Nanowrimo Day 21: The NOWD has landed!

November 21, 2010

Mini-posts from the Night of Writing Dangerously…

5:30 pm Pacific time – have chosen a table and set up my netbook, made my choices for the raffle, and begun entering words.

6:45 pm Pacific time – I hit 50,000 words! I was the seventh one to ring the big bell for winning. Sarah was joking about running back and forth to announce winners all night, but I don’t think anybody’s rung in the past ten minutes or so, since me and the lady after me.

Midnight pacific time – back in the hotel, didn’t keep up with posting throughout the evening obviously. But a few high points:

  1. Chris Baty gave a great speech about “If we have it in us to write a 50,000 word book in 30 days, what else do we have in us?” I managed to catch all of it in video on my digital camera.
  2. Rachael Herron’s talk about how to move from Nanowrimo to publication was also amazing – hitting a lot of the things about revisions and query letters that I’ve been thinking about lately, with practical advice from the perspective of somebody who’s recently been through it all.
  3. I also enjoyed Jen Arzt’s talk about Script Frenzy, though it was more aimed at those who’ve never tried the Frenzy before, not veterans like me. I went up to her afterward and thanked her for the effort that she’d put into running the event, and mentioned the ‘Beat sheet’ series that I was running on this blog a few months ago.
  4. 2 other writers from our table hit the 50k mark before the night was out.
  5. I got some great material written for “Harry and Mars”, a short psychological sci-fi piece that I started at the end of September. Turns out it might be even shorter than I expected, for the first draft at least.

Good night!


Nanowrimo Day 20 – Ran out of Snowflake

November 20, 2010

Forty six thousand, eight hundred and forty three words.

Thirty-one hundred and fifty seven short of the target.

And I’ve gotten pretty much to the end of my snowflake outline. The bad’un has been defeated, the hero and heroine have sorted out their issues and found happily ever after, the whole kit and caboodle. So what do I do now?

I could try to write a little epilogue and describe a little of their happily ever after, maybe the start of the hero’s next mission. I could go back and look for places where I can insert or expand new words.

I suspect that maybe I’ll need to do both in order to get where I need to be.

Wish me luck! And many thanks to the San Fran natives who welcomed me to the write-in this morning at Reader’s cafe.


Nanowrimo day 19: A fairly good day.

November 20, 2010

So – my first full day in San Francisco, this year.

Word count – up to 43504. Not really where I want to be, just two days before the Night of Writing Dangerously, but I lost a bit of writing time with packing and the flight, and I think that I’ll be able to get there.

Still stuck in a slightly inferior little ‘unrenovated’ room at the top of the Crescent Hotel – was supposed to get moved to a better room today, but it didn’t work out. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Got a Muni/Bart RFID card, loaded it with some money, and rode the MUNI over to a small writein approximately halfway across town this evening, and back. That was good.

And I went on a tour of the Winchester mystery house in San Jose, which was fun and full of good stuff that I might incorporate into a story at some point – either bit by bit, or with a big deliberate homage. It might actually fit into a Firefly fanfic idea that I’ve been blocked on for awhile – the Serenity Valley Mystery House or something like that.

And there was another girl on the tour who reminded me of Mary in my Nano story. Funny how that keeps happening.

Possibly best of all, I’ve established contact with Lindsey Grant via the Nanomail feature on the National Novel Writing Month site – actually, we talked about my ‘open letter’ – I gave her a heads-up, and she sent a nice reply back saying that the points were valid and that the script for the video had been rushed, which I understand. Anyway, she’s assured me that she and Chris Baty will be happy to find time to talk with me at the bakery right next to the Office of Letters and Light office, and that she’ll have to check with Chris about his schedule and get back to me on Monday.

On the bad side, traffic in and around San Fran is just terrible, sigh. And the weather hasn’t been so great either.


Nanowrimo day 17: Pie on my face.

November 17, 2010

More from National Novel Writing Month

Haven’t had time to blog much, been busy writing! Up to 39,563 – and I want to at least hit 40k before I finally go to bed tonight. Plot’s coming along pretty well too, and I’m having lots of fun, which is the most important thing. Well, fun and word counts might be tied for most important.

Had another busy weekend, including a great Midway party – dinner out at Kelsey’s Bar and Grill in Westdale. Went out to the Hamilton Writer’s meeting at Chester’s last night, instead of going to an unofficial Write-in at the Williams on the bayfront, and it was a very good choice – I read out the first scene of my Nano from the Dana alphasmart screen, got some positive feedback, and we had some interesting discussions between those who are trying their hands at Nano and those who have steered clear. Also got to critique a new chapter from Rob’s latest thriller, and an article on hearing loss.

In other news – I fly out to San Francisco tomorrow.

Because I knew that I’d be in the Bay area for a while, I actually coughed up a substantial donation to the Office of Letters and Light – the one that includes ‘certificate good for pie with Chris Baty and Lindsey Grant.’ Figured that it’d be a cool experience, and the money goes to a good cause, right.

I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for arranging the meeting, but since there weren’t any further instructions with the email receipt of my donation, I figured I’d need to check the certificate itself.

Waiting for my package of official donor goods has been an interesting and tense experience. Now, I actually coughed up the money on Halloween, and I wasn’t really expecting any miracles from the shipping.

Two package slips for pickup were in my mailbox on Friday evening, after I got back from the write-in at McMaster. I actually assumed that two packages would cover everything. When I went up to the drugstore over on Rosedale, Saturday, I got two of the rolled tubes that they send posters in, (and occasionally use to play make-believe robots ) and sometimes stuff other goodies in.

Toted the tubes back home, unpacked them. Two nifty posters, but that was all.

Monday afternoon, a small package that actually fit into my mailbox! Cool!! But again, when I unpacked it, there was some cool merchandise that I’d ordered – a pack of nifty laptop stickers, the official Nanowrimo notebook and pen… and a reciept that mentioned that the ‘Superhero donation thank-you gifts shipped seperately.’

Okay, this was getting tight, I realized. But there was still a chance to get the certificate before I flew out, and if not, I’d just send an email and explain the predicament, right?

When I went by my apartment yesterday between work and Chester’s in Gore Park, there was another package pick-up slip in the hallway outside my door. Actually considered going home from Chester’s via Rosedale before it closed, but the rain was miserable and I didn’t end up doing that. Took a detour on the way home tonight instead.

Finally! One certificate, along with many other interesting goodies. Looked for the instructions about what to do next. There it was, in small print…

“To schedule your pie time with Chris and Lindsey, please email _________@nanowrimo.org at least three weeks before your arrival. Coupon fully transferrable. Pie expires 12/1/2011. Thank you for supporting Nanowrimo!”

What the??

Three weeks before my arrival? Yeah, I can understand the preference for some warning, but I’d need to route my email server through the TARDIS to pull that off now. Of course, my ‘arrival,’ tomorrow, isn’t really the key. The important item is my departure from the Bay area, which is not quite two weeks away. And I have to say, I don’t expect to be visiting the San Francisco area again in the next year.

I immediately rushed over to the computer and typed out an email explaining my predicament and asking if anything could be done. Still waiting to hear back, so best wishes for a happy ending gratefully accepted!

PS: For the record, I don’t really like pie. Do you think that they’ll let me eat cake?


In (mild) defense of the Inner Editor.

November 12, 2010

An open letter to Lindsey Grant, of the Office of Letters and Light

Nov 12 2010

Lindsey,

Ever since I watched your NanoVideo segment ‘Silencing your Inner Editor’, something’s been nagging me about it. As I drifted off to sleep last night after a successful write-in, the reasons why came clear – you are maligning my Inner Editor, and likely those of tens of thousands of other writers around the world. I cannot let these calumnies stand unrefuted.

Lest I get tarred and feathered myself, I should be clear that I don’t believe my Inner Editor has a part to play in National Novel Writing Month. And the little voice inside me that whispers the sort of things you mention in the video – that my writing isn’t worthwhile, that I should stop and give up etcetera – that voice is there, and it deserves every bit of abuse you threw in its direction. But that’s not what I’d call my Inner Editor, and I propose calling that voice the Inner Critic.

The Inner Editor is a different beast. He doesn’t want me to give up writing, or think that my words aren’t worthwhile. He goes the other direction, nagging at me to make each phrase and sentence the best that it could possibly be. If he suggests deleting my draft so far, it’s only because he thinks that I could start over again and do it better – if he whispers that I shouldn’t start the next scene, it’s only because he thinks that the scene I’ve just finished could use some polishing.

So no, I don’t listen to my Inner Editor during November – that’s part of the point of National Novel Writing Month. But neither do I believe that he should be ‘trashed’ permanently. He has a worthwhile contribution to make to my writing, and in fact I’ve spent several months this past year working closely with him, trying to get my 2007 Nanovel ‘The Long Way Home’ into suitable condition that I could show it to an agent!

Rather than a trash bin, I suggest a well-appointed and comfortable cage as the proper way to keep an Inner Editor out of the way for November. Make sure to stock it with all of that healthy food that takes a long time to prepare that he keeps saying you should eat more of instead of junk, and offer him plenty of your old manuscripts to read through and make notes in the margins – as long as he promises not to show them to you until the 1st of December.
Wishing you high word counts,

Chris K.


Nanowrimo Nov 10: Kind of an ‘off’ day.

November 10, 2010

I’ve only written 575 words today, which was one 15-minute war’s worth in the #nanowrimo IRC chat room this evening.

My overall word count is up to 24,625 so I’m nearly half way to 50k, and I guess it was good to take it kind-of-easy for one day. I didn’t write at all on the bus to or from work, I watched videos instead, and carried in extra lunch so that I can take the Alphasmart Dana in my bag tomorrow.

And this evening, I had another driving lesson, my first in nearly a month – during which I had to miss an appointment because of the broken-key incident.

Another write-in marathon starts tomorrow! And sometime soon, also, I’ll need to begin really packing for San Francisco.


Nanowrimo Day 7: One week down…

November 7, 2010

23 days to go.

I’m up to 19,387 words.

I’ve also gotten through several key plot points, introducing James the Angel, and revealing to my Main Character that he’s dead and has been wandering around in somebody else’s body for a day. And he and the romantic interest have kissed and told each other that they’re falling in love. But the happy ending won’t be that easy, will it?

When I left the official Hamilton write-in this afternoon, I was in the middle of a dream sequence that appeared to be taking place at a big fan convention.

And I’ve already got 25 boxes checked off on our ’50 steps to 50k’ sheet.


Nanowrimo Day 5 – the joy of Write-ins

November 5, 2010

I love the sense of creative energy that comes with National Novel Writing Month, and the best part of that is local write-ins.

I’m in the middle of a series of four Hamilton area write-ins on consecutive days, which I’m sure is a record for me:

  • Yesterday was at the Williams Coffee Pub across the street from McMaster University
  • Tonight in a classroom on the McMaster campus
  • Tomorrow afternoon we’ll be meeting at the Stoney Creek Library (where I’ll have to leave early to get to the Toronto Firefly Shindig,)
  • And then, the weekly ‘Official write-in’ at home base, Williams Coffee Pub on the harbour.

There’s so many great things about write-ins – the in-person word wars, the chatter about the crazy things that are happening in our novels, the friendly arguments that break out when somebody who’s on a roll with actually writing tells the chatters to keep their volume down…

And I got a hot dog from an outdoor stand because it was apparently the only place to get food on campus that was still open on Friday evening.

Happy word counting to Nanowrimo-ers the whole world over tonight!


National Novel Writing Month 2010 – Day 1

November 1, 2010

Stats Roundup:

Words written today: 2,588

Scenes written: 6

Times I’ve had to resort to brackets and [include something I’ll research later in here]: 1

Local write-ins attended: 1

Local writers that attended the write-in, including me: 6

Times my eeePC started flashing a low-battery light during the day: 1

Characters appeared from my outline: 3

Characters appeared who weren’t included in my outline: 2

A good start to the month, overall.


Going down the Snowflake, part Four

October 18, 2010

Okay, so Project Snowflake Nanowrimo is continuing to go fairly well, I’ve pretty much finished with step 5, which is more in-depth character profiles. This did cause me a bit of trouble at first, partly because of the way it was phrased:

Take a day or two and write up a one-page description of each major character and a half-page description of the other important characters. These “character synopses” should tell the story from the point of view of each character.

For one thing, I’m a little tired of rewriting the story from different points of view, I feel like I did enough of that in step 3. And without that, I wasn’t quite sure what to put in these longer descriptions. I tried pulling out my usual character questionnaire and hit some trouble with that too, since a lot of the questions weren’t really that applicable to Richard.

What I ended up doing, was a bit more of a free-form interview, with myself asking different questions for each character, inspired by what I thought would help me write them, and then doing the answer in that character’s voice. It worked pretty well… except for one character, who I’ll talk about further down.

Here’s the interview for Perry:

Perry
– Have you ever blacked out in a church before?
Well, once, but I was very hung over and didn’t think of it as anything unusual at the time. And I only lost a few hours.
– Okay. Where were you born?
I’m practically a local, from a town just west of Rochester, actually.
– What do you think about Jessie, really?
Well, I like her, she’s cute and funny and kinda sexy. Wouldn’t object to getting to know her a bit better in general, but right now, figuring out what she knows about me, if anything, is more important.
– Have you had a lot of girlfriends before?
I’m not sure about lots – at least my fair share. After Heather Millen drove me crazy enough with jealous questions that I felt I had to cut her loose, I’ve avoided trying to find anybody else on account of the trip to Haiti already being arranged by then.
– Have you thought about the possibility that whatever it was in your missing days, you really don’t want to know it?
Yeah, but – come on, it’s my life. Don’t I really have a right to know where it’s taken me?
– What’s your favorite way of spending downtime?
Either exercising or playing old video games.
– Who would you say is your closest friend?
Probably Ace. He’s a crazy goof, but always fun to be around, and I know that he’s got my back – though he might accidentally whack it with an elbow if he’s not looking the right way.

The one character I’m still having problems with is the antagonist, Rhona… no matter what I try, I feel like I still don’t have a handle on her or her motivations. I’ve put together a request for help over at the NaNoWriMo forum, so we’ll see how that goes.

And I’ll try to keep you all posted!


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