From the living room…
My roommate: Guess who likes ice cream sandwiches?
From my room…
Me (shouting): Please don’t feed that to the cats!
It was only one cat. Singular.
[12:12:31 AM] Ting: me when I wrote erotica
[12:12:38 AM] Ting: one person gets on top of another person
[12:12:42 AM] Ting: they roll over
[12:12:47 AM] Ting: screen fades to black
[12:13:02 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me when I write erotica
[12:13:08 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: person touches another person
[12:13:12 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: other person: NOPE
[12:13:25 AM] Ting: me when I write erotica
[12:13:35 AM] Ting: one person starts going for another person’s pants
[12:13:40 AM] Ting: person starts crying
[12:13:43 AM] Ting: screen fades to balck
[12:13:50 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me when I write erotica
[12:13:52 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me: …
[12:13:56 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Document xes out
[12:14:11 AM] Ting: me when I write erotica
[12:14:17 AM] Ting: one person grabs alcohol
[12:14:23 AM] Ting: the other person unzips pants
[12:14:27 AM] Ting: a third person turns on TV
[12:14:30 AM] Ting: screen fades to black
[12:14:41 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me when I write erotica
[12:14:55 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me: *flashback to accidentally walking in on parents having sex*
[12:15:02 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: fade to black
[12:15:09 AM] Ting: me when I write erotica
[12:15:13 AM] Ting: dee and boomer
[12:15:15 AM] Ting: fade to black
[12:15:26 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me when I write erotica
[12:15:33 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: “AND THEY TORE AT EACH OTHER LIKE…”
[12:15:36 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Cat uses litter box
[12:15:40 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Fade to lback
[12:15:48 AM] Ting: me when I write erotica
[12:15:50 AM] Ting: blbg gpoy
[12:15:53 AM] Ting: fade to black
[12:16:08 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me when I write erotica
[12:16:17 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Me to wine bottle: Let’s get this over with.
[12:16:22 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Downs bottle
[12:16:23 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: Fades to black
[12:17:01 AM] Ting: one more
[12:17:06 AM] Ting: me when I write erotica
[12:17:09 AM] Ting: ship sherlock and shrek
[12:17:11 AM] Ting: fade to black
[12:17:25 AM] Ting: #imout
[12:17:32 AM] pilot: oH MYGOD
[12:17:38 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: ;ajlkdfjlk;asdjfkldsf
[12:17:40 AM] Dee: what the actual hell just happened
[12:17:40 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: TTIIIING
[12:17:43 AM] Camille S: OHMYGOD. YOU GUYS……
[12:17:52 AM] Camille S: PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING AND IM DYING.
[12:17:55 AM] pilot: WHAT THE ACTUAL
[12:18:01 AM] pilot: SHOULD I BE WORRIED
[12:18:10 AM] pilot: BECAUSE I AM VERY
[12:18:17 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: My abs hurt
[12:18:19 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: And i cried
[12:18:33 AM] pilot: YOU ALL NEED JESUS
[12:18:37 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: WE HAVE JESUS
[12:18:40 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: TWO OF THEM
[12:18:42 AM] Rebecca६ൠ३: NEXT DOOR
Bringing back the Camp NaNo Countdown meme!
T minus 1 day: Back cover Summary
Maybe you have all your novel prep done today—if so, congrats! For the rest of us who failed to outline every little detail, surely you have some of the events laid out for the journey your readers will take. Write a short summary of your novel like you’d find on the back cover. It often helps to start with an introduction to your setting and what situation your main characters will find themselves in at the beginning of the novel. Don’t forget to use concrete, attention-grabbing details to hook the reader, and give us a good hint of what to expect for the main conflict of your novel—but no spoilers please!
For help writing a back cover summary, pull your favorite books off your shelf and read their back covers for inspiration. You can also find some good advice on writing back cover summaries here and here.
They moved into the castle ruins—the refugees, the ambitious, the desperate—without knowing all the secrets, and one day the gates closed and refused to open. But castle life continues, and as lamplighter, Saela lights the lamps that shine on countless balls thrown for the castle’s nouveau nobility. But Saela dreams of seeing the gowns and chandeliers up close and runs away from the orphanage to serve a lady as handmaiden. She soon discovers castle life is not nearly as romantic as she thought. Condemned to menial labor and obsequious manners, Saela must also endure the grouchy Lady Errine’s temper and her feral brother, the castle drunk. But when Saela takes her chance to sneak into a ball in disguise, she stumbles upon the body of a murdered noblewoman and becomes a scapegoat for someone else’s crime. Saela must prove herself innocent and catch the real criminal, but with no one to light the lamps, the castle’s secrets may destroy them all first.
Bringing back the Camp NaNo Countdown meme!
T minus 2 days:
While shutting out all other distractions this April, there’s at least one person you’ll spend a lot of time with: your novel’s protagonist. Introduce them to us! Who are they when your novel begins? Feel free to share any artwork or face claims, or pull out the highlights of that character info sheet you filled out forever ago!
Saela gets the whole novel to herself so let’s get to the real star of this draft…
Errine. Errine. Errine Errine Errine.
One of three characters to survive with Saela from the very original draft and probably the one to undergo the most changes, including several name changes (
Lilika > Terrine > Errine).
She went from being the “Prom Queen” villainess archetype who had no real motivations except making Saela’s life miserable to only appearing that way to Saela, who is caught somewhere between mild infatuation and bewildered rivalry upon seeing her.
And I think I got some of my best and favorite scenes in my first draft only because I started treating her right as a character. Just look at these lines of classic Errine sass:
“Just think, all the other ladies will be so jealous when they discover their handmaidens can’t light lamps as well as mine.”
"We can’t execute you in that white dress or everyone really will think you’re innocent."
“I think they’d tear me limb from limb if they realized I was carrying food in my pockets.” After a moment of musing, she added, "And then they’d probably eat my limbs too. Waste not.”
And also Errine, the purveyor of blunt truths:
"She smells awful."
And this new Errine is smart enough to figure certain things out about the castle, but also loyal to her family. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe—including getting her hands dirty, literally and metaphorically—because they’re the only people she has left to almost love.
And sometimes guys I just listen to this song, and it just hits me right in all my Errine feels. (Wait like the dawn, how it aches to meet the day)
P.S. Lena Headey’s Cersei is the perfect Errine face claim.
Just look, isn’t this such a perfect Errine face (and some scary cases of accidental character convergent evolution).
Bringing back the Camp NaNo Countdown meme!
T minus 3 days: Novel Inspiration
Give us your novel’s origin story! Where did you get your awesome idea? At what moment did you birth it? Have you already written some, or are you taking your first steps into its world on April 1st? What things have influenced its development so far? When the road to writing gets rough mid-April, reflecting on your initial inspiration for writing may give you the courage to keep trekking on! Or perhaps it will remain a chronicle of a path not taken, when you arrive at your destination in May.
I began this novel in middle school, and it was my first major writing project that wasn’t Sailor Moon fanfiction. Around that same time I was reading Tanith Lee’s Wolf Tower series which are still some of my favorite YA fantasy out there, so it’s not just a coincidence that even from the first draft my main character Saela was a handmaiden in a walled-off castle who served annoying nobles who liked to pour wine on her slippers and accuse her of treason. But my version did have a dragon and unicorn that took the original Saela in when she was banished and left for dead.
I still have the original two documents coming in at 13,000 words total, and a more or less complete story.
Then in my high school American literature/history class, one of my teachers mentioned a popular novel of the time called The Lamplighter as a side note. And while taking my notes I gave that little tidbit of information more attention than it was due, and decided I wanted to write a novel about a Lamplighter.
So I did. I am anything but original.
I next only remember writing in a frenzy during one of my school vacations, camped out on my bed with my shiny new school laptop. And I typed 40,000 words of Saela’s new job. I reimagined a lot of the characters and added many more, and I cut the unicorn and dragon, oh well. But the craziest move of all, one I still haven’t figured out all the ramifications of for the story, was to merge the worlds of Saela’s story with another short story I had written a year before. This was a story about a girl who wakes up with her memories stolen, only to find out she has to fight in gladiatorial-style battles against other creatures and prisoners for the entertainment of some foreign city. (And don’t ask me about the inspiration for that one. All I remember is staring at a shower curtain and then writing with the fury of a high schooler the night before a deadline.)
But that’s the sequel, and I never got that far. After those first 40k words, my enthusiasm petered out (around the time things get bad for Saela too, yikes).
Until I pulled it out again for Nanowrimo ‘12! There were some major character changes and plot twists and general tightening of loose ends, but my 50k that November ran out only a little bit after where my first draft left off. I had to grind my way past the boring cave dwelling and to the explosive finale for Camp Nano July ‘13, my first NaNo with my lovely writing friends in the Bleeding Ladies Biker Gang!
It still feels unreal to have a draft and to have it change so much, but I guess when you dwell on a story for twelve or more years something is bound to happen. And for once I think I have plans coalescing for plot beyond book 1. Maybe that will be next November’s 50k!
Bringing back the Camp NaNo Countdown meme!
T minus 4 days: Novel Playlist
Don’t procrastinate on your procrastination! Compose the ultimate writing playlist for your novel. Songs can be related thematically or be specific inspiration for your novel, or it can be any music that gets you in the mood to write. Feel free to share it on playlist sites like 8tracks or Spotify!
Jump, Little Children - Cathedrals Stone Ruins // 上野洋子 - Free Bird Leaving the Orphanage // James Newton Howard - The Shed Not To Be Used The Garden Shed // Alexander Rybak - Fairytale Castle Romances // Evig Natt - My Demon The Pit // How Like A Winter - XCVII Jasmine Petals // James Newton Howard - The Gravel Road Body in the Gardens // Rebecca Clarke - Morpheus Masquerade // Florence + The Machine - Shake it Out Saela’s Theme // 植松伸夫 - Via Purifico Underground // Florence + The Machine - Bird Song Torrin’s Bird // Johan Söderqvist - Going Home Prisoner // Florence + The Machine - No Light, No Light Music Box (Saela x Torrin) // Regina Spektor - Après Moi The Princess and the Queen // Iron & Wine - Jezebel Errine’s Theme // Gackt - Birdcage Torrin’s Theme // 下村陽子 - Scherzo Di Notte The Castle Crumbles // Darren Korb - Setting Sail, Coming Home (End Theme) Chandelier (Torrin x Saela)
T minus 5 days: 15 word Summary
Summarize your novel in 15 words or less. Keep in mind: Who is your main character? What is the main conflict? But most of all, keep it simple and cut the fluff. For a greater challenge: can you do it in 10 or less?
Scarred orphan Saela lights lamps, attends balls, sparks a rebellion.
First 250 Words Smash! #53
Most Wonderful Author: Hafza
Most Evil Critique Master: Rebecca
Working Title: “Those Who Walk the Darkness”“Shh, yes, that’s it.” His mother’s voice guided his hand. There was a shift and he slipped. “Oh, be careful, it’s hard to get good ones like these now. They’ve started watching now.”
“But they can’t always be watching, right, Mummy?” His voice was small and childish in the flickering lamplight. There was a low laugh from beyond the edge of the light.
“That’s right, my son. They can’t always be on guard. The darkness cannot be banished for long, and they can’t escape the shadows forever.” He finished his last stroke and reached for the cloth to wipe. “You’re not finished yet.” His mother’s voice was sharp. He sighed as only a small child can, dramatic and exhaustive. “Moth-er!”
If you’re starting your story with a scene of shock and suspense, read the rest of this intro and find some tips on the bloggity blog about whether or not it’s working!
(And if you have no idea what this word smash thingy is, read this.)
Woo hoo, #2! And this one was a lot of fun to do.
My grammar-expert roommate points out that “There was a slip” is not passive voice, but inverted sentence order (Wiki has a good example, “Up jumped the frog.”), which places the subject after the verb instead of before. This can work well for changing up the emphasis on the sentence, but it doesn’t hurt to use a stronger verb choice either way! Play around with the structure and see what you like best.
Kudos to Hafza. I hope this was helpful, and I wish you good writing with the fury of a thousand keyboards!
- Favorite character: Hachi because she is hella cute
- Least Favorite character: Takumi actually can I throw him off a cliff what an ass and his hair is gross (unfounded strong hate whoops)
- 5 Favorite ships (canon or non-canon): Hachi/Nana, Nobu/Hachi (i almost typed Nobu/Shouji that would be the crackest ship ever), Nana/Ren, Miu/Nobu, Shin/Reira
- Character I find most attractive: Shouji whoops actually Miu
- Character I would marry: Y-y-yasu >.>
- Character I would be best friends with: Nobu YEAH THAT CUTIE
- a random thought: Ai Yakawa or however your name is spelled, just let everyone be happy omg
- An unpopular opinion: I don’t know what’s popular or not but I like Reira with Shin, and the two things that hit me the most emotionally in the whole wide world are the breakup with Shouji (and what happened with Caesar from JJBA) so i have to congratulate Ai on that
- my canon OTP: Hachi/Nana is so canon and no one else can tell me otherwise
- Non-canon OTP: Nobu/Hachi
- most badass character: Yasu
- pairing I am not a fan of: Hachi/Takumi nope bye
- character I feel the writers screwed up (in one way or another): REN i fucking can’t
- favourite friendship: Nana/Hachi HANDS DOWN
- character I want to adopt or be adopted by: YASU CAN ADOPT ME AND I CAN ADOPT NOBU AND HACHI AND NANA AND I’LL GIVE THEM THE HAPPINESS THEY DESERVE
OH MAN I love how many of these are so similar and so different for us.