Monday, November 28, 2011

My Thanksgiving Weekend

Now that I am done (done! done!) with NaNoWriMo, I can get back to a more normal blogging schedule, which is lovely.

As part of NaNoWriMo, Writer's Digest was offering free e-book editions of a few writing and publishing related books, which I snatched up because they were free. So, this December, as I'm editing, shaping, rewriting, inserting research, writing better and hopefully, you know, actually revising and completing a viable second or third draft,
I'm going to read through my free ebooks to see if I can glean any novel writing knowledge on what to do when revising.

This ain't over yet. I'm not actually finished with my NaNo either; I have a few scenes left before I run out of time to validate and win. After that, I think I might bury it for a few days or a week, maybe give it to a reader, and then figure out how to revise the hell out of it.

Any of you have any revision tips? 

NaNo: Day 28

I have hit 50,000 words. That is, I actually hit 50,081 words two minutes ago. I'm going to finish this scene, write the last sequence, and then validate my word count for NaNoWriMo, likely sometime tomorrow.

I finished! I won!

Editing, here I come.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNo: Day 27

Current word count: 47,381

I am 2, 619 words away from the 50,000 necessary to win NaNoWriMo. That's not going to finish my story, by the way. I still have a few events waiting to be written.

I'm actually ahead, but my diligent daily word count of 1,667+ words has fallen slightly (hence the orange spots in word count calendar), due to Black Friday and Saturday. I worked a very long shift on Friday (and survived) and then basically slept most of Saturday and was too groggy to write much. So I won't finish early and I might not hit the 60,000 words I was hoping for by the end of the month. Boo.

Trying to get back on the wagon of 1,667+ words a day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNo: Day 23

Current Word Count: 44,121

Received another amazing pep talk, this time talking about writing habits that NaNo can instill. Love all the points about thinking about your character during mundane moments like doing laundry.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Downton Abbey Predictions, Part Deux

Edited to add: Servants' Ball Pictures

Continuing on with my previous ruminations on the fate of the characters of Downton. What do all of you think is going to happen? If you know more about the history of this time period (1920), then how do you think it'll affect the denizens of Downton Abbey?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Downton Abbey Predictions

This post is pure speculation. Feel free to contribute to my wacky ideas via the comments down below (click on the  lavender link that says "Comments."Seriously. Do it. Good things will happen.)

I don't know what the plot of the upcoming Christmas Special is or what kind of stories we can expect in Season 3. So let's go character by character.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNo: Day 17

Current word count: 33, 274

Another pep talk appeared in my NaNoMail today. I find it the most inspiring of the bunch so far. I tweeted about it, too, and Chris Cleave, who wrote the pep talk, replied to me to wish me good luck.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNo: Day 16: Dancing Through


Current word count: 32, 448.

I'm finding that I have a real affection for the gossiping trio of Mrs. Henson, Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Thomas. They are the old biddies of the village, who love to talk about everyone.

I finally finished Emma by Jane Austen late last night. I love the way the village of Highbury and its citizens are depicted, the way the social hierarchy is lived within the book. And of course, there is Mr. Knightley. I've decided that he surpasses Mr. Darcy for me.

I finished writing a ball scene yesterday--an event which the trio of biddies were gossiping about today, of course. Apparently, Lord and Lady Banston throw a huge Christmas ball the day after Christmas every year and people come from miles around to attend.

I used to think that dancing at the time was very graceful and decorous and intricate. Yeah, it's all of those things, I suppose, depending on the dance.

Maybe it's because I was reading Emma and watching the recent miniseries version of it, but this dance scene stuck in my mind as I was writing my ball and its country dances: Emma 2009

Looks like fun, no?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNo: Day 15


Today is NaNo's halfway point.

I am past 30,000 words as of right now. My story is taking a really exciting turn. This character that I had the old biddies of the village referring to early on in the story is finally taking her important place within the novel. I gave myself fist pump in the air today as I was writing a scene.

Writers. We get so excited by the littlest things. Foreshadowing, for instance. I seem to really adore foreshadowing.

Also, I wrote 3,000 words today! Am so psyched!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nano: Day 14 Another Pep Talk


Third week's pep talk:


Fellow Writers, 


I’m hoping your words are spilling out in fully formed plots, intriguing dilemmas, compelling characters, and sentences that feel vital and precise. But I well know that novels are unwieldy and that getting them under control can be like trying to herd planets into a line. 

NaNo: Day 13


I had no time to write today. I worked late last night and then basically fell into bed, woke up and went to work a 6 hour shift during the day, where it was very busy and I came home exhausted and not in the mood to write.

You know how many words I wrote just after midnight of Day 13? 52.

I just finished the daily word count--the bulk of the 1,667 words was written in the last hour. I hit 1,682 words for total words written today. I'm still ahead by about 2,500 words or so and I hope to increase that margin during the week.

And now, being very sleepy, I'm going to bed. Good night!

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNo: Day 11


It's Veterans' Day. Today, at 11:00 am, the Armistice that ended World War One came into effect.

I suppose, for me, having watched Downton's second series already, the show naturally comes to mind when thinking about WWI.

There's a challenge going on on the NaNo forums today, to either write for 11 hours or to write 11,111 words. I'm going to try for the 11,111 words, but we'll see.

In addition to the excellent Write or Die, I'm finding that having my Word doc on Full Screen view hides the mounting word count. Which means that I'm not staring at the word count and calculating it against the NaNo stats over and over again.

In my trolling of the NaNo forums, I came across a few topics about Nano'ers not feeling supported in their writing.  It might be Week Two downslide, but those kinds of topics break my heart a little bit.

I have my moments of "God, this sucks" and "Who the hell is going to read this?" while I'm writing anything, even this blog. It tends to come out of nowhere, that attitude, and it serves no purpose.

Yeah, it sucks. It's a Shitty First Draft. It's supposed to suck. When I finish this come November 30, I'll go about figuring out my revision process, which is the part of the writing process that I haven't figured out for myself yet because I tend to become impatient with my ms. I don't really know how to revise an entire book as opposed to a 7-page essay, okay? These things take time.

As for "who the hell is going to read this," well, no one, except maybe a few trusted people, should they feel accommodating. I actually feel a great deal of comfort, knowing that no one is going to see the first draft and maybe not even see the second draft. It's still my baby.

As for lack of support and snarky individuals, I say fuck 'em. I have a small support system, so small that it often feels like they've disappeared off somewhere. But in order to write and afterwards, even attempt to get published, you won't do any of it if you don't support yourself. You have to write your novel, short story, term paper, brief, blog post, snarky answer on a stupid sales model form...yourself. Nobody else will do it for you and as nobody really thinks or sees things like everybody else, your approach and ideas are unique.

I think for me, writing is part and parcel of who I am. Take it or leave it. Believe it or not. It comes with the package. It's a developing package, however. I think it might feel tiresome to some people to hear that someone is writing or participating in NaNoWriMo or ScriptFrenzy or something like it, but what are they going to do with it? It's just a lark. It's only a hobby. It's totally something I can devalue about that person, they think

The publishing process is not easy. It's probably as soul-destroying in some ways as job searching. Have I attempted it yet? No. Why? Why not? Why bother writing so much and having a blog and ranting and dealing with these complicated historical time periods and doing Nano and revising and doing all this to yourself for so long? Why aren't you published yet?

One, I think that shows a profound lack of knowledge about book publishing. Two, because of the state of the publishing industry, it's likely that I could just e-book it and have it sold on Amazon. But most importantly is Three.

I want my work to be the best I can make it with my current writing and editing abilities. And if I say it's not ready, I'm not being modest. It's really not ready yet.

All right. Rant over.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNo: Day 10


Yay, we have word count widgets now. My word count widget is here, on the right sidebar.

Also, re-reading the last scene I wrote yesterday, I realize that the dialogue, as its playing in my head, sounds like Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey.

Just got Pep Talk #2:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNo: Day 9


No names for Mrs. Braddock yet?

Anyway. Was catching up on other people's blogs (this after writing over 1,000 words in an hour in an effort to make Day 8's word goal before the clock struck midnight) and read a short blog on how rules didn't apply to the peerage/ aristocracy of England and another on illegitimate children. Both are pertinent to my WIP.

Because the rules didn't apply--or because they were powerful enough to break them--the nobility were a fairly dissolute bunch. There was a lot of gambling, drinking, scandalous affairs and the like going on. And my MC is a product of that nobility, though he's gone his own route. He can do anything he would like to--and that's not false confidence.

And, of course, there's the oft-repeated maxim of writers that I came across today. It's ridiculously true:

I've said it before but it's worth repeating: If you don't take your writing seriously, no one else will either. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNo '11: Day 6. Name My Character!


NaNo Day 6 is going pretty well, though I'm not sure that I'll hit the 12k or so I was hoping for.

Anyway, I have a question to ask of you. Please give all answers to this question in the comments below. Just click on "comments" at the bottom and write it in.

I have a character in my novel named Mrs. Braddock. She is in her late twenties to early thirties, white, English, of the gentry class. She has just come out of full mourning for her not-so-lamented older dead husband, with a decent fortune of her own and a nice house with not much land, but enough, near the river in the countryside.

She has brown hair and brown eyes. Has evidently spent time being cosmopolitan in London. Is very seductive.

She's a merry widow. And she grows in importance as a character. But she has no first name!

So, what kind of name do you think would fit this lady? Keep in mind, it's 1800, so she would have been born in the 1770s.




Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNo '11: Day 5


I am currently at 9,136 words. I started writing today at about 4:30 pm (after I got back from work) and have been writing, watching a documentary on scary Stuyvesant students with my dad, writing, eating, writing, watching TV.

I had a little moment yesterday, after I finished up the ballroom bit: "What comes next?"

Then I remembered where I was in the timeline. September 1800. It's Mady's birthday. Soon, Alexandra will ask for a pony and Miles will train her. Then, of course, winter sets in.

I'm finding this one easier to get into as I'm writing. It feels easier, right now, to write this than last year's NaNo project. Whether that's because last year's was kind of made up as I went along...or because the research was driving me crazy...or because, let's face it, I've been immersed in this story for the better part of this year...who knows.

Aiming for 10,000 words tonight. 10,000 words is tomorrow's goal. Some Wrimos on Twitter are going for 15k by Sunday night, but, um...we'll see.

11:00 PM: 10,000 words made. Currently looking up info on milliners. Mady wants a pretty bonnet for her birthday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My 1st pep talk of NaNo '11:Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morgenstern is an author. Her book The Night Circus is a current bestseller and was drafted during NaNoWriMo.

This is her pep talk, which arrived in my NaNoMail tonight.

I can't work ninjas into this book though. Too bad. I kind of feel like a ninja once in a while. I think it's a side effect of wearing too much black.


NaNo '11: Day 4


12:28 AM: Day 4 has begun well. I've gotten a sweet "you can do it!" message from a friend and a really nice "Your plot sounds intriguing" from a new NaNo Writing Buddy. Day 4's word count goal is 6,666.

2:43 AM: Well, without being too distracted, I have hit 6,667 words, which is past the word count goal, but not the daily 1,667 words--because I started ahead of daily word count on Day 1. Since I have a day off from work, I'd like to  write maybe a 1k-3k ahead.

2:38 PM: Let's sprint against the dryer. 30 minutes, go!

5:44 PM: Words written today: 2,333!!!! Total word count: 7,818. May try to get a little more in, at least to wrap this scene up. It's a ballroom scene.

11:07 PM: Through writing on and off for most of the day, I have written 2,999 words today. My total words written is 8,484, which means I passed tomorrow's word count goal :D 80,000 words, here I come!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 3


I was doing my usual midnight to 1 or 1:30 writing, since I don't have the ability to sit for hours on end trying to make word count...and no matter how much I wrote, it doesn't seem enough.

That's not to say that the scene I'm writing is like pulling teeth, because it's not. And the story's pacing is moving along nicely, too.

I just couldn't get enough words out and I didn't really feel like...writing. So I better stop blogging (and reading the NaNoWriMo forums) and get to work.

I'll never be a publishable author if can't seem to write more than 2,000 words a day, right?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo '11: Day 2


Day 2 began with about a thousand or so words written between midnight and 1:30. Pre-planning here, folks, since I have work tonight and won't be here to write during the day. Granted, I didn't write straight through. I took mini-breaks to check Twitter, read the NaNo forums (fascinating, as always), and watch Mr. Knightley being awesome (YouTube).

I got up to a word count of 3,130 words. Day 2's goal word count is 3,333. So, as of now, I have written 1,077 words today.

I love all of NaNoWriMo's charts and graphs that tell me how much to write. If I could write with NaNo all year long, it would kick my ass into high gear.

I'm really aiming more for 80,000 words rather than the 50,000 required. 80,000 words would actually finish my novel.

And so far, Buzzy (my Inner Editor) has been behaving herself. I'm finding that writing something I've been working on is not actually slowing me down at all. It's making me consider new scenes and think of my characters in a different way. I promise, it'll be better than last year's NaNo.

All right, it's 12:30 PM and I've passed Daily Word Count, but have not written 1,667 words today. This is because I started ahead yesterday.

And it is 12:48 PM and I have finished the 1,667 words, topping out at 3753 for Day Two.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nanowrimo '11: 13 hours in


Yes, it's 13 hours into the NaNoWriMo and I have written 1, 915 words. Which means that I am already 249 words ahead of the daily word count of 1,666 words. The word count widgets aren't available yet, but when they are, I'll add it to the blog.

Edited to add: As of 10:49 PM, I have a Day One word count of 2053.

Also, I'm a NaNo Rebel because I'm working on a previous work. The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that even though the rules say that coming up with something from scratch is best, it's not a hard and fast rule. In fact, to quote Captain Jack Sparrow, "they be more like guidelines."

There is even a forum for the Rebels--people working on previous work or revising previous NaNo novels or working on non-fiction or academic pieces. You could, conceivably, write your thesis by NaNoWriMo.