Tag Archives: nano2009

And I’m probably not going to make my reading goal either!

Officially, I’ve thrown in the towel on this year’s NaNoWriMo. The last word count was 28,673. A few thousand of those word might end up in some manuscript written in the near future. I’ll get back to this version of the Alterverse in January. For the remainder of November and in December, I plan on doing a “final” polish on Model Species, writing a new query letter, and sending it out to a half dozen agents. I need to follow up on Pas de Chat queries as well.

I’m not overly disappointed about not “winning” NaNoWriMo. The Alterverse is at the awkward stage that occurred about six months (?) after we started the Weordan project. I couldn’t continue on in writing-abandon knowing that so much of it is way of- base from where it needs to be. That’s not a bad thing. Unlike NaNo of 2004, when we started Weordan, I can see the flaws. Not just the superficial detail flaws, but the deep cracks in the world-building. But, these 28K words are a stake in the ground, and that’s worth a tiny bit.

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Book #20 – The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
(I have a month to read ten more books. Not likely to happen.)

The re-read at Tor has been moving at syrup-in-January-in-a-cold-climate pace, so I decided to go ahead and finish The Two Towers. Honestly, without looking at the table of contents, I couldn’t remember what all was included in this book. First off, meeting the Riders of Rohan and Treebeard were a long time ago (June and July, according to the blog). Second, “Shelob’s Lair” alone puts the rest of the book to shame. Maybe it was tainted for me, knowing who Shelob is before reading, but the tension that Tolkien built in that chapter really got to me.

I’ve started taking craft notes again and the lesson I’d like to take away from “Shelob’s Lair” is this simple thing: (Possible Spoiler Ahead)
Possible Spoilers

I’m only 3578 words behind…

Meant to post since Sunday. I’ve…uh…been busy.

Around Wednesday of last week, it was becoming obvious that the direction we were going in with the NaNoWriMo project wasn’t working. Eric wasn’t happy with what I was doing and I wasn’t happy with what I was getting from Eric. And, to clumsily extend the relationship analogy, when you both fall out of love at the same time, you’re in trouble. I went through a day and a half melt-down which reaped a whole 749 words when I needed 3334. Eric and I have reformulated and since Sunday I’ve somewhat started over. Coming into week three I’m a bit behind. I should hit the halfway point on the word count today (and handily pass it).

To some extent, it’s been a long time since I’ve been an every-day writer. I tend to be a binge-and-fast writer. I work like mad to the deficit of everything, burn-out, and then avoid writing like the plague for longer than the binge lasted. Maybe that’s the way I work, or maybe that’s unhealthy. I’d like to try and find a more sane way of being a writer. If I come away from this November with a daily habit and half the ability to balance the rest of life, I’ll be happy. I don’t count on it.

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Several things to file under “Don’t Complain to Me About Your Lack of Flying Car”:
Consumed – The Hype Around Augmented Reality – NYTimes.com:

For example, Yelp, the online service that reviews restaurants, bars and small businesses, has added a feature to one mobile app: point your (properly enabled) phone at a row of restaurants as if you were going to take a picture of it, and in addition to seeing what’s really there, you’ll see the Yelp ratings hovering in front of each.

Digital Tattoo Interface Turns Your Skin Into A Display – Gizmodo
How Much Power Does The Human Brain Require To Operate? « Derren Brown Blog
Those last two are on the concept end of science, but are still interesting.

As a note to myself concerning a theme that should be prevalent in my NaNo novel:
Infinite Summer: Dracula » Blog Archive » Dracula Postmortem, Part IV:

At times the book was a novelization of the worst fears of the anti-immigration crowd, a depiction of malevolent foreigners skulking into a Western country, siphoning off valuable resources, and converting people over to their side.

And lastly, something I will make a concerted effort not to be neurotic about:
Ecstatic Days » Blog Archive » How cover art influences book sales (at least, for one picky reader)

Inspiration

While Eric approaches storytelling and world building from a systematic point of view, my end of the process is much less quantifiable.

I don’t know how many times I watched The Talented Mr. Ripley and Se7en while writing Model Species. Not every project has such a recurrent and apparent playlist, but if I think hard enough about it I can probably come up with a few things that factor into every book. These aren’t direct influences, but little pieces of inspiration that feed into my mushy, vague writer’s brain.

So far this NaNo project, the RCJ471 project, has several inspirational tidbits:

For the first two days of NaNoWriMo, I wrote in the mornings. That quickly changed, and I’ve swung to a later afternoon/evening schedule. Not ideal, but there’s nothing for it. I want to hit 12,500 by about noon tomorrow.Getting to 11,669 by the end of today would be nice, but is ambitious.

Confession Time

I have a confession to make: I have no muse.

While I’m at it, I’m going to admit to a few other things:
I never wrote a story until the week before classes of my freshman year in college.
Stories do not call to me, forcing me to write them.
If someone were to ask me what my best advice for becoming a writer is, I’d say, “If you can be happy doing something else, do that.”

In fact to many outside observers, it seems that I don’t like writing very much.

But in many ways, writing is like a relationship. It can be…utterly awesome…and also the most draining grinding work known to man. Writing and I are like an old married couple. All you might see are the snarky arguments, but really, we love each other.

I write because, at its best, there is absolutely nothing I would rather do.

A piece of one of Seamus Heaney’s poems comes close to describing:

To work, her dumb lunge says,
is to move a certain mass
through a certain distance,
is to pull your weight and feel
exact and equal to it.
Feel dragged upon. And buoyant.

As for NaNoWriMo, Eric has posted some thoughts of his end of our writing process. As contrast, I offer the title and synopsis I put up on my NaNo profile Friday or Saturday night:

The Adventures of RCJ471 in the 25th Century

RCJ471 sees all, knows all. It’s his job. He knows when errant shipments appear in the Tubes. He knows how big the Tallstair harvest is and what the Biggheds are keeping from the Econmen. He even knows about that star that fell a week ago, if you think to ask him about it.

But RCJ’s asset is that not many think about him at all. Would you give a guinea pig a second thought?

This is…not really what I’m writing. This novel deviated almost immediately. And that’s how it goes.

Two Days Down

Halloween passed without much note. I didn’t dress up, I didn’t go out. Eric handed out candy. In a few months I’ll regret missing Halloween, but for now it feels like one more thing out of the way. I didn’t even stay up and start my NaNo novel. Eric and I did have another good talk about the new project and then we watched the “final” director’s cut of Blade Runner. The final cut doesn’t add much, but the movie seemed to flow better. Maybe I’ve just seen it enough times not to notice the things that originally bothered me.

I’ve gotten 1700 words done both yesterday and today. That puts me well on track, but by no means ahead. Eric read and said he was pleasantly surprised. He’s pretty excited about this project. It may be time to reap what we’ve sown with Weordan, and work in earnest on a new project.

On the subject of writing and NaNoWriMo:

Creative Review – The Art of Persuasive Writing:

Banknotes365 is a brilliant collection of notes pushed threateningly across counters in banks around the world – all juxtaposed with photos of their authors.

It would make a great case study in a copywriting workshop. Here are a few examples…

Steampunk Wallpaper has some NaNo desktops. Because word count goals should be inescapable.

Also, I need to remember Serendipity, a site full of name generators. I hate naming characters. My standby name, Eltimo, has already been used in this novel. Every novel has an Eltimo. If my novels were the real world, there would be even more Eltimos. I went through grade-school with another Kathy (hence my gradual change to Katherine) and I know at least a half dozen Erics (I can name seven without trying hard). I say, more Eltimos are in order. (Kidding, just kidding. I understand that novels are not quickly visual and therefore two characters with the same name and no qualifier can be confusing. If fact, in high school I read both Dracula and A Room with a View in close chronological proximity and confused the Lucys in each book.)

A year’s worth in two months.

Michael Stackpole on Cory Doctorow (at least parts one and two):
Deconstructing Cory Doctorow’s “Experiment”
What is Cory Doing Right?

Also, Query Shark has some new posts.

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I have a couple more days to work on Model Species before NaNoWriMo. Mostly, I need to eliminate the myriad of weak words that creep into my writing. Yesterday, it was the word “up.” My characters look up, stand up, take up, straighten up, sit up, gather up, glance up…and most of those can be removed and sentences improved. December will be used for the remainder of the polishing and for re-crafting a query letter.

And November is of course NaNo. I’m looking forward to it so much so that I’m not feeling any Halloween vibe. I haven’t decorated much and, considering that kids don’t trek up to my apartment, I probably won’t hand out candy. I might not carve a pumpkin.Tomorrow is our Halloween league game, and I don’t think I’m going to go in costume for the first time in a few years. I have Halloween socks, but it might not be sock-weather. More like pants-weather. Or long socks *and* pants-weather. We’ve had a cold snap: Highs in the low 60s.

I seem to be saving my energy for November. In addition to NaNo, I potentially have social engagements the first three Saturdays and in-laws in town for Thanksgiving as well as the usual stuff. And then there’s gearing up for the December holidays and a possible trip to California for an old friend’s wedding. For socially quiet me, this is like a whole year’s worth of work and play wrapped in a two-month package.

I am feeling pretty good. At the moment.

It’s now looks likely that I’ll do NaNo. (I think I do this every October.) This year, we’ll be working on a non-Weordan project. Eric has plans for a far-future post-apocalyptic setting. As in…the apocalypse occurs in the far-future. Instead of our world falling apart, it will be the future of our world having to deal with their dark age. It’s a big, scary, exciting project. And I must say, I’m looking forward to 30 days and nights of literary abandon. I was rewriting a scene from Model Species today and was reminded how much I love writing. I know that editing is important and it’s a beautiful thing to improve my books, but it’s the writing that’s the fun.

I’ve been continuing to run twice a week in addition to playing Wednesday disc and league. It’s been going well. I’m back to being able run three miles at a faster-than-10-minute pace without feeling like I’m going to die. I think my quad/goin strain has finally healed and my joints are doing good too.

If this banana bread that I’m currently baking comes out well, I’m going to start to worry. But then, it’s autumn. It might be self-fulfilling prophecy, but things work better for me when the nights are longer than the days. Kinda like reverse SAD.  (Actually, this is not unheard of. Huh.)