Hello all! I come to you today from the depths of my semi-hiatus to bring you a Beautiful Books post (mostly because I’m competitive and want to be in the first 10 links, so I can’t wait for my next post. :D).
If you’re unfamiliar with Beautiful Books, it’s a linkup held monthly by Sky and Cait. It usually focusses on characters (Beautiful People), however during the NaNo season, we switch to works in progress. 😀
Onto the questions!
1, Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
My mental state is good, thank you very much. Actually, it is! We’re only six days into NaNo, we’re not up to staying up till midnight in an effort to cram in an extra thousand words yet. So, yes thanks, I’m fine. In the first three days, I got 10k, which I was really pleased with. None got written over the weekend, but I’m okay with that. I don’t usually write on Sundays anyway, partly because I don’t want competitive writing to ruin God’s day, and partly because I think taking a complete break for at least one day a week is a really good way to recharge and relax. I recommend it highly, particularly during NaNo.
Currently, I have almost 20k. Yay!
2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
The girl was soaked to the skin, her clothes, which were little more than pink and yellow rags, clung to her skin, accentuating her stick thin body and tiny waist. The little boy that she pressed to her chest coughed, whimpered and then fell silent.
That’s it. Is it riveting?
3. Who is your current favourite character in your novel?
Why do you even dare ask me that? They’re all my babies and I love them all equally! However, there is one character I am growing quite fond of. Her name is Rain and she wears denim overalls and has blue hair and a pseudo-Cockney accent. She’s very bright and mischievous and a street girl who likes to flirt (and I’m dreadful at writing flirting scenes. I literally just wrote that:
Several more minutes dragged by, in which Rain flirted with all three of them, but particularly Justice.
There’s my expertise for you. I might need a ghostwriter for all my romantic type scenes. Anyone interested? I pay in chocolate bars and sour worms).
4. What do you love about your novel so far?
Um, I love my characters. I’m not loving my Super Detailed and Helpful Outline ™ though. I feel its taken some enjoyment out of writing the novel. I do love all my characters though.
5. Have you made any hilarious mistakes or typos?
Probably! I tend to make a lot of typos, some of them are seriously just weird. However, I can’t really remember any of them right now. So, sorry, I won’t let you laugh at me today.
6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle or end—and why?
I like the ending, sometimes I even write that first. I tend to write it in my head anyway, even if I don’t write it down physically. I like the ending because I love seeing the culmination of weeks, or months, of hard work. I love tying it all together and delivering the finale. My favourite part is the ending, and the emotional scenes that I tend to write right before the end.
7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a master of writing five hundred word whenever I get a spare five minutes (I say master, I’m actually a master of getting distracted by Pinterest for an hour). I’ve worked out a method which I’ve found works quite well for me. I put a timer on and write for exactly five minutes, usually getting 200-250 words. Then I put the timer on again and spend five minutes, relaxing, surfing the internet, write an email, drink hot chocolate or whatever.
I do tend to listen to music. Sometimes I listen to Les Miserables (just to get the whole revolution vibe, you know). Sometimes a soundtrack, like The Two Towers (I do work better with music without lyrics).
8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I work alone! I am Batman. However, even Batman has his Robin, doesn’t he? I have the wonderful people over at Kingdom Pen who cheer me on, write with me and give me their opinions on whether Malachi, Malachy or Malakai is the better spelling. I also have my wonderful friend (my Robin), Sarah (shout out to her, she’s probably reading this!) who I moan to, chat about characters, motivations and themes. All the fun things.
However, non-writers (ahem, normal people) only get a very abridged version of my novel. (“it’s a Les Mis retelling”. I literally had a non-writer friend who asked if I could make it happier. I’m like, no. This is a Les Mis retelling, it cannot be happy. No one can ever be happy. And if they are happy for a minute, I must tear it away before it goes to their heads. And they’ll all die. There’s nothing I can do about it. Sorry).
Anyway, I’m rambling. Moving on.
9. What keeps you writing, even when it’s hard?
The thought of that glorious ending! Also, you can’t publish a book that’s never finished, can you?
No one’s ever going to benefit from my writing, if I never actually write.
10. What are your top three pieces of writing advice?
Okay, since you asked…
1. Write what you know: We’ve all heard that advice before, but for me, it means write what you’ve felt, not what you “know”. This was one piece of advice that a published author I listened to speak gave and I’ve never forgotten it. She was writing a memoir focussed on her father and her father-in-law’s lives in Communist Romania, after WW2. During one scene, her father-in-law, at the time a teenaged boy, was in solitary confinement in a gulag, during the middle of a Russian winter. She’d obviously never spent time in a Russian gulag or experienced horrors he had, but she drew from her own memory of being cold, alone and very frightened in a hospital. She used those memories to portray a sixteen-year-old boy’s terror, loneliness and resilience. I’ve never forgotten that advice and I use it often. And I’m rambling again. Someone make me stop.
2. Write what you love: If you write what you love, you’ll never get tired of it. Write what makes you happy, write what makes you sad, write what brings you joy, write what you’re passionate about. Don’t write something just because it’s “in” or popular, or because J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins did it. You’ll never get anywhere that way. It has to be your story and yours alone.
3. Share your writing: Tell others about it, join Kingdom Pen, let them read a snippet (come on, be brave!). Chances are, telling them about it and being brave enough to share it with them will make them care about it too. And you could always do with some encouragement, couldn’t you? Come on, kids, don’t be Batman!
And an extra tip!
Listen to Les Mis. Or Phantom of the Opera. Or any musical. As long as it isn’t Hamilton. Musicals make perfect inspiration because they’re guaranteed to inspire you to add instalove or a love triangle to your novel, and that’s just what your novel needs to spice it up a bit. 😀
How are you going with NaNo (if you’re doing it)? If you aren’t, how’s your current WIP? What’s some writing advice you live by? Most importantly, how do you feel about Hamilton?