Saturday, June 30, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 30

Here I am, squeezing in some writing before most of the world wakes up before I start packing to leave Camp NaNoWriMo.

Hard to believe June is almost over.  Things changed quite a bit for me since the month started but I think they've all been good changes in the long run.

The writing is going well.  I got up at 4:30 and started writing while listening to Jimi Hendrix almost immediately.  I know I've got at least 10 chapters to go, possibly more.  Jack's visiting his mom for the first time in months.  I'm not sure where he's going when he leaves.

Here's an excerpt that I like even though it's not hard boiled like the last one:

I looked at my mom and smiled. Her hair was almost white. She'd given up on dying it after my dad died. Still, she looked closer to fifty than seventy. Every little boy thought his mother was the most beautiful woman in the world at some point. I was sure mine actually was, though.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dear Camp NaNoWriMo,

I'm just writing to say that we don't have anything left to say to each other.  I'm somewhere around 52,000 words and am leaving camp tomorrow.  I'll be thinking of you over the next couple weeks as I finish Between Hell and a Hard Place but our time together is finished.  It's not you, it's me.

But don't despair. We'll see each other again in August.  I'm sure things will be different between us but we'll always have June 2012 and July 2011.


P.S. If anyone finds an iPod Nano in the hellish quagmire beneath the outhouse, I'd very much appreciate getting it back. 

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 29

The finish line is up ahead.  I'm at 49,256, leaving me 744 words until victory.  Not bad for a guy who didn't write a whole hell of a lot until day 10 or 11.

Whitlock's on his way back to St. Louis, driving back from Tulsa in the same day because of what he learned.  Just in time, too, since a shitstorm is coming.

I'd be more excited about closing in on 50k if I didn't know there was still 20-30k left to go.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Later on Day 28

Just hit 47k.  I'm hoping to make the big push and hit 50k sometime tomorrow.

Really, that's all I have to report.  Once 50k comes and goes, I'll start tying up loose ends and kicking things into high gear.  I left Whitlock on the road to Tulsa after finally doing the BBQ at his brother's house.  I set things up so he'll have to visit his mother when he gets back into town.

That's it for me.  I'm going to get read for bed and do some reading.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 28

So, only three writing days left.  How is everyone doing?

I'm at nearly 44k, meaning I'll pass the finish line sometime tomorrow night if I keep writing at my current pace.  Beyond that, I estimate 20-30k left to write.  Today's writing will likely be the BBQ at Jerry's house and a sizeable argument with Natalie afterwords.  I thought I was going to write the BBQ last night but the visit with Gregory Brissette went long.

It occurs to me that this book is going to need a bit more tweaking when I'm finished than the last one.  Since the story has morphed to be more about families and secrets, I'll have to iron out some wrinkles in the earlier chapters.

Things are really going to start picking up in the coming days.  Monday, Jack's finally driving to Tulsa to talk to Marie Valentine and driving back the following day.  Devon Baxter is finally off painkillers enough to talk, Mantis is back in town, and Miriam Brissette is going to want to have another chat with Jack.  Jack's going to finally meet the mysterious Ariel, have a heart to heart with his mother, and some people are going to get the wrong idea about his investigation and come gunning for him.  Yeah, I think it has enough legs to get to 80k.

As for August's Camp, I don't have any definite ideas yet, only that I want to write something lighter and with more action.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 27

Top of the mornin'!

I wrote over 2600 words last night and am feeling pretty good about things.  My first set of eyes is nagging me for more chapters so I guess that means she likes it.

Between Hell and a Hard Place has really morphed since I originally concieved it.  I guess that's what happens when you start with a post-it full of notes.  Whitlock's interactions with his girlfriend and family are my favorite parts of the book.  Once Whitlock gets back from Tulsa, that might change, since that's when all the action is going to start.

Today's writing will likely consist of Whitlock's second trip to the strip club to find the mysterious Mariel and then a BBQ at his brother's house.  Along with the road trip to Tulsa to talk to Marie Valentine, this will likely be the calm before the storm.  I feel slightly bad about what's going to happen but it can't be helped.

Oh, and a question for everyone else doing Camp NaNoWriMo: Is anyone else the only one in his or her cabin still writing?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 26

I wrote a little later than I wanted to last night but managed close to 2700 words.  I'm hoping to bang out another 2500 tonight.  When Saturday comes, it's going to be down to the wire.

Tonight's writing will be all Friday's activities after the strip club visit and how Whitlock spends the following day.  Tomorrow's writing is shaping up to be the Whitlock family BBQ and probably a confrontation with Gregory and/or Miriam Brissette.  I'm thinking Whitlock won't catch up to Ariel before he drives to Tulsa.

In other news, I woke up around 2:30 with a horrendous spasm in my calf muscle.  I couldn't manage to fall back asleep after that.  I should have gotten up and written something.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 25

Somebody has a case of the Mondays and it is me.

I thought I slept okay but I've felt tired all day.  3 o'clock can't get here fast enough.  It's not all bad, though.  I'm chipping away at chapter 15 one sentence at a time in between assignments.  One thing slowing me down is figuring out how dirty to make the strip club visit.

Have I mentioned the reading funk I've been in for the past week and a half?  I can't seem to get excited about reading any of the 40-ish unread books in my house.  I made some headway in The Broken Universe by Paul Melko at lunch.  It's good enough to hold my interest but I wish I remembered more of the ending of the book it's a sequel to, Walls of the Universe.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 24 Status Report

I've written over 5500 words today.  I was gunning for 7500 but I'm not sure it's going to happen.  Whitlock and Natalie are at a strip club looking to meet up with one of Amber's old room mates.  I'm getting into the tricky section of the plot.  If I have Roberta reveal too much, I'll have to reason for Whitlock to drive to Tulsa to look for Marie Brydon.  On the other hand, if she doesn't reveal enough, it will be pointless to include her.  Decisions, decisions.

I had a couple other ideas on the way to Walmart and I'm a little too pleased with my own cleverness.

When tomorrow rolls around, I'll have six days in which to hit 50k.  Since I'm at 36k, I'll have to keep up my 2.5k per day pace to hit 50 by the deadline.  I'm not worried in the least.  Not only that, if I continue my usual pace, I'll be finished by my self-imposed July 15th deadline, giving me two weeks to figure out what I'm writing in August.

In other news, I saw a teen mother at Wal-Mart giving her baby a capful of Mountain Dew.  I have to work that into something I write somehow.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 24

Yeah, I didn't post anything yesterday because I didn't write a word.  I spent time with my parents and my brother and his family instead.

However, I have already written 2500 words today and am going to get back in the saddle as soon as I wolf down some lunch.  The story is progressing nicely, although Whitlock's relationship with his ex-girlfriend is taking up more of the story than I thought it would.  Today, I've got a piece of them walking around the Botanical Gardens and then a trip to a strip club to talk to one of Amber Brissette's former room mates.  It's getting more difficult what to reveal when but I think I'm doing a good job doling out the information so far.  Finding something for Whitlock to do after he visits his brother and until Mantis gets back to town might be trouble, though.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 22: The Story So Far

Just before I went to lunch, I passed the 30k mark.  I'm slowly inching toward being caught up. Jack is heading over to his ex-girlfriend's house to watch a movie.  Not sure what's going to happen there.  I guess Jack and Natalie will have to fill me in.

Timing might be problematic for the next couple days of the story.  It's currently Thursday evening and I have some things I need to happen in a specific time frame.  Friday and Saturday are a blank slate so Jack will talk to Roberta Simms sometime in that time frame.  Sunday is the BBQ at Jerry's house, and Monday Jack drives down to Tulsa to track down Marie Valentine for more information.  I figure sometime Monday or Tuesday, Devon Baxter will come out of his coma and wind up dead after he tells the dealers he works for about Jack.  I introduced the mysterious yellow car and that will tie into whatever Marie tells him.

I handed off the first eleven chapters to a co-worker of mine who normally reads my WIPs.  She's digging it so far but keeps pointing things out I'll have to fix later.  That's what I get for setting things in an existing city.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 21 Status

Well, I'm at over 28k.  As long as I keep putting out 2500 words per day, I'll hit 50 by the final day.  I want to write more than that but it's just not coming out as fast as I want it to.

Still, I'm happy with what I've done so far and what I've got planned.  I ironed out a few plot wrinkles today and I know the story has enough legs to go 70-80k at least.  As long as I've got the juice to take that far, that is.  August is going to come really fast if I'm still working on this beyond July 15th.

On the 21st day of Camp, I give to thee...

... an excerpt!:

The coffee tasted like the bottom of a construction worker's boots but the caffeine got the gears inside my head turning at full speed. If Dobson wasn't behind the break in at my loft, who was? Had I unknowingly stepped on a yellowjacket nest in my investigation into Amber Brissette's disappearance? Or was it a simply a burglar who knew a laptop would be easy to trace back to me?

Wheels within wheels turned within my brain. I felt like I was on the verge of achieving something like Nirvana when the waitress plopped the Slinger down in front of me, preventing me from attaining enlightenment. I stirred the melange of potatoes, eggs, sausage, and chili and shoved a forkful in my mouth. It wasn't Nirvana but it was very close.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 21

It happened again.  Somehow one of my chapters on my flash drive got corrupted.  I'm only missing 20 words amidst the gobbledygook but I worked hard for those 20 words, damn it!  Maybe I should use Google documents to make my documents portable.  Or I guess I could stop bringing them to work with me.  I'm hoping the Chapter 8 document I have at home is okay.

In better news, I finally passed 25k last night.  I meant to make it a two chapter night but the hour long phone call I got from my brother while he was stuck in traffic really cut into my writing time.  The story is moving right along.  Whitlock only has three more girls to talk to and Mantis should be back in town in a few days.  I'll probably save his return for when Whitlock really needs him.  I'm also thinking Whitlock needs to talk to Miriam Brissette again pretty soon.  Still not sure how his relationship with his ex is going to go.

One thing I'm going to have to do is re-read what I've written so far and make some kind of calendar so I can figure out what day it is.  That's what I get for having Whitlock's brother inviting him over for a BBQ on the weekend, I guess.

Okay, it's more like 200 words that I lost.  Good thing it's just a conversation with the tow truck driver I'll have to reconstruct and not something really important.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Good morning, Day 20!

Here we are, 66% of the way through the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  Everyone still good on clean underwear and plenty of trail mix?

I feel like I've turned a corner on Between Hell and a Hard Place.  I was walking my dog this morning when I was reminiscing about NaNoWriMos past, remembering routinely doing 5000 word days.  Long story short, it's time I start pushing myself a bit harder.  Not only do I want to hit 50k by the end of the month, I'd like to be much further along than that.  Partly because I want to have another finished first draft under my belt but mostly because I'd like to spend July reading and kicking around ideas for August's Camp NaNoWriMo.  It's not as far away as you think.

Why did I decided 2012 was going to be the year of three novels?  Stupid New Year's resolution...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 19

Here we are, almost at the 2/3rds mark and I am not quite halfway to 50k.  Am I worried?  Not really.  I'm more aggitated with myself for slacking so much during the first ten days of the month.  As long as I put out 2.5k a day, I'll still get to 50 by the end.  Now that it's going to be nearly 100 every day, I think I'll have less of a desire to hike on the weekends.

I'm slightly worried that I may have set loose two of my complications too early by having the creepy stalker get hit by a beer truck and Whitlock's loft ransacked but I have plenty more in store for old Jack.  He still has three acquaintances of Amber to talk to and get the files from her computer.  Having his battery go dead and missing his meeting with Mantis probably saved me a lot of trouble somewhere down the line.

As I do during most novel writing months at this time, I feel a fleeting urge to scrap what I'm working on and move on to something newer and fresher.  I'm glad I keep blog entries detailing my various writing neuroses and psychoses.  Still, Sargasso needs another 2000 words for a finished draft and Oubliette is wearing a low cut outfit, daring me to work on her, the minx.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Later on Day 18

Finally passed 20k.  I still have a hard row to hoe but I feel like I've hit a milestone.  If I can just keep my head in writing mode, I know I'll hit 50k by the 30th but I'm having motivational issues. 

The story's really starting to take off, though.  I'm about to write a foot chase through Forest Park I'm really excited about and I'm really glad I had the idea to make Whitlock's siblings cops.  It's adding a whole other angle to things and making it seem less like a Chandler ripoff.

Truth be told, my favorite part of the writing so far is trying to come up with Chandler-esque similes on the fly. Mine are a different flavor than his but it's still quite a bit of fun.

Once the foot chase happens, complications are going to start popping up all over the place.  Poor Whitlock and poor whomever has to be the sacrificial lamb to get him to take up a gun and start throwing lead.

In other news, I found a dime on the floor of my aisle today.  Also, I had the song Watermelon Man in my head all day and heard it in the car on the way home.  Is that some kind of omen?

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 18

I'm officially behind.  Not only am I behind the official pace, which would have me being at just over 30k by the end of the day, I'm behind the 25k goal I set for myself last Thursday.  Hell, I'm at a shade under 20k.  At this rate, I'm going to have to bang out a couple two chapter days just to have 50k when the month ends, forget about actually finishing the tale.

On the plus side, I know where the story is going and I rewrote the back cover teaser for Between Hell and a Hard Place a few minutes ago:
Private detective Jack Whitlock is hired by a wealthy socialite to look for her missing 20 year old daughter.  Whitlock's investigations dig deep into the girl's hidden past and uncover a secret double life, all the while butting heads with lowlifes, the missing girl's stepfather, and his most difficult opposition of all, his police officer siblings...

It doesn't mention his ex-girlfriend complicating his personal life but I like the way it brings his family into it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 17

The day started off on the wrong foot.  I managed to get up at 4:30 and made it to the Castor River Shut Ins by 6.  However, it rained last night and the sky was overcast so I was unable to get the sunrise pictures I wanted.  Also, people were camped along the trail instead of at the designated camping area so I was unable to find the ruins of an old mill my hiking book alleges is there.  I guess I'll have to try again next weekend.

From there I went to the White Oak trail at Hawn State Park.  Apart from a particularly photogenic turtle, the White Oak trail has nothing to recommend it.  Next time I go to Hawn, I'll be hitting the south loop of the Whispering Pines trail.

On the writing front, I've written about 1000 words this morning but seem to be blocked at the moment.  I think I'll do some much needed cleaning and try to free up whatever is clogging my brain.  I figured out a little more of the ending this morning.  Getting there is going to be an uphill climb, I'm afraid.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 16

As I've mentioned during past novel writing periods, I always have a crisis of faith about what I'm working on around the two week mark.  Well, I was having it this morning, thinking such thoughts as:
  1. What the hell am I doing?
  2. Didn't I have enough going on in the past couple weeks that I can excuse myself from writing a novel this time?
  3. Do I have any business telling a story this tied to St. Louis?
  4. What the hell am I doing?  I didn't write anything yesterday and now I have to write 10k in two days to meet my Monday morning goal of 25k.
Well, I'm over that now. I just wrote a chapter I'm pretty proud of and I'm closing in on 18k.  I'm going to get back to it once I have a bit more caffeine.

I've noticed that I'm working more autobiographical stuff into this one, more than I've worked into anything before, like the time I saw two Galapagos tortoises having sex in the zoo or Jack's car being the rental car I drove to Tulsa and back.  I still haven't decided if Jack and his blonde ex-girlfriend are going to reconcile.  I want them to end up happy but she might need to be the catalyst that sees him finally taking up a gun after years of not carrying one and blowing some mother fuckers away later.  We'll have to see what the characters do.  I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the cast as I go and I haven't introduced them all yet.

The story is progressing pretty well.  Jack's about to get the files from the missing girl's computer courtesy of a hacker calling himself Mantis and the guy who Amber had a restraining order is going to get a visit from my gumshoe very soon.

In other news, I'm probably going to get up at the crack of pre-dawn tomorrow to give the Castor River another go.  I'm really hoping that fucking tree still isn't in the road.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 15

Just checking in.  Here's what's going on.
  1. Saw Dale Watson in concert last night.  He was really good.  Got home around 1:30 am
  2. Got up at 4:30 am with strong intent to photograph the Castor River Shut Ins at sunrise.  This did not come to pass.  I got within two miles of the Shut Ins and my progress was stopped by a big damn fallen tree in the road.
  3. Went on a 6 mile hike at Hawn State Park.  Pictures forthcoming.
  4. Getting ready to take a shower and then take a nap. 
As you can see, there has been no writing progress thus far today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 14

We are now two weeks into NaNoWriMo.  I'm still playing catch up but just passed 15k.  I'd like to tell you I was going to put my nose to the grindstone tomorrow and make some headway toward my end of the weekend goal of 25k but I have the following plans tomorrow.
  1. Get up before the crack of dawn to get a picture of the Castor River Shut Ins at sunrise.
  2. Hike at least the six mile portion of the Whispering Pine Trail at Hawn State Park.  I've thought of looking for the Geocaches at Hawn but it doesn't sound as fun as it used to without my navigator.
  3. Eat a piece of pie at the Park Et Diner.
Items 1-3 will likely be followed by a nap.  Post-nap, I'll try to write more than I have been doing but I'm not making any promises.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Later on Day 13

So I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work, even though I was concerned it would cut into my writing time.  I was unaware how appropriate the word cut was when I pulled into the parking lot.

I got the bare essentials: chips, salsa, and a 12 of the Schlafly seasonal brew, Summer Lager.  I foolishly gripped the cardboard case by one of the handles as I walked to the car.  Sure enough, the handle broke and the 12 pack fell to the ground. I heard something break and exclaimed "Mother Fucker!" just as two old ladies walked past.  Judging by their expression, they were both mothers.

Glass had exploded from the top of the cardboard case on onto the parking lot.  I bent to pick it up the glass shrapnel, knowing I'd be the one to run over the glass and incur a flat tire if I didn't, and promptly had my finger sliced open.

"Son of a bitch!" I said.  A passing guy said "Watch out, that shit is sharp."  Understatement of the year.  I finished picking up the bits of glass, my finger bleeding the entire time.  It wasn't a gusher but it wasn't a paper cut either.  I went back into the grocery store to wash it off but the sensor on the modernized sink wasn't working.  I stuck a small square of paper towel on the bleeding cut and drove home.

In writing news, I wrote 2.5k in short order after I got home and not a drop spilled on the keyboard.  Now I'm going to drink one of my eleven surviving beers.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 13

In non-writing news, I found a dollar on the ground a few minutes ago.  So far, it has been the high point of the week.

I passed 10k last night.  One goal for the week down.  I'm still gunning for 25k by Monday but we'll see how it goes.  It's less than 3k a day to meet that goal.  I'm pretty sure I can do it as long as the characters cooperate.  Also, I plan on staying out really late Thursday night.

Whitlock just met the first of his five people who roomed with the missing girl in college.  Since I've never done a first person narrative before and never a mystery with so many characters, every paragraph is a learning experience.  What's this woman like?  How was her relationship with Amber?  How much of Amber's sordid past do I reveal? 

Deciding how big of a douche I want to make Amber's biological father is also proving to be a little problematic.  He's a career burglar so I can't make him a nice person.  On the other hand, I'm thinking about having him be a lazy loser who just tries to get by.  I'll probably decide seconds before I write it. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 12

Camp NaNoWriMo continues to advance like a freight train, waiting for no man.  I got in some solid writing time last night and I'm making good progress.  While the story isn't coming as smoothly as Bullets Don't Blink did, the writing is measurably better.  Must be the Chandler influence.

While I'm still way behind the official count, I'll still hit 50k by the end of the month if I write 2333 words per day.  Since I normally write 3-5k per day when things are working, I'm not very concerned about being behind.  I'm planning on hitting 10k tonight and I'd like to hit 25k before I come back to work on Monday.  We'll see how it goes.

Even though I have no right to think about the next book while the current one is still in the womb, August's novel is probably going to be a fun pulp fantasy story.  November's will likely be another crime book.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 11

I had an insight while I was cursing at the keyboard earlier. 

When I started Between Hell and a Hard Place, I intended it to be little more than a modern era homage to The Big Sleep.  It's already morphed into something else.  While it's still a kick ass detective yarn, it's actually a story about family, specifically the black sheep.  It's about Jack's place in the Whitlock family and Amber's place in the Brissette family.  Funny how a story that was supposed to be about wise ass remarks and people getting hit over the head wound up with a theme.

The writing is flowing smoothly but is going to be an uphill climb for the foreseeable future.  I am undaunted, however, and pretty damn sure I'll be caught up by the 18th.  I thought of two red herrings I'm going to use as far as suspects go, which will give my story a much needed edge.  Plus, tracking down Amber's natural father and the guy she had a restraining order against should give the story some legs.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 10

Yeah, so I'm roughly a week behind schedule.  I could blame external factors like my trip to Tulsa and subsequent relationship woes but I'd say the four days of hiking and doing everything I can but write are to blame.

It is not an insurmountable goal for me to still hit 50k by the 30th, however.  I still have twenty days and I've written a hell of a lot more than 50k in 20 days before.  I'm going to take tonight off and hit the ground running tomorrow.

Speaking of external factors contributing to me not writing, The Avengers was awesome!  The Hulk was by far my favorite part, followed by Loki.  It was a great flick.  The only minor complaints I have would be not enough Captain America and I don't think everyone needed to have witty one-liners.  I know they're a Joss Whedon staple but I don't see Thor making jokes.  Other than that, I'd say it's the best super hero movie I've ever seen.

In other news, I shaved my beard off and feel like half a man.  I'll be regrowing it directly.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Camp? What Camp?

Okay, so circumstances derailed my start of Camp NaNoWriMo.  Without getting into too much personal detail, I wound up coming back from the Magical Mystery Tour several days early.  The point I'm trying to make is that I'm at 3798 words as of this writing.  Not only that, I'll probably not pick it up again until Monday.  Still, I've written 50k in 10 days before so I'm confident I'll "win" again this month.

On the plus side of the ledger, I've done a bit of hiking this week and