Tag: state

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Week 4

Words – 75,616 / 50,000
Chapters – 28 / 28
Words / Chapter – 2,700

Those last few scenes were pretty gloppy to write. I only had one or two firm ideas about how things needed to go, and the timing for writing them meant that I got jolted out of the writing head space just as I needed to figure that stuff out. So the last bits are a bit hasty, but I have the ideas down.

The story is finished.

Now to print it out and get everything ready to stick in a drawer for a few weeks.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 – Week 3

Words – 60,424 / 50,000
Chapters – 22.5 / 27
Words / Chapter – 2,685

Writing this a couple of days late since I’ve been making words rather than wanting to be writing about making words, but I’m definitely on the downslope now.

Obviously I have blown through the nominal 50k target. The story is into its final act too, with the characters isolated and hopeless. Unfortunately, that’s difficult to write so today’s writing has not been particularly enjoyable.

As a whole experience, though, this has been a good story to work on. I’m glad I came back to this one – it was worth another go.

Only a few chapters left to write. If I keep writing at this pace per chapter the whole thing will be 72k long. That’s a decent amount, and I know it will expend on the rewrite.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 – Week 2

Words – 32,423 / 50,000
Chapters – 13.5 / 26
Words / Chapter – 2,402

Well, this has been quite a week. I’ve more or less kept up my first week’s pace, which surprises me quite a lot, and I’ve had only had one amoeba chapter (an amoeba chapter is one that keeps growing and spawns new chapters). I’m still working on that amoeba though, so who knows where that will end up.

Extrapolating linearly, it looks like I should end up with around 65k for the whole story. I have a maze tracker with 64 squares, so I would only overflow that very slightly.

The story itself is going fairly well. The surprise arrest of a major character changed one plot interaction, but the plot is developing more or less as I had planned which makes me happy. Certainly, this iteration of the story is going vastly better than it did back in 2006.

However, this week has also been very emotionally draining, and although I’ve kept writing so far I can tell that there may be a crash coming. That will kill my word count for a couple of days. I’m sure I will still finish, because I could well end up at 50k by the end of next week, but there is a dip in the graph’s curve in my future.

On to the next scene.

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It’s Quiet. Too Quiet

I missed the Samhain goals post, and I’m not going to do one for Yule either. Here’s a summary though.

NaNoWriMo this year was fantastic. I validated at 108,177 words, writing about 48k on the personality overlay story, Perscon, and about 60k on the Steampunk Rome story (Livia and the Corpuscles). Writing two novels went really quite well – jumping from story to story after each scene kept both stories fresh, and also required me to write things down which improved setting consistency. I won’t be doing two books at a time every year, but for this year it was a good idea.

I’ve read and done the first pass edits for Livia and I like the story a lot. At the very least it points the way to a series of books. I am looking forward to doing some larger fixes before handing it off to some new readers.

In other words, I’ve been working on fiction which is why this blog has languished rather over the last few months.

I think it’s fair to say that I won’t be posting here regularly in the near term. Indeed, any kind of formal schedule seems to be unlikely for a while – I have been enjoying the fact that I have been working on fiction again, so I am going to ride that down as far as I can go rather than derailing it by requiring myself to write pieces for the blog. I’ll be back.

In other news, I can highly recommend Pauper Magic the Gathering as a format. This is Magic like any other Magic, except you can only play with commons. We’ve been playing a Pauper Standard league at the day job, and it is enormous fun. It is also delightful to go into a card shop and buy a dozen dozen cards to build four distinct decks and still come away with change from $25.

Anyway, I’m still alive and still writing.

I hope to be writing again here soon.

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Still Tired

I missed the regular post on Wednesday, partly because I was writing and partly because I am still worn out.

This has been a weird week, overall. My sleep has been affected by my injuries last week but because I haven’t been riding to the day job I have at least been able to get some writing done on the bus. So, the book has been moving along: covered 65% of the outline.

I’ve also been running, which is good given that Hood To Coast is only six or seven weeks away. The higher temperatures have given me lots of opportunities for heat training, which I sorely need to deal with the event, and I’ve been pleased that my legs have been coping pretty well with the runs without hurting too much. More training needed, including running to and from the day job, but I’m quite optimistic that the event will go fine.

But my main preoccupation is how tired I have been, and trying to figure out which of the many potential factors I can change so I can get more rest. It’s not a healthy thing to think about, really.

I should make more words.

Back to more like normal on Monday, I hope.

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Happy Birthday To Me

“But I didn’t want to be an accountant! I wanted to be…
a lumberjack!”

Today is my birthday. It is also the first anniversary of my starting work at my current employer.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on work, passion, and hobbies.

I am fortunate to have chosen a field of employment (software) which has always had a low unemployment rate, and which pays me to write. The stuff I am paid for is not fiction, but it is at least writing something durable and interesting.

My career has spanned almost a quarter century, but I was a hobby programmer before that. Software really was my passion, both in work and in hobby time, for many years.

I’ve written fiction much less consistently: some serial fiction here, a desultory short story there. I didn’t write any fiction for at all for nearly a decade, but the recent spate of writing has lasted nearly ten years so I think it’s going to stick. Writing fiction is my passion now.

But again, I have been lucky: I have a passion. Not everyone finds one, or even needs one.

A friend observed recently that during commencement season many addresses are given which advise new graduates to follow their passion, not acknowledging the fact that for most people a job is work and that that job will pay them money in return for not having enough time to spend in the way they choose. Because most people won’t find their passion in their first job, or their second job, or even in their paid employment at all: they will find it in their hobbies and pastimes.

That’s where most people want to spend their time – playing games, or watching sport, or collecting, or crafting, or tinkering, or gardening. Hobbies are hugely important to give you (as Denis Healey* put it) a hinterland.

Hobbies are important, but that does not mean that the job is unimportant.

My personality is such that if I am unhappy in my job, then I am unhappy. I have had jobs where, for whatever reason, I was unhappy and it was a profoundly corrosive experience. The world turns grey in summer, the night becomes unquiet and restless with the crushing weight of it all.

Even my hobbies became a burden. I would read Terry Pratchett and not laugh.

So, if I have advice to offer in this realm it is to find a job that you don’t hate, and to perform it diligently – even enthusiastically – for as long as it supports your avocation.

But if the job becomes inimical to your hobbies and your personal life, if the psychic damage done in your occupation greys out the joy, then really: look for something else.

For myself, I moved to the States to get away from such a situation, and I have left other jobs since because they were pulling me into waters I do not wish to immerse myself in again. Where I am now is a vibrant place filled with energetic people, and although it is a demanding environment it is supportive.

I can still write.

On this day, that is the birthday gift I am most grateful for.

[*] a British politician of the 70s and 80s who, I am delighted to learn, is still alive.

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