Tuesday, 27 October 2009


There is a whole lot of effort involved in creating my 'not-a-teaser' posts, effort I just don't feel like putting in right now due to studying needing done and a sore head. So instead we have a new dohicky. If you look to the side (and scroll down a bit) you see a playlist!

When working on THaN I have a tracklist on YouTube of about 25 songs which mean something to the story. Today I transferred 11 into a playlist (it would have been 10 but I gave you one extra) so you can hear them, some of them are there because they are relevant to the whole plot some of them only mean something at certain important points, some of them are just there because I like them. I'll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

More, almost proper, not-a-teasers should be happening next month.

Monday, 26 October 2009


I haven't posted in a while as I've had the flu (not swine flu thankfully) and what with catching up on course work and getting better my mind hasn't really been on blogging. I shall post something tomorrow (another not-a-teaser probably). And hopefully resume normal service after that.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

How to plan a NaNo novel

Well, more 'How I planned my NaNo'.

Step 1 : The idea
I admit, I cheated, the idea was Race's and she said I could have it. However you do it, this step needs done, can't write without an idea. That idea could be a plot, a character, a scene or anything else that sparks a story.

Step 2 : The method
Now you have an idea you need to decide how you want to write it, will you use BIC (butt in chair), will you use a well structured plan or will you plan vague points and hope the story carries between them? You could even plan the first few scenes and hope it grows legs and walks on it's own from there. I'm going for a fairly structured plan.

Step 3 : The Maths
This was where I sat and worked some things out. For NaNo you are aiming to produce 50,000 words. I worked out that this amounts to roughly 2000 words a day for 25 days. November has more than 25 days but I think aiming for 2000 gives a bit of slack for days off and days where you write very little. It also allows for extra days to check word count and to go over the limit.

Step 4 : The Plan
This is how my plan works, yours will probably look completely different.
Okay, so Eden will be written as a diary so lets do some more maths; 50,000 divided by 500 is 100, that gives me 100 diary entries, perfect that nicely covers just over 3 months if the MC writes 1 a day. Now I know I have 100 sets of 500 words to plan, and 4 a day to write, seems a bit more manageable.
With this knowledge I took some scrap paper and cut it into roughly 100 bits big enough to write a diary entry title and a short description on. On a seperate sheet of paper I wrote the main plot points I want to cover then it was just a case of splitting up those plot points, adding a few in and dividing the whole lot into 100. A bit of fun was had trying to order all the bits of paper then the whole thing was copied into the notebook I'm using for NaNo. Plan done!

Step 5 : Optional extras
I have also created character sheets for each of my main characters and a few sheets of notes of settings. You don't have to do this kind of planning but you may find it useful later on. You might want to tile your piece now or wait till your finished, you might want chapter headings now you might now, it's totally up to you.

Step 6 : Have fun writing
Writing gets done in November and November only! But the main point, at least I think the main point, is not to church out 50,000 and hate every minute of it. The main point is to have fun.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

An actual 'not a teaser' teaser!

Part 3 of our 'not a teaser run', this time we're looking at past influences, this one was rather difficult to write. To be honest it would have taken just as long had I been writing about myself never mind M6.

1. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?
I would have to say that being dragged away from my parents and sold into slavery has been traumatic but probably important

2. Who has had the most influence on you?
My Mam, she taught me everything.

3. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
5 years ago I would have said my greatest achievement was being top of my class. Now I think it is surviving my Raven training.

4. What is your greatest regret?
That I did not do as my Father told me. That I strayed away from him and Mam to play by myself and was then caught by the man who sold me as a slave.

5. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?
I once told my friend Jekka that to be part of our group you had to swim the Able river. He nearly drowned and we still didn't let him play with us until the next summer.

6. Do you have a criminal record of any kind?
No, I do not.

7. When was the last time you were the most frightened?
I spoke out of turn to an Officer ans was sent to Officer Kendrick's room for punishment, I did not expect to be able to walk out of there and was lucky to only have my arm broken.

8. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?
I would not have wandered off on my own that day we were in Port Ambrose. Then I would not be a slave.

9. What is your best memory?
Learning my letters with Mam, I got to sit on Fathers lap. Father did not often spend time with me so it was a nice treat.

10. What is your worst memory?
Being bound in rotten rope and dragged through the gates to the slave market, knowing I would be sold, knowing I would likely never see my parents and friends again.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Writing Madness of November

A.k.a 'Why I wont be around much' or 'I've gone insane'

Months ago I signed up for 2 short writing courses, both 12 weeks long and Internet based and happening at the exact same time. One of these is an essay writing course, the other is a fiction writing course, both look to be lots of fun but lots of hard work (the essays for these are almost twice as long as the essays for the previous course).

Then I did another silly thing, I signed up for NaNoWriMo. My Name is Fiona and I'm a glutton for punishment.

I worked it out, and if I write about 2500 for NaNo each day, plus study notes, plus study conference posts, plus study activities, plus emails, plus forum posts to places, plus facebook statuses, plus blog posts... we're looking at a daily output on the far side of 5,000. Now I know that doesn't seem much, but every day, for 30 days, when I currently struggle to churn out 500 useful words a day?

So if you don't see me around, or I fail to respond to your teaser or even post one myself. Fear not, it is simply that I have gone insane under the stress. This includes the run up to November as I have a lot of prep to do for the courses and NaNo so that things go as smoothly as possible.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Not a Teaser Tuesday

Continuing our quest to learn more about THaN's MC, I present Part 2: Growing up.

1. How would you describe your childhood in general?
I feel I had a normal childhood, I had plenty of friends and loving parents.

2. What is your earliest memory?

Sitting on Father's lap while Mam taught me my letters on the big coloring board, I was 3 summers old.

3. Did you enjoy school?

Mam taught me well, I really enjoyed my schooling.

4. How much schooling have you had?

As Mam is a teacher I have been attending school since I was born. I have, however received my official 10 years of schooling.

5. Where did you learn most of your skills and abilities?

In school with Mam and at the Nest, training as a slave.

6. While growing up, did you have any roles models? If so, describe them.

Mam and Father were brilliant role models, they taught me how to respect people and myself.

7. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your

I got on well with Mam and Father, we were very close and had a lot of fun together, unless Father was working.

8. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a teacher, like mam.

9. As a child what were your favourite activities?

Playing with my friends and learning new skills. We once went camping with just a blanket and a knife each, Father came to fetch us before moonrise though as it was midwinter and we would have frozen to death.

10. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?

As a child I was very inquisitive, I wanted to learn how things worked and why. I was very confident and often spoke when I should have kept my mouth shut. I got into trouble a fair bit.

11. As a child, were you popular? Who were your friends and what were they like?

I had a close group of 7 friends, 3 boys and 4 girls. We had a lot of adventures, we did our studies and then would play games in the local woodland until moonrise.

12. When and with whom was your first kiss?

I have never been kissed.

13. Are you a virgin? If not, when and with whom did you lose your virginity?

I am still a virgin.

14. If you are a supernatural being, tell the story of how you became what you are
or first learned of your abilities. If you are just a normal human, describe any influences in your past that led you to do the things you do today.
Mam and Father taught me to respect others, especially if they had more power than me. Thus I do my best to do what I am told. My capture and sale when I was 12 left me very frightened and scared of strangers. M4 has helped me regain most of my confidence but the hardships of my training have left me more cautious and less adventurous and outspoken than I was as a child.

Monthly challenge responce - October

Okay, so I'm a day late with this and due to having been away for a long weekend I have nothing prepared, so I've edited a post I made for an earlier challenge.

I can barely make out the old oak through the rain, it golden leaves dripping with water that sparkled in the sun. An hour ago the air was heavy with hail and in a few minutes the sun may be shining, it's been that way all day since I started looking out at the old oak. It grows beside the tall boundary fence that stops the dogs getting into the vegetable garden, I remember the summer we built that fence, with the sun against out backs and freshly made lemonade in tall glasses when we took our breaks beneath that oak tree. It was a happier time. The room behind me is dark, so much time has passed since I first sat to look out the window. I have watched the wind pull leaves from the tree, I have watched the ground become a carpet of reds and golds. I have watched the sun start to sink; today a little earlier than yesterday. Now it's time I moved again. The rain is letting up and it will not seem so strange that I would go out in the brief sun break. I doubt they will even notice the rope in my hand.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Teaser Tuesday... almost

I've decided that I want to spend some more time writing before I pick out more teasers, that way I wont end up putting the whole thing up here. Thus I have decided that, with the help of this* over the next 7 weeks I'll be posting M6's answers to these questions. And after that I may go back to posting teasers, I may just keep introducing you to other aspects of her character. I'm not sure, we'll just have to wait and see.

So, for today we have Part 1: The basics. (It is worth noting that it is M6 at the start of her journey that answers these. At the end the answers would be different)

1. What is your full name?
I was born Ashia Lore but am now referred to as 'Dirt' or M6.

2.Where and when were you born?
I was born in my parents bedroom, as is custom, right on the blue moon of summer 17 years ago.

3. Who are/were your parents? (Know their names, occupations, personalities, etc.)
Mam is Suffi Lore, she is a teacher but she is not strict. She used to give me lots of cuddles. Father is a business man, I can not remember what he did really, he did yell a bit though, especially when we were visiting places and I would go off on my own.

4. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like?
I was an only child, there may be more now though.

5. Where do you live now, and with whom? Describe the place and the person/people.
I live with the Ravens as a slave. I live in The Nest with the other slaves. I share sleeping quarters with the other 25 medical slaves. We were 14 girls and 11 boys... there are less of us now. The Nest is exactly like the stories, a big stone building almost impossible to get in or out of without being caught. It's like a bigger version of the rich houses in Port Ambrose.

6. What is your occupation?
I am a trained medical slave.

7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.
Like most slaves, I am thin built. I wear standard slave uniform; a black, knee-length shirt with an open back held together by the standard 3 criss-cross straps. Under this I wear black many-pockets. We are not allowed to wear shoes but I do have a pair of soles for when the snows come. On the back of my right shoulder I have been branded with the Raven symbol so all may known who trained me. My black hair was shaved off when I was first captured but has since grown back into a rough, wild looking style similar to all slaves. I am grateful to have the storm grey eyes of my father, I only hope they give me the strength he has.

8. To which social class do you belong?
I am a slave.

9. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?
No allergies I am aware of, or diseases but like all slaves I am not as healthy as a free soul due to lack of proper nourishment.

10. Are you right- or left-handed?
Right handed, I was not born blessed.

11. What does your voice sound like?
My voice has to be strong, even after being punished. Or I would face further punishment.

12. What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?
'Yes sir.' or 'Yes Officer'

13. What do you have in your pockets?
My uniform does not have pockets.

14. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?

Like all slaves, I have been trained not to use contractions in my speech. I have been known to think out loud, it is a habit I wish I did not have.

*Thanks to Race for the link

Monthly Challenge - October

To those of you who have not seen one of these before (possibly because I didn't do one last month) what happens is simple. On the first Monday of the month, I post a short writing challenge and for all subsequent Monday's that month I post my responses to it. You are welcome to join in, Race occasionally does and posts her response on her blog. You may decide to post yours as a reply or not post it at all. It is entirely your choice. So, without further rambling let us look at this month's challenge.

I don't know about where you live, but here in Scotland, it is officially Autumn. There are leaves falling and everything. Autumn always makes me reflective, more so than winter does (probably because there is usually so much going on in winter) and so I decided that this month's challenge will also be reflective. Your challenge is to write a short piece (as short as a paragraph, as long as a page) about an autumnal memory. It can be anything you like as long as it is a memory which links to autumn.

Have fun!