NaNoWriMo 2014: Week 2 update

So, my NaNo word count is currently 23,000 (or something around that). But I haven’t done any work on it for the past week for one simple reason: I don’t have the characters ready yet.

I got halfway through Heights and Horizons last weekend; as I want it to be about 40,000 words, and I’m six chapters in and pretty much halfway through my story, that works brilliantly. I’ve also managed to plot roughly what I want to happen next: the second half is going away from Jesse and Huish, and it’s going to follow all of my explorers and my map-makers in the other lands.

However, I’ve got a slight issue. I have some of my explorers already (Moel from Desert Sands, Obak & Iilde from Salt Winds) but I also want to bring someone in from Empty Skies for Tao; I want someone from Ziricon who will appear in Desert Sands. And for those, I need three books finished – Salt Winds (to complete Obak and Iilde’s story), Empty Skies (to actually write my explorer character in Tao) and then Desert Sands, to bring my Ziricon explorer in and finish off another few stories.

So I spent my NaNo meetings this weekend finishing Salt Winds; I wrote 5000 words on Saturday and have the story finished, which is wonderful. It was read by my beta reader (my wonderful Aunt) last week and she had some brilliant suggestions for additional material and scenes, so I’m now a lot happier with the story than I was. It’s a lot more streamlined; the only thing that may need to go into it is more of Obak being a little shit, because at the start, he really is. But at the moment, I’m happy to call it complete.

So, this week is going to be Empty Skies; I’ve got to put the cat amongst the pigeons (or policeman amongst the runaways) which will lead to some very fun writing. That’s likely to take me most of this week and probably my writing time this weekend. After that, it’s Desert Sands again, and then back to Heights and Horizons!

I’m actually not particularly bothered by the lack of progress on Heights and Horizons. Although my words don’t count towards NaNo, I didn’t expect to win (thankfully, as I know I’m a novella writer!) and I just love the writing company and the kick-up-the-ass it gives me. So to get a story finished, and get the kick I need to finish Empty Skies and carry on with Desert Sands – that’s brilliant.

And the final thing that’s making me smile at the moment is that I’m really looking forward to continuing work on Heights and Horizons when I do get back to it; I’ve got some politics, some exploration, some interesting characters – and it’s going to be a lot of fun to write. So even if it does go out of November (which it likely will), I’m still going to enjoy my writing.

Empty skies: 13,000 words

21/01/2014 19:46

Why do I always write the ends of books first?!




Have I given you the beginning? If not, here it is:


“You’re going away?”

Anoé nodded, holding the gaze of the bright eyes before her. “Another assignment, on Tao. You…understand, don’t you?”

The child nodded. But she wasn’t a child anymore, Anoé corrected herself. Her daughter was growing up. “How long do you think it will be?”

“I don’t really know.” Anoé sat down on the bed in her daughter’s room, swinging her pack onto the floor. “The only thing Kahi could tell me is that a lot of people have been going missing. It could take months to trace them all individually if there isn’t a common cause.”

“You think there is a common cause.” Jess said, her forehead furrowing. Anoé hesitated, but Jess beat her to it. “It sounds like lots of murders.”

“I forget how much you learn.” Anoé said candidly. “Yes, it does rather. But I don’t want to set my thinking in stone. I’m going to take a few days to investigate, and then see how I want to continue.”

“Couldn’t they have sent someone else?” And that was her daughter talking, rather than the apprentice Dirr. “You’ve only just got back from the desert.”

“That was personal.” Anoé said gently. “It didn’t count as an assignment.”

“But the Archivist was an assignment before. Doesn’t it just continue?”

Anoé shook her head, and stood up again. “Unfortunately not. I would have taken you with me, Jess, but the Singers are not to be faced if you don’t have to.”

Jess nodded. “I’m going to practise every day so I get better at fighting.”

Anoé didn’t have to bend far to kiss her daughter’s cheek. “I’ll challenge you when I get back, then.”

“I’ll beat you!” her daughter said with a beaming smile.

“You’ll try to.” Anoé told her with a laugh.

A character challenge

28/04/2013 17:51

I’ve been doing some more writing on Empty Skies & Sunlight (mostly incorporating some ideas about flying and the necessary clothes), and I’ve got two challenges that I’ve started to tackle…


As mentioned in the previous post, one of my characters is based on someone I used to know. Absolutely charming, utterly fragile, manipulative and enthralling and a broken person that I wanted to help heal: and who, I eventually realised, wanted to keep those cracks because those were his attraction. So it will be a real challenge to try to a) write a prior relationship between him and Anoe, and b) get his character across, trying to convey the charm and the cracks with the same intensity and emotion that the real person had. If I can’t, the character will fall flat: if I get the cracks but no charm, he’ll simply be manipulative; if I get the charm but no cracks, his actions will make no sense. So…hum. I’ve started to write him, and I’m already appreciating how difficult it’s going to be: but then that’s part of the fun of writing.


The second one is my pirate lady – she’s going to be so much fun, but I’m very used to writing people that have one character base. To write someone that is a mix of extremes and opposites is going to be entertaining. I was also thinking about her, and I have a feeling that her relationship with Anoe is not as one-dimensional as I’d like – although they do hate each other, I think they could love each other as well. It’s one situation where I will simply let the characters interact with each other and see what happens. I can’t force either of them to act in one way, so they are almost real people meeting in reality: there’s no way to tell if the hatred or the love will win out in the end. I’m just going to have to keep writing and see what happens.

Characters for Empty Skies & Sunlight

26/04/2013 20:23

I’m currently (well, off-and-on) working on Empty Skies & Sunlight, the third book in the Greensky series.


Four of the characters – Toru, Anoe, Yeo and Catter – are out of the previous books. It’s nice to be working with a mix of old and new ‘faces’, particularly as Anoe, who only has a small part in Green Sky & Sparks, gets to be the main character in this one. Toru & Catter get relegated to secondary characters, but then I know them so well that it’s like having an old friend wandering around, occasionally adding a smart-ass comment but generally just making the place feel lived-in.


But the rest of the characters are new, which is where it gets interesting. One is based on someone I used to know, which makes it both easier and more difficult – at the moment he’s not developed into his own story person, and the real-life character is still coming through too strongly. However, I’ve found that it usually gets more subtle as I write more of the story, so I’m trying not to focus too hard on it.

The second new character of interest is based on a friend’s wife, who I’ve only heard about and not yet met. She’s fiery, argumentative, a mix of complete opposites and extremes, goes from one mood to another in a blink and generally sounds like a fairly amazing person. I’d heard a bit about her but then randomly thought that Anoe would hate her, and knew that she had to go in the book. They’ll absolutely despise each other but have to be incredibly polite, which should make for some very funny scenes.


So that’s my characters so far. They’re all slowly building into the story…only 4000 words so far but it definately has potential – and I’m enjoying writing it, which is the important thing.