Hi. I’m not dead. I’m sorry for (once again) falling off the face of the earth; I should be around much more consistently as we head into the new year and I get back on top of… all the things. For now, here’s a link-up to conclude my series on Calligraphy Guild. (If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, you can find them at those links there.)
1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?
Pretty well! I was able to get down the basics of the characters and their relationships, the bare bones of the plot are there, there are some cool descriptions I can build off of… Overall, it’s a workable first draft. :) Plus I had a lot of fun with it, which was the hope, and I’m super excited to dive into “remodeling” and making it even more of what I want it to be. ^-^
2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?
It didn’t turn out exactly like I hoped, because I was hoping for more description and more vivid characters on the page and that kind of thing, but I more expected what I got, which was a place to start. And it actually exceeded my expectations, to some degree; it has a lot more going for it than I was afraid it might. So overall, I’m happy with how it turned out. :)
3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)
The characters and the setting, both. I was super excited going in, and it turned out to be just as fun to write as I’d hoped. I also enjoyed the play-by-play scenes of the fictional sport kyang much more than I’d expected to.
4. How about your least favorite part?
Probably the kyang games. Which I know sounds like a contradiction of my last point. :P While it was enjoyable, it was also tedious, and there was no part of the book that I remember expressly disliking the process of, so kyang it is.
5. What do you feel like needs the most work?
…All of it? The characters need more page time (the whole thing is shorter than intended), the description needs fleshing out to do the setting and the characters justice, there’s a character I want to give a full arc to which will mean a lot of reworking stuff… I guess the character arc is probably the biggest thing. But the whole thing needs a lot of work. (Which I plan to start in February!)
6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who is your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!
I still love them!
Least favorite: Chaska? Which is a bummer, because she’s a really cool character. She didn’t get enough time to show off some of her character traits, and I want to fix that in the next draft.
Surprise: Makio. He wasn’t even supposed to feature heavily, but he made himself right at home. XD
7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?
Editing it. The plan is to let it sit through January so I can come back with some perspective (but I might jump in early… we’ll see what happens), and then work on edits from February to June (with a break for Camp NaNo in April). That’s the plan. My plans tend to derail, so we’ll see what actually happens.
8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?
A final draft that perfectly communicates the feelings and characters and setting, a gorgeous cover, and glowing five-star reviews saying how much people loved the book and how unique it was and how much they want to read more set in this fantasy world. (I, um… may love this book just a little bit and want other people to love it.)
9. Share some of your favorite snippets!
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.
Duyên stepped onto the porch as a peal of thunder rolled in the distance. She looked up at the dark clouds gathering over the jungle and frowned. The sunset was coming faster than usual.
With a quick glance, Duyên spotted Ryuu looking up at the sky before stepping down from the porch. She hurried over to him and set a hand on his arm. “Do you want some company? I could walk you home.”
Ryuu smiled a little and offered her his elbow, but his eyes didn’t hold the sparkle they usually did. “Shouldn’t I be the one walking you home?”
Duyên hooked her arm through his and tried to give a reassuring smile, but she doubted it was effective.
The two of them walked in silence, the thunder growing louder as the storm approached. Duyên set her head against Ryuu’s arm, wishing she could do something more to make him feel better.
Just as the Lai house came into view, raindrops started to hit Duyên’s skin. She raised her head and looked up at Ryuu. “Race you to the door?”
Ryuu chuckled and unhooked his arm from hers. The two of them took off, racing the rain, but the rain turned to a downpour a few feet from the house and they were soaked by the time they stepped onto the porch.
Duyên turned back to Ryuu. “Do you want to borrow an umbrella?”
Ryuu shrugged. “I’ll be all right. Thanks, though.”
Duyên frowned. “Are you sure?”
Ryuu nodded and leaned down to kiss her forehead. “Have a good evening, Duyên.”
Makio turned back to Tora. “Take care of yourself, okay? I don’t want you getting yourself into any more trouble than you have to. Come home in one piece.”
“I’ll do my best.”
Makio wrapped Tora in a hug. “I love you, Mixa.”
Tora groaned. “You know I hate that nickname.” She pulled away and punched him half-heartedly in the arm.
Makio grinned. “You love me anyway.”
Tora sighed. “Yes.” She looked up at him. “I love you.” She smirked. “Even if you are obnoxious sometimes.”
Makio chuckled. “It’s my job as an older brother.” He ruffled her hair, earning another eye roll.
Tora walked over to Zen, and Makio came over to Duyên.
“Hey.” Makio tugged on Duyên’s braid. “You take care of yourself, too, okay Nỏcha?”
Duyên nodded. “I’ll look out for Tora, too.”
Makio smiled. “I know you will.” He looked over at Ryuu. “And you take care of them both.” Makio slapped Ryuu’s shoulder. “I trust you.”
Ryuu nodded. “I will.”
Makio returned the nod.
“Look out for Riye,” Duyên blurted.
Makio looked down at Duyên with wide eyes.
“She’s been… off lately. Just… make sure she’s okay, and make sure she knows someone’s there for her.”
Makio nodded slowly. “Okay.” He turned toward the door, but immediately turned back. “Why me?”
Duyên smiled. “I trust you.” And I trust you to care about her.
“Th-thanks.” His brow furrowed, like he knew she’d left something out and wanted to know what, but he just tugged on her braid again and said, “Gossalu be with you,” before leaving the guild.
10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?
I know I’ve said this so many times in this series and my NaNo updates, but I learned that I can write consistently if I really set my mind to it. I wrote 2k each day fairly consistently for most of November, and it worked really well, so I’m hoping to do that more in the coming year as I work on other projects and see if I’m able to keep it up as effectively.