Tuesday, December 3, 2013


You may have noticed it is no longer November and that means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrimo) is over.  The goal this month was to write 50,000 words towards a novel.  A lot of people want to know about my experience, so I will answer some frequently asked questions on here. 

So, how did you do? 
Well, it depends on who you ask.  If you ask the people who make the NaNoWriMo rules, they’d say I failed miserably.  I wrote a mere 21,000+ words.  However, I feel like November was still a success.  My novel may not be (anywhere near) finished, but I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.  I’m still full of excitment and momentum and I will definitely keep going with this.  I have new, more realistic goals of seeing my novel completed and through a first edit by the time I return to Canada, mid-July.  (For anyone who is eagerly counting the days until my return, that would be 218 days.)

Day 1: A blank computer screen, citron and framboise macarons (a new love I acquired in Paris this summer), "Beethoven's Last Night" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra and a Batman clothespin ordering me not to procrastinate (sorry, Batman, I think I let you down!)

That's still a lot of words... any tips?

I’m very grateful for the extra push that NaNoWriMo gave me because I have never made it this far into a project before.  

Sitting through intensive writing sessions with others helped me to focus.  I'm not typically one who "works well with others" but this seemed to work for me.  I guess it is because everyone was side by side, but in their own little world.  It helps to be able to get encouragement from friends, especially inspirational friends like Shannon Young who have done this before and become REAL authors.

Disconnecting my WiFi helped me to focus even further.  The internet is a distracting place… there are too many cute cats out there.  Luckily, I was directed towards "Written? Kitten!", where my writing was rewarded with a cute cat for every 100 words I wrote.  Even though I didn’t meet my goal, I wrote more than I ever could have imagined and still saw a lot of cats. 

I found that I definitely work better away from home.  A Starbucks will be opening about 5 minutes walking distance from my house later this month.  My husband bought me a thin, lightweight Asus Ultrabook for my birthday in October.  My Ultrabook and I have plans to frequently haunt Starbucks in 2014.
A group of eager Hong Kong writers at a write-in (photo credit goes to someone else at the write-in, but I can't remember who... sorry!)
What is your inspiration?  

When I first decided to do NaNoWriMo, I wasn't sure what to write about at all.  I have a few projects that are (half-heartedly) on the go already so my initial thought was to finish one of those, but I wanted a fresh start.  I've had multiple requests for an autobiography, but that just didn't seem right for NaNo. 

I was getting ready to give up before I even started when this idea popped into my head out of nowhere.  Within about ten minutes of frantic typing, my mind had spun an entire story!  (Of course, the story developed much more after those ten minutes.)  

My novel is inspired by my summer trip to Scotland and Ireland.  (Posts on these countries coming soon to a blog near you!)  I arrived in Europe having only the vaguest notion of leprechauns, faeries, selkies and giants.  I returned to Hong Kong half-believing in magic and otherworldly creatures after being enchanted by folktales.  I swear, I caught fleeting glimpses of these mystical realms as I was hiking in hidden fields or sitting atop jagged bluffs.

Pictured below is the exact spot that is the main inspiration for my story. 

The Faerie Pools in Scotland, August 2013

What is your novel about?

Pretend this is the back cover of a book:

"He shall suffer such things as destiny wove with the strand of his birth that day he was born to his mother"- Homer, The Iliad
This is the tale of a real-world tragedy, on sacred faerie grounds, that has unprecedented consequences in both worlds.  To restore their home, the faeries pledge to take the first-born daughter of Natalie, the only human remaining on the accident scene when they arrive.  But when Natalie gives birth to twins nine months later, she begins to hatch a plan. Despite twisted minds and twists of fate, her family runs. But can they ever truly escape what is lurking right below the surface? This is a dark story of fate, free will, love, lies and an intermingling of worlds that will leave you questioning reality. 

I'm keeping the synopsis a bit vague for now because I'm not sure exactly how much I want to give away.  There are multiple layers, worlds and surprises in store!  I'm not sure what genre to place my novel in.  Despite all the faeries, it is definitely not fantasy.  I also don't have a title.  These are the little details I'll work out later.

And to finish things up, I'll leave you with this super creepy (and beautiful) faerie song I found on Youtube and listened to on repeat through much of the month.  There was a particularly scary moment when my computer restarted at 3am and restored all my tabs in Chrome... the Youtube page refreshed and the song started playing automatically.

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