Monthly Archives: November 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 24: The Finish Line

I crossed the finish line of 50000 words and listened to We Are The Champions as a celebratory exercise. I have decided to forgo the usual libation to the muses, or rather postponed it until the thing is well and truly finished. But let me tell you, hitting a goal like that is worth it. I’m not exactly giddy but i am content and that will do for now.

Sorry i haven’t been making my regular post for the last few days. I was getting behind in sleep again but still managed to post the word count, for the most part though some of the days had a little less than usual.

I have been skipping around a lot in the story, getting things done where and when the inspiration strikes the hardest. Tonight it was Part 4 – the deepest i have gotten into it and in fact it’s the denoument. I have to say i am proud of the end i have made of it. It may be some of the best writing i have ever done and i even made myself sniffle once or twice. It sounds strange to say ‘made myself sniffle’. I didn’t actually. Tom did. He’s got a really good heart and i’m really quite fond of him. And then there’s Violet. She’s such a beauty. I really hope and intend for her to have a better and more poignant part of the final draft as i have really come to love her.

Emmie, of course, is still giving me some trouble. A few days ago i bought her a truck – or rather she bought it. She lightened up considerably at that and then she had a nice scene at a food pantry that was comical and interesting. The food Pantry is more or less integral to the plot but the truck isn’t and i have a feeling it will either have to be dramatically shorter in the final version or not exist at all.

While i say she’s giving me trouble i think it’s more fair to say that she’s not all that certain of the direction this whole thing is going. There are parts of it she’s completely onboard with but as i mentioned a blog or two ago, she has yet to really warm to Tom (who is pretty enamored of her) Clearly some things will have to be worked on on his end to melt the ice as it were. Seeing as that’s always been one of my troubles with relationships we’ll see how well i can write it out for him.

Other than that things have been moving very nicely. Some of the scenes are harder than others of course. Sometimes the plot just doesn’t want to do what you want it to do. You try to explain to the screen that this is the way it has to be in order for things to work but the screen just looks at you with a ‘hmph. Maybe.” sort of expression. You really have to take that maybe to heart. You could be wrong. The maybe is very important as i have discovered while i am sitting at my desk at work, Moleskine open and jotting notes as they fire off in my head.

I am really looking forward to, having now written the very end, dropping Nick back into the story. I don’t know what place he holds or what he’s going to do but he’s there at the close and his initial scenes with Emmie’s mother were so good.

Anyway. The thing really is a hairy mess at present. It’s like a really comfortable shirt that has fallen into some disrepair and is in need of some thread cutting and some patching. Before i get to that i really want to fill in the gaps and pull all the spots together into a nice picture. Then the real work begins.

Stay tuned to this bat channel for more details and more anguish. There will be plenty of both to be had.

Categories: Fiction, Furry Peach and Mango Otter, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo: Day 21 – Skipping around

Well today was a bit different. Instead of proceeding in lock step with the outline i had mapped out (which has been variable at best as things have been proceeding mostly in a linear fashion but that linear fashion has a strange tendency to be chopped up to bits and strewn around) i have decided to skip around a little in the plot and sketch out a few scenes later in the story.

In addition i have really started thinking about the revisions. The chapter that was formerly Chapter 4: which was initially the introduction of the senator, now comes well after the (interminably long) banquet and his meeting with Emmie. Chapters 1 and 2 respectively which detail the birth of both main characters and deliver sort of a thread of continuity to the stuff taking place way back in 1892, may end up being jettisoned entirely. They only seem to serve the purpose of extending the introduction of the main characters and preventing the story from starting.

There is a lot of character work that still needs to be done. Emmie is now more of the problem than Tom. She doesn’t really have much of a hook – i don’t generally like characters that have ‘hooks’ or stereotypical archetypes but i do like characters that have a certain perspective or standpoint. I think she certainly has it but its a little more muted than i would like. She shows up really well in the scenes with Alex where she is comfortable but she’s very wary of Tom. She can spar with him well enough -which is good- but i think she’s still trying to figure out what to make of him.

I think, in order to tamp that down a little bit, i may devote a few solo chapters to her. I think it’s important sometimes to give people plenty of space to do their own thing – it tells you a lot about them when the actual plot stuff happens and though it is inefficient work it can be much fun. So for all of you writers out there who actually have stumbled upon this strange little blog in the backwaters of the blogosphere – my advice to you is always be prepared to write junk you never intend to use. It may feel like a waste of time and effort but in my opinion it will really make the focused work time that much quicker and useful and precise.

Well that’s it for now. I’m a little over five thousand words remaining. If i keep up the present pace i will be done with the 50000 by tuesday.

Categories: Fiction, Furry Peach and Mango Otter, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo Day 20: Last Milestone Before 50000

So i’m currently at 41,000 or so having cleared the last 10,000 mark before the end. I’m a little umm…anxious at being so close to the end of the 50,000 goal. It’s been fun and exhilarating and obnoxious and painful and oh so very rewarding. The novel isn’t even close to being finished. Not by a long shot but it’s nice to be this far and have a lot more to go. It gives me something to look forwards to.

The Senator is becoming a pretty good character. I was genuinely worried about him with the first few pages i put together. He was very plain and didn’t have much to like about him, but add a few nuances here and there, find a way to make them work, and there you go.

I seem to be having some difficulty still with descriptions. They just aren’t evolving in a way that i find colorful enough but that’s going to have to be tweaked and hammered down in the second draft which should be a mind numbing terror. But i feel like it’s getting to be a good story and i like the way the two leads have very different methods when they are alone as opposed together – it’s a strange dynamic the way they are slowly and very cautiously discovering the necessary admiration for each other.

My subplot characters have finally met – i am doing my best to keep them very close to the vest, i don’t want to show too much – just step by step build to the pay off but i think it’s a little too clear right now. Again that will have to be clouded over and given a nice muddy wash in the second draft. That will be difficult because it’s easy to overdo a plot like that when you know how it ends up but you don’t want the reader to know. You want it to be a surprise. So it’s a lot of fine and patient detail and obfuscation.

As far as plot goes – it’s glacial. I’m not sure how to fix that but i’m not too worried about it. I do wish there was a way to see it as a novel WHILE i’m writing it – with perfect page format. That way, visually at least, i can mark the benchmarks of the plot with what needs to be where and so forth. That would make editing much much easier.

Anyway. I must be off to a birthday party so i just thought i would drop this off and give you a little hint of what’s in store. I hope it was tantalizing enough.


Categories: Fiction, Furry Peach and Mango Otter, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo Day 18: Slacker!

Well i cut the word count short. I’ve been grinding under a serious lack of sleep so i’m trying to get to bed. I know – same story from the last few days. But seriously i don’t like having to work for 9 hours while feeling worse than the walking dead.

Anyway. I finally FINALLY pushed through the grand banquet scene and am ready to move on. I think it’s got all the raw elements i’m looking for but it should develop a little more slowly as far as the relationship is concerned. I positively love the character of the daughter who popped up in yesterday’s writing. I think she’s going to truly be a great addition to the story.

Finally i think i have lightened up a bit. This whole thing is supposed to be more romantic comedyesque than dreary slice of life. Well… There’s absolutely no way it could be a slice of life. But in any case i think the lightheartedness i wanted is finally coming across. There’s a lot of work to be done but the bones are there.

Must go sleep. Friday should be a heavy work day – TV sucks on friday.

Categories: Fiction, Furry Peach and Mango Otter, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

NaNoWriMo Day 17: Umm… Yeah… Realizing there’s more story than what’s left in word count…

Well this is going to have to be quick again. Just finished for the night. I should say i just cut myself off. Thing’s went well and i have decided to post this under the current title of the project: Furry Peach and Mango Otter. Oddly enough i know exactly why this is why this is the title and yet it has not yet come up in the course of writing it. But that’s writing for you. You should know more about things than the reader.

I’m getting down to the home stretch now, continuing with my metaphors of the past the land is just over the horizon. There is no longer any doubt that i will finish the 50000 words, the question then becomes will the novel be finished with it? I’m going to say – not a chance. There are leagues to go yet – much much more story than the 50000 will allow for the present, and though i am aware that i can be overly wordy at times i can honestly say the number of events remaining precludes the idea of a total finish. That’s alright though. I’ve decided i am not going to let up this pace until the thing is finished. I don’t really trust myself to give it time off. It’s all or nothing.

So. If you’re with me, i will continue this Blog until the draft is finished at which point i’ll happily take a break before going back into it and getting it trimmed down and in shape. In the mean time i will try to be a little more specific and timely with these.

Must go sleep.

Categories: Fiction, Furry Peach and Mango Otter, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo Day 16: Good Breeze, Full Sails, Prize in Sight

So it’s been a few days of meagre offerings from the Blog. I apologize. I had to let my writing brain settle from the despair of the 25000 mark. It wasn’t easy. Things were a huge mess and though it didn’t enter my head to surrender i was not relishing the idea of continuing with a substandard product that had become a bit like licking a live grizzly – neither pleasant or advisable.

Things have settled down nicely since yesterday when i crammed in the words in spite of the growing deadline for bedtime. I spent two very productive days doing something i should have done a little more completely in the beginning – outlining and sketching. It’s honestly too soon to tell in the grand scheme of my experience to determine if this is advice i will take from myself. It certainly seems like a good idea, but there is the chance that the terror of losing complete control and then actually losing it is one of those liberating things that clears your mind and allows you to proceed much more happily. I’m not even sure if the ideas that have been germinating rapidly for the past two days would have come at all in the early stages. I was much more focused on THE idea back then – getting it launched.

I guess its a bit like a maiden voyage or a shakedown cruise. You launch the thing and then find out that there’s water coming in. Of course that’s where the analogy ends. I was pretty certain the whole thing was sinking a few days ago. Lesson learned kids, preparation and sketching will save your fiction. If you think you can just whip something up that is grand and delicious on a whim, i wish you luck. But if you find yourself with tattered sails in the doldrums of a frozen wasteland, you’d best get to work looking for land to head to. That is what a sketch is for. Lately i have been scoping out and mapping everything that is to come next. Where i have a clear vision for the events and the scene that is to occur, i will take a bit of time to type it out. In Scrivener this is REALLY easy and if you arrange it right it’s right on hand while your tap tapping away.

Anyway, whatever i’m doing seems to be working because i am feeling a LOT calmer and happier with the work, the characters are developing and becoming more like how i envision them (realizing that there is still much room for descriptive improvement in that regard but that, again, is for the second draft) The story itself is right there, only awaiting the formal words to make it come into being. It feels good.

So there you go. Hopefully this trend continues to the end, whether it does or not i will let you know.

Word Count as of Tuesday night at 11:09 is 34,370.

Categories: Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo Day 15 – Rising from the ashes

Quick post though – it’s past bedtime and i have to work tomorrow. Got the word quota for the day after spending much time working on getting things a little better organized. I have it mapped out MUCH better than it was which should make moving forward much easier.

I would write more because it was a nice and productive day but i really don’t have time for that. I’ll try for that tomorrow.

Word count stands right now at 31886. yay, me!

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NaNoWriMo Day 13 – Still going and feeling a bit better

28227 – That’s the stat. I worked until a little after one in the morning this morning so the words written last night and this morning all got logged for today. Sometimes i wish i didn’t NEED to check the little stat meter thing they have. It’s just one more tool that you can use to make yourself neurotic and writers generally already have a warehouse of such implements.

I’m pretty pleased with the work today. Last night/this morning was a horrendous slog from hell but this afternoons stuff seemed to come off pretty good. I just needed to internalize some stuff. Of course i must begin preparing for the next crisis which is waiting with great big toothy jaws right around the corner. But, in the meantime i will drink some wine. I am going to a bit of a wine tasting this evening. I’m pretty sure it will be a lot less civilized that it sounds.

ANyway. things moved this time around. I have to remember that scenes need action. I have a nasty tendency to put a bunch of people in a room and have them jabber at each other for six or seven pages until something happens. Always assume that any scene can be made better if there is a guy on the other side of the door with a gun. I think that’s me paraphrasing something i read about Chandlers words of advice. That would be RAYmond Chandler you boob – whoever it was who read this and thought i was talking about a character from Friends.

Anyway. Gone must i be. I have wine to buy.


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NaNoWriMo Day 12-13: Ugh. Really?

Well i thought i might feel better after gloriously crossing the halfway mark. I was wrong. I feel like i just waded up to my neck in the thickest of mud. I can’t say tonight’s writing was easy. I REALLY wanted to take the day off, but i didn’t. I crushed my nose into that grindstone with a vengeance and i’m proud to say i… sucked.

A total lack of enthusiasm for what i was writing today really showed. I couldn’t recover it no matter how much description i added, no matter the wit and dialog which i generally love to write, no matter anything. Today it was a job. Perhaps i neglected the celebratory wine. In fact i KNOW i neglected the celebratory wine.

I know i will have to take some serious stock in the project now that i am half finished. It has direction and with some reordering of things (thanks to Scrivener) it might look a bit more coherent but right now i am looking on it with dim prospects.

It’s a draft. It’s a Draft It’s a Draft. I wish i had a draft beer. Maybe a daft beer.

Anyway. That’s it.

To analyze the problems right now i think i need to give it a little time to get the creative juices back in order. I have taken the advice of doing things with literary abandon and like all things when you abandon them or do things with abandon – it can really wear you out after a while. I may go back to pen and paper for tomorrows writing, just for a change of pace and direction. I may do a bunch more hand written outlining. I may eat a sock. I may go crazy. I will drink some wine.

Have no fear though, i will be here tomorrow with another 2000 words and another blog entry. I hope some of you folks out there are finding this enlightening or helpful in some way. If you have questions comments or considerations you’d particularly like me to address feel free to drop a line.

Categories: Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

NaNoWriMo Day 11: Etc. Etc. Etc.

Not too much to say today, really. I’m pretty tired but i managed to get in the word count. I’ve been pulling down about 2200 a day for the last few days and the productivity suits me just fine. If this were a real job i would take a nice break about now and do something and then come back to it later.

Today’s work was basically just a continuation of last nights progress. More back story on the second main character – connecting the dots, as it were. I think i would like to take a step back, possibly saturday, and actually give the guy some time to figure out who he is now as opposed to his slightly strange origin which somehow managed to hit all the points i aimed at.

If there is a piece of advice i would give it would be to lay up the areas you want to explore, keeping the main theme of the thing on the back burner but never quite out of sight, then just let it all go. You will probably find that the story has its own way of coming to those points. The danger seems to be when you aim at them too much and try to direct the flow. That doesn’t seem to work with me.

For the time being i think i am going to take a break from the linear writing – which doesn’t seem to be serving the story as well as i would like – and jump around a bit. This method has worked in the past with some of the screenplays i’ve done. I see no reason why it shouldn’t work here. All you need is the hook, the image, the thing that put that scene in your head in the first place and you can maneuver everything. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m still feeling pretty good about the project though. That’s a good thing. I’m fired up and ready to go on the other side of the hill and sled down to the end. Yippeee!!!

Sorry this wasn’t more enlightening for the few folks who care but damned if i’m not just a little tired.

Categories: Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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