NaNoWriMo Progress Report: Day 8

Fiction, NaNoWriMo, novel, Writing

So, eight days in and I am finally getting around to writing a progress report. I’m not going to lie – the first week has been stressful, but you know what? I’ve been enjoying working on this story. I don’t know if it’s because I wrote a plan for the first half of my novel, but I’ve yet to reach a point where I’ve gotten stuck or not known where to go. It also feels like everything is flowing really well.

With one week down, I’m feeling completely different to how I felt about my novel, at this point last year when I was already having doubts about my story and was already thinking that it wasn’t flowing and that the story was just weak whilst not really working. To demonstrate, look at how rubbish last years daily word counts were:

 

For so long, I struggled to meet the daily word counts, showing how much I really wasn’t feeling it with my story. This year, however, has so far been completely different:

 

I feel quite proud that every day I’ve managed to be over the daily word count, with the help of some forward planning for the days that I’ve not been able to write. This weekend is going to be another with very little writing, so I’m trying to keep on top of it.

The funny thing is that the further along I get with my story, the more paranoid I get about falling out of love with my story. I’m getting a bit anxious about when I reach the end of my plan, and hope that I can find the time to work on the second half of the plan. But I’m currently still incredibly confident about my story, and that I might actually finish this one. Well, I have written the epilogue after all, so I do know exactly where this story is heading.

How is everyone else doing? I’d love to hear your stories so far 🙂

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Character Breakdown: Katniss Everdeen

Fiction

Perhaps one of the most influential characters of recent years, Katniss Everdeen is definitely one of my all-time favourites, so it only makes sense that she features as my second Character Breakdown.

Disclaimer: This is my interpretation of Katniss, and I’m certain some people will disagree 🙂 I should also note that this interpretation is Katniss at the beginning of the first book, as I didn’t want to give away any spoilers by describing her at the end of the last book, which would have been more fun, I know!!

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

Age: 16

Body build: Medium
Eye color:
Grey
Glasses or contacts:
Neither
Skin tone:
Slightly tanned
Hair color:
Dark Brown
Type of hair:
Thick
Hairstyle:
Long side braid

Personality

Mood character is most often in: Sultry
Sense of humor:
Only comes out with close friends and family
Character’s greatest joy in life:
Hunting
Character’s greatest fear:
Losing everyone that she loves
Why?
Because they mean the world to her, and she and they have been through too  much heart ache and suffering already.
What single event would most throw this character’s life into complete turmoil?
Someone she loves being chosen at The Reaping.
Character is most at ease when:
Gale Hawthorne
Priorities:
Her family, but most importantly her little sister Primrose
Life philosophy:
To keep her family fed and healthy

Past

Hometown: The Seam, District 12
Type of childhood:
Hard, especially following her father’s death. Katniss had to grow up very quickly, taking care of her mother and sister.
Pets:
None
Finances: Very poor

Present

Current location: The Seam, District 12
Currently living with:
Her mother and younger sister Prim
Pets:
Prim’s cat Buttercup, who Katniss hates
Occupation: Student and Hunter
Finances:
Very poor

Family

Mother: Mrs. Everdeen
Relationship with her:
Not very close
Father:
Mr. Everdeen
Relationship with him:
Very close, until he passed away
Siblings:
Younger sister Primrose
Relationship with them:
Katniss is very protective of her sister, in the vain hope that Prim will not have to deal with some of the things she has had to deal with.

Traits

Optimist or pessimist? I actually find this one hard to answer. In a way, I think that she’s been built to naturally expect the worst, but another part of me wants to say that she’s an optimist seizing opportunities.
Introvert or extrovert?
Introvert, in the sense that she’s been built to hide her emotions and keep predominantly to herself.
Daredevil or cautious?
Noting the situations she finds herself in, especially as a hunter, I’d say she’s a daredevil.
Logical or emotional?
Definitely logical. Katniss doesn’t express her emotions and certainly doesn’t let anyone see them.
Disorderly and messy or methodical and neat?
Methodical and neat: you have to be as a hunter
Prefers working or relaxing?
Working, I actually can’t imagine Katniss relaxing.
Confident or unsure of himself/herself?
Confident.
Animal
lover? Only if it’s edible!!!

Relationships with others

Does the character hide his/her true opinions and emotions from others? She hides everything from everyone, and has learnt to look stoic and mean-faced. 
Person character most hates:
Anyone connected to The Capitol
Best friend(s):
Gale Hawthorne and Madge
Love interest(s):
None really, although it’s clear that Gale has feelings for her
Person character goes to for advice:
Gale
Most important person in character’s life before story starts:
Primrose
After story starts:
Primrose

 

Analysis: Katniss is a strong character, not because she’s physically capable – although, of course she is – but because she has to be strong, for the people that she cares about. She’s so desperate to protect Primrose for the life that she herself was forced into by the death of her father, and her mother’s response to his death, that she can’t bear the idea of Prim’s life being the same.

Despite her strength, I love the fact that Katniss is completely flawed. She isn’t perfect and never tries to be.

Character Breakdown: Cloud Strife

Fiction, Writing

We’re always being told how important it is to know our characters backwards, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at existing characters from books, films and videogames to discover what makes up these characters.

The idea is that by breaking a character down, I’m curious to see what we can learn about the creation of a character, and about how they have been pieced together.

This plan might go horribly wrong, or it might be interesting, but I’m going to start with a character that I have spend hundreds of hours of my time controlling, running around, fighting with and of course saving the world with.

Disclaimer: Remember a lot of this could be open to interpretation, so some factors others might not agree with me.

Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII

Character’s full name: Cloud Strife
Birth date: Unknown

Physical appearance

Age: Depends which game you’re playing 😉

Body build: Well-built


Eye color: Blue


Glasses or contacts: Neither

Skin tone: Fair

Hair color: Blonde

Type of hair: Thick

Hairstyle: Spiky

Personality

Mood character is most often in: Grumpy / Thoughtful

Sense of humor: Does he have one? Always seems a little sombre

Character’s greatest joy in life: His Sword / Trying to bring down Shinra / Protecting the world against Sephiroth

Character’s greatest fear: Losing the people he loves

Why? He’s lost a lot of people in his past

What single event would most throw this character’s life into complete turmoil? Realising that the memories that he has, are not his own.

Character is most at ease when: With Tifa

Priorities: Protecting the World


Goals

Drives and motivations:

Immediate goals: To bring down Shinra

Long term goals: To save the World from Sephiroth / Meteor

How the character plans to accomplish these goals: Defeat Sephiroth

How other characters will be affected: Well, they kinda have to fight with him….most of the way!

Past

Hometown: Nibelheim

Type of childhood: Lonely, outsider

Pets: Unknown

Dream job: Being part of SOLDIER

Education: Unknown

Finances: Unknown


Present

Current location: Travelling the World

Currently living with: His Friends

Pets: Does Barrat count?

Religion: Unknown

Occupation: Ex-SOLDIER / Terrorist / Member of AVALANCHE

Finances: Pay from being in AVALANCHE and money that he steals when he kills monsters and the bad guys.

Traits

Optimist or pessimist? Pessimist

Introvert or extrovert? Introvert

Daredevil or cautious? Cautious

Logical or emotional? Logical

Disorderly and messy or methodical and neat? Methodical and neat

Prefers working or relaxing? Working

Confident or unsure of himself/herself? It varies

Animal lover? Only if they’re not attempting to kill him

Relationships with others

Does the character hide his/her true opinions and emotions from others? Hides them

Person character most hates: Sephiroth

Best friend(s): Barrat

Love interest(s): Tifa

Person character goes to for advice: Tifa

Most important person in character’s life before story starts: Himself

After story starts: Tifa


Analysis:

Cloud has always been one of my favourite characters, because he has so much depth. On the surface, he comes across as this miserable pessimist who is only helping out because he needs the money, but delve a bit deeper and he has so much heart, and you realise that he does things for the right reason, but he has difficulty expressing himself. This is especially true with the people that he cares about.

He’s very protective and would do virtually anything for the people who are the most important to him.

He evolves from being a very weak character, to one who is strong, perhaps not always emotionally, but certainly in strength. 

He’ll always be a loner, to some degree.



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Character Breakdown: Cloud Strife

Fiction, Writing

We’re always being told how important it is to know our characters backwards, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at existing characters from books, films and videogames to discover what makes up these characters.

The idea is that by breaking a character down, I’m curious to see what we can learn about the creation of a character, and about how they have been pieced together.

This plan might go horribly wrong, or it might be interesting, but I’m going to start with a character that I have spend hundreds of hours of my time controlling, running around, fighting with and of course saving the world with.

Disclaimer: Remember a lot of this could be open to interpretation, so some factors others might not agree with me.

Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII

Character’s full name: Cloud Strife
Birth date: Unknown

Physical appearance

Age: Depends which game you’re playing 😉

Body build: Well-built


Eye color: Blue


Glasses or contacts: Neither

Skin tone: Fair

Hair color: Blonde

Type of hair: Thick

Hairstyle: Spiky

Personality

Mood character is most often in: Grumpy / Thoughtful

Sense of humor: Does he have one? Always seems a little sombre

Character’s greatest joy in life: His Sword / Trying to bring down Shinra / Protecting the world against Sephiroth

Character’s greatest fear: Losing the people he loves

Why? He’s lost a lot of people in his past

What single event would most throw this character’s life into complete turmoil? Realising that the memories that he has, are not his own.

Character is most at ease when: With Tifa

Priorities: Protecting the World


Goals

Drives and motivations:

Immediate goals: To bring down Shinra

Long term goals: To save the World from Sephiroth / Meteor

How the character plans to accomplish these goals: Defeat Sephiroth

How other characters will be affected: Well, they kinda have to fight with him….most of the way!

Past

Hometown: Nibelheim

Type of childhood: Lonely, outsider

Pets: Unknown

Dream job: Being part of SOLDIER

Education: Unknown

Finances: Unknown


Present

Current location: Travelling the World

Currently living with: His Friends

Pets: Does Barrat count?

Religion: Unknown

Occupation: Ex-SOLDIER / Terrorist / Member of AVALANCHE

Finances: Pay from being in AVALANCHE and money that he steals when he kills monsters and the bad guys.

Traits

Optimist or pessimist? Pessimist

Introvert or extrovert? Introvert

Daredevil or cautious? Cautious

Logical or emotional? Logical

Disorderly and messy or methodical and neat? Methodical and neat

Prefers working or relaxing? Working

Confident or unsure of himself/herself? It varies

Animal lover? Only if they’re not attempting to kill him

Relationships with others

Does the character hide his/her true opinions and emotions from others? Hides them

Person character most hates: Sephiroth

Best friend(s): Barrat

Love interest(s): Tifa

Person character goes to for advice: Tifa

Most important person in character’s life before story starts: Himself

After story starts: Tifa


Analysis:

Cloud has always been one of my favourite characters, because he has so much depth. On the surface, he comes across as this miserable pessimist who is only helping out because he needs the money, but delve a bit deeper and he has so much heart, and you realise that he does things for the right reason, but he has difficulty expressing himself. This is especially true with the people that he cares about.

He’s very protective and would do virtually anything for the people who are the most important to him.

He evolves from being a very weak character, to one who is strong, perhaps not always emotionally, but certainly in strength. 

He’ll always be a loner, to some degree.



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Random Scribblings #5

Fiction, random scribblings

Prompt: She stared into the darkness.

She stared into the darkness. Well, what else was she going to do, at two o’clock in the morning, with a raging headache and Baby Girl playing havoc on her bladder. Lucy considered getting out of bed, and going to the bathroom, for the tenth time that night (yes, she really had been counting!), but it was so comfy here and warm, and nope, she was going to have to go.

The laminate floor in the bathroom was freezing cold, but she couldn’t remember where she’d put her slippers. She could never remember where she left them, or pretty much anything, in this ridiculous flat. It was too small, too cramped and there was nowhere near enough room for one person, let alone two and all of Baby Girl’s stuff. Goodness knows what was going to happen once Baby Girl actually landed, and started spreading out around the place, which really was not going to happen, because there was nowhere for her to spread out to. Heck, this kid was never going to learn to crawl, or walk, or perhaps even breathe, because that would take up too much space. Of course, Lucy was mostly joking. Mostly. She couldn’t deny that her due date was making her nervous, of course it was. She’d never had a baby before, she’d never had to take care of anyone before. Well, unless you count the mouse that lived in the space behind her wardrobe, at the old flat, but Lucy really didn’t. She shuddered at the memory, and flushed the loo. She stood in front of the sink, and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked dreadful. Whoever said that morning sickness was the worst part of pregnancy, was clearly deluding themselves.

I find it interesting that I went back to “Lucy” with this prompt, because it’s the first time that I’ve ever written anything for that story, in third person, and I loved how easily it flowed, whilst still allowing me to get into her head. Seriously considering writing it completely in third person.

Random Scribblings #2

Fiction, Writing

Starting Point: Write about a third date

Initial thoughts: My first thought before starting this task, was on a pairing from a story I’ve been working on for a really long time. It’s actually a novel that I’ve considered as my next NaNoWriMo, just because it’s something that I really need to get out, once and for all, without going back and changing things. But, anyway, this is the third date between two characters: Lucy ( a Barmaid) and Richard (a Solicitor). It’s fair to say, this won’t be a conventional third date….

[From Lucy’s P.O.V.]

You know when you’re on a date, and everything is going really well, but all of a sudden you remember that you have to tell the other person something. And that something is something that you don’t particularly want to tell them, because you know, this is only a third date, and you don’t know him that well. I mean, Richard is a really nice guy, and I mean a really times a million, kind of nice guy. He’s the kind of guy that you’d take home to your mother, if she was alive. And that your Dad wouldn’t want to shoot, if he wasn’t in prison. And you’d trust him with your sister, if you had one. But nice guys like that, I don’t think that they like to hear stuff like I need to tell him. I know that he’d do the right thing, but is that how I want things to pan out? Probably not.

I realise that I’ve been playing around with my spaghetti for five minutes, and even though he’s been talking non-stop, I don’t think I’ve heard a word that Richard has said. I look at him, and half listen. He’s talking about Margaret Thatcher. I think. Politics has never been that interesting. I know she’s the Prime Minister and whatnot, but yeah, that’s about it. I wonder to myself if I look bored. I try to smile, but the nerves get the better of me, and I hate to think what kind of irksome face I am actually pulling, so I force my cheek muscles back down again. The waiter comes over, and offers us some more wine, but to be fair, the first glass was probably more than I should have accepted, and fortunately Richard turns it down, apparently he has a big meeting in the morning.

“Oh right, the business?” I said, genuinely smiling, but really thankful of an opportunity to change the subject, “Did you finalise that contract, deal-thing that you were talking about?”

Richard can tell that I don’t really understand the business side of things. He smiles, and looks at me, “You know what? All I’ve done is talk since we sat down. Are you okay? You seem….distant.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m…I’m absolutely fine. I just…” I nearly blurt it out, and just say it, but the words won’t form in my mouth, “I’m just feeling a bit under the weather, that’s all.” Okay, so it wasn’t entirely a lie, I wasn’t feeling too good. But seriously, why is it so hard to just tell him? Tell him. Tell him. Tell him. I looked up, and realised that Richard was looking at me. “Oh god.” I wanted to die, “I just said that out loud, didn’t I?”

“Pretty much. Tell me what?” He said, slowly and I could tell he was getting nervous.

“I…okay, I’m just going to say it….I’m pregnant.” And that is the die-hard way of ending a third date with a hot guy, who is way too nice for you. Or so I thought, because actually Richard’s face looked a lot more “chilled” than I was expecting it to. “You heard what I just said right?”

“Oh yeah, I definitely heard you.” He coughed nervously, and wiped his mouth with an over-sized napkin, “Well, of all the third dates I’ve ever had…all two of them. This has to be the most interesting.”

“Two? You’ve only ever had two third dates? Two? Really?” I think about that for a little while, wondering how that is even possible, and realise that he’s looking at me, “Okay, not the point. But, for the record, is that good interesting, bad interesting or somewhat mediocre?”

“Just interesting. Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. I took a million test things, and sure enough they all popped up the same way. And then the doctor confirmed it. so, yeah, I’m 100% certain.”

“That is pretty certain.” His calmness makes me nervous. When I was thirteen, a girl in the year above got herself pregnant by one of the boys in the Upper Sixth. She’d gone around telling everyone that she was going to drop out of school, and that her and her amazingly perfect older boyfriend were going to get a Council House and he’d get a job, whilst she raised their baby. Of course, it didn’t turn out like that. He freaked out, dumped her and the next thing we knew, his entire family had moved to the other side of the country. Coincidence, maybe. But, it didn’t really make me feel confident about telling Richard, who also happened to be my older boyfriend. “And are you gonna…”

“I don’t know.” I interrupt, knowing exactly what he wants to ask, “I wanted to see what you thought about it.”

He nods slightly, and smiles, “I think that it’s your choice. And if you wanna keep it, then I’ll stand by you. But, if you don’t, I can sort it out…”

“Wow. That really isn’t the response that I was expecting.”

“What were you expecting.”

“Okay, so I had two scenarios. First, you freak out. You then  accuse me of sleeping around. You of course dump me on the spot, which leads to an enormous and very loud, public argument that involves the management throwing us out and banning us from returning for life. I then become a single mother, who is a terrible parent and ends up leaving her kid on the doorstep of some church. You, unable to hide the guilt of dumping said love-child, top yourself by jumping off a really high bridge.”

Richard laughs, “And the second, hopefully not so crazy scenario?”

“Ah, the romantic scenario. You assure me that I am going to keep it. Then you start arranging this huge elaborate wedding, in a big castle, in Scotland, in front of a thousand guests….”

“A thousand?” Richard snorts.

“Hey, this is my scenario. But, your parents don’t particularly like me, so they refuse to come. Fifteen years time, my kid hates me because I’m a terrible mother. You hate me because I ruined your career, and I float down the canal with a nice big bottle of Vodka.”

“Wow. You watch too much Dynasty.”

“I know. It’s an illness.”

Tag Challenge: Day 15: A Fanfic

fanfiction, Fiction, Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts, Tag, Video game, Writers Resources

Count Your SheepImage via Wikipedia

When I was at Uni, I used to read a lot of online comics (the only one that I still read is called Count your Sheep, so funny, so cute, check it out ;-D), but one of them I used to read/watch was a fanfic of the old video games: Secret of Mana. I have to admit that I haven’t looked at that fanfic in years, so I don’t know if it still exists, but I couldn’t find it at all when I did a (very) quick Google search for it, but I’m not really certain what it was called, or even where the author hosted it. But I’m fairly certain that the author had taken proper in-game footage and added his own “talk” to it, it was really clever, and as somone who had never played the games, that comic made me want to! The sign of a good fanfic!
Tetsuya Nomura's designs of the main playable ...Image via WikipediaAs a writer, Fanfiction is one type of writing that I have just never been able to “master”. Long before I played the Final Fantasy and Disney crossover games Kingdom Hearts, I actually attempted to write my own fanfic using characters from Final Fantasy VII, VIII IX and X, in a world where they all existed together. Unfortunately, my fanfic didn’t get very far.

My problem is that for a fanfic, you need to take someone elses settings, their characters and their characterisations. But, being someone who  gets a huge amount of pleasure from creating characters, I found it incredibly difficult to mould myself around these characters, rather than moulding them around me, as I normally would.

For that reason alone, I have the utmost respect for anyone who can write Fanfic well, and when I say well, there are an unfortunate amount of “writers” who write poor fanfics, so finding a true gem is such a special thing.

One issue I have with writing fanfics, is that even if you write the best piece of literature since War and Peace (open to great debate, of coure especially since I’ve never read the book and have no intention of ever reading it!! Life’stoo short haha!), you will never really get that much recognition for all of your hard work. Even if people like it, you just know that you could never get it published because it’s legally someone elses creation, with your words. And, unless the original (probably very wealthy) creator is feeling generous,they’re unlikely to actually let you have the copyright to use it. It’s a huge shame.

But, like what I was saying in yesterday’s Non-Fiction blog, about buying Gaming games, and owning merchandise, writing fan fiction is like shouting to the world about how much you love something, and it kind of helps to keep it alive long after the book/film/game has ended and for a lot of people I think that is really quite special.

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Tag Challenge: Day 12: Whatever Tickles my Fancy

Fiction, Tag, when angels deserve to die

Day 12: Whatever Tickles my Fancy

A few nights ago, I was having a conversation with the boyfriend, and I realised that I haven’t done any writing for myself in…I can’t even remember how long! When I say “for myself”, I mean fiction writing. It’s quite sad that it’s been so long, because writing has been my personal solace since a really young age. So, this morning I decided to set up another blog dedicated to a story that I’ve been working on for a long time.

The idea is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be read in the order that I write it, which is why I’ve given the reader the opportunity to read through it by year, rather than chapter. Of course, it can be read in order!

Click the picture below to check out how it’s going, and don’t forget to leave some feedback 🙂

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