NaNoWriMo 2018 Day 3: Le Switcheroo

Okay, remember when I started Book 2 last NaNoWriMo and couldn’t finish it? This graphic shows how far I got.

I’m gonna finish it. 

The entire time I’ve been messing around with Invasion, something about it kept poking the back of my brain. I thought this meant I should just write the damn story, which is why I chose it for this year’s challenge. 

Wrong!

I’ve been super bummed about NaNoWriMo this year. Prep was fun (especially making those quinoa patties — yum yum), but I wasn’t excited about starting.

Today, while I schlepped around the grocery store, the reason for my malaise finally clarified itself. The problem isn’t one of story but structure. Invasion would work much better as a screenplay. I’ve been flirting with writing one for a while, but I didn’t think I had any ideas that fit.

It makes sense that way. As a book, it just didn’t, at least not in my head. Writing it as prose makes me want to set my hair on fire. Since it’s taken a long growing period and hundreds of dollars to get my hair exactly the way I want it, saving this story for my first screenwriting project makes better fiscal sense.

Works for Hades; not a great look for me.

Image: Hades by Nina-Serena / deviantart.com

That’s some terrific fan art, by the way. 

My head has been in Book 2 for a while — in world-building, in character development, in outlining. Why stop now, especially after I did all! that! work! restructuring Tunerville? I still have a very strong feeling it wasn’t wasted, and not just because I’ve learned a ton about craft.

So, here we go. Finished scenes are in Atomic Scribbler. Notes and outlines are too (another great feature; they open as pages in one window, unlike Wordy McWorderson, which only opens them as annoying separate documents).

I haven’t lost much time, since I already wrote a chunk. I doubt I’ll finish it completely by the end of November, but I’m sure the momentum will carry me through. 

Now I’m excited.

Blade Runner 2049 score without the vocal tracks
Damn, that was a good film

NaNoWriMo 2018 Day 1: I CHEATED ALREADY

Sheesh, WordPress picked a not-so-good time to redesign their editor.*  Lucky for me, I pick this stuff up quickly. Also lucky — I always write my posts in Word first so I have a backup in case my website goes blooey.

WORD COUNT: 1,625. I already had this many before it started. 

Yes, I know you’re not supposed to begin NaNoWriMo with any actual writing already commenced, but 1) I didn’t officially sign up, and 2) if you know me, you know I do this almost every time. 

This book, referred to in last year’s NaNo end post as Invasion, has been rattling around in my head for a while. Though I’ve heard post-apocalyptic fiction isn’t really a thing anymore, when you’re facing a real-life apocalypse (or the potential of one, thanks to the dictator’s ass-kisser in the White House), one’s mind does tend to turn in that direction.

So here I am, attacking the page and pounding the daylights out of my keyboard. “Ruination is the best friend to creation,” as Chuck Wendig so eloquently put it.


He also invented a sandwich called The Wendigo. Here it is. It is surprisingly delicious.

Photo: Elizabeth West

This month, you’ll likely get very short daily posts. I won’t talk much about the story; it tends to ruin things when I’m writing a first draft. I learned that lesson with Tunerville. I might discuss things I’m learning, share any news, or maybe just whine a bit. Writing a whole book in a month is tough. I may have to build in time for another MCU marathon.

Image: Instagram / comic.book.memes

Before you go, enjoy these MCU memes; I certainly did.  :’D

http://comicbookandbeyond.com/marvel-movies-memes/

*Dear WordPress, I hate the separate blocks; kthxbai.

NaNoWriMo 2018, or Harry Potter and the Butt-in-Chair Writing Challenge

Lordy, lordy, lordy. It’s that time again. You know the one, when writers all over the country, excited and crazed, take up the challenge to write 50,000 words of a book in one month.

My last attempt at NaNoWriMo did not go well. I became deathly ill and lost so much time and momentum I flaked out and quit. Well not this time, buckaroos. I may not have a job. I may not have a place to write if I can’t find a job. But I have a plan.

Okay, it’s not much of one.

#Relatable

The Joker pantsed things, but you know me — I’m an outline gal. Yes, I wrote one. Is that the book I want to write? I’m not entirely sure. Nor am I sure if I’ll sign up officially or just chronicle it here.

My original plan from last time was to write the sequel to Tunerville. I’ve outlined it all the way through and into Book Three. Yes, I have a trilogy. But if I can’t get the first book published, there isn’t much point writing the next two, is there?

I googled “how many rejections does it take before you should give up on a book” and everyone says 80–100. Well, as of today, I’m halfway there.

Secret Book has become the trunk novel. I don’t think I want to revise that one, at least not now. It’ll keep. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to prep as much as possible.

  • I’ve cleaned the house. No, really cleaned it. A garage sale and some Facebook Marketplace shenanigans have worked wonders. My back-breaking futon is gone and with it, a lot of crap.

Garage sales are funny things. The stuff you expect will go like hotcakes barely merits a glance, and people buy the most amazing crap. I sold a box full of old pool chemicals, an erasable address book, and a package of blank CDs left over from when I cut my own skating music. The really nice stuff didn’t sell at all. Hence turning to Farcebook.

But God, it sure was great to finally unload that stupid futon. I only bought it because I couldn’t afford a sofa. My back is so much happier. I replaced it with a platform frame for a twin mattress. It’ll do until I can afford a nice daybed frame. I like the versatility of having an extra bed and being able to stretch out while I watch TV or play on the internet machine.

That’s my TV-watching pillow in the middle. Yes, I am a child. And a nerd. Fight me.

Photo: Elizabeth West

There’s room for storage underneath, but I have less to shove beneath it now. It’s comfy AF.  I tried it with the box spring and it was WAY too high; I couldn’t reach my drink on the coffee table. It’s important for me to reach my drink, dammit.

  • I’m cooking and freezing things. Soup, quinoa patties, beans.
  • I’m doing ALL THE LAUNDRY. In spring and autumn, I like to wash all the things, like curtains, blankets, and bedspreads.

All that’s left is to figure out how to manage Thanksgiving. If I visit the fam, I may lose two writing days to driving fatigue. I’ve got at least one Friendsgiving coming up, too.

I found some great suggestions in Robbie Blair’s 2014 NaNoWriMo survival post at LitReactor. I’m especially drawn to the Thine Holy Chalice one. Since I have more room now, I might just go scour the flea market and buy something fun.

As long as this guy isn’t hanging around, I should be good.

Image: indianajones.wikia.com

You’ll get a word count here. I can’t promise a pithy post every day, as I’m still job hunting and there’s no telling what manner of work beastie I’ll drag home over the moors. I may shoot for a novella rather than a novel, depending on which direction this story in my head goes. We’ll see.

If you’re planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, feel free to share your prep tips in the comments.

Theme Reveal Day! 2016 Blogging from A-Z April Challenge

atoz-theme-reveal-2016 v2Grr, I cut my pinky on a mandoline blade when cleaning out a kitchen drawer today.  The giant bandage is making it hard to type.

Today, March 21, is the 2016 Blogging from A-Z April Challenge Theme Reveal!  This year, I have a plan, and I’m actually ahead of myself for once.  Cheers for me!

RULE BRITANNIA--oh wait, that’s the wrong cheer.  Calm down, Grandma.

RULE BRITANNIA–oh wait, that’s the wrong cheer.  Calm down, Grandma.

Image:  stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

Ironically, the captcha for downloading that image was “forever and ever.”

I really enjoyed writing the Character series in the 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  In that vein, this year I’ve chosen to pick apart different elements of settings.

In this post on The How to Write Shop, Kathy Steffen states:

A setting does more than add interest; in fact, if your story can take place anywhere and nothing else in your story would need to change, rethink how you have used setting. Make it integral to the story[…]. 

Check out her post; it’s from a few years ago, but she shares some cool creative writing prompts you can use to establish a setting.  And you might want to look at this one on world-building from Chuck Wendig.  He’s so good he makes me feel like a clumsy farmer trying to plow a field with a fork, but he’s also pretty inspiring in between the swears.  In fact, that entire post kind of negates my entire series here.

Your lack of faith disturbs me. -- Darth Gorilla

Your lack of faith disturbs me. — Darth Gorilla

Image:   Arvind Balaraman / freedigitalphotos.net

And the captcha for that one was “Plan Ahead.” I’m on a roll here.

I already wrote about setting once before, in this post.  For the Challenge, I’ll cover a few things I didn’t mention and try to expand on those I did.   These posts will pose lots of questions.  You don’t have to answer them all; just pick the ones most applicable to your story.  It may seem overwhelming, but if you picture the setting in your head and you know where you want to put your characters, the answers will come to you.

And remember, nothing is set in stone at this point.  A first draft is only that—a first draft.  But a solid setting in your mind will make moving your characters through the story much easier, as well as orient your readers.  World-building is fun, but it requires careful consideration.

Stay tuned for the Challenge.  I’ll see you there!

NaNoWriMo 2015 Day 30: The End is Nigh

I hope everybody had a safe, sane, and happy Thanksgiving weekend.  If you don’t celebrate the Day of the Turkey, I hope you had a good weekend regardless.

Welp, it’s the last day of NaNoWriMo and I  have not finished Secret Book.  I have written 15,250 words this month, which is more than I wrote on the thing in quite a while, so I don’t consider it a failure at all.   My total words come out to 94,997.

According to my NaNoWriMo stats, at the rate I went this month, I will finish on February 7, 2016.  Maybe.  Maybe sooner, if I push myself through December.  I’m starting to see the links in this story (actually, it’s two stories that converge, then break apart again), and that perks me up a little.  It’s like building something; at first, it’s just a jumble of parts, but when you get to a certain point, you start to see the finished product emerging.

Just stack those over there; we'll have this done in a jiffy.

Just stack those over there, Nigel; we’ll have this done in a jiffy.

Photo: Elizabeth West

I don’t think I’ll do NaNoWriMo to finish something this complicated again.  Tunerville had the distinct advantage of being somewhat simplistic; it’s just a straightforward urban fantasy and I could fly by the seat of my pants throughout.

Remember this guy?  Like him.  

Remember this guy?  Kinda like him.

Image: circuswarehouse.com 

So now there is a month left to go before New Year’s Day.  I shall lurk a bit and see if I can finish the draft by then.  I’ll keep posting the increased word count (I made a cool spreadsheet) so watch the counter on my homepage.  You’ll know when I’m done.  Hell, they’ll probably hear me scream all the way in London.  I still have a couple of vocabulary posts to go, so expect those upcoming.

Thank you for sticking with me through the lamest NaNoWriMo of all time.  I PROMISE I WILL FINISH.

Now I shall leave you lovely people and go watch The Walking Dead.  Here is a video of a dog who feels my pain at having to get up to go to work after a long weekend.

NaNoWriMo 2015 Day 23 and 24: BLAST

Word count Day 23:  Zippo (on the page)

Word Count Day 24:  2152  

I finished a very pivotal scene.  And I thought of several ways I can tie Protagonist 1’s experiences in so that they foreshadow later events, without actually giving anything away.

Heh heh.

Heh heh.

As a writer, I live for realizations like that.  They’re what keep me going through a first draft.  I think some of the difficulty I’ve been having with Secret Book is that it felt disjointed for so long.  I couldn’t see how the pieces fit together; writing it in a linear fashion would not have helped.  Reading the outline didn’t either.

Now I can see them, as I take them out of the puzzle box of my mind and assemble them on the page.  As scenes go from a summary paragraph to fleshed-out realities, some of the things Protag 1 and 2 do and say are surprising me, but they make more sense now.

Nothing is set in stone at this point.  Everything could change in rewrite.  I so look forward to that adventure.

————

It’s two days until Thanksgiving in the U.S.  Tonight’s video is from Blue Mountain Cards and gives us an amusing musical look at the standoff between a farmer and his holiday dinner.  Enjoy!

NaNoWriMo 2015 Day 19: Boost!

Word count: 1,873

Holy marathon, Batman, I finished the most annoying scene ever.  It sucks like a giant Dyson from space, but that’s okay.  I just repeat my mantra for pushing through a first draft:  I can fix it later.

Possibly influenced by Scarlett O'Hara.

Possibly influenced by Scarlett O’Hara.

Plus, I broke the 90,000-word mark.  Yay me!  \0/

This book will need to go through several rewrites and about a zillion edits before I’m anywhere close to ready for any beta readers.  In fact, I think I’ll probably have to start on the Rose’s Hostage sequel next, or that poor thing will never get done.

Our bizarre 1960s video for tonight–a cinema snack bar advertisement.  Anyone besides me think that peanut at the beginning looks a little…..protruding?

NaNoWriMo Day 17: Building

Word count: 1,831.

Much better, yes?  As tired as I am today (I have no idea why, but I’m going to bed soon, I promise), I found it easier to write this evening.  That feeling has been rather AWOL of late.  Along with it comes relief.  During those dry spells and blockages, you sometimes think it’s not going to come back.

In tonight’s video, we learn what happens to you when you don’t sleep.  Good night, everybody.

NaNoWriMo 2015 Day 16: Slow Burn

Word count: 797

This is going much more slowly than I thought.  I’m not in a race to finish by the end of the month anymore.  It’s too much pressure.  If I do, then great; if not, I’ll keep going until the book is done.  I think that NaNoWriMo has done that much for me this time around, and that’s good enough.

Writing is like this sometimes.  Some books don’t come as easily as others.  Some characters kick and scream and clutch at the door as you try to draw them into the light.  Rose’s Hostage practically fell out of the keyboard.  Tunerville went faster the more I wrote.  Perhaps this book will too.

Speaking of easy, let this wonderful song by the uber-talented Ed Sheeran insert itself into your ears.  Just try not to tap your feet.  I dare you.

NaNoWriMo Day 15: Post of few words

Word count: 889

Cleaned house; watched Once Upon a Time (hush; I know it’s sort of dumb, but I like it), and managed to get a scene percolating from one of the illustrative passages I mentioned before.  Now it’s late and I am very tired and I have to work tomorrow.

I forgot to update my counter on here last night, so now it will reflect the word count from both today and yesterday.  My NaNoWriMo count stands at 7,540 so far.

In tonight’s video, we see some adorable penguins who managed to break out of their enclosure at a zoo in Denmark but were soon busted.  Helpful hint, guys–you might dry your feet before you try that again!