November Recap, or how did I manage that?

It’s hard to believe that November is already over, even though it vanished in a flash of activity, including a week long trip to the U.K. for work with a couple of days to tour London, a full day of helping my sister move into a new apartment, several events leading up to a lovely wedding for a good friend, and two Thanksgiving dinners combined with a variety of other family on-goings.

In addition to this, I participated in two November challenges — National Blog Posting Month and Nanowrimo.

The goal for National Blog Posting Month was to write a blog post a day during November. I managed to pull off a total of 21 posts over the course of the month. My personal favorites:

  • Autumn, which incorporates poetry and creative nonfiction
  • Bluebeard, a flash fiction piece that may or may not lead to more stories or a longer work

I fell short of Nanowrimo’s goal of 50,0000 words, as well, managing around 14,500 words, which is still a hefty chunk for a novel in poems. I’ll post an excerpt and thoughts on my process later.

While I did not reach my set goals for either challenge, the point was to get me writing and, in that, I feel successful. Words have been put on the page and progress made.

The next step is to maintain that progress. So, while my December is likely to be as busy with events as November, I’m planning to write at least three blog posts a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posting) and use what time I can in order to finish draft zero of the novel in poems. That will provide me with plenty of work, I’m sure.

Did you participate in any November challenges? How did they go for you?

Getting back on the horse, or something like that

It’s November 1st, and here I am not participating in National Novel Writing month, not even in a modified format. I love Nano and have participated more often than not over the past eight or so years. It’s helped me write words, a lot of words. And even though much of those words were set aside or trashed, I know those words have helped me complete other projects that I’m proud of. I also wouldn’t have many of the friends I have today.

So, I always feel a little sad on those rare Novembers when it participation won’t work for me, for whatever reason. This is one of those Novembers, because I will be traveling for work to the U.K. in a week and will have a slew of other events during the rest of the month.

Also, I’ve been feeling blocked with writing lately and have been trying to dig myself out. I would argue that feeling blocked is an excellent reason FOR doing Nano, rather than not doing it. Nothing to get past a slump like putting down words at a breakneck pace and racing past your inner critic…

and… um…

freaking, fracking dammit! I can’t do Nano. I won’t.

But it’s occurring to me now — literally, right at this minute as I’m typing, seriously — that participating in Nano might be infinitely helpful to getting me back on tra— NO! I DON”T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!

But if I work on a new project, i.e., not the werewolf novel that has been hovering over my head like a great cloud of doom, then maybe, just maybe I can…

But I swear, I don’t have time for this. I mean, I’ll be traveling, loosing a WHOLE WEEK.

But I could write on the plane.

But I…

I swear, I started this post intending to make my excuses for Nanowrimo and announce my participation in NaBloPoMo. But, now, I guess…

Well, shit…

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

Stats for November Challenges!

NaNoWriMo Stats

nano
Nano stats for Saturday, November 30th,
just before midnight.

Total New Words Written in November: 46,419

After writing 12,900 words on Saturday, November 30th in a desperate attempt to beat the midnight deadline, I found myself with no more brain cells left over. So, I stopped an hour and a half before midnight and was just 3,581 words shy of the 50,000 goal.

Even though I didn’t reach the goal, I’m happy with the work I’ve done this month. I have large chunk of the novel now done and I know there ate at least a few of the scenes that I really like (hopefully they’re not the darlings I’ll have to kill later). My hope that I’ll be able to pull off the rest of the novel draft by the end of December, so I can edit in 2014.

With the 13,010 words I wrote pre-NaNo, Under the Midday Moon is now at 59,429 words, which is AWESOME.

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NaBloPoMo Stats

New Blog Posts Written: 27

Total Blogging Words: ~15,866

I started to fall off the blog posting toward the end of the month, because all my energy was taken up with trying to finish NaNo. It was an excellent challenge though, and got me thinking about different ways to approach my blog. I’m thinking about doing the challenge again a few times through out the year (probably not when I have other intense challenges going on).

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Total New Words (Novel & Blog) Written in November: 62,285

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Other Life Stats

Workouts Completed: ~8

I’m not entirely sure of the count, but I made sure to do a minimum of one workout a week, which is vital for my mental, as well as physical health.

Books Read: 10

Reviews to be posted tomorrow are here.

Day Job: We went to press on our December issue just before Thanksgiving. This involved me personally writing over 10 full pages of text, proofing every page of the 64 page issue at least three times, and working with authors and companies to get approval and photos. Lots of work.

On the whole it was a very productive month and I can definitely call it an epic win for myself.

epic-win

Final Countdown

We’re down to the last week of November and unfortunately I’m starting to run out of blog posting ideas, especially as I’m in the process of trying to desperately catch up on my NaNo word count (I have seven days to write 25,000 words!!).

I could write about Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, of course. Every stream on every social network I follow has just about exploded with excitement over this (totally understandable). However, I have not watched the episode as I do not have access to the channel at this time and it’s also unlikely that I’ll see it anytime soon (not that I’m caught up on the past several seasons anyway — I’m a bad Whovian, I guess).

In other news, it’s an hour to midnight and I should probably write another thousand words before then.

Sorry for the throwaway post. Hope you’re all loving life!

NaNoWriMo Update, Vol. 3

I did not quite meet NaNo word goal for the week, as I’ve been skipping writing days during the work week. Things are getting hectic at my day job, since we have to go to press with our December issue before Thanksgiving and there is a lot of work to do.

But I made it through Chapter 16 on the novel and I’m happy with the progress of the story.

On Saturday, I inadvertently skipped a day of Nablopomo. I created the post for Saturday, but saved it as a draft instead of posting it, so it ended up being posted on Sunday instead. Whoops. I’ve made it up by posting two posts today, however.

In the mix of this, I managed to do two of my three workouts last week. I feel good about this. With all the sitting at my computer, though, I can also feel my spin and muscles tightening up, reminding me that I need to get back to doing my morning yoga.

Current Project: Under the Midday Moon
(Novel Word Count Before Starting Nanowrimo: 13,010)

Goal: Complete 50,000 New Words and Hopefully the First Draft
New Words This Week: 8,252
Total NaNoWriMo Word Count: 22,807

Random Rough Sentences: Now, the sun was behind the trees and the sky was illuminated with pink, peach, and red, making the snow blush between the elongated shadows of the trees. Mom and I both stood on the porch, watching the sky with the plastic we’d used to cover the broken window flapping slightly behind us.

“I think we should get out of here,” said mom.

Novelling Notes: I don’t have any deep thoughts at this time. I’m pleased with the progress I’m making and how the story is starting to take shape in my mind. Lots of chapters begin and end with “Author’s Notes” pointing out changes I’ll need to make in the editing process.

Things To Be accomplished in the Coming Week:

  • Write a minimum of 12,000 words
  • Do three workouts (1/3 completed)
  • Post a new blog everyday
  • That’s it
Typewriter Keys
Typewriter Keys by Kristin Nador

Five Tips and Tricks for Nanowrimo

Since today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) — that delightful challenge to complete a ridiculous 50,000 words in a single month — I thought I would pull out an old video for today’s Friday Five.

To summarize:

  1. Don’t Delete Anything
  2. Jump Around
  3. Dares and Prompts
  4. Plot Ninjas Are Your Friends
  5. Be Competitive

While I will be attempting to write 50,000 words this month, I will not technically be doing Nano because I will be working on an old project (the rules of Nano say that it should be a new project). I will be attempting to finish draft one of Under the Midday Moon, so that I can use 2014 to edit it.

The key to Nano, really, is the community and that you are not in this alone. I really appreciate that a lot, especially at moments like now, when I haven’t been feeling very motivated.

For those like me, not technically following the Nano rules, but still wanting to participate in some form, you can do an anti-Nano project. Set your own goal and then post updates on your blog, or if you’re on livejournal join the squidathon and post updates there (they do check-ins on Mondays and Fridays).

I will, however, be updating my progress on the Nano website, under my username blythe025. You are welcome to join me there, if you’d like.


Are you participating in Nano this year? What will you be working on?

A couple things mentioned on my livejournal, but not here.

1. Nano has started and I am, um, participating this year. *gulp*

I haven’t actually launched into my word count yet, partially because I’m reluctant to start on the novel, when I have just a few scenes of my short story “White Noise” to finish up (and of course they are not coming easy). Anyway, going to a couple of writins is sure to get me moving.

2. I have a series of short stories going, called The Many Adventures of Fay Fairburn.

Fay Fairburn is a mysterious character with a love of life and chaos and being silly. Her hair color changes often (currently it’s electric blue). As for her background? Well, she hasn’t told me too much about herself yet, so we’ll all discover more about her as the stories progress.

I’m doing these stories as a part of a livejournal contest, called LJ Idol. A new prompt is posted each week. I write a Fay story on it (other people write other things), and then all the entries are voted on. It’s fun and is pushing me to come up with a lot of new stories that I might not have thought of otherwise.

If you want to read the Fay Fairburn stories, you can click here.

Nano – day 30 & Win!

Last night, as the minutes ticked closer to midnight, I began to get a twitch in my eyelid — a sure sign that something in my brain was going to over heat and explode. It wasn’t so much any lack of words that was causing the problem, I had a clear sense of what I would write once I got to a computer. And that was the problem getting to a computer.

Every Monday night my mother, my sisters, and I take a 3-mile walk around the local track. Due a completely failed sense of time that night, I figured I could take the walk, head on home, and get to writing with plenty of time. I was clearly delusional.

By the time I got back to my sister’s house, it was drawing near 10 p.m. and I had 4,000 more words to write. Worse was that it would take me half an hour to get home where my lap top was sitting idly by waiting for my command. There was no way I could head home first and still have time to finish.

Fortunately I was able to use my sister’s laptop to finish off the novel. While my family watched Intervention and Hoarders, I typed away frantically, caring less than usual about the bad, bad sentences and the repetitive phrases. I eeked through the finish gate with 50,189 words and 5 minutes to spare.

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 30,184 (Over the course of 5 days with 4,000 written between 10 p.m. and midnight on November 30th.)
Current Total Word Count: 50,189
Goal: 50,000+ words

Random Sentence(s): Mitra tumbled off the boulder. Her shoulder stuck the stones as she fell, and her arms and hands were cut up by the rocks beneath her. She realized with perfect clarity what the vision had been telling her. Sonia had been sent to her for help and Mitra had failed her. She lay on the ground and wept.

Notes: So, here’s the score. While I have completed Nano, there are many upon many more words to write before this story will be complete. In fact, I think I’m not even a quarter finished, in part because of the natural fluff that goes into first drafts. Therefore, I will be continuing with this story. For the time being the goal will be extended to 100,000 words, but I think its going to take more than that.

[X-posted from my livejournal.]

Nano -day 24

I would like to say that the reason that I have no posted over the past several days was a sign that I’ve been writing wildly away at my Nano novel. I would like to say that, but it would be a lie. I have written nothing, well, next to nothing, in the past few days.

There are several reasons for this. One, I am currently car-less due to a blown head gasket. I’m also currently in an internal debate of whether or not its worth it to get it fixed or find a way to get a new used car for myself that might run better over the long haul.

Two, I started reading Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest (a.k.a. ), which not only has an awesome cover, but is a fantastic read. Furthermore, while it combines two of my favorite things (steampunk and zombies), the storyline is totally addictive and the characters totally believable. The result was that I was totally absorbed in the book and could not think of doing anything else until I finished it, at which point I was promptly upset that it was over.

Three, as happens occasionally, when I overwhelm myself with creative projects and life, I get to the point where I burn out and can’t do much usefull until I’ve unwound enough to return to making progress. Hopefully, during said unwinding (involving much TV and movie watching), I don’t lose any come back just as inspired as I was previously.

All that being said, I’ve managed to come back to the computer and make some progress today. So, here are the stats.

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 3,303
Current Total Word Count: 28,434
Goal: 50,000+ words

Random Sentence(s): Sonia watched him, slightly disturbed by the flash of his yellow teeth and the way his skin shook when he talked. had an instant distrust of really old people. Her mother would have smacked her upside the head if she could have read her thoughts. Sonia clicked her tongue, imitating the sound of her mother’s hand connecting with her skull.

Notes: I found that I have written entire scenes that I already know will be thrown out at a later date. I’m jumped back one scene, simply restarting it so that I can be on steadier ground as I continue. I expect that changes like this will continue to happen throughout, but I suppose it matters little as long as progress continues to be made.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]

Nano – day 17

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 5,126 (Two days worth of writing.)
Current Total Word Count: 25,131
Goal: 50,000+ words

Random Sentence(s): The children ran up the rows collecting the stones, laughing and shoving and pushing. It was a race and the children threw the stones into separate piles, which their father would count at the end of the day. To the child who had carried the most stones, the father would award a prize. Sometimes the prize was to be carried into the house on his shoulders for dinner. Sometimes the prize was an extra story when they went to sleep. Sometimes the prize was simply a kiss on the cheek, a pat on the head, and a well done. These were the only gifts he had to give them.

Notes: Passed the halfway mark! *joy*
Of course, that’s halfway for Nano, not halfway for the novel itself. In fact, up until the 20,000 word point, I’ve only been dealing with the first three chapters, which I know will be much shorter in the final version. I’ve kind of been feeling stuck in those chapters. Part of it has been because the chapters have been especially long due to all the back story that’s been slipping in as I figure out who exactly these people are and what exactly are the rules of the world in which they live.

But I’m past them now. There are still one or two more introductory kind of chapters to do. Writing from multiple points of view means getting to know each character and what they mean in this world. But these chapters should hopefully goes smoother. And beyond that I’m into other chapters that deal more with the progression of the plot, which is far more interesting than figuring out the whole back story thing. So, now I’m starting to get excited again.

I’m figuring this excitement will continue until I begin to reach those points where I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. Hopefully, those answers will fill in as I work my way up to them.

The one worry that these long opening chapters give me is that this will probably mean that my draft zero will require a monsterous amount of writing before I call it done. I imagine it to be well over 100,000 words. But that’s just my inital impression and who knows what will actually come about.

Oh, and I’ve discovered one major inconsistency in the “rules” of my world, but I’ve also fixed it as soon as I discovered it. So huge sigh of relief there.

[x-posted to my livejournal.]

Nano – day 14

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 7,633 (This is over the course of several days since I last posted. About 3600 was written today.)
Current Total Word Count: 20,005
Goal: 50,000+ words

Random Sentence(s): She looked out across the valleys and the other seven peaks. The sky was bright blue and clear and the sun had not yet dipped down behind the mountains. She could feel its warmth on her back.

Notes: Hey! I passed the 20,000 mark. Sweet!
I’m still far behind, and I’ll have to write 5,000 or more words tomorrow to be totally caught up, but I’m feeling good about this whole thing. Using Write or Die today really helped me put out some words despite all the distractions that there are in my house.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]

Distractions

I’ve fallen rather behind on Nano. And what’s more, instead of writing or even going on one of my walk/runs for marathon training, I spent last night in a frenzy of watching TV episodes on hulu.com. I watched the latest Heroes and Dollhouse episodes, and then discovered that hulu also has some old Buffy episodes, so I went and watched three of those. I have no proper excuse, but I choose to fogive myself for the indiscretion on the premise that I needed a mental break.

Going home to work on Nano doesn’t seem to be effective for me. So I will be going to a coffee shop with no internet access tonight, which will force me to either write or stare at the blank screen for long periods of time. (I have no games on my computer.)

However, there is another distraction that I have to be concerned about. As usual, I’m getting all kinds of ideas for other stories and novels while I’m in the middle of a current creation. Most of these I can just take down a few notes on and set aside. But this idea has sort of hit me upside the head and I really, really want to write even though I know that I really, really have to wait until I finish draft zero of my current Nano novel. (And that’s finish all of draft zero, by the way, not just the 50,000 words for Nano.)

So I will take down the beginnings of notes and ideas, forcibly put them away in a file, and try really, really hard not to think about it too much. Oh, but it’s going to be hard.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]

Nano – day 8

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 5,577 (This is over the course of several days since I last posted.)
Current Total Word Count: 12,372
Goal: 50,000+ words

Random Sentence(s): Mitra found the girl was nestled in outcropping further down the mountainside. The snow had melted around her in a circular ring. There were not footsteps in the snow leading into the circle and Mitra could not figure how she had got there. It was a most curious thing.

Notes: I fell behind on Friday and Saturday. The staying up to one a.m. several nights in a row had taken a toll and I was exausted both nights to the point that I didn’t bother writing. This gave me 4400 words for catch up today. I drove down the hill to a local coffee shop to get some work done, because it was far too distracting to try and write at home. I am now only 1,000 words behind, a more reasonable number, which I should be able to catch up in the next day or two.

[X-posted to my livejournal]

Nano – day 3

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 2,659  (Sweet tasty words.)
Current Total Word Count: 6,795
Goal: 50,000+ words

Random Sentence(s): Once someone somewhere had told her that there was more space between the particles in an individual atom than there was space between galaxies in the universe, that the world we perceived as solid was actually more empty than full. Sonia knew this intimately.

Notes: I basically wrote to the end of what I’m calling Chapter 3. (i have not written Chapter 2, by the way.) My chapters at this point are determined by the switch from one character’s point of view to another. The “keep writing until the end of the chapter” concept is working well for me. It gives me a defined stopping place, when I can then decide if I want to keep writing. It also keeps my writing longer than I might otherwise, because I cannot stop until that point.

Nano – day 1

Project: Untitled Alternate World Novel
New Words: 4,136 (Yay! A damn fine start, if I say so myself.)
Current Total Word Count: 4,136
Goal: 50,000 words

Random Sentence: As the sky began to lighten, Jahine felt a sense of purpose grow within him and the doubt that had cajoled him the dark early hours fled.

Notes: A lot of this came out in backstory. This is just fine, because while I know that much of this will be cut in edits, it is helping me get a better sense of this world and how it all works. Though I do keep trying to bring what I’m writing back to the immediate action of the story, since that makes it all feel more alive to me.

I’m feeling rather good about this start to the novel, since it feels to be the most coherent of all the Nano novels that I worked on over the years. Of course, this could just be the excitement of starting out a new story, but I have a feeling deep in my gut that this one, for once, just might work. Here’s hoping.

[X-posted to my livejournal]

the muse mosquito is tickling my ear

Well, I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month once again this year. For those who may be staring at me funny, Nanowrimo is that wonderful time of year when novelists  come together to each write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. It’s a great challenge that shoves away the inner critic for a while. I’ve participated for many years, completing the challenge sometimes and failing others. Always it’s a good experience, though this is a challenging year for me to be attempting such a thing. Ah, well.

In the mean time, I am itching to start Nano. Right now my novel idea is almost constantly in my mind, and it’s driving me a little nuts that I have to wait until tomorrow midnight to begin. I have most of the opening scenes mapped out. Some of the middle scenes are there, too, and I have some general ideas of where I want it all to end up, which is nice. And although I don’t really have names yet, my characters are starting to blossom with wants and desires and motivations, which will help keep the main force of the story going.

All of which is very exciting. I would love to have a novel readable enough that I would feel comfortable sending out to family and friends for critique. I would then dance and sing and be merry.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]