NaNoWriMo Day 11

The Words: 7810 written today.

I didn’t get started on writing until 3pm, partly because it was too easy to be lazy when kids were gone and the house was quiet. But Saturdays are the busiest day of the week at my job (escape room company), and while I was not working in-store today, as the director of operations, there is still a lot that goes on through a Saturday that I am involved with, even from home.

I had decided to try a reward system to get through a lot of words–1000 words written, half an hour of laziness, back and forth. That lasted through two or three sessions, and then I got distracted by work things. Then I did a #1k30min with @NaNoWordSprints, and the sprint leader challenged us to move forward or backward in time during our writing. I decided to use that time to write more of Vin’s letters, which are a different timeline than the rest of the story. That came out to 1800 words, and then I was one solid sprint away from 50k. I passed that mark at about 6:15pm!

I wrote a little more after dinner, but then decided it wasn’t a bad idea to stop after that, even though I had a solid 2 hours before midnight. It was a good day!

The Story: I wrote 6 letters from Vin to the pastor. Each of these letters represents an event in which Vin affected the grander story in some way, though 3 of the 6 today were smaller parts of one larger event. He has been a background antagonist in a few other books I’ve written or planned, and this is all of what he has done coming to light. He’s basically confessing all of this to the pastor as it happens. The pastor doesn’t know who he is.

Based on my timeline, there will be 5 more letters before the final one. So at least as it relates to Vin’s storyline, I am more than halfway through.

The main storyline took an interesting turn today. Nathan talks to the pastor who was unexpectedly at the church for just a minute or two, then returns to where Penny and the others are with the journals and papers he found in the locked room. They start to read through these writings and discuss how Vin could possibly know all that he knows.

Meanwhile, Cathy has been gone for a few hours, and we leave the others to follow her and see what she’s been doing. This was the 2nd large thing that came up during the writing that I was not anticipating at all. The inclusion of Justin in the story was the first thing. But I had never planned to follow Cathy, and had always expected it to be this big reveal when she showed back up with a certain person.

Here is where I admit that I am one of those people that is guilty of using the trope that “no one ever actually dies.” It’s not true that no one dies, but there are definitely a few faked deaths, or deaths that look real, and turn out not to be (like Rogan’s). There just happen to be 2 that turn up in this story, but to be fair, I’m pretty sure the reader will know that this one didn’t actually die in the book in which he appears to die. Hopefully that makes it less bad.

Cathy’s very close friend, a man named…let’s called him Clark…is living a few countries over, hiding out, after being presumed dead. He is probably the most powerful man in at least the union that Pithea is part of, but came across this power highly illegally. So he’s hiding from the people in charge of the Power. But Cathy knows that if they do manage to find Vin, they will need Clark’s help. It took absolutely no convincing for him to agree to help, even though it would mean revealing his secret to at least a few people (one of whom–Justin–was part of the unit that was trying to bring him in before he “died”).

Wow, this story is complicated. Not just this one, but the entire series of stories. It’s just too much to try to sum up…

Total word count: 51,828

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 11th

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NaNoWriMo Day 10

The Words: 3655 written today.

I didn’t get started until around 9:00 tonight, and not a single sprint wasn’t interrupted by someone wanting something. Most of it was work-related–communications between people at work, from my boss to those under me, happen any time from 9am until midnight, and are more prone to happening up until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, which are our busy days. And my boss and I are working on a project that is nearing completion, but stalled, and he had some things about that he wanted to discuss. But I needed to get some writing in. So I wrote…and stopped to text…and wrote…and read an email between sprints.

Anyway, it obviously didn’t hurt my word count, but it’s just not as enjoyable.

I am less than 6000 words away from 50k. My husband has secured me an entire 12-hour period all to myself tomorrow (through no request of mine), so I have a feeling I will reach that mark tomorrow!

The Story: Yesterday I let my summary of what I’d written get a little long. I’m going to try not to do that in the future.

Nathan told the others about what he found in the locked room of the small house in Taellyn. This has led to some discussion about why those three are the ones that Vin was tracking. Justin, who has always been quite the thinker, began to theorize about what Vin has been up to this entire time. Basically, they are finding evidence that Vin knows that Penny is a connection between Nathan (her husband) and another man who had great Power of his own. Nathan and this other man, Alexander, together, might be able to stop Vin, even with all of the Power Vin has. Or at least, that’s what they think is the motivation behind all of this.

Right at the end of my writing today, Nathan went to retrieve the papers from the house. He had taken them to a church in Taellyn, where he works under a pastor who is a very good friend of his. He wasn’t expecting the pastor to be there, so he was surprised to find the much older gentleman in the building when he went back for the papers.

Total word count: 44,018

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 10th

NaNoWriMo Day 9

The Words: 5402 written today.

I was done with work earlier than normal today (around 4pm), so I had a little extra time to write. However, because that doesn’t happen often, I also just wanted to do nothing productive. So I compromised with myself. I decided that if I wrote 1000 words, I could do whatever else I felt like until supper time.

Then during my normal evening writing time, I was really into the writing, so I got through quite a bit of it. When I validated my words and saw that I had passed 40k, and there’s still quite a bit of story left, I realized that I could pretty easily hit 100k this year.

The Story: First, that thousand words I wrote in the afternoon were on my Neo. For some reason, I have relegated the writing of Vin’s letters to the pastor to the Neo, and when I’m at the laptop using @NaNoWordSprints and Scrivener, I write about Penny, Rogan, and the others.

Though Vin’s letters are going to be spread throughout the novel, I have barely touched them. I think I’m still intimidated by Vin and his dark nature. I did do some on days 2 and 3, but I didn’t like how they came out. They were unnatural, like I was trying too hard (well, I was). The thing is, I had multiple conversations with Vin durng NaNoPrep time. I’m not afraid to say it anymore. The plot for this story was difficult to pin down, especially when it came to Vin’s motivations. So every time I got stuck, I would go to my Neo and have a chat with Vin. I’ve never worked this way before, but it worked like a charm!

So in a way, I had to cancel out the first letters I wrote from his perspective (not delete them, because they still count, but just decide they weren’t going to be used) and tell him to talk to the pastor the same way he’s been talking to me, telling me what he’s been up to. So I wrote 3 letters from him today, and they came out so much better.

The evening writing continued with yesterday’s conversation between Penny and Cathy, where Cathy told Penny she had an idea to help them with the super-powerful man that they are trying to find. Cathy abruptly leaves, saying she can’t explain yet, but to not let Nathan confront Vin if he does track him down.

Then Penny is left alone, knowing that she couldn’t fight off Vin if he came after her. So she goes in search of allies. She goes to find Ari, and comes across Rogan instead. Then the two of them enlist the aid of someone who I had not planned to include in this story at all. He’s a secondary character in “Pithea,” and someone I do have other long-term plans for, but I’m pretty sure that at the time of this story, he’s just doing nothing (nothing crucial to another story arc, that is–just living life). And in fact, bringing him into this story will probably end up working nicely as the springboard into those long-term plans, so this has turned out perfectly.

I brought him in because I was searching my mind for characters that were already in my story that can use the Power in a way that would get Penny to safety if Vin attacked. Justin was actually there the first time that Penny and Rogan encountered Vin, or at least his underling, so his name popped into my mind, and thus popped into Penny’s mouth. I kinda love how organic writing the first draft can be! Yes, I have an outline (very vague, and stops soon in the story), but even as a planner, the plot and characters usually take on a mind of their own during the first draft.

Anyway, right at the end of my writing today, Nathan came back, with some very interesting news about what he discovered in that locked room, but he didn’t get a chance to share it, because I was done for the night.

Total word count: 40,363

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2017 – November 9th

Daily Writing Check-in: October 21, 2017

Words/Time: 2 hours

 

As I try to work my way back to a daily writing habit while working a demanding job, I had to come to a decision to not push myself if I didn’t have time or mental energy to do much writing work. I read a blog post that talked about finding ways to keep the mind in the writing, even when you can’t spend much time on it. I realized that the best way to avoid dropping back off again, or experiencing frustration or guilt over not doing any work, was to allow myself to do anything that kept my mind in the stories as my writing work for the day, even if it wasn’t strictly writing (or planning, revising, etc).

Yesterday I felt a little odd about saying that the work I did for the day was creating aesthetics for stories that I’ve already written at least a partial draft of. But after a long week of a lot of working and a lot of leaving the house for work (I normally work from home as much as I can, and as a major introvert, leaving the house to go somewhere 5 days of the week, and knowing there’s a lot more of that coming next week, has worn me down), I just couldn’t get my mind back into the writing. So I worked on those aesthetics some more, and finished them. That’s what I did for 2 hours today.

Tomorrow I will hopefully be rested enough to get back to my outline, or at least more character discovery for the protagonist in my NaNoNovel.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 20, 2017

Words/Time: undefinable amount of work done

So first, I did spend about 12 minutes talking through my issues with the outline for “Vin” (my NaNoNovel) that I started yesterday. It started with just expressing my frustrations to my husband, and then I think I worked out some of the problem. So it counts!

Last night, or rather early this morning, I stayed up way too late working on a project that came to me unexpectedly and sort of took over my attention for several hours.

I recently decided that at some point soon (maybe before NaNo…maybe after) I want to write up a post that attempts to explain the tangled mess of stories I’m working on. I have 6 storylines in mind that are all in the same story world, contain the same characters in varying roles, and largely all happen around the same time, and intertwine in various ways. There will probably be more than 6, but there are 6 that are developed enough to mention.

I don’t know how well I can explain this without giving spoilers, but I’m going to try. Last night/this morning, I got it in my mind to come up with an aesthetic for all of them, to add to that post. I made one last week for my NaNoNovel, and it’s the first time I’ve ever created something like that. I enjoyed it, and even enjoyed the way it made me think about the themes or visual aspects of my story. So I started looking for images for each of the other 5 storylines that I plan to post about. Here’s a sneak peek at one of them:

Pithea cropped

Yes, I’d rather be able to say I did some work on my outline, or even some more writing practice. But I didn’t get home from work until around 10:30 this evening, and I still had to eat supper. It’s been a rough week at work (lots of evening meetings), and I already told myself I wouldn’t push it if work was causing issues with getting to my writing. Making some visual representations of my stories is fun and still in the spirit of writing work, so I’m counting it.

 


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 5, 2017

Words/Time: 1 hour, which started with looking over the outline I made in Scrivener for “Pursuit of Power” when I tried to start revising it last year. I got distracted from that by a thought that I’ve been musing over for the last few days and decided if I was going to do it, now would be the time.

I’m aging most of the people in my stories by 3 years. The main characters in the stories I’ve written so far have been around 15-17 years old. The original reason for their ages was due to the fanfiction world this all started in, but I didn’t have any reason to change this before. After all, the beginning of “Pithea” shows the main characters basically just getting started in life. However, I have recently realized that there are plenty of reasons to add some years to their lives.

  1. Even though this is set in a world that is vastly safer than ours (less crime, anyway), the characters are still out on their own a lot more than I would expect a bunch of 15-year-olds to be, even traveling from town to town on their own.
  2. Folks live longer in my story world than they do in real life–not by a lot, but average live span is 25-50 years longer. It stands to reason that kids wouldn’t be pushed into starting their lives as early as I’d made it (14).
  3. I didn’t care for the way the romance felt in some of my stories, when characters were only 16 and falling in love. It isn’t meant to be teenage romance, at least one in particular; it’s meant to be viewed as real, long-lasting. But at least one of my beta readers had a hard time accepting it, because of their age, and she had a point.
  4. I don’t consider this overall series of stories to be YA, but because the book that will likely be the introduction to the entire rest of the series has 2 main characters who start off at 15 years old, it would be hard to convince anyone that the book belonged anywhere but the YA section. It’s not that I plan to have adult situations or coarse language, but the characters grow up, and in another book, are in their 20s. Very likely there will be main characters in their 30s at some point. Aging the main characters to 18 at the start of that cornerstone book will hopefully help with this issue.

So now I’m going through all of my characters who are important enough to be listed in my timeline with an official age (birth month, at least) and figuring out who should be aged forward, and how much. Someone who is in the story as a 62-year-old man, for example, may not be worth changing. And this is what I spent most of the hour on.

You know, my daily challenge check-ins never used to be this detailed.

All of this is because I’m trying to figure out if I should write the continuation of “Pursuit of Power” for NaNoWriMo or not. Aging my characters 3 years does not bring me any closer to that decision.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Daily Writing Check-in: October 4, 2017

Words/Time:  1 hour setting up a broad outline in Scrivener for a story that needs rewriting. I’m working toward figuring out what I want to write for NaNoWriMo. I have 3 options, near as I can tell.

  1. Write the story that comes after the novel that I have so-far called “Pursuit of Power,” which itself is still in 1st draft form, and which I have realized is likely going to be book 1 in a sequence of 2 or 3, and the the entire sequence would be more aptly titled “Pursuit of Power.” I have sketchy ideas of what should happen in the next book, and I could spend the next 25 days fleshing that out.
    • Pro: I’ve started to have more ideas about what happens to Alexander after the first story ends, so I’m looking forward to delving into this completely uncharted territory.
    • Pro: It also will easily be 50k words, so no worries there.
    • Con: I’m afraid I may have to tear “Pursuit of Power” apart a bit, take out the scenes that relate more to the over-arcing storylines than they do the specific plot of the first book, and knowing that is ahead of me might make it really hard to plot the next story.
    • Con: We’re talking huge, world-altering things that happen after the first “Pursuit of Power” book, and I’m not sure I’m ready to write that yet.
  2. Rewrite “Outcast,” which still only exists in original fanfiction form. Up until recently I thought I could simply revise it into my original world, but I don’t think that’s going to work anymore. And even if it did, I think I would be foolish to do it that way, since I have grown so much as a writer from when I wrote it. Because I still consider the story itself to be one of the best I’ve ever written, I have a hard time remembering that the writing could be better.
    • Pro: Because I love the story so much, and one of the main characters is my favorite of all my characters, that could make the writing easier.
    • Pro: The story is really well outlined, because I took the original story and wrote the basic idea of what happens as scene headers in Scrivener. (Same basic plot, but allows for details to change.)
    • Con: Because it’s a work I’ve written before, I may have a very difficult time writing it new, rather than trying to rewrite the scenes exactly as I remember them. I had the same problem at first when I rewrote “Pithea” from its original fanfiction form…and I once thought I could just revise that into my new world too…I don’t know why I keep thinking that. That could definitely slow me down during NaNo, which is not preferable. On the other hand, I rewrote “Pithea” during NaNo in 2013, and it turned out very well.
    • Con: The original version of the story is only 45,000 words, and I don’t have a lot I plan to add…if anything I may have some places that will be shortened. It’s possible that in the next few weeks (or in the course of the writing), I’ll discover some new plot points for the story, but I can’t say for sure.
  3. Spend the rest of October brainstorming ideas from scratch–throw out ideas I already have, maybe even throw out the world I normally write in, and just see where the next few weeks take me.
    • Pro: Starting fresh might be fun for a change, especially if I am starting with an idea that isn’t in the same world I’ve been entrenched in for years, with the same rules.
    • Con: That is exactly what I thought in 2015 when I decided to write a novel that I planned throughout October, and it was set in modern, normal times (my group of stories are set in a futuristic, somewhat dystopian world). I finished the novel halfway through the month, painfully and messily, and then proceeded to finish the month with a story set in my normal world, one that I had planned to write before setting it aside to try something “fresh” for a change.
    • Con: Though I’m getting back to my writing again, I do still work ~20 hours a week, and can’t even guess what the next 3 weeks will bring (my work tends to fluctuate greatly), so if I don’t end up with enough time to work out a new story, but also didn’t spend the time figuring out how to proceed with 1 or 2 above, I will have a terrible NaNo.

I do believe I have talked myself out of number 3. I’m leaning toward number 1. I may work on “Pursuit of Power” (identifying any scenes that may need to be surgically removed) while also brainstorming the answers to questions I have about “Outcast,” which are related to how to make it work in my world. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, I’ll have an official novel to enter on the site.


For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

A New Day

I’ve been ready to write this post for about a week now. It’s the first one in almost a year and a half, so I knew it had to be epic, witty, or at least insightful. But I don’t want to write that post. I do want to address it, but in simple words. Though knowing myself as I do, it still may not be short.

At the beginning of last year, I submitted my first novel to publishers, after spending several years creating it. Without knowing if that first novel would be worth publishing, I tried to move on to revising my second novel. Then, I got a job. It was a part-time weekend job at first, working as a game master at an escape room company, but quickly became more than that, with sporadic hours. These two things together pulled me away from my regular writing work, which I’d been fairly consistent with for a few years (minus short hiatuses now and then).

In August last year, I changed to full-time with my job and became a manager. That only solidified my lack of time and mental energy to do any writing. I remember hoping that November, which would bring NaNoWriMo, would help me jump-start back into my writing.

Some time during all of this, I got a couple of rejection letters for my novel, but I was so caught up in how life was going at the time, I barely registered them.

Then in September, my dad had a heart attack and subsequent 6-bypass surgery. He’s doing well now, but was very close to death for about a week (not to be too dramatic). As NaNo approached, I decided to rebel a bit and write about the time he was in the hospital, both because he had a strong desire to know what had happened, and because I thought it might be cathartic for me.

I had a difficult time with the writing, and didn’t even get all of the events written, but I did finish NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, because of my full-time job and the nature of my writing, NaNo did not help me return to my writing.

Fast forward almost a year, and I am now working 20 hours a week (approximately) at the same job, now as Director of Operations. The anniversary of my dad’s heart attack was last month, and he and my mom brought up the writing I said I was doing for NaNoWriMo last year. My dad has been trying to remember everything that happened during his 3-week hospital stay, and hopes that what I had written down would help.

It was still in “NaNo-form,” though, which means typos, things marked for deletion, and generally just hard to read. So I started going back through it, trying to put it in some semblance of a readable form, reading it along the way myself. While doing that, I started going back to other things I’ve written.

Over the course of the 3 weeks, I’ve read through just about everything I’ve written in the last 10 years, from the 2 complete novels, to partially drafted novels, to writing practice, drabbles, ideas, and even some of the fanfiction I wrote early on. I’m starting to have the itch to get back into it, and in some ways, I feel like I’ve just popped my head out of the cave I’ve been hunkered in for the last 17 months.

Going forward, I am going to work on writing as often as I can. I’m not going to pretend that I will be able to do writing work every day like I used to strive for. But even for the last week or so, I’ve already been writing out an outline for a story I’m not sure I want to write, but can’t avoid thinking about, so needed to at least get it down. That passion for just getting the words out is something I really miss, and I want to embrace it.

I think one of the things that disappoints me most about my time in the cave is that I barely remember participating in NaNoWriMo last year. I didn’t blog about it at all; I barely even finished. I enjoy going back later and reading through certain blog posts, remembering my writing journey, but 2016 NaNoWriMo is just a blank spot in my mind. I will be more deliberate this year.

My job, even at 20 hours a week, is still sporadic in the time those hours are put in. As Director of Operations, I am “on” from 9am until 11pm, 6 days a week, meaning that any time someone needs something from me, I’m generally expected to be available and respond. If I want to spend uninterrupted time with my family, I often have to schedule it.

I do enjoy my job. I design, implement, and modify escape rooms and get to be part of many other creative endeavors that our company is always working on. But I know that one of the reasons I do so well at that job is because, in my heart, I am a writer! 

i am a writer

This is from NaNoToons 2015. I don’t even remember last year’s NaNoToons…

For the approaching NaNoWriMo, I want to get back to traditional roots and write a new work of fiction. To do that, I have to sort through ideas I already have, see if any of them are ready to be expanded to a full outline, or decide to start something from scratch. Today begins NaNo prep season (I’m not sure how official that is, but October 1st always feels like the beginning of NaNo prep time to me). I am all in.

Loading Witty Title…

Wow, this place is dusty. I mean, really dusty. Layers of dirt and cobwebs everywhere. It’s not the first time I’ve taken an unintended break from my writing, letting it fall to the side for more than a month, but I think this is the longest gap I’ve had in posts since starting this blog. Previous breaks from writing were at least peppered with good intentions of trying to return, a day here or there where I’d post, and then still fall back into the break.

But it has been almost 2 full months since I posted even an attempt at keeping up with my writing. Which is because I haven’t attempted to keep up with my writing since February 17th. Looking back through my blog, it was even before that that I really started into this slump. It’s interesting to me, at least, to see the progression. It went something like this:

I finished revising my first novel, “Pithea,” to the point of even being able to send it off to a few publishing companies.

I dove right into revising my second novel, the first draft of which had already been written.

I got a new job on the weekends, which largely affected the rest of the week enough to make finding time and energy to write more difficult.

I hit an early roadblock in revising my second novel, and more time and thinking was required to push past it.

My new job started to ask more of me than I expected, including working during the week for a few weeks, thus exhausting me more and making things more strained at home.

I made a conscious decision to put off revising for a few weeks, dropped my daily writing habit, and let myself be lazy in the evenings (my normal writing time) instead of pushing myself to sit at my desk and get some writing work done.

It’s important to note that I am one who in the past has insisted that even people who lead busy lives should be able to find time to write. And I’m not saying now that it’s not true, but I definitely have more perspective on that now. It only took one change to my life and normal routine to throw me off enough to just give up on writing for a while. It took me two months to get to where I am right now, which is starting to feel a strong enough desire to get back to my writing that I’m willing to put aside the lazy evenings for more structured ones again.

It may take a few weeks to be back to where I was for 9 months before this break, writing almost every day. I don’t know when I’ll have time or ideas for another Write Every Day post. It may even take me a few wasted evenings of going back over what I was last doing in my work before I’m able to make any real progress. But the important thing is that I’m finally feeling up to it again.

Something else that bothers me about this break I took is that I fell away from all things writing and blogging. I haven’t read posts by others that I normally keep up with, and I know there’s no way I can find time to go back through 2 months worth of posts (not that I follow all that many blogs regularly).  I’m going to scan through my WP reader and try to hit the highlights, but I don’t want to take so much time reading that it hurts my attempt to start writing again.

I do want to say that I appreciate those of you who contacted me during the last few months to check in or ask if everything was okay. I’m sorry I didn’t respond at the time. I didn’t mean to be rude or anti-social, I just couldn’t get my head into the right space to think about any of this. Hopefully that makes at least some sense.

Thanks for reading my rambling. I hope things get back to normal around here soon. I miss my story world, and even the blogging world I’d created.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 19, 2016

Words/Time:  20 minutes finishing the grammar check of “Pursuit of Power.”

My next step is to finish the timeline of this story that I started back when I outlined it, but only got as far as the last point that this story connected to “Pithea.” That was all that mattered at the time, because I needed to make sure both stories lined up accurately. “Pursuit of Power” goes past the time that “Pithea” ends, so I need to finish the timeline.