#NaNoWriMo Week 1 Update

Just a quick after-the-patriots-before-the-pizza-arrives update on my NaNoWriMo Week 1 progress.

Billy, show ’em the chart:

Nano15 Week 1

As you can see, I’m a bit behind the curve and I know why. I violated one of my rules and did not use the Pomodoro timer at all until yesterday (the word count spike). The new words from today are in week two.

I find my lack of Pomodoro disturbing.

A mistake I shan’t make again.

I hope you’re doing better than I am.  Until next time…

Be safe and be well.

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NaNoWriMo Productivity

NaNoWriMo Productivity

It’s only a few days until NaNoWriMo starts again so I thought I might give you a little bit of encouragement in your attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. What most people don’t understand is that writing the 1667 words you’ll need to write every day is not as difficult as it seems. As a matter of fact it’s as easy as writing a blog post every day.
If you’re in the habit of blogging on a regular basis, and some of you are, then you already have the discipline to write at the “blistering pace” needed to reach the goal. Many other authors, all of far more successful than I am (or probably never will be), will tell you that 50,000 words in a single month is standard for a full-time writer who makes his living from the printed word.
For the purposes of this exercise, and to help you understand that it is very much within your ability to “win” NaNoWriMo, we’re going to take the very blog post you’re reading. Continue reading

My Fifteen-Thousand-Word Day

Below is the chronicle of what I did yesterday, followed by observations on an epiphany.

6:30 AM : Setting things up to begin at 7:00. I’ll be writing for the next 8 hours, maybe 10, with occasional feeding and watering. Plus I have to drive my son to work.

7:00 AM : It begins.

Cumulative Word Counts:

Hour 1 7-8:    1625 (1625)
Hour 2 8-9:    3692 (2067)
Hour 3 9-10:  5791 (2099)
Hour 4 10-11: 7754 (1963)
Hour 5 11-12: 9732 (1978)
Hour 6 12-1:   12762 (3030)
Hour 7 1-2:     12762 (0 – lunch break)
Hour 8 2-3:     13496 (734)
Hour 9 3-4:     15505 (2009)

So, in the last nine hours, I did eight hours of writing, taking a 10-15 minute break every hour.
My average is 1938 words per hour, though I admit I lost focus in hour 8 (the 7th hour of writing).
My best output was hour 6, 3030 words in that hour or 50.5 words per minute. Considering I took a small break in each hour, the Words-Per-Minute are a little higher.

Continue reading

Recharging

Yet another step in the process of transmogrifying from an ‘aspiring author’ to an ‘Honest to God, LOOK I WROTE A BOOK – BUY IT NOW DAMN YOU author’.

So here’s that graph I promised for February:

Word counts

Wordcount graph
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I’ve taken a step back from the writing for a bit of a recharge.  BTW this first draft is NOT the first draft i was talking about in this post. That one’s in the drawer, getting some of that ‘distance’ they speak of.  You know, write it, then put it away for a bit?  Yeah, that’s it. Totally unrelated bit of fiction of the animal fantasy sort.  Not ‘Incredible Journey’ or ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Watership Down’, just me thinking about the life of some of the furries I see in the backyard.

Got well above 3K words a couple of times, but it took me most of the day to do it.  Not that it took so many hours to write that many words, but it was the weekend and I still have the day job, so I had other things to do as well.  But I did crack 3,000 words, so that’s a new record.

Yeah, I know. High output, and then? Nothing. For. Days.

Got a lot of snow, and I’ll tell you it’s taken a lot out of me.  I’m not as young as I used to be.  Hopefully I’ll get this finished, edited, cleaned up, and covered with enough time to make snow blower money by November.

Gahh… I’d hate to stay in that damn office for another 8 months, but if that’s what I gotta do, that’s what I gotta.

So, the snow/tired/stuck thing (which accounts for that string of ‘nothing written’) is about over, I got some of that Act 0 stuff done, and I’ve only got two or three more scenes/chapters/whatevers to finish, then I can call it a draft and work on the prequel novella.

I’m thinking I’ll have a free intro novella for the few years of Act 0. I suppose the back story for the novella would be Act -1🙂 Sure, whatever. I think the novella would be a nice free or 99 cent intro to the series.  Who knows? But that’s a marketing thing, and I have nothing to market so I won’t think about that yet.  Carts and horses and all that.

So, there’s the graph I promised, and an update.  w00t.

Be safe and be well.

Can You Get That Dark?

I’ve gotten my WiP up to about 33,000 words since last time, but the site I use for the graph is undergoing maintenance right now. I’ll post that chart next time.

Did not add any new words to the WiP because we got another (almost) foot of snow. I used my ‘writing time’ to dig out. Fortunately, one of the neighbors with a snowplow toon pity and got the massive snowplow pile before I got home. I owe him big!

So, after digging out I decided I was too tired to write and just needed some mental health and family time, so we watched a ‘Dangerous Minds’ repeat that we never saw.  It was “The Lesson“, you know, the marionette episode.

When he first stung up the girl and practiced, I said out loud “This is about the coolest, creepiest, scariest thing I’ve seen in a while.” Just putting myself in her position, with absolutely no control, mad me shiver. And that was the point.

I also thought aloud about what this screenplay might say about the writer. “Who writes this? Are they that damaged? I think I might be afraid to write something like that. What would people think?”

At the end, when the guy gets captured and we see what the ‘audience’ consisted of, my daughter (she’s 18) asked me “Dad, do you think you can get that dark?”

I thought about it for a while and said “I suppose it depends on how deep I go and how much I want to let out.”

Yeah… If I wanted to, i could get quite a bit darker.

But do  I want to look that deeply into my own abyss?

Isn’t that the point?

Be safe and be well.

Act 0

Yes, Act Zero.

The Act before Act One.  The Act with all that groovy backstory that you’ll only squeeze in through flashbacks, dreams and exposition.

This is the equivalent of the scrolling words at the beginning of all the Star Wars movies.

Episode IV

A NEW HOPE

It is a period of civil war.

Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….

We NEVER find out the details of this “fist victory against the Galactic Empire” in any of the six movies. In the later writings it is explained, but not in the films. We just need to know it happened. Like the Clone Wars. Luke’s father and Ben Kenobi fought together in them, but for about 20 years no one knew what the hell the Clone Wars was about. Personally, that bugged the Hell out of me, knowing there was a massive something that happened before.

Likewise in “The Hobbit” and “Harry Potter” we don’t, at first, know anything about the One Ring or the Cloak of Invisibility, but they are critical to both stories. We eventually find out about where these things came from, but there is no immediate explanation.

This can bog you down, this Act Zero that no-one ever sees.  Make sure it sings just as sweetly as the rest of your narrative.

This is the reason for my low output for the month of January, as reflected in the chart below.

Some days I did well, others were only moving paragraphs and entering connections,  and sometimes I did nothing. There are a lot of distractions to deal with, one of them (for me anyway) was the holes in my backstory.

Why are they here? Got it. Family tree? Check. Fluidity of pot (“as a result they…” as opposed to “and then they…”)? Handled. What did they do yesterday or last week that got us to the underlying conflict complicated in Act One and totally blown out of proportion in Act Three?

Yeah, that’s where it got me.  Act 3 (of five).

In Star Wars IV, we see Greedo corner Han Solo in the cantina on Tatooine. Bounty hunters have been  looking for Han because he dumped Jabba the Hutt’s cargo when he was boarded by the Empire.

We see none of this, because it’s Act Zero, but it sets a major plot point for the next two films (the carbonite thing).

Lesson Learned.

Word counts

Wordcount graph
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This represents about 15,000 words. Writing fiction is a lot different than the kind of writing I’m used to, and it shows.

Be safe and be well

The Best Laid Plans

Here’s one of those graphs I was talking about.  This is word output for the WiP only, not blog posts or correspondence or what I write for work.

As you can see, i’m almost settled in.  I’ll have the habit locked down this week and then I should be able to get at least a thousand words a day.

Part of my problem is that I still have the bad habit of editing while I write.  When I open the document, I look back on what was written, change a thing or two, move a paragraph, re-word something. You know how it goes.

I have to train myself to only put new words on the ‘paper’ and leave the editing for editing time. Also, I spent much of my time yesterday the 4th trying to recover the auto-save when my processor went wonky. Make backups, people!

Anyway, here’s the graph of the last five days.

Word counts

Wordcount graph
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Be safe and be well.