November Afternoon Tea with SJ + Know the Novel Part 2

Good afternoon!

I can’t believe a month has already passed and I’m typing up this post. (TBH, I actually don’t want to think about this month ending.) But anyhow, November’s nearing an end and it means I get to sit down with cups of teas and chat about my life. 


This month I’m snagging Know the Novel tag from Christine. I know Merie Shen was doing it and a couple of other bloggers I know, and it looked so much fun I couldn’t resist! So here I’ll intrude with my current WIP for Meno-Wrimo and start from part 2. 

But  before I carry off with this, pour yourself a steaming cup of herbal tea. I’m having Camomile which is an excellent antidote for my nerves (!) and will probably have rosehip later as well. 


Here we go…

1. How’s the writing going overall?

I wish I can say it’s been amazing, which is not true at all… *insert sad face*

In fact, this month’s writing has been slow. For every day I hit 2K or more, there would be a day I barely scraped in a few hundred. So at this point, I don’t think I’ll be able to complete my goal of 50K.

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Finding out mysteries I didn’t know existed! For example, my MCs (they’re siblings) come across information I didn’t know about in their search for this Spell called the 9th Chart. There’s an uncle I didn’t know about, there’s a confession that wasn’t planned (which is exactly what confessions are), and murders (okay, that was totally planned) and a myriad of things like that. 

3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

When I started out, I didn’t really like Sion, the older brother, since I had to literally exert myself to write in his POV. But now that I’ve been writing, I find I’m super fascinated by his story and how they’re intertwined with his sister’s.

4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

You mean the scandalous family history I uncovered that had another secret layer to it with as much necromancy in it as the first?

5. Have you come across any problem areas?

Have you come across any problem areas? (You know when I start answering questions with another question I have a problem.) Well, there is this one problem I have in that I’ve reached almost 130K into the novel and finally got to the start of the midpoint…

6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Consistency. I’m proud to say that although I haven’t been able to write as much every day as I would have liked to, I’ve only missed a couple of writing days in this month. Simply showing up to my catastrophic WIP surely counts as a victory. 

7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

I want to say Lystra because she’s so much fun, but I would definitely be Sion. And no, I’d probably not make different actions since he’s practically based off me. #sorrynotsorry

8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favourite snippets!

Since I started this novel in April, I guess I’ll go back right to the beginning…

When I was twelve, I failed the entrance exam of a prestigious magical institution known as Woodstone Abbey to some. This academy, located in the Mirrored world where everything was the same as the world you and I live in but–you guessed it, yes–it had magic. And surprise, we’re stuck in the non-magical side of the mirror, and we have to try extra hard to get into a magical institution. I know, it sounds pretentious. 

But it really wasn’t in our situation. 

S. J. Barnard

9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)

I’m handwriting this novel, which comes with mishaps like cramped hands, mostly legible (but sometimes not) handwriting, & c. The most interesting thing that happened during writing is that I’ve created another secret society on top of the three I had and sabotaged the blooming friendship between one of the MCs. Again, #sorrynotsorry!

10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

Writing looks like anything these days, since I write whenever I can. I usually try to block out my surroundings listening to my Woodstone or mood. soft-intense playlist drinking teas and hot chocolate and apple cider by the litres. I try not to distract myself on the phone by playing music on it so that I can’t wander off to use other apps, but Instagram is always interesting to wander off into…

And that’s it for today! 

Thank you for reading!  How was your November? Did you do NaNoWriMo? If so, how did it go? What WIPs are you working on currently? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

5 thoughts on “November Afternoon Tea with SJ + Know the Novel Part 2

  1. I thought I was alone in my handwriting!! This is awesome. I handwrote 50k for NaNo in 2019 and 20k for Camp, but I’m typing this fall because I got tired of retyping what I already wrote. Although I actually do end up with better writing when I handwrite and then type… it takes so much longer. 😛 How do you count your handwritten words? Does your hand hurt? Forgive my inquisitiveness — I’m just super excited that I found someone else who’s handwritten for NaNo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, no worries! I’m glad there’s another handwriter on the block, too. 😉
      I count my handwriting by first establishing how many words I have on average in the first four lines that are paragraphs, then calculate from there. If I have a short sentence or indent, I try to match that segment with another one to complete the sentence…so I find the average words in a given line and count the lines.
      And yes, my hand starts hurting after 2.5K-ish. 😂 So I usually take a break after that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Isn’t it fun when writing projects totally surprise you? I honestly feel sorry for total plotters who don’t have surprise confessions/information/scandalous family history/etc. pop up. 🙂

    Wow, 130k and you’ve barely gotten to the midpoint? That’s going to be a long project!

    I handwrite, too! My writing somehow comes out different if I write on the computer…and I’m such a slow writer that I don’t want to be sitting in front of a screen while words s l o w l y are wrung from my brain. But the typing up afterwards is brutal. I’m still not done typing up the 30K I did for Camp NaNo in July. XD If I do Camp NaNo again, I might see if I can make myself do it on the computer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the fun part is when unexpected things spring up! I consider myself a plantser since I loosely plan and also pants.

      And yes, it’s been a long project…something I didn’t realise until recently, too!

      It’s nice to see there are handwriters still present. 😆 I get what you mean about typing v. writing…it does come out differently, although I’m not sure why. 😂 I’ve still yet to type out my WIP…


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