Camp NaNoWritMo (Spring 2015) Update #4

Here we are once more, at the home stretch in the Camp NaNoWritMo experience (at least the spring edition), and curiously enough, some actual!writing (well, technically speaking/writing, actual!editing) has started.

Nothing like a deadline looming over the horizon to motivate the Muses and Plot Bunnies into action.

Of course, it’s not as if there hasn’t been any actual!writing happening during the month (or rather, there should have been editing and revising, as The Revision of the Draft was the original intent in participating in this round of Camp NaNoWritMo) – at least three attempts were started and quickly discarded, as those (false) starts encountered the (in)famous Writer’s Roundabout and Writer’s Speed Bump. While the Revision of the Draft was the springboard, I quickly realized that the Draft was a jumbled mess which seemed beyond revision (or at least I’d need more than a month to sift through the disjointed plot twists, melodrama and plot holes), so I subconsciously started a new(ish) story based on the Draft (which I’ve now dubbed the “Hot Mess”), with illusions of grandeur thoughts of it fitting (somewhere) in Series Two of the Series Saga I’ve quasi-planned out.

Anyway.

Too many ideas and possibilities loom large in my writing process – a lot of large scale summation and bullet points of character development, narrative arc, and causality, and not as much detailed exposition, dialogue and character interaction. Then again, I’ve been more a “big picture” plotter, as my notebooks, and files of summaries can attest.

For those who have read some/most/all (?) of my blog posts over the years (as the two year anniversary starting this blog just passed), the tone of most of these entries is indifferent, almost defeatist (and rarely uplifting, though I have made attempts to be somewhat optimistic). I suppose I’m a pessimist by nature, along with being highly introverted – despite these melancholy tendencies, I do have (moderate) hopes that one day (some day) I’ll actually!finish writing at least one of my book series and get it published (by which method remains to be seen – I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get there).

The novel ideas I’ve had are good (I think) and original (I hope), even though I’ve been (purposely) vague on the actual details, since they have a tendency to change every now and then.

Then again, while I struggle with actually!writing for my stories, there seems to not be so much of an issue of writing up these blog posts (which I type in directly via WordPress, and rarely ever edit or reread once I post them), which kinda makes me think that I’m writing for the wrong genre. Then again the majority of these entries are quasi-random streams of thought that pop into my head at any given moment and are more like a one-sided conversation,which for the most part consist of run-on sentences with lots of punctuation. (This last sentence being an apt example.)

On the other hand (to paraphrase a Sondheim lyric), writing isn’t easy: every minor detail is a major decision, and with all the characters, plot points and such, it’s hard to keep things in order. Nevertheless, I’ll keep at this writing thing, and hope for the best – the odds of completing the Camp NaNoWritMo goal is (as always) slim to none, but I’ve never been overly concerned with “winning” anyway.

Back to the writing board.

Again.

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Camp NaNoWritMo (Spring 2015) Update #3

The Ides of April have passed, and half the month is over – and once again not too much actual!writing has happened. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to participate in these deadline-driven events when I hardly ever accomplish the goal or even come near to the finish line. Nevertheless I still participate, with the (false?) hopes of actually!finishing something. Then again, technically speaking/typing, I should be editing and revising the [unfinished] Draft, as that was supposed to the Objective of the Spring session of Camp NaNoWritMo But (as always) my mind (and the quasi-insane plot bunnies and Muses) wanders to other works-in-progress and attempts to connect them all together to create One Epic Saga, crossing the boundaries of time and space – where things can/might/will get wibbly-wobbly; clearly these stories are much bigger on the inside.

That being said, I have actually gotten (a little) actual!revising done, albeit it was more akin to reviving a narrative false start and tweaking it so it fits the quasi-stable premise of the Revision of the [unfinished] Draft… which sounds like a great title for an epic ballad or a stage play; perhaps an episode or few in that Meta Series…

But I digress.

Along with the minor actual!revising and quasi!writing, another round of character development and narrative plotting and pondering has happened – some characters have been revived, some have been expunged, and a few have been created. Attempts in returning to the mindset I had when I first wrote the Draft and rereading what had been jotted down (whether handwritten in notebooks or typed in Word documents) has been interesting and enlightening – some of the ideas [plot, character or exposition] were good, and have the potential to be used at some point in the Epic Saga.

Then there are the quasi-strange dreams I’ve had of scenes and situations unrelated to the Epic Saga (I think) or to the Revision of the [unfinished] Draft. Sometimes as I’m drifting off to sleep, conversations between characters or internal monologues of exposition populate my thoughts, and sadly at these times, I’m usually too tired to get out of bed to jot down these musings (these are the times I wish there was some sort of invention to transcribe/extract these thoughts onto some sort of recording device). While the exact details of these snippets of mental!writing are not retained, I usually recall the gist of the aforementioned mental!writing, and scribble those thoughts down, (though in the rare times I actually get out of bed to jot down these musings – I always keep a notebook and pen on my desk chair, situated across from my bed – it’s usually undecipherable scribbles).

Anyway.

These quasi-strange dreams (strange mainly because they’re also recurring dreams – or at least I think they are) involve an abandoned location – a building in quasi-ruin – and there’s almost always an ethereal quality to the place. Sometimes I wonder if my subconscious is trying to tell me something – whether about my own life or the fictional lives of my cast of characters.

Or maybe it’s the Plot Bunnies and Muses at work.

Either way, I’ve got some actual!writing to do, along with the Revision of the [unfinished] Draft.

Camp NaNoWritMo (Spring 2015) Update #2

So now that I’ve quasi-settled into the Camp NaNoWritMo realm – introvert that I am, I decided not to join a cabin (an optional feature wherein random or not-so-random writers can converse and such) and attempt to work on my own – I’ve proceeded with tackling the task at hand. Naturally, my mind (and Muses) have successfully avoided the (dreaded) Mallet of Doom and meandered (back) to plotting and pondering, with not-so-much actual!writing or editing accomplished. Then again, that original draft [henceforth designated as “the Draft”] fits, (or rather was/is intended to be) in the middle of the MASC Chronicles series saga I’ve quasi-plotted out, so it’s more an extension of what I’ve spent (far too much time) doing.

Kinda.

The shift has been in that I’ve spent much of that aforementioned time on Series One of the MASC Chronicles, set in Victorian England – the narrative arcs, character development, etc. – the Draft was/is/has been (somewhere) in Series Two, set in the Interwar Period [for those who might not know, the Interwar Period is the years between WWI and WWII]. Shifting my focus from the two different time periods has been jarring, as I had placed my focus on Series One (with only fleeting thoughts on Series Two, and barely any on Series Three); nevertheless, as most of my archival writing/musing has been for Series Two, sifting through old ideas/characters/narrative arcs has been illuminating. Also, given my acute quasi-fixation on Downton Abbey (while I’m sad that the upcoming 6th series/season is to be the last one, it makes sense that the series should end when it does, and while the show is still popular), narrative/character elements from that series has seeped into my writing process.

For those regularly following this blog (are there any who actually do? I can never tell), I’m well aware that I spend far too much time plotting and pondering at the Character Development Inn in the Land of Exposition, and rarely ever get to the actual!writing part. I’ve written more for this blog about writing the series saga than actually!writing the series saga – and I’m still stupidly proud that I’ve written and posted a blog entry every week since starting this blog almost two years (!!) ago – I’ve kept the details pretty vague, and for good reason: the series keeps changing in minute ways and it’d feel too much like a permanent thing if I were to mention definitively the details of the series saga (and would save me time and effort to edit out whatever I had mentioned in previous entries).

But I digress.

Along with the pondering and plotting for this Draft, other stray ideas have appeared, some related to the series saga, others utterly separate: some relate to the various other writing projects I’ve pondered upon – the fan fiction novel based on the short-lived musical Dance of the Vampires (which had ties to the series saga at one point and now remains a stand-alone story), the Meta series (which this blog has almost morphed into, with my occasional mentions of the Character Development Inn and the Land of Exposition) and that attempt to write a romance novel (which has tenuous ties to the Series Saga).

Yes, I’m well aware that I should stop plotting/pondering and get (back) to the actual!writing, but with the task of writing a mystery (and writing it well) there needs to be a good amount of organizing and making sure that the solution is not so obvious yet plausible, that there are enough red herrings sprinkled among the actual clues, and that there are a few plot twists thrown in to make the story interesting.

Well, enough blathering here.

Back to actual!writing (hopefully).

Camp NaNoWritMo (Spring 2015) Update #1

Taking a (short) break from the quasi-relaxed realm of the Land of Exposition, I venture once more into Camp NaNoWritMo, where hundreds (thousands? millions?) of other fellow writers-to-be gather to plot, ponder and actually!write something (unlike the non-camp NaNoWritMo, categories include revision, nonfiction, short stories and script). I’ve quasi-decided to utilize this Camp NaNoWritMo session to revise the (unfinished) first draft of the first novel I ever wrote (mentioned in previous blog entries as the Transcription Project or the Transcription Follies).

For those just tuning in, that first (unfinished yet plotted out) draft was entitled The Golden Dagger Inn Mystery, written twenty (!) years (!!) ago, and was an expansion on a short story with the same name written two years before that. The basic gist of the story is quasi-plausible though the pacing is too rushed and the grammatical errors are astounding (not in a good way); nevertheless, at 17,000+ words, it’s the longest (albeit quasi-coherent) amount of actual!writing ever actually!written. That effort needs to be acknowledged for what it was/is and deserves to be revised within an inch of its life.

And so here we are.

Of course, since the Muses in my head have been fixated on the Epic Series Saga (otherwise known as the MASC Chronicles) first established a decade ago – in prepping for Camp NaNoWritMo, I’d taken to reviewing and rereading all my archived files and documents (both electronic and [long] handwritten), all of which were meticulously date (and sometimes) time stamped. As this first attempt predates the establishment of this Epic Series Saga (though it was the launchpad from which the Epic Series Saga began), it’s been a (minor) puzzlement as to where exactly to place this tale into that Canon (a canon which is still in its infancy). Then again, as this tale is the origin story (as it were) of the series saga itself, it probably should be the center from which the rest of the series saga will revolve, kind of like how Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope  is the “zero year” in the Star Wars saga – at least in the (now non-canon) Expanded Universe novel series.

As I have that (unfinished) transcription as a launchpad, you’d think it’d be easy to edit and revise it – yet it’s been a struggle – due to the aforementioned flaws in its execution, and the notion to change the narrative from 3rd person [omniscient] perspective to 1st person perspective – my overworked, always-plotting-and-pondering Muses have planted seeds of doubt of where/when/how/with whom to start the narrative. There are multiple staring points/perspectives from which to start (the folders full of “narrative false starts” is a testament to that), and finding where/when/how to start is always the hardest part.

Then again, as this month’s aim is to revise, edit (and actually!finish) that (unfinished) novel, I probably should bop the aforementioned Muses (with the Mallet of Doom) and revise, edit and actually!finish the novel as it was originally written (3rd person perspective) and have it stand alone from the Epic Series Saga.

I can always re-revise, edit the revised (and completed) draft afterwards. The point of this session of Camp NaNoWritMo is to revise what has already been written.

May the Odds be in My Favor.

May the Force be with Me.

Always.