NaNoWriMo—Past the MidWay Point! & Extras!

I’ve found it’s strangely discouraging to see how much further ahead everybody else’s wordcounts are from mine, so I decided to stop looking.  After all, it doesn’t matter how much everyone else has written! NaNoWriMo isn’t a race against other people.  It’s a crazy motivational month in which we all try our bests to write a full novel.

Okay, at the end of the month, I won’t have a full novel.  I’ll have 30k of assorted, random scenes that I can then use to write a fairlyish good outline of the next two novels.  (Instead of just one.  Oops.)

So far, I’m right on track.  Today’s the nineteenth and I have almost 19k.  (Okay, fine, I’m a few hundred words behind.  There, you got me.)  I’m not worried, though.  I’m still pretty confident I’ll make my goal, and I’ll be pretty happy with it.

Meanwhile, I realized that come December, I won’t have anything to write.  I’m not finishing the novel I’m writing this month, for several reasons—the biggest of which simply is that I have written absolutely nothing this year that wasn’t set in this world and with these characters. (Well, okay, I tried a few other things for Camp NaNo, but I’m not sure those count because I didn’t do much.)

I want something new. Something really different. So while I write my 1k for NaNo each day, I’m also brainstorming for a new project that I had an idea for way back in…I don’t even remember when.

The premise?  Aaaaahh, you want spoilers?  Okay, fine, you convinced me.  I managed to figure out how to turn Sleeping Beauty into a heist.

I love this story.  Unfortunately, I have never written a piece of sci-fi longer than 3k (which means I’ve never done any sci-fi worldbuilding), and I have never ever written a heist.

Nothing like new experiences, right?  (If anybody has any world building advice they could share, I’d be eternally grateful.  I am so lost.)

I’m excited.  Since I probably won’t start the writing itself for another month or so, I think this project will either be a really good way to start 2016 off, or it’ll be a really bad way.  Or both.  Probably both, knowing me and my projects, hehe.

NaNoWriMo, Day Three

So, a probably short update.  I finished my editing up on the 31st—right on schedule.  It was perfect.  (I also finished my homework right on schedule, too, and for that I am pleased.)

And now today is November third. How has NaNoWriMo been?

Well.  While, while everyone around me was finishing off their first day with wordcounts of 10k or 16k (I still don’t know how she wrote that much and is still alive), I finished the day with 2k.  I decided not to be jealous of their wordcounts, however, and instead be proud of my 2k.  2k is twice what I intended to write.

This year for NaNo, my goal is to write a thousand words a day.  By the end of the month, I’ll only have thirty thousand, and not the 50k, but I am going to be okay with that.  I don’t need to win officially—my goal, and the thing I need to do to “win” for myself—is to just write and have fun with it.

So how goes the writing for the rest of you? Did you have a good start?

Looking Back at August: By Far The Longest Month of the Year

So.  August is finally over!  I swear, August was like the longest month ever.  I am so sick of it now.

August was pretty crazy.  Obviously, there’s school starting up, and that was exciting.  Not.  Actually, kind of scary, since I’m experiencing things I’ve never experienced before.  Fun.

August was also hot.  We had a mild (ish) July weather, so August decided to be as miserable as ever.

August also had lots of fun medical stuff.  My sister got sick with something similar to strep throat.  And I have suffered from headaches for a week and a half with no sign of ceasing.  (And it turns out, I might be following in several family members’ footsteps and have migraines.  Or maybe it’s just cluster headaches.  We dunno really.) I also had fun with a CT scan and four MRI scans! Yeah.  (The short version of that story was that the doctor decided she wanted to look into a minor abnormality I have, and see if there’s something medically wrong causing it, or if it’s just…a thing I have.  The results came back today as being perfectly fine and I don’t have a secret tumor or something growing in my head or anything.  I am perfectly healthy.  Aside from some allergies and these blasted headaches.)

But I doubt any of you care about all of that! How about the writing?

Writing.  Well, I’m right on with my goal.  I have less than 40k left to edit.  20k for September and 20k for October, and then I should be finished just in time for Halloween and NaNoWriMo.

When I first started editing, I wrote an outline to follow.  It was a fairly simple outline, only having the chapters and vague scenes that needed to happen for the plot to progress.

That way there was plenty of leeway.

So of course, my characters have decided to be a little rebellious.  I keep having scenes pop up that definitively aren’t part of the outline, and things happen, and oh gosh the emotions.  One character in particular keeps having horribly emotional scenes and it’s so darn sad.  But really, I think the novel is coming out better for these little unpredicted moments.

Hopefully things will continue to go smoothly.  Or, well, as smoothly as a second draft can be—’cause believe me, this is loads better than draft one, but still not half as good as published works.

Monthly Progress

Sooooo…it is August!  And August means… Camp NaNo is ended!

I won, with a total of… I don’t even remember my word count.  But since I was editing and not freewriting, it really doesn’t matter.  The point is, I edited the amount I needed.

A few months ago, I decided that my goal was to be completely done with draft two by the end of October.  Basically, be all done with draft two in time to write something else (the sequel) for NaNoWriMo.

In order to do that, I have to edit roughly 20k each month.  So what’s my goal to do this month?

That’s right, edit 20k.  I have roughly 50k left to edit (which is slightly less than half the novel), but the second half has less plot issues and inconsistencies than the first half, so I’m hoping that it’ll be a lot quicker to edit than the first half. (I’ve been editing since March or so, so you can see how long the first half took to go through.  But it was mostly rewrites and rewrites are kind of hard and slow.)

So I basically plan to have six more chapters edited by the end of the month.  So by the beginning of September, if all goes well, I should be starting work on chapter thirty.

How did Camp go for everybody else, if you participated?

 

A Mishmash Post of Plot Holes, World-building, and a New Project

So, in my last post, I mentioned that I was rereading my NaNo novel, and taking notes/asking questions, as if I was my own “alpha reader”.  I’m finished with that now, and I can say, it worked as well as I had hoped it would.  Since I took a break from the novel for a month before I did this, I was fairly well distanced from the novel, and I could look at it from the perspective of a reader, of sorts.

That was encouraging.  I was looking for problems to fix, and I certainly found plenty of them.  However, I found more problems with the story, rather than problems with the writing, and that is hugely encouraging, at least for me.  See, I wrote this novel in a single month.  Thirty days.  I did some world building and some character development, but no actual planning, and I had no clue what the plot was until, well, I got there.

So, I expected lots of problems.  Plot holes, and inconsistencies, and flat characters, and things that just don’t make sense, and all things of that sort.  Did I find them?  You bet.  But what I didn’t find were issues with my writing style itself.

I mean, there are issues.  I have more mistyped-words and typos than real words, and there’s plenty of things like info-dumps and blank descriptions and whatnot.  However, the thing is, my writing could be improved, and it wasn’t really good, but it didn’t strike me as being oh-my-goodness-that’s-horrible-how-could-I-ever-have-written-that kind of bad.

Does that even make any sense?  I guess my point is, while the novel had it’s fair share of issues—and then some—I know that all of those issues are ones I can fix, and I know I can get this novel into a readable state.  It’s not like my ’12 NaNo novel, that I don’t think I’ll ever touch again.

So, I’m encouraged.

On a different note, one thing I found through this reading process was that I didn’t have nearly enough world-building.  I hardly knew that world at all when I wrote about it.  So, before I really start editing, I have to fill in that world-building.  (That’s why the little editing bar on the right of the page has been staying consistently low, even while the other two bars go up.)

World-building is, in a word…odd.  I’ve never done much of it in-depth before, not to this extent, and it’s kind of overwhelming.  I realized, though, that the more I got to know about the world, the more I began to really, really love the world, and then the more fun the world-building became.  I now understand why people get world builder’s disease.  Hopefully I won’t end up that far down, though.

Anyway!  On unrelated things… The writing’s been good, as you can probably tell by the lower two word-count bars on the right.  I’ve been able to consistently write every single day, though there was one day where I’m not completely sure I met my 200 word goal.  It might have only been 100 or so, but I think there were other things going on that day and I couldn’t do more than that.  So, I counted it anyway.

Also, for that one novel, the progress is coming along nicely.  I hope I’m about half way through the novel, though since I’m mostly pantsing this one, it’s hard to tell.

Unsurprisingly, with my multi-projects-at-once self, those two novels aren’t my only projects. I recently started another novel, and I’m only about 3k into that one.  I know I probably shouldn’t let myself multitask so much, but I’ve kind of learned that it’s really hard to not do it, so I’m letting myself for now.  I don’t think this new novel will take me very far before I get stuck and will need to sit back and figure out where I’m going, in which case I can step back and go back to solely working on my other projects.  That’s why I’m not bothering to put a bar up for it in the side, even if I am working on it as well.

So…I think that’s it.  This is kind of a mishmash post, isn’t it?  Heh heh, oh well.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Conclusion

Well.  It’s…December 6th as I write this.  I probably should have written and posted this post a few days ago, but I guess I procrastinated.

Anyway!  NaNoWriMo 2014.  I won, with a total count of 100,016 words.

This year, I had two goals.  One was a word-count goal (which was 100k), and the other was to finish the novel.  I haven’t finished a novel since May of 2013, so I have really wanted to be able to finish a novel lately.  I made this second goal, however, so I am quite satisfied.

Unlike Miss Kiwi, with her 50k in the first week and a half, I wrote a lot slower.  No multiple days where I wrote 10k.  And by the end of the first week, I was at roughly 29k, though I did hit 50k by day 15.

That isn’t as big of a deal for me.  For me, I wrote every single day.  There were two or three days where I didn’t quite make a thousand words—only had about seven or eight hundred—but I wrote every day without fail.  That’s what was important to me.  That and the fact that I finished the novel.

I’m totally rambling here, but I guess I’m going to keep doing that.  Since I am finished, I won’t have to work on finishing it through the rest of December.  Instead, I get to face the terrifying beast of editing.

Well.  I’m actually going to put that off until January, to give myself some distance from the novel.  And then when I get back do it, I unfortunately have to work on filling in the rest of the gaps of my world-building (ha! And I thought I’d done enough world-building in October!) and straighten out not only my plot, but my character arcs.  Once I have that all sorted out, then I suppose I can edit.

Until then, for the rest of December, I’m not completely sure what I’ll be doing.  I think I’m going to try to finish that short story I was working on in October, or maybe I’ll write some more.  There’s also another novel I plan to outline.

I’m really rather excited.

 

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Okay, I admit it.  I’ve been avoiding my blog.  Why?  Honestly, I’m not entirely sure.  I guess because I’ve felt I had nothing worth saying.  So…bear with me if all of rest of this post is rather uninteresting.

Anyway.  Most of my previous posts mentioned NaNoWriMo and how I was planning for it (and excited for it), so I guess I need to mention that.  Well.  I’m doing NaNoWriMo!

As of this very moment, my word-count is just over forty-nine thousand words—though I suppose you can see that in the little word-tracker bar in the corner.  I hope to have fifty thousand words before I go to bed tonight, but we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, I’m rather enjoying the story.  It has problems—in fact, the first twenty thousand words or so are all a problem in and of itself—but I like most of the characters and the plot is…not going where I expected.  Then again, I was after all basically doing an experiment with this novel.  I developed my characters and I built my world, but I didn’t figure out my plot.  That way, I’d know about the story, but I’d still be free to discovery-write it as much as I wished.

So far, that’s going fairly okay.  I mean, there have been spots where not knowing what my plot was did kind of screw me up or slow me down, but I am having fun with it.  I know there’ll be a lot of editing when I’m finished, however.

And that is about all I have to say.  How’s the writing going for everyone else?

Percolation

I am a horrible blogger.  I haven’t so much as looked at my blog in three weeks.  Part of that is because I unexpectedly went to summer camp for a week (and we kind of didn’t have wifi), but otherwise, I honestly have no clue why I’ve avoided it.

But I’m back now!

And still writing.  I won Camp NaNo with a total of 28,288 words.  (What a fun number.  It was entirely incidental, believe it or not.)  Unfortunately, I also got bored of the story in the process, and so even though the story clearly isn’t finished at that amount, I probably won’t be continuing it this August.  Or…the rest of July.

Boy.  I really have a pattern going for getting bored of stories during Camp NaNo.  However, I’m beginning to think it’s due to my lack of planning.

See, when I don’t plan, I don’t plan at all.  Then I get part way into the story, lose my momentum, and I’m more lost than…well, really, really lost.   And when I do plan, I try to write a fairly extensive, chapter-by-chapter outline.  But I’ve never tried anything in the middle.  You can plan and not have an outline, can’t you?  I mean, okay, maybe that doesn’t make so much sense.

So, I’ll say this.  I’m planning my November novel right now.  Yes.  It’s not even August yet.  I have four months.  But, hey, that means I’ll be better off than those people who like to save it until right before November, right?

I’m not actually going to write an outline.  I’m bored of outlining, and I really want to discovery write.  Like, really discovery write, and not this…whatever it is I’ve been doing lately.  So in the next four months, I’m developing my protagonists and my antagonists, and also secondary characters (hey, has anybody thought of having a huge list of pre-developed characters to throw in when you lose momentum during NaNo?), and doing as much world-building as possible.

I’m thinking, if I have a world that I know almost inside and out, and characters that actually have depth to them, then maybe I can do better with this.  I hope.  But boy, world-building is hard.  And characters take a while to develop.  I almost wonder if four months will be long enough.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing.  How’s everybody else’s writing going?  Does anybody else know what they’re doing in November yet?

And So I Return

And, I’m back! Yay! The vacation was amazing. I got souvenirs from…a lot of different places. Like, in Arkansaw, I got a bug bite on the bottom of my foot. And in Kansas, I got a scrape on my arm and a pulled muscle in my leg that kept me from walking for two days.

Okay, maybe those aren’t really souvenirs. They’re probably just me being a little foolish. I couldn’t have done much to prevent the bug bite, but the latter two I got from climbing a tree in flipflops, then falling off of said tree. Brilliant, I know. I do try.

Anyway. The important part of all of this is, the break really helped me out with a lot of things. I feel like I got a fresh start, not just to my writing, but to, well, everything. I’m coming back to my characters with a clear head, and it feels amazing.

I’m doing Camp NaNo, as I may or may not have mentioned before. I planned on only continuing my 500 words a day, but when I had nothing else to do the past few days (lots of driving), I got my word-count up to just over 8,000. I think I might extend the goal, if only a little. I don’t want to do too much, because I don’t want to make the mistake I’ve done previous years and burn myself out half-way through the month. So I’ll take it easy, so long as I don’t get lazy and stop writing.

I realize that there’s like two dozen posts for me to catch up on from the rest of you guys, so I apologize if I miss something. I’ll try to read and comment, but I can’t guarantee I’ll comment on everything. That’s a lot of reading, and I’ve already been doing lots of reading, trying to finish Sanderson’s Words of Radiance before I got home.

Geez. That thing was huge. But awesome. I might do a post in the future on some of the things I really liked about that book, and hopefully some things I’ve learned from it.

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First off, I just wanted to point out how it’s kind of ironic, and amusing, that the rest of the world (or at least the US) is going, “Oh! School’s almost out, I’m so busy!” and yet this month, I’ve written more blog posts than I have in…a very long time.  Huh.

Anyway, back to relevancy.  (I love that word…and all variations of it.)  I made forty thousand words today!  I’m very excited about it.  I made 40k!  (Excuse me while I go flail and grin like a madman.  One without a box, sadly.)

On a different note, I’ve also started writing at a more regular time.  Once upon a time, when I first started writing, I did it first thing in the morning.  Right after I woke up.  It was surprisingly productive to get so much done when I still feel half-asleep.  Lately, though, I haven’t done that, and so I just write whenever I find time.

The past three…or was it four?…days, I’ve woken up at roughly six in the morning, and I decided to take advantage of it by getting up and writing.  That first day, it was really hard, because all I wanted to do was sit and be lazy in my warm bed, but by today, it was actually really easy to get up out of bed.  All I had to do was remind myself how much more productive it is when I do it.

Plus, at six in the morning, the baby is still asleep, so it’s nice and quiet.  Yay!  I don’t get much quiet in my house, with an almost two year old and several other siblings, so I like it when I get it.

Anyway.  This post is starting to sound ramble-y, so I think I’ll stop it here.