Nanowrimo 2014 : Day 10 to 28…the Fall

Few more days to go before Nanowrimo 2014 is over and I have just reached the halfway mark. 25,135 words validated today.

I know I will not complete the challenge and for a few days I was a little upset about it. I felt I had let myself down by once again giving up before I could finish.

November was supposed to be the quiet month before the madness of Christmas and unfortunately it wasn’t. Work has been busier than ever and I completed on the purchase of my first flat halfway through the month. That meant most of my energies were spent chasing lawyers and estate agents, planning the move, coordinating builders for quotes, panicking that I had made a mistake buying said property (I haven’t but there is always the little bits you discover once you get the keys that you didn’t see before), sorting out the energy supplies to the flat – I discovered with great concern and horror that the flat was set up with pay as you go meters for gas and electricity, which means scrambling around to get keys/cards and then get them loaded with money…not something I want to keep but I can’t get it changed straight away either…and the fear that converting the meters would cost me money (thankfully, it won’t) – realising that I have to spend a bit more money to fix the walls…Anyhoo, nuff about this or more to the point, I might do a separate little post for this showing before and after pics (if I dare).

The long and short of it, I have written as much as I could which is still way behind but more than what I wrote for Camp Nano in July (20K). I have accepted that this is a fail, as challenges go but I will take the win on the personal best front.

What I have written probably doesn’t make much sense as I kept jumping back and forth in time as I was getting bored and lost with my story. I think the first few chapters will disappear as they feel more like backstory than story but it all adds up to the final count, which is why I haven’t culled them yet.

I still like the idea of my story but I think it is a little more ambitious than I had anticipated. Maybe I should have gone for something simpler…

What I take of the experience is you can never prepare too much and with the intention of participating next year, I have now 12 months (ish) to get there. Maybe if I have a more detailed plan, it won’t feel so hard.

Thank you to those who encouraged me and well done to all who have participated winners or not….

Until next Camp Nano, I’ll tinker more with the story…or do as I usually do, start with a new one…

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Nanowrimo 2014: Day 5 to 9

or the consequences of not planning properly…

First of all, I am quite happy that I have gone over the 15K mark over the weekend…that is an achievement in itself for me and the positive spin I am trying to hang on to.

knife stabbing book with black blood

This is how I feel right now about what I have written… (Image from Corbis)

But, I hate what I have written. I don’t like where my story is going – actually it’s all over the place at the moment because I keep jumping back and forth in the timeline when I get stuck.

The set up is taking too long, my characters are not consistent and I kinda lost my way…

I decided not too plan too much in advance – just had some generals notes and character bio (only for my main protagonist) – because I was worried that I would be bored if I knew exactly what was going to happen…

I fear this was a mistake. As I don’t have a clear roadmap, my writing is meandering around, taking forever to get to a point, only to realise that the point I got too is in the complete different direction than to where I needed to be to get to my story.

sad puppy

I am a sad puppy…

Some people might say ‘That’s ok. Your story is finding it’s way and maybe it’s what your character needs to do…’ but I am so far off my original synopsis that I don’t know how to find my way back…I am considering scraping my 15K words and start over again…but if I do, I might not be able to get to 50K by the end of the month… What a conundrum. I really, really want to be able to hit the target come 30th November but what would be the point if everything goes into the Recycling bin at the end?

I may have bitten more than I can chew but at the same time, it is still early enough that I could start over…Right?

I may give myself a couple days to think about it. Especially as I have to do some “new house” related stuff…because of course, I have finally exchanged on my first flat and I have now to plan for a) a bathroom refit and b) a move and all also before the end of the month…

Who says I don’t like to challenge myself.

I hope you guys are doing much better than I am.
Until next time…

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Nanowrimo 2014: Day 1 to 4

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NaNoWriMo started with a bang last Saturday. I say with a bang because there were some fireworks popping outside in preparation for Guy Fawkes night tonight, you know ” Remember, remember, on the 5th of November” shenaningans….In London (and maybe all around the UK – but I wouldn’t know as I have never lived anywhere else in the UK), you get fireworks cracking from the first and nearly to the last of November…

But I digress…this is not a post about the merits (or not) of unlicensed fireworks selling, it’s about how I am doing with project Nano. Starting on a Saturday was a huge bonus as although I had a couple of Halloween parties to attend, I still had far more time to get stuck in that if it had started on a weekday. By the end of the weekend, I had already achieved 4409 words and by Monday I had broken the 5000 words mark. Which is really handy because since then, it has been a little trickier to fit the time as I have been pulled in too many different directions and with darkness setting so early, I really find it hard to sit down and hack my way through my story.

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I am very easily distracted. I am the Queen of Procrastination. I try to take those distractions away but somehow, I always find a way…last night it was doing the dishes…yup, you heard right. I hate doing house chores but last night, they look pretty damn good compared to having to decide what to do with my character. I did my work but although I had been averaging out 2000 words a session, last night I only managed 1700…I am still within the daily quota but below my personal target..

This is also because I am reaching the dreaded spot of Chapter 3, which is my personal nemesis…I always find it easy to set up the story and characters, but then I flounder because I am not quite sure what I want to see happening.

I have read the books on story structure and I understand arc and milestones and heck, I have even thought of the ones I want to see…my problem is I am not quite sure how much I need to write to get there and how…well, mathematically speaking I do but I haven’t got the feel for it. That is probably because since I was 15, I haven’t actually finished a story. I have started loads but I haven’t been take one through all the way…That’s the point of Nano though…to force you to keep on at it.

I have read loads of blog posts about how to make Nano successful beyond writing 50K of garbage words that will require tons of editing but in my case, that’s what I need to do…plough down without thinking too much about the editing as it is normally what stops me at Chapter 3.

Oh and I massively struggle with voice as well…I bet that when I re-read what I have written I’ll find that one minute my character’s voice is dark, the next it’s sarcastic…then again, this is how I am myself (without the dark part) so maybe it’s not so bad…? We’ll see…for now, I just want to get to my First Plot Point – which according to story structure maths should be around 12.5K words (25%). I am actually a little over halfway there. Good to know.

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Nano 2014: 30 ideas to prompt your imagination

lightbulbI am not out of ideas yet but I decided to invest in a little book called “The Writer’s Block: 786 ideas to jump-start your imagination” just in case…and thought I should pick out 30 – one for each of the Nano days – to use in case I get stumped. I have picked them out at random. Feel free to steal borrow them for your own use 🙂

1 – Write an argument between 2 characters that starts in bed (honest to god, that’s the first page I opened at!)

2- Spark word: Tattoo

3- Write a story that begins ” The last time I saw my mother was 15 years ago”

4- Describe your first encounter with a celebrity

5- Take revenge on your least favourite teacher in high school: write a character sketch that exposes his or her flaws

6- Invent a character that sees a telephone number in the toilets wall. Describe what happens when he or she dials it.

7- Write a story that begins with an explosion

8- Spark words: Insanity

9- 17% of Americans claim they have witnessed a ghost…Describe one of their encounters…or one of your own

10- Tell a story that begins with the discovery of a ransom note

11- Describe your first brush with danger

12- Imagine that you could wake up tomorrow in someone else’s body. Whose would it be? How would your life change? What are some of the first things you would do?

13- Write about a near death experience

14- Describe a time you peeked a someone else’s diary

15- Spark word: Traffic Jam

16- Write a story set in a different decade. Use as many period elements as you can.

17- Write about the biggest secret you ever failed to keep

18- Write a story or a scene set in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant

19- I opened the cupboard and…

20- Think of a person you don’t like and describe what you might say if you had to share a lift together

21- When I was a little girl/boy, I wanted to be a…

22- Two animals into one hybrid

23- Spark word: Superstitious

24- Something a little cheesy – It was a dark and stormy night….

25- My best friend and I used to… all the time when we were 10

26- A natural catastrophe hits a small village…

27- In 200 years time, archaeologists find your grave, what will they deduce?

28- You get to spend the day in the body of someone the opposite sex, what will you do?

29- You are walking home late at night. You hear a noise behind you…

30- You accidentally drink something with a hallucinogen in it…what happens next?

Most came from the book listed above, some I just made up after reading some of my Facebook’s friends statuses, other I remembered from writing classes…

Enjoy

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Nanowrimo 2014: 3 days to go

And I am still adding small things to The Plan.

I read an interesting post today from Kirsten Lamb which I think might actually help me. She gave it a really long title (so click here to get to it) but it is about being able to do more than just write 50,000 words. It’s about having a more complete First Draft. I particularly like her advice to check out IMDb tag lines for movies in your chosen genre either to give you inspiration or to help you refine your basic concept.

I am definitely going to use this, if I can find the right movie to plunder.

My first idea is to use the Firefly tag because my story is going to be set in a futuristic world like that but it has more to do with old school westerns than the Firefly story…food for thoughts.

I have to let it whirl in my head for a while, well for 2 and half day really.

When I decided to do Nano, I was quite sure that November would be a quiet month for me. Nobody does anything in November right? Wrong! Day 1 of November and I have 2 Halloween party that I said yes to in a moment of weakness.

Then, I have to pack my flat, arrange for exchange of contract and completion date for the flat I am buying, paint the bathroom of said flat, go furniture shopping, book removal van, move, make good of the old flat, make sure my internet transfers from house to the other without a glitch…and that’s without counting on having to do my full time job! Bitten more than I can chew? You bet! Will I give up before I even started? Not a chance.

And to make sure I don’t, tonight I am going to the London Nano 2014 Kick off party…Nothing like committing to a group of like minded strangers to keep one in line 🙂

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Tik-tok on the clock…Countdown to Nanowrimo 2014

A little over a week before Nanowrimo 2014 starts and my preps are not that organised.

web-design-planningI have been reading a lot of posts on fellow Nanoers and how they prep for it, particularly those who have done it before and I feel I am still short of being ready.

I mean I have my idea and my character all in my head but I find it hard to put it down in an actual written format ready to be used on Day One.

The Planner in me is freaking out.

The Adventurer in me is shrugging it off…

Both attitudes are currently in conflict and I am at a stand still. Will I get to plan or will I pants it?

According to Larry Brooks, who wrote a whole series of tips to prep for Nano, I should already have a developed concept, character sheets and beat points…

seat of your pantsMany other previous Nanoers seem to have the same advice.

I just don’t know how to do that in a workable manner. Ideas, snippets and scenes are floating in my overloaded brain and I just hope I’ll be able to channel them come the 1st November.

As I am also naturally fickle, I find it hard to commit to one story line development, the way making a plan would push me. So I guess I have decided to pants it to some extent. At this stage, I think I just want to fumble my way through this first time.

Wish me luck and hopefully, I won’t change my mind too often…

indecision

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2014

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First I have a confession to make…since Camp NaNo, I haven’t written anything more than some notes, ideas, character traits, fleeting moments that pass through my head…but no chapters or paragraphs that could be seen as part of a story…not even a proper blog post. Bad Chymeera.

The first rule of writing is to write…every single “tips to become a better writer” I come across tells that. Yet, since Camp NaNo, I have let life (and work mostly) get in the way. I am not trying to justify myself (well, maybe I am) but I have myself unexpectedly busy on the day job (pays the bills after all, and when you live in London, those bills ain’t cheap, let me tell you). Add to that, that I am trying to buy my first flat and I get home so drained that all I want to do is veg on the sofa watching mindless tv. To be fair, outside of reading and writing, this is my favourite thing to do.

cartoon-cat-lazyBut I need to shake myself off this lazy loop and what better time to do this that NaNoWriMo. I work better with tight deadline and in writing I don’t think they come any tighter…30 days, 50,000 words? Well that’s the challenge, isn’t it? For Camp NaNo I was able to complete 20,000 words in 30 days and that was in July with a 2 weeks holiday playing aunty to my favourite (and only) nephew so I am thinking November, being grim with no chances of being distracted by gorgeous weather should be possible…right? Right.

That said, I have been thinking about participating for a year so I am not totally unprepared for it and as said earlier, although I haven’t actually written within a story, I have been building ideas, plot lines (my weak points), characters and story arcs in preparation for it.

I have decided to stay in the same area as the story I tried to start for Camp NaNo so it will be a sci-fi/adventure story – I can’t bring myself to call it a novel yet as it would mean I have to work out a beginning, a middle and an end for it and that is one of my big challenges. I am quite a good starter but I tend to fizzle out as I never know for sure what I want to achieve or want my character to want…I think I have it this time for this particular story and the challenge will be on how I’ll manage to make my lady (always) get there whilst keeping the conflicts coming.

So, how am I preparing for NaNoWriMo, you might ask, as it is after all the title of this post…

psychingupmeme1) Psyching myself up, telling myself it’s no big deal…no one ever does anything in November

2) Checking past blog post about NaNoWriMo by people who have done it

3) Read tips on what to do…although most could apply for any novel project you want to start

post-it-wall4) Collecting as many ideas, research, character notes and world info I can and saving all that in a special NaNoWriMo 2014 folder I created on my Google Drive so it’s all there when I need it.

I also need to decide when I am going to block time in November to write…Do I wake up earlier so I can do it before work or make sure I don’t switch the telly on when I get home in the evening? November is a dark month, so either way, it will be dark outside….

What about you? How will you prepare yourself for NaNoWriMo 2014? I’d love to hear from you…

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