Sunday, November 26, 2006

Somebody thinks I'm special

Or at least worth interviewing. Sean Lindsay, author of 101 Reasons to Stop Writing asked me for my thoughts on NaNoWriMo, since he was apparently impressed by my feat of completing the challenge in 12 days.

In other news, I'm official. I've verified my novel, and now stand in the proud ranks of those with purple bars. Which means I get a shiny certificate to print out on my computer. And naturally, this spiffy cool icon that shows a guy in a diaper running with a pencil.

I REALLY wish they'd get a new mascot. Pencils have erasers, which should never be used in NaNoWriMo... no editing, remember? And yes, I know they're running shorts, but it looks like a freaking diaper. Ah well. Go me.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. I have a lot to be thankful for.

1) I am thankful for my writing gift. Not every person is so lucky to be able to communicate with words. I hope I can one day take advantage of it, and improve my family's life.
2) I am thankful for a wonderful, supportive husband who encourages me to chase my dreams
3) I am thankful for the beautiful daughter who has inspired me to write again.
4) I am thankful for my life, however simple and poor it might be monetarily, it is rich and abundant in love, kindness, and happiness.

And have no fear, faithful readers, I am writing still. I'm currently pounding out an intense "seduction" scene between my priest and convict... and it's turning out to be a lot less "seduction" and a lot more "rape" than I had planned, originally. I'm writing it carefully, for it is a dangerous subject to tackle.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bogged down in real life

I've managed to get a couple thousand over the 50k mark, but I've noticed another barrier. Like the week two barrier, the 50k barrier is hard to push past. You've done it, you're at 50k, and your brain keeps asking, "Why the hell are you still going, exactly?"

Add that to the insanity of getting my house ready for my daughter's first birthday party yesterday, and it hasn't been a good week for writing.

I have some classwork that I neglected over the last week or so in my mad rush to hit 50k, so I'm going to catch up on that (having a completed manuscript is worthless if I fail my classes!) and then spend the next week writing again. Have no fear, my faithful readers (I think I'm up to four now!) I shall continue slogging on. I'm just taking a break to let my wrist heal, and my brain recover from the brain dump.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

101 Reasons to Stop Writing

This guy is brilliant.

There are far too many people on this planet who have no business picking up a pen. Or a keyboard. They wouldn't, if they had to pick up a pen to do it. They spew their drivel over the pages like so much vomit, and then are Hurt and Amazed when the rest of the world thinks it's utter crap. These are the people who get their mommies to sent hate mail to agents who reject them, who send hate mail to agents who reject them, who refuse to do edits, or who finally turn to POD when no one else will take it. Or, God forbid, the Christopher Paolinis of the world, with rich enough parents to convince people to buy their book. Those are the worst. They've been told, wrongly, that they can write.

Here's the thing. Write your story. Go for it! I'm a hearty proponent of the NaNoWriMo experience. Writing is fun. I've done it for most of my life. But just because you've written something doesn't mean it deserves to be published.

Don't get your panties in a wad when people not related to you or who aren't your friends aren't interested.

Writing and publishing is a tough business. If you aren't willing to accept the realities and hardships involved, then this isn't the business for you. I expect it will take me years to break in, if at all. I'm realistic about my odds. But you can be damn sure I'll never burn my bridges because someone else thinks my deathless prose blows chunks (After all, they might be right!). I think I write better than Anne Rice ever has. But she has something I don't: a fan base.

One day, maybe. But I swear, in front of God and everyone who reads this blog (all three of you) that I will never, ever, EVER be too damn good for an editor.

And you can quote me on that.

On the rules of writing

Learn the rules. Inhale the rules. BE the rules.

Because only once you understand the rules, may you break them.

The greats who break the rules regularly can do so because they know what those rules are, and know why they're breaking them. That's what makes them great. Breaking rules because you don't know they exist just makes you uneducated.

When you're just getting started in this wild and wooly world of writing and publication, you have to know your craft. To steal from another blogger: You wouldn't want a doctor who doesn't know anything about bones, nor a lawyer who decides to study the laws after passing the bar, would you? No! Don't try to become a published author on sheer ideas alone.

You can have the best idea in the world, but if your technical ability blows, you'll never get past that agent's assistant. The world is full of many people who think they can write; don't be one of those who blames the publishing industry for the fact that they suck.

Also understand that you're not as good as you think you are. Just because your family, your friends, and your dog tells you that they love your stuff doesn't mean anyone else will. I know I'm a good writer... but I also understand that I have a LONG, long way to go before anything I write is publishable. To quote Hemingway: "The first draft of anything is shit." That also means the second, third, and fourth drafts will probably suck, too. And that's okay. As long as you never reach Anne Rice proportions and decide you're too good for editors, you'll have a chance.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not with a bang, but a whimper

Okay, not really. How about a hoot, a holler, and a yell?

The book itself isn't done (not by a longshot) but I'm officially at 50k... which means I can slow my butt DOWN and take it easy. :)

That beats my current record by two days.

I still like my old story better, but I'm still happy with this one.

Home stretch

Just a little under 4k to go. I had a great writing session yesterday, although I forgot to enter my count before midnight, so it's all going under today's. Ah well, it'll look really good. :)

I just did a quick test run on my word count, here's the current numbers:

RoughDraft: 46416 (.rtf)
Word: 46438 (.doc)
NaNoWriMo Robots: 46420 (.txt)
I do most of my writing on my laptop in Roughdraft using separate files for each chapter, then open it up in Word to combine into one document under the .doc format. Then, I saved as text to upload using the test verifier at NaNoWriMo. I think they changed the word counters since last year, since it used to give a higher count than Word does.

At any rate, I don't have far to go. According to the official count, I need 3580.

I think I can do that today. :)

Storywise, I'm only about halfway through, so we've still got a LONG way to go there. I'll probabyl be writing all month, even though I'll probably hit the 50k mark tonight. I probably would have finished sooner, but I decided to give my poor wrists a break, and only wrote a couple thousand the last couple of days.

And unless misoccurs can whip out 20k in the next few hours... I'm gonna beat her socks off. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Not my best day

Since I'm suffering from an unpleasant case of RSI, I haven't been able to get much writing done today. I've churned out about 600 words, but considering my previous rate, that's just plain pitiful. My NaNoWriMo progress report isn't helping, either, since it's tell me I should be done by the end of the day. Paul really needs to check his equations for that thing, because they are really, really off. Based on my current pace, it's telling me I should write over 10k today.

I'm good, but even on my best day this month I haven't broken 8k. I don't know where it's getting those numbers.

Anyway, I'm taking it easy, and just typing a little. I need to get back to it, but I'm going to try and hit the minimum 1,667 for the day (if I don't, I won't be upset) just to keep on track. I am, however, going to attempt to finish by this weekend. I may not be able to, depending on how long my schoolwork takes, but I'm going to try. If I do, that will set a new record. My current record for finishing NaNo is 14 days, and that was the first year. I will then continue until the entire first draft is finished.

Hang in there, my fellow wrimos. Week two is always the hardest. Keep chugging along, and it'll get better in week three, I promise.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Repetitive Stress Injury

I'm paying for my speed and high word count.

Last night, when I went to bed, my wrist and hand were killing me. At first, I thought it was my old nemesis, arthritis, poking me because of the downturn in temperature, but the pain was different, and seemed to be radiating up along the tendon.


I smell carpal tunnel.

I spent something close to six or seven hours at the keyboard yesterday, so I'm honestly not surprised.

The good news is, I'm in the home stretch. 38500, just 15k to go. The story sagged a bit, but I finally got over the hump, added a new character to the dynamic duo's group (an old wizard who can't cast spells anymore), and pushed them a few steps closer to the artifact. I got to introduce a cool new mount, getting rid of their horse in favor of this neat little cat thing that's native to Dirge. I did discover that in spite of my plans to make Caedas short and Salissa tall, they've apparently switched, because now Caedas likes to tower. Dammit. I was trying to avoid that. Oh well, characters really don't listen sometimes. I'm going to let them do what they want.

My goal for this month is to actually finish the first draft, not just hit 50k. I want an editable work for December, something to start flogging into a publishable state. And if I finish early, then I'm going to keep writing. Not sure on what, but I want to write the full 30 days.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Is it really only day 7?

I've spent most of today immersed in my novel... which is sad, considering that I only managed a little over 5000 words. I can definitely feel the drag. I'm still loving the story, but I'm starting to lose my focus. I feel like I'm just plugging in these random challenges that are really serving no purpose but to boost word count. When things feel like that, it's time to take a break. My original goal for the day was 10k, but my brain just isn't letting me. I think it's time for me to rest. Considering my grand total is 32,120, it should be okay.

After all, it is the seventh day! You're supposed to rest. Even GOD needed a rest day after seven full days of hard work, right?

I knew that writing Caedas was going to be hard. He's turning out to be a little more mushy than I had originally planned, and a little more of a badass, but I think that's okay. He's still not going to go good. I'm just having a hard time figuring out how exactly he's going to push the Priest to her limits. Right now, all he's managed to do is insult her inability to think for herself. It's a start, but I'm not sure where to go from there.

How exactly does one go about tearing down a righteous person?

It's something I need to mull over. I do have schoolwork that needs doing before the weekend comes.

I can't sit on my laurels too long, though, because my nemesis is only 10k behind me, and all she needs is a good solid day or two, and she'll catch up if I'm not careful.

I think part of my problem is my husband's extended time at home this week. He's not bothering me, but something about having others around always kinda stifles me. I need alone-ness. I think I may wander off to a coffee shop to write tomorrow afternoon. I think that will get the juices flowing.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Over 20k!

I've topped the 20k mark. Wow, it has come quickly! I've been trying to keep up the huge amount of words momentum, but today the lack of sleep I've had for the last few days (un-NaNo related) kinda caught up with me, so I took a long nap today.

I got a few hundred words out of a new kitten who has joined us. He was rescued from a local BBQ restaurant (not for food! He just snuck into the pit ;) ) by a friend of mine, who sent him over to us. I'm trying to get in touch with a local rescue organization, because I can't manage another cat right now.

However, he has officially made a cameo appearance in my novel! He was licking himself clean after a bath, and went straight for a patch of sunlight in the living room, so I decided to include it in the form of a chlidhood memory from my main character.

I'm actually pushing things along pretty quickly, because they have so far to go, and the only conflict they've had is the back and forth arguing. I want them to start encountering some REAL obstacles, and soon-like. Once the cross the barrier into Dirge, things will start getting interesting. I'm probably going to time warp it a bit, or at least fast forward, to get them there much quicker.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Momentum slowing

I'm up to 14k now. My target is still 20k for the night, but things are slowing substantially, so I'm not sure if I'll make it by midnight. Possibly by the time I go to bed, which would put the word count total over on tomorrow's count.

I'm at a slow part in the book (the annoying ass traveling scenes) that I need to get through to get to the good stuff. I've been trying to keep things strictly in the priest's perspective, but I'm thinking I might do some from the convict's perspective just to spice things up. I've been developing her pretty well, now I think he needs some time in the limelight.

She just left him alone with some beer in a tavern while she went up to their (she doesn't know she's sharing it, just yet) room to sleep. I'm toying with the idea of having an old acquaintance step up, cause a fight, that sort of thing. He's been entirely too civil and intelligent so far. He needs to do something dumb. Maybe leave a body lying around somewhere out of the way.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Off to a great start

I've broken the 10k mark (10218), and I don't hate my story! I haven't even had the first drop of coffee yet, either.

Getting up for frequent breaks seems to really help. I get up, I do some laundry, I fiddle with my MP3 player, I sit down, and write some more.

I do need to work on some school work, before that falls behind. My goal for the day is 12k, then I'll take a break.

God, I hope I can keep up this momentum. I'm sure I'll flag a little after week one, but I want a damn good start before I do.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First day: off to a good start

I'm going at a steady clip. I wrote about 1200 words or so at midnight last night. I didn't want to stay up all night, and NAthan had crashed on me, so I stopped there, figuring that was pretty good.

So, this morning, I woke up to find missoccurs had gotten ahead of me by around 4k. :) I took it as a personal challenge, and over the course of the day (getting some laundry done, sweeping, and frequent breaks) I wrote like a fiend. Nathan made me stop, because I was going cross-eyed.

The good news, I'm four days ahead of schedule with a grand total of 7400 words. The story is already going well, and the main character is developing nicely. It's verbose as hell, and lots of info dumping is going on, but hell with it. Info dumping = word count. :)

So, here's to hoping I do as well tomorrow! I haven't even gotten to the exciting stuff yet, so this is a good sign.