NaNoWriMo in July: lessons at the end.

It’s done! The main body of the story is finished at ~21.5k. I still have a little epilogue to write which will probably take me into 22k, but huzzah, at last, it’s over. And I won my first Camp NaNoWriMo! ^_^

The novella is now called Strange Music. Sometime in the midst of writing, the finalized title fell out, and it captures the story perfectly. “The Radio Andromeda” was good when it lasted, but it really wasn’t appropriate. Sometimes you have to write the story, and then in the process discover its proper title.

Lots of lessons this week, mostly about how “pantsing” can be capitalized to the fullest. Continue reading NaNoWriMo in July: lessons at the end.

NaNoWriMo in July: lessons from week two.

Well, they said Week 2 is the most difficult one in a NaNoWriMo month, and it was true for me. An eventful week with a difficult, sloggy morass in the middle. But I managed to work myself out of it and get into a writing highway again. I’m now right in the midst of “The Radio Andromeda” and almost 2/3rds of the way through my wordcount! But will my story be done by then…?

Lessons learnt this week: Continue reading NaNoWriMo in July: lessons from week two.

NaNoWriMo in July: lessons from week one.

Cor blimey. I’m 1/3rd of the way to my 20k goal. How did that happen?

“The Radio Andromeda” is coming along at a steady clip. I’ve settled into the rhythm of writing already. Currently shooting for 1k/day (and more or less meeting it), with the hopes of increasing to full NaNo levels of 1.7k/day eventually. Provided that I can sustain it physically!

Continue reading NaNoWriMo in July: lessons from week one.

NaNoWriMo in July: the beginning.

The writing bug has bitten me. “Killing the Dragon” is still scheduled for November, but I need to write, now. Since NaNoWriMo runs a “Camp” in July, I’ve plunged straight into it as a warmup to November.

July’s story is “The Radio Andromeda”, a novella projected at 20k words (well, that’s my word goal) set in the same world as “Killing the Dragon”, and based off a motif I’ve had for many years about a radio that picks up music broadcasted from outer space. In fact, I stole the title right off the source of this inspiration, although the novella would probably end up having nothing to do with Andromeda at all. Maybe. But for the theft, my deep apologies.

There’s also another story in the works, begun shortly before July Camp, because I couldn’t wait and wanted to start something. “Old Man’s Journey” is probably going to be a series of short stories in a conventional fantasy setting. I once had an idea of making a AD&D roleplaying character in his twilight years, just to see how a senior would influence story and character dynamic in the tabletop RP group. The game fell through, but who is to stop me from exploring that on my own? Not to mention, I already have a cast of characters for a travelling group, based off some unusued/shelved RP characters.
Nothing better than recycling imaginary figments.

Killing the Dragon is being meticulously planned, but I just jumped straight into Old Man’s Journey knowing not much more than the opening scene and the characters therein, and got out about 1,200 words for it over a few days. It’s now on hold, as I’ve launched into Radio Andromeda and opened July Camp with almost 1,500 words yesterday evening.

I’m quite surprised. I began Andromeda barely knowing anything, even less than Old Man, and didn’t think I had so many words for the opening scene. But there it is, 7.5% of my 20k goal. And the opening scene has produced a host of questions to answer and possibilities to explore — now I have plenty to write about. After all the planning and world-building that I’d already put into Dragon, I was a bit skeptical about this “pantsing” business, but it looks like it may actually work for me after all.

The “inner editor” hasn’t really surfaced (yet), in both cases. But I’ve made it a point to keep writing, and let that carry me into the next scenes, conflicts and plot points. Edit only if it’s a word or two, or if I find a plot hole/question that I can answer immediately and insert into the narrative without having to rewrite extensively. So far that’s working.

But it’s still early days. Finishing is always the harder part. I think it’s going to get harder, but Andromeda is off to a good start and I’m looking forward to see where it goes! I truly have no idea — and that’s exciting! And if I finish Andromeda for July Camp and still have wordcount left, it’ll be right to Old Man.

Something else I noticed… The very opening sentences of Old Man, Andromeda, and Dragon (planned) are all of someone waking up suddenly at an unexpected time. Well. I have to change that the next time I start a story.

Will try to check in in mid-July, and at the end of it. Good luck to all NaNo Campers out there!

Killing the dragon during NaNoWriMo.

So. The seed has sprouted. I am planning to join NaNoWriMo and write a story about the girl who killed a robot dragon monster with an iPad. (Well, not really an iPad, but, you know…)

Had this brainwave two days ago, and started a Word document to put all my storying ideas down. It has since grown to a monstrous, solid 8 pages of world-building, plot development, character development, and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a mind map for character relationships is sprouting up too. I think this is going to happen.

Oh boy. November is 6 months away… if I keep up this frenetic pace, everything will definitely be in place to knock out 50,000 words!

On maintaining a narrow depth of field.

Public transport is a reader’s best friend. If you have a long commute like I do, you have plenty of uninterrupted time to get lost in a book; what’s more, someone else is getting you to your destination while you’re enjoying yourself! The best kind of multi-tasking. So I’ve been making huge dents in my TBR list this year.

A long commute also allows uninterrupted thinking time. This is a long post for a long train of thought on books.

(I haven’t blogged for several years, and my voice is very rusty. I’m re-learning craft and polish; pardon the stilted tone and raw edges.)

The more books I read, the less tolerant I become of mediocrity, be it in books or film. It used to be simply poor authorship that gets me tetchy, but now the bar has increased to mediocre authorship. I may have been able to read Twilight (a decidedly mediocre book) 4-5 years ago, but I don’t think I could anymore. I used to adore China MiĆ©ville’s authorship; now, not so much, even though I still like his stories. I’ve now read enough to know what is good writing — and that has whet my appetite for even better writing. Nothing less will satisfy now. Continue reading On maintaining a narrow depth of field.