I try really hard to avoid them.  I am more of a panster, and by all appearances, outlines and winging it don’t seem to go together.  But is it possible to find a balance between winging it, and having an outline?

I think so.  My problem is that I would want to outline EVERYTHING.  I just need to find the right balance between outlining and giving myself enough freedom to keep things interesting.

In other words, I need to have enough wiggle room to pants it.  A general structure, you know?  Outlines were always this mysterious thing that happens in the distant future after I’ve written a first draft.  How could I be expected to write an outline when I don’t know what I want to happen?  It would be easier to outline after the first draft, when I have a better idea of what I want to keep and discard.

But maybe a very vague outline wouldn’t be such a bad idea.  A general idea of things that should happen.

Like that’s actually going to happen.  I can barely get myself to settle on plots and work on my characters.  How the hell am I supposed to motivate myself to do even a vague outline?

But this year, I think I’ll have an outline of some sort.  For both novels!

The one I’m doing about the family who only sees each other at funerals?  I have quite a few narrators. I think I might have more narrators than funerals…or maybe it’s more funerals than narrators…either way, one has more than the other.  I definitely need to figure out who goes in what order or who will be narrating which funeral.  I’m leaning towards the second one.  It’ll be a lot easier to go through it if I have groups.  There doesn’t need to be a specific order for each group, but as long as I know who’s narrating which funeral, I think I’ll be good.

As for the fairie mermaid girl who dies, I was thinking about shifting between letters/journal entries and the present time.  So it doesn’t need an outline or anything, not really.  But I should probably give it some thought.  You know, the progression of letters and journal entries, and what’s going on with her while seeing what’s going on after she dies.  I just got an idea!  Her journal could be a parallel story!  We see what happens to her while she’s alive and we also see what’s going on in the wake of her death.  I’ll have to get working on that.

I’ll have everything ready to go by the 24th, because that’s when my 8 day NaNo posting extravaganza starts.  I’m off to bed so I can be all rested up for a day of planning.


As November approaches, I’ve actually been working on my plots.  I’ve only been working on one, the one about the 2 friends who make a pact.  I’ve narrowed things down to either fairies or mermaids, but even more questions have popped up.  There are definitely a lot of things I need to work out between now and November.  Like, how is it going to kill her?  Is it something she’s allergic to?  Why can’t her body handle the fairy or the mermaid part of her?  Are there other people who are having the same problems as Poppy?  Does the fairy blood/mermaid whatever show up as something foreign or does everything appear normal because people think fairies and mermaids don’t exist?  Or is it a combination of both where there’s something weird but no one realizes it’s because she’s a fairie and so they think it’s some new disease or something?  How did she become part-fairie or part-mermaid?  Is one of her parents a fairie or a mermaid or is it some totally bizarre genetic mutation that turns people into mythological creatures?  Or maybe everyone has the ability to be a fairie or mermaid but only a certain segment of the population becomes a fairie because of a random mutation?

So, you can see my problem in actually working out some of the details, but I’m determined to make it work.  I think it’ll be easier to work out some of these questions once I actually pick something.  This is why I prefer to (mostly) wing it.  It’s just easier to make stuff up as I go along, but unfortunately, this isn’t something I can really make up as I go along.  I can, but I think I’m going to have to put in a lot of work ahead of time.  I’m thinking about shifting between her journal entries and the present but I’m not sure yet.  If I can think up of some more characters, and *maybe* plan some of the journal entries, then I’ll do that.  Otherwise, I’m not sure how I’m going to do this.  I definitely need to go back and forth between past and present…somehow.

I generally avoid research, but I have it to, I try to do just enough to get me through NaNo.  It’s interesting that after several years, I’m shifting more towards things that require me to do research.  I usually avoid research because I’ll focus too much on research and not enough on everything else.  I still have trouble finding the right balance, but maybe I’ll get better at it as I keep coming up with ideas where I actually need to research stuff before writing it.  I suppose I could always just ignore any research and write things that are potentially inaccurate, but where’s the fun in that?  I think I’m going to let the novel dictate how much I research because different things require different amounts of planning.  You wouldn’t plan historical fiction and fanfiction the same way, and you wouldn’t approach fantasy and romance the same way, so I really should try to let the novel dictate the amount of effort I put into planning and researching it.

Hopefully the research I do turns out okay, and it’s definitely going to be fun!

Mythology Is Pretty Important

Mythology is going to be really important in at least one of my plot bunnies, maybe even two of them.  I’m going to focus on some of the mythological creatures and beings that may end up in The Pact.  If any of the information isn’t new to you, I’m sorry, but hopefully it’ll help me get some focus. 

  • Faeries popped into my head immediately.  The word faerie comes from Middle English word faierie, which seems to come directly from the Old French word Faerie.  Ultimately, though, the word faerie is derived from the Latin word fata, or one of the Fates.  So faeries are guardians in the ultimate sense of the word.  Can you imagine getting sick because you’re trying to protect something, and nothing is good enough?  Faerie is a pretty broad category, though, if the wikipedia page is any indication.  But still, I like the image of a faerie.  There are lots of faeries out there, so I’m pretty sure I can think of something interesting.   
  • Mermaids: I don’t have a clue how to work in a mermaid, but I really like the idea.  Mermaid comes from two French words, mer, which means sea, and maid, which is a girl or a young woman…obviously, right?  Mermaids sing to gods or people to enchant them and distract them from what they’re doing.  In some stories, mermaids squeeze the life out of men as they drown while they try to rescue them.  There are a lot of mermaid stories out there, and I really like the image of a girl who’s part mermaid or something. 
  • Selkies can become human by taking off their seal skin, and return to their seal form by putting their seal skin back on.  There’s not much on the wikipedia page, but the legends are really interesting, and I’m sure I could adapt the legends to fit the story. 
  • Sirens…I’m starting to detect a them here, perhaps something water related is where I should focus my attention.  Sirens, if you’re not familiar with them, are 3 bird-women who are portrayed as seductresses who lured sailors to the rocky coast of their island with their enchanting voices and music.  I’m pretty sure I could work this in somehow, but since it’s a fantasy, it can happen. 

I think some kind of water creature is where my thoughts eem to be headed, and there’s going to be some very strong imagery.  I’ll definitely need some to have a clear image of what Poppy looks like.  If I can actually get myself to work on it, it should be really fun.

I Have A Confession To Make

I was going to be all productive over the weekend, and work on my plot bunnies.  I had high hopes of doing some character profiles, and actually attempt to make some decisions on what to do.  I was even going to do some writing on Saturday or Sunday.

So it should be no surprise that I didn’t do anything.  I didn’t write anything, I didn’t make any decisions, work on any of my characters…but I did write a couple of notes for one plot bunny.  And then realized that it was something I had written a few lines up.  So I didn’t even come up with any original ideas either. 

The clock is ticking, and I have just over 6 weeks to finish up these ideas.  It seems like a lot of time, but for a procrastinator like me, it’s really not that much time.  Maybe I need to spend some time at the library, since that seems to be one of the few places I can actually get any work done.

So, I’ll try to work on a couple characters, and try to decide what direction I want to go in for a couple of them.  I can’t promise that I’ll get any work done, since I seem to be really bad at it right now, but I’ll definitely try.  I just need to sit down and actually do it. 

Here’s hoping I will!

I Think I Have Decided Something…

I’ve kind of narrowed things down a little.  I’m thinking of giving her the ability to heal, read minding, being empathetic, or manipulating time.

With the ability to heal, I’m thinking that in order to heal someone, she somehow absorbs the illness or injury from the person she’s healing.  I’m not sure how, maybe she ends up with illness/injury herself, or maybe it presents a lot of colds or something.  With the empathetic thing, that could go hand-in-hand with her ability to heal others, in that people could always be coming up to her and telling her their problems, and she just keeps absorbing it until she feels sick enough to die. 

I’m not really sure how I could work in mind-reading or manipulating time in, but manipulating time (or even time travel) could be really interesting.  I mean, it could age her really fast or something.  Mind-reading, on the other hand, I have no idea. 

I also like the idea of her having faerie blood, or at least the blood of some similar creature.  I like the idea of her slowly being killed by eating processed food, and breathing in polluted air.  Stuff that isn’t good for the average person, but takes years to have an effect is super toxic to her.

I think those 2 groups are the most interesting to me, but that’s the most thinking I did yesterday.  While it’s not a lot, it is something, and more than I’d normally do.  I definitely need to take a closer look at faerie’s and stuff.  I didn’t really do anything else, but small steps seem to work really well for me.  I don’t know what my next step is…or maybe I do and just don’t want to think about it.

Decisions, Decisions

I have a really cool idea for one of my plot bunnies, the one where the two best friends make a pact.  I haven’t looked over my notes or anything, and it’s been a good 2 months or so since I’ve worked on it.  But I still want to go with the idea that she has some supernatural power or something and it ends up killing her.  The only problem is deciding which thing I want to go with.

I have 3 categories- magical beasts and creatures, superpowers, and other.  I want it to be somwhat realistic…or at the very least, the teensiest bit plausible.  Like fairie blood is toxic when mixed with human blood.  Or she can heal people but it shortens her life a little each time she does it.  I definitely want to go with something like that…something that’s she’s done her whole life, something she does not knowing it’s killing her each time she does it, or some kind of magical blood that is deadly when combined with another type of blood.  It’s definitely intriguing, and I’m not sure which one I like more.  Maybe I can find some way to combine both, because depending on whatever creature I go with, there are probably special abilities that go along with it.  I have lists, I just need to do a little more research on some of the creatures to see if anything seems super-interesting.

This is why I like to wing it, as much as possible, because I hate deciding on things!  I know I could change it later, but my stupid inner editor starts harping on me about making sure it’s the right decision, because you don’t want to make the wrong one.  And just when I think she’s gone…she randomly appears!

I think today, I’m going to try working on this plot bunny, and see if I can actually decide on something!

The Evolution Of A Family Tree

Today’s post is how my family tree has evolved over the last couple weeks or so.

The Basic Structure Of My Family Tree

The picture above is the basic structure of the family.  It starts off with Chastity, who is the great-grandmother, and goes from there.  I wanted to do it in pencil so I could erase things as needed.  It’s a little bit messy, but it works.

Rough Draft, Version One Of The Family Tree

This picture is the first version of the tree, complete with names.  Except for the one section that doesn’t have names, because I didn’t give myself enough room…and I didn’t feel like changing it so I could have enough room.  Plus, I needed to redo the tree since it was still a little funky.  Still in pencil, but that’s because it’s easier to change things if it’s all in pencil.

Family Tree, Version 2 Of The Rough Draft

And this is the most recent tree, with names for most everyone…the only exceptions being the four unnamed children, who will probably have a few mentions.  I also have a few notes- mostly on who’s dead, which will be a good reference for the different funerals they’ll all be going to.  Plus, I have a note on who’s divorced and a note that someone’s a single parent.  It’s still in pencil, thank goodness, because I did have to make a couple changes to it.  I still don’t like how it’s formatted, but it’s better than the previous draft.  I think what I need to do is have a bigger version, which will probably help.

For the super final version (that hasn’t happened yet), I’ll probably do different colors to distinguish between the different branches.  I’m going to put off that super final version on posterboard until October in case things change between now and then.  And honestly, that’s highly likely, depending on what I come up with.  I know posterboard isn’t expensive, but I really don’t want to buy it until I have to.

Honestly, I’m so glad I have a list of names I like, because it was really helpful to have a list I could pick from.  I tried to make the names as different as I could, which didn’t always work in some cases.  But I’m not too worried since, I’m going to focus on only a few people anyway.  Writing it all out definitely helped me in terms of how they’re all related.  I took a look at a basic family tree detailing how cousins are related, and it makes a lot more sense now that I have names I can attach to each spot on the chart.

I think this novel is definitely going to be an adventure!

And on a random side-note:

Pottermore has finally been revealed!  I’ve been waiting to see what it is, and it’ll be the only place to get an e-reader version of the series.  Plus, JKR has a lot of unused info concering the series, so that will be revealed too!  It sounds awesome and I can’t wait until October, when everything will be set to go.

Jane Seymour…The Queen, Not The Actress

I think I’m going to do my historical fiction and make Jane Seymour the focus.  I really don’t know too much about her, other than a couple books I’ve read about Henry and his wives.  It would be a great chance to learn more about her.  I’m not sure what I want to focus on, but right now, I’m thinking about doing something in relation to her becoming queen. 

I also like the idea of something about Anne of Cleves or Katherine Howard, so I’ll probably read up on them as well in case the Jane Seymour thing doesn’t work out.  I love history, especially Tudor England, so I can see myself focusing more on the research and not enough on the actual writing.  In the spirit of trying new things, though, I’ll have to overcome it, and just go for it.  At some I’ll have to focus more on writing…all I need for a rough draft is some of the basics about the period.  If I decide it’s something I want to keep working on, then I’ll have something to edit. 

I think I might to have to take a look at Anne Boleyn- at least towards the end of her marriage with Henry, because that’s when the overlap with Jane Seymour is.  But for the most part, I just want to know about Jane, and who she really is.  She tends to be portrayed as Anne Boleyn’s opposite, and while it seems to be an accurate portrayal, I really just want to know about her.  Her childhood I want to know more about, as well as how Henry noticed her and decided he had to marry her. 

Unfortunately, David Starkey just glossed over her, so his book wasn’t particularly helpful.  I’m definitely going to see if there’s anything specifically about her; otherwise, I’ll probably stick to Alison’s Weir biography of Henry’s wives.  I might try reading Antonia Frasier’s biography too.

Family Tree!

Well, yesterday I managed to get a basic family tree done.  There aren’t any names attached to it, so it’s just a basic idea of what I want the family to look like.  The tree definitely needs a lot of work because the structure of it right now is kind of…annoying.  But it’s a really good start, and it’ll definitely evolve over the coming months.  Plus, I want to give those consanguinity charts another look, so hopefully a family tree written out will help me better understand how everyone’s related. 

I think today’s project is going to be naming everyone, and I’ll try to format the family tree a little bit better, just to make it a little easier to understand.  While I don’t mind naming people, this is going to be a little different than what I’m used to, just because of the number of people!  I think it’s around 50 or so people (if I counted correctly, and it’s likely I may have missed 1 or 2 people).  I definitely need to figure out who I want to feature- but that’s something that can wait until I actually know who everyone is.  I have some ideas for a few of the people, so I might work on that sometime this week. 

I’m feeling pretty excited about this, and it’s one of my favorite ideas so far.  It’s been really nice writing again- and it’s also really cool working on different ideas.  It keeps me busy, for at least a few hours every week, and it gives me a chance to see different projects in different stages of completion. 

I should start writing!  Have a great day!

Plot Bunny Update!

I thought I’d share some of my notes from some of my plot bunnies.

Plot Bunny 1: The Pact; 2 best friends make a pact, and it has far-reaching consequences

  • I’m definitely going with the idea that Poppy is sick, and ends up dying.  Jordan promises not to tell anyone, and then everything goes to hell once she dies.
  • After reading Fairy Tale and Graceling, I came up with the idea that maybe she has a superpower or extreme skill or something, and that’s what kills her.  But I’m still not sure about what kind of power or whatever to give her.  I know I’d have to work out the medical aspect, so I may need to look into that first.
  • My main question is how she figures this out- has she always had it, and it’s making a sudden appearance, or had she always had it and it goes into overdrive?  Maybe it’s been gradually appearing, and she doesn’t know what’s happening until it’s too late.

Plot Bunny 2: Secret Government Agency; Kaylee comes across a mysterious group of men, who are connected to a secret government agency.

  • I was originally thinking of something similar to the adjustment bureau, which was in theaters recently.  But now I’m not sure if I want to go in that direction.  But I’m keeping that as an option for now.
  • I’m leaning towards having her job put her in danger- she accidently finds something out that she wasn’t supposed to, and now these men are following her.
  • As for the men themselves, are they a super-secret part of some agency we know about, or are they an independent agency to keep an eye on everyone?  I need to figure out who these men are, because all I have are some vague possibilities. 

Plot Bunny 3: Funerals; this is my most recent plot bunny- a family only gets together for funerals`

  • At every funeral, they talk about how they need to see each other at events that aren’t funerals- they might organize a family reunion or something, but I haven’t decided on that yet.
  • If I decide to do just a series of funerals, then each one will probably be told from the POV of a different family member. 
  • I definitely need to do a family tree.  It’s going to be a large extended family, with lots of second and third cousins.  I’ll need to keep everyone straight, and if I decide to use different POV’s, then it’ll be a necessity.  I really should do one no matter what.  I must make sure all the names are distinct enough that I won’t confuse anyone.  Which I’m sure will happen once November hits, because what’s NaNo unless you confuse a few characters?

Right now, I’m really excited about PB 3, mostly because it’s bright and shiny, and I love bright and shiny ideas.  But I did get the idea from a family funeral I went to last week…so inspiration really can come from anywhere!