tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)

I think this one was made possible, or at least much easier, by Scrivener. So when I get my 50% off winner coupon on December 5th I think I'll be using it. :)

For the record, 50,893 words. :D

Given I pretty much started over twice, first by doing a time jump on the main character and then by shuffling chapters, there is a lot of very heavy editing and rewriting needed before this even has a hope of seeing the light of day. I like it. Things I thought to add at the very end of the process (the last three chapters, pretty much) mean I really, really need to rewrite, but I have a much better idea of what I need and what I don't.

The idea I had mid-way through the month, to toss at least three of these characters and the basic set up into my 2009 NaNo story, is still digging at me. Given how much would have to change about them and the situation to make it work I may still do it and keep this story. All the characters would get new names and probably new faces and would end up very different I think.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
It's been a while, so NaNo status catch up time.

I didn't write at all the day before Thanksgiving. My motivation hit the dirt and buried itself six feet under. I managed not to let myself fall more than a day behind after that and managed to catch up again on Friday.

Then Kris decided to derail me with my Christmas present. I've posted about that more completely at my "archive dolly stuff" journal on LJ.

For those that don't want to read that, well there are some photos under the cut that will explain things. Looky what Kris gave me! )

Broke 27k

Nov. 16th, 2011 11:33 pm
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)
By nine words, but I'll take it. :)

So far I've been meeting the quota every day, though the writing for the most part has not been easy. Today I actually got a good run out of the aftermath of a difficult birth of all things. First I set myself up to write a child and then I toss a birth into the mess. I do have to wonder what my subconscious is up to this year.

I'll be finishing this chapter tomorrow, it needs about another 1300 words, and then I'll be skipping a year and a moon again for the next chapter. I'm a bit more interested in these chapters, Karen is old enough to be a person with a mind I can get into and I have to start working in signs of things to come in order for the last chapter to make sense.

I'm resisting the urge to just jump ahead and write the last chapter even though I've known what will happen in it from the very start. I know if I write the end I won't be interested in going back and filling in the gaps. In fact I may write up to that last chapter and then jump back to write the first chapter, the one that used to be at the end and is therefore blank, before I get to that last chapter. We'll see. If I have enough words to meet the 50k goal in writing the last chapter without writing the blank first chapter I'll go for it. There's enough rewriting to do in the beginning of this thing that I having nothing in that first chapter in the editing stage wouldn't be any worse than not.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)
It's been a week, I should probably update those of you that care.

When last I wrote on the subject I had mentioned thinking about jumping my key character, Karen, up three years in age. I did do that. Scrivener's index card synopsis feature and document notes made it really easy to just to through and leave myself notes about the new age she should be in each chapter. So I did that on the eighth while finishing up chapter three.

While ending chapter four I noticed something I really should have noticed before NaNo even started. I had misplaced the blue moon. So, after beating my head on the desk for a bit, I went and fixed that. One index card on the cork board dragged from the end of the manuscript to the beginning and then going and readjusting all the ages again took care of the bulk of that. Now I have four chapters to either rewrite or time shift plus one entirely empty new first chapter.

Then, while writing yesterday, I had a flash of either brilliance or insanity. I've been having a lot of trouble writing this story, which is nothing new since I've had that problem with previous NaNo stories, but I have a pretty good idea of why with this one. The first problem I've already addressed some, that's Karen's young age. Shifting her three years older helped but it still means when I go back and rewrite the beginning I'll be writing a four year old. The other is that I'm writing this four (and five, and six, and...) year old child in a world with a level of technology roughly equivalent to the late eighteenth century. Now I don't think I'm quite as badly off as most Americans are with history, and growing up in Massachusetts gives you mandatory history of things like Plymouth, Salem, and field trips to Old Sturbridge Village, but this doesn't help that much about two and a half decades later when you need to know the minutia of daily life in the late 1700s.

So, the flash of possibly insane brilliance... what if I hadn't set this story in the past? What if I had set it in an alternate universe current time? Like I did with my last two NaNo stories (which is probably why I didn't, at least subconsciously). If I did shift it to a "modern" setting, could I make it in the same world as my 2009 NaNo story?

That one, for those that don't want to go looking at my old posts, didn't really gel into a single story. It ultimately fractured into a bunch of flashbacks as I was struggling to get to 50k at the end of the month. I had decided that when I got back to it I would probably break it up into a series of short stories.

I wrote a lot of notes yesterday, about what I would need to do to shift this story into the same world as the one from 2009. There are quite a lot of things that would have to be changed to make it work. The culture between alternate magical late 1700s and alternate magical early 2000s is very different. I wrote down all the ones that came to mind immediately and the wrenches they threw into my plot (I actually have one this year) and some possible solutions.

While I was doing that I was also wondering if I could, or should, introduce these characters to the ones from 2009. That lead to another flash of inspiration and now I have to change Apollonia's career over in the 2009 story. Changing that makes the story that was trying to evolve around her so much easier! It's enough to make me want to beat my head on the desk some more because it was so obvious what her career should have been. Looking back it was really clear that I was subconsciously shoving her in that direction even while I was trying to write her story. So I have a pile of notes about how I need to change her career, and how by doing that I can take those sections of the story that didn't fit together that well and shuffle them around and suddenly it all works.

I think, if I weren't using Scrivener this year I would have had a meltdown over this story. I would either have one long text file with several chunks separated by white space and notes and would have been scrolling through it for ages trying to keep all the notes updated. Or I would have splintered the file into multiple new files and would have had to splice them to do the final word count verification version. Scrivener lets me keep all those outdated bits I wrote in discrete chunks and allows them to be included in word count without forcing them to be in the same file as what I'm working on now. It also lets me write notes and keep them separate from the story. If you hadn't guessed, I really, really like Scrivener. :)

NaNo update

Nov. 7th, 2011 12:52 pm
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)
Well I made it to 10k on Sunday so I'm managing not to fall behind, but I have yet to get a full day ahead at any point (the closest I came to that was the first day).

Yesterday revealed that chapter two will need a complete rewrite, not just heavy editing. This was not surprising really, I knew I was going to be working on that chapter again because it was pretty horrible. Though I didn't think I would be tossing almost the whole thing out. I didn't want to get bogged down there, so I slapped a paragraph about what I needed to change, and some ideas I had to fix things, and continued on with chapter three.

The structure of this novel is both good and bad for me. Good in that I can just slap a paragraph saying "trash this and start over" and jump the year and a moon gap to the next chapter. Bad in that each chapter basically starts "cold" since the last events I wrote about happened a year and moon ago.

At least I can hammer out absolute crap for a chapter, which is "just" 3850 words, and then time jump and try again. In hindsight, I should have thought about significant events to happen in each chapter before I started writing. It would have been easier to do that if I weren't locked into specific months (well, moons, but close enough) for each chapter. It is hard to think of a significant event in, say, May at age two, and then one in June at age three.

I also think that maybe I should have reconsidered the age for Karen. I didn't want her to be any older than 16 at the end, which led me to starting the story with her just a year old (so she would end the story at thirteen) but I'm thinking now that maybe I should have started her at age four so she would end at sixteen, just so I wouldn't have to write a small child for so long. I have zero experience in raising small children (or not so small children for that matter) so I've added an extra burden or research to my writing this year.

Perhaps I'll switch gears, after this chapter, and jump her age up. I know I'll be rewriting these first chapters anyway since chapter one had its own problems and chapter two is set to basically be rewritten entirely anyway. I could probably shift chapter three by three months and make it the new chapter one. I suppose I will decide that when I get to the end of this chapter.

I could write my last chapter now and get ahead in the word count, Scrivener's work flow makes that ridiculously easy, but since that's the only chapter where I know what I am going to write I'm saving it for the rush to the end.

And now I should settle in to write my 1667 minimum for today.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)
I'm almost a full day ahead on my word count already with 3101 words right now.

This year I actually have a planned story structure, a beginning scene, an ending scene, and signposts at specific points in time to stop and write. We'll see if this makes things easier or not when I'm further along.

Another new thing for this year is that I'm not writing one big plain text file with nothing but multiple returns or scene dividers to break things up. This year I have the trial for the Windows version of Scrivener running. (Thank you [personal profile] clare_dragonfly for letting me know there was a Windows beta!) The plan is to win NaNo and use the 50% off coupon I will earn to actually buy this software. Last month I spent some time importing my old NaNo stories into Scrivener and even just using it for editing like that made me want it.

A lot of babbling and some screen caps under the cut. )

Goodness I got wordy. Pity it wasn't novel content. :)
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)
Peter S. Beagle spoke at Anthrocon about how he did a set of stories based on the seasons, each story used the same characters and advanced one year and one season from the one before. I thought that was a very cool idea. So I tried to think of other things that came in "sets" like the seasons so that I could use them as a theme to link stories/chapters/scenes together that way.

One of my old art idea files had an entry about using the names of full moons for a set of drawings. So that's the set I've been poking at, thirteen named moons. Each section of my NaNo would be about four thousand words built around the name of a full moon, progressing in order.

After visiting Wikipedia for a list of full moon names, I tried picking out which names I wanted to use. That has turned out a bit harder than I had expected. I don't want to repeat names, and I prefer the names be somewhat poetic (Moon Before Yule is not making muster). At the moment I'm contemplating two names per moon for most of them, and I haven't decided which moon to start with nor what season to place the blue moon in. I have a loose idea of trying to make time pass in the story so that it takes a (lunar) year and a day.

As you can see, the idea is very vague.

So, anyone have some ideas to toss into the mix? Or a suggestion of something else that comes in a "set" that I could use rather than full moons? I considered astrological signs and think the Chinese would be easier to work with than the western but writing twelve animal themes might be a bit monotonous.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (NaNoWriMo)
Yes, I plan to do it again. I even have a vague idea to work from. Very vague. I still have time though, so I'm not worried about that yet.

This will be my sixth NaNo. I've noticed some trends in my NaNo experiences that are rather depressing. It gets harder every year for one. Here's a bit of a review of the experiences: This ended up rather long. )

So in the end it boils down to this:

  • Unless I have a really good idea I'm going to be whiny and complain a lot.

  • Even with a good idea I'm still going to whine.

  • When the writing goes well, it will go very well.

  • When it goes badly, it can go very, very badly.

  • I can, if pressed, knock out about seven thousand words in a day.

  • I am much more comfortable getting a day or two of buffer built up and sticking between fifteen hundred and two thousand words.

  • When I'm stuck, add more characters or split them up so I have more than one location to write about.

  • If the story just will not move I'm probably pushing in the wrong place.

  • In general, the less I post the worse it's going.


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