Sixth Year Writing Anniversary (And Resolutions Stuff)

Morgan here today.

So today is a special day, not just because it’s the last day of the year, but also because it’s my writing anniversary.  Today, I have been writing for a full six years.  So it seems especially fitting to discuss what I’ve accomplished, both this year and maybe even all in total.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Tiri says.  “Isn’t every other blogger on the planet writing one of these posts?  What makes your special?”

“Well, it has us!” Ereinne points out.  “Nobody else’s post has us!”

All-Time Writing Accomplishments

I’ve completed…a lot of novels.  It’s hard to count, because I never know if rewrites count as a new novel, because the rewrite always ends up vastly different from the original and sure seems like a new novel.  And do novellas count?

We’ll just say there’s an amount that’s not that bad.

“Yeah,” Ereinne says.  “There’s a lot of characters crowded in Morgan’s head, so I’d say, there’s a lot of novels.  Have any of you noticed the guy that looks like a tree?  Or that girl who’s always walking around with a sword and wincing when people smile at her?”

I did some calculations (mostly out of boredom) and came to the conclusion that I’ve probably written some three million words in the past six years.  In addition, over one million alone belongs to one particular story (that got rewritten a lot, which is part of the “how many of those count as distinct novels” question mentioned above.

…that’s about all for those.

2016

Writing Accomplishments of 2016

I finished the first draft of Sleeping in Cyberspace.

“Yeah!” Kivessa yells excitedly, whooping and dancing around the room.  Her brothers both give her weird looks, and she sticks her tongue out at them.  “What, Morgan finally finished the book—that’s reason to celebrate!”

Yeah, okay, so Kivessa is right, but that’s really the only thing I accomplished.  I also wrote like one short story, I attempted to edit Oracular and ultimately accomplished nothing, and… that’s about all.  Just Cyberspace.

Kivessa crosses her arms.  “That’s enough, isn’t it?”

Other Accomplishments of 2016

I graduated high school and survived a semester of full-time college classes.

“Come back when you’ve survived being crown prince and having about ten years of tutoring lessons on politics and etiquettes given to you in about a month,” Kalvias says, grumbling.

“You haven’t survived that, either,” Cimizelle says.  “You just hide from your tutors most of the time.”

Kalvias neither admits nor denies anything.

I…read very, very little.  (I blame college.)  I never count the books I read (I usually forget to), but I’m sure it was embarrassingly low this year.  How is this an accomplishment?  Well, I still read things!

“You just keep telling yourself that.”

“Tiri, your commentary is not necessary.”

Probably other stuff happened.  You know, it’s really, really hard to look back and think of all of the accomplishments for an entire year.

2017

Goals for 2017, yay!  Things I will probably forget about setting actual goals for, and they won’t necessarily happen.  Unless I can actually do something different this year.

Writing Goals

First off, write a lot and write as near to every day as possible, within reason.  (College makes this hard.)

“We approve of this one,” Ereinne says.

Research for Cyberspace and start the edits (and then also finish, hopefully) for draft two (and maybe three).  Okay, that one is probably far-fetched.  I spent the entirety of 2015 editing one single draft for Oracular—however, Oracular as nearly twice the length, and had a very broken plot, while Cyberspace is pretty good for a first-draft.

Ereinne harrumphs.  “You mean you like Cyberspace better than us and are going to put more effort into that one.”

Tiri rolls her eyes.  “Morgan never said that.  Stop being ridiculous.”

Plan a new novel. Because I like to always have something to be actively writing, and I work best when I plan ahead.  What novel will I plan?  I have no clue yet—and I got a lot of time to decide.

Ereinne grins.  “Cue the plot bunnies!”

Re-write Oracular or give it an overhaul-edit for draft three. I haven’t yet decided which it needs—a really crazy edit or a complete rewrite, but whichever it is, I would like to at least get started on that this year.  I think it will probably happen later in the year, which is why I’m not worried about finishing it, just making a lot of progress.

The entire Oracular gang cheers loudly.  (Except maybe Tiri and Saelas, although Saelas does look excited.)

Other Goals

Get a reliable source of income.  Er, get a job, really.

Keep blogging.

“Well, that’s vague,” Kivessa says.  “Care to be more detailed?”

It’s hard to make a blogging schedule when life is so unpredictable, especially with college and homework, so it really is vague.  But I would like to blog a lot more this year than I did last year.

More stuff.

Okay, I’ll be honest.  I suck at planning ahead, and I don’t have really great (or really any) goals for 2017.

“We’ll make sure she plans some stuff, though,” Ereinne promises as solemnly as Ereinne can possibly be.


How about everyone else?  Do you have any really exciting goals for 2017?

Following Sleeping in Cyberspace #4: FINISHED WITH THE FIRST DRAFT! (+ looking for potential beta readers)

Hi, Kivessa today, mostly, although all of us are here, because—draft one is finished!  You can see the wordcount bar to the left is all filled up.

The story did end up being shorter than any of us expected (Morgan was originally going for ~75k), but the resulting 61k is not a disappointment, and we’re in fact very excited!

It’s been a long time.  Morgan started our story the first time for Camp NaNo…a while ago.  I don’t have any idea what year it was.  It didn’t work, so she put it aside, and then she came back to it at the end of last year and started again at the beginning either sometime late last year or early this year, I don’t remember.

Anyway, it’s been a long time.  She took forever.

But we’re done!

The story is written, from beginning to end, and it’s done.

Okay, I’m honestly just looking forward to taking a vacation now.

Anyways, though, the story isn’t obviously actually done, because that was only draft one, and we have inconsistencies and unresearched things and probably plot holes or some other kind of emergency.

So Morgan is looking for a few beta readers who’d be willing to go through the story and help her critique.  If you’re interested, send Morgan an email (which can be found on the contact page).


In other news…

Does this affect the blog at all?

And the answer is…not really.  We’re not gone, we’re just done with draft one, and there’s still all the editing and chaos to do in the future.

What’s Morgan writing next and do we get to see any new characters on the blog?

That part is still…undecided.  There is a new story, tentatively titled Realms, as you can see in the wordcount bars on the right, with new characters never before seen on this blog, but whether or not Morgan introduces them here hasn’t been decided.

Following Sleeping in Cyberspace #3: Excerpts!

To make up for the shortness of yesterday’s post (thanks, Dazant), here’s another Following Cyberspace post, and this time, we’re sharing an excerpt!  Actually, we’ve got two.  That’s all.


Excerpt 1:

The next morning, the sun was cheerful and bright and it promised—so loudly it felt like a threat—that today was a new day, cleansed of yesterday’s problems.

The boys both slept in, so Kivessa decided without them that today was going to be about perfecting their disguises.  She started by trimming her hair, which was a completely different kind of challenge than cutting her brothers’ hair had been.  Then she went through all of the food they had, looking for something that would make a more substantial breakfast than just the fruit that was all they’d had of late.

She had come up with absolutely nothing and was very frustrated about it when Dazant appeared in the kitchen doorway, with mussed hair and an expression that indicated he wasn’t really awake yet.

“We need breakfast,” Kivessa told him. “I think we need something sugary.”

“Sugary?” Dazant repeated sleepily. He blinked at her, clearly not comprehending. “What are you suggesting?”

“I’m suggesting that while Cev is still asleep, we go get breakfast.  Steal some pastries or donuts or something—or better yet, we get some flour and eggs and Cev can help me bake something, assuming the oven here still works.” She gestured at the oven to her left.

Dazant frowned at her, but before he could argue, she said, “Alternatively, we wake Cev up and go steal some breakfast with him.”

His frown deepened.  “Why don’t we eat what’s already here?”

“Absolutely not.  A good breakfast is essential to…everything.”

“Since when?  And how is ‘something sugary’ a good breakfast?”  He made quotation marks with his fingers.

Kivessa waved her hand annoyedly at him, then paused, thinking maybe if she explained what she was thinking, he would probably agree with her.  She peeked around the doorway to make sure Ceveth hadn’t woken, and he hadn’t.  “You do know that the way we start the morning off—which includes breakfast—can affect the entire day.  So if we make breakfast a little more special…” She gestured with her hands, struggling to find the words to express what she was thinking.

To her dismay, Dazant frowned deeper even further.  “You’re trying to distract him.”

“Well, yes—”

“That didn’t work yesterday.  He sat in the corner all evening, ignoring you.”

Kivessa crossed her arms and glared at him, annoyed both that he had to bring that up again, and that he was so immediately against her trying to make things better.  “Well, if you have a better idea—”

Dazant peered around the doorway towards Ceveth’s sleeping form.  He didn’t say anything for a while, and when Kivessa opened her mouth, he lifted a hand.  She rolled her eyes, and obligingly stayed quiet.

Ceveth inhaled, and exhaled again—breathing the slow, measured breaths of sleep.

Finally, Dazant looked at her again.  “You’re right; we should do something.  Do you really think making breakfast is going to help?”

“I’m not sure what else to do.  It won’t hurt to eat something different, at least.”

“Fine.”


Excerpt 2:

Ceveth sat down on the floor next to Dazant, mimicking his cross-legged posture.  Dazant glanced at him.

“How’re you feeling?”

“Fine,” came the automatic response.  Ceveth paused.  “Better than I was expecting to be.  My nap was okay.”

“Good.”

Dazant looked at the wall again.

Ceveth hesitated.  “Are you okay?”

Dazant frowned, like this was a ridiculous question.  “I’m fine.”

Both paused, slowly realizing that it was the same answer Ceveth always gave, and it was never true when he said it.  Ceveth realized it wasn’t really true when Dazant said it, either.

“Should you nap, too?”

“No.”

“Okay.  Where’s Ki?”

“On the floor, asleep.”  Dazant pointed over his shoulder without looking.  Ceveth glanced back, and there she was.  She wasn’t on the chair like she had been when Ceveth fell asleep, but instead curled up on the floor in front of it.  She didn’t really look comfortable. |

Ceveth glanced at Dazant again.  His gaze had gone a little spacey, as if he wasn’t really there.  His mind was elsewhere.

“Daz?”

He startled.  “What?”

“You look like you’re going to fall asleep.”

“I’m fine, Cev.”

“You don’t look fine.”

He really didn’t, and it made Ceveth feel uneasy.  First there had been their morning in the tunnels, which was already bad enough, but then Kivessa had completely ignored the both of them and now Dazant didn’t look…right.  Dazant was always okay.  When Ceveth wasn’t, when he had his nightmares and his flashbacks and his panic attacks, Dazant was always okay.  He couldn’t not be okay.

Following Sleeping in Cyberspace #2: The Pre-Ending Chaos

So last time around in the Following Sleeping in Cyberspace series, you were introduced to Cyberspace’s cast.  This time, we’ll get a look at how the writing is going.  Dazant will write today’s post.

FollowingCyberspace.png


There’s silence for a long moment, interrupted only by the occasional sound of a cricket or a chirping bird.  After a while, it becomes clear that there’s an argument happening somewhere—just far enough that the words can’t be made out, just close enough to feel a tension in the air.

And then, finally—

Oh, fine, I’ll write the post, but I’m not going to be happy about it.

Kivessa pretty pointedly glares at Dazant, who is sighing and rolling his eyes.

There’s not a lot to say.  The novel is almost finished.  We’re treading into the near-climax territory, so tensions are (supposedly) rising and plot twists are being revealed.

Morgan started tracking how much writing she was doing each day and simultaneously set a goal to have the novel finished by New Years.  These are… her images.

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-10-31-44-am
This is how much has been written each day.  Each purple bar represents the amount written.  The diamonds are the goal Morgan set for each day (about ~811 words), and the grey is the average.
screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-10-31-55-am
This one probably looks more familiar.  Again, purple is the amount written, black is the goal, and grey is the average.

Um…that’s about all.

“No, it’s not,” Kivessa says, still glaring.  “Daz, seriously.”

Dazant sighs again.

What more is there for me to say?  The writing is going.  It’s almost done.  This post is a waste of time.

There’s a collective sigh.  “Daz, you’re never going to write a blog post ever again.”

That’s fine with me.

 

Following Sleeping in Cyberspace #1: All the Stuff You Already Know from “Following Oracular #1” & Other New Stuff

So you know what’s unfair?  What’s unfair is everybody talking about Oracular when Morgan is, in fact, writing Sleeping in Cyberspace.  We’re rectifying that, however, and…now you get a dual blog post series, one about Oracular and one about Cyberspace, depending on which one was more apparent in Morgan’s brain that week.

(You’ll probably see more of us in the immediate future, as Morgan scrambles to finish draft one by the end of the year, hopefully.)

Anyhow, I’m Kivessa, and I’m going to tell you all about my story!


The Concept:

Science fiction set ~120 years in the future + elements of a Sleeping Beauty retelling + artificial intelligence that already rules the world + a really crazy heist + three siblings with complex relationships + running jokes about fedoras = Sleeping in Cyberspace

Ceveth laughs a little bit.  “That doesn’t even touch on any of the emotions of the story.”

Well, that’s true.  There’s also a lot of emotions.  One of us has really bad anxiety.  Another of us is a control-freak.

“And the last one of us?” Dazant asks.

Oh, well, yeah, and then there’s me.  I…am slightly underdeveloped.

The Concept in an Official-Ish-Sounding Blurb Form Instead of a Math Equation:

Fifteen year old Ceveth lives in a world where the artificial intelligence already has control of the world, having turned the United Council into a figurehead.  One of its most famous actions was to nearly purge the world of criminals, by creating a near-perfect police force.

This means that former thief Ceveth and his two older siblings have no chance of redeeming themselves.  The best they can do is evade arrest and struggle to survive, and even that, at times, is near impossible.

Then one day, the siblings are contacted by someone who promises them freedom.  A clean slate; a brand new start to their lives.  And all it asks in return is that they commit one more theft and steal an item from the most hi-tech bank in the city.

Or, basically, the world is ruled by an AI, which really wants to throw us in prison, but we really don’t want to go to prison.  Then Ceveth starts hearing this weird voice identifying itself as Izi in his bionic ear.  Izi doesn’t tell us anything about herself, and doesn’t even let us meet her, choosing instead to only contact us through messages on our tablets, but she tells us that if we don’t break into the bank and steal some item that she won’t actually identify for us, she’ll have us thrown into prison anyway.


The Characters:

Ceveth:

Um. Hi.  Uh… I’m Cev.  I am really good with computers (well, tablets are what we use nowadays), and I love music.  I have anxiety and panic attacks and nightmares and…yeah.  I really love music, though.  All kinds.

Dazant:

Of the three of us, I’m the oldest, so I have to keep us together and safe.  I…can sometimes be over-protective, but it’s for their own good.

Kivessa:

Dazant makes everything happen; I make it all go smoothly. I help the boys hold themselves together.  Which often means arguing with Dazant, but

Izi:

I am not interested in talking about myself here.

Dazant sputters annoyedly.  “Of course not.  Here’s what you need to know about Izi.  She—if it is a she, since there’s been no confirmation from her—doesn’t answer any of your questions unless it specifically interests her, and even then, she’ll probably say something useless.”

Izi does not protest to this statement.


So, there’s us.  What do ya’ll think?

Ceveth looks like he’s about to laugh.  “Ki, did you just say ‘ya’ll’?”

Yeah, I guess I did.

Following Oracular #2: The Concept & Meeting the Cast

Hi, I’m Meriela.

So I guess I’m going to be telling you what the story is about, in a nutshell, and introducing you to my fellow characters.

So what Morgan calls her “elevator pitch” goes something like this:

An Oracle grows bored giving prophecies about other people being heroes, and she decides that this time, she’s going to be the heroine.

”That’s me,” Ereinne cheerfully says, waving.  “In case you didn’t guess.”

“Nope, definitely didn’t guess.”

“Tiri, stop being snarky.”

Obviously, that pitch doesn’t mention any of the rest of us, and Ereinne, hate to say it, isn’t the most important character.

The story of Oracular came out from two different concepts.  The first was the above pitch, about an oracle character deciding she didn’t really care for being an oracle.  The second idea was to play with the idea of prophecies and “Chosen One” characters, particularly ones who didn’t blindly follow their destiny just because that’s what they were supposed to do.  The two ideas obviously fit well into the same world, and so—

“Ugh,” Tiri interrupts.  “You make it sound so neat and peachy-keen.  This is what Oracular is about.

“If your eyes are blue, you’re an Oracle.  This means the Guardians, who are supposed to be knight-like warriors but really aren’t knights at all, take you away from your home and lock you in a tower, where you then spend the next several centuries giving mumbo-jumbo prophecies that don’t even make sense.  The Guardians then interpret your nonsense, and tell everybody else what they have to do because the prophecy says they have to do it.”

Well, there’s that.

The weird part is that the Guardians—er, the prophecies—talk about two Chosen Ones.  The first one is the one you’re all thinking of—you know, the great legendary hero character who saves the world and all that.  The second Chosen One character is…not so great.  He or she is the one who causes all the problems that the other has to save everyone from.  Basically, the bad guy.


So there’s the concept, to an extent.  Now, all of us characters and who we are.  We’ll go in alphabetical order.

Cimizelle

Funny that I’m first, because I’m not that major of a character in the first book.  I’m an Oracle and also a princess.  My parents faked my death when I turned into an Oracle at the age of three, and I’ve spent most of my life locked in a tower.

Ereinne

I am the one the elevator pitch talks about, as you knew!  I am over 300 years old, and I’ve spent all of that in the Oracle’s castle, kind of similar to Cimi’s situation, only I have been able to interact with other people on a regular basis.  It’s been my dream to be like the heroes I’ve met (once) and heard stories about, and so when I finally see my opportunity, of course, I take it.

Iaelie

I’m the Guardian assigned to Ereinne, which means it’s my job to keep her safe and, well, contained inside the castle.  When she sneaks out from under me and escapes the castle on her foolhardy “I want to be a hero” quest, I have to follow after her and try to get her back safely.  If I don’t get her back in one piece and quickly enough, I’ll lose any and all respect I’ve worked so hard to gain as a Guardian.

Kalvias

Ugh, my turn.  Okay, Cim (Cimizelle) is the real princess, but because she’s technically dead as far as the kingdom is concerned, the king doesn’t have an heir.  Enter me, the son of two of his advisors, and the king suddenly decides I’d make a great heir.  Never mind I have zero interest in being a future king.  To make matters worse, the gods seem to have endorsed this idea, and countless times over, Cim has prophecies and visions about me one day sitting on the throne.

Meriela

Every other character in this story has been born and grown up in Keilanor, where the story is set, but I’m a foreigner and an immigrant.  I don’t have a family, nobody trusts me with my green eyes (brown eyes are very important to the Keilorians) and pale skin, and so I spend most of my time on the streets, until one day, after nearly getting arrested, some Guardians inform me that I’m a Chosen One.

But I’m not the good guy.  Despite that I’ve never hurt anybody and my biggest desire in life has been to own a herbary and to fall in love, my destiny is to ruin the world.

Raethl

First, my littlest sister’s eyes turned blue when she was two.  The law says that we had to give her up to the Guardians, but if we did, we’d never see her again, so my parents hid her.  That did not last, and the Guardians eventually took her away.  Then my mother disappeared, and I think the Guardians murdered her in punishment.

I want revenge on them, and I want my sister back.

Saelas

I’m one of Iaelie’s brothers.

”Really?” Tiri demands.  “Everybody else gave a decent description of themselves, and here you are, saying nothing.”

Saelas shrugs.

I had a bad childhood.  I leave home with Iaelie, get separated from her, and end up following Tiri because I have nothing better to do.  That’s about all.

Tiri sighs.  “Whatever.”

Tiri

After my father died, I figured I would spend my life taking over his profession—that of making pottery—and I was okay with that.  The gods had other ideas, though, and then the Guardians showed up at my house, declared I was a Chosen One and I would save the world, and dragged me away from my home and everything I knew.  It didn’t seem to matter to anybody that Meriela—the one I was supposedly saving the world from—was right when she told the world that the Guardians were manipulating us and it needed to end.


So that’s the cast.  Some of us are more important than others.  (Saelas really does not do much of anything in the first book, as far as I’m aware, so why he’s even here, I have no idea.)

If you have any questions about the concept or about us, feel free to share them in the comments!