NaNo

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IWSG – NaNo Time Again!

Published November 1, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Convenient that the first Wednesday of the month is also the first of the month; I only have to do one post to say I’m gonna be gone for November to do NaNoWriMo again!

As to this month’s question, I’ve almost always finished my NaNo project, during NaNo, but I’ve never published anything.  (Though I went half-way twice.  My first NaNo project (2011) I briefly self-published through LeanPub, but I’ve since taken it down because it was just utter rubbish.  And then last year’s project was fanfic, which I’ve posted on AO3, which is as close to publishing as fanfic gets without having its serial numbers filed off.)  The one NaNo project I never finished was 2015’s.  I didn’t finish it during November (despite hitting 82k) and though I tried to limp along with it in December, I eventually realized that the leads, who originated in the previous year’s NaNo as dead backstory characters, just didn’t fit the novel, as I was setting the interesting displaced in time/sci-fi story aside in order to focus on a rather tepid and unrealistic romance.  Once I came to that realization, I decided the thing to do was to stop, to move the characters to (another) new work that would be focused on their love story and almost nothing else, and to re-write the sci-fi story with new leads who were already a couple.  I was doing pretty well on the almost-nothing-but-the-romance book, until I saw Velvet Goldmine, and descended into the fanfic pit from which I have not emerged until, well, today.  (Because my NaNo project this year is not fanfic.  Even if the story idea originally started out as a steampunk Velvet Goldmine alternate universe fanfic…)

So…yeah.

I’m gonna be gone for NaNo until December.  Like always.

I think I won’t even bother keeping up with the Missing Letter Monday posts.  They’ve been pretty lame lately, anyway.  Better to just set them aside until I have some time to work on them properly.

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MLM No “V” – Another Author’s Oracle Tag

Published October 30, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So, in trying to decide what to post for my last Missing Letter Monday until December (yeah, it’s going away for NaNo), I looked through to see what I’d done in the past with this letter, and found this post with a series of questions for an author to answer about their current WIP.  And I decided that hey, I could just answer the questions again, only this time for the project I’m going to work on next month.  These questions were initially encountered on Sara Letourneau’s blog, in an open-ended “consider yourself tagged if you’re reading this” kind of thing.  So I guess that means I’m re-self-tagging?

Er….anyway…on to the questions, though (as before) I used some * in the questions when this week’s forbidden letter came up.


The Author’s Oracle Questions

The answers this time are going to be NaNo prep, for next month’s project, which I am planning as the first in a series.  (Who knows what I’ll actually end up writing, but…)  I keep putting off filling out the cool character sheet I found on the NaNo forums, so maybe this will help me with that.  It’s a genre-ignoring project with elements of the fantastic, elements of steampunk, and an LGBT romance.  And giant eagles.  Because all things are better with giant eagles.

0. The Fool: Which of your characters is the most intuiti*e?  The worst decision-maker?

The best decision-maker would be Ouden, the 12 year old girl on the crew of the airship.  She considers herself the one who keeps Cal, the captain, from dying all the time, and she’s pretty much right about that.  As to the worst…hmm.  That’s a tie between Cal and Elliot (the romantic leads), but for different reasons.  Cal is extremely passionate, and short-tempered.  He acts on impulse, but he’s also slow to trust, so he’ll do dumb things because he doesn’t trust someone yet, only then once he does trust them, he’d bend the fabric of reality if he could for someone important to him.  He was hurt horribly not too long before the book starts, so he’s become more slow to trust than before.  Elliot, on the other hand, is the ultimate naïf.  I mean, the guy took a madam’s word for it that she was just sheltering him out of the goodness of her heart, and had no idea she was charging the men who were also just taking shelter in the same room with him and who just happened to want to sleep with him.  (In his defense, he is quite young (about nineteen) and recently ran away from his sheltered home on the family farm.)

I. The Magician: What character, location, or object has the most positi*e influence in your story?

(OMG, I skipped this one last time!)  Probably Cal’s airship, the Audacity.  The cast would be utterly lost without it.  Although Cal wouldn’t be hunted without it, so maybe it’s not all good. Read the rest of this entry →

IWSG – Not Missin’ THIS Month!

Published October 4, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Yup, pre-writing this two weeks ago, to make sure I don’t miss it!  (Because of course nothing will change between then and now, right?)

I’ll probably tack on an actual post at the end of this, but in the mean time, I’ll just real quick answer the question of the month for October (which oddly has nothing to do with Halloween!):

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Hmm.  I have surprisingly little personal information.  (LOL, that sounds crazy!)  But, really, by nature I’d spend all day hiding at home and doing whatever I pleased (reading, writing, gaming, toy collecting, shopping for more toys), and that means that’s what I tend to do when I have free time, so I have very little that’s the sort of thing they probably mean in this question:  no romantic ties, no children, etc.

On the other hand, the main character of my July CampNaNo work was essentially a self-insert into my current fandom obsession, so there’s a lot there that’s me:  total lack of social skills, asexual/aromantic, doll collector, museum employee, easily compelled into strange obsessions (but not in a creepy way), gamer, anime fan, Vocaloid fan, totally ignorant of 90% of popular music past and present, resident of this city, and 42 years old.  So, yeah, I guess I’ve slipped a lot of my personal information into a character on purpose!  But I doubt the work will ever be read.  I’m going to admit that she’s a self-insert in the (likely to be copious) author’s notes at the beginning, and probably in the summary, too, and self-insert characters are the Kryptonite of most fanfic readers.  (I find it highly amusing, possibly even ironic, that as I write these words, I am listening to a song “performed” by three Vocaloids produced by a company called Crypton Future Media.)  Of course, those notes will also explain that she’s just the vessel through which the readers are taking a tour of the 2017 edition of the slightly dystopian 1984 in the movie (and just like in reality, 2017 is infinitely worse than 1984) and hunting for clues as to what’s happened to the characters we know and love in the intervening decades, so maybe a few open minded fans will read it, but…heck, my stuff is only read by a few people anyway. Read the rest of this entry →

MLM No “R” – NaNo’s Coming!

Published October 2, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Announcing my 2017 NaNo novel-to-be.

It doesn’t have a title yet.

It’s a bit steampunk, a bit fantasy (well, it has alchemy and enchanted objects, but no magic spells), and it has tame political conflict between about a dozen fictional nations.

Mostly, though, it has a beautiful young man (19ish) falling in love with a handsome 20-something man who’s still hung up on his ex, the king’s only son.

That and ships that fly.  Lots of ships that fly.

The lead’s ship is held aloft by giant eagles.  (A la Tolkien.)  Many have types of pegasi.  Oh, and giant bats.  One of them has giant bats.

Because awesome.

(And now I can claim a badge on the NaNo site!  Yay for pointlessness!)

IWSG – A Day Late (Again)

Published September 7, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

*sigh*  I suck.  This is the second time (though thankfully not the second time in a row) that I’ve only remembered my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post the day after it was supposed to go up.  I could make a lot of excuses (things are hectic at work, I had my first assignment (of sorts) due this semester, I’m generally a stressed-out wreck) but ultimately this is just me being my usual idiotic self.

The bitter part is that I actually had stuff to talk about.

I’ve got two things going on with my writing right now.  My super-massive fanfic (155k!) is finally getting a rewrite, more than a year after I wrote it, thanks to someone from AO3 volunteering to beta it.  I’ve never actually worked with a beta before (not in a proper sense; I’ve had a few people read things and then give me a few hasty notes with no accompanying back-and-forth) so it’s a little nerve-wracking, but so far it’s been really awesome.  She’s been giving me very helpful notes about places I needed to flesh out and follow-through on earlier plot threads.  (With so much text, it’s not surprising that things got forgotten!  Especially considering I wrote it in a month.)

The other thing is that I’m trying to get myself ready for this year’s NaNo.  I’ve had this idea kicking around for a while now, but wanted to get the fanfic urge out of my system before I started devoting any serious attention to it.  Only then I discovered Sparkler, an online magazine that would be the absolute perfect place to try to publish this project if it turns out good enough to try to publish it (which is, admittedly, highly unlikely), and so now I’m totally motivated to try and get this puppy written.

I did finally work out a really good solution to a backstory issue that had been plaguing me — which had the additional benefit of making one of the main characters already a wanted man before the story started, so he can’t possibly blame the other main character for dragging him into danger —  but I’m painfully aware of how little actual world-building I’ve done so far.  I want each country in this fictional world to be partially based on real cultures, but I have this distressing tendency to use that as a crutch, thinking of it so totally blatantly as a transported version of the country that my (chaotic) plot-development word processor file has placeholder names like notFrance and notJapan.  (And my dependence on their history was going to be even more ludicrously similar, to the point that they were going to arrive in France during the Reign of Terror and then (despite that they’re a century apart) end up in Japan during the Meiji Restoration.  Uh, not in the same book.  This is the start of a series.)

Trying to figure out the right way to handle that aspect of the world-building is challenging.  Though perhaps some of it can be left for rewrites?  I dunno, though, that sounds dangerous.

I need to focus more time and attention on the world-building before November (fortunately, it’s only September, lol!), but I don’t know how much time I have to do so.  I’m working more days than I used to, and my responsibilities have increased (which I’m not complaining about in the least; getting to design exhibits was something I really wanted to do!), plus my class this semester is what’s officially called “directed readings,” which basically means I’m self-directed and just check in with the professor every so often to make sure I’m on the right track…which means I really have to dedicate a lot of time to the research, since no one else is going to do any of it for me.  (I mean, I like that, but it’s also a lot more stressful when you stop to think about it.)

So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to be insecure about right now, and yet I’m also kind of in a hopeful place.

IWSG: Conflicted

Published March 1, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’m back to being insecure again.  (This, I suppose, should come as no great surprise.  If I wasn’t prone to insecurity, why would I be taking part in the support group, right?)

After some SNAFU stuff on the NaNo forums regarding my nearly submitting my 2013 NaNo novel for self-pub, I made a pledge to myself that “screw it; I’m never publishing anything, and that’ll teach those jerks!”  (And no, that didn’t entirely make sense even at the time.  And the people in question were not trying to be jerks.  (Most of them weren’t, anyway.)  But it’s one of those heat-of-the-moment resolutions that becomes firm and feels permanent, because you feel like you’ll have lost if you go back on it.)

After that, I took the smart path of withdrawing from the NaNo forums for the next couple of years, but I don’t learn too good (poor grammar intended), and so I’ve been active on the forums again.

And this time the guy really was trying to be a jerk.

Basically, he said that I’ll be a racist if anyone in my entire novel has a different skin color from everyone else.

Yes, he was advocating an entire planet of uniform skin color.

And he thought that was somehow less racist than having a diverse world.  Ugh.  (And keep in mind, I neither said anything about nor intend to introduce any ethnic stereotyping or prejudices.  It’s a world very unlike our own, without our social construction of “race”.  They have some prejudices, of course, but they’re based on culture and nationality.  (Read any 19th century work wherein the English discuss people from other European nations, and you’ll see the kind of thing I mean.)  But really even those prejudices are unlikely to come up much, because it’s a steampunk/fantasy adventure with heavy doses of m/m romance.  They’re going to be much too busy flying around the world looking for the pieces of the McGuffin and flirting/having sex for weighty social issues to come up much.  Because I write light escapism.)

So, because he said all this crap about the world I’m trying to put together for a series of novels I haven’t even begun to start writing yet, I feel like “now I have to publish it just to prove that f***er wrong.”

But that is in direct opposition to the 2013 doctrine of “never publish anything ever no matter what!”

Which puts me in a weird emotional bind.  All the more weird considering I haven’t even named the main characters yet.  (Well, it kind of grew out of an AU fanfic idea, so for my plotting purposes I’ve been using the names of the movie characters.  Though at this point there’s not much similarity between my characters and the movie ones.)

It’s probably a moot point.  I’ll probably finish the first draft of book one (assuming I ever start writing the thing) and go “wow, this is irredeemably terrible” and go back to writing other stuff.  (That is, after all, what usually happens.  Like my 2012 NaNo novel, the last time I tried to spin an original novel out of a fanfic idea.  I was enjoying writing it at first, but by the time I was done I was just like “ugh, I never wanna see this piece of trash ever again!” and I haven’t opened the file since.)

Anyway, amusingly enough, this all kind of ties in to this month’s optional question

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Because that 2013 NaNo novel?  It was the result when I finally got around to writing something I’d been planning since I was 18.  (So the idea was almost twenty years old.)  I think I had actually started writing it back in the summer of my 18th year, but…not sure what ever happened to the manuscript.  (And I guarantee it had zero similarity to what I eventually wrote.)

Missing Letter Monday – Repeat (11/30)

Published November 28, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

The Spirit of November

The Spirit of November is relentless.
He bellows for his dinner.
“Words!” he cries.
“More words!
“Give me 1,667 words for dinner!
“Give me 1,667 words tomorrow, too!
“Give me nothing less!
“Or else you suffer!”

Countless numbers write, write, write on,
To indulge his hunger.
Never enough.
It’s never enough.

I write.  I write.  I write on.
It’s never good enough.
He returns it with disgust:
“Better words!” he insists.
“Give me better words!
“Or else you suffer!”

I tell him those are the best I possess.

But he’s furious none the less,
Sending me to the dungeons
Of lousy-writer misery.

The Spirit of November [(c) Nintendo]

The Spirit of November, The Novel Writing Month [(c) Nintendo]


MLM icon init MLM A


How else would the spirit of November look, right?

(First posted: 11/30/15.  Serendipitous timing for both of this forbidden letter’s posts to come in November.)

Missing Letter Mondays – No “W”

Published October 31, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

One Day to NaNo

It’s one day to NaNo!
(I can’t say the full name.  Not today.)
It’s one day to NaNo:
Happy All Saint’s Day Eve!
(I can’t use the regular version.  Not today.)

Are you gonna do NaNo, too?
Plotter or pantser?
I’m a planster, myself.
I plan some,
And fly the rest by the seat of my pants.
Or the seat of my pajamas.
(I often type in bed.)

I keep trying to dedicate novels
— Or other bits of fiction —
To things I’m clueless about.

I need to stop doing that.

(So I say, but this year’s is no different.
A rock star discovers he’s got a seven year old son
He never heard about before,
And then his boyfriend the reporter gets offered a better job,
In distant London (in his native land)
And the fledgling family moves across the sea.
And later still, they have another kid,
So the reporter can pass on his genes, too.
Because NaNo.  I guess.)

Rambled long enough,
I guess.

(Yeah, my fiction’s like this, too.)


MLM icon init MLM W

IWSG – July CampNaNo

Published July 6, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m not sure if it was a good decision or a bad decision, but I think it was the only decision I could make.

I’m doing July’s session of CampNaNo.

Okay, that part is a good decision.  No question of that.

But the part I’m still not sure about is that I’m writing fanfic.  It’s the first fanfic I’ve written since…January of…2013? 2014?  Well, one of those two.  It was definitely in a January that I last touched fanfic.

I guess, looking at it that way, it doesn’t sound like a long time.  And compared to the twentyish years I spent writing fanfic (exclusively for more than ten of those years) it really isn’t all that long a time.  But I’d been proud of myself for getting away from fanfic and only writing original stuff.  (Even though much of my “original” material wasn’t really all that original, being based heavily — or entirely — on Greek mythology.)

So why am I doing something I said I wouldn’t do again?

I feel like I didn’t have a choice.  I mean, it’s been taking over my brain, so maybe if I write it all out, it’ll let go, and I can get back to the WIP that was already in progress.  Right?

Read the rest of this entry →

IWSG – NaNo Failure

Published December 2, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

For the first time, I’ve failed NaNo.

In the future, anyone who chances upon my profile will see four wins followed by a loss.  They might think something like “Oh, what a shame she messed up after so many successes!”

Of course, if they click further and look at the stats for the failed novel, then they’ll probably ask themselves “Why in the name of sanity didn’t she validate her novel if she had 87,474 words?!”

Well, the obvious answer is that to me, the goal of NaNo isn’t to write 50,000 words.  To me, the goal is to write a complete novel.

And I didn’t do that.

Read the rest of this entry →

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