Alright, so NaNoWriMo kind of crept up on me this year. With everything else that’s been going on in my life, it’s like “who the fuck cares about a little writing competition?! You have real life shit to worry about, woman”. But then I realise that I’ve been in this limbo since September, and while I’ve gone nowhere, be it personally or creatively, the world has continued to turn. Like a recent fortune cookie said to me: “Time waits for no man”.
Using the delightful Wordle app, here’s what my NaNoWriMo draft has to say for itself so far:
Turns out I like a lot of looking and turning, as I predicted, as well as a lot of people “still” wanting to “just” to something, a lot of “little” “moments”, and every other superfluous and unnecessary word you can think of. It would also appear that Catrina isn’t the main character in this story. Devaux is.
I’m looking forward to comparing the completed draft with this cloud, and indeed later drafts, in order to see whether I’m improving or regressing.
Just wanted to pass on my congratulations to those who have succeeded in their NaNoWriMo task this year, and to commiserate those who have not quite met the challenge, whether through their own faults, or simply through life getting in the way.
The important thing is that we should be there for each other…now, and in the future.
With that said, a pat on the back for all, who succeeded, and a reminder that your attempts — regardless of their outcomes — were valiant, to say the least.
For many, this journey is not over yet.
I was hoping to save this epic song for the day I finally finished my entire first series, but considering the amount of time it’s taken me just to get this far, by the time the day comes I finally send the first series out to pasture, music itself (along with the Internet, fast food, and possibly mankind in general) will have become obsolete, and we’ll all be living in suspended animation, stored in pods on the moon.
So, yes, this is it, the end of another NaNoWriMo; hope you had a creative November, because that’s it for another year!
My spelling has suffered significantly throughout the course of this ordeal, which is of course excusable, with the advent of Spell Checkers, no doubt when I’m finished I can just sweep it under the rug in one fell swoop. What the Spellcheck doesn’t check for is sheer moronic stupidity, of course, where you put completely inappropriate and yet correctly-spelled words into the fray. See my previous example of the man who was sticky. I’m starting to think that the person who designed the layout of the modern computer keyboard was a bit of a sadist.
It doesn’t help that the T is so close to the Y, and it’s so easy to write Slaters instead of Slayers, leaving the impression running around in my mind that there’s an army of Saved by the Bell’s AC Slater clones running around killing vampires willy nilly. That did cut off my creative flow whenever I spelled it wrong, after I’d stopped pissing my pants with laughter, of course. It’s the little things that keep you going, after all.
Overall, I’ve had a similar experience this year to what I had the year previous. I managed with only occasional, mild discomfort to throw out the daily word count, but as with last year’s attempt, the novel itself is not finished.
But let’s talk about that later. First, let’s see how I did!
So yeah, there we go. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. Whether or not you see this as overly impressive will greatly depend on your own writing ability. My family right now think I’m about as brilliant as a really brilliant thing, just for trying to do this, let alone for actually finishing.
And there we go, 50k, written slowly and consistency (more or less) for 30 days (give or take, considering I have actually finished early, although in fairness to me, up until literally last Wednesday, I did think it ended today, so…). Not really much more to say on all that except…woo.
You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m not exactly jumping 15ft in the air in ecstasy at the prospect of having done all this writing, and you’d be right, and earn yourself a shiny make-believe medal for your intuitiveness.
I’m very glad I did it, of course. It’s been very quiet for a good ten or more months prior to this exercise, where I did almost nothing writing-related, which — varying degrees of excuses aside — just wasn’t on. So I am grateful for the timing of this opportunity to jump back into it, and again this year the online writing communities have made it easier to gel back into the creative process.
But I’m now in a position of ‘What Do I Do Now?’. I haven’t finished the novel itself yet, not by quite a way, if the outline can be adhered to. If I am to finish it ever, I will need to continue writing after others have stopped. I suspect the story will end around 80 – 90k, so essentially, I need another month of putting out the same numbers.
Anyway, that’s enough complaining. I still did it, and I’m giving myself a fat slap on the back for the effort. The important thing is I’m back into the swing of the whole writing thing right now, and that’s a big…no, massive…no, gargantuan improvement, and one that I can’t be thankful enough for.
Bring it on, December! I’m ready to go another round!
How are all you Wrimos getting on with your words? Have you reached your goal, and have you told all the story you wanted to in the word count? Best of luck in these last remaining days!
The end is in sight for another year of NaNoWriMo. I’m only around 1 day behind on my word count, although I somehow managed to confuse myself (it’s not hard) into thinking that NaNo this year ended on a Sunday (a conclusion I reached with some confidence because November started on a Monday…yes, I know, I’m an idiot), so I have two extra days I didn’t realise I had. I thought this weekend would be the big rush (which it inevitably still will be), but aparently I have a longer failsafe.
So, this time next week, we’ll be in December, the festive month of Christmas (or Winterval, if we’re being abhorrently PC about the names of Britain’s festivities — I call it Christmas, and I don’t even like Christmas all that much), I will (hopefully) have a 50,000+ word Scrivener document, albeit with a hefty chunk of remaining scenes to write, although on the upside, I do have those scenes outlined, so I know what I’m doing, it’s going to be a case of maintaining the drive to continue drilling out a couple of hundred words a day until it’s finished.
Which I might not do, but anyway, moving on!
So it occured to me that thus far I haven’t come across anything hilariously bad in re-reading. That may well be that I haven’t actually done any re-reading of it yet, but that’s not the reason I bring it up. The reason I bring it up is because I did find this wonderful little typo, which I couldn’t resist sharing.
The line should’ve been:
The man was blonde, tall and stocky, with broad shoulders…
The line actually read:
The man was blonde, tall and sticky…
It’s best to remember that all this writing lark — regardless of whether or not you do it ‘just for fun’ or with a serious and driven long-term goal to venture into the world of publication — it’s still about having fun, about enjoying yourself, and — of course — about telling the story you’ve always wanted to to tell.
Good luck in these closing days!
WordCount-o-Rama. Note how the progress bar has now gone to a not entirely pleasant greeny/yellowy/vomity hue. Yum.
Week three is in full-swing now. I started the week on a slippery slope back towards falling behind on my word count, but a bottle of Pinot Grigio and one crazy three-hour Write or Die session and I was back on track.
But there’s a problem here, something that was evident last year and is already becoming clear to me now.
I’m not going to finish this novel in November.
That’s not to say I won’t get to 50,000 words. If I keep writing at the rate I’m going, I’ll be able to get through to 50k by the skin of my teeth, and maybe a fraction more.
Problem is that I can write about anything, if I need to; I can wank on for pages about the goddamn “whispering wind” if it means I will get my word count up, and — at least in parts thus far — I think that’s what I’ve done. That’s not to say I’m not setting decent foundations; it’s just that I can say with more than a bit of confidence that a good portion of what I’ve wrriten is just crap fluff.
But let’s be gentle and considerate to my fragile psyche for the moment, if only to remind me that I’m doing well (I had my Granddad on the phone earlier, who — when I told him I was at 30,600 words as of today — moved away from the phone and called across the room to my Nan “She’s written thirty THOUSAND words!”, which I have no shame in saying made me feel just a bit good).
The problem is that even after the total 50,000 words have exploded from my inner consciousness and through some miracle (MacBook/Write or Die/Scrivener/Alcohol) ended up on the page, judging from the amount I’ve written in words compared to the amount I’ve planned in scenes…it just doesn’t add up! I’ve written 30,000 words-ish as of today, and I’m not really even into the meat of the story, I’m still on character development (hell, character introductions, in some cases!).
So the likelihood is that, come December 1st, instead of revelling in the fact that I wrote fifty THOUSAND words in a thirty day window, I will be sobbing quietly into my Andrex toilet roll (I don’t buy proper tissues, because I’m not a pensioner) since I still won’t have enough words to work until I have that first draft that NaNoWriMo proudly exudes we will have at the end of the event.
I suppose my main aspiration out of NaNoWriMo this year is to realise that my goal is a first draft, and not just about reaching the numbers (although that is a bonus, naturally). The reasons I have failed at writing this stuff so many times before has been down to various poorly conceived excuses, well-said in this blog post, including some of my favourites:
8. I can’t remember the filename.
21. My novel? Oh, it’s all right here in my head. I just haven’t written it down yet. But it’s gonna be brilliant!
A novel swirling around in your head — no matter how vibrant and wonderful — is only important to you, and while that may be good enough for some, for others, you just need to get those ideas out there for others to enjoy (and ridicule!). If I continue to put it off, as I have been doing since 2005 and onwards for all four books I intended with great enthusiasm to write following The Genesis, I may end up leaving a legacy of nothing but “shoulda woulda coulda”.
Of course, this isn’t intended to be a disparaging post, by any means. Well, not really. Maybe a bit. I only have to remind myself that The Vampire’s Son, the second book in the series and the one I wrote for (and won!) my first ever NaNoWriMo last year — and another one that had been sitting patiently on the back-burner for years — is yet to get a complete story. I wrote 50k for that, also, with about the same speed and exubreance and I am doing now
Although maybe now I’m getting a little further on account of I like Divided They Fall better. No, wait, that sounds mean. I love all my stories equally. Wow, what a massive lie.
So this weekend, I’m winging off to my muse’s house for a weekend of writing folly and wonder (although she’s told me she’s recently adopted a kitten, so no doubt the majority of the weekend will be spent watching it roll around white going ‘awwwwwwwwwwww’ uncontrollably), whereby I hope to sustain my writing drive and also to work out just how much writing it’s presumed I’ll need to do in order to create a complete first draft of Divided They Fall, something that has been in the pipeline for the better part of FIVE years.
How is everyone else’s Week Three going thus far? Have we gotten over the dreaded Week Two slump? Have we gained a momentum towards our goal? Does anyone else think that 50k isn’t going to be enough, or is that just me?
It’s been kind of a weird, detached sort of week, where I’ve felt at points that I’m not quite “all there” within myself. Christ knows how my characters must be feeling!
In my NaNo pep talk e-mails, I was told that week two is considered “the bad one”, and with good reason, when you think about it.
You’ve had your first week of wondrous folly throwing yourself into this shiny, new piece of work that you’ve been dying to write for days/weeks/months/years (delete as appropriate — for me, it is years). You’ve vomited up literary genius with reckless abandon and paid no attention to your inner editor (or you try to, anyway; alcohol helps to shush them even more, FYI). And while I didn’t particularly like my opening scenes and chapters, I still wrote them with a fair amount of vim and vigour. The ironic part of it is the story itself started to take off this week, and yet I dragged my feet in sitting down to do anything. Maybe I’m afraid of being unable to do the story justice…maybe I’m just lazy. Probably both.
Towards the backend of the week, I did manage to rekindle some of that lost love with my old writing friend, using Dr Wicked’s “Write or Die” as a crutch, both desktop edition and the free web version.
For the uninitiated, Write or Die is a very simple program, designed to put — as the web site says — “The ‘Prod’ in Productivity”. You have a simple screen to enter a target word count and the amount of time you want to have it written in. That’s it. Off you pop, you have a text screen in which to enter your next masterpiece.
Anyway, what’s the big deal about that, you ask? Well, if you stop writing for a prolonged amount of time, it will start screaming at you (screaming in a literal sense, although the web version has crying babies instead, which I can vouch scares the bejebus out of you when your mind and fingers have wandered onto another web site for a second too long!).
“Write or Die” helps keep you focused and urges you to concentrate purely on the task at hand.
Of course, I learned all this last year, which some readers might at this point be experiencing déjà vu, thinking “hasn’t she talked about all this before?”. And yes, yes I have. To which I will respond in the words of Alice:
I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.
Or, in my case:
I give myself very good advice, but then I get distracted by something shiny and forget all about it.
I’m still behind on my word count today, but on the Scrivener front, I’m being rewarded for my hard work with a much more pleasant yellow-coloured progress bar, so woot!
Two quick points I’d like to bring up about the coloured progress bars in 2.0:
- I know (or rather, I know now, after dicking about with backdrops and random other new sparkly settings in 2.0) I can change the colours or indeed set them to one solid colour of my choosing, but whereas I was on the fence before, leading into;
- Having seen the colour adapt to my progress, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my initial hesitatance at the frightening and new idea has faded into obscurity.
I’ve also been going to bed at stupidly early times this week (10 o’clock most nights), which not sound bad, but when I’ve always considered myself to be most prolific at night time, it’s had a real knock-on effect to my writing schedule. I’m not sure why I’ve been tired, although I’m starting to suspect it’s pure apathy.
Tonight, I am going to sleep in my office (that’s the third bedroom in our house; I don’t mean I’m going to drive to work and sleep under the desk in a sleeping bag like Manny). It will hopefully mean I will be less inclined to go to bed early, as I can roll off the desk chair and straight into bed, where I can sit with my laptop in my…well, lap, like it’s supposed to be!
As the second week draws to its close, I’m slowly warming again to the story in general and back to the characters. Having spent a good twelve — or, in some cases, more — months having no ‘contact’ with them, it’s taken a while to get back into their mindsets.
In any case, I’ve hit and passed the trigger point of the story arc, so hopefully things should pick up significantly in the coming days. As always, only time will tell.
Hope everyone else’s Week Two was more productive than mine!
I can tell you now, I won’t be blogging everyday. I’m just not that interesting. Sorry. I know it’s hard, but you’ll get over it eventually. That fact that I’m not blogging, that is, not that I’m not that interesting. You probably knew that already.
Anyway, yes, NaNo is here, woo! As I suspected, I’m too old to stay up late, and I went to bed just one hour shy of midnight. I’m made of fail. But wait! When the other half woke up to go to work at 5:30am, I woke up, too, excited like a child on Christmas morning. So I got up and wrote my first 1667 words (it was actually 1746, but shh, don’t ruin the dream) before 7am.
I used Write or Die, although I’m already having my compulsive behaviour spaz out because of it. See, it doesn’t automagically make your quotes into smart quotes, and it doesn’t make your … into ellipses. So after writing my first bit, I copy/pasted it into Scrivener then went on to correct all of the formatting, which took me to about half eight, when mixed in with finally getting around to watching MikeJ’s Halloween Shameful Sequel.
I particularly like how Scrivener 2.0 has changed the progress bars to show how well you’re doing. Red = Bad. Green = Good. Just in case you didn’t know. I’m not even sure if I’m being sarcastic here; I mean, I do like it, but at the same time I’m wondering who came up with the idea to suggest if you’ve only written a fraction of your target manuscript, it gets displayed as a fail colour. I don’t know.
After that, I went to work. Going to work was strenuous, I’m not sure how I managed it. Today involved the drama of pushing my cat off the work’s laptop before sidling it alongside my MacBook. Nightmare, right? Well, he did try to bite me. The cat, that is, not the laptop.
I also tried to cut my own fringe today. Guess how well that worked out. I used this guide to do it, although I wasn’t really going for the Bettie Paige look at first, it just sort of happened (read: I cut too much).
Onto the actual writing itself…as I expected, it wasn’t great. Unlike many, I don’t have a great beginning for my story. I have a fairly decent end, and a juicy middle full of character-developing meaty goodness, but the beginning is incredibly wishy-washy, mostly because I haven’t really decided exactly where or when it should start. If you look at it in terms of the 8 point story arc (Stasis > Trigger > Quest > Surprise > Choice > Climax > Reversal > Resolution), I know my trigger that sets the dominoes for the rest of it all in motion, but there is a considerable amount of filler that the reader will need to be aware of before the whole thing can start.
I’m trying to work out how much I can get away with, which — right now — just involves writing every damn thing that needs to be covered.
This is how it went today with scene number 1:
I’m there, in the zone, writing the first few paragraphs like my life depended on it, when all of a sudden, Exposition bursts onto the scene.
And Exposition’s like: “Hey hey! What’s this? You want these two people to have a normal conversation? Screw you, they’re going to tell everything that happened in the last book in explicit and jarring detail so that the reader knows in no unclear terms exactly where they’re ‘at’.”
And then I’m all, “You may have won this round, Exposition, but come edit time, you’re going down!”
And Exposition’s like: “Noooooooooooooo!”
I’m hoping that by about 5k words in, I’ll be able to leave all this nasty exposition behind and move into more important stuff. Then the entire thing can get cut out in the first edit. Yay!
Anyway, I hope everyone else had an eventful day 1, let’s keep it together, only 29 more days to go!
Did I say zombie invasion? Sorry, I meant NaNoWriMo 2010 (that’s getting harder to write in CamelCase the more times I do it).
So today in my inbox I had my first e-mail from the NaNo team, reminding me that it is coming, there’s no escaping it, but advising me that I won’t be alone, and telling me what to expect throughout the month and so on.
With this being my second year, I’d like to think I know a little bit about how the whole thing ‘goes down’ and when to expect the conniption fits (psst, it’s somewhere in week three), but that’s not to say I’m not taking precautions and already expecting everything to go ferociously wrong.
I still have everything ready that I can have, and with a whole day to spare! Something to write with/on aside, I’ve also taken the following preparations:
- I spent the majority of today tidying my writing hole, by which I mean I got a bin-bag and sideswiped everything that wasn’t stuck down. I found a mountain of discarded coat hangers on my office bed, accumulated from the weeks I’ve spent pulling things out of the wardrobe and leaving them to one side. You’d be surprised how scared cats are of a handful of clanging coat-hangers.
- Since I know I will become obsessed with statistics pretty much from day one, I have bookmarked the nanolyser site. In the same vein, I have also downloaded a 2010 nanowrimo report card, so I can nerd out whenever I feel like it.
- I have also accumulated four headsets. Some may think that’s a little excessive, but then I do need them for work as well, so I can argue my case on that one. The reason I keep headsets nearby is because they are noise-cancelling, and when I have other stuff going on, it’s nice to be able to say “I’m writing now, brb” and then switching into writing mode for an hour. I music on, of course…I don’t just sit there with a headset on. That would be a bit weird.
That’s about all I have so far. I have just over 24 hours left before the whole debacle begins, and I’m starting to think I might have something resembling a plan.
I hope you’re all ready, too! Exciting times ahead!
Wow, October just kind of snuck by in the night, didn’t it? No? Just me?
On the one hand, I have pages of plans and outlined scenes written (47, to be precise), as well as character profiling and general writing prompts. I have my arsenal of writing software (‘Scrivener’, ‘Ommwriter’ and the ever-so-encouraging ‘Write or Die’). I have my new MacBook Pro, bought for the sole purpose of writing to my heart’s content, ready and waiting for my fingers to slam its keys into oblivion for 30 days straight.
On the other hand, I haven’t written anything for months, and I’m worried that I will not be able to maintain the momentum for 30 days, or worse, worried that I won’t want to.
It doesn’t help that NaNo starts on a Monday. Bleh.
I suppose it’s important to maintain a positive attitude, because I’m not at all self-defeatist.