Early NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month. From the 1st of November to the 3oth the goal is to write 50-thousand words, or 1667 words a day.

I know a bunch of writers and several of them have already decided they are doing NaNo. I half-heartedly have tried in years past (last year trying to finish Delphinium..), but I didn’t last more than a few days. Now said friends have roped me into it and I’m not allowed to escape.

(Thanks, kalez ❤ :P)

This year I will again try and finish Delphinium for NaNo. It isn’t technically within the rules, as the story isn’t new and a good chunk is written already, but blah- don’t care.

Reasons I think I might get it to work:

1 – My friends will hound me about it, I’m sure.

2 – I’ve been doing a lot better lately with productivity and feeling good about myself. I started the keto diet in the middle of summer and it’s doing wonders

3 – I am fed up with not having Delphinium out. I owe you this story. I owe the almost 100 people who have written reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, who loved Larkspur, and are still waiting. I owe the people I know through Facebook who are both my friends and readers. I owe Pierre and Lizzy.

I am making a minor tweak though-I’m starting October 17th. I have more than 50K words left and if I want to squish in the (more or less) correct number of words a day I need more time. So I’m just going ahead and adding in the last two weeks of October. Let’s call it fée-time and pretend it can work that way.

Seeing as it’s after midnight already and I’m not too tired I guess I’ll start now.

 

Wolves

It should not be this hard to find decent public domain pictures/paintings of wolves.

I’m working on a new project, a secondary book that I won’t really start until after Delphinium is done, but will let me take my mind into another place when I need it. I know I tried the ‘other project’ thing before with Incubo, and while that’s still on the table it fell through as my next-in-line book (it worked better as a stand alone that comes after a series, rather than the start to a new series).

Anyway, I had time to think and plot last night and went quite deep into the land of Astrarctia, where ‘Wolf Girl’ takes place. While the name has changed over the years it was my first mediaeval world that wasn’t totally a rip-off (just mostly). Inisaira was one of my first characters ever. If Clandestina is how I learned to write well (with lots of roleplaying online, Pierre was a role-play character I had intended not to have as a book-character way back when), this world is how I learned to worldbuild and write in the first place.

I’m quite glad I can consider it back on the table and with a ‘next’ marker placed on it. Already working out the timeline and the vague ideas for book 1.

I think I will also make another section here on the blog sorting out my intended projects, naming the ones I have named, and giving short summaries about what is what.

New Author Note

I’ve written a new author note at the beginning of Larkspur. It has a few calls to action as well as my warm regards. At the end of the book I’ve also added the opening scene to Delphinium – read it here

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Hello, dear reader. Thank you for picking up Larkspur, my first story out of many planned. I hope you enjoy it and I’d truly appreciate a review after you finish.

This is a dark story, with equal displays of affection and violence. The tenants and practices of the magic are strictly fictional. But I hope you see the love as real.

Volume two of The Larkspur Series, Delphinium, or A Necromancer’s Home, is being written and will be out soon. It expanded from a short sequel to a 100K+ novel, so it is taking me a bit longer than I’d planned to finish. In the meantime, I am writing short scenes, vignettes, from Clandestina and other realms, on my website – vmjaskiernia.com

If you would like upcoming information, tidbits, and promotional days, please sign up for the Noctuinad Mailing list – www.eepurl.com/P2FIT

In addition to the current series, many other stories that take place in Clandestina (and in other realms of Noctuina) are in the works.

You may also contact me personally by:

Email:  vmjaskiernia@gmail.com

Twitter:  @vmjaskiernia

Happy reading,

Victoria M. Jaskiernia

Scene 7

Working on Scene 7, ‘Wolf Girl.’ The main character is Inisaira, one of my first characters from way back when I was 13. Her story has been a constant in my mind for years, and I’m glad to be getting back to that realm (and werewolves, I love werewolves). Charting the timeline is helping me sort through 13 years of memories, old ideas, and plots that no longer work. Like with Clandestina I have several generations of stories there (I love a family saga).

I’m thinking Inisaira’s story might be the second series I begin properly (alongside Pierre and Lizzy’s), but much of that is still in the air. Plus I want to write the short-story ‘Dear Friend’ (which is in yet another, third, realm) which seems too long for a Scene, but shouldn’t break 10K. I might put it up for 99cents or even free from the start. I have six or seven main realms where many of my stories take place, and many many more minor realms that I don’t know enough about yet, but plan to work in. Remember, Noctuina has 256 different magical realms, with different cræfts, bestia, and histories.

Delphinium is coming along well too, I’ve been at the beach this last week and that helped with a lot of thinking and plotting. I’ve actually updated Larkspur with the opening scene of Delphinium, and an author’s note near the start.

‘Wolf Girl’ should be up tonight 🙂

Mistakes, worldbuilding, and trusting the story

It was once thought that a muse, or a daimon  (genius in Latin), brought fantastic ideas to artists. There’s a great TED talk about it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius?language=en

And it makes sense in a way. Art, while  now we think of it as coming from one person, is also the person’s entire life, various situations, thoughts, emotions, experiences, jumbled up until the brain decides to sort it so someone can write a book, paint a picture, or compose a song.

Our brains are also known for doing many things under the radar. We don’t think about breathing or blinking (until right now when I mention it) nor about our blood pumping or hair growing. It just happens.

And here’s where I want to talk about trusting the story. I’ve written a few posts about how I had to go back and tweak small things in Larkspur because, having worked on the second book now for about a year, there are things I may look at differently. Something small, like a phrase or a name that fit at the time and does not any more. Plwto becoming Thanatos, and then changed to Akhlys as I worked out how the lands of the dead was structured. Not a huge deal, and for the 300 or so people that have an edition with another name, hopefully my books will never be assigned in class and so you won’t get the answer wrong on a quiz.

Then there are the things I wrote it not knowing why, only to find out how they fit in later. It’s your story, your brain, your genius, coming up with a way to make it all work even if you think you’ve written yourself into a corner. All without you knowing.

Sean Platt calls it trusting the story. And it’s helped me when there are large things I sometimes can’t find a good answer for.

Take Pierre’s name. Pierre is as French as you can get, and since Clandestina is heavily based in a French feel that’s great. The problem comes with his second name- Salvador. Not French. And while I play loose with what names come from where, Clandestina has English and Celtic influences as secondary characteristics, not Spanish or Italian (though those are in neighboring realms).

Someone reading my story pointed this out, and how a French noble with a Spanish name in real life would be mistrusted.

I did the whole ‘this is fantasy, some of the names don’t always jive’ but it still bothered me. Whyever would he have a name that was so different?

Then as I was thinking I remember the old legends about how a name holds power, and how fairies in particular were sneaky and somewhat immoral about their tricks. Pierre, having a father who lived in Faery, would have course not tell anyone his real full name. So he, much like I when originally naming the character, picked the name because it sounded cool- not realizing it didn’t fit with the scheme of the land just yet.

So from a mistake came a whole thread to the world that I didn’t know was there before. And it just works.

Maps!

I’ve been working on maps all day long! And now you get some pictures, worldbuilding, and other random information about how I spend my days.

As we know, fantasy maps are a large part of the genre. Any even slightly-epic story will have one, and while not many people really go and look at it, there are the geeks who double-check it for accuracy at every mention of location. If the story becomes popular enough the map will be seen a fair amount more. Even if you aren’t a really hardcore fantasy fan you know what Middle Earth looks like, and probably Westeros as well. You might even know how the Four Nations from Avatar and Korra are situated.

When reading I don’t look at the map that often myself. But later, when reading up on the world, about the author, the more meta side of the story I delight in having detailed maps. It makes the world so much more real.

You can see where this is going 🙂

My first attempts at making a map were terrible MS Paint scribbles. Just the basics, so I could see which part of the world held what continent and that’s about it. But that wasn’t enough for me. I’d go on to make a calendar and work out the daily times of sunrise, moonrise, sunset and moonset. Plus the seasons, the ‘real seasons’ the fae-seasons, the moon phases, how these all differ between hemispheres.. etc.

So a bullshit MS paint map wasn’t going to cut it.

I’ve used a few programs over the years to make up for my lack of drawing skills. ProFantasy’s Fractal Terrains 3 (https://secure.profantasy.com/products/ft.asp) was my main ‘this is a map now’ program. I typed in some numbers and variations, hit go, and a world popped up. I clicked through a few until I found one that felt like Noctuina to me.

Then I had the problem of adding things like borders, roads, names. Moving it over to photoshop would be good, but to do that I had to export the file. As a single file it wasn’t as big as I wanted (I was originally going to have a pixel-to-feet conversion of some sort, but that proved way too daunting and silly) so I exported it in as many files as possible, in as big a setting as possible.

So now I had 256 bits of map. 16 across and 16 down.

I made a huuuuge photoshop file and start moving over each piece. But I noticed that they aren’t seamlessly connecting, and are leaving white boxes around each bit. I couldn’t just fill it with blue, some of it cut through land, and picking through such a file would be a pain…

Now at this point I knew Noctuina had magical realms that had their own borders different than kingdoms and countries, but I had not worked out how I would decide what realm was where. Having 256 perfect rectangles that made up my entire world seemed as good a place as any to place the magical borders. Given that it is a globe, there would realistically be distortion, and the lines wouldn’t be hard edges (in most places). Walking past the point won’t usually change the magic of the realm as if you’d hit the edge of a green lawn and walked into a snow-covered one. (Though now that is being planned between some realms).

It was only after I’d come up with this genius idea that I realized when I hit save in photoshop, the thin white lines disappeared. Too late! I kept the files separate, with one ‘whole map’ picture of the same size as the pieces.

Since then I’ve mostly worked on bits of the map at a time, deciding which realm went where, but today I was started working in more detail on Clandestina. There are towns, duchies, and various other things mentioned in Delphinium, and while I had a vague idea, an actual map would be helpful.

Clandestina is the realm in which The Larkspur Series takes place. The kingdom that roi Edgard and reine Joséphine control is called Triumphe. It consists of 4 duchies, each named/themed after a suit of French playing cards. Cœurs (Hearts), Carreaux (Diamonds), Trèfles (Clubs), and Piques (Spades). There are other sections in each duchy that correspond to suits used by other countries. Elizabeth is from Eichel (Acorns), a German suit used in place of Clubs. You meet the Margrave of Bastoni briefly in the opening scene- Bastoni being the Italian suit Clubs.

There is land in Clandestina that is not part of Triumphe. These are more wild lands, with far more of the Fée living in the main plane of existence.

Anyway, pictures! Here’s Clandestina, with the borders of the duchies sorted out and named. Below that is a further away view of more of the realms and land. It is not the full map, that is 16 by 16 ‘realms.’

https://i0.wp.com/i.imgur.com/W0lZkt5.jpg

New book summary

So begins my revitalized writing-and-marketing career– with a new book description for Larkspur.

Forbidden magic, a childhood love, and a goddess of death.

An old romance is reignited when Duc Pierre Salvador returns from University, but his love, family, and friends are unaware of his dealings with the Lady of Death. Being a surgeon is not enough, and he strives to know all the mystical and illegal means of controlling life and death. With his final task to master necrocræft, he must choose what is most important to him.
***
This is a novelette. It is ~15,000 words, or about 60 pages.

It isn’t perfect, I’m still going to tweak it a bit, but with a promotion tomorrow I wanted this newer version up so maybe it can entice some more clicks. I may change the ‘have to choose’ part, since frankly that isn’t true- while he probably should choose, Pierre often wants both.