NaNoWriMo Plotting


I had three plot bunnies for potential NaNo. One was a March City sequel, one was a new sci-fi story, and the other a new fantasy. Sadly the March City sequel wouldn’t work for NaNo as the timescale doesn’t quite cater to me finishing the current March City, but it’s something I’ll look into developing as a future next project.

I was banking on the sci-fi, but as with a lot of my plot bunnies, they generally thrive to a certain point before I either lose interest or run out of ideas, or both. I think that sci-fi definitely has potential, but I can’t seem to plan enough for it to be confident I can do the whole 50k (whilst working potentially up to 70-80 hr weeks including night shifts). I’m no pantser and with the aforementioned busy job, I can’t afford to not plot properly. When November 1st rolls round, I need to hit the ground running and just write, with as little thinking as I can afford.

So that leaves the fantasy. I’m a fantasy writer at heart anyway so it didn’t matter terribly to me which one I were to do for NaNo. I’m sure all three bunnies will thrive at some point.

I didn’t plan on writing this fantasy bunny at all. When thinking about what to write in the march city sequel, I started watching Fullmetal Alchemist brotherhood again. It was inspiration for bits of The Windcaster (mainly the snow storm bit in Gwent — inspired by the winter in Fort Briggs) and because its such an amazing mind-blowing story, it sent my mind reeling again.

Currently the working title is The Rune Mage. It follows the story of eighteen-year-old Seiren, who graduated at the top of her class at King’s Academic of Magic, but her motivation is not to do well or for fame. When she was twelve, a rogue from the neighbouring country broke into her house and killed her father and twin sister, Madeleine. An accidental illicit spell Seiren fired in revenge killed her mother and she desperately tied her sisters soul to an amulet. She lives in hopes of bringing her back to life and her chance lies at the top of the state mage ladder.

I’m squashing as many details as I can get before I start. I’m also drafting the backstory to each character in hopes it’ll help me get to know them more and make their interactions realistic. Most of the stories won’t make the actual story but it will definitely help!

How is everyone feeling and what are you planning for NaNo?

Coming next week, blurb and cover reveal!

(BTW I’m KatrinHollister on NaNoWriMo — add me!)

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The Art of Madness outcome


As those who have been following my recent progress may be aware, I’d entered Nyhterides’s The Art of Madness contest.

And I won it.

*cue party poppers and streamers*

I’m one of the three winners, the other two being Rosaimee and Sam_Castle. And having read the entries as the weeks went by, their entries are definitely some great stuff.

Aimee’s been an old Watty friend of mine and reading her entries now compared to back when I first met her, she has come in leaps and bounds. Did I mention English isn’t even her first language? And she also writes poetry and prose in Spanish? And she has a family of three kids to look after? And she still manages these fantastic spooky stories and has managed to improve so much over the past few years. I’m very proud of her and her work and you should check them out!

I’ve never met Sam before, but her work is also very captivating. Her use of two voices in “The Dark One” allowed the readers to know the two characters well, her twist in the “All the Sins” prompt was unexpected and pleasantly surprising, and her “Madness is an Art” evoked the perfect twistedness of age-old traditions. Go check out her stuff!

On Thursday’s blog, it’s time for NaNoWriMo chat!

The Importance of Having a Good Book Cover (Part 2 of 2)

So unattractive or unprofessional-looking covers don’t help your literary masterpieces get the attention they deserve. What can you do?

On Wattpad there is the multimedia club. There you will find many Wattpadders offering their services for covers, banners, image manipulations, etc. Some of the users are amateurs looking for more practice and renown on WP; others are professionals looking for some pass-time. Some may ‘charge’ a ‘fee’ of commenting on their books, shout-outs, or a follow. Others do it for free. Note, of course, that because Wattpad books are non-profitable, most of the images used are copyrighted and so if anyone wants to publish their books, they will need to get a cover that does not contain any copyright images.

I was lucky during my initial Wattpad life that I made friends with a very talented photoshop artist, Wendythestoryteller (find her here too!) She made the current cover for The Windcaster and I have had numerous compliments for it. I LOVE it.

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Madness is an Art (The Art of Madness Prompt)

Nyhterides’ third and last prompt was really specific and had me stumped for a whole weekend. I had little to no experience of gothic horror or southern gothic horror, but thats likely because i just didnt know it as it was called. I certainly knew horror involving death, which is an element of gothic horror. And as my readers may know, i have no qualms about killing my characters, although im nowhere near grr martin’s level!

Boringly i like to stick to what i know. The only one i could work with was paranormal, ghosts or werewolves. Im no major fan of werewolf, which leaves me with ghosts. It works out well as ive been brewing a short ghost story for over a year now. It was left on the back burner after my partner felt it was too longwinded and could be better condensed, and i got distracted by other projects. It was nice to revive it.

Children like to play. In horror, children are also creepy as heck, and i want to utilise that to my full advantage. My third entry centres around a creepy abandoned house that nobody in the village goes near, but outsiders dont know that.

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All The Sins (The Art of Madness Prompt)

The second prompt in Nyhterides’s ‘The Art of Madness’ competition revolved the main character finding a strange CD-Rom, the voice of which tells him she represents all his sins he was afraid to commit, and then him waking up in a strange place.

This piece took me about three days of puzzling before I realised what I wanted to write about. There is nothing particularly twisted or scary about finding a CDR or waking up in the middle of nowhere, but there’s always something scary about people. Like my previous entry, I drew on a few of the stories I’ve read in the past year and mashed in something of my own.

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Ruined Childhoods: The First Prompt

“Ruined Childhoods” is a Wattpad user-hosted competition centred on ruining childhoods. Although I’m the host, I’m also writing for the fun of it!

The first prompt is “A Festival”. Christmas and summers may have connotations of togetherness, fun games, and too much good food, but the competition’s theme is to ruin them all.

My personal favourite holiday, even as a child, is Christmas. Holidays, foods, lots of merriness, pretty decorations and lights — what’s not to love?

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The Importance of Having a Good Book Cover (Part 1 of 2)

Potential readers judge a book by its cover. Everyone does; anyone who says otherwise is lying. The first thing anyone sees is the cover and if it’s attractive and gives the reader an idea of what the book is about, they’ll pick it up. Then they read the blurb. Then they flick through it. If your book passes all those tests, then they may even read or buy it.

Say your work is fantastic. Literary perfection. Best book ever. Stick a crappy cover on it and most likely it will never attract many readers and definitely not the reader base it deserves.

One of the pitfalls I had when I first started on Wattpad was lack of a good cover. I had no knowledge in image manipulation. I was arty, but my medium was traditional: acrylic, oil, watercolour, pencils etc. The only image manipulation program I used was Paint. How on earth was I going to get a nice cover with any of those?

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