Sunday, November 27, 2011

I have been validated!

Well, for NaNoWriMo I have been Validated.

(the above thanks to Stacey Graham

I have validated at 56,132, even though I don't think that's even half of the novel. Yes, I am a little front heavy! And I've written shit since I had to clean my apartment and go away for Thanksgiving, not to mention the resulting altitude sickness. (It's a real thing. I can hardly move or do anything when I'm up in the mountains and even when I come home it takes a day or two to recover.) I had forsaken all housekeeping due to NaNo, and if on picking me up and dropping me off my relations had seen its state, I would have been put in a facility for those not capable of taking care of themselves. And then this novel would never get done. However, I now have a clean apartment in which to write!

There are four days left in November, and I hope to get 12k more added before November 30th. That means my target will be 68,116 if I make my daily word count. Only 21,884 off my goal of 90k. I'm not ready to sum up my NaNo experience yet, but I do think I would have kil't it if not for turkey day. 

How about you? Are you validated?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

50K in 19 Days - NaNo Win!

It would seem that I am a winner.

Yay me. :) Looks like I've won NaNo! I had a great day yesterday. Well, I did, my characters, not so much. I almost feel bad for my poor lovers. They haven't even started down the primrose path yet, and I've thrown a big ol' bugaboo in the way! But that's the way of it, I'm afraid. I got over the 50k. I guess I'm around halfway there. If that. I'm afraid I'm looking at a lot more than 100k, here but I know my beginning is a little overstuffed.

This week poses a challenge. Namely, Thanksgiving. I'm only going to be gone a couple of days, but it has been a killer for me in previous years. I spend more than a day or two away from the words, and they sort of shrivel up. I feel bad about bailing on my sister by getting a ride home with my folks on Friday, but actually it keeps her from having to make the long drive for no reason other than to drive me home.

How are you planning to approach the holiday?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Followup: NaNo Checkin

Hello from Friday! I'm up to 48,858 on the NaNo! So very very close to the win, I can taste it.

Was it Elmore Leonard who said he didn't write the boring parts? I really need to take that advice. Or is it "leave out the parts readers tend to skip." I'm afraid I'm writing a lot of boring parts. It's the transitions that are the trouble. You know, skipping over the areas where everyone arrives at the party before the good stuff starts to happen. I'm drawing out that boring arrival part.

The fun part, however, is all the secrets I don't know. I get this feeling as I write in some of the characters that they have secrets of their own, secrets that are going to come flying out of the closet later. That's a great feeling, but I've also gone a little overboard on that before. I tend to start these dangling threads that way only to have to go back and take them out. Hopefully all the character's secrets are along the same line so more plot points don't start jumping out at me!

I think I'm going to win tomorrow! Whoo hoo! Where are you at in your novel?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 15: Halfway Point

So, it was easy coming up with a blog post idea on day 15 of NaNoWriMo. It's Halfway Day! I have achieved a startling 42,572 words in that short period of time. I don't mean to sound like a bragasaurus, but I am really proud of myself. Considering the shit work ethic I've had over the last year and a half or so, I feel like I'm pretty much on top of the world right now. I hope you will realize this is just my natural enthusiasm and childlike delight. It will soon slough away and leave me in a trench of despair, so I tend to ride these "I'm awesome" highs for as long as I can.

I'm getting worried about length. I'm not anywhere near half-way through my ponderous outline. It didn't seem ponderous at the time, but now I think... this is getting ponderous. There's only been one moment between my girl and her eventual love interest. Things do get romantical later on, but it begins as a straight up gothic tale.

I'm not exactly where I want to be on word count. I hoped to be at 45k by now and I'm a little short. Also, getting 3k a day is taking a really long time. About 3 to 3-1/2 hours. I know I can write faster than that, but for some reason, I'm not. At least it doesn't feel like a chore. I have to admit that my writing sessions have usually been short - maybe 2 hours, 1 hr 45 minutes sometimes and I strive for 2k. I tend to have a short attention span, I guess.

Well - NaNo Onward! How are you doing? Where are you at in your own NaNo journey?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13 of NaNoWriMo

How are you doin', WriMo's?! I'm super, thanks for asking!

I'm way past the halfway point to winning NaNo, and more than 1/3 of the way through where I plan to be for the month. I'm at 37,406 words, aiming for 90k for the month. But... this baby is getting wordy. We may be at more of 100k or even 120k. I've read too many of the real gothic romances of the 18th and 19th century, I'm afraid. I won't be getting away with Wilkie Collins or Mrs. Radcliffe type word counts!

I'm finding my outline to be a lifesaver. I think that's why I'm going along so well. I've added quite a bit as I've gone along and the Scrivener "note card" system is really helping. Adding my notes as I go along is a breeze. I've also added all my character cards from real life into the ones in the computer. There's a handy function where you can do a split screen and view your cards above or beside your word processing page. It's a great little refresher, as the plot is about to open up and I'm going to need all those imaginary people. So far, it's just been my girl in the spooky ol' house with the spooky ol' guardian and the crackpot team of servants.

Where are you at? How is it going? We're not even at the halfway point - if you're lagging, I hope you give yourself a little room to get caught up as we go along. Best of luck, WriMo's!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Met My Male Main Character!

Finally! Vampire Baron is in the house! Literally. He just showed up. He wasn't supposed to be here for a day or so, at dinner. Instead, he decided he would stand in my female main character's open doorway as she read off some prose ... dramatically. She might even have said something about bosoms. They had a laugh. Sparks flew. Witticisms were bouncing off the stone walls. It was great. He just appeared like that, and he was fully formed. I didn't know he would be so funny.

This feels like a break, in a way, because I was sweating my heroine. I wasn't sure if I had a fully fledged character or something in a dress that just reacted to what happened. Then I looked at one line on her character card and I knew where to go with her. It said "She's the girl who goes to find the source of a noise!" That says a lot about her. You must understand. To quote Scream, she's not "some big-breasted girl ... running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door." The reason that big breasted girl goes up the stairs is because if she doesn't, you don't have a horror movie. I mean, are those big breasted girls ever very brave? No. Not until they get half their clothes off and hear a noise. All of a sudden, they're Lara Croft.

The reason my girl goes to find that noise is because she's not superstitious. She doesn't believe in the ghost. She knows that darn maid has it in for her. In other words, she has many reasons to inspect that sound or that white cloth that flipped around the corner, or to approach the window that sounds like it's being scratched. That white thing out there could be many things besides a ghost and she wants to know, she wants to stop the superstitious tittle tattle. It makes her smart and brave. And smart, brave people are always interesting.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Going a Little NaNo Crazy!

Greetings, all! My mad blog pace has slowed down a little, but not for want of blog ideas. I've been a writing demon! Much to the detriment of my house work, especially in the kitchen area.

I was going to get off the internet and start some reading today. I have two library books and maybe a week and a half left to get them read. Normally, this would be no problem, as I devour paperbacks like a panda does bamboo. However, I've got a number of distractions. NaNo being the biggest one. I just had to go check the NaNoWriMo site before I closed down the old web browser, and found a new video. This got me so fired up, I decided to come and get started writing before reading. Heck. The book's gonna be there later. This inspiration might not.

I also have a new writing program, thanks to NaNo. They have a page with freebies and special offers, and the use of Scrivener free during NaNo and a HALF-OFF discount for winners! I am so gonna be a winner.

Anyway, I downloaded the software - very easy instructions. BY THE BYE: THIS IS NOT A PAID ENDORSEMENT - THIS IS MY OWN TRUTHFUL OPINIONS ON MY EXPERIENCE. I tried to watch the 10- minute quickie video but I think with all the WriMos flooding the joint I had trouble and decided to just do the tutorial that comes with the software. The tutorial (which said would take an hour) took me three. I don't know if that's because I was very tired after work, or what, but I did find it well laid out and educational. There was only one WTF? moment, but I have lost what it was in a fog, something about tags and labels, I think... Anyway, you don't have to use what you don't understand. I had already written 17k, so I spent another 45 minutes uploading it and then splitting it into chapters. I fussed about with how I would enter the outline on the little card created to go with each document (you don't have to use the cards - I go back and forth between the cards and the outline feature.) My only complaint is being able to make the outline a seperate document all on it's own. I guess I can just cut and paste, but I like to tinker with my outline in spare moments. I also feel I've lost a little portability by containing all my info in a program that's at home. The export feature is good, but cut and paste is your only option.

Even so, considering I'm going to be able to get this baby for REALS when I WIN for half price (and it's already a very affordable program - $45 for a Mac version and $40 for Windows at full price), and my incredible brokeness, I am so going to get this. It's great. The "compose" feature alone has made writing a much more pleasant experience. You hit the "compose" button and it either blacks out the rest of your screen, or you can use your own background photo - which I have done.

Idn't she purty? Of course, all I see is the sides. It's great.

Ok, that's enough of me. I gotta go write now. Carry on WriMo's! Fearlessly!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNo and Inspiration

Greetings, Fearless Readers! I write to you from the depths of the first week of NaNoWriMo! I'm doin' awesome - meeting my goal of 3k a day - I've actually written a little over that and I'm ahead of my goal at 13,547 after only 4 days of writing! (Haven't written yet today.) I've had only one day of sitting and staring at the ceiling, wondering, where the hell am I going?!

I'll tell you what helps me in those situations. Visual cues. Specifically:

Woodchester Mansion, my inspiration for the crumbling setting in my story, called The Wood Hall. This beauty nestles in the valleys of Cotswold, England, and was, in fact, left unfinished. I'm only using the outside, and my mansion is in a very bad state of repair, whereas the real thing is being lovingly restored. 

I'll tell you why I used it. That amazing front, with all those windows! What a statement it makes! And then... you're like... where's the door? And to be honest, I find the actual entrance of the house to be a bit of a let down, and a little... architecturally uneven.

 See that side on the right, with no windows? I thought that was weird, considering the rest of the house. I made up a story for that blank expanse, and the story is where The Wood Hall gets its name. I thought it would make an amazing arrival for my heroine

As a condition of guardianship, Lord Colburn is required required to purchase a carriage and horses for Ophelia's use. Being a master of passive-aggression, he purchases a used one. So, my girl arrives in her shabby, secondhand carriage at twilight, rolling down what looks like a new gravel path (he's already making use of the stipend he gets for her guardianship, and of course, he's spending it on himself...) The winding drive brings her to an unlit house of bluff construction, the roof a forest of angles and chimneys. The house blends into a wild tangle of trees towards the back and the lawn is untended and wild. She hopes, she prays, this can't be the house? Then the road curves around and exposes that gorgeous row of double and triple windows, stretching from side to side and ground to attic - what light must stream in on a sunny day! But there's no light now. No welcome. And where is the door? The carriage doesn't stop, but continues on past the silent black squares. A final turn, and here she sees the first glimmer of light. The entrance, of course, she finds a little underwhelming. The door is almost an after thought under a pointed arch, and set on a confusing edifice that staggers in and out with a mismatched array of windows. A single candle burns in one corner of a window. And why are there no windows on the right side of the door?

 So there you have it. A beast of a building, its majesty now crumbling, and stories on every side. Just wait until she gets inside.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the real place is haunted as hell!

Woodchester Mansion Most Haunted

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nan-nitty NaNo!

Greetings from the other side of the first day of NaNoWriMo! How did you do? I got 3337! Thank goodness for Outlines! Of course, as I was driving to work this morning, I realized I hadn't spent too much time thinking about what the first scene would actually be. I mean, I knew what was going to happen: sick aunt, hint of suspense re the future guardian, I even managed to put in the bit about the son that's going to be a problem later.

I hope I'm not makin' my girl too sweetsie. I mean it is a Regency Romance type deal, and she's gotta be a well mannered, nice girl. Right? Please tell me I'm right. I mean, she's not perfect. I know she can't be perfect. Ok. I'll obsess about that later. I think it went well. I didn't do too much staring at the wall or mumbling to myself, and I got the 3337 words in about 2-1/2 hours. That's a little longer than I thought it would take. I hope to cut that down. And I didn't do any editing, because I also did about 1300 words on another story with someone else. And I'm running out of words for this here blog....

On an aside from the blog and NaNo-ness, did you see the rash of posts and tweets about the WFC2011 creeper? PAX Valkyrie (<--that is a link) has an "Omnibus Post Of Posts" on her Tumblr linking to other bloggers experiences. It seems some Warlock Gone Wrong was inflicting himself on the unsuspecting women of World Fantasy Con and kept at it... and at it... and at it, despite being removed from parties, asked to leave, and asked, politely and repeatedly by the women he was inflicting himself on TO FUCK OFF. I guess it took a couple of large dudes escorting him to the door to get him to leave the women the hell alone. There's very little that is good about this, except that it has brought up the question of safety and sexual harassment policies at cons. Apparently, a committee has been put into place to look into it. Also, people are sharing their stories. That's the sort of thing women need to do in situations like these. There may have been one or two who thought... oh, he didn't mean to grab my breast. Or, he was just drunk! I was imagining it. It was a misunderstanding. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Etc. Etc. I think it's clear from the responses to the blogs and the tweets that these were not isolated instances. It wasn't their imagination. And I don't care how fucking drunk he was. A real warlock would know better.