Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Will I catch NaNoWriFever?

This year's NaNoWriMo is looking less and less likely to turn out well for me. While I'm discouraged  I can at least take solace in the fact that I'm keeping pace with my usual daily output of words. It won't get me to 50k by the end of November, but it lead still lead me to a finished novel and that is after all the real goal. At this rate I should at least finish by my birthday in January. I'll keep trying, hoping for that fever to come over me where I just can't stop writing, the pages pile up like the yellow leaves on my lawn, and I submit my final count with a triumphant, "Take that!" We'll see. I'll need to do 2600 words a day. That just makes me miss my Atari 2600.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


So here we are a week gone in NaNoWriMo and I know what you're saying. So, Writingbull, how are things... And that's where I cut you off. I turn and walk off yelling, "I don't want to talk about it!" But, I guess since I'm the one writing this I don't really have a choice.

Terrible. All right? That's how it's going. I'm not even close to the target count. At this rate I may finish by my birthday which is at the end of January. JANUARY, people! And the worst part is I can't figure out exactly why this is going so slow.

Now, granted I've had some unavoidable delays and the usual lost day to a migraine, but with everything already charted and the characters having lived in my head now for months, I should be able to move this along faster. I mean, I even avoided buying or even renting the updated version of Skyrim! How's that for dedication! Oh, in case you haven't checked it out, here's a link to my fanfiction for Skyrim. If you've played through the main quest you'll love this. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9514861/1/

Anyway, this is going to be a tough slog now that I'm in a hole. Right now I have to do over 1900 words a day to finish before Dec.1. It's still doable and my wife is all in so I don't REALLY have an excuse except I just worked too damn slow. Since I don't want that to happen, I'll be using all my spare time at home and at work.

Hope your efforts are going along smoother than mine and if you're already done, I secretly hate you. No, I don't mean that. I openly hate you! No, I don't mean that, either. Just chalk up my eye-rolling to jealousy and I'll see you at the finish line on Nov. 30. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Shoulder Eyes and Curious Aliens

Nine days left until NaNoWriMo 2016 and I'm feeling confident about my story this year. If you don't know about NaNoWriMo, check out their site at nanowrimo.org. It is a great boost for your writing, especially if you need some sort of eye over your shoulder to make sure you are getting your work done.

So far I've been fine tuning my plot for the past two weeks. If you prefer not to plot and just wing it with a few stray scenes and a theme in mind, go for it. I think you're nuts and doomed to take much longer than necessary, but to each his own. I need to plot. I see it as a map, showing me where to go. But not just any map. My plot sceme is like a UFO arriving at Earth. From the furthest distance, you great the grand scheme of things. An ocean there, an ocean on the other side, mountains and rivers and lakes in between. Looks great so far. Any alien race would want to move in for a closer look to see if this planet has what it wants and needs.

Closer in, my plot scheme turns into scene cards, breaking up the plot into logical steps. For the UFO, the view turns into cities and towns filled with buildings, farms, and cellular phone stores. Now this is getting really interesting.

The last step is to turn those scene cards into actual scenes, complete with paragraphs, sentences, and outlandishly big capitol letters denoting the beginnings of chapters. For the aliens in the UFO, the cities turn into individuals filled with dreams, regrets, and schemes of robbing cellular phones stores. If they see what they like, they'll land and mingle, maybe buy a cronut or two for the trip home. They'll go home and tell others, who in turn will visit on their own. Or in the book equivalent, they will like the story and tell others who will also purchase it, option the movie rights, and allow me to retire to play video games where I kill aliens who try to take over the world. Such is life.

Now go write. You don't know how much time is left until the aliens arrive. Or should I say, return?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Return of the Muse

I write a lot about the Muse. I never really put much thought into whether it was a real thing or not but apparently there is more to this ethereal minx than I had considered. I may need to set another chair at the writing desk so it won't feel so unwanted. Here's what happened...

For the past two days I've been at an impasse with my plot. There was one very important scene that I had not entirely fleshed out while doing my outline. I did not want to rush it, so I left it blank except for the title, '*character* dies'. I knew who was dying, I just left it out here so as not to spoil my bestseller for people when it comes out. I know, right? Anyway, now that I needed to fill in the specifics, I was drawing a blank. Every idea seemed too cliche or similar to previous scenes. If you are a plotter like me, you know I could not go any further. Leaving it blank would just haunt me if I started writing expecting the idea to appear once I got to it. So there I sat. Until today.

The idea came out of nowhere. Well, maybe not from nowhere. I had a setting but for some reason I kept leaving it to go somewhere else. I think because I had a split second vision of the scene already composed in my mind's eye and I was forcing my ideas to run through it. Then along came my Muse, finally. Where the Hell have you been? Wait, never mind. I don't want to know. You're back and that's all that matters. My Muse stopped me before I left my setting and told me to just wait. So I waited. After a few minutes, along came the two adversaries that I had imagined elsewhere. They could do their job here as well as there. With that impasse gone, the ideas came like a torrent of water from a burst dam. Now I may proceed and with new ideas brought to life from this other one. It was a gift within a gift.

To sum this up, if you find yourself struggling with a scene, I suggest you give it time instead of giving up. I kept coming back to this scene instead of skipping it. If I had skipped it, I might have forced it to conform to the upcoming scenes which would have squashed what I really needed: true inspiration. Now because of deadlines, that is not always an option, but deadlines also have a way of creating a different kind of inspiration, mostly weaved from the lining of empty pockets. 

Don't forget NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. Declare your novel and keep writing!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sense of Scene

Why did she do that? What was the point of that? Who was that supposed to hurt?

These are the types of questions I've got going through my head today and for the next few days.  I don't know what sort of writer you tend to be (because no one is so one dimensional), but I tend to be a plotter. Big time. I want to know that I've got a handle on the story before I spend months working on it. For my newest war of wordage I have all the scenes laid out and divided into chapters. Each scene is described very briefly so I get the gist of it. But that is only the start.

My next task is to delve into each of those scenes and flesh them out. Give all the minor characters names and that sort of jazz that would normally stop me in my creative tracks. More importantly, I make sure I know what the POV character's conflict and motivation is. This story is easy in that I only have one POV character. The conflict is important so I know what is at stake in each scene. If nothing is at stake, I either need to ditch it or make it short and to the point. Side-tracks should be no more than a quick peek through the door then moving on. The motivation is important so I know how and why the character is going to approach the problem.

This may seem excessive to all you pantsers out there but it has proven to be extremely helpful to me when writing the scene. Sure, I sometimes have to make changes as I go as my characters often have a way of saying things I did not intend them to say, but that's where the fun is. I may have everything plotted, scripted, and charted, but I know the story is going right when I have to stop now and then to pull a monkey wrench out of the well-oiled gears I built. No one ever admits to throwing it, but I have a good idea... I'm looking at you, Muse.

So get back to writing. Hopefully you've got your own monkey wrench wielding Muse waiting for you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Back From the Depths

It seems my last post was in May. Wow, where has the time gone? Well, at least I can say I've been working on my novel so there's that. The other news is I'm putting the second draft through the transmographying wringer so it will be nearly an entirely new thing when it comes back out. With NaNoWriMo starting in a few weeks, I thought now would be a good time to get my poor blog out of the cobwebs and breathe some life back into it.

From here on I'll be detailing what I'm doing and hopefully what I'm learning about my writing. Sounds like fun to me. Unfortunately, that's all this blog will be about. My focus is completely on my story and I do not have the time, patience, or I'll admit it, interest in making this anything more than that. If I find a link to something or someone great I'll try to add it in future posts, but there will be no giveaways or anything like that. My goal here is to appeal to fellow struggling writers looking for help or commiseration or maybe just a few laughs. Trust me, there will be plenty to laugh at.

In the coming days I'll be detailing what further preparations I'm making with my novel to make sure I start NaNoWriMo on fire and not have to stop my creativity with repeated note searching. Today for instance I finished coming up with all the names for my characters, their pets, schools, hang-outs, and whatever else I thought would need a name. If I find time later, I'm going to make a final list of crystals and their reputed paranormal properties. Well, that is what my story hinges on after all. I've got several sources to go through so I'm going to narrow them down to the most common and/or obvious.

Back to work for me (at my real job, gah!), I hope you will keep following and keep writing.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Getting Nowhere Fast

Wow, I haven't posted anything here since January.  I can't be surprised that no one is following this blog.  What's to follow?  I guess I picked the right title for my page, huh?  Anyway, I'll get this thing going again and do my damnedest to keep it in mind.

I'm still toiling away on my YA fantasy novel.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is there.  I have about five more scenes to do to finish the first draft.  Seems like I should be done in no time, right?  We'll see.  I want to get this done so I can go back and see just how much I screwed up my original idea.  But at least it will be done and I guess I'm in the minority with this but I love re-writing.  I like going along and finding parts of a story that don't work or sound like I stopped in mid-sentence and then picked it up again a whole week later (Seriously, I've done that and it always sounds like shit. Finish your thoughts, always, then move on).

I'm also doing a fanfiction for the upcoming game, No Man's Sky at fanfiction.net.  This particular piece is only for fun and do to on my down time.  It sucks that not many people have been reading it.  I know one reason is it's hard to find.  I did a Google search and couldn't get it to come up unless I typed in the whole freakin' title, A Burden of Stars.  Whatever.  I'm not going to go all SEO commando just for a few clicks more (wow, I just mixed a Schwarzenneger movie with an Eastwood movie, like The Good, The Bad, and The Kindergarten Cop).

That's where I'm at.  I refuse to start another project until I get this YA novel done.  And believe me, I've got a ton of ideas pounding on my muse's door, a screenplay in particular that I'm sure will rocket me to stardom, or at least to the top of the slushpile since I don't have an agent and live in upstate NY.  OK, back to writing.  You, too.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Blogging for the New Year

I'll say this up front to get it out of the way: I'm sorry.  For what?  For being a shitty blogger.  I guess it's working out the same as my attempts at keeping a journal, since journalling and blogging seem to be about the same thing.  I guess I'm just not much of a sharing type of person, especially when it comes to my thoughts and opinions.  I like to keep them to myself, much in the way I wish others would do the same.  Unless it's part of a stand-up routine, one of the most annoying sentences for me to hear is, "You know what I think?".  It just grinds on my nerves.

That's why I try to keep this blog focused on writing.  Unfortunately, I feel uneasy about giving advice since I have only had a book self-published so far.  I've put out a lot of short stories on here and other sites as part of challenges so I don't mind saying something about writing to anyone who needs help or motivation.  If you're following, I'll do my best to keep up on this blog.  It should get easier to have things to add since I'm nearly finished with the first draft of my YA novel, Facets, and I will have thoughts and revelations on the self-editing process.  So, please, bear with me.  Thank you.