Day Twenty-Three

Whew. It’s been a long time since I was on here. Comparatively, anyway.

Guys, I have come to grips with the fact that I won’t be finishing my novel this year. I think I am at peace with it. If not, you’ll see some spectacular word counts in the next few days…but I’m not even at 25,000 words. So I get to make up the other 27,756 by November 30?

I could do it, in theory. Stranger things have happened. But let’s not get too optimistic here.

I’ve been ruminating on exactly why I am likely to fail this year. More specifically, I’m ruminating on where exactly I can place the blame so that it lands on someone else. Because at the end of the day, I have some issues as a writer that I need to work on.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – I’ve still got 6 days!

Mood: resigned (and sick, and sick of working)
Word Count: 22,244 (not bad for a month’s work, really)
Music: Trollolo song (blame my boyfriend)

Day Thirteen

I am only two days behind. That’s not so bad. A girl can catch up in a couple of days, if she applies herself.

My boyfriend and I are both participating in Nanowrimo this year. Earlier this evening, he said that the reason I was likely to succeed at Nanowrimo and he wasn’t was that he couldn’t write while he was at work, and I could write during the day, while I was at university.

“I don’t write when I’m at university,” I told him.

“You don’t?” he said, aghast.

I try to separate working and relaxing, especially at university. I can’t study at home for a number of reasons and so I want to maximise my productivity at uni by not allowing myself to think of it in recreational terms. So I don’t write at university. When I start thinking it’s time to put some words down, it’s usually time to go home.

In my opinion what really separates my boyfriend from me in terms of getting our writing done is this: When we sit down to write in the evenings, I sit down and do it, while he gets distracted on the internet. So while I can write a couple thousand words in a couple of hours, he gets only three to five hundred words done.

It’s very easy in this day and age to get completely distracted by what we can get on the internet. In fact, I have fallen behind precisely because of internet distractions.

And it’s not even necessarily bad to get distracted a little. The brain needs a break sometimes. The problem occurs when the brain doesn’t come back from break. Life has to be something more than one big distraction, and so does Nanowrimo.

So, lesson number 13, as brought to me by my boyfriend: the internet is bad. IT’S BAD. Turn it off for November! Way more will be accomplished. Also, I wills top looking at crazy cute pictures of sloth and wishing I could have one for my birthday.

Mood: quite tired, but not too bad.
Word Count: 18,929
MusicThick as a Brick, by Jethro Tull

Day Ten

I’m still in a bit of a writing funk. Writing today didn’t go too far, but tomorrow is another day. A weekend day! That means lots of time for writing…right?

We’ll see, anyway.

I think I posted all my relevant thoughts for the day over on Look! A Nanowrimo Forum!! where I do occasionally guest post. I hope you find it sufficiently awesome. You should also check out the blog’s other contributors.

I’ll pose the same question over here as I do over there. Fellow wrimos: at the end of the day, why do you do Nanowrimo? And non-wrimos: why do you not? That is a serious question by the way, I’m not trying to heckle anyone into doing anything.

Any thoughts?

Day Eight

An excerpt from the novel. Don’t judge too harshly, this is a hastily-written first draft:

They fought their way through the underbrush until they found a smaller road, then they walked along it. Leva strode next to her with his head down, contemplating something. Probably how much he hates peasants, she thought. “So,” she said. “Can you do any magic whatsoever outside of the school?”

He smirked. “I guess I haven’t tried that much,” he said. He turned that well-known, cocky expression on her. A smile played around his lips – the same smile that he always had when he knew he had the upper hand.

Her hair burst into flame.

She couldn’t help the scream that erupted from her mouth. She dropped the rucksack and threw herself to the road, dislodging Cat as she rolled back and forth on the hard ground.

“Stop,” Cat was shouting – as loud as a cat could shout. “Stop it. Stop!”

Leva was laughing.

After a few moments Marian realized that she wasn’t in pain – and she didn’t smell burning hair. She stopped rolling and tentatively put a hand up to her head. Her hair was as long, as lush and as curly as ever. It was a bit dustier now, but otherwise undamaged.

Leva was almost on the road himself. His face was red and tears glinted at the corners of his eyes as he snorted with laughter. “It was an illusion,” he gasped. “You should have seen yourself -”

What she was seeing was red. She scrambled to her feet, ready to punch him in his smug, upturned mouth. Cat was shouting something but she couldn’t really make it out. She didn’t care.

She opened her hand at the last moment so that her punch turned into a hard slap. Leva’s laugh became a choke as he was thrown off balance and onto the road.

 

Today’s lesson for me is: if you have personal problems, write them right in to your novel.

When I started writing today, I was behind by almost 3000 words and I was not in a good mood. I’m currently having some personal problems with my best friend – my ex-best friend, I should say, since our friendship is a bit on the rocks these days. I had just finished having a totally unsatisfying non-conversation with him and was (and still am) unsure of how to proceed along the road of our relationship.

This novel, and the interactions of the two main characters in it, has become an outlet for my frustration with my friend. While I didn’t come up with the idea with him strictly in mind, he soon became the jumping point for the easy, arrogant Leva, and the problems and flaws we both have were easy to make the starting point of an argument that got out of hand.

When I started writing I didn’t think I would make that many words. But I managed to make up for yesterday’s lack of writing, and keep going. And I could write even more – but I’m going to go home and make some dinner, instead.

Mood: frustrated but in some ways satisfied.
Word Count: 13,358
MusicThe Host of Seraphim, by Dead Can Dance.

Day Seven

Today’s great lesson is: When in doubt, make something delicious to eat.

I stayed up last night to watch the election coverage. Living in Copenhagen means that I’m many hours ahead, and so the election wasn’t officially over for me what with concession and acceptance speeches until around 7:30. To keep myself entertained, I made some writer’s fuel for the next couple of weeks.

My delicious treats are called apple cider caramels. They are rich and gooey, salty and sweet-tart as the very best apples are. You can’t have more than two at a time. They are completely amazing. I’ll be giving them out to my fellow wrimos (don’t want to eat around 50 of them myself!) I have to admit, they distract from the writing. I’m too busy being in caramel heaven.

Anyway, didn’t make the word count today, but I did manage around 800 words. Not bad since I stayed up all night and then had zero time today. I slept in and was late for everything.

Hope you fellow wrimos are doing well. Any other delicious distractions I should be cooking up during November?

Mood: sleepy
Word Count: somewhere between 10,000 and 11,000 – no exact count available tonight.
Music: none tonight.

Day Six

I made it to 10,000 words!

Yesterday, after I bemoaned the fact that I wouldn’t reach my word goal, I wrote a little more – and ended up less than 100 words shy of the par. Just goes to show you. I managed to make that up and instead of falling further and further behind, I’ve managed to keep on track.

To mark the 10,000th word, I decided to put in a wordle. How have I been doing?

Wordle: 6th November

 

The largest word is of course the name of my protagonist, Marian. Following that seems to be a host of nouns that aren’t terribly interesting, though I suppose if the word obsequious or something similar were popping up all the time, I would have a whole host of different problems to be dealing with.

Another thing I noticed was that of the 10,000 words, I think around 300 are listed on there. If wordle really does chronicle and analyse every single word we use, I’m not using too many. Obviously conjunctions, articles and pronouns are not included.

Maybe I should try more variation in my novel. But if I’m spending all my time thinking about which words to use, I won’t get as many put down.

Mood: tired, mostly.
Word Count: 10035
Music: the dulcet tones of the election coverage – happy Election Tuesday, Americans!

Day Four

Today I wrote, “The streets were dark and without light.

Yes, that was an actual sentence in my actual Nanowrimo novel.

Fortunately, the inner editor kicked in and I removed it before continuing. Even though we’re not supposed to hit the backspace key, EVER (I remember someone saying that we should tape it over), I will never be sorry that I failed to hit it then. What a sentence. Eesh.

As I rather casually read over what I had written during the course of the evening, I noticed that I used the word dark  a lot. I am describing an evening scene in which my main character returns to her hometown. And even though night is falling, do I really have to use dark as many times as I do?

I guess that’s the lesson for Day number four. I need to broaden my vocabulary.

I never thought I had a particularly small vocabulary. I know a lot of synonyms and almost-synonyms, and a lot of words that are long and complicated and impossible to spell. But the problem is that I don’t necessarily use them.

When it comes to writing, I believe that the right word should be used. Not the most complicated word, not the least complicated word. The right word. I want to use the right words in my writing, and I’m pretty sure that of the ten or so darks that I use in my 400 word paragraph, I could find at least eight other ‘right’ words.

I know that’s not the point right now. The point is to get all those words down and fix it up later. But I couldn’t help noticing it, and wishing that I could think of something better at the time.

Mood: pretty positive – I’m still above the daily word count goal!
Word Count: 6,765
MusicSlow, Love Slow by Nightwish (the instrumental version)

Happy writing!