Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A little bit of everything

NaNo update: I started over. For a completely lame reason, too. I just couldn't sort through the issues in my plot and still make the wordcount. I was floundering. It was painful. And I see no reason to type nonsense just to make the wordcount (as I'm actually trying to make this a learning experience) so I started working on the book I've been brainstorming for the past couple of months. It has a MUCH simpler plot, but on the other hand it is MUCH more emotional. So, easier and harder at the same time. I am a bit under my goal at the moment, but I'm still trucking. Since I don't actually care about hitting the 50k within the deadline, I am going to December 14. And I have all next week off from work (omg YAY) so I plan to be hitting the coffeeshops and all that good stuff to bang out some more words. I've never done this before: a whole week off work. I'm excited! The house is going to be SO CLEAN. Or, I am going to watch a ton of West Wing. And, you know, write.

I'd really like to see the video attached to this article (which was removed for copyright reasons) so if anyone can find it in a more legal venue I would be much obliged! But read the article. I like nice people. (And on that note, have some ninja onions.)

Harry Potter is our generation's Woodstock. This... this is just so true. I was right there, growing up with Harry. It occupies such a large portion of my childhood I don't even know how to explain to people who don't get it. I also loved this article by the same writer about why Neville rocks. Because seriously, Neville rocks. And I'd never made that connection before, between the two generations. Very astute.

I think it may be time to reread Harry Potter. I know I've been saying that for a while, but damn. I don't have the headspace with all this writing to be inhaling new stuff. (And trust me, that kills.) So many great things have caught my eye, and yet I find myself reaching for Among Others, Fire (third time this year!), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Ready Player One. All books firmly rooted on my favorites shelf.

A response to the latest YA-bashing article that's been floating around. Seriously, I don't understand people. Also, you should be following Foz Meadow's blog, because she is ├╝ber smart. Nay, brilliant.

Also: Girls kick ass! Pro choice! Pro birth control! Support gay marriage! Support Obamacare! Yeah, I'm one of those people. Feel free to cower. It seemed like an appropriate time to reiterate that.

I am extremely excited for my week off next week. I want to tackle the mountains of stuff in the front room that has been slowly growing for the past few months. And also write. And oh! I'm seeing the Nutcracker Wednesday night! That is going to be sweeeeet. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, which is obviously the best holiday of the year. Try not to kill your families!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Numbers and Sentiment

I have been taking my writing semi-seriously since March 15, 2011. Yes, I remember the date. I also remember this date: April 12, 2012. That was when I began handwriting everything. But 2012 was a rough, tumultuous, insane year, and contained much more journaling and working-through-things than it did writing.

I have a new date to remember now. November 10, 2013. That's when I finally made the decision to ditch the notebooks and start working on a laptop again. I drove out to Pittsburgh with my dad for a funeral. I had a lot of thinking time to weigh the good versus the bad.

Everything boils down to this: Do I want to piss around and write fluffy things for fun? Or do I actually want to start making real progress? The truth is, I am much faster at typing than I am at writing. A night slaving over the notebook, hunched over and uncomfortable, may yield 800 words. I used my laptop on Saturday because my back was sore and I wanted to lay back in the recliner, and I hit 800 words in an hour. And I was so much more comfortable in that hour... seriously, SO much comfier.

Comfort isn't the only reason. In the notebook, I was constantly making notes in the margins, until no free space remained, because there was no way to fit it in between the paragraphs I had already wrote. I wrote, and then that was it. I couldn't expand, I couldn't describe, I couldn't rework anything until it made just enough sense to keep going. But now, I can mouse up and write in between paragraphs and write stream of consciousness just to get everything out and then it's a simple matter to clean up and make it readable. WHY IS THIS SO FREAKING REVOLUTIONARY?

It isn't revolutionary. I am a child of the technological age, and yet I insisted on keeping around these archaic notebooks. Looking back, it was solely because I was in love with the romance of it all. Penning my story, covering the pages, etc, etc. At this very moment I'm all TO HELL WITH YOU NOW! This is the age of antibiotics and streaming entertainment! Magical hoodoo computers in our pockets! Cameras that double as a communications device! What is this PAPER!? Remove this mummy-dung from my sight!

So. I'm done with the paper. I am sad, and I will likely want to go back to my wonderful notebooks, but I am not going to let myself. I am going to treat this like a professional, like the grown-up I'm pretending to be, like I have respect for this, more than just something I dabble in. I formatted my laptop to have a fresh start. (After backing everything up, of course. I'm not insane.) The journal, the calendar, the brainstorming, the drafts: they'll all live in the land of 1s and 0s now. I suddenly have this magical capability of backing up my work... if the house burns down or floods, it's possible I won't lose years of work.

But now for the horrendously overwhelming task of deciphering my handwriting and transcribing it into the typed document... *cries*

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Early NaNo update and some cool stuff

I was originally planning to post my progress on Fridays (and I still will) but after starting on a Friday and then having yesterday off (I got to play full time writer! Hint: I was really bad at it. But the house is clean.) it seemed appropriate to post it before the rest of the work week.

This is the nifty chart I made, since I'm having a hard time getting the word count function to work on the NaNo site (is this working for everyone else?). Plus, I have my own goals, I'm not strictly following the 1667 per day.

My Goals:
1. Sit down and write something every freaking day.
2. Minimum word count goal: Write 1 page (1k words) per day.
3. Stretch word count goal: Write 2 pages (2k words) per day.

I already didn't write on Saturday, but I'm not beating myself up about it. I'm easy on myself on the weekends. I'm excited to buckle down and see how much I get during the week! And I'm off work again tomorrow, which will help. (I have so many vacation days to use by the end of the year, I have a lot of random days off... great news for NaNo!)

Sidenote: if anyone would like a copy of the spreadsheet, I'm happy to send it to you. Leave a comment or better, DM me on Twitter.

Geocaching: A gigantic treasure hunt! Use a GPS to find really obscurely hidden logs, sign your name, and find the next one! Two of my coworkers are into this, and it sounds really awesome.

Strayboots: Another scavenger hunt-esque site. This one uses a smartphone to take you around landmarks of different cities, and asks trivia questions. They cost some money, but they're low enough that it would be worth it if your already tromping around a city.

Zen Pencils comic from start to finish: A really cool guide to how Gav creates his comics, complete with lots of pictures. And if you aren't already reading Zen Pencils, you should be.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 BEGINS!!!!

I wasn't signed up for NaNo until yesterday afternoon, when my coworker and I realized we were both being stupid and really needed to sign up. Am I ready? No. Is she ready? Also no. Which makes NaNo perfect for us.

It's not about worrying, it's not about making flowing sentences, it's about sitting our asses down and getting our ideas onto the page. That book I've been avoiding for two weeks? (And only half-heartedly been working on for the two months prior to that?) I don't have an excuse anymore. I have to work on it. I have to figure something out, even if that something is the wrong place to go, the wrong thing to do. After I've written that wrong something, maybe then I'll have room to write the right something.

A first draft is all you need. Then, LATER, it can be made better. It won't suck forever.

Lately, I've been letting myself get overwhelmed. I'm past the easy part, the introduction, where the world is new and the characters are new and anything I write is viable. Now things have to start building on each other, fitting together, the characters need to start growing and changing, and oh yeah, eventually I need to start working on the plot.

I don't really know who my characters are yet. And you know what the worst part of that is? I probably won't know until I've finished the first draft. That is SO FRUSTRATING. I know who I want them to be, I am still excited to tell the story, but everything feels flat. Well, that's being a writer. At first my main character worked in her parent's inn and longed to see the bigger world. Now, my character avoids working in her parent's inn, because she would rather be collecting plants for the apothecary, whose owners are teaching her about the bigger world and making her want to see it. It's just a slight difference in her characterization, but it's better, and it's enough to make everything I've written feel like shit and leave me with no springboard to move forward.

Which is why NaNo works. It forces me to ignore the fact that I don't have a polished, ready-to-publish set of beginning chapters. I am jumping from a plane without a parachute. I am in the ocean without a raft. Being a writer is like making a living by catching smoke in your hands. Freaking impossible unless you have an iron will and a skewed sense of fun.

Ok, enough with the metaphors. It sucks and we're all crazy and the only reason we do this is because we NEED to tell the stories taking over our heads.

Write to keep the crazy at bay.