Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NaNo Update

So I'm halfway through NaNo at the moment.  And it looks like I have survived this far (mostly).  And Scrivener has been great to use.  Instead of splitting chapters, I'm doing scenes.  So that's different, but not so different it's weirding me out.
Words of Peace, however, is behaving nicely.

Current Word Count:

Current Body Count:

Times I Forgot a Character Was Supposed to be Somewhere:
Additional Notes:

I've been keeping track of my time spent (a new thing I'm trying).  It keeps me from doing too much staring into space and from taking breaks to check distraction sites.  So far, I've only forgotten to start it once, and am pretty good at turning it off.

Doing good on keeping hair and teeth brushed, and staying hydrated.  I did a race last Saturday, and am using the swag to keep my bedroom stash of snacks and water well stocked.

And I have not deviated (much) from my outline.  Yay!!  The only real change I made was more of an bonus.  The outline was sort of "and they go travel here" and I made it more of a "they travel here, but on the way a few little exciting incidents happen."  So not really much of a deviation.
So where are y'all?  How's NaNo going for you?  Surviving?  Sinking?  Not doing the event so you're actually just chilling and watching everyone stress?  :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Oh Yeah

When one is in certain situations, the perfect expression is needed, or else the entire thing will be a failure or else just plain embarrassing.  This will not only make such an event memorable to you and those around you, but will give others the appearance that you are on the top of things and not in the least concerned about what just happened.

Such an expression should not be too long, or else you may not have time to finish it (which only makes the situation worse).  Too complicated, and you yourself may not even remember it in time. If the expression is too simple or boring, people may not remember it, and then you might as well have not bothered. 

My expression is "Oh yeah" and I like to think it works quite well.


My first major (and only) running fall happened while Evangeline and I were out mountain running.  The sunset was beautiful, and I simply wasn't looking at the trail.  One minute I was looking at the trees, and the next I was the ground.  My knees took most of the fall, but they weren't bleeding - I would get some very nasty bruises, but nothing major.  So I got up and we kept running. 

By the time I got home, I had mostly forgotten about the fall.  The pain was almost gone (and I probably just associated it with my bad knee, which usually is a little twitchy after a run anyway).

But my mom notices instantly.  "What happened?!"

I glance at my knees, as if I'd forgotten.  "Oh, yeah..."


I have a young horse that likes to get a little bucky when he first starts into a canter (I call it his "Winter Soldier" mode).  Of course, I don't let him buck, so what usually happens is I urge him into a canter, he tosses his head and prances around for a few steps, and then he moves into the requested gait.  I don't usually think about this sequence, until I was riding with a group of local horsemen, and we decided to take a nice canter up the road.
So there I am, riding through that little prance...and the guy riding beside me starts laughing.  "Your horse is dancing!"

I shrug, smile a little, and say, "Oh, yeah."


When we meet a new family and are doing the usual introductions, it eventually comes out:  ...and Julian writes stories!
Everyone turns to me, and I casually shrug.  "Oh yeah."  Hopefully they won't ask for any more information or my mind will blank.
Sarah and I are hanging out at our campsite, and I let Pepper out of the temporary fencing and let him graze around the tent.  Eventually he gets a little too far away for my comfort, and I call his name and he comes right back to where we're sitting.
Two nearby campers look up from setting up their own fencing, and ask in surprise, "Did he just come when you called him?"
I smile.  "Oh, yeah."
"Wait, where's my insert anything here!?"
"Oh.. yeah..."
"I thought you said that you were going to meet me here at lunchtime?!"
"Oh...yeah..."  *laughs a little*
"Oh, you like The Lord of the Rings?  Well, you know, Tolkien wrote another one...the Sil...Sil-something or other.  Have you heard of that one?"
*grins*  "Oh, yeah..."

So what's your go-to word or phrase?  I'd love to know!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

October // Fall // Camping

"The fire dances on the leaves of the trees
And no one hears but the forest and me."
Camping, anyone?
This is the main reason I love Fall: there's a better excuse to go camping!!!  And who doesn't love sitting on the bug-infested ground, with smoke in your eyes, watching your dinner burn to a crisp, and a cool breeze blowing leaves in your hair?
I love it.
I also love sleeping in my camping hammock, staring up at the stars while listening to raccoons drag my marshmallows into the bushes.
Because, really, sleeping in is overrated.  Who remembers how many times you slept in?  But camping trips - those memories will last forever.
As will that instinct to grab your marshmallows at the slightest rustle in the bushes.

Monday, November 06, 2017

On Character Sheets (or the lack thereof)

I absolutely love character sheets!  They combine two of my favorite things - lists and characters!  The sight of a list of questions to answer (usually in list format) gives me shivers of excitement.


That being said...I have written a number of books in the past year and a half, and I have not used a character sheet during any of the prep.

The sheets I'm talking about are the long ones you see - ranging from 20-35 questions are so, with things like "What's your favorite color?"  "Where did you grow up, and what effect did it have on your life?" and "If you could have one day all to yourself, what would you do?"

So what??

Let me explain.  I love those.  So why do I not do them?

A few reasons...

  • I have a busy life, and I would rather spend my free time actually writing.
  • I write mainly fantasy, and sometimes the questions don't quite match with a fantasy character, so I either have to skip the question, or substitute a better one.
  • If I started down the path of doing a sheet, I would never return.  I must do one for every.  Single.  Character.
  • Turns out, I don't actually need them to get the story done.
So what do I do instead?
I make a more simple character sheet...

Full Name/Nicknames:
Description: (ranges from hair/eye color to clothing choice, just a few short sentences will do the trick)
Personality:  (usually just a few sentences, enough for me to get the idea; maybe any little quirks or something that I know from the beginning)
Plot:  (anything that has to do with the story - what role they play, any changes they make, any growth they experience, and so on)

...find a picture or two...

Just to get an idea of their looks and/or clothing.  May or may not be 100% accurate, but just enough for me to feel like I can see them in my head.

...and then do a page of two of character journaling.

It gives me just a quick glimpse into their world and see how they see things.  Usually I try to write a page of them doing something very normal...getting up...going about their day...maybe a bit of action happens.  But I just want to get to know them a little - what do they care about, what do they like and not like?

Then I unleash myself into the story!

If I find anything that I can add to these lists (random family members showing up?)(hair color changes?)(suddenly becomes the bad guy) and keep on writing.  Often things do change a bit (usually names...) and I can make the necessary correction.  But learning more about the characters is half the fun of first drafting!

So what do y'all do?  Extensive character sheets?  Nothing at all?  Something in between?  I wanna know!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

2017 Liebster Award

Well, la-dee-dah!  Lila at The Cheapskate Bibliomaniac nominated Saver of Memories for the 2017 Liebster Award!  She's a great blogger and also is part of the Rebellious Writing movement.  (Go click the links - you know you want to!)

(Technically the first blog I ever started reading is Go Teen Writers.  But GTW is used all the time by young writers/bloggers.  So...)


One of my favorite blogs is Jem Jones, Writer.

Jem is a blogger from Australia.  She's super sweet and nice and funny, and her blog emphasizes that.  When you first visit it, the first thing to catch your eye is a little owl looking right at you.  And it's adorable.  *melts*

As you keep scrolling down and reading her posts, you find Jem has this wonderful flair in her writing.  She has this knack for just...just...*words fail me*...being so relatable and enjoyable to read.  The gif's scattered throughout her post only add to the humor.

From time to time she shares writing ideas she hordes gathers from Pinterest.  These always hold some very interesting, thought-provoking (more importantly, writing-provoking) content.

If you haven't been by her place - seriously, check it out.  She's great. 


I, in turn, nominate...

Sarah @ Pen of a Ready Writer
Mary @ Sunshine and Scribblings
wisdomcreates @ The Pen of a Ready Writer
Evangeline @ I Just Happened.
Olivia @ Important Nothings

No pressure...and if you've already been nominated then....whoops...


Here are the rules!

~Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.  Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.  They will thank you for it and those whom you nominate will also help you out as well.

 ~Display the award on your blog by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.  (Not sure how to do that, but I hope I figured it out enough...)

~Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own.  Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

~Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 200 followers.

~List these rules in your post.
~Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.  (They might not have ever heard of it!)

~Post a comment in the comments of –> the award post <– so your post and blog can be viewed.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Story Reveal // Ships, Secrets, and Survivors

So a few months ago (or thereabouts) Sarah was talking on her blog about how when she and I first started writing, we often wrote stories with each other.  As we got older and more serious, we left that behind and went our own separate ways (though still remaining close critique partners, or helping each other out with ideas, writing problems, etc.).  And then the wonderful Ivie commented on the post and suggested we try writing another story together.


We did.

New Project Reveal!.jpg

Right now, this story is just in the plotting stage, and we plan to being drafting once NaNo is complete.  This story most likely will not progress as fast as our other novels, since those will be taking first priority.  But still.

We are writing a story together (again)!!

In an event where nothing goes wrong, everything goes wrong...

Adi is not your average princess, dreaming of more than dresses and dances. When her name is called on Selection Day for the Scaera Dumeda, a yearly test for the smartest and most cunning young people of Antovan to join the elite Shadow Squad, she throws away her title, despite her family’s threats of disownment and the uncertain future ahead. This may be the opportunity she hoped for.

Jay Hill is the fearless captain of the Red Wind, and was believed to be a ghost story until one of his crew is selected for the Scaera Dumeda. The sailor, Ravin, is shocked and horrified at such an announcement. Ever since receiving an almost fatal blow in a duel he has been marked dead in the records.  He never even took the required test. Jay suspects the pirate Captain Rev Martin of treachery, but can do nothing except watch and wait as the event begins.

When other selectees start to die off unexpectedly (and contrary to the spirit of the event), Adi, Ravin, and the remaining candidates must learn to work together with Jay’s pirate hunters to defeat the evil lurking in the Scaera Dumeda. Can a motley crew with different goals learn to fight together? Or will they just end up making a mess of a disaster?

Today I will be talking about the Pirate Hunters.  If you run over to Sarah's blog, she will be posting about the Shadow Squad.

Legends speak of a ship that sails pirate-infested waters, a ship with no sails, no flag, and no fear.  Her captain, the tales say, has sworn to hunt down and stop the most notorious pirate in Antovan - Captain Rev Martin.  No one knows who these sailors are, or where they came from, but the burning wreckage from pirate ships can be found floating on the water, and sometimes watchmen tell tales of seeing a ship sailing by the light of the moon.

So when a dark ship with no sails is found docked outside the building where the Scaera Dumeda takes place, people are astonished.  The legends are real!

They are even more astonished when they see the captain - not an old, seaworthy sailor, but a young man of noble linage.

The sailors sitting on the railing, watching everyone with raised eyebrows are not battle-hardened warriors (as suspected from the wreckage they leave), but orphans, commoners, and even ex-criminals.  To top it off, the sailor selected for the Scaera Dumeda is none other than Ralivaen del Mankayl - a mercenary who has been presumed dead for many years.

What the locals can not see - the treachery about to hit the selectees of a simple yearly event, and the preparations the young captain and his crew are making to capture the Captain Rev Martin.

So?  Excited?  I am!!  I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this story in the future!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The 4-Part Writing Special // Questions on Writing

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So here we are at last - the final set of questions!  Hope y'all have been enjoying getting to know Words of Gold (and everyone else's WIPs).  And I have no pics for today - sorry!

What do you do to get yourself in the story?

Usually I just start writing.  After a few sentences, I'm deep in the world and the MC, loving every word.  If I just don't feel like writing, I'll re-read some previous chapters to remind myself why I'm writing this book. 

Do you do anything extra - art, covers, character journals, glossaries, playlists, etc. to help you with your story?

I can't draw to save my life, so I mostly just stick to looking for pictures on Pinterest.  I have a Betrayal and Bravery playlist with music that fits the mood (as well as songs that I can imagine the characters singing/playing).  I do character journals (of a sort) as my pre-drafting process, and also make a list of all the characters, animals, and places (so I can keep things organized).  Sometimes, when I'm in an applicable situation in life, I might pretend to be a character.

*eyes Sarah and Evangeline*  So that's why you might occasionally see me mumble while tacking up a horse....

What is your writing process?

Step One:  Get amazing idea.
Step Two:  Write it amazingly.
Step Three:  Publishing with amazing company.
Step Four:  Get amazingly rich.

Read and learn, people.

Ha ha, nope.

Actually, I usually get an idea.  Maybe a character, or a brief plot.  I don't start writing a new story, but rather, I save the plot and just add to it.  Maybe a month or so later, I've got characters, a full plot (more or less), and a brief synopsis.

Once I have decided how the story will go (via a synopsis; I can't work with outlines), I bang out the first draft.  This usually takes me a month to two months (most of it during one month, then just finishing the last few chapters during the second month).

Then begins the process of editing.  I usually do a read-through and take notes.  Add new and remove un-needed scenes.  Edit all remaining scenes as required.  Send to fellow Pennites for feedback.  Make changes after receiving said feedback.

And then repeat as many times as needed until all the scenes are what I want.  Then I go on to editing grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.

There you have it!

Anything you learned about yourself or your writing that you would like to share?

I've found that I need a balance between planning things and winging things.  I would much prefer to wing it, but if I do, the story usually ends up not being done very well (rabbit trails all over...).  If I plan every detail, I get a different but also unpleasant result (the story is short and terse).

Finding a balance of just enough preperation so that I can successfully wing (more or less) my writing is necessary (and possible).

(Not to mention I can apply this to anything in my life - work, running, cleaning, etc. to complete said things.)

What keeps you going when you start to worry you’ll never finish?

I remind myself that I don't have a set-in-stone deadline.  If the story isn't turning out so great, I can ditch and start another, or I can re-plot and make changes so that it can continue. 

If life is busy, I just remind myself that little bits at a time can add up.  Or I can just take a break and return when theres more time.

As long as I keep pushing forward, bit by bit, I will finish.

(I will add that I don't often feel that way - just my personality...)

What inspired you to start writing, and how long have you been at it?

I like to think that I've always been a writer, and my family and friends just continued me along this path. 
My dad always told the best bed-time stories, and my parents taught me to read at three years old. 
Growing up, my sister and I would always play stories with our toys - there was always a bad guy who needed to be defeated. 
I devoured every book I could get my hands on. 
Sarah and I wrote stories together on hand-made books. 
Every personal notebook I had contained story attempts. 
I was always looking for new books to read, and not always able to read something new. 
When I got my first laptop, I immediately started writing with it, and never looked back. 
So I don't know when I exactly started. 

What author is your writing style similar to?

Honestly, I have no idea.  My style tends to differ depending on each story.
What writing goals do you set, and how do you reward yourself for meeting them?

I set monthly goals, in more of a "get as much as you can done with this book in this time, be it first drafting, editing, or plotting."  Sometimes I'll do word count goals (when applicable), but that's about it.

I reward myself by...being happy with my progress.  Maybe a day or two off to just read or do other things.  But nothing fancy, like a trip to get ice cream or a movie binge.

What does a regular writing day look like for you?

I don't write in the mornings, but I try to get in 10-15 minutes during lunch break on weekdays.  This is usually my blog post writing time. 

My WIP writing time is in the evenings, between family devotions and bedtime.  That can be between 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the events of the day and what must be done that evening. 

How many ideas do you currently have saved on your computer/flash drive?

Oy!  So most of my ideas get their own folders, and then I have separate folders dedicated to shorter, less-fleshed-out ideas,

So these are the folders on my flash drive...

sci-fi novel
(half-finished draft with Evangeline and some friends)

Betrayal and Bravery
fantasy trilogy
(current WIP)

Char ne Rayft
fantasy trilogy sets
(history series for the world in Heritage of Kings; some finished and unfinished drafts, only outlines for others)

Heritage of Kings
fantasy series
(co-writing with Evangeline, some books are in edits, some in drafting, some outlining)

No Suit Left Behind
superhero/spy novel
(co-wrote with Evangeline, completed draft)

fantasy novel
(first draft, in editing)

Song of Stones
Tolkien fanfiction
(don't will never see the light of day)

Stars of Darkness
futuristic trilogy
(two finished drafts, third one slightly outlined)

Strength of Swords
fantasy/sci-fi novel
(working on turning ideas and characters into a plot)

A super special story that I will be talking about next week
(whoop de doo!)

Flash Fiction
A bunch of blog post ideas/written drafts

A folder with a few old RPGs
that I may turn into actual stories someday (if my friends don't mind)

A number of half-started stories
that may someday get better plots/characters so I can try again
A note on my phone with 7 different story ideas I'm fleshing out
So yes, lots of ideas!  I can't wait until they are all written and printed.  :)
That wraps up the 4-Part Special!!!!!!  Thanks so much for sticking with me through this journey, and thanks to everyone who took part in it!  I hope you enjoyed sharing information about your WIPs and learning about some awesome up-coming stories!

Links will be provided, as usual....

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The next 4-Part Special will be in February.  Please sign up if you're interested!  Not only do you get to answer questions about your WIP, you get to help decide what the questions will be!!  (And that's half the fun!)

I will be blogging over NaNo...once I figure out what to post about...