30 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twenty-Nine

Word Count: 50 740
Victories: several

Is it tacky to post my winner's badge here? You know, I don't think I care.

Well! There we go. That's one way to get a novel draft out. In terms of the draft, I'm really happy with where it's gone. It's a solid effort and there are lots and lots of things for me to work on, and several creative ways I can see adding to my word count. Since I'll be filling in gaps, I think Draft 1.2 will be a little easier to work on than the last 30 days of slog has been. And here we are, on one of the few super late nights I had to pull during the month.

It doesn't hurt that I'm really in love with this story. Yes, that is most definitely a good thing.

29 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twenty-Eight

Word Count: 45 422
Radical narrative shifts: 2

One of the fun things about doing a full draft - meaning a draft of a story with a beginning, middle, and end - within November is the length of the thing. I'm just not capable of going much beyond 50k in one month without having some kind of nervous breakdown / horrendous lapse of personal hygiene. What this means is that there are enormous gaps in the narrative that are waiting to be filled in later.

One consequence of this situation is that as the climax approaches, I'm throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the mix in order to make sure that my heroine arrives at the end (mostly) intact, if profoundly changed.

So I'm seeing a proliferation of deus ex machina right now. If I were writing a play for an ancient Greek audience, it would be a massive hit, no doubt. Or at the very least, satisfy some of their aesthetic criteria. As it stands, the work of December (and possibly but hopefully not beyond) is going to be to carefully seed all this last minute information into what came before. Presto, chango! Deus ex machina, gone!

(What's the plural of deus ex machina, anyway? Dei ex machinae, or something?)

27 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twenty-Seven

Word Count: 42 162
Leaping grandpas: 1

What can I say? I'm writing my way through the end of the story - and I have no idea how all this is going to get resolved. I suspect several characters will die, undie, redie, and / or spontaneously combust. Three more days; 7838 words to go. Not a cake walk, but totally doable now that the weekend is here.

NaNoWriMo 2009 Days Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six

Word Count: 40 464
Lily livered heroes: 5

I'm sending my people into the House of Bad for the big finish. Telling this sort of thing in retrospect - because the outcome is already known to whoever's survived and is writing it down - is proving to be a bit of a fun challenge.

I'm planning to pour it on over the weekend - I aim to have NaNo mostly if not totally in the bag by the end of Sunday. Nothing like the spirit of competition / feeling jealous of others who have already crossed the finish line to make you want to work!

25 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twenty-Four

Word Count: 38 533
Set-ups to big events: 2

Okay, I'm looking at how much is left to go and I'm taking Chris Baty's advice to start winding things up. I'm at 11k shy of the ultimate goal, I know that's not a whole lot of word count left to work in a big finish.

Gotta love big finishes!

24 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Days Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three

Word Count: 38 047
Bitch fights: several

Okay, most of the bitch fighting has been going on in my head and / or with actual people. But there's been some pretty good face slapping going on in the novel, too!

Seriously, yo, on Sunday I wrote a grand total of 21 words. Somehow there's something a little bit sad about those 21 words, as opposed to days where I just don't manage to crank out any. Well, it'll all be over in six more days - at least for this draft. I'm hovering below par by about 2k, things are getting a little intense with work-work, but I think it will all work out just fine.

22 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twenty-One

Word Count: 35483
Strategic uses of the cat: 2

35k is supposed to be a magic number in NaNo terms. And yes, it does feel to me like everything is going to be totally okay in terms of reaching 50k by the end of the month.

So I'm already worrying about what December is going to look like. I want to finish this baby! And although I've got lots of ideas rattling around right now about how to fill the very substantial holes in my story, I'm worried about running out of steam. Plus the holidays...they always throw a wrench into the works, don't they?

But you know there's that old zen saying about worry: worrying is like putting a horse on top of another horse and trying to ride.

21 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twenty

Word Count: 33 574
Great Conjunctions: 1

I'm trying to plot my plot so that it completes its arc within November. By the time I hit 50k, I want to have a beginning, middle, and end.

I've been comparing notes with fellow WriMos, especially girlwithapearl, on this bit of NaNoWriMo strategy. I'm leaving holes - big ones - as I go, with plans to retrace my steps and fill in later with appropriate pieces. Some of these I know about and am taking notes on as I go. Some of them - well, hopefully they'll come to me later.

The idea here is that November is such a magical time, that I don't want to be left with a partially finished story arc at the end of it. I want to feel not only that I've completed 50k, but that I've completed a draft, however gap-laden, of my novel.

Now that exciting events are taking place in the world of my story - events with dire consequences - I'm glad for that decision.

20 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Nineteen

Word Count: 31 114
Vamp dinner parties: 1

That's almost 3400 words today. Much, much better. Lord, NaNo is such a trip!

There's a thing about vampire stories, I'm sure you've noticed: there tends to be an elegant sort of trickster / villain / badass vamp who turns up in these things and takes over the show. I'm talking about Charlaine Harris's Eric. Anne Rice's Lestat. You know what I'm saying. That bad man.

I'm trying to see if I can keep my equivalent figure from stealing my book away from me, since my determination from the beginning has been that this will be about female vamps.

I'm wondering if his interminable strangeness is going to do the trick.

19 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Eighteen

Word Count: same as the day before
Sadness: 1

Wednesdays are busy for me. In my other life I've taken on a ghostwriting job and there are long phone meetings to be had as we discuss strategies for making my part of the work all that it needs to be. There are writing classes to go to. There are tai chi students to teach. There are my own tai chi lessons to learn.

It's weird to me how time always manages to contract around your obligations, so there is never enough of it. Because I'm a night owl, going to bed is always a struggle. It always feels more like giving up than taking care of myself.

Last night, I decided to opt for an early bedtime. Nothing got done on day 18.

Now today - the 19th - is grey and ugly, and I'm feeling bummed out. It's one of those typical November days - it seems like the sun never exactly rises, and a long, slow drizzle falls all day long. Upsetting for small dogs who need exercise. And bad for hiking. But maybe good for writing and reading.

17 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Seventeen

Word Count: 27 718
Breaches of etiquette: a baker's dozen

This seems to be the year for Hamilton NaNos to hate their plots and characters. Lots of people have been complaining that they really don't like what they're writing, or who they're writing, and some have switched gears to get away from baroque plots and insipid wretches.

For me, I'm liking my people more and more. And not just one or two of them: lots of them. It's an ensemble cast of lovelies. I can't wait for them to team up, saddle up, and go to war against the big bad!

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Sixteen

Word Count: 25 410
Mentions of the Big Bad: 2

In a story where bloodsucking fiends are the protagonists, who gets to be the antagonist? It's been an interesting question for me, and I think I've got it figured it out.

This novel is only getting more fun to write as time goes by.

16 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Days Fourteen and Fifteen

Word Count: 23 687
Stallings and unstallings: 4 or 5
Narrative errors: 3

Friday and yesterday were crap for my word count: I think I did about 700 on Friday, absolutely nothing yesterday. Today was good, though: 3900-ish words! Gotta love Sundays.

Because I'm writing by hand - I love my rotring fountain pen too much to give it up - I am also counting by hand. This gives me a chance to sort of revisit what I wrote without reading too closely or being tempted to revise.

Maybe because today I was focussed on a big action scene, I dropped a lot of details from page to page. Lola was included in the action. Then she wasn't there all of a sudden. That sort of thing. You know?

We're gonna need a bigger plot nurse!

14 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Thirteen

Word Count: 19 783
Tenuous teen romances: 1

I am loving being able to switch voices as I write this novel. Since it consists the collective documents (diary entries, memoirs, blog posts, forum chats, email messages, etc., etc.) created by the characters themselves, it's mandatory that I change things up as I go.

As I work with one of my younger vampire characters, who was turned at the tender age of 18, I'm find myself recalling, partially reproducing, and revising the love letters that I wrote when I was much, much younger. I think my first big (very ill-fated) romance occurred largely because I met someone who adored receiving long, metaphorically ambitious, seductive, persuasive, and semi-argumentative love letters, and who enjoyed writing them as well. Ours was a literary affair long before it was a literal affair.

Of course I don't have those letters any more. I never retrieved the ones I wrote, and would probably have been refused if I'd asked for them back. I threw out my own collection long ago. But they seemed completely fabulous at the time.

13 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Twelve

Word Count: 19009
Betrayals and Revelations of Betrayals: 1 current, 1 impending

Oh how I love to betray my characters! How divine it is to watch their confusion as they discover they've been swindled, double crossed, undone, lied to, and cheated.

I guess this is the glee that the amazing Gale reports when she talks about torturing her characters. Nice.

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Eleven

Word Count: same as the day before

Yeah. Sometimes it just doesn't feel right to keep writing. Tuesdays and Wednesdays suck for NaNoNovelling; and it all comes together on the weekend. Sundays have been awesome so far. I am so, so happy that there are five of them this month.

10 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Ten

Word Count: 17354
Secret diaries: 1
Sweaty encounters: 2

Oh what bliss, setting up a character to make an unpleasant and life altering discovery later on down the line!

I never know when I'm writing a sex scene: is this hot, or is it totally ridiculous? I'm not getting into the throbbing gristle or anything, nothing too porno, but you know, because what I'm writing is more...sensation based, I'm not sure if my own proclivities and tastes are, to put it delicately, colouring the text too much. And you know, my proclivities and tastes might not be everyone's proclivities and tastes. In fact I'm sure they're not. Oh well: what can you do?

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Nine

Word Count: 16135
Bags of blood: 10
Mugs full of gently warmed blood: 3

Major moment of hypocrisy on the part of my main character. I think I'm finally figuring out how to express major plot points through this whole diary / multiple first person format. It's tricky, but it's all about playing narratives off each other. Good fun for a recovering academic like myself.

08 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Eight

Still from Les Vampires, 1915

Word Count: 14 283
Vampiric conversions: 1
Broken ankles: 1
Grossed out sidekicks: 3

Ah, the ups and downs of NaNoWriMo! Apparently what I needed was a solid day where I spent most of my time writing and a write-in to inspire me. I wrote 3662 words today, and am now officially above par.

My story, though, is not nearly as light as I'd thought it would be. As I said to fellow NaNo-er girlwithapearl today, it's turning out to be emotionally based. I realize that a lot of what I've been writing in the last little while has centred around conflict in action: will the good guys keep the bad guys away from the interdimensional fort? Will the ambiguously morally oriented creature decide to fight on behalf of humanity? Will the all-girl punk band kidnap the barely disguised Paris Hilton proxy and deliver her safely to the record executive on the other side of the paranormal wasteland? know. Regular plots like that.

The crux of the conflicts in this year's NaNo novel are emotional. The dilemmas are classic psychological double binds. I find myself caring about these characters because they represent shades of things I've felt. I'm digging a little deeper.

Gotta love vampires.

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Seven

Word Count: 10600
Disastrous attempts at apology: 1

I realize I don't really know how police reports are written. I'm faking it for now (because that's the NaNoWriMo way), but will research this more thoroughly when it comes time for The Great Rewrite / Filling in of Massive Gaps.

07 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Days Five and Six

Amorous Old Woman and Young Man, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1520-22

Word Count: 9281
Semi-geriatric romances: 1

There are so few genuinely engaging - by which I mean sexy - romances about older people. I'm thinking Harold and Maude is a good example of a film that broke a major taboo in that arena. What is it about us as a culture that we only want to think about perfectly smooth, unaged bodies rubbing up against each other? Seriously? For those of us beyond the perfectly smooth and unaged portion of the program, this whole issue can be a real downer. That goes double for those who never really managed to achieve perfectly smooth in the first place.

Bah. I'm writing the hottest 80-year old granny character ever.

04 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Days Three and Four

Word Count: 6748
Philosophical waxings on predator/prey relationships: 1
Erotic waxings: ha ha, none, exactly
Eroticism based on predator/prey relationships: yes.

I'm just above par if my goal is 50k, which is great, since Tuesday and Wednesdays were wipeouts for me this week. Wednesday will continue to be.

Good times.

NaNoWriMo really does change your life, I must say. Due to sleep deprivation, my general tolerance levels are much lower than they usually are. Because of this I booted a knobbish student out of one of my tai chi classes. Should have done so long ago. I can't guarantee that my knob bootage wasn't also driven in part by writing a genuinely strong female character. I'm loving writing her.

02 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day Two

Word count: 5061

Vamps with blogs: 1

Vamp message boards: 1

Characters named Count Chocula: 1

I have to admit I'm finding the first person narration deal a little awkward, no matter how many contrivances I come up with to make it work. But it sure is easy to lay down some serious word count when you're pretending to write someone else's journal.

Escape Clause

Escape Clause, which includes my short story "Five Dragons", is now officially available. This is a lovely volume and I'm honoured to be a part of it. Clélie Rich and Kit St. Germain have made an awesome contribution to speculative fiction with this book.

You can order a copy here:

01 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Day One

The plot thickens! The coffee brews! The fun begins!

I guess I'm blogging this month, since this is a fun way to track progress.

First of all, people, I have to say, if you're NaNoWriMoing on your lonesome, don't. It's far easier to tap into the amazing collective consciousness that is NaNoWriMo if you're in touch with your local people.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here:

But hurry! National Novel Writing Month began about 25 hours ago!

Day One Stats:
Words: 3066
Vampiric attempts to write personal ads: 1
Cheesy pickup lines: 2 or 3
Cheesed off vamp wannabes: 1

As you can see, there's a lot of cheese this year. Don't worry: the quality violence is on its way.