NaNoWriMo: Day 6 (52,132) ONE BOOK DOWN

NaNoWriMo2016I did it. Yesterday I crossed into the hallowed halls of “I’ve written an entire book and the rest of you can suck it” land (only with more joy and less “suck it”). I hit 50k (FINALLY) and I finished the first of the six books I’m attempting in November.

Yes, yes. I hear the naysayers now: 50k isn’t really a book. Maybe a novella. Maybe a very short novella, for people who don’t like to read. Have you considered taking a writing class from JK Rowling, GRR Martin, or any other person who puts out really SOLID books?

First of all, suck it. (I’m sorry. My inner editor fled yesterday and I’ve reverted to a twelve-year-old boy, even though I was never a twelve-year-old boy in the first place.)

Second, this is a first draft. While I realize for many people it’s customary to write too many words and have to cut them out in the rewrite, I tend to under-write and then add things in (like, oh, descriptions) in the rewrite. Also, prophetic songs, which I was just not feeling right around 46 thousand words.

So I assure you, this will be a full-blown novel. In fact, based on what all I left out, it may hit 90k, which would make it one of the longer works in my repertoire.

No, I do not ever plan to challenge Robert Jordan’s ghost to a writing contest.

Also, I admit that I totally flubbed the ending. I mean, it ended where I planned it to end, but with all the excitement of stepping in a steaming pile of dog poo in bare feet. Maybe less than that.

So, today I move on to book two anyway, because I have my inner editor gagged and tied up in the closet and I’m not going back to fix anything in November.


After a very informal poll, I have decided to work on The Word Runner next. The title could change, but Christopher and DJ are a bit upset that I’m writing anything other than Figments books, so I’m trying to appease them long enough to get around to my Great Literary Novel.

You may laugh. It’s definitely a joke.

I just realized I don’t have a soundtrack (or single song) for this book. I’m also not in a coffee shop, which is where I wrote the last two Figments books. My triggers! How will I manage?

At least I have this word crawl to get things moving.

Now that I’ve adjusted to the time being entirely different from what it should be because some politician decided to prove that politicians mess with things that shouldn’t be messed with, I’m off to write. I hope.

Wish me luck!

How is your writing (or reading) progressing?

Teaser Thursday: Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour

Thursdays will now be teaser day in this blogging experiment.

“The Eleventh Hour” is a short piece I did for a competition. It didn’t win, but that’s okay. I have another short story now to add to the Figments universe. This snippet is copyright 2016 Zanzibar 7. Schwarznegger.

The ale was cold and had a faint lemony undertone to it. “I was looking for a ninja. Or a dragon.”

“Odd combination.” The bartender leaned over the bar and Christopher got a whiff of something spicy.

“Prophecy. Not my choice.” The ale seemed to have disappeared from his mug.

“Oh, look, you found the dragon. How goes, Stacie?” Ian sat down next to Christopher, who turned a bit green.


The bartender held out her hand. “Didn’t Ian tell you it’s cosplay night? I couldn’t come dressed as a dragon, could I?” Her hand was incredibly warm when Christopher shook it in a daze.

“But… you’re nice. I don’t want to kill you.” Christopher looked from Stacie to Ian and back.

“Oh, that’s good. I’d rather not kill you either. It gives me indigestion.”

Christopher slumped on his stool. “I’m supposed to kill you. The prophecy said so.”

“This prophecy, what exactly did it say?” Stacie was a little too close for Christopher’s comfort.

He hadn’t improved at memorization since he finished his novel. “Kill a dragon, do the quest, save the world?”

Stacie gave him a look. “Don’t tempt me to endure indigestion, human.”

Hope you enjoyed this brief teaser!

A to Z Blogging Challenge: F

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Figments

A to Z Blogging Challenge: F

Although I have other series, either published or in the works, the Figments will always be my first and, to a degree, my favorite. I am, after all, a Figment myself.

Figments are those Characters that get created but never fully finished. Every Writer has at least one. This Figment wasn’t likeable enough. That Figment didn’t fit the storyline. That other Figment insisted on taking the story in a direction the Writer didn’t want it to go.

Sometimes Figments are in stories that were completed but didn’t come to light. That WIP that sits in a desk drawer (or in a file folder on the computer) and never gets revised is full of Figments. The story you sent out to publishers that got rejected until you stopped trying? Figments.

My Figments are a little different. They’re still trapped in the Figments world because I wrote them there, but they are published. So they get to be real without being Characters (okay, Eric and Shiv are still Characters).

If you’ve never read my worlds, you might not understand this, and that’s okay. You still understand the concept of Figments because you have one.

Here’s my challenge to you: set your Figments free! Find a story for each and every one of them. Give them a home. Don’t let them moulder away in some lost file. It’s like setting your ghosts free when you’re in a sappy movie. If you hang onto them, you’re not only hurting yourself, but you’re hurting them.

So set them free! Which Figments in your life are you setting free?

A: Alice in Wonderland

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Alice in Wonderland

A: Alice in Wonderland

You may have noticed I have a fascination with Alice in Wonderland. There’s something about Lewis Carroll’s crazy world that appeals to me. It may be the rabbits. It may be the Mad Hatter. (It’s probably not Alice.) Whatever it is, I love it.

Alice in WonderlandMy first book, Veneri Verbum, made use of the same craziness as the original Alice in Wonderland. My next Figments book, however, takes this a step further. I took Alice Through the Looking Glass and used it as a rough guideline for what would happen in my story.  Not exactly, but just enough to get the wheels turning.

Of course, my characters never do what they are supposed to. There’s something about Figments that makes them think they get to have opinions. Still, the guidelines was there.

So what is the appeal?

Lewis Carroll creates a zany cast of characters. In fact, the supposed main character, Alice, is really the most boring of the lot. I’m not saying Christopher is boring, but… well, it’s a good thing for him there are more interesting characters to help carry the story. My goal was to have the same draw with my non-main characters.

Carroll also breaks structure rules, which has a certain appeal to me. I’m not very good with rules. His books are far more free-form than structured. I tried to keep the same freedom when I was writing.

The last thing Carroll’s books have that mine seek to emulate is a sense that anything is possible and actually pretty reasonable to expect. After all, a hookah-smoking caterpillar and a cat who leaves its grin behind are no less impossible than a man who pops back into being after each death or a judge with a hot dog for a head. However, as the Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass said, “I used to believe six impossible things before breakfast.” My goal is to make it eight. Overachiever, I am.

So if you notice a tendency toward ‘shroom-induced changes of perspective in my works, that’s the reason. I haven’t had a mushroom pizza on a portabella mushroom crust: I’m just paying homage to one of my writing heroes.

And maybe I had a mushroom or two.


Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: Fleshing Out the Characters

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She lay there, a formless mass of bones, muscles, and blood, not yet a real Character. It was his job, as a Writer, to flesh her out. Adding some flesh to cover up the gore would be a good start.

It can be tricky business making the Figments from your imagination into real, flesh-and-blood Characters. There are a lot of ways to go about it, too. I recommend picking one to keep your Characters straight unless you want  to end up with  Tweedledee-Tweedledum confusion.

Pantsing It– Completely

If you think your memory is good enough, just put your Character out there and wing it. No notes. No planning. Don’t blame me if she turns out like Chris in Veneri Verbum and never quite solidifies into a solid Character. Also don’t blame me if she’s homicidal. It’s a lot of stress when you don’t have an Id.

Pantsing It– With Style

If you want to pants it, I recommend making notes. Use notecards, Scrivener, sticky notes, or tattoos, but make notes of every important feature about your Characters.  If he has brown hair in chapter one and red hair in chapter three, a Reader will eventually notice.  Don’t forget to add character traits.

Plotting It

You’ll have to pick your own method. Some people spend more time creating their Characters than I spend writing books. Others, including yours truly, borrow from the gaming world and create a Character sheet with the basics. I’ve even rolled a Character before.

However you decide to do it, be willing to alter your pre-planning, because something you planned won’t work out for that particular Character. As Christopher discovered:

“Didn’t I describe you as slender, too?” He was pretty sure she wasn’t a size two. Maybe a size ten.

“You described me as curvy and sexy,” she grumbled… “There’s nothing wrong with a size ten or any other size.”

… “Did I make you a feminist? I don’t think I’d be very comfortable writing a feminist.”

Your Character will inevitably develop some traits you didn’t plan. Run with it. This is what makes them real.

You only have homework this time if you want to plot your characters. If you do, you have a lot of homework. Get to it.

Eleventh Hour- Part Seven

It’s the penultimate part to the short story I’m doing on Wattpad. I think the site keeps leaving off zeroes, so I’m up to nearly 300 reads (or less than 30, if you want to believe that could possibly be accurate). I’ll have to think of something new when this passes… or maybe post a chapter or two of Veneri Verbum to whet a few appetites.

My Social Reality Manager, Chelo, will be taking over the posting after the short is finished. I hope you’ll all be as wonderful to her as you’ve been to me.  Okay, wonderfuller. She could quit on me.

Eleventh Hour- Part Five

There is obviously a glitch with the Wattpad system, as it only shows sixteen views and I know all my devoted fans are hanging on my every word with my new short story, “Eleventh Hour”. Keep reading! I’m sure Wattpad will fix the issue soon and I’ll be able to thank each and every one of you at an award’s show somewhere.