A Couple of Pictures

So, a short update today. I just wrote a 175 word composition, in French, in under an hour, which is a hell of a lot harder than it actually sounds, and my brain is pretty much broken. However, I did manage to accomplish a few things over the past few days,

I think the difference is obvious when looked at closely.

I think the difference is obvious when looked at closely.

Witch Queen is now sitting at just over 28,000 words, and the 6×9 version has been reformatted to a style that I’m more happy with. The original that I posted had way too much empty space all over the pages, so I downed the font size and paragraph spacing, and I think it looks a little better now. My only concern is making sure that it’s still readable, without anyone having to strain to see it clearly. I think that it is, but I’ve also been known to read in semi-darkness with no problem, so I’m probably not one to judge accurately. At 100% on my screen, though, it appears to be easily readable.

I also revised a few things that I had sketched out for the story sometime back. I had done a heraldry, and I think I uploaded to an older post somewhere, but I didn’t go back through my old posts and check. Last night though, I uploaded a picture of it into

Yes, the first letter is an 'E'

Yes, the first letter is an ‘E’

my editing software, and I played around with it and was able to make it look a little better than it did. It’s far more even and symmetrical, since I was able to flip the image to make both sides a mirror of one another.

And also? The lines are straight.

Sometimes straight lines are a really big accomplishment. Trust me.

The heraldry is (clearly) heavily influenced by Russian (the Russian Empire, in particular) and Prussian heraldry, though I definitely tried to make it unique. It isn’t perfect, and I may yet color it, but I’m pretty pleased with it.

I also have a sketch of sorts of Eirian that I drew, but for the life of me, I cannot get a decent picture or scan of the damn thing. Scanning makes every single mark ever made on the paper (or the ten pages before it) show up, and taking a picture of it takes away nearly every bit of detail and shading that I’ve done on it. It’s… a little frustrating to say the least.

I may attempt to put the picture into editing software, but I’m not sure. It’ll take a lot of work to get it to the level of ‘presentable’ that I’m generally comfortable with. Maybe it’ll make the next post, maybe not. We’ll see.



Update for the end of January

January is coming to a close, and Witch Queen is currently sitting right at 25,000 words, and about 83 pages (with a standard letter sized orientation. The more accurate 6×9 orientation is just under 130 pages), and almost seven chapters.

"read mode" screenshot, with the layout/style for "Witch Queen"

“read mode” screenshot, with the layout/style for “Witch Queen”

I haven’t worked on it as consistently as I’d like to be able to say that I have, but I haven’t tossed it aside, either, which is an accomplishment. I really can’t stress how much having an outline has helped in making sure that this work doesn’t just die.

I’ve got some free time tomorrow morning, with nothing better to do, so I’m hoping I can get more done then. I do intend to post sections of it, but they have to be edited to my standards before I do so. I print out the work as I go, so that I can go back and edit it as I work. I make the edits on the physical paper, then go in and make the changes. Once I’ve done the sections that I want, I’ll post them.

Maybe tomorrow. Maybe.

The Current Projects page now has most of the details for the Witch Queen. I may add Ashes to it eventually, but I don’t know. February is coming up quickly, and, for me, that means a paper on Antigone is going to be due soon. I have a feeling that I’m going to be lucky to continue working on Witch Queen, never mind adding anything else into the mix.

It’s kind of funny, really. Witch Queen was the one story that I really never thought that I would continue, and now it’s the one that really just won’t go away. I’ve actually become rather fond of it.

We’ll see what February brings.



Witch Queen Cover Image

So, since the last post, I’ve spent a lot of time working on Witch Queen. I’ve actually added just around 9000 words (roughly 27 pages) to it, and I’m fairly happy with it thus far. It’s really my goal to have this finished, at least by the end of NaNo this year. I might actually make finishing it my NaNo goal, instead of working on something totally new this time.

I really, really don’t need to start any new stories.

Anyway, that’s kept me quite busy. 9000 words in a week is by far not a record for me by any means, but it’s still more than I’ve written on a daily basis since November. Following an already finished outline helps.

Last night though, I spent some time on Createspace, which is who I intend to use to create the book, since it’s usually who I see recommended on the Nano forums, and they’re the ones who offer the proof copy if you meet the goal of 50000 words.

The Witch Queen's War Cover

The Witch Queen’s War Cover

I’d already spent a little bit of time on their site sometime back, but I really spent some time working on it last night. I’ve got a potential cover up and going, which is over on the right of the page. It’s also kind of one of the main points of the post, since I’m actually rather pleased with the way it’s come out so far. It’ll have to be edited a bit to allow for the spine width, but that won’t be possible until I’m finished writing and have a total page count. So it’ll change, but I’m going to stick with this overall design. I really do like it, actually.

The image definitely has to be opened for the summary on the back to be clear. I had to edit it a little bit, since it was a little bit to long, and not very legible.

Again, there’s my problem with summarizing.

The image on the front is a manipulate photo, courtesy of one of my aunts, from one of her trips to Ireland.

I’ve created a new page up in the header that’ll be used for the projects that I’m currently working on, and once I have that set up a little better, I’ll definitely add a larger version of the cover to that. Hopefully, that page will also help get rid of some of the clutter over in my sidebar, maybe. We’ll see.

I also might start posting a few excerpts from this one. I think I may have posted some way back when I first started this blog, but I can’t remember. If I did, anything that gets posted now will be a highly edited version.



Editing Weirdness

This is so very random, but I just have to say something about it while it’s on my mind.

Apparently, when editing, some pages require more attention than others. Case in point:

15 - 1

Pg. 27

Some pages look like this. The corrections are in purple, this time. I don’t like to use red. Reminds me too much of high school. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. The lighting in the library right now is… interesting. I suppose they don’t think people will be taking a lot of pictures of what they’re working on.

Anyway. This is one of the pages of Witch Queen that I just got finished rereading, and this is what came of it. Strike outs everywhere and ten million things rewritten and changed.

And yes, when there’s this much and more, it becomes a bit of a challenge to figure out what correction I wanted to go where.

15 - 2

Pg. 28

So that was page… 27. Page 27. Then here’s page 28: There’s hardly anything there. A few words, and even then, I think I really just kind of swapped words out. I don’t really think I added anything new to it at all. These pages are literally back to back, no pages between them.

I question myself a lot, but apparently some pages just seem to come out better than others.

Does anyone else have this happen to them. Sections that sound really, really good, and then, like the very next section, you read it and wonder if you forgot the most basic rules of your native language?

Or is this just another weird, nitpicky thing that I do to myself because I’m apparently some type of masochist?




       So, I’m still working on The Witch Queen’s War. I haven’t been working on it everyday, but I’ve not put it aside completely yet, either. I’m hoping to work on it some more during Camp NaNo this year, as April’s project. I’ve put in my word count goal as only 35,000, since that’s going to be my last month of school, with finals on the horizon, so I need to be flexible. 

       But, for once, I actually did an outline for the story. As in, I have most of the major, and several of the minor, plot points already worked out. 

        I do mean several. The outline is five pages long on its own…

       I cannot honestly remember the last time I actually did an outline. It was probably back in senior English. And I don’t think I’ve ever actually done one for my personal writing before. I know that I’ve never done one for a NaNo project before.

       “But how can you write a novel without an outline?”


My very unusual looking outline

       I start with an idea, and then I just sit down and type. In my mind, if the story is strong enough to keep coming out, then I don’t feel  like I need an outline. If the story just kind of dies off, well, maybe I wasn’t in to it as much as I could have been. Or maybe the idea could have been better. When that happens, I never delete what I’ve written. I just shelve it and keep it stored in its own little folder on my laptop. It’s ready and waiting if I ever want to come back to it.

       Don’t get me wrong, I understand the advantages of having an outline. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done one. When I do an outline, I’m usually trying to get something done within a certain period of time. And an outline can do that. My outline looks more like a list than an actual outline, but I have plot points that I want to use, all laid out in the right order. That’s going to save me a lot of time. Otherwise, I’ll remember that I had a really great idea for a certain point, but won’t exactly remember where or how I wanted it to go, and that becomes tedious.

       “But doesn’t that take away the fun of surprising yourself with unfolding plot points?”


        Plot points still surprise you, they just do it when you’re writing out the outline, not the story. And that’s a little better than having it surprise you in a story. In an outline, you can easily rearrange plot points to incorporate any surprises and bursts of brilliance. It’s not as easy to do in the actual story, believe me. There’s a whole lot of backtracking and rewriting involved in that path.

        Also, with an outline like the one I’ve done, it makes it a lot easier to write scenes out of order, which I encourage if you feel like it won’t derail your own process. There’s no point in being stuck on a certain point, wasting time staring at a blinking cursor, when you can skip to another section and be more productive, then come back to the trouble spot later. And an outline makes it easier to go back and put them in the correct order.

        Both ways of writing have pros and cons, but when it comes to writing for a deadline, I’m beginning to think that an outline is the best option. I never thought I’d say it, but I might be converting from pantser to planner. 



Writing Update

       So, I’ve been working on The Witch Queen’s War again. I had shelved it during NaNo last November, but I suddenly had some inspiration, and have about 5,000 words written down on it. I’ve also done a few sketches for my own reference, and figured I’d share a little bit. 


Tiernan’s seal. Not the best I’ve ever done, but it works. I used the Prussian eagle for a general reference.

            Once the girl was gone and the door closed behind her, Eirian stared at the envelope. She had recognized the seal as soon as the girl had held it out: a crowned falcon with wings outstretched as though soaring upwards, with a sword and arrow clutched in either set of talons. It was the seal of the Commander of the Royal Army, her older brother, Tiernan…


        I know this will sound sudden, and I know that you will be far from pleased to read this, but I have nowhere else to turn; believe me, I have exhausted all other options.

       Sister has fallen ill. It began about a month ago now. Small things at first, nothing   more than minor inconveniences. But things have progressed. She has become all but bedridden, and even that becomes more and more likely by the day.

       The Healers are mystified. They can find nothing wrong, and yet her health continues to decline a bit more every day.

       Please, Eirian, come home, if only for a time. I have a request for you that I don’t feel is proper to make any way less than face to face. I know that you and Gwen have had your differences, to put it lightly, but I beg you to put that behind you for now.

       Gwenlyn needs your help, and so do I. Please, Eirian. You know that I would never ask unless I didn’t think it absolutely necessary.

        I have instructed my messenger to wait for your response. Please hurry, Eirian. I need you to come home.



Slightly later in the same chapter:

            Eirian would never forget the horrified look on her mother’s face when she had told the late queen about the noise, not matter how hard her mother had tried to mask the expression. After that, her Seniors, and everyone else in the palace, had begun watching her even more closely, as though they expected to walk into her bed chamber one morning and see a demon sitting in her place in the bed. Maybe they had.

            “They attract demons,” was what she remembered hearing said to her mother. “They’re gateways for demons to gain entrance to our world.”

            Eirian had heard them. Grown men, frightened of a child’s potential.


       So that’s what I’m working on right now. I haven’t forgotten about other things that I’ve started, like some more recommendations, but when I’ve got inspiration for my personal writing, I run with it. 



NaNo World Building: Notes on The Monarchy, Nobility, and Religion

        So, I meant to post this yesterday, but I never got around to it. I had a lab in the early part of the afternoon, the the KnoxWrimo’s Kick-off party was in the evening. Its all good though. The party was fun. There was more than double the number of people that showed up last year, and our ML’s have clearly worked very hard at putting events together this year. 

        The not-quite-pub-crawl-with-books-thing sounds interesting. But anyway…

        First up are the notes on Politics, Nobility and the Monarchy:


World Building: Politics, Nobility, and the Monarchy in The Witch Queen’s War

Nobility and the Council of Nobles

        The Kingdom of Aiedria is divided into 15 provinces, excluding the capital province. Each province is governed by a Duke or Duchess, appointed by his/her predecessor, though the process is typically through heredity. Each province is then further broken up into regions, overseen by a Baron or Baroness.

        The fifteen Dukes and Duchesses make up the Council of Nobles, and advisory council to the Monarch. The council meets four times a year in the capital. In the event of an emergency, the Council may convene more often. The council comes together to vote on laws, the appointment of certain positions such as Admiral and General, and to vote on the declaration of war. For smaller issues, the Council does not need to convene for a vote; a written letter with a Declaration of Opinion will suffice.

        Though the Council has the ability to make decisions, the current Monarch reserves the right to overturn any decision made by Council members, though doing so is considered by the general populace as a very unpopular decision.


The Monarchy

        Aiedria has a hereditary monarchy. Typically, the first child born to the reigning monarch will become successor, given the title of Prince/ss Royale. There is only ever one person with the title Prince/ss Royale. Any other child born to the reigning monarch is given the title Crown Prince/ss. Any child born to a Crown Prince/ss is simply referred to as Prince of Princess. Once the Prince/ss Royale has assumed the throne, his/her successor inherits the Royale title. If the new monarch has no children, the title goes to a younger sibling.

        The current Royal Family is the Aryagall line line from the coastal province of Blackwater. The line has held the throne for nearly four centuries and have had many popular rulers, including the late Queen Caiomhe, mother of Eirian, Gwenlyn, and Tiernan. 


And religion/theology:

World Building: Theology and Religion in The Witch Queen’s War


        Religion is relatively universal throughout the various countries in the setting. One deity is recognized, known as The Holy Mother. The church is built on a doctrine known as The Canon of Belief. Some Countries are known for being more religious than others. Aiedria is often considered to be quite religious, as its capital is home to the Mother Superioress.


Church Structure

        Leading the church is the Mother Superioress, referred to as Lady Superior. The Superioress keeps a council of fifteen, senior priestess, given the title Revered Mother. The head of a single church is a Prioress, and younger priestesses and initiates are referred to as Mother and Sister, respectively.

        The Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother, located in the heart of the Capital, is home to the Mother Superioress and the Revered Mothers. Several smaller churches are located throughout the city. Most mid-sized towns will have at least a small cathedral, and possibly one or two smaller churches, depending on size and population of the town. In many smaller towns and villages, documents chronicling birth, death, marriage, and so on are kept within the church.

The Canon of Belief

        The Canon of Belief is the doctrine of the Church. It tells the story of The Holy Mother’s battles against the demons and their banishment to the Void.

        Thousands of years ago, the people lived in constant fear of demons. Attacks, possession, and slaughter were rampant as demons controlled much of the world.

        The fear was endless, until one day a woman appeared. Sword in one hand, staff in the other, She struck down the demons that crossed Her path. It didn’t take long before Her actions drew a crowd, and that crowd drew the attention of a demon lord. But when the demon lord tried to attack the assembled crowd, his magic could not reach them.
The woman, arms raised, spoke to the demon:

        “Begone. Your kind has no place here any longer; your magic leaves no mark, your evil gives no control.”

        Raising her sword, a great light seemed to shine from within the metal as deity and demon clashed. As the battle wore on, it drew the attention of evermore demons. But the people, inspired by the Woman’s act of bravery, took up their own weapons in Her defense. The battles went on for days, until the ground was stained with the demon’s tainted, blackened blood.

        When the last demon was slain, the Woman spoke again to the crowd, now countless in their number.

        “Lay down your weapons. No longer will you be tormented by these evil beings. From this day forth, you are my Children, and I shall fight for you always. I will drive the demons back, and into a place from which they cannot escape. A dark place, where their magic can harm no one but themselves.

        “But the demons are wise, and they are cunning. They will tempt you. Those who use magic freely beckon them, and they will come. Never let them in. To let them in is to let them out. Never forget these words. For as long as my words are obeyed, you will be safe.”


        Once again, everything on here is subject to change once I actually start writing. These are just general ideas that I wanted to get down so that I don’t forget them.


        Mayuuya (Chelsea)

        2 days!!!