July 15, 2011

Ink Blots and Ships

A little while ago I did this questionnaire for Wordcrafter, and I thought I would fill it out for The White Sail's Shaking as well. Enjoy!

1. What’s your word count?
Approximately 80,000.

2. How long until you finish?
I hope to be done by November, but that may be wishful thinking. I’m scared to sit down and actually approximate.

3. If you have finished, how long did it take you?
“I have not yet begun to fight.”

4. Do you have an outline?
Sort of. I use FreeMind for The White Sail’s Shaking (I did a post on it a few months ago) and I have it separated into chapters and the events that take place in each.

5. Do you have a plot?

6. How many words do you typically write a day?
White Sail’s is a difficult story, so my daily wordcount varies widely. I can go anywhere from nothing to about three hundred words (!) to a thousand. During NaNo I managed about 2,000.

7. What was your greatest word count in one day?
I can’t remember. I’d take a stab for about 3,000.

8. What was your least impressive word count in one day?
0. Nada. Nothin’.

9. What inspired you to write?
I’ve always been interested in the Age of Sail, which, although a gruesome time, still manages to hold a romantic appeal. Ian Toll’s book Six Frigates, a history of the early U.S. Navy, inspired me to write a story set during the First Barbary War.

10. Does your novel/story have a theme song?
No, but Owl City’s music is linked to it in my mind.

11. Assign each of your major characters a theme song.
See my Characters and Music post.

12. Which character is most like you?
Tip. At first, as with Wordcrafter, I didn’t think any of my characters were very like me, but as I continued to write I found that some of the things Tip struggles with (not his family; I have a wonderful family) are things I have trouble with myself.

13. Which character would you most likely be friends with?
Oh, that’s a hard question. All of my main characters are friends already, so I can’t really answer.

14. Do you have a Gary-Stu or Mary Sue character?

15. Who is your favourite character in your novel?
I’m pretty fond of Charlie…

16. Have your characters ever done something completely unexpected?
Are you kidding? Charlie was unexpected. He showed up and bullied his way into being a main character without ever consulting me.

17. Have you based any of your novel directly on personal experiences?

18. Do you believe in plot bunnies?

19. Is there magic in your novel/story?

20. Are any holidays celebrated in your novel/story?
I haven’t gotten to Christmas yet, so I don’t know about that.

21. Does anyone die?
“That joke is funny because the squirrel gets dead.”

22. How many cups of coffee/tea have you consumed during your writing experience?
I don’t drink coffee. I like tea, but don’t drink it very often.

23. What is the latest you have stayed up writing?
I did the first 52,000 words of White Sail’s for NaNo, but I went to bed on time.

24. What is the best line?
“Brighton!” the spectre [Charlie] exclaimed, his face flashing into a grin as he crossed the room and grasped Tip’s limp hand. “I didn’t expect you; Tatty said the newcomer was well-dressed and rather good-looking.” (In my writing notebook, not in the Word document yet.)

25. What is the worst line?
Ugh. Do you really want to know? I haven’t edited everything yet, so shall we just say that there are a lot of bits that need help?

26. Have you dreamed about your novel/story or its characters?
I don’t think so.

27. Does your novel rely heavily on allegory?
No, not at all.

28. Summarize your novel/story in under fifteen words.
The story of a midshipman as he learns what honor really means.

29. Do you love all your characters?
Mostly. Marta’s a bit hard, but I’m sure she’ll grow on me.

30. Have you done something sadistic or cruel to your characters specifically to increase your word count?
No. I don’t do things just to increase wordcount, because I’ll only have to cut it in the editing process.

31. What was the last thing your main character ate?
He’s eating right now, but I don’t know what.

32. Describe your main character in three words.
Bull-headed. Awkward. Compassionate.

33. What would your antagonists dress up as for Halloween?
He’s much too busy to play dress-up.

34. Does anyone in your story go to a place of worship?
Not explicitly.

35. How many romantic relationships take place in your novel/story?
One. Well, two-ish.

36. Are there any explosions in your novel/story?

37. Is there an apocalypse in your novel/story?

38. Does your novel take place in a post-apocalyptic world?

39. Are there zombies, vampires or werewolves in your novel/story?
Oh, this is definitely a zombies-meet-navy story. Don’t you think it will sell? (The frightening thing is that it probably would.)

40. Are there witches, wizards or mythological creatures/figures in your novel/story?

41. Is anyone reincarnated?

42. Is anyone physically ailed?
No, but some characters are physically aled after some time in the tavern.

43. Is anyone mentally ill?
If I say yes, my characters will come after me. With sticks.

44. Does anyone have swine flu?
No. And there aren’t any flying pigs, either.

45. Who has pets in your novel and what are they?
Tip has a pet Barbary macaque.

46. Are there angels, demons, or any religious references/figures in your novel/story?

47. How about political figures?
Various and sundry, but my characters don’t meet any of them.

48. Is there incessant drinking?
What does “incessant drinking” mean? “And they drank and they drank and they drank and they drank and they breathed and then they drank and they drank and they drank and they breathed a bit and they drank and they drank and they…”

49. Are there board games? If so, which ones?

50. Are there any dream sequences?

51. Is there humor?

52. Is there tragedy?
I should hope so. I mean—no, of course not! What makes you think that?

53. Does anyone have a temper tantrum?
Charlie’s a bit of a firebrand, but I wouldn’t say he was infantile enough to have a temper tantrum.

54. How many characters end up single at the end of your novel/story?
Hard question. I suppose you could say that one character does.

55. Is anyone in your novel/story adopted?

56. Does anyone in your novel/story wear glasses?

57. Has your novel/story provided insight about your life?

58. Your personality?
I think so, but not intentionally.

59. Has your novel/story inspired anyone?
No one has read it yet.

60. How many people have asked to read your novel/story?
Only a couple, but because it isn’t finished, I turned them down.

61. Have you drawn any of your characters?
Absolutely not. That would be cruel.

62. Has anyone drawn your characters for you?

63. Does anyone vomit in your novel/story?
Tip is seasick at one point. I think that will be the only time anyone throws up.

64. Does anyone bleed in your novel/story?
Tip… Charlie… Darkwood… Yes, just about everyone.

65. Do any of your characters watch TV?
Eh, no.

66. What size shoe does your main character wear?
I don’t know, but they’re probably large.

67. Do any of the characters in your novel/story use a computer?
Now that would be weird, wouldn’t it?

68. How would you react if your novel/story was erased entirely?
Whoever put this questionnaire together is a cruel, cruel person.

69. Did you cry at killing off any of your characters?
I’ve gotten a little teary-eyed, yes.

70. Did you cheer when killing off one of your characters?
No. Killing characters is an exhausting business.

71. What advice would you give to a fellow writer?
Oh, why bother coming up with my own when Jenny voiced her advice so nicely? “Persevere. Don’t be content with the mediocre and cliché. Read good literature.”

72. Describe your ending in three words.
Bittersweet. Refreshing. Jasmine.

73. Are there any love triangles, squares, hexagons, etc.?

74. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least stressful, 10 being the most) how does your stress rank?
This novel plays its scales like an expert. Right now I’m feeling pretty sanguine. (“You’re feeling bloody?” “Yes, because I just shot someone.” “Oh, I see.”)

75. Was it worth it?
If I say no, my characters will go on strike. But honestly, yes, it’s always worth it.


  1. This was funny! Zombies-meets-navy? Sounds like a winner. (;

    I usually have trouble slashing through my word count, too. The answers to 13 and 16 were my favorites!

  2. Well, they stuck zombies in Pride and Prejudice, vampires in Lincoln's life, and sea monsters in Sense and Sensibility...but I just couldn't figure out how to get werewolves in the navy.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Heh, zombies-meets-navy. What is this world coming to? I about died when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies had the audacity to throw itself onto the bookstore shelves. >.>

    "Are you kidding? Charlie was unexpected. He showed up and bullied his way into being a main character without ever consulting me."

    Hee, hee. I can relate to that. So many characters in my various little stories were completely and utterly unplanned. They just show up, these characters, and expect to be let right into the spotlight. Hum diddle.

    Thanks for taking the time to fill this out. It was quite hilarious and entertaining. ^.^

  4. I've linked to this before but since it's appropos:

    Austen goes pop!

  5. Katie - So glad you enjoyed it! Charlie has turned out to be a dear (plus a major plot point, to be cold and analytical about it), and I'm very glad he showed up. ^.^

    I hadn't seen that comic before, just the Watson one you posted a while back. I chortled profusely. "Monsters Trucks..."


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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