A Curious Statue

Saltaire Lion

Yesterday was spent with family. We had drinks, talked, watched some fireworks, played some board games, and grilled out; all the normal activities for the Fourth of July. It was lots of fun. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to do writing, which is kind of expected around the holidays. Tonight is going to be devote to more family time, so I got writing time in while I could. For an hour’s worth, it’s not quite as much as I would like, but it’s enough to catch me up again with Camp NaNo. So deal with it, me. 🙂

Project: Madam Cloom’s Garden
Current Word Count: 15,803
New Words Written: 1,277

Progress: Expanded on the unusual fauna of the forest and how alien, albeit beautiful, it seems. After a long nap, Shaleigh finds she has company in the form of a living statue. She’s really going to have to get used to surprises in this world.

Commentary: I had forgotten how much I loved Mawr the Guardian until I was writing him again. His personality has gone through some major changes through each version of this story – from the short story that inspired him, to the first draft of this book, to the flushed-out outline, and now this draft. I kept trying to make him more harsh and more of a jerk, thinking that the world needed to be more dangerous than what I was making it, but I realized that this world has enough trouble without me forcing a character to be something he isn’t. I gave him an adorable background, a sad past, and smacked him in the middle of a dangerous land. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s quite lucky to have found him.

Whenever I’m looking for inspiration to keep going with this story, I look at characters like Mawr and Colin, and I realize how unusual & interesting they are. There are plenty of examples of characters in this book that look frightening or seem dangerous at first when really they’re just following orders or are really quite kind under their off-putting appearances. I realize how much I want to share them with people and how much they deserve to be talked about and appreciated as much as I do. My sister even said he acted like Watson, the friendliest, roley-poley cat we’ve ever owned. I take that as a high complement.

Robin’s Egg Blue

Yay for a three day weekend! Sure the traffic was terrible on the way home and I had to take back roads to avoid adding an hour and a half to my commute after work, but three days off really does help. Got quite a bit more writing done this evening even though I had to work up the energy to do it. I really wanted to just veg out, but books don’t get written that way.

Project: Madam Cloom’s Garden
Current Word Count: 14,526
New Words Written: 1,257

Progress: Got some beautiful imagery in with some terrifying realizations. Shaleigh then dove headfirst into a really bad idea. Fighting in the sky is never a good plan. Even when hand biting is involved.

Commentary: Lots of action in this scene, and still more to come. Talking with my writing buddy, I seem to kind of stub out scenes before I go back in and add descriptions on the second pass. I guess it takes me a bit to really cement the environment in my head before I put it down on paper. I’m glad that I’m keeping a low word count this NaNo. There’s less pressure to produce, so I feel comfortable doing a couple of passes through each section before moving onto the next. I’m trying to make this draft fairly clean if possible.

What’s up with the title of this post, you may ask? Well Shaleigh (my protagonist) is a photographer, and I’m pretty sure she’s aware of the names for different colors and such, which is why I chose that as her hobby of choice. When she heads into the realm of the fae, I’m making a conscious effort to show a difference in color with the environments. The real world is drab with its heels dug into a dirty, decaying, stagnant world, but the realm of the fae is filled with vibrant colors and unusual sights that catches Shaleigh’s artistic eye. One of her first observations is that the sky is the color of a robin’s egg.

Robin's Egg Blue. Found from Byteful Travel.

Robin’s Egg Blue. One of the cutest colors around. Found from Byteful Travel.

Other: In other news about birds, we seem to have a trio of them who have taken a liking to our front door light. We’ve been living in this house for nearly five years now, and we’ve never seen them do this before. They won’t do it during the day, only around dusk and through the night. We’ve been making a point not to turn on the porch light for fear that we’ll frighten them, but they’re not making nests or anything. Just hanging out and enjoying the spot. We get lots of bumblebees and wasps over there, so if they can help out with that problem, then I think we can get along just fine. Despite the fact that we have guests in and out in the evening, they’ve been quite content to live and let live. Honestly I think they’re better than some roommates (despite the poop, I mean).

Look closely, there are two birds there. The third showed up after this picture.

Look closely, there are two birds there. The third showed up just after this picture.

If you all have any idea what kind of birds these are, or maybe why they’re roosting like this, I’d love to know! I’m a bird appreciator but certainly not a bird expert or even a bird watcher.

Flying Machines

Leonardo Da Vinci - Bird Wing with Mechanical Parts

Leonardo Da Vinci – Bird Wing with Mechanical Parts


Got a little bit more writing done over lunch today. Only a half an hour of writing, but I tried to make it well spent. This evening we’re putting together a crab boil for some friends, so the house smells absolutely amazing. Needless to say, getting my NaNo wordcount in was a must!

Project: Madam Cloom’s Garden
Current Word Count: 13,269
New Words Written: 1,069

Progress: Finished up the previous tense scene that I started yesterday. My beta reader said it wouldn’t make sense to the average reader, but that’s fine. It isn’t a scene I wanted to include anyway. It does help me understand the POVs of those characters though, and gives me some concrete responses and dialogue to use for later scenes. Our protag just realized that she was in the air with her kidnapper and is trying to make sense of it.

Commentary: Wasn’t expecting to put a flying machine into this scene, but I actually think it works very well for the kidnapper. It also adds that touch of surreal that I’m really striving for as Shaleigh enters this new world. She can feel the cold wind, see the enormous flapping wings, and hear the squeaky gears. She’s terrified, almost as much as her kidnapper. I don’t think he knew what he was getting into when he took on this simple kidnapping assignment.

Since the first part of this book was firmly planted in the gritty real world, it’s kind of liberating to be in the fantasy world. I’ve been working on this land and characters for so long that it’s pretty exciting to get them down on the page.

I just hope I can keep up with this writing pace. Even half an hour seems to help!

Getting my NaNo on



I’m signed up for Camp NaNo this month. Working on my 3rd draft of Madam Cloom’s Garden, this time with a thorough outline and some major world-building under my belt.  Feels good, man. I feel like I know the world really well and it doesn’t take much to think up places or historical parts as needed. Determined to keep the word count goal down though at 25k instead of the normal 50k. I’m really trying to focus on quality over quantity this month, but using Camp NaNo to keep me motivated.

It does make me realize that I haven’t posted any updates for this story in quite a while! Time to remedy that.

Project: Madam Cloom’s Garden
Current Word Count: 12,200
New Words Written: 1,432

Progress: Wrote quite a tense scene that will likely not be making the cut for the final book. I know, it feels weird to have progress that isn’t really progress, but it helps me pin down the complex relationship between these folks. Climbing inside of a character’s head takes a few practice runs first, and it’s good to get a feel for how they deal with stressful events outside of your protagonist’s (admittedly limited) field of view.

Commentary: I’m so glad Shaleigh is nearing the end of Part 1 of this book! Sure, I’m writing a few filler scenes here and there, but she’s well on her way to Part 2, and this time I’m really happy with how it’s shaping up so far. I don’t feel like I’ve got a ton of fixes, corrections, markups, and characters changes to make after I get done with this draft. After trying to start this book twice since my initial draft, I’m happy that the pieces are finally falling into place.

Please tell me it’s not just using an outline that is making this process so much easier!

Camp NaNo: My username is lenaf007 if you want to be friends. 🙂 You’ll probably have to find my over on the NaNoWriMo site to add me though (same username there too), I don’t think you can have friends at camp. The irony there is just so funny…

Well-rounded characters are your friends

Got a good amount of writing in today on Madam Cloom’s Garden. I think working at the coffee shop is a good part of why I got so far today. That always helps get the creativity flowing!

Project: Madam Cloom’s Garden
Current Word Count: 5,584
New Words Written: 1,328

Progress: Some urban exploration, a nearly collapsed floor, some unspoken feelings, and a lot of teen angst made this a complex bit to write. Don’t know if I’ll hit my goal of 20k by the 30th (Argh, is that Wednesday??), but I’ve given this piece quite a bit of much needed love over the past couple of weeks!

Commentary: I had to rework the role of a side character in the story. Kaeja is Shaleigh’s best friend, and the mousy, quiet personality just didn’t match up with Shaleigh. Not that I don’t think Shaleigh would be friends with someone like that, but I felt that a more adventurous attitude was needed for dangerous excursions inside of derelict buildings. She needed someone who would help her out if something happened, not jump away screaming. Reworking Kaeja took up quite a bit of my time earlier today, but really added a layer to her which I hope can be seen in the piece itself. When I stepped back and looked at her with my reader-glasses, and thinking of the plot as a whole, it made sense how she needed to be changed.

It certainly isn’t easy writing this piece so slowly, especially during Camp NaNo, but I feel like the storyline is getting weaved together a bit more carefully than it would otherwise. If I wrote Kaeja how she was originally, I would probably need to re-write much of this later on. As it is, I’ve added a new dynamic which will give a healthy subplot to Kaeja and give her two solid feet to stand on. As Shaleigh’s best friend, and therefore one of the characters who will bear a lot of her emotional burden, Kaeja needed a more steady foundation.

A mama writer always likes to see her babies characters turn out well-rounded!