Last Day of NaNoWriMo

Today is the day. The day to turn in word counts and collect your “winner’s” prizes.

Not for me. This wasn’t my month for writing. Last year I made sure I wrote every night after work. But last November my job allowed me the flexibility to leave early. My son played a bit more Nintendo than I usually permit. This year I work until 6 pm, commute an hour, and my son was diagnosed with epilepsy in August which requires medication that has to be administered at 7:30 pm.

Sure, I still could have made time. The time I spent writing this post could have been better used throwing words down for my NaNo count. They would not have been very meaningful; I haven’t felt the inspiration.

On a good note, I received some feedback on the first draft of my fantasy novel. Now that would have been a good thing to work on, but of course, inspiration strikes at 1 am and I can’t really get up and write at that hour, so I scribble a few things in a notebook and hope I will recall the scene when I return to me notes.  I want to finish my novel and get an agent and see it hit the New York Times best seller list (hey, I have to dream!) but it certainly will not be this month.

Ironically, I have been reading more. Finishing a book by D.L. Timmerman, reading a collection of fantasy short stories collected by John Joseph Adams and written by George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Elliot, and others. Picking up a classic and trying out a few new authors. More than anything, I am finding my place in the landscape of fantasy writing. What draws me in and keeps me reading? How can I find that tone in my writing. Looking at the balance of description, dialog, action, and reflection. Watching how they handle POV and develop voice.

Most importantly, where will my novel live? It is epic fantasy, with multiple characters, overlapping stories, and complex histories, but is it more like Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, or Martin? Should I spice it up to meet the tastes of Martin fans, or try to appeal to the YA crowd? My novel currently lives in the middle,  with both adult and younger characters, no graphic sex, and I would venture to say the violence is tame compared to most. Reading current fantasy author’s like Sanderson, it does appear to be a market for such works. Would this genre be “just” fantasy?

November hasn’t be a total loss,  however, I did not accomplish the 50k word novel this year. So congrats to those that did and I’ll see you around. Maybe next year book two of my epic fantasy will be my NaNoWriMo 2019!

 

Writer’s Block

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I have writer’s block. More like life block. The times when I want to write I am either driving, working (been so busy at work I can barely think straight) or have real life things to do.

Many of the writing guides and tips I have been reading have said that ‘real writers’ make time to write. I guess that is true for many things in life, if it’s important enough, you make time.  There are only so many hours in a day, and when it comes down to it, I’ve never been the starving artist type, or sacrifice-everything-else-for-my-craft type.

If that makes me unworthy of someone else’s idea of what a writer “should” be, than so be it. I am old enough, and been through enough, to know not to “should” on myself.

What is important to me gets done. One day that might be writing some words on my novel, another day it’s helping my 9 year old with his math, once in a while it’s staying up way too late to get that chapter out of my head. Often, it is just to get through the day with my sanity intact.

I am okay with that.

Last year, I won NaNoWriMo. It was my first year participating. I had to push at the end. But I did it. This year, the drive to write 50k words in 30 days isn’t there. And that’s okay, too. Because I know I can write a novel, beginning to end, even if it needs some serious editing  afterward.

Come to think of it, I have a novel I need to start editing. So I’ll be off now. I might not “win” NaNoWriMo this year, but I’ve already won so much, with new friends on twitter, new skills, and new confidence. I’ll get my 50k words in throughout the year.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get a few thousand in over Thanksgiving.

A Little Discouraged

Day 8 of NaNoWriMo and I have written maybe 4 days. I guess I could be working on my novel instead of my blog post, but I’m at work, and it is a lot easier to jot down some thoughts about my day than focus on writing a story.

If you haven’t guessed by now, between this blog and my “everything” blog at wwdovestudio.com, I am not one to just vomit words onto a page. I might not be as eloquent as Tolkien, or as mysterious as Gaiman, but I don’t like to just write whatever comes to mind. I think about most sentences. So, that makes it difficult to write at work. Plus, I’m at work, duh. My boss is nice, but…

I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but we all have days where we wish we could be doing something else. I don’t know if I could survive as an author, even if I got signed with a publisher and had a series with a book a year. I’m not sure I could crank out a book in a year. Or maybe I would need more than 1 book a year to survive. Anyway, it’s a fantasy that I could just write, and do book tours, and do all the “fun” stuff we dream of when we think about being a successful author.

Of course, I would probably spend my day on twitter and get in trouble with my agent or editor.

I will share a little more of my story, since I left you hanging last time…

This time was different. The stench was unfamiliar. Half of my shirt was soaked with fresh blood and the bottoms of my jeans darkened from the liquid.

I never wore white anymore – blood doesn’t wash out. Jeans just look old and worn, but white is asking for trouble. That’s the last thing I need.

My head still throbbed, dragging me back to the present.

Looking around I realized I wasn’t far from the interstate. Keeping to the treeline, I oriented myself toward the motel and started walking. Maybe I would be lucky and no one would see me. Part of me wanted to know, but it was too risky. Somebody’s cow, or pet, the questions, accusations, leaving town. It’s better to just get back to my room.

Light mist refracted the headlights of the 18-wheelers as they barrelled down the interstate, creating an eerie glow in the fog. The motel sat on the side of the interstate, next to the only gas station and diner for 20 miles. The weather report had forecast snow, but somehow it was still 45 degrees at 1 am. Too warm for upstate Pennsylvania in January.

I made it back to the motel unseen. Careful not to drip on the concrete, I used my clean hand, fumbling the keys in the door.

 

Day 4 Was a Bust

Not that kind!

I didn’t do any writing. I know – gasp. I cleaned house, put Halloween decorations away, dusted and mopped (well, Swiffer-ed), and hung up pictures I’ve been meaning to get to for a month. I think I was stalling. It’s not that I don’t like my new project, but I think I want to be editing my fantasy novel. Ugh, I haven’t gotten any feedback, yet.

Since I’m only in the first draft, I suppose I don’t need to wait for feedback, especially if I know what is missing or what plot holes need filling. Still, it feels disingenuous to ask my friend for her opinion then not wait for it.

So why am I not working on my new project? I don’t honestly know.

My original concept had me going more scifi than straight up thriller. Now I’m rethinking that path a bit. I love Robin Cook books and how he mixed in the medicine and science into his thrillers. I want to do that, and with more of a scifi twist. At the same time make the story clever enough that it’s not like an old cheesy scifi movie. (Nothing wrong with them, I like a good cheesy scifi movie, but I don’t think it will work to make a good story in this century.)

Anyone else out there *cough* stalling on their new project? How do you work on something new when you really want to be working on something else, maybe something you know you need a break from?

NaNoWriMo Day 2 Update

Nothing.
I got nothing.

No, that isn’t the opening from my novel. Although… it could be! I haven’t written much today, so who knows. The scene I wrote a few months back was going to be the opening. An event occurs that catapults us into the story. However, I could put it later in the timeline.

This work isn’t a fantasy novel, it’s a thriller/scifi work. Definitely not for YA.

310 words later I might be on to something.  What do you think?

     Nothing.
I’ve got nothing.
Except a pounding headache. Each time the pain is worse and lasts longer. I don’t know how long I was out this time.
So much blood. There was more every time. I stopped looking for the poor animal after I found the rabbit. I sobbed uncontrollably as I tried to dig a hole in the cold hard dirt that February morning.
     Never again, I told myself. Animals die everyday, I reasoned. It would be better to let Nature take care of them, and I never looked back. But that was 10 years ago. Back then there was only a little red staining my hands and pants. Usually, I could wash off in the stream, or behind the gas station up the road from my gram’s house.
Not anymore.