Beautiful Books: Progress Report

First, Beautiful Books had me talk about my plot, and characters, and introduce you to my novel. Now it's time for a progress report. I haven't gotten much farther, but these questions aren't JUST for NaNoWriMo participants, which I'm grateful for, and I like them. 
So sit back and listen to me talk about my book again. In my life, and on my blog, I will never pretend it isn't hard, but no matter how much I complain and rant and despair about it, the following will always be true: I love my book; I love my characters; I love Egypt; I love writing; I love writing; I love this life that I have chosen for myself. I may never (probably won't ever) make money, I may never even be published, and I don't care. 
I'm happy.

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
For starters, I'm not doing NaNoWriMo so I am not nearly as frazzled as I imagine the NaNo people to be. I'm inching along at a comfy pace, I'm happy with how things are going, I'm loving the research part of it. And I kind of fell in love with a 4,000 year old statue? 

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
For now: 

"Tiye could not remember having ever seen the courtyard empty, not even in the middle of the night. Her balcony provided an excellent view of the palace’s comings and goings, and it was arguably her favorite place to spend free afternoons." 

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

What do you love about your novel so far?
Have I already mentioned the historical aspects of it? But also I am really really really really enjoying Reniseb and Nefru......their characters have changed (for the better) so much, and it's like watching my children grow up. It's fascinating. 

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
hmmm, no. I'm rather meticulous, so while I'm sure I have typos and minor grammatical errors EVERYWHERE, nothing large or funny. 

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
....I would imagine that the end would bring me great joy to write.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I usually just sit on the floor, with a pillow behind me up against the side of my bed. I love my tea, I don't write while I eat (that is when I most love to read). I do listen to music: I find a song with lyrics that I like, but don't feel the need to sing along to (distracting) and that is fairly catchy, and I play it on repeat. This way I'm not focused on listening to music I love, but it is pleasing to my ears, and the repetition causes my mind to stop hearing it after a while, but it still drowns out other distractions. I am most productive in the evenings. 

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I'm not super private, but I don't send my friends everything either. If there is something I'm proud of, I send it. If there is something I just can't figure out, I get advice. If there is a toss up between two courses of action, I get someone else to decide. If I'm not sure if something works, makes sense, or is coming out the way I want it to, I get help. But I usually like to keep to myself.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
Love. Writing, to me, is eerily similar to the way that parents are with children. Kids can be a huge pain, they're exhausting, they can tear you apart physically and emotionally, sometimes you just want them to go away, sometimes you REALLY dislike them, but you still love them. You always love them. And everything you do, you do for love. Even when you feel like you can't possibly go on, you do. 

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
Read your work aloud. 

Set believable goals when you sit down to write. Too large and you will feel overwhelmed; too small and it's ineffective. "Believable goals" really depends on you. And they aren't the same whenever I sit down. Sometimes I set a goal of a thousand words, for some fairly quick productivity, sometimes longer. And sometimes, when I am feeling really down on being able to write, I set a teeny tiny goal of a few hundred words, and if I can't write more, at least I did something. But usually, once I've forced myself to write a paragraph or two, I find myself going on. 

Take a break. You know how if you say a word too many times in a row, it loses all meaning? Well a similar thing happens (at least to me) if I'm struggling with a scene, and I just stare at my computer and write a sentence and delete it, and write it, and delete it. And say "I have to do it I can't leave" and just force myself to sit there being bored because I'm not doing anything. I tend to be more productive if I mix brain work with physical work. My favorite thing to do is alternate between cleaning and writing/reading. When I'm having trouble writing, I clean for a bit or do some other physical activity, or just write/read something else for five to ten minutes. When I come back, I usually find that, even if I didn't 'figure it out' I'm feeling fresher and it makes it less tedious. 

By the way, I was talking about Hounds and Jackals this whole time, in case you didn't already know. If you want to know more about the book, I introduced it here:


  1. Ha! I love how everyone is commanding me to take breaks!!! Love it!

    Also, yes, books are like children (not that I would know or anything - I don't have any!)!

    And yes, setting believable goals is crucial. For me, today that meant 3,000 words. And I did it! I was so happy and relieved. I just have to get really determined that I will NOT let myself be lazy! ;)

    1. well, I don't think you should take a break unless you are having trouble...if you can keep writing until you die of exhaustion/starvation/thirst, go for it. I give SUCH healthy advice.

  2. Now I'm really curious what this statue you supposedly fell in love with is...

    1. It's the Sheikh el Beled, also known as Kaaper, and the man's face is the kindest face I have ever seen in my entire life. Also learning about how they made his cool.

  3. Hey, we NaNos are doing just fine, thank you very much! :P Some of us, anyway. Seriously, though. I think tea must have some secret authorly magic in it. THE ULTIMATE WRITING FUEL. Breaks and achievable goals truly are great advice, too. The mind must be rewarded!

    Elisabeth @ Inkspelled Faery

    1. I'm kind of jealous of people who can do NaNoWriMo and still be productive. I know, tea is amazing. It's like the only caffeine that gives you energy and helps you think, while not making it hard to focus, or messing you up. Love it.

  4. Tiye? I've never heard that name before, but I (think) I can pronounce it and it sounds pretty cool. :)
    I also totally agree with setting reasonable goals!

    1. There are actually two acceptable ways to pronounce Tiye. One is similar to Thai (as in the food or land) but with a little bit of an e sound at the end. That is how i like to pronounce it.
      The slightly more common pronunciation is tee-yuh.
      I'm glad you like it, she is one of my favorite characters.