So! November is over! Last post I said I hoped to have a whole--if rough--draft of LofM completed by now, and I really have to laugh and wonder what in the heckity heck I was thinking. A whole draft? A whole draft????
Needless to say that did not end up happening (a whole draft! which would've been between 50 and 70k?!). But I did write, and enjoyed writing, even though it wasn't every day. After all, I went from having nothing at all to having something that I am, crucially, pretty happy with.
I also didn't end up posting excerpts weekly here, though I did share a few on tumblr. I've gathered them all here for your perusal. I also made two posts corresponding with some entries in my worldbuilding encyclopedia, featured below! I love them and am excited to create and share more!
Once, in the oldest of days and times, there were four kingdoms: the kingdom of Men, the kingdom of the Djinn, the kingdom of the Elyoud, and the kingdom of Beasts. I say once, but they are kingdoms still. They are not, nor have they ever been, united, though only two are sworn enemies: the Djinn and the Elyoud, who will have no alliance or consortium with each other.
I’ve waited for this for so long: my own apartment.
It took so many months of carefully saving up, of working crazy hours at both my jobs, of sacrificing opportunities that would’ve cost money to have or partake in, opportunities that would’ve delayed this moment...when I walk into my new apartment and see the enormous windows, east and west facing so I get sunlight all day long, the bare walls, the expanse of uncarpeted floor, the doors leading to a small bedroom and a full bathroom, the arch leading to the kitchen.
I set the last of my boxes down and let myself grin wide and manic.
Finally, finally, I have my own home! A place just for me, that I can decorate how I like, that I can fill with music at whatever volume and of whatever genre I want, where I can stack all my many books on shelves I have yet to put up, where I can cook whenever I want no matter how smelly and leave the dishes for as long as I can stand.
Maybe even get a cat. Maybe even get two.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to own anything in my life, not even my car, which got me everywhere I needed to go, which gave me freedom and mobility I hadn’t had before and sometimes wondered if I ever would.
Look at me now though: I own this place. It’s mine. And nobody can take it away from me. It's the beginning of a whole new life, and my future is wide open and full of possibility!
That same night, I settle onto my couch, tired but pleased and most of the way unpacked, turn on the news...and find out that the worldwide pandemic we’ve been suffering under for the past three years has evolved its worst strain yet.
And now we’ve got a zombie outbreak on our hands.
Just my luck. Guess it's a good thing I love this place then; I won't be able to risk leaving it for a long, long time.
Fictober is an event hosted on tumblr where writers respond to a prompt a day for the whole of October.
You can find the prompt list here.
Many moons ago (lol), I was talking to my friend Trade about Rivener, and they asked me a fantastic question. I'm paraphrasing here because I don't have my old blog with the record of it, but essentially they asked me what the worst versions of my characters would look like. And I said with Wren, she'd be something like Cormac (my main antagonist). Brutal, unafraid of her own power or using it, and utterly devoid of empathy. I said she'd become like that in an alternate universe where she met Cormac while young and was raised by him and his ideals.
But then...as much as I like angst, I couldn't just leave it at that. I love happy endings! No matter how hard it is to get there! (Sometimes the harder, the better, you know?) Anyway, we ended up talking through what would happen if that version of Wren met Kai, how they'd meet, if he would help her change, and what their story would look like. Ultimately, the world would still be the same—post-apocalyptic, though leaning more towards sci-fi than urban fantasy—but certain events would change, impacting the characters and their development.
Several months passed where I stopped writing almost entirely but didn't stop thinking about this, and after some more recent chats with Trade and Hyba, I decided to scrap my first rewrite of Rivener (which, if you don't know, I'd been sort of attempting to do) and properly pick up this AU.
And now it's an actual thing! I've written 6k for it so far over the past couple days, planned a good chunk of it out, and have the writing bug again (such a good feeling, when you just wanna write and write and write, like an itch). It's going fantastically, if I do say so myself. However...
I was (am still? sorta?) a little nervous to share this version of my story (creatively titled Rivener 2.0) because...this Wren is awful. She does awful things and is complicit in awful things. Internet purity culture has me worried about what the response will be to this character who can lightly be described as ~problematic~. She changes, of course. This story is still about two very damaged people healing, the journey they go through together and because of each other. But it's also a lot darker. Or I delve into the darker aspects more.
Wren is not exactly a villain, but she's not a hero either, not for a long while. She is, in fact, closely aligned with the main villain. Not entirely of her own free will, but...well. Some may think she's irredeemable, which is valid. But I think it's rare that people are truly irredeemable. I do believe everyone has the capacity to change, if they want to, if they decided to, if they commit to it and keep trying and learning and unlearning, if they work hard to not repeat their mistakes or the way they've hurt people, if they apologize by word and action.
I don't think anyone is owed forgiveness, but I believe everyone can earn some sort of...grace? I don't know if that's the word I'm looking for, maybe redemption is closer to the mark. So yeah. Wren will have a pretty significant redemption arc. I hope I can do a good job conveying the complicated person she is, with pretty severe faults but equally admirable qualities and depth to her. Her journey is not easy. She can never erase the things she's done. But I hope you cheer her on as she grows to be a better person, even if she can never fully make up for who she was. I hope you understand where she's coming from, even if it doesn't excuse her actions or beliefs.
Now this AU is not all about Wren, and Kai too is changed from the original story. Firstly. we're meeting him in vastly different circumstances, when he's arguably a much rawer character? In the original, he'd been enslaved to Cormac for a while by the time he met Wren, and a few years before that he was "stock" on a "farm" (for spoiler reasons, I won't explain what that means).
In this AU, he meets Wren having just been removed from the farm. He's less docile, but at heart, still the same sweet, gentle, traumatized Kai of the original. They have a long way to go before they like each other, given who Wren is and how they meet in this AU. She treats him pretty terribly. Not as terribly as she could've, and not as terribly as others, but...oof. They have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Still! I'm really excited to write this story, difficult (in topics and tone) as it is! I get to explore the world a little bit more, flesh out Cormac a lot more, and write some scenes I always wanted to, which didn't end up having a place in the original! I hope you guys will come along with me on this journey!
Have you ever written or read a character who starts out as awful and slowly transforms for the better (or the reverse)? How did it go? Do you think they managed to become sympathetic or appealing to the reader, despite their faults? Do comment below, or drop me an email, and let me know! I'd love to talk about this!
In the meantime, have an excerpt:
Cormac listened quietly to this report, and the only indication of his rage was the wreaths of fog coiling around his feet like cats, which swelled and billowed behind him like a cloud before he hissed out a breath and it quieted to nothing more but tendrils of mist, cold and spreading across the floor. Wren braced herself against the reach and touch of it, felt a grim sort of perverse pleasure at the way Threader flinched, the way the others fidgeted, discomfited.
Stay tuned for P.3 of my writing updates, where I will talk about my Glitch wip! Happy reading and writing!
Hello hello! I've been writing and plotting for Chronicles of Mourra, Rivener 2.0, and the Glitch wip, and it has been going incredibly well, due in huge part to my writing buddies! (You know who you are, and I adore y'all).
I've been meaning to let you guys know how and what I've been doing, and I have SO MUCH to share! Which is why this is only part one of the updates!!!! We shall start with...
Chronicles of Mourra
Since very nearly the beginning of this iteration of CofM (which, if you've been following me for a while, you'll know is one I've been working on for about ten years, though this latest version is about two years old) I've been wanting to incorporate a prophecy into the plot. The question was how. CofM is, at its heart, my exploration of the Chosen One trope, and what's a Chosen One trope without a prophecy? (See: King Arthur, Harry Potter, Heroes of Olympus, the Lord of the Rings, Narnia etc).
Anyway, so I managed to write about 40k without said prophecy actually being developed or incorporated in any way, and it was like a rock in my shoe, very irritating but ignorable with some effort. But finally I sat down (literally, by my local creek), opened my computer, and tackled it. About twenty minutes and 700 words later, I had...something. A good something!
A few days later, after talking it out with my friend Hyba, I ended up creating loads of backstory, character development, and a complexity to the overall plot that I'd been missing until then, and I am so excited. Here's a quick breakdown of what I've developed, somewhat spoiler free!
Given all this behind-the-scenes tinkering, the 40k I'd already written needed some adjustments to reflect these changes or plant the seeds of future events! It took me about a week and a half of on-and-off-again writing (twice in a little virtual session with Hyba), but I managed to get what I'd written to a place I'm very pleased with! Here's an excerpt, a little descriptive piece I'm really fond of:
To Halah, it reminded her of the rare expeditions of her youth, when she’d accompany her grandfather to the mountains, where he would retreat to his dwelling there for quiet contemplation (though it was not very quiet with his granddaughter chattering to him and demanding he tell her stories).
I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know any thoughts you have, or any questions! I love to talk about my stories so I will probably answer any questions you have, although I may skirt around spoilers. Anywho, I hope you're doing well! Do let me know.
Happy reading and writing!
So I was flipping through my bullet journal yesterday, looking at the very beginning where I wrote all my optimistic goals for 2020 (hah!) and how many I just uh...didn't achieve. (HA!) And one of those goals, listed right at the top, was to try and write 50,000 words of CofM before 2021. To finally make proper headway with my novel, instead of just thinking about it for oh, I don't know, another ten years (😭).
And I was looking at that goal and the way I couldn't cross it out because while I had written (what is to me a very impressive) 20k, 50k seemed such a long way away considering I...hadn't written anything other than fan fiction in about a month.
I just. Got stuck. Got in my own way, stressing about hypotheticals and plot plans rather than just opening the doc and writing a crappy version of it all, so that at least the words existed on paper, ready for me to improve. But something happened last night.
I was talking to my wonderful friend Hyba (who has a novel coming out this January!) and she really got me so excited and rejuvenated about CofM by both listening and exploring possibilities with me. So I sat down, and despite all my own fear and self-imposed pressure, I opened my google doc, and started reading the last chapter I had written.
As one does, I edited a little bit here and there, noticed certain holes and patched them. (At one point, a character takes her shoes off to climb a wall and never puts them back on, which is a problem because then she runs through the city). Then I got to the heading Chapter Eight, and all the blank space underneath.
And immediately I started feeling antsy and bored, a stress response if ever there was one. I had to stop myself several times from opening Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, and my mobile games. I had to stop myself from getting out of my chair and spur-of-the-moment reorganizing all my drawers. I had to resist the urge to procrastinate with all my might.
But I managed to power through all my uncertainty and fear of failure, teeth literally gritted, just to write the first line, which had been bouncing around in my head all day, fully formed. ...And then I wrote a little bit more. And a little more. I recalled the way I had phrased something in an earlier draft, went to find it, and found a whole section that could fit into this chapter with some tweaking and adaptation. (This is why I try to not delete anything).
And then it felt like I blinked, and looked up, and it was 3am, and I had written 20,000 more words! Putting me at 40,000 words total. Meaning I'm only 10,000 words away from achieving my goal, with thirteen days until the end of December! AAAHHHHHHH!!!!
Which is to say, guys. I might actually do it! I might be able to write 50,000 words of CofM before 2021!!! I can't believe it, I have never written this much for CofM before! I honestly doubted if I ever would! And yet! Here I am!!!
You might be wondering why I'm celebrating now and not when I hit 50k. The answer is twofold. 1) I'm literally too excited to keep this to myself. 2) I am still worried I won't hit 50k, and I'd rather celebrate 40k than beat myself up about it. Anyway, enough about me! Have an excerpt from the latest chapter, featuring Halah, my main character, and my darling Ilyas.
❝ Eventually, Ilyas ventured to make conversation with her, though he began rather abruptly. “Did you have another dream?”
Happy reading and writing!
So I'm a certified night owl and I do some of my best (and also...worst, let's be real) work between the hours of midnight and 4am, when I'm not working and don't have places to be in the real morning. Such was the case with my new work-in-progress Chimken Tendies. (I will be taking no questions about the working title at this time 😃)
Anyways! I was scrolling through TikTok when I saw a POV video of a guy acting as 'your' (the viewer's) bodyguard, judging your choice in boyfriend. My heart went tha-thump. My hands started twitching. My overworked computer fans started pre-emptively whining. And I had an idea.
I'm a huge fan of tropes and archetypes, and I also really love subverting or otherwise twisting those tropes and archetypes. The concept of bodyguards has long been a delight, but also one I have...never written? Somehow? It's a delicious dynamic, and it's a crying shame that I've never put my spin on it!
So I went on tumblr, yelled exuberantly at a friend, added a few other narrative tropes into the mix, and arrived at Chimken Tendies, where Etienne, the very wealthy scion of a very shady family runs away the one day his loyal bodyguard, Sacha, is on leave. His parents (are terrible people) want him home primarily so no one can try and use their son against them, so they hire a shapeshifter named Cipher to double as him. Sacha must, of course, guard Cipher as though he's the real Etienne, all the while worrying about her original charge, and trying to teach Cipher how to be more like Etienne. Cue misadventures (so far indistinct).
Here's what I have so far of this ridiculous fun!
content warning | depictions of violence, blood
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Featuring prompt fills, excerpts from my wips, posts about my writing process, and more.