#CampNaNoWriMo July 2016 Analysis


Final Word Count: 15,242 words

No win here obviously but 15k is still pretty good.

The vampire/slave story was a rewrite of the very first completely original work I wrote about 8 years ago but I wanted to rewrite it from a new angle I had in my mind. I found it really worked well once I actually got onto that part of the story. I think a bit more work, it could really be something. However, this story seems to have suffered from a problem I have noted before: I spent too much time setting stuff up.

The time spent setting the story up is good I suppose for like my April one where I needed to do more set up. I had to figure out world and plot issues to get it working but for a story like last month’s, when I knew exactly what the story was, it proved very annoying. The werewolf and family stuff is interesting and has a place in the world but was it needed here? No, I don’t think so. It is possibly why I didn’t hit my 20k target. I also spent the equivalent of a week and a bit not writing. I think that’s because I got bored with the story due to the set up stuff.

My thoughts need to turn to how I am going to combat such issues in the future. Admittedly, I am uncertain except to say planning. I think we all know how I am with that now. On the other hand, like last month, planning possibly wasn’t the answer for last month’s issue. I need to figure out WHY I am focusing so much energy and so many words on the beginning of the story. Surely it should be the middle that is the bloated part.

If anyone can offer any insight or help on this, I would be very grateful for it.

Going forward for the next month, I am returning to my April story. During the time I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about that one, which is good because it means my plan to take a break and recharge to continue writing that one has worked. However, I am considering being a little patchy and jumping scenes. I have started writing a scene from the end of the story where my FMC meets her father. It’s a scene I have played with for a while and if it gets me back into the story after my break, maybe it will be good. If it doesn’t work, jumping scenes, so be it. I will go back to being linear but I want to at least try it.

How did the last month go for you? A Camp win or a personal victory? Got a plan for the story or just binning it? It happens and that’s good I think. Sometimes, something is just not good. No matter what happens or did happen, know you are amazing for taking on the challenge.

Happy Yorkshire Day folks!

A Question about Rewriting

Muslim Beauxbatons student by Celeste Doodles. Source: Celeste Doodles Tumblr Page.

This isn’t a post so much as me asking for advice. I hope folks don’t mind.

I recently started rewriting an old story, a story that I started in college (that’s 16-18 for folks outside of the UK) and only finished in 2012 as part of my NaNoWriMo for that November. The rewrite was inspired by the picture, left, on Tumblr of a Muslim Beauxbatons student, by Celeste Doodles. (If you click on the image, it takes you to the page of the original picture). It got me thinking about my FMC in the story and her appearance.

Now, I have thought about rewriting the story in question a few times, mostly through changing the FMC as well as some other characters but none of the angles seemed to work. As I said, when I saw the picture, it got me thinking about the FMC and her appearance in the first instance. I considered giving her a headscarf and then thought, why is she wearing it. The reasoning I have come up with since after talking to others for her headscarf is to do with vanity but I am also considering maybe giving some underlying spiritual reasoning. (She’s not going to be Muslim as she lives in another world to our own).

From this, my mind turned to other aspects of the character in general. That led to me reconsidering other parts of the story and the new set up that I have developing from those decisions makes it fairly far removed from the original story that I had written over the years.

I know changes to characters and the story are normal during the rewriting process but I am wondering how big changes to the story a writer should make from one draft to another? Should they be far-reaching, heavily changing lots of aspects of characters/story all at once or should the changes come slowly and be introduced slowly over a succession of drafts?

Curious to how others view this issue as I am a little intimidate with how big the changes are whilst also being comfortable with it. It’s crazy.

Urban Fantasy versus Paranormal Romance

Now, this isn’t something I have thought too deeply about but perhaps I should as a (primarily) fantasy writer who is looking to get published. Especially in recent years, my work has gone from high fantasy to urban to low and, inevitably with me, all them will include a romantic story somewhere along the way. So is my work paranormal romance or is it a fantasy story with a romantic storyline? I don’t know to be honest.

Whilst reading this, it got me thinking about the Mills & Boon/Harlequin Nocturne books. These seem to straddle the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genre line (if there is one) but somehow, I think maybe the two genre’s just go so far hand in hand that they should be classed as one and the same when appropriate naturally. In some case’s it is appropriate to delineate between the two, especially in Michele Hauf’s Moon Kissed and After The Kiss in my opinion, since she seems to focus more on the romance than any real story, whilst I think the Mills & Boon Nocturne novel that really holds the two genre’s in balance is Vivi Anna’s The Vampire’s Kiss novel.


Where Landsquid Fear to Tread

You know, despite all the subgenre studies we’ve done here, I still have a hard time differentiating between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I mean, logically, I can spout off definitions but I have a hard time with actual books because a lot of times they read very similar to each other.

Urban fantasy is fantasy that takes place in a city. It isn’t necessarily contemporary. And paranormal romance is just a romance with paranormal elements. There’s a lot of variables on both–time period, setting, types of fantastical/paranormal elements, etc.

But from what I’ve seen, both tend to be modern-day in urban environments. And both tend to have a romance plot/subplot and a non-romance plot/subplot, and often times they seem to be of almost equal importance.

I’ve run into this in other places as well, particularly between cozy mysteries and romance. A lot of it seems to come down…

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Book Review: The Vampire’s Kiss by Vivi Anna

Since I have already reviewed two Mills and Boon Nocturne books, I figured I might as well review this one as well (and if I find any other M&B books I have read, I might review them also).

The Vampire’s Kiss takes place in Vivi Anna’s supernatural or Otherworlders filled city of Nouveau-Monde and starts when vampire CSI, Olena, is sent to investigate a break in at the bank. Her investigation is quickly interrupted by human Interpol agent Cale Braxton, who has an ability himself. As their investigations combine and continue, the tension between the two becomes intense, things take a turn for the worst, leaving Cale in danger and Olena having to make life or death decision which may include losing Cale forever…

Unlike Hauf’s Moon Kissed, Vivi Anna’s book does not stick to the clichéd patterns of other M&B books I feel however the story seems to lose the plot and it can become annoying as the reader tries to catch back up. Even so, it does not lose it completely and the plot returns by the end. It is a satisfying ending for the romantic storyline however the crime one could have been improved a little to at least keep the plot in place when it seems to lose it slightly.

The sexual tension is there and whilst the sex scenes are not at the same level as Hauf’s in terms of getting the reader hot under the collar, they are still very well written and do add to the storyline and push it forward. Unfortunately, it does not make up for when the plot is lost. The characters I would dare say are much more three-dimensional and the ending left me wanting to read more about Olena and Cale, what would happen next, how would Cale deal with his change of circumstances considering his job as an Interpol agent.

I did enjoy this book, much more than After the Kiss at least, and wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters and/or the city of Nouvau-Monde.

Book Review: Moon Kissed by Michele Hauf

This book was my first Mills & Boon book and it was a good introduction to the work of Michele Hauf.

Moon Kissed is part of Michele Hauf’s Wicked Games series and is the story of Belladonna Reynolds who, after being chased by vampires, meets werewolf Severo, a man who has his own issues. Severo promises to protect Bella from the vampires, who is reluctant to take his protection but she is soon drawn into his dark aura and finds herself falling for the man and accepting the wolf. The support she receives from Severo is necessary as her best friend is slowly but surely being drawn under the influence of a lady vampire who has cause Severo harm in the past. When things change at the hands of the lady vampire and Bella becomes something that Severo struggles to accept, can their love survive?

It may seem clichéd but let’s face it, Mills and Boon can be very clichéd  even the Nocturne series (which this is apart of). Even so, the reader can’t help but be drawn into the story and the relationship between Severo and Bella. For me at least, there is a mild whiff of Twilight. This comparison however can’t be helped considering the plethora of human/supernatural creature romance books that have been out in the last few years, both for adults and teens, but this is far better written than Twilight, at least in my opinion, as well as the fact that this is Mills & Boon Nocturne. It’s what is to be expected!

The only other thing that I would criticise about this is the fact that the ending seems a tad drawn out (even though it is about Severo’s wolf accepting who Bella is now) but I can see why this is in the novel. Perhaps it’s a mild rewriting issue…

The sex scenes, of which, there are quite a few, including one which is arguably bestiality and the briefest discussion between the characters of possible bondage, are very well written and would certainly get you hot under the collar. Speaking as someone aiming to be a writer herself, Hauf has shown me how a well written scene between a man and a woman could get a persons pulse racing.

Overall, I would recommend this book and it’s short story sequel (which I will be reviewing at some point, possibly tonight), especially if you want a sexually charged, character driven book.