Nanowrimo

In a Nanowrimo kind of mood?

Nope. I was, or at least I thought so. All it took was some outside negativity, and I was ready to jump ship.

I’ve put off deciding on a project, which means I’ve also delayed any planning, all month. So it’s probably safe to say I leaned toward not participating all along. Add in the fact that most the writers around me are also not feeling the call, which always gets to me and I never win when I go it alone, and this is no surprise.

Sadly, I needed a little encouragement, specifically today, to get over this dread and fear, or whatever my problem is, but there was none to be found. That’s not 100% true. My husband always encourages me, but in the face all everything else bringing/dragging me down, his awesomeness didn’t have a chance of working on me. Logic be damned! I’m as susceptible to feeling down and unmotivated as anyone else.

Who knows what the next thirty days will bring. I could change my mind, two or twelve times. Inspiration might smack me in the face (I wish), or I might re-watch Charmed all month. I’ll keep you all updated as I wade my way through this muck.

For anyone out there doing Nano this year, good luck. If you’re thinking about it, I strongly encourage you to go for it. Just because I’m not in the right headspace doesn’t mean I don’t believe the process works. It’s probably not for everyone, but it could be for you. Most years it’s for me too.

For those who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, go here. If you want to develop a daily writing habit and can handle being competitive with yourself, it’s an excellent way to go.

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Nanowrimo 2016 Update #5

My word count for the month is 36,328 with one more day to go. Today I wrote 6311 of those words. It may sound impressive but it doesn’t get me to 50k.

I don’t think I’ll be able to write thirteen thousand words tonight and tomorrow so I won’t win. However, I don’t see this as a fail. I wrote when I could. There were some days I wrote over 3000 words. There were also plenty of days where I only wrote a few hundred words, or none at all. But I still wrote.

Pain and feeling down plagued me this month. My motivation fled and my muse went into hiding at times. I complained bitched and moaned often but I kept going.

Frustration abounded. Anger hovered. Negativity intruded. I wrote through it all.

Today I wrote an unexpectedly large amount of words (after several days of not writing) and right now my back is paying for it. But hey, the words are on paper!

No, I probably won’t win Nanowrimo but I was able to write in spite of all the bad stuff, so I sure as hell didn’t lose.

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Everything Update

Writing/Nanowrimo: I’m still behind on Nanowrimo. I’ve been in a lot of pain and my writing motivation was nil. My muse is in hiding and my I don’t know how to coax her out. I’m going to try though.

It is unlikely I will win Nanowrimo this year but I’m almost positive I don’t care. What I do care about is not giving up. If I say I’m not going to win and just stop then it’s a problem. If I say I’m so behind I can’t see the end in sight but still try then I win. So I’m going to put as much effort into it as I can.

I realized I’m an idiot last night. Forgetful is probably a better description but whatever. I spend a lot of time lying down. I hate it, every second. If I’m in bed I can’t write. Except I can. I have Dragon Naturally Speaking, which is a dictation program. After reformatting my laptop I never got around to reinstalling it. Which is dumb on my part. I can’t physically write when I’m forced to lay down but I can talk. Hell, I can always talk, unless I’m sleeping and sometimes even then!

I feel silly for not thinking of this earlier. It’s not as easy to ‘write’ this way for me but it’s possible. I’m sure once I get in the habit again things will go well.

I’m not at home at them moment but when I get there I’m going to install the software and start using it. I will have to close my door because I can’t do it in front of anyone else, not even my kids. I’m the type who wouldn’t even order a pizza in front of my husband. (Ordering online is the best thing ever!).

Hopefully it will work out the way I think it will. If it doesn’t, that’s okay. At least I’ll get more story out of my head during a time I haven’t been able to. Even the lessening of the irritation I feel when having to get into bed should help. Maybe my muse will come out and play again.

As for my new Nano project, I’m happy with it so far. Since picking it up I’ve already made major changes but none of them changed the flow of the story in a bad way. It’s still going to end the same way but getting there is much stronger now. I’ll have to replot a bit but I did a sticky note outline so it won’t be hard.

The main change is with a young boy introduced in the beginning of the story. He’s an important character but not the main one. Originally my main character (MC) rescues him and takes him to a nearby garrison. He was going to show back up later and his identity was going to surprise my MC. Now she’s going to keep the boy with her. She still won’t know who he is until late in the story. He’s going to be a handful and this kid is full of it but with good reason.

Protecting him adds a sense of urgency, on top of her hiding from the bad guys. Dealing with him adds some small conflict and the byplay between the boy and a man who joins them later will add more depth.

None of this changes the last act except when the boy does his part, it will mean more to the reader. I’m still developing this character but I decided to do it as I go because I’ve already stalled out too much this month.

I’ll update more about this story as it goes along.

Medical: My pain management doctor is awesome. His PA is not. A while back I went to an appointment and saw the PA. She told me I should get an injection to help with my back pain. If it didn’t give me enough relief then she thought we should burn off the nerve. This would require a nerve block, which is basically a test to make sure they get the right nerves. Then the actually burning if the test worked out.

After first losing my paperwork and lots of confusion and many calls I finally got an appointment for the first injection. Except it didn’t happen. Oh, I did get an injection, but it was the nerve block. The PA basically forgot a step. I’m irritated with her but to be honest it works out for the best. I thought doing the first injection was a waste of time because it was clear I’d eventually have to do the burn procedure.

Because of her mistake I’ll probably be able to get the burning procedures done before the end of the year. They do one side, wait two weeks and do the other. This is good because if it’s done before December 31st, I won’t have a pay a dime. I’ve had so many medical things happen this year that I met my maximum payout. Money things aside, I want the relief now so I’m not complaining about the PA’s dumb move.

However, this could have easily worked against me. So I’ll have to be careful with her and make sure I write everything down and keep on top of everything I’m told and make sure stuff not only gets done, but gets done in the order it should.

Unfortunately the nerve block procedure only lasts a day so I’m still in tons of pain but at least I have hope. The next procedure will actually cause me extra pain for a while, probably a few weeks but I’ve done it before and it’s worth it.

I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Reading: I am rereading David Eddings. I started with The Belgariad, then read The Mallorian. I moved on to The Elenium and now I’m on the second book of the Tamuli. The first two I mentioned consist of five books each and follow the same characters throughout. The other two are both trilogies set in a different world. I reread this books at least once a year. I shouldn’t be reading so much during Nanowrimo but it’s what I do when I can’t write. I didn’t want to start any new books because I would get too distracted from my own work.

I’ll finish the last trilogy before November is gone so I might pick up one of the companion books to The Belgariad. One of them is very long so hopefully it will get me through the month. There is a new book tempting me but I’ll resist for as long as I can.

Gym: I haven’t gone every day but I do go most days. I’m still trying to find what works for me. There are certain exercises I can’t do and others that I have to be careful with the amount of weight I use. I’m not progressing, as in not increasing the intensity, but I’m staying steady. Maybe after my procedure I’ll be able to work harder.

That’s all for now. I’ll post a Nanowrimo update soon.

 

Nanowrimo 2016 Update #4

I’m slowly catching up. I’m still 5000 words behind but it’s nice to see the gap closing. I might not win Nanowrimo this year but I’m glad I’m trying. So far today I’ve written a bit over 2200 words and I hope to write some more later.

I dumped my first Nano project because it was not working the way I thought it would. The story needs more thought and plenty of changes before it can progress. Nanowrimo is not the time to redo a story so it’s on the back burner for now.

Another story raised its hand and politely asked to be considered. It’s one I previously plotted but hadn’t started writing yet. I would have but I wasn’t completely happy with where the story was going as I planned it out. So I was reluctant to pick it back up after putting aside another problematic story.

Still, I decided to give it a look and as I read through my notes I could clearly see what it needed. I made an index card outline and liked where it went. So now I’m writing it. I’m only 3000 words into it but I’m invested again. I always loved the idea of this story and I’m glad it’s starting to see the light of day.

All l have to do is keep my muse happy now. I’ll let you all know how it goes.


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Flash Fiction – The Perfect Man

“Seriously Karen, he’s the perfect man.” Mona announced to her best friend and co-worker.

Karen’s raised a single eyebrow. “I’ve heard that one before; six months ago was the last time I think.”

Mona laughed. “I know, I know. But this time I mean it.”

“So how is this one perfect?” She told herself to withhold judgement.

“He’s sweet but not the annoying kind. He holds the door for me but doesn’t complain if I pay for dinner sometimes. He’s smart, emotionally stable, and he makes me laugh.” Mona’s knitted brow made Karen wonder what was wrong with the guy. Perfect was never really perfect when it came to her friend’s choice in men.

“Does he have a decent job? You have a habit of finding men who can’t keep their shit together.”

“Yes, he’s an analyst and he just got promoted. He’s been with the same company for ten years. He’s not the kind I would have to support.”

Karen nodded. “Good, he sounds great. So what’s the problem?”

Mona glared at her but Karen waited patiently knowing the ‘but’ was coming.

“It can’t work.”

“Why?”

“Many reasons. He’s so perfect I could never be the woman he deserves.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“He also thinks I’m perfect. We both know that’s not true. How could I live up to his expectations?”

“I’m sure he likes you the way you are, Mona.”

“There’s more. He’s a neat freak, you should see his house. I throw my socks on the floor and forget to do laundry until my closet is empty. I would drive him crazy.”

“Relationships are all about compromise. You can adjust to each other if your feelings are strong enough.”

Mona sighed. “He likes fine dining and I’d rather have burgers and pizza. He dresses in suits and I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl. He watches crime dramas and I like Star Trek.”

“You like to dress up and he probably likes to dress down. You can suck it up and watch his shows and he can do the same. Why are you trying to talk yourself out of this?”

“I don’t have a choice. There is one major road block I can’t get past.”

“What?”

“This morning I was offered three million to kill him.”

“Oh, I see. I wonder what he did to warrant someone hiring one of the two best assassins in the country to take him out.”

“I was curious at first too, but for that amount of money, it was easy to lose interest in the whys of it.”

“Yeah, but sometimes our job sucks right?”

Mona nodded. “Romance is all fine and good but business is business. Still, my deadline is in a month. I think I’ll enjoy him while I can. He is the perfect man after all.”

“Good girl.”


Have you ever had a story come to you and not know where it came from? This story popped in my head, almost fully formed, while in the car on the way to eat lunch with my husband yesterday. I got out my journal and wrote down all my thoughts on it and finished up before we pulled into the parking lot.

There was nothing in particular that I can see inspired. I was just looking out the window watching other cars and story happened.

It’s not my best but at this point I’m happy words came out of me. I’ve stalled out on my Nanowrimo project and need to work on another one but I don’t know which one. For all I know this may turn into a half a month of short story writing. I would be okay with it.

I’m almost convinced I can’t win Nanowrimo this year. I was frustrated at first but not now.

I had back surgery this year. My recovery has been a roller coaster. I had an injection and it’s helped some but I’m still in a bad place with pain. I’m forced to spend a quarter of my awake time laying down.

The truth is, I’m lucky to have written as much as I have this month. I’m choosing to be happy with however many words I end up with. At least I’m trying. That’s all I can really do.


WR

Nanowrimo 2016 Update # 3.5

I said 3.5 because I haven’t written since the last update. I’m five thousand words behind at this point. I’m not sure what I will do but I managed to figure a couple of things out.

First was what is missing from my Nano project: a relationship. I have this weird rebellious thing in me where I try to avoid romantic stuff in writing. I guess I’m afraid the story will be perceived as a different genre than it’s meant to be.

This novel is urban fantasy but if I make my characters fall in love then it could be put into paranormal romance by some. I don’t actually have anything against romance, I just don’t think I can write it well. I don’t want someone to pick up this book thinking it will be all about the relationship and walk away unsatisfied.

It gets more complicated because this story might Need to be romance. It started out plot driven and now is so character driven it surprised me and I’m unsure how to proceed.

I need to decide which road I’ll go down. Either choice will be hard for me. I have to choose between writing in a genre I’ve never tackled or try to replot and completely change what I’ve already written. I may need to wait until Nanowrimo is over to decide.

For now I’ll probably change projects. My muse can’t make up my mind for me at this point though. I’ve been looking into my middle grade project. It’s meant to be a series. I was thinking of making it a collection of longer short stories instead. I’ve been working on a timeline for it and coming up with story ideas.

If I don’t work on that one, then it’s likely I’ll work on one I call The Order Of Life. I’ll probably change the title because I don’t think the acronym TOOL is appropriate for the content. There is a lot of political intrigue involved. Since I have no experience with that I’m not sure I want to jump back into this story. It is the most planned project I have though. At least I can fall back on it.

Part of me wishes I could magically come up with a new idea to run with so I don’t have to make decisions. Even some short story ideas would be welcome at this point. I just want to make stuff up again!

The election was another issue. It stressed me out more than I realized and now it’s over, I’m hoping my muse will come out of hiding.

Cross your fingers for me!


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Nanowrimo 2016 Update #3

Yesterday my word count was 10,305. I’m caught up, assuming I meet my goal today. Unfortunately, I haven’t written anything today and I’m not sure if I will or not. I encountered a problem I’ve never had, not only during Nanowrimo but with writing in general. My story is finished, except it’s not.

Let me explain, since I know that sounds odd. I thought I was prepared enough to write this story but apparently I wasn’t. All the major scenes were planned out. I wrote scene cards and pinned them on a cork board and was confident I knew how to get from beginning to end.

I did. I wrote every one of those scenes. The problem is, with only a couple of exceptions, I only wrote those scenes. Normally, I start with my opener and the first few scenes. Then, if I’m lucky, some magic happens between the first sequence and the next, or even between those first scenes. Call it filler if you will, or transitions, or whatever. It didn’t happen this time. This story reads like a 100 meter dash instead of the marathon it needs to be!

This could mean several things. It could simply indicate this shouldn’t be a novel length story, but I don’t think so. It could mean I am not as interested in the story as I believed. Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be. Perhaps this novel needs a lot more planning than previous ones, or less. It’s changed a lot since I first conceived it, so it could be it changed so much my muse doesn’t understand it anymore.

I don’t know what the problem is, so I don’t know how to proceed. Some of what’s missing is what I call padding. I write very little description in a first draft, unless it directly impacts the characters. I have several scenes where I’ve fleshed out the setting a lot and others that only say ‘forest’, ‘town square’, ‘grocery store’, etc.’ I haven’t taken the time to describe either main character or any of the lesser but important ones. I did spend some time on the villain though. I figure I know what they look like so I can just get the story out and add that stuff later.

If I go in and add all the items listed above, I would still only have about 15,000 – 20,000 words. I need to take some time to figure out what happens in between the crucial scenes. Therein lies my biggest problem. I’m doing Nanowrimo. I don’t have time to flesh out a story I thought I understood and still write 50k words.

So today, I’m taking some time to think and make decisions. Do I set aside this story and pick up something else so I can get the word count? I’ve done this before, every year I’ve participated actually. It seems to be my pattern. Or, do I take the time to work on a story I believe has massive potential and give up on Nanowrimo? I can’t do both.

Either choice is appealing to me equally. I will hate making this decision. I honestly don’t know what I should do.

I’ll post another update when I figure it out.


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Nanowrimo 2016 Update #2

My word count is 3749. I’m behind due to not writing yesterday. I had a procedure that involved four gigantic needles being shoved into my lower back. The stuff they gave me made me sleepy so when I got home I took a long nap. Afterward I didn’t feel like writing. I was sore and a bit out of it.

The plan is to make up for it today and tomorrow. Hopefully the injection (nerve block) will allow this.

I’m going to write a scene where my main character uses magic in an unexpected way. It’s either going to confound me or I’m going to write a ton of words. I hope it leads to many more scenes. In my vague index card outline there is only haziness around this scene.

A true planner I am not. I do some basic plotting, pin up some index card scenes, and write a synopsis only I will ever see before I start to write. This leaves me plenty of room to still be half a pantser. That’s where the magic happens for me.

Tomorrow I might go to a write-in. I suspect I need to be around other writers for a  while to pick up creative vibes. Sunday is my writing group so I’ll be busy all weekend. I probably won’t post another update until Monday or Tuesday.


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Nanowrimo 2016 Update #1

Yesterday I wrote 1669 words for my Nanowrimo project. About half were written between 12:00 am and 12:30 am. The rest I managed while writing with my best friend in the afternoon. Everything except him distracted me. Staying up three hours past my bedtime and sleeping badly took its toll.

I feel lucky I met the daily Nano goal (which is 1667). Nothing could make me reread anything I wrote yesterday though. I was so out of it I can’t be sure any of it makes sense. If I read it, I’ll want to fix it. This cannot be allowed. My inner editor is a bitch and will take over, throwing me out of creative mode.

So I’m going to start today’s writing with the assumption I did everything right. Since I’m trying to write in a linear manner, I’ll simply write the next scene, then the next and so on.

All the past Nanowrimos I jumped around in the story. I started out with the beginning but at some point jumped to the end, then back to the middle, and all over the place. Each year I ended up getting stalled and moving to another story. The hopping around in my timeline might have been the reason. So I’m going to try to stay on track this time. Try is the keyword here.

I won’t beat myself up if I do end up following my usual pattern though. What matters is words. I’ve got lots of those.

My goal for today is 2000 words. I prefer to stay ahead as much as possible. There are several days this month I won’t be able to write much and at least one where I can’t write at all. So it’s important I have days where I write more than the regular goal.

Tomorrow is one of the no write days. It’s injection day. I’ve had several of these procedures but I’ve never looked forward to one this much. Sure it will suck getting an IV but if this thing works then it might get me through the month with less pain. Less pain means more writing. I’m very worried back pain will dictate whether I win this year or not so I desperately want this injection to work for me.

I will posts updates when I can but I hope to be too busy to do it often. Good luck to all the other participants!


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Flash Fiction – A Man’s World (and a quick update)

This is from a writing prompt posted in my writing group. It was the amazing picture of a man kneeling down on one knee with several arrows sprouting from his back. It took me quite some time to come up with an idea but when I finally did, I wrote this in a 25 minute timed exercise.


A Man’s World

Conneth dropped to one knee as Elyse approached to survey her victorious champions. Exhausted with blood loss he was glad of a reason to rest. The arrows still lodged in his back might kill him but not kneeling before the crown Princess would definitely cost him his head. He hadn’t fought and killed scores of men for her just to end up one of her victims.

As she passed by, he chanced a quick glance. The royal brat wrinkled her nose up at the sight of the injured but devoted men prostrated before her. He returned his gaze to the ground. Rumor had it she threw men she didn’t have killed in the fabled dungeons of Sarvon for not showing the proper deference.

Not for the first time Conneth wished men could rule. Elyse’s older brother Landor would be a great ruler. He understood the plight of men in this kingdom, but it would never happen. If Elyse didn’t survive to become queen her closest female cousin would ascend the throne, even if the girl hadn’t reached her majority.

Someday, probably not in Conneth’s lifetime, men would not be thought of as lesser creatures. They would not be bred merely to cater to a lady’s whim or to fight wars started by women. What he wouldn’t give to be able to choose his own wife and make his own decisions.

Being paraded at the multitude of Men’s Balls for some random female to bargain with his mother for his hand was degrading. It didn’t help that he was reaching an age where he was almost too old to be marriageable. It was unfair that he would be forced to either marry a stranger who would rule his life or risk being labels a bachelor. His stomach tightened painfully at the thought.

His head jerked up at unexpected movement in front of him. Elyse stood looking down at him. There was a light in her eyes he didn’t like. She stared at him for several minutes as he defiantly glared back. The blood running down his back distracted him but if he was going to die, he was going to go out in his own way.

“This one,” Elyse said to the man beside her, her personal slave mage. “Heal him, send him to my tent. Oh and find his mother.” She turned and walked away.

Confused he stared at the mage as the man bent over him and began the healing.  “What is going on Victor?”

“You poor bastard. You’ve been chosen as the Princess Elyse’s next consort. I probably should have let you die. Maybe you’ll survive longer than the last three. I gave you a little extra stamina, you’re going to need it. Her um…appetites are voracious.” The sympathy on the man’s face was almost painful.

“Sex?” he asked but he knew the answer. Wasn’t that what women really wanted men for? For the first time in his life Conneth passed out from fear.

*rough draft: 496 words


I am choosing not to edit this due to Nanowrimo starting tomorrow. My inner editor is safely tucked away and I hope not to see it until December. I’m going to the kick off event tonight and will start writing my novel at midnight. I’m wimpy so I won’t stay very late but I like the way it starts off Nano. On Tuesday I’ll write for as many hours as I can handle (which of course my stupid back will decide).

I have a procedure scheduled for Thursday, an injection, which will mess up my writing stride but might enable me to get through November and finish Nano.

There is no way to know how often I’ll be posting here during next month. My regular Wednesday posts hopefully and the Saturday post for sure will show up. Updates will be sporadic.

You might see some excerpts but no more short stories as I’ll be concentrating on one project (hopefully).