NaNoWriMo: Day 12

Got my 25k badge. Partying like it’s 1999. Body telling me I’m not 26 anymore.

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Hope you’re all hitting your targets and having fun out there.

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NaNoWriMo: Day 10

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Today was a good day. I managed to hit 20k for NaNo and 100k in this project as a whole. I also managed a 2016 personal best of 4k, my highest daily word count for this year’s NaNo. And let’s talk about Kent. My region is in the south east corner of England, and we’ve hit three million words here today. It’s such a creative place and I’m happy to be contributing to the crackle in the air tonight.

UPDATE: Make that 5k for today.

NaNoWriMo 2016

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This year I’ll be working on the second part of book three of a young adult series. I’ve been working on this project for two and a half years now, some months productive, others not so much. My girl, Violet, has come a long way from the catalyst of a car accident that happened just weeks before her fifteenth birthday. Two and a half years have gone by in her life too, and her new family continues to grow. The first part of book three introduced us to an “uncle” with a fondness for going topless, his son who makes three times as much noise as he should for one so small, and his grandaughter with her fuse-lit eyes and querulous pout.

I’m thinking of being extra brave and posting a few scenes from the first half of the book here over the course of the month.

In the meantime, here is a little excerpt from the first draft of Book 3: Part 1

I pushed my sunglasses onto my face as we stepped back into the sunshine. Amethyst’s building was the second to last one. We glanced between each building, then Albert set off round the back while I took the front. I hit something fast and solid as I rounded the corner. Pain seared through my forehead as I fell backwards. I was so winded, I didn’t even have time to cushion my butt as it hit the ground. An agonising jolt tore its way up my spine.

“I’m so sorry, are you okay?”

I moved my head slowly from side to side, but couldn’t shake it properly. I couldn’t look up either. My neck was too stiff. I couldn’t see much of the man who was talking to me, just his baby-poo-coloured skinny cords and highly polished, battered brown boots. A drop of blood hit the ground between them, then another.

“Shit! Shit!” He made a frantic search of his trouser pockets, then the dripping stopped. “Let’s get you up,” he said.

The first thing I registered as he reached down for me was the slate-blue, cable-knit cardigan. I decided this man must be an imbecile. It was thirty degrees out. He did look a little red-faced, but that could just be the nosebleed that my head had given him. He had thick, messy dark blonde hair and a beard, and he reminded me of a younger Boxer. Except for that cardigan. I stared at him, as he led me to a bench. My back was stiff and my butt protested a bit as it made contact with the wood.

“I waited for forty minutes,” he said.

“What?”

“Forty minutes. You know, it doesn’t have to be so hard.”

“What?”

“Shit! Do you think you have a concussion?”

“No.”

He reached for my sunglasses and I batted his hand away. He sighed, then stared into his blood-stained tissue.

“Has it stopped?” he said, tipping his head back so I could see up his nose.

“Yes.”

I stretched my neck, turning my head in slow circles. It wasn’t stiff anymore, but my head felt a little fuzzy.

“I think your head’s made of concrete,” said the man, prodding gently at his nose. “How bad is it? It doesn’t feel broken. Does it look any different?”

I shrugged. How the hell should I know? It was a nose. What was it supposed to look like other than a nose? The heat was making me sleepy. Or maybe I did have a concussion. I tried to concentrate. The man was saying something. Words. Words were falling out of his mouth. I stared at it. It was very close. I could feel his breath, and his lips. I pulled away and touched my mouth. I think he kissed me. I swayed on the bench.

“I see you’ve met my sister,” said Amethyst.

The sandy building swam past my eyes as I slowly turned my head. I smiled at Amethyst. She was standing with her hands on her hips, glaring at the man sitting next to me. She was gloriously furious. So was Albert. Still, silent and furious.

“This is Violet?” the man said. “This is… this is Violet?”

“You’re repeating yourself, Noah. Yes, this is Violet. The question is why were you kissing her when you haven’t even kissed me yet? And why did you let him?”

She was looking at me. I smiled. I tried to get up but my head wasn’t having it. I fell back onto the bench.

“What did you do to her?” said Albert, as he dropped onto the bench. I slid sideways into his body.

“Nothing,” said the man called Noah. “We bumped into each other on the corner there. She gave me a nosebleed and I… gave her a concussion.”

“And a kiss,” said Amethyst.

“I thought she was you,” he said. “She looked like she wanted me to kiss her, but I think it must’ve just been the concussion.”

“I didn’t want a kiss. I want to go to bed.”

I was shouting. God, why was I shouting?

“I wasn’t going to take her to bed, I swear.”

“Take me to bed,” I wailed.

Good luck NaNoing everyone!

Many Things

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Many things. So many damn things. First off, my 30 day NaNoWriMo post didn’t publish. In fact, it disintegrated in the ether. But I guess all that really needs to be said is that I did it. By the end of November, I’d doubled the target with over a hundred thousand words. December was a write off, what with Christmas and loitering on Pinterest pretending that this would be the year I make all those awesome homemade decorations and epic cakes. It wasn’t. But it was the year I finally gave in and bought Scrivener with my winner’s discount.

I have no idea how I lived before this. One huge bulky file with hundreds of pages. Unwieldy drafts printed out to make paper revisions. That’s how I lived. Utter lunacy. Scrivener has transformed the way I organise my writing and has saved me and the planet a fortune in paper and ink. I’m sure much of it is psychological. I like having chapters and scenes that can be moved about, or worked on side by side. I like how it all concertinas down into one project, then opens out again in beautiful order. I like how I can tell at a glance which characters and artefacts are in a scene, and where that scene was set, thanks to the aesthetically pleasing colour-coded keyword function. I like how much easier it feels to write tighter scenes when I have a clean screen in front of me. I like how notes, links and photos can be added to scenes for inspiration. I like how I can see how the scene word counts accumulate in neat little bundles, making me feel accomplished. It appeals to my mind and my eyeballs.

I started work on the second book in January, with my 100k NaNo words in the bag. A few days before the end of February, I’d finished my first draft. It’s heavy, at 180k, but it’s done. I’m not fiddling with it too much until I’ve finished the third book. I started it yesterday and have bagged 4k so far.

I feel compelled to point out that my thoughts on Scrivener have not been paid for or sought. If they gave me money, I wouldn’t love it more.

Day 20

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I hit 50K on day 18, but couldn’t validate until today, so there you have it. I’m officially a winner.

The very best thing to have come out of this year’s NaNoWriMo is that on most days I’ve been able to ditch my old school ways. I’ve barely written with a pen for the last two weeks. I’ve been typing straight into the PC and it’s been easy enough. I won’t lie and say I’ve written the most brilliant prose ever seen, but it’s no worse than anything that flowed out of my pen.

I had a bit of a strange moment when I realised how different my routine could be. My usual way is to write a few thousand words by hand, type them up at night, then update my word count before midnight. At this point, I would be done for the day and spend the rest of whatever time I had before bed reading trashy historical romances. My new routine is to write straight into the PC, updating my word count often, watching it climb in steady little bursts. I write best late at night, but had previously been using this time for typing, so now I find myself working past midnight, updating before and after. By the time I start writing the next day, I usually have at least a thousand words in the bag, which is an excellent motivation for me.

So this year, because of NaNoWriMo, I’ve changed the habits of a lifetime.

Day 10

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So it’s day 10 and I’ve hit the halfway mark. Twenty five thousand words. Two new characters. Lots of questions to delve into. A ghastly tour around an abandoned mental hospital. Menace on the underground. An unexpected comedy crush. The return of some favourite but relatively unexplored characters. I’m having heaps of fun, especially as I never intended to write a sequel. I didn’t think I’d bury these characters for good, but I didn’t expect them to be getting up to such mischief so soon either.

Obviously if I continue at this rate, I’ll have 75K in the bag by the 30th, but I don’t want to tempt fate so I won’t.

I hope those of you doing NaNoWriMo this year are enjoying yourselves.

NaNovember. Already.

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It’s that time of year again. Falling leaves. Hidden dog turds. Fireworks. Whole TV channels dedicated to Christmas films. Hot chocolate. And most importantly of all, NaNoWriMo.

This November I’ll be writing the sequel to the project I started last July. I’ve been outlining for the last few weeks, and although I don’t know exactly where it’s going, or even where it starts, I have a scene list that ought to get me over the 50K mark. This is the least prepared I’ve ever been when embarking on a writing project so I’m a little nervous. But I know my characters and my location better now, which should help the words to flow.

Two unanticipated side effects to all this outlining occurred. One, it gave me the opportunity to backtrack over the first installment to plant little clues. And two, it gave me my ending. As I said in a recent(ish) post, I wasn’t happy with the ending. The battle scene was a bit too final, and I couldn’t work out the exact thing that would make my protagonist so devastated in the aftermath of the battle. But I’ve got it. It even ties in neatly to her fear of abandonment. I could not be happier about this development.

If you’re taking part this year, good luck!