Books

NaNoWriMo 2014 Begins . . . on Twitter

Posted on

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to participate in National Novel Writing Month, which I have since 2009, this year. The thought was disturbing. But my muse came to the rescue. It said: locate a novel on Twitter. Make it a mystery. You figure out the rest. Well, I did. And though I waffled over my initial idea of playing it out on Twitter — should I or shouldn’t I? — and though I began by thinking the entire novel would take place on Twitter and ended by realizing it couldn’t — by the time I began writing Chantie’s story just after midnight on November 1st, I knew I would go ahead.

List of characters, revealed to date:

NaNoWriMo Character Twitter Avatars
NaNoWriMo Character Twitter Avatars

So here’s the deal. [Updated 6 November 2014 with questions for me, below.]

The novel takes place on Twitter, which means the characters will be tweeting at each other, which means they need their own accounts, which means, well, hey you can watch them tweet on Twitter. The only issue is that the novel includes some prose — how much I’ll find out as I write it. That prose will, for the most part, not appear on Twitter. That could make it a little incomprehensible for readers or, I’m hoping, make it more mysterious and set up conversations about what’s happening “behind the scenes.” This idea will certainly make novel writing more challenging for me. I don’t know how Charles Dickens ever got the nerve to serialize his novels as he wrote them, but I’ve always admired him and am now following in his footsteps. Eek!

I wrote the first draft of the final chapter yesterday. That will remain locked up away from prying eyes. Today, I wrote the first chapter of my novel, tentatively titled Chantie. I’m not a big fan of my title; it’ll do though. Anyway, chapter one introduces my main character Chantie Trembel, and I opened it up on Twitter with a few critical tweets giving context:



Questions and Answers
If you have any questions, tweet me!

I was debating about the timeline. I write the novel in 30 days, so should it take place over 30 days? Sort of. Because of the writing process, some of the tweets won’t be in real time. But all the Twitter chats will be done in the time they’re supposed to happen over. Where time is a factor, I will stick as closely as possible to real time.

 

I was thinking of having Bobby follow some of my tweeps, then I began to wonder if he did more than follow, if he interacted with them, how would that work in a published novel with issues of copyright and all? I’d ask before I did that and before I had his character follow anyone as well. But it could be fun!

All tweets by my characters are copyright protected under my name as per Twitter’s terms of service. “5. Your Rights You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services.”

Books

NaNoWriMo 2013

Posted on


I didn’t think I would do it this year. The novel I had in mind, I couldn’t get researched in time. I had trouble even with desiring to write anything, and I worried that by the time November 1st came around, I’d have some motivation back but nothing to write. And so I, unusually for me, ditched my original idea (for now) and went back to a radio play I’d written for ScriptFrenzy in 2011. All I had to do was go through it and create an outline in my Index Card app. I almost didn’t get that done either! But I did at the last minute and started writing the very first minute of November 1st.

I was off to an auspicious start. It helped that the National Novel Writing Month folks have really amped up the pep talks, Twitter coaching, online sprints, encouraging emails — I mean, we were positively inundated in a really, really good way. But it wasn’t enough. My motivation hadn’t returned, and I found myself reluctant to write. Fortunately, for me, life had dropped out of a maritime blue sky a fellow brain injury survivor who’s a trained life coach who made her mission to cheer me on. Every time I flagged, she was there to discuss the novel, me, NaNoWriMo, whatever, and wind me up again. From her, I received daily ecards, and with her astute questions, I figured out what was wrong with the ending and what I needed it to be. And finally, on the last day, the story came together and wrapped itself up, and suddenly, I was done. Phew.

I blogged occasionally on Google+, as is my wont. Herewith are the posts:

November 1

So I’m off. I don’t normally start NaNoWriMo right at midnight. But I wasn’t sure I’d get a chance to write my first novelling words during normal, sane hours of the day, and hey, it’s good to launch with everyone else at the stroke of 12:00am in my time zone! I’d been waiting all Halloween day since I woke up and saw Christmas Island start their first NaNoWriMo word sprint.

So I got 710 words written, went to update my word count, but the spiffy new NaNoWriMo website had moved the word count entry field. Argh! Where’d they put it??!! Oh. Nope they didn’t move it, they reset the time zone to PST. Pesky defaults! All good now. http://nanowrimo.org/participants/shireenj/novels/divorce-times-marriage/stats

November 2

Day two of NaNoWriMo, and I’m behind in word count. On the plus side, I wrote more than the daily allotted number today, which bodes well for the next few days, right? 🙂

I’ve introduced a character that was only implied in the radio play, which means he has no name. And my mind was not up to coming up with one on the spot as I wrote in his character. So I called him the “director.” Maybe I should capitalize it, turn it into a noun name. 1,920 words today, 2,640 words so far for “Divorce Times Marriage.”

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/shireenj/novels

November 4

I wrote just over 2,000 words today for NaNoWriMo. I’m almost caught up to the daily word count. Almost. 🙂 A lot of dialogue in today’s scene. Yesterday, I was wondering if I had a handle on Cherry’s character because she seemed to be morphing from how she was in my head back when I wrote the original radio play to something different today. Then I realized that I’m adding on a layer rather than changing her outright, making her less of caricature or one-note character. Gerald’s turn will come, I’m sure. But he’s such a strong character in my head, he doesn’t need tweaking. Heh.

November 5

I was almost caught up, and then today, I wrote a short chapter. I began in third person, but luckily had only written a paragraph or two when I remembered that these particular interior scenes are in first person. I went back and edited (a big NaNoWriMo no-no — one must never edit, but I had to in this case!). And once I was in first person, the words come more easily. This is definitely the right point of view for these scenes with Gerald talking to you. 🙂

I’m up to 7,622 words, ahead of some of my NaNoWriMo writing buddies, behind others. Smack in the middle is OK, but it’s more fun when I’m leading the pack. Heh.

November 7

After not writing yesterday, I cracked the 2000-word barrier today. Phew. Still behind in the word count though. I’m not sure I could’ve written anymore. My character did a lot of yelling and then the exhaustion of it overtook her — and me too. #nanowrimo is doing a writing marathon on Saturday. I may join in, for a part anyway, so as to finally, finally get caught up. Been behind since day one!

November 8

Big scene at the shrink’s today in my #nanowrimo novel Divorce Times Marriage. Went a long way to making up for my low word count so far. I’m almost near where I should be — again. Cherry didn’t have much to say during this session; she mostly hid behind her hair. I find having long, or at least not too short, hair comes in handy, but it was hard trying to describe the fall of her hair and how she hid behind it without using “tell” words. Gerald, though, had lots to say. On and on. The shrink’s response was suitably rewarding. I like an active shrink!

A beefy 2,800 words or so today! Over 12,000 words this month so far!!

November 9

Today was NaNoWriMo’s NaNoThon day. I typed 3,727 words and upped my word count above where I’m supposed to be. I was hoping to type more, but I had to catch up on my coursework as well. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to have any other commitments during the novelling month, but I couldn’t resist! Anyway, it was fun being part of this planetary writing marathon while I could join in. It’s a definite keeper of an idea!

November 15

The #nanowrimo week-two-three doldrums officially dragged me down this week. But I saw the Toronto ML’s video in my Google+ feed and clicked on it to watch. You must too! Especially if you’re questioning whether you can write or want to write or if NaNoWriMo is for you. Or you just need a laugh and a non-Rob Ford thing to laugh over. 🙂

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ErrolElumir/posts/eswxRbmNLqD

So I watched that, opened Scrivener, and got down to the business. And boy, did I write. I blew past all my previous daily word counts. I’m behind again in where I should be, but not as badly as I would’ve been if I’d written what I normally have this month. Phew. This is why NaNoWriMo is so great — the huge swell of support that buoys you up and pushes you along when you hit those discouraging still, windless waters.

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/shireenj/novels/divorce-times-marriage/stats

November 16

It’s my birthday, and this song keeps playing in my head:

http://youtu.be/hMb1wPfE1Iw

But #nanowrimo comes first! The writing must always come first, isn’t that what they say? Heh. So as the sun shone onto me, I ignored it and typed away on my computer until I reached the halfway point of this month of novelling, although I didn’t know it was the halfway point. I just knew it was the end of today’s chapter and found out I’d passed the 25k mark when I clicked on Project Stats in Scrivener.

I’m getting used to Scrivener. I think I’ve fully transitioned from writing my novels in WordPerfect to writing them in Scrivener. I know there are many features of this software that I don’t use yet, but for distraction-free writing, I got it down pat.

I keep forgetting to change my POV from third person to first when I get to a Gerald-only chapter. Then when it dawns on me, a loud ARRGGHHH fills the room, before I have to go back and tediously replace all the “he”s with “I”s. And that’s when I notice — once again — what a difference it makes which POV I write in when I do a Gerald scene. Gerald’s thoughts and emotions come alive in my mind when I switch to first person in a way that third doesn’t do. Anyway, Gerald’s time is done for the day, and it’s my turn to have some fun (not that Gerald was having fun, oh no, he was in agony).

25,474 words total so far.

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/shireenj/novels/divorce-times-marriage

November 21

I’ve fallen off the #nanowrimo bandwagon. I blame my metaphysics course, making me think about reality, write about free will. But that’s all done. And after I passed out from the effort, had a pep talk, read a pep talk, looked at Errol’s nanotoon, watched Scrivener go belly up on me, restart it, I finally began writing again. And that’s when I saw I hadn’t quite finished my last chapter. I thought I had, but I hadn’t really, not based on where the plot was going in the radio play I’m basing the novel on. I didn’t want to touch the last chapter. So I made a bit of a switch-up in my structure and added a new chapter. Now the chapter I was going to work on will have to wait until tomorrow.

I wrote almost 1900 words today, exceeding the daily quota but not enough to catch up from three lost days. I need another #nanothon !

November 23

OMG. After three stints of #nanowrimo writing today, after typing up a storm during each stint, I’m 1000 words short of 40k. Argh!! So close. On the other hand, I am on target now. At last!

I’ve begun writing chapters contrasting Cherry and Gerald’s activities that are happening at the same time. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue that. Maybe once more.

November 28

Holy cow. I look up from typing, click Project Statistics in Scrivener, and I’ve passed the 50k mark. How’d that happen? When’d that happen? Well, today, I know, but it seemed like I was forever catching up and then all of a sudden: bam. I won.

I won the word count part (not officially yet though). Now I have to finish my novel. I have another seven chapters to go and three days to write them in. Hoo boy.

November 30

Oh yeah. I did it. I did it! LOL! I just validated my novel and was instantly taken to the NaNoWriMo winner’s page where the “Huzzah!” video played. It’s simple, short, and amazingly uplifting and rewarding to watch that video of people you don’t know personally congratulating you. Whoot!

I made it to 50k and beyond. Even more importantly, I finished the story, and I’m finally feeling that the ending is right. I’ll probably tweak the last few lines, maybe add in more dialogue, but the tone of it, the conclusion of it, at long last works for me. And if it works for me, then hopefully it’ll work for readers too (although I’m not sure when I’ll post it into the searching spotlight of the public, always a nerve-wracking, tricky thing to do).

I wrote the entire novel in Scrivener. It went off in a different direction in the last several chapters from the original radio play I wrote in 2012 during ScriptFrenzy. And for once, I managed to keep updating my outline in the Index Card app as I went (oh, um, I forgot — gotta update the last two chapters and delete a couple…anywhoo). And I found the Scrivener NaNoWriMo obfuscation compile template so that I could quickly and easily validate my manuscript on the NaNoWriMo website.

I’m now done. I’m finding that hard to believe. Wow. Done. Gotta let that sink in.

I’m feeling rather at loose ends, like, what now? Well, celebrate with some chocolate, of course. And then peruse the winner’s page to see what the goodies are. And oh yeah, update my BiblioCrunch annual membership. That is one winner’s goody from last year that more than paid itself out to me. Best one ever!

Official word count: 59,345.

Books

Aban’s Accension on Wattpad

Posted on

Accension, not ascension. Yes, I know how to spell!

Accension: The action of kindling or the state of being kindled. (From The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary) It is related to the verb “accend.”

This is an old word, but it completely describes what is happening in this the second novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month 2010. I wrote it, revised it, sent it out to Beta Readers, revised it, revised it some more. But I remained hesitant about publishing it on my own. It was supposed to be edited and published, but that fell through. So I stuck it in the figurative drawer unsure about what to do. Then last month BiblioCrunch hosted an #indiechat on Twitter with Wattpad, and I had my answer!

I have begun posting Aban’s Accension on Wattpad, one short easy-to-read chapter at a time.

Coddled and controlled, living a sheltered life with her parents in small-town Ontario, Aban receives a surprising letter one day: Her grandmother has left her her entire estate, including a house in Toronto with a mysterious male tenant. In a spurt of unexpected independence, Aban leaves her secure home intending only to see her inheritance, intending to return home. What she finds instead upends her life and everything she had believed.

I hope you will check out the first chapter up now and look for the succeeding chapters. If you join Wattpad, using your Facebook profile or unique login, you can add it to your library and get notified every time I post a new chapter! Plus you can find lots of great free reads!!

Concussion is Brain Injury

BiblioCrunch and Twitter

Posted on

When having trouble with a company, go to Twitter. So it was with BiblioCrunch when I had a tiny problem: no response to my support request email within the 24-hour window they had promised on their site. I tweeted my plaint and expected nada, for it was on Saturday, usually when all but the largest companies are off.

Within a very few minutes, I received a reply — an apology and a request to email her directly. And I received a DM with the email address and another apology. I hopped to it and sent an email. But as swiftly as I emailed, they were swifter in reply and in helping me sort out my problem.

And then they went further: they offered to post my book cover and links on their Facebook and Pinterest pages, and they had noticed my book launch tweets for my soon-to-be-released book Concussion Is Brain Injury and offered to send some tweets my way too. Now that's a company that understands customer service! No wonder they sponsored National Novel Writing Month and were one of the NaNoWriMo winner goodies (yup, I had another winning November; though for the first time ever, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this novel). I now look forward to using their site!

 

News

NaNoWriMo 2012

Posted on

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!!!

 

News

Camp NaNoWriMo: The First Days

Posted on

I am once again blogging at Google + on my writing experience during a NaNoWriMo event, this time Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve never participated in Camp NaNo before, and it’s different from the November event fer sure. It’s casual and uses camping motifs. I’m not posting every day like I did before, but here are the ones for the opening weekend.

1 June 2012

I hadn’t written the minimum number of words, I realised, when I checked the word count in iA Writer after I’d finished my first chapter. Do I try and add more or make up the word count tomorrow? Oh, what the heck, the scene could use more details, maybe stretch out the bickering between the first two characters of my story. Sometimes word count goals are useful. The scene, I think, is much better for adding another 200 words. But still I’m short 59 words. Oh well. I’ll make THOSE up tomorrow.

Oh yeah, didn’t I mention? I’m in Camp NaNoWriMo! The summer version of the annual National Novel Writing Month that I participate in every November, for the last three years anyway. I thought I would try this new event in June with a lighter kind of novel, one that doesn’t require extensive background reading or research. I need a break after all the physics I learnt (and relearnt) last summer!

I wasn’t sure how it’d go, if I could do it at this time of year, especially as I have other books I’m supposed to be revising and preparing. But I’m liking it — so far. I’m feeling pretty peppy after typing out 1,609 words using my Apple Bluetooth keyboard. No way I could type out that many words using the iPad’s onscreen typepad. Let’s hope tomorrow goes as well!

(Check out the comment on G+.)

2 June 2012

When I awoke this morning, I absolutely didn’t feel like writing, mostly because apart from a couple of lines, I had no idea what I’d write. Plus I hadn’t decided on two of the characters’ human names yet, and I needed them now, that is, if they were going to appear in the last chapter. Of course, I got out my iPad anyway and began writing, whether I wanted to or not. Camp NaNoWriMo was bustling with activity and calling me to get in on the action.

The two nameless characters had to appear at the start of the chapter. I wrote and hoped their names would appear on the screen like magic. Well, not like magic, but close enough, long enough to get the main action of this final chapter going. I say “final” because I usually start writing my novels wih the last chapter. I like to know where I’m going. This month was slightly different in that I began with the first chapter, or probably more like the prologue, because I needed to know where I was starting before I could know for sure where I’d be ending up.

More words today than yesterday, yay! 1,846

Books

Writing, Revising, and Heat

Posted on

Camp NaNoWriMo (or as I like to shorten it, Camp NaNo) is in two days, and I ain’t ready, not by a half mile, I ain’t. I’m also awake too early. You’d think those two sentences would mean I could get my Camp bus in gear and set off. Nope. Instead I’m punchy from lack of sleep.

Monday, I finished my third NaNoWriMo novel Time and Space. I did those final find-and-replace kind of edits, the ones where I blithely hit “Replace All” and then wonder what I’m replacing, if the software will make some sentences look strange or have the grammar police, with me leading, charging after it screaming, you screwed up, there’s an extra period at the end of that sentence! Well, that’s what editors are for, I soothed myself while I went on to my next Find-and-what-the-heck-Replace-All edit.

Monday, I spoke to my editor and discovered, holy cow, my brain injury book will be started on next week! And here I was moseying along, not chivvying my feedback person to get the rest of the feedback to me. I had already made a change here and there since sending my manuscript off to Iguana Books, and I was planning on incorporating the feedback I’d received a couple of weeks ago, planning being the operative word. So tout de suite to the computer I went before the humid heat descended and rendered me heat-comatose on the couch!

I rewrote the opening and chucked out lots of good stuff. Maybe I’ll slot bits and pieces back in in other places. Maybe not. The hardest part of writing — or sometimes when in a mad frenzy of rewriting under deadline, the easiest — is cutting things out. I don’t usually have to do that because my first drafts are always too short. Time and Space after two revisions, is finally over 80,000 words. But Concussion IS Brain Injury was over 100,000 in its very first incarnation. I created it from my over-60 blog posts on the topic. I’m a bit wordy when it comes to brain injury, or maybe not wordy, but I do have a lot to say.

At the same time as I was incorporating feedback, I was getting some blog posts out of my head and into the computer so that I could add them to my brain injury manuscript. I got one written and published. And then the muggy heat wave hit. And my body decided enough with writing or doing much of anything. Thankfully, it’s cooling down today. The birds are happy; the raccoons are banging up a celebration; and I’m blogging.

Books

Camp NaNoWriMo?

Posted on

I’m thinking of doing Camp NaNo.

In 2009, I wrote my first novel She during National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s popularly called. It was just the thing I needed to help me write as my brain injury had robbed me of initiation, of the thing that gets you organized and doing things. I went on to have She edited and published over the next two years.

In 2010, I tried out ScriptFrenzy, NaNoWriMo’s smaller script-writing cousin. I wrote a screenplay adaptation of my first award-winning book Lifeliner. I didn’t show it to anyone; I didn’t feel it or I was ready yet. Then in November I participated in NaNoWriMo for the second time and wrote Aban’s Accension — now at Iguana Books waiting and waiting and waiting to be edited.

In 2011, I joined ScriptFrenzy again, this time writing a stage play on the insurance game. That one I’d like to do something with, but am not sure what. Yet. And leaving it practically to the last minute, thinking I’ll never be ready in time, even though I had been doing background physics reading for months, I launched myself into my third NaNoWriMo and third novel, Time and Space, which I’m currently revising.

2012’s ScriptFrenzy this past April was a purely creative exercise for me. I began with a title and an idea. I had no outline, no sense of how it’d end. It was … interesting. But I liked the flexing of my purely creative muscles. This radio play is for my eyes only. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to writing a book in November intended for public consumption. I already know the ending, the basic story arc, as I’ve been pondering it for awhile. However, in between then and now is Camp NaNo.

The folks who run NaNoWriMo started Camp NaNo last year. I thought about joining but went nahhh. This year, the person-who-organizes-me sat me down in January and said let’s get you writing regularly. Add Camp NaNo to your schedule. Okay, but I have no idea what to write. You’ll think of something, she retorted in that-don’t-give-me-silly-excuses way.

Okay then.

She recommitted me this past week to doing it. She was right too, I do have an idea. I’ll talk about it later. First, I gotta go check out how this Camp operates.

Books

Diving Back In To “Time and Space”

Posted on

I’m about to restart revising my third novel Time and Space. And I must say I’m finding it daunting. I did the easy stuff a few weeks ago – typos, small mistakes, things like that – and promptly got sidetracked. But it’s time now to answer some big questions my Beta Readers posed, which means I must remember my manuscript and what I was trying to say. Do I want to answer the questions or leave it up to the readers to discern? How do I flesh out or explore more some concepts? What was my original intent about the language each century’s denizens use? I did write notes as I revised my novel after my first draft and before sending out the manuscript to my Beta Readers. I hope like heck I noted down who speaks how!

The physics aspect of it passed muster with my engineer friend, and that is such a relief. It was hard the first time understanding and remembering current concepts in theoretical physics so as to launch off them and come up with ideas on how the two futures work. I feared I wouldn’t remember and understand it all if I had to go in and edit it again. Thankfully I don’t.

I know I’ll get right back into the manuscript once I start. But there’s the rub: starting, diving in, launching WordPerfect and reacquainting myself with my story. Well, I’d better get to it … Um, first though, a snack sounds good. And maybe more coffee … some chocolate …