Coinkidink?

I’m finding it a very strange, nice and fascinating coincidence that after a heart-felt conversation with Boyfriend earlier I decide to check Magical Words and there’s a blog on a topic that we just discussed.

While I know that any such problem is only theoretical as I don’t even have a manuscript ready for pitching, and even if I do become successful something like this is far into the future, I do occasionally think about it. “It” being book tours, signings and that kind of thing, things you really should do to promote your book. What does a poor introvert do with oneself in that situation?

Mindy Klasky writes about it in a short blog, but it soothes me nonetheless to learn that there are people who struggle with similar issues and they cope. If they can, so can I. With a bit of practice, of course.

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Getting back on the horse

I do actually know that this whole writing business requires that you actually, y’know, write. I wish I knew exactly what it is that makes it so hard to do. Butt In Chair seems like a simple enough requirement, right? Currently I’m indulging the illusion that once we move to a bigger place and I have a room for myself it will be easier to focus. Way too many distractions around.

Today I did however finally print the NaNo draft. It took an eternity. Our printer is some sort of fossil and it’s not entirely capable of containing its ink spillage nor hold much paper.

There was a distinct moment of panic where I thought I had lost three or four chapters.

Turned out I hadn’t. But wow. The sheer panic at the thought of all that work lost…

 

My first beta reader received the unfinished and unedited manuscript today. It’s an anxious thing, giving it up for someone else to judge it. However, I think I can safely say I am my own harshest critic. And at least I am taking some steps forward, among them reading the manuscript myself and making notes. Which will start right about…

now.

 

NaNoWriMo 2011

 

November 30th is upon us and I’m not quite sure where the month has gone. Between furiously hammering away at my story and wasting the rest of my waking hours playing Skyrim or reading A Game of Thrones, I’ve barely noticed the passing of 30 days and nights.

The story I started writing on the 1st of November is a bit different to the one I’m sitting with now. While the general idea has remained, a lot of things have changed. It’s been (and still is) a very organic process. This is both a good and a bad thing I believe, and I’m not sure I will want to be this organic for my next novel. Not only is it frustrating that I still don’t have a solid ending in mind, but the vast amount of inconsistencies I’ll have to go back and fix will be… time consuming. I’ve never been good at planning or keeping a schedule, but for my next novel I’m going to try to do more structuring before I set out. Even if it’s a very basic skeleton it will be more than I had when I started writing on the 1st. I have stopped to brainstorm and jot things down as I’ve gone along to kick the muse back to work, which has so far been effective. But as of now I don’t know whether my main character will live or die. Nor do I know if she will ever find out the truth behind her parents’ “accident” and many other things. Hopefully by December 30th, these things will be clear to me.

In many ways, the challenge of NaNoWriMo was a lot easier than I expected. Since I’ve never actually been confident enough to write anything on such a large scale, I’ve always convinced myself that handling a plot and making things fit together wasn’t something I would be able to do. NaNo has shown me that I can. It might be clumsy and in need of a lot of editing and fine-tuning, but I’ve done it. I’ve managed it for 50, 000 words and 15 chapters so far, and though the story itself is not finished, at least now I know that I can.

However, fighting that inner voice is difficult. I lost a few days after listening to it and being convinced that the story was about as fascinating as a pile of dirt but with help from Boyfriend and some forced brainstorming I managed to get back to it. Then, of course, I lost several days to Skyrim and getting my priorities straight. I was stuck in a difficult place in the story and at the time it was easier to just forget about it. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, and I don’t think it really did. Being me, I’m scarcely able to finish something ahead of time no matter how well it seems to be going.

It’s not been quite as difficult as I thought to silence my inner editor. Oh sure, she has revolted on occasion and when I’ve sat next to Boyfriend while he’s read through new chapters I’ve felt her cringe and wail and bemoan the horrid sentence structure et all. But I haven’t edited, I haven’t read anything back, and I’ve managed not to obsess. Beyond anything, the victory over my obssessive nature is one of the more satisfying.

As December rolls in, the writing will continue. For now I’m still unemployed and time is something I have more than enough of. I’ll feel better if I spend it doing something that might prove useful and rewarding. Boyfriend has given me a deadline for the end of December to have the first draft finished. From my guesstimations, the manuscript will need another 30k words, give or take, before I can slap a “the end” at the bottom of a page and start editing. If I keep writing on a daily basis it should be doable.

I’ll keep updating the blog and writing about how it’s going with small excerpts now and again. Hopefully I’ll still have readers even though the big NaNoWriMo is over. Thank you for your feedback and support and occasional finger-slapping. It’s all been helpful and appreciated.

See you in December!

Ready, set…

Got up bright and early this morning (for my unemployed self anyway) to get crackin’ on the task ahead. What is the task ahead?

WINNING.

I’m lagging behind and I need to write like the wind. Today’s goal is hitting 50k.

 

Watch this space…

 

GO!

Schizophrenia

Okay.

This is how it goes. I’m the writer and you’re the character. That means I make the decisions and you do as I say. Why can’t you just get in line with the rest? Why do you have to be so difficult? And why are you trying to make me write a book about YOU? This isn’t about you, Seth! This isn’t your story. Actually, you’re lucky you even have a name, you know. You should be glad you’re not just some [other guy] who barely features at all. So instead of rebelling I think you should be grateful.

You see this notebook? This list here half a page long? That’s stuff I needed you to do. It’s all the things I need you to say or evoke or let me describe so that I could make this go where I wanted. Instead you turn around and decide that instead of creating a friendly bond with the girl, you’re going to attack her. What the HELL, Seth?! I thought we had a deal. I gave you a name and a spot on stage and all you have to do is follow the script.

*Sigh*

Well, yes, I know it’s too late to change it now. It’s 2,000 words you’ve been stringing me along and then suddenly you start being unhelpful. Look, I’m glad you’re here cause you’ve gotten me writing again. And blogging. But you can’t just derail everything. That’s not okay.

And no, I’m not going to make you more handsome.

Stop. Asking.

It’s the Final Countdown!

<— Just breached 40k!

Less than 9k to go! Technically, TECHNICALLY, I can do that in two or three days. Of course, that requires me to write more than 1k words per day.

Thank you to the score of wonderful women who I have the priviledge of knowing. You’re all very right and though I haven’t stopped playing, there are ways to limit the obsession. I’ve come further than I thought I would with this project and I refuse to give up now that I’m so close to the end.

Not the end of the novel, mind you, but the end of NaNoWriMo nevertheless. Hopefully you’re checking frantically for an update and signs of scribbling. Well, your diligence has paid off, my friends.

 

CHAPTER 13

 

Seth was sitting on the small, barren bed when they came into the room. His hands and feet were bound with a different rope than the one Lee had seen them use the day before. It was pure black and she imagined it to be soft as velvet rather than coarse. While he was pale and dark-haired with dark eyes, there was little else that offered any resemblance between him and Damien. Seth’s face was plain, almost forgettable, and his hair was cropped short. He currently sported a dark scruff on his chin and jaw. His lips curled in a crooked smirk when Damien and Lee entered the room.

“Welcome to my humble abode! I wasn’t aware I would be receiving visitors, or I would have spruced the place up for you.” He bowed his head in what might have been a humble gesture were it not for the expression on his face.

Damien ignored him and offered the single chair in the room for Lee. She shook her head and leant against a nearby wall.

“What’s the occasion?” Seth asked.

Damien sat down and looked at him. “We would like to talk to you.”

“Continuing our conversation from before?”

“No.”

“Ah, but I’m sure I can convince you to see reason if you give me the opportunity.”

“You’re awfully chipper for a prisoner,” Lee interjected. It wouldn’t help anyone if the pair of them got locked in another fruitless discussion of right and wrong.

Seth turned his dark eyes to her. “Why shouldn’t I be? Damien isn’t going to kill me and he won’t let me starve. Nor will he turn me back to the Brothers since that would be the same as killing me.” He shrugged. “The biggest threat of being, as you say, a ‘prisoner’ here is boredom.”

“Damien isn’t the only one here.”

“Are you a killer, then?”

Something about him made her uneasy. It was a different unease from the one she felt when she was near Caiden; it was less like being dressed naked with a glance and more like being faced with a cold, unrelenting surface. There was nothing there but menace. “No,” she told him. “And nor are we the only two with a say in this house.” She wasn’t sure where she got her courage from, but she clung to it fiercely. “So you might want to adopt a different attitude and think about co-operating.”

He chuckled and looked at Damien. “Where did you find her? She reminds me of a young and innocent Michaela.” He paused, as if thinking. “I suppose that’s not surprising, considering…”

“Be silent,” Damien spat. “She has a valid point and I’m sure you know it. I’d like to talk about the Brotherhood of Man.”

“And why would you want to do that?”

“It’s been suggested to me that you might hold information that could be useful to us after your time with them.”

Seth flicked his gaze over Lee before returning his attention to Damien. He wasn’t stupid, and Lee knew she would do well to remember that around him.

“How did you come to join them?”

“I already told you.”

“No, you told me why. I want to know how. I assume they knew you were affiliated with rebels, so how did they go about recruiting you to their cause?” Damien crossed his legs and rested his hands in his lap. He had assumed a patient and impassive facade.

“Ah,” Seth breathed. “They approached me and gave me a choice; roll over and die, or listen to their alternative. I chose to listen.”

“And what did they propose?”

“To stab friends in the back, obviously.”

Damien’s features tightened. “Obviously,” he repeated coolly.

Seth shrugged. “No need for that. I did what I had to do to survive, just as I always have. They offered me immunity if I led them to a few particularly troublesome bands of rebels. It had nothing to do with walkers, though they offered me a bonus for them. Needless to say, if you had all perished at the hands of the Brotherhood, I would be rather well off.”

“Heartless bastard.”

“You know nothing of my heart, Damien.”

 

Of course it needs work (disclaimer disclaimer sensitive writer feelings) but somehow what I’ve written after my hiatus feels crisper. The prose seems different. Not so different that it’s not my own style, but it’s less… wildly meandering about. Probably brainstorming to figure out my characters better helped a lot. I’m looking forward to going back and editing so I can put in new passages and make my characters more alive.