Saturday, November 30, 2013

Winner, winner, turkey dinner...

Since it's the last day of November I figure this is the time for the NaNo wrap up. For those of you that missed it, I did it. Oh wait, spoiler did it. Hit over 50K on Monday. I let out a little Whoop! of excitement, posted a picture and then started playing desperate catch up with other things that needed done. One of those being a nice tidy little wrap up blog. So here we are...

First off, I did it. I just want to say that again because that was really the main point for me. I wanted to do this. It was important to me to actually get through it and do it. And I did. So I'm pretty pleased. There were lessons along the way and things that I need to think about now, but before I get in to the weeds with that part I wanted to say again, I did it.

Okay, lessons, first off it wasn't easy. I write at 1,000 words per hour so really 50,000 words in a month should be easy right? But I write at 1,000 words per hour if the ideas are flowing. And on some days they aren't. I had banked on being able to write a lot while Brent was in Denver. What I didn't bank on was getting sick during that time. The good news was that there was only one really bad day. Bad enough that if a friend hadn't surprised me with lunch I wouldn't have eaten a hot meal that day. But only one really bad day. I didn't get as sick as Brent did the week before so though I didn't get the stellar numbers I had been hoping for, I did get some decent numbers in that week.

So a few lessons, the dual deadlines worked for me. I had been working all along toward being finished by November 22 instead of November 30. And even though I got sick and didn't make that first deadline I had a giant cushion to make the hard deadline of the 30th. I ended up crossing the number line on the 25th. Not terrible. But to really make that first deadline I needed to have not counted on the extra time while Brent was gone so much. I should have treated it like normal time and then I might have still made the original deadline. As it was I looked at that upcoming "free" time as an excuse to slack a few days.

Writing a long story for me was hard. I like short stories, I talked about that before, but I want to mention it again. I noticed as I was writing scenes where THINGS happened to my main characters that the readers wouldn't really care because I hadn't given them any reason to care about these people. A lot of things I can get away with in a short story I just can't in a longer one. It was a good exercise in stretching for me. Why should the reader care? What did I need to add in to this story to make them care? I did a lot of back and forth writing. At more than one point I could envision the 6 year old me on the playground calling the shots in a game of make believe, "No, let's say that you did this instead!"

I also got a big glimpse in to what a lazy writer I really am. I told you that I had friends with kids and jobs doing this as well right? And keeping pace with me? My job this month? Writing. Hell, Brent offered to get me a cleaning lady for the month so I could focus just on the writing. I am hugely supported in this endeavor and extremely lazy. That I can fix. Though 50,000 words just for the sake of words probably won't happen again the schedule that I came up with will most likely stick. Breakfast, workout, writing. That's a good morning. Leaves the afternoon for the other things I need to take care of to keep this joint running and I also have the flexibility to move things around on days that I need to have the morning free for something else. But I did it this month. A busy month. And I did it.

As for the story itself? I don't know what I am going to do with it. For right now I am letting it sit. I know it will need a lot of editing. A lot of rewrites. Possibly a whole new plot line. But for now it's just sitting. It served its purpose. One continual story over 50,000 words. What it eventually evolves in to I would guess I won't know until sometime next year. I still think there is potential there. I still like the mother and daughter. I am just not sure what I need their story to be. In fact right now I have two different paths I merged in to one story (on purpose) but I'm not sure that they should be one story. Maybe they are two separate short stories.

And speaking of short stories, I think I am going back to those. I do believe that I will try out my other idea of stringing a group together to make a novel length collection. Recurring characters and situations that might dovetail, but stand alone stories. Now that I know I can just sit my butt in the chair and write daily without the world falling apart I should find it easier to get that done. That's the plan anyway.

Will I do it again? Hmm...I don't think so. I did it. I won. I got the huzzahs, seriously on the website when you win they give you a huzzah. I don't see the reason to do it again next November. I know I can do it. And I know that I can do a lot more on a daily basis than I was so for now it served its purpose and that's good enough.

And the last thing, thank you all so much. The encouragement I got from all of you when I posted my daily word counts meant so much to me! I really felt like I would be letting you all down if I didn't finish so thank you for standing behind me and pushing my lazy ass over the finish line, even if you didn't realize that's what you were doing!

Now on to December! Now I only have to catch up on Christmas shopping, cards, the letter, decorating, blogging, editing, starting the short story series....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Dread Writer Roberts...

So if all goes as planned and I meet my daily quota at the end of the day tomorrow I will be 1/3 of the way through the NaNo challenge. Which is right on track for me since I want to be mostly done if not all the way done by the time C comes home for Thanksgiving.

Because I am writing every day instead of waiting for a story to come to me and reworking it over and over in my head before committing it to the screen I'm having to write in a way that is different for me. Less thinking and mulling more writing. I'm also not reading, rewriting or revising. It's all just dumping out on the page. So I have no idea at this point if when I go back and read it all at the end it will work together in to a cohesive story. It should be interesting.

I'm also having to think on the fly. As I start my yoga in the morning I feel like I've stepped out of Princess Bride and the story is the farm boy. Well that was a good story but as I have nothing left to write I'll most likely kill it this morning. Then I do my yoga, then my cardio and while that is happening part of my brain is thinking well, what next? Should I talk about Aric some more? So I go back to Deidre? Do I write the scene where Cal dies or do I leave it as it stands? And by the time I finish the cool down and stretch out again I have an idea. Shower, dressed and back to writing. As you wish....

I have to say the greatest challenge (aside from doing it every day) has been in trying to do something different. When I write a short story, my comfort zone, I am giving you a window in to a life. Just the briefest glimpse of these people. One situation. One snapshot in time. They all have back stories, but they are in my head, I know them but you don't need to. You get pieces of them. The story I wrote recently about the couple in the coffee shop? You could piece together their back story with what I gave you, but there is a whole world there I left unsaid. And that's what I like about short story writing. You get to fill in the missing pieces and make the characters what you need them to be.

Now? I'm writing a long story. You need the background. You need to know who these people are and why they are doing what they are doing. Things that were vague ideas in my head when I wrote the first short story about them now have to be fleshed out. And that's tough. Because some of what I could leave up to you to figure out is now on me. And I don't know! I mean really, one of the ideas I had that is fairly central to the story I am having a hard time figuring out how to make work. Right now it's kind of water colored vague and I might just leave it like that. YOU figure it out.

But the good news is I am doing it. Every day. Workout, write. Small bites.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Okay, so today is the first day of the first full week of NaNo. Last week was the trial run for the schedule and it seems like it's a good fit. Though it was slightly harder to get motivated this morning than last Monday. And when I sat down in front of the computer to write the words were not so much fluently articulated. (or something like that)

Anyway...I powered through and did just over 3000 words for the day. I want to do around 11,000 more words by the end of the week so 2200 to 2700 words a day depending on if I am planning on writing on Saturday. Who knew there would be so much math involved?

I've already given up on writing linearly. I have certain scenes in my head and those are what I am writing. After I get those out then I will go back and write bridge chapters and filler to put them together. My biggest worry still is if I have 50,000 words to put to this story.  If I get to 30,000 and tap out I guess they can all take a wacky road trip someplace!

And as I am super competitive I am having to tell myself that my small bites of words are just fine. Even if Mel wrote over 10,000 words in two days. And she has a baby at home. How in the hell is she doing that? And Jen writing as much as I am on a daily basis but you know after her full day at work and brutal San Francisco commute home. But it's fine. Really. And Dana cranking out 1000 words while her daughter plays softball? No big deal. I mean I can do 1000 words too. As long as I'm home alone and don't have any distractions and...

Okay, yeah, so I have friends doing this who have jobs and little ones and other things and they are cranking out the numbers. It's motivating to say the least. I mean what in the world could my excuse be for not finishing? I broke a nail? The cat wanted attention? Both things that happened today, by the way, so I'm pretty sure I'm a hero for getting my word count in. Or something.

All right I just wanted to let you all know how it was going. Thanks again for the encouragement!