Oct Update + Short Story

Hola mi amigos!
Word count: 75438 (9395 more since last post.)
Progression: Posted up to chapter 15 of an estimated 39; working on chapter 16.

It has been too long since I have posted. I am really horrible about keeping a writing journal/blog thingy. Lots of new stuff has been happening. First and foremost, some slightly depressing stuff.

Nadine Hanuska – I love and miss you terribly. I am extremely sorry that I missed out on the last 13+ years of your life. I was a horrible granddaughter in your remaining years, but, at the same time, I am glad I have only happy memories, and not the ones where you were not yourself. You always made sure I had as much mashed potatoes as I could handle – which was entirely too much – and you introduced me to the game called dots (terribly poor taste to keep a young child up till the wee hours of the night playing such an addictive game) and whenever possible, you always broke the wishbone of the turkey with me. I miss you and your tea… sweet and southern.
I miss your face, your laugh, and your ability to keep this rag tag, huge family together. I love you.

There, now that I am all crying and upset, I can try to see through the tears to write the rest of this.

Back to my writing progress. Depending on how I look at things, I am about halfway through! I say depending on how you look at things cause who the heck knows just how far I really am until I am done.

Speaking of which, since the last post I have been able to nail down my chapter outlines along with tentative word count goals. Right now the estimate is 162338 words to end the first book. I know, weird number, but I counted the chapters I have already written. Yeah, yeah, they will be edited so who knows just how much I really have to go here.

I will say it has been amazingly helpful to get the outline redone. I started with some vague ideas a number of years ago, morphed into a general outline about a year ago, and have completely rewritten that because I realized there was just too much I wanted in the first book. Well, unless I wanted to get up to 400k+.

For anyone that really wants to know how I did this, I put together that board I discussed before, which helped me figure out that I had too much slated. Then I decided to put it all together in an excel sheet with a bunch of stuff like word count expectations, summaries, Lenaeu vs Earth time lines (keeping track of the time difference is crazy hard) and a general idea of what will go into the rest of the books.

I still have so much to do… As you know – I think – my magic system is based upon Astrology and Elements, which causes a lot of rigid structure I have to follow. I can’t have someone that is a Water sign magically have crazy amounts of Earth element to play with. If you don’t know the rules, don’t worry, I shall explain.

(Astrologers, close your eyes and skip this to prevent a serious need to attack me for my lack of knowledge)

Each astrological sign has an element that is their “main”. Earth, Water, Air and Fire. Each sign has something called a ‘detriment’ – opposite sign. An example –  Main = Water (Pisces); Detriment = Earth (Virgo). So then if the Main is Air, their detriment is Fire. This means that someone with Water is exceptionally skilled with that element, about half as skilled with Air and Fire, and very, very, very unskilled in Earth (detriment).

All of that I have to remember with each character and assign them a birth sign. For now, the only two that have one are my main characters – Ayli (not yet in the book) and Ama. The rest, I am simply assigning an element to until I feel like nailing down a birthday.

Ah, I did forget, there is one group of people that are a caveat.

I wrote a short story on them and they are called the Overlaps or the Seacht Laethanta – Seven Days in Gaelic. Basically, there are 7 days (October 24th-30th) in which all three of the astrological groups have either an Air, Water or Earth sign. The reason why this is important is that it allows for these people to wield all 4 elements without a detriment. Since Fire is only a detriment to one of them, and not all, it cannot be a ‘full time’ one. (They are my magic rules so whatever)

I could go on but I won’t… for now.

So, that was a very long winded progression discussion. But it does go to show just how many hours worth of work I’ve had to do here. Many different spreadsheets, hundreds of research hours into astrology and many more hours daydreaming of possibilities.

I will say the Seacht are a wonderful find that I was not planning on. This has allowed for one of my characters – Dara – to fit her role more perfectly.

Moving on, it is about that time of the year where I find myself writing more. It is something about the fall – I love it and it loves me. The writing me anyways. I have written a short story that I have posted below, and I have great plans to write a ton of stuff over the next month or so. Hopefully I will be 3/4 to 4/5 of the way through by the end of November.

(This is anywhere from 46K to 56K words – fun stuff)

Anywho… below is my short story, I hope you all enjoy!

PS. I didn’t cuss once in this post! Fuck!


Chandra and Adam

I used to live my life by the cycles surrounding her. The way her once animated, beautiful, and adoring face could give me almost violent shudders of anticipation, was both the cause and the effect of my everything.

One day, we would be blistering in our closeness, our unbridled love, out of control and reckless. The next, she would be cold and distant. Now all I saw was her suspended, hauntingly pale, and lifeless. But I still felt thrills of excitement… some days, at least. For even in death she was the most beautiful thing I have ever beheld.


On rare nights, as I lay gazing at the stars, I would only see her shadow. It was a giant dark hole where my heart once dwelled. Those were the good nights, in a sense. At least they were less painful than the ones where I caught slivers of her face; her pale dead skin gleaming in the harsh light. Yet they held nothing in comparison to the nights when I saw her fully, a poor imitation her once glory. Mercifully, they were short lived.


I could look back to when we first met with fondness; at least that was not taken from me. Although, it is a bitter memory, I could enjoy it. 


I was minding my own business, busy with my normal cyclical routine, but completely bored. Out of the darkness, blinding me with her beauty, I saw her heading my way. I thought nothing of it, assuming she would pass and ignore me like everyone else. 


But she didn’t. 


She wasn’t looking where she was going, typical behavior I came to find, and ran full force into me. I tilted but stayed steady. I reached out to her to save her from falling, being the polite gentleman I am, while her water drenched me. It saturated my muddy colored clothes and instantly cooled me in the summer heat. 


We both laughed after the initial shocks wore off. Her body quivered as she fought her giggles, pleasingly distracting me. Then, her pale blue eyes met my hazel. It was as if the universe stopped and we realized, in this embarrassing encounter surrounded by strangers, that no force could ever be stronger. No one would measure up to this instant bond. No one could ever be anything more than the background to our story. No one could be more perfect.


It seemed as though our gazes never separated afterwards.


Our love was a firestorm for no amount of water would quench our thirst. We blazed across time, ignoring or conquering everything in our way. 


Eventually our relationship cooled, but it did not diminish. Rather, we were symbiotic, matured. 


If I had known how it would have ended, I would have changed nothing. Yet, to be without her for so long, to have lost my best friend, my life, my soul… no torture could be more absolute.
But, after this eternity apart, I had hope. Our children have grown, matured and blossomed. They are fighting for all of our lives.


I had almost given up, and they had nearly destroyed me in their adolescence. But now… they travel to her pale, gaunt face, and I can already see a shimmer, a faint glint of her once endless blue eyes forming.


You see, I made a plan; one that would return her to me. For thousands of years I have cared for, nurtured, and evolved our offspring. Gently I have nudged them, given them guidance, and shown them how to leave me, to go out on their own. But, their first stop would be with her – to breathe life into her lunar husk.
Just as they are restoring her, so too, are they rebuilding my forests, my waters. The water she inadvertently spilt upon me that fateful day.


Soon, I will be able to bask in her presence once more, our worlds forever held in this orbit. The Earth and Moon shall be together again in this sea of stars.

© Copyright 2016 Kristol Hannah

Unplanned rant on planning


Hello wonderful world of folks that haven’t heard from me in over a month!
Word count: 59675 (10132 more since last post. Target of 59637 for 4/17 or… this week goal of 64637 – yes I am slacking this week)
Progression: On chapter 13… posted Ama in the new world and now need to write Leah.
I have revised my goals for writing since I last posted. I had originally reset them to 2K, but I did the math (yeah I am a business analyst so I always look for efficiencies and target dates) and I need to write 5K words a week to end at 150(ish)K words by September.
Why September? Well I figure that it will take me a good month to do my first revision, then a second for my next (hopefully final) revision. This will allow me to send for submissions to Tor and DAW in Nov maybe Dec.
Wait, I thought you were going to self publish? Yes, well… I decided I at least want to see what publisher’s think. Even if I do not go with them.
Also, I will have to rewrite dates in my book to match whatever year it is when I actually do go to publish. As it stands, I will need to rewrite it already as I am going to be a year behind.
I also figure I might get up to 200K words for the book, which will mean November is when I stop writing. That will push by my submission/publishing time line, and hence my book’s, as well.
All of that being said, now we get to my post/rant. First, I want to congratulate my brother on his first book – no it is not fiction, unless you think coding (or whatever it is called) for Cisco is fictional. Congrats Alex! I am truly happy for you and wish you the best in life.
Second, my mom found my blog. So, I really was going to tell her about it, I know she doesn’t believe me, but I am shy – which she should fully know – and very… introverted. I wanted to surprise her with at least my first draft, my blog being a lot more read than it is currently, and maybe some fancy website. Fat luck. My mom google’d me. And now she can see just how much I cuss. Which is actually a lot less on this blog than in real life.
I can still remember the first few times I cussed around her, as an adult. It was quite awkward.
Third, my idiot brother, the younger one, decided it would be a good idea to do some really stupid ass shit. Needless to say, I was a wreck for a week – I can’t even imagine what my mom was going through – and his little punk ass is fine… thankfully. Do not get me wrong, I love him, even if I haven’t seen him in years, but when I see him again, I am likely to hit him. I am about 2K miles away, and had no means to fly out to be with him. I was very afraid he would die before I actually got to see him again.
Enough sadness. I will get to a point here.
To anyone that is starting out writing, or just wants to hear some writing advice, start reading here.
Planning. It sucks, it is tedious, and boring (sometimes). But it is absolutely necessary, and it will likely get thrown out the window as you start writing. I had an original idea of how my books would flow, but now? Yeah, well let’s just say that my plan was that the first 3 chapters would be the set up, and chapter 4 would be the start of my MC (main character IE Amadel) arriving in the magical kingdom. I thought this would be maybe 30-50 pages (@ 350 words per page = 10.5K to 17.5K) Here I am on chapter 12 where she is just now in the kingdom, and I am sitting at 60K (171 pgs).
(BTW, it is extremely difficult to get an exact answer on the pages. I googled/binged a few sites before I just took the max and went with the 350 average words per page in a fantasy novel. I have seen anywhere from 250-350.)
Added to that, I had planned on a meeting between her and another MC (Leah), and now I think I will be completely rewriting that. Basically, Amadel and Leah were to meet, get captured, and Amadel escapes but Leah doesn’t. Now, it seems like the character (Leah) is already ‘captured’ and they will not meet. I haven’t fully decided how that will go, or if I will try to force it back to my original idea. Somehow.
Now, all of that mess out of the way, let me say that there are some people that can plan out each chapter and just speed right on along. Kudos to them, and I am jealous.
I have done this to an extent, but I am leaving it open now. Too many things are speeding through my mind because of the changes to my flow/plot. So now I am ‘stuck’ trying to figure out where to go, and I have 5K words to write by Sunday. Yay.
I think the hardest part is just choosing. I see it in forums all the time where people just don’t know which option as both could do 10 billion different paths.
So even though I have tried and (mostly) failed to plan, I still advocate it. I say this because if I had not thought through and planned the first few chapters, I would still be stuck trying to figure out how to start the damned thing.
But beyond flow of the story, there is also world building, historical data, etc.
I said it best on the FWO site, so I will say it again here:
Well, I knew from the start my book would be the first of a series. This is mostly because it is so vast, but also because I am literally planning it out. I know key points of things that will be happening – I have a giant timeline on my wall – and they are constantly changing as I hammer out the path for the first book. The other issue, is that I am running into two different ‘timelines’ – earth years, and fantasy realm (Lenaeu) years 1:132. So when one year passes on Earth, 132 have passed on Lenaeu. It is quite difficult to plot it all out.
I will say that at first, I just wrote. I did not care about the timelines or anything, I just needed to get it going. Now, I know that I need to keep certain things back or bring other items forward because of foreshadowing and pacing.
To sum it up, I have 6 main bubbles, each roughly equates to one book. Under each bubble, I have several hundred smaller ones. I know certain things will be happening (6 main), but I have changed things around so some of the small bubbles move between books. In fact, I had to take about 70K words and push them to book 3 as I found I had so much more to say before that bit even happened.
As for worldbuilder’s disease, I think as long as YOU need it to determine how to do a particular bit, and not sound like an idiot (lack details), have at it. Yet at the same time, if you spend ten days researching weather patterns over eastern Cambodia because it matches the weather in your story, and then you look into their rainfall, humidity, and the effect it has on the toad population, etc… well, you have caught the bug. But that is not to say that maybe your world revolves around weather? Sanderson’s Mistborn is actually a great example of when you need to do ‘some’ of that kind of research.
I found it perfectly acceptable that I spent two maybe three days on researching and making ciphers because it was direly important. Sure, I could just have a magical encoded book, but where is the fun in that? Why not have something that is not too often found in fantasy? It fits the person who wrote the cipher, and it helps to draw out a mystery.
As for one shoe, if you find my other one, please tell it that I promise to polish it and repair it’s sole if it just comes home… I’m tired of hobbling around all the time.
I went off on a tangent.  <fin>
So… planning. It really does help. Just like I didn’t plan this post so it is all kinds of random.