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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.
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