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Scotland Easter

I haven’t been writing on here nearly as much as I used to, and I want to change that.  In the meantime, I might make up for lack of blog words (as I’m trying to focus all my words elsewhere at the moment) with photos.

We just returned from a week in Scotland, and spent 2 nights camping in our favourite spot at the foot of Ben Nevis. There was snow and hail above 700m and it rained almost the entirety of our stay, plus I was on week SIX of a mutating flu/cold/virus thing with my right ear completely blocked, so we didn’t do any proper climbs. But it was gorgeous as ever, regardless of where I stood.

Once back on dry, sunny land in the lowlands, I managed to meet one of my favourite authors (Laini Taylor — author of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy and the recently released STRANGE THE DREAMER, which I’m currently devouring). And ate some scrumptious Mexican food.

Hope you all had a marvelous Easter weekend! <3

Rushing water everywhere on our first hike of the day.

 

 

Love this tree.

 

First view of Steall Falls (my 2nd, but first on this trip), which was used as backdrop in Harry Potter & the GoF.

 

The infamous wire bridge.

 

Steall Hut in the glen facing away from the falls.

 

Steall Falls.

 

Sodden.

 

But all that water makes for gorgeous green, right?

 

Just wet.

 

 

Miros Cantina in Edinburgh, best Mexican in the UK!

 

Had a brief chat with the inspiring and utterly fabulous Laini Taylor at Waterstones in Edinburgh, after her talk and Q&A.

 

Back on dry land, down in Cumbernauld.

 

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

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#WIPMarathon April Check-in

Outlandia path in Glen Nevis
Outlandia path in Glen Nevis

Okay, so it’s April’s check-in for WIP Marathon but I’m here to say, we’ve still got four whole days left in this month! And I will finish what I said I’d finish in April by the time the 30th rolls around. Maybe we should start doing these on the last day of the month, whenever that day falls? :}

Oh, and here are more gratuitous shots of yet another set of Scottish adventures.

Last word count:
116,587. What was a first draft of my WIP has become a second draft, really. When I was drafting it in Nov-Jan, I started to change my mind on characters by the time I got to the last third of the ms. And I also began to develop more worldbuilding ideas. So when I wanted to do a quick read for continuity of the first draft before sending it to CPs, I realised a lot more work had to be done for them to receive a coherent story. (Or something vaguely resembling one, anyhow).

I also realised there’s no point in sending out a mish-mash patchwork story to anyone, if those ideas are all likely to change. So rather than work on a new WIP for Camp NaNo, I’ve spent the month giving this story a much more detailed clean-up. Terminology confuses me sometimes, but this was no revision. This was just trying to get all the subplots to make sense!

Current word count:
119,336. I’m happy with this. As I said last month, this is unfolding to be a rather epic tale, and if I have about 120k to send to CPs/betas, then when they tell me everything that’s wrong with it (haha) and I have to turn into Edward Scissorhands to clean it up, I’ll have plenty of buffer.

WIP Issues This Month:
I think this story is a bit schizophrenic at the moment, so trying to fix that has become trying to accept it. It will have several more drafts before it’s ready to go, but in the meantime, it is what it is. And until I chip away at it to find out exactly what kind of story it wants to be (apart from fantasy, obviously), it has a handful of elements in it that *I* would want to read. The fact that they’re currently all mixed together is something I’ve decided is okay, for now.

Loch Tulla near Bridge of Orchy

Four things I learned this month while writing:

1. Get characters talking. I’m pretty sure I “learned” this before, but it’s an important point. I just finished reading RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES by Scott Lynch — second in the hugely engrossing Locke Lamora series. Actually, I listened to the audiobooks for both because the voice actor is perfect. Lynch is one of the most incredible world builders and the detail he delves into makes you believe in his world implicitly (though some might say that detail gets a little rambly at times, but on audiobook I don’t mind it so much since I’m usually multi-tasking).

Lynch is also amazing at dialogue. They’re never talking heads. And what I realised is how much time he spends in dialogue. He has his interludes of descriptive language of setting or how an aspect of his world works; but when the characters are talking, it’s never boring. It’s always entertaining, always revealing conflict, always upping the tension. He’s a master at this stuff and highly recommended.

Of course, not all books share the same style, but it’s helping me be unafraid of pushing the dialogue envelope. I have a tendency to leave them in their heads and that’s BAD, and boring after a very short while, but most importantly, misses out on conflict.

Yes, a character can be in conflict within themselves and that’s often a large part of the story; but it can’t be the only part.

I also read an article by KM Weiland where she discussed one of the easiest ways to fix a boring scene is to get the characters interacting. The most basic of concepts… but I’ll take that reminder as often as I can.

And I’m leaving it at just the 1 item for this month because it’s a biggie 😉

What distracted me this month while writing:
Apart from a long Easter weekend trip to Glasgow (8 hour drive because of traffic so a VERY long trip) and two fun, peaceful, rejuvenating days camping and hiking in Glen Nevis/Glencoe, I’ve not had a lot of distraction. Mostly had my head down trying to plough through the most difficult stage of editing (to my mind) — when ideas are still forming. I find polishing much easier than arguing internally between various characters’ traits or personalities, for instance. Once I know them well, I’m much happier!

The north face of Ben Nevis.
The north face of Ben Nevis.
Buachaille Etive Mor. We’ve been up there 2x! NEVER ceases to amaze me 🙂

Goal for next month:
1. 
Send out A SIGHT OF NEVERSEA (this WIP) to my CPs.
2. LEAVE IT ALONE while they have it.
3. Read, brainstorm, and return to the first draft of my space opera.
4. As for other matters of which some are aware, grow in the areas of patience and belief I’m on the right path, no matter what the outcome is.

Looking forward to seeing how everyone else did this month!

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ChristMAS is all around us…

A Christmasy view from Glen Nevis, Scotland

First off, Christmas is soon, so MERRY CHRISTMAS (that’s right, I didn’t say “Happy Holidays”) and I hope you (yes, you!) have a fantastic time with lots of cookies, food, drink, people, presents, movies, books.. whatever your thing is for this time of year. Since I’ve jumped the gun on my annual LOTR-marathon thanks to the new Blu-ray and home cinema my fiance’ recently bought (we had to test it out the best way I knew how 😉 I’ll be pulling out my other holiday favourites: Love Actually (who can resist Bill Nighy trying to get his Christmas number 1’s rhythm correct?), It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and The Snowman.

One of my favourite gifts from last year was not the wine that came in this (though that was good, too!) but the Santa-wine-snuggie itself.

I plan to do a lot of writing over the season since we’re headed up to Scotland for 18 days and likely to be snowed in once we get there. *rolls up sleeves* Perfect time to make some killer headway on my work-in-progress, a fantasy (possibly YA, but still working that out… bit hazy as the MC is 17, but it’s not really focused on YA-type situations so much as her specific situation.. anyhow, more on that later) set in what might’ve once been Britain but is now very much overrun with magic gone wild, snarky unicorns, sexy hags (you read that right), and a desperate attempt to find a cure for the MC’s hometown, centuries-old magical plague that’s imprisoned them on their ruined island.

AND for fantastic news on a great Christmas contest, check out C.A. Marshall’s website: http://www.camarshall.com/.

It’s “Editing Advent 2011” and she has graciously been giving a winner an editing prize a day! Go enter! And while you’re at it, check out her website, too. I just stumbled over this inspirational post of hers – there are many more!

On that note, I should get back to my WIP. Hope you have a lovely Christmas season <3

Yes, I have a giant red plush crab who likes to wear a Santa hat this time of year. Isn’t he the sweetest?
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