Soon!

October! It’s coming up really soon. My excitement not only comes from the fact that it’s now autumn but because the approaching Halloween holiday means even more inspiration for NaNo. I’m still not finished with the outline but I do have a few things picked out and a general direction/ending that I want to take the book. It should be an interesting ride!

Keep an eye out for previews and teasers (as well as a few building blocks along the way.) I also have another writing exercise to complete in the next few days but I can’t post it until after the event. Maybe I’ll make this one horror themed as practice.

Fantasy Brawl

Another writing prompt!

Tsss! Flames sizzled past Liriel as he leapt up and grasped the tree branch. His heart thudded in his chest as he pulled himself up and swung his head downward, staring at the path the fireball left in its wake. Leaves blazed in the trees, ash fluttered to the ground, and the mountain boasted a new fiery, smoking pit. Liriel’s eyes widened as he pushed himself up to his feet on the next branch up.

“Come down here now!” Teras shouted up at him as she stomped her heel into the ground. She lifted her staff, eyes flashing and jaw set.

“N-no way!” Liriel called back. He slid his dagger from the sheath as his back.

“What are you going to do with that?” Teras stuck her tongue out. “You’ll have to come down here and fight me properly if you want to use that!”

Liriel looked down at the dagger. Red text danced over the blade, carved there by a blood mage. Liriel flicked his gaze to Teras and he turned the blade around so she could see the red text, too. Her eyes went wide, her mouth fell open.

“Don’t you dare! You wouldn’t dare!”

Liriel sank the blade into his own chest.

Rain

Another prompt given to me from Heather at Distant Fantasies. The challenge was to take one word and incorporate it into a scene of no more than four paragraphs. My word was rain.

Rain

When he looked down at his hands, he saw nothing but bright red, staining the creases of his palms, congealing between his fingers. Beneath his knee, the other man remained still and silent. Lips were grey, breath no longer drawn. Emil’s lips curved upward in a terrible smile, even as his heart trembled in his chest and his hands began to shake.

“You bastard,” he whispered, staring down at Christian’s unseeing eyes. Petrichor filled the damp air and thunder rumbled in the grey skies. Glued to his back, Emil’s suit jacket felt uncomfortably tight. Something in his chest contracted and he took in a shuddering breath as he leaned back, sitting on his heel.

“You made me do it…” His fists clenched at his sides and he raised his head, closing his eyes as a gust of cool wind rifled through his hair. Even through his closed eyes, he could see the flash of lightning. Another crack of thunder.

The rain started out gentle, kissing his face, sliding over his closed eyes and down his lips. Then it fell in earnest–big, fat droplets slapping his cheeks as he opened his eyes. Raindrops fell from his lashes, from the tips of his hair as he slowly rose. And when he looked down at his hands, the blood had washed away. Emil’s smile disappeared.

Ack! Naming the main character

Yikes, so here’s the part where I start thinking about names, but specifically for the main character. For me, the name can make or break the character. I want something distinctive but not too wild, since this isn’t a fantasy novel. (Although I have to admit, some of my favorite names are my fantasy characters. Raieth is still a favorite of mine but I really loved Tarragon Sage, too.)

Sometimes, it can take me hours to name a character. Since I only have a few more minutes before I go to bed (should have been in bed hours ago), I’ll probably have to sleep on it. I have a handful of names down that I’d like to use but I need just the right one that fits my main character’s personality… Something that screams… Him.

I also try to steer clear of names that have a very clear and famous persona… Edward, for example, is the name of a couple of well-known characters. I can’t be totally original but I don’t want to be too common or too famous, either. And I like names like Sebastian but in this case, I’m not sure it will fit.

…Or maybe it will.

Hm…

Well, I’ll keep you updated. Until tomorrow! Goodnight.

Outlining

As National Novel Writing Month approaches, I’ve begun my outline. I’m pretty psyched about this story (as I’ve finally settled on one) and I think I’m going to enjoy writing this. Since the start, I believe I’m much better at taking the outline approach in my Nano stories. My first year went much better than I expected because I had an outline ready and prepared by October, as opposed to the rest of my novels (save 2012’s Lightning and Lullaby, which also had an outline). So I’m definitely taking the outline approach this year as well.

So basically, for me, my outlines consist of a skeleton of each scene that I need to hit. As I write, new ones make themselves known but as long as I hit each of the planned scenes, I’m good! I can elaborate them as I go, which I usually do. There are also character building scenes, but even these have a goal/impact in mind.

I’m not going to show my actual outline for this year’s novel because that would be a huge spoiler. Pretty soon I’ll have a one line summary up so keep an eye out for that!

 

Music and Writing

So why does music help me as a writer? I don’t have any cool sciencey answers for you but I can take a wild stab at why it works for me, personally. Basically, music has been in my life since before I was even born. My mother is a huge fan of music so in the womb, I was listening to her favorite rock gods–The Rolling Stones was the most notable for me, as they’re still one of my favorites today.

As a kid, I remember receiving a tiny pink handheld radio from my grandmother for a gift. I can’t remember if it was for my birthday or Christmas or whatever but I remember that I went everywhere with that thing. When I went to bed at night, I would hang it on my bedpost from its little pink wrist strap. I barely even remember the kind of music I listened to. A weird mix of korean pop, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and of course, my mom’s rock dudes.

I also wrote a lot as a young kid, although most of my tales were copying my own favorite stories, with my own spin on them. I remember hiding my tales from the adults but my mother and grandmother found one story at one time. One notable story from my younger years involved Floppy, my old stuffed dog, who accompanied me on many adventures. I even took him away with me to a show and tell at school! (And I still have him to this day.)

The two combined and now I love to write while listening to music. The music comes in many varieties. A favorite would be music without lyrics from various soundtracks, from movies to video games. There are also groups, like Two Steps From Hell, that make a lot of inspiring music without lyrics. These are great mood makers. Then there are angry rock songs for angry scenes and gentle love songs for romantic scenes. And there are soul crushing emo songs for sad moments. I listen to so many different genres of music that it really helps in the writing process.

I also tend to create soundtracks for characters. I have playlists for specific characters that I write the most. These lists grow the more I write with them and even now, songs associated with older characters still remind me of those characters!

I think music tends to color my writing and inspires the scene. So that’s why I write while listening to music.

My Favorite Words

As a writer, I deal with words all day long, every single day. I love words. I love the way words look and the way they taste. Some words have more appeal than others. I thought I would compile a small list of words I really love at the moment! Following are ten words I love, in no particular order of preference. I may revisit this topic in the future!

1. Surreptitious. This word means in stealth or in secret. I tend to write about my characters sneaking surreptitious glances, for example. I love this word, from the way it looks to the way it sounds. I think it’s the S and R–two of my very favorite letters.

2. Sibilant. This word basically means anything pronounced with a hiss. Again, it involves an S! I don’t write characters who speak in this manner very often. I can only remember one, and he was a gargoyle with a reptilian appearance. I’d love to use sibilant more often in the future!

3. Insidious. Thanks to the movie, this word isn’t quite as beloved as it used to be but I can’t help it. I still rather like the word. Insidious means harmful, but as a slow process.

4. Apricity. It’s the word for the warmth of the sun on a wintry day. I think it’s a pretty word both to look at and to say. Plus the concept behind it is very beautiful.

5. Fanfaronade. Okay, so it’s just another word for boasting with nothing to back it up. But it’s such a festive and interesting word to look at. And I just LOVE the way it sounds rolling off the tongue.

6. Whisper. To speak softly. I tend to like those moments in a film or television show where the characters speak softly to one another. Saying whisper brings to mind that tone of voice with only a word.

7. Melancholic. This word means sad but thoughtful. I really love sad things. Sad songs, sad tales, sad characters. Melancholic isn’t pretty to me, but I still like the way it looks, with the mixture of tall and low letters.

8. Silvery. This word can mean both silvery as in resembling silver or a sound that rings much like a bell. Both meanings of the word are beautiful to me.

9. Lyrical. Musical, poetic. Lyrical is the prettiest word for an expression of emotion. I like the word lyric, too but lyrical is more powerful somehow.

10. Yesterday. The day before today. It has a nostalgic feeling but the word is much more appealing than nostalgic.