Determination, or How I Try To Get Out of a Funk

I have today, for the first time all April, hit my daily word count target. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, that still leaves me around 20k words behind my cumulative target. Looks like tonight will be more about writing than reading.

I don’t know if it’s still possible to even hit the 50k target I somewhat arrogantly set myself, but acknowledging that I may need to reinterpret my story plan did help along the way. Rediscovering my entirely incidental worldbuilding database (it’s so pretty…) also motivated me to get *something* written down. All I need to do now is word vomit all over the scenes I’ve identified as needing to be written.

Piece of cake, right?

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Nooooooooooo!

I have just had my worst experience of cloud-connected writing.

Not only have I previously been smug about being able to access my files wherever I like, I have taken advantage of that exact feature to do some writing in unlikely places – like my son’s swimming lesson today.

The writing I’d already done today – 2460 words, I was rather proud – was extended to 2685 in a little burst of inspiration. I saved the file. All good so far.

I get home, open up the laptop… and the file is corrupted. No matter, I think to myself, and look for the copy stored on my hard drive.

Too late – it was also corrupted.

Now, and I will most certainly be taking backups going forward, I need to try and recall what I wrote this morning, or drown in a pool of my own tears.

Unsmug Kitten Out.

The Writing Train Has Finally Left The Station

Writing – finally, we have progress again!

Apparently, all I needed was a mental recharge and a visit from my sister to trigger a scene between sisters. 5k later, I’ve managed to write a daily amount which would see me comfortably through NaNoWriMo, which is plenty for a daily average and a good idea to maintain just for practising.

That or it was the genre swap (I’ve been reading Sci-Fi for a week instead of fluff) or the ridiculous amount of alcohol consumed over the weekend.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care what it was; I feel like I have my mojo back!

It’s also nice to be able to write something I intended on doing… even if there is one (perfectly logical) diversion. It doesn’t even make later scenes change. It’s also allowed me to acknowledge a greater depth in one character. Good stuff, so far. Now to redirect this on time in April for Camp NaNo…

Back to the sci-fi binge – I need to stop being obsessive about things I find interesting. I breeze through everything available rather than pacing myself – though spending a week reading six books is pacing myself – then get a prolonged story hangover when I’m done. I’m just lucky in this case that there’s already a spinoff to get into, though I’m not convinced it’ll have the same impact.

It may freshen up my ‘you might like’ list though – moving it away from fluff.

It’s also, unfortunately, the time when the TV programmes I was watching before Christmas have started airing again. That means less reading time 😦

The Soul Is Willing…

…but the flesh is weak. Addled by caffeine and too much alcohol, the odd burn from cooking and a dependency on sugar. I do go swimming though. Honest.

I haven’t done much writing at all since hitting the 50k mark for NaNoWriMo – on the 18th of November. I rested on my laurels, which was a silly thing to do, and now I’m paying the price. I had thought that the seat-of-the-pants nature of my project for NaNo was the reason I stuttered and stopped a couple of times. In an attempt to prevent this happening in subsequent efforts, I plotted out the novel.

Then I plotted out a few more. Not next-in-the-series, just other stories I haven’t written yet. What I learnt? I have yet to find the method for planning novels which actually suits me. I also have a hard time with the terminology.

‘Conflict’ is one that crops up rather frequently – in my head it still means a war or at least a fight of some magnitude. That novel-plotters mean something more like ‘at cross-purposes’ doesn’t escape me, but it feels rather contrived to insert opposition when in your head there wasn’t any.

I suspect I’m getting the wrong end of the stick, and that I’m also a little too romance-and-fluff-focused. I personally don’t mind, but I have a feeling the point is to get some tension into the story. It’s only a story if something happens which didn’t before, and it’s only interesting if things keep happening. I love a good action scene, though other people’s can bore me (I get that it’s hypocritical, but it’s also reading as a writer, so thbpbpbpbpbpt), but I genuinely don’t like too much in the way of opposition to something.

Perhaps that’s naive and perhaps I should stop thinking that way, but I reserve the right to keep reading things with a happy ending whenever I want.

Another facet of novel-planning which seems designed to scupper me is talking about characters’ motivations. Are they supposed to have deep, driving causes? Can’t someone genuinely be along for the ride, living in the moment? Do we really care about the childhood tragedy which orphaned the hero and sent him on an otherwise predestined path?

I hate that kind of thing. Plenty of people have had perfectly nice childhoods and gone on to do both wonderful and terrible things. Then again, the books I read tend not to be centred on normal families. Why not, I ask you? I would attempt to talk about ‘low fantasy’ (as opposed to high fantasy), but that’s already a thing and it isn’t about the average Joanne. There seems to be a real dearth of main characters forming meaningful relationships with people (especially parents) in my preferred genres. It’s sad.

Despite the little rant above, I actually do like reading fantasy – you get a really experimental take on systems of government, the limits of humanity, and the effects of powerful people throughout history. What I wish I saw more is how all that really cool high-level stuff affects the villager in their cottage, or the bartender at the inn.

I’ve seen it written more than once that if you really want to read a particular story, you should write it. That is what I will do. Starting with the situation closest to my own – young family.

If it turns autobiographical, poke me.

NaNoWriMo and Other Things

I have officially won my first ever NaNoWriMo! Yay!

I also discovered yesterday, quite by accident, that there was a site which had exactly what I need to motivate myself beyond 50k: 4thewords.com. They were sponsoring NaNo and I clicked through… and discovered the exact right thing for me.

I got 2k out on this new thing yesterday – battling monsters with word counts in a set time frame, and points for hitting 444 words per day, and streaks to maintain… it’s brilliant!

That, unfortunately, was the only writing I got done yesterday. My gnat-like attention span has decided I’ve finished Steel Fist for now, but I know (logically, as opposed to practically) that I still have a fair bit to write. My plan, such as it is, involves taking a weekend day and writing the scenes on my list until I hit 200k, then leaving the whole thing alone for seven or eight months.

In that gap, I can be writing other things using this overview-to-scene planning method, such as The Mob Accountant, Quirky Vampire Girl (working title), or even one of the numerous romances stored in my head.

I have a feeling new year’s resolutions for 2016 will include ‘write one whole effing story’.

NaNoWriMo Day 18 – Whoops

So, I – er – completely forgot to update my word count yesterday. There goes that last badge. *sigh*

In other news, I’ve been organising the scenes already written in Scrivener. I like it, but it’s kind of annoying in that I can’t see a word count except in one particular mode.

Last night, my other half gave me a nice long overview of his novel, should he ever get around to writing it. It was rather difficult not to picture how I would write it; I get the sense I wouldn’t be forgiven that one.

Then again, there’s that old saying: good writers borrow ideas from other people; great writers steal them outright… We shall see. It wouldn’t be the first time someone told me an idea and I ran with it (in probably a totally different direction).

I’m also not proud that I was rather critical – there were a few points I felt wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny (and one complete cop-out), but that’s not a reason for him not to write it that way. The only way to get this kind of thing right is to get it wrong a few times. Just like science, I suppose.

Anyway, I may or may not get any additional writing done today, but I know for a fact that next year’s NaNo will be done differently. And my procrastiscarf is coming along nicely 🙂

NaNoWriMo Day 17 – Inspiration!

What if, right, what if I just write the continuation of the story? I have a whole other plot for the youngest child of the main characters – in a different place with different characters. I could write that for the rest of NaNo!

This one, however, will be properly plotted. 50k or bust by 2015-11-30! That’s 12 days (tonight will be plotting) to write it. Assuming I can do 5k per day as early in Steel Fist, I won’t have a problem!

…second-guessing myself here. Why don’t I just plot Steel Fist and write the scenes which haven’t already been done? That way I am both a plotter and a pantser this year…

NaNoWriMo Day 17

Today, I’m back at work, feeling much better than yesterday.

I’ve got a few hundred words done, but tonight will be the real push to get some more written. That said, I may not have that much time – as my other half pointed out last night, I’m not a night owl at all. Staying up ’til midnight doesn’t agree with me; I’m more of an early bird getting up at 6.

The plan, now that I have hit the word count, is to go through and add more description to things. In addition, there are a few other bits I’d like to do: more on the ‘villains’ (really just rivals), and the ‘newssheet’ articles which will separate the chapters.

I’ve been thinking more on my other stuff too – going through an older one in my head yesterday (other half forbade me from exhausting myself by writing), I got some new ideas about where that story goes. I’ve also just about reconciled myself to the idea that I won’t make a living writing. I may well one day be able to make some money, but there’s no way I’ll make enough to stop having another job. *sob* There goes my dream of working from home.

Then there’s the undeniable lack of enthusiasm I’m having for writing this story – psychologically, I’ve won so I can stop. I need to work out what will motivate me to continue – especially given I only had a vague ending target, not a properly plotted story to write scene by scene. Next time, I’ll be a plotter rather than a pantser I think.

NaNoWriMo Day 16 – Update

I went home ill at lunchtime, and didn’t sneak in some cheeky writing. No, I went to bed and promptly to sleep. Currently struggling to stay awake long enough to eat dinner. I doubt I’ll be getting any more writing done today.

These colds seem to be hitting me a lot harder than they used to; I distinctly remember being able to dose up on painkillers and decongestants and basically forget I had any symptoms until they wore off. I dosed up this morning and still snuffled and sneezed my way through the day, replete with pounding headache. Either I’ve built up a tolerance or I’m getting less capable of handling the common cold. Either is a fairly worrying prospect.

As for the writing, my other half had the nerve to suggest that I would attempt to do some when I came home. I couldn’t concentrate on work, much less creative writing! What I didn’t truly realise until I began doing it in earnest is that writing takes a whole lot more effort than posting invoices and configuring software options. Writing is harder than my job by a fair margin.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow I’ll be able to stay up, go to work, and do some more wording in the evening; the prospect of not doing any is quite depressing, even though I’ve technically won NaNoWriMo. All I can say is that I’ve got into the habit now; the valve is open and I don’t want it to close.

The procrastiscarf has also been sorely neglected of late; I got about five rows done last night and that was the whole weekend. Further updates when I resume normal function…