Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

My Goal for NaNo — Finish “Changing Faces”

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Folks, I’m going to set this in stone right now: my goal for NaNo is to finish, for once and for all, my novel CHANGING FACES (a non-Elfyverse spiritual, transgender romantic urban fantasy).

NaNo, for those of you who are new to writing, is National “finish a novel” month — or “write a novel month” if you’re so inclined.  Writers are encouraged to write 50,000 words or more on a novel, and some writers work the whole rest of the year setting up what they’re going to write in November because it’s become a very big deal.

Me, I don’t do that — I don’t plan my whole year around November — but I do have this novel, CHANGING FACES, that has been in need of completion for a few years now.  What stopped me was this: my husband’s death.  That, and only that, has been the main reason CHANGING FACES hasn’t made a whole lot of progress in recent years; I have finished a few more chapters, and am very close to the end, but up until now I haven’t been up to writing the resolution of this novel — how these two lovers, who are transgendered through no fault of theirs (a Deity figure intervened, for reasons that seemed good at the time), manage to become reunited.

Now, there’s a coma involved — body displacement — with only one of the lovers awake and aware (knowing full well he’s in the wrong body, but not knowing why the Hell he’s in this situation), while the other one is speaking with an alien life form inside her own head (but also in the wrong body).  In effect, these two lovers have “changed faces” — the man’s in the woman’s body, the woman in the man’s — due to a tumultuous situation that happened long before either one met the other.

For the longest time, I didn’t know how to get these two out of this situation — reversing the “body displacement” won’t work.  Having it all be “a dream — a terrible, terrible dream!” (as Pam on “Dallas” said years ago when a whole season was wiped out) — won’t work, either.  This has to be “played straight,” or it won’t work at all — and as some of it is really funny, I have to let it play out the way it wants.  Not the way I want.

I now have an ending that works — not just the final scene, which I’ve had for years, but the whole ending.  I have the additional characters I need.  Now I just have to see how it all “plays out,” that’s all.

So that’s my goal — I plan to finish up CHANGING FACES in November.  No, it won’t take me 50,000 words to finish it; it might take 30,000.  (I am already at 108,000, but I believe a few thousand will go after the final edit.)  It will take a lot of time and energy to do . . . but I believe it’s worth it, and I believe the final result will be a positive one, which is why I’m discussing it at all.

So expect some CHANGING FACES updates in November, along with my irregular “Elfyverse” updates (if and when I make any progress in any of the ELFY-derived novels), and of course the usual flotsam and jetsam of my other, non-publishing related posts.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Posted in Writing

6 Responses

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  1. Mind you, it’s a spiritual love story between two people who are meant to be soul mates — who _are_ soul mates — but a terrible past trauma has shaken their faith. I quote a few Psalms from the Bible in there: there’s a reason those Psalms have lasted for millenia, because they still speak to us.

    Barb Caffrey

    October 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

  2. Wow, we need to stay in touch for several reasons. 1) I am also working on a novel of fantasy that has just needed a “little more” work for years now. I am so ready to knock this thing out.
    2) I have been tempted to join NaNo for awhile, but as the father of 3 kids, my time is precious to me. But I have a plan…or at least part of a plan.

    Anyway, I know I could use the encouragement to FINISH IT…for the love of God, sounds like we both need to just finish our perspective works!


    October 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    • Aaron, I wish you very good luck, and I will try to stay “in touch,” as you say. 🙂

      My thought all these years has been to do whatever I can, whenever I can do it. Life _has_ interfered; there’s no other way to say it. I have three or four of my own projects (all novellas or novels) to finish, including this one; I have two of my husband’s novels to edit and finish; I have short stories in progress that stall out that I try to finish, and I have short stories and novellas I try to place. (Here’s hoping one of ’em will place sometime soon.)

      In your case, with three children and an active life (from what it sounds), your best guess to keep working on it is to carry something with you to take notes on. If you’re more the old-fashioned type, like me (or my late husband), you can use a notebook — and/or an e-book device or cell phone that has a note-reader on it or can be uploaded — as Michael, my late husband, loved his Mobipocket Reader and used it to take notes on some of the time. If you like newer technology, use the e-book reader and possibly something to leave vocal notes on — whether it’s an IPod, or an attachment to a cell phone (I know some of them can take voice commands, and I imagine some would be able to store notes along the same line as a much more old-fashioned tape recorder), or even going back and using a tape recorder of some sort, turn that on and record your notes as you’re driving, and keep your notes in the same place (Michael wrote ’em down, first, in a physical notebook; then he transferred it to his Mobipocket reader and added more notes to that) whenever you’re _not_ driving.

      How many words have you written on your fantasy novel, and what is it about?

      And I’m like you — officially, I’m not on the NaNo Web site and I probably won’t be because what I’m doing is trying to finish an _extant_ novel. But I do plan to take part in NaNo for the first time in several years by what I call “alternate means” — finishing up what’s there, and doing my best to get to _some_ sort of ending. I may still end up revising it afterward, but then, many people do that in NaNo — some people just write any old thing to keep their creativity flowing, and kick out much of it later (I can’t do that, but everyone’s process is different), but use the “bones” of what they managed to write during November as their new novel, or novella, or what-have-you.

      I think you can do it and I think you will do it; you just need to tell yourself you want to see how it ends, that’s all. And try to be patient with yourself if you block now and again. (I’ve blocked on this MSS over and over again because of one reason — for a long time, I couldn’t envision a happy ending. Now, I think I can get there, even though I’m still not sure how. It’s progress, so I’ll take it.)

      Barb Caffrey

      October 29, 2011 at 1:34 am

  3. I’m not writing any novels, but, I will be trying to finish up passing April’s Law Wisconsin, so I’ll be writing to people. Sometimes I’m wordy, so, I’ll have to do it when I’m in more of a concise mode.


    October 29, 2011 at 4:15 am

    • Lika, what you’re doing is far more important than NaNo, so keep up the good work! 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      October 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

  4. […] in case anyone here was waiting for a CHANGING FACES update (more about CF is available here) – a non-Elfyverse urban fantasy, which I was working on in November (I had to put it […]

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