Month: November 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 15

Words for the Day: 3,482
Total To Date: 37,066
Chapters Written: 14.5 / 33

The writing flowed – I netted of the order of a thousand words from every writing session except on the bus home, including more than eight hundred words on bus in.

What I was writing was an action sequence, and if I get the choreography right in my head those can move pretty fast.

I may have killed a minor character gratuitously, though. That might get removed.

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In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg has been satirised for being pompous, but as the presenter of In Our Time I have always found him to be a good proxy for the listener: inquisitive, attentive, and engaging.

The format of the programme (this is BBC radio – it is not a “show”) is simple: three experts on a subject talk about the development of an idea from its earliest appearance to the end of its time, and then describe its impact on modern thinking. The subjects are varied, and range quite frequently from the history of a particular battle (eg Thermopylae) to a scientific theory (eg evolution) and then on to a particular book (eg Dubliners).

I enjoy listening to this show enormously, and have done ever since it started airing after Melvyn Bragg’s elevation to the House of Lords, back when I could listen to it live on the radio, but I point it out here because it is such a terrific source of ideas: want to know what it might have been like to live in a plague-ridden Europw? There is an episode about that. Interested in the development of theories of particle physics? That has been covered occasionally.

So, off you go. There’s hundreds of hours of fascinating radio to listen to there, and only some of it unlistenably pompous.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 14

Words for the Day: 1,952 2,455
Total To Date: 33,081 33,584
Chapters Written: 13.5 / 33

This morning was hard.

I habitually get up at five. This is so I can do an hour’s writing, at least in theory, and during November this theory holds pretty well.

I should have stayed in bed this morning. I felt pretty grotty – right on the edge of a cold, tired, stupid, unimaginative. I got 300 pretty crappy words and then stopped and had breakfast instead.

Usually, writing on the bus is a bonus – a few hundred words to keep the story in my head. This morning was a grind, but it was a grind that gave me almost five hundred words, so it was worth doing.

Lunch writing was useful, although again only a few hundred words. The bus ride home flowed better, once I had some description to put in.

So none of these sessions was very good, but the thing about writing a few hundred words four times a day is that you end up with a couple of thousand at the end of the day.

I wonder if I can get any more done now.

Update: apparently the answer to that is “yes” – another few hundred words, writing some splendid badinage – or, more precisely, my evil character being nasty to people.

She is such fun to write.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Attack of the Plot Amoebas

Almost halfway through the madness of NaNoWriMo – where do I stand?

Well, my chapters keep splitting.

I started with 27 chapter outlines, but a couple of those outlines weren’t covered in one chapter’s text – some of the chapters are longer than the planned for 2k, some some chapters spawn daughter chapters. Some, in point of fact, do both.

The most extreme example is clearly what was originally chapter six and ended up as chapters nine to twelve totalling 11,443 words.

My biggest concern is not reaching the nominal 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo – my worry is running out of time to tell the story.

At the end of day 13, I had 31,129 words and 13 of 33 chapters (chapter 13 isn’t really finished, but us say that it is for the sake of argument). Let’s run the numbers on those.

Rate of word generation

As of day 13, I have 31.129 = 2,394 words per day.

If I keep writing at that pace, I will reach 71,820.

The 64 square tracker I made may not be big enough.

Rate of chapter completion

As of day 13, I have 13 chapters = one chapter per day.

If I keep completing chapters at that pace, I will have 30 chapters – which leaves three to complete in December, which I could do but I would rather finish the story in November.

Another way to look at is that I have completed 13/33 chapters = 39.4%, but I have used 13/30 days in November = 43.3%.

So it very much looks like I am going to run off the end of November without finishing the story, even though I should hit the 50k in roughly another eight days at this pace.

The Plan

I have a couple of options here.

  1. keep writing at this pace and just take the time I need to finish the story I want to write
  2. shorten chapters artificially to ensure that I complete the plot arcs in the time, but that will require adding a lot more content on the edit.

Of these, I would prefer to do #1 but that may be too difficult – I would like to maintain this pace out into December, but that seems unlikely.

However, the chapters I have been writing this last few days are all new-ish material, so it is quite possible that future chapters will be less expansive.

Which points to option #3: wait a few more days to make a decision.

So, how are your writing efforts going? Are you running out of story or time?

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 13

Words for the Day: 2,732
Total To Date: 31,129
Chapters Written: 13 / 33

I was well set up to make lots of words today, and so I did even though I actually had a shortish morning session and a short lunchtime session. The bus was productive, and the words flowed well.

I have both put MC#2 into jeopardy and mostly figures out how she will escape, but a price.

But important information about tree walkers has been imparted.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 12

Words for the Day: 3,380
Total To Date: 28,397
Chapters Written: 12.5 / 33

Not convinced about some of the writing in this day’s output, but the MC #2 has been successfully delivered into the clutches of the bad guys du jour and been given hints about her own destiny, and the rescue party is bivvied down waiting for this MC to turn up – which of course she won’t, due to the aforementioned clutches.

The nice things about today have been that it was pretty productive and I joined in a couple of word sprints with another awesome Portland NaNoer which got me another 850 words that I would not have got otherwise – or at least not so quickly. Also, I have left the work in the middle of a chapter which makes it easier to start again tomorrow morning.

So, of to bed to dream the dreams of the tired.

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When Did You Know?

Here’s a question that was asked at the Brave on the Page launch event and one which I assume is relevant to many of my readers here:

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My answer actually comes in two parts.

I knew I wanted to be a writer a long time ago. I have loved reading ever since my parents sat on my head to make me read when I was seven, and I have always had a keen sense of invention. I would say that that translated into a conscious desire to write when I was fifteen or so. I remember mentioning it to my father’s parents at some point in my late teens – that’s the first time I recall telling anyone that was something I wanted to do.

The problem was always that I didn’t know how, and in fact I didn’t even really know how to find out how. The reaction I got from my grandparents was “That’s a lot of work, you know.”

I knew that I could become a writer when I started writing serialised stories for my co-workers at my first job. The thing is that at that point I had already been writing for some time, since I had been programming and writing roleplaying scenarios for years – I just didn’t connect those activities to writing per se as I do now. At that time I felt like I had done so much reading that my brain had filled up with ideas and it was time to start pouring them onto the page.

It was during that time that I seriously started working on novels, too, although nothing I have from time has ever been completed.

I am still not sure I know how, though – my skills extend to generating enormous amounts of words and copy editing. Getting a sprawling manuscript into a state approximating finished is something I struggle with mightily.

So, how about you? When did you know?

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 11

Words for the Day: 2,778
Total To Date: 25,017
Chapters Written: 10.5 / 32

Well, that last chapter did spawn again.

This was not as big a day for words as I had hoped for, but I ended up spending a lot more time today feeling slightly hung over and playing games with my kids than I had planned.

I can’t say that Pokémon really works for me. I think I would need more information about deck building to get more out of it.

Still, halfway to the nominal goal. That’s further than I thought I would be on day 11. Still lagging on moving the story on, though.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 10

Words for the Day: 2,175
Total To Date: 22,239
Chapters Written: 9.8 / 31

This wasn’t supposed to be an especially productive day, but I ended up waking up early (and regretting it) and getting some words in first thing, then grabbing the odd hour or half hour throughout the day’s activities to make it quite a successful day’s writing.

I am still writing the same chapter I was working on yesterday, which may yet split again.

The world makes more sense every time I revisit it. I am reusing one of my more ridiculous names from previous drafts, although on a different character: Hartin Rembleforth is not the bombastic chief agronomist of the earlier versions, but a popular young man with a sad secret.

Pleased with continuing progress. If I don’t hit 25k tomorrow, something has gone wrong.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 9

Words for the Day: 3,995
Total To Date: 20,034
Chapters Written: 9.5 / 31

Hit all the writing times today, and had extra time in the evening since my wife had an outing she was going on.

The chapters keep multiplying, or at least fissioning: the half chapter I have now is the third one covering what had been a single chapter summary in the original outline. All of this is new material, but some of the chapters I have been writing were just an existing chapter with some different point of view or salient detail added. Those chapters are hitting the word count mark and then stopping.

The really new material is flowing very well, though – I have a number of new insights on the characters, plot and situation which make the whole story hang together better.

I love this writing lark.

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