The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life

Archive for the category “The Writing Process”

Week 1 of the Finish-a-thon

So it’s been one week since I pledged to write ferociously to finish this WIP.  I think I’ve done pretty well so far.  I wrote around 5,000 words this week, which has bumped the word count to around 24,000 words.  I’m also fighting off my inner editor–it’s amazing how much easier and less painful it is to write if you stop rewriting the same paragraph to make it sound perfect.  I mean, that’s what second (and third) drafts are for, right?

Let’s see what another week has in store.


NaNoWriMo… and why I’m not participating

November is National Novel Writing Month, my birthday month, and two-week-holiday-from-college month, which makes it three times as fantastic.  I actually found out about NaNoWriMo over the summer, and (naively) was looking forward to participating in it this month.

However, I forgot that I am in college.  Taking 18 credits.  With three exams in November.  Plus essays.  And failing at effectively scheduling writing time.  So I decided to forgo participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and am already regretting it.  Couldn’t I have made time?  Everyone else who participates obviously has other commitments as well.  Yeah, I’m not a fast writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I could have done something, right?

Maybe.  But I also realized that if I tried to start a new story, I would feel guilty about putting my current WIP on hold for the month, especially because I really wanted to finish it by the end of December.  To achieve this goal, I’ve decided to come up with my own deadlines for the next 1.5 months.  This way, I’ll feel like I’m participating in NaNoWriMo even if I’m not technically participating.  At the end of the day, I’ll be writing, and that’s the most important thing.  So here goes:

Goal: 60,000 words by January 1 (Yay for New Years!)

Current word count: 18,751 words

Words per week: roughly 5893 words a week, which is around 842 words a day

This is going to be rough.  I’m not even sure I can achieve this goal, but giving myself a concrete deadline will force me to write.  Plus, the holidays should give me plenty of free time to catch up.

*Deep breath*  Let’s do this.

I’ll update you all on my (hopefully weekly) progress!

The Importance of Setting

This month, I’m participating in the Teens Can Write, Too Blog Chain for the first time.

The blog topic is: “How much does setting affect your novels and stories? What are some of your favorite ways to portray setting?”

I’ve always considered a novel’s setting to be one of it’s most important characteristics because it provides an environment in which the reader can immerse his or herself.  Although characters are, of course, the most significant aspect of a story, their surroundings can mold their actions, reveal their strengths and flaws, and serve as an obstacle or a blessing.

Since my novel is a fantasy, the setting is imaginary and is still under construction.  However, it’s based on real locations and terrain.  I’ve always been fascinated by the Middle East and Egypt: the tantalizing mystery, the depth, the vivid color, the customs, the traditions.  Thus, the city my main character lives in is located on the edge of a desert.  This, of course, affects the way people dress and how they look.  The women (and some of the men as well) wear kohl eyeliner and they dress in light, colorful, and comfortable clothing (I researched ancient Persian clothing to get a good visual).  Sometimes, they also cover the bottom half of their faces with a scarf to avoid breathing in sand and dust.  They have tan skin and dark hair.  You can get a bit of a feel for the setting by reading an old excerpt from the first draft of my novel (please be forewarned that most of the excerpt has undergone major changes).

I plan on drawing a map to help me clarify where everything is located (which I will definitely post here).  I also want to incorporate different types of terrain, so that each of the three kingdoms have their specific set of advantages and disadvantages.  I hope to find a way to incorporate mountains, rivers, hills, forests to make the world richer and more exciting.

Additionally, I’ve learned it’s important to avoid “info-dumping,” which is difficult, especially in fantasy and science fiction novels.  I’m currently trying to fit in bits and pieces about the setting, history, and traditions of the land where it would naturally make sense to mention them instead of going into long-winded explanations about the political and social system of the kingdoms.  Basically, I aim to illustrate the setting the way my characters see it and reveal details as my characters think them.


Here are the other blog chain participants:

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day

September 5––Musings From Neville’s Navel

September 6––Olivia’s Opinions

September 7––Miriam Joy Writes

September 8––Kirsten Writes!

September 9––Beyond the Moon

September 10––Crazy Red Pen

September 11––The Ebony Quill

September 12––Reality Is Imaginary

September 13––This Page Intentionally Left Blank

September 14––The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

September 15––All I Need Is A Keyboard

September 16––Teens Can Write, Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

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