Know The Novel – Part Two: Project Goblin’s Steady Decline

good morning, cyberspace!

Aaaaaaand we’re back! Turns out November was not the month of intense creativity that I had so auspiciously predicted back in October. November has miraculously come and gone in a blip, and I’m sitting here at the end of it wondering how on earth we ended up here so quickly.

Back in October, I told y’all that I was going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I even went so far as to announce which project I would be working on, shared many of the story world’s nifty details, and even promised that a whole bunch of NaNo crazy was going to be coming your way within the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, none of this happened. Which is a shame, obviously, but–as I mentioned above–November was nothing like I had planned. There was a lot of personal growth done, as well as hitting a severe creative slump during the first half of the month which crippled me creatively for a solid two weeks. But I’ve finally started to break through it, and even though my manuscript isn’t near as plump as I would like for the final day of NaNoWriMo, I am definitely all the wiser and–dare I say it–healthier than when I started.

So today, to jump back into blogging and reorient both myself and you guys into the project I’m working on, I’m going to be participating in Part Two of Christine Smith’s Know The Novel linkup! You can read Part One right here, or just dive right in to find out how my writing went–or, more accurately, didn’t go–this month!

KNOW THE NOVEL – PART TWO: PROJECT GOBLIN’S STEADY DECLINE

i. How’s the writing going overall?

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. To be honest, not very well. XD As I mentioned above, this month was pretty bad creativity-wise for me. I totally thought I’d be able to crank out a solid 15-20k before the end of November, but it turns out that I’ve barely managed to write *checks notes* 10,000 words.

…which is actually a lot less depressing than I thought it would be.

Knowing what I’ve been going through this month, I’m actually really proud of the progress I have made on this story, and also with all the love and enthusiasm that I’ve continued to hold for this project. I still have a LONG way to go before hitting the end, but I’ve been wanting to write this story for so long that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to keep plugging away at it until I eventually find my way. It just might take a little longer than initially planned, and that’s okay. Every story is different, as they like to say, and if this book takes me a whole year where Project Sunset only took me a few months, I’m going to be okay with that.

ii. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

The discovery! I’ve made many little discoveries just within this month alone–such as the fact that my one character, who, for as long as I could recall, was mute, actually can talk. And not only can she talk, but she’s also extremely snarky with what few words she chooses to say.

Or the incredible epiphany I had about my villain, which I wholly and 100% owe to the beautiful Phoebe, who introduced me to this song right here.

10,000 words isn’t a whole lot to find discoveries within, but the ones that I have found have made what little progress I’ve made so entirely worth it.

iii. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

Okay, so this one is easy: I adore them. Each and every one is so weird and quirky and odd, and it’s so refreshing to write a cast that freaks me out as much as they fascinate me.

As far as who my favorite is to write about … I would probably have to say Todd. He’s by far the toughest nut of a protagonist that I’ve ever had to crack, but there’s something about his confusing personality that intrigues me. And I know that once I finally crack him open, I’m going to absolutely fall in love with this weird, awkward individual.

iv. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

I don’t think I’ve written enough of it yet to truly be surprised, but I definitely have had some AHA! moments that really helped deepen my love of this universe. As I mentioned above, I had this absolutely delicious idea for my villain, who–up until this point–had been nothing more than a vague blip on my radar. But now I have his character pinned down a little better, and I am SO. STINKIN’. EXCITED. to get to him within the narrative!!! It’s going to be amazing…

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that my goblins have voices. And use English. I was thinking I was going to have to create an entire goblin language for these weird little creatures, but alas. They popped into the story speaking words and talking about ripping out spines and I just adore them to pieces already.

v. Have you come across any problem areas?

I have, actually! My main problematic area has been struggling to get into Todd’s head, especially within the first few chapters of the story. These are the pivotal scenes where we learn his character and motives and what and who he’ll risk everything for, and I feel like I’ve done a rather poor job of setting that up before the adventure begins.

However, as I write this, I now realize that things like this take time and finesse–two things which don’t typically come with a first draft. So maybe my problem is more my inability to let myself to move forward and enjoy the discovery of it all. Maybe I’m clinging too much to the idea that this draft has to be perfect that I’m not giving myself the chance to discover who Todd really is.

….and I think I just blogged myself out of my writer’s block, guys.

vi. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Aside from the fact that I just figured out where my writer’s block came from, I think my biggest victory has been in creating an outline that works for me, rather than against me. I suppose this could be attributed more to the planning stage of this novel, rather than the writing of it, but outlines have always been so negative for me. So the fact I’ve been able to create one which I actually enjoyed writing and–more importantly–following feels huge. I love my outline. I love how vague yet stable it is. I love knowing that if I’m ever stuck, I can follow my Plot Checkpoint map and get myself back on track within a matter of minutes.

But as far as actual writing goes, I just really love getting to know my characters better. They’re all so strange and different, and I’m loving every second I get to spend with them.

vii. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

Okay, Christine, WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO ASK SUCH FASCINATING QUESTIONS. I am in awe over here, okay.

But I digress. I’d really like to answer this question as truthfully as possible, and I’m not entirely sure what the answer is.

Part of me says I’d be Iniko–the strange old wizard who likes hitting people over the head with his cane and saying things like “aye” and “ye bloody idiot”. But then another part of me says I’d be Jasper–a scarecrow with a horrible sense of humor and a penchant for setting things on fire.

And then, clawing in the back of my head like the annoying little turnip that he is, Reality tells me that I would most definitely be Todd. Because he is awkward and strange and does virtually nothing with his life until two knobbly goblins come crashing through a crack in his wall.

And I mean, if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is. XD

As far as actions go, I honestly can’t say I’d do anything differently than any of these characters. If I was Iniko, I would 100% do everything he’s been doing (including dying, which … I mean, we’ll get into that later). If Jasper, I would probably accidentally set my hair on fire, but I’d definitely still pester Martin to the end of days and continue to make a fool out of myself willingly.

And if I were Todd … well, I think I’d still make the choices he’s going to make. What those choices are, I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have p l a n s, and out of most of those plans, I think I’d make the same calls as he will. After all, it’s not like I’m giving him much of a choice…. *insert mysterious snickering*

viii. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

And here’s where things are gonna get scary. XD Oh goodness. I hate sharing first draft material, but I guess I must. You know, since it’s part of the tag. please don’t judge me, peasants

OPENING PARAGRAPH

She wouldn’t smile. That was the thing about girls—no matter how hard you tried, they refused to smile, especially if they were in a a sour mood. And the girl staring back at Bartholomew Todd was in the sourest mood of them all.

SNIPPET ONE

A gush of wind whooshed through the room, whipping Todd’s hair back against his forehead. The crack in the wall was now a solid three feet wide—large enough for Todd to make out the creatures standing on the other side of it.
There were two of them. Short and crooked, with long legs and stubby bodies that sat plumply above their thin, knobbly knees. Thick, square heads perched atop their chubby torsos, made even larger by the size of their enormous, gleaming eyes, thick as dinner plates. Cinched ears poked out on either side of those enormous heads, thin and stumpy in comparison with the rest of them.
Todd’s heart snagged in his chest, and his hand instinctively reached for the first thing he could think of to defend himself: the desk light.
The plug yanked out of its socket, and the metal burned cold into Todd’s skin, but he hardly noticed it as the creatures within the crack poked their large, knobby heads into his apartment. Their giant eyes caught the moonlight and reflected black, catching on Todd almost immediately.
“It’s another one,” the first one hissed, his nose cinching in disgust. “Rotten smellies. Should have known from the stench.”
“We should takes it with us. Give it to his Highny-ness. He wouldn’t chop our toesies off if we broughts him a present…”
“Or perhaps we could eats it. Snap its little head off and drink from its inner juices. It’s been far too long since we’ve eaten real flesh…”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t like that very much, no-how.”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t have to know. We could break his spiny ridges and make his Highny-ness a nice new comb.”

SNIPPET TWO

“Is he dead?”
“Uh-huh.”
“How do you know?”
“He looks dead, don’t he?’
“That don’t mean he’s dead.”
“Yeah huh.”
“Nuh uh.”
“Does, too!”
“Prove it.”
“How?”
“Poke him with a stick.”

SNIPPET THREE

“Yer the one who dodged in front of that curse, my dear,” Iniko said from the fireplace, where he was throwing an extra bundle of wood onto the sad smoke pile. “I didn’t ask you to do it.” His voice broke through Todd’s examination of the room, startling him enough to make him jump. The shadow eyed him warily, and Todd fidgeted, wringing his hands together to keep them from trembling.
The potted tulip was not amused.
“I saved your life, you idiot,” she sniffed. “You didn’t have to ask. But a simple thank you would have been appreciated.”
“I did thank ye.”
“You put me in a pot!”
“And thereby saved yer life in return. Yer welcome.” Bouncing up onto his tip toes, Iniko grabbed a watering can off the mantel and waved it towards the flower, driblets of water plopping to the creaky wooden floor. “Speakin’ of, ye need a drink, love?”
The tulip scowled, her eyes becoming slits in her petals. “I loathe you.”
“You look dry.”

…I’m not entirely sure what to think of these snippets, to be honest. XD

ix. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)

Oh goodness, I wish I’d changed projects entirely. That might have helped me through some of my writer’s block. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that switching projects this early on only feeds my bad habit of never finishing anything, so the only choice I have is to persevere.

However, I think the most interesting thing that I’ve witnessed so far with the creation of this novel has been how difficult it is to sink into this story world I’ve spent so much time dreaming about. It’s like I’m so invested in what I want this world to be that I can’t allow myself to write the world as it is. I know in my heart that things never come out on the page as they are in my head, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I could just splat everything I’ve ever conjured up about this book into a document and sift through it, stitching the pieces together until its in some semblance of coherency.

So I guess that’s my next step moving forward: stop pressuring myself to write everything perfectly from the get-go. Stop romanticizing the perfect worldbuilding and plot twists. Stop holding myself up to a standard which will come in later drafts and just write.

I feel like I go through this with every single first draft I write, but now that I know this is what’s causing a block, perhaps I’ll be able to actually write through it.

x. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

Oh goodness. A normal writing day this month looks like me glancing at my computer, yawning, and then picking up my kindle to watch Netflix before inevitably taking a nap. XD

This month has been a strange one, guys, I’m not gonna lie.

But a typical writing day for me normally looks like me grabbing my laptop and bullet journal sometime in the afternoon or early evening, sitting down at either the desk by my bird cage or our dining room table, and popping in my earbuds before writing for a solid hour or two. If I’m REALLY trying to push a specific wordcount, I’ll stay up until 10 or 11 writing. If I have to work the next day, I’ll write earlier in the afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep.

Back when I worked at a thrift store and typically worked the night shift, staying up until well past midnight was the norm for me and my writing. I would camp out in my room with a blanket and my laptop and write late into the night, listening to the night sounds outside and reveling in the fact that I was doing something magical while the rest of the world slept. Now that I work at a coffee shop and open, however, I’m in bed by 9 o’clock. Which, you know, makes writing into the night a tad bit difficult. XD

It does come with its perks, though! For one thing, I’m typically home by 2:30, which means that the rest of the day is open for my creative endeavors. and now that I’m finally beginning to settle at my new job–YEET!–I’m excited to start using those afternoons for my writing.

So, swiveling back around to the point of this ramble, I don’t really know what my current writing day looks like. But by golly, I’d love to find out. Perhaps I’ll have to experiment and write a blog post on it someday…. *side-eyes teetering future blog post pile*

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

And that, my friends, was part two of the Know The Novel linkup! I know my answers were a bit vague and mysterious, but like … I really haven’t written that much this month. XD Ah, well. There’s always December, right?

Anyway, let’s talk, shall we? What kinds of projects have you been working on this month? Have you been productive, or did your brain–like mine–decide you needed some unforeseen rest? Is anyone else sort of freaking out that Christmas is only 26 days away? And what sorts of books have y’all been reading? (i’m on a massive book binge, so any recs are wholly and completely appreciated XD)

For everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, I’d LOVE to hear all about your stories! And if you’ve written any blog posts about your current projects, PLEASE send me links! I’d love to read them!

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…

Know The Novel – Part One: Re-introducing Project Goblin!

good morning, cyberspace!

My sincerest apologies for not having a blog post out this past week. I’ve been rearranging some things in my life, and apparently blogging fell a little bit by the wayside. Y’all know how it is. XD

Anyway! As I’m sure most–if not all–of you are aware, NaNoWriMo is once again on its way! In fact, we only have *checks watch* TWO DAYS (three days? my watch is a bit off, it seems) before it arrives! Which also means that October has somehow disappeared into the void behind us, but I digress. Time has no solidity in 2020.

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NaNoWriMo 2020: Should You Participate?

good morning, cyberspace!

That title is unapologetically clickbait and NO. I shall not change it. Mwahahahahaha. *coughs and adjusts the neck of my cape awkwardly* Ahem.

So as you can probably tell from the subtle bite in the air, October is quickly approaching. Or approaching as quickly as anything is expected to approach this year, which means that time is completely irrelevant and doesn’t exist. We could wake up to a fierce December snowstorm tomorrow and no one would bat an eye. But I digress. October is coming, and with it comes preptober, and for any well-worn NaNo veteran, you know exactly what this means:

The screaming.

The hair-pulling.

The sleep-deprivation.

NaNoWriMo is nigh upon us, my friends. And this year–not for the last time–I’m questioning whether or not to participate. And since I know for a fact that I’m not the only writer pondering this *waves happily at my writing group* I thought it would be fun to go over some of the pros and cons of NaNoWriMo that will more or less affect my decision on whether or not to participate.

Whether or not you choose to participate this year is completely up to you, of course, and I’m not here to sway you to either side–though you would think that is the purpose of this post. Some of the things that I consider cons might be meaningless to you, and that is perfectly okay. We’re all friends here. We can settle our differences over pitchfork battles and tea.

But before we start sharpening our blades, let’s discuss the actual pros and cons.

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So This Is Christmas. . . (feat. a brief November recap, where I’ve been, what I’m reading, and a mess of a blog post)

WARNING: this post has virtually no direction whatsoever. please excuse the mess that awaits your eyeballs, for it has been a while since I have even thought about blogging. thank you.



good morning, cyberspace!

Goodness. It’s been a hot second since I’ve hopped onto the blogosphere, hasn’t it? I had every good intention of keeping you all updated on my NaNoWriMo progress throughout November, but that idea kinda fizzled into nonexistence once the month actually began. Truth is, November was a roller coaster. A crazy, hectic, maniacal beast of a roller coaster (please see the screen grab below), and I’m really quite surprised that I even made it out alive.

But the important thing is that I am alive, and I did survive, and, even though I have virtually no blog posts to commemorate or acknowledge last month, by golly, we did it, folks!

I mean, yes, I completely and miserably failed NaNoWriMo, but let’s just forget about that little issue for the moment, shall we? Aha. Hahahaha. Ha.Read More »

The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad: My 2018 NaNoWriMo Dare Squad Dares!

good morning, cyberspace!

For the past two years, I’ve run a little something during the month of November called The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad. For those of you who maybe don’t know what on earth this is, here’s the entire playlist of posts that may enlighten you to the gloriousness that the Dare Squad was. (though I highly recommend checking out the very first Dare Squad post if you’re trying to find information, because that one probably explains it pretty well. [lol, you actually think I’m going to read through it to see if it ACTUALLY explains what the dare squad is? nah, bruh.])

Now, due to an unholy amount of stress that I’ve been slowly working my way through, I will NOT be resurrecting the Dare Squad again this year. (trust me. this saddens me greatly, peasants.) BUT. Since a promise is a promise and I am–quite frankly–tired of not doing the things I say I’ll do, I am here today with MY dare from last year’s Dare Squad!Read More »

Know The Novel: Introduction! — In Which The Bean Writes a Book (NaNoWriMo 2019)

good morning, cyberspace!

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colors. The pumpkins are getting gutted and carved. The apples are being plucked from their leafy boughs. And the writers have started their yearly tradition of hoarding immense amounts of chocolate and screaming to the new blood moon whilst trying to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November.

NaNoWriMo season is officially upon us, and I am 100% not prepared.

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NaNoWriMo Week Two Update // breaking the rules, hitting a milestone, and oops, oh look, I forgot about the Dare Squad again

good morning, cyberspace!

Week two of NaNoWrimo has officially come and gone, which means we have finally broken into the final half of this crazy adventure of writing a book in a month. It’s hard for me to believe that we’re already halfway through November, but I guess it just goes to show that time truly does fly when you’re having fun.

Or. . .you know. . .when you’re quietly sobbing into your cereal each morning because you still have to write another 1,667 words before the day is through. Whichever floats your boat, my friends.

But anyway, now that week two has drawn to a close, I think now is the perfect time to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned over the past few days.

Or rather, to tell you guys just how big of a NaNoWriMo hypocrite I am, because I totally did something over the weekend that literally EVERYONE tells you never to do during The NaNo. Aha.

Let’s get this ball rolling, shall we?

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NaNoWriMo Week One (and two days) // Struggles, Triumphs, An Unexpected Speech About Burnt Toast, and Killing the Dare Squad Hub

Photo by Jimena on Unsplash

good morning, cyberspace!

I told myself I wasn’t going to do weekly update posts for NaNoWriMo this year. I told myself that I was going to focus solely on my book, that I had a whole mess of other things going on in November, and blogging about the whole writing process was just too much for my smol little self to handle.

I promised myself I wasn’t going to do weekly updates for NaNoWriMo this year.

. . .

. . .

. . .

Welcome to my weekly NaNoWriMo update, peasants.Read More »

Happy NaNoWriMo, Everybody! — A Day One Pep Talk

good morning, cyberspace!

and welcome to the VERY FIRST DAY OF NANOWRIMO, 2018!!! ASDFGHJKL!! Even though I’m writing this post exactly six days in advance, I still cannot stop myself from getting the extreme nervous jitters every single time I think about the fact that it is officially time to begin The NaNo.

*insert incoherent screaming here*

I honestly cannot believe that it is November yet again. It feels like just yesterday that I started the first draft of everlost in 2016, and yet here we are, beginning a brand new November with a brand new story in a brand new year. And though I’m extremely pumped to be able to begin a new story after two entire years of working on everlost, it’s still just plain terrifying to think about.

So for today’s smudge I decided to do a pep talk. I’m not sure if I’m going to write any more of these throughout the month (i’m going to be focusing primarily on writing my book for the next thirty days, which means the blog might slip somewhere into The Land of Desolation), but for today — for Day One of NaNoWriMo — I figured we could all use a little kick in the pants to get us to start writing.

. . .okay. So maybe I just needed someone to give me a kick in the pants to force me to start writing. Aha. Hahahahahaha.

#someonepleasehelpme

So without further ado, let’s get on with the pep! *flings peppermint and pompoms at your face*Read More »

The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad – Season Two! // some basic info,dare board reveals, and a few smol polls for y’olls

good morning, cyberspace!

Today is a very exciting day for me, you guys! NaNoWriMo — the single-most glorious writing event of the entire year — is finally returning! In just 8 short days (or less or more, depending on where you live in this great, big, beautiful world), writers from all over the planet are going to whip out their pens, their pencils, their notebooks, their laptops, their clay tablets, their typewriters and write 50,000 words in a single month.

Or, you know. . .as many words as you’d like to write, I suppose. There is no judgement here, folks.

Some of us will be rebels. Some of us will be traditionalists. Some of us will go above and beyond and pump out a whopping 100k in less than thirty days. (I will not be among these few, of course.) Some of us will fail. Some of us will win.

However, no matter what this month looks like for you — whether you’re writing 50k or 30 — I want this NaNoWriMo to be one that none of us will ever forget. And how do I plan to do this, you ask?

Easy. We’re going to be playing a game.

And if you happened to be among those who read my last blog post, you will know exactly which game I’m talking about. . .

That’s right, folks! Today we’re going to be talking about ALL OF THE THINGS pertaining to the NaNoWriMo Dare Squad!Read More »