Saturday, November 8, 2014

Beautiful Books #2: How's The Writing Going? - Red Hood

This month I'm participating in Beautiful Books for the second time! It's a three-month long blog link up hosted by the Notebook Sisters about the three stages of writing: plotting, writing and editing in honor of NaNoWriMo. I did it last month and it was so helpful. If you'd like to do Beautiful Books yourself check out the Notebook Sisters (now Paper Fury) website. Now here are the questions!

1.) Be honest: how is your writing going?
It's honestly going pretty well. This will be my fifth novel during ten years of writing and I feel like I actually know what I'm doing now. My past novels have had so many issues from cliches to obscene amounts of info dumping to non-existent essential plot structure to long swaths of boring, but I feel like this book is finally one I will be somewhat happy with after I'm finished from the get-go.

Sure, I'm going to have to revise the crap out of it because I know it's riddled with telling and typos, but I think I have a more solid foundation than I have before.

2.) What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
The beasts are close. Mor crouched down in front of her team and touched the paw print in the frosty mud. The track was still fresh and measured twice the size of her hand. Dozens of them stretched deeper into the woods. The border nests had reported eight werewolves crossed over.

3.) Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?
I have a lot on my Pinterest board for Red Hood, but I'll show four big ones.

Credit goes to the respective artist.
This is the image that started it all. Last winter, I was browsing through YouTube looking for new music and I saw this image in a preview. Then a story just came bursting forth in vivid detail. I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I came up with an entire book in a matter of three days. I knew I had to write this thing.

Credit goes to the respective artist.
A friend found this picture for me on Pinterest, and it looks a like Mor and Faol though without the sinister feel. Faol (the wolf) is that large with yellow eyes, blue fur and a mechanical leg. At one point Mor rides him and the environment is snowy at the time so this is very similar to a scene in the book.

Credit goes to the respective artist.
I stumbled upon this picture while perusing through Pinterest for pictures of settings for the book. This manor looks a lot Mor's home. Mor's manor is in the middle of a small village surrounded by walls to keep werewolves out with a nearby forest of gigantic pines.

Credit goes to the respective artist.
This last image another friend found me. The cloak, outfit and setting remind me of Mor fighting werewolves though my werewolves are eight feet tall with mechanical steampunk parts. Mor's genuine outfit is longer-sleeved with more leather and she fights with a pistol and silver axes.

4.) Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)
I do. I have pictures of my four main characters. Though I showed them in the previous post, I'll expand on them a bit more during this one.

Mor is the main character. She is strong, feisty and brave with a high sense of honor and duty. She dreams to be a legendary Red Hood like her mother and grandmother before her. Most of her time is spent training for graduation at eighteen when she can travel the country vanquishing werewolves and keeping her country Silfurlund safe.

Dina is Mor's best friend. She is cautious, girly and emotional, almost the complete opposite of Mor. Unlike her best friend, she doesn't want to be a Red Hood, but the law requires it anyway. She would rather be a seamstress and fulfill her girlish dream of sewing a dress for the queen one day.

Claes is Mor's other best friend and ... love interest. He's head over heels for her, but Mor is oblivious. He is quiet, gentle, dexterous, and loyal. One day he wants to leave the Red Hood manor village and his abusive grandfather to become a fine silversmith in Ionad, the capital of Silfurland.

Faol is a werewolf who willingly offered himself to be captured to give information to the Red Hoods. He is kind, enduring, and almost unbelievably patient, the opposite of the stereotypical werewolf Mor has been trained all her life to kill. He desires to right the wrongs he has committed and aid the humans in victory over his kind.

5.) What scene are you most excited to write?
There is one scene where Mor finds out a huge secret about Faol. It's a pivotal point in the story since it changes the way she feels about werewolves. I have a particular line I'm excited about writing for that part.

6.) Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
I just recently wrote this scene and it really struck me in the heart. In this part, Mor and Dina recently had an argument and haven't made up for days. Claes finally urged Mor to apologize. Warning: this is fresh off the keyboard so it's rough.

Mor slowed her horse. “Dina?”
Dina still wouldn’t look at her. “What?” Her tone betrayed she was going to cry again.
Mor wanted to cry too. “I’m sorry. I have just had a very stressful past week. We both have and I just cannot afford to get emotional and I know if I apologize I always do and …” Those blasted tears started to well up in her eyes. “And when you said that the other day I was worried you would leave and then that perhaps you did not want to be friends anymore and—"
Dina leaned over on her horse and hugged her. “I would never stop being friends with you never. Even if we do live apart, you will always be my friend. That’s one thing in life that will be permanent.”
Everything that had happened in the past week rushed through her. All the emotion she had held back: Grief for her grandmother and the red hoods, the stress from fatigue and the apprehension about what was to happen and possibly never seeing her mother again. 
All of it flowed out in coursing streams of brine, wetting Dina’s cloak. She heaved ugly sobs. Sobs she wished Claes didn’t have to witness, but she couldn’t control. 
The horses stopped as Mor released all the feelings she’d bottled up. All those great ones that weighed her down days before and the weight seemed to leak out with each tear.
And Dina held her, tightly, a warm, constant embrace.
After at least five minutes of continuous sobs, Mor pulled back. Her hair stuck to her face, her eyes stung, her cheeks had to be as red as cherries. Not a sight she wanted Claes or Dina or anyone else to witness. But that burden felt lighter than before.
Claes rode his horse next to her and hugged her too in his strong arms. He held her tightly. Despite Mor’s silent protests a few more sobs burst out of her, and she buried her head in his shoulder. His head touched her shoulder and something wet dampened her cloak too. 
Mor gripped the back of his jacket. Even if his grandfather was a horrible person, he still was Claes' only family. After another minute, he pulled back. They all sniffled. Mor felt warm from their embraces. 
She forced a wet smile. “This is why I didn’t want to forgive you,” she said playfully.
“You are so horrible,” Dina said playfully back. She hooked her arm around Mor’s neck and kissed the top of her head then let go. 
Mor laughed a little. And Dina always knew how to cheer her up.

7.) Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?
I've had some unexpected stuff happened including some additional scenes, which I was banking on anyway, and two deaths. I was writing a scene and I got a distinct premonition that two of my characters died right then and there and it happened. It ended up working really well for the plot. I love it when that happens.

8.) Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?
I think it's the world I'm still getting used to. I usually write either medieval fantasy which is very primitive or science-fiction which is very technologically advanced. Steampunk is a little hybrid, and I'm still getting used to the new setting, the way my characters talk, and this half breed of magic and rudimentary technology.

9.) What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?
My favorite aspect is probably writing a novel during winter with snow. I like the neat visuals I can get from a land covered in white.

My favorite character is still Claes. I just love him. 

10.) Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?
Involuntarily I've noticed I have. The main character Mor is very similar to my best friend, and Mor's best friend Dina is a mix between me and my other good friend. I've based the theme of life going against one's plans but working out anyway from my own life. Also the scene shown earlier reminds me of a really sad time I had with my friends at one point.

11.) Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?
I'm actually currently arranging my playlists. As of now I have "Blackheart" by Two Steps From Hell, various Skyrim and Game of Thrones music including "A Small Pack of Wolves", which I was pleasantly surprised to find, and "Warriors" by Imagine Dragons. I'm starting to get the hang of the feel of the music I want so I'm still sifting through tracks to find ones suited for the book. Lots of YouTube browsing--when I'm not writing of course.

12.) Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?
Claes totally. He's an introvert like me and a silversmith. I'd love to watch him make some things out of silver. Metal working is fascinating to me.

13.) How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)
I give myself a time limit for one. I write from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. then sometimes a bit afterwards to get ahead. Then in between I give myself little breaks like a few minutes of a show every two hundred or so words. Sounds weird but it works.

14.) What inspiring quote keeps you writing?
There are so many good quotes! It's hard to choose! Can I choose three? I'm choosing three.

"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." ~ Martin Luther
I really think the world can change through books, and I want to change it even if it's only for a few people.

"A writer is a world trapped in a person." ~Victor Hugo
For me it's multiple worlds. I'm always thinking of my books. Everything seems to relate to them.

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of." ~Joss Whedon
This is a big one. I find a lot of strength in writing. I feel like I have a strong voice and I can live through my characters and share things through them I can't express on my own.

15.) How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
Um none of the above? I'm satisfied so far. It is a bit of crunch because of the NaNoWriMo deadline so I'm a bit stressed, but I think it'll be worth it to get the first draft down. At this rate, I'll be working on a total of three novels this year! Editing one, rewriting another, first drafting this one and then beginning to rewrite the one I edited. I'm feeling very accomplished. ^ ^

So that is a bit more about Red Hood. I'm hoping to finish the first draft before the year is out, and I think I'm going to make it! My goal is for it to be 70K and I have 30K written so far. Thanks for reading!

Are you working on a novel? What do you think about this one? Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

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  1. I'm doing the youth NaNo! :D After hanging out with writers for so long it almost feels natural to sit and try to write a book of my own. It has taken a long time, but I am really starting to want to put the time in amd actually finish.

  2. I'm intrigued by this version of Red Riding Hood. Fairy tale retellings intrigue me period, but though I'm usually wary of werewolves, this one sounds very interesting. Keep up the good work!

    I'm doing NaNo too, though I'm going rebel for the first time. Not only did I start with a book with 30,000 words already in it, but it's also a rewrite. I'm having a blast with the story.

    1. Cool. ^ ^ Thank you. These are a bit unconventional since they aren't actually people turning into werewolves. They're more giant ferocious beasts with steampunk parts built into them. I wanted to try to try something different with them.

      Cool. :) I actually already wrote 20K before NaNo myself lol. Most of my books end up being 70K and I want to finish this by the end of the month so I went ahead and started writing. XD Good luck and thank you for the comment!

  3. This sounds like such a great story! I just got introduced to fairy tale retellings and this sounds like an amazing one that I would totally read. :)

    I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I plan to someday when I have the actual time to invest myself into my story. Good luck!

    Carly @ Books and Etc

    1. Thank you. ^ ^

      Oh cool. I've done it once before, but I hope I'll win this time lol. Thank you for commenting!

  4. Wow, what a cool sounding story! The matriarchal society sounds awesome, and I have to agree with you on the Game of Thrones music. It also sounds like Mor and Dina are set up to be foils, and I love comparing those guys. Good luck in Nano!

    1. Thank you. :) Mor and Dina have become foils yet they're still best friends. Thank you for commenting!