(Or Why I’m Failing 2k16)

Welcome to story time, my children. Today I am going to tell you why I am not going to meet a very large personal deadline, and why I am not even mad about it (bro).

There is no way I am going to finish #Rhanforyolife by spring break. Because I have never, not once, written 5,000 words a week. One time I got close, but still fell short. But regardless of these many failures, am so, so proud of what I have accomplished.

I currently have almost 13,000 words written in the story. That is the most I have ever written on one project. When I began, I did not think I would pursue this story beyond writing a first draft. I thought it would essentially be an exercise to practice diligence and just getting words on the page. But as I put words on the page the world building, the characters, and the plot began to slowly flesh out and become something new and exciting!

I still can’t guarantee I will pursue the story, but it has become something I want to write, rather than something I force myself to do. That is why I am not afraid to miss my deadline, because I know I won’t give up by default. I will finish.

I am changing my weekly goal to 3000 words, because I want to have an achievable goal. It feels good to succeed, and I want to give myself that reward. I still want to finish this draft by the end of the year (preferably the school year), but I feel like either is doable without driving myself insane, which is what I have been doing these past few weeks.

XX. Shelby Jo

P.S. Know that I am in the middle of midterms right now. Then you may look at my word count. And laugh.

Weekly Goal: 3,000

Weekly Count: 48

Total Count: 12,902




“Jackson has lived his entire life surrounded by rumors of the legendary Gryfinach Corps, a militarized espionage organization supposedly disbanded when the nation of Rhan transferred to a democratic government. But when the nation’s peace, and democracy, are threatened, Jackson is rapidly swept up into the world of the Corps. Jackson and his companions Taryn and Cather must navigate the deadly waters of Rhan’s new political system in order to protect their nation, and each other.


Okay, so I realize that synopsis seems pretty lame and generic, but I’m comfortable keeping it that way for a while. I have what I need to write, and more will be revealed to you if I am successful in finishing the first draft.

My goal is to have this first draft finished by spring break, which gives me 15 weeks to write what I estimate will be about 75,000 words. That means I have to write 5,000 words a week. So, my Monday posts will be returning to their normal rants, but I will be keeping a running word count and goal on all of my posts.


I am honestly in shock that this actually worked. AND SO EXCITED.

xx. Shelby Jo

Setting the Stage

I am so swamped with final projects, essays, and exams that I finally came up with a decent name for this place and honestly, that feels like enough.

SO WELCOME TO RHAN. This fantastical realm is based primarily on medieval Celtic-Germanic culture (think Beowulf) and it’s everything I loved about fantasy as a child, so I really hope I can make it work.

Rhan is a place where the sun rarely shines, and the lives of its people clearly reflect that. It’s dark, foggy, and the elements are often raging.

A parliamentary government has recently been established among the nation’s more entitled citizens, and the culture is moving towards urbanization and supposed “progress” but Rhan has a long history of violent, authoritarian rule, and much of the novel looks at if and how the people can overcome that history.

I want to world to capture the feel and mood of a high fantasy world, though the plot and characters don’t necessarily reflect that genre. Also, I don’t think there will be any supernatural elements at play, though I am developing some mythology.

I’M SORRY THIS SEEMS REALLY WEAK. I promise (mostly to myself, but you know) that I have legitimate amount actually finished, but there is no good way to share it without spoilers and whatnot. Hopefully you will get a better understanding of the setting next week, when I have the plot arc finished.

xx. Shelby Jo

Meet the Cast!

…of this still unnamed project. SORRY.

  • Taryn
  1. Taryn is our leading lady. There are some other female characters floating around in my mind, but she’s the only female POV the story will follow.
  2. Taryn has short, dirty blond hair that she tries to keep back, but usually ends up in her face anyway. She has a long, oval face and sharp features and green eyes to fit it.
  3. When the story begins she is 21 years old and a member of the mysterious Corps.
  • Cather
  1. Cather is Taryn’s partner and long-time best friend. They grew up together, joined the Corps as a team, and managed to stay that way.
  2. Cather is tall and slender, with hazel eyes and dark brown hair that’s usually perfect. He comes across as arrogant and attractive in the way that moneyed people usually do.
  3. Cather is a year older than Taryn, and comes from a wealthy noble family.
  • Jackson
  1. Jackson is the baby of the tale. He is a day dreaming teen-aged barkeep from the Outer Provinces. He’s whisked into the world of the Corps and the government and the wealthy inner provinces by a chance meeting with Taryn.
  2. He has black hair, blue eyes, and full lips, giving him a puppy-ish look he doesn’t know how to use to his advantage. He’s excitable and out spoken, and has strong ideals.
  3. Most of the action of the novel is centered around Jackson and his decisions. He is the primary mover of the plot and probably the main protagonist.

Stay tuned for world building next week! (UGH that’s going to be the hardest part of this plotting thing and I’m really not looking forward to it).

xx. Shelby Jo

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

Because even though I don’t participate, I’m pretty sure there’s a code that writing blogs can’t talk about anything else during the month of November.

Yup. I don’t participate. I love the idea of NaNoWriMo (not to mention the community kicks ass), and I tried over and over again to get into it throughout high school, but always to no avail. First of all, November is quite possibly the worst possible month for me. I mean, I am always busy, but  living on a Christmas tree farm doesn’t work well with writing a novel in November. Secondly, I’ve truthfully never finished a novel, and an online community doesn’t really add any pressure or incentive to that task. I need to figure out my own system, and do it fast.

But how do I do that? Everyone always says practice, practice, practice; try, try, try. So I try to practice. And, I would say I’m getting there. But, my stupid brain is so active, that I come up with new characters and story ideas the instant the last ones are leaving my pen. That’s my real issue; not motivation, not time management, but that I don’t know how to avoid those kinds of creative distractions.

So, this November, rather than draft an entire novel, I am going to outline and plot my current novel idea. My Monday posts for the rest of the month will probably be progress summaries of that process, so brace yourself for my un-bridled frustration 😉

xx. Shelby Jo