aamcnamara: (Default)
Because apparently no year of my life lately, or draft of this novel, is complete without at least one early-morning writing session before I have to go somewhere:

12.4 / 80

And that's a wrap on Part One, I think--12.4k is a respectable size for it, 15% of 80k. In the Events I Really Need timeline, I have gotten through 8 of 28 bulletpoints, but, well, let's not think about that. (If I made a list of Events I Kind Of Need, it would be much longer. And a lot of the changes I'm making got set up in the first part... so there were many bulletpoints there. So.)

I have to admit, there is something I really like about this sort of hurried-pace writing. Ever since a friend of mine talked me into doing NaNoWriDay (attempting to write 50,000 words in 24 hours) with her as 'preparation' for NaNoWriMo, I've felt pretty good about the whole thing. I know that I can type quickly for hours, and invent things off the top of my head if I don't know what I'm doing.

This exercise, however, does not resemble NaNoWriDay (or even NaNoWriMo) in that I hope to come out of it with a coherent draft. Fortunately, it also doesn't resemble those events in that it's not the first time I have written this novel.

I know who my characters are and what they would do in each particular situation; I know what the setting is; I know the plot and have a notion of the structure, I know when each event should fall. And while I've changed a few things about the setting and more things about the plot (setting change feeding into plot change feeding into actually giving my character a motivation to do a couple of previously-questionable things), a lot of it remains the same, and I have a copy of my first draft lurking just a click away that I am totally free to crib good lines, dialogue, or passages from.

This makes it way easier. I'm still composing on the fly, but on a much smaller scale than when writing a first draft, when I'm creating world, characters, setting, plot, and structure wholesale. And in some ways the deadline makes it easier: it forces me to just write--which means I won't get distracted by things or let it sit for months in the middle of the draft, forgetting names and descriptions, what the colors are that the great House wears or what kind of ring the main character has on his right hand. I just keep typing. (The running 'notes' file helps, too, but, well.)

...like those events aforementioned, though, while the deadline's self-imposed, I also have people willing to, alternately, cheer me on or hit me over the head on iChat and tell me to get back to work ([livejournal.com profile] browniecakemix! [livejournal.com profile] epicrauko! [livejournal.com profile] aliseadae!), as well as a whole host of others supporting me in more passive ways. (Including my mother, whom I keep updating with My Wordcount Right Now and who is very patient with me.) I like these people. I might be able to do this without them, but it would be far harder and much less enjoyable.
aamcnamara: (Default)
Okay, so getting back on the horse works.

55020 / 80000


(A highly metaphorical horse, anyway.)

And I think that I know what I am doing up to 60k. At which point all bets are off, but hey, that's half the fun of this game, right? Headlights are on, I can see ten feet ahead of me, so I'm just going to keep cruising into that dark night.

Sometimes I suspect this novel is not very marketable. I plan to revise it anyway, and do all the other things associated with trying to get a novel published, because it's a good exercise whatever else happens. And I will start another novel, potentially right after I finish this one and potentially later on, and work on that one, too.

And I will learn things and get better with every novel I write and revise and send out. (This is a writer's mantra, I think. Or one of mine, at least.)
aamcnamara: (Default)
Let's see. Can I make this do purple?

50101 / 80000


Yesterday was one of those days where there was too much of life to allow for writing.

I made up for it today, though!

Also shipped an entry off to Writers of the Future today in an attempt to feel like I am making some effort at getting something published. Novels are awesome, but take a long time to write.
aamcnamara: (Default)
47374 / 80000


Okay, I am calling this a win for today, because I was out almost all of the day. Almost-last of the grad parties, errands (farmer's market! library!), etc., devoured lots of time.

Tomorrow will probably be similarly packed.

Still, I got pretty close to "desired word count", and I finished a chapter, which is officially the first named chapter in the book. That counts for something.

(The chapter title just popped out of the text. All right, said I, and went back to add it into the heading.)
aamcnamara: (Default)
46020 / 80000


At 50k I'll probably change the color in the word-count-o-meter again. Visual cues are lovely.

No big thoughts or expeditions to report on today, sadly. Just me, writing the words. Not that that's easy. One of the hardest things for me to do as a writer is to write straight narrative that follows a predetermined plan. If I figure out an unexpected complication to add in, thus affecting everything that goes after it, I suddenly start typing much more quickly.
aamcnamara: (Default)
40194 / 80000


I am not sure if I have quite made up for largely taking the weekend off, but at this point I don't really care. I have approximately half a first draft of a novel, and I am going to bed.
aamcnamara: (Default)
I thought I just got out of the public school system.

But apparently, though you can take me out of the public school system, you can't take the public school system out of me (or I could always blame the Shadow Unit writers...), because when I sat down to figure out the worldbuildy thing today, instead of a nice normal free-typing session, it came out as a school report by my main character.

Who has not and would not write a school report on this particular aspect of the world, and does not attend school. Who, in fact, probably could not write a school report to save her life.

Then again, who am I to complain? I just work here.

On the other hand, it's an issue, because now when I think of that character, I assume she knows everything she wrote in that school report. And following her logic, the natural next step... will bring her to a very easy solution to her main problem.

I guess now I have to find a way to keep her from taking that next step.

In other news, I finished with my first batch of slush from Ideomancer today! Now I feel like a Real Editor.

So I think I've earned a quiet evening in, reading The Shadow Speaker. I started reading it yesterday, and so far it is excellent.
aamcnamara: (Default)
30424 / 80000


Four hundred words today.

But hey, I tried.

(I am fairly certain that what's keeping me back is a worldbuildy thing, which I will ponder over tomorrow while attending more grad parties.)
aamcnamara: (Default)
Day-before-yesterday's question: Will a progress meter help me to write more?
Today's answer: Well, maybe.

I have had a grad party, and we have eaten oatmeal-raisin cookies and cake and berries.

Today I slept late and then finished reading Borderland, which [livejournal.com profile] vcmw thoughtfully gave me as a graduation present. (It was an interesting read--I read the Bordertown anthologies in, I think, reverse order, which is an odd perspective to have on something.)

The day was sunny for once, which reminded me of days last year at Odyssey when, restless and uninspired by my apartment, other people's apartments, the cafe or the library, I would trek with my laptop to the quad in the center of campus. In the center of the quad rise a few ribs of stone, and I would sit on the largest of these, the sun's glare making my laptop screen practically unreadable, using campus wifi and writing madly. I would pretend sometimes that nothing was real but the peninsula of rock I sat on, that it was all virtual reality, the perfect lawn, the collegiate brick buildings, the utter stillness interrupted only by a classmate or a priest.

So, in memorium of that time, and because I was restless and uninspired by my house, I took my bike and went to a coffee shop, where I ate lunch (including leftover raspberries from my grad party which I stuck in my bag along with my laptop), and then to a library, where I sat outside on the lawn, using their wifi and typing madly.

At some point I looked at my word count thingy and thought, "I can get to 30k today." So I did.

And then I went to a grad party and ate strawberries and potato chips, and then I biked home.

It looks like the evening will consist of working on forms for my college, and slushing. I think I have exhausted my Notanovel words for today, though if I have some sudden inspiration I might add a few more.

30045 / 80000
aamcnamara: (Default)
I have graduated. I have attended many (many!) grad parties, and will continue to do so for weeks. I have baked two large batches of oatmeal-raisin cookies in preparation for my own grad party.

I have also been making progress on the Notanovel, fighting my way through questions of what goes right and what goes wrong in increasing detail. I may or may not be attempting to get to 50,000 words before the end of this month. It would be awesome, but if it isn't going to happen, well, it isn't going to happen.

If I'm having a problem with my novel, I figure other people probably have the same problem with novels and/or stories, too, so: does it ever happen that you are partway through a large project and simultaneously are convinced that a) there is no way you have enough material for the remaining part of the project and b) you have way too many things to put into the rest of the project? Because that's my state right now. I don't feel like my main plot is large enough to support the rest of a novel--I keep thinking of ways in which it could plausibly end in the next, oh, 10k words, certainly. On the other hand, there are all these little things that characters do and say that imply their backstory to me so clearly, and maybe I'll get to explore that eventually, but there's so much of that that I'm not sure if I'll get there before the main plot ties up.

So far, my strategy is simple: Just Keep Writing.

To that end, here is a progress bar which I can update and which will hopefully inspire me to write write write:
26838 / 80000

The sharp-eyed observer may note that I am now just slightly past a third of the projected length for this novel.
aamcnamara: (Default)
I'm supposed to be writing my NaNoWriMo novel, but I'm not.

In fact, I'm three days behind on word count. I think this is the furthest behind I've been this early in the month, without flood, (homework) storm, or having to run lights for a show physically preventing me from writing.

Instead, I am attempting to rewrite a story from Odyssey. So far it's going better than the last time I tried to rewrite it; my theory is to be blatantly obvious with everything. After this, I think I'll have to test it out on some poor unsuspecting victims who'll tell me if I'm hammering the point home too fiercely or if it just makes sense for a chance.

--

In other news, it's flurried here twice already.

I'm glad the snow is coming. Summer was nice, fall is good too, but it's time for curling up in blankets with warm cider and watching the snowflakes now. To me, snow justifies the winter: the grey days, the lack of light, the cold air coming through the window right in front of my computer so that my feet feel like they might freeze up while I'm typing LJ entries instead of rewriting my story or doing homework or going to bed.

That's why I separated out colleges by "Does it snow there?" Anywhere I go, there'll be some change in the seasons. The least I can do is make sure that I'll have snow to keep me awake and dreaming.
aamcnamara: (Default)
So I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year. It's a tradition, I've done it the past three years; I may or may not continue doing it when I go to college, but it feels like some sort of closure to do NaNo this time.

I planned my novel last night, because I had nowhere to go on Halloween, and planning novels is better than sitting around feeling sorry for oneself. As I was flippantly explaining to people at the NaNo kickoff party on Thursday, usually I come up with some big elaborate plan which I summarily abandon two days before November starts, so this time I decided to save energy and just not come up with the elaborate plan in the first place.

Got up this morning, wrote for an hour and forty minutes, and emerged victorious, having hit wordcount for the day. Later I'll see if I can double that, for a little bit of padding.

One of the things I think I need to do for myself, as a novelist, is figure out how to shoot this starter gun for myself. After all, it's not like I take part in the NaNo community that much; usually I just do my own thing. Yet something about the definite starting date, or the deadline, or something, makes me sit down and write.

In the meantime, sometimes doing NaNo feels like a copout. But it's a fun copout, and that's really all that matters. Having fun, and writing.
aamcnamara: (Default)
One revelation might be enough for tonight.

So here I am, peacefully writing my short story, which doesn't have a plot yet but you know, that's the way it goes sometimes--

And boom, it turns into a novel on me. Or at least a much longer short story, or one of those terrible categories in between, like a novella or novelette.

I'm not sure whether to be pleased or terrified or sad. On one hand, the sorts of deceptions that are going on in this story are really quite fascinating. On the other, it sort of feels like too much coincidence (but that's the way this story is, it shrieks...)--on the third hand, assuming I have three hands, do I have time to write a novelette?

I think the answer is, I guess I'd better. Or maybe, I guess I'd better type faster.

Suddenly, June doesn't seem so far away.

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