26 November 2008

Procrastinations Galore

Word Count as of 7 AM today: 46,009

Word Count as of 6 PM today: 49,018

Which is impressive for me, until you consider that I've been at it just as hard for the last 3 hours, BUT:

Word Count as of 9 PM today: 49, 436

Oooo - 400 words in three hours. Positively smokin', baby. *blows raspberries*

Why, I cannot say, but it's alway the last 700 words of NaNo that are the hardest to spit out onto the bloody page. Always. They kill me.

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Counterspace

Itty-bitty, 197os kitchens with NO COUNTERSPACE are clearly in violation of the Geneva Convention. I'm sure of it.

I mean, seriously, I've had dollhouses with bigger kitchens than mine. Bah! Humbug.

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25 November 2008

NaNo: The 200-Word Trick

So if you have kids and you write, you know how hard it can be to find writing time. Some days, it is well nigh impossible ... OK, make that most days....

And then you decide to do NaNoWriMo. And discover that you knew nothing about trying to find writing time. :)

This year has been especially challenging for me, because my work schedule has changed since last year, so the time I used to have on reserve for writing - 5 AM to whenever the kids woke up - is no longer available, because I'm getting ready for and then am on my way to ye olde work-work. That has left the couple of hours after the kids go to bed at 8 or 8:30, by which time I'm usually asleep on my feet and incapable of writing anything I don't hate myself for in the morning.

Two weeks ago, however, I found the Magic Elixir.

No, really! And I managed laundry and kitchen dredging at the same time!

You think I'm lying - and that's OK. But it's all true!

What's the big secret? Well, I do not enjoy laundry or kitchen dredging in the least, but things had become desperate (because they had been ignored for so long - no underwear, no spoons, oh the horror!). To add insult to injury, I had also reached that inevitable point in the story where I utterly loathed it, had lost all motivation to pick the story up and was very, very close to just pretending I had too many other things to do and abandoning it altogether.

But I SO hate to lose at anything. And I would so hate to lose NaNo even more.

So I joined my mild ADHD with my hatred of losing and set the following rule: I would write 200 words, then accomplish some Unsavory Task (i.e., one that was housework-related). Once the Unsavory Task was accomplished, I had to sit my fat butt down and write 200 more words, then it was time for another Unsavory Task, and so on.

Astoundingly enough, it worked! The first day I tried it, I ended up with 4,000 words! The following weekend, I had a 5,000-word day! For me, that kind of speed is well nigh unbelievable!

More importantly, however, the 200-word trick got me through the I-can't-imagine-WHY-I-ever-thought-this-story-was-so-cool doldrums and delivered several brain-popping Story Epiphanies.

It really seems to work for me, and I think part of the reason it does is because 200 words is about as much as I can write before a kid needs desperately something. Cool, huh?

Now. If I could just get The Husband to stop practicing his #%@*&$# duck calls in the living room.... Can't have everything, I guess...

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22 November 2008

NaNo Bits: Sheer Shock

It is now midnight and I should be in bed, but I must express my ... I don't even know... shock, awe, amazement-at-the-shit-that-comes-out-of-my-head?

Something like that.

It's like this: My very boring, very plain, very straight laced, very innocent (or so I thought...) main character up and decided she could not avoid murdering someone today. Murder! She couldn't avoid it. She really couldn't. It was a terrible line, and she had to cross it, but I am appalled. Appalled. And very much not OK with this turn of events. (How sympathetic is a character that is that cold blooded??)

But mostly, I am very, very shocked at how terrifyingly neatly this murder thing fits in with something else that I already knew about but didn't know the particulars of.

See, there are these bloody knives that another character finds later on. Only I didn't know whose blood was on them or how it got there.

And now I do.

0.0

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20 November 2008

NaNo Bits: Character Mutiny #1

It happens every time I write any kind of fiction. I don't know why it still surprises me.

But it does.

I guess there's just something sort of shocking (and exciting and magical, truth be told...) about your characters looking up from the page/screen, giving you the hairy eyeball, then shaking their heads at each other and - in unison- yanking the plot out from between your fingers.

It's just so ... well, I don't know what to call it, but it's very similar to the rush I got in my younger (and fitter) days from skiing and rock & ice climbing. Thrilling, maybe? I don't know. That seems corny.

Whatever.

Let's just say it's just really, really cool when you realize that your charcters know your story better than you do.

As you might have guessed, it happened again today. I had this scene all planned out where these two characters, who haven't been getting along, suddenly find some common ground. Only they didn't. Well, actually, they not only didn't find common ground, they fought like cats trespassing in another cat's territory. And it was exactly what they should have done and much better than what I had planned for them.

Wild.

Anyway, here's a snippet. The writing totally sucks (I consider the end product of NaNo to be nothing more than a really detailed outline, so be warned). I'm only posting it because this is the end of the scene and they're supposed to be all hugging and bff with each other... hah!

Heilla’s expression changed to one of irritation. “Oh, I see. This isn’t about you or me – this is about Bran, isn’t it?”

“You just stay away from him,” Eydis snapped. “If I catch you near him again, I’ll make you wish you’d never been born. Understand?”

Heilla managed to look dignified as she said, “Perfectly. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find some clean clothes.”

“Right,” Eydis sneered as the other girl went past. “You do that. Just don’t go anywhere near the infirmary. I’m serious.”

“Whatever,” Heilla said and she left.
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13 November 2008

NaNo ZeRo

So I was sick yesterday - couldn't-get-out-of-bed sick, no less. And I didn't write a word. Not. One. Word.

That is a new record low for me for a NaNo daily word count (previously, it was 57 - really!). My first ZERO day. Eep!

I don't much like it, especially since - another first - I am officially BEHIND on the word count of the day tally. I've always, always, always been ahead. Always. Until now.

Don't much like this either.... and I'm hoping I'm not starting a trend that will result in this being the first year I don't "win".... That would seriously suck. Seriously!

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08 November 2008

NaNo Bits: Day 8

It's still going reasonably well, which is shocking the hell out me - I've averaged almost 1650 words a day during the work week! That's astounding for me. Last year, I was lucky if I could manage 800 during the week and then had to make it up on the weekends, which sort of sucked.

Seriously, I think I finally struck the right balance between planning enough but not too much. My characters are continually surprising me, but in a good way for once.

Then again, the first six scenes of the story were pretty well laid out and I had really good visuals on them. The same cannot be said for The Middle of The Story.... However, I'm hoping that because The End of The Story has been pretty well mapped out too, that The Middle will take care of itself.

Well, one can dream, right?

Anyway, I have to thank Susan for her post on new music, via which I found Apocalyptica's Farewell. It's stunning and was perfect for the scene I was writing last night. Thanks, Susan!

And now for a snippet. Eydis has just lectured Bran about being reckless. He doesn't listen very well, and it's about to cost him.

Eydis looked up to find herself walking in the wrong direction. Why she’d started walking towards the bloody Tower, she couldn’t even begin to guess. Thinking too much, instead of paying attention most likely. She was about to turn around and head back through the onion patch, when she saw something streak up the side of the Tower.

Bran! The idiot – what did he think he was doing? Didn’t he know he could be seen?

She wanted to scream at him – with mind and body voice both – but she didn’t dare. She watched with horror as he soared past the top of the Tower, hung for a second in mid air, then dove down the other side. He emerged beyond the top of the compound wall, silent and moving fast.

There was a shout from the direction of the gate and Eydis heard the sing-song chatter of the Han guard.

Then her blood froze in her veins as she heard the sound of a bow string lose an arrow.

Word Count as of Right Now: 14,035.

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07 November 2008

Help! Need Tunes!

I've finished with the first two of my three POV characters for the NaNo, and it will be time to start on the third this evening (probably late this evening, which cannot, unfortunately be helped...).

Everyone else has theme music (Bran=Buckcherry & Glasvegas, Heilla=Kronos' Caravan), but Ms. Eydis here is being a pain in my ass and refusing to mesh with anything I can find on Napster, despite me finding a LOT of cool music...

Hence the plea for help.

Some background: Eydis is a pretty strong chic - stubborn, tough, and resourceful, but she's been through hell having grown up in a prison colony, so she can also be suspicious of strangers, close minded, and brutal when she has to be.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'll try anything. Really. Anything at all.

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06 November 2008

Deluge

'Cuz it can't ever just rain, yanno...

Here's a summary/brain-dump about the multitude of shit going on in my life that is simultaneously about to hit the fan, just so I can clear my head:

  • There's NaNo, of course -- 1667 word/day, right? Do-able and I've done it. But I wasn't planning on having quite so many other things going at the same time.

  • Work-work is being crazy-crazy and the rumors, they are a-flyin'... there are more small signs every day that I should maybe be looking for another job - so I started to...

  • ...which means updating the CV, churning out brilliant cover letters, answering unknown numbers when my cell rings, being all bright and goddamn cheerful when I do so (this requires a rather monumental amount of effort for me)...

  • Trying to come up with a catchy name for my business that doesn't sound just like every other biomedical editing firm out there. Harder than it sounds, because as it turns out there just aren't that many ways to say 'biomedical editing'...

  • Website design for the business. I have someone doing this, but she needs some input from me about what I want, and it takes time to gather information, examples and put my thoughts together coherently.

  • The Husband's birthday is Sunday. He likes to have a Big Fat Hairy Deal made out of his birthday, even though he's past the age when that's really appropriate. That means I have to go birthday present shopping and I hate shopping and I hate it worse when I'm buying presents for people who are picky and impossible to please.

  • Another of my sisters-in-law is pregnant and her baby shower is Saturday afternoon. So I have to go shopping some more. At least, she is registered at Babys-R-Us.

  • Because I'm going to be an independent editor, I finally decided it would be worth it to take the board exam that would certify me as such, which means gathering transcripts together in one place and getting three letters of recommendation (yes, I have to have to have recommendations in order to take a test - isn't that a pisser?). This also means that...

  • ... I have to draft the recommendation letters, since the people I'm going to ask for them will expect me to provide them with something to work from, since that's how such things are typically done in Academia.


OK. I think I'm done (for now).

I think I might even feel better.

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04 November 2008

NaNo: Favorite Bits From Day Three

I hate the Daylight Savings time change thing. I woke up at 3:30 AM - and I mean wide awake - and couldn't go back to sleep. I gave up eventually and got some words in on the NaNo... not great words, but that's not the point, I guess...

Anyway, writing-wise, other than what I'm posting below, last night and this morning was a biatch. I have a time line issue -- always my nemesis -- that is refusing to resolve itself and had many false starts. It being NaNo, of course, I didn't delete a single word of them....

Bran straddled the ridge of the dormer window roof as best he could, took a deep breath and prepared to call the bailak.

Time to stow the wings, he called softly into his own mind.

So soon? the bailak replied, sounding wistful.

Don’t worry. I’ll need them again in an hour or two, Bran promised.

Very well. Are you ready?

Bran was never ready for what the bailak was about to do to his body, but he'd learned not to scream out loud while it was happening.


Off to work-work...

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03 November 2008

NaNo, Day The Second

The Husband, curse him (OK, not really), got two free tickets to the Titans game yesterday and took his grandpa with him (see? brownie points). Since he was gone, I figured I'd have kids climbing on me all day and get zippo done on my NaNo.

Shockingly, the kids cooperated. Ms. Six spent most of the day playing with her friend across the cul-de-sac and Ms. Baby was quite happy to play in the front yard, while I sat in the sun on the front steps (it was frikkin' 74 degrees outside and sunny yesterday - in November...) with my pen and notepad and went to town. That's always a good technique, because when I typed up those three notebook pages during Ms. Baby's nap, what was probably a couple hundred words on paper turned into a little over a thousand in the computer file. Yay, me!

Here's today's mini-snippet:

Not surprisingly, there were sixty four men around the first campfire and around the two others he counted. It was always some multiple of eight. Every time.

That was the Han for you, Bran thought shaking his head, bunch of superstitious bastards.

Oh - final word count for yesterday: 5,116.
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02 November 2008

A NaNo Mini-Snippet

This was Joely's idea, of course, this mini-snippet thing....

Er, let me back up...

NaNo is in full swing! I actully managed to finish the first scene yesterday and it went surprisingly well. OK, maybe it shouldn't have been surprising. It's one of those scenes that I could see the whole thing, beginning to end, which is not always the case. It really helps, lemmetellya... 'cuz the next one is d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g...

Oh, well.

Anyway, final word count for yesterday was 2,772 (which is also the phone number for my HR person at work... scary, that...).

And since I think it's a neat idea to post my favorite (or least suckiest) line each day, here's the opening for this year's adventure:


Heilla rushed down a frightfully empty corridor, one hand on her head to keep her head scarf from flying off as she ran, the other holding up a handful of skirts out of her way so she could run faster. How she had managed to oversleep again, she couldn’t even begin to comprehend.

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