Thursday 29 November 2012

NaNo: My Supernatural Vibe... Just Vanished


When I started to formulate an idea I could use for NaNoWriMo, I decided to go with a sixteen or seventeen year old heroine. Her name came to me out of nowhere: Feather Everett. And for a week or two, I wondered if I could name a girl Feather (and what it would do to her), and why on earth I'd come up with that name. I tried thinking of her as Faith for a while, but I decided that a different name would add to her personality.

Slowly, Feather's family situation started to come together. She lived with her mom, they had just moved from the big city to a small village... and after a few days I gave mom a boyfriend who had a daughter of his own. Her name had to be Paige. Because no matter what other names I came up with, Paige was the one that kept overriding them all.

When you decide that your story falls into the Young Adult category, you know - you just know - that there also needs to be A Guy. Someone who falls for your heroine, or she for him, or maybe, just maybe, they end up liking each other. Or do so right away. Who knows?

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

NaNo Day 18: And... The End

When I hit my 50K I knew I wasn't anywhere near the end of the 'book' yet. I had plotted out the remaining chapters, worried about their contents and whether it would be an exciting read, scratched a subplot altogether and gave a character I pegged as bad, devious and in the first round actually pure evil a new role as suddenly-nice-guy. Don't know how that happened.

I also gave myself all of the rest of the week to complete the story in its draft version. Because... there were deadlines looming (one translation by the end of November, another by the end of December and a third by the end of... take a wild guess: January!). Still, I'd managed to come this far and I knew I wouldn't be able to start editing, polishing or rewriting anything until at least March, so I needed to finish my story. And I did.

November 18, day 18 of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I shut down my netbook with a feeling of satisfaction mingled with pride. I had done it. I had officially written something in less than three weeks' time that could qualify as a novel. Yes, it still needed a lot of revisions - but I've learnt that all books do. No one sits down to write 'chapter one', types through to the very end, types 'the end' and has a perfectly publishable novel. No one.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

NaNo Day 14: Mission Completed, But Not Done


It's November 14 and I've reached the 50,000 words marker in my NaNo project. I'm incredibly proud to have made it, and so quickly too. And yes, just as I predicted, my story isn't finished yet. Which means, neither am I.

If I have one writetip, it would be the one that is part and parcel of the NaNo experience: don't overthink it, just write. Plan ahead, build a skeleton from head to toe, and then start dressing it up. Underwear, socks, shirt, jeans, sweater, coat and shoes. Worry about all the accessories and the hairdo later.

Right now, I have these dots. They need connecting. I'm worried that A) any reader will be far from surprised once my characters join these dots, because I've been spelling it out too much, B) I'm having these characters connect certain dots way too quickly because of the time constraints within the novel, and C) even once the dots are connected, it doesn't pack even half the punch I wish it would.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Monday 12 November 2012

NaNo Days 10 and 11: Birthday Weekend


I noticed the NaNo calendar just now - it has Monday on red (it's only 10:30 A.M.), Sunday is yellow (so between 'yes' and 'no' that must mean 'maybe') and Saturday nicely green. What rubbish.

Yesterday my word count was 31,490, and I missed the 1667 words per day target by only two hundred words. The day before that, I wrote something like 5000 words, working ahead, as it were. My daily target-to-make-it has dropped to below 1000 words. But the calendar doesn't agree. Just like it doesn't seem to get that it's still Monday morning. Why does that bug me?

I've worked ahead for this weekend, because it was my birthday and I had two days of visitors to look forward to. I figured I wouldn't get much work done, so I worked ahead. And I'm immensely proud that as of this morning I've reached over 34,000 words. It's just that that calendar with yesterday on the expected red, still looks like a fail grade. I'm a little silly that way, I guess.

How's my story coming along? Fine. I'm progressing steadily and sometimes I have to stop myself in a dialogue and wonder where it's going. It's so easy to write conversations that you sometimes forget the conversation should have a point, otherwise it's just marked for future deletion.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Friday 9 November 2012

NaNo Day 9: Halfway and More


I feel very proud of myself for my discipline and stamina that have gotten me past 25,000 words yesterday. It makes me believe I can do this - I can 'win' this NaNoWriMo and get to 50K and it won't even take me the entire month. Which is good news, trust me, because I have deadlines to keep and a child to pay attention to. Which is, once more, why I'm so darn proud of myself already. (Someone's gotta be.)

What begins to dawn on me, however, is that making the 50K within a decent number of days doesn't seem to be much of a problem anymore right now. I can totally make that and then continue with my current translation (which needs to be handed in at the end of the month).

The thing is... I'm beginning to doubt that 50,000 words will be enough for this tale. And right now I find it difficult to estimate whether it's a matter of 60K, closer to 80K, slightly more or a lot more than that.

Which makes it hard to conjecture when the actual story will be finished in a first draft sense of the word. Because I also realise that it needs editing. I'm constantly worried about my plot as it is, and I'm sure it needs extra tweaking to make it more clever, maybe even more thrilling or less predictable. Or maybe it just looks predictable to me because I know the outcome?

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Sunday 4 November 2012

NaNo Day 4: 10K, Puzzle Pieces


Whatever happens to this story, I've already found my first attempt at NaNoWriMo very enlightening. It's a method. It's learning a new skill. It's looking at the writing process in a wholly different manner. It's not only staying with one story for a while, thinking about it while you do the dishes, brush your teeth and before you fall asleep, but also letting it take over, providing you with clues, thoughts and ideas, spurred on by just about anything. I love it!

I've decided not to write a blog entry for every single NaNo day - not unless there's something to share. Yesterday, on day 3, I decided to devote some of my time to construct a plan for a certain number of chapters and the things that I had come up with so far that needed to happen in a particular order. I got to chapter 13 before realising I still didn't know how it would end just yet.

Today, I had one of those lightbulb moments and finished what looks like to be an okay chapter division. And when I say 'okay', I mean nothing more than okay. Because at the same time that I'm writing this chapter planning, I realise that right now, the only thing that counts - from a NaNo perspective - is to get 50,000 words together. And right now, I realise that in typing 50K, I will probably manage to get a really rough draft of a story that will include the main plot ideas but need so much polishing and editing later, that it might look wholly different by the time I'm done.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Saturday 3 November 2012

NaNo Day 2: Bogged Down By Names


Procrastination isn't procrastination when it's purposeful - right? I spent my son's afternoon nap not writing, but Googling. Names. Last names, to be more precise. I suddenly discovered that everyone except my heroine lacked a last name. I figured I'd shake those out of my sleeve no problem, since it didn't matter and you could think of hundreds of last names in five minutes, right? Wrong.

You see, at some point I decided that, while not wanting to be too obvious about it, I wouldn't mind giving certain characters names that would give away something about their role - or even the opposite. Thinking that making someone look extremely handsome, gorgeous and breathtaking isn't enough to drive the point home, I thought I would add a surname with a significant meaning, such as 'light' or 'white' or 'true'.

Thing is, Google helps to decide what on earth you might be Googling for, unless it's something within word level. There are no wildcards to search for "last names containing the word white". So after spending literally about two hours on a relatively fruitless search, I had a second thought.

About not being too obvious.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK.

Friday 2 November 2012

NaNo Day 1: A Good Start


Day one of the NaNoWriMo has begun and is almost over. In exactly two minutes as I am typing this. For a first day, I didn't do so bad, scoring 2338 words and what I believe is a decend draft first chapter. I have a few ideas of where I might be headed - note the doubt in my voice - but I've already learnt two important lessons.

The first: Don't leave 'little things' to the last minute, because they irk the living daylights out of you and suddenly you want to, no need to, get them done before you can possibly continue writing. In my case: there was an old cardboard box of books that my mother found while cleaning house, and it's been sitting in my bedroom for about three weeks now.

I always update my Excel sheet of books with all the titles I buy, so that I can look up what I have whenever I feel like it. So leaving these books unattended all this time was something I could excuse only because I was working so hard on my translation. But now it started to bother me, as I had a few new books piling up on top of it - mostly for my son - and I bought some books yesterday, which also needed to be entered into the system... suffice it to say, I've procrastinated tonight, however useful.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK

Tuesday 30 October 2012

NaNo: T Minus Two

It's October 30th, the day before Halloween. I've managed to reach my goal of finishing a book translation within one month, typing nearly 123,000 words. So the typing isn't the biggest concern for November's NaNoWriMo. (Although my wrists and hands kind of are...)

The past week or so I've been trying to develop the story that's sprung up a few weeks earlier. I'm settled on my main character, although at first she was a sixteen-year-old and a week later I wondered if I shouldn't make her twentysomething or even early thirties.

Right now she's back to being a teenager again. But now that that's settled, the "big thing" that is supposed to be going on with her manages to remain an elusive concept. Yes, I can give her certain abilities or powers that may or may not prove to be paranormal. The question that I can't seem to answer, however, is: what is she going to do with these abilities?

What keeps going through my head is this:
- Whatever I come up with, is bound to have been done before
- Whatever is up with my protagonist must be spectacular or special enough to carry at least one entire plot.

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK

Tuesday 23 October 2012

NaNoWriMo: ready for the challenge


NaNoWriMo sounds like a great big challenge. And I like a good challenge. Although I prefer those that I know I can actually win. Starting out with a blank page on November 1st is something I can already envision. Stretching my arms and fingers, cracking a few knuckles without meaning to... And yet, my worst fear is ending November 1st with an equally blank page.

I've stared tossing ideas around in my head. So far, I think I may have a protagonist. I think I know her age and her family circumstances - although some details aren't fixed yet - and I think I know what her 'thing' is. I don't want to call it a problem, because it isn't, and I don't want to call it a gift, because I don't want to splash any paranormal or supernatural stardust over anything that I haven't decided to be paranormal or supernatural yet.

While I'm milling over these basics and wondering what ingredients I can start adding to that story so that it will develop into something bigger, there is also a niggling doubt... About another character that I thought of months ago, someone who also doesn't have a proper story yet. I know I want to write about her too, but I just can't see what's happening to her yet...

To read the rest of this post, please follow this LINK (to my own website).