answer.  Three decks between her and the liquid of death.  She could handle that.  What she could not understand was why this knowledge only reassured her to press on with this outrageous trip and not turn on her heel to march off the ship.   It wouldn’t take much effort at all.  In fact, it would save a lot of future grief and anxiety if she did just that.   All she had wanted to do in the first place was study the sea from a distance, perhaps from the safety of a comfortable blanket while peering out of a window in a nearby inn.  It had been Lorna’s greedy scheming that suggested this voyage, Sir Hildifons’ irresistible glimmer in his eye that got her to agree to this, and her own inability to pry herself out of her editor’s stony grip that deposited her here on the ship.  This had never been her idea.  So why was she the one here? 

But there was something else, too.  Something that nagged in the back of her head and insistently tugged at her curiosity.  A small expression of that something lodged itself in the captain’s eye as he stared at her as only a cat can.  He was watching her, waiting for her to turn around.  She could see it as plainly as she could see the wood under her feet or the sun in the sky.  There was a challenge there.   He did not think she could do this.  He thought her ridiculous, perhaps.  Or ignorant.  Or both! 

Thorberta squared her shoulders and drew herself up to just above his waistline.   Thorberta Ivytoes, queen of the quill, ignorant?  Never!  She knew Grunkelheimer’s Encyclopedia of Nautical Things and How They Might Function inside and out.  A ship’s diagram was as familiar to her as the back of her hand.   High Seas thrillers were her domain.  She lived on boats in her imagination and thrived on the challenges they had presented her.   But no more.  There was no challenge on the open waters in her head.  No characters jumped out from the sea of faces, begging for their stories to be told.  Maybe she needed to prove to herself that there was nothing here for her anymore, that she truly had exhausted her niche.  

 A few days, Lorna had said.  No more.   A few days on board a ship with three decks separating her from peril couldn’t harm her, could it?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Six

NaNoWriMo: Day 6 complete.  1,245 words.  I have the best husband ever.  I had planned to get my writing done when we got home after church things today, but that backfired when I laid down for a quick nap and woke up after 5 PM.  I was disappointed and couldn't re-motivate myself to even attempt to write.  While driving back from small groups this evening, I told Jeff it just wasn't worth the hassle and I wouldn't get any words done today.  He wouldn't take no for an answer.  Instead, he pulled out his computer when we got home and coerced me into writing with him!

I ended up going back to add in one scene and flesh out another in Chapter One for most of the word count today, bringing Chapter One to a total of 5,096 words.  Chapter Two got a little bit of fleshing out as well and I re-wrote a poem I'd written for the original Role-Play. Today's snippet directly follows Thorberta's meeting of Morgath Lightfinger, the dwarf I introduced yesterday.

The human axiom she'd heard regarding telling apart gnomes, dwarves, and halflings came to mind and made her giggle. 

Dwarves are square
Like the letters in their name
With lots of hair
Because they never shave.

Gnomes are round
As their name suggests
With leathery skin
That is tough and has stretch.

Halflings are oval
Some fair, some stout
With light fingers
And hairy feet. 

It wasn't a very good rhyme, to be sure, but one learned not to expect much from the humans. They were so bland in general. At least, according to what she'd read. She had never actually met one before. The only dwarf she’d crossed paths with had been a cheery, elderly female with grey whiskers above her mouth. No beard.  A very different picture from the hairy one Morgath painted.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Five

NaNoWriMo: Day 5 complete. 2,595 words. The novel has been tackled and pounded into the ground. Today is "Double Up Day" so I tried writing double the target word count (1667) because I love a good challenge. I failed, but hey! Over 2K new words about Bertie and two new characters introduced! Still have an hour and a half before heading off to bed. Perhaps I'll get in a few more words tonight.
Captain Blakeney motioned for one of the crew members bustling about the ship’s cargo to join them. Thorberta noticed at once that he must be a dwarf. He was middle-aged, perhaps, as his skin wrinkled around his black eyes, and not much taller than she was-- perhaps three foot six to her three foot three. He had a lean-muscled build and the bushiest black beard and hair she had ever seen! His eyebrows jutted out over his eyes like an overhanging roof and disappeared around his temples into his woolly hair. A single strip of gold metal fitted around his head and covered what would be visible of his forehead between hairline and eyebrows. She could not tell if his arms were as hairy as the rest of him or not because he wore a loose-fitting, long-sleeved tunic that dipped in a deep V at the neck. It took a second look to realize that the black visible underneath the tunic was more hair and not an undershirt.

“Miss Bertie, may I introduce Morgath Lightfinger. He will escort you to your quarters and see that you and your luggage are comfortably settled in.”

Friday, November 4, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Four

NaNoWriMo: Day 4 complete. 1,341 words. I had an amazing description of scenes and characters playing through my head while I showered this morning, but as soon as I sat down with my breakfast to type them up I hit a brick wall. As a result, there is nothing new to report in Bertie's world except: "What the heck! I will try this again tomorrow." I did, however, get a nice amount of work done on crochet projects and hashed out a scene or two for some RPs. The important thing? I wrote.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the novel again.

Mr. Owl is one of the amigurumi I'm getting ready to package up and send out in an order!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Three

NaNoWriMo: Day 3 complete. 2,049 words. To be fair, 700+ were completely unrelated to my novel, 200+ I rewrote from the RP I tried to start with this storyline two years ago, and I did go through and remove contractions. A lot of contractions. But I think I have a decent first chapter outlined and have started on the second!

Excerpt for today:

Besides the odds and ends of ship terminology and piratical jargon she'd picked up to write her romance novels, she knew nothing about plotting courses and the way the sailing world worked. Thankfully, her readers didn't know a thing about it either. Gnomes generally avoided water if at all possible and everything associated with it. And Thorberta in particular was a gnome who had cultivated that avoidance into a phobia.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day Two

NaNoWriMo: Day 2 complete. 1772 words. A slightly more successful day since there is some actual thought process and it wasn't nearly as hard to coax the words out. I have to keep telling myself I'm not aiming for perfection or even a novel. I'm aiming to write because I miss it.

My favourite portion I hammered out today:

“I am sorry to have given you alarm, dear lady,” he said courteously, “but to be truthful, I did not think we had anything to talk about.”

“Nothing to talk about? Nothing to talk about!” Thorberta cried. She threw the journal aside and leapt eagerly to her feet. “My dear Sir Hildifons, we have stories to discuss! Characters! Plots! We must get started on another book! I am already a week behind!”

“A book about what?” Hildifons inquired calmly. He didn’t seem the least affected by the excitable state Thorberta was working herself into, despite the way she kept giggling and clapping her hands. A billowing mushroom worked its way out of the end of his pipe and floated lazily upwards.

“Water! Love! Adventure!” she squeaked. “Something exciting!”

“Like what?” he prompted. A bushy-tailed fox darted up to chase the mushroom around the ceiling before finally colliding with it.

“Like... like... oh, I don’t know. That is why I need you! I have been pacing this very room trying to come up with a new pairing for days and I cannot think of one! Gnomes, fae, humans, mermaids, trolls, elves, dwarves, giants, ghosts, they’ve all been done and with great success I might add.”

“My point exactly,” Sir Hildifons interrupted as soon as she drew breath. “It has all been done. You have exhausted your resources. What else is there to write? What other possible angle could you find to write about? What new characters? And you have specifically stated you will never write a sequel.”

Thorberta made a face. “No! Certainly not. Sequels are for those with no imagination and have somehow forgotten the very essences of their characters. It is lazy writing! Once you have managed to wrap up a story nicely, why undo the packaging? No, no, no, I shall certainly never write a sequel!”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo: Day One

NaNoWriMo: Day 1 complete. 1706 words. Most of them are incoherent ramblings. My brain feels like it has been forcefully removed from my skull, trampled on, and stuffed back in through my ear. It would be nice if my muse worked, but that would be cheating, right? 29 days to go!

I did, however, manage to write an opening I don't mind.

Little Grindlog was known only for two things: being the birthplace of the Water Edict of 1016, and secondly, as home to the renowned authoress Thorberta Ivytoes. In all other respects it was an ordinary, unremarkable village nestled in the Red Valley with barely a dot to show for itself on a map. It had a village square, like any proper village should, with a small market of ordinary, unremarkable goods.  Not like the market in Clayster’s Crossing at all. There one could purchase jewelry fashioned from dragon scales, berries from the Coast, ceramics from the northern factories, clothing spun from fine elven threads, or anything a gnomish heart could desire. 

But this story does not begin in Clayster’s Crossing. In fact, the stories worth telling quite often begin in places like Little Grindlog: small, ordinary, and unremarkable. Places, usually, very much like our own.

NaNoWriMo 2016, Here I Am!

I must be insane.  As you can probably tell from my inactivity here, I have been fighting on and off with a severe case of writer's block for the last year and a half to two years.  I can't write.  The scenes and characters which used to so vividly race through my head now glimmer dimly in the recesses of my mind.  The only true glimpses I have of my words surface when I'm taking a shower or curled up in bed.  When I get to a piece of paper or a computer, they vanish.  I try to grab onto them and hold on, but they slip through my fingers like water through a sieve.  I forget what I was thinking.  It's as if they never were.

It's frustrating.  Aggravating.  Stressful.  Numbing.  I hate it.  I hate the fact I am so out of touch with a pasttime I couldn't get enough of.  I miss the passion, the eagerness, the desire to write and write some more.  The characters, the worlds, the ideas exploded.  And now all is silence.

So how did I talk myself into actually doing NaNo this year?  Why?  The year I can't possibly win because I don't have 50,000 words in me, let alone 1,667 in any given day.  But I am here.  I am standing in the face of this writer's block unwilling to budge.  I signed up last night and spent a good chunk of time working on my profile to try to get into the spirit of NaNo.  I will write 1,667+ words a day even if it means most of them look a little like this:

"This is going to be crap.  What am I doing trying to write a novel?  I have characters, sure, from the days gone by when I could actually see them and interact with them.  I have a basic story premise.  But can I write it?  I doubt it.  What do you want to do, Thorberta?  You don't know?  Me neither.  How about I write about you not knowing what to do next in this story and use up some of my word count?  That'll work?  Great!"

Ask me how I'm doing on getting in those words or see for yourself.  Pester me on Facebook.  Demand to know my favourite character in this story.  Ask me to explain something so I have to think about it.  Please.  Keep me accountable.  I want to love writing again.

Thank you. xoxo