Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beautiful Books Linkup #2: How's the Writing Going?

This is off-schedule, but I've got another post scheduled for Tuesday. So, since this was ready and not really a usual post, I'm just publishing it now.
It is the second post in the Beautiful Books linkup series. This is November's post, all about actual writing. I suggest that if you haven't yet done this, do it. It really gets you thinking about your novel, your characters, your writing, process, etc. Even if you don't want to publicly answer some questions due to spoilers, at least write the answers somewhere private. Now, let the interrogation commence!

1. Be honest. How is your writing going?
So far, pretty well. I'm actually ahead of the NaNo goals. Yesterday I didn't make my daily goal, but I'd been writing for a couple hours and I was far enough ahead that it didn't matter. I also had more important things going on, so I couldn't spend too much time staring at my laptop.

2. What's your first sentence/paragraph?
"Mara turned away from the lunch lady who’d refused to make eye contact with her, and scanned the cafeteria for a place to sit. Across the way, Ace and his friends were laughing. Loneliness stabbed at Mara’s gut." (Yes, this is the writing font I'm using. I hate Calibri and Arial. Also, this paragraph needs serious revision.). 

3. Do you have a book cover and/or pictures that reflect your book?
I found the basic b&w picture of the silhouette on Pinterest (I have no idea who to credit) and then added the color and text myself using a mixture of Paint and Pixlr Express.
I'm rather proud of this cover, because it's a second draft. The first one was black and white and boring. I've also got a few other pictures which capture the spirit of the book, though what they depict isn't completely accurate. These, also, are from Pinterest, and again, I have no idea who to credit for them.
Mara first discovering how to use magic.
This one makes me think of Mara and Gabriel.
Mara, using magic for her own ends.
I'm actually writing a scene soon based on this picture.
Inspiration for my resolution scene.
4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them to us!
Mara Harrod:
Mara - Minus the birthmark.

My sketch of Mara from the first half of Shadows & Light
My sketch of Mara from the second half. 
Ace/Julian Harrod:
Ace in his Mage gear.

Tempe Donoghue:

My sketch of Tempe
Gabriel Young:                                         
Gabriel Young

This art isn't mine, but I love it as a representation of Gabriel.

Victoire Delaney:
Victoire Delaney - Ace's Girlfriend & Apprentice
Kendra Earl:
Kendra Earl - Ace's Team Member
As you can see, I've got plenty of imagery. I either drew it or found it on Pinterest. Seriously, if you haven't gotten onto that website yet, go.

5. What scene are you most excited to write?
The midpoint, when Ace clearly betrays Mara. It's going to have so much intense emotion and action! I can't wait.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
Warning, this is a rough draft.

The hallways were practically deserted, so Mara had no trouble walking as fast as her legs would carry her. She wiped tears from her eyes as she went, sniffing and not certain of her surroundings because her eyes were so blurred over with tears.
“Mara! Mara!” Ace called out from somewhere behind her. She heard him running towards her, but she didn’t turn to look.
He grabbed her shoulder and spun her around.
“Mara, stop!” He said. If Mara had hoped for brotherly encouragement, she was wrong. His eyes were furious.
“How dare you threaten Victoire!” He said.
“How dare I?” Mara said. “She’s been torturing me for ten years! I think it’s time I stood up for myself!”
Ace leaned back and looked at her with stern disapproval. “See Mara? This is why no one would believe you before. We all knew what was underneath, waiting to come out.”
“Ha! No, no one wants to believe me because you’re all stupid, hopeless, morons, who want me to fail!”
“No one is a moron except for you!” Ace said. “You’re just an idealistic idiot!”
“It’s funny how one minute you think of me as genuinely idealistic, and the next as someone evil who’s hiding their ‘true’ nature!” Mara said. “It’s funny how you switch from one to the other, whichever suits your purposes!”
“I doesn’t matter which one you are because it’s all going to end up the same way!” Ace said.
“Really? And you can tell the future now? You must be going through your apprenticeship must faster than anyone else! So fast, in fact, that you’re better than the Interpreters!”
“Don’t be ridiculous Mara!” Ace said. “This isn’t about you and I; it’s about your threatening Victoire!”
“You know what? You can join your girlfriend in staying as far away from me as possible!”
“Or what? You’ll kill me too?” Ace asked.
“Maybe! With how unpredictable I apparently am I could go on a killing spree!” Mara said mockingly.
Ace gritted his teeth and blue cloud suddenly appeared around him, licking like flames at his body but flying away like smoke. His hand flew up as if to ward her off, his palm facing her and his fingers spread.
Mara stumbled backward, her breath coming fast. Ace was literally coated in magic, and he was aiming at her. Her own twin brother was about to use magic on her.
“Ace. . .” she said, her voice trembling. She backed into the wall, her palms pressed against the cool metal of the lockers. Her legs were shaking. All she could see was that wonderful blue magic, poised to strike her. That dangerous blue magic.
The fury left Ace’s eyes, and the magic dissipated. His hand lowered, but his eyes stayed trained on Mara.

“Don’t threaten Victoire again.” He turned and walked calmly back down the hallway, leaving Mara, still trembling, alone.

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out to be different from what you planned or imagined?
Mara turned out to be more forgetful than I'd thought. Gabriel is way sweeter than I expected, and Tempe knows how to act, which I hadn't realized. I did end up extending a certain scene, which wasn't in my outline, but made me crush on Gabriel even harder. At the end of it I wanted to throttle Mara and scream "WHY AREN'T YOU IN LOVE WITH THIS BOY!"

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that is difficult to write?
I'm having a hard time controlling the escalating conflict between Ace and Mara. It can't be too intense too soon,  but it needs to scare her enough that she's driven to learn magic. It's a fine line to walk, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's gone too far too early.

9. What's your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?
I'm loving everything. The relationships, the conflict, the foreshadowing (*evil cackle*). My favorite character is probably Gabriel. I think I'm crushing on him, which isn't good because I shall soon have to do something horrible to him. Poor baby. He's so sweet and sincere. 

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?
Yes, mostly for characters. I have nothing in common with the plot or setting - I don't even know what it is like to go to high school! I don't live in a small town. I haven't been asked to illegally learn magic. I don't have an arrogant twin brother. I don't live in a world where everyone knows at least one thing they will accomplish in life (thank goodness). However,  I have drawn extensively from my family and a little bit from my friends for characters. Gabriel shares some traits with a friend of mine and my sister. Mara shares her procrastination and forgetfulness with my mum (they actually share the same personality type). She gets her ambition and determination from me, as well as her good grades. Tempe also shares some traits with myself (something which scares me). Ambition, long memory (especially for wrongs done), determination, extensive planning, strategic skills, love of being what people don't expect. We differ in that I've got morals. She doesn't. 

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?
Yep! There are a lot of songs from Nox Arcana, with a smattering of other artists. Each song has been assigned to a scene which it fits best, or which feature predominately a character it fits best. For instance, "Say Something" cover by Pentatonix is assigned to a scene when Gabriel is begging Mara to stop all her badness before she goes too far. He's looking for something to show him that she's redeemable.

12. Let's have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported to your book's world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?
Although I'd like to say that I'd be a kind soul and go speak to Mara, it isn't likely. More likely, Gabriel would be his outgoing self and come hang out with shy me, because he's nice like that.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily word count? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)
I frequently check my facebook writing group to see what other people are up to (seeing large word counts inspires, seeing low ones makes me realize what I've done). I eat Halloween candy. I laugh at the very writer-cliche research and jokes fellow writers post on facebook. And I watch the graph on my NaNoWriMo page change, which is the most motivating thing of all. I also do lots of number calculations to re-estimate my end word count goal (It's gone down by about twenty thousand - I think I'll only have a couple thousand to write after I cross the NaNo goal, so I'm now aiming to finish the whole thing by December 1st). Setting goals and having new ambitions keeps me motivated pretty well.

14. What inspiring quote keeps you writing?
I don't really get a lot out of writing quotes, but I do have one that has stuck with me because it reminds me that I've got no excuse (aside from no time) not to write.
I understand that writer's block is a difficulty for writers. I'm not saying that I think this difficulty is a load of nonsense. Nevertheless, it is not an excuse to give up or put a pause on writing until the "muse" comes back. I believe that writer's block is just something that you have to work to end. I don't want any excuses, from myself or anyone else.

15. How does his book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
So far, excited. I just can't wait to finish it and get all of my ideas down on paper. I've also felt immense "awwww!" moments, surprise, and tension as I watch Mara journey. It has also made me hate Ace with a passion. And Victoire. And to some degree, Tempe, because I can see some of my own usually "good" traits being used by her for evil. Maybe that scares me a little. It makes me grateful that I know what my values and beliefs are, thanks to my Lord and His Word.


  1. Ooh! I love Mara. Gabriel just seems ADORABLE. And I love the cover! Also, lovely sketches.

  2. It sounds fabulous! YAY I'm so glad it's going well and, ohhh, those "awwww" moments are the best. xD I'm writing my probably most cutest couple of ever. I'm shipping them so hard. hehe. Very different to my normal explosions! x)
    I love all your pictures! You've got a fabulous looking cast!
    Thanks for linking up with us an keep on with this awesome! YOU CAN DO IT.

    1. Haha, well these two aren't dating. But they should be. But they can't be for the sake of the plot. It's frustrating.
      Thank you!

  3. Woah, that cover is totally awesome! I love the sound of it already. Also, the Pullman quote is prime. :D

  4. Aww, betrayal scenes make me sad, but also I love reading them because they have such high tension! OMG, I am already getting concerned for your character just typing this (haha). Also, I like your first paragraph! I like that we get a feeling for Mara as a character and maybe a peek at her predicament from the get-go?

    I can't wait to see how your novel progresses :) Also congrats on being ahead in NaNo!

    Kat @ Readiculous Blog

  5. Sounds like a cool story idea! I'm glad it's going well! I'm a firm believer in pushing past writers block. I feel like it's an excuse oftentimes not to write that I've seen so many people do. Thanks for sharing!

    Stori Tori's Blog