Part 2 of the Know the Novel link-up has arrived! It’s probably early to be doing this, but I’m super excited to share more about Calligraphy Guild, so… here we are. Part two is all about the writing process!
1. How’s the writing going overall?
Pretty well! It hasn’t been as “fun” as I was hoping for it to be, but I’ve been making steady progress and I’m fairly happy with the results, as far as first drafts go. It’s definitely going to need work, but all drafts do. :P
2. What’s been the most fun aspect of writing this novel so far?
Probably the character interactions. Relationships are really the core of this book, and seeing the different relationship dynamics unfold has been really fun. And a couple of characters have shown up more than I expected, which has been really cool to see.
3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?
Most of them aren’t as vivid on the page as I would like them to be, unfortunately. There are quirks that haven’t made their way into the book, and the fact that I struggle to be descriptive in my first drafts is taking a toll on their realism. But I still love who the characters are supposed to be, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to bring them out more in future drafts. I think my favorite to write about is probably Makio, who’s one of the characters I mentioned who’s shown up more than expected. He’s Tora’s older brother, and he’s turned out to be a big brother figure for Duyên, as well, which has been super cool to write about. ^-^
4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?
I think Makio’s importance has been the only significant surprise. There’ve been little places where scenes have gone a direction I didn’t expect and featured interactions I didn’t plan, but none of them have been huge. So far I’ve mostly kept to my outline in the big stuff.
5. Have you come across any problem areas?
Yesterday I came to the end of the Scrivener files I’d properly prepared for NaNo and started operating off of memory rather than directly from my outline and I’m fairly certain I rushed into a scene that shouldn’t have happened yet. But I think I’ll be able to just rearrange things and it won’t be a problem. Hopefully.
6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
Learning to write even when I don’t feel like it! It’s made a huge difference to learn that I can write a couple thousand words if I just get started, regardless of how motivated I am or am not, and that will impact future novels just as much as this one.
7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
Duyên is loosely based on me, so she’d be the easy option. I think I’d make a lot of the same decisions she did, because she’s pretty lost as to how to address the issues going on and I wouldn’t know any better than she does, lol. And we respond to conflict we don’t know how to resolve in much the same way. So, yeah, I’d be Duyên.
8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph, then 2 (or 3!) favorite snippets!
Duyên’s hair was soft under her fingers as she completed her plait, tying it with a pale yellow cord before looking herself over in the mirror.
Duyên chuckled and took note of the calligraphers again. Po was nice enough, but not the person she would have chosen to talk with on an evening when she was already stressed. Most of the calligraphers were the same place they’d been, but Chaska was rounding up her boys. Duyên frowned. Her health must have been bothering her again.
Makio walked up to the stairs and set a hand against the post beside Po. “Is this guy bothering you?” Makio asked Duyên.
Duyên shrugged. “We were having a pleasant conversation. But I appreciate you looking out for me.” She smiled up at Makio.
Makio slapped Po’s shoulder and nodded toward the field. “Come on. Let’s shoot some hoops.”
Po glanced at Duyên. “Sorry to cut the conversation short.”
Duyên tried to smile. “Don’t worry about it.”
Po headed onto the field and Duyên mouthed a ‘thank you’ to Makio as he prepared to follow. Makio smiled before turning back to Po. “Race you to the hoop?”
The two ran off to the western hoop and Duyên took a deep breath. Makio always had her back. Duyên smiled as she watched Po and Makio play in the lantern-light. Tora was lucky to have Makio for a brother.
Ryuu walked over from a conversation with some of the younger boys and set one foot on the steps. “Are you doing all right?”
Duyên nodded with a soft smile. “Thanks for asking.”
Ryuu took a seat beside her, hands between his knees. “I saw Makio had to get Po away from you again.” Ryuu smirked.
Duyên chuckled. “It wasn’t like that. Po was actually being nice, he’s just… not the best company when my thoughts are heavy.”
“I hope I’m an improvement?” Ryuu wiggled his eyebrows.
Duyên laughed, head thrown back. Her expression faded to a grin as she turned back to Ryuu. “Yes.” She leaned up and kissed him briefly.
Ryuu grinned. “I’m happy to hear it.”
Duyên leaned on his shoulder and watched the lights dancing over the field a moment before closing her eyes and listening to the childrens’ laughter. She felt Ryuu press a long kiss to her forehead. Duyên released a contented sigh. “Can’t evenings like this just last forever?” she murmured.
“Can we pretend?”
Ryuu rubbed her shoulder. “Absolutely.”
Duyên’s thoughts drifted and she fell asleep.
Lanterns on either side of the orphanage door swayed idly in a warm breeze and the bamboo door swung inward at Sairsha’s touch. The buzz of children’s voices filled Duyên’s ears, and she smiled as several of the kids looked up at the calligraphers from their groups on the floor. The sight of Sairsha, and the drawings in her hand, lit fires in several children’s eyes, and Sairsha offered a bright smile to everyone.
9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)
I think I’ve pretty much shared everything interesting, between yesterday’s post and this one.
10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!
Surprisingly enough, I’ve written mostly at my desk. I was expecting to work on my laptop in bed a lot, but I think all of my writing this month has been at my desk. I generally procrastinate until mid-afternoon, when I finally force myself into Scrivener and get writing, and then I write for 1-3 hours (depending on how well things are going) and write around 2,000 words. Although if I have to go out in the evening then I generally don’t meet my word count until around 11. This week I’ve been fueled by cinnamon Coca-Cola, but when that runs out I’ll probably switch to hot cocoa. (Aren’t I so healthy…) I listen to music incessantly, whether I’m writing or not, lol. Usually I have a story playlist I listen to for a specific project, but I don’t have one for Calligraphy Guild so I’ve been listening mostly to my Writing Inspiration playlist and sometimes just to whatever I feel like putting on. If I don’t have music on, I usually don’t work as well. (And yes, social media distraction has been a real thing. ;P)
What does your normal writing day look like? What’s been your biggest victory so far?