Category: Updates (page 1 of 2)

A Girl of Rumours snippet

Hey people,

I’m still working my way towards my Camp NaNoWriMo goal. 6 hours to go. I’ll make it. Somehow. Just have to not get distracted by everyone’s pictures from Realm Makers. Or by next months sewing project.

Anyway, I haven’t got a normal blog post. I’ve got ideas simmering, but not time to write them. Some deep stuff. Possibly a super short story I started writing last night. So instead I have a little snippet from what I’m editing at the moment. It needs a lot more work, especially on Joane’s appearance, but I still like it. Enjoy.

 

After a very long minute there was a noise of footsteps from the left. A dark, lithe girl stepped out of the shadows and strode over to them. She looked Aydel up and down with cold, piercing, green eyes.
She turned to Nylf. “So, this is the famed girl of the rumours. She looks like nothing more than a careless rich girl.” He tone was scornful and Aydel took a step backwards.
“She’s more than she looks, Joane,” Nylf said, “She put a knife to my throat and fought her way free of some thugs at the fair. And if you give her a bit of training we’ll have someone worthwhile on our hands.”
Joane’s lip curled. “I’ve heard about that and the rest of your activities that day. You were sloppy and were lucky not to be caught. And it’s Lady Joane to you.” She swiveled round and faced Aydel, hands on her hips. “So Adlayda, welcome to Nowhere. I am Lady Joane. I’m sure ya’ve heard of me.”
Aydel hadn’t, and she didn’t care for the girl’s manner of speaking. “If you want me to answer you, call me Lady Aydel. And what made you a lady? You don’t even look like one. Ladies don’t wear pants.”
“They do when I say so. I’m in charge here. You’ll find your skirts a nuisance, Adlayda and wish you hadn’t said that.”
She turned abruptly and stomped off.

The Story of a Name and an Announcement

I expected everyone reading this blog has realized that I don’t use my real name. It’s also probably not a surprise to find out my real name is Brianna.

In fact it’s the name I’m most used to. I didn’t have a nickname as a child unless you count my little brother mispronouncing it. It was always my full name. Quite a few years back now, a friend gave me the nickname Breeze, but forgot it again. I didn’t forget and took it as an internet name. Later on, I replaced that with Bria Snow.

I didn’t think that would be a good pen name though. It might not matter, but I’d heard that it’s better to have a name in the first half of the alphabet. So I twisted my name around all backwards to come up with something that did work. Not long after that, I started my blog. That was the impulsive decision that got me semi-stuck with the name.

Yes, I do like brie cheese.

I always was reticent about sharing the existence of my blog with people I meant in real life. I was afraid they might find the pen name silly. I’m now realizing it was because I wasn’t confident it was the right name. I felt it was a little silly. The few times my mother has sent me an email with a correction I needed to make and used my pen-name it seemed strange. Maybe because she never uses my real last name.

After a while, I started to get tired of being called Anna. It’s a pretty common name, and I just didn’t feel it fit me. Even though I use Brianna in everyday life, I’ve never minded being called Bri. I rather like it in fact. But if that was now my last name I couldn’t be called by it without more awkwardness.

Even though I’ve tried my best to be honest and real in what I say on my blog, I still felt like I had split myself into two people. Both of them were me, but they had different friends. I wanted to integrate them more, but the names conflicted. I felt as if I would have to explain it too much.

So I started thinking of getting a new pen name. It was the end of September when I found one I liked. Something with Brie as my first name. Something with a rare, but easy to spell last name which felt right. I didn’t want to pick just any random last name that belonged to someone else. So here it is: Brie Donning.

You might wonder while I took so long to make a change. There are a few reasons. One is that I didn’t want to make the mistake of choosing a name hastily again. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to start hating it. Another reason was that I didn’t want to appear flaky. I’d had my blog for less than a year then, and wasn’t ready to change. Third reason is that I have something else I wasn’t ready to announce. (And there is the fact that I didn’t want to build a new website/blog then. In fact I’d still rather not do it. Web design isn’t really my thing.)

Since then I’ve started using Brie Donning in a couple of places and been connecting to more writers using Facebook (where I go by my real name). I’ve been detaching from my old pen name. It doesn’t feel like my name any more. Just the name of my writing blog. I can’t not change now.

My other announcement is that I’ll be offering my services as an editor. Doing beta reading has let me see that I  would enjoy being an editor. Helping good books be better and get published is something I love doing and I’m brilliant at noticing typos. Unless they’re my own that is.

Granted this isn’t the only idea I’ve had to help people with their books. At one point I wanted to be an audio book narrator, but I hate fixing my recordings. If there was a job that involved promoting all my favourite books I’d love that too. But authors have street teams, not paid publicists and publishers have books I wouldn’t be excited about, so it’s not happening.

I started thinking about becoming an editor before I decided to change my pen name, but I always felt that I wouldn’t do it under the name Anna S, Brie. Once again I’d subconsciously thought it sounded less professional.

The long and the short of it is that I’m going to have a new website opening up early next month under my new name and I’ll be changing the names on all my social media. I don’t know exactly how long things will take, but they’ll happen. As you can all see I’ve done most of the work on having a new look.

I am Brie Donning, signing out. God bless you all.

Beautiful Books: NaNoWriMo Update!!!

So I started writing this post in the first week of November. Now I’ve finally finished it. I also finished NaNoWriMo for the first time half an hour ago!!!

So I’m doing the Beautiful Books link up by Cait@Paper Fury and Skye@Further Up and Further In.


Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

My mental state is fine. (Read elated and hugging everyone now)I went into NaNo expecting to fail. On Day two I changed my mind. It hasn’t changed back yet. I am almost there now and completely confident I can make it. Now I’m done!!! My novel on the other hand is a mess. The middle came together better than I expected at the start, but there are huge bits I haven’t written and entire plot thread I’ve missed. It’ll probably need to be rewritten in entirety. But I don’t care. Keeping the story in my head is rather pointless.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

I didn’t start at the beginning, and the beginning I do have I’m not happy with.(and I’ve already written two versions) Further more I’m not 100% sure what bit I wrote first this month. so I’ll share both. 

This month: The ambassador bowed, showing a bald patch in his greasy black hair.

Very beginning: However nice it is to be surrounded by sycophants, sometimes a girl just needs the presence of a good strong man. Natalia rose to the tips of her shoes and scanned the milling crowd.


Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Early in the month, Natalia’s half brother Alexos. he’s kind of inspired by my brother and is very adventurous. there’s also a couple of tertiary (I think. My secondary and tertiary characters like to get mixed up) characters, who are fun. A super enthusiastic, irrepressible maid and a mad sea captain.

Since then I’ve become rather fond of Luca and Lorenzo in particular, but all my character are working their way into my affections.
What do you love about your novel so far?

New ideas for what should happen keep coming. I never intended to have all my characters pretending to be someone else, but it happens. (a good number at least)

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
Nataia, Natlai, Natali, Matali, Natatalai, Naltai, Nalatai; I can’t type my main character’s name, It’s a bit of a nuisance. Natlai is the most common mistake. (When trying to type it wrong it came out right somehow.)
What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
I like it when things go really well and pull together in surprising ways, and that happens most in endings. but all of it can be fun.
What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
Shelves new yesterday!

I often, but not always listen to music. Getting a good bit of writing down in the morning is a goal, but I do it later in the day as well, including quite late.

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone?
I don’t tend to share much because my work is full of typos, but being able to talk about the joys and trials is important. And sometimes I just need someone to help me focus. Kendra E. Ardnek has been great with that. She does share it, and that also keeps me from getting too stuck in my own head. And when I felt like procrastinating she was great with that too.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

Determination and word sprints. Some with Kendra and Erika Mathews, a lot with the lovely people in the Realm Makers Consortium, and a couple with my little brother. I tried using Write or Die a bit, but if either my internet or computer is too slow it doesn’t register my writing quick enough and dies instead.


What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
1. Write something you’re enthusiastic about

2. Study the craft

3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

And here’s the graph of my monthly wordcount:


And that is that. What have you all gotten done this month. Tell me, even if it’s small. There’s plenty of achievements other than writing a horrendous 50,124 words.

InNoWriMo: Change of plans

*International Novel Writing Month. That’s what it really should be called.

Hello everyone,

I know I had promised more world building for Verlis, but it turns out I’m not actually going to write A Brigand, No Longer for NaNoWriMo. You see, in that book there will be a war. A war that turns offensive and might involve fully conquering the other country and setting up a new government. And I’m not quite sure of the ethics of that. Something is necessary, but I don’t know how it should be carried out.

Between that problem and generally not being very certain where the book should go, I think I need to let it sit. I’m not ready and though I doubt I’ll hit 50,000 words even if I know exactly what I am going to write, I don’t want this to be a waste. So I’m writing something else.

In fact I’m going rebel and continuing Lady of Courage which I started in April. I’m really looking forward to working on this again. I thought I’d go through some of the Beautiful Books questions again.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

It was actually inspired by a couple of review of the movie Brave. It’s not going to be much like it, but that’s were the seed of the idea came from.

Describe what your novel is about!

It’s a gearpunkish, political fantasy/alternative history about a girl who inherits the throne and must marry. Only there aren’t any eligible and capable men around. Except that guy who trying to take over the whole region and is a just a generally nasty person. Or maybe that person, but the council doesn’t like him. Or that guy, wait, why did he just die? And where are all the ships vanishing to?

What is your book’s aesthetic?

Despite my lighthearted description, this book is actually more tragedy than comedy and will make people cry. Maybe even me.

It’s very brown,  there’s a lot of a light dusty brown and smaller amounts of mahogany. Also deep reds, greens and blues. And touches of black and silver.

Introduce us to each of your characters!

There’s a lot, and I did introduce some of them back in this post. So I’ll just give a couple.

Natalia Rizzetti is basically a princess. She grew up expecting to rule sometime in the future, and has a keen interest in whats going in politics. She’s the center of the social events of the nobility, but feels somewhat alone. These people don’t really like her, they’re just courtiers and flatterers. I think she’s an ESTJ, so very dutiful and good at organizing people.

Rheas Masi is a poor girl who is part of a charity group. Her role is picking up gift and gettinhg the rights to distribute the handouts of the nobles. She has a heart for orphans and tries to get them good jobs as servants. When Natalia sees her being harassed by a man in the market place one day and asks her to become her maid, she’s a bit scared, but takes this great opportunity.

Alexso Acqui is Natalia’s half brother. He wants to be and inventor and explorer. he also wants to prove that he’s not a foolish boy, but can be a bit irresponsible and impulsive.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I love the worldbuilding and the complex political situations. I’m also looking forward to discovering how it all turns out in the end. I didn’t start with a particular husband in mind for Natalia, and though I think I know now, it could turn out differently. I might decide to let her be happy.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

They have sky rails and factories.

It’s inspired by Venice and other Italian, maritime, city-states.

I’m borrowing women’s fashion from India. (Maybe men’s too. Also kurtas and kirtles aren’t all that different, so it’s got medieval elements too.)

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

She wants to stop too much political power falling into the wrong hands. This means marrying in the next few months. But she also wants to find a truly good man to rule beside her. And there aren’t many of those. Also someone is sinking their ships and her suitors are being killed off if she pays them too much attention.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

She must learn to trust and respect men and realize that people can’t be perfect. Also that she really does need to let those around her help.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Men need the respect of women, even when they don’t deserve it. We must build one another up and allow opportunities for growth  rather than belittling one another. Neither men nor women can make it alone.

I’m really not sure how I want people to feel. I’m not even sure how I feel about the expected ending. But I do wait to inspire hope, courage, love and grace.

August Wrap-up and Future Plans

I’ve never actually done a wrap up post except for when I’ve done Camp NaNo. I may never do one again. But this time I am.

My writing has been quite slow this month, but I’ve made a bit of progress. Girl of the Rumours is now sitting on 42,000 and has somewhere around a third to go. I’m not quite sure about the pacing yet. so that could change things. My goal is to roughly finish this draft by the end of the month, so that I can prepare for NaNoWriMo the next month. As for how that will go, I really have no idea.

This month I took the bold step of giving my first chapter to a couple of writer friends for feedback. It was mostly encouraging. One person found my main character a bit annoying and immature, which I was afraid of, so I know I need to do some fixing there. The other reader seemed to connect with her fairly well though. And I now know a few other ways I need to tweak my characters to make them across right.

The marking are hardly visible to the camera.

One of the best parts was actually getting mailed  a printed copy of the chapter covered with red pen marks. Calling that good might sound strange, but it really was. Firstly, some of the marking were really positive. Secondly, I knew it was far from perfect and I got to see what improvements another pair of eyes can make. I’m less worried about it being badly written, editing will improve it. And there wasn’t really a huge number of marks. Just looking at it again I can see other improvements.

There’s a chance I’ll be looking for beta readers in February. But that really depends on how much time I spend on other projects. I had hoped to have Lady of Courage at least half written by now, but I hadn’t planned on doing all these rewrites. And my NaNoWriMo project could flow on into December if it goes well, but isn’t short.

Now that come to the question of what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. Joane, from Girl of the Rumours, had caught my attention so much I decided I needed a sequel to continue her story. Once I got that idea into my head, I came up with other reasons a sequel is needed. So that’s what I’m hoping to do and that’s why I’ve had to do these rewrites. It’s hard to write a sequel if the first book hasn’t got a certain ending.

Another thing that might slow my writing down is my sewing. I’m making a fancy dress which I’ll be wearing to a couple of weddings. It’s been really fun so far. Over the last couple of weeks I drafted a pattern and sewed up a test in cheap fabric. (Though both it and the dress fabric were actually gifts.) Then on Friday I dyed my fabric to change the dreadful salmony pink, to a pretty lavender. That was fun and a bit smelly. And yesterday I cut it all out and did the same from a purple sheet for a underlining. And that’s enough because this isn’t a sewing blog.

Lastly I’m participating in a challenge all September. Read no fiction. That should give me more writing time, and more time to read the kind of serious books I get a lot of ideas from. I’ll let you know how that goes. It might help me refocus on what’s really important.

God bless you all and you have an amazing week

Writing is Not My Highest Priority

Just what the title says. It isn’t. It might not even make the top five.

Hello readers, I’ve noticed on occasion people talking about how you need to make writing a priority if you want to actually get anywhere. And sometimes my writing gets shoved away by many things. But that is not a bad thing and I’m going to tell you why.

The first thing is to be expected. As a Christian I try to put God before everything else. That’s what everyone would expect. And I must set aside time to spent with my creator and redeemer. And of course my family comes before writing. But that doesn’t just mean spending time reading the Scriptures and talking with God, or spending a bit of time with my family every day. It means much more than that.

If I felt that God had something for me to do that stopped me from writing, I hope I would stop. I certainly do for short periods of time. Things with my family might mean a holiday on which I don’t have time to write. It might mean spending days working in the garden or building.  It includes the work I do in our family business. There are times I’ll put writing before that I admit, but only sometimes. Besides I certainly will never be able to afford anything like writing software or conferences if I don’t work.

And then there are just other interest I have. I might spend a few days researching how to dye fabric. I might spend a week or two sewing a skirt or dress. (I probably will even give you photos when I’m done.) Or I might decide to do a free course on biochemistry or some other subject of interest. I think those other passions come from God as much as the writing does. I’m not going to put them aside just so I can finish a book.

So sometimes I might drop writing for a few weeks, or work on it very slowly. Because in the end I want to serve God and writing isn’t the only way I can do that. I have no intention of dropping it entirely now. I want to finish my stories. I want to come up with more to write. And I mostly likely will.

However, if an opportunity to do some kind of missions work or outreach I wouldn’t let my desire to write stop me. Not because that’s necessarily better than writing, just because I wouldn’t resist adventure, the chance to do something new. Or when I someday have a family of my own, i may have to drop my writing, to properly serve them. Especially if we’re involved in the kind of things I think I’d like to be involved in. God has so many things we can do. I don’t want to just stick to one. There are things I’d drop writing for. Maybe not forever, but quite probably for a long time. I’m a person, before I’m a writer.

And in case you’re wondering, I haven’t written a lot in the last two weeks. I editing my first chapter and actually sent it to a few people for feedback. That was a big first for me. And overall it was a good experience. Now I can’t decide whether to try and finishes rewritten the whole thing, or try and edit it more at the beginning. The first choice would probably be smarter, since I’ll probably just end up changing anything I do at the beginning. But I want it to be read and I do want it to be edited. I’m certainly not stuck, possibly just a bit burnt out from Camp NaNo. I did 25,000 words, without difficulty and without putting my blog on hold, I know I can write a lot if I put my mind to it. But right now I haven’t. I think I need the accountability.

How about you? What do you put before writing and how is it going at the moment? I’d love to know.

Writing Oomp for you in June + a podcast interview

Who needs a little motivation with their writing this coming month and wishes Camp NaNoWriMo was on already? I don’t want a huge goal, but I know I need something to keep me accountable. And Kendra was thinking it was happening in June. I made that mistake last year so I remembered last year. So I thought we could make up our own little group of people who want to write in June.

You don’t have to have a big goal to join in. Mine is 15,000. Kendra’s is 30,000. My little brother might be doing 12,000. You can do 10,000 or 100,000. (though I will think you are mad if you attempt the latter)

If you don’t know much about Camp NaNoWriMo it doesn’t matter. What we are doing here is having an an author chat and accountability group.

And if you think you might be working on multiple projects that should be okay. I’m not sure whether I’ll be writing Lady of Courage or rewriting Girl of the Rumours. Just make sure it’s something with an increasing word count.

We’re going to do it through a Google hangouts group and a spreadsheet to  keep track of everyone’s word counts. It’ll be rather like a cabin for Camp. I’ve even got graphs that look a little like Camp ones. And you don’t need a gmail address to do this.

If you see this any where in the  first half of June you’re welcome to join in. I’ve made this lovely Google form for you to sign up. I promise I won’t use your email for anything apart from this without your permission.

Speaking of Google Forms, I just got interviewed on The Very Serious Writing Show and talked about beta reading. And I mentioned using Google forms for signing up for beta reading and that I’d never made a Google form. And here one is. They’re as easy as I expected.

You can check out the interview at thatguywiththehat.com 

Tell me what you think. And tell me what your writing plans for the month are, or reading plans if that’s what you have.

Camp NaNo Recap, I’m writing a sad book

Hello everyone,
I hope you didn’t miss me too much last month. I actually enjoyed the break from blogging a little (Enough that this post is late), but I’m glad to be back again.
I just managed to reach my goal of 21,000, without too much hard work. Last July I had a goal of 18,000 and wrote 20,139. I wrote about one third by hand and just under a third was brainstorming and notes. Since I hadn’t had enough time to plan before hand, I allowed myself to count that.

I felt the writing was a little less smooth than it had been previously. Some days it was an effort to come up with something to write, but I know I didn’t actually spend as much time per day as I did last time. I love doing some of the writing on the computer. Those times happen when it’s evening and you’ve barely written anything, and when they do it’s much easy to catch up by typing. I haven’t given up on writing by hand though. I still love that too.

On the story development front, I really just got some important things fleshed out. I’ve still got a way to go though. I had been exploring the basic idea behind Girl of the Rumours for almost a year and a half when I started writing. Even then the story has changed dramatically throughout the first draft. This time I hadn’t thought about it a lot, until a month before starting.

I hadn’t thought about the mood of Lady of Courage much, but it certainly wasn’t supposed to be tragic. It still isn’t really, but I do plan to have some simply wonderful characters die. When I actually realized that I was going to make people very attached to a particular character and then rip them away I almost cried. But it has to happen for the story to go the way I intend at the moment. Of course since I haven’t actually written it yet, there is still a chance that they will survive, but it’s highly unlikely.

This month I’m planning to begin rewrites for Girl of the Rumours. I read thought most of the first draft on Monday. The beginning will need to be completely rewritten, because I’m changing a few characters and the way in which certain events happen. The layer parts however have some bits that I love and will be able to mostly reuse.

I’m not exactly sure how working on two books at the same time is going to work, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out. If any of you have some tips they would be very welcome.

How was your April? If you did Camp NaNo how did it go? I’d love to hear.

I’m going to Camp NaNo

Next month I’m doing camp NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is you can visit the website: campnanowrimo.org, or read my explanation.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month (though I think it should be international). In the month of November people all over the world try to write a 50,000 word first draft. I have never done it. In the months of April and July there are smaller writing challenges where you set you own goal and these are called camps. if you wish you may be part of a small group of writers called a cabin that provide each other with accountability and encouragement.
I kicked off my first book by doing Camp NaNo July last year.My target word count was 18,000 and my final word count was 20,139. This time I’m aiming for 21,000 words, which is an average of 700 words per day.
Because of this I will be posting sporadically if at all next month. I’ll mostly likely put update on Facebook and Google+ every so often though and I’ll certainly tell you all about how I went at the end. If you like you can check on my progress here.
Aunt Valentina
I’m still working on my preparation for writing. The plot is thickening though, character connection and motivations are emerging and sometimes I feel like this story is going to be great. Yesterday I discovered that there has been a 5 year feud between tow of the realms and that Selvarrans are rather superstitious. Also Aunt Valentina is someone-else’s aunt as well. 
I don’t think I’ve introduced Aunt Valentina yet. She is Natalia’s uncles wife and one of those wealthy, overbearing, middle aged women, who seems to grumble about everything. Not that I’ve ever known of any people of that sort who weren’t fictional.
I hope you all have a lovely month, while I’m gone. Are any of you doing Camp NaNo?

I finally finished something.

In fact not just something, but the first draft of my first novel! Even though it’s terribly and will need extensive rewrites, I’m really excited. I’m done, for now.

Since I have written it all out longhand, I really don’t know what the word count is, but I estimate 76,000.Once I rewrite and edit it may be longer or shorter. I won’t being doing that for a couple of months though. I’ve seen recommendations to leave a book for a bit.

I finished on Sunday and the night before I had started freaking out a bit. ‘I’ve spent over 8 months working on this! Sure, I’d like to work on something else for a bit, but can I? can I really just stoping thinking about this enough to work on anything else?”

Yesterday I started my proper written planning of my next book. It’s going fairly well. I’m not having the adjustment problem I was afraid of. It’s still in the very early stages, nothing very concrete, no names or even appearances. If you want to know more, have a look at the ‘What I’m Writing‘ page.

I’m still a bit uncertain about what the title ought to be. Once I have other people look at it, I know I can get some advice, but for now I thought I’d have a poll.

  • Who to Trust
  • Girl of the Rumours
  • Maidens, Rangers and Brigands
  • Call of the Green Woods
  • Escaped from the Treehome
  • The Maiden and the Brigand
  • Dark-haired Girl
More polls: Free online poll

Of course some of them don’t fit so well, and most of you don’t really know exactly what the book is about, so I won’t just pick whichever one has the most votes, if you think you have any other good ideas or advice about starting a new novel, leave a comment.

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