NaNoWritMo (2014) Update #5

So November is almost over, (American) Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed and there are only two more days (well, technically speaking, one day and a few hours) left to complete the 50,000 word count novel for NaNoWritMo. Naturally, I’m in (quasi) panic mode, so subsequently my writing muses have been poked and prodded out of their hibernation and have gone back to work. The word count for my “making it up as I go along” romance, tentatively (though at this point definitely) entitled Blind Dark Windows as of 7:47 PM stands at 4,443 words, which adds up to two and one-thirds chapters.

The bare bone synopsis of Blind Dark Windows (as made up written at the start of NaNoWritMo) is as follows:

“Girl meets Boy. Boy likes Girl. Girl likes Other Boy. They all attend Comic Con. Hilarity ensues.”

[Whether or not any of that actually happens is still in question, but for now I’ll just leave it as such]

So far I’ve introduced the two main characters [i.e. the Girl and the Boy], a few supporting characters and generally outlined the (sad) state of their respective romantic lives. The plot is moving (ever so slowly) towards the actual “meeting” part, and the follies that will (ultimately/inevitably) ensue before the (maybe?) happy ever after ending.

[Yeah, still purposely vague.]

I realize that I probably should have written all of this sooner, and I would have, had the inspiration to do so come earlier, but as it were, I’m relaying all of this now. One day and a handful of hours before The End [of NaNoWritMo, that is].

Better late than never, I guess [then again, better never late]

I have a (purposely) vague idea of how the pacing of the story will unfold, and the possible plot twists that will come about, and regardless of whether or not (at this point, it’s probably the latter) I manage to write the obligatory 50,000 words to “win” NaNoWritMo, I plan on actually!finishing this stand-alone novel, then editing out all the passive verbs, purple prose, telling-and-not-showing, and other grammatical and “bad writing” elements. Remarkably, I’ve made a point of just actually!writing the story and not screening what’s been written through the Hemingway App or other writing aid programming that waves red flags on the aforementioned “bad writing” elements.

At this point of the NaNoWritMo journey, I will be content to have written (and recorded onto the NaNoWritMo site) at least as many words I had written (and recorded) during last year’s attempt (which clocked in at 8,244 words).

Anyway, back to actual!writing.

NaNoWritMo (2014) Update #4

November is winding down, and most writers are in the home stretch of reaching the 50,000 word count for their respective novel. Per usual (at least for me), I’m just about reached my stride in the actual!writing portion of the NaNoWritMo experience [Word Count as of 9:02 PM: 1,866]. As the NaNoWritMo story being written is  (a) out of my genre comfort zone and (b) totally [well highly probably] not related to the series saga I was plotting, pondering (and quasi-actually!writing), the impulse and inspiration for this romance (of sorts) set at New York Comic Con hasn’t manifested itself as quickly as I had hoped it would. Nevertheless, I shall endeavor to forge on – as the [added] challenge of creating and writing a story outside the comfort genre is one I would like to complete. According to the NaNoWritMo site, there are nine days remaining to “win”, so there’s (still) time…


My track record for actually!writing has been less than stellar, as I have (little) idea of how the pacing of the story will proceed, even though I have a quasi-vague idea of how the plot will unfold. Moreover, I’m not (quite) sure how the story will actually end – whether there’ll be a rainbow unicorn-vomit inducing [i.e. sweet and sappy] ending where the main couple live happily ever after, or whether to have a bittersweet, angst-ridden ending where the “wrong” couple find their [perverse?] version of happiness. Considering the (quasi) fact that I’m rather romance-adverse (at least with the sappy, cliche-ridden, Hollywood rom-coms), I might be leaning  towards the latter option, though I might leave it (quasi) ambiguous at the end – one of those “fade to black” deals.

[Yes, I’m sure those who regularly follow this blog have noticed I like to use the word “quasi” a LOT. It’s such a fun, quirky word to use.]


So that’s basically where I am at the moment with the NaNo challenge. I’ve introduced a few of the main characters so far, and have dropped a few expository hints along the way. Also, it’s (slowly) become apparent that a love triangle is forming – an actual love triangle where character A [male] likes character B [female], but character B likes character C [male], and only likes character A as a good friend. Yes, this is an oft-used trope, which will (almost) inevitably leading to the dreaded (by me) cliché of the love angle – where character B has to “choose” between character A [the Friend] or character C [the “soul mate”]. I really, really, really wanted to avoid this romance  plot trap, but it seems unavoidable.

Then again, most popular romance-themed stories use this trope, so I suppose, why fight it?

I’m hoping that by setting this romance at the New York Comic Con (not usually thought of as a romantic setting) amid the cosplayers,  fangirls  and fanboys, with a (probable) ambiguous resolution, will be different and unique from the standard romance novels.


NaNoWritMo (2014) Update #3

So we’re now at the (exact) midway point in the month, and (per usual) not so much actual!writing has been accomplished, though a good deal of plotting and pondering has been made for this year’s NaNoWritMo attempt. Interestingly enough, I’m having quite a good time working on this out-of-comfort-genre novel, set in the present day in the real universe, with real-world references thrown in for good measure. It’s quite the departure for me, since most of my writing/plotting/pondering has been set in the (near and far) past, in a quasi-alternate/parallel universe, with some historical references added for various reasons. I’m not quite sure if I’ll continue to write in this genre, as the NaNoWritMo [romance] novel is a stand-alone story (or at least as far as I’m aware – I’m basically making up the story as I go along), but we’ll see how far I get into actually!writing this tale of a [modern, rated PG-13] romance at New York Comic Con.

While I’ve had periodic giggle fits creating character names and making up their exposition, I have some doubts on whether or not this will actually be a romance once all is said and done (or rather written and completed). As mentioned before, romance is not a literary genre I like or have actually read (though I have read novels that have had romantic subplots within). Having said/written that, I’m aware of the general (usually predictable) structure of a romance novel: the character and plot archetypes, the usual twists and turns that almost always inevitably lead to a happily ever after (I’ve watched enough daytime and prime time soap operas to understand the overall structure).

This is also the first time (in a long while) where I’m writing a story that is completely separate from the (epic) series saga I’ve been working on (currently on a brief hiatus) and it’s kinda liberating to focus my attention (and my muses) on something new and different. Maybe this whole writing-outside-one’s-comfort-genre is a good thing which will help improve (and inspire?) my other works. Whether or not I continue to write romance (or my perception/version of romance, as I’m quite romance-adverse [for no apparent reason]) is debatable, but for now, for the sake of challenging myself during NaNoWritMo, it’s going well.

It’s anyone’s guess how this story will turn out (or if I even finish writing it). Stay tuned.


NaNoWritMo (2014) Update #2

One week into the writing challenge that is NaNoWritMo, and much plotting and pondering (and giggle fits) has been accomplished yet not so much actual!writing. Well, technically speaking, much of the plot and narrative has been written in my head, it just hasn’t made it into Word. As mentioned in the previous update, the (added) challenge this year is to write a romance, and thus far it’s turning out to be fun – moreover, given that the main setting is at Comic Con, it also a contemporary story, with real world elements, easily identifiable to anyone who pays attention to pop culture. That twist was unexpected and has proven to be quasi-challenging, as most of my works in progress have been set in the far past and in an alternate / parallel universe from the world we all know to be true. Then again, having immersed myself in watching Doctor Who, the concept of what is real and what is not tends to blur, and make one (re)think what we know has/had/will happen. [BTW, the 8th series finale episode “Death in Heaven” was  fantastic – thrilling, heart(s)breaking and exciting. I’m thoroughly enjoying Peter Capaldi’s take on the iconic “mad man with a box” – fierce, clueless and commanding all at the same time. Given how things ended, it’ll be interesting to see how the Christmas Special and Series 9 will unfold.]

But I digress.


Initially, the romance story I had intended to write (before the plot bunny insisted on adding a nerdy/geeky/dorky angle to the narrative)  was to be a (slight) homage to a subplot largely undeveloped (and a bit unresolved) in one of my favorite films/musicals Sunset Boulevard,  the latter opened on Broadway 20 (!) years ago this month [started its previews on November 1st, opened on the 17th]. That subplot was the “Untitled Love Story” written by Joe Gillis and Betty Schaefer during the film/musical, based on one of Gillis’ stories (cited as “Dark Windows” in the film, “Blind Windows” in the musical). I’d always wondered what the exact plot of that script turned out to be, as it’s never revealed in either the film or musical (for reasons that would spoil the ending of the film/musical) – I would like to think the script got picked up and produced.


My initial impulse was to create a story based on the (few) clues given in the film (and musical), throwing in some other dorky references to the musical. Given I had to write a romantic story, the whole “girl meets boy” premise outlined in Sunset gave me a springboard upon which to start the story (and also my little homage to the musical, which remains my 3rd all time favorite musical that I actually saw live on stage). Using this premise and melding it with the idea of it unfolding at Comic Con seemed perfect, and matched my normally romance adverse sensibility. It also gives me the opportunity to stuff as many geeky/dorky/nerdy references of my own interests (those who know me well might giggle at the names I’ve smashed together).

As it’s to be a romance (but not that kind of romance), the pacing will be key, along with the (added) (melo)drama that might/could/would ensue. I can (almost) guarantee that this romance will be pretty much PG-13 with “fade to black” scenes and lots of (verbal) sparring. I kinda sorta have an idea of how the romance will play out, though I’m not so sure it’ll have the “happily ever after” ending typical of most romances.

So far so good, I suppose.

Back to writing.


NaNoWritMo (2014) Update #1

So National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWritMo for short] has begun for just about everyone, regardless of time zone differences – wherein millions (give or take) of writers undertake the challenge of creating a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This is my third attempt at this monumental [at least for me] feat, hoping that the “third time’s the charm” maxim holds true. Also (as mentioned several times in the last few posts) this year’s challenge has an added (self-appointed) twist in writing the novel in a outside-your-comfort-zone genre, which for me (again mentioned many times previously) is Romance. Two NaNoWritMo buddies (who I “met” via a writing group on Facebook) have agreed to this added proviso, and have dived into the plotting/pondering/actually!writing process.

I spent most of the day pondering how to go about tackling this challenge – a few ideas popped into my head, whether or not to have this Romance be tied to my ongoing Series Saga (as exposition, alternate universe or side story) or to create a stand alone novel, separate from the Series Saga. Through an otherwise innocuous comment in an otherwise casual [Facebook] conversation, a major epiphany struck me that finally determined the plot of this Romance novel:

A love story (of sorts) set at and during Comic Con, tentatively entitled Blind Dark Windows.

I’ve generally sketched out some of the characters and created names, and all the stray thoughts flooding my brain are telling me that this might end up being among the nerdiest/geekiest/dorkiest romance novels ever written (that’s not fan fiction). After all, it seems (to me) the majority of the romance novels/movies/TV shows center around the “popular” cliques (the beauties, the jocks, the rebels, etc.), why not write one about cliques not often portrayed favorable (in the absolute general sense, as there are exceptions) in “mainstream” media?

Whether or not I can pull it off is a whole other thing.

Then there’s the fact that I’ve never actually attended a Comic Con, but I’ve seen enough photos and video footage, and read (other)blogs online (of course) about it to have a sense of what goes on there.

This is certainly a “brave new world” I’ve entered, full of exciting possibilities and variables (and many fandoms from which to choose).

Wish me luck!