It’s only September, but NaNoWriMo Prep season is already in full swing. I am determined to finish this novel that I’ve been working on for ever. I am determined to make NaNoWriMo work this year, and if that means I have to double down on my efforts to find a new job. I’m determined to finish this novel that I’ve been working on for so long. I’m sure my characters are ready for me to be done with this story. I’ve put them through so much uncertainty I think they just want this boss fight to be done and over with. I’ve just been teasing it for so long, it’s time to finally bring everything to the climax and finale.
Today was supposed to be a day of jubilation. I just needed to introduce one last hero to get this novel off the ground. All did not go according to plan.
Let me explain.
Deep in the land of Nano Rebeldom, there was a write-in at a cozy Culver’s in Holland, Michigan. I had gotten there early to secure our writing fortress and to enjoy some tasty food for my lunch before diving head first into the last section before finally returning to the plot – that thing that every good novel allegedly has. My last hero to be introduced was Emma, a slightly naive, but capable woman who may not have had all of the answers, may not have know what exactly she was getting herself into, but she was optimistic that she would be able to fare well in battle as long as she knew who had her back.
As the clock turned 1pm, the time for my write-in to start, I began confidently typing away on my tablet’s Bluetooth keyboard in Microsoft Word because the Dropbox sync was not syncing over the Culvers wi-fi. Words were flowing trippingly from my fingertips, but there was one small snag that I was not counting on thwarting me was the Culver’s wi-fi which is not reliable in the least bit. In fact, it was not working at all and the only reason I still had internet access on my phone was that it was on the LTE network. So when I went to save my handiness on my dropbox account, Microsoft word gave me the spinning wheel of doom. I naively thought that the wi-fi had somehow kicked in since my tablet was showing a wi-fi signal. But alas, it was not meant to be, and over two thousand words lost in the abyss of my tablet memory, never to be seen again.
And just when I thought all of my headaches and frustrations had reached a point, I had finished writing a section for the day on my laptop, and I decided to save and sync my Scrivener project so that next time I wasn’t caught with my pants metaphorically down. I don’t know what happened, but when I synced between my tablet and my laptop, I lost three sections – including the section that I had to rewrite at the write-in. In total, over 5K had disappeared in one sync.
One minute of unfettered panic.
It eventually dawned on me to go digging through the project files on my laptop to see if there was any chance at recovering the lost sections that way and lo, and behold, there they were in the project folder. I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost that 5K+in the depths of Dropbox, except maybe cry a lot. Maybe even scream.
Today was not my day for writing.
While it shouldn’t be all that shocking at this point, I have finally decided on what I am going to do for National Novel Writing Month this year.
I am going to reboot the novel I worked on last year. I lacked serious preparation skills in that I had forgotten several important members of my main cast in favour of jumping ahead to the big war that I was apparently really eager to write about. Now, I’m all about cutting to the chase and getting down to what really matters, but when you have nine heroes and you’ve only introduced four of them, well, um… Huston, we have a problem here. So this year I’m going to try and focus more on making sure my other heroes get their fair shot at getting an introduction and good development so that these characters aren’t just showing up out of the blue and everyone, reader and characters, aren’t all, where the hell did you all come from and why are you here?
Of course, that’s also going to mean that I have to do some planning ahead of time. If there’s one thing that I’m almost notoriously bad at doing at this point in the month, it’s planning, especially if there’s a shortage of employees and I’m having to work overtime as a consequence. But that’s the point of NaNoWriMo after all. It’s a horrible time to be doing this, but damn it, I’m going to find the time to get it done this year.
It turns out that working in retail full-time is not conducive to creativity when your store is chronically short staffed and you’re in management. Which is why I haven’t been online and blogging in over a year. As much as I’d like to say things are going to change for the better, having stepped down from my shift lead position, I know better than to say that at this point in the game.
I wouldn’t have made a second attempt at reviving my creative juices though if I hadn’t been in the process of relocating my Scrivener files (so that everything was conveniently saved to a Dropbox synced folder). It appears at some point when I was performing last rites on my last laptop and going through my files to determine which files were worthy, an entire trilogy I had worked on during NaNoWriMo either slipped through the cracks or I deleted the trilogy out of pure embarrassment of its existence. It’s probably the latter since the whole execution of it was a disaster and a half by the time I got to what should have been the third installment. I probably deleted it knowing full well that if I went back, the only way I could salvage anything in the novel was if I started from scratch.
It’s probably the latter that ended up happening since the whole execution of it was a disaster and a half by the time I got to what should have been the third installment of the trilogy. I probably deleted it knowing full well that if I went back, the only way I could salvage anything in the novel was if I started from scratch. Almost everything was either a mistake or something that wasn’t working at least within the framework that I had willing constrained myself with. It was a great idea, don’t get me wrong. I was in love with the idea, but I just managed to have shitty execution of that idea. Maybe if I’m feeling ambitious I’ll revisit it for a different NaNo. Right now I can only try to remember what I did wrong so that I don’t make the same mistakes a second time.
What most of you may not know, is that one of my goals this year was going to be to write more, whether it was a blog post, or if it was working on a work in progress. NaNo is a sure thing every year, but I wanted to see if I could write more. Well, as it turns out, getting promoted to shift lead not only gives you zero time and zero life, but it also makes your life miserable as hell because everyone thinks that you don’t deserve to have any time to sleep. I also took a promotion at work and I thought it would be no big deal; I’d get a regular work schedule so I would only have to work one Sunday a month and that I’d have some time to spend with my family.
That never happened. None of it. No writing. No regular work schedule. I’m exhausted from working a nine-day work week as I write this post.
So I stepped down.
It really didn’t take long for me to realize that when someone in a training class tells you that your time with your family and friends matters to Corporate you should just not believe it. I spent five months being miserable before finding the will to step down from my post. Was the increased pay nice? Yes. But when your boss laughs in your face because you only ever agreed to one Sunday a month, and you were working more than one Sunday a month, and your family was starting to give you grief over the number of Sundays you were working… well, something has to give. Either you continue to let your family rip on you for how many Sundays your working and watch it slowly wear you down, or you step down while you still have the will to say “I can’t take this anymore”.
I’ve written once since the new year, and that was on a weekend shopping trip with my BFF, and I only sort of made progress in editing last year’s nano. A drastic re-write is in order after fixing one scene, I don’t know how else to fix it. Fortunately, stepping down has already done wonders. The moment I told my boss I was stepping down, it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. Hopefully I’ll be able to stay motivated writing, because I don’t want to hit November and feel more dread than excitement.
So I came to the conclusion as I was on my way to tonight’s write-in that my novel actually ended, or at least I think it’s ended, so I’ve been working on all of the world building I probably should have done before I jumped feet fist in to this year’s nano. We’re still a little past the half-way point of, so there’s still the possibility that this story it will continue, I just have to figure out what it is. I’m mostly hoping I get some ideas for things to add, because the last thing I want to do at this point is start another novel. I refuse to stop writing simply because I’ve exhausted my character’s narrative voice to date.
I spent the majority of the writing session working on notes for my novel, mainly getting all the information down for all the deities that are currently in my novel, and right now, there are at least half a dozen on the dance floor. And on paper, half a dozen doesn’t sound half bad until I realize that I need to figure if they have any underlings and if they have a champion or not, what their patron town is if they have one at all and how likable am I going to make this deity. It is nice though to just sit down and figure it all out now, rather than try and figure it out in the middle of a word war, or simply in the middle of a writing session. I waste so much time just looking for the perfect name, that it’s kind of nice to take a step back to put all the pieces of the puzzle together before jumping feet first back into my novel’s world
I was originally going to introduce dragons, but I realized shortly that I couldn’t pull it off on short notice, and what I was essentially asking of my champions was a effort in futility. I mean, they’d essentially be walking barbecue if I sent any one of them off at this moment to battle a dragon, and as it turned out in my fictional world, only gods can defeat dragons, so it’s kind of pointless to send off a champion to battle a foe they can’t defeat. I’m many things, but I’m not that cruel to my heroes who are already resistant to any kind of fighting.
And on that same note, I had to cave and make two of my champions conditionally immortal, like my othe champions. Initially I was going to make them the exception to the rule and have them remain completely mortal, but when I tried rationalizing it in the narrative, it didn’t really jive well with the god and goddess in question and ended up coming off as more of a convenient excuse for killing off a character than it was for legitimately keeping them mortal. There are other ways to teach people the value of human life that don’t involve killing off the ones entrusted with protecting civilization, I just have to figure out what that is.
I will probably blog more later, but I figured I would write some now before I get so involved with writing that I completely forget to give an update on how the writing goes.
Every year my NaNo region hosts a half-way party called “Day of Knockout Noveling”, which, in many ways, is much like the Night of Writing Dangerously that OLL puts on every year for NaNo. This day of epic writing, food, and magical caffinated goodness took place on Sunday, because it seems to work out rather well for us. This year I did not write as much as I woud have liked, and whether it was because of the lack of word wars this year, or because we had a slightly shorter writing period, or simply because I’ve been writing over 45K of stuff that is mostly going to get cut when the plot actually does decide to show up, I can’t say, but I was a bit disappointed in myself this year in my output on Sunday.
Most years I’m able to average around 10K, but this year I eeked out a little more than 7K. Some times I can compensate for what I don’t write at DoKN when I get back to my house, but writer’s block decided to show up more agressive than ever, so I had to give up after managing a measly 500 words at home.
I didn’t write anything yesterday because working seven hours of overtime finally caught up with me after my regular shift. I can’t wait to get off of third shifts to be honest. It hasn’t been doing favors for my writing in spite of the fact that I’ve been mostly on track to reach my goal of 70K this year. The sinus infection wasn’t even the first time I’ve gotten sick since switching to thirds, so I’m really looking forward to getting our new hires all trained up so I can get off thirds and help with covering the daytime shifts, since we’re short workers for those shifts as well at my workplace.
Right now I’m just busy getting some notes down about my goddess of prophecy, since I had an epiphany about her last night. So I’m going to work on getting all of that down in a separate place in Scrivener, and then jump back into the narrative of my novel.
I’ll try and post an update later today about my progress, so here goes nothing!
Starting word count: 47, 722 words