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Camp NaNo Week 3 – Finding My Voice

June 17, 2012

(Wow, three posts in one day. Wasn’t entirely intentional, I kept forgetting I wanted to schedule posts instead of publishing right away. Ah well. Writing-related posts are always posted on Sundays, so you’ll get this third one as well.)

Wordcount-wise, this Camp thing is still a disaster. I don’t even know how many words I have, I’m too lazy to count the handwritten stuff. But it’s not much, I never write at home, only on the train and during lunch break. Not a single word on “Goblins”, and I don’t feel as if there’s been a lot of plot progress on “Larin and Liria” either.

But at least I’m finding my voice again. When I started rewriting this story, I kept writing in this embarrassing pseudo-archaic language. I’d written the previous version of “The Legend Larin and Liria” in that sort of language, because it was a legend, and I was sixteen and stupid. When I read it again this year, it was painfully embarrassing – I seriously wrote that way and let other people read it?! (I lent it to two classmates and a teacher.) I may be able to tolerate that sort of language from Tolkien, but not from anyone else who hasn’t been dead a few hundred years, and that most definitely includes myself.

Still, I could not stop myself when I started to rewrite, even though I found it so dreadful even while I wrote it. It’s only been in the last couple of days that my brain switched from “legend” mode back to “novel” mode, and people are actually talking instead of all that awful indirect speech I had going on in the beginning. I don’t mind so much if the characters talk in a somewhat old-fashioned way – as my best friend pointed out, “characters are allowed to do that. The narrator is not.” But no matter how they talk, they should have actual and somewhat realistic conversations.

Once I got my brain out of “legend” mode, it was also surprisingly easy to add a bit of mystery in the beginning, keep the reader wondering who these people are and what they are so secretive about. With the plot being as straightforward as it is (like I said last week, a total Lion King rip-off), I think I should really keep what secrets I can.

Another pleasant discovery was that there is a pretty easy way to work in the exposition without annoying info dumps (or footnotes, as I’ve been doing in the previous version). The Kivailo world, with all the work I’ve put into language and culture and geography and stuff, needs some explaining for everyone except me and my best friend – in other stories, especially “Masks”, I’ve been able to work around that by having a non-Kivailo main character who needs to learn about Kivailo culture. But all the characters in “Larin and Liria” are Kivailo, so they’ve grown up with all that knowledge and aren’t going to think much about it, right?

Wrong. Liria and Lunim spent much of their childhood in a mountain hideout far from civilisation, and while the two people who raised them taught them a lot, it’s all second-hand and theoretical knowledge about the rest of the world (or the country, anyway). So they’re going to be thinking a whole lot more about things that would seem pretty ordinary and self-explanatory to other Kivailo.

So, on the whole, I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve written this week. Just not with how much.

For my writing-location challenge, I have five more places:

13. waiting in line at the ticket counter at Big Town Train Station

14. Small Town Train Station

15. Castle Across the River (during break at medieval dance practise – would have been an awesome place to write, but I only got one sentence written before I had to go talk with the others about the next practise time and stuff that wouldn’t make sense to most other people.)

16. shopping mall

17. H&M (waiting in line for the fitting room and then again at the check-out. Clothes shopping is hell, but at least I won’t have to do it again for a couple of months now.)

Pictures? Umm… not a single on of any of these places. I do have one of the Teeny Tiny Village Train Station (where I write almost every day) – not exactly the prettiest place!

I wish there was a place to sit outside. There’s grass and wild strawberries and a cherry plum tree, but inside the shelter, it’s pretty ugly.

I do really want to know why someone wrote “ELROND” on the wall. All the other scribbles are pretty self-explanatory, insults and stupid rhymes and lovey-dovey messages, but – “ELROND”? Why?

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