Monday, November 23, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 23: Green Bar!!

Wordcount: 50,107
Chapters Completed: 8
Number of Characters Being Badly Treated: all of them, in various ways (heh heh heh)
Sanity of Author: 67%
Overall Quality of Prose: Absolutely Atrocious
Color of Bar: GREEN!!!

Look, everybody! My bar's GREEN!

*dances wildly round the library, to the disapproving stares of the young woman simultaneously texting and browsing one of the computers, the lady with the patterned red skirt perusing the reference books, and the old man in the green sweater conversing with a lady in coral-colored pants who sounds exactly like Emma Thompson*

Okay so I'm not literally dancing. You know.

Last week I was about ready to give up on this thing entirely, but a much-needed Saturday writing marathon with good company and yummy tea boosted me up to 47k, and also reminded me that, horrible writing aside, I actually do like this novel. :-)

In non-NaNoWriMo news:

I just finished reading the first book in Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy, The Amulet of Samarkand, which I enjoyed heartily. It is narrated in part by a snarky djinni who employs footnotes with spectacular sarcasm. Very much looking forward to book two.

I meant to link to this in my last post; it's an interview with the fantastic Megan Whalen Turner, author extrodinare of The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and the forthcoming A Conspiracy of Kings.

And that about wraps it up!

Loving the color green,


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 18

As of last night, I have 40,033 words on Novel No. 2. That's 1k shy of my word count for Novel No. 1 before I scrapped it, which means I've written 80,000 words this month. Yikes. I'm feeling kind of exhausted.

The Blind King is progressing nicely, I think. I've been outlining-as-I-go with the handy dandy notecard feature in Scrivener (oh Scrivener, how I love thee), and haven't run out of scenes yet, so that's definitely a good thing. I'm currently in the middle of Chapter Seven, and have scenes jotted down on virtual note cards through Chapter Nine, so the outline is progressing at a slightly faster rate than the draft.

I have no idea how long this thing is gonna be. Long, for sure. At this point I'm guesstimating somewhere in the neighborhood of 150k, though it could (and, knowing my track record, probably will) be longer than that. I dunno. We'll see. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep powering through the rough draft after NaNo is over (it's quite clear I won't have finished by then), or shelve it for a while, finish rewriting the book it's a sequel to, and work on rewrites for a couple of other novels. So many decisions.

But this is the most boring blog post ever (superfluous paranthetical remarks and all). Lemme see if I can remedy that.

Stuff that's been happening in my novel:
  • Two not-quite-but-almost lovers are reunited after six years, the very day the female character accepts a marriage proposal from a different guy. They spend several thousand words shut up in a room together arguing about this.
  • A rather foolish sixteen-year-old boy gets himself lost in the mountains and captured by enemy soldiers. I'm sorry to say that a stint of enslavement in the silver mines lies in his very imminent future.
  • A princess being blackmailed into espionage has arrived at the palace of a newly-crowned king and (surprise, surprise), is beginning to fall in love with him.
  • An impulsive twelve-year-old girl is about to run away to the capital to try and uncover the secrets of her parentage.
And that's pretty much that, as far as Novel No. 2 is concerned.

In other news, the Doctor Who special Waters of Mars that aired in the UK (and, er, elsewhere, if one knows where to look... :-)) on Sunday was mind-blowingly awesome. Words cannot describe.

And to top everything off, it's link time!
  • Gail Carson Levine, author extraordinaire, has a fabulous blog filled with authorly insight and writerly wisdom. Some really awesome advice here.
  • Robin McKinley has a twitter. Robin McKinley has a twitter. Robin McKinley has a twitter!! I cannot emphasize this enough.
  • Duotrope's Digest is a fantastic free resource listing over 2700 current fiction and poetry markets
  • I'm pretty sure I was going to link you to a couple of other sites, but I forgot what they were. Stay tuned.
Okay, I think maybe I'd better go work on my novel, now.

Onwards to 50k (and lots more paranthetical remarks),


Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 13: Novel Love

Wordcount: 30,060
Chapters Completed: one scene short of five
Awesome Content: 100%
Mood of Author: gushing sonnets

Hey everybody! Apologies for not getting around to replying to your comments on the last post. Your sympathies and encouragements were greatly appreciated. :-) And I do have a good excuse for not blogging for the last few days:

I've been writing on that new novel, and am totally rocking it. Today, in fact, I passed the 30k mark! Wahoo!! Which means, wordcount wise, I'm almost at the same point as I was with that other novel (shudder) this time last week. Weird.

At any rate, I'm really digging this novel, though that's not to say I haven't produced some pretty horrific prose over the last five days, 'cause I have, and it's not to say this thing won't need the usual amount of editing, 'cause it will. But I like this novel, nay, I submit that I love it. This thing is making me feel downright giddy!

The whole sans outline thing is working out pretty well. This story has literally been in my head (in one form or another) for ten years, and I feel like all the characters are old friends. And it's just so dang FUN! I mean I've got love triangles (two different ones), blackmail, espionage, secret identities, epic misunderstandings, betrayal, war, escapes, death... pretty much everything awesome, as a matter of fact. :-) And I have six different viewpoint characters, so I'm not stuck with one voice like in that other (shudder) not-novel.

Anyways. It's late. I must away ere break of day to seek the long forgotten gold and so on.

Clearly having too much fun with my novel,

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 9: Let's Start Over Again

Wordcount: 5,556
Sanity: 3%
Mood: bemused

So this morning I was all set to buckle down, write 11k, and pass that glorious 50k mark a good twenty-one days early.

Instead, I wrote 2,000 words, and realized how much I loathed my novel. We're talking extreme hatred, here.

And so I started over on a completely new novel.

I know, I know. Shocking turn of events, right? I feel like The Last Garden could, possibly, maybe, one day in the distant future be wrangled into something resembling a book. But this is not that time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 5

Word Count: 35,132
Chapters Completed: 5.1/16
Worlds Visited: 2
Sanity Level: 65%
Mood: pensive

So it's 10:48 on the morning of November 6th, and I've yet to write any words (well, besides these ones). I'm at the very beginning of Chapter 6, and although the story is rolling along nicely (more or less), I'm still struggling to find this novel's voice. Voice is never something I struggle with (plot, yes. pacing, yes. voice? no), so it's a little frustrating. I don't know if it's because my main character wasn't fully formed in my mind when I started writing, or if the idea needed some more time to percolate or what.

And then yesterday, whilst driving to piano lessons, I had a completely crazy idea: what if I were to narrate the story from the point of view of my main character's dead sister?

I thought about it, and thought about it (I'm still thinking about it), and I could be completely and totally wrong, but this shift in narration might be the spark I've been missing for the last 35,132 words. I can hear her voice in my head, and last night I scribbled out a possible new beginning that just felt incredibly right.

Not exactly sure where this leaves me. I'm definitely not, at this point, going back to rewrite everything, but I'm thinking about shifting the narrative style right where I'm at (smack dab in the middle of a scene at the beginning of Chapter Six), see what that does for me, and rewrite accordingly after NaNo is over.

And that is probably WAY more information than anybody needed about the strange inner workings of my brain during noveling.

Need to get dressed now,
Who-Wouldn't-Want-a-Dead-Child-for-a-Narrator Smith

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 4

Word Count: 30,046
Chapters Completed: 4
Worlds Visited: 1
Sanity Level: 65%
Overall Quality of Prose: poor

So it's the end of Day Four. I'm sitting in Borders (which, incidentally has just recently implemented free Wi-Fi), having just hit my 30k (woot!) and am thoroughly exhausted and all worded out for the evening! Yesterday the words just sort of poured freely from my fingertips. Today I had to bribe/force/threaten them out of there.

I weep for the overall quality of my prose.

I weep for the flatness of my main character.

I weep for the reality of one's flawless ideas staring back in all their blatant black and white imperfections from one's computer screen.

But I still made it to 30k.

:-) :-) :-) :-)

As a sidenote, I keep meaning to link to my NaNoWriMo profile, where you can keep track of my progress and read the deplorable excerpts I post from time to time. So there you go.

Off to watch Stargate,

Penner of Pepostrously Perilous Prose

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Current Word Count: 21,111
Sanity Level: 85%
Chapters Completed: 2.9/16
Character Deaths: three. 1 young child (before the story started), 1 old man (he had a full life! promise!), 1 mermaid (poor thing didn't have a chance) :-(

I should be noveling, as I'm headed for 25k today (yes, I am insane), but my brain was demanding a break, so I thought I'd blog instead.

Currently at the tail end of Chapter Three of The Last Garden, and getting excited because in another half chapter the story's really gonna get going! I've come to the conclusion that although I've been penning some truly atrocious prose, I'm having a hard time finding the novel's voice, and I'm a little afraid my poor, adorably bespectacled main character is rather uninteresting, I think the actual story is worth telling, and with a lot (a heck of a lot!) of future editing/rewriting/revising, it might come to resemble something akin to a real book someday. Well, maybe. :-)

I have also learned that I am woefully unquallified to write historical fiction. I fear I've been inadvertently altering Victorian history in the greater London area. But oh well. I'll do all that research I ought to have done earlier... later. :-)

Happy Writing!

Joanna, aka Murderer of Mermaids in Vaguely Historical Victorian London

Monday, November 2, 2009

And We're Off!

Writing commenced with a bang this weekend in Dallas! Thanks to the 10k scribed in the company of five other crazy novelists, three adorable cats, and lots and lots of sugar, my grand total thus far for Day 2 of National Novel Writing Month comes to 13,441 words.

Back to my mermaid in the Thames,

Joanna, aka Mighty Writer of Words and Hugger of Cuddly Cats