Monthly Archives: November 2012

Summary of the Writers’ Marathon

I went into NaNoWriMo with my mind full of trepidation and excitement at the same time. It felt like the night before I went to college.  I honestly wanted to find out if I had it in me to write 50,000 words in a month. Being as I usually write slowly, I had my doubts. However, I can be very determined… or stubborn. Take your pick.

The first few days were easy. I was ambitious enough to imagine myself writing 2,000 words a day. Right. My fingers flew over the keyboard, jacking up the wordcount… until the weekend hit. If there is one thing that will always get in the way of writing, it is the real world. It is both the biggest inspiration for and the biggest distraction from writing. Need ideas? Look around you. It’s out there –– along with about eighteen bajillion other things that need your attention right now.

The second week, I was falling behind again. I didn’t panic… yet. I still had what, three weeks left? Yeah, plenty of time… right? Ha. If not for my writing buddies egging me on, I might have dropped it right there.

Week 3, I hit a block. This happens all the time. I’ll tell you my weakness: Even if I’ve outlined everything, there’s still that thought of “but how do we get there?” It has taken me the longest time to learn that these moments are when you just write. Push through and get words on the page. Who cares if they’ll have to be cut later? There’s always the rewrite. Did I panic? Absolutely.

And then, a delightful thing happened at about week 3.5. I’d just been whining about needed monkey wrenches in my plot (it felt too… normal), when a whole toolbox of monkey wrenches got tossed in. It was like Christmas, aside from the lack of chocolate. It saved me, and it really added to my wordcount… once I pushed away all thoughts of, “Dear God, the editing on this will be horrible.”

Week 4 was/is probably the most wild of all. One minute, I would be ecstatic that I was ahead, and then the clock would hit midnight, and I’d sigh, suddenly behind where I wanted to be. Mind you, this is a writing marathon, and I know I cannot write 50,000 words in a day (unless some crazy miracle happens where I do not tire, find no distractions, and coffee is fed to me through an IV, etc.). What really saved me this week were the actions of my characters. Let me explain.

To a non-writer, it seems like a writer should have complete control over the story. To a writer, this concept is laughable. While a fictional person is not real, they do seem to have just as much of a choice in the matter as a real person would with their own life. Honestly, it’s bizarre, but this is how the best writing happens. The characters flip the tables on the author and say, “This is what I want, and you aren’t going to try to change it, or I won’t cooperate anymore!” Next thing you know, your uber-macho commando is crying because someone stole his teddy bear eight years ago, and he’s finally letting his emotions to rise to the surface (Okay, that did NOT happen in my story!). Oh, joy.

As for the final 1,000-2,000 words, let me just say… the homestretch is always the worst part. It should be easy, but it took me hours to get those words in. The last 250 were the worst. It was, essentially, hack writing. If there is anything I hate, it is producing short summaries of big chunks of time, using pronouns to the extreme, and writing anything less than quality work. I wanted to pull my hair out. But I wrote those words. Yes, I did.

The moment after the last few words felt surreal. Though the hour was late, I could not bring myself to go to bed, and the first thing on my mind was, “I must edit… I must edit…” I have so many scenes to add in, expand on, etc. Had I really just written what my computer claimed to be over 100 pages? How was this possible? And what insanity drew me into this anyway?

The look of astonishment on my face after reaching my goal.

But… I have to admit… I now have the first draft of a work that will be spectacular when I have it nicely polished off, ready to be picked from the shelf by an unsuspecting victim a potential reader. And I doubt that I would have it if I hadn’t been dared to write a novel in a month…


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Can You Taste It?

ImageWe are almost there, people. Day 29. The end is so close, you should be able to taste it. It tastes like…paper, actually. But that’s okay. Did you ever imagine 30 days ago that you would have accomplished what you have? I’m not sure if I did. Sure, I told myself that I would get there this year, but I didn’t really know what that would be like. As of the time I write this, I’m 900 words away from 50k. And now I can start to imagine.

You know what I didn’t expect? The last 1k is proving to be the most difficult. Why is that? It’s not even like I’m about to write “The End.” I have at least 15k more to go before I reach that glorious milestone. You’re probably shaking your heads, thinking I’m mad. I probably am. Frankly, I want to get to the end so I can go back and start editing. I already know that there’s a major thing I need to change—a character’s entire personality, to be frank. And then there’s the issue of style, and even just typos.

I want to give a huge shout out to the two Salon members who have already hit their 50k word goals. Hats off to Ivy N. and Jenny B. They are an inspiration to the rest of us. I know that they are also not quite done with their stories, but this is a major milestone, and something to be proud of.

With several more of us close behind, it shouldn’t be long before the total number of Salon winners of NaNoWriMo 2012 hits 5—maybe even more! I shall provide more updates as we cross that line.

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Lady Brighteyes Excerpts- Victoria Silenus Guest Post

Lady Brighteyes is the journal of my very first D&D character.  I grew very attached to her and the story I’d set up for her in my friends’ campaigns.  It’s been great getting back in touch with her throughout November.  I really missed her.  Pelaios and Lerissa (Lady Brighteyes, my protagonist) are twin Tieflings (a D&D race, look it up), and they are heavily involved in their city’s Court of Rogue- anything and everything illegal passes through their fingers at some point or another.  The journal covers their efforts to claw their way to the top.  (The pic below is not exactly my idea of what Lerissa looks like; it’s just to give you the general idea of what a Tiefling might look like.)

Pelaios and me had a grand time tonight.  It hadn’t promised to be so at the start, but once the bets started pouring in, I couldn’t say no…We danced a set against two new Toms.  They came from upriver to unload some cargo on our docks; the night was theirs, and they thought themselves mighty.  Burly lads, too, but right bugnobs to tell the truth.  They thought it amusing to follow a pair of Tieflings about, treading on their tails every so oft.  Pelaios hit one of them after the third “misstep.”  Before we knew it, we was hauled off to one of the fountain squares and baring our pointed teeth at these pig’s knuckles.

They was spooked when moonlight hit our glims.  I don’t think they realized they’d elected to tangle with twins.  Mayhap they thought they were merely disrupting a sweethearts’ stroll through the night market and they’d have but one cove to deal with instead of him and his sister.  Mayhap now they’ll know better to keep to themselves and not vex strange folk in Hedgemoor…particularly Tieflings what come in twos.  These kinds of fights are what gave us the reputation as twin devils.  Were the coves not so muscly, I mightn’t have bothered; I’d have left Pelaios to scrap on his own.  But the bets were too good.  They looked like they might have been able to take us, setting the odds real nice.  They might have done, too, if they’d had a single ounce of thought between the two of them.  I’ve been told me and my brother are pretty things to watch when we fight.  Proper fights, mind, not crowded brawls in cramped spaces; out in the open like, with just a few coves matching us.  I don’t know about myself, but Pelaios is a thing of beauty when he dances.  Our movements flow, and we don’t limit ourselves to use of the arms.  We keep our tails out of it, elsewise it isn’t sporting.  If our opponents ever had tails, that would be a different matter, but we haven’t had to fight other Tieflings since we were scrapping for the best sleeping spots when we were but tiny mites at Higgs’s place.  We’re kickers, we are.  Most coves rely on their arms to punch and grab, but we use our legs a lot–forces a cove to keep his distance, and our tails, though we use them not as weapons, keep us balanced.

We let the fight go on for a while; can’t be sure how long, but we wanted the gathering crowd to be satisfied with the performance.  Once we started to get bored with this lot, we finished it, sending them both face first into the fountain.  I never get tired of applause; it’s vain, I know, but you don’t get praise all that oft when you’ve horns.  We got off quite well, me with a split lip and left eyebrow and Pelaios with a black eye.  Not too shabby.  While we were collecting our winnings–untouched by Higgs, thank the gods– we heard sommat behind us.  T’was those two scuts trying to take vengeance on us for a thrashing they’d as good as asked for.  Another hard back kick sent them back on their arses and into the water.  A cove slipped me an extra silver piece for that trick.  Apparently he’d bet on those two getting a second beating, and he was right grateful to us for winning him some coin.


[Sometime later in the journal, Lerissa approaches other members of the Court of Rogue to sound out potential allies.  In this segment, she visits a brothel to speak to a small group of spintries–male prostitutes.  Swiftknife is the current Thief King,  the Court of Flowers is a cluster of brothels in the city, and Lily is Lerissa’s best friend–a half-elven prostitute.]

I spoke with Marc, Pieter, and Samm; Pelaios doesn’t like talking to spintries, it makes him feel odd, so it was left up to me to handle the entire Court of Flowers, not just the doxies–with Lily’s help, of course.

Swinging my hips and tail a bit more than I usually do, I asked them how they fared in their business, a sly grin on my face.  Of course they made remarks about how it’d be ever so much better if they’d had my patronage.  They called me pleasant things like Lovey, Sweetling, Darling, even Mistress Brighteyes.  It’s all for naught, of course; I don’t pay for a good swive.  Ever.  All three of them are sworn to the Court, so Swiftknife came into the conversation rather naturally.  They talked of how he’s bleeding them dry.  They wouldn’t mind paying him part of their earnings as Rogues on top of protection fees as a business establishment if he’d only give them what they’d paid for.  I mentioned that I don’t get as much of my takings as I ought to, and that garnered some sympathy…as well as a few jokes about that fact being the reason I don’t seek their hospitality in the night.  It was Pieter what first mentioned wanting to see a new thief king; the other two stiffened at first, but they nodded their agreement rather than say it aloud.  They might be craven now, but given some work they might buck up.  I made a jest about how they’d feel about a queen, rather than a king, in Hedgemoor.  We all laughed, and they bowed low before me, kissing my hands and calling me Lady Brighteyes.  I like the sound of that…I pouted and asked, “Even a Tiefling queen?  That wouldn’t bother ye none?”

Marc grinned at me, drawing me close with an arm about my waist, and said, “A queen’s a queen, Tiefling or no, Majesty…”

The other two pulled him off of me, while Samm complained that Marc was hogging their “Lady Brighteyes.”  I had to laugh at them calling me their lady, but that was when the Madame who owned the bordel with their contracts walked into the courtyard.  She accused me of seeking free sweetening from her coves when I’d claimed I was in the Court of Flowers on a social call.  I gave her my apologies, bid the lads farewell, and caught Lily’s eye before leaving so she’d know it was up to her for now.


I hope you enjoyed these excerpts from Lady Brighteyes.  It was certainly a pleasure and honor to share them.

V.S.  ❤


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