It’s November, so it must be National Novel Writing Month time. This year I’m writing a Sci Fi Time Travel novel set in the future and in Toronto, of course. NaNoWriMo, as it’s affectionately known, has done a major overhaul of its site, and so some elements have not been created yet, including the word count widget that usually resides on my website. But never mind. I have discovered Google+ and am blogging there on my NaNo adventures after every writing session (which may or may not be every day). It’s an easy platform to blog on for quick and short spewing of thoughts. Every week, I’ll gather those posts and copy them here for your edification. The dates will be linked to the original posts where you can also read comments, if any are there.
So NaNoWriMo began today. Usually, I’m so pent up in excitement and nerves, I can’t sleep the night before. But as +Errol Elumir put it in a tweet, I felt burnt out before it had even begun.
I’d been thinking about this novel since at least May, had been doing background reading since the summer, had been outlining and sketching it out for the last couple of months, had planned on writing up cheat sheets before November 1st, but life got in the way. And I so totally don’t feel ready; I feel in great need of a month-long nap first!
Time though stops for no one. It just keeps churning through each day until suddenly November 1st is here, and it’s time! That by the way, is a major theme in my new NaNoWriMo Novel: time. And space. Hence the name: Time and Space. Hahaha. Ahem. Anyway got the first chapter done. It helped that I’d written a few lines back in May and had saved them in my iPod Touch’s Notepad app and now that I have the newest version of the device and iOS, I was able to print it out to put before my eyes and inspire me. Now to go find a snack.
Day 2 of NaNoWriMo went way better than Day 1. I had a couple of thoughts in semi-sleep last night about chapter one, remembered one of those thoughts, and made the changes. I reminded myself of how I ended chapter one, and then opened a blank document to start typing chapter two.
It was slow going at first, but this chapter is mostly about description and dialogue, not much plot movement, seeing as they’re in a ship and all. Once I got into those, especially the dialogue, I had fun, and the words flowed. It’s strange how voices come to me, how I know how to write dialogue for the different characters. I hadn’t thought much about how English would be for these characters, and in the end, the language was short, staccato, no casual words. It seems to fit. Of course, it isn’t at all what English will be like in a thousand years, and maybe I’ll have to add some sort of sentence that they’ve learned to speak her language so that she can understand to explain away why they speak our English. But at this point, I have the main bones down. 1960 words, a decent count.
The biggest problem with writing, I find, is fear: fear of, can I write? Fear of, will anything come or will I just sit there staring gaga at the screen? Fear of, have I prepared enough, am I ready? But the biggest fear for me is will my energy last until I’ve finished my chapter? I suppose I could break up writing a chapter into two or more parts, but I found early on, back when I was writing “Lifeliner,” that if I did that, if I took breaks or did the pacing thing I was taught, the writing came to a stop. I lost the flow of my thoughts, I forgot where I was going and where I’d been. It was crap.
So I write a chapter in one go, hoping I can type fast enough to do it in an hour, and fuel myself with coffee and chocolate beforehand and ice water during. That Script Frenzy mug I received after my first Script Frenzy is the right size for my water-guzzling needs!
I had a lot of the caffeine-and-sweet stuff swirling around in my system this evening, and so I wrote another chapter. My imagination was on fire, and my energy was pretty darn good for the first time this NaNoWriMo. Four chapters done. 1919 words written tonight. Woot!
The sun is such an energy giver. It’s blinding outside today, the sun is so strong. But it plus chocolate plus coffee plus ice water (I know, not the usual kind of writer fuel), have powered my words on today.
It was a slow start to the morning, and it didn’t help that I read an article in the “Toronto Star” about brain injury, specifically mild traumatic brain injury (which is what I have) that veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq are suffering from in droves due to concussive devices — IEDs. I was in a thoroughly bad mood by the end of it, even though it talked a lot about some of the new research into detecting this invisible injury, because it had brought back bad memories and reminded me of how abysmal brain injury detection and treatment is in Canada and how shockingly bad our veterans are treated. “Lagging behind,” is how the writer put it. I think that’s an understatement. But my Twitter followers bucked me up, reading @NaNoWordSprints inspired me, and off I went to my computer. 1866 words for chapter 5, almost all dialogue. Tis more fun to write, and my fingers had a hard time keeping up with my subconscious spilling out the words today. A good thing!
One should not stay up late watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS when doing NaNoWriMo, not even the night/wee hours before the clocks fall back. On the other hand, somehow sleep deprivation got me to break the 2000-word mark for the first time this NaNoWriMo! Woot! 2112 words today. I like the pattern of that number.Now I can turn off my computer and return to my regular Sunday schedule of being off computer, off the Internet (except to read the news, natch).
An important chapter today for NaNoWriMo, and it strained my brain. No matter how many notes you write, how many sketches you draw and images you collect, trying to describe the future, even one completely of my imagination, is hard. Setting is important. Describing a setting that not one person on this planet will be familiar with because it’s all in my head, is even more important so that readers can follow the plot along and understand the characters and milieu of the time I’m putting my novel “Time and Space” in.But I’m done. The main bones of it anyway, and I’ve gotten my main character into the building that will become the central hub for the rest of the story. The one nice thing about writing so much description — including my main character’s reaction to this strange place — is the word count is higher than for dialogue. 2217 today!
Eight-hour later update: Oops. I forgot a detail, not a hugely important one but one that gives extra mystery and flavour to this time my main character is dumped into. Now added. Word count 2392.