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9 Days to NaNo
Native - Gears

There is just a week and change until NaNoWriMo'13. I am both looking forward to a month of writing and, well, dreading it. October has been such a hectic month for me. I don't know if I'll get to take that mental "inhale" before plunging into the icy waters of fevered writing. Icy waters of fevered writing? Oh, now I know I'm not ready!

I have three trusted friends reading the first manuscript right now. I expect at least one of them to be done before the first, at their current pace. I hope that their feedback gives me a firm direction in whether the overall story needs as much reworking as I think it does, or whether the story just needs revisions.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a big event on the 2nd of November that I can't really commit to starting on time with NaNo, and then of course it's difficult to say I'll be on target at any point. I was planning to work on the outline before then, but I really need to focus on just my test until my test is over. Then I can look at my story. Until then I just get manic trying to focus on all projects equally, and get nowhere.

I am reading a bunch of books on writing at the moment, trying to get some fresh inspiration and ways to look at it. Maybe I should be reading my Martial Arts textbook, lest I only be able to answer questions on outlines and plot devices at my test.

So this is an update to say that I'm not doing anything with my story right now, and to complain about how hard it is for me.

Look for another update on November 2nd. I expect that update will also not be about much, since I'll be needing to get to work!

NaNoWriMo'12 and NaNoWriMo'13
Native - Gears
I can't believe it's been over a year since my last post. Wow. Time flies, wot wot. Also I manage a couple LJ accounts so sometimes it's hard to remember to update the public facing ones and not just my personal one.

So when last I posted, I had not quite hit the 50K word mark for June 2012's Camp NaNoWriMo. 2012 was a huge year of change for Native, as I started off strong posting two comic pages per week to the site. Then I took a break for Script Frenzy, during which I realized that writing the story was more fun for me than drawing it. So I took a deep breath and decided to write the story in novel format.

June's Camp NaNoWriMo was a great push toward doing so, and I wrote a lot of scenes I really liked. Whether I had reached the goal or not, the book would not be complete. I like a heftier book, really, around 125K words or so, based on a survey of some of my favorite reads. I figured all the books I'd enjoyed would surely influence the pacing of my own narrative, so NaNo aside, I made that my goal.

Despite a hectic late summer and early fall last year, with hurricane Sandy and other craziness, I set upon my manuscript in November. The foundation was already laid with the bits I'd written earlier in the year. I had some concentrated writing days, including a 19K word day, and I both completed the 50K word mark with seconds to spare, and finished the plot at about 120K words!

My next step was to re-read the first draft. I started several times, trying to make notes and such as I went along, but then I decided I needed to just read it and see how the story felt in 'real time'. I read before bed every night, as a casual reader might, and finished about a month ago. There are parts of the story I liked, parts I didn't like, parts that I had forgotten I'd written and were nice surprises, and there were parts I reaaaaally didn't like.

So next comes draft 2. I am rethinking how I want to approach the narrative. Largely the story is written in an omnipotent third person, but I noticed when I am following certain characters around I start to take on their attitudes about everything, so I'm trying to decide if I want a more 'turn-based' narrative, similar to what George R.R. Martin does in Game of Thrones. I'm not convinced I'll like that direction, but I want to explore it.

Between now and November 1... well to be honest on November 2nd I am testing for my Cho Dan rank in the martial art I study, so I can't say how much follow through I'll have on the following statement, but anyway... Between now and November 1 my plan is to revisit the outline, the characters, and the narrative approach, and decide what I want to change and what I want to keep. I'll start by outlining the existing plot again now that it's all written out, then I'll make a copy to turn into a revised outline. Then I'll take a hard look at my characters and see who gets cut or who gets hybridized. I definitely had some hitchhikers in my story and tertiary characters that developed upgrades and surprised me, so I need to cull a bit. I also want to examine my antagonists a bit and give their motivations more meat. I also left a couple plot devices hanging, shame on me.

And the pacing of the dramatic conclusion. As I wrote the first draft I was rushing to beat the NaNoWriMo clock, as well as to figure out exactly how I was going to end this story. As a result there are some amazing things that happened but overall the ending feels rushed. As a reader, a weak ending really spoils an entire book for me, so I'm determined to write something that would inspire me to place the finished book down with a satisfying thud.

In the meantime, I've been reading other books, trying to analyze what it is I like as a reader. Unfortunately the book I just read, The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, was a bit of a disappointment in the ending department, and I also felt the plot wandered around a bit trying to figure out what to do. It's the first in a series of three, and while I understand more answers may come in the other two books, it's my very opinionated opinion that a story should be satisfying on its own between the two covers, no matter how long the series intends to go on. I picked up the next book and I'll give it a chance before deciding to abandon the series. Unfortunately the first book has given me a lot more advice on what not to do than I was expecting.

I don't have such lofty inspirations as to write a series with Native, though I actually intend to leave enough characters alive at the end that I suppose it would be possible. Another book I want to read is Night Film by Marisha Pessl, because of the little extra tidbits provided for the reader to explore after the story was over. As an illustrator, designer and coder, I think I could have a bit of fun with such an approach. I think most people familiar with the story from following along as I've worked on it all these years would expect more than just words from me, anyway.

Oh, and biggest change, I suppose, would be that I intend to change the title of the book. I haven't decided to what, but I learned recently about nativism and antiforeignism and, under a certain light, I can see how there would be the potential for my very fictional story to be taken as a stance on those political topics. That may be a little oversensitive, but as the story has changed, and as I've abandoned the old domain name anyway, I'm less attached to the old title other than just out of habit and needing something to call it until it has a new title. The current story barely resembles the original anyway, and probably will to an even lesser extent once Draft 1B is done. Now seems like as good a time as any.

I'm thinking "Don't Touch my Pumpkins!"

Still working on it.
Tags: ,

Summer Camp Drop Out
Camp NaNoWriMo
Well, I didn't get to 50K before the end of June. 
I had so many things going on this month it was really tough and, even though every time I wrote I had pretty good rallies, they just didn't add up to enough. I'm disappointed, but the only thing riding on it was pride. 
I would NOT have been able to contain all of Native in 50K anyway; that was quickly determined as I compared my percentage of the total goal with the percentage of the plot I had written. 
I think it's really going to end up somewhere around 125K, if not more. I'm more of a tome writer, I think, than a novelist. I output a PDF in case my husband wanted to catch up while I was away this weekend and it was only 85 pages. That was laughable to me. I'd read that in one sitting! And that was at 42K.
I've decided to allow myself to continue to earn the NaNo badges, despite being past the end of June. (I would have earned caffeine abuse this weekend but I didn't actually write. :P) I don't want to wait til August to write again, nor do I think I want to write a sequel - at least not before the first draft has been rewritten! So to earn my badges, I'll try to catch up to 50K as soon as I can and then write 1700 a day until it's done. I have a few days off this week so another caffeine binge isn't out of the question.
At least now maybe I'll relax into the scenes a bit and things will feel as organic as they did at the start when I had a whole month and no concerns. On the other hand, July doesn't really promise to be any less distracting, and I do really need to focus on some other things I've been putting off.

What has two thumbs and just had a 5K word day?
Camp NaNoWriMo

This guy!

Camp NaNoWriMo Update
Camp NaNoWriMo
So my word count is currently behind. I'm at 15,300-something when today's quota is 20,000 words. Ouch. Guess that snow storm that knocked out the power for 8 days in November was kinda pivotal to my success. With electricity humming along there are so many distractions! I can't even wish for a storm because now we own a generator. ;)

Last week I ordered a set of the Camp NaNoWriMo merit badge patches. Yesterday they arrived and I now can look forward to avoiding my writing by sewing them onto... something. If the stickers were still available they'd go onto my project binder, but patches need to be sewn. Trying to figure out if my silver eMate bag will fit the MacBookPro I've taken to using. If so, that's a great background for the patches. If not.. well my plaid purple shoulder bag may be a bit too loud. I suppose I could sew them to the sleeve of the Camp NaNoWriMo t-shirt I got, if all else fails.
  • Secret Noveling - Check! Shh! Don't tell!
  • Procrastination - Oh my, check. Saturday was supposed to be a rally day, but I ended up cleaning out the kitchen pantry. I swear I was just trying to make a grocery list. We ended up with 5 ultra sized black bags of expired food, and a new appreciation for how wasteful we are as a culture.
  • NaNo Socializing - Check! Friday I participated in an online write-in. Word wars didn't happen unless you count us just occasionally mentioning how many words we'd typed during the session. Might try for the Camp chat tomorrow night, but I also have to pack for weekend travel.
  • Creative Nonfiction - Check! Maisy's name is a single-letter switch from the friend who is the official leader of the Dug fan club. ;) Also, Euphemia's name is taken from a gravestone I park in front of whenever I go to the post office.
  • Word-Count Padding - Check! In addition to occasionally leaving a run-on sentence as-is instead of snipping it in two, just to preserve the ", but" or ", and" that holds it together, I also write myself notes in the documents [Like this] so I remember where I left off, or to have a conversation with myself about where I want to take the scene next. I've also left in two sections I'm almost positive will get cut, just because they were technically words written for my story during NaNoWriMo.
  • Rally DayCheck! Got this to more than make up for getting a few days behind. Deficit was overcome at 3,000-ish words, then went on because, why not?.
  • Eureka Moment - Check(ish). Well I've had one mini "a ha!" moment, and if that's the only one I have, we'll count it, but I'm kinda hoping for a bigger one for some plot-bridging that needs doing further up the line.
  • Caffeine Abuse - (n/a) Shamefully I have not yet done this. Perhaps this Thursday night, if my husband decides there's no point in going to bed before getting up for an 8am flight on Friday.
  • 50,000 Word Victory - (n/a) Expect that this will not be a problem.
  • Random Ending - (n/a) I may have to write a really random one just in case people don't think my planned ending is random enough. Something about crinkle fries and a giant beetle?

Panic 101
Camp NaNoWriMo
Gah! I've fallen behind my wordcount for the first time this month. Way to cap off the first week.

Add to that I'm beginning to sense I'm more of a 120K word noveller than a 50K noveller. Blerp.

I do expect to make up the NaNo slack tomorrow, but I wonder about the slack for a book that's 120K.. 32,000 quota for today, 36K for tomorrow. Erp. Maybe I should just write and worry about whether I feel 1/4 of the way through the PLOT today, yes?

(No >.>)

Postcards from Camp NaNoWriMo
Camp NaNoWriMo

Day 6 - Underwater Basket Weaving

Not posting the story, but have a word cloud!Collapse )

Fingers Primed!
Camp NaNoWriMo
Actually, my fingers are not primed.. I slept with my hands twisted at funny angles last night and today my fingers feel positively arthritic. Ibuprofen and maybe some Aspercreme are in demand.

CampNaNoWriMo begins in 14 hours! I don't know that I'll stay up to midnight to begin the craziness... certainly I wouldn't get far before having to break for sleep. My brain has woken me at 4am two days running now. If it does tomorrow I swear I will swing my legs over the side and use the extra hour to get writing!

I am still on the fence about whether I should write using Dundee, my faithful eMate 300. I still haven't had a chance to see if I can get him to Sync with Mac OS X Lion (last year we were still Snow Leopard), though I do still have a G4 at home running Leopard so there is a way. Add to that, I have my Scrivener file in cloud storage so I can actually be more portable between my home and work computers (note to self, create backup protocol). Write or Die! was also a fun and useful tool last November. Neither really encourages me to dust off the Newton. That makes me sad, in a nostalgia-serving way. At the end of the month I'll be doing some traveling and won't want to rob my husband of the laptop, so perhaps Dundee will help finish off the 50K words if I haven't already.

I rewrote my Synopsis yesterday and worked on the Outline. Right now it reads somewhat like:
1) Yu'Nyun attacks
2) Peeling Potatoes
3) ...
4) Profit!

I struggle with forcing myself to fill in the blanks, since I know my story will likely take me on its own path once I get going, but I do like to have a map to follow if I get lost, and an ellipse does not a map make. So my last ditch effort to solidify the outline will happen today during my lunch break.

There was a novel I was hoping to re-read before I got started. I own two copies of it, but could find neither. Thanks to the Memorial Day postal holiday, the third copy (I do love it that much, thank you for asking) will be waiting for me at home today. I will not likely finish it today (though I read Hunger Games in four hours, so it's possible) but I will try to get as far as I can and that means no outline work tonight.

Speaking of Hunger Games, I still have to read Mocking Jay, which my husband bought for me last week, but I'm afraid of having it too fresh in my mind before I get started. I'll read it before my re-write and make sure there aren't too many parallels (the way my outline started to go yesterday, I did wonder..).

Camp NaNoWriMo
In restarting Native as a novel, I'm feeling a little intimidated by the task of establishing the story again. Do I start, for the third time, with the same opening sentence? Do I use characters and events in the same way?

I've been working on an outline and trying to organize myself so I have a guide as I write through it (again), but I'm starting to wonder if more interesting things wouldn't happen if I just sat down and plunked at it 'from scratch.' I find myself trying to 'follow' the second version as closely as I can, but it feels a little stiff and awkward. Of course, that's in outline form, which isn't supposed to necessarily feel like prose, but it's not exciting my mind to read the outline. It looks full of holes. Again, it's not supposed to be too tight or there's certain to be chaos when I try to make my characters follow along, but...

If I write loosely this time there's always the re-write for reconciling the two versions, but maybe it's just because I'm forgetting my intent in portions of the second comic version. If I re-read that script and follow the notes I left myself, the outline might not feel like someone else's recipe.

Anyway, just thoughts on the fly as I christen the new journal name.

Native - Gears
I decided to update this LJ's name with something more fitting a non-comic, "what's her deal anyway?" kind of journal.

All links to this account will remain intact. :)