Beautiful Books Survey — How's NaNoWriMo Going?

The idea for today’s post comes from this cute link-up for writers I just stumbled on (in my continuous efforts to procrastinate from NaNoWriMo). It’s a survey about how our NaNo novels (or whatever we’re writing) are going. Are we typing our fingers raw, crying into our keyboards, or avoiding the computer entirely out of fear it knows what a failure are and talks about us behind our backs all the time with the printer?) Here are my answers!

1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

lol oh god. It’s going okay. Instead of writing a book from scratch, I’m trying to use NaNoWriMo to rewrite the first book of my series. (I know that’s ~against the rules~ but I have to finish this project.) However, there’s a reason NaNoWriMo isn’t for revision. It’s a slow-going process, full of mental hiccups, mental breakdowns, and complete collapses of self-esteem — an uphill slog made no easier by the recent release of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

For real. I thought today was Wednesday because I completely lost Wednesday to a video game.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

Here’s my tentative opening:

It started with a tremble. A pinch to the walls and to reality. The dresser, sitting opposite Charley’s bed, sensed this sudden disturbance in the air. It wobbled. It moved.

Charley barely heard it, that screech of wood dragging across the floor. He rolled over in bed, pressed his nose into his pillow, and did not notice the dresser move forward a solid inch, as though pushed by an invisible hand. A picture frame teetered and tipped over. Distantly, Charley heard the glass hit the floor and crack.

And then the dresser, the solid oak chest of drawers which took Charley and his good friend Simon almost an hour to lug up the staircase into Charley’s apartment, weighing as it did roughly the equivalent of a small elephant, pitched forward and slammed into the ground. The resulting boom was enough to sit Charley straight up, his heart pounding in his ears. It was enough to make his bed and nightstand shake with reverberation. It was enough to clear the sleep from Charley’s head as abruptly as a leaf blower pressed to his ear, and it was enough to bring the Door into existence.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

This isn’t for real, but for the sake of NaNoWriMo (and for when I print my drafts to read) I did design a little cover:

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

I have ~actors~ in my head. But mostly, I have three main characters. Charley, who has floppy/curly brown hair, sleepy sort of eyes, and a wobbly bright smile (and chronically incurable bad luck, a squishy sense of morality, and a pretty strong feeling that he’s losing his mind); Ol, who is burly and bearded and angry at the extremely short stick he’s just drawn; and Annabelle, who has long curly dark hair, bright green eyes, and a pretty clear idea of the crimes being committed just under her nose. (which is upturned and freckly and a great distraction to Charley.)

5. What scene are you most excited to write?

I have a pretty violent scene coming up that should be exciting. It’s when all the plot comes together, so once I know exactly what is, and isn’t, important for that scene, everything else can fall neatly into place. (Will hopefully fall neatly into place.) (I really hope it falls neatly into place.) There’s a knife fight and ashes slung into someone’s face and just — generally a good time is had by all.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

There’s a scene that takes place in a greenhouse of carnivorous plants; the dialogue doesn’t make sense out of context but I had a lot of fun describing the plants:

The house of carnivorous flowers was narrow building with a greasy glass ceiling and cramped rows of rattling cages. Sprinklers let out bursts of misty water that did not quite counteract the hot, muggy air. Anna stopped by the door to examine a plant with sharp, serrated leaves.

“Look at this,” she said. “It cuts up its food before eating!”

“You need to be careful,” Ol whispered to Charley as they stared into a cage of a mother-in-law’s tongue that seemed to actually have tongues.

He squeezed past Anna, who was laughing heartily at a large pink flower belching up a mealworm cake that must have disagreed with it, and shouldered his way out the door.

7.  Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

Definitely. Several conversations within the novel have completely changed topics, honing in a lot more to what’s important for the plot.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

Tying everything together; keeping everything on topic; identifying what details are important for the plot to move forward, and what are confusing/muddling the story.

9.What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

The humor, probably, and the action sequences. If it’s fun and exciting to reread, that’s because it was fun and exciting to write.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters?

There’s an extremely unflatteringly described character that might be considered to share certain … attributes of a person in my real life, but I will forever deny the similarity. for. you know. my own protection.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?


12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

These characters kind of … get themselves shot at and stabbed a lot, so I might not want to hang out with them for too long.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

Panic, mostly. I haven’t been doing a good job of hitting my daily wordcount. I’m going to start using Dragon Age: Inquisition as a reward, though. 1,000 words = 1 hour of gaming. (Though, I tend to self-sabotage and be like, “oh, I’ll play for two hours now and THEN write 2,000 words.” … suddenly, it’s ten hours later.)

14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

Sit down with the intention of writing a scene, not a book. Keeps you from getting overwhelmed, and makes you give every single scene your full attention and talent.

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

Frustrated, definitely. Terrified. Panicked. Sort of enjoying myself? (I feel like that’s NaNoWriMo in a nutshell.)

Okay, that’s it! Survey’s done! How are you guys doing with NaNo, or whatever you’re working on? If you do the survey, throw me a link in the comments so I can read yours. Otherwise, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year — WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE INTERNET? GO TYPE 500 WORDS. geez. ya bums.


3 thoughts on “Beautiful Books Survey — How's NaNoWriMo Going?

  1. Sounds like, between gaming and writing, you’re off to a normal start for a writer. 😉 But seriously though—mother-in-law tongues? HAHAHAHAHA that is PERFECT. And I love it. Keep writing!


  2. “1. Be honest: how is your writing going?
    lol oh god.”

    That cracked me up! Your writing style is really gripping and also the title for your book. Very intriguing! Charley sounds positively adorable. A violent scene that’s EXCITING?! o_O I assume nobody gets hurt then… ? XD

    LOLOL 1 hour gaming reward! Excellent. Oh my fudge Dragon Age! Why have I been hearing about that so much lately? Must be good. Good luck for your book! I hope to hear about how you did at BB#3! (If I forget, you’re allowed to remind me on my blog… there’s just so many good blogs, i forget a lot. Sorrylol.)


    1. yellowhairedrobot

      I can’t believe I never got a notification for this comment — it’s so sweet! Thank you so much, I’ve never gotten feedback for my book title before (or my first paragraph!) so your words meant a lot. 😀 I dropped the ball on this blogging project; I need to step up my blogging game!

      Also real quick: DRAGON AGE IS SO MUCH FUN YOU SHOULD TOTALLY TRY IT. I’m on my second playthrough of Inquisition, and I’m someone who almost never finishes a video game all the way through. There are so many different choices to make and characters to romance, you can get a completely different game each time you play. LOVE it.


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