‘Divided They Fall’ is FINISHED*!

* Put the streamers away. It’s only the first draft.

I’ve been waiting SO LONG to be able to make this post.

Ahem.

I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF DIVIDED THEY FALL LAST NIGHT!

You have no idea how freaking happy I am right now. I’m still on a high.

Last night, I slept SO well.

confetti-its-a-paradeYes, I know I’ve used this GIF before. It’s as relevant now as it was back then, if not more so.

So Divided They Fall has been in my mind since around 2002, making it technically 12 years old now, although it didn’t exist in its current idea form until around 2009.

The DTF2002 (that’s my special name for it–it’s code, see if you can figure it out) outline was as, um, “imaginative” as the very first outline of The Genesis (which had the door knockers that talked, and the genetic experiments that also talked, and the injections that could make vampires immune to sunlight for a time, and the car with the SUCKIT licence plate…I should stop telling the world about my early drafts. It’s really not good for anybody).

Its main focus was this shape-shifting spider demon (called Dark Nation, because I’m awesome and also like to steal things from Final Fantasy VII from time to time) that had the ability to change specific events in time, and this demon used her power to stop Catrina from ever being turned into a vampire, for some reason. I think she wanted the Genesis power, or to get in on the Clan, or just to get into Fox’s pants or something, and Catrina was getting in her way–I don’t remember, it was over a decade ago.

Dark Nation. Isn't she pretty?
My original sketch of Dark Nation in her true form. Isn’t she pretty? And yes, I realise she only has six limbs, not eight, technically making her an insect demon, not a spider demon. And no, I don’t know how she can balance her entire body weight on those talons. It’s probably best not to ask logical questions here. Ever.

Anyway, while the idea was obviously gold, it had absolutely no value in terms of the series (plus, it broke a lot of things, because…well, because a lot of things that happen in the series are Catrina’s fault–mostly indirectly, but still–and let’s face it, if we’re being 100% honest, things probably would be better for everyone–at least for anyone who isn’t Catrina…and actually no probably for Catrina, too–if she’d never been turned).

Maybe when the first series is finished (ha!), we can revisit something along this line, to ask the question of whether changing the past could improve the future. (Future spoiler alert, the answer will be no.)

I started working on the real serious draft of DTF in March 2013, then it meandered for months.

I decided to pull my finger out and concentrate on it for NaNoWrimo 2013. That didn’t go too well, either.

Then I took a little break for Christmas, and I vowed that I would have a draft finished by the end of January. Then February. Then March. And so on.

The more astute followers of my progress might have noticed that I took the countdown timer down a while ago.

I just kept putting it off, and either being lazy or just plain overwhelmed by the amount of work that I needed to do in order to get a complete, working draft.

I hated writing this book. Well, no, perhaps hate is too strong a word. I didn’t hate it. In fact, while I was actually doing it, I loved it, warts and all.

I think this post probably sums it up best.

Writing this book frustrated me, perhaps is a better way to phrase it. Or planning it frustrated me.

Back in the day, I used to write a book out of order. I’d do the classic idiot thing and write all the scenes I was looking forward to writing the most first.

Helpful advice for you, if you’re just starting out on writing a full-length novel: this is a terrible way to write a book. It’s pretty self-explanatory, really, since if you write all the bits you really want to write, what you’re left with when you’re done with those is all the scenes you don’t really feel so much love for. And then you don’t want to do them. And then they don’t get done. And what you’re left with is a bunch of scenes that don’t really fit together and no drive to fill in the bits in between, an unfinished not-a-novel.

At least, that’s what happened with me. And I’ve been trying not to write like that anymore. And it’s hard.

But anyway, the important thing is it’s finished for now!

And now…some exciting graphs!

Total word count over time.

Word Graph

I didn’t start recording the daily word counts until around August.

The 20k before that day is a mystery, oooOOOOooooo!

And here’s my EditMinion Report Card:

EditMinion Report Card

All looks good, in summary! It’s only when we get into the details where it starts to fall apart. Also, not entirely sure why it’s saying there’s only 94,000 words in there. I think it might be because EditMinion.com has a limitation to the number count. I did write 115k, I swear!

Lastly, here’s a lovely-looking word cloud, showing the most used words in the manuscript.

DTF Word Cloud

Seems Devaux is the main character in this book, after all!

(If you want to make your own word clouds, you can generate them at Wordle.net)

Now, I’m a firm believer in the quantity over quality, when it comes to first drafts. Because you have all these ideas flying at you from every angle, you should just throw them down onto the page. Yes, they might be tragically pathetic, and they might not work, but you could find one very important snippet of character development in that terrible scene, which you can use somewhere else.

It’s like the idea of comparing writing a novel to carving a sculpture. You start out with this big block of clay, and you have to make it into something beautiful. Somehow. Using your mind.

This is only a first draft, an alpha version, if you will. It’s very inconsistent, tonally and thematically. The characters are all over the place, in particular the new main protagonists, Devaux and Damien. Catrina is consistent, particularly on being stupid and doing stupid things. I really don’t mean to make her that way (or do I?), but it just seems to happen in the early stages. The biggest changes will be making her decisions less stupid, but with the same results.

The two new POV characters aren’t really solid yet. I know I’ve failed terribly with at least one of them. I’ve never written anything from the Agent’s point of view before, except for that one scene from Nathaniel Rae, and he was King of the Dicks, so writing that was easy. Damien, on the other hand, is supposed to be this complex character who’s supposed to go through some incredible character development, and that’s…just not there yet. He’s just Nathaniel Rae with blonde hair right now.

This draft is not for public consumption, because, in the words of Greg Davies, “It’s fucking awful.”

I sent it to my two alpha readers last night, and they can tear it apart for a while, and theeeeeeeeeen, I’ll be taking it back to start the next monstrous task of the beta draft.

I expect the beta draft will be due around late July/early August.

And now, I’m going to go take a break, maybe play some WoW, or just bum around on Tumblr for the next month.

I’m FINISHED! Weeeeeeeeeeee!

Want to be a Beta?

If you want to be a beta reader for me, you can sign up to my list here. Just bear in mind that since this is the second in a series–unlike From The Ashes, which is a companion novel–I will need you to have read The Genesis first.

I need blunt, honest people to work with. I don’t want things sugar-coating.

I appreciate that I’m not really “selling it” to you with the above post, since all I’m doing is calling it dreadful. But I promise you, it will be better by the time it reaches beta stage.

I Apologise in Advance

I have set myself the challenging (but by no means impossible) task of completing the remaining 60k~ words of the first draft of my third book for NaNoWriMo this year.

As a result, November will be a stressful month for me while I try to extract all these conflicting ideas from my brain and kind of smush them into words and paragraphs and scenes and eventually an entire novel that make sense from beginning to end.

So I apologise in advance for if you get caught up in any of the following that I do in the month of November:

  • Being quiet/unresponsive both on and offline.
  • Talking about nothing except word counts, targets, goals and word counts.
  • Demanding to be left alone.
  • Not eating.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine/alcohol, depending on the time of day/day of week.
  • Threatening to “punch you in the throat” or “slap you in the dick”, or just generally being nasty.

Stress turns me from a mild mannered, fairly decent human being into Aunt Irma, so this will be me in November:

Me Throughout November

Normal interaction will resume in December.

See you on the other side ^_^

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Add me!

Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?!

Greetings! Pull up a chair. Oh, you’re already sitting down. Never mind, then.

Right, so I was going to go into this huge spiel about how pathetic and depressing 2011 was for me, and to share with anyone who cares to read it about how awful things were and how badly I handled everything and how I dropped myself into whole oceans worth of shit.

But you know what? No one will want to hear about it, and I don’t particularly want to write about it or even remember it, so fuck it, I won’t.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the good things I have to look forward to in 2012.

So I finished the novel I was working on for NaNoWriMo 2011. Woo. It is out with more beta readers as we speak, and I am sitting on my hands while I wait to hear back from them, chewing the skin around my nails like a rabid rodent.

I fully, fully intend to have this book released for public consumption by the middle/back-end of this year. The thing and/or problem with this particular book is that it’s been around in some form or another for a looooooong time now, and yet I feel I can’t move onto bigger, better things until I’m happy that the foundation I’ve created is solid. So the first book is winging its way back through beta readers and hopefully a variety of opinions will be winging their way to me very soon!

That said, I’ve started editing the second book, still (currently) titled “The Vampire’s Son”, my 2009 NaNoWriMo, which basically looks like a kneaded turd right now.

No, that’s not fair. The parts that are done are pretty decent, in all fairness. But then there are g a p i n g chasms where whole chapters should be, frayed and unfinished scenes, entire plot threads have unravelled and dangle loose, with the threat of the slightest breeze blowing them away. So it looks more like a moth-eaten blanket found buried in the basement, covered in dust and dead spiders.

But it’s definitely workable, and what’s there is good, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at with writing right now.

I’ve stopped playing World of Warcraft for an indefinite period, simply because when I do play, it takes over my entire life, and I actually have other things I’m supposed to be doing.

I love the game, and by playing it I’ve managed to meet people who I can say with some degree of confidence I would never have met otherwise. But I just don’t have the time for it. I only hope that soon I will get the time to be able to return to GlenCoco, my Worgen warrior, and get back to those heady nights of drunk tanking and getting everyone killed.

Even without WoW, I’m still managing to get in a fair amount of procrastination, though – if I do say so myself – it’s not as much as this time last year. I’d like to think it might be in part because of the wake up call that 2011 actually was.

I’m blaming NetFlix for the new bout of mind wandering, since that’s just been released in the UK, and of course I had to sign up for the free month.

Anyway,  that’s where I am with everything else right now.

I have some plans/announcements that I’m going to be bursting out in the next few days/weeks for the VS series, so keep your lids peeled for that.

I plan to get back into the swing of updating this site as well, since it seems a little forlorn and filled with melancholy right now. I have a number of “Music to Write Novels By” posts still waiting in the wings, so I should be able to ease myself back in with a few of those.

Onwards and upwards, people!

2012 is the year!

In the Word Cloud This Year #nanowrimo

So the end of NaNoWriMo 2011 looms.

Am I on target? No.

Shitteth has hitteth the fan…eth. Oh it’s all going on like party central over here right now.

I am still managing to sit down and force some stuff out, hence the not-entirely-pitiful word count so far.

Do I think I’ll be able to get to 50,000 words by the 30th? I should hope so.

I don’t have any other major events happening between now and then, so if I stick to it (and, according to the NaNo estimator thingy, churn out 2,087 words instead of the 1,667 starting estimate), I should be OK.

Out of curiosity, I also entered the current word dump into Wordle. Here’s the outlook so far:

So it’s pretty much the same as last year’s, all full of people “thinking” “back” to their “eyes”. I also like…the word ‘like’…a lot, apparently. I like ‘like’ a lot.

In other news, I have a Kindle now. T’was a very early Christmas/birthday gift.

 

I’ll be honest, I’m surprised I got this far without buying one myself.

I have already bought more books than I can likely ever get through (or even afford right now, but that’s a whole other, far less light-hearted story), and I have high hopes for it.

P.S. No, that’s not a crack. It’s a cat hair. Damn things get EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Back to it!

Ready to Rock #NaNoWriMo 2011?

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”.

Continue reading Ready to Rock #NaNoWriMo 2011?

A Very Belated New Year!

I considered making a new year’s resolution post towards the end of December.

In my experience, New Year’s Resolutions aren’t meant to be kept, so that when you make them, you end up feeling sad and confused, not to mention disappointed in your own shortcomings, being completely unable to keep to those simple goals you set yourself some twelve months earlier.

So I didn’t bother.

I was also infected with a nasty flu virus over Christmas (so bad that I spent Christmas day alone (if you don’t include the cats, who are blinded by what I don’t quite think is love because cats are incapable of love, but at the very least appreciation for the hand that feeds them), because I couldn’t get out to see any family and they all live too far away to come to me (and i didn’t want them there, in any case, what with me being a raised flu zombie), in bed, watching horrible Christmas television on ITV, because the remote was broken and I seriously did not have enough energy to get up and change the channel by hand.

Oh, and just as a by-the-by: Polar Express? Massive pile of shit film.

But anyway.  Since I wasn’t much better by New Year’s, I was in no state to be making dream-filled plans for the following 365 fun-filled days.  And since I’ve very slowly spent the majority of my time since then getting better while re-integrating into work life, I never got around to making any.

Looking back, I kind of wished I had forced myself to, as now we’re over a month into another year, and I am stuck doing my usual floundering about the amount of things I want to do, but either out of sheer laziness or just life in general elbowing its way into my time, I have done very little.  At least if I had made some kind of goals, I would’ve had something to mock myself for having not done, something for my inner life-coach (Don’t you have one of those?  Mine’s called Cybil) to yell at me to do.

In any case, it’s done (or — in this case — not done) now, so now I bring you my very belated New Year’s Resolutions:

  • I will save a good portion of my wage from now on to put towards the San Diego Comic Con trip in July.  This isn’t so much a resolution as much as something I have no choice but to do.  If I don’t have enough money, I’m not going to be able to go.  And since we have tickets (hell yeah!), we have to go.
  • I will either finish the first draft of Divided They Fall or I will finish the umpteenth draft of The Vampire’s Son.  This is an either-or; I am not giving myself the added pressure of finishing them both (though it would of course be very nice!)  If I am still working on one of these by November, I will make my NaNoWriMo 2011 project on their respective completion.  Failing to complete either of these by the end of November, I will release “Jeremy” to the general public, which is around 99% finished.  I am not allowing myself to bring work on The Servant or Blood of Ages (the fourth and fifth book, respectively), until any of the above criteria are filled.
  • I normally put in a resolution about eating more healthily or doing more exercise (More?  I mean any.), but now it’s getting to the stage that I really have to start looking at this as a serious subject.  I might go into this in more detail one day, when I want to put you off your lunch, but essentially my body is a mess — almost entirely self-inflicted — and at twenty seven, if I don’t do something to fix it now, there might come a time when I’m not able to at all.

Wow, that’s a bit of a downer to end on, isn’t it?

Here’s some Jazz Tenticles to lighten the mood.

There we go. Feel much better now.

I Fell off the Earth!

No, I didn’t.

Ha! Tricked you!

Anyway.

So, yes, it’s been pretty quiet in the world of Kat the last two weeks. Since NaNoWriMo ended, I have been wandering the proverbial streets, wondering where and when inspiration will return, open-armed, telling me it didn’t mean to leave but that life just took us down different paths. Or something.

I still have an incomplete third draft of Divided They Fall.  It lingers in shadows, watching me.  Judging me.

Why haven’t you finished me yet? it demands.  More important things to do, have we?  Have World of Warcraft Cataclysm to play, do we?

In any case, I am still working on it, albeit much more slowly now that there is less pressure imposed upon me from the world at large to write that damn novel. It’s harder to keep driving along when you are the only one telling yourself to finish it.

But I am still on it.  Honest.

As a bonus, here’s a picture of my new worgen druid, Penrefe, and a double feature with my worgen warrior, Glencoco (you go, Glen Coco!), both of which I am loving alongside my now level 83 worgen hunter (I race-changed her; I’m not that quick), Catirina.

Being addicted to World of Warcraft Cataclysm is like being addicted to crack: You know it’s going to destroy you, but you can’t resist the buzz you get for doing it.

If you play World of Warcraft and would like to join me and our awesome guild of awesome, come join us! We currently play ‘For the Alliance’ on Mazrigos EU server. Join us at TheNuGen.co.uk

#NaNoWriMo Word Cloud

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.

Congratulations!

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.

Enjoy December!

For many, this journey is not over yet.