Camp #NaNoWriMo April 2016: Days 18-22

CNW_Participant

Current Word Count: 18,185 words

This draft just keeps kicking up new information. The FMC’s mum is backing my FMC’s beliefs about being able to be so much better and is supportive of her going to an elite magic school, rather than the dark magic one the rest of the family goes to. The FMC has also proved to be a bit devious by using her place as the unwanted outcast to get money from her non-dad to do her school supply shopping and to stay in a hotel for a few days. The hotel is because her mum and non-dad are kicking all the kids out of the house for a few days to do a ritual that needs complete silence. I am trying to figure out how the shopping trip will go whilst relaying the same or similar information from the first draft.

In the last couple of days, I’ve realised that this story takes place not in our world but in another AU, high fantasy type world. It seems to be connected to other stories I have done in the past in a separate world that has been developing  for some years now. So that’s thrown up some new considerations, like government, world set up, it’s connection to other place, etc. At the same time, it has allayed some of my concerns about timing within the story. I don’t have to stick to the calendar of our world and I can draw upon elements from the other stories. This should be interesting.

So here’s hoping that when I post next weekend, I will be able to display a winner banner at the top of the post. How’s your writing going? Good? Bad? Had any revelations? Good luck folks!

Pushing On, Keeping Going

Image Source: GoodSearch Images

As you might have guessed from the title and the last post, I am carrying on with my Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m not writing a lot each day it must be said, partly because I have been exploring Twitter and Windows 10. You probably know the feeling. Pretty, shiny new things! Must be explored!

I am very goal orientated in life, as well as writing as I have noted on this blog before and I knew I would need to find a way to keep me going with this story. That’s why I attempted to join Write All Year but it didn’t work for some reason. No e-mail confirmation, nothing. No idea what happened there but I was able to get to the Productivity Goodies page and downloaded the annual word count tracker despite it being eight months into this year and that is already having an impact, just like the word count tracker excel spreadsheet I found on the NaNoWriMo forums.

Maybe it’s the sight of seeing bar chart and pie graphs as well as being able to see an overview of the whole year that is inspiring. Maybe. All I know is that it works for me and whilst it works, I will use it to help me.

I did manage to 1,036 words written overall last night, focusing on the start of the FMC’s journey to school with the MMC and also having the characters talk about apparent pupil numbers on this, the first part of the journey to school before starting to talk about sports. When I got to that point, I was too tired to continue writing and instead starting figuring out a potential magical sport for the school to play along with some other possible sports clubs. I think it’s safe to say JK Rowling did such a good job at creating Quidditch that it made it difficult for my tired brain to come up with anything to do with broomsticks without potential copying Quidditch in some form.

I think I am onto something though so we will see.

Thoughts from today whilst pottering around doing various things included concerns about characterisation and plot. I think my FMC has opened up too early and I need to reinstate her frostiness which leads to plot. She’s frosty in fear of being discovered to be relate to her dark magic family but once she is discovered, everyone starts isolating her, forcing her to become warmer and potentially have to go against her family even more to show she is a good person to her fellow pupils. Also thinking maybe my current MMC might need to abandon her (not sure I like the character any more to be honest) but maybe a new one or two appear, backing her up for some reason. Maybe she defends them from bullies or some such.

Of course, all this is just thinking and I am just going to let my characters and the story guide the writing. I find it’s the best method for me sometimes when writing the first draft.

Are you continuing with your Camp novel? Are you revising or working on something else? How do you keep yourself going and accountable? Feel free to comment below.

Shakespeare’s Birthday, World Book Night and St George’s Day

The 23rd April is a busy day this year, 2014, with three different events all happening on the same day!

England’s patron saint, St George, has his feast day today (sadly, it is not celebrate unlike St Patrick’s Day on March 17th). The BBC has posted an article looking at why he is seen as a Palestinian hero. You can read all about it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27048219. Want to know more about England’s patron saint? Head over to the BBC website again but this time check out their article called “St George’s Day, celebrating a mythical martyr?”:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/22166363.

It is also  Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday! Unfortunately, he also DIED on the 23rd April, 1616 so I guess today is also his death day. The folk’s over at Interesting Literature have compiled a list of five factors about the celebrated word smith. Head on over to http://interestingliterature.com/2014/04/22/five-fascinating-facts-about-shakespeare/ to read them. The BBC have been on the trail of Shakespeare’s England, finding out what stands there today. You can find out more by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-27041828.

If Doctor Who is to be believed, the great Bard also fought the Carrionites with the Doctor and Martha Jones! Watch their encounter here:

 

Need something new to read? Then don’t forget about World Book Night! You can find out more about the event and this years book selection by visiting http://www.worldbooknight.org/. One of this year’s books is Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch! Check out my post from yesterday for the Rivers of London rap music video and a lot more by going to https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/rivers-of-london-rap-video/.

So happy St George’s Day folks, happy birthday (and sad death  day) to Mr William Shakespeare and have fun with World Book Night! You never know, you might just find your next favourite book!

CSI:NY and NaNoWriMo and Ramblings…

Okay, so sorry for not posting in a while. I know I have only been reblogging stuff but I have been busy, yet not busy, if that makes any sense. As indicated by the title, I will be just rambling a bit in this and I apologise wholeheartedly. So if you don’t want to read my rambling, you are more than welcome not to read any further.

In the last few weeks, I have been working hard and preparing for graduation (which was last Friday), including doing my physiotherapy to get my knee into a position that I could go and now I am sort of trying to figure out what to do with myself, since job hunting is proving difficult (I haven’t really seen this “improvement in the jobs market” that the papers and news seem to keep mentioning) and I am still recovering from my knee dislocation. It sort of diminishes what I can really apply for whilst my knee is still a bit unsteady, I can only stand for so long, only move so fast and use stairs in a certain way. Not exactly a good place to be in when many of the local jobs at the moment are shop assistant types of ones where there is a lot of standing around to be done, at the very least. As well as that, I am dog-sitting my mum’s pup through the day when she is at work (including some dog training) and that seems to be taking up a lot of my time despite the dog being content enough to run around and play by herself.

I am also preparing to taking part in NaNoWriMo as some of you folks will know. Well, I say preparing, I should say I am still unsure what exactly is going to happen in my story and how it ends. I am just, unclear, what to do with it, which is not a good thing. I do know what I want to say and what themes and issues I want to raise with it but as for real planning, detailed planning, I have a mage character, her familiar and a possible friend for the character. The friend only announced himself today so I am still trying to figure out who he is exactly. Other than that, it is very unclear and murky if you will. I am also trying to work on the Autumn Writing Challenge and use it to help me plan a bit but that isn’t going too well either. This is not looking good for NaNo is it?

Just to clarify, the reblogs I have posted to try to keep the blog alive are ones I hop are inspiring and helpful to folks and are keeping with what I want to do with this blog! There’s another element to my planning that I probably could be getting on with and could help with the actual story planning: world building. Despite taking place in this world, the story is set on an island populated almost entirely by mages and their familiars. I could easily be working on the society and the politics of the island as they are probably going to be VERY important to my novel and the story, how the schools and educational system are set up and ran since the MC, main character, is going back initially to teach in the island’s schools and I also need to explain a thing or two about her education, how they dress, how the magic works and there are probably a load of other things I also need to consider!

I don’t even know what the island is going to even be called!

I know for definite some of the island’s traditions and it’s society is going to be based, even just loosely on 1900 to 1960’s Britain with many of the trappings of modern life. Possibly why I have been reading the Jennifer Worth book, In The Midst of Life, and re-watching the Call the Midwife series. I also vaguely know that the last episodes of CSI: New York are probably going to influence how the story develops and pans out

Mac Taylor

Gary Sinese as Mac Taylor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night saw the end of an era with CSI: New York finishing its last ever season here in the UK and I am not embarrassed to say it caused me to cry a lot (with the dog giving it some, what the heck!) and that it brings a lump to my throat now just thinking about it. Gary Sinese will always be Det. Mac Taylor in my eyes. Just thinking about how we will never see how Lindsay and Danny’s kids will grow up, how Flack’s relationship goes or even Mac’s wedding. Then there is also Sid’s illness! Oh that had me blubbing as well! Some spoilers ahead. I will try to keep them as minimal as possible but don’t say you haven’t been warned! It was certainly intense and made me think of the London Riots and how they were sparked. There did seem to be some parallels and made me wonder if the scriptwriter had actually based, at least partly, the story on the Riots here in the UK. I know that the riots and the episode last night could actually feed into the story for NaNo and how it ends possibly. Or at least play a part in the climax of the story.

This last season of CSI: New York has been intense, funny, enjoyable and very, very emotional all in just a few episodes. These emotions were heightened further by the fact that we all knew that these episodes would be the very last!

I still hold out hope though that we will see all three CSI teams (with living characters) return to our screens in one big, explosive episode or even movie. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Mac, Horatio and Grissom all together interacting? That would be amazing in my opinion!

To ease some of my boredom and maybe even help with planning, I am hoping to try out a new recipe this week. Now, you guys might not know that I really enjoy baking and the washing up afterwards bizarrely.  I actually find it oddly peaceful and because I don’t actually have to think too much about what I am dong, it gives me time to think about life and has sometimes helped me get through writer’s block. So who knows? It might help with NaNo. Anyway, I am hoping to make a chocolate mousse and theme it around Halloween. (I really enjoy Halloween and not just for the cheap chocolate on November 1st!) It’s a recipe I have seen in a magazine for one of the big supermarkets and I am hoping to give it a try soon. At the very least, it will help me figure out how I can do my normal baking with a pup around my feet. Who knows? It might give me the confidence to try a couple of other new recipes! But yeah, this is what is going on in my life at the moment. Just sort of figuring out what to do with myself.

Book Review: Fated by Benedict Jacka

Fated is the first book in a series following chance mage, Alex Verus, as he runs a store in Camden Town, London, whilst trying to run from his past and avoid dealing with the magical Council as much as possible. Unfortunately, his skills leave him in high demand and leads to him being offered jobs that appear simple on the surface but is not what it seems.

Recommended to me off the back of having just order Broken Homes, the fourth Ben Aaronovitch book, this book is very much in the same vein of Aaronovitch’s series, set in London and written from the first person point of view.  The comedy is in a similar vein to to the Peter Grant novels so it is likely they both have similar or the same audiences.

What’s different though are the styles of magic used in each series. Aaronovitch’s wizards are able to use all types of magic and skills (providing they have learned how to use it!) but Jacka‘s mages are able to use only one type of magic. The main character Alex Verus is a chance mage or seer if you will, able to use divination magic to see the future and it often saves his life.  This does not mean the fight scenes are no less thrilling than Aaronovitch’s. I actually believe his scenes are better due to the fact that Verus is not a battle mage so often has to use his cunning rather than his magic to save him when he is in a tight spot. This is not to say that Verus is unable to use magic in battles but rather that Jacka is more inventive due to the limitation he places on Verus so has to give him other means to fight, such as the use of magical items and of elemental spirits.

The concept of Elsewhere is also intriguing, allowing Jacka’s characters to talk even when apart but I do question as to whether Elsewhere could possibly be used to better effect for other purposes.

Jacka’s Fated has a darker edge to it from the outset, unlike Aaronovitch’s, and this actually provides a more intriguing and adult feel to it. This could be down to the fact that Verus is a mercenary of sorts who tries to keep a low profile and is very willing to kill or seriously injure as he has very little of the principles and rules and regulations that curb Grant and Nightingale. The organisation of Jacka’s magical word would indicate that there would be more regulation and limitations to what Verus can do but in actual fact, because all the mages in Jacka’s series (especially the dark mages) seem to be driven by greed and a lust for power,  it makes the world more dangerous so leaves more room for different adventures and scrapes for Verus to get involved with.

In general, this novel is a great novel and is highly recommended if you are a Ben Aaronovitch fan or even a Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant) fan as all share very similar themes, comedy and, arguably, character types so would appeal.