The Slow Camp

The energy levels are low today.  It may have something to do with not getting a good night’s sleep; it might have something to do with taking my shot last night and then sort of semi-blissing out for a few hours after that.  Whatever it is, it’s really kicking my butt, and coffee doesn’t seem to help with this lethargy at all.  Not to mention I’ve got about a million things rolling about my brain this morning . . .

First off, let’s get a bit of interesting news out of the way.  I mentioned a while back that I wasn’t going to do Camp NaNo, that I had too many things to do to worry about going to camp and hanging out with other writers.  And then . . . I had a friend talk me into doing camp with her.  No, really.  I didn’t start writing until Day Six, but I set a goal of twenty thousand words, and by the time I struck camp I’d written twenty-two thousand, eight hundred and fifteen words.  At the rate I was going I would have cleared twenty-five thousand words with ease–which means you now know how many words I’m writing a month:  about twenty-five thousand.  And since I’m at around seventy-five thousand words for Act Two, and I began writing in earnest at the start of May, my numbers work out correctly.

"I lied about doing Camp NaNo.  Yay!  Now to get back to . . . writing."

“I lied about doing Camp NaNo. Yay! Now to get back to . . . writing.”

I finished Isis’ scene with her being informed of what was happening early in the morning, ending it with her telling one of her minions to go wake up the headmistress and have her come to the Security Center because she needed to speak with her.  The next scene started with the headmistress not being all that hip about getting called in–not because she wasn’t used to being on call at all hours, or having to wander into the Great Hall in her night clothes.  No, she was a little anxious about getting called into the Security Center, because in eleven years of administering the school, this had never happened.  She took it to mean something bad was about to happen–

She’s probably correct.

But my first scene came out to about twelve hundred words, and I’m hoping that, at least at the start of this chapter, that’s the norm.  I know some of the chapters are going to get wordy, but of late I’ve averaged about three thousand words a scene, and doing a bunch of one thousand to fifteen hundred word scenes would be nice.  It’s a psychological thing:  the more scenes you right, the faster you think you’re writing the novel.

Today will be a bit busy–I’m heading out to the movies in a while because I have a thing for raccoons with big guns–but I will get in my writing tonight.  I may even finished up the current scene and start the next, which takes us over to the Cernunnos Coven tower, where two kids are noticing something strange going on.  What sort of strange?

You’ll just have to wait and find out.

Unpitching the Tent

In all the excitement that was yesterday–you know, with work and eating and trying to write–I completely forgot it that it was the start of Camp NaNo for a lot of people.  If you don’t know Camp NaNo, it’s a far more relaxed version of November’s NaNoWriMo, where you can come, relax, set your own goals, and really have a much easier time of writing than one may find during the insanity of writing fifty thousand words in thirty days.  And it’s also held twice a year, which means you can stretch out that story you always wanted to write over a couple of months.

"And when you're finished, it's up to you if you wanna toss that manuscript on this lovely, warming fire . . ."

“And when you’re finished, it’s up to you if you wanna toss that manuscript on this lovely, warming fire . . .”

My first–and so far only Camp–was a year ago, during the July 2013 event.  I ended up in a cabin with two friend I know from Facebook, and a couple of other people who kinda talked about writing but never really did much, and we . . . well, we set out upon our writing adventure.  (I should explain that in order to give one the feeling that they’re out on a camping retreat, you’re placed in a virtual cabin with other people, and the idea is you sit around in your pajamas and eat snacks and drink hot chocolate, and tell everyone about the great story you’re going to write.  Then you go to sleep and do it again the next day.)

If I give this too much thought, I can pin down where I am today with The Foundation Chronicles to this point a year ago, for it was with Camp NaNo that I started on my quest to Salem.  No, I didn’t start on my current novel:  I actually wrote the prequel to it, The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring, which ended up becoming the point where I brought to the stage some of the characters that inhabit my current novel–and even more importantly, I brought everyone in the school, the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning, and made it a real place.

Don't let the witches fool you, it's really a nice place to send your kid.

Don’t let the witches fool you, it’s really a nice place to send your kid.

That prequel, which was suppose to be a twenty-five thousand word novella, turned into fifty-three thousand word novel by the time the month was over, and that eventually led to where I am now:  continuing to work on a massive novel that just just last night saw me trip over forty-five thousand words for Act Two.  And it’s become something of a real love/hate relationship, because there I time I so want this story over.  I know how it ends, but . . . getting there is taking so much time.

"Just as soon as we get back from my ten mile canoe trip, I'll get my five hundred words in for the day."

“As soon as we get back from my ten mile canoe trip, I’ll get my five hundred words in for the day.”

I’ve run into this with some of my novels in the past.  You start out zooming, full of energy.  Then you slow down a little.  Then you find out that it’s getting hard to start those chapters.  Then you start to feel like there’s no end in sight, and then, when everything is darkest, you realize you’re almost finished, and you don’t really want it to end.

Well, actually, you do.  You can’t wait to slap on “The End” and move on to the next adventure.

Thinking about it last night, this is the first time I’ve stayed involved in a project that’s lasted a year.  It’s really more than a year, though, because I spent most of last June prepping The Scouring, and the work I did there led to the current novel as well.  And I probably spent a good year working on the idea, working out the characters and the location and the story.

And I’m dealing with the understanding that I could find myself dealing with the end of this novel a year from now.

"So you started this during a camping event, and you decides to celebrate finishing the novel by . . . camping?" "Yeah, I'm strange that way."

“So you started this during a camping event, and you decides to celebrate finishing the novel by . . . camping?”
“Yeah, I’m strange that way.”

I will end Act Two and then find the time to start getting another story published before climbing into Act Three.  I also have to consider the possibility of publishing Act One as a stand alone to get interest started in Act Two, which may or may not be a good idea, but it’s a start to something.

Have fun at the camp, guys.  I won’t be joining you because there’s all the stuff I have going on around me–you know, things–and I’ve got a lot of other reasons to keep my tent in my closet this year–

A little over one hundred and ninety-five thousand of them when you think about it . . .

A little over one hundred and ninety-five thousand of them when you think about it . . .

Have fun fighting off the bugs!

From Demons to the Scoured

The first novel I wrote using Scrivener was Her Demonic Majesty, my 2011 NaNo Novel.  It was really the first thing I ever started from scratch in Scrivener, and it was a great experiment for me, because I was learning the software as well as learning how to lay out a story.

The thing I loved most about Scrivener then was the Corkboard, which was a virtual way of taking note cards that represent the chapters and pinning them up in a sensible order.  This was an easy way to outline a story, to set up metadata to keep track of when things were suppose to happen.  I spent two weeks getting the novel outlined, getting pictures set up for characters, developed small bios on characters, even laid out pictures within the binder of places where chapters took place.

You were a great learning experience, love.  I'll never forget you.

You were a great learning experience, love. I’ll never forget you.

A year and a few hundred thousand words later, I was ready for my 2012 NaNo Novel, Kolor Ijo.  It wasn’t as large as Her Demonic Majesty–it was about seventy-two thousand words, compared to eighty-six thousand for Demonic Majesty–but in a lot of ways it was a far bigger story.  It was one of my Indonesia horror stories, which meant it took place in another country.  There was research on weapons and people and creatures, and I needed to get a good idea about the look of the city of Makassar.  It also covered a much larger time frame:  almost a month of time, where as her Demonic Majesty took place over a three-day period.  The one thing I learned how to use this time around were embedded websites that accessible from inside Scrivener.  I hooked up Google Maps to a text file, and when I needed to look streets in the city of Makassar, I’d do a split screen and start looking about in the other side of the world.

My meta information was getting a bit more detailed:  I was keeping track of time frames within each chapter.  There was more happening, more action and interaction.  In short, there was a lot more story even if it wasn’t as long as my last NaNo Novel.

This is what happens when you start dealing with demons on the other side of the world.

This is what happens when you deal with demons on the other side of the world.

By the end of May, 2013, I’d already decided I was going to write The Foundation Chronicles:  A for Advanced, but there were thinking I knew I’d need to work out before I started working on the story.  It was going to end up a big story, with a large cast of characters.  I was also going to move away from the idea of doing a single card and writing information under it as a chapter; I was going to break up my chapters into different scenes, something I’d done with my novel Transporting.

But Transporting was a retro-fitted novel:  I’d begun writing that in Word about twenty years before, and never tried writing something like that from scratch.  I needed some practice to get my new NaNo Novel in shape without having to learn while writing.  I was going to write something before hand, do it as part of The Foundation Series, and play with characters I already knew.  I could write about a part of school history that was never thought out in detail.

This is where I stepped away from the Corkboard and moved into Outline mode in Scrivener.  One of the advantages of Outline mode is being able to see your story laid out, top to bottom, and that allows for a lot more precision when trying to plot out things.  When I did The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring, I wasn’t using time line software:  it had the time line within my outline, laid out on each chapter/scene card.  I was also able to laid out a lot more information on each section and chapter/scene, and see it all at once should I require.

This is what testing looks like when you're writing.

Some call this testing–some call it a bit of insanity.

There is a lot of information there:  dates, times, people, even weather conditions.  When it was all over my Camp story, The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring–which was meant to be about twenty thousand words total–ended up a fifty-three thousand, one hundred word lead-in novel.  I love what I wrote, though I had one person tell me I need to cut the first two sections of the story because it didn’t “move fast enough” for her, and she wasn’t interested in hearing that if I cut all the information, the rest of the story wouldn’t make any sense, and another person told me the battle was “too long” and “they’d never read any batter sequence of twenty-five thousand words”.  But those are stories for another time . . .

This is what helped me reach the point where I could write my current work in progress.  And by the time I was ready for NaNoWriMo 2013, I had other software I could use as well to get work my story into shape–

Milestones on the Scenic Route

A few minutes ago I crawled out of bed.  Actually it was closer to fifteen minutes ago, but let not get too exact.  What was on my mind when I hit the ground and powered up my computer?

The word count of my novel.

Last night I finished up my writing moments with a total word count of 75,197 words.  Since I’d started and restarted Scrivener a couple of times during the day, I wasn’t sure just how much I wrote yesterday–I’m guessing it was about thirteen hundred words, just as I’d done the day before.

I finished November 30th with a count of just over sixty-five thousand, two hundred words.  Fifteen days later I’m just over seventy-five thousand.  A thousand words a day and/or night.  Not bad.  At that rate I’ll be somewhere around ninety-two thousand by the end of December, and I should have this first episode of the story finish before the end of January.

And at this rate I’ll finish the novel as a whole by . . . what?  If this book gets as big as I think it’ll get, I could finish this up just in time to start Camp Nano in July.  I’m realistically looking at another six months of writing to cap it off.  We’re not even talking about editing it:  I’m talking about doing the first draft.

Really, my head about exploded when I considered this.

I think it’s because unlike the other novels I’ve written, this one is happening while I’m in the middle of a lot of other things.  Her Demonic Majesty was eighty-six done in twenty-five days because I could spend all day cranking out three or four thousand words a day.  The same with Kolor Ijo:  I wasn’t working, so seventy-two thousand wasn’t a big deal.  Suggested Amusements is really the only novel I’ve written while working that popped up over seventy-thousand words, and that took me almost three months to write.  Everything else after that was in the high-fifty thousand range, or was a novella.

This story I’m into now is getting back in the range I had for Transporting:  maybe two hundred and fifty thousand words, maybe a little more.  It’s gonna be a monster that’s going to eat up at least half a year.

And I still need to put out other things, because the slush pile is building, and nothing’s getting done on that end.  I’m in the middle of an edit with one novel, and I could do another novella just to get it out of the way, but editing is time, and time is writing.

Christ, talk about a quandary.

What it looks like is this:  I need to step up the game a bit, start dividing my time up and stop with distractions.  Yes, I should still go out on weekends and do things that show I’m really human, because staying in the apartment day and night isn’t good for you.  But I may need to push for twelve hundred words a night, because in five days time that’s six thousand words, and that’s an extra six thousand words a month than you’d have written if you’d written five thousand every five days.  And in three months time, would you have rather written ninety thousand words, or one hundred and eight thousand?

At least I avoided my Robinson Crusoe moment last night.

Wouldn’t that have looked stupid.

 

The Plotting Game

After zoning like a zombie doing the Carl thing yesterday (Where’s Carl?  Not in the house), I sort of hung out at the hotel last night listening to music–yes, I could stream–and thinking.  I’m always thinking, but last night I was thinking about . . .

NaNo.

Yeah, that’s starting.  I know I shouldn’t to that this early, as it’s only 10 September, but it’s on, okay?  Quietly, stealthily, like Kitty Pryde in full-on ninja mode with her dragon friend at her side, I started laying out things last night.  And by “things” what do you mean, oh Cassidy?  I mean I stared laying out the school year the way I know how to lay out the school year:  by plotting a time line.

I’d actually taken some notes a while back on this particular subject, and I knew where the year started, and when it ended.  I knew when the major school holidays and festivals occurred.  I knew when major school events happened.  So it was easy to take a time line I’d already put together for Camp NaNo and throw more things onto that.

I also needed to do a little digging to find out when a certain event happened in Cardiff, Wales, in 2011.  Why would I need that?  Because if you’re coming for a boy who is suppose to go to school there, do you want the mother to say, “But we’ll have to pull him out”, or do you want her to say, “He’s already registered”, and have her say this early Friday afternoon?  The later, of course–at least that’s when I wanted it to happen.  Fortunately there is this magic on the Internet called “Google”, and I discovered when Autumn Terms started in Cardiff in 2011.  Friday afternoon it was.

The rest of the time was going over notes, looking at the dates I selected, and putting them on the line.  It may not sound like a lot of time spent, but it certainly seemed that way.  I worked on the line until about ten PM, then slowly u-gathered my wits and headed off to sleep.  I slept well, but had confusing dreams about people at college who were all being annoying and spinning out over the littlest things.  Not my sort of thing.

I usually don’t start getting my novel ready until October, but last night I was too tired to edit, but not tired enough to roll over and collapse.  The time line has been bugging me for a while–like all summer while–and it’s something that I’ve been giving much thought, but doing little action.  I was coherent enough to think about dates, so why not work on the line?  It also gave me just enough to keep me from sitting around playing game and being on the nod all night, which I wanted to avoid, because that’s never fun.

Now I’m pulling things together, but I’m not under any pressure to hurry along.  I know the steps in the story, and I can see that a lot of things are getting front-loaded.  That’s probably Part One of the novel right there:  meeting the players and getting them to the U.S..  Part Two is likely going up to the end of the calendar year, 2011, and then . . .

Hey, I’m giving too much away–

Ride the Camp Kaiju Ashore

I’m told that today is the day that the Camp NaNo winner goodies are in the truck and heading up the dirt road, but I don’t see the damn thing yet.  I’ve checked the site twice this morning, but I must be way too early (it’s six forty-nine AM right now), because the truck isn’t here, and the goodies are lacking.

Or maybe Jason got the drivers last night while they were having sex.  You can never tell.

I’m considering what to do with said goodies, because there’s only one I wish to use, and I probably won’t be able to use that one until the software is released, maybe next month, maybe in October.  The last two NaNos those goodies have gone unused and eventually vanished into the aether, though I once gave a friend my Scrivener fifty percent off code so they could enjoy the software, which they put to good use.

Maybe this year I’ll hold my own version of The Hunger Games for the code.  Call it The Hungry Writer Games, and accept submissions for best and most creative death scenes written in five hundred words or less.  Spend two weeks getting them, then narrow the submissions down until there is only one person left standing, who then rips me off for my goodies.  May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor, penmonkeys.

Enjoyed the movie yesterday.  Plenty of jager on kaiju action, and the beatdowns were brutal.  And may I point out that a mecha head, like the bridge atop of the saucer section of a Federation starship, is the dumbest place to put your cockpit.  Sure, it looks cool riding around in the head, but when all but two of the jager pilots died, it came because the head is right there just asking to be abused.  Head shot, head shot, head shot . . . Guillermo del Toro obviously thought the BattleTech hit table was a load of crap, or he rolls boxcars with loaded dice, cause he showed little mercy to the cockpit crawlers.

Also, when they were fighting in Hong Kong I sort of got an idea where some of the action was taking place, ’cause I kept recognizing landmarks there.  It’s been a long time since I was last in the Fragrant Harbor, but I still look at the place on Google Maps, and dream.

After returning from the movies, however, my novel Couples Dance was on my Seagate drive telling me that it’s not going to edit itself.  Yeah, those lazy ass characters, they won’t do anything on their own, so I gotta pull it up and get in there and do some work.  Now I’m getting into the longer chapters, and Chapter Five is around thirty-six hundred words, so I expect to get about half way in and stop . . .

Right.  How did that work out?  About an hour and a half later I was through the whole chapter, having re-written here, deleted a few things there, and ended up adding a new Scrivener status:  “Recheck Revision”.  Because I found some tense issues, and I want to breeze through it again and make sure I’m not bouncing about in time like a faulty TARDIS.

No, I leave my time travel for my science fiction novels, not the erotic horror . . . or do I?

Pack Up the Camp

According to the work count genie on the Camp NaNoWriMo page, I have fifty-three thousand, one hundred eighty-one verified words for my Camp story, The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring.  According to this statistic, I have not only met my word count total, but I’ve “beaten” the fifty thousand total that is the goal of all these NaNo events.

I wrote throughout the day, because life kept me busy, so between prepping dinner and cooking it, eating it, and cleaning up after it was over, I’d roll up here to my computer and start typing.  A hundred words here, a couple of hundred here–and when you’re through with the typing, you’ve written another fifteen hundred words and put said story to rest.

I’ve been here before, but this time it felt as if I’d never reach this point.  The whole month of July has been a grind, and seeing how I’ve written eighty-six and seventy-one thousand word novels during the last two NaNoWriMos, this time I felt as if I could take a break and do something shorter and simpler–

Oh, yeah.  What was I thinking?

Originally I believed the story would run about twenty-five thousand words, and I went doubleplusandthensome on that estimate.  Maybe that’s why I felt worn out by this story, because it just went on and on . . . though that’s more the fault of the writer and not the story.  The story consists of the words I have in my head that I put into the computer.  The characters aren’t writing the damn thing; if they were, I could wake up every morning, look at my Scrivener project, and say, “Oh, isn’t that nice?  Jessica wrote out her second confrontation with the headmaster.  And Erywin threatened to kick his ass.  Thank you, ladies:  now I have a few more free hours to spend playing games.”

That never happened.  If it had, there probably would have been fewer deaths.  Maybe.  Hard to say, since I’ve created some bloodthirsty characters in my time.

So, that’s three new stories, almost one hundred forty-seven thousand words, written this year.  With two novels and a novella completed this year, I’m not about to dive into anything new.  The next thing on the menu is to finish editing Couples Dance and get it published, and if there is any time left over before October rolls in, then I’ll start polishing Fantasies in Harmonie so I can get it ready for publication.  But no new work, not until November–

By then I’ll know if I’m writing my novel as part of NaNoWriMo, or if I’m going to say “The hell with it,” and just write.  While the NaNo thing can be conducive to productivity, I no longer need it to get my ass started on a project.  I don’t need to produce fifty thousand words in thirty days, because I have done that, and can continue to do so when necessary.  I can track my word counts, which I normally do anyway.

I write because this is what I want to do, because this is what I want to become.

It’s easy to do, you know.  You only need sit and do it every day.

 

The Hell-Bound Pony

For this title I want to thank Meredith Woerner of io9.com, aka Unicorn Farts, for today’s title.  I’ll neither discuss unicorns or farts, but as I read her weekly reviews of True Blood–or as it is sometimes called, “Sookie’s Magical Fairy Vagina”, which would make a hell of a lot better title–there was a line she delivered in her last review (as of this post) that made me laugh.  Which is something I seem not to do much of these days.

By this time tomorrow my Camp NaNo story, the first part novel of The Foundation Chronicles, should be finished.  Sometime tonight I’ll write the last chapter, get another twelve or fifteen hundred words in the bank, type, “The End” at the bottom of the document, back the novel off to my Seagate drive, and consider it fin.

Another novel finished.  Give me that Fluttershy cheer . . . (deep breath) . . . yay.  Since the start of this year, good old 2013, that’s two novels written, one novel published, and a novella thrown in for good measure.  In terms of new material we’re talking about one hundred and forty-five thousand new words:  thrown in the blog and a few articles here and there, and we’re adding another one hundred and twenty thousand words.

That’s a quarter of a million words this year.  I’m tired.

A section of my mind is thinking, “Okay, what’s next?”  That should be getting one of my short novels in shape for publication, because I need to get something else out there, start cutting into this backlog that’s building up on my computer.  But there’s a section that’s screaming at me to take a break, to step away and do nothing for a while.

Yeah, right.  I know how that works, because it’s happened before.  In the past I’ve said, “Oh, I’ll set this story aside and come back to it in a month.”  Next thing I know, it’s five years later, and while I’ve gotten very good at driving the Nordschleife on my computer, I’ve not looked at said story once.  It lingers on, like some creature on life support, waiting for me to either rescue it from oblivion, or pull the plug.

Today I was going to blog about something that I felt bothered me, then realized–why?  Why bother?  Not write, of course, but why rant about something that I don’t care for, but no one else will give much of a shit about.  After a bit of reading and thinking, I decided that if I write about the monkey that seems to have crawled onto my back, I’m indulging in a bit of the insane, time wasting crap that has occupied my mind of late.

No, what I should do is finish my story, then think about what comes next.  Think about what in the future, and not what’s pissing me off, or what’s bothering me, or what sort of annoyances I can drop like a bad habit instead of hanging on to them and allowing those little things to bug me for no other reason than I want to be bugged.

Saddle up that one trick pony and ride that sucker straight into hell.

And enjoy the scenery along the way; I understand there are some painted roses I should see . . .

Power Line Math

I guess when you depends on energy to get your things written, you better hope your energy is coming uninterrupted.  Most days this isn’t a problem.

Yesterday it was.

I was just starting in on afternoon writing when the power went out.  It was just after two PM, and I had to do a  quick “Open up the laptop and save and bring it down” move before things died.  I work on a seven-year old laptop, and the battery is pretty much crap; after forty-five minutes I’m looking at a cooling hunk of metal.  So if I don’t have a power source, then I best save what I have and move on to something else.

Power was out for two hours:  it think it popped back on around four-twenty.  Power up the computer and start in on writing again–  Then it was time to go out to dinner.  So save off what I’d written after about twenty minutes, which wasn’t very much if you’re asking.

Go eat, return to the house about six-ten and . . . no power.  Utility people are right across the street replacing our power box.  The juice is back on in the house at six thirty-seven, not a big deal, so I get into writing again . . . and reading a few things here and there, and chatting, but nothing out of the ordinary, right?

Finally settle into writing about seven-thirty, and I’m going along, struggling with lines, and–out go the lights, a little after eight PM.  Save what I have, shut down computer, go outside and relax in the cool air.

And thinking about what I wanted to say.

I knew the discussion my two on-stage characters were going to have.  I’d even worked out what would be said for more than a few days.  But when it comes to showing the scene, to saying what they need to say, I’m holding back.  The words I want to say don’t come as easily as before.  Particularly with this story, which I’m trying so hard to have come out, in my mine, good.

Sitting in the back yard I thought about what was being said, how people felt.  I had a lot of math coming up, stuff I worked out earlier in the day concerning numbers for the student body, and spilling that out was going to come fairly easy.  Breathing deep the gathering gloom–yes, Moody Blues there, who I once saw play in the late 1980’s–I worked out the conversation in a way that made sense, and that didn’t puzzle me now.

Power was back on right around nine-thirty, and it was back up, power up, write up.  I wrote things, I made conversation, I showed body language and sensed emotions.  I’m not necessary happy with that last part, because I feel things didn’t turn out as I wanted; some of the feeling seem forced.  So I have the file up now, and I’ll give it a quick peek to see if there’s anything I can change.

I want this story finished; I want to move on to the next thing.  This weekend feels like a good time to wrap it all up.

If the power stays on, it might actually happen.

The Guardian Arrives

Yes, it’s true:  I was distracted by Project Runway last night, and that took almost two hours out of my writing time.  I don’t watch much in the way of TV, but I’ve never missed Project Runway if I could help it.  Seeing how this year they have a good amalgamation of drama queens, stress freaks, a crazy Russian who it trying to keep Old Soviet Union from asking for its stereotype back, and a dude trying to save unicorns, there’s enough insanity to get through the season–at least until they start culling the herd, then it’s every person for themselves, and you grab the popcorn and enjoy.

When that isn’t happening, I write.

The last part of The Foundation Chronicles is here, and that light at the end of the tunnel is probably me, the glow girl muttering, “It’s a girl, Mrs. Walker.”  Before the runway I wrote about a meeting in a format headmaster’s office between a Foundation official and the woman who ate the headmaster’s face–rule one:  never piss off the wrong teachers–and in the process of writing that scene I began mention people who will appear in the upcoming novel.  No, not this novel:  the next one.  Remember?

The writing part was a bit slow, due in part to having people PMing me, due in part because I needed to look up time lines to make certain a person who was recommending another for a position actually knew that person when they were together in school.  Remember those all those time lines I made before I began writing this story?  Yeah, they work.  I’d recommend making them and using them, but that would be proselytizing, and who wants that?

Really, try them.  It can make life easy to do your homework up-front.

But after almost two hours away from my computer, after all that time when I wasn’t writing, with it being nine forty-five PM and knowing that sleep would call soon, there was something I wanted to write.  There was someone I wanted to bring onto the stage.

There was someone I wanted to create.

I’ve been waiting for this moment to bring onto the stage a character I created two years earlier, and who would play a rather full part in this novel I’ve got kicking about in my brain.  So now I’d reached the point in my current novel where this mysterious woman, she who was mentioned earlier in the novel, to walk on and make her grande entrance . . .

By the time I’d finished, I had a little over five hundred words written, on top of eighteen hundred or so I’d written throughout the day.  It was a double good feeling to have all that wordage out of the way, and to have my character show up to–well, not save the day, but lay out some ground rules.

That chapter is on for today.  I hope to finish it tonight, then do a short scene–and, yes, I do mean short–then write the final chapter, and . . .

Check back tomorrow.  We’ll see about and then.

The Lights Go Down on Past Ways

I start off this morning with a little advice from Henry Miller.  He’s the sort of writer I’d like to become:  banned everywhere for writing interesting things.  Who doesn’t want that sort of notice?

As noted on the Novel Spaces website, Miller left behind eleven points of writing advice:

 

1.  Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2.  Start no more new books, add no more new material to Black Spring. (At the time this was his WiP.)
3.  Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4.  Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5.  When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

 

I have rules that I stick to, or at least do my best to dance to their tune.  It’s not always possible–yesterday was a great example of how you can’t always write when you want to write–but I still get my writing in every day, even when I feel as if I’m drowning in a pool of fetid water, surrounded by the crap that are my stories.

That was this morning, when I crawled out of bed, by the way.  Now I feel much better.

Most of the time I get lost on that eleventh point; I also get lost on the tenth as well, which is distracting as hell, because that’s happened to me for the last three stories I’ve written.  But back to the eleventh . . . with social media all over the place, it’s easy to lose the signal because you’re trapped in the noise.  (Yes, that was a Peter Gabriel reference.)  It’s a simple matter to roll over to an online group, and think, “Oh, I’ll just check in and see what’s happening,” and before you know it an hour has gone by because you’re eye-locked upon something that, more than likely, has you scratching your head because you can’t believe what you’re reading.

Last night a friend of mine summed up a feeling for me pretty succinctly, which she does well.  This happened in a group of which I’ve been a member for some time, but where I’ve stopped participating because it’s become more of a social gathering hole than anything else.  One person was lamenting how people have begun turning on one another in the group, and they can’t understand why it’s happening.  After a few posts where people were kind of saying, “Mean people suck,” my friend stepped in and said, “Because all that gets posted here is insane, time wasting crap.”  The moral being, when you post insane, time wasting crap, you draw to those posts the people who love to wallow in said crap.

Rule Eleven is important.  You want to write, you write.  You don’t continue asking if you think it’s strange that you’re looking up techniques for dismembering a body, or what’s a good name for an alien (I always go with Bob, you can’t miss with that name), or your main character tells you they want to have an affair with the cute girl down at the Steak n’ Shake, but you want them to go skydiving, what’s a person to do?

What you do is write.

Cut out the noise; listen to the signal.

. . . In That Quiet Earth

It’s interesting that just a few days ago I was talking about using Nukemap to figure out explosions for my story, and all of a sudden both Time and io9 are talking about the 3D version of the site, which does let you see what your home town looks like with a mushroom cloud rising overhead.  Of course the site is down at the moment, ’cause everyone is busy nuking their old schools, or their last job, or the home of the significant other who gave them heartache.  Enjoy that W-76 in your corn flakes, butthead.

I finished the part of my story dealing with the, let us say, battle I had there.  I started writing yesterday morning after posting yesterday’s musings, and thirteen hundred words later I finished everything with a good mauling.  Really, someone had their face eaten by a lioness, which isn’t the worst way to go, unless that lioness also happened to be an instructor who the foolish character in question had done nothing but piss off for the last two years.  That’s when your face gets eaten.  It’s worse than being mauled by a bear, let me tell you.

I even managed another three hundred words late last night to show things getting a little back to normal, though there are some whispered tales of what’s happening and who died.  The end is close by, and the story will probably end up hitting the fifty thousand mark when it’s all said and done.

The thing is, I feel no need to rush and finish the story before the end of the month.  If I do, I do.  If not, I’ll finish it the first week in August.  I met my Camp goal, and surpassed it.  I even feel proud that I managed another novella if not a short novel.  Beyond that, however, I feel a bit burned out and a whole lot of stressed.  Some of that comes from things in my life, some from things online.

Either way, there are changes coming for me, for I need them.  I need to walk away from distractions, and get more serious about this craft I’ve chosen.  As soon as this story is finished, I’m thinking my way through on how to make things . . . different.  Whatever the hell that means, you know?

As I was told once, if you wanna feel professional, you gotta be professional.  The time for acting is over.  Besides, I received my first royalty payment from Amazon yesterday, and it was enough to make me smile.  So the possibility of breaking through is still there.  I just gotta reach for it.

As Chuck says, you might just be doing it wrong otherwise . . .

Lastly, since I’d finished my writing early yesterday, I thought I’d jump into blender and start fooling around with modeling out The Great Hall and The Pentagram as they are described in the current story.  Despite not really knowing what I’m doing, just having the vision in my head and a few layouts I’ve developed.

Imagine my surprise when I finally get it all set up in 3D and . . . whoa.

I’ll show you tomorrow.