Monday, December 12, 2011

NaNo Win

I forgot when I started this how terrible I am at blogging. I finished the 50k in November! Woo! I'm only about halfway done with my story, though, so I'm going to continue writing after the holiday season. I am, in fact, considering setting a goal for the whole of next year. I was initially tempted by MilWordy, but I already know there is no way I could write a million words in a year. I don't have enough time, drive, or material, and my wrists would probably fall off even if I wore the braces every night. Instead I am trying to decide between 1k a day, or 366k this year OR 500k this year, to go for a little extra. Since I'm doing NaNo for sure in November, and will probably end up doing at least one month of Camp NaNo, that works out to about 40k for the rest of the months.

To help prepare for this year of noveling, I've begun to organize all of the stories I've worked on. I've made a list of my progress in each one. I'm sad to report that my finish rate is abysmally low. Of the stories I would ever consider working on again, only TWO have full first drafts, and one of those is a short story! SO. My other goal for this year is to finish four or five of the other novels.

I am confident in my ability to finish my Camp NaNo and my November NaNo from this year, as well as the one from last year. They all have pretty great outlines, and every time I look at the one from last year I am struck by how well it's paced. I also have a zombie related short story I could start and finish easily since I already know the entire storyline.

This leaves me with my 09 and 07 NaNos (so long ago!) which need outlining work before I'd be able to finish them. I also started a vampire story based on my friends, which trailed off because I stopped speaking to the girl who was supposed to date the vampire. I think I'm going to pick it back up. I have some ideas as to where the plot needs to go, but I don't have a written outline anymore. I also lost all of the chapters except the first one. This is literally the only story I have ever lost part of, and I'm sadder than I realized I'd be. As it is, I'm going to rewrite the first chapter, as my writing style has changed somewhat and I'm not sure I could make it flow well enough.

Finally, I have 7-8 story ideas I haven't yet fleshed out enough to write. Several of them are new, and several of them are ones I've just now had enough insight into to justify putting them on any sort of "to write" list. Two of them will likely be my NaNos for next year, so I don't want to work on them until it's closer to those months to make sure I don't get tired of them too quickly.

I suppose there is one last category on my list. It has three stories on it. My second NaNo, and two stories I started in high school. I never want to work on them again, though I still have everything related to them. The high school stories just aren't interesting enough to warrant more time, and I've somewhat cannibalized one of them for a later NaNo to much better effect. The NaNo from 2008...Let's just say I didn't win that year for a reason. Hate is too nice a word for how I feel about that story. It was influenced by a short lived interest in being as green as possible. While I still recycle and turn lights off when I don't use them and take short showers, I'm not anywhere near as disgustingly maniacal about it, and I certainly lack any urge to preach about it.

So after such a long time between posting, this one has ended up quite long! I realize I don't have many any readers, but I do have another post planned for the near future regarding writing. Until then, I'll be planning for my big year of writing!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

20k and Second Write-In

I reached 20,000 words right after midnight yesterday! Woo! Then I took the rest of the day off despite the words feeling like they belonged in Tuesday instead, there only being 900 of them, and not writing anything for an entire "waking cycle" that I usually consider a day.

Luckily, I went to a write-in this evening, and I have been motivated once again. I'm now just past 23k and have stopped right before a scene I've been looking forward to writing for quite a while now! Lindsay and Diego are going to do something very stupid, and I can't wait. I know I'm ahead right now, but I'm really hoping to be able to keep up the pace of at least 2k a day so I can potentially finish the book in November, not  just write 50,000 words of a story I will then stop writing and never finish.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

10,000 Words

I reached 10k last night! Woo! I'm still at the beginning of my novel, so I feel like my plot is moving slowly compared to some people. I always end up writing epic length novels, though. I've looked at all the other people in my region, and I am pretty sure I'm 7th. This is obviously not good enough. I'm considering trying to have a huge word count today so I can be in at least the top 5. It'll also be easier once the board has an official top 10 and I don't have to open a bunch of tabs every time I want to see where I'm at. The competition is really helping me this year! Hopefully it can shove me through week 2 and into week 3 without me stopping like previous years! I think as long as I don't fall behind on my word count, I'll be okay. Hope everyone else has novels that are going well too!

Friday, November 4, 2011

First Write In

Yesterday I went to my first real write-in. It was pretty okay, I got to know some of my fellow NaNoers better. I also learned something important about myself. I already knew that online word sprints didn't really do anything for me, and that trying to keep up with someone who is above me is only marginally more helpful because I always slack off if I get ahead. BUT! Word sprints in person make me insanely competitive. I did 562 words in the one we did. The next highest number I heard anyone say was 40 words beneath mine. It was like a monster come out of me. Every time I felt anything like distraction, I chastised myself and was so worried I was going to have the lowest score. Hearing people around me clacking their keys was fantastic! I can't wait for the next one on Sunday.

I finished last night with 8k, and I'm hoping to break 10k today. I might see how far along the person who I've chosen as my regional Nemesis is (though I might have to pick again because she's blown me away so far) and try to get closer to her again. All in all, I'm feeling much stronger about this NaNo than last year, even though I LOVED that plot more than this one. This plot actually kinda scares me a bit. No excerpt yet, I've been using my time trying to get a bigger buffer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1!

Today I started at midnight and wrote exactly 1,667 in the hour after midnight. I didn't even have to stop in the middle of a sentence. I've decided this is a good sign. Since I'd gotten my daily word count and I was surprisingly tired I went to bed in the middle of the prologue. When I got up this morning I finished the prologue, coming in at 3,379 words. That's a little over double the daily word count, and I'm feeling good still. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to start the next scene and push for 5k or if I should leave it for tomorrow and a nice, fresh start. Since I'm ahead, I'm also allowing myself to edit somewhat as long as I don't remove words. This means I'll have a nice somewhat polished excerpt from the first scene for sharing soon!

I also know that I'm going to get less and less ahead as the month continues. That's been my pattern every time I've done NaNo, and I'm already a little worried about it. For now my plan is to actually go to write ins (next one on Thursday!) so I have real life people to do it with and feel all shame-y if I show up too far behind. I'm guessing the hardest part will be Thanksgiving, because I'm going to my boyfriend's family friend's house on Thanksgiving, and my family is having their Thanksgiving party the Saturday after. Two days of eating! My current plan is to write in the morning, but there are a million things that could get in the way of that. In any event, I'm ahead right now. Woo!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween everyone! I learned today that Neil Gaiman declared today All Hallows Read last year. The point of All Hallows Read is to give scary books and promote reading. I have obviously not been keeping up on my literary news! Someone on the NaNo boards suggested they could add writing scary literature to it, and I wish I'd known about it sooner. It would've been a perfect time for my zombie short story, but I don't think I'd have enough time now and I don't want to interfere with. . .

NaNoWriMo Eve! That's right. At midnight I will begin my story and write my first 1,667 words. Since I always need a buffer, I'm even going to write an extra 1,667 words when I wake up and begin a "new day" on Tuesday. I think that will take me through at least my first scene, the prologue. I am actually considering trying to write through the main group's introductions. That'd get me quite a nice buffer zone for Thanksgiving festivities (or, you know, getting behind) which I'll probably need.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last Minute Prep

I've made a few changes to my story progression, but I still haven't entirely outlined it. I got sidetracked by job interviews and my boyfriend's parents visiting, so I'm way behind where I wanted to be for NaNoWriMo. I am going to be working hard tonight and the next two days in the hopes that I can catch up. At least I have concrete knowledge of what my first scene will be!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creature Culture

I've done some more world building and I think I have my creature's culture mostly figured out. They originally organized based on their location when they transformed, but now consider the group of creatures they're with to be family. The older members of the groups are considered wise elders, and are fed and help around the camp areas even if they cannot hunt. The young, but adult, creatures can all hunt, though if the ladies know they are pregnant, they generally abstain. The children are watched over by the entire group, though most often by their parents or adopted parents if they've transformed.

The creatures form monogamous pair bonds and recognize that incest is detrimental. Since any creatures who are currently members of their group are considered family, if any of their members are reaching maturity they are placed with another group who has a similarly unattached creature. The groups most often meet with those on the edges of their territory, so in time this will not be enough to prevent all inbreeding, but the timeline of seven years after the initial outbreak presents no problems.

The creatures communicate via musical tones, which presents a serious difficulty when they attempt to communicate with humans. Most humans who have been sent into "enemy territory" are deaf, to prevent them from transforming. My group of humans will include civilians, who have not been required to become deaf by any military, but they will be kept inside soundproofed areas and away from any creatures. The deaf humans all communicate with American Sign Language, and some of them know other varieties as well.

The groups of creatures spend most of their time in nomadic pursuits, catching food on their territory and hiding from the elements. They tend to avoid cities, which make them feel uncomfortable, but will sometimes follow food or seek shelter in them. They do not, however, enter buildings. The enclosed spaces make most creatures feel uncomfortable.

Still no name for the creatures beyond the Latin Homo sapiens felinis. In addition to world building for this, I've added another scene to my Camp NaNo and I'm a little sad I have to stop working on it to focus completely on the new NaNo soon. I suppose I had 3 months to finish it and this is just my procrastination kicking me in the butt. Oh well! Maybe I'll use it as a reward for finishing the day's NaNo words on occasion!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some Characters

I have the main group of good guys all fleshed out now, as well as one of the most important creature characters. Introducing. . .

Corrine Davis! She will be in the introductory scene, which shows the first outbreak of creatures. She is going on the expedition officially as a meteorologist and expert on all things related to Wichita. She also has a personal motivation. Corrine has waited seven years to rescue her husband, Sal, who has been transformed into a creature.

Lindsay Valentine, a doctor from London who has created the cure that transforms creatures back into humans. However, it has only been tested on creatures who were turned by other creatures, not from the original outbreak. They also know that it doesn't work if the creature was born as a creature. He also has the task of observing the creatures, if possible, in person to learn more about their culture.

Diego Escobal Ruiz, a mercenary hired as part of the escort. He is only in it for the money, but ends up appreciating both the creatures and those who have chosen education over manual labor. His develop will mostly take place on an interpersonal level, particularly with the next character.

Caroline Sullivan, another mercenary who is inseparable from Diego despite their lack of a defined relationship. Also in it for the money, but ends up learning to trust others to be friends and to trust Diego to be a true partner.

Their group will have many characters who are less in depth, and I still need to flesh out the somewhat important leader of the convoy and Lindsay's research assistant.

The last character, the creature, is Sal. In the seven years since the transformations Sal has become a respected warrior and hunter for his family tribe. He's also been mated to a female creature and had two children. He will be forced to choose between the two lives, though he can barely remember the life he had with Corrine.

There are several more creatures that need detailing too. Furthermore, the Big Bad remains rather vague in my mind. I know they will be a group of big game hunters, perhaps 10-15 of them, and I know what I want to accomplish with them. I am unsure of what sort of personality will be best for now. Hopefully continuing with my world building and creating an outline will make things clearer. That's what they're for, after all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Story Background & Synopsis

I have done some planning for my novel. To keep myself organized I'm using a 2 year novel writing book I picked up a while ago and smushing the week long assignments into one (or two for the short ones!) a day. If I stay on schedule, cross my fingers, I'll finish with a day to spare so I can celebrate Halloween and maybe start my novel at midnight depending on where I am. SO! Without further ado, I will introduce my novel's plot.

North America and most of Central America have been lost to a group of mutated humans. The outbreak starts in a town I hold much love for, Wichita, KS. The mutations begin when people who are listening to music in Wichita begin to hypnotically dance. If they or the music source is interfered with, they become violent until the music is returned and they are allowed to dance again. This stage is short lived. They begin the first steps of the conversion with aggressive hair growth throughout the body, the restructuring of their jaws to allow for large fangs, and accelerated growth of finger and toenails. Once the transformation begins, the person becomes aggressive with those around them due to the mistaken belief that the others are causing the pain associated with the transformation. The aggression is particularly centered on anyone not transforming. Once the initial set of people are exposed in Wichita, the transformations are transmitted by listening to music sang or played by one of the transformed creatures.

Though the transformations are too quick to spread to other areas via air or ship travel without being discovered well before reaching the destination, authority powers throughout the world had to immediately implement search procedures for anything which could contain a recording of the creature's music. In most public places any visible speakers, radios, or related music paraphernalia has been vandalized to the point of uselessness or removed by the owner. In a hasty panic, some people have made themselves and their families deaf. As society moves further away from noises, many people begin learning sign language. Many countries sent troops to South America to stop the spread of the creatures, and were successful in creating a solid line of defense at the Panama Canal.

The main story occurs seven years after the initial transformations. A cure has been found for those creatures who have been exposed to the music created by the creatures. Nobody knows if it will work on the creatures who heard the original music, and it cannot make creatures who were born as creatures into humans. They will travel from Panama to Wichita via the Pan-American Highway and establish a base camp in Wichita. Once there, their task (should they choose to accept it...and they do) is to study the phenomena there to see if the original music is reproducible and to capture creatures from the original exposure to test the cure on.

I have a few characters already, but they need a tad bit more fleshing out before I can give you a peek.