Beautiful Books Linkup #2 Thoughts of a NaNo Newbie

Cait and Sky are hosting a three month blog link up to help bloggers dive into their work in progress novels. It is a great way to step away from intense writing spurts and look take a bigger picture look at our hastily progressing NaNoWriMo books. I focused the last linkup on my serious novel, because in true adventure fashion, I hadn’t yet decided to do NaNoWriMo. I didn’t decide until a couple of days beforehand. Now I’m going to switch gears and focus this post on my newly sprung NaNo book. Excuse the cheating. 

  1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

    It is honestly going far better than I could’ve expected. My characters and plot have been rather cooperative so far. Whenever I hit a big fat writer’s block, I head out to the neighborhood for a long walk or jog. Somehow that flowing blood gets the story moving again and I have to sprint back home and get my fingers on the keyboard as fast as possible.

  2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
    Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a small kingdom called Larkenland. It was a beautiful land of hills and valleys with and abundance of fruit you’ve never heard of in colors you could never imagine. A tall lone mountain sat in the middle of the ancient land. The people of Larkenland called the mountain “Partinine,” a word that meant lonely in a language long extinct.
    The mountain was covered in enormous band trees, which stretched into the sky without branches or leave, just enormous purple trunks. Near the top of the trees they suddenly sprouted forth with a mop of green that looked like the cap on a pillar, creating a thick green blanket in the sky. 
    Ooh. No thanks for reminding me. I really hate this. I’m hoping to rewrite the beginning by throwing readers directly into the action, and then somehow incorporate the legendy stuff into the plot more fluidly. I dunno quite how to do it though – I’ve never written a fairytale before.
  3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

    I created one on the fly, but it is really no good. My little sister (who happens to be a talented artist and cartoonist) is going to be helping me create character profiles and a cover. Hooray for talented siblings!

  4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

    I do not yet have character profiles, but (as previously mentioned) my lil sis is going to be working on that. For now, I’ll try to describe my three POV characters:

    Ellyn – 5″8 She has an athletic build with light blonde hair that falls to her lower back but is often thrown to the top of her head or braided on the side. Her piercing green eyes are often set into a defiant expression. She carries herself with with confidence. She has mastered the art of the “I don’t care” and “I can’t believe you just said that to me” expressions through the slight repositioning of her thin pursed lips. Quick to make decisions, quick to start a project, quick to get into an argument – she is in general, quick. Light freckles are sprinkled conservatively across her cheeks.

    Aldwin – 5″11 and yet he stays too hunched over into mock expressions the majority of the time, making it difficult to make out his full height. Pale skin with deep set brown eyes and light lips. His face is well structured, but perpetually covered in a fray of messy black hair. He moves quickly and quietly. When he isn’t walking behind someone in a dramatic impression, he is easy to miss and hides well in a crowd.

    Felicity – 5″5 and quite thin. She has dark blonde hair and tanned skin. Her eyes brown eyes are usually aimed towards the ground, or shifting around to make sure the surroundings are safe. If you see her light brown eyes staring straight up, looking a little lost, she is probably daydreaming.

  5. What scene are you most excited to write?

    That’s a toughy. I am pretty excited about the climax, when all three of my characters are finally brought together by fate and directly fighting against the disharmony of the land. Seeing as the three of them come from extremely diverse backrounds, I think it will be super fun once they are all brought to the same page and start working together.

    There is also a particular scene in which Ellyn gets a big dose of humble pie and discovers just how wrong she has been about Aldwin that I’m pretty excited about. Oh and another where Aldwin’s uncle, Alasdair, finally gets what is coming to him. He really annoys me you know.

  6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
    “You mean I’m supposed to sit inside one of these monsters?” Ellyn stammered, motioning to the terrible foliage that surrounded them. 
    “Yeah. It used to be my favorite hideout.” Aldwin blushed a bit. “You know, when I was a kid. A long time ago.”

    Silence creeped upon them again as Ellyn scanned the rickety bridge in front of her and then the smoking town behind her.

    “Don’t be scared. No one knows about this place. Once things have calmed down, I’ll let you know and you can get back to your manor house. I know a road that travels around the city from here.”

    “I’m not scared!” Ellyn looked stared the bridge again, this time with the glare she used to conquer people. She had told her father not to worry about her. I she stayed strong, perhaps he would be able to sense that somehow, wherever he was. Anyhow, she wasn’t scared. What an audacious young man for thinking that Ellyn, son of Bayard, had the capacity to feel fear.

    “I know, I know. You’ll be fine. I really must be going now.”

    “No one is stopping you.” Ellyn grumbled.

    “Here.” Aldwin pulled a small satchel out of his tunic. “There is bit of food and a blanket.”

    “Where did you get this? I mean, what made you bring a blanket to the academy today?” 

    Aldwin chuckled.

    “I had a feeling this might happen. Bye Ellyn!” He turned then and began running, doubly as fast, down the narrow path toward town.

    Ellyn stared down the road as he departed. He had planned on helping her beforehand? How did he know she would come to school? How did he know she would need his help? He was a strange young man. As he disappeared from sight into the thick mist surrounding the city of Weforton, Ellyn turned to face the intimidating bridge once more. With a face set with determination, she strode forward.

    Just as Aldwin had said, at the end of the bridge stood a tall Bayfard tree. She climbed until she reached the small hut at the top. There she pulled out the blanket and food that Aldwin had thrown at her and made herself comfortable at the edge of a small cutout of a window. She wasn’t scared. She really wasn’t. As she pushed thoughts of confidence through her brain, she noticed that she was shivering. Outside the window and down the road she could see Weferton, her Weforton, surrounded by smoke and flames.

    “I guess that is what war looks like.”

  7. Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

    This is my first time doing NaNoWriMo, so I didn’t quite no what to expect. So far everything is going well. Having to write ony the fly has left a lot more room for my characters and plot to surprise me by moving in ways I hadn’t planned. Normally I create detailed outlines for each chapter before I even start writing. With this story, I’ve already moved quite a ways off my original outline. I’ve still got a main plot and end goal, but the process to get there is full of surprises. I’ve never written like this before, but it has been a ton of fun so far.

  8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

    Creating a fantastic setting has been the most difficult part. I’m just trying to slam some basic stuff down that I can build on better. I’m not a huge fantasy person and I don’t like magic much, so I’ve been avoiding it as much as possible. Not a super great idea when creating a fantastical world.

  9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

    I really like how Aldwin is turning out. Originally he was going to be a jokester who wasn’t too keen on his uncle’s plan to turn him into a scholar and hoped for the chance to become a true hero instead. As I’ve started writing the story, I feel like Aldwin is growing deeper and more complex. He has more of his evil uncle in him than I first planned, but when I think back, it makes sense. I’m excited to see where he goes.

  10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

    Yeah for sure. Ellyn has a lot of me in her. Maybe that is why she is so annoying right now.

    Also, the idea for two fighting races that hate eachother because they always have is certainly not original. I see it all too often in my life and the news. I hope to find a smooth way to incorporate the senslessness of rascism as a theme throughout the book. 
  11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

    I love music. When I listen to it, it consumes me completely. If I tried to write with music on, or think about music while writing characters, I’m pretty sure my story would turn into a soup of mush. So I turn on the Tchaikovsky and Yiruma at break time.

  12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

    Ellyn, definitely. I love arguing. As a hobby, you know, all in good fun. I treasure people who I can debate with. They are the kind of people who can disagree with you on almost everything, and yet still respect you and your opinions. I think Ellyn is one of those treasures.
13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

I think a box of licorice would be helpful, but I don’t have one yet. I haved rewarded myself with cutesy t.v. shows like “The Amazing Race” (Bethany and Adam for the win!) or “Family Ties” (no other sitcom gets me laughing sooo hard). Oh and my little sister is constantly begging for more. That’s nice.

14. What your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. -Mark Twain

Don’t get me started.

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

So far it is making me happy. I don’t quite laugh, but I chuckle. Sometimes I just smirk all evil like and wish I could whisper to my characters “you have no idea what I’m about to put you through.” I can be rather heartless when it comes to fictional charactes. Rather heartless.

So that is that. How is NaNo going for everyone else? I can’t wait to learn more about all your stories!

Author: Susanna

I'm Susanna, a 20-year-old Christian girl incorrigibly addicted spontaneous adventures. My first dream was to become a pioneer. Unfortunately, I was born a couple centuries late, so I've decided to read, cook, run, and travel the world until my time machine is finished. You'll mostly likely find me getting into trouble and/or eating licorice. I am currently blogging the misadventures of a middle-school teacher in training. Come join me on my quest to become the next Ms. Frizzle!

9 thoughts on “Beautiful Books Linkup #2 Thoughts of a NaNo Newbie”

  1. Hi! Great to find you doing the BB meme again.

    “I head out to the neighborhood for a long walk or jog […] I have to sprint back home and get my fingers on the keyboard as fast as possible. “

    This happens to me all the time! I always have to hurry home and push dinnertime backwards so I can capture that flash of inspiration. =D Oooo but I loved that opening! It sounded so magical. I loved your answer to number three; hooray indeed. =]

    #8 – building a fantastic setting was also hugely challenging for me, but my favourite bit! I wish I could live in my world e_e Just like before I'm very excited to see where your story goes. Good luck.


  2. Thanks for your encouragement Ashana! I really appreciate it. I hope things are going well for you. You are right, there is nothing like a walk to get the ideas bouncing around again!


  3. Ohhh, SO awesome it's making you chuckle instead of…well, cry. hehe. THIS IS FABULOUS! I'm so glad NaNo is treating you well. :)) Liquorice? I could totally handle some right now….ohhhh chocolate coated liquorice. *drools*


    That's also awesome your sister is drawing pictures for you! ^_^


  4. Thank you so much Cait. I HAVE NEVER TRIED CHOCOLATE COVERED LICORICE BUT THAT SOUNDS AMAZING. Serious, my two favorite things in one. I don't think we have that in the U.S.


  5. Thanks so much Heather! Mark Twain is pretty much the best.

    I've never written a story about war before, so this is all new ground for me. I've actually been enjoying it more than I'd like to admit. I


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