What a writer does in the new year

Yes, what does a writer do in a new year?

He writes. Unless the writer is a lady, in that case she writes.

That’s about it in a nutshell. Of course I’d be a poor writer if I left it at that.

First of course there’s my darling Hilda. Hilda and I are doing well. Carol’s still working on checking the 21st story, and I’m busy writing number 22.

Twenty-two Hilda stories… Imagine that. I had never thought nor even dare to think of a series about the wicked witch when I put that first little story online. What a ride. Or rather: what a flight!

Broom

But there’s more! There’s still last year’s NanoWrimo story!

Baba Yaga
This probably isn’t Baba Yaga.

That’s true.

In November 2017 I challenged myself to write two Nanowrimo stories, one in Dutch and one in English. The English one is going really well. The story of Baba Yaga when she was gone from Rompford for some years is growing. It’s well over 160 pages now.

I seriously appreciate how this story is unfolding. It surprises me. It’s also very unlike the lighthearted Hilda-stories. Just so you know. But that doesn’t make it less of a story, I think. Baba Yaga, after all, is a totally other personality than Grimhilda is, and this story shows a lot of what shaped her.

So you see, I’m busy as busy can be. I’m still trying to write faster than you can read but so far I’m failing miserably. Do forgive me.

Paul

 

Nanowrimo update and a short book review

Hello everyone,

It’s the reading writer again. Or the writing reader. Anyway works.

A few days ago I finished reading a book by Naomi Novick called ‘Uprooted’. The title was provoking enough for me. It is totally different from her Temeraire books but amazing in its own way. If you like magic, good characters, wicked evil and plots in plots, this is a read for you.

Uprooted

Next: Nanowrimo. Going strong and Baba Yaga is meeting more and more people. I’m still trying to find my way into getting her into the adventures she’s already mentioned but the story isn’t in a hurry. I hope that’s fine with you as you will have to read through all of that. I promise you it’s not boring though!

So far I’ve done 105 pages of the story and it’s going strong. So much for this update, I hope that next time will have something more interesting. Let me leave you with this snippet from the Baba Yaga story:

The wagoneers had a fast way of doing things. While the first half went for food, the other half dealt with unloading things that would stay in the town. Those were only a few crates and boxes. By the time they were done the other half was done eating and the unloaders went to eat. Supplies were bought and stored. By the time that was done everyone was ready to leave. Bearskin man, who introduced himself as Alexey (“Call me Al”) told Baba to get up on the driver’s seat of the first wagon. He grabbed the reins of the horses and climbed up as well. The other wagoneers gathered around and watched as he explained Baba how to guide the horses. “Slowly does it. They do the work. Just make sure you don’t jerk the reins.”

Babs felt quite insecure at first and at times wondered if she should throw in some magic to keep the two horses under control, but once she had figure out the movement and the way to steer them, the animal almost moved by themselves. “This is fun,” she said in the end.

“I know,” Al said. “And you have a feel for them, I can tell. Dolopov will be pleased to learn that a cute girl is taking control of his wagon.”

“Dolopov? That’s an odd name.”

Al nodded. “It’s from up north. He is too. Now turn this thing around, get us back and then put the wagon at the front of the line again.”

That of course was easier said than done but with some tips and tricks from Alexey she managed it. When the wagon was ‘parked’ Babs felt some sweat trickle down her neck. “That was… interesting.” Al praised her though. He said it was some fancy driving she’d done, which wasn’t bad for a newbie.

“Where are you heading to?” Al asked after they’d climbed down from the wagon.

“I’m not sure. I’m on an adventure journey,” Babs said, sticking to the truth. She realised her reply sounded strange.

An update on the Nanowrimo goings on.

Yes, dear reader, it’s still going strong. Nanowrimo in all its madness. And I’m still working on both stories, the English one and the Dutch one. The Dutch one has taken the lead in word count but that’s fine. Both stories are about witches, my favourite subject.

The story of Baba Yaga surprised me quite a lot already. I hope it will do so for you as well but you’ll have to wait for it “a little longer”. It’s not done yet, which is one of the best reasons. 😉

I hadn’t thought that Babs’ journey would be such an interesting one. I can’t emphasise it enough: it is not a fun and laughter story like the Hilda books but it feels like a very good story.

So far I’ve written 62.000 words of the needed 50.000 but considering that I’m doing 2 stories I am aiming for 100.000 words of course. Well, let’s get on with it (after chasing my cat Obsi through the hall a few times; he’s begging for that!)

Obsidian (a.k.a. Obsi)

The first Nanowrimo update

Dear reader,

The madness is going well. I’ve written scandalous amounts of words in the past days. In total my Nanowrimo loot is over 11.000 words for the two stories I’m writing, and day 3 isn’t over yet. The Dutch story at the moment is in the lead in number of words, but the English story isn’t far behind.

The difference in style of the two stories is remarkable and I have to make a conscious switch when I go from one to the other. I’ve found that this is even harder than writing the same story in two languages simultaneously.

So far however I’m having fun!

And before you get confused: the image is one that I am temporarily using as a ‘fake cover’ for the Baba Yaga story. Could you see Babs like that in her younger years?

Nanowrimo 2017…

Yes, dear reader…

The madness is approaching. The month of November when tens of thousands of idiots – I mean writers – will attempt to write a book in one month.

It may not surprise you that I shall participate again. Hopefully with more success than last year as that story… well, lets not dwell on that.

This year I’ll embark on a daredevil’s journey: I plan on not one but two stories; an English one and a Dutch one.

The English story will rub elbows with the Hilda books. Ah, yes, now I have your attention!

This story will be about Hilda’s bestest girlfriend. Those who follow the series will know that Babs left Hilda’s hometown of Rompford for a while.

This book will attempt to tell what she did and saw during that time. Because Babs already talked a bit about that in some of the previous Hilda-books I need to go back in history and retrieve all that to make sure all the facts are factual and true to Babs’ recollection.

The Dutch story is going to be a new adventure. A story about a girl who discovers an intriguing book and becomes… you may have guessed it… a witch. No, she’s not going to be the Dutch Hilda. Nor is this going to turn into a series. That being said I should shut up now because Hilda’s first story originally wasn’t meant to become a series either and look at what we have now. 😉

I’ll do my best to keep you current on the progress of my mad, double book, double language enterprise.

This is going to be an exciting month to write!

Hilda, adventurers and other stuff that’s going on.

Dear reader,

Yes! Hilda is coming! Soon too!

No need to excuse my enthusiasm. Live with it or run away screaming. In the latter case please send me a recording of your screams as I collect interesting vocal expressions.

Tomorrow is the day! Hilda’s 20th adventure will hit the e-shelves! And it’s a book about a book! A book of Dragons! Real, live, big, dragony fly-beasts! If you want to know how to get one, buy the book and find out!

And what’s this adventurer stuff then?

Wanted: heroThat’s coming too, be it a little later. I hope by the end of November. I’m talking about the sequel to “Wanted: hero“. It will be called “Wanted: adventurer”. It was a really difficult book to write which threw surprise after surprise at me. All came out well in the end, despite a lot of dust, cracks and airborne problems. Maybe you remember Reny and Sebastian, also known as Sabas to throw the ugly Lergesh off his trail. There are more adventures (well, duh) lined up for them. And yes: there will be Nordrish too. 😀

The last bits of things: Nanowrimo!

Winter is coming to the north, as we all know (except for Jon Snow; he knows nothing). But November also means Nanowrimo. Despite the fact that I’m working on 2 Hilda books (one in edit and one in writing) I plan on starting another book about Hilda’s world. This one will be different though. You may remember Baba Yaga’s absence from her bestest girlfriend’s life. Well, this book is going to detail where she went and what happened during that time.

Until all that is done you can either read one of the many books all those writer types from around the world have created especially for you, or you can join the Night’s Watch and wait for the Army of the Dead to arrive. Up to you.

But whatever you choose to do: stay alive and enjoy it!

Paul

Nanowrimo 2016

Yes, dear reader, I’m in the race of the mad folks again.

nanowrimo

This time is different. This time I write a story in Dutch. I’m Dutch so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Let me tell you… it’s difficult. And I don’t know why it is difficult. I prepared for this like for no other Nano effort before. I devised characters, places, made an outline, made a new one, created backgrounds, wrote a plot line, I did everything I usually don’t do. I should be prepared. And I’m not. Halfway chapter 2 I noticed things going wrong. Characters not doing what I had planned, locations not being where I intended them and worst of all: the entire story started shifting.

radar4Currently I’m working on chapter 4.

From the centre of chapter 3 I could still see a vague outline of where once the plot line had been. In chapter 4 that’s completely off the radar. From here to the end of the story I’m on my own. Characters are everywhere. Their numbers are wrong, their shapes are distorted and dry land is ‘somewhere’.

All my good intentions have been blown into the water where I am now adrift, holding on to my keyboard, the most trustworthy flotation device a writer can ask for. That and my razor sharp mind which has gotten me out of trouble before. (Stop laughing!)

Not all is lost however. Here and there I see crates with bits of back-story, names, places and intentions bob in the water along with me. With cunning agility of mind I’ll bring them in and slap them into this story. This exercise may have taught me one thing. Or two things. Plotting really isn’t for me. Getting the cornerstones in place however, coming up with stuff that can happen in the story, looking up the problems my victim characters will face (and possible solutions to get them out if they need a hand) is definitely something worth keeping up. I’m throwing the plot line out of the window. Listen how it whistles down all four floors and lands with a sickening thud. (‘Oops, sorry down there!’)

Maybe that will be my salvation for Nanowrimo this year around. In Dutch. It’s fascinating.

Onwards.

Nanowrimo, day 25. Things mix up.

Dear reader,

endtitleThe month is almost over. Nanowrimo is coming to an end soon. I’m not worried about making the fifty thousand words – I managed that last week. There is however an unforeseen complication to the story. The point where I hoped it would end has already happened, about halfway through the book. That’s of course a bit unfortunate because there are other things that still need to happen, but the ‘finale’ already found its place. Usually a fin-ale has a connection to a finish, not the middle of a book. I guess there is a midd-ale here, and the challenge is to find a new finale for the book that’s even bigger, better, worse and intense, and also located at the end of the book where it belongs…

NaNoWriMo 2015

Nanowrimo, day 19. There be progress.

Dear reader,

NaNoWriMo 2015The first days (weeks) of this crazy month didn’t fill me with much confidence about the story I’m writing. I suspect that will show in the first 10 chapters that I produced, with the consequence that those will need a lot of attention in order to make them legible, understandable and in some way interesting.

Time will tell.

Lately I feel better about the flow of words but the basic plan I made for the story has been thrown upside down, leftside right and generally it became the laugh of the week. I am currently writing what should be the end of the story while I’m only halfway into it! This means that there has to be a second end while the end isn’t what it set out to be.

plan a, plan bWhen will this teach me that making plans for a story is something I should avoid at all cost?

Please, wish me luck in finding my way out of this strange situation. The characters involved will definitely appreciate that.

Nanowrimo. Day 13. Not all is bad luck.

Dear reader,

NaNoWriMo 2015Let me give you another update on the progress of this wrimo. A wrimo is a person engaged in Nanowrimo – this for your learning pleasure. You can now say you learnt something today (unless you already knew this fact).

At the moment of writing this blog post the story in total stands at 53164 words. 37404 of those have been written this month as part of the aforementioned crazy dash of words. Honesty demands me to state that I am not at all confident in the validity of the chapters I wrote before the current one and the one before that (being 17 and 16. If you paid attention you know why I state the numbers this way). For that reason I enlisted the help of a good friend who will have a look at the potential or possible garbage that came out of my fingers and had to pass through the keyboard. We’ll find out how much damage I have wrought, even though I shouldn’t worry about that as this is nano. Not something that should immediately produce a decent piece of text.

Friday-13 black catBut as I said up there somewhere, not all is bad. After all it is Friday the 13th, which is a good day. It means the weekend is close.

And I just discovered that I have written 1.9 million words since I started keeping track in April 2013. Is it therefore a miracle that I am on my third keyboard since then?

Well, it’s time for me to return to Sabas and Reny, who managed to get themselves locked up somewhere with a group of others and they’re trying to find a way out. Wouldn’t you if there was no food and water around, and all you have is what you carry with you? Which is about enough for another week?

Have a great Friday 13th, and if you are ever out looking for a cat, please go to a shelter. There are lots of lovely cats there who are looking for their golden home. And from the bottom of my heart: consider a black one. They’re really lovely and no, they don’t mean bad luck. Black cats are magical. Just ask Hilda and William. Or me.

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