NaNoWriMo 2017: Week 1

marchcity2NaNoWriMo 2017 has officially kicked off! I have a loaded schedule this month, so I’m not sure how much I can actually get done, with two friends visiting separately from the other side of the world and six days’ exams at the end (and I still need to study for it!) but we’ll see.

March City: The Rebellion of the Gifted sees Ari breaking out of the simulated reality that was March City and struggling to cope with the real world, devoid of the technology she was used to, with a new enemy on the horizon and allies she could not trust.

Day 1 results are…IMG_8797

Chapter 1 is out on Wattpad; for earlier updates, check it out on RadishFiction.

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What to do After Finishing a First Draft

After Finishing Your Novel

On 27th July 2017, Rune Mage was finished at 199k words after NaNoWriMo 2016 and two lots of Camp NaNoWriMo 2017.

Then I hit a wall. What now?

I had several plot bunnies boiling for the past few months and was too happy to jump straight into a different project, but I knew this was always my pattern ever since I started writing. Once I finished a story, it would be stowed away forever, not to be touched for years. Since I discovered Wattpad, I would get occasional commenters picking up on old plot holes, spelling/grammar errors, and general areas that could be better improved. I made a point of reading through the whole of Rune Mage again, now that I knew the ending, and added in red herrings, foreshadowing, and refined the lore now I learnt the true extent and limitations of the magic.

And, you know what? It was worth it. There were areas that didn’t add up to the ending (it had been eight months since the beginning, after all), characters who became more solid as the time went on, so conversations didn’t match up to their true nature from the beginning, and a few red herrings spiced things up.

It was also cringeworthy picking up on my typos or see where I’d been distracted and mis-typed, but nevermind.

Rune Mage is now edited at the time of writing this. I spent a whole month reading back and reliving the story, and tidying up after myself. I have a bad habit of being exceedingly under-critical of my own work, so I have a good feeling it’ll be at least a year if not more I want to rewrite.

What do you do after finishing a first draft?

Cover Reveal for NaNoWriMo2017 and the Next Project

CoverReveal

NaNoWriMo2017 draws near, as does the start of my second project. As promised, the cover reveal for my sequel to 2014’s NaNoWriMo, a science fiction-fantasy combining the ethics of simulated reality, human experimentation, and doing The Greater Good.

Welcome to March City: The Rebellion of the Gifted.

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Inspiration for Demons in Rune Mage

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In Rune Mage, summoned demons play a part in wreaking havoc in the country of Karma and serves as a point of hatred for Seiren Nithercott, the main character, due to the demons’ wildness and propensity for destruction. They are actually based on real-life creatures, up-scaled in size.

From Chapter 1:

Orange skin with reptilian spikes covering it from head the toe, the demon crawled on all fours, stumbling into the debris of the wall it had destroyed on its descent, blinded by Seiren’s rune. Long curved claws clacked on the stone ground. A large mouth stretched across most of its face from ten feet high.

A bearded dragon.

The black and white lizard featured in end of Chapter 1 and throughout Chapter 2 is an Argentinian Black and White Tegu Lizard

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How would Hitler justify going to heaven?

Crossroads

Paranormal Community‘s challenge this week is writing a short story on a character being at a crossroad to heaven or to hell. Lately as I’ve been editing Rune Mage and plotting for the sequel of March City, I’ve been thinking about villains.

More specifically, how every villain is the hero in their own story.

The prompt of “Who’s going to heaven or to hell” led me to think of another villain who’s definitely destined for hell, who will also definitely visualise themselves as a hero who deserves heaven, namely Adolf Hitler.

How would Hitler justify going to heaven? I ask myself.

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Inspired by Clowns and Dolls

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hate clowns and dolls. If I actually encountered those clown ‘pranks’ that were all the rage last year, I would break down in a mess and cry — or alternatively turn on my fight response and attempt to beat the shit out of the clown, all 55kg of me.

When Wattpad’s Short Story account held a contest on a Halloween-themed story, I knew I had to write this: the endeavour of my dear father working a few weeks in Beijing and then bringing back an ‘expensive, beautiful’ clown doll. Basically, the embodiment of my worst nightmare. He knew I hated dolls and clowns. And yet he still did it.

And when I broke it in every way I could to get him to throw it away, including gouging out an eye, scribbling on its cheeks, snapping its limbs, all he did was lament at my destruction and inability to appreciate pretty things, fix it, and leave it in my room. Again. And again.

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Plagiarism and Wattpad

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There have been some issues in the context of safety of my work and others on Wattpad. From a few Wattpad friends on Facebook, it’s come to my attention that there has been a site (or multiple sites) for the past year that have allowed internet users the ability to download stories onto their own computer — pdf, word doc, epub — whatever the format. This means anyone can download anyone’s stories — yours, mine, any Wattpadder’s — slap their own names on it, and upload it as their own content. Change a few character and place names, and they can publish it and get money — and you’ll likely never know as it’ll be harder for you to find it on random Googling. The aforementioned site has been going on for a year and allegedly Wattpad has done nothing to get it taken down.

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There are likely other sites and downloads as we speak. You may have noticed several ambassadors and Wattpad-owned accounts sending out messages regarding what Wattpad is doing to ensure our stories are safe. This is likely what the messages are about.

From Wattpad:

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I’m no techie, but I’m a doctor and I know over-simplified language that are open to interpretation when I see it. This is too vague for any comfort. I also leverage available technology, policy, and legal solutions to bring you this news. I take screenshots and post it on a blog. Woopie-doo.

Godhand has a book with further details. You can find it in her “REMOVED” book . There are other Wattpadders who have expressed similar concerns and have taken similar action, like my good friends JessicaBFry and EliseNoble. Jess has also kindly posted on her account details regarding plagiarism and how one can protect one’s work from it. Wattpad has yet to address this plagiarising site specifically.

What it means for me is I do not wish any of my work to end up being stolen, especially as I have no current intentions to make money from my work. I want my work to be free. I want my work to be accessible on my terms. I want your feedback and support. I do not want other people to get paid for my hard work.

What it means for you is that my works will no longer be up in their entirety on Wattpad. Rest assured; I will continue to post stories on here for the foreseeable future, but works will not be available in their entirety on Wattpad — they will, however, be available fully on the Radish app, and will remain free/on freemium (which means the work becomes free after 1 week there). This helps reduce the risk of people downloading my full stories and monetising my hard work and tears until this issue is sorted, if ever.

I’m not the first Wattpadder to do this, nor will I be the last. Am I overreacting? Whining too much? Ungrateful? Perhaps, but it’s not changing the fact that my and countless others’ works can be plagiarised. Until this issue is sorted, this will be how I will continue to provide my stories for free… as this is just one step short of taking down all of my works as others have already done or are already doing.

Thank you for your understanding. Have you any experiences regarding this? What are your thoughts?