Once Upon A Time…

NaNoWriMo Blog #3

National Novel Writing Month: write 50,000 words in 30 days.

In mornings, coffee is always the answer

Good morning!

I apologize for Sunday’s blog being a little late.

Life happens.

It’s Thanksgiving Day!

Many people take this time to gather family close, to be thankful for what we have.

In our busy lives, sometimes that’s hard to remember to take the time to do.

Be Thankful.

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Dear Reader, I am thankful for you!

If you celebrate this day or not, you don’t have to be thankful only on this day, it can be a daily practice!

Experts do say the thankful mindset helps us live longer.

So in the name of both thankfulness, family, and new beginnings, let’s get to it.

Whether those be human or animal loved ones, snuggle close, grab a snack or a drink, and let’s lose ourselves in story.

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Okay so where we left off.

If you haven’t read the first blog where I talk about building characters, you can find it here, and the second one, about outlining and planning the story, is here.

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We have the story we want to tell, so how to begin it?

We’ve decided to tell this from the perspective of Grandfather. In the story, life is all about family, and for him it doesn’t change much until Orcaman appears – that is, within the time we’re wanting to tell this story. His backstory has significant changes, but it’s not his story we’re telling, it’s his daughter’s.

That could be a future story idea!! Always keep a look out for those ideas!!

Grandpa will also notice Orcaman behaving oddly, in a way that he knows only because Cath’s mother was a mermaid.

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What action should we choose?

In Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid, she shows her “oddness” by combing her hair with a fork. (See also Dinglehopper)

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If you’ve seen the movie Splash! (1984), they have a silly scene where Daryl Hannah’s character eats a lobster, shell and all, to the shock and offense of the upper crust dining around them. A link to watch the scene is here (sorry for the quality, it’s a video of a TV screen. I didn’t film it).

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So let’s think of something new and funny to invent.

Maybe he offers to help with the dishes?

Oh! Maybe the sponge reminds him of a friend?

Spongie, a creation of the author

Orcas are usually seen around May through September. So maybe he gets left behind when the orcas go south for the winter, when he would normally see his sponge friend.

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And maybe the family doesn’t realize sponges come from the sea? Grandfather would know, with his diving experience, and maybe his merfolk experience?

Keep in mind, this isn’t the only way to do it, and likely would be considered wrong by someone who prefers their own method.

And there’s alllllllll sorts of traditional methods that are THE way to do things… That is, until someone else does things a little different and we decide THAT’S a cool way to do it!

There is something about bending the rules, just a bit.

We’re all a little punk rock in our own way, right? ;c)P

Check out my dad’s cool art
Jimmys Burnin Art

Do what you want.

You have the wand (pen, keys, quill).

Work the magic how you want it!

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This is going to take place in 1994, so no cellphones or Facebook or YouTube or TikTok.

To enrich your words when writing in a different time period, research what life was like then. If you don’t already remember, or even if you do, this can help you fill in the blanks and weave snippets of info into your story to really make your world feel authentic. This is a link for one site I found for 1994. Or there’s always Wikipedia here.

A few other notable things to potentially sprinkle throughout: Pagers, Barbara Walters, Shawshank Redemption, Apollo 13 (1995, but still), The Magic School Bus, Fresh Prince, Bill Hicks dies, 1994 Winter Olympics, first photo of Pluto from Hubble, the Channel Tunnel is finished between England and France, and a whole lot more…

No, that’s not a garage opener or ancient MP3 player.

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In The Beginning…

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Beginnings need to start with a bang, or something that gets the reader’s interest, and holds it. Which is so difficult these days with everyone’s 12 second attention span.

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So if we’re taking this from the perspective of the Grandfather relaying his story to his grandkids, maybe they’re just getting out of school for Thanksgiving break.

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We could start with:

Pat waited for his grandchildren.

Houston, we have a problem!

It starts a story, but it doesn’t make the reader feel anything.

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(90’s aesthetic)

Let’s try for something that evokes the senses of the reader, to make them feel like they’re part of the story.

The tempest of his grandchildren’s feet announced their presence before Ashley and Jessica’s excited voices reached Pat’s rusty eardrums.

That’s better!

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To make this story mean more to the reader (unbeknownst to them), we’ll present the challenge or lesson that’s needed for the protagonist, Cath, to learn by the end of the story.

She will be overcoming her past, she will need to see things as they really are, and she will have to trust again. She will make the choice her father should have.

So let’s weave that in to the first paragraph.

The tempest of his grandchildren’s feet announced their presence before Ashley and Jessica’s voices excited about turkey and cranberry sauce reached Pat’s rusty eardrums. On their tails, Cath, their haggard mother, keys in mouth, dumped her armload of mail on the already heaped pile. As usual, she missed the coat hook, coat and purse landing with a thud. She stepped over these in her typical distracted shuffle, not noticing her father until she nearly bumped into him. The jangling between her lips and wide, surprised eyes reminded him of a Chinook salmon sporting a Grand Slam lure.

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We get a sense that the mother is overwhelmed and distracted, as she doesn’t notice she missed the coat hook (there’s some redundancy with the word “coat”, but we’ll fix that in the editing phase, a future blog), and nearly runs into her dad. A little of the grandfather’s fishing background comes through his view of the scene. The little hint of the food is all we need to piece together it’s around Thanksgiving.

See how I weaved all these things together?

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I also still have not named Orcaman. He will need to have a name.

Now that we have an idea for the story, maybe we can tie it all together with what we decide to call him?

He could have a simple name, like Bob.

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But let’s try for something deeper in meaning.

What does he symbolize?

Let’s look back at my first blog post where we brainstormed ideas for his character.

Orcas are apex predators with complicated family structures and are highly social, comparable to elephants and certain primates. They live in matriarchal pods where the grandmother is the fiercest hunter, teaching her children and grandchildren where the best hunting grounds are. A type of dolphin, they can be seen playing with each other and other sea creatures, if not eating them. After age 15 or so, orcas begin mating, but females return to their Grandmother’s pod to give birth while the males return to their own grandmothers. Interestingly, female orcas go through menopause. Thinking human-wise, this gives me the impression of a man that has a strong familial bond, playful, and maybe wanders around, putting himself in dangerous situations for the adrenaline rush. VERY close to his mother and grandmother. We’ll give him black hair, he’ll always be running and jumping (enjoys basketball?), and a really silly sense of humor. They are called killer whales for a reason. Maybe he’ll beat the crap out of someone trying to mug the protagonist? Little details to keep in mind for later. Being a sea creature, he would not want to be kept inside a home. And maybe he lost one of his senses when he morphed to human? Eye sight? A lack of sense of smell could be humorous to exploit. Archetype: Explorer

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We can also see here that both he and Grandfather have strong motivating factors via their family. And possibly some butting of heads with customs from his pod’s matriarchal-based values versus Grandfather’s more patriarchal upbringing.

So to compare, a society where (if they were capable of filming) they would likely have a movie called The Podmother, full of seal violence:

The author took way too long to make this amazing thing lol

An aging matriarch as she passes control of the pod down to her daughter, focusing on the daughter’s transformation from reluctant outsider to ruthless pod boss.

Hmmm… I may need to write that story, too!

I tend to get sidetracked.

Back to this story.

We decided he’s from a society where they place importance on motherhood (or parenthood in general) and killing.

Ooooh maybe his name in his language means Brutal Guardian of The Mothers?

Kind of a Viking-ish name.

Photo by Fernando Cortu00e9s on Pexels.com and some adulteration by the author’s hand

Well, maybe their society is similar to Vikings? Or at least our understanding of them.

Oooooohhh maybe there’s an ancient myth we can cite (or write!) that can explain a god punishing or rewarding a Viking for protecting a group of mothers…or maybe not protecting a bunch of mothers? Punishment!

It could be the tale Grandfather tells his children! It could be something like this:

Long, long ago, Frigg, the goddess of motherhood, watched over a special group of her children, mothers with hair of marbled black and white. These mothers were the sacred daughters of Skadi, a giantess and a goddess of the mountains, and Njord, a god of the sea. The daughters debated where to give birth, as being from both mountain and sea, no two daughters could agree. Frigg watched with concern, as she knew their time was growing desperate. They decided to make a compromise. A small island that barely classified as a beach bordered the two kingdoms of land and sea. Seeyal was a slick sea captain that promised to see the mothers safely to shore. Seeyal had a weakness for salmon, especially smoked with honey. What they did not know was that this was during a mighty feast that Aegir, a larger sea god, was throwing. The smell of the honeyed salmon wafted up as Seeyal crossed the sea with the mothers. Seeyal couldn’t stand it, promised the tide would carry them on until he returned, and dove overboard. Drunk on honied salmon, he joined a lively dance. His exuberance flamed the dancing party to cause such a ruckus, it spun the current into a whirlpool, waves taking over the ship, and sucked the mothers into the sea. Frigg had just enough time to change the mothers’ forms to half sea creatures before they drowned, forever trapping them between land and sea. The goddess was so distraught by the loss that she changed Seeyal’s form as well, to be eternally chased by the drowned mothers.

That could work!

Okay, but we still need a name.

I know, I know, I’m getting there!

Through a long process via Google Translate, I reduced the name in Norwegian down to Mother’s Defender: Mødres Forsvarer.

Let’s have his nickname be Fors.

Yay! We have a name!

Now I can begin the process of weaving all this together.

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What will you weave?

Check in Sunday to see what I do next with the story!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and if you don’t celebrate that, tell someone you love them.

Thanks for pretending with me! See you next time!

Take Care,

❤ K

Published by karaluna

Kara was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, in a tiny town, Sequim, Wa. The closest mall was two and a half hours away in Silverdale, Seattle a ferryboat ride away. She spent her childhood playing in the woods, exploring her imagination, and learning to be a mechanic from her father. Creative writing was always an outlet. She started a career as a motorcycle mechanic, to later find she wanted to try something else. After several career changes, she finds herself yet again on the road with only the journey ahead. She writes whenever she can. She has been published in her previous work’s newsletter, The Healthy Heron.

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