NaNoWriMo Day #25

I almost gave up today, I’m not going to lie to you.  We didn’t have any plans today, so I thought I would get an early start (and by early I mean starting around 6 or 7  instead of 10:00 like I normally do).  Every word seemed to drag out.  I would type and type and type and then lose heart when I saw I had only typed 300 or so words.  Not that 300 is a bad little chunk, but when you have a daily writing goal of 5,000 to catch up, it’s just not even enough to put a dent in it.

The first couple hours seemed to just trudge by.  I took several breaks.  Watched a little tv with my family.  I felt like I had to fight for each and every word.  Finally I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And then the material started flowing.  I didn’t even realize it, but part of the problem was that I was just writing a difficult scene that I wasn’t sure how to play out.  I finally hit the 5,000 mark, and then didn’t want to stop, writing another 1,085 words before finally quitting with 6,085 words on the day.  That’s two days in a row in excess of 6,000 words.  That’s without a doubt a record for me.

I crossed the 50% threshold tonight, ending up at 53% of the NaNoWriMo goal for the month.  As of right now I have a total of 26,638 words written.  The target goal for today is at 40,000 words.  So, I’m just over 13,000 behind.  With 23,000 and some change and only 6 days left to go, that leaves me at just under 4,000 words a day I need to be writing.  3,894 to be exact.  I”m hopeful I can make another good dent in it tomorrow since it’s my last weekend day before  the end of the month (NaNo ends on Friday of this coming week).  Thankfully I have a pretty relaxing week as far as evening commitments go, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance.  I WILL win this!

NaNoWriMo (day 7)

Goal:        1667

Words Written:  3434

 

What a day.  Today was a repeat of yesterday.  I got home from work tired, had dinner and then went shopping with the family.  By the time we got back, it was late, and we had to get kids into bed.  I was tired and at 10:00 laid down in my bed with serious thoughts of giving up for the day.  One missed day isn’t going to kill me right?  I mean, c’mon, I am over 5,000 words ahead of schedule.

WRONG

I committed to write every single day.  And, by golly, unless i’m sick or dying or bleeding out my eyes or fingers (well, I could probably put band aids on if it was just my fingers), I’m going to follow through with that committment.  So, I watched a quick show to get my mind relaxed and at 11:00 sat down to start writing.

I’ve been excited to write today’s scene because I knew it would involve a fight scene (an assassination attempt) as well as the first real use of magic in the book).  So, I was looking forward to writing it and finding out what happened.  But, at the same time, I attacked it with some trepidation because I wasn’t quite sure HOW to write a fight scene, having never really done a detailed one before.  But, once I started writing, the words flowed.  I didn’t even know this was coming but was sad to find out that two characters died in the scene.  I wasn’t planning on it when the scene started.  But, I didn’t have any choice.  The story goes where the story goes.

Anyway, I exceeded my already increased goal by almost a thousand words.  I’m very happy with that.  I’m trying to build up a nice cushion in case I do actually end up bleeding out my eyes or being sick or dying later on in the month and have to take a day off.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that that doesn’t actually happen though.

I also went to the store today and bought several big white poster boards which I am going to tack to the walls in my office.  I’m going to make several charts for the story (characters, plot lines, etc.) so I have some visual reminders as I write.  There are too many characters now for me to remember all their names.  I was planning on doing that tonight but that this point, I’m just glad I even wrote at all.  So, hopefully tomorrow I can spend some time on that.  And, let’s not forget that I still need to read my dang book to get caught back up.  I need more hours in a day!!!

More soon!

short story update

You’ll notice the progress bar shows that the first draft of operation sacrifice is now 100% complete.  Sorry I didn’t do a better job of updating that as I went.  And let me tell you.  Writing a short story is MUCH harder than you think.  It’s tough to build a believable setting with relatable characters and a good plot arc all just in a few pages.

Part of the problem is that there was nothing to update for a very long time.  We had several weeks to work on this project, and I am a terrible procrastinator at times.  I knew what my story would be about (or so I thought – see below), and so I took WAY too many nights off.

Well, our self-imposed deadline to post the first draft for critiques was 8/1/11 (aka tomorrow).

By Friday night when I went to bed, I had 1,500 words written of my 10,000+ word short story.  And, to make matters worse, my wife’s brother came to visit from Germany (military), and since we haven’t seen him in several years, we packed up and went over to stay with all the fam.  Not exactly the perfect atmosphere for distraction free writing.

This is the good part.  THIS is why I love writing.

Being at the fam’s actually worked out better than I thought because my wife and kids were occupied with family stuff the entire day, allowing me to hole up in a bedroom upstairs with my trusty netbook and type incessantly.

I started writing the story I had contrived in my head.  Only, certain things that I thought would happen, didn’t happen.  In fact, one path took a 90 degree turn on me, and before I knew it, the story was SO much better.  A twist was there that even I wasn’t expecting.  Believe me, I’m as surprised as you!  That’s what I love.  The story grows and develops on its own.  I’m just the cultivator.  I plant the seed, have a pretty good idea what the plant will look like, but you just never know.

The draft will be posted to my writing group tomorrow for the first round of critiques.  Then it’ll be back to the drawing board for revisions and rewrite.  I already have a small section in mind that I want to include.  Some sections need a little more detail.  Currently, I’m at just over 10,800 words.  I wanted to be closer to 12-13,000.  So, I may have to add a bit.  I don’t know yet whether there will be a second round of edits or not.  I assume so, but we’ll have to play that by ear.

Either way, I’ll let you know more when I know more.

In the meantime, I’ll be busy critiquing several other short stories and then fixing mine when it comes back.  So, I don’t think I’ll have time to get back to my novel yet, but hopefully soon.

The best thing about this project is that it finally got me writing again, and I remembered just how much I love it.

Thanks for reading.

reread (cont’d)

Word Goal:             2500 Words

Words Written:      0 Words

The reread is going fairly well, if a bit slower than I would like.  I just read through some scenes last night that I really liked.  Not because they contained any great action but just for their simplicity and effectiveness at introducing a seemingly unimportant character who actually will become rather involved later.  Often when I’m reading I constantly think that I need to make things better.  Every once in a while I read a scene where it just already feels right.  That’s how this was.

I’ve got a ways to go still to be able to make my goal to have this read by tomorrow night so I can start writing this weekend, but I think it’s still very doable.  I don’t have any early appointments tomorrow, and so I think I’m going to be up late tonight reading.  Actually, I’m looking forward to it.

When you read a book in sections (scenes here and there), it’s very different from reading the book as a whole like you would a novel.  The story really comes a live.  And, it’s letting me see how my writing began to improve as I wrote.  The initial chapters were fun from a story standpoint, but not that well written.  I’m starting to get into the chapters where my writing was starting to become more solid.  Where I was in the groove.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest tonight and tomorrow because I’ve never really gone back and reread these chapters.

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I don’t know if any of you noticed, but Brandon Sanderson recently held an Ebay auction for the ability to name a character (i.e., have it named after you) in his upcoming second installment to his Stormlight Archive series.   I previously wrote a post about the first book, The Way of Kings.  You can read it here. Can you imagine?  It actually went for quite a bit of money ($1,825.00), all of which was slated to help the BYU Life the Universe and Everything (LTU&E) symposium held yearly at BYU, Sanderson’s (and my) alma mater.

I think it’s really cool that he did that charity auction to help out the program.

More to come SOON!

rereading

Writing Goal:       2500 Words

Words Written:   0 Words (yes, that zero is on purpose)  (no, it’s not a bad thing)

I decided to try something new.  I’ve always tracked my word count (goal v. words written) in a spreadsheet so that I knew how much I was writing and how often.  But, I’ve not really ever shared that before.  I thought that I would start keeping a bit of a writing journal on here both so you know how the work’s progressing and for a little public accountability.  I figure that if I share with you how I’ve met (or miserably failed) my goal, then it’ll help.  Right?

Don’t be discouraged by the big fat zero laughing menacingly above.  It’s not indicative of effort.  I am working.  I’m just not actually writing, yet.  I started to, don’t get me wrong.  But, my book is too lengthy at this point with too much going on to be able to just jump back into writing without a thorough reread.  Too many little plot arcs are surfacing.  Characters are developing.  These are all things I would miss if I just started writing.  I have some good ideas for scenes coming up, but in order to be true to the story and characters, I need to refamiliarize myself with them.  Oh, they’re not gone.  Just sort of like old friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  We’re getting reacquainted rather quickly.  Like riding a bike.  But, I still need to do it.  And, now that we’re talking again, I realize I quite missed them.

At the rate I’m going, I should have my reread complete by the end of this week so that I can start putting pen to paper, metaphorically of course, this weekend.  Then the numbers should start aligning a little better.

This reread is a dangerous thing, though.  You often hear writers say that the most important thing is to just freaking write the first draft.  Don’t get caught in the quagmire of rewriting before it’s finished, or you’ll never make it there.  I’m finding there’s actually a lot of truth to that.  As I read the pages I wrote a long time ago, I’m seeing SO many things that I want to change.  Stylistic problems.  Character traits.  Worldbuilding.  etc.  But, I’m consciously forcing myself NOT to touch them right now.  Once the entire draft is complete, I’ll go back and do it.  By then, I’ll know the entire story and it’ll be easier to fix the earlier problems to make them align.

In any event, I just wanted y’all to know that the work is progressing.

More to come on that front soon.

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ps – I know I mentioned this before, but I thought I’d touch on it again.

You all know that I just finished Patrick Rothfuss’ new novels, The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear.  I’ve raved about them already, more than once, so I’ll try not to do that again here.  But, reading such great novels makes me sit back and wonder what it is that makes a book so good?  Why is his book devoured when so many others languish.  It’s daunting when you think that for every one Rothfuss or Sanderson that there are seemingly infinite nameless writers who get small first publication runs and then their books don’t even make it to your neighborhood bookseller.  Why do some writers take so long to break into the market (Sanderson wrote almost 10 novels before his first was published) when others have HUGE success with their first (J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Mull).  Are they better writers than Sanderson?  Absolutely not.  So what is it?

Luck?  Good timing?  Coincidence?  Pure happenstance?  Divine intervention?  Probably a little bit of all of those, actually.  But, I think the most important thing that all of them had is, well, a book.  So, I’ll finish mine first and then ask the questions later.  🙂

1055 words written tonight

I SO badly didn’t want to write tonight, but the days have been ticking away without any progress whatsoever.  So, I forced myself to sit down and keep my fingers on the keyboard until something came.  I think it’s junk, and I’m probably going to have to scrap most of it.  But, at least I wrote.  It felt good to do it again.  It’s funny how you really have to be in the groove of writing to generate volume.  I feel out of practice, and it’s going to take a few times before I’m back into pumping out dialogue and description like I was before.

That’s ok, though.  At least I’m getting started again.

There’s a scene I need to write with one of the bad guys.  I’m still not sure how it’s going to pan out, but I’m past the point where I need to insert it.  So, I’m going to have to go back and write in a completely new scene a chapter or so back from where I am right now.  I’ve never done it that way before, so this should be interesting.