Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The End

NaNoWriMo is swiftly coming to a close.  As of press time, I am at 81k.  I'm well short of my somewhat crazy 100k goal but I've learned a lot.  I'm halfway through chapter 32 and am back on track.  For now anyway.

What I've learned about myself this November:
  • There has to be balance.  If I spend all of my time writing, I start getting somewhat cranky.
  • I have to pace myself.  Better to take 6-8 weeks to do 100k than burn out on week 3.
  • Plan, damn it!  Plan!  My lack of preparation was part of my downfall this year.  I didn't think about the characters enough until it was a bit too late.  That's what subsequent drafts are for.
  • Read AND write.  If I don't have words coming in, it's harder to maintain the stream of words coming out.
In other news, the 12 Beers of Christmas beer exchange kicks off tomorrow.  I intend on reviewing all 12 beers I receive as I receive them, as readers of my previous blog may remember.

I'd better get back to my writing.  I want to hit 83k before NaNoWriMo officially ends.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Second Draft postponed, forward progress resumed

I'd fully intended on starting on my big re-write today but I woke up with the entirety of chapter 31 in my head.  Things are progressing quickly and I've even managed to showcase the personalities of Kashgar Jong and Glitch.

Some themes are becoming apparent in Wandering the Web of Worlds.  Yes, themes.
  • Bureaucracy is bad
  • Suppression of knowledge is bad
  • Being conscious of the environment is good
  • People in authority are usually liars
When is lunch ever going to get here?  I was getting really used to eating whenever I pleased on my four day weekend.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tomorrow - The rewriting begins

Even though I never finished the first draft of Wandering the Web of Worlds, I'm calling what I'll begin doing tomorrow the second draft.  I hate that I had to stop at the 66% mark but I was running into walls with the characters' personalities.  If I can eliminate one or two characters from the mix, I think I'll be in good shape.  The thing that terrifies me about starting the second draft at this stage is that I'm afraid I'll end up not finishing the story and I'll have pushed myself into a lot of writing for nothing.

In the mean time, I'm enjoying a reading vacation.  I went from reading two or three books a week prior to NaNoWriMo down to one a week.  I think my New Year's resolution this year will be to balance the reading and writing rather than going in binges.

Speaking of resolutions, I don't remember the ones I made last year.  I'll just assume I accomplished them with flying colors.  Wait, I do remember resolving to get caught up on the Hard Case Crime series before 2011 hit.  Since I have seven left, I'd say it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.  I've done two a day on winter weekends before.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 27 - Definitely Stuck

I managed a whopping 200 words this morning before admitting that I am going to have to go back to go forward.  I was trying to tough it out and finish the first draft before the alterations but I don't think that's going to fly anymore.  While I'm not going to let the 77k I've done so far go to waste, I'm definitely going to have to go back to the beginning and start changing things.  Note to self for next writing project: Make your main character the MOST detailed, not one of the least.  If I would have known more about Valaric's failure to save Elluria's brother in the north polar tunnels and his reluctance to use the Spear of Enrik afterwords, we wouldn't be in this mess...

In an effort to make maximum use of my creative juices, I am going to attempt a first person noir story concurrent with my changes to Wandering the Web of Worlds.  Look for that in a few days.  I intend on posting the chapters here on my blog as I complete them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and The Black Keys

Three Thanksgivings down and one to go.

Yesterday wasn't bad as far as Thanksgiving double headers go.  The morning went by quickly.  I was engrossed in Donald Westlake's The Ax and making corn pudding according to Carrie's instructions.  Good think I didn't defy her and start making the thing at 10 because it took about twice as long as the recipe specified.  I'm chalking it up to either the double batch factor or my oven being about thirty five years old.  It was a photo finish to get it done before we left for my grandparents' house.

The crowd at the gp's seemed a little light but still fairly crowded.  As with all holidays, I'm glad Grandpa had the foresight to build an adequately large house when they moved in '77.  It was a good time.  My cousins' kids were running amok and provided ample entertainment, as did all five of my aunts not believing I could cook.  We took off about 3:30 in an effort to evade enough of the winter weather not to get stranded while trying to cross the four creeks on the way back to the main road.

Part two of the Thanksgiving double headers was at Carrie's parents'.  It took longer than I would have liked to get there due to the winter weather preventing me from using the old O to 32 shortcut, which normally shaves 15 minutes off the trip.  It was a good time but our eating was restrained due to gorging ourselves a little over four hours before.  We also got to hear graphic details from her dad's stint on jury duty.  FYI, I never want to be on the jury during an alleged rape trial, if only to never hear the written statements.

Tomorrow is it.  We're heading over to my parents' for a lunch of pork sausage and mashed potatoes.  I'll get to bring Belle, which is a blessing considering how many times she woke me up this morning wanting to go for walks.  The hound needs her exercise in the worst way.  Hard to believe she's eleven now.

In other news, I got three Black Keys albums in the mail today.  So far, The Rubber Factory is my favorite.  It's a shame people are more concerned with reality show winners than they are blues rock or the Black Keys would be household names by now.

People read this?

A few days ago, I was over harsh in my criticism of Max Allan Collins' Nolan character, mostly for comedic effect.  Who knew Collins himself would read it?  I feel like a douche now, especially because I love his Quarry books.  Sometimes I forget anybody can read my blog.  I'd like to apologize to Max Allan Collins now and thank him for the hours of entertainment I've had reading his Quarry books and pushing them on other people.

Time to fire up the Scooba and see if I can get my foot the rest of the way out of my mouth.

Day 26 - Changing History

The past couple days have alerted me that another trip through time to the beginning of my novel is in order.  With 33% left to write and a slew of changes I want to make, I think I'd be better off changing the past now rather than witnessing the future first.

As time travelers always so, I have a multitude of good reasons for wanting to tamper with history.
  • I didn't have a handle on Valaric when I started and that becomes more apparent with every scene he's in. He's pretty much a generic wizard character and since he's my lead, that's no good.  I've got some idea for him, like a fascination with technology, guilt over some deaths he may or may not have caused on the expedition to the tunnels at the north pole.
  • Ebeneezer Froad didn't have much of a personality when I started but developed quite nicely over time.  I'm going to give him more to do and more of mentor role to the rest of the characters
  • I want to speed up the first few chapter, such as the building of the Silver Scarab and the arrival of the other magicians.  It drags a bit as it is.  Also, it will flesh out Malvernia quite a bit more if I have Valaric in action rather than hiding out.
  • The League of Scientists gets a mention but no face time.  As I said, I want Valaric to be more conflicted about his role in things
  • I've got a few too many magicians on board and not enough for them to do.  I think if I shrink the Silver Scarab and combine the interesting aspects of some of the characters, the whole thing will feel tighter.  I think I can lose Jochi fairly easily and combine Glitch and Zephalmachus into one more interesting character.
  • More Fenlock.  I glossed over Fenlock's time at the Hall of Forty Seven Imponderables and could get more out of things with another Fenlock chapter.
In other news, I somehow lost quite a few words during validation.  Oh, well.  I'll figure out why sooner or later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Taking the evening off last night appears to have helped.  Fenlock and Zora reached Sargasso a few minutes ago and Fenlock had the cypherpede stuck in his ear.  The Fenlock parts are my favorites to write.  Since I'm going to be crunched for time for the next few days, I might stick with the Fenlock parts up until he and Zora encounter the rest of the group.

I keep toying with the idea of stopping forward progress on Wandering the Web of Worlds and revising the beginning. Instead of having Valaric wait for the other magicians to arrive at his house, I think he'll send out some letters and go visit others personally.

I started reading Dan Simmons' Hardcase last night and it's the best book I've read in a few months.  While it's unabashedly inspired by Richard Stark's Parker books, it doesn't stray into ripoff territory like other books I won't mention that feature Nolan and are written by Max Allan Collins.

The next thing I write will definitely be a crime novel, small town noir featuring my gravedigger character.  It's tough coming up with a crime plot that isn't like one I've already read.  Mine's definitely going to involve a murder made to look like suicide, alleged blackmail, real blackmail, and probably meth dealers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some days...

... you just have to say "piss on it."

After spending the last few minutes outline what's left to write in Wandering the Web of Worlds, I've discovered I have 15-16 chapters left.  After mulling it over for about thirty seconds, I've decided to take the night off.  Until bedtime, I will be reading, listening to music, and attempting to not think about writing.  We'll see how successful I am in the last one.

Day 23 - Starting chapter 30

We're now just a week away from the end of NaNoWriMo.  I'm a paragraph into chapter 30 and have another 15-20 chapters to go after that unless my estimates are way off.  Once the two groups find the Midar homeworld, I'm not sure how long it's going to take to get them back home.

The story continues to progress but I can tell from some of my writing that I'm wearing down.  Reading during lunch breaks and for half an hour or so before I go to bed helps.  I think I need a night that doesn't involve going to bed at 10 and getting up at 4:30 for work.

I've come up with lots of things I know I'm going to change for the second draft but I'm restraining myself to start on them until I finish this version of the story.  I need the whole thing down on paper before I start revising.  I'm planning on redoing the way I get the magicians together in the beginning and detailing the world more before the magicians leave it behind.  I'm also going to beef up the role of the characters that wind up getting killed to make their deaths more meaningful.  Part of me wants to combine the characters of Valaric and Glitch but that might be too drastic.

I'd better get back to it.  Fenlock and Zora aren't going to get to Sargasso on their own.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 22 - Still on Track

Well, Day 22 is upon us. NaNoWriMo is withering away to nothing and for many there are only 8 days left to hit the magical 50k.

I'm at just over 74k, still on pace to hit 100k by the end of the month if I play my cards right.  I'm thinking the story will go to 120k now.  Don't tell anyone but I'm already getting ideas together for changes I want to make in the second draft.  More and more steampunk keeps trying to creep into the story and I'm thinking about combining aspects of some of the characters and tossing away the withered husks I don't use.  I'm actively resisting going back and revising now before I get to the end.

In non-NaNoWriMo news, I have two weeks of pictures I need to go through and possibly upload.  Fortunately for me, the weather is limiting my opportunities to take pictures of insects, although the spider in my basement keeps tempting me.  He's kind of a smartass; the other day I found a web woven on my weight bench.  Even my basement spider thinks I've been neglecting my workouts lately.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I seem to have regained my mojo.  Maybe all I needed was a good meal, some reading, and a good night's sleep.

Carrie and I made another visit to Tractor's last night.  It was good but my choices were my least favorite so far.  The Orange Ruffi was barely a portion and the Caribbean Shrimp Chowder was nothing to write home about.

I finished Jeff Vandermeer's Veniss Underground last night.  It was some chilling shit and I'm glad I didn't have nightmares about it.  Any book that features a guy climbing a mountain of severed legs and digging through it for the still breathing body of his former lover is kick ass in my book. 

My alarm when off at 4:30 and I immediately disregarded it.  I rolled out of bed around seven and went to work.  After taking some time to walk the dog a couple times and take a shower, I'm now at about 5000k for the day and I'm going to try to squeeze some more writing in before I head over to Carrie's later.  I'm at almost 72k, not too far from where I finished the month last NaNoWriMo.  To sum it up, I'm feeling pretty good.

Enough blogging.  I should get dressed and take the trash out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Motivation, where art thou?

I may have pushed myself too hard these past 20 days.  While I'm still roughly on pace to hit 100k by the end of the month, I'm entering that frame of mind that I've entered around this time the past two NaNoWriMo's, the following questions swarming in my mind.
  • Why the hell did I pick this story?
  • How the hell much longer is this thing?
  • Is anyone going to want to read this when I'm finished?
  • Am I wasting my time?
  • What if I take a few days off?
  • You know, I have other fresher ideas that I'd like to work on instead.  What if I put this aside and pick that up instead?
Since this isn't my first trip to the dance, I know to ignore the questions and keep going.  I remember a Neil Gaiman blog entry where mentions that he goes through the same thing with every book he writes.  Still, my motivation is flagging.  I just have to keep in mind that I'm about 2/3rds of the way done and almost 67,000 words in 20 days is pretty damn good.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The 19th Afternoon

As I said earlier, sometimes writing is easy and other times it is one of the twelve labors of Hercules.  After a rough morning, I ran errands and came back home.  I've managed just over the minimum today but it was spread out over two chapters.  I know where chapter 25 is going but I've got plans tonight so it will have to wait until the morning.  That's okay since I have to figure out what the settlement of the riders of the void wasps is like anyway.

I'd better take my laundry out of the drier and take care of business before I commence with the evening's plans.


It's November 19th already?  It seems like just yesterday it was the middle of September and I was dying for NaNoWriMo to start.

Some days, the ideas flow like water from a fire hose and it's all I can do to aim them at the keyboard.  Other times, like the last couple days, it's more like a slug trying to slime his way up a moving treadmill.  The morning didn't start like I wanted it to.  I slept until 6:30 instead of getting up when my alarm went off and I've barely managed to write anything yet. 

The next time I try to write something this size, I'm going to pace myself to do it in six weeks.  Trying to write 100k in 30 days is burning me out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 18 already?

Wow.  Is it just me or is NaNoWriMo flying by?  Actually, when I'm not writing it seems as if it's flying by.  When I am writing, it feels like a crawl across broken glass at times.

Well, I didn't make much progress today, only about 1200 words.  Good thing I'm off for the next three days.  I'm still on pace for 100k but I can feel the procrastination tendencies trying to assert themselves and I caught myself contemplating taking a couple days off at one point today.

I'm entering that nebulous section of my novel I was never too clear about, everything between leaving Nal Sakaar and finding the planet around the purple star.  I know there's a place called Sargasso, and I know what happens on the planet revolving around the purple star.  What's in between is up for conjecture and I hope my characters continue to clue me in on what happens next.  Hodak was kind enough let me know today that the Guild of Astronomers would probably know where the purple star was and I already know Fenlock plans on scuttling the Brass Barnacle once it gets close enough to Sargasso.  Other than that, I know the Skinweavers are on the trail of the main cast and Fenlock and Zora have to reach the purple star before the main group.  Should be an interesting next couple of days.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That was rough

I have a NaNoWriMo confession to make: two of the magicians I created were specifically so I'd have some people to kill off at dramatically appropriate times.  Yeah, so why was it so hard for me to kill of Ebeneezer Froad?

He started off as a cranky old wizard and developed some Gandalf-type qualities over time.  I wasn't even sure he was going to die at Nal Sakaar until he handed his staff to Glitch, passing the torch.  I almost teared up when Valaric was too choked up to say goodbye to his old master and when Kashgar Jong admitted his respect.

I had a hard time getting any writing done today and I think it was because I wasn't ready for Froad to die.  Once I got home, I rearranged what I wrote and busted out the rest of the chapter.  It was still hard though.  I'm going to go watch the Middle and try not to think about how I'm going to feel when a couple other characters have to die.

Al, Why haven't I leaped yet?

Anyone who knows where the title comes from will be awarded a Dangerous Dan Dollar.  Once you've accumulated 500 Dangerous Dan Dollars, you'll receive a free tote bag.  It's been used quite a bit but you can still carry books around in it.

I finished the moon chapters last night and smoothed over enough of the wrinkles the changes caused to be able to begin forging ahead once again.  Judging by the required number of words on my calendar, I still might be able to hit 100k by the end of the month.

Not much else to report since I haven't done much besides writing and going to work lately.  I did decide that unless the next Dresden Files book knocks me on my ass, that will be the last one I read.  They're fun but pretty formulaic and since Butcher's planning another ten before wrapping it up with a trilogy, I don't think the back story is going to ever advance at the pace I would want it to.  We'll see, though.  I said that last time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 16 - Still on the Moon

Well, the moon chapters are shaping up.  I'd estimate about 2500-2800 words left, some of which will be dialogue pillaged from the previous verison.  Today's writing was mostly setup for the big battle in the next chapter, which I may write tonight.  After that, a bit of polishing before I can get on with things.

The new moon chapters have done a lot to flesh out the personalities of the magicians.  I never would have known Jochi the monk had a subtle sarcastic streak or that there was a bottle that trickled water continously once you uncorked it was buried miles beneath the salt flats in a tomb.  Too bad about them losing the cork...

I keep wondering how long I should let the story go.  I've barely scratched the surface regarding the Skinweavers.  How long will it take for Fenlock to bastard his way to the end goal?  How long will it take for Valaric and crew to finally find the Midar?  And how long should it take for them to return to Ur and have the rug yanked out from under them?  Decisions, decisions...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tomorrow - Forward progress and fixing the space time continuum

I just finished my second chapter of the day, bringing my word count to 5200+ for the day.  Too bad it was neutral progress since I'm re-doing the moon chapters.  I think I'm going to finish things on the moon tomorrow and start ironing out the resulting wrinkles in the space-time continuum before I can resume the story where I left off.  I'm really glad I caved in and rewrote the moon sequence now instead of obsessing over it for a couple weeks first.

You know what really sucks?  Wanting to go to bed early and having to wait for your sheets to dry.  I guess I can read a bit before I go to bed.

NaNoWriMo Day 15 - Back in the Saddle

I took a look at my work calendar this morning and saw that despite my mini-vacation yesterday, I'm still on pace to hit 100k by the 30th. While I'm still planning on trying to do it, it's not going to be taking over my life like it has been.

Work on rewriting the dreaded moon chapters is progressing.  I finished the second one this morning, 95% new material, and its probably my favorite piece of writing so far in NaNo 2010. Splitting the group up and letting the individual magicians strut their stuff a bit is proving to be great for the story.  They're starting to act like a team rather than a bunch of people standing around while Jochi and Jong do all the work.  I think I have two or three more to write, then a little cleanup of the space-time continuum to make sure everything lines up with what I've already written.

In non-NaNo news, Thanksgiving #1 was yesterday and it was a complete success, despite my coming in last in the dreaded game of Mexican Train.  Much food was consumed, the effects of which are still being felt today.  I took some pictures but got home too late to upload any of them.  I'll have to take care of that this evening.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I tore into the first of my moon chapters this morning.  I'm pleased to say I was able to salvage most of it by altering the dialogue and add some new stuff.  Now the much harder task of writing the new moon material begins.  Since the moon is a lifeless world, why didn't I think of using undead before?  Now I just have to figure out what's in the five-sided pyramid by the time Valaric and company find the way inside.  Once the moon bits are finished, I just have to comb through the rest and fix the references.  Also, I have to remember to give Zora amnesia or there isn't going to be much of a mystery as to where her homeworld is.

One of my neighbors stopped while I was walking Belle yesterday and asked me what I was taking pictures of in my yard last weekend.  It took me a little while to remember she was talking about the mysterious alpacas.  Do I really have that much going on that I don't remember a thing like an alpaca invasion?

Thanksgiving Round 1 is this afternoon.  If I can crank out a chapter by then, fine, but I'm planning on finishing Under a Warrior Star while I drink my coffee.  Joe Lansdale writing a Planetary Romance is too good to pass up.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13 - Status

Seconds ago, I crossed the 50,000 word mark.  I feel a sense of relief knowing that I crossed the official number of words required to "win."  There's a lot of story left to write, starting with the re-write of the moon chapters, which will likely turn 2 chapters into 4-6.  Even if I didn't re-write those chapters, I think I'm only 50% of the way through my story.  Still, 50k in thirteen days is quite a feat for me.  I'm going to celebrate by doing the dishes I've been neglecting the past two weeks and do some much needed cleaning.  After that, I think I'll do some reading.

I know I saw this every NaNoWriMo but I have got to stay in the habit of writing once this story is finished.  The hardest part of writing for me is putting aside my books and TV and just doing it.  I've got other stories in me that need telling and I'm the only one who knows how they end.

Cheers, fellow NaNoWriMo contestants.  I'll be icing up the keg for you at the finish line.

Save the Words!

This link should be interesting to any writer but especially during NaNoWriMo.

Editing - The NaNo No-No

I wrote a whopping 400 words this morning before I took Belle over to my parents' for her exercise.  While I was there, I read some of Michael Moorcock's half of the new Planet Stories book but mostly I did some obsessing.  I decided that once I hit 50k, I'm going to break the cardinal rule of NaNowriMo and go back and re-write the entire moon sequence.  I'm doing it for the following reasons:
  • The existing moon sequence is my least favorite piece, from the monster to the way the magicians handle it
  • I reasoned that a dead world should include at least one exploration of ancient ruins.
  • I enjoyed splitting the group up in Nal Sakaar so much that I want to do the same thing on the moon.  In doing this I hope to accomplish two things:
    • Show what bad-asses the assembled magicians are right off the bat in handling their respective menaces
    • Establish relationships between the magicians.  Right now they aren't talking much.
  • As it stands now, there are no clues to point them where to go after leaving the moon.  I figure I'll slip some tantalizing hints of a swamp world circling a small purple star and let things roll from there.
I hate to backtrack but I figure it will be less work in the long run if I fix the moon sequence now.  Otherwise, the changes will ripple through the space-time continuum and I'll have a lot more things to fix in later chapters.

Points I'm hoping to get across in Wandering the Web of Worlds is that magicians are the fantasy equivalent of nerds and geeks.  I don't think they should be able to relate well to non-magicians since they're studying magic most of the time.  We'll see if the point comes across like I want it to in the later drafts.

Day 13 - The Coming of the Skinweavers

Even though I gave myself permission not to hit 50k by Sunday, I still wound up busting out another 2500 words last night and it wound up being on of my favorite chapters yet.  Ebeneezer Froad trashed three of the priests of the Divine Spider, upset the local economy of Nal Sakaar, took a gruesome wound in the side, and I revealed more of the back story of my universe, including introducing several alien races, including my main villains, the Skinweavers.  Zephalmachus and Elluria got more face time and developed more as characters and I have the malingering death of Ebeneezer Froad to think about.  It was a good chapter. 

Today's writing will likely consist of Valaric and the other magicians hiring a guide, getting into a bar fight with several rhino-like Ontaks, and a huge riot-like battle when the Silver Scarab attempts to launch.  If I have time, I'll start on the story of Fenlock abducting Zora and then getting stuck in indentured servitude.  Since I'm splitting the characters up quite a while, I'm getting more excited about writing about them.  The "shit that's going to happen to Fenlock" list will come in handy soon.

Once I get to the end of the story, I'm going to completely change the chapters where the magicians are on moon to give everyone something to do.  I want to establish what kind of firepower they're throwing around early on.  Right now, while I like parts of the moon chapters, the magicians seem pretty good at standing around and watching one or two of them do all the work.  Kashgar Jong, hero of Badger Mouth Pass, will be directing the battle in the next iteration.

I guess I'd better make with the writing already.  I've got a bar scene to write and I need to channel my inner Mos Eisley.  I'd better cue up that Cantina theme while I'm at it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Because blog entries are easier than fiction

Yeah, I'm in procrastination mode today.

You've are probably like me in that you're already following too many blogs but this gent is also doing NaNoWriMo and writes a good blog.  Give him a read and maybe the NaNoWriMo gods will smile on us all... before they ensnare us in their tentacles and drop us into their toothy maws to be devoured.

If blog entries counted toward NaNoWriMo word counts, I'd have hit 50k days ago.

Did they...? Surely not.... But did they... ?

So yesterday Jake gave me two bottles of infused tequila left over from Cinco de Mayo.  One was infused with Jalapeno peppers, the other with bacon.  I'm not a tequila drinker by any means but I took the tequila anyway.  I put it in the back seat of my car and forgot about it.

Today, I got my tires rotated at Plaza Tire and swung by the car dealership to have a new headlight put in.  Then I got groceries and headed over to the local bookstore for a chat with the regulars.

A few minutes ago, I got home and remembered the tequila bottles.  They're both half empty despite being full when Jake gave them to me.

So, did both bottles have slow leaks that released precious tequila without me knowing?  Or did mechanics at one or both of the car places indulge in some infused tequila?  I guess I'll never know.

On the NaNoWriMo front, I'm feeling much better about things since I wrote a chapter this morning and gave myself permission to not finish by the 30th or hit 50k by Sunday.  I'm still going to try but it's not worth feeling tired and crabby all the time.  I'm feeling much better about what I've done so far than I did yesterday.  I'm about to split everyone up on Nal Sakaar.  Once I get started on that, 50k is right around the corner.

Once again, John Scalzi shows us the way

A nice counter point to that article from the other day dissing NaNoWriMo

Once of these days, I'll have to pick up one of John Scalzi's books.  I like the cut of his jib.

Day 12 - I am One Cranky Bastard

Yeah, my rocket-like progress this NaNoWriMo is definitely having some side effects.  I'm becoming increasingly short-tempered and irritable.  I'm also on the verge of looking at writing as a troublesome chore rather than a creative endeavor.  I think part of it is trying like hell to hit 50k by Sunday and 100k by the end of the month.  Why I am torturing myself like this?  I think I'm going to relax my daily word goal to 2500 and stop trying to hit 100k in record time.  Instead of trying to do 5k today, I'm going to write one chapter and spend the rest of the day reading.  It's been at least two weeks since I've sat down and read for longer than fifteen minutes.  Maybe a half day of NaNo vacation will do me good.

Here's a few paragraphs that I've written so far this morning that I'm entertained by:

Valaric furrowed his brown and put the spyglass to his eye. At first, he had no idea what he was supposed to be seeing, just the overwhelming blackness of the Celestial Sea and the occasional piece of free-floating rock were apparent. He was about to hand the spyglass back to Zephalmachus and admonish him when he noticed a flicker of movement.

It was a yard long and covered in red bony plates of armor. Hundreds of pairs of legs were flat against the underside of its serpentine abdomen. At the front of the creature was a bullet-shaped head with seven pairs of feeler, flanked on each side by two lobster-like claws.

Valaric counted thirty of the creatures before he deemed it a pointless venture. The organisms traveled in a vast cloud, like a school of fish. Each watched the Silver Scarab and mimicked every adjustment that Jong made.

“Quite captivating. They seem to be a curious combination of prawn and millipede,” Zephalmachus said.

“They are Rokuth larvae,” Bregik said. “Though it is rumored they are quite tasty, catching and eating them is forbidden by most intelligent races that trawl the Celestial Sea.”

“Why is that?” Valaric asked.

“The adult Rokuth are among the most intelligent of known beings, some having reached high levels of proficiency in the magical arts,” Bregik said.

“Eating a sentient species is a repellent idea, no matter how delicious,” Zephalmachus said. “Still, I wouldn't mind a specimen for study.”

I'd better get back to work.  I want to get them to Nal Sakaar before I go out to run errands later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11 - The Afternoon

As I said at Thinking Caps on Chaps yesterday, sometimes getting in the day's writing is like an eight hour shift at a coal mine.  I did about 2500 words this morning and every one of them had to be coaxed out.  I think I'm suffering from a bit of burnout.  Maybe not being able to write for most of Sunday will be good for me.

I may have created too large a cast of characters for Wandering the Web of Worlds.  Once Fenlock goes off on his own, I don't think it will be as big of a problem but there isn't a lot for most of the characters to do aboard the Silver Scarab. 

Things I'm going to change in the second draft:
  • I'm scrapping the Demon's Beard and coming up with something else for the magicians to battle on the moon.
  • I need another name for the Black Shells, the Dyson Spheres made of black crystal that contain the suns and planets
  • I'll probably change the High Oligarch's appearance and NOT have her reveal her face to Valaric.
  • Work more character moments into the narrative.

Day 11 - Finally, the Meat of the Story!

I've written a little this morning and the total scope of what I'm doing is finally becoming apparent.

The Silver Scarab entered the vast tunnel, guided only by the twin beacon lanterns Glitch installed on the exterior of the ship’s head, as well as flickering green embers on the charred remains of the webbing, the last reminder of Valaric’s spell. Valaric watched in fascination as the Silver Scarab passed the still twitching remains of embryonic spiders the size of elephants, burned and blackened beyond recovery.

Debris floated in the void; fragments of charred exoskeleton, still-burning globs of spider silk, even nodules of the substance the Black Shell was composed of that had melted and resolidified. The green embers lit the tunnel with an unearthly glow. While the tunnel was a mile wide, Valaric couldn’t help but feel a touch of claustrophobia, the Silver Scarab following small vein of free space through untold megatons of solid rock, like an insane spelunker. Luckily, the Black Shell proved to be only five hundred miles thick, the Silver Scarab taking less than an hour to traverse it.

As the Silver Scarab exited the mouth of the immense tunnel, Valaric was in awe of what he saw before him. The Black Shell was perfectly smooth on the outside, a pearl of Stygian blackness. White strands of webbing, woven into great cables miles in circumference, adhered to the outer surface of the Black Shell, forming delicate crystalline mountains. Instead of having peaks like terrestrial mountains, the silken masses of tangled webbing continued upward and outward until they vanished in the distance. Small red specks glowed in the blackness of the void, as did vast clouds of spectral orange dust and gas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Black Keys "Your Touch"

A Two Chapter Day? I'll Take it!

Yeah, I was pretty productive today.  I managed over 5000 words and two chapters. The last scene I wrote had the crew finally leaving the Black Shell that contains their sun and planet.  The stuff I've been dying to write is coming up fast.

So the gadget on the NaNoWriMo website says I should be able to hit 50,000 on Sunday.  That sounds great except that I know I have another 50,000 words to go after that, possibly more.  I should ask it for more hours in the day.  As I've said before, I wish I'd either not deleted my MySpace account or archived some of the useful entries.  How was I doing at this time last year?  I think I hit 50,000 on the 17th or 18th last year and only finished my story sometime in December.

I see how much I've written in the past ten days and it kind of makes me sad.  I think this year was one of my least productive, writing-wise.  Other than the 5000 words of The Gravedigger's Promise, I don't think I wrote anything apart from blog entries.

Man, a lot has happened to me since this time last year.  I've devoured much of Richard Stark's Parker series, discovered Hugh Cook, re-read Dying Earth after ten years, and had a couple people important to me die.  I've been to several states I've never been to before, have seen the Slackers and Los Straitjackets again, and have taken thousands of pictures.  A lot happens in a year.

NaNoWriMo Day 10 - Chapter What?

NaNoWriMo continues to march forward on its tenth day.  I was about halfway through chapter 13 when I reallized what I was working on should actually be chapter 14 and there should be a Fenlock chapter in between.  Otherwise, it looks like the magicians don't know what they're doing, leaving Rannon Claw missing for chapters without seeming to be concerned.  So, I'll be banging out the 14th chapter before returning to the 13th later.

In other news, I made a rookie mistake two days ago when I bought a boneless chuck roast with an eye toward cooking it in the crock pot without examining it first.  Yesterday morning, I put it in the crock along with an envelope of onion soup mix, a can of PBR, a can of beef broth, and two cans of diced tomatoes.  When I got home from work, the whole house smelled delightful but when I opened the crock, I discovered that the roast must have been about 60% fat.  There were only four or five decent sized hunks of meat.  In an effort to salvage the situation, I poured in three cups of minute rice and let it cook in the juice.  The results were tastey but not as meaty as I was hoping.

I guess I'd better get back to it.  There is some interplay with Fenlock and the other characters I'm looking forward to writing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Better yet, DON'T write that novel

Better yet, DON'T write that novel

Does Laura Miller sound bitter or what? Maybe someone forced their NaNoWriMo novel on her at knifepoint or something in years past.

Day 9

Day Nine is slowly dissolving before our very eyes.  I'm about 1/4th of the way through Chapter 12, somewhere in the 29k's.  The magicians are on the moon and fighting a hydra-like monster called the Demon's Beard.  They've already met their first friendly, a panda-like humanoid called a tanjar, and have found some clues that will help them on their search.  Plans are to finish Chapter 12 tonight but I'll probably allow myself to eat first.  I have to finish the conflict on the moon and get them moving toward their next destination.

I know I keep saying it but I have got to work on my outline once this chapter is over.  I'm nearing the point where Fenlock will be found stowing away and things get trickier after that.

It was rough figuring out what kind of monster the magicians would encounter on the moon.  I was set to use six-legged lizards with rows of needle-like teeth but I remembered I used them last year in Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods and carnivorous salamanders in NaNoWriMo 2008's A Summer At Thornhill Manner.  It's way to early to be repeating my monsters already.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 8

Chapter 10 is in the can.  I'm hoping to get some of Chapter 11 written.  This morning, I discoved that my mini-vacation from writing yesterday afternoon put me about 150 words behind my schedule to hit 100k by the end of the month.  I hope to make that up today and get a little further ahead.

That's about all I have.  Until next time, here's a list of some odd things I've seen in the last two days
  • alpacas
  • a rabid skunk
  • a skydiver
  • a shooting star
  • hoarfrost

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 7

So much for getting up at 4:30.  It was almost 6 by the time I rolled out of bed and nearly 7 before I started writing.  I got through chapter 9 and I'm at 23,312 words.  My first impulse was to jump right into chapter 10 but I decided walk my dog and take care of some housework I've been neglecting.  My brother and his wife are coming to my parents' today so I'll be taking my lunch over there.  I'm hoping I'll be able to do another chapter this evening.

The next chapter is Fenlock heavy so it will probably go pretty well.  I finally have all the magicians in the same place and, at last writing, the Silver Scarab just flew into the sky.  It's been a pretty good couple hours.

It seems irrational to be worried about falling behind at this stage in the game but I really want to be finished with the story by November 30th if possible.  I think it could go 120k, possibly more.  I really need to do some work on that outline once chapter 10 is in the can.  I was planning on having some kind of tiger man meet them on the moon but I'm going with a tanjar instead.  For those who don't know, i.e. everyone but me, the tanjar are a humanoid race resembling red and white pandas.  They're mostly merchants.  The tanjar the crew encounters, Bregik, will serve as a guide once the crew leaves familiar territory behind.  I still haven't figured out where Fenlock ditches the crew but I've got a few ideas to pick from.

I'd better get going on the housework I mentioned.  The dishes aren't going to wash themselves.  Besides, I'm running out of coffee cups.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Afternoon of Day 6

It's three o'clock at this writing.  So far today, I've finished chapter 7, visited my parents, took quite a few pictures, did a ton of laundry, and wrote chapter 8.  I'm at 20,652 words.  I'm not sure I'll be able to write the 4, 348 words I want to tomorrow morning in order to hit 25k by Monday but I'm sure going to try.  The time change is going to give me an extra hour so I might as well use it wisely.

My story is really taking shape.  Only two more magicians need to get to Valaric's house for the meat of the story to start happening.  I might have to write chapter 6.5 so I can tell of Fenlock's time at the Hall of Forty Seven Imponderables before he sneaks aboard the Silver Scarab.  Fenlock's one of the easiest characters I've ever written stuff for so that I might save that chapter for a rough day.

Carrie's making white lasagna tonight.  My stomach is growling in anticipation.

Good Morning, NaNoWriMo Day 6!

Yeah, so my plan to get up at the normal 4:30 didn't quite work out.  While my alarm went off, I got up, started the coffee maker, and went back to sleep.  It was closer to 5:45 when I started writing.  I managed 1200 words so far, completing Chapter 7.  The Silver Scarab has made its first appearance.  Today's writing goal is to get Chapter 8 in the can and start on Chapter 9.  So far, my only plans for the day involve taking my dog to my parents' for her weekly exercise but that could expand to include a trip to the bookstore and some grocery shopping.  I'm hoping to be at 25k when Monday rolls around.  It still looks doable.

I'm hoping I can drag my ass out of bed earlier tomorrow morning.  I was doing well this morning until I noticed the time.  I'm planning to get to my parents' in time for breakfast so I should shave and shower. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Word List

Here are ten words I plan on working into my NaNoWriMo novel at some point in the proceedings:
  • vulpine
  • porpentine
  • squamous (if it's good enough for HPL, it's good enough for DJS)
  • gibbous
  • tigrish
  • chitinous
  • piscine
  • eldritch 
  • dweomer
  • cranial 
My spell checker doesn't recognize half of them but they're real words, damn it!

High Noon, NaNoWriMo Day 5

It right around lunchtine on day five.  How am I doing?  I've done about 2000 words today and I'm about a fourth of the way through Chapter 7.  Getting all of the magicians to Valaric's house is taking a lot longer than I thought it would.  It might take me two or more chapters to get everyone there.  I'm already noting things I'll probably change when I pick it over sometime in January.  I'm shooting for having 25,000 words by Monday morning but we'll see if I can do it.

One thing I've noticed since NaNoWriMo started is that Valaric is changing a lot as a character from the generic wizard I'd pictured him as when I conceived of the story earlier in the year.  Some of the new characteristics are mine but I'm not sure where some of the stuff comes from.

In the interest of ensuring my karmic balance is tilting toward the good side of the spectrum, check out this writing by Michael Barron.  It's called Wilderness.  Picture Calvin and Hobbes written by Neil Gaiman.  Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?  If you like it, friend his group on Facebook.  If not, do it anyway.  It won't kill you.  Michael needs your support and won't send you more penis enlargement spam than you would normally get.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to squeeze some writing into my lunch break.  Thorvald isn't going to tell the story of Sigard's flight to the stars on the back of a six legged winged bear by himself.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4 - Conclusion

Depriving myself of food and limiting my TV watching to Community helped quite a bit.  I finished chapter 5 and got about halfway into chapter 6.  I'm ending the day at 13,900 words.  Not bad for a day that was agony for the first half.

I'm hoping to have the ship completed and ready to go by the end of chapter 7 but judging how Fenlock's trial went, it might be chapter 8.  I think once I get the ship ready, the old outline will need some fine tuning.

In other NaNo news, Reverend Horton Heat makes some good writing music.

NaNoWriMo - Day 4

Today is going pretty slowly on the writing front, not that surprising considering I'm neither off work nor working from home.  I'm at right around 1000 words, still way ahead of the official requirement but well below my own word goal of 3350 per day.  To sum up, working at work is not conducive to writing at work.  I might have to do the old "no food until the writing is done" trick from last year.

I have noticed one thing over the last few days.  I write much better in the first three hours of the day than I do later.  I'm tempted to try getting up at 2 instead of 4:30 for the duration of NaNoWriMo to maximize productivity.

Nothing more to see here.  Go about your business.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 3 Mid-Afternoon report

Well, I did it.  I made it to 10k.  10,368, to be precise.  I'll probably re-do the chase scene in chapter four sometime down the road but it happened.  Fenlock has been captured and I worked in my Jack Vance reference.

Chapter 5 is up next and will likely be one of the ones that takes an eternity to write.  It's one of those "I have to write this chapter to get to the chapters I really want to write" chapters.  Valaric sending letters to the magicians he wants to accompany him and waiting for their replies makes for a boring chapter so I'll probably work Fenlock being under house arrest at Confederation headquarters in there somehow.  I suppose I could have the two meet.  I'm a little excited to see how it goes down.  Tomorrow.  I'm finished writing for today.  I might even try to get some reading done tonight between The Middle and Modern Family.

In other news, I love having hot water again.  I didn't realize how badly the old one was performing until the new one nearly burned the skin off my back.  Marvelous.

Oh, yeah.  I posted the first four chapters of Wandering the Web of Worlds on my Goodreads profile.  If you're on Goodreads and we're not already friends, go ahead and friend me if you like.

NaNoWriMo - Day 3 Mid-Morning report

NaNoWriMo continues to march on. 

I'm currently at 9067 words and hoping to hit 10k by the end of the day. Chapter Four is at 50%.  I think the real meat of the story will begin around Chapter Five or Six. 

In other news, I once again have hot water and keep getting distracted by the novelty. The plumber showed up at 7:30 and was done by 9.  The writing before he showed up was a lot easier than the writing after.  I've decided to take a break and go out for supplies. 

Getting away from my computer for a couple hours should help me figure out how to do the rest of Chapter Four.  I'm thinking Fenlock will get herded to a secluded place by hounds and taken into custody by Rannon Claw, the Hexhound, and dragged back to Malvernia to pay for his actions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 2

As the second day of NaNoWriMo grows nearer to conclusion, I thought I'd update everyone on my situation.
  • Chapter 2 - Completed. I had an unexpected epiphany while I was walking that should tie everything together once the Hexhound gets to town
  • Chapter 3 - About a third of the way done and my least favorite chapter.  While it isn't bad, I just not enjoying it.  It's a chapter of Valaric studying Selerak's notes and then going to see Glitch.  See the next bullet point for details.
  • I called the plumber a few minutes ago.  They are also waiting on my water heater.  Friday was the last time I was able to take a shower in my own bathroom.  I'm going to head over to my parents' in a bit to scourge a shower and a hot meal.  I'm also taking tomorrow off so I can get the work from home monkey off my back.  I'll actually be pretty glad to see my co-workers on Thursday.
  • Word Count so far for NaNoWriMo 2010 - 6059.  I'm well ahead of the minimum but I'd like to do 100k this month, not 50.  I'm hoping to get out that last 607 words before bed time.
That's all I have at the moment.  I'm feeling more confident and less fried than I was yesterday at this time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day One

I'll get the downers out of the way first.  That way the good things seem damn good.
  • Still no hot water.  The water heater is definitely showing up tomorrow
  • My neighbor's delightful cat shat in my yard.  I proceeded to step in it and track it throughout the house before I realized that stench was coming from my shoe.
  • My back aches from my uncomfortable chair.  I switched to a wooden kitchen chair around noon.  It helped.
Now for the good stuff:
  • I got up early and wrote before working from home.  I am now just a shade under 3300 words.  Not bad for the first day.
  • The story flowed more smoothly than I thought.  While I don't think I'll be able to consistently write 3300 words a day, I should be able to bust out a chapter without too much trouble.  I'm about a chapter and a third into the story.  I wanted to write the entire second chapter today since it introduces that asshole Fenlock but I was too fried after the first.  The Fenlock piece still reminds me of a John Cleese bit but I'm keeping it the way it is.
  • The water heater is definitely showing up tomorrow.
That's about all I have.  I'm still a little fried from today's exertions.