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
Sometimes I look at my life choices and ask why I thought a thing was a good idea. Such as taking a 3am shift that went until 10 am and then taking an hour and a half nap, hosting a write-in for two hours, and then napping for three more hours before going out to get all the food stuffs necessary for my regions half-way party. And in the midst of this I still managed to bust out enough sleep induced drivel that I managed to climb up to 40K.
I’m telling y’all now, sometimes it ain’t worth it.
Should I have said no to the overtime, probably, given I’m still sick and it’s nanowrimo season, but I’m a sucker for overtime the way I’m a slut for holiday pay. I’m pretty certain my main character is in a more severely sleep deprived state than I am, and that’s impressive, to an extent. I probably spent over 2,000 words of my main character constantly whining about how mind numbing tired he is. And I don’t blame him for the complaining, I would too if I had someone like me for a writer in this state of mind. Fortunately I can retool and rewrite all of this sleep induced drivel once editing season comes around.
End of Day Word count: 40,000 words
Friday the Thirteenth. Was it bad luck for your writing, or were you able to kick Friday the thirteen in the butt and get some awesome word counts in?
I got writing done today! In spite of how crappy I’ve been feeling, and how not well things have been going with feeling sick, I managed to get an excellent amount written today.
I also wrote yesterday, even if I didn’t write as much as I would have liked, but it was satisfying to write, in spite of feeling tired and sick and just generally feeling gross. The only reason I didn’t update here was because I was tired and I wanted to get a few winks in before I had to work on putting away the inventory order, and sorting it so my boss could help put it away.
Tonight has been one of my more productive writing sessions thanks in part to the Chat NaNo write in for my region. Since I don’t have to be to work until 3am, I’m going to try to squeeze in a few more words than I might normally get on a Friday night. Of course, I also have to be in for work at 3am on the same day I host a write-in at 1am. Figures. However, that is what happens when one of your coworkers decides to quit the day before her first scheduled shift for the work week, instead of giving anyone the courtesy of a two weeks notice before starting their new job. Suffice it to say I had incidentally created a character named after her, and that character is probably now going to end up dying a horrible, painful death.
I hope your word counts have been favorable and that you continue to churn out words whether they are the most beautiful sentences you have ever written, or they are a load of crap that will end up on the chopping block in December.
End of day word count: 37,021 words.
Today I managed to get some writing in. I’m feeling better, but the back pressure is making me nuts, and i’m sleepy to boot. But in WriMo land words are words and today I squeezed 3K out of myself and onto my computer screen, and that’s awesome all things considered.
Yesterday as I was staring blankly at my computer screen I realized I’d skipped over chapter one in my Scrivener file. Well, not so much skipped over it as, I started with chapter one, got over zealous with copying the default chapter with a scene document in it and accidentally copied all of the text in said scene with it. So what was chapter two became chapter one and I just deleted the text document in chapter one, and it was getting lonely, so I created a new scene document and introduced another character because this story isn’t complicated enough as it is. This time I introduced the female character my goddess is scheming to hook up my MC with, which is super awkward and creepy because she’ll have just turned 25 and he’s, realistically 55, but immortally 25. I’m hoping that my goddess picks someone else because that’s not cool.
I’m still a day behind, but I know I’ll have the weekend to write, plus my region will be having it’s huge six hour halfway write-in on Sunday. I’ll have plenty of time to not only catch up on the wekend, and maybe even get ahead on my word count.
End of day word count: 28,013 words
I’m writing this now because someone somewhere is going to need this in the future.
So one of the lovely things about trying to novel when you’re sick is noveling when you’re medicated. Most days that isn’t a problem. Today? I had to take a mucinex pill when I got home from working third shift because my coughing was getting out of control and I’m now in some weird drugged stupor and I’ll be damned if I can focus enough to work on my novel today. I’m doing well enough to keep up with the chat room conversation today.
And this is the thing about NaNoWriMo: Life happens. You get sick, a loved one dies, your car breaks down. It doesn’t just magically put itself on hold because you got it into your head to write a novel in a month. So you get behind on your word count, you may drop out all together, but here’s the thing: all of that is okay. NaNoWriMo is about the journey. It’s about committing words to paper that you may not have written any other day of the year, and that takes a lot of commitment and courage.
If you’re thinking about quitting, I always say you have to do what’s best for you. No one is forcing you to keep going. If you’re behind, keep writing. Don’t worry about hitting 50K, that’s just an arbitrary number the OLL people picked so that they could define “winning” NaNoWriMo.
If you’re sick, your health is important. Write as your health allows. If you lost a loved one, it is more important that you take time to grieve your loved one than winning NaNoWriMo. If you struggle with mental health problems, it is more important to take care of yourself than to force yourself when you’re having bad mental health days. Taking care of yourself is way more important than making word count.
NaNoWriMo is all about the Journey.
Just now I managed to cross the 25K, but it didn’t come without half an hour of kicking myself in the pants for writing myself into a corner. Yep, that’s right, I wrote myself into a corner, and this story is only getting started. I had do something though, so I’m kicking my MC out of the town he’s currently in so he can go home because he’s seriously useless where he is.
That’s not to say the other characters were being useful in any way to my MC – in fact, they were useless in their own right, and I don’t even know how these guys are going to end up being heroes in the end because they don’t want to even think about the big war looming on the horizon. They were being quite horrible about allowing my MC to lock himself up in his room, except for meals. That and they just like to stand around and talk a lot.
Looks like a few characters might be getting a small fire lit if they don’t get their acts together soon. And as for my MC, let’s just hope that my goddess doesn’t follow through on her matchmaking threats.
End of the day word count: 25,005 words.