Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting back into the groove...

So, I took Friday and Saturday off from my novel.  Luckily since I was ahead word count wise, this didn't impact me too much.  I was able to write the standard amount yesterday and be right on track.  For this reason, it's nice to get ahead a little bit the first week, just to take one day off.  One thing I always need to remember in NaNo is that you need to take breaks, and do other things. Usually the ideas will flow in, and you'll be a lot fresher.  It's hard sometimes to sit, staring at your computer, willing the words to fly off your fingers, and nothing happens.  This is why, later years in college, I had given up on the whole procrastination thing.  I am much more efficient if I just get things done sooner rather than later.  I say that, but I also did my writing today after I had unpacked things, made dinner, washed dishes, started laundry.... Yea, it got done anyways, but after I had removed all those pesky distractions!

As  far as my book goes, I am in chapter 5 according to my outline.  I have 13 chapters organized, but I don't know how much I will stick to it (also, proportion wise it's off because I'm in the 5th chapter but only 12k words in).  So far I have been writing pretty chronologically throughout the book.  I think this is necessary because it is a mystery, and I think if I write too far ahead, I will lose track of which clues I've presented, and which things the reader has yet to find out.  Plus, it is easier to make drastic changes on a moment's notice when I haven't written any later part of the book yet.  So far, I like my plot and like where it's heading.  I am sort of feeling though, that I pick the wrong topics for the right projects.  Like, in April I tried script frenzy, and it was really difficult after NaNo.  I am so used to just writing blah blah description blah, and you can't do that in a movie script... it wasn't about word count.  I think my plot would have worked way better as a novel.  Now, I am sort of feeling this plot I have now would be better as a movie.  Still, I think it will be a pretty good book too.  I just hope I don't wrap up the mystery and then say ├ľK, 25k more words to go.... oops!" If that happens, I will just throw in some zombies, pirates, ninjas, and if needed after that, aliens. Perfect plan.

-Jessie, 12,807 words she would like  to update onto the nano site if it ever loads :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New motivational tactics

So, every day I am finding ways in which Nano this year is way different than last year.  Last year I was working like 30 hours a week, and I would say I probably wrote a good half of my novel when I was actually at work (haha).  Clearly, this year is different. For one, no writing at work because I actually care about this job. Two, I am working a solid 40 hours per week.  Third, I am in a new country.  I've only been here for a month and still learn things every day.  This makes me a little moody.  Like today, I came home all cheery, chatting up with the driver and with my portero.  Then I discovered that my smoke alarm requires batteries that I don't have.  Then I tried calling for a taxi to go to this wine tasting event, and it turns out that in the evening rush hour time, one and a half hours isn't enough notice for a taxi, and it's more of a two and half hour wait. FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU. 

So it was in this mood that I did my daily stroll of the Cheezburger network.  I am also a new member of reddit.  It even has a subcategory just for word counts. For shits and giggles, I posted my word count from yesterday with a note along the lines of "Not including today. Haven't written yet, but will after my motivational pasta and wine." I got comments from two people congratulating me on my word count, and on my motivation.  This made me happy again and I kicked out almost 2000 more words in my novel.  Even made significant progress writing plot, AND figured out some of the holes that remained in the plot in my head. Win? For sure.

Moral of the story? Things are always going to come up.  It's how you deal with them, let them slide, and turn them into something usable that counts. I am almost one fifth through my novel, and that kicks ass. Sure, I still suck and being able to go around town easily, but it will just take time. Wine tasting might have failed me today, but I have plans with friends to go to a kick ass restaurant on Saturday, get my hair done, and go to a ball.  In the grand scheme of things, I will luck out. Also, this means that if I don't get to writing on Saturday, at this rate, I should still be ok word count wise.

- Jessie, relieved to be at 9,885 words

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My own little word war...

So, even though I am ahead in the game over all, I had only written about 1100 words today.  500 isn't that much to run off, but it sort of is when it gets later in the evening.  Solution? Write Or Die.  No, it is not really death, but you can set your own word count, time limit, and how nice you want the program to be.  This includes a crazy mode in which, if you stop writing for too long, it will start deleting things.  Haha.  I love it.  Also, it will spur lovely word sprints like the following:


If you're curious now, the link is on the sidebar in this blog. There is a 10 dollar desktop down-loadable edition with some pretty interesting looking features, but I have just been using the free online version for now. I might be buying it, just to support its awesomeness, and in case later on in the month I am totally burned out and need some evil motivation.

Word count for the day: Achieved. I think I will now kill off my bottle of Argentinian Malbec. Delicious.

-Jessie, 7,924 only slightly wine induced words

Trudging along...

You know, this novel is showing me a lot of things I did wrong in my last novel.  I don't even know if you can call what I wrote last year a "novel". It pretty much didn't have a genre. The plot was.... well, Carrie and I made it up in the ten minute car ride to a write in.  Yea.  This time, my book has a genre, and I am even doing some character development, not solely through silly anecdotal stories.  This is certainly a plus.  My writing so far has been a mix of "Erm... yea, I will think of that later" and eureka moments "Oh yea, and that's why so and so is like that! W00t :)". This causes me to be sort of mood swingy as I'm writing, but usually I just use whatever emotion that comes out to spur the next few minutes of writing, whether I am excited or frustrated.  This was been working pretty well.

Also, I have a new reddit account.  There is a subreddit for writing, and a category for wordcounts where many people have been posting their nanowrimo progress.  I will probably do that as well (even though no one there will care), just to have another place to post it.  The nano site is being so laggy that it is somewhat anti climactic to update anything. "Oh yea, I put in that word count like 10 minutes ago.... whatever." I understand why it's laggy though.  I think there are a lot of people on the site, especially towards the beginning of the month, and they don't have an enormous budget for all the web hosting.  Still, I don't remember it being like this last year.  Maybe I just didn't notice, or maybe it's only this laggy for me because my Peruvian "Speedy" isn't all that speedy sometimes...

Luckily for me, however, I do not need speedy internet to write my novel.  I just switch my wireless off, then type away until I deem it necessary to post in this blog.  The system works pretty well.

-Jessie at 7,401 pretty sensible words

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 2, really?

So, sometimes I amaze myself in what I decide to do in a short amount of time.  Granted, yesterday was a holiday, so I got quite a bit ahead, but still... I am glad, very glad.  This means (hopefully) I can get to 50k a little early.  I say that now, but of course there will be days where I will slack off.  There will be days where I will think "Eff this writing business!" and frustratedly stare at my word document while nothing happens.  Still, there will be other days where the ideas will flow and my book will take shape. 

Today, I think I made progress in that department.  I like this mystery novel idea because it means I can just cut off scenes without really finishing them, and simply call it suspense. Bwuahaha. It also means I can write some scenes and not have a clue yet of the why, but that's ok because I won't need to explain it until later.  This also means that there are a few gaping holes in my plot.  This could be bad, but it could also be good.  Maybe if I can't think of what to write, I will be forced to answer some questions, and that will guide some more words.  This is either a tactic that will be successful, or one that will set me up for book dead end failure.  Hopefully, it's the former.  That being said, this is my book, so if I ever feel like I am running down the completely wrong path, I can just make a different one.  My outline is not set in such stone to make this impossible.  It is actually quite easy to change an outline when it consists of just a couple headers and key phrases.

Another key to writing is to distinguish distractions from relaxation.  Example:  I could spend forever and a day giggling over things I find on the Cheezburger network.  Productive? Hardly. Amusing? Hell yes. Example 2: The Blind Side arrived from Netflix today, and it was actually quite a good movie.  All inspirational and what not to boot.  I watched it, finished up some dishes, and then sat down and wrote 1200 words.  You have to find what works for you, and realize that these tactics are bound to change throughout the course of the month.  Sometimes experimentation is in order. And that folks, is the name of the nanowrimo game.

-Jessie at 6,268 glorious word nuggets

Monday, November 1, 2010

What's in a name?

So yes, I finally just named my main character. Before this, he was "MC". Good old find and replace aided me in changing his name to Pete. Pete Mansfield. Hopefully that is a good name.

As far as other characters go, his mother is Stacy, and his best friend is Jerry.  That's pretty much all I've decided on so far. I figure, as I introduce characters into the story, I will assign them name as I go along.

In other news, I am already 10% into my book. "What?!!" you may ask. Oh yes, I got to the 5k word mark.  You see, today was a holiday, so I had the day off work to lounge around the house and get a head start.  This worked well, since I know next weekend I will be pretty busy and won't be able to do too much extra over the 1667 daily goal.  Another thing I did to prepare myself was bake a whole packet of pasta yesterday.  I have since killed off the chicken I baked, but will be adding some hamburger meat to the pasta sauce tomorrow.  I have a lot of pasta, so it should last me through the week.  Less time cooking, more time writing!

Jessi at 5,013 words and counting

Word 2007

You know, I am not one to be a fangirl of Microsoft , but I do in fact have a Word certification (job necessity). Anyways, I know there are all sorts of programs out there to help you write and plan your novels, but sometimes good ol' word processing works wonders.  The feature for outlines in the 2007 version is really handy.  I used headers to mark out my chapters and 1 liner brainstorms of what would happen in each scene. Now I can easily jump around my book and find "that exact place....", chapter, or whathaveyou. I only wish this outline thingy had been there all those years of school where they made us do those damn outlines and there was this constant struggle with the tabs and getting things to line up and "No, this is should be a,b,c not i,ii,iii ARGGGG". They have made it muuuch more easy now and it's awesome.

If you are so inclined, Go to View --> Outline View. From there you can make your handy outline, and use the arrows to promote/demote whatever you're working on. Then when you go back to normal mode, use the document map on the left to click through to where you want to be.... and then start typing! This is super nice if, some days, you don't want to write in sequence and feel like skipping ahead 3 chapters (I've already done this once hehe).

Ok, enough procrastination on this silly blog!

-Jessie at 3376 words

Day 2, really?

So, sometimes I amaze myself in what I decide to do in a short amount of time.  Granted, yesterday was a holiday, so I got quite a bit ahead, but still... I am glad, very glad.  This means (hopefully) I can get to 50k a little early.  I say that now, but of course there will be days where I will slack off.  There will be days where I will think "Eff this writing business!" and frustratedly stare at my word document while nothing happens.  Still, there will be other days where the ideas will flow and my book will take shape. 

Today, I think I made progress in that department.  I like this mystery novel idea because it means I can just cut off scenes without really finishing them, and simply call it suspense. Bwuahaha. It also means I can write some scenes and not have a clue yet of the why, but that's ok because I won't need to explain it until later.  This also means that there are a few gaping holes in my plot.  This could be bad, but it could also be good.  Maybe if I can't think of what to write, I will be forced to answer some questions, and that will guide some more words.  This is either a tactic that will be successful, or one that will set me up for book dead end failure.  Hopefully, it's the former.  That being said, this is my book, so if I ever feel like I am running down the completely wrong path, I can just make a different one.  My outline is not set in such stone to make this impossible.  It is actually quite easy to change an outline when it consists of just a couple headers and key phrases.

Another key to writing is to distinguish distractions from relaxation.  Example:  I could spend forever and a day giggling over things I find on the Cheezburger network.  Productive? Hardly. Amusing? Hell yes. Example 2: The Blind Side arrived from Netflix today, and it was actually quite a good movie.  All inspirational and what not to boot.  I watched it, finished up some dishes, and then sat down and wrote 1200 words.  You have to find what works for you, and realize that these tactics are bound to change throughout the course of the month.  Sometimes experimentation is in order. And that folks, is the name of the nanowrimo game.

-Jessie at 6,268 glorious word nuggets