#IWSG – My NaNoWriMo Confession

 

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another chance to confess – well, to tell the truth in the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group post. Time to answer the optional question for this month:

November 1 question – Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’ve done NaNo five times – the first time in 2011 = lots of first drafts. I’ve managed 50k three times and one of those ‘wins’ is my current rewrite – draft 4 of Fates Maelstrom. I am taking part again to draft the third book in the same series; same detective and setting so this new story adds to my initial character. Not quite background, but knowing where she is going helps establish a few more aspects about detective Sparkle Anwyl.

 

She is a Detective Constable in Book 1 – Fates Maelstrom – but promoted to Detective Sergeant by Books 2 and 3. There may be a twist in that at the end of Book 3 due to her girlfriend – yes, she discovers that she is bi-sexual in Book 1.

Does a non-sexual relationship with a boyfriend prior to Book 1 make her bi? Book 2 was drafted, in part, in 2015 but will need some work, especially as the questions about her sexuality and identity hadn’t emerged yet.

Anyway, publication. As yet, none of my ‘wins’ has reached even the editor stage, although Fates Maelstrom is heading that way. By next year, the answer might be yes.

What about you? Do you do NaNoWriMo and get published? Are you taking part this year?

 

Dolbadarn Castle

Photo of Dolbadarn Castle, Snowdonia by Etrusia UK on flickr

 

 

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The awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting:  The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

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Brogan Keyes: Journalist or Grifter?

After learning something about the ‘murder suspect’ Twyla Locke, and about Sparkle Anwyl, one of the detectives, it’s time to meet another character in “Fates Maelstrom”, my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel.

Not all the characters in this opener to the North Wales-based series, “Snowdon Shadows”, are native to the area. So meet the mysterious Brogan Keyes, an American photo-journalist that finds himself in Craig-o-Niwl, for some reason.

Do you know this man? Or the photographer?

Do you know this man? Or the photographer?

Why are you here in this small Welsh village? It isn’t a normal tourist destination.

Photographing the follies built on the moors by Geffron Locke in the early 19th century. That’s for pleasure. My job is writing articles on Welsh Cheese for the Green Bay Press Gazette. But I’ve covered things from fashion to world hunger to riots.

Why should we care about you?

There is no reason not to like me. I’m great company, with great stories, not to mention looks. As anyone in the village.

Some of them say that you are, “too charming to be trusted”.

Can’t think who. I haven’t been here long enough to attract any unwelcome attention. The patrons at the Hare and Cave have been welcoming, even though I find Welsh very difficult. No way can I give the pub its proper name – something like Yr Ysgyfarnog a’r Ogof.

Sounds good to me, but then I know almost no Welsh. Anyway, how would you describe your looks?

Tall with a black curly hair, short close-trimmed beard and a smile. Usually got this camera somewhere. And if I’m maintaining eye contact, that because I like to note everything about people. You never know when they might let on something in their gestures.

Is that why you move slowly and take your time?

Why hurry – unless I’ve got a deadline? When something is done well, then it takes time – like the best cheese. And before you say the best is Welsh, or English, I have to disagree. The best cheese come from Wisconsin, U S of A.

So you’re a ‘cheesehead’?

Not just because of my home state but I’m also as a Green Bay Packers fan that wears a ‘cheesehead’ hat with pride.

You don’t say much. How would you describe your personality?

Why should I? As long as you get your interview, and I get my story. I’m someone who gets what he wants as I never give up… until I have the scoop.

What’s your greatest ability?

Finding the best picture for a story that gets to the truth. The perfect photo tells a story and makes people think.

What’s the story around the Geffron Follies?

I’m still looking for one. The Locke family history is complex, but fascinating. I suspect that a lot of the facts have been buried.

Sounds like a murder mystery. Do you solve those as well? Do you see yourself as heroic?

I’ve rescued women in distress, if that’s what you mean. Of course, if I can help, then I will. I’ll even give someone an alibi, if they need one – and if they’re pretty.

A genuine alibi or concocted? Are you more likely to play a prank or commit a crime?

If the alibi has the right effect, and resolves the situation, I’d supply one. I’ve played plenty of pranks, but my only crimes are two speeding tickets. And the rumour that I’m a grifter, have no basis. Just don’t believe the FBI records. They originated with people harassing my family.

Do people understand you? If not, what do they get wrong?

Most people know why I behave the way I do. It’s a retarded minority that thinks I’m a nuisance. Crazy thing is that some of them still behave as if they want me on their side. Maybe that’s why they say ‘too charming’.

What sort of people like you?

Women of course. They seem to recognise all my best qualities. But that includes my mother and my sister – they know what I’m trying to do. So don’t make me the heartless seducer in this story. I want to be the hero, please.

That presumes that there is a hero. Maybe that role goes to a heroine.

Sounds cool. Just as long as I can help her. Is she the one needing the alibi? I get to see a lot of things through this camera lens – not just Follies. People can make interesting subjects as well. And sometimes that’s the perfect way to meet them too.

You mean the perfect pick-up technique?

That’s happened – like the awesome English girl that I photographed water skiing in Jamaica. She got distracted by the camera and fell – but I was there to rescue her. Definitely time to rekindle that relationship, while I’m over here. As long as it doesn’t distract from my real work.

Don’t want that. It might have the wrong consequences. What are your worst fears?

Forgetting about a deadline of course. As I said, work comes first. And getting slapped because I underestimated a woman. But in both cases, I ensure that never happens.

What were you doing before this story started?

Besides my Welsh cheese research and photographing Follies? Working out what I really need to be writing about to win the Pulitzer Prize. And that’s a serious ambition. In fact, that’s the main reason I was in Jamaica – researching an article about the effects of Hurricane Sandy across the Greater Antilles in October 2012. Somehow the article was dismissed in the wake of other stories. But my scoop will come.

Before the novel began, what were your hopes for the future?

Well, other than the Pulitzer Prize, I was planning on meeting the woman of my dreams. Or maybe I’ve already done that. Some days, I wonder about my ancestors. How did they get to Wisconsin? Why did they go there?

What do you think is going to happen next?

Well from what you’ve hinted at, I’m going to produce the alibi that stops someone getting convicted. From the talk in the pub that would have to be Twyla Locke – the girl that murdered her grandfather. Is she’s as cute as they say, then I will get to seduce her – but then I might have some explaining to do to my friend from Jamaica, when we meet up.

Are you going to die in this story?

I will if Yazzi Locke catches me seducing her cousin Twyla.

The lover as the killer. Great plot twist. Thank you.

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Sparkle Anwyl: Sleuth or Sidekick?

After learning something about the ‘murder suspect’ Twyla Locke, it’s now time to meet the second character in “Fates Maelstrom”, my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel.

As this is the opening mystery in the North Wales-based series, “Snowdon Shadows”, the interviewee has to be a reoccurring character.

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Noomi Rapace – Photo by Emma Hardy for British Vogue ~ Sparkle look-alike

So meet Meinwen Sparkle Anwyl, a twenty-four year-old Welsh detective constable with Pwllheli CID, part of the North Wales Police or Heddlu Gogledd Cymru.

If you are with Pwllheli CID, aren’t you outside your patch here in Craig-o-Niwl?

Technically yes, but I got assigned to help Detective Sergeant Mal Sumnor. He’s the officer investigating the suspected murder of Aubrey Locke.

I know the area well as I have family here – my mother’s parents have a sheep farm that borders with Hawktrewen Estate. This is my chance to help the community by solving an unresolved case. D.S Sumnor also needs my language skills.

Because you’re Welsh? Don’t all Heddlu have to be bilingual?

Yes, he needed that qualification to join the force, just like me. He speaks good Welsh for an Englishman, but he needed someone that spoke Romani. His Detective Inspector insisted that we talk to the suspect Twyla Locke in her own language, although she speaks Welsh and English.

Growing up, I visited my grandparents often. So I came into contact with Twyla’s people, and picked up Romani. Maybe that could become my third language, if I used it enough.

But they’re proud people that don’t suffer outsider fools well. DS Sumnor needs to tread carefully, if he wants to solve this case.

Are you concerned about the case? What do you think is going to happen next?

People will take sides, I fear. It won’t be easy remaining objective in my dealings with people I know. But that is a key part of the job. Hopefully, I can ensure that the victim gets justice, and the guilty are found. But I might have my hands tied by a senior officer that judges me by my appearance.

Do fellow officers judge you? What’s so strange about your looks?

My D.I, Fay Baines, doesn’t judge. She’s always been supportive. But there are others that have an attitude. I try to play down my image, especially when on duty. Off-duty, I’m probably more relaxed and unwilling to mention my job – and that can be useful if I’m undercover. What do you expect from a Goth policewoman?

Goth might explain your appearance. How would you describe your looks?

Dark and elusive. My looks are deceptive as I have dyed my dark brown hair to black. Before I changed my looks, some would say I was a typical Welsh girl. I’ve still got the heart-shaped face and pale white skin, but I’ve added strong black eyeliner, green eye-shadow and deep red lipstick.

The look seems subdued at the moment. Is that because you are on duty?

I sometimes wear this black trouser suit when I’m visiting families or for some interviews, like today’s. But, even on-duty, the norm is my black leather biker jacket, black T-shirt, black jeans, and my black Doctor Marten Dalton boots. Usually I add a studded black choker, black belt with studs and silver buckles, and black leather studded wrist.

Is there something that makes you a good detective?

Thinking outside the box? I never like to jump to the first conclusion, and try to find that hidden truth. A weird sort of deduction, some might say, especially when I use the studs on my bracers to work through the key points. If there’s no notepad to hand, then I can remember the points by letters that become a mnemonic. I also get what I call “a tingle in my tattoos” when something is wrong.

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2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250r

You have tattoos? They aren’t obvious.

Well the Police rules are specific, and say things like, “You should not have tattoos which could cause offence”

I was aware of the rules when I first thought about joining the force. Then I remembered that when I got my first tattoo at sixteen. I chose angel wings joined by a white rose on my shoulders. My second tattoo was stylized rose with thorns, on my lower back. The final tattoo is a small one on my hip of a thorny rose.

Hopefully the thorns are symbolic. What is your worst fear?

Swimming pools send shivers up my spine. All because I was nearly drowned at school by a bully trying to repeatedly duck me underwater. I now find that chlorinated water triggers the memory of swallowing foul-tasting water. But in the line of duty, I can handle pools. However, I’m still an avid swimmer, but that has to be wild swimming, in the sea off the Llyn Peninsula, or in suitable lakes or rivers in the area.

That would keep you fit and healthy, crucial for overpowering some criminals. Do you see yourself as heroic?

Well I’m a kookie crime buster that helps her community, but doesn’t conform, and doesn’t have a cape – just a super bike. But heroic is too emotive. I do my job, and although I suspect that some see me as an intense weirdo that is incapable of doing a normal policing job, I get results, even if the approach can seem offbeat.

Do you actually have a super bike?

It’s more of a sport bike, although it’s powerful enough for me. It’s a black Kawasaki Ninja 250r. When I bought it, second-hand for £3,500, with my mechanic brother Owen’s help, some of the family said I should have bought a second-hand car. Why? I get to drive enough squad cars at work, and leaning a bike into bends is much more fun. It was neon green, but, because that wasn’t my colour, my brother re-sprayed it for me, I dream of a black 2015 Indian Scout – but that would be outside my means.

Are you going to die in this story? Should you?

I don’t intend to give up that easily. I always say, “Failure is not an option,” so that has to be the same for ‘death’. I don’t even think my most negative colleagues would want that. However, if my death helped in some way then it might be acceptable. But then I can’t be in a sequel.

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