W.I.P: Writer is Procrastinating

As most of you may know, my dream is to be a published, best-selling author one day. When I was in middle school, I learned that Christopher Paolini had gotten Eragon published when he was nineteen, and he became my hero. Over a decade has passed since then, and the closest to getting published I have ever gotten is way too many Glee fanfics on fanfiction.net. I write a lot less now than I did back then, but I still write. That’s one of the main reasons why I participate in NaNoWriMo every year- it motivates me.

As a by-product of all those National Novel Writing Months, I have several projects in process. Most of them don’t even have a completed first draft completed, but I wanted to tell you all about them. Maybe it will give me some drive or ideas on where to go with them from here.

I’m going to start things off with the trilogy I mostly finished while I was in high school. I say mostly here because the first two books were completed. I have no idea where the third one ended up, but I never typed it and now it is gone. Children of the Moon was my first real attempt at writing a novel, and the story is basically Percy Jackson has the magic system of Eragon. Now, I did not read any of Rick Riordan’s books or watch the movie that doesn’t exist until after I finished writing the first one. That was a bit of a shock. I just really loved (and still love) Greek mythology. It does have all the Young Adult components: chosen one, prophesies, love triangles, etc- and I still love the premise of the story. It just needs to be completely rewritten so it doesn’t sound like a teenager wrote it right after reading books with the exact same elements. Fifteen-year-old me had some weird ideas of how reality worked, even for a fantasy novel.

Butterfly Kisses was the one and only time I won NaNoWriMo. It was either 2013 or 2014, so I had all the free time of a college student. My main character was an accountant and a mother (I have no kids, so basically that whole part of the story was guesswork based on observing my own mom and other maternal figures in my life). Her own mother had passed away from cancer when she was very young, causing her to be paranoid about her own health. Main character ends up getting diagnosed with breast cancer fairly early in the story. I actually did a lot of research for this one, and it was only half-finished at the end of NaNo. The chapters were specific dates to show the progress of the cancer and how it affected the relationships of everyone impacted. I was really proud of it, but it didn’t really have a direction. I lost steam and just abandoned it.

One of the characters I have been writing for eons is my favorite pirate captain: Destiny Dalma. Her origin comes from a Pirates of the Caribbean roleplay that dates back to my early teenage years, and she is the daughter of Captain Jack Sparrow and Tia Dalma/ Calypso. She is my go-to character when I want to write something random, and I really want to put her into the Children of the Moon universe. Sea of Destiny barely got started, but Destiny is ultimately the one that hears the prophesy that sets the trilogy in motion. And, of course, I would alter her backstory to avoid copyright infringement. I may be a cast member, but that does not mean I get to do anything I want. You have to be smart about these things.

My most recent, and technically current, project is titled Golden Soul. I used the Skin the Cat! Writes a Novel method to plan this one out, and my characters laughed at me and said “Nope!” within the first chapter. The basic idea was to do something like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” meets the myth of Orpheus. Should have been simple. But now these is royalty involved and the earth reset itself but a task force in the underworld made sure that some information survived so humanity didn’t start all the way over. It’s now an almost steampunk era, but not really? Also, there are now some Jane Austen elements/ feelings involved? Yeah, I lost control of this hot mess. All I wanted was for Lucifer to fall in love with a violinist and she would have to win his soul with the gold violin he gave her when he had to return to Hell. Sigh.

So, those are my main works in progress that I am not progressing on. It’s honestly really hard to find the energy to actively work on one of them right now. Plus, TikTok and Reddit are very addicting, and I’ve only watched Hamilton four times. I’m trying to get better at having a set time goal to write every day, but it is very hit or miss. I even signed up for July Camp NaNo with a goal of 20,000 words, but as of now I am somewhere around 5,000. I know if I want to achieve my dream of being published, I need to get to work. Because I love writing. It’s one of my favorite things to do… when I actually do it.

Anyone else having the same difficulties? How does one overcome them?

Camp NaNo Check In

Howdy! It’s a little over half way through April. So, I thought it was time to do a check in.

My goal for April Camp NaNo was 20,000 words on my novel from November. I have written a grand total of 707 words so far.

I just haven’t had the motivation to write on that story. I’m kind of at the part where things need to be set up, and it’s just UGH. I want to get to the good bits. Heck, the 707 words I did write are not even the part I was working on. It’s in the middle-end part of the book! But, it is something so small victory.

And I have written other things- like this blog for instance. The words just don’t count towards the goal I set. Also, I started playing Starfinder with a few members of my family which is basically writing without writing (I do take notes though).

It’s been hard to find the energy to write. Working from home has ended up being more hours than I was working before the quarantine started, and by the time I am logged off from my computer, my brain is tired. I don’t want to look at a laptop anymore.

But, the good new is there is still over a week to go in April. I can write 19,300 words in a week. I hope.

Create Stories

My career is in accounting. It took me four years to get my CPA license after graduating with my bachelor’s degree. The first year of that I was also getting my master’s degree while working full time. Accounting students that may be reading this: I do not recommend doing all three at once. Pick two. I used to be a tax accountant- did five tax seasons- and now I am a cast member. I create a story with numbers.

However, that is not the type of story I want to create. I started college as a creative writing major. I wrote a lot of fanfiction and a trilogy in high school. I want to be published. I want to write stories.

My goal this year is to create the stories I want to tell. But I’m treating it more seriously. I am reading books on writing. I am watching Brandon Sanderson’s lectures on YouTube. I even have a planner separate from my normal one to keep track of how much time I put into my writing. This blog included. It’s practice.

While my main goal is to finish the NaNoWriMo project I started in November, I also want to start creating more short stories. Ones that I can share here. I haven’t done that in some time, but I think it would be good for me. Exercise my brain and all that jazz. It should hopefully help with writer’s block as well when my main stories get to be difficult.

Speaking of NaNo, Camp NaNoWriMo starts next week! I have a modest goal of 20,000 words as it is a slightly busy time at work. I will be working on that 2019 NaNo project, and I hope you guys will join me! The people at NaNoWriMo are also doing a “Stay Home Wri Mo” right now. They are posting daily challenges and prompts on the Facebook page if anyone is interested.

Add me as a NaNo buddy: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/destinydalma. DestinyDalma is also my author name if you feel like reading cringey fanfiction on fanfiction.net that was written a decade or so ago. Tell me about your writing projects! We’re a large community, and I am excited to be a part of it.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!

NaNoWriMo 2019 Planning Update

I finally have a title! Golden Soul

One of my main characters’ name means empty light and I think that is the coolest.

While filling out a character sheet on Scrivener:

That’s right. The devil’s occupation is…. DEVILLING.
I cracked myself up with this one.

Right now the story is going to be set in Victorian era with a steampunk feel, but I may make it set in the future just so my MC has to have a music off in Hell with Elton John (I love Elton. It’s just a thing in my story that all musicians and script writers are in hell. ESPECIALLY the anyone who creates a musical. My devil is super into theatre.)

Just over a week before NaNoWriMo starts! If you are also taking the challenge, add me as a buddy: Destinydalma.

NaNoWriMo Prep

I know it’s not even October yet, and I most likely will not be able to do much writing in NaNoWriMo this year because of finishing up the CPA exam, but I did a thing I don’t usually do. I outlined my story idea before starting to write it.

Okay, so it’s a rewrite of a story I wrote in high school. A lot of the stuff is changing though- I’m just keeping the basic story line idea. But it is outlined (very roughly) from start to finish. That is huge for me.

I’m a write on the fly type of girl. Which usually means my plot lines are not organized (shocking coming from the one with three planners) and my characters do not have a clear path. It’s one of the things I am trying to focus on when it comes to my writing.

I hope to have some time to do character sheets next, but, to be honest, this is probably as much prep I will get done before November first. This CPA thing has got to come first right now. Next year I’ll be more focused on hitting that 50,000 words target.

Anyone else preparing for NaNoWriMo? Add me as a buddy! My author name is DestinyDalma (I joined NaNoWriMo the same time I joined fanfiction.net, so most of my usernames around that time are the same). Fun fact: Destiny actually gets a role in my story this year! I’m excited to make the changes to make her less of a fanfiction character and more of a Disney won’t come after me if I use her character.

A Blurb from a Work in Progress

November 2, 1982

Victoria skipped through the front door and immediately ran upstairs to get her new Barbie. It was her favorite gift from her birthday, but her parents would not let her take it to school to show her friends. Humming John Cougar’s “Jack and Diane,” she made her doll dance in the air all the way back to the kitchen. She took a cookie from the jar and looked around, “Mommy! I’m home!” There was no answer.

She took a bite of the sugar cookie and wandered into the living room. Looking around, she noticed her mother lying on the couch, her eyes closed, “Oh, Mommy is just tired and taking a nap. I’m going to wake her up and give her a kiss!” Victoria sat on the edge of cushion and gently shook her mother’s shoulder, “Mommy, it’s time to wake up. What do you want me to make for dinner?” When she did not move, Victoria shook her again, “Mom?”

It was then that she began to worry. She shook her mom harder for a moment before placing her head on her chest to try to hear a heartbeat, but the sweater Abrielle was wearing made it difficult to tell. Crying, Victoria ran to the kitchen to grab the house phone from the wall. She quickly dialed 9-1-1 and twirled the wire while she waited.

“9-1-1 emergency.” The woman’s voice sounded slightly bored.

“I need help. I don’t think my mom is breathing and Daddy and Nolan aren’t home.” The words came out jumbled, “I need you to come help me.”

The tone immediately changed, “Calm down, sweetie. Where are you?”

She took a deep breath, “1949 Pearl Way. Please, hurry!”

“Help is on the way, sweetie. Stay where you are until they arrive.”

Victoria hung up the phone and went back to sit next to her mother, hugging her Barbie close to her chest. She stared at her mom, but she did not see her. Instead, her mind was far away from the house, “I need to call Daddy. Daddy needs to help me. Maybe Miss Blake will help, but I don’t know her phone number. Should I call grandma to come pick me up? The lady on the phone told me to stay here. How long is the help going to take? I hope she sent everybody- the police, firemen, doctors, and anyone else who is supposed to help us. I don’t think the army would come, but they might. That would be good. They know how to keep me safe. I wish Mommy would just wake up and she was playing a joke on me. That would be mean. It’s not April Fools’ Day. My birthday was two days ago; maybe Mommy is still really tired from the celebration. She is sick after all.”

She stayed by her mother’s side even when she could hear the sirens approaching her house. She refused to move as the ambulance and police cars pulled into the driveway. Six men entered through the unlocked front door and rushed to the living room. The emergency medical team began to examine Abrielle as a police man pulled Victoria away, “How old are you, sweetheart?”

“I turned eleven two days ago. Is Mommy okay?” She looked at the man with big teary blue green eyes, “She’s been sick for a long time. Something called cancer.”

His kind eyes grew sad, “Cancer is a bad disease, sweetheart. The doctors will let us know how your mommy is in a minute. What’s your name?”

“Victoria, and my mommy is Abrielle. Abrielle Williams.”

“I am Officer Owens. Where is your father, Victoria?”

“He’s probably at work or about to leave work. I don’t know if he’s coming home yet. His name is Louis, and he works two jobs. One is at an electricity place and the other is Winn Dixie. He comes home with free cookies sometimes, but he didn’t work there until Mommy got sick.” She kept babbling, “My brother should be home soon.  His name is Nolan, and he tutors kids after his high school is over. He’s fourteen.”

“Was your mom like this when you got off the bus?”

“Yeah. I thought she was taking a nap. Her medicine makes her really tired, so she sleeps a lot. Daddy said that’s normal for her kind of sickness.” She glanced over at the couch where the medics were transferring Abrielle to a stretcher, “What are the doctors doing? Mommy is probably more comfortable on the couch.”

“They are taking her to the ambulance so they can try to wake her up.” Officer Owens looked at his partner who shook her head. He sighed, “Victoria, do you know when your brother usually gets home?”

“Around four, I think. I don’t pay much attention to time. Why does the police lady look sad?”

“Why don’t you ask her yourself while I try to find your dad.” He waved her over, “Victoria, this is Officer Stiles.”

“You can call me Lauren.” She knelt down as Officer Owen walked away, “That’s a pretty doll you have.”

“It was my birthday present from my mom.” Victoria studied her, “Will you please tell me what’s going on, Officer Lauren? I called you because my mom wasn’t breathing. Is she dead?”

Lauren blinked at her straightforwardness, and then took Victoria’s hand in hers, “Yes. Her sickness killed her. You did the right thing by calling us. She is in Heaven now, and she is no longer sick or tired or in any pain.” She hugged the crying girl close to her chest, “Everything will be okay, Victoria. We are going to take you to the station with us until your father can come and get you. I will stay with you the whole time.”

“W-what about Nolan? He can’t come home to an empty house.” She hiccupped, trying to be a big girl and talk through her tears.

“My friend, Officer Wayne, is going to wait for him. He will let your brother know what happened and take him to you. You both will be together and in my care until your father comes.” She paused, “He will probably want to visit your mother first.”

“I understand. He will want to say goodbye.” She sniffed, “I thought she was sleeping, Lauren. I didn’t say goodbye, and now she’s gone. I should have given her a kiss.”

“She knows that you love her, and she is still watching over you as a guardian angel. God is keeping her safe now.”

“God was the one to make her sick in the first place.”

Lauren didn’t know what to say. This was a distraught and confused girl who would be traumatized by this moment for the rest of her life. Wiping away the tears running down Victoria’s cheeks, she finally said, “Why don’t you take your doll outside for some fresh air? We will be leaving soon.”

“Can I take my book with me?”

“Of course.”

Victoria trudged up to her room, tears streaming down her face. The pain she was feeling was almost too much to bear, but she did not truly realize how this day would affect her future. She looked at the cross hanging on the wall above her bed and stared at it for a few moments. Then, with a strangled cry of rage, she climbed onto the mattress and tore it from the wall, throwing it across the room. She grabbed The Hobbit from where she had left it on her dresser and ran from the room, not looking back to see the shattered pieces that were now scattered on the carpet.

A Not So Secret Secret

Growing up, I did not want to be an accountant. I was an English major, and I had decided that years before college (but after dissecting things in middle school biology made me realize I did not have what it takes to be a veterinarian). I wanted to be an author, and I had also accepted that my English major would probably lead to teaching.

More literally: I wanted to be like Christopher Paolini, best-selling author at age 19.

Spoilers: that did not happen.

Anyone who knows me can tell you I do not have the patience for teaching. Now, I knew that going into my freshman year of college, but I still enrolled as an English major with a concentration in creative writing. That lasted a year. My style of writing was just not a good fit for the program I was in, so I switched to Business and eventually Accounting.

Don’t get me wrong. I like accounting. I like math. But I LOVE writing. I haven’t put as much time in as I used to because of the CPA exam and working full time, but I still find ways to practice my passion. This blog is one of them. National Novel Writing Month is another, although I have not come close to the 50,000 words needed to win the challenge since 2013. Part of that is because I am a writer who uses a notebook first before typing, so it takes double the time to get the words into a word counter, BUT I edit as I type, so lose-win there.

I have a few novel-y projects in progress. I honestly don’t see myself ever seeing my dream of becoming published at the moment, but the stories I write are for me anyway. It’s one of the ways I like to escape. And who knows, maybe my current crap will be crap that someone likes (note: I think most of my writing is crap, even when others tell me it’s not. That’s how I get myself to improve).

Maybe one day I’ll have a panel at Dragon Con about the world I created and my characters. Gosh, wouldn’t that be amazing. I went to Brandon Sanderson’s panel a few years ago (another side note: Christoher Paolini was also there that year and I did not get in line early enough to make it to his events. So sad), and that was so much fun. How often do you get to hear from your favorite authors like that? If I ever become a published author, that’s the kind of author I want to be- open to fans and willing to talk to them about their theories and questions.

So, yeah. That’s my “secret.” Accounting is not my dream- writing is. I just happen to be really good at numbers and accounting pays the bills. And once I get this CPA thing done with I will have more time to dedicate to my dream. Lord knows I already have more than enough notebooks to use.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Three days in and I have nothing. Thank goodness this not the big one. I still have a couple of months before November. At least Camp NaNo lets you pick your goals. I opted for 20,000 words for the month of July. It’s a little less than half of the full NaNoWriMo, but a few good days of writing should work.

My project this year is a rewrite of a series I wrote back in high school, and, believe me, it reads like a teenager wrote it. I am no Christopher Paolini. This is actually my third attempt at rewriting- I keep getting a couple chapters in and deciding I like things a lot better a different way so I have to start over. It’s frustrating, but I know it will make the project better in the end.

My author name on all NaNoWriMo sites is DestinyDalma. Feel free to add me as a buddy. While the CPA exam and other things mean my writing is on the back burner, I do try a little harder during the event months. I look forward to the day I can write more consistently as it has been a huge part of my life.

What are your Camp NaNoWriMo projects and goals?