The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life

Archive for the tag “books”

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.


Holiday Break…. Finally

I know.  I know it’s been a month, and I have been smacking my head on a weekly basis, realizing and re-realizing how much time has passed since I have posted.  But.  But.  But it’s finally winter break!  I have one (ish) glorious month off from college, which means a few weeks to read, write, and cogitate about my life.  I checked out some great books from the library–perfect for relaxation.

I had a bit of a panic attack around Thanksgiving when I read Throne of Glass and realizing how far from that level my WIP was.  While Shadow and Bone inspired me, Throne of Glass simply made me feel insecure in my writing abilities.  My wonderful critique partners have told me that my writing is strong, but it’s the story that I’m worried about; is it dramatic enough?  Exciting enough?  Different enough?

I toyed with the idea of changing it completely, or maybe even starting afresh.  However, today I decided that I will finish the WIP, simply because I want to–no, I need to–finish my first book.  It’s necessary for me to realize that I can finish a full-length novel, even if it ends up being shelved.

And so, tonight I will begin writing again with a fervor, if for no other reason than to finish.  Wish me luck!

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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