December is much less busy than November, so I will do both last month's and this month's. Here are November's questions! The December official post comes next week. :-)
1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
Well, yes to both, kind of. Parts of it are exactly as I expected. Parts of it are totally different. Baba Yaga for one is a lot sassier than I expected her to be, which is AWESOME. Damla is a lot sassier too, which is DOUBLE AWESOME. Tania is a lot more obnoxious, which is NOT AWESOME and may get toned down in draft two.
I also thought, because it was so well plotted, there would be no major surprises. BUT WAIT. A random dude showed up and started making eyes at Damla, who isn't supposed to have a love interest. Stay away, Martin! She's a sass-master now.
But a lot of it is just a mish-mash of plots and scenes, and, frankly, right now it feels like a giant mess. Is there a central theme? Is there a proper path of events? Is it the grand epic I imagined? Who knows? Probably not.
But that's the fate of the first draft.
2. What's your first sentence (or paragraph)?
I shared this in my last Snazzy Snippets, actually. (Even though that probably won't be the real beginning in the final version.) So I'll share the first paragraph of Part Two of the book.
Damla looked around the empty alleyway and, with a small grunt of effort, pulled herself onto the balcony above. Pulling out a small, sharp, pin-like tool from her pocket, she knelt down by the lock on the balcony door and bit her lip. The lock was a little more complicated than she’d expected, but it was definitely very old, and so with a few twists of her pin, she heard the satisfying click of it opening.
3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
I am a PLANTSER. A hybrid. Because YES I have tried both methods, and I am about to relate to you the (not so) fascinating tale of how that turned out.
IN THE BEGINNING... I thought I was a hard core planner (even though I wasn't). I would lie on my bed and plan all the novels, and write out extensive plots. But I never finished books. I'd get bored. My first NaNoWriMo novel was partially planned. At about 10,000 words, my plan DIED. So I pantsed the rest and it was awful. "Never again," I said to myself. "I must stick to planning or else it will collapse like The White Rose (aka Sophia's NaNo 2012)."
So I plotted out everything for NaNo2013, which was actually going to be an utter rehaul of a teensy thing I had written in my babyhood called Kings and Traitors. And then, on the evening of October 31st, 2013, a thought struck me. A scene, an image, a character. "Dang, I should write that," I said to myself. So I discarded any thoughts of writing Kings and Traitors that NaNo, and instead entirely pantsed my way through the mad and hilarious mess of a space opera called The Ulianthra. I reached 50,000 words at the climax, which was good, because I had no idea what to write next. So the beautiful horror that is The Ulianthra sits on my computer, unfinished, never to see the light of day.
For NaNo2014, I plotted out EVERYTHING - well, almost everything, except the ending, because I am bad at endings. Which can cause problems. Also, I grew bored of NaNo2014 (which you lovely folks know as VeniceNovel, or Masked Souls), and quit before I reached 10k. Good going, Sophia. (It was my first year of university, cut my some slack!)
And then suddenly, this year, I had an epic plot, with twists and things that ACTUALLY MADE SENSE, and I wrote it out immediately and dove into it just in time for NaNo2015 and then it just worked.
So really, when I say I'm a plantser, what I really mean is I don't know what the heck I'm doing with this noveling thing I just go with what the voices in my head tell me to do.
4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
Sleep. All the sleep. Because I usually meet my goal at 11pm at night. (At least that's how it turned out this NaNo.)
5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where you you find your names?
Ah, names. I have a love-hate relationship with names, and I name my characters a little haphazardly depending on the genre and the story. Some characters have names that Mean Things. For example, apparently Damla means "Water Drop" in Turkish. Others, not so much. In SlavicNovel, many of my secondary characters have names because - oh dang he needs a name that's vaguely Slavic so how about Misha?
6. What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end - and why?
I like middles. But early middles. And beginnings. Because I KNOW how they're going to play out, and can see the entire scene in my head.
7. Who is your current favorite character in your novel?
I knew I liked her, but I didn't know she'd end up being my fave. But she has! Damla has the most perfect mix of sass and badassery combined with a really sweet heart, pretty excellent morals, and a nice dose of common sense. I couldn't ask for a better character!
(Dang, my favorite character isn't my villain? Applause for me. Maybe I'm normal after all.)
8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What's the weirdest things you've researched?!)
I reasearch with The Almighty Google, and so far I've researched lots and lots of Turkish culture (and a bit of Slavic culture too, to fill my knowledge gaps). BUT.
The weirdest thing I've ever researched was for this project - mermaid sex. Think about it! Actually, maybe don't. Googling this was an interesting experience, to say the least.
I also had a long discussion with my mother about mermaid sex, nymphomaniacs, and sex slaves. It was surprisingly chill. I wish equally chill mothers upon all you writer friends.
9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
ALONE. I cannot write when there are people.
And I DO share work - I have been sharing work more lately, actually - but only teeny snippets. No big works. It's still super scary! I don't want to share my babies until they're perfect! (And we all know they'll never be perfect.)
10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I don't have super set writing habits. I particularly enjoy writing on a certain couch in my front room, though (featuring our just-decorated tree):
It's such a nice little sunny spot during the day! And the couch is super comfy and reclines with a foot-rest. <3
I write best in the afternoon, I think, but rarely do I actually write then. I usually end up writing in the evening or early in the morning on the train to school.
NO MUSIC ONLY SILENCE and the occasional coffeeshop chatter if I'm feeling like it.
I eat whatever my mom gives me when she fears for my survival because I've been sitting in the same position on the aforementioned couch for too long. Usually it's fruit, nuts, and cheese. Sometimes it's tea. And on lucky days, my dad throws me a chocolate bar.
What are your writing snacks? Are you a plotter or a pantser? And what's the weirdest thing you've ever researched for a novel? Let me know in the comments!