So, You Win Again

At time of writing this, not only have I won but there’s no real signs of stopping.

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The longer this has gone on, the more I realise this is was never about doing the job in 30 days. Writing this story has become the means by which everything else that’s currently fucked up in my life is exposed and sorted. Of course, it was never the intention for that to take place, but it has. As I expose holes in my plot, more significant pits are uncovered. More importantly as I’ve hit 50k, there’s time now to go back and do some much-needed editing.

That will mean the word count will be minimally updated for the next few days, until I’m ready to push forward again. Getting the ‘win’ early means that part of the pressure’s off: so much needs to be addressed that was summarily left at the wayside to get the main thrust of the narrative sorted and strong. As I’m about to switch to a location in which an awful lot of significant action transpires, I want to leave everything that’s passed in as decent a state as possible.

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The redesign of the NaNo site, to be honest, was long overdue but needs a fair bit of work. The only part of the process that really matters is having the habit forming repetition of updating that count until 50k registers. Now that’s done I don’t need to be reminded, it just happens automatically. With five Winners wristbands on my right wrist but nothing as yet to show for those attempts, it is time for a change.

For the first time in five years, coming away with nothing is not an option. I need to not only make this work, but in a manner that makes me happy and comfortable that the maximum amount of effort was spent for the most reward. In that regard alone this is undoubtedly the happiest I have ever been about a NaNo attempt.

This one will be finished, oh yes.

Monster

Yup, I’m definitely gonna need more than a month.

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It’s not like this story is writing itself, anything but. At times it has been a tough job, slogging through the numbers: with the first crescendo of action about to happen, I reckon I’m probably about a third of the way in. However, there is an awful lot of exposition in here, most of it warranted. After we hit the end of this section, things can pick up a bit.

I reckon 100k is probably nearer the mark for completion.

There’s nothing stopping me going back and editing stuff out at a later date, of course: for now, the priority is to tell the story as it stands, and that’s proving surprisingly simple. I’m really, REALLY glad that time was taken to plan this in advance, because there are several points where if it hadn’t been, giving up and walking away would have been a really easy thing to do.

This time however, I have something to prove.

I am not getting any younger, as the hand will attest. The reason I started doing this challenge, so many years ago, was to write a novel. In all the times when the month was over and I looked at what had been produced, there was never really satisfaction with the end product. This time around, this is a piece of work to be already immensely proud of. Whatever may transpire, this will be pushed beyond a first draft.

Creating a monster will come with a new set of responsibilities, but until the story is done, size really will not matter. I’m already organising December’s content around this, so that there is no interruption to my writing processes. It is perhaps most satisfying all that this is a narrative not only to get lost in, but which also is throwing up some genuinely interesting new directions from the original pitch.

Speaking of which, I need to write a new summary to post on the NaNo website…

Oops, I Did It Again

Having hit 25k on NaNo this morning, there MIGHT be a bit of a problem going forward…

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This isn’t like last year when I decided to stop because other things were more important. Nope, this time around has come the revelation that I do not want to stop. There is too much fun being had living and breathing this new narrative. In fact, considering where I am along my timeline, this 50k could at least double by the time I’m done. It is entirely possible we have a full blown epic tale on our hands.

Planning has presented this as possibility, and because there is understanding of what else needs to happen around the words, it’s probably the right moment for a rethink. This time however, instead of panicking and tossing the whole idea because it won’t fit into my current lifestyle choices… let’s do this differently. Let’s rearrange everything else around what has become most important and work from there.

For a change, personal happiness can take centre stage.

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This decision has produced an unexpected, knock-on effect. A couple of issues that I’ve been struggling to resolve are now sorted, complete without issue. My exercise regime’s taking an impressive upward turn. Willpower, instead of crumbling when it became apparent I’d not finish to time, has strengthened, which makes the desire to eat bad stuff that I’m having to ignore considerably easier.

I’m quite a binary being, when all is said and done. To realise that this enjoyment factor has been missing in my life is important: knowing why has been something of a revelation. Relaxing into this process has provided a key to a door that’s been locked since before counselling was started earlier this year. Here, it seems, is an important space not only to be explored, but inhabited.

I’m really looking forward to where this new journey takes me.

Words

11 days in. Let’s see the numbers first, shall we?

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I’ll hit 25k on Tuesday, which is technically three days ahead of schedule. I’m still writing, then editing too, because as the narrative progresses, two things are happening:

  1. I’ll alter earlier narrative based on having written later narrative. This happens a lot, especially if character motivations change. In at least two cases in 72 hours, characters have changed sex and/or ethnicity. This requires earlier timelines or actions to shift.
  2. There needs to be dialogue. There always needs to be more dialogue, who am I fooling here. I am ahead purely because these characters, once on the page, start talking to each other in ways I have not anticipated.

In that regard, this manuscript is something of a revelation.

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I miss not having a graph of my word progress on the NaNo site, I’m not gonna lie. Maybe it exists somewhere and I’ve yet to relocate it. Regardless of this, it is all going amazingly well, and not having had an attack of writer’s block just yet, it can only be a matter of time before it happens. Plans are in place, all I can do is realistically work through it and push forward.

As to where I am in terms of story? Could not be happier. Things have happened that were unexpected. There’s better versions of ideas that first started their lives in my synopsis. Even if nobody else likes this, it will be my finest hour. To complete something like this has been the dream for years. My first novel my have been finished but it still requires extensive rewrites, because my abilities have improved.

That’s the biggest change of all, and it couldn’t make me happier.

Winter Trees

Welcome to the first of my #NaNoWriMo19 Updates.

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Things are off to an extremely positive start: in fact, I don’t remember having such a good first few days. It helps, undoubtedly, to have come into this with more planning than ever previously took place. Timings for this month have also been largely sympathetic; allowing several opportunities for clear, uninterrupted blocks of writing time. That will continue going forward.

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There are no worries or panics, either. This is the story I need to be writing, and completing it will happen. There is at least a part of my brain which thinks that 50k will not be enough, but that should be more apparent as we get into next week. Unlike last time, when the word total hit goal and then stopped, this is about completing the narrative. That’s what has to happen

No burning bridges or unexpected panics, and although there will inevitably be an attack of writer’s block somewhere, provision has been set aside. The eventuality is covered. All that is left therefore is the writing, sadly without my customary accompaniment of cake and biscuits. They’re both off the menu until  blood-work and cholesterol issues are resolved. Hooray for nuts and tea.

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I’ll be planning to post updates every Monday going forward, and next week will promise faithfully that this will be on time. It’s the arrangement of time post Half Term that got me this time, plus the front room reorganisation that still requires a measure of work to be complete. That’s the antidote to writer’s block, as it happens, but as we’re not yet in the realm of frustration, it’s time to crack on…

Love’s Great Adventure

You’ll be reading this in a time warp: It’s being published the day before NaNoWriMo 2019 began, yet the plan was to hype up how prepared I was for everything… the reality is, that as I type this, it’s already four days into the process. Last week’s health shock knocked everything into the air, and if truth be told, there’s still things I’m watching, waiting for them to land.

This year, however, organisation has saved me. Even if the real-time responses to things has been a bit arse about face, doing the preparation and knowing how important this whole process is to complete has provided the most welcome of cushions for the intervention of reality. It means that despite commentary being behind, word count is very much ahead of the curve.

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After a weekend where I took on an extremely important new responsibility (which I’ll talk about at length on Wednesday) it’s now a case of cleaning up the loose ends and ploughing forward. In reality of course, it’s not like tens of thousands of people read this blog and they’ll get confused with the timeline. If that were the case, it might be a different post that was being written.. but you guys understand how this works.

What this change also corresponds with is a marked improvement in organisation away from a desk. Those of you reading my personal blog will know that October, despite everything else, was my most productive month for physical health this year. That also needs to keep happening as I write, which means now I’ll be off for the first session of next week… or is this the third session of last week?

Trust me, true organisation is happening regardless.

Bird of Prey

With less than a week to go until everything kicks off, how ready am I for NaNoWriMo 2019?

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No really, it’s okay. I’ve got everything together, the WiP playlist is strong, plus there’s lots of enthusiasm. It also helps that I now have an operational computer again, and am well on the way to having a better, larger space in which to work. That alone should make the process more conducive. Not writing poetry will also be a pleasant change. There’s plenty of that to look forward to in December.

This however is not about submissions or progress. November is all for me.

All my November content will be inspired by the NaNoWriMo project, kicking off with a #Soundtracking2019 playlist that begins with one of my favourite pieces of Fatboy Slim music, an important prompt for a sequence of events in Ternary’s plot. As to what you’ll get from the #Narrating2019 list? It’s time for a bit of Alternate History… with some Steampunk elements thrown in for good measure…

Hopefully there’s enough time to arrange everything else that needs doing before that point: the plan, such as it stands, is to try and write for two hours every morning and then in the evenings when time allows. I’m also determined to get this narrative finished and then decently edited, in the hope that I may be able to do something with it. Self publishing is most definitely an option going forward.

Let’s not get ahead of myself until then.

Back to Life

As my birthday has come and gone this means there’s a week left until we’re into November. It would be useful, I think, to try and make a return to what used to be considered as Normal Service around these parts, but the loss of my PC yesterday (and the fact I’m typing this on a keyboard on my knees on the sofa) has rather put a crimp in proceedings. NO MATTER.

It is time to get this ramshackle shebang back on track.

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What that means is POETRY EVERY DAY (as has been successfully happening with my #FaithIoW prompts) but with perhaps a little more interactivity than was previously the case. It’s nice to have work every day on Instagram too, and 2020 will be when I try and make that platform work a bit harder for me than is previously the case. It is also high time we had some YouTube content back.

Then there’s the short stories: the last one from August was left hanging. What will happen in November is that will be reposted and completed, before we go into NEW WORK in December. Also, yes, I PROMISE. EX/WHI will be back once the NaNo gubbins is all done and dusted. I know only too well what happens when my brain becomes overloaded with narrative, it all goes horribly Pete Tong and nobody has time for that.

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However, the overriding priority right now is to get this keyboard off my knees and onto a desk. That’s being delivered tomorrow (reclaimed from a dusty industrial unit) and once the front room’s organised, the sky will indeed be the limit. My new wall awaits, ready for a wipe clean perpetual planner and a fucktonne of Post It Notes.

I am ready.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

As we established on Monday, my novel for November’s now finalised. The next step, as also committed to, is a written copy of the basic plot from beginning to end. I’ve been mentally getting this particular house in order during School Runs this week with my Spotify soundtrack, which has existed in several forms for a fair few years now. I realise already there are some gaps in action that need filling.

However, I can’t do that without the right pieces of music to help.

Music is immensely important to my creative processes: I can’t emphasise enough how much the right song will create vivid, compelling pictures in my head which I can then transcribe to the page. It doesn’t have to be classical either: this WiP has some unexpected pieces of modern music buried within… except I’m imagining them reinvented as folk songs, played on instruments from another time.

This musical accompaniment is perfect for my alternate historical setting, and it gives a special haunting quality to some key scenes. It’s also making me realise what an absolute godsend YouTube is for any writer looking to find the right atmospheric background for their endeavours. Now, if I could only find someone doing Prodigy songs on this instrument, I’d be golden… ^^

It’s likely the narrative’s gonna be done before the weekend, so that the missing pieces can be successfully filled whilst the most free time is available. Friday night therefore will be spent with headphones on and Spotify on my tablet, attempting to map the progress of what, I realise with some horror, will be the first of at least a two book series. There really is too much here to shove into one decent sized novel…

That’s a worry for another day.

Things to Make and Do

The decision has been made, I’ve changed my NaNo page BACK to where we started a week ago. No more indecision. There’s a Soundtrack being updated and many changes in my head as to where action was initially going to head. Now, however, it is time for some honesty. I’ve mentioned before some of the technical shortcomings that hamper my long-form fiction work: repetition of words, bad grammar and the eternal problem of going on Multiple Tenses Safari.

All of this is known well enough to handle without worry: I can cut out superfluous words, but not too many, because that hampers decent narrative flow. It is a delicate combination of when and where, it is apparent. All of this goes without saying, but the majority of that should happen during my editing period and not whilst I’m writing. The issues then need to be admitted in public before going forward.

I seem to have terrible trouble being confident my narratives truly work.

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This is a pretty staggering admission from someone who likes to believe, on most days, that she’s capable of telling a damn fine story… except, there are always holes. This is the problem… going great guns, ready to start working… then discovering the plot’s got a gap in it that’s not really that wide, but can end up looking insurmountably deep. This time around, therefore, I’m going to do something that’s never been done for a NaNo before.

It’s time to transcribe the narrative, longhand, from start to finish. I don’t expect this to be either pretty or easy, but every plot hole needs to be identified and covered. If this doesn’t happen, it will just be like the last couple of times when I’ve tried to write something complex: my own brain will destroy the fragile confidence built up over the last few months and BANG we’ve gotten nowhere. It’s not happening.

The story is going to be finished.

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The hope is if I can do it once, then we can do it again with a couple of the unfinished manuscripts on my hard drive. Now the major shortcoming in long-form writing has been identified, it’s time to crack on with the task. There’s poetry scheduled over the next few days, but space has been provisioned at the weekend for the all-important first pass. Needless to say, you’ll know how it all worked out this time next week.

Cross everything please, it will be very much appreciated.