Bitter Fingers

One of the advantages of being finished with my Camp NaNo prep work is I can sit back and watch everyone else getting their acts together.  I should be used to this by now, since I’ve worked through two NaNoWriMos, and the modus is usually the same:  ask what people are going to do, throw out a few ideas you have, wonder about how you’re going to do your story, tell people you’re having issues with plot/characters/motivation, OH, DAMNDAMNDAMN!  I’m behind my wordcount, whatamigonnado?????

I know what works for me.  As I told someone the other night, I was fortunate enough to read about the writing process of others starting way back in the early 1970’s, and I adopted some of their process as nuggets to hold close to my heart.  Harlan Ellison said he never started a story until he had a title.  King and Gibson said they write every day, though Gibson has added that if he doesn’t feel there is anything to write, then he finds something else to do and doesn’t try to force the story.  Arthur Hailey would usually never write more than five hundred words in a day, but he’d spend the day editing and re-editing those words until what he had was the final draft.  Ben Bova once said that he wrote naked–okay, that one isn’t for me.

I once tried writing while semi-baked, because I was told that I could “unlock my imagination”.  What it unlocked was a bunch of crap, and I tossed the pages I’d produced right in the trash.  Guys like Hemingway and Fitzgerald might have had great success writing half in the bag, but I’ve not had much luck writing while in an altered state of mind.

I always kinda, sorta have an ending in mind when I start.  Maybe the ending I do write isn’t the one I had in mind when I started, but I had an idea about the ending before I write my first word.  In fact, I’ll usually think about a story for a week or two before I enter the title into the computer.  But if I don’t know where I’m going–per the wisdom of Dr. Issac Asimov–then I won’t know how to get there.

As for plotting . . . yes, I do a bit of plotting.  If I have something intensive to do, then I get a little more intensive with my plotting, but for the most part I do a little overview, create a quick heading, and I’m off from there.  For my upcoming novel, one of the cards I set up in Scrivener says, “Silver Threads”.  What does that mean?  I know what it means, and from that I’ll write five hundred words, maybe a thousand.  What ever it takes to get it done, will.

But that’s it as far at the plotting goes.  I know the scene in my mind, so all I need is a reminder of what is suppose to go there, and I don’t need much else.  What will I say?  I have a good idea what I’ll say, but the final form could be far different from what I’ve thought about.

What else is there to say?  Let me think about it.

I’m sure I’ll come up with something.


Brachistochrone Trajectories Around the Mind

It was one of those days where the body said, “Get up, you have things to do,” the mind says, “The hell with that.  I am in no mood for anything.”

That was today.

There was nothing in me today, at least from 6 AM until about 2 PM.  Body was functioning, but the brain had walled up the joint, and wasn’t coming out of the bunker.  It wasn’t a lack of caffeine, I can tell you that:  two large cups of coffee were had this morning, and there was plenty of iced tea at lunch.

I should say there was something going on; a story in my mind.  This newest idea I’ve spoken of, that was there, floating about slowly like a Mars rover taking its time getting to the destination.  There’s a reason they do that:  delta v requirements.  Or, to put it in terms a layperson would understand, there is a certain amount of velocity change needed to go from one orbit to another, and you have to burn reaction mass to make that change.  If you have a lot of reaction mass, or a totally kick-ass rocket engine, then you get a huge change, and you can zip to your destination in no time, taking what is known as a brachistochrome trajectories.  If you don’t have a kick-ass rocket engine, or gigantic quantities of fuel, or both, then you creep out to where your destination is going to be in many, many month, using what is known as a modified Hohmann trajectory.

We are in later category, so we creep along in modified Hohmanns, and get help, now and then, from gravity assists.

I was very much in Hohmann trajectory today.  Creep, creep, creep . . . only I had no destination.

Around 2 PM, though, it was like a slap up side the head hit.  There was a very obvious “Eureka!” moment, and I started coding–and thinking.  Coding and story thinking.  I was off, doing two things, and that lasted until it was time to go–and beyond.  I get home, I slap dinner in the oven, hit the shower, and I’m still thinking about where to take this story.  When I come out of the shower, just in time to grab dinner and start this post, I know the start, the middle, and the end of my story.

Somewhere along the line I got me a kick-ass rocket engine.

Now, perhaps my friend Allison is right:  the reason I perked up is because I knew work was almost over, and I just wanted to get the hell out of there.  There’s probably more than a modicum of truth to that statement, though I’m not saying if she’s one hundred percent right.  I’ll just say–maybe.  Possibly.  Likely.

I’m in my jammies, thinking of going home tomorrow.  I’m hoping that most of the people who are going somewhere for the weekend are taking tomorrow off, and will be on the road tonight.  I am, however, anticipating that traffic will be hell tomorrow, so I’ll relax, take a deep breath, and go with the flow.

I have some writing tonight, and some this weekend.  I’m going to get my notes in order this weekend, ’cause I need to have these thoughts laid out so I don’t forget.

Then come Saturday–Daleks!

Hey, do I know how to party, or what?