Posts tagged “writing

Just Keep Swimming, a few notes.

First of all, I hit a wall in the marathon training. I couldn’t ever make it past 15 miles, and a combination of insomnia and weird sleep patterns made it next to impossible to improve on that this year. So the marathon is out for 2012.

But that’s okay!

Because my goal is “Before I’m 30”, which means there’s always next year. And next year, I will begin training in the spring, rather than waiting until August.

Anyway, between the end of NaNoWriMo (which I successfully completed) and the end of the marathon training, I found myself suddenly with nothing to occupy my time. I mean, sure, there’s work and friends, but I had no projects.

Not that I don’t have any projects. I have a pastel drawing in my cabinet that is about 20% finished and has a lot more to go. But I started that a month ago… I want a new project.

So I started one. It’s a just-for-fun web application, and – since it has a holiday theme – there’s a time issue. I thought of the idea this afternoon, and I came home and immediately started coding. I’m really excited. It should be finished by the end of this week.

But why do I need projects? That’s the real question. I feel like I need something to occupy my mind at all times. If not a marathon, then a novel, if not a novel, then a drawing, if not a drawing, then an application.

The problem is, I’m terrible at finishing what I start. Case-in-point: Marathon. But if NaNo taught me anything, it’s that I can finish projects! Sometimes, once in a blue moon, I can. I’d like to keep that up. (Not that the novel is finished finished, but it’s in the hands of my Round 1 editors at the moment, and I’m waiting to hear back from all of them before going to rewrites. If you’re unsure if you’re a Round 1 editor… if I sent you a copy of the book, you are one.)

Anyway, in the meantime, I’m going to keep my brain occupied with Current Thing. I need a code name for it, because I don’t want people stealing my ideas. “Current Thing” sounds good.

This was an awfully rambly post for someone who’s only on beer 3…


Home Stretch – Writing Out of Order

I passed the 45,000 word mark tonight. I’ve known since the beginning what my last chapter was going to be, and have been over it a thousand times in my head, but I was seriously against the idea of writing out of order. Well, tonight I got home and just really wanted to write it. So I did. And then I wrote a couple of other chapters, meaning that I’m now over the 45,000 mark, and I know exactly what’s going to happen in the story to connect where I am so far with what I’ve written to be the ending.

What this means is two things. 1) I can’t get caught up on word count, I just need to write and make sure all my ground is covered, and 2) I can no longer count on the final chapters filling out words. Everything I come up with now has to be original.

Also, though, I need to remember: editing comes later.

I’m actually very proud of what I came up with tonight, especially the second scene featuring all three main characters. It’s the first time I’ve captured that dynamic from Kurt’s perspective, and while Emily isn’t a “main” (POV) character, I like what I’ve done with her, but also feel I’ve under-used her. She will definitely be fleshed out a lot in my second draft because I like what she’s become.

Now that my Point A’s and Point B’s are established, all that’s left is to draw a 4,800 word line. Four more days, but I think I can do it in two. Here’s to that idea!

Writing Through a Block

I was mentally and emotionally drained today. Last-minute “must be done today” project at work that I didn’t find out about until I came in this morning. I finished it, I’m proud to say, and I think I did a decent job.

But the drain was almost enough to make me take a “no writing” break for the day. I’m 5,000 words ahead of the goal, so that wouldn’t put me behind. But I pulled out the laptop and started writing anyway, and guess what? It came more easily.

That could be because I was writing a fairly simple Scott chapter, one that I’ve had in my head for a few days but didn’t want to get ahead of myself. I’ve spent the last three days on a more difficult Cara chapter that was important for story reasons, but hard to write accurately.

Anyway, I guess it’s not that I had writer’s block… it’s that I lacked motivation. But the way to push through that lack of motivation was just to write. And guess what? It worked!

Inflatable Word Counts

“Peter Rabbit is this stupid book about this stupid rabbit who steals vegetables from other people’s gardens. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen… Eighty-three to go!”

– Lucy Van Pelt, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”

I’m trying incredibly not to artificially inflate my word count for NaNoWriMo by throwing things in that aren’t really part of the story, or that I didn’t write. But it seems to be happening anyway. Part of this is because I’m not telling my story in straight prose. Blog posts, text messages, e-mails, funeral announcements… I’m including them verbatim, because I find that to be an important part of the story. However, I’m also including the header information on the e-mails, texts, blog posts. The reason I’m doing that is to lend visual authenticity to the passages. But it does feel a lot like cheating. Even so, it’s still original content that I’m producing.

I also want to include quotes from famous people at the beginning of each chapter. And I will, but I will not count them in my word count. I won’t even add them to the document until after the story is finished, to avoid accidentally having them counted.

I’ve also decided to write an “Author’s Note” at the end, but as I will most likely be well over 50,000 words before the story is finished, I’m not worried about that being dishonest.

For those of you participating in NaNo this year… what are ways you feel you might be cheating on the word count?

“The end… ninety-four, ninety-five… The very very VERY end!”

Some Novel Music

Let’s talk about what kind of music to listen to while writing a novel.

The first three days, I listened to Explosions in the Sky while writing. Mellow instrumentals seemed like the best idea… not loud enough to grate my nerves, and no lyrics to distract me. Today I decided to change it up. Since I’m writing from three different perspectives (Four if you count… well never mind, you’ll find out) I tried listening to the kind of music that would be on the iPod of the character I’m writing at the time. I needed something angry to finish off Scott’s chapter. I started with Greydon Square, but rap is to lyrically focused and that’s distracting, so I switched to Megadeth.

Kurt’s chapter is a bit easier, though. He’s deeply religious, so I needed some inspirational Christian music. Unfortunately, I fucking HATE Christian music. I dug into my childhood via Spotify and ended  up listening to a Rich Mullins album that I grew up enjoying.

Cara’s are going to be tough. I got through the initial Cara chapter already, but when I re-explore her, I need to have figured the character out enough to have a playlist for her. I feel like Silversun Pickups would be appropriate, but that’s something I listen to pretty regularly anyway, so I don’t know if it would aid in putting me in someone else’s mind.

As for the Josh pseudo-chapters, I’ll probably stick with stuff I listen to anyway, or go back to the Explosions in the Sky tracks. The pseudo-chapters won’t be incredibly long anyway.

Didn’t get as high a word count as I intended today, but I’m still ahead of the goal, even if behind on my personal one.