WIP Wednesday is Derailed Ever-So-Slightly

I'm not sure what I'm doing about my NaNoWriMo book.

Obviously, with everything going on, I abruptly stopped working on it last week. In fact, most of the month, I struggled with hitting my word count until late at night because most of the day I was either cuddling Zoey (on her good days) or worrying about her (when she wasn't feeling well enough to cuddle).

I surprised myself by writing almost an entire first draft of a new short the other day. Maybe it's the comfort of getting back into routine but it was actually a bit of a relief, to tell you the truth. Something tangible to hold on to with so much turmoil going on around me. Either way, I'm not sure if I'll "win" NaNo this year. But I'm not going to abandon my book either, no matter how long it takes me to finish it.

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In other Writing Wednesday news, have you seen the trailer for Aaron Polson's Loathsome, Dark & Deep yet? That guy knows how to entice! Check it out and don't forget to pre-order the book while it's still only $8.99. And take part in A Very Loathsome Contest!

Nanoing Along – Days 6 to 9

Sorry I've been incognito the past few days. The weekend, as I suspected, was taken over by home improvements. Well – sort of. We ended up having to clean out all our closets first so we could do the renos we intended to do. We threw out so much stuff, it looks like we just moved in here. So, it looks like this coming weekend will see the start of work instead.

Fun times.

Either way, I managed to catch up on my word count today and add a bit of padding. Not as much padding as I would like, but there’s still time.

I’m not sure why but simply hitting the daily minimum word count is not satisfying enough to me. In fact, I feel a failure if I am not able to add at least a few extra hundred words to the required 1667 words to stay on track. Even in accomplishing goals, I still manage to lay a guilt trip on myself :)

Anyway, I’m feeling a little more in the groove. I also feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the story, which is good I guess, seeing as I am aiming for more than 50,000 words at the end of it all.

Whether I am able to completely finish the book in November or will have to carry on workng on the first draft when the month is over remains to be seen.

Words written today: 3,054
Total Words Written: 16,137

Fun facts: When I started the first book in the series for NaNo ‘07, I recruited a cast of characters in the form of celebrity head shots to stand in for my characters. Keeping those images open helps me get back into their voices after such a long time away.

Curious to see who they are? Read this post.

NaNo Day 5 – Punk Is Not Dead

My usual writing music is dark ambient. But this time, I've decided to do what all the cool kids do and pick a playlist that would suit the story I’m writing.

One of the settings in my NaNo novel is the local pub. So what better way to get into the mindset but to play a little Exploited, Dead Kennedys, The Pogues and The Real McKenzies. That’s what’s so great about writing. Downloading music for ‘research’. Plus, they all share a similar vein of punk rockin’ celtic sound that I’ve always liked, so why not be inspired by it?

Maybe @LizWorthXO can offer me a few more suggestions but until then, Scene 3 and 4 are fueled by the above.

Words Written Today: 2065
End-of-Day Word Count: 8814

Discoveries:

  • I had no trouble writing a fight between my 2 MCs, who also happen to be married. What that says about me, I don't know. But I couldn't get my fingers to fly furiously enough.
  • my research is coming in handy to more than just me – my female MC is looking into the same research topics. Next time, I need to record each & every little thing and not rely upon my computer history, which only seems to go back a month. Better bookmarking, I must do

NaNo Day 4 – In The Beginning

Day 4 of NaNo is under my belt. After yesterday's pretty decent word count, things started out slowly today. But after a 2nd writing session later in the evening, I made up enough ground to cover the words I missed writing on Days 1 & 2. Woot!

I may have to bank some words tomorrow, though. Home renovations begin this weekend, albeit in small scope, I still may be too exhausted to do anything else. And you know how it is with these things. Chances are extra trips to Home Depot (*yawn*) and it taking twice as long as anticipated are – well…anticipated.

End-of-Day Word Count: 6749

4 most interesting words I've used in my NaNo Novel so far: lurked, innuendo, puking, git

Discoveries:
– my male MC drinks bourbon
– I am finding it easier to slip into the voice of my male MC over my female. Maybe I should revise my post from yesterday
– slow start aside, I’m still having fun. Good thing, since it’s only Day 4 and all
– people are sighing way too much in this first draft

 No writing meme today. Too exhaustimicated.

Writing MeMe & NaNo Day 3 – Inevitable Path

An update on NaNo day 3.

Working on: Scene 2 – where my MC steps foot on an untraveled path, not sure if she wants to go there. Of course she will. Otherwise there would be no book.

Words Written Today: 2564
Total Words: 4355
Fave Words: Keagan looked up at her sister-in-law. “Fear. It’s no different than the Millbrook of today. Fear makes people do unspeakable things. The only problem with that? I’m not one to stay silent.”

Things on my desk:
– red pen
– MP3 player
– flash drive
– bottle of purple nail polish
– discarded mini Coffee Crisp wrapper

Insights:
Happily, I was able to work in some history that I had set up in the very beginnings of Book 1. Yay! I’d like to think it was by magic but truth be told, even though I started Book 1 in 2007, I guess those residual ideas have just been waiting patiently in the folds of my mind for me to bring them to light again.

Daily Wrap-up:
This was my 1st full day of writing. Cleaning off my writing desk and holing up in the writing nook worked wonders. Granted, not sure how shiny my words are, but at least I got them down.

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Continuing with the 30 Days of Writing MeMe, here are my answers for days 2 & 3.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

Asking a writer how many characters he or she has is like asking one to count the number of toothpicks after spilling the contens of the box on the kitchen floor :)

As for which I prefer, I'm not sure that I consciously choose whether my MC will be male or female. As my fellow writers know, story ideas come to us at the strangest times and often from the most curious of places, so when I do get an idea, often the MC is already magically there, waiting for me to breathe life into them via my words. So far, I haven't had to battle over which sex to make them. Maybe I'm lucky that they already come to me having decided for themselves.

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you're writing about fictional places)?

I have my trusty Name book and a few baby naming websites bookmarked. I actually put a good amount of thought into naming my characters. Often times, I cannot get started on a story until I have names that feel right. And I generally choose names that symbolize some sort of personality trait in my characters. Not that readers are going to necessarily know or recognize the connection. But it sort of allows me to channel their personalities better.

In my current NaNo project, I created the name of the main setting by smushing 2 words together, but it is not uncommon (and maybe I subconsciously took note because when I went on a mini road trip to do research for my book, I found there is a local town with the same name).

And don't even get me started on naming stories or novels. That is, often, a drawn out process in and of itself.

Brass Tacks

Okay – it's time to get real.

I have not finished my outline for NaNoWriMo. I have never finished my outline in time for NaNoWriMo in the 3 other years I have attempted it. I "won" the first 2 years (winning meaning I wrote at least 50,000 words) and bombed last year with my overly-ambitious attempt to write an entire collection of at least 10 stories in the month.

So, what do I do? Freak out? Get verklempt? Nope. No time for it. I'll do as much as I can over the weekend and work with what I have.

Generally, I find that I can write 1000 words an hour (more when I'm in the zone or less when,  heaven forbid, blocked). If I can at least stay on track to do the minimum of 1666 words per day, I should have at least some time to brainstorm (if I need to) about the ending of the book and jot down some notes at the end of each day for the next day's writing session.

Plus, part of the fun of NaNo are those magical moments when something completely spontaneous happens. One can only plan so much. You never know when your characters are going to do something completely impromptu. And I don't want to plan them into a corner. So, I'm going to try not to stress about it and use that as a positive. Maybe my characters will surprise me.

I'm taking a page of the Pantser book, my friends. As a card-carrying Plotter, this is a revelation. Exciting days ahead, I tell you!

Writing Wednesday – Final Countdown

Planning for NaNoWriMo is going. Slowly – but it's going.

I pretty much have the basic story in my head. Right now I am just trying to make sense of all my brainstorms, questions, ideas and research.

Even though all my brainstorms are a bit dizzying, a few gems do come out of the process – not only for this book but the 1st one as well.

As I mentioned, I never did finish the 1st book. Mostly because I didn't know how I wanted it to end. But knowing now that these 2 books are connected, I am finding some common threads that I can carry through both (and a little added creepiness that I can inject into the first book).

The good news is all this prep is making me more and more excited to start writing.

Miss WriteAnd even if I'm still outlining up until the last day, at least it will all be fresh in my mind when I sit down and start tapping away come November 1st.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo too? Add me as a buddy!

Also, my alter ego, Miss Write, has put together a list of articles that can help you with your NaNo prep.

Writing Wednesday: Tricksy Brain

The butterflies are back. And that's a good thing.

I've been outlining my NaNo 2010 project here and there over the past few weeks and the more I do, the more I cannot ignore the parallels to the partly-finished novel I started in NaNo '07 and continued to chip away at for NaNo '08.

At first, I deliberately tried to snip any ties that materialized in my head when i started plotting but now, they are glaringly obvious. So obvious that I have no choice but to just go with it.

The thing is – I had always planned to do a series with the original cast of characters. Maybe not necessarily a sequel, but I certainly felt that there was enough in the history of the small town and the area in which the novel is set to warrant more than one book.

So, after some hemming and hawing and battling of the aforementioned butterflies (which usually show up when I know in the back of my brain I'm on the right track but too scared to take that next step), I've embraced the parallels and I'm taking the plunge.

WIP WednesdayI've already done some of the legwork (character sketches, settings, belief systems). Granted, I'm going to need to expand on those but the tension I was feeling from trying NOT to draw on those old ideas has dissipated now that I've given in.

I guess my brain was working on this all along, behind-the-scenes. The idea for this book has been with me for a long time. (Note: I'm about to have an "A-ha!" moment) I may have even scribbled it down over 2 years ago but wasn't sure how I was going to tackle it. I knew it was going to take some careful planning to get it just right- let's hope I do!

The good news? Novel 1 is still not finished (and I think part of that is from not knowing exactly how I wanted to finish it). Maybe all this prep for Novel 2 will show me how to weave the two together.

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, don't be shy! Post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

WIP Wednesday: Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Finger PaintIt's been a while since I've done a WIP Wednesday post (not to mention There's A Story In There Somewhere or Altered Words – but I digress) – but I finally have a new WIP to talk about!

More than once, when I've been in the beginning stages of working on a story, certain strange coincidences come up that make me think I'm on the right track.

Sure, I could be grasping at straws – reading into it as a way to counteract that nagging self-doubt that tries to thwart me even before I start. But whether it's all in my head or the universe is working to prod me along…I'll take whatever I can get – even if it comes in the form of a weird coinkidink.

Wanna know what gave me that extra boost? Among other things, this news story about a "found" ancient city that was buried under water.

The entire book (NaNo 2010) will not revolve around a formerly-lost city – but the theme of things once buried that rise to the surface will definitely be in there.

Anyway, I plod along. I'm a bit behind – I wanted to start outlining this week. But right now I'm still brainstorming, putting pieces together. I think of it as dipping my fingers into as many pots of fingerpaint as possible. When I find the right ones, I'll smear them across the page and the story will materialize in the melding.

How poetic!

Photo: i3Marketing

Vacation’s (Almost) Over

It's September and I'm kind of on the fence about it. 

Yeah, I'm sad to see Summer end – but it has been SO muggy this year that I'm really looking forward to the temperature cooling down (especially with my latest order from Sock Dreams currently whisking it's way to me as we speak. Uh huh, I get excited about socks. Don't judge.).

Sure, I feel like we didn't do half the things we planned to do. But who says the fun has to stop just because the calendar changes?

To cushion the blow, I have a long list of things I need to tackle and/or get back to. Regularly scheduled blogging. Getting back into the swing of article-writing. That oft-talked-about contest that I still have the swag for. And a little thing called NaNoWriMo.

I told myself I would start planning early this year. So, September is my month to dust of the ol' worksheets and start outlining. There's only one problem. Uh…I'm not sure what I'm going to write about yet.

I did a little pre-emptive strike on my Idea File last week and have narrowed down the possibilities to 2. So hopefully I can get in a little brainstorming in the next few days to see which one is viable (and which one piques my interest more). Then it's time to build the story and a world for my characters to play it all out. 

Sounds easy, right? :) Yeah, it seems like a lot of work but the brainstorming part is a mix of fear (of not being able to come up with a good idea) and exhilaration (when all those crazy ideas suddenly click) that is addictive, as many of my fellow writers can attest to.

So dry your tears (or put on your party hats, writing Moms & Dads) and tell me what your plans are for September.