Crossing the Finish Line

I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but I have a good reason: my sister is having a baby! By the end of this weekend, I am going to be an aunt, and I couldn’t be happier 🙂 So life has been a little crazy in between classes, social life, and getting ready for the new addition to our family. But I have some big news for you all today!

Despite the craziness, I was struck with a few good sessions of manic inspiration, and I finally did it.

I finished Nightfire! 

It has officially gone from a WIP to an MS, with a final word count of 67,154. I can’t even begin to explain the feels I have right now. I was crying while writing the final scenes, which I hope is a good sign (or maybe just means I have issues). I feel very strongly about this manuscript. I think it has a lot of promise and could be my best yet. Though it is still very raw, I can’t wait to share it with y’all, and I am so looking forward to all of the plans I have for it and the rest of the series.

Writing Nightfire has been a whirlwind. I started in the end of June this year, wrote 20,000 in July for CampNaNo, then took three months to write the next 20,000, and by November, five months later, I’m finished. It has by no means been a smooth ride–which if you have been following me, you are well aware of. (If not, you can check out my posts tagged either To Build A Story or CampNaNo). But everything is so worth it in this moment. Because though it is still raw and imperfect, I have a shiny, new, beautiful manuscript.

I’ve been enjoying it as much as I can, as long as I can. I read almost half of it in one sitting, cozied up in a blanket fort with a cup of coffee and my dog curled up beside me. At this moment in time, no one else has read this story, known this world, fallen in love with these characters, but me. I love that. And I love everything about this story, even in all its imperfect glory.

Though it’s not the first time I’ve fallen in love with a story, I am still head over heels for this one, and I never want it to go away. I know it will, when I get deep into the edits and start picking it apart into pieces and have stared at it until I want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. That day will come, but it is not this day. This day is for cuddling my fresh, pink little baby and shielding it from the world as long as I can.

Five months is by far the shortest time I have ever taken to complete a novel. I have learned so much about myself in this process, and grown so much as a writer. This is the first time I have written a novel while connected to the online writing community, and it is a completely different experience.

There are both positives and negatives to this. On one hand, I had to consider others’ opinions and the context of publishing, which I’ve never really had while writing before. On the other, I have never had such amazing support through both the highs and lows. I’ve had all the wisdom and advice of the entire blog and Twitter-verses combined, right at my fingertips. Needed a word? No problem. Advice on a scene? Got it. Without word sprints and words of encouragements from my fellow bloggers and Twitter peeps, Nightfire would not have happened. Well, it would have, but most certainly not in five months. With everything that has been going in my life lately, I doubt I would have finished in a year, or maybe even at all.

So as much as this is a moment for me to feel proud and accomplished, you all should too. Without you, I couldn’t have done this.

In a way, we all wrote Nightfire together. And one day, when it is on the shelves, you’ll be able to pick it up and say, “I helped make this.”

We did it.


I had planned to do another snapshot post for y’all, but I had most definitely not planned to finish before I could. So I thought I would leave y’all with a final snapshot in this post, and maybe do some more as I begin the editing process.

Title: Nightfire

Current word count: 67,154

Words written this week: 3935

What I’m working on: I finished that pesky battle scene, wrote a transitional romantic scene that was so perfect for these characters, and wrote the climax and resolution. I really surprised myself, and I love how everything turned out. I pushed Kera and the others to their brink, and farther. And I ended with a little bit of mystery that alludes to events in the next book, which I am so excited to explore.

Favorite lines: 

His words fall on the austere silence, with only me and the black stalks of the trees as witness. I look up, searching his face. The raw, unnamable pain rooted in my chest is mirrored in his features. “I am sorry,” I breathe.

“I promised him that I would find a way to bring him back. But every year I get older, and he gets older, just rotting in that tank, waiting. And I’m no closer to finding a cure than I was six years ago.” Torren’s voice catches and he clamps his jaw shut, his temple trembling.

“I know the feeling,” I say.

Our eyes meet, and something unspoken intertwines us, binding us through this shared, unnamable ache. We have both known joy and the desolation that comes with having it taken away. Grief deeper than words can touch, lodged beneath our hearts like parasites.

Words left to write: Zero! *throws confetti*

Resisting the Urge

As writers, we constantly have inspiration and ideas floating around. Most of the time, they’re just fragments of ideas that we jot down for later and then forget about. But sometimes, we are struck like a bolt of lightning with an idea we can’t ignore. What happens when  you’re struck in the middle of another project?

I already wrote this post about the struggles of working on two manuscripts at once, and the difficulty of keeping the voices and stories distinct from one another. Of course, now I’ve been struck with an idea for an entirely new story, and though I’ve tried my best I can’t ignore it.

I already scribbled a brief outline of all my ideas, just to get them on paper in the hopes that it would make them leave me alone and I could still save them for later. Of course, nothing is ever that easy. This morning I had some words rolling around in my head and I couldn’t get them out, so I decided to jot them down. That turned into the opening scene, which turned into culture research, which turned into more ideas, which turned into character development, which turned into characters. Now I have two more voices, shouting for my attention.

When we’re faced with a competing idea, we either have the choice to ignore it or give in. At this point, with two current projects–one manuscript, Ember, I am preparing for publication, and the other, Nightfire, I am so close to the end of the first draft, with three more books to write in the series–I can’t possibly start another.

I’ll admit, it’s exciting. I am starting to see the bare bones of this story come together, and I love it. I’m excited about this idea, and this world, and all the possibilities. But I can’t get excited over a new story when I need to stay excited and devoted to this one in order to make it through three more books.

I tried ignoring it, but that didn’t work, so I wrote what I can to save it for later. Now it feels like I’ve opened the floodgates, but I’m still trying to plug the holes.

How do you resist the urge, when a new story is tugging at you? Do you give in, or do you stop the holes and hope that is enough?

To Build A Story: World-Building

I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but have never gotten around to it. So here it is!

For a long time, I never really considered world-building when I wrote. I focused on plot and characters, and the world was just kind of a backdrop. I think a lot of writers overlook world-building, or don’t give it enough attention in their writing. I wrote this post about the importance of world-building, and some things that great books do to bring their worlds to life. You should definitely go read it if you haven’t already, because I take a deeper look into what makes a good, realistic, deep world. Now I wanted to give you some of the resources I’ve found to be helpful as I develop the world for Nightfire. 

This is the first WIP that I’ve really spent time developing the world, and it’s shown me a whole new side to writing. I really love the process. Even if half of this never makes it into the actual book, it has helped me understand the characters and story so much more, and made it all feel real.

1. Name Generator

One thing I am terrible at is names–you may have noticed from the multiple posts asking for your help choosing names. There are many different generators, but this is a great one that I’ve used for Nightfire. I like to use generators when I need variety, or for non-English names. I don’t usually use the exact names they produce, but it’s a great starting point.

2. Character Generator

Now I know this isn’t exactly world-building, but this is another great resource, especially for those side characters that help flesh the world out (which I wrote about in the previous post mentioned above). Seventh Sanctum has a whole bunch of great generators, like this one for characters, or a couple others for settings and combat.

3. Map Generator

Similar to the name generator, this map generator is a great starting point. I never realized before how helpful it is to actually have a concrete mental image of how the world is laid out. It makes logistics so much easier, and the action feel more real. Instead of them journeying from point A to point B, they are travelling from Cinder Lake to the Anvil Mountains. I could never come up with all the landforms and names on my own, so the generator really helped me get started.

4. Map Making Software

This is a little bit more technical, but don’t let that scare you off. AutoREALM is very easy to use (It took me less than an hour to figure out the basics on my own) and is amazing. Seriously, amazing. Creating a real map to have as a reference has been so helpful, and even inspired different storylines and aspects in the book. Not to mention they turn out pretty awesome looking, for such a simple software. Here’s mine for Nightfire (which I did in three hours, including the learning curve):

realmap

Pretty awesome, right? Not bad for a couple hours and limited technical skills.

How do you world-build? Any resources of your own to share? What do you think of these–did they help at all? Let me know!

Weekend Writing Warriors #18

Hey all! This week is bittersweet, as it is my last WeWriWa post for a little while. (Check out all my posts here) To meet some new authors, read some great writing, or join in the 8-sentence fun, stop by at Weekend Writing Warriors!

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In this scene, Kera is with Torren, Mina, and her now-mindless mother, searching for her sister Hana. They go back to the cave where Kera left her, but she is not there. Kera starts to panic, and searches frantically for some sign her sister might have left for her. It is the first time she realizes Hana is missing.

_________

I turn back to the fire, now dead, and sift through the ashes. Still-hot embers scorch the skin of my palms, but I’m too desperate to care. There has to be something.

“Told you ferals are mad,” I hear Mina murmur from behind me.

A hot coal strikes my hand and I cry out.

My mind shudders, and is struck with images–but this time, they are not foreign, but familiar.

Hana’s round face and smart black eyes, glowing amber in the light of the fire–Thunder beside her, standing guard. An orb of light glows between them, shifting with color and energy.

The images let go like a cold grasp releasing me and I crash back into my body, shuddering and broken.

_________

This is the very first time she has a vision, and it starts a whole other chain of events. It is actually much more detailed, but I couldn’t fit it into the snippet, so you just get a preview 🙂 But I thought I would share one of her visions since they become a central part to the story. I hope to share more sometime, (when I’m settled in to my new apartment, a new school, and a full load this semester) but for now, this is my last WeWriWa post. Thanks so much for all of the great feedback, interaction, and support. Best of luck with all your writing 🙂

 

Blog Post and Novel Excerpt © Victoria Davenport and the Coffee.Write.Repeat. blog

 

Weekend Writing Warriors #17

Hey all! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 This snippet is from my WIP, Nightfire, and a direct continuation of last week. You can check out other snippets from this book, or my other book, Ember, here. To meet some new authors, read some great writing, or join in the 8-sentence fun, stop by at Weekend Writing Warriors!

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_________

This makes his smile widen. “And that’s why I like you.”

Mina snorts. “When you wake up with your guts spilling out of you, I’m going to say I told you so. Ferals only know how to deal with blood and bullets, and that’s all they’ll get from me. She’ll have a bullet in her brain and I’ll be long gone, guts intact.”

I like this one. At least, when she wants to kill me, I know how to handle her.

______

It’s not quite the end of the scene, but thought that was a good place to stop while still giving a good impression of their personalities 🙂 I have one more post planned before my break. Thank you so much for reading, and look forward to your posts as always. Happy 8sunday!

 

Blog Post and Novel Excerpt © Victoria Davenport and the Coffee.Write.Repeat. blog

To Build A Story: Nameless

Names can be tricky. Sometimes I’ll go days, weeks, or even months without being able to choose a good name for a character. If this happens, I use some kind of placeholder, usually the first name that pops into my head. It works in the mean time, but it’s just not right. 

Right now, I have two characters in my WIP Nightfire. They are ferals like my protagonist Kera, which means they are basically a native people who mostly live in tribes outside of civilization. They are brother and sister, and skilled warriors. The girl is small, sharp-tongued, and quick, and she loves knives. The brother is large and strong, serious, blind, and very spiritual.

As of now, their placeholders are Namri and Nayo. They work, but they just don’t feel quite right for these two. I have been working on a lot of world-building lately, and have started to base the feral culture around Eskimo and Inuit people. I’ve started adapting the Eskimo languages into words and phrases I can use in Nightfire, and would love for these two characters to have Eskimo based names.

Now it’s your turn to help me! I’ll put two polls below, one for the brother and one for the sister, with some of my options and their meanings, though some have been chosen just for how they sound. Choose your favorite, and hopefully we can find the right names together 🙂

Weekend Writing Warriors #16

Hey all! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 This snippet is from my WIP, Nightfire, and a direct continuation of last week. You can check out other snippets from this book, or my other book, Ember, here. To meet some new authors, read some great writing, or join in the 8-sentence fun, stop by at Weekend Writing Warriors!

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_________

His smile lingers. “Your eyes–they don’t hide anything, unlike most people, I like it.”

I feel heat rise up from somewhere—whether anger or shame, I can’t tell. I was prepared for civilians to hate me, to try to kill me. All my life, anything outside of Mother and Hana has been dangerous, and deadly–I can handle something trying to kill me, but now I am faced with something that isn’t, and I am clueless.

I harden my gaze instead, boring into him. “Then you are stupid–It is never smart to trust. Anyone can kill you, even if you like them–I would kill you, and not even blink.”

______

I’ll post one more snippet from this interaction to finish, then I am debating one more post before I take a break. Thank you so much for reading 🙂 Look forward to your posts, and happy 8sunday!

 

Blog Post and Novel Excerpt © Victoria Davenport and the Coffee.Write.Repeat. blog

 

 

What’s Up Wednesday

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Hey all! It’s been a little while, but I’m back for this week! 🙂 What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. If you’d like to join us, check out the blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! 

What I’m Reading

Just finished Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and LOVED (of course). Ruin and Rising is next, but I think I’m procrastinating because I don’t want it to be over yet. If I could only be half of a fraction of her amazing, I would be content.

What I’m Writing

Between leftover CampNaNo burnout (yes, still) and having an illness relapse (you can read more here and here), the words haven’t happened much lately. They’ve happened somewhat, but still not anywhere near my normal. I did get a couple good 1ks in, so I’m not too bad, but I was hoping to get this draft finished by the end of summer–and seeing as classes start on Monday, that’s not going to happen. I’m about 15k short, so hopefully I can knock it out pretty soon 🙂

What Inspires Me

Lately, my CPs have been especially brilliant (impossible, I know). We’ve had some amazing brain babies (brain storming sessions) lately and not only have we made some great progress on my own WIP, but listening to and working on their projects can be just as helpful and inspiring.

What Else I’m Up To

I am all moved in! I have been staying in my first apartment for a couple weeks now, and am loving it. Of course, being close to my CPs now helps too 🙂 I will probably regret this in a week, but I am actually looking forward to classes starting. Now that I am in my third year, my classes are all related to my major and career and I find them interesting and even enjoy them (shocking, I know).

Hope everyone has a great start to the new school year, and have a great week!

Weekend Writing Warriors #15

Great to see some familiar and some new faces this week 🙂 This snippet is from my WIP, Nightfire. You can check out other snippets from this book, or my other book, Ember, here. To meet some new authors, read some great writing, or join in the 8-sentence fun, stop by at Weekend Writing Warriors!

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In this scene, Kera has begrudgingly teamed up with the hunters, Torren and Mina, to search for her sister, Hana. Mina is wounded with nightfire, from the Shadow attack. They have stopped to rest, and eat, and address some issues:

_________

[Mina] growls, “Great. We’re wandering around in the wilds, risking our lives, and the feral doesn’t even know where we’re going.”

Torren looks up to meet my gaze, chewing a bite of their ration bread, strikingly similar to my own loaves, “Do you know where we’re going?”

I look away, my eyes towards the trees: They swirl with a strange-colored smoke, visible only to my eyes, connecting their trunks like threads–a trail. The earth’s hum resonates in my bones, stronger here–stronger everyday, the farther north we go. “Sort of.”

Mina laughs mirthlessly, “How do you know she’s not just running us to death?”

I dart my eyes back towards her, “If I wanted you dead, you would be.”

This makes Torren smile, though I don’t know why–he really is a strange human, “If she says she knows where she’s going, then she knows where she’s going; we just have to trust her.”

My eyes snap to his face, “How can you trust me?”

______

I wanted to share a little bit of their personalities, since the previous snippets have been a lot of action, and I really love the characters and voices in this one. Hope you like them as much as I do 🙂 Thanks so much for the continued input and support, the WeWriWa community has been great. I am debating one more snippet from Nightfire, before I take a break from WeWriWa for a little while. My experience has been great, but summer is about to end, I am moving into my first apartment, the semester starts soon, and I need a little break 🙂 Look forward to your posts, and happy 8sunday!

 

Blog Post and Novel Excerpt © Victoria Davenport and the Coffee.Write.Repeat. blog

Weekend Writing Warriors #14

Hey WeWriWa! This is the last snippet in a series, and a direct continuation from last week’s post (check it out here, or the rest of my posts here). To meet some new authors, read some great writing, or join in the 8-sentence fun, stop by at Weekend Writing Warriors!

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___________

“I won’t hurt you,” he says, with a voice like amber and pine. It makes me want to believe him.

But sixteen years of instinct scream otherwise. My eyes flick to Mother’s body, discarded in the dirt. It would be better to be ripped by the Shadows then fall into the people’s hands.

The boy takes a step towards me. I look one last time at Mother.

I lunge for my dagger and sprint for the trees, as the night swallows the sun, and I leave my heart behind.

_____________

There you have it! I know this one was short, but I wanted to finish the scene. I hope you enjoyed 🙂 This scene is the start of the action in the story, and so much more to come. Looking forward to all your posts, and happy 8 sunday!

 

Blog Post and Novel Excerpt © Victoria Davenport and the Coffee.Write.Repeat. blog