Monthly #Writing Update

Monthly Total: 12,265 Words

This past monthly has mostly been exposition, introducing characters, classes, teachers, my FMC’s talents and abilities and a dozen more things which serve as background information and important elements to the stories. It doesn’t seem like much but it is all important I feel for the story, for myself to understand the story and it has pushed the story forward.

This past month has also taught me that if I want to do the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo next month, I need to do more research and planning beforehand so I am not constantly stopping to look something up or figure something out. Sometimes, it has been necessary, such as figuring out how education, employment and training works in the world having aged up my characters. Other things, like forgetting character names at a write in this weekend and crashing into a wall because I needed to figure out the plot more, slowed me down and is the sort of thing I need to write down beforehand to keep me going. I am now getting on and past the plotting part but the point still stands. I needed to know this.

Granted this novel was started with little planning and on a whim because I didn’t like the previous story which I was writing for Camp and it still works for something that is more long-term but for a challenge like NaNo, plotting and world building needs to happen before it starts. So it is one of the things I will be doing this month in preparation for November which means the current novel will have to take a back seat for this and next month realistically if I want to finish the challenge.

I didn’t manage to finish my 10,000 word target for August but I have done the 10k for September and then some to keep me on track. This month, maybe a little ambitiously, the target for 25,000 in preparation for the 50k next month. I can give it ago at least and lower it if needed but I am hoping to use this month as not just a planning and prep for the story but also to get me hitting the higher word targets. It’s an idea at least.

Aims for this month are to keep going with the Camp story, write more and get 25,000, plan and prepare for November, both story and survival wise (I do have stuff going on in life after all) and to make sure I have a story to go back to after November to give me a break. After all, December is hard enough with Christmas and family and New Years to be dealing with a story that is in crisis.

How was your writing last month? Are you doing NaNoWriMo next month too and starting to prepare now? What are your plans this month? Don’t be afraid to comment below.

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#Writing Update

3278e-writerWord Count: 3,324 words

Just under 2,000 of those words was in one day. In the story, still exposition, revealing the world, the most popular game for witches and a broomstick lesson but there are three things that have mainly dominated this week’s writing.

The first, looking back, is that my FMC is finding herself being questioned by others and questioning herself why she has chosen and begged for a place at a rival school to her family’s dark magic school. I’m not sure why she is doing that really as she knows why (wants to do something different to her family) but I can’t help feeling it is going to be important, especially after some rethinking and planning of the story and the character’s journey. It’s not a bad feeling. In fact, it is a very good feeling.

The second is the revelation of my MMC’s struggles in his classes. I haven’t really written much with him for a while, mostly because the school is split into boys and girls and I am having a go at using third person limited. The struggles revelation feels as if it is going to be vitally important. I am not sure why but again, it is a good feeling.

Ah, the wonders of pantsing and having an outline that is rather loose in my mind. Especially when that outline is limited to about one years worth in story time of plot. Who knows? It might become a little Malory Towers in its focus.

The third thing that has happened is that my FMC’s potential love interest has revealed that they are gender fluid. To anyone who has never heard of the term, it describes someone who doesn’t feel like their assigned gender all the time. This is different to being transsexual. In this case, the love interest is male. They will have periods of time where they feel male so act male but will also have times where they feel female so will act and be female for that time. I have known this since I started writing the story pretty much however I have been nervous about doing it as it is the first time I have written a character like this. How successful it is so far and will be, I don’t know. All I know is that this is right for the character and will cause conflict between them and their family as well as at school, as it is segregated between male and female with normal expectations of those genders in place and reinforced by lessons such as etiquette. I am looking forward to seeing how this goes.

I have already mentioned some rethinking and replanning has happened. This is resulting from a realisation that I needed to age the characters up so a rethink of the structure of the school and the education system in place in this world became necessary. It took me a while to figure it out yesterday at a write in, where I ended up voicing stuff out loud as well as sketching and drawing things in mid-air to help me visualise it. This is part of the value of having writing friends and going to write in’s and maybe writing groups too. You can say and do things with fewer or no strange looks whatsoever. This restructuring will definitely work better I feel and allow me a bit more room to move when writing character’s actions and dialogue. Perhaps it also explains why my FMC has become so much more introverted than normal.

Aside from all this with my Camp story, I have begun the task of doing some research and planning for November. I suspect my time may become limited so I am trying to get a little ahead to compensate. This research has included the North Pole and the Arctic Circle.

Plans for next week? Write my Camp story, research for November and trying to remember to post my wc’s on Twitter. I keep forgetting!

#Writing Update

Firstly, sorry about the lateness of this. I was going to do it on Saturday but life had to take priority. Secondly, forgive the hashtag in the title. I am experimenting with Twitter still.

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Word count for last week was 2,319 words. I was intending to rewrite the first chapter of my novella that I wrote a while ago but in the end though, all those words ended up coming out of my Camp story and an idea that was demanding to be written.

It is so frustrating to me that I haven’t managed to sit down and do the rewrite, especially as I might have worked out how to get past the block I’ve had with it. The first chapter has been and, still is, the part I just cannot get past and rewritten because of the nature of it being a lot of exposition, without there being too much obvious exposition. Perhaps it is my subconscious telling me I need to work on the new idea for the first chapter in relation to the rest of the story that is preventing me from writing it. In other words, planning! This is something which many of you may know is not exactly my strong suit outside of “basic idea and outline but may change.”

The idea that wouldn’t leave me alone, which contributed to the word count too, is just a mission for my magical spy character from my August 2012 Camp NaNoWriMo novel and her best friend who I think might become something more to her after all. It’s a little thing that could come to nothing but at least it is out of my system and may allow me to learn more about the characters. It is set in the same world as my novella so may actually be why my brain has offered up the idea, to reintroduce me to the world since the spy character is the original character that spawned the whole idea  That cannot be a bad thing, surely?

The Camp story is hitting a stride again after the train journey. When my FMC gets among more students, it might help. The fact that there is still more exposition should add words rapidly as well as giving me elements to play with for  later in the story. I’m wondering though when to have my FMC’s big secret come out? I know how she gets back into the good books with her classmates but that I feel is contingent on the secret reveal. How long can her secret be hidden realistically within a closed school environment? I know how rapid a secret can get out and around a classroom from experience but keeping secrets, well, that is not exactly territory I know about. Can anyone help? I would be very grateful for any advice offered.

All of this is not necessarily bad as I am at least writing but at the same time, it gets me no closer to getting my novella to the stage I feel I can be sending it out. It’s annoying and yet fun which makes this a sort-of problem but not entirely. Does that make sense? I suppose not.

So what are my intentions at least for this week? One of them is to try and finished the idea story that has plagued me, with the aim of just getting it out of my system as stated above. My other aim is to keep going with my Camp story. I think I also need to make time to sit down and go through the novella MS, mark out the story as is then look to previous drafts to see what I need to put back in perhaps before looking to see how the new opening would affect everything else that happens.

So those are my intentions for this week. I will just have to see how many actually come to fruition. I am still reading the latest Alex Verus book, Veiled, by Benedict Jacka and I have read the latest issue in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London comic, Body Work. Both of which are big influences on the original idea for the novella and I know they influence all of my work in some form so it may help to keep me writing.

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015: Day 5 & 6

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Word counts first.

Day 5: 3,358 words

Day 6: 6,643 words

As you might have guessed from my day 5 word count, very little got written, about a sentence or two so I didn’t post yesterday. Instead I focused on trying to catch up a bit and ended up discovering a lot about my story, including the nature of the organisation which owns the dragon archipelago. It actually also helped figure out one or two details from earlier in the story that I thought I would need to rewrite in its entirety.

I also had two characters admit they really liked each other. Something I did not expect considering a very lightly planned romance sub plot was going to be for emergency word count only. I do not think I am at that point but either way, it’s happened and not anywhere near what had been planned.

See, this is why I don’t plan stories too much. My characters like running off with their own ideas and I kind of just have to follow to keep up. As long as the main points and main events happen, that’s okay, right?

Know when you have those moments when things just click into place, either for the story, character(s) or both? Yesterday was one of those and it definitely helps as it leads into stuff that potentially could just write itself. Surely a good thing right when I am fairly behind at the moment!

#NaNoPrep 7: Plan Your Assault

Some planning advice ahead of NaNoWriMo starting this Saturday.

Creativity In The Box

Step 1: Do not go away for a week on the 24th of October.

But if you do, it’s not the end of the world. You just need to make sure you find a little bit of space to, for instance, write your blog posts on preparing for NaNo.

Now, there are two ways to do NaNo, which are Planning and Pantsing The official blog explains it so much better than I can, but basically a planner plans and a pantser doesn’t. The only way to get through the month is to do what works for you. If you’re a pantser, you can stop reading at this point and come back for the next blog entry.

I can’t pants it. I have tried in the past, and I lose steam in the middle of the month. The words stop, because I don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. If…

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Camp NaNoWriMo Pre-Jitters

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More something out of curiosity here.

Why is it, in the hours, days and weeks before any NaNoWriMo session do myself and other participants I have spoken to start reconsidering their projects and have a desire to change it?

Is it nerves? Jitters at having committed to doing a full novel/script/rewrite/short story collection/etc. in just a month? Genuinely better ideas or something else? For me, especially lately, I always seem to get onto a Sly Cooper kick and want to write crime fiction with my thief characters. (My current kick I am blaming on the fact that I have found within the last week the teaser trailer for the movie, due out in 2016). You will know which characters I am talking about if you were following me in July last year. Have a read of my word count updates from that month by clicking on the July 2013 link in the side bar if you want to find out more. Maybe it’s something inside telling me I ought to go back to them and write more with them or maybe it is nerves at having committed myself to such a big project.

So is this phenomenon, if you will, isolated to me and my friends or is it something more widespread? If anyone who reads this blog does do NaNo (Camp or otherwise), can you tell me if you or anyone else you know have ever experienced it? If you don’t do NaNoWriMo but do commit to big projects (not necessarily literary) for whatever reason, do you experience something similar?

I’m really curious now about any replies I get back. For now though, I think I need to get listening to the Wicked soundtrack. It might quell the rebellious crime fiction thoughts that are plaguing my mind so I can focus on my project for next month. More details, if you are interested, are available by visiting Camp NaNoWriMo Planning.

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Camp NaNoWriMo Days 29, 30 and Reflection

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This Camp session was a bit of  a fail.

Day 29: 12,501 words

Day 30: 13,159 words

From my word count, you can see I managed a quick final burst before the session ended but unfortunately this is down to the fact I was just writing a quick short story that I still need to finish as I didn’t have time to finish.

In the past, I have said plotting and failing to plan was my down fall for not finishing but this time around, I did plan. I know I have mentioned before the problems I have had with the characters and I know they are part of the problem but I have wondered as well if maybe I actually need to redraft the plot a bit to make sure it works out properly. It might also end up lowering the age it is aimed at.

These are my first reflections on the novel and it might just be I need to leave it even longer to work out what is the problem and how to fix it. I am not sure. I just don’t know. Heck, it might just not have anything to do with the story or the characters, it could be something else completely.

Anyway, well done to those who did complete the session.

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