Happy New Year, everyone!
For the last several years instead of choosing a New Year’s resolution that’s hard to keep, I’ve been choosing One Word to live by for 365 days (or 366 days, as this is a leap year). This year, I’ve chosen:
Strive to be a better person. Strive to be a better writer. Strive to take chances and try new things. Strive to get out of my comfort zone. Strive to live for God every day. Strive to make some changes in my life. Strive to get a novel published and/or work on new writing projects. Strive to live life, instead of watching others live it without me. Strive to be more than I can be.
Striving isn’t always easy. I may need encouragement and a helping hand along the way. As I get older, the more I see that I can’t do everything alone.
Strive to help. Strive to heal. Strive to learn.
Once we stop striving, we stop living life and reaching for more. Continue to strive.
2015 was a year of change for me. Now that change has happened. It’s time to STRIVE!
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This blog was written in connection with OneWord365.com. Check it out. Forget New Year’s resolutions, just choose one word.
Last night, at 8:00 PM, I went to see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
As a Star Wars fan since childhood, I’ve waited all my life to see the continuation of the story. The prequels were fun (though some parts were terrible), but it didn’t answer the question, “What happened to Luke, Han, and Leia?” Finally, that question has been answered.
I promised that there would be no spoilers, and I’ll honor that, but let me tell you how I felt about The Force Awakens without giving anything away.
It’s Star Wars.
Let me clarify. It feels like Star Wars…the original Star Wars. I enjoy (most) of the prequels, but honestly, they don’t feel right. they’re too…computerized and false most of the time. It’s like New Coke compared to Coca-Cola Classic, sure it’s okay, but it’s just not the same. The Force Awakens feels like the original trilogy does. Yes, the tech to make the movie is better, but it has the same tone and vibe as the originals! I was not only satisfied, I was happy with and blown away by how it turned out.
For the two hours, I sat there with my mouth hanging open, my eyes glued to the screen. It was wonderful! I was in awe of everything I was seeing and feeling. It even made me cry…twice! There’s parts of this movie that just tugged on my emotions. AHHH! I WISH I COULD TELL YOU! I’ve never cried at a Star Wars movie before. It felt real. All the actors did great, and it was awesome to see the old cast mixing with the new cast. I loved the direction it took. I felt like it paid homage to A New Hope without directly coping it. There were a lot of elements from A New Hope in there, but it was different enough for me to not care!
It left me numb with excitement, and all I want to do was discuss it with others who have seen it. The movie had some great twists and turns that left me wanting more, and questions that I want answered. I felt like a kid again while I was watching it. And the trailers tell you nothing about the movie.
The Empire Strikes Back has always been my favorite Star Wars movie, with A New Hope coming in right behind it, but The Force Awakens may have just taken the Number Two slot. I can’t wait to see it again, and YES, I will be seeing it again.
The Force will be with you…always.
On November 1st, 2015, I began a band new novel to write in only 30 days. It’s been a long month, full of ups and downs. I was worried there for a while that I wouldn’t succeed this year, but I pushed through, and I did it! 30 days have passed since I started, and now I’m finished! Like every year, 50,000 was the number of words I needed to write to complete the challenge of NaNoWriMo, but I don’t consider it a victory unless I am able to finish the novel. I passed that goal by a significant amount and was able to write “The End”! Faithful readers of The Paradigm, I have written a novel in 30 days!
NaNoWriMo this year has been a complete, but difficult, victory!
The Priest of Tears is done, but it’s only a vomit draft, and I’ve written more words this year than any other year. You can imagine that after speed writing a 90,000+ word novel in only 30 days that it’s not any good, and you’d be right, but that’s what editing is for. It’s been a rough month. My brain hurts. It was hard, but I didn’t give up and I learned a lot about myself as a writer because of it. I would like to thank God for giving me the strength to do this. I also want to thank my family, friends, and my readers. Thank you for all the encouragement and advice this year.
Here is this year’s winner’s certificate:
With the start I had this year, and how unprepared I felt compared to the past years, I wasn’t sure how this novel was going to turn out. I’m very happy with it. I think it needs some surgery, but for a first draft, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I had a lot of unexpected things happen, but it ended up being a blast writing almost every scene. There’s no more days left in November, so NaNoWriMo is over for me this year. I have more writing projects I would like to work on, start, or finish this upcoming year, and I’m still working on finding an agent for Written in Silence. Overall, I’m excited for what the future holds for my writing.
Here are the final stats on my 2015 NaNoWriMo project:
Title: The Priest of Tears
Kill Count: 243 people
Chapters: 39 (37 regular, 1 interlude, and 1 epilogue)
Pages: 342 (that’s in Microsoft Word, double spaced, 12 point New Times Roman font)
What I learned this year: That when you feel like giving up, or feel like you’re going to fail, that’s when you need to push harder. You need to let the story write itself sometimes, and don’t be afraid of the unexpected.
To everyone who stuck with me though this month, thanks again! You’re the best!
Until next time,
Andrew Ronzino, A Man Who Wrote a Novel in 30 Days
Today I hit 90,000 words! This is the longest NaNoWriMo novel I’ve written yet! Very exciting!
Well, I didn’t finish today, but the good news is that I have only one more small scene to write, an epilogue. Tomorrow I will complete this year’s challenge! Because I didn’t finish tonight, I’ll be posting the stats tomorrow, and today I’ll give you the final excerpt to read. You can read the other three of this year’s excerpts by clicking the following links:
Once again, please keep in mind that this is a vomit draft. The only editing I have done to it was a simple check over to make sure it was readable. I’m not going to give you the context of this scene, I believe it explains itself within. Enjoy.
Symon had to control his emotions. He was joyful to be seeing her again, but blended in with that happiness was the knot of despair knowing that she was going to die in less than half an hour. Tears started to roll down his face.
He was struggling. He knew what he wanted to do, but he also knew that it would change everything. If he stopped her from going to the Mayor’s Lodge, she would not die. The Priest of Tears would raid the town, kill several people, and leave with the Mercy Blade. There would be a commotion, but by this time tomorrow, Symon and Beth would wed. He would never have the need for revenge that drove him to Kalvyn’s Crossing. He would never find a way to get into the Crown Masquerade, meet the king, and becoming the Mythic Cleric that would build a team that would lead to the downfall of the Priest of Tears. In short, if he stopped Beth from dying, the Priest of Tears would succeed in his plan.
But if he succeeded, Symon thought, he would never become the Priest of Tears and all those people will live, including Beth.
But that line of thought progressed to why the Five Divines chose him for this task in the first place. They obviously knew that something in the Arnyth’s plan would end up creating more problems than stopping him would. Symon had to trust the Five on that account. The Priest of Tears needed to be stopped. Symon had to be the one to do it, and the only way to set him on that path was the death of Beth.
But now that he was here seeing her walking down the street, he didn’t know if he could just let her go. While he wanted to be thankful for the opportunity of becoming a Mythic Cleric, the price for that was Beth’s life. He already paid it once, but now he had the chance to withdraw the transaction. He wanted Beth back. He had an opportunity to prevent her from dying, he needed to take it.
He stepped out of the shadows and followed her until he got closer to her. “Beth!” he called out.
She turned to him. “Symon?”
He had to keep in mind that from her perspective she just saw him moments ago, but be couldn’t keep his excitement out of his voice. “I uh…”
“Are you wearing a different shirt?” Beth said, eyeing him up and down. “Did Jey vomit on you again?”
Instead of trying to answer her question in ways he couldn’t explain he stepped up to her and kissed her passionately. She kissed him back with equal passion.
“You’re drunker than I thought,” she said when they broke off. “Maybe I should have had Culder take you home right now.”
“I’m more sober than I’ve ever been.”
She laughed. “That’s rich. I’ll remember you said that tomorrow when you complain about the hangover. I’ve got to go.” She turned to leave.
He grabbed her hand. “Don’t go, stay with me tonight.”
She looked back at him and gave him a tempting smile. “I’m sure you can wait one night, my love.”
“I don’t want to lose you, Beth.”
She arched an eyebrow. “I’m just taking care of a few things with Ellyn tonight. It won’t take long. I’ll see you in the morning.” She kissed him again. “Go have fun with your friends.”
Symon looked into her eyes, he wanted to hold her in his arms and never let go of her ever again. He wanted to steal her away, out of the line of danger. But if he did, he would have her, and countless people would still die, and time as he knew it could change forever.
The Five Divines chose him. They told him that themselves. His suffering spurred him into action, sent him to look for the Priest of Tears. He killed the Arnyth only an hour ago, and he was already abusing the power of the Mythic Blades in the same way…for the exact same reason. He even killed people to get them, granted it wasn’t murder, but still. That bloodshed lead to Symon merging with all five Mythic Blades, which allowed him to travel to his past and attempt to prevent the death of a loved one. He was just like the Priest of Tears.
That realization struck him cold. He needed to be the better man. He swore an oath to the Order of Faith and Honor; he was a Mythic Cleric. He needed to be the one to let go. He dropped her hand and gave her a tight hug, crying now. “I love you, Beth. I’ll always love you.”
“I love you too, Symon.”
He pulled away, and she reached up and wiped the tears away. “Look at you, you’re acting like a girl who was told she can’t court her first crush. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Symon let her go and watched her walk away, she turned to look back at him and blew him a kiss. His heart hurt, he would never see her again…she was going to die.
-Excerpt from The Priest of Tears; Chapter 33, by Andrew Ronzino
This is honestly one of my favorite scenes in the story. Symon is literally letting Beth walk to her death. It’s very touching. I remember feeling a little emotional when I wrote it.
Current word count for The Priest of Tears: 90,759/50,000!
Andrew Ronzino, Man of Mystery
So close. I’m almost there. I’m nearing the end. I have about two or three more big scenes left, possibly only two more chapters, so long as the story doesn’t insist on anything else being there. If I don’t finish tomorrow, I’ll for sure be finishing Monday…I have to finish Monday, that’s the 30th. It’s finish or fail. I’m thinking I’ll finish.
My post tomorrow will either be my victory stats or the final excerpt, depending on how things go tomorrow. If I’m able to finish, I’ll post the final stats. If I can’t quite make it tomorrow, I’ll throw up the last excerpt I’ll be sharing for this story and give the stats on Monday.
This story has consumed me for a month. It’ll be sad to see it end.
Two more days. Two or three more major scenes. One or two more chapters left.
“The End” is coming!
Current word count for The Priest of Tears: 87,721/50,000!
Until the The End or the Excerpt,
Andrew Ronzino, Pterodactyl
How do you end a story?! No, seriously, how?
I love to write. I love every aspect of writing. I’m even one of those weirdos who like the editing process. So far, I’ve written nine complete manuscripts, including my six NaNoWriMo projects. Some are in their first draft still, where as others are well beyond that. One of those was co-authored with my friend Lizzy. You would think that after all that I’d know how to end a damn story, right?
Some writers struggle with the beginning of their story, others with the middle, I struggle with the end. I don’t mean the climax, I’m okay with that, I mean what happens after that, the wrap up. I look at what I’m writing and think to myself, “I just beat Lord of the Rings for the most endings ever”…even though that’s probably not true. Seriously, way too many endings.
Oh, I struggle through the beginning and middle as well, don’t get me wrong–
Okay, enough of that. I do struggle with those things like everyone else, but the endings is where I get stumped. How do I wrap everything up? How do I bring things to a nice conclusion. I read novels by brilliant authors and when I reach the end I feel satisfied, unless it’s Mockingjay or Gatefather, those books had a very disappointing endings. However, for the most part, I look at novels like The Amber Spyglass and think to myself, “how can I create a fantastic ending like that?”
I’m just not good at wrapping things up. I really need to work on that. In some of my work I’ve had to adjust the ending several times before I was happy with it. I have a feeling I may have to do the same with this novel. Now that The Priest of Tears had been dealt with, what do I do with Symon? I know where I’d like to go with him, maybe set things up for possible series potential (without cliffhanging hooks that is), but how do I get him there?
The next few days of NaNoWriMo will be dealing with the wrap up and ending of the novel. Let’s see how this goes.
If you’re a writer and you have any advice for ending novels, I’ll be happy to hear what you have to say.
Current word count for The Priest of Tears: 85,661/50,000!
Until the 28th,
Andrew Ronzino, Cut to Black