NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Progression

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How far are you with your preparations? I’ve made some progression today! Follow me on my journey of preparations towards November!

With a little over 31 days to go, I’ve worked on my preparations for November today. And I have made progression!

The goal?

I’ve made quite a list of preparations, as I posted yesterday. Today I worked on the first goal:

Complete the outline of the 1st draft of book I

Even though this story has been in the making for over a year, I still didn’t have a finished outline. So, working on this is quite essential.

My progression

It’s not easy to finish an outline for the first draft, while I already have lots of ideas for the second draft of this same book. Because of those ideas, I decided to pretend to continue with the story as if several things already had happened. Things I still have to write. Scenes that will be in the second draft and not in my first.

That decision made it easier to continue with my outline for the first draft. As a result I’ve added six scenes at the beginning of the book to the outline of my second draft (yep…. you read that right!) and added some information for more details (like: tell something about the life in the city, tell something about the surroundings, etc). I’ve noticed those were things I had almost left out. Which of course doesn’t work.

Additionally I’ve adjusted several phases I hadn’t written yet and added about five scenes to the outline of my first draft. With these adjustments I’ve written in some things that actually haven’t been touched in the first draft yet, but will be present in the second draft, so that’s okay.

That’s it for today

Even though neither outline is finished yet, I’ve made a nice progress, so I’m happy with the result. Especially since today was a day of Grocery shopping (yeah, those things have to be done….), friends who visited and a sleep in because I was still tired of the weekend in Scotland. I really need to catch up before November starts!

How about tomorrow?

Tomorrow I’m going to continue on this path. I really want to get more into the outline. And I hope to do some more world building. I’ve drawn a very rough map for my story and I hope to be able to work on that a bit more with Inkarnate.

One thing I’m definitely going to do is test Aeon Timeline, if only because my trial period is coming to an end in a few days. I want to have it tested before that.

How are you doing with your preparations for NaNoWriMo? Have you made any progress? What are you most looking forward to in your story?

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NaNoWriMo Prep 2017: Are you ready?

NaNoWriMo Prep 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 starts November 1st. Are you ready? Or can you use some more ideas? Join me in my journey of NaNoWriMo Prep to get ready for THE writing event of the year!

The international event National Novel Writing Month 2017 is around the corner:

It seems like a long time (32 days at the moment of writing), but it’s here before you know it. This year I’ve decided to take the route of the PLANNER instead of the PANTSER/PLANTSER with a bit of pantsing built into it.  Which pretty much means I’ve got a lot to do still.

What is NaNoWriMo?

But let’s start with what NaNoWriMo actually is.  Basically the National Novel Writing Month is an international writing event where you write, in your own favorite writing place, 50.000 words of your novel. It starts November 1st, 12:00AM and ends November 30th, 11:59PM in your own timezone.

So, a NATIONAL event is INTERNATIONAL? How does that work?

Well, in the beginning….. there was a group of friends in the USA who wanted to challenge themselves to write a certain amount of words in 30 days. It didn’t take long before more people joined them.
And soon after it was a truly National event, it became an international event, because writers from all over the world joined in this event. They kept the name, but it truly is an international event.

Why Prep?

To NaNoWriMo Prep or not, that’s the question. For me, I’ve found I need some preparation to make sure I’ll be able to complete my NaNoWriMo goal. Even though the story I will be working on, if all goes well, will be a sequel to the story I’ve been working on this past year, I still have a lot to do.  There are things I need to have in my possession to write, not limited to my computer, cause that’s what I’ll be using to write. And there are things I need to keep me going through November, be it food, inspiration or otherwise.

My NaNoWriMo Prep

A few things are important:

  • Writing Stuff
  • Food & Drink (you gotta eat and keep yourself hydrated during this event!)
  • NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

I’m going to keep a checklist here to see how far I’ll get in my preparations.

To do Finished?
Outline 1st draft book I complete  
1st draft book I complete  
Outline 2nd draft book I complete  
Outline for Book II complete  
Outline for Book III complete (preferably)  
Outline for Book IV complete (preferably)  
Outline for Book V complete (preferably)  
Get into daily writing habit  
Finish 30 Day world builder process  
Define names of all main characters  
Finish character interview Ayla  
Finish character interview Dany  
Finish character interview Séamus  
Finish character interview Mícheál  
Finish character interview Ruark  
Finish character interview Ciara  
Finish character interview Aunt 1  
Finish character interview LotV  
Create an Excel histogram with:

  • NaNo Daily Word Count goal
  • Reverse NaNo Word count goal
  • Achieved word count
Make a Meal plan for November  
Pre-cook several things for November for in the Freezer  
Test Aeon Timeline  
Create NaNo Survival kit  
Create world map  
Make/buy a box for the NaNo Survival Kit  
Create Care package (after October 15th) (In the Dutch forum we’re doing care packages this year)  
Update Scrivener (last week of October) (If you use Scrivener, be sure to update it before NaNo starts!!!)  
Optional  (loads of this is already in the back of my head. I just need to put it on my digital paper 🙂 )
Finish history of the Dragon Riders  
Finish history of the Protectors of the Realm  
Finish history of the first True Seers  
Finish the Parabataì history  
Finish the Soulmates basics & history  
Finish Seer Council Description  
Finish Dragon Riders Council description  
Create timeline based on outline (adjustable during writing)  

Make a start with the story’s languages:

  • Seers: Based on Scottish Gaelic (maybe mixed with some Latin)
  • Dragon Riders: Based on Irish Gaelic (maybe mixed with some Latin)
  • Common Tongue: English
  • Specifically for: Rituals, Names, etc.

Conclusion & Accountability

Yeah, I know. I said I would report my daily word count and I didn’t. That was not good. Luckily I have been writing, but it was mostly world building and some small scenes for later books.

Now that it’s almost October, I’ve decided to allocate several hours a day for my NaNoWriMo Prep. And as you can see in the list above this also means writing.

I’ve got a lot left to do, but I’m confident I can do it. Now that the MyPeakChallenge gathering in Scotland is over and I don’t need to do any preparations for that anymore, I can devote my time to my writing. Now all I need to do is do all the preparations BEFORE I watch any of my favorite television series.

Leading up to November 1st, I will record my progress on my preparations here. Let’s see how far I can get before the writing frenzy starts! Are you with me?

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, how do you prepare? Are you a planner or a pantser or perhaps something in between? What are you favorite writing tools? What are the things you absolutely can NOT do without during NaNoWriMo? Leave a comment below!

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Daily Word Count August 1, 2017

Daily Word Count

Yesterday I promised you that I would keep track of my daily word count. So, without further ado, here’s my accountability for today.

I have a (relatively) normal daytime job. I start at 6AM and work until noon. But that’s not writing, if that’s what you were thinking. No, at the moment I work as an interior cleaner. Not the greatest job, but it comes with one major benefit, at least for a writer. I have plenty of time to think about my story.

Story development

I have written a phased outline which contains keywords and key phrases per scene or chapter. I’m not one to write a detailed outline. I like to give myself the freedom to deviate from the given plan, freedom to write as I go based on, let’s say, guidelines.

Like I said above, my job gives me plenty of time to think about my story. Today I have mulled over two scenes that initially seemed quite easy to write. Easy for my Daily word count, right? Wrong! As creativity dictates, nothing goes as planned. So… while the original was quite simple, the execution proved to be more difficult. The scene in my head had more body when I got home and started to write, but also a lot more to take into account for further scenes and to check in earlier scenes.

Luckily I didn’t spend my writing time on developing the scene more. That is what I do during my work. Make no mistake, it’s not that I write the actual text in my head. I just have a better idea of how I want my scene to flow, which characters need to be there and what information needs to come out.

Daily Word Count

After lunch I could finally start writing. After all the thinking I had done, I had expected it would be quite easy to actually write the scenes. It wasn’t though. I had expected to have at least one scene completed by tonight. I didn’t though. There is still a lot more to be written, I’ve only covered part of the scene. I’ll get there.

But I did sit down and wrote. Even though I didn’t make the word count I decided to have as a goal yesterday (2,000 words), I did manage to write:

So, I’m very proud of myself. It seems setting the deadline on August 31st is the thing I needed to keep writing now that Camp is over.

Your writing?

Have you been writing? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!


Deadline: August 31st

Deadline coming into reach

After a month of CampNaNoWriMo in which I wrote way too little to finish The Infinity Saga, I decided I needed to think about deadlines. Originally my deadline for the first draft was “This year.” Well, that’s pretty broad, isn’t it?

Enter “The Deadline”

Deadline HourglassAt the beginning of this year, as part of MyPeakChallenge, I decided I wanted to finish my first draft “This year”. Well, “this year” turns out to be broad. Too broad to be specific.

Now that CampNaNoWriMo is over, I looked at the progress I made. I had started Camp with the idea that I would work on World Building and perhaps write a few additional chapters.

It turns out I wrote 10,000 words. It was mainly the story and additionally some world building and some additions to my outline.
This, of course, is progress, but not as much as I hoped for.

Camp is a rather free thing, unlike NaNoWriMo where the goal has been set for you. In Camp you set your own goal. And I think I made mine too easy. I gave myself too much freedom. Instead of a lot of writing, I’ve been distracted. Granted, it gave me some new ideas, but it didn’t progress my story just yet. That is why I decided, today, that I need a firm deadline. At least something that feels like a firm deadline to me.

The new deadline


My new deadline is August 31st. It’s my birthday. And what better way to celebrate my birthday than to have the first draft of my story finished? It would be amazing to have it finished! I’ll just need to remind myself that the first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. Your first draft is messy, incomplete, might not be completely functional, but it is there.

I already have ideas on how to improve everything I’ve written so far (besides the obvious: I need loads of fantasy names!), but I’m sticking to finishing my first draft first.

Daily Word count Goal

Word Count Goals
Source: Literature & Latte

And with that deadline comes a daily word count goal. The average fantasy story has about 100,000 – 125,000 words (give or take a few thousand). To make sure I’ll make that and have something extra to work with, I’ve set my daily word count goal to 2,000 words (give or take a few hundred).


To help me achieve my goal, I’ve decided to keep a writing record here on a daily basis from now on. I hope it will work for me.

So, today I wrote 1,990 words. Finished one particular tough scene, added another and I might have to include yet another scene before this chapter is finished. But that’s okay. I’m getting there!


Research & World building

In the past I’ve started just writing a story with or without a (rough) outline. I had some ideas of a world in my mind, but that was as far as it went. I wrote the stories, but I always felt they were missing something. It turned out they were actually missing a lot: World Building & Research

Why do I do World Building?

First of all, The Infinity Saga is a High Fantasy novel series. According to Wikipedia, High Fantasy is

defined as fantasy set in an alternative, fictional (“secondary”) world, rather than “the real”, or “primary” world.

And that is exactly what the world in The Infinity Saga is: a completely fictional world that has no relation with Earth. This means that although some things may seem similar to earth, they are not as they are on earth. In this case my novel is set in a pseudo-medieval world with hints of Roman, Persian  and Asian influences. To be able to write a believable novel I need to know what that world looks like, feels like, smells like. Only then can I show it to you.

In a movie or a TV series you are shown the environment, just like in video games. In a book however, there are no pictures to show you what everything looks like, besides the occasional map. As an author I have to be creative in using ONLY words to show what the world looks like.  I can tell you a building is made up of stone, but what kind of stone is it?


I can tell you a woman is wearing a dress, but what kind of dress is she wearing?

World Building - Dress 1

In addition to the above there are dozens if not thousands of little and big things to know about. It may not all be described in detail in my books, but to set the right mood and environment, world building is needed.

Why do I do Research?

From the moment I had the idea for this story I always felt the Dragon Riders would be more then Riders in a group. They would have a much stronger bond, stronger than a band of brothers even. But I also knew it wouldn’t be something like a Soulmate bond. But what was it? I couldn’t put my finger on it yet.

That was until I read Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series. There was one thing that intrigued me a lot: the Parabataì phenomenon. The only real historic thing that was mentioned, was that it was supposed to be a Greek thing. But what exactly was it? What made it so special?

The short description I did have was enough to convince me I might be onto something for my Dragon Riders.

And that’s why I started my research on Parabataì. I will tell you one thing already: there is precious little known about Parabataì. In a future article I will go into more depth about this bond, but for now I’ll leave you with a translated image from Plutarch.

Plutarch’s Lives

How to Research and Build a World?

I’m using a combination of different sources for World Building:

Even though I already have a rough outline and an idea of my characters, this process helps to define these better and to understand my world better. Only then will I be able to explain it to you.

As for research, Google is my friend. I’ve found lots of inspiration, resources and photos & drawings through Google. The image above this article is a nice example of this research. I was looking for an entrance to Dragon City that could give access to an underground city and remain hidden at the same time. But it also had to have the possibility to get there. Now, for Dragons it’s easy. But for those who are not on a dragon…… Well, you’ll need to read The Infinity Saga to see how you get access to the city.

What do you do?

Are you a Fantasy Writer? If so, how do you go about your world in your story? Do you make it up as you go? Or are you a full out world builder and research? Or perhaps something in between?

Or are you a Fantasy Reader? What do you like most about the worlds in your favorite fantasy books? Many details, or less? Thorough descriptions? Maps? Or do you perhaps prefer the “real world” with a hint of Fantasy?

Let me know in the comments!

Camp NaNoWriMo July

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you can join a virtual cabin with 19 other writers and enjoy a month of writing frenzy, inspiration and much more.

What is camp all about?

The main thing, of course, is writing. You’ll set up a goal you want to reach this month and try to achieve it. And you meet up with several writers in an online cabin.

Your goal

Your goal can be set in hours or in words, unlike in November, where the only goal is in words. You can chose a lesser amount than the normal 50.000 words NaNoWriMo November has. And of course, if you really wanna go for it, you can choose an even greater goal.

What will you write?

During camp, you’re gree to write anything you want. While the goal for NaNoWriMo November is to write a novel, during camp you can edit your drafts, work on world building, plot your next novel, do research or basically anything else you’d like to write during Camp.


What are these cabins about? I’ve heard that question often. Basically it’s a virtual cabin where you group with 19 other writers. At Camp NaNo you enter your project details and you state if you’d like to be added to a cabin randomly or you can set up your own cabin. If you don’t want to start your own cabin and do not want to be entered to just some cabin, you can also look on the forums for a cabin to join.

Camp activities?

Are there any camp activities? Well, that all depends on the group. In the groups I’ve been in, we have regular chats in the weekends and we’re quite active during the week as well. Once camp’s over, we even have our own (closed) Facebook group where can keep in touch.

INSPIRATION: Flower Hat Jelly

in which I think about what role the Flower Hat Jelly could have in The Infinity Saga. A healer might be needed!


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Flower Hat Jellyfish
Flower Hat Jellyfish

When looking at real earth creatures for inspiration in a story, I always like to look at a bit more than only the photo of the creature. In this case I now know:

  • these creatures can grow to be around 15 cm (6 in) in diameter,
  • they have lustrous tentacles that, when not in use, adhere to the rim of the jellyfish,
  • they eat mainly fish.


This might just be something that a Healer can encounter, or rather the cause of something a Healer might encounter. Knowing these creatures eat mainly fish, the Fishermen may just happen to run into such a creature and need the help of a Healer.


Dragon Riders have no love for jelly fish. They’ve had to clean the wounds some larger jelly fish had caused with their tentacles on their dragon companions far too often.


Like dragon riders, mages have no love for jellyfish. Their scholars do study these creatures because of the rashes (and other wounds) these creatures might cause, but it’s no one’s favorite research subject.


Instagram embedded: Frans Lanting for National Geographic.
Featured: Fred Hsu for Wikipedia
Other: Unknown Photographer.

#amwritingfantasy #turtlewriters #writersofinstagram #amreadingfantasy #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #igauthors #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #writersofig #inspiration #writinginspiration

What do your characters use as eating utensils? Why those items? Share it in the comments below!

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INSPIRATION: Healing Springs I

in which I look at inspiration from photos for an element of the world of The Infinity Saga.

Writing a book isn’t easy. Writing a fantasy book is even harder. You often have to create the entire world which is what I’ve done for The Infinity Saga. I regularly use photos of earth places as inspiration for my world. This time it’s for Healing Springs


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Healing Springs

The Healing Springs play an important role in The Infinity Saga. There are healing springs in several realms. Some of them are hidden or hard to reach, others are more easily to reach. What they have in common is that each spring requires a sacrifice of some kind. Beware those who refuse to give some kind of sacrifice before using the spring!

Healers usually know how the springs should be used and will inform their patients about this before these patients go to such a spring. But, as on our earth, not everyone listens to their healer and ignores the advice about the sacrifices. It’s never wise to ignore the advice of a Healer!

Credit photo above:
Location: unknown
Photographer: unknown

More Inspiration

I don’t focus on one photo. Instead I use more. Another good inspiration is this one.

Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools on Skye Island in Scotland
Photographer unknown

With blue being the color of healing magic in my world, this pool has the excellent look for it. It’s something you’ll certainly find in my books!

How do you imagine the places in your world? Do you use photos or do you use a different tactic? Share your ideas in the comments!

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INSPIRATION: An osprey in the tree

Osprey or Fish Hawk

in which I look at what this osprey could do in my story The Infinity Saga.


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An osprey landing in a tree that stands freely in the water. What could this mean? I’m not looking at the facts as we find them here on earth, which is an osprey bringing in fresh supplies to its home on a dwarf cypress tree. No, what I mean is what can it mean in my story?


The osprey is also called the fish hawk. In this case that is what I’ll stick to. This inspired me to create a people who’s main diet consists of fish. The best fishers are those who have adult Fish hawks as these seem to be able to get the best fish. Only the very experienced men who fish on a boat with a fishing pole and who dare to go out on deeper waters are able to catch similar quality of fish. Others will remain in shallower water and thus will catch smaller fish.

Since The Infinity Saga is a story with a pseudo-medieval setting there are no large fishing trawlers like you may you now see on the Deadliest Catch. Nope, it’s all done by hand.

The rest….. That is something I’ll have to think about a bit more.


Kabini Osprey
Kabini Osprey

Some mages are beast masters and thus can control all kinds of creatures to a certain extend. These mages are able to make a connection with the hawks either for things like sending the hawk to do some fishing, or to be able to look through the hawk’s eyes and see what they’re spotting.

Other mages respect the hawks and, not taking any chances, will also protect the hawk (and when necessary hide from them) as it might be connected to a beast master.


Dragon riders do not have a special relation with fish hawks. The smaller and younger dragons may follow fish hawks every once in a while to hunt for fish, bu that’s about it.


Instagram embedded photo: Keith Ladzinski for National Geographic
Featured photo: Photographer unknown, source: DK Find Out
Smaller image: Yathin S Krishnappa (Wikimedia Commons)

#amwritingfantasy #turtlewriters #writersofinstagram #amreadingfantasy #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #igauthors #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #writersofig #inspiration #writinginspiration

What do your characters think of Ospreys? Why do they feel like that or do that? Share it in the comments below!

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