Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As NaNo winds down

Contrary to what you might believe from my blogging presence, I am still on the planet. It's just, well, NaNoWriMo.

I'm happy to report that I wrote my 50,000th word last night at 9:12pm. No, the story is not done. The story will very likely never be done. It's a mess. It's easily the worst thing I've written since I started to take writing seriously. However, it didn't suck so horribly bad that I couldn't bear working on it. It had some redeeming bits.

On the redeeming list:
• Characterization practice. Since I spent a good deal of this "novel" trying to find out just who the hell had an engaging pov to tell it through, I did a lot of showing of the scene and events through many different people.

• Writing through the "bad guy". Yes, I've done the antagonist pov many times, but this guy was a different experience. He saw the world at a very different angle than everyone else. He had a very disturbing (yet fun in a writer-sort of way) mind to get into.

• Description is awesome for adding word count. This is probably why I'm light on description in most of my other writing. I'm usually focused on keeping the word count low and only focusing on the important details rather than trying to build up lots of words. However, this was also a good place to see how people saw the same things very differently.

• I made time for writing again. This was my real goal so even though the writing generally sucks, I'm calling it a win.

What sucked so bad:
• I was so stressed with life that I couldn't remember my own character's names from day to day. I had to make a list - and when I forgot to add secondary people, well on the next day, they ended up with names like "guy 2" and "nurse 4".

• I repeated soooo much stuff because I couldn't find a character to tell the story through that spoke to me like they normally do. This was also likely due to life being stressful / not being able to relax and sink into the story.

• Inane. That should be the title of this "novel". While it had a few scenes I really enjoyed writing, most of it was in the "OMG just get through this so I can get to the next plot point" or "For the love of all that's holy someone do something" category. In short, the whole lack of focus thing on my part led to mind-numbing three page scenes where two characters ate crackers and then declared they were thirsty. Tired brain no make interesting thing happen. Gaaaah.

On the whole, I'm chalking it up to a month-long writing exercise. Which makes me a little sad because this is the first time I've not walked out of NaNo with a shiny new project I'm proud of.  I guess that's what the other eleven months of the year are for, huh?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The benefit of threats

Apparently telling my floundering cast of NaNo characters to get their plot together or get off my keyboard had some effect on them. Or me.

I can usually tell when a story just isn't going to happen and know when to bail on it in favor of using my time (somewhat) more productively. This mess was going nowhere. Then I made the angry Father do something. What was the biggest conflict he could create other than slogging along as the advocate for the unfortunates? He needed to want to make a change in the mess that wasn't going anywhere. He watned to make things better for the characters, and to do that he was going to need to confront the director of the hospital. We've not met yet other than in passing mention from Eva, the nurse--which was the one POV that was really working so far.

Then came the idea that we should go meet the Director before Father go there. Oh boy, this guy is off his rocker! I had no idea. But ooooooh is he fun to write. And now, I have conflict brewing that is much more immediate than my overall plot. Yes, yes, I think we might have something here after all.

Maybe. Until things dry up again and I have to drop more threats.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The slog

So how's NaNoWriMo year seven going for me, you ask?


Yep, that sums it up nicely (or not so nicely). I've never written such a wandering, inane mess of attempted scenes. Thankfully. I'll give myself the opportunity to write utter crap this one time because hey, gotta try everything once, right?

Maybe something will come of it--some scene that jumps out at me that could be turned into a short story or a novella. One thing is for sure, it's not going to end up anywhere near novel territory as far as a workable amount of coherent words.

So what the hell is going so wrong this year?

I had an idea. It seemed like a good one. I had a beginning point, a character, a setting, and knew where I had to end it. You have to understand, this is way more planning than I usually put into any NaNo novel so I thought I'd be way ahead of the game. It turns out, not so much.

Jackson, my intended MC didn't have the same fun personality to write as Joshua (from A Broken Race, of which this new story was supposed to be a prequel).

So I switched to Grace, whom I'd had no intention of using for POV character at all, but hell, Jackson wasn't working so why not, and there could be some love interest there...maybe? Grace worked for a while, but after she took three pages to eat a meal of crackers, I realized that she wasn't the key to breathing life into the story I'd intended to tell.

Let's try Jerry. No, didn't intend to POV him either, but he seemed to be working and he carried the story on for a good while after I'd ditched Grace. The words started to come. Oh hallelujah! But then he dried up. Crap.

Eva! Eva didn't even exisit in the story until Grace needed a direct antagonist. Eva was doing wonders for my lagging enthusiasm. Then a prompt to add an unexpected child came up. YES! Eva had a sick child, and this I could work with! Words happened. Story happened. We learned things. We even got a bigger antagonist to deal with. I was just about jumping for joy and then I wrote a really sad scene for poor Eva and I had to put her aside for a little while before she could feasibly take on the next part of the plot. Which meant I needed to write: "Time passes" or  jump POVs again.

Back to Jackson, Grace or Jerry? None of them enticed me, but the angry-on-the-inside-priest from Jackson's chapter did.  I was all excited about writing Father Frederick for a while but the story is dragging again.

Which is why we're back to: Blarg. It's just not clicking and I know this story not going to amount to much for all the slogging I'm forcing myself to do. However, it is getting the creative writing juices flowing again and I am carving out time to write from my otherwise over-filled day. I am accomplishing part of what I set out to do this month. So I'll give this story another 5k to shape up or not and if it doesn't, I'll fill my other 25k with one of my other countless projects that needs finishing or one of the short story prompts on the sidelines that needs starting.

So take that Novel-that-would-be, either click or get off my keyboard.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

So what is my NaNoWriMo 2012 Project?

It seems that during my blog visiting lull, I was tagged in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop thanks to Ian over at Views from a Bald Patch. I'm way behind on following through with this, but I'll share my November NaNo Novel for what it's worth.

Why say it like that? Because for the past few days I'd rather clean toilets than work on this project. However, yesterday afternoon, thanks to a POV character change and some odd challenges that I was presented with, things finally started falling into place a little.

1. What is the working title of your book?
Jackson - I often name a WIP after the MC until an actual title hits me.

2. Where did the idea come from for this book?
Critique partners who suggested they would like to know more about the past of A Broken Race.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
At this point, the very broad: Speculative Fiction

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have honestly not given that any thought whatsoever.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Egads. I'm 5,440 words into this thing for heaven's sake. Uhhhhhh....
A virus culls the population until those considered flawed are the majority and now humanity must either attempt to regain their past glory or forge a new path into the unknown.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Let's just concentrate on completing the rough draft at this point, shall we?

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
30 days, ideally.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Can't think of anything similar off the top of my head, though I'm sure there's something out there that hasn't crossed my reading pile yet.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I think we covered that in #2

10. What else about your book might pique the readers interest?
Underdogs get control of humanity. That's got to bring some triumphant feeling with it.

Jackson is currenly eeking along at 5,440 words. Jackson and Grace, two young people are getting thrown into situations by all sorts of well-meaning 'normal' people that will shape them into the foundation for a new world...set in the old one that is rapidly falling apart thanks to lots of bloody deaths and odd challenges from my regional challenge jar.