Pre-NaNo Jitters, Quebec City Photos, and Some Updates

What's that? Do I hear the sound of scurrying writers? Is everyone hiding? I thought we were all doing NaNo!

I'm all set.

I've read the blog posts about preparing for NaNo (Joshua's Five Lessons from NaNo, the ROW80 Round-up of NaNo Advice, and Jordan McCollum's advice on reaching NaNo goals on autopilot and getting your family on board for NaNo), made sure to sign up for miniNaNo on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, joined Twitter (I must be crazy! but I figured, on days when I have no chance to check emails, I could at least keep up with fellow NaNoers this way - find me @DenizBevan), and am trying to keep my inboxes under control (see you next month FB, Pinterest and tumblr!).

And, oh yea, the writing. I have a vague idea for this story - Santiago and Mawdlen meet and fall in love - but very little in the way of advance plotting, beyond a few hastily scribbled scenes. For the first time, I'll be free to explore, in each scene, "what's the worst that could happen?"

I've got to get as deep into my characters as I can because, from the bits and pieces of feedback I've gotten over the last little while, one of my deeper faults is not emotionally connecting the reader with the characters.

If anyone has tips for getting past this, I'll be very grateful.

I'm doing chapter summaries next week on the Diana Gabaldon Yahoo mailing list, and while preparing them in advance, realised that I've never shared my Quebec City photos on the blog! Just a reminder that winter is around the corner:

We'd gone to see Blue Rodeo


Quebec poet Emile Nelligan


Horse and carriage, also called a caleche

Ice palace


Plains of Abraham

The fort on the Plains of Abraham

St Lawrence river

St Lawrence again

Another shot; all these were taken facing south

St Lawrence from round the side of a Martello Tower

St Lawrence ice


I've revised my ROW80 goals, since I've finished typing up Druid's Moon! A completed 32,000 word novella. Just needs editing.

My NaNo project is Santiago and Mawdlen's story, Captive of the Sea: Back when he was a young sailor, Santiago travelled to England and fell in love with a Welsh girl called Mawdlen (Magdelana). Mawdlen's involved in some shady activities, however, that soon get him into trouble.

How can Santiago win her heart? Will she be willing to give up her life of intrigue as a spy to return with him to Spain?

Finally, Happy Hallowe'en! Here's Neil Gaiman on Edgar Allan Poe.

What are you dressing up as?

Oh! Late addition - did you know about this Harry Potter prequel? I just discovered it!


Jess said…
I think I'm dressing up as a writer. Easy enough, right? That way people don't complain when I sit at my computer all day typing! Lol :)

Beautiful pictures!!
You're full of info on this post!

Thanks for the Neil Gaiman and Edgar Allan Poe link.

Oh no, it's NaNo! It will be quiet 'round the blogosphere. Good luck!

I didn't know about the HP prequel. Must check it out. I started The Casual Vacancy the other day. Such a different feel.
Zan Marie said…
My costume? Why little old retired teacher, of course. ; ) I'm still shivering from all that snow and ice in your pics! If we had that, we'd be stuck. Happy Halloween
Anonymous said…
I typically dress up as Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor. Scarf, hat, trench.

No jitters. Let's write!!!
Jeff Hargett said…
Good luck on NaNo! (Love the Ice Palace. I bet some really cold people live there. :::ducking:::)
Deniz Bevan said…
Great idea, Jess!

Ooh, can't wait to hear what you think of The Casual Vacancy, Theresa!

Happy Hallowe'en, Zan Marie!

Aww, I forgot my scarf, Joshua. I knit one of those ages ago. I'm wearing cobweb tights today!

Thanks, Jeff!
S.P. Bowers said…
You are one crazy busy girl!
Talli Roland said…
Oh, I love Quebec City - what gorgeous photos! Happy Halloween, Deniz.
Hi Deniz .. glad you reminded us about thick feet of snow! Good luck with Nano .. and no I'm not dressing up ... or Nano ...

Enjoy November .. cheers Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
And yet I feel so slow, Sara!

Thanks, Talli, Happy Hallowe'en to you too!

You must feel so free, Hilary, since you're not doing NaNo :-)
Those photos remind me of my city (Calgary) right now. :P

Good luck with your NaNo project. One year I'm going to time it right so I can participate.

Emotional connection is part subjective and part headache. :)
Great photos!
Good luck with NaNo. I participated and won in 2010 and that story became my second book.
Deniz Bevan said…
That;s right, Stina, you guys have already gotten snow, haven't you? We just had our mildest Hallowe'en in years!

Thanks, Alex, wow that's inspiring!
My tip on emotionally connecting with readers is to write in first person present tense.
Loved all the photos! And thanks for links.

All the best with NaNo!
Deniz Bevan said…
That's interesting, Michael. I've only ever written very short pieces in present tense. Maybe NaNo is a good time to try...

Thanks, Nas!
Sean McLachlan said…
Beautiful photos! Best of luck with November's writing goals!
kmckendry said…
Oh I love the ice palace!

Good luck on NaNo.
Those are really great pictures! It reminds me of how I've always liked winter better than summer. You're right in that it's important for readers to connect with the characters. I just finished reading a book where I couldn't connect with any of the characters at all, so that made it harder to relate to them. But I'm sure you'll do great. And anyway, the whole thing about Nanowrimo is that you only have to complete a first draft; you don't have to have everything perfect by the end of the month.
I was Jeremiah and Annalise's happy unschooling mama! Great costume (great life, too, 'cause I get to be that every day!).

I loved your pictures.

I tend to have no trouble emotionally connecting reader and characters, but that may be because I am an intuitive and empathetic type by nature.

What tricks me is getting settings into scenes. My first drafts generally seem to take place in a lightly sketched limbo, because I am so busy watching and listening to the stories my characters give me.

I tend to add it in in later drafts, and to seek advice from others who are better at that aspect than I am.

I look at NaNo (and all my writing, really), as a playground. I come to write and to delight myself. I come for joy.

SO, for me, no stress, even though Hurricane Sandy delayed a trip with my children to visit out-of-state friends, which was meant to end on Nov. 3, so that, instead, we will be leaving on the 5th,, meaning more of Nano's beginning is in a bit of a state of upheaval for me....but it's all good.

Your story sounds intriguing, and I want to know more! =D
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you, Sean and Kathy!

You're right, Neurotic - I always draft better knowing I can leave lots of gaps and square brackets, anyway :-)

Thanks Shan - that's a great line about coming to NaNo for joy.

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