Category: NaNo 2010


So it’s almost 2am

…and I have officially crossed into the winner’s circle of NaNo, at 50317 words. And the goofy thing is that I still want to write tonight because I’m about to send a group of characters off on Final Rollicking Action Adventure Sequence, but it’s five til two in the morning and I really do need to be showered and at work in 9 hours.

But I’m done with the wordcount goal for the month and my fingers are typing at light speed and my brain is sort of overdoing everything right now, so I thought I’d reflect on the whole thing for a moment before throwing myself on my pillow.

To my writing buddies and supportive friends: I heart you guys so much it’s craycray. I promise I’ll be around a bit more now that the deadlines have backed off.

The biggest, happiest surprise in all of this NaNoing silliness was that most of the time, this wasn’t as hard as it was last year. I feel a lot more comfortable writing, much more comfortable in particular with dialogue. And writing 2500 words in a day suddenly doesn’t feel like a monumentous, impossible task. Right now it feels like Thursday, and I love that. I love that my brain can reach into itself and AssPull something completely insane when I need to keep going and need something to heighten the tension.

Or at least I love that my brain has been doing that for the last few days, when I realized that all told the story structure is starting to shape up alright but that I’m making everything far, far too easy for Miss Aurora and that I need to work on making her life more difficult. So I started doing that, and I ended up with a scene that has, you know, something like a gesture towards “oh yeah, suspense!” rather than just a bunch of teenage angsting. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some angst way more than is rational, but a book full of nothing but angst would be Twilight would suck. So adding much in the way of suspense will be issue number one when I start editing. Or maybe issue number two, falling in line right after culling redundant conversations.

In other words, I have a metric ton of editing to do, and I’m well, well aware of it.

But first I have to finish this thing. The wordcount goal is done, but the story is not, and I can’t begin editing anything until I know exactly where this thing ends. Then I can piece the structure together better and see what happens.

And part of me would dearly love to have Aurora randomly know karate, but I don’t know if that would fit, and it would just be too convenient for her to have serious martial arts skills. She may have to stick with the week’s worth of self-defense lessons I let her have at one point.

Story and novel aside, I haven’t gotten nearly as much blogging done as I’d like on either blog – here because most of the time I’d rather be writing the novel, and on my beer blog because I haven’t spent as much time trying new beers, much less throwing together some form of coherent thought about what I have consumed. This is also why I’m sitting on a few-day-old review of last week’s homework wine. I’m not really coherent. But that’s normal for me. And given my drinking habits have been normal, my caffeine intake has been only ever so slightly increased (by which I mean I’ve probably had two cups of coffee more this month than I normally do), and my procrastination levels were actually less than they normally are, I’m going to say that this was a rousing success, and that writing doesn’t suck.

I mean, my writing sucks, at least right now. Because it’s unedited.

But. It’s fun.

I can tell I’ve been writing a ton lately because this is getting way wordsy. I’m going to haul my rear end to bed right now and hopefully pass out without the characters screaming at me that I need to get up and work on scene x for a while because they have more to say to each other and ONOES TEH ANGST. But I doubt that’ll happen. They don’t really like leaving me alone.

Almost done

My NaNo project has roughly 2700 words left and I’ll have hit the 50K goal for November. I will finish it tonight or tomorrow if it kills me, because  I have to work on Tuesday and I don’t want anything to happen that could screw up my winning. It’s been too much work and too much craziness to not win at this point. And I’ll feel accomplished and stuff, and that will be neat.

The great thing? I think a plot showed up. Like, this evening. Around the 46500-word mark or so.

So what have I been doing for the first 46500 words? Well, my characters have been developing themselves and going out and doing stuff and discovering stuff and not actually running into any real problems accomplishing what they want to do. And along the way they’ve had conversations with each other. But last night, when one character looked at another and said “why have we had this conversation three times now?” I thought shit, he’s right, they have. So I mentally apologized to both of them for putting them through an angst-ridden conversation three times because it doesn’t quite feel like I’ve gotten it right yet. And because apparently my reaction to “that wasn’t right” is to write it over and over and over in different places throughout the novel, whether that particular conversation topic makes much sense at the time or not (mostly not).

So at this point I need to figure out exactly how to get through the last 2700 or so words and verify my win. Then I need to download Scrivener, I think, because I hear good things of Scrivener and it would be awesome to have some software that does ALL the things. Then I need to finish the draft and, you know, get my holiday preparations done. And then I need to outline what happens, figure out exactly what needs to go where, what I need to cut, and what I need to add to make everything make sense. And then I need to edit the everloving shit out of this baby. And then send it to a few beta readers, and then edit it again. And again. And again.

And maybe then, after 6 or so solid months of staring at the same manuscript until I’ve come to hate it, write a query letter and see what happens. If I manage to get that far. Which is, admittedly, the goal.

So onwards and, well, onwards. How are you all doing? My deepest apologies for the lack of updating during this insane month. I will update again when I’m done with NaNo, and then hopefully get back onto a more regular schedule.

Smooches, all!

Wordcounts!
Midnight, Day 28: 47325

Need title

Self, I thought, it’s time to update your blog. Even if you have no idea what the hell to write.

So I’m updating. This will be a NaNo post since NaNo is eating up most/all of my brain meats right now. See, it’s day 15 of NaNo, being the 15th day of the month, and the official wordcount says that participants should be at the halfway point in their noveling endeavors as well.

I’m tentatively titling my NaNo novel “Daydreams.”

I am in fact at the halfway point in the word count, so that part of the goal is going well.

However, I have no clue if I’m actually at the halfway part of the story, because I can’t convince myself that anything has actually happened. In order to see if I can figure out what the holy hell I’ve actually written this month, I’ll attempt a brief run-down.

CAST:
Main Character: Aurora, resident of Overbrook, PA (unless there actually *is* an Overbrook, PA, at which point the name will change)
Love Interest: Calon, who lives in another world, made by/for alchemists
Main Ancillary Character: Neil (who seems to be trying to be a Love Interest)
Other characters: Aunt Margie, Uncle Glenn, Margot (who needs a name change) – the school resident choir bitch, Alison – Aurora’s BFF, Kurt – guy that both Alison and Aurora have a crush on who goes for Alison

So. Let’s see.

*insert a long-ish pause here*

So. I wrote out a more or less point-by-point list of what happens and decided that I’d rather not go there – looking at things scene by scene isn’t exactly helping me make this sound like a worthwhile writing experiment. So I’ll try another version.

Aurora has been able to hear a voice in the mist since she was 7, when her parents died in a car wreck. The voice belongs to Calon, an apprentice alchemist who lives in a world rather like our own. Even though they’ve never met, Aurora trusts Calon with everything in her life. Meanwhile at school, Aurora is trying to deal with the new relationship between her best friend Alison and their mutual crush, Kurt. She finds herself relying more and more on the company of Neil, the snarky new guy who has appeared in five of her classes this year.

Then Aurora finds a ring of her mother’s which helps her gain entrance to Calon’s world, and finds her own world turning upside down. She finds herself falling for Calon, but he seems to be hiding things from her, Neil becomes more and more mysterious, and her once-solid friendship with Alison has hit an all-time low.

THEN MORE THINGS HAPPEN BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE BECAUSE I HAVEN’T WRITTEN THEM YET. ARGHHHHHHHHHH. Like, I have vague clues of about half of what needs to happen, but then unplanned things happen (like Neil asking Aurora out for a cup of tea, because Neil is the type of dork who would prefer tea over coffee, and Aurora agrees despite some misgivings and they have this intensely awkward date because they kind of want to spend time together but neither one of them has told me the point of going out, so they mostly meeble about homework awkwardly until Neil tells Aurora she’s pretty and Aurora tells Neil she has to get home for dinner, and I sit there asking both of them what the hell the point of the whole exercise was, and Aurora tells me that she went because he asked, and Neil just smirks and tells me “I have my reasons” and WON’T TELL ME WHAT THOSE REASONS MIGHT BE, so that even *I* don’t know if he actually *likes* Aurora or if he’s trying to play her for his own purposes)(Seriously, people, the things flying through my head right now, it’s like I’m a total schizophrenic).

The Calon-is-an-alchemist thing is fun, at least, because when I get really stuck on something I can go play with google searches on “alchemical symbols antimony” etc.

Cups of coffee consumed: lots at this point, but only about three cups more than normal for the month, to be honest
Number of meals forgotten about/eaten late: at least 7
Glasses of booze consumed: roughly normal, actually. I’ve been drinking enough to keep up with my beer blog and my homework wine, but haven’t had anything else, and haven’t tried any booze-fueled writing.
Words written: 25743 as of roughly 6pm on day 15. I don’t have the count for midnight on day 14 because the internet was down and I just kept writing.
Weirdest Google Search since the last update: “philosopical alchemy meaning sulfur”

Edit space for the nightly word count totals:
– Midnight, Day 15: 26556 words
– Midnight, Day 16: 27353 words, but I spent most of the day at work and haven’t had time to write at all since last night. F—-. This is why I like trying to stay a day or two ahead.
– Midnight, Day 17: same as last night because I barely had time to write and when I did, I basically stared at the screen blankly. Now I’ll have to scramble to catch up tomorrow.
– Midnight, Day 18: 30320 words. *barely* caught up to the day’s total.

– Midnight, Day 19: 32342 words.
– Midnight, Day 20, 32951 words – spent most of the day at work, so I’m glad I got *something* done. I suspect Monday will need to be a catch up day, because I doubt I’ll be at 35K by tomorrow night.
– Midnight, Day 21, no change at all. Like zero.

– Midnight, Day 22 aka CATCH UP DAY: 37333 words, bitches. BACK ON TRACK.
– Midnight, Day 23: 38438 words.
– Midnight, Day 24: 40300 words.
– Midnight, Day 25: no change – Turkey Day, bitches!
– Midnight, Day 26: 42012 words, but up to 43626 before going to bed at 2-something.
– Midnight, Day 27: at the same 43626 words from last night.

Lulzing at the ads

NOT A NANO POST FOR ONCE.

I have successfully confused whatever program it is that programs what ads I get on facebook that I was presented with the following mishmash today:
– “FREE Baby Samples” – because I am female and over 30 and therefore must have a babby. Groan.
– “Fantastic Sams of Gardner, KS is giving away $7 haircuts!” – because I haven’t listed my job and don’t talk about it much, so they must (correctly, admittedly) assume that my ass is broke – although why they’re trying to send me to tiny Gardner for *anything* when I’m probably closer to Lawrence and Kansas City is beyond me. Seriously.
– “Do it all the Write Way” – some sort of set of tools to take me “from initial concept to finished novel.” Complete with a picture of a woman with rolled-up sleeves and arms up like she’s showing off her biceps standing behind a MacBook Pro, as though novel writing involved lots of pumping of fists (rather than gnashing of teeth and wearing away of stomach lining from caffeine and alcohol and angst). Also, if it’s not Scrivener, I don’t want it. I do kinda want Scrivener, but I don’t know about flipping to a brand new program 6 days into NaNo.
– “Become a Personal Trainer” – well, I’ve listed working out as an activity I enjoy, so maybe that’s it?

Actually, what I find funny about these ads in combination is that the facebook ad sensor seems to have picked up on my general “what the fuck do I do with my life” malaise that I’ve had for months (years?) now, without having picked up on my new part-time beer job. Also, like I said, I’m over 30 and female and therefore must be in want of a babby.

Best thing: there aren’t any diet ads! Apparently me marking every diet ad that’s shown up for over a year as “offensive” (do-able by clicking on the x in the corner of the ad and then telling them why you don’t like it) is working. No more “Oprah’s Miracle Acai Berry Diet!” for me!

And of course, the
Obligatory NaNo update, day 6 (morning):

Cups of coffee consumed: 3 mochas, 5 cups of regular coffee, 1 chai
Number of meals forgotten about/eaten late: 3
Glasses of booze consumed: 4
Words written: 11601 (before I’ve even gotten started today!)
Weirdest Google Search since the last update: Wistman’s Wood (images) (<— totes search that. SO COOL LOOKING)

UPDATE: Midnight, day 6: 13312 words.
Midnight, day 7: 14853 words.
Midnight, day 8 (HOW HAS IT BEEN 8 DAYS ALREADY): 16825 words.
Midnight, day 9: 18190 words.
Midnight, day 10: 18831 words, having not written at all since 2am. I NEED TO WRITE NOW.
Midnight, day 11: 21227 words.
Midnight, day 12: 22412 words.
Midnight, day 13: 23327 words and no time to write.

NaNo after three days

3 days and one hour in (it’s now 1am).

Cups of coffee consumed: 2 mochas, 3 cups of regular coffee
Number of meals forgotten about/eaten late: 2
Glasses of booze consumed: 2, but neither were NaNo related (yet)
Words written: 6,054 (!)
Weirdest Google Search in the last 24 hours: “small yellow flower strong scent” because I needed a flower to have a character need to harvest for his mother, who is a perfumer. I ended up just having the character describe the flower and moaning about it without a specific name because I didn’t find one that would be in the right type of climate that would also smell strongly.

So. I only need to be at 5,001 words right now to be exactly keeping up, and I’m actually over that, and I have even more I’d like to write tonight if my brain doesn’t fall out of my head from exhaustion first. I can’t believe I’m keeping up this well right now, both because it was a lot harder last year and because I’ve been working the writing in around work the last couple of days – I figured I’d be way behind on my word count on work days and so far that hasn’t happened.

I’m pretty happy with how the story is panning out so far – when I was trying to write a different version of this over the summer, everything felt stilted and off and wrong. Writing it now with retooled Main Character, I feel loads better, like things are working that weren’t working at all before. Of course the writing in this new, better draft is CRAPTASTIC, but that’s what first drafts are for.

I still haven’t decided where the hell this is all taking place. Like, it’s in the U.S. somewhere at Totally Average HS, but I don’t know where really. It doesn’t feel like a KS setting, so that’s pretty much out, as is most of the rest of the US (although I did kick around Rockford, IL for a while). I’m thinking maybe somewhere in PA right now simply because I’m familiar with the state. But I don’t know. The only reason it’s even important is so that I get the weather details right when I need to use them.

Seriously, though, right now this is awesome. I’m totally loving this. I sincerely doubt I’ll feel this way in another two weeks when total exhaustion sets in and I’m working more hours, but right now, A+ experience. And 6K words that I didn’t have at midnight on Sunday.

EDIT END OF DAY 4:  8461 words!
EDIT FOR END OF DAY 5: 10690, most of which occurred late late last night, when I hit 9943. The remainder have happened since 10:30 tonight. BAD WRITING DAY. And I’m totally hung up on this scene because it needs to be right – like I really want it to NOT SUCK – and I’m trying too hard and can’t get myself into it. BLERG.

NaNo Crazy Begun

Today:
– woke up and found out good news from husband, which will be posted when I can say what happened
– went to coffeeshop with husband, talked until about noon
– wrote until 2, which is when I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything, that my coffee was gone, and that I was beyond starving
– came home, ate some meatballs from last night’s dinner, wrote more
– ran into brain fart, surfed interwebz

Now I’m waiting for dinner and then am going to come back and write more. I’m at 2100 words right now, which isn’t bad for the first day – I’m trying to hit harder on days I don’t work so that I’m not hugely behind or not sleeping.

I’m thinking I should do a tally, because I’m entertaining myself here:
Cups of coffee consumed: 1 (medium mocha)
Number of meals forgotten about/eaten late*: 1
Glasses of booze consumed: 0
Words written: 2,104
Weirdest Google Search in the last 24 hours: “number of hours in November” because it was late and hadn’t occurred to my dumb ass to calculate it.

*those who are aware of my metabolism will know right away how strange this is. I’m hungry, like, all the time. My body pretty much wants food roughly every four hours or it gets mad and makes me not feel good.

EDIT:
As of midnight at the end of day one, I’m at 2857 words. I’m going to keep a daily log out of curiousity.

As of midnight at the end of day two, I’m at 4228 words.

Midnight, end day three: 6049 words and into chapter three.

NaNo Prepping

Done:
– Halloween party
– Handing out of Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters
– Removal of Halloween nail polish
– Replacement of said polish with something less overtly goth
– (unscheduled) Development of cold D:
– Acquirement of part-time job which will ensure that I get out of the house and away from the writing sometimes
– Main part of novel storyboarding
– Reworking of main character (MC)
– Semi-last-minute addition of another major character, purpose only semi-determined so far, and whose presence will probably severely wrench half of what I’ve got planned, and who still needs a flipping name

To remember in November:
– Eat enough to justify caffeine intake
– Shower so as not to horrify coffeeshop patrons or my husband
– Go to the gym sometimes
– Talk about non-writing, non-novel things to non-writers, since almost no one IRL really wants *that* deep a glimpse into my own personal crazy

To do:
– Come up with opening scene so that I have something to write tonight at midnight
– Decide what tense to work in
– Figure out at least a preliminary title, since this project has thus far steadfastly refused to name itself (unless I decide something batshit, like going with one crazysauce idea I had to make this a seven(!) book series in order to take care of the title problem)
– Flush the last shreds of sanity down the toilet until December
– Create some sort of basic playlist (unless I say screw it and just go with what works scene-by-scene)
– WRITE 50,000 WORDS

I’m insane.

NaNo starts in 3-ish days, right? As in 72 hours from now I will be sitting at my laptop, hopefully hammering away at the keys, beginning my 50K wordcount for the month.

So naturally, today seemed like the ideal day to decide for sure and certain to sit on the project I was planning on working on during NaNo, because it took something of a wrong turn and I need to stop and figure out what the right turn is before I can get it to progress any further. Plus it’s almost too cold to write that novel right now. That’s a summertime novel.

So I needed something to write.

I’d had a project going over the summer. Or rather, over the summer I’d outlined and storyboarded and worked on characters and whatnot for a project. And then I started writing said project and the MC (main character for the non-writers) just… didn’t fit. I could see this whole huge story, but the character I had planned on shoving into it steadfastly refused to work with it. She was too logical and even-keeled for what the story needs. The story needs a daydreamer. The MC as I had originally conceived her dismisses daydreams as a giant waste of time. I need an MC who doodles in the margins of her notebooks during class and wants more than anything to do something crazy – like strap fairy wings to her backpack – but is afraid to do anything like that because she doesn’t want all the attention.

To sum up: I’ve completely tossed the roughly 5K worth of writing I had for that project and will be starting over and NaNo-ing it come November. So I will be doing the full challenge as rules state. I still don’t have a name for this project, so it will be “nameless YA Fantasy project” until such time as something pops into my head. I’ve completely revamped the MC (although I’m keeping her name) and I’m flipping POV/tense and all kinds of stuff to see if I can get into her head differently and in a way that works better for the story. And in doing all that, the entire opening I had planned out doesn’t work at all, so I’ve still got to figure out what I’ll be writing about come 71 3/4 hours from now.

But I will figure it out, dammit. Because I won last year and I’d like to win this year, because I’d like to get the wordcount on the novel so that I can convince myself it’s really finish-able. And NaNo, in its greatness, lets me feel like I can finish it, and shuts up my inner editor for a while so that I can just sit back and go.

When things get really hard, I’ll be popping onto Dr. Wicked’s and bitching about it here. Enjoy, people.

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