It was an awesome, draining NaNoWriMo month of writing, studying, reading, and barely any time for posting. Once again, I used my Google+ profile to post on my novel-writing progress during National Novel Writing Month 2012, which for the first time ever did not follow an even course. For your eye-bugging-out pleasure to find out why, herewith are my posts in chronological order:
1 November 2012
NaNoWriMo has begun again. I faced this day with trepidation and emerging excitement. I woke up early this morning. Felt so sleepy. Yet the writing pulled at me. At last, it was time to write another novel.
This one is grim, in a way. Yet as I wrote the last chapter — always I write the last chapter first — I could feel that inevitable optimism? hope? seep through. The last chapter was the same yet different from what I had first envisioned it ten months ago. Yup, the theme, the idea came to me and then soon after I saw how it would end before I saw anything else about this story.
This year, I’m trying Scrivener for the first time. Scrivener provides a NaNoWriMo template, and it has a full screen writing mode where all you see is text, none of that distracting menu stuff. I had gone through the tutorial last month, and this morning decided I would try it. I rather liked it. I particularly liked the fact it gave me the word count automatically. 2015 words today. I wonder if it will give me the total as I write the next chapters? I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. But right now: breakfast! I’m starving!!
2 November 2012
The funny thing about writing is that it takes you when it wants you. I was kind of tired this morning, and then the words for chapter one began to fill my head willy nilly. It didn’t care I wanted to sleep, it was time to write, dammit!
Okay, okay. I knew the general way this chapter would go. I had seen it play out in my mind for months now. Still, some of the details surprised me, like my lead character Simon playing with his peas. The first sentence took me by surprise too. In some ways this kind of writing is both scary and liberating. Scary because you don’t know how much or what you’ll be writing, liberating because you can just let go and let your subconscious do the work with a little conscious work here and there when the words appearing on the computer display don’t look quite right. Another 2000-day: 2,008 words to be precise.
3 November 2012
Boy, my arms and hands ache. For the second day in a row, I typed fast and furious. But the sun is out at last, and it was nice to type in the light and be able to actually see the keyboard. Practicing my touch typing skills is not actually part of my writing plan.
There seems to be a discrepancy between Scrivener’s word count for today and NaNoWriMo’s (once past the first day, you enter the total word count of the manuscript, and NaNoWriMo calculates today’s word count). It’s off by 5 words. I’m not sure how Scrivener calculates the total word count, but I assume it’s not adding up all the chapters then add 5 words just in case. I should probably prepare myself for a slight difference in NaNoWriMo’s word count total at the end of November and Scrivener’s. So far, I’m ahead of where I should be at this point. Total: 5,851 words.
5 November 2012
I seem to be averaging just over 2,000 words per day. This reminds me of when I wrote Lifeliner (http://jeejeebhoy.ca/lifeliner). I began with being able to write about 800 words. By the time I’d made my laborious way through the book and revised it, I was able to write about 2,000 words at a time. I have been able to write up to 3,000. But after that I definitely lose track of what I’m writing, where I began and how that led up to where I ended. I check my outline every night and morning to ensure I know what I’m supposed to write for that day. With Lifeliner, I had all these research notes too, so it took some time to condense them down to daily notes that I could get through and remember well enough to write that day’s chapter. Fortunately, I had lived and worked on that subject for years and years, so my memory had been solidified long before my injury, and my brain injury hadn’t kiboshed those memories. Still, it was the details that could hang me up, and I needed to refresh my memory of the details and how all the medical, interview, article stuff hung together for that day’s chapter.
With this book, there isn’t nearly as much research. Not even remotely, thank heaven. More, it’s like an accumulation of experiences, thoughts, observations, and readings on this subject from the time I was in my teens until now have suddenly merged in my sub-conscious and demanded that now’s the time to write.
Depending on who you believe, I either wrote 2,073 (Scrivener) words or 2,076 words (NaNoWriMo, calculated from total to date) today. (I suppose I should beef up my novel description a bit…not ready yet though.)
6 November 2012
Wow. I wrote a lot today. I didn’t think I was writing any more than usual. But I guess I got more into the flow of Simon’s thoughts than I had before, taking me in surprising directions. My arms and hands hurt. I’ve shot past 10k words and even past 12k! Woot! 12,278 words so far.
7 November 2012
I chickened out. I was going to introduce a book, which I did. I was also going to have him read some of the passages “out loud” so to speak, but I didn’t do that part. I don’t think it was just because I’m feeling so drained that the thought of searching for the passages I wanted to quote was too much, it was more because it didn’t feel right. I need the book to be introduced but its content to be only hinted at, at this point, to let the reader speculate for a little bit. So Act I is done.
8 November 2012
I’ve begun Act II. This chapter went pretty much as I’d outlined it. A few tweaks, and added some foreshadowing. I was surprised how many words I’d typed for such a simple scene. But I don’t think I stretched it out. I’m going to have to write down a list of all the people I’m introducing willy nilly and their occupations before I forget, else I’ll have to spend time I don’t have to go back through the previous chapters to find out their names etc. Almost 2400 words written today; 16,703 total. That total is the number of words I used to write in a chapter before my brain injury, which I did for Lifeliner. Now, I write 2k to 4k per chapter. Oh, how I have changed! And I am so ready for a nap!
9 November 2012
My fingers flew faster than I could keep up with my conscious mind today. My sub-conscious pushed them along until suddenly near the end it stopped and said to my conscious mind: okay, your turn. You finish up. Oh, great, thanks. Stutter, type, pause, type a word, halt, think, think some more, type another word, pause, finally see what it is I need to write. Type it. Don’t like it. Delete (bad NaNoWriMo participant, no deleting!). Try again. Works. Lean back in relief. Under 2000 words today, 18,630 words total.
10 November 2012
Today, for the first time, I got into my book, instead of being solely driven by some urge or my sub-conscious. It was like my conscious mind caught up to my sub-conscious and began to feel engaged not just taken for a speedy ride. I think thinking about my outline, moving chapters around in the Index Card app on my iPad, helped a lot. The new sequence made more sense for where I’m going.
Today also heralded the beginning of poetry in my NaNoWriMo novel. I wrote a couple of haiku. Added a poem I wrote a few years ago. I like things in threes. 🙂 Has a nice feel to it. Although I took my time over some of the prose, putting a bit of a brake on my flying fingers so I could actually engage, funnily enough, the haiku popped out pretty quickly. Time will tell if they’re any good!
Today also saw the most words I’ve written for NaNoWriMo 2012. Didn’t feel like that many words were popping out when I was typing away! 😀 I’ve now passed the 20k word count total mark. Yay!
13 November 2012
Well, I made it. Christ Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month, wrote a pep talk yesterday that so exactly described how it’s going for me (and everyone else!), I burst out laughing. It felt good. For a brief moment. And then it was back to feeling like my characters are like baked potatoes and my prose like a leaden, plodden wannabe. At one point, when I hadn’t even hit a thousand, I ran out of steam. How on earth was I going to fill today’s word count? If I could only get to 900, maybe 1000.
Then salvation. I’d forgotten part two of a conversation. I stuck it in, fleshed out the final scene — as in I put in lots of details to pad that count — well, to be honest, to put off writing the final, final part of the scene. Flipping through the print version of Roget’s helped in that quest too. It’s not like the ending of today’s chapter is particularly awful, it’s just that I’m kind of procrastinating going on with the rest of my day. But I’m done, so I can’t.
I hit the 25k mark yesterday! Woot! I was so flabbergasted, I fell backwards (figuratively speaking) instead of blogging on it. So I’m tell y’all now. One moment I was far away, the next I was past and jogging on to the next milestone. It’s going too fast this month!
15 November 2012
Today’s word count is low, lower than the daily 1,667 you’re supposed to write during NaNoWriMo. But that’s okay. I’m ahead in the total word count and am past the 30k mark; besides which this is a transition chapter.
I was staring at my outline this morning, feeling distinctly unhappy with what was on tap for today. It didn’t feel right. But I couldn’t see the big picture of where I’d begun up to where I was as of yesterday. So I grabbed a piece of paper and drew the line of the plot so far. Suddenly, I saw what should happen today. Totally NOT in my original plot or even idea for this book. I so did not see this coming. But it feels right. It ends one sub-plot line and opens up possibilities for what will happen. I almost feel like the ending has to change. But that ending is firm. Oh sure, little details will need to be tweaked. Nothing else though. Realising that, I know now I can’t go off into pollyanna land, I need to stay true to my vision, of what I want to say. So this chapter is a transition, a sudden 90-degree change in his life, yet he will remain on the same path.
30,943 words to date; 1,326 words written today.
16 November 2012
It’s my birthday today. I’ve written a chapter for NaNoWriMo every birthday since 2009 — that’s what happens when your birthday falls in the middle of a writing frenzy. But it’s been good. Today though, I turn 50 (a pointed reminder of all the losses and time since my brain injury), and I took it out on my poor character. Felt good. 🙂
I had no idea what I wanted to write after I willy nilly changed direction yesterday. Where was he going to go today? I tried to find a quote I’d read. Well, the kobo iOS app no longer has a search feature. Imagine that! An eReader that doesn’t allow you to search the text of a book, even behemoth-sized books when such a feature is de rigeur, you would think. So I went searching elsewhere, knowing that copyrighted books are not completely searchable on the Internet. I found some possible leads on the computer in long ribbons of text that made my brain hurt, and on the iPad, I had a great deal of trouble finding what I wanted. It did not help that mid-search, Windows decided to restart my computer. The little warning hadn’t popped up over the other windows, keeping itself nicely hidden (it does that sometimes). Finally fed up, I opened Scrivener and began banging out my fury. It helped. But I think my solution will be to move the ebooks I need for this book to another eReading app that allows searching. But today I wanted to write not mess about with ebooks and apps. Once you start doing that, your morning is gone and so is the writing time.
2,199 words today; 33,142 words so far.
17 November 2012
I was talking to a couple of people yesterday about the difficulties of writing my dark-but-not-bleak NaNoWriMo novel when I’m in a good mood. A mood, that if it ever falters, is soon lifted again by one of my weekly gamma brainwave biofeedback sessions. I should’ve written this book a couple of years ago when my mood was in the right vein. But then I wasn’t ready to anyway.
The problem isn’t that I can’t write. When I sit down to keyboard, the words flow. The problem is I feel too detached or too positive, and I find the words are going in the wrong direction. And I wonder just how emotive the story is anyway if I’m not feeling it. I can’t use music to create the emotional resonance I need because sound distracts me still. And it’s not an easy mood to get into; any dark mood isn’t if you must do it deliberately. But I need to feel what this guy is feeling so that I can convey it well. And I’m not.
After discussing it, I realised I needed to find the courage to connect to those feelings and then find a way to get out once the chapter was written for the day, otherwise I’d be covering everyone I met in spiderwebs of gloom. I did that this morning as a test, knowing no one would be in mood danger from me today. I wrote way, way more words than I have before, even though the fatigue started to pull at my muscles and shrink my body into my chair. I so, so want a nap. But the funny thing that happened is that I began to see opportunities for humour in a way that I hadn’t before, proving to me that in our darkest moments is when the silliest humour comes out in startling fashion. I don’t think my character will see any humour, but as long as the reader catches glimpses here and there, that’s all right.
36,688 words total. 3,546 words or 3,531 words today, depending on which program you believe.
19 November 2012
My outline and my current thoughts about my NaNoWriMo novel keep crashing into each other then veering away. Today, the setting coincided, but the conversation was completely different from what I had planned originally. That’s what happens when you “kill” off a character, or in this case, dump her. My mood too wasn’t quite up to snuff for this scene, once again, but near the end, I felt like I could feel it. Maybe I’m just doing too much mental work, what with my philosophy course and preparing for the book launch of my newest book Concussion is Brain Injury, for my brain to be able to feel the feelings. It’s not like the part of the brain that controls emotions is fully healed yet anyway. All in all, I’m happy with today’s output.
41,181 words to date; 1,739 today.
(Update: Added a couple more lines of dialogue. The mind doesn’t stop thinking just because one has stopped writing. 🙂 )
21 November 2012
I didn’t write yesterday. I think that’s the first day I’ve missed during a NaNoWriMo month. I’ve missed days during ScriptFrenzy; but in previous Novembers, I had outlined books with 30 chapters and studiously wrote a chapter every day, no matter what.
This year, I don’t have 30 chapters. I have fewer. I’ve made a humoungous change in plot, some of my chapters will now have to be tossed completely, and I’m zonked from fatigue. I want to take a loooonnnnng nap. Not write. But after one lost day, I told myself it’s like riding a horse — you get off and don’t get right back on, you’re toast. Reading NaNoWriMo sprints on Twitter, seeing tweets from writers diligently writing, helped poke me too. Certainly made me feel like a slacker. So I took my dead muscles, sat myself down, and stared at my outline. Oh, what the heck, I thought. Whatever comes, comes. Another 2,000 words for today. Not bad for a chapter of mainly dialogue.
23 November 2012
NaNoWriMo writing session went well today. I ignored my outline and went with my gut. Let the muse lead, I declared! I was also too cranky (we will refrain from saying why!) to have the patience to ponder my outline and think about what should come next. Luckily, my imagination took control and I went with the flow. The scene unfolded into another scene; even as I thought I had come to the end of the chapter, my fingers continued to type. Cool. I feel much better too. My gamma brainwaves must be cresting on a high. 🙂
46,592 words total. Almost there!
30 November 2012
So OK, I finished two days ago on 28 November 2012, and I didn’t blog about it right then and there! Tsk. My excuse is I wrote for a long, long time for me, suddenly noticed the numbers on the clock, scarfed lunch, and ran out the door. When I returned, I couldn’t believe I’d finished — how could I blog on something unreal? 😛
I had wanted to finish my NaNoWriMo novel on Monday, but life conspired against me. Same again for Tuesday, but come Wednesday morning, I was not going to let anything get in my way. I was oh so close to the 50k mark and the final day of writing was approaching rapidly. If I didn’t watch out, it’d be gone and for the first time since I began writing NaNoWriMo, I’d “lose.” Bad for the ego that.
But first I had to decide what this final chapter for me to write would be on. I had pretty much tossed out the rest of my outline and was all at sea. Realizing thinking was only going to hold me up, I grabbed the edge of an idea, and went for it. I typed furiously, finished, saw the final total word count with relief, then eyeballed the chapter. Oh dear. I was missing something, specifically a transitional chapter before it. I had no time left. But I had to write it, for the words were starting to write themselves in my mind. Oh fine. I’ll create the chapter in Scrivener, but I’ll type it later. Uh uh, decided my fingers. They went crazy on the keyboard. For a short while.
I sat back again. NOW I was finished.
I validated later: 52,999 words for National Novel Writing Month 2012.
I AM A WINNER!!! Woot. Woot. Woot!!!