Being Sentimental

I’m fleshing out my female protagonist now, giving her some additional wants and desires, hobbies and activities, etc.

She’s a bit sentimental.  Her mother and father are both gone (mother more recently and inexplicably vanished, but she was closer to her father who died several years prior)…   Events are taking place that cause her to reflect on them more, and that’s going to be a constant clip in her thoughts.

Being a dude, I have the emotional range of thimble comparatively, and even when I have those rare moments of heartache, I can’t recall them… So I turn to you all.

What would a princess in a (more or less) medieval setting be sentimental about?  What would remind her of her parents and make her miss them?

I know a lot of answers are dependent on so many things, but since this stage will mostly pass after the first 25% of the book, I’m pretty flexible on what I write in there.  I have included a quilt that her father got her when she was a small girl, childish in the patterns, but she has resisted every attempt to take it away as she’s gotten older.

Any other ideas?

Novel Word Count: 18536

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Word Count and Other Odd Thoughts

I’m sitting here working on Maega (and writing a blog post, shame on me!)…

My goal is to get 1,000 words per day.  Ambitious, I’m sure, but if I have a target novel length of 70-100k, that will get me finished in 2-3 months.

Or will it?

For instance, I’m going through scene by scene right now (up to scene 8) and fleshing them out in a lot more detail.  In this post, I talked about how I wrote a narrative of the whole story, and then split the narrative into scenes.  Each scene then has probably a paragraph (4-6 sentences) of description.  This method is usually taking the scene and writing a narrative of just that scene.  Then I go back and delete the old one.

Unfortunately, that’s knocking down my word count.  I push forward 200 words, and then delete 50 of them.  That hurts.

Then to is the subject of Back Story / Setting Descriptions / Character Summaries / etc… Not to mention plotting.  The plotting I’m listing above is technically not  going into the final draft so obviously it won’t count for my overall word count… But should it count for my daily?  It took time to write them, time that hopefully is well spent as it will speed my process along.

In doing this ironing, I also wiped out an entire character.  It’s tragic, and I really don’t want to do it (He’s the former head of the exiled faction… A kindly old man that demonstrates to the reader that the exiled faction isn’t all bad).  However, he ends up adding no real content, and his scenes are somewhat boring.  I’ll keep him in the back of my mind, but for now, I think he’s gone.

Do you care about word count?  Do you think it’s a good measure?

Novel Word Count: 13,025

Developing a Story Concept

I want to take a moment and discuss my approach for writing Maega.

The original premise was a “Coming of Age – Young Adult” story.  Boring and overdone, but it was a starting point.  I had a Princess that Would Be Queen.  I started her as a spoiled brat with a self-entitlement mentality, and my story would pull the rug out from under her and let her learn how to truly be a leader for her people starting all the way at the bottom.  After coming to grips with the fact that I’m not good enough yet as a writer to properly create a spoiled brat that we want to read about, I made a few tweaks.  She got a bit more agreeable, but now what she lacked wasn’t moral character so much as time.  She is getting made queen way ahead of schedule, and she doesn’t feel ready for this.

Still wanted to pull out the rug, but now just losing her kingdom wouldn’t be enough.  Since she’s a bit reluctant, losing the monarchy (while certainly devastating on some level) may end up being a strange relief.  I needed to take more from her, and I needed to add enough so that losing the monarchy is unacceptable.  She has to fight to get it back.

This brought me around to magic.  If I made her a spell-slinger of some sort (and a frightfully powerful one at that), and then took her magic away, she’s really gotta figure things out from the ground up.  And thinking about magic… What if magic is hereditary?  What if her mother had the magics too, which makes taking her away doubly painful:  We lose the only person relate-able to this much magical power, and we now face becoming queen before we’re ready.  Sizzling.

This got me toying around with magic:  I wanted something where males and females leveraged magic in different ways.  Females were true spell-slinger wizardy types… The males I decided were item crafters… And Mom overthrew wicked male item-creator government to install an army of women spell-slingers.  Let’s say that’s how she’s losing her throne now… The exiled men have returned, and mom isn’t around to protect them.  This completely negates mom’s work.

Oh.. And one more thing.  Since I now have two halves of magic, I feel the need to add a second main character, a new POV with his own storyline.  Let’s have a male join the story to show his struggle.  For fun, let’s make him the half-brother of our Princess… Except he’s not poised to inherit anything.  For more fun, rather than sharing the queen as a mother, they share the same father… A father who happened to be part of the now exiled prior regime.    This adds all kinds of new layers to explore.  And as I pursue each of their stories, I want to show them each on a mirrored path, but where one learns and grows, the other slips into ruin.

This is the baseline of how I came up with the story.

What are your thoughts?  Too cliche?

How did you start your stories?

Novel Word Count: 12,006

Starting the Novel

I want to take a moment and talk through the process I’m using to write Maega.  It began with a premise surrounding what I wanted to do with magic (I’ll do a post with how the lore evolved).  After this premise, I thought about protagonists.  I decided there’d be two, a male and a female.  Each would have their own story that crossed over with the other continuously.

I started with two new documents, labeled Gavin and Luan (my two heroes).  Within each of these documents, I wrote a summary of their stories.  If the mood struck, I threw in a little dialogue.  Primarily however, I was doing the most raw form of “Tell” imaginable.  Although Gavin and Luan have definite overlap in their stories, I still listed each independently, gathering thoughts or impressions when they pushed to my fingers.

To do this, I leveraged Scrivener, a purchase I still have no regrets for and love.

Exposition.png

This ended up being about 1500-2000 words per character.  After the character outlines, I started breaking these into scenes.  Scrivener makes this easy with CTRL-SHIFT-K, which splits a document.

This gave me the 50+ scenes that are going to form the framework for my book.  Whenever Luan and Gavin had overlap, I merged those scenes.  Then I went through and assigned a POV for each scene.  The POV could be Gavin, Luan, or “Either.”  Scenes.png

I don’t have all the names of the characters yet, nor the towns or locations, but I have a general framework of what I’m going for with the story.

Next steps:

  1. Flesh out my characters with backstory and bios and settings with maps and history.
  2. Take each scene and build a larger summary of each, trying to cover some of the specific details.
  3. Anywhere during the process, if inspiration seizes me, I’ll explore it, whether that’s making a new scene, changing my plan for a scene, or even a theme for the whole novel.  To be safe, I’ll make a snapshot (backup) of the scene before I make changes.

I’ll let you know how those go!

Word Count: 10,504