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NaNoWriMo 2012 Third Week

November 24, 2013

At 25,000 words, I’m halfway to the goal for National Novel Writing Month. We’re three-fourths of the way into the month.

It will be okay if I don’t reach 50,000 words by November 30, though. What’s most important to me is that I persevere through the end.

Not as if that’s easy.

I mentioned in my previous post that participating in NaNoWriMo is an experience of remembering. For me, it’s not only about remembering lessons for writing. It’s also about remembering who I am and what I’ve gone through.

I don’t like that part.

Stories are emotionally draining and take a considerable amount of real-life time to develop. The larger the story, and the more committed the writer, the more exhausting the story tends to be.

A big problem with exhaustion is that it allows the subconscious to rip open holes in the fragile barriers used to keep it out of the light.

My NaNoWriMo project is full of light; there’s humor more gentle than what I’m used to writing, charitable characters who understand how to learn from their struggles, and happy endings. Compared to the main characters in DeCo or RITN (or HC or SftP), the main characters of the story I’m calling Roseman are carefree. They aren’t dealing with daily abuse, physical issues that can’t be understood by the people around them, or the constant threat of losing their loved ones to murderers.

They are simply young adults, each with one traumatic experience in their past, learning how to face their personal demons while going through what would be normal lives if not for the creative way they decide to work together to heal themselves.

Yet I’m remembering that I writing exposes where I need to heal myself. My demons are rousing. I guess there is no way to push through the conflicted middle of a novel without awakening them.

Hopefully, I can learn through writing how to tame them, as well.

~ ~ ~

“I want to hide the truth. I want to shelter you.”

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NaNoWriMo 2013 Second Week

November 16, 2013

The second week of National Novel Writing Month is over, and I’m moving into the third with less than 18,000 words.

This past week has been full of reminders, such as:

  • I’m an intuitive person and should trust my intuition. When I start writing a scene that feels right, chances are, I’ll see why it’s right once I’ve finished. Stopping to analyze the scene halfway through only wastes time. Similarly, trying to push past a feeling that a scene is wrong will usually create a writing block. A blank mind is worthless when writing.
  • I can’t inflate the word count much. Some NaNoWriMo participants purposefully write nonsense or copy and paste passages to meet daily word count goals. I remember using complicated syntax to elongate sentences, avoiding contractions, and adding dialogue tags at almost every opportunity when I participated in NaNoWriMo 2009. Tricks like those are of little use to me now that I’m no longer willing to litter my work with junk that will be difficult to clean up later.
  • Research takes time away from writing. However, without it, a scene might limp along for a want of the details that would make it complete. For my next NaNoWriMo, I’ll dedicate October to research and brainstorming, so they don’t slow me down as much.
  • NaNoWriMo encourages bad life habits. I’ve been staying up late, eating Halloween candy that I would otherwise be ignoring, and losing track of how much caffeine I’ve consumed. Thank goodness I’m no longer nursing.
  • Weaving is hard. I like to have multiple conflict threads going at one time, but I’m not terribly skilled at working them together.

Exhaustion is kicking in, and I wonder if anything will happen with this story in December. Still, this project seems like a worthy learning experience.

We’ll see how the third week goes.

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NaNoWriMo 2013 Week One: A Fun Cruise

November 8, 2013

One week has passed.

My NaNoWriMo story is unusually easy to write, though I wish I’d done more research before November 1st. I’m roughly at 8,000 of the 50,000 words and expect to have to rewrite a few existing scenes once I understand certain topics better.

I started this story without knowing the genre. It’s the first novel I’ve started that isn’t speculative fiction. I’m thinking it might be Romance, though I’m not familiar enough with that genre to judge. My project is as much about an idea as a relationship, which also isn’t the male-female kind. The writing style is more straight-foward than sensual. As far as I’m aware, those aren’t common traits of Romance.

But what other genre could it be?

I’m just the writer. Someone can help me figure out the genre later.

By the way, this might be the most cheerful story I’ve ever written. Even considering that an adolescent dies within the opening (oy), it has low morbidity; no sexual assault, physical torture, or prevalent emotional abuse; and the main characters will actually be happy in the end.

It’s a nice change.

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NaNoWri…OMG it’s November Already

November 1, 2013

Hello! I am alive, I haven’t completely given up on my never-ending stories, and…well, yes, I am participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Participant

Really, I know I shouldn’t. There’s so many reasons why not:

  • I own a small business. (Enough said, right?)
  • My big employer recently promoted me to a position that requires considerable training.
  • My daughter, husband, dog, and cat need daily attention.
  • I’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving, which will take about a week of preparation, and shopping for Yule/Christmas in November (to satisfy a promise that I’ll buy gifts well in advance this year).
  • The house, as always, needs work. For example, our sole bathroom is currently lacking a floor. We can’t afford a contractor. That kind of work.

Writing-specific issues:

  • I still haven’t finished any of the novels I’ve started. RITN and DeCo continue to suffer the same problems they did years ago.
  • I already use “too little time” as an excuse not to submit my short stories.

On the other hand, I’m not going to have more free time next year, or probably, anytime in the next decade. If I wait until I have fewer responsibilities and less guilt, then I’ll never start another large writing project. RITN and DeCo both require more skill and knowledge than I have, and that’s not going to change unless I develop as a writer. Working on simpler projects of comparable word count can help in that development.

As for submissions, well, I consider that the most irritating part of the writing process. The long waiting time, I’ve learned to deal with. Rejections, I don’t mind. I cherish the personalized rejections I get, even though they tend toward, “We liked your story but can’t fit it in our publication”. What I hate is researching dozens of publications and fussing over my story in an attempt to get it ready for a market that doesn’t know what to do with the weird sh** I write.

Anyway. I’m not making excuses for avoiding NaNoWriMo this year. It’s a fun challenge, and one of the best excuses I know for meeting up with friends. If other responsibilities interfere with writing time, then I’ll shift my focus away from NaNoWriMo. Failing to complete the challenge will hurt only my pride.

I’m willing to take that risk.

*****

What about you? Will you be working on a fun writing project this month?

 

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Quick Breather

September 26, 2012

Writers often struggle between writing clearly and writing creatively. In this moment, writing clearly should be faster. And time is something infinitely more precious now that it was two months ago.

I used to complain about being busy, in those days when I could visit the bathroom at my leisure, eat on a whim, and engage in such hobbies as styling my hair.

My daughter was born at the beginning of August; since then, I’ve gained a new appreciation for how much time basic tasks take up, especially when you have only one hand and little else of your body free to complete them.

I’m breastfeeding my baby, an activity that boggles my mind with its effective simplicity. I mean, by feeding myself, my body makes a complete baby formula. Just add water, into the mother’s mouth. An issue with this wonderful process is that my daughter is a languid eater. She likes to take all the time she can get to nurse, managing to sleep or play in the meanwhile.

Some babies her age eat half an hour for every two or three hours. Mine insists on spending an average of an hour for every two hours at the table, so to speak. That’s counting morning, afternoon, evening, and night. The rest of the time, when we’re not changing her diaper or swinging her around in her car seat on our way to an appointment, she wants to be held.

I’m actually a bit disoriented when she’s not in my arms. She has me trained.

Of course, working on my stories has been little more than a dream these days. (Gee, didn’t someone imply that would happen?) I still want to; the itch to write has been returning. Writing clearly, concisely, or confusedly, I would like to spend some of my precious time doing it. Somehow.

My break is over. The little girl is crying for attention. Until next time.

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What Happened in June?

July 5, 2012

My state has been burning, both in terms of fire and record-breaking temperatures. This has made for an interesting start of summer, although one that requires this pregnant writer–who, along with many people in her typically cool climate, doesn’t have air conditioning–to lie around like a half-drugged bum during the hottest periods of the day.

My pregnancy is going well. A minor health concern (on my part, not the fetus’s) seems to be resolving itself with doses of willpower, and we’ve acquired many of the supplies we’re told we’ll need once our baby is out in the world. In the meantime, my husband and I are listening to bits of advice from other parents and caretakers, and enjoying the newly converted nursery, especially the lovely room-wrapping mural painted by a friend of ours.

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I’ve continued working out of town, though I’ll soon have to cut my hours. Working a full shift has become more difficult as my belly expands so far that I can’t even look at my own knees without contorting.

At home, there are more challenges. The nursery was easy; my husband cleared the piles of fabric, stacks of sewing and art supplies, medieval-style clothing, miscellaneous mementos, and furniture out of the room, our friend painted the walls and ceiling, then my husband and I arranged new furniture and supplies into the neatest and best decorated room in the house–an admirable state that lasted for less than a day.

My sister and her family moved into our house later that day. My toddler nephew is now occupied in our nursery, and our entire home has been overtaken by piles of stuff that needs sorting and storing.

With regards to writing…well, progress has been measured in terms of plot-directing thoughts, stylistic realizations, and temporary sentences jotted down before I fall asleep atop the page. Maybe after our baby’s birth, I’ll produce more?

Here’s hoping.

Is there anything you want to share about June?

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Studies of Changing Words

May 4, 2012

I know, I haven’t completed a “Weird Science in the News” post in a very long while. However, I have continued to collect links to science-related articles. Two of these I wanted to share today.

The New York Times’ article “Your Brain on Fiction” is a two-page opinion piece that discusses the neuroscience of fiction. In summary, researchers are finding that fiction expands upon the real-life experiences of its readers.  Confirmation is nice, isn’t it?

In “Color-coded text reveals the foreign origins of your words” on i09, you can see how words from various places have formed into modern versions of the English language. My favorite part of this article is where it mentions Kinde’s future Website. His analytical program could really help when writing historically based fantasy and historical fiction. Maybe when it’s available, some of us will spend less time looking up the origin on every suspect word for such stories.

Further Reading

Papers from The Mar Lab

“What are the origins of the English Language?” answered by Merriam-Webster

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