First up, my ROW80 update, with the mix of highs and lows that have marked this week. Second, I (re)introduce my NaNoWriMo tale, PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that November has always been a challenging month for me, between trying to balance school, health, and other challenges. We’re barely a week into the month, and I already feel like I’m on a rollercoaster. There have been a mix of highs and lows, and though my head is spinning, I’m trying to stay focused.
The Good: I’m meeting my exercise goals (4 times/week), and I almost succeeded in my MWF blogging schedule. One cool thing is that I hit my 100th post on Monday. I’m still a shocked that I’ve made it so far. Many, many thanks to everyone who reads and comments — you all keep me motivated!
Em and I have also posted the first Fun Not Fear! check-in, with the usual NaNo mashup. If you haven’t already, swing by to share your progress, or to cheer on the WriMos in the bunch.
The So-So: My NaNo word count started out strong, but I faltered on Saturday. I attended a local meetup of WriMos in the area, but didn’t get any writing done. And in terms of my thesis, I started out strong here as well, but life got wonky before I could finish the sections I had hoped to get done this week.
The Could-Be-Better: I received some unsettling news about an illness in the family last week, and it upset me more than I realized it would. I’m better now, but the couple of days I spent in the Depths of Despair have thrown my schedule off kilter.
At the moment, I’m also trying not to get sick. The temperature dropped suddenly, and my asthma is flaring. I ended up sitting outside for Saturday afternoon’s NaNo meet-up, and although I thought I’d be warm enough in my sweater (hey, it had sleeves, and it covered my chest), I was feeling pretty poorly by the time I got home, and didn’t get anything done.
The Bottom Line: I’m feeling better about things, though I’m slightly overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done this week. I’d usually pull a few all-nighters to get myself back on track, but given the health thing, I need all the sleep I can get. “One step at a time” will be my mantra for the next few days.
(Re)Introducing PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE
On Friday, as part of the Warm Fuzzies blogfest, I posted three songs that inspire my current WIP. I’ll be talking about this story for the rest of November as way to keep me motivated through NaNoWriMo. I’m terrible at synopses, but the one that I’ve drafted goes like this:
Liandre, a sheltered princess who dreams of adventure, gets her wish when the death of her father exposes the terrible secret of her origins, catapulting her into an unexpected world of danger and discovery. Along the way, she’ll cross paths with allies and adversaries, watch legends come to life, and find magic more powerful than any she’s ever encountered. Better yet, she might just uncover the threads of identity she thought lost.
If PPT sounds a little familiar to you ROWers who have been visiting me for a while, it’s because I was working on it during the end of Round 2 and beginning of Round 3. 25,000 words in, I abandoned it. My protagonist, Liandre, felt incredibly flat, and I had given away the identity of the ultimate villain within the first four chapters — a definite no-no, especially since his identity is key to a larger conflict that won’t be resolved until Book 2.
Taking time off to rethink my plot (which was pretty much nonexistent) has proven incredibly beneficial. I now have a better sense of where the novel is headed, the ultimate goals I need to achieve, and what has to be done in order to get there. Better yet, I decided to switch the POV from 3rd person to 1st person. Suddenly, my flat-as-cardboard protagonist came to life. She needed to be the one telling her story, without the filter of a narrator, and now that she has the mic, she has come to life. 😀
For NaNo, I’m bracketing the first 25k I wrote, and starting in the middle, hence my semi-rebel status. I don’t know if I’ll end up using any of that original material, but my goal right now is to just move forward, and worry about the beginning when I know exactly how the novel ends. 😀
Anyway, have a wee excerpt! This is taken from the very end of Part 1, where Liandre is “crossing the threshold” from her old life into a new world filled with danger and uncertainty.
Dawn came upon swift wings, the ebon sky yielding to the blush-and-gold of sunrise. Unlike Edric’s departure for Laehira the year before, there were no well-wishers assembled to see me off, no band playing jaunty farewell tunes, no father to bestow a formal blessing upon me. I was no longer sister of the newly-crowned king, but the scion of a land most believed to be little more than myth.
Even if Edric had been at liberty to tell our countrymen the truth of my origins, few would be able to comprehend it. To them, Vao Artan was a fable, a cautionary tale told to disobedient children. My own governess had recited the dreaded tale before bedtime when I was young, and it haunted me still.
“Beware the bird-women across the sea,” she always began, “for they feast on the flesh of naughty little children, and use their bones to line their nests.”
To think that I was now one of those frightful bird-women, that their blood, their magic, flowed through my veins, marked me as different was a fact that I could hardly bear. My skin prickled at the knowledge, as though it no longer belonged to me.
Not perfect, of course, but since it’s NaNo, that’s allowed. 😉