Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Mea Culpa…Again

I just realized on Saturday that I didn’t do EITHER of my blog posts for last week. That’s by far the longest I’ve gone without posting and it ruins a reasonably consistent streak that I had going. Suffice it to say, I’m not thrilled with myself, but there’s nothing to be done about it now. And, at the very least, I had an excuse.

So, I’m just closing Part III of the novel, and my deadline for finishing Part IV is Sunday. That’s not a lot of time to write a dozen scenes, much less the climactic scenes that need to get done. So…things may get stretched. That’s okay, though; I’m not working for a major publisher and I can allow things to get squishy. Plus, some of the things I had allotted their own separate time interval–things like cover design, layout, back-cover copy, and so forth–can overlap with the copyediting phase. I’d prefer that I had enough time to really focus on each thing as it came, but whatever.

I spent this entire week working at NaNoWriMo-like intensity trying to refactor and conclude Part III, which seems like it wouldn’t be hard, but it kind of was. It seems that despite my best attempts to the contrary, my rate of production has slipped a fair amount. Obviously my prose is a little more polished and the ideas are a little more sound when I’m writing slowly, but I’m not sure the tradeoff is worth it. That’s a secondary point, though, because I need to write 2000+ words a day this week just to squeak by, and if the prose happens to suffer that’s barely worth thinking about. I will, after all, get one final revision for word choice.

As something of an aside, I find it interesting that when I NaNoWriMo ends, and I start thinking about my writing on a deeper level, I spend so much more time writing the same amount of text that it becomes almost sacred for me. I’m so reluctant to can what I have and redo it because the weight of all that time hangs so heavily over me. So I try to adapt and tweak, adapt and tweak, and in the end, more often than not, I have to can it and redo it anyway because it doesn’t work. In the long run, trying to save time, even if it is half subconscious, takes more time. Anyone else noticed that?

For better or worse, that’s no longer relevant for Fugitives from Earth because the end is so near. It’s definitely something I need to think about for the next novel, though, whether I write it for NaNoWriMo or not. Here’s hoping I don’t slow things down even more by trying to misapply the lessons I learned from FfE.


The Tenth Word is a Century Old!

I’m not sure how I missed this, but I made my 100th post last week! Yes, that’s right, a century of posts in 10 months. Not too bad, really. While this blog’s never exactly been a paragon of timeliness and popularity, I’m glad I’ve kept it. I suspect I’ll be even more glad when I start working on the next novel, have the same problems all over again, and get to check how I solved them the first time.

And if I’m really, really lucky, I can look back here someday when I’m wildly famous and wealthy, and see the little man I once was. And then set this entire site on fire, lest anyone know I was not born a god.

I’ve actually been noticing that I’ve posted much more often on Google+, and gotten a lot more responses there than I have here. There seems to be some concensus on this point, even. Could it be that Google+ offers the perfect storm of features that will move us into a post-blog internet? Certainly, if my main goal was to connect to people, I’d be doing it there, not here. On the other hand, a lot of what I post here is pretty self-involved by its very nature, and I don’t think that most of it would get a very good response on any social network.

Well, we’re not in a post-blog state now, and I think that my two-posts-a-week status is pretty sustainable. “The Tenth Word” isn’t going away anytime soon.

Now, only your regularly scheduled status report. Good writing this weekend, although a little disappointing compared to the last. There was no way that I was going to have another 6,000 word weekend, but I’d rather hoped to be above 3,000. The final count was something like 2,750, which isn’t too shabby considering that I’ve typically considered weekends a break. At this rate, finishing a short story per month while working on the novel seems like a realistic option, and that’s really all I can hope for.

Still, I wouldn’t mind kicking it up a notch. Next weekend, let’s try 4,000. I’m not going anywhere, so I have no excuse for failure. At the very least, I should be able to sustain a NaNoWriMo-like degree of productivity. I am trying to be professional, after all.

Hmm. I may have just developed a September challenge for myself! We shall see.

In other news, I’m going on vacation next week, and will be entirely gone until the 26th of August at the earliest. The wife and I are making a road trip down south for WorldCon in Reno, followed by some relaxation (and sleep-catching-up-on) at Disneyland. Ah, summer and the great American road trip! I don’t expect this blog to be entirely silent while I’m gone; in fact, I may very well post more frequently, depending on how the convention goes. I’m a little anxious about not being plugged-in enough to really get the full experience, but we’ll see.

This week, though, your regular post should be up on Friday. Until then, have a good week.

Reread: Complete

Six days, 445 pages. About 70 pages per day, plus a few more today, and I’m finished with my reread of the Fugitives from Earth manuscript. It was a revolutionary experience, I daresay.

Okay, I’ve been caught in this trap before. I’ll try a new method of working, go gaga over it, and then end up trapped by my own expectations. That’s what happened with my new “extreme outlining” strategy; I’d spend all this time working on a plan, only to end up having my creativity stifled because of it.

This time, though, I think that I’ve made a more basic discovery. There’s nothing crazy or radical about it, except that it goes against my own habits. It turns out that by reading my manuscript as I’m writing, it becomes a lot easier to tie the various plotlines together and create a more complete novel.

Not for the first time, I find myself going against the NaNoWriMo model. You’re not supposed to read your own work when doing NaNo, because the temptation to go back and edit is, for new writers at least, often fatal. However, the “charge forward no matter what” idea assumes that you’re going to lack either the discipline or the time to write ahead and go back. As an aspiring professional, however, I’m trying very hard to develop that discipline, and with my work situation right now, I most definitely have the time.

Of course, all this applies mostly to early drafts, and it’s going to be awhile before I start working on one of those again. Right now, I’m just thrilled that my story isn’t as broken as I thought it was. Between my in-line notes and my 500-word daily summaries, I’ve got the materials to make it a downright good story. I don’t think that it’d knock any editor’s socks off, but it should at least be good enough, or fun enough, for someone to enjoy reading.

The next step, of course, is to start on the actual revision. I would really love to get it all done in just a couple of weeks. I’m not sure how realistic that is, but with my upcoming deadline, if I get the beta copy out to the readers any later than mid-June or so, I’m going to be in a serious time crunch. So, time to burn the midnight oil, I suppose. That’s what the life of a professional writer is all about.

Taking It Down a Notch

I don’t have a lot to say today, so I’ll just give you all a short update on where we stand with Fugitives from Earth. As I mentioned, I pretty much need to rewrite the last half of the novel to give it a solid ending, and according to the modified beat sheet, that comes to about 37 scenes and probably 40,000 words or so. In theory I should be able to get that knocked out in about three weeks, but it’s going to be slower and more careful going that during NaNoWriMo.

In a sense, it will be an interesting experience for me. I’ve mentioned before that I think the “full steam ahead” NaNoWriMo method is more suitable for less experienced authors, but this will really be my first opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. Rather than scrambling to put words on the page, drops of sweat beading on my forehand, my knuckles getting sore as they hammer the keys, I’m going to take it down a notch.

I can’t just “fix it in the rewrite” because this is the rewrite. So anything that I put on the page has a certain air of permanence about it, like I’m writing in clay instead of wax. Obviously it can still be changed, but the idea is that I don’t want to have to change it.  It’s a new experience for me, and doubtless in a few weeks I’ll be writing, “Dear blog readers, turns out…”

So, you have that to look forward to.

Knowing is Half the Battle

As I wrote recently, I recently spent an evening plotting out my story all the way to the end, scene by scene. I did this to give myself a feeling of direction and, if I’m honest with myself, to put off writing a draft that seemed interminable.

But I am so freaking glad that I did it. I always hated the idea of doing scene outlines before because it seemed to take all of the joy out of writing. Like, rather than experiencing the story, you were just recording it, and that seemed like work rather than fun. But ooh boy, was I wrong.

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NaNoWriMo Complete!

I just finished a ten thousand word weekend, and finished NaNoWriMo a record (for me) nine days early. This quadruples my lead time from last year, and is several orders of magnitude greater than my lead time in 2007, when I finished about 10 minutes early.

I’m pretty written out for today, so I’ll just give you a few stats for my NaNo 2010:

  • Completion date: November 21, obviously.
  • Average words per day: 2382
  • Days of with zero words: 5
  • Average words per day on days with at least 1 word written: 3126
  • 10K weekends: 2
  • Caffeinated beverages consumed while writing: believe it or not, absolutely none

My goal is to be done with the my rough draft, if at all possible, by the end of December. This gives me 40 days to write about 75,000 words, so I figure I’ll keep up my 2000 word days and pull it off pretty handily, assuming I can toss in a 10K weekend or two. I’m feeling pretty confident, and I’m already looking forward to starting on the revision.

Brief Update

The last two days have kind of conspired against me. New dog and little sleep means no writing. Good thing I built up such a hefty word bank!. In fact, I’m well on course to finish a record nine days early, right in the midst of the deadly week three.

Of course that’s not the end of my novel, not even halfway. Given my excellent performance so far, ahead of schedule, I’ve revised my drafting plan. I want to be done with the rough draft by the end of December, a full two weeks ahead of my originally planned completion date in January. That’ll give me a full three months to do the revision, and although I might need more than that, that’s pretty much all I’m going to allow myself.

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