NaNoWritMo Update #5

So. It’s month’s end and suffice it to say, I did not fulfill the NaNoWritMo task of writing 50,000 words with the specified month. Not only that, I came nowhere near reaching that goal – of course real life things “got in the way” and there were various distractions along the way, but to be perfectly honest, these are just excuses. Over the past 30 days there were times I know I should have been writing the narrative [the fact that I’m working on this blog right now  – by my laptop clock it is now 9:07 PM on November 30th – is such an instance where I should be focused on the story that I had started at the beginning of the month], but I just couldn’t. Sometimes it was due to my tendency to ponder and plot rather than write, as I chose to write as I go along, other times I was just lazy or tired – or lazy and tired. As stated in previous blogs, I tend to do my best writing (well, most of my writing) at night, so by the time the clock reaches 1AM, I’m usually nodding off and duly shut off the laptop and get some rest, even though the narrative is still running in my head. I know I should keep writing, but maintaining my overall health (and sanity) should be taken in to account.

As I’ve been “pantsing” it (that is, making stuff up as I go along) I’ve realized that the narrative that I have written has diverged from the preconceived plot I had thought the story would take, and the digression that I followed early on has strayed from what I had thought it would lead – and the bulk of chapter two (of which I am still in the midst of writing) may or may not have any actual relevance to the main plot line, even though said events will be the time and place my narrator will meet the main detective. The fact that the narrator is no longer the detective (as I had originally conceived) the filler that I’ve written thus far makes little sense, moving the overall plot much more slowly than I had thought it would. As I re-read what I have already written, I can see that I’ve introduced too many plot strands and raised too many questions, and might not have explained much of the quasi-alternate (kinda Steampunk if you squint) universe in which my story is set.

Yes, I probably being far too hard on myself about not finishing NaNoWritMo and bashing my own work, but I am quite self-conscious and far to critical of myself (might as well be brutally honest about myself before outsiders take the initiative to squash what little self-esteem I have). Despite my utter failure to write 50,000 words in 30 days, at least I did finish a  bit better that I had last year (my first year attempting this feat) – as I write this (while not working on writing more of the narrative) the word count is 7,957, at least 3,000+ more than I managed last year. Last year’s effort is still among the works in progress I strive to finish, and there’s little doubt that this year’s effort (with a bit of editing and rethinking) will also be worked upon after month’s end.

I suppose at this low point, the only way to go is upwards and onwards (and maybe a bit sideways too).

Who knows?

*taps nose*

Who. Knows.

[Yes, one of the “distractions” that cropped up this month was the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode “The Day of the Doctor”, which I’ve taken to watch every now and then, via downloading the episode  on iTunes. A fantastic episode, with lots of questions answered and also more questions raised. What were the answers and/or the questions? Well… Spoilers.

Where will my musings lead? Will this novel ever make any sense? To repeat from above:

Who knows?

*taps nose*

Who. Knows.

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NaNoWritMo Update #4

There’s a slight chill in the air as November begins to wind down (well, at least there is in NYC) with preparations for the upcoming holiday(s) being made, we’re now in the home stretch for NaNoWritMo. My progress has been slow, as I tend to ponder, edit and add as I plod along, though I will say that I’m (still) doing better than I did last year, though most of last year was spent pondering over plot points, narrative flow and character study that is being utilized this year, so in a way much of the prep work done (wasted) during last year’s NaNoWritMo month allows me to focus more on writing the narrative. While last year’s effort was a fan fiction expansion of an existing work, there are ties to this year’s entry, an original work set roughly in the same time frame as the aforementioned novel.

That being said, I have a (nearly) clear idea of how the action will be paced, though I do at times find myself researching historical mores, fact checking what I’ve written to ensure that there are not anachronistic elements inadvertently included. Yes, I know I should just plug along and write the narrative (or at least set it down in Word, as much of it has been written in my head), but I  can’t help look up facts to add symbolism to the inner monologue and dialogue between my characters. Then there’s the fact that I may have introduced too many narrative threads (and characters) within the first 19 (Word) pages of the story, many of which may or may not be resolved within this first novel in the series (well, technically speaking the second, as I’ve already plotted out a prequel novel [possibly novella] for this first series).

Such is the “burden” of an overactive imagination and hearty plot bunnies.

Despite the slim to none chance of actually committing 50,000 words towards this novel, I remain hopeful – at least thus far I’ve written more than I had last year (the word count recorded last year was 4,914) – as I type, the word count this year stands at 6,585). Even if I don’t complete the task, at least it’s compelled me to (finally) extract the narrative that has been running in my head, not to mention a starting point to focus upon after November ends.

Upwards and onwards (once again!)

NaNoWritMo Update #3

It’s now the (near) midpoint of the NaNoWritMo journey, and I’m still (very)far behind with regards to the recommended word count quota to be on par to complete the task (50,000 words within 30 days). As stated last week, I’m doing much better than I had last year [word count now stands at 4,710], though the narrative has taken another left turn from where I had initially outlined it would lead, and quite inadvertently made references to events that are to occur and characters that will appear in the prequel novel that I have quasi-outlined and have yet to write (though I did start to write that novel before NaNoWritMo began). Conventional wisdom would suggest that I should work on that prequel novel concurrent with the novel I have declared to be my NaNoWritMo entry (or complete that novel first), but since I really, really want to attempt to complete the NaNoWritMo task (or at least get as close to the 50K goal as possible) I shall have to refer to the sketchy notes I’ve made for those references, and hope they’ll make sense when I do get around to writing that prequel novel.

Anyway.

The first chapter of One More Angel in Heaven has been completed (though with a few edits and insertions to ensure that the dialogue sequences make some sort of sense), and I’m in the midst of writing chapter two, which has brought me back to my (writing) comfort zone of narrative introspection. Thus far the pacing of the story is slower than I had thought it would be, but then again,  the narrator of the story doesn’t get involved with the mystery proper until later on in the narrative (when he meets the detective). If I had not mentioned this before (and I don’t recall if I had), this novel (and most likely the rest of the novels in the first series) will be told in first person perspective, a narration technique I have only recently started to use [most of my earlier writings being in third person omniscient).

Well, back to writing.

NaNoWritMo Update #2

So it’s a little over a week into the writing challenge that is NaNoWritMo, and suffice it to say, I’m (still) very far behind the recommended word count quota (if I were to write a 50,000 word novel within 30 days). Of course, real life things do “get in the way” of the writing process, as do other outside distractions; on the other hand, I’m doing much better than I had this time last year [as I write this, the word count for One More Angel in Heaven is 2,890]. Interestingly enough, the first few [Word] pages of this story contain more dialogue that I have ever written before, and (thus far) not as much descriptive language. As stated in another blog entry, writing dialogue has never been my strong suit, and (naturally) is necessary  in any narrative story.

The story structure is in 1st person perspective, and has the quasi-requisite summation paragraph at the start, then launches into the story proper – it’s my little homage to Christie and to Conan Doyle, two authors who have had quite an influence in my interest in mystery stories and aspirations for writing my own. While it has always been in my nature to plot, ponder and edit ideas as I concurrently write the narrative proper, I am striving not do to so for this draft (for that is what a NaNoWritMo novel should be, given the time constraints), as the whole stop-and-read-what-I’ve-just-written method does stall the writing process.

I’m sure for some other writers, aspiring and otherwise, extracting a 50,000 word novel within the 30 day time limit is easy (and one writing buddy reached the 50,000 count on Day 3, and has since exceeded that limit), but for whatever reason, the rate at which I write is not as prolific [though I do have the occasional spurts of inspiration every now and then].

With this whole (almost) making-things-up-as-I-go-along writing style, I’ve found the narrative has taken a (slight) left turn from where I had thought it would have gone – a throwaway reference to a situation that had intended to be a negligible footnote in the story has been pulled to the forefront, and has solved the dilemma of how / when / where the narrator meets the detective. Where the rest of the story will go, and how it will all unfold is now quasi-questionable, as this new angle has made me rethink sequence of events.

But enough blogging – back to writing.

NaNoWritMo Update #1

November is upon us, which ,for many writers and would-be writers,  means it’s National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWritMo for short), where the objective is to complete a 50K word novel in 30 days. I’m not quite sure of the origins of this event, but as I endeavored to revitalize my novel-writing ambition, I thought I’d give it a go, if only to see if I could accomplish this (seemingly) momentous task in the designated time frame. As discussed the previous blog, I’ve never really been one to stick to a deadline or specific time-table (as my creative inclinations came and went at their own timetable), but the ideas were/are there so all there was to do was to find a way to tap into that reserve of creative energy  to spark some narrative output. Most of my novel(s) have been written in my head, conversations, plot points and such, but getting them out of my head and onto paper (or these days onto my laptop) was the tricky part. Oftentimes, the ideas came at odd times (usually as I’m drifting off to sleep) and in odder places (usually whilst in the shower) – times and places where laying my hand of pen and paper proved difficult (though I have taken to keep a legal pad and pen by my bedside to scribble down musings, with the hope to be able to read what I had written when I was fully awake).

This is my second attempt at NaNoWritMo – last year’s attempt was a fan fiction novel revolving around the short-lived Broadway musical Dance of the Vampires entitled Carpe Noctem. I had not succeeded in the task of finishing that novel, with my final word count (at the time) being noted at 4,914 words – I’ve since worked on that novel and at the moment the word count stands at 6,524 words; sufficed to say I still have a long, long way to go.

Nevertheless, these blog posts for November will most likely detail my progress (or lack thereof) with my novel, which is to be the first of the proposed 3 part series, 36 novel saga cycle of the MASC Chronicles. The quasi-official title will be:

Series One: Tainted Blood

Book One: One More Angel in Heaven

I’ve plotted out the overall narrative (yet haven’t gotten around to figuring out the blurb to describe the book) Thus far I’ve only written about 400+ words for this particular novel (though I had written about 550 words for the prequel to this first book, entitled Going, Going, Gone, which (thus far) will most likely be a novella rather than a full length novel (though that could change as well).

Well, it’s upward and onwards, holding my head up high and forward into the fray of extracting the (quasi-completed) novel out of my head.

Again, wish me luck.