Back At Makassar

Last night was editing of another project, not any of my novels, and playing with time lines–you know, doing that thing that I said I wouldn’t do.  It was a lot of fun, actually, and I’m discovering something about a B Level novel:  there won’t be a lot of talk about classes, because it’s not about classes, it’s about people.  Most of the stuff that ended up in events had to do with personal things and improvements, though I did see where someone goes to the hospital twice in the course of the year–probably off to Bay #1, Bed #2.  And in one instance it’s almost a repeat of another incident that happened to a particular person, and they’re brought in unconscious after same person they collided with before sorta runs into them once more.  Yeah, that’s a thing again.

And there’s this:

Not sure what it means, but it involves being outside the school, that's for certain.

Not sure what it means, but it involves being outside the school, that’s for certain.

You know me and how I love to play with maps, and if given the chance I will.  I usually only do anything with them if it has something to do with the story, so you can rest assured that map above has something to do with another novel.  Keep in mind that it takes time to plot things out in detail, so the likelihood I’m going to start writing a second Annie and Kerry Novel within another week or so is slim.  You’ll have better luck finding Bigfoot riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster.

What I have decided is that as soon as I finish the project I’m doing on the side, I need to get back into editing, because I have a novel I want to push out.  And that novel is Kolor Ijo.

Some people may remember my first self-published story Kuntilanak.  That was the first thing I wrote, and kept writing, and finished writing, and even went so far as to put it up for sale.  It was never meant to be a best seller:  I just wanted to say that I wrote a story, and that people have bought said story.

I was never certain I would ever expand upon the story of Indriani Baskoro and Kadek Bagus Surya Buana:  as it was the original story started out because someone wanted a Halloween story, and I wrote it only to discover later that it was too long for what the person wanted.  I thought those twenty-five thousand words would be enough.

And then NaNoWriMo 2012 came along.

I usually start thinking about what I’m going to write for NaNo about two months before November rolls around, and 2012 was no exception.  Really, the expectation was high for me, because I’d “won” 2011 writing Her Demonic Majesty, and I wanted to prove I could do it again.  And as I needed an idea I thought I’d write a sequel to Kuntilanak, but instead of setting the story back in Bali, I’d go somewhere else in Indonesia.

Like . . . here.

Like . . . here.

There are a lot of places to visit in Indonesia, and they are all so very different.  I moved the setting to another island, changed it up further by creating an urban setting, and started writing Kolor Ijo.  And when I finished–

That was it.  I hadn’t done anything with it in over two years.

I think I need to change that up, and it’s likely I’ll start editing it in a couple of weeks.  It’s not the monster A For Advanced is:  I could fit five Kolor Ijos into that binder.  Which means I should be able to edit it up right.

At least that’s my hope.

Let’s see what comes of this.

And Today I’m With Rachel Carrera!

Before I get into my normal post, a couple of weeks back I was interviewed by Rachel Carrera, and today the interview is up on her blog.  Click on this link, go over and give her a little love, and read all about get into my work.

As if you didn’t know already.

Dawning Through the Night

Believe it or not, last night was the first time in over a month for me to actually get out of the house and go hang somewhere other than home.  Yes, I stay at home and hang in front of the computer all the time–well, not literally hang, because I’m not a bat, or even Hank McCoy.  But I’m always here, working on something, playing a game when I’m bored, or looking for Ugg boots and getting pissed because, one, they are so expensive, and two, they make nothing in my size.

It was dark and windy.  The south winds were blowing all day, keeping it warm enough to let people walk about in long sleeve shirts and leave the windows open in homes and cars.  The moon is almost at the new phase, so it was plenty dark driving along the back roads.

But I didn’t think of scenes, or of characters, or what I should do next.  There wasn’t any need.

I’ve busted past both my goals for my NaNo novel, Kolor Ijo.  Thursday saw me brush past twenty-five thousand words, so I am half-way to the goal of “winning”.  Yesterday, before blowing out of the house to go visit someone, I just squeezed over the thirty thousand mark, which gets me half-way to what I think will be the word count for the finished story.

Except I’m not certain if sixty thousand is the end.  I know I might need another thousand words to finish this current chapter, which is the thirteenth chapter of the novel.  I’ve laid out twenty-six chapters, so now I’m edging up the count, and may be looking at a total of about sixty-two and change.

And the next chapter is going to be a bit wordy as well.

I’m not complaining.  If I get over sixty-five thousand words, or even get up to seventy, then the better chance the novel has of seeing publication, since most houses won’t consider anything below sixty thousand to be worth their while.  So onward today.  I need to finish up an in-story interview, then . . . fight!  Yeah, it’s that time in the story to have a throwdown with the supernatural.  How does it turn out?  Well, I do have Part Three to write, so it’s not that bad–

Or is it?

Why didn’t I think about things as I drove through the night, as I have done so many times in the past?  It’s likely because I don’t need that at the moment.  I know where this story is going, and I know where many of my other stories are headed, so I don’t need to go all head cannon there.

It’s as I told a friend last night:  at this point I know I can write, and I can polish, and I can produce a good story.  What I need is to sell . . .

Notice, that’s not the same as “exposure”.  I have exposure for the most part.  What I need is for that exposure to turn into dollars.  I need to get publishing in to the forefront, and as The Good Doctor said, keep sending out those manuscripts, and not let them get cozy on my hard drive.  Exposure is no longer needed; it’s time to kick out the jams and get that name known to the right people.

I will “win” NaNo, but the novel won’t be finished in November.  I may complete the first draft, but it’s not finished.  There are other stories to write after that, and thing to edit.

I didn’t need to speak in the voice of my characters last night–

Because I know I need to speak for myself so I can start the next phase of my life.

Hangin’ Out the Van at High Speed

Yesterday . . . what can I say?  Well, I could say it sucked, but that would be unfair.  The day didn’t suck, but I sure felt like I sucked.

It was a day of big-time headaches, and there were a few times when I was almost yelling due to the pain.  I mean, remember Tony Dogs gettin’ his head put in a vice in the movie Casino?  I felt a little like that, only my eye didn’t pop out of my head.

Brutal, I’ll tell you.

But, just like the time I was turned into a newt, I got better.  By night time I didn’t feel that bad.  If anything, by the time I went to bed, I felt like I was doing pretty well.  But during the day–no.  Not feeling good.

However . . . I kept writing.

I wasn’t blazing through the story as I have been.  In fact, it was a real struggle.  I think some of the headaches are coming from having to copy street names found in Makassar.  Here is my document notes for the chapter I finished last night:

From the square at Jalan Pasar Cidu and Jalan Tinumbu, down Jalan Lamuru to Jalan Mesjid Raya, to Jalan Jenderal Urip Sumoharjo, on to Jalan Perintis Kemerdekaan, to a road past Rumah Sakit Bersalin Daya Grasia Hospital.

Ya got that?  You spend part of the day typing “Sumoharjo”, and your head is gonna hurt, too.

It was an interesting chapter, though.  I had my main character chasing another van that was being driven by . . . no one.  Ooooooh, spooky.  Really, they not only chased it, but they managed to get next to it, and one of the characters decided she needed really good video of no one driving a van, so I had her hanging out of her window for about a half a kilometer.

I liked the scene.  I could see everything in my head, and the flowed nicely.  The chapter ended up running four thousand, three hundred fifty words, which was a good run, and my biggest chapter yet.  I know I’ll have a few more that will be this big, and a couple will even be larger.  When I run the numbers, Nate Silver Style, I find that the story is inching toward fifty-nine thousand words, which is the goal I’m aiming towards.

Thing are going according to plan–yessssss.

I’m actually a bit surprised that the story is going well.  There was some concern before NaNo that I wasn’t going to have enough of a story to fill out sixty thousand words.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case now.  I know where I have ahead of me, and when I look at the places where the novel is going to stretch out a bit, I see that sixty thousand isn’t going to be a problem.  I’m actually thinking that sixty-five thousand isn’t out of the possibility of reality, either.  But I’m not going to count my words before they are written.

Just let them come, one at a time, and the story will end when it’s time.

Ghost Whipping the Ride

Since this is the 5th of November, there is only one thing to say:  “The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.”  Or something like that.  Get the bonfires ready:  it’s time to celebrate those Catholic terrorists.

Speaking of ghosts . . .

Really, I said I was going to set a goal of two thousand words a day for NaNoWriMo.  I said, yeah, that’s all I gotta do, just two thousand a day, and I’ll have my goal by the end of the month.  Sure, no problem.  And I’ve been hitting that sucker.

And more.

Four days in, and I’m already close to fifteen thousand words.  I probably could have hit it last night, but that would have meant writing about five thousand words in a day, and who wants to be a show off?  Not this girl.  So I held up just short of that total, mostly because my mind was running out of steam, and I knew if I started writing the following scene in the chapter, I’d have cranked off another thousand words before bumping my head against the desk.

After putting my characters through a little mental hardship, I put them in a van so they could chase a ghost ride.  I mean that last:  at the moment, they’re zipping along the streets of Makassar following another van that is being driven by . . . no one.  Oooooh, spooky.  Then again, maybe Jamie and Adam are in Asia, and they’re trying out a new radio control unit on suckers.

I did have one of those moments when I realized I screwed up.  Yep, even with research, I find that I can, and do, make mistakes.  Anyway, I finished Chapter Six–which is also the end of Part One–with a taxi van coming at the main character, and doing a bootlegger turn in the middle of the road.  ‘Cause, hey:  ghosts gotta get your attention, you know?

Problem was, in the next chapter I was writing about the main characters chasing said ghost van, and I noticed something:  the road they were on was a one-way street.  Which means, if my ghost van was coming at the character so it could pull a cool bootlegger, that means it was driving against traffic.  If you’re ever been on any main highway in a city in Asia, you’d know driving against traffic is pretty much an accident magnet–but then, what isn’t there?

Then again, I could always use the old fallback:  “Sure, it’s a one-way street, but the van was only going one way!”  *chirp, chirp, chirp*  Damn, tough crowd.

So I need to fix this before I forget all about the goof.  Then, I’ll finish off Chapter Seven, and then . . . I should rest.  I should do something else.  Actually, I do have other things to do, but this writing thing has my attention.  Because, you know, this is what writers do, remember?  We write.

I had someone ask me the following yesterday:  “What do you plan on getting out of this?”  This being NaNo.  I told them I’ll have a first draft that won’t be perfect, but it’ll be good, and then I edit it, and edit it, and edit it, so that a few months down the time line I’ll have a novel I can either submit or self-publish.  They were impressed, because I’ve known this person for about six years, and for about four of those years they saw how I tended to fall apart whenever anything bad happened, with “bad” being very much like the lyrics from Temporary Beauty:

The world is full of little people like you
They have to read a book to learn what to do
They hang around in second hand stores for clothes
And every kind of pressure steps on their toes

Now they’re happy that I’m doing something I love.  I’ve got my issues, and pressure still steps on my toes, but I deal with it better.  Much better.

At least I’m writing during NaNo.  Not to point fingers–because moi would never do that–but it seems like there’s more than a few people in the NaNo threads who are using November as an excuse to hang with people and call themselves “writers”, and this thing called “writing” is to be done in little chunks where you can shout “Go!”, then hang with your peeps twenty minutes later, talking about the four hundred words you just scribbled down, and hey!  We should do this again in four hours!  Yay!

Or they might do this:

Me?  I’m writing.

Though I might let you know when I’m going to take a nap . . .

The Quiet of the Roaring City

Oh, so as I go, so goes NaNo.  I figured out the cause of the headaches I’ve had the last couple of days:  coffee.  More likely, the caffeine within the coffee.  Stress + NaNo Novel + three thousand words a day = huge stress headache.

I said I’m having fun, right?  Just checking.

I’ve also noticed something else with this novel in progress:  having to check things, like your note, like a location in a city eight thousand kilometers away, is more time consuming than I could imagine.  Last year was just write, write, write.  I had terms for magic, and an idea for my Modern Stempunk Chicago.  No big deal; just crank words.

This year, I have a real city.  I have things that I need to look up.  I have hotel rooms to check.  I’m still adding a few notes here and there while writing.

Yeah, it keeps me busy.

This is the thing about setting up your story in a real location.  You want to try and get things right.  I think I have as much right in the story now as it’s ever going to get, and I’m noticing that there is now more writing than checking.  Oh, sure, I know I’m going to have to get into my timeline at one point and recheck something before writing up one chapter, but that’s not going to happen for a week, or more, so I have time to crank out the words.

I had one curious moment last night.  I was writing about how the city seemed to grow quiet around one character, and another who was speaking with them was thinking about how the first character came from a city that was much bigger than the one they were in.  Well, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking out my posterior, because someone would fact check that information at some point in the future, and . . .

Oops.  I was wrong.  The home city of the character talking about how quiet things had become, it was smaller than the city she was investigating.  Much smaller.  Maybe by a third.

It’s little things of that nature that will kill you.  Sure, I could have checked that in my edit, but I’m not like that.  Also, there was the possibility that had I left that incorrect reference in, it would have snowballed had I used it again.  And again.  And another time . . .

You see the problem:  try to get it as right the first time.  Do the editing you need, but keep writing.  Keep pushing forward.

That’s what I’m doing today.  I’ve almost finished Part One of my NaNo Novel 2012, and getting three or four thousand word in today will likely do just that.  I’m not quite at the same levels for production I had last year, but I’m doing well.  I’m doing a few checks on word count versus the number of chapters in the novel, and I see that I’m coming up short on the count, but I know there are going to be a few chapters that are going to run long, and a couple that could hit eight thousand words each.  Once those are in place, I won’t have to worry about making my counts–either for the NaNo Fifty Thousand, or getting the story over the sixty thousand I need.

Right now it’s quiet in the city.  Give it time; that’s going to end.  Oh, and I have the perfect music today:  The Who–Thirty Years of Maximum R&B.  The full box set, five hours of music.

That should keep me and my green demons busy for a while.

Death and the Fiction

Oh, did yesterday turn into the greatest of days–or strangest, if you like your literary feelings that way.

Lots of writing yesterday, nearly all of it taking place in Chapter Two.  It seems to take forever to get out, probably because I haven’t utilized my writing muscles in some time.  Editing–oh, yeah.  I’ve been an editing fool.  I’ve been look at what’s come, and thought about what must be, and turned that into what is.  But cranking out the unseen from my mind?  Not so much.  Not since I finished Diners at the Memory’s End.  Yes, I had a couple of slammer works in there, but that was almost a . . . I don’t know.  Maybe you could call them a bit of a warm up on the jogging track.

Now I’m in the race, and it was making my head hurt.

I was writing about the scene of a death, and why old friends who haven’t seen each other in a couple of years are suddenly together, at the scene of a death, in a city that neither would have expected to find the other.  I had to bring up names and streets, talk of locals that really do exist, but whose names I’m not used to saying, much less write.

This is probably why my head was hurting, because my mind was getting its workout.  Or maybe it was my mind’s way of saying, “You shouldn’t be doing this.  You should be off doing something else, but you should try leaving the writing to professionals.”

So where am I after all this?  According to my NaNo Stats Page, I’m and 6,517 words.  That’s because I stopped writing at some point about 8 PM, and told people I wouldn’t write more that evening–then, about 10 PM, I started working on Chapter Three, because . . . space?  Or would that be . . . airport?  Which is where Chapter Three takes place, by the way.  At the Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport, actually, because my research told me so.

The head hurting things probably came about because of all the flipping about I had to do.  Write in Scrivener, flip to a map, look at a time line, write, get a name, write, check this . . . yeah, I’m stumbling into the first part of the story, where I’m getting everything set up.  It’s been necessary for me to kill off two people already–something I’ve not done a great deal, though if I think about it, there were a lot of deaths in the last story with these two characters–and that means trying to get my set up down right.

It’s work.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s still fun, in a way, when I’m not dealing in death, and my head is hurting, but it’s still fun.

No one will die today, or so I think.  It’s mostly begging and getting facts straight, and a few other things.  In fact, I’m wondering if a chapter I have set up is even going to be necessary.  Oh, wait:  I know what I’ll use it for.  That’s called thinking on your feet, though at the moment I’m sitting on the floor at the local Y, listening to Caribou, by Elton John.  No on your feet for this girl.

Enough talk-talk.

I got words to pen.

The Makassar Shuffle

So Day One of NaNo is over, and Day Two is upon us.  Day Two of more writing, more head scratching and aching, more of a feeling that you might panic at any moment.

Relax.  It’s just a novel.

I did a lot of prep, getting maps of Makassar (the location of my story) and getting the names of streets–and I still came down with a headache from having to look for things while I was writing.  I still managed almost three thousand words yesterday, but the amount of real-time checking I performed was somewhat mind boggling.

This is a complected story, mostly because I’m right in the middle of a real city that I’ve never seen, and my imagination–and a few well-placed pictures–are all I have to help me along.

But that was mostly due to the Prologue and Chapter One being a bit like travelogues, showing the reader around the city.  The next two chapters should be the main characters sitting and chatting, getting acquainted while having something to eat, and less about the local.  In fact, much of what remains of Part One will be that way.

Part Two . . . well, there will be a car chase.  No, really.  Though I wouldn’t put it up there with Bullet or The French Connection.  Probably more like the original Gone in 60 Seconds.

It’s an interesting thing, getting into the writing as I did yesterday, and found myself floundering about just a touch.  Then again, I did the same thing last year.  I found myself hesitating on the first chapter, and I didn’t find my stride until I was well into the third or fourth chapter.  It’s as if I’m looking for my writing groove, trying to find it while laying down words, and then, boom!  There is it.

Time to get writin’, or time to get to hair pulling.

Oh, and don’t do this:

Using a line from a story where only one person will have the odds ever in their favor, and the other eleven people are going to be found with their bodies cooling to room temperature, isn’t really the best way to encourage people to write like there’s no tomorrow.

Contrary to popular belief, writing a novel isn’t easy.  Even if you’ve done this a few times, there’s something very intimidating about taking all this information about people, places, and things, and putting it down inside the medium of your choice in something approaching a coherent form for all to see.  It’s not quite the same at trying to fly to the moon–or even trying to pilot a Cessna to the next town–but it can leave you with your mind, and hair, in tatters.

Get comfortable.  Get set.  Get easy.  You have twenty-nine more days–including this one–ahead of you, and if you’re flipping out now, how do you think you’re going to be come the 15th of the month?  If you’re playing with a make believe world, as many are, try looking up street names located in a city on the other side of the world.  Yeah, that’ll get your brain cooked in short order.

It’s time to start writing:  I mean really writing.  This blog post?  It’s just a warm up for the fingers.  The real work is coming.

Time to jump into the insanity.

Out of the Station

The NaNo Countdown reached zero, and I clicked on “Play” for Electric Light Orchestra’s album, A New World Record.  Scrivener was already up and waiting, and I went directly to the card labeled Prologue.

The Crazy Train was departing the station, and I had my seat.  It was time to write.

This is my second NaNoWriMo.  Last year–well, most people know how last year worked out for me.  This year, I feel a bit subdued, less chomping at the bit to get in there and crank things out, but I think that’s due more to my growth, over the last year, as a writer, rather than not wanting to write.

Getting the words out is a bit difficult, but that’s because I’m searching for the voice.  Not to worry, because I’m moving forward.  After all, I have this:

Yes, that’s my Scrivener plan for this novel, Kolor Ijo.  And the Prologue is at First Draft status, which means it’s finished.  I’m one thousand, three hundred thirty-eight words in, which means I’m almost at by goal for the day.  NaNo says you need to do 1,667 words a day to hit the winning mark, but I’m shooting for at least two thousand a day.  That way, I can reach sixty thousand, which is what I believe my story will need.

Though I might finish well before the 30th of November, which I’m good with should it happen.

I was tired last night, but then I was tired last year when I started NaNo at midnight.  Halloween/Samhain Eve was busy for me, figuratively and literally, and I found it necessary to fight to stay awake until the first seconds of 1 November.  I made it, however, and typed out seven hundred eighty words before A New World Record ended, I updated my word count, and then headed off to sleep.

As I tell people doing NaNo for the first time, have fun with your story.  A lot of people lose track of that fact, and after a couple of days the whole adventure of writing a novel turns into a life-or-death struggle–or both if you’re a zombie–that turns a person completely off this stuff.

Don’t let that happen.  This isn’t the end of the world.  This isn’t living on a fault line.  This is a novel, and while some of us do look upon writing as something of a job, it’s also a way for us to loose ourselves in our work.  To allow our imaginations to soar with the owls–because I like owls–and gain a new perspective on the world.  It won’t always be easy, and it won’t always come to you in a way that’s going to make you feel as if you are making progress.  But do it enough, and keep doing it day after day, and things will work out.

You will write.  And you’ll like it.

I’m on my way.  I know I’ll make my goal tonight, and probably make it tomorrow as well, though I might be a bit pressed for time, as I know I’ll be busy with non-writing things tomorrow.  But I will make my goal, and maybe a little more.

That’s the nice thing about NaNo.  I don’t feel like I should write, but I do–

Eventually you get that feeling every day.