Child of Ceres – A Novella

Child of Ceres
Child of Ceres – A Godchildren Novella by Sonja Pieper
It is done. I have finished my last editing pass of the novella I started writing in August 2013: Child of Ceres. Final word count: 31570. It was supposed to become a short story to find out, if writing in English was my thing. It got just a little bit longer.

The novella is set in a fantastic world, where humanity lives scattered among the safe havens of the arks and is ruled by the descendants of the Gods. The arks are surrounded by the Wastes and humanity is under constant pressure from the Wastes’ monstrous inhabitants. The protagonist is Calyndra, a young priestess, descendant of the goddess Ceres, who has a secret, she struggles to keep: despite what she – and her mother – have been telling everyone, she does not have control over her powers like a true Godchild. What are the consequences of keeping this secret? What is the cost for those close to her? Far from home, as a political hostage at the dogal court of Eluvrien, Calyndra is all but alone among the scheming courtiers.
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Weekly Words to Read

Here’s an article on what often happens to strong female characters when they have finally made it into the movie/book.

A round-up of English words you are likely to misuse – consider the nauseous enormity …

I found The Last Billboard – once a month someone can post a message that will be displayed on this non-digital billboard. How cool is that.

Finally part 8 of the Outlander series Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is here and Diana Gabaldon posted a link to the Outlander family tree, for those with ebook editions (like myself) that can’t view it properly. Thank you!

A funny weather story found via npr books – my very favorite tumblr on books.

And I am still looking forward to July 1st when the sequel to Blood Song will finally be published. There is a sample for The Tower Lord on the author’s website.

Tonight and now

I am writing in the past tense. I keep running into the same issue. Do I write “Tonight my mind was distracted, …” or do I write “That night, my mind was distracted, …” or simply “My mind was distracted, …”

The same goes for “Now, however, I was really scared.” I could just as well write “At that moment, however, I was really scared.” There are a dozen other options.

At first I feel like using “Tonight” or “Now” or “Here” is ok. But when reading the same paragraph later, I think: well my story is being told so much later, it is not the same night, so it should not say “tonight” and also the story surely is not told in the same location so it should not be “here”.

I wonder if this is due to writing in first person perspective.

Project status: Today I plan to skip the 10k mark. At this precise moment, I have just passed the 9k words. I am working on the fourth scene. The most difficult scene so far was the third, because I am not an expert on medicine … and I think I have to “up” my estimate at how long this novel is going to be. If 10k words is the first half of the first chapter of the first act … 90k is a very low estimate for the whole project.

I am also still working on the long-term motivation of one of my major villainous characters. It may not become relevant for several chapters, but I would like to have a clearer view of this character’s stance.

Well there are at least a thousand more words to write today and my pace is picking up. Yesterday, I wrote 2000 words easily. The first day I barely managed 500.

Starting the Novel

This Monday I started writing on the big project. Codename: Transmitten. This time writing is very different: first I already know that this will be much longer than Child of Ceres (current estimate is around 90-100k words for the first draft). And, additionally, I have a more or less complete outline planned out. Of course things will change during the course of the writing, but that is to be expected. Also I hope that I learned a few things – comma rules for one – from the previous project.

In fact, I am already finding it much easier to write than last time. I have – in three days – completed a first draft of the first two scenes (~4k words or 6-7 PDF pages) and both of those feel much smoother and better thought-out already. There is a lot to correct language-wise. But I am more confident that the actual plotting is more solid this time with all the planning that went in.

However, I had to change the second scene quite a bit from my previous plan, because I had changed the ending of Child of Ceres to lead to a major new conflict that I had not yet included in my outline.

I am still happily using Scrivener; there’s a new version that allows custom meta data properties, more export formats, document references, custom icons and a bunch of other niceties. I was mostly waiting for the custom properties to be able to add timeline properties to each scene. The very detailed timeline I made for the first “act” came in very handy already. Maybe my plot is too complicated 🙂

Something new I started yesterday: a list of words I capitalize. One of my early readers criticized my use of capitalization and she was quite right: not only did I capitalize too many words, I was not consistent as well.

Last but not least: I have an idea for the cover for Child of Ceres and once I made that or found someone to help me making it, I think I will release the novella into the wild.