Camp NaNoWritMo Update #4

It’s come down to the final lap (week) of the July Camp NaNoWritMo session, and the (per usual) I’m far behind in the necessary [yet self-determined] word count to “win”. On the other hand, for those who have been following my rather infrequent updates on my Facebook author page [if you have not yet done so, please give a “like” to the page, the widget located to the right of the page], since my blog post roughly this time last week, I’ve had a sudden spurt of inspiration and spent an extended period of time  actually (!) writing (!!) the narrative for the novel(la) for which I declared to write for Camp NaNoWritMo.  Such flashes of inspiration come and go as they please, and it’s mostly a matter of concentration and not yielding to external distractions to jot down the descriptions, conversations and narrative flow from the creative brain space to paper / Word document [even in this online, digital age, I sometimes go “old school” – shut down my laptop and commit narrative, musings and other such things using pen and paper, if only to prevent myself from logging into Facebook or YouTube].

But I digress (a little).

Naturally, with my writing muses thus inspired to spur me on with narrative for the Prequel novel(la), they’ve gone into overdrive to impart and implant random ideas for my various other writing projects, including the quasi-neglected Writing Prompt Project, a project I (still) plan on completing before year-end – whether or not I will achieve this anyone’s guess.

That bottleneck mentioned last week is (finally!) slowly clearing up, though the odds of completing the task of writing a 30,000 word novel before month end (five more days to go!) are not that great, as my mind [muses] wanders to those other projects,and such wandering usually leads me (back) to the Land of Exposition. Moreover, while some of the characters in this prequel (still entitled Going, Going, Gone) are more or less defined, the actual narrative plot is not as firmly set, though the basic framework is present. This is a very long-winded, roundabout way of stating that I’ll be “pantsing” [i.e. making it all up as I go along] the bulk of the narrative – I’ve already created an entirely new [male] character while typing out the beginning of the prequel narrative – I have no idea whether or not this character will play a major role in the overall series saga or if he’ll remain in the final draft. This should prove to be an interesting adventure…

Enough blathering – back to actual!writing (again).

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Camp NaNoWritMo Update #3

So here we are at the halfway point of the Camp NaNoWritMo and the word count for Going, Going, Gone (of actual words written down / typed out from my head to the screen / page) has reached a plateau, while the narrative, conversations and action in my head has moved with quasi-rapid speed, creating quite the bottleneck. Of course, I’ve been sidetracked (again) with exposition, character development / relationships and causality, adding more (!) incidental characters along the way – as it’s been evidenced (I hope) throughout this blog life, I like to NEED to know who my characters are, what their motivations are, where things stand, when things happen, why they do the things they do (or don’t do) and how their actions/ non-actions affect the rest of the narrative. This compulsion (obsession?) is not limited to one novel or even to one series – it stretches across time and space (and more times than not in a non-linear manner) over the course of the ever-expanding series saga I brilliantly foolishly created. 

Anyway.

To continue from the ripple brought about from last week’s (quasi) Grand Epiphany, at least (for now) I do have some sort of foothold into where this first (prequel) novel(la) is headed (or, rather, I have a quasi-vague sense of how it will end, an almost-sure sense of where it’ll begin, yet the bits in between  are nebulous at best. As this novel(la) is [still] set 25 years before the start of the first series [still slated to be set in the 19th Century], the aforementioned pondering and plotting about exposition, character development / relationships and causality will be put to (good) use here, setting the foundation upon which the series (and saga) will rest. 

For a while I had oscillated between which of the two  main characters (one male, one female) would have the honor/duty/task of narrating the story, as I’m irrationally stubbornly sticking to telling the story from a first person perspective, as I believe the impact of the story will be greater felt if there was a first person account of the goings on in my insane series saga. Whether or not this compulsion is right will be evident in due course.

Another stumbling block (quirk or compulsion) is that however (little) prose I write, I tend to dwell on that scrap of narrative, editing as I go along – hence I’ve been tweaking, editing and rewriting almost the same 400-odd words I managed to extract from the brain space on to a Word document. I’m quite aware I should be writing the narrative as I go along and edit afterwards, yet that nagging compulsion (fixation) compels me to perfect what I’ve written thus far before moving ahead – kinda like cleaning every nook and cranny of a room before moving on to the next room, knowing you have to clean a (really) large house.

Or something like that.

As it’s (also) been chronicled in this blog, I’ve never been one to stick to a strict deadline of producing a final (or even a draft) manuscript – as my muses/impulses have no concept of time, so there have been times where I don’t write/ponder/plot anything for months on end, and other times when I spend hours over the course of successive days pondering/plotting/writing, relying on stimulants (strictly of the caffeinated kind) to stay awake. So my (willing) participation in such time-sensitive tasks/challenges (albeit with no adverse consequences upon failure) might be puzzling for those who have been dutifully following my rambling journey, since my odds of failure to complete the task/challenge is high.  

[To quote from another great musical – “It’s a puzzlement!”]

But I digress (again). 

So, the task/challenge for now is to remove that bottleneck (or as I’ve dubbed it the “Writer’s Roadblock”) from the brain to the page (either actual or digital). 

Here I go again (on my own…) 

Camp NaNoWritMo Update #2

I’ve figured it out.

[To paraphrase a song from one of my favorite musicals]:

With a pen and a pad, I’ve figured it out. 

Another week of Camp NaNoWritMo has gone by with not too much actual writing happening, as I (almost always) spend (far) too much time on exposition and character development for my epic series saga, though at least this time (for once) I’ve finally (!) figured out the overall narrative arc for the novel (novella) I’ve chosen to attempt to begin (and finish) writing for this month-long challenge.

As stated (I think) in last week’s entry, I decided to work on a story that will be a prequel to the first series in my three-part series saga, entitled Going, Going, Gone, set approximately 25 years before the start of the first series of the MASC Chronicles. While this story was penciled in as a quasi-last minute entry into the series saga as a way to utilize the time I spent pondering and plotting the exposition and character development and relationships between the characters, this story’s place within the space/time continuum was not as far flung in the past as it is now – that prequel story was to have been set a few years prior to the events in the [still-in-development] first novel (still entitled) One More Angel In Heaven (which was the novel on which I elected to work during NaNoWritMo last year).

Anyway.

I started to write the actual narrative this week (or rather, tweak the bits of writing I had written a while ago and quasi-abandoned in favor of the aforementioned first novel, the intermittent Writing Prompt entries, and/or the now-fully-on-hiatus fan fiction novel that had been the subject of the first NaNoWritMo in which I participated) yet kept going back to plotting and pondering over exposition and character development/relationships. Much of the narrative has been outlined in my head, with character dialogue, internal monologues and such running through my brain space, yet the distance from my imagination to actually jotting it down (either on paper or within Word) was vast – there seemed to be a kind of Writer’s Roadblock (another invented phrase – I think – to go along with my other “invented” Writer’s dilemmas: Writer’s Speed Bump and Writer’s Roundabout) keeping the ideas, conversations and whatnot stuck in traffic (to extend the travelling metaphor) preventing them from reaching its destination.

It’s taken me a (long) while to get past this roadblock, but after some introspection (and time listening to Broadway show tunes) I’ve come to realize that I really shouldn’t be worrying (so much) about how things might (or might not) fit and just get on with writing whatever comes to mind, and figure out everything else later. The important thing is to just keep on writing.

Of course, it’s quasi-surprising it’s taken me this long to figure that out, as these blog posts are (for the most part) written without much forethought or editing – I hardly ever look back and edit what I’ve written before I hit the “publish” button, and I rarely ever read through past entries and edit what’s already been published (so there’s a slight chance I’ve repeated myself many times throughout the year or so I’ve been writing this blog.)

So, with this new(ish) revelation, I should be able to increase my word count in the weeks to come, and hopefully in the end, it’ll make some semblance of sense.

Onward and, well, onward!

 

Camp NaNoWritMo Update #1

While National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWritMo for short) is officially in November, there are two other writing challenge is to complete a novel within a month – one in April and the other in July known as Camp NaNoWritMo. These sessions are similar to that of the November session, with a few minor (yet significant) differences: you can set your own word count limit [as opposed to the mandatory 50,000 word count], you can choose to write a script, short stories or nonfiction, and (as the name suggests) you can opt to join a “cabin” of like-minded writers. This is the first time I’ve opted in this month-long writing session (which I did as a whim), deciding to devote this month to work on the prequel story to the (oft-mentioned yet purposely vague) MASC Chronicles, my (ever expanding) series saga. 

I made mention of this prequel story, entitled Going, Going, Gone, when I blogged about NaNoWritMo, and my goal word count is 30,000 words, hopefully to be written within these 31 days [I also kinda liked the fact that there’s an extra day to complete the task]. Of course it’s already Day 5 of Camp NaNoWritMo and I haven’t gotten much written (aside from the 550 odd words from the original draft I had written a while back) – as those who are reading (and following?) this blog, I tend to ponder and plot out things before actually writing, occasionally researching things when necessary to figure out exposition.

Anyway.

I have an idea of where this story is going, though how to write a prequel story for a novel series that is still in a quasi-nebulous form is a challenge in of itself – nevertheless, I’m going to use this Camp NaNoWritMo as a way to get myself back to doing some actual writing.

Hopefully I’ll extract some of this story out of my head…