Monday, November 16, 2009

Week Three

Weekend Word Count: 2430
Total: 27, 430

Not too bad for a slow writing weekend.  I did hit a bit of a snag point on Friday that continued into Saturday, so not much got done those two days.  But yesterday, things started flowing again.  I figured out how to tie the suspect to the crime scene, and that's a big forward leap over one obstacle.  I still had the problem of what did he do with the murder weapon?  We know what it is and that it wasn't at the scene, but where did it go?  That was still a stumbling block.

Funny thing about inspiration. It strikes at the oddest times.  When I hit 27,000 words last night, I decided to stop.  My brain was getting tired, it had been a long day (we did more smoked kielbasa) and after I laid out the main part of the fingerprint issue, I was still mulling over the knife issue (murder weapon--> knife).  So, I figured 27,000 still leaves me ahead of the NaNo curve, although behind my personal goal and I'd let things simmer on the back burner for a bit.  I was sitting in the living room, dinner was finished, TV was on, and I was staring into the fish tank.  (Which looks lovely now that I've cleaned it up!)  And, BAM!, the solution to the 'where did the knife go?' problem just leaps into my head.  I know where it is and how it got there.  I think I even know how we're going to find it. 

There are times when just letting things stew for a while is the right choice. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Halfway There

Today's Word Count: 2761
Total: 25,030

Wow, does that feel good!  Halfway to 50,000 before the middle of the month.  If I keep up with the average pace (averaging 2,085 words per day), I will hit 50,000 on November 23.  That would be quite nice.

It was a push to get there.  I didn't intend to go that far today.  For one thing, I started later than I usually do.  I had a hard time getting up the enthusiasm today.  But I knew I wanted to keep up at least the required 1,667 words so I didn't fall behind.  But, mentally, I'm at a stalled point in my main plot and I didn't know where to go.

What to do at those times?  Well, I think it's pretty much a common thing, if the forum posts at the NaNoWriMo site are any indication.  Just around the halfway point in the month, everyone goes into crisis.  Well, maybe not everyone.  There are a few who are either over or so close to 50,000 words already, it's a given.  The rest of us fall prey to uncertainty, confusion, lack of motivation and a whole host of other impediments to getting the writing done. 

The thing to do when you hit those points, is to sit down and do something.  Go back and add the couple sentences you thought of that should have been in an earlier scene.  Re-read a little of where you left off.  Don't get carried away with this, though.  That can make things worse, as you realize that this thing is going to take a whole lot of work to make it decent.  But sometimes, just re-reading the last paragraph will spark something further. Leave the main plot for a bit and work on a sub-plot.  Or do what I did- explore some character development.  Find out how your main character interacts with other people outside the main action of the story.  You're going to need some of that in there, anyway, if you are going to have a nicely rounded character that readers will care about.  So I wrote a nice family dinner scene and suddenly, I found I was only five or six hundred words away from 25,000.  And I was determined to get there now. 

Get your inspiration, your motivation wherever you can- characters, action, building word counts.  It's all good now.  The end of the tunnel is in sight.  And it looks good!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As We Hit Week Two

Today's count: 2515
Total: 20, 568

I ran into a physical barrier.  On Sunday, I really trashed my back.  Yesteday, I was in fairly significant pain with spasms every time I moved.  Not a good thing, especially for writing!  I got barely over the minimum 1667 words done.  I wanted to get at least that, because I don't want to lose the little bit I am ahead of the curve.

Today was better.  Pain more manageable and spasms gone.  Still not great, but getting better. 

As for the writing, it was a good day.  I got a lot written.  I put in some backstory, and introduced another character.  Last night, I got hit with a surprise in the plot, even to me.  The restaurant that the murder victim owns caught on fire.  Don't know where that came from, but it made a nice action scene in there. 

The thing is, while I liked the idea of another bit of action, it kind of scares me at the same time.  I mean, stuff has to happen.  Too much time spent with just talk, talk, talk would make a boring story.  But, when random stuff happens that I didn't expect/plan for, it always makes me wonder if any of what I've written makes any sort of sense.  At the same time, I know that I have a decent story, and I had the basic plot structure worked out before I started.   I haven't strayed from that, so the main story should be fine.  I have not gone back and reread it as a whole.  No time for that, really, if I'm going to get done by the end of the month. 

And first drafts are often a bit, shall we say, messy.  I know there will be lots of stuff to clean up.  Plot points needing expanding, scenes connected, details added in.  Not to mention cleaning up the spelling (hopefully not much of that), grammar and punctuation.  But all of that is the realm of first edit.

If there is one thing NaNoWriMo can teach you, it is the value of just sitting down and writing the story.  Because you can get so wrapped up in making it perfect from the start, that you never get anywhere.  Believe me, I know.  I've been there.  So, onward to 50,000.  Clean-up later.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Today's words: 1692
Total: 18,053

No blog today.  Bad back- hurt too much.  Catch up tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How Do You Keep the Music Playing?

Today's Word Count: 2061
Total: 14, 579

Today went pretty well.  Yesterday, not so much.  But writing is much like that.  There are days when the words flow and flow, and there's seemingly no effort involved.  Even that nagging little editorial voice in your head seems to have gone on hiatus.  Those are the good days.

Then there are the rest of them.  Nothing seems right, your plot comes to a screeching halt and that annoying voice keeps telling you that it's all pure drivel, anyway!  What to do then?

Everyone deals with blocks in their own way.  You have to find what works for you.

One approach is to just plow on, anyway.  Just spew words, without regard for what they are or even if they make sense.  For NaNovelists, this has the advantage of adding to your word count, and possibly not letting you get too far behind.  The disadvantage is that it leaves you with quite a mess to clean up later.  Of course, sometimes it does work and you find that after a few sentences of utter nonsense, the ideas are flowing again and you're right back on track.

The strategy that usually works best for me is to walk away for a while.  Do something else.  Get some laundry done.  Walk the dog.  Even take a shower.  Just get away from the computer and the novel for a bit;  I find that sitting at the desk, even if I'm surfing the Net or playing games, just reminds me that I should be writing- which, of course, I should.  But if it isn't working, no matter how hard I've tried, I can't force it and I get frustrated with the whole thing.  Walking away for a while helps to clear my head, gives me a chance to put the current problem (plot hole, character development, something I know I need to research but don't have time, etc.) on the back burner and let it simmer a bit.  That will often cause my subconscious to work around the issue all by itself.  And then I can get back to the work at hand, namely, getting that novel written!

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!  What's yours?

Yesterday's Update

Friday's Word Count: 1401
Total: 12, 518

Not a good day.  Didn't even make the 1667, but since I was ahead anyway, I haven't lost a lot.  I had a prior engagement last night, so didn't get as much done as I normally would.  I suppose I could have  said I couldn't make it, but this is a once a year thing with people I don't see any other time. 

Still I got some good backstory put in, and this weekend will start dealing with subplots and introducing more characters.  I do need to figure out where the murder actually happened, also, as the body was discovered in a different place (in the oven, actually).  I think I know how that's going to go, but the details are a bit fuzzy yet.

The weekend, especially today, is going to be tough going.  More sausage making, but it's gotta get done if we are going to give it as gifts.  Tomorrow should be a better day, and today, I think I will just keep the story open on the computer and try to get in as many words as I can between other stuff.

More later, I hope.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Moving Right Along

Today's word count: 2,354
Total:  11, 117

Yeah, it's going pretty decently.  I'm a bit behind where I wanted to be, but ahead of the NaNoWriMo curve, so that's a good thing.  I'd set a goal for myself of 2500 words a day, and it's been tought to get there.  Of course, giving the first story the old heave-ho and starting with a different one did put me behind, because I felt that , even though I wrote over 6,000 words on the first one, it was only fair to reset the counter when I scrapped it.

This one is going much better.  The plot is flowing, the backstory is unfolding, and I have ideas for a couple sub-plots.  Much better than sitting here, trying to figure out if there even was a main plot, nevermind anything on the side.  It's so much more fun to write when you are enjoying the story!

So here's what it's about:

Out of the Frying Pan

The celebrity chef star of a publicly popular TV cooking show is murdered in the studio. But who did it? The jealous wife who claims she is psychic and "saw" his death in a vision? The producer, angry that his star might move to a national network? The assistant chef, who some claim was the real talent behind the cooktop? The girlfriend, afraid she was losing her meal ticket?

It's up to the detectives in this small New England town to untangle all the threads and see which one leads to a killer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On Giving Up

The fantasy story is dead.  I just have no plot, at all.  Not even after wrestling out over 6000 words.  So I gave it up.  Yeah, that's going to hurt (maybe) getting to 50,000 by the end of the month, but if it ended up just a rambling mess of nothing salvagable, what good is that?  I know, many poeple say once you start a NaNovel, you should plug away because it might just turn into something.  But I really was beginning to hate the thing.  To the point where I didn't want to even sit down and try to write more.  That wasn't going to get me to 50,000 words, either.  I decided to reset the word count and not start from the 6000+ I'd done the last few days.  And it's at 8763, so things flowed pretty well.  I'm more confident with this one.  Better, much better.

Oh, what is it?  Murder mystery.  "Out of the Frying Pan" 

Tonight, I am a much happier writer!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chugging Along

Today's word count: 1730
Total: 6338

Chugging along pretty much describes things right now.  I'm still not sure this is a workable story, but I'm pretty much invested now.  I have some research to do tomorrow.  Yeah, I know, research later. Write now!!  But I need to know a couple details before I can really write a few scenes here.  Just a basic idea- nothing too involved.

Still trying to figure out why I can't wrap a plot around the idea.  It's not bad, I don't think.  I mean, it is probably going to end up as mostly crap, but aren't most first drafts a lot of crap?  I know there's a lot out of sequence and lots of filling in to to do.  But that's for later.  Now, I have to figure out where the base story is going. 

Back to it tomorrow!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day Two

Today's count: 2576 words
Total: 4608

Not terrible, but still behind where I wanted to be by about 400 words.  And, boy, have I hit it!  I usually don't start writing anything until I have a pretty good idea about the story:  how it starts, often the ending, and a fair idea where it is going between.  This one was different.  All I had when I started yesterday was a vague plot description.  And today, I find I did not know what to write.  I don't know where this is going.  Heck, I don't even know where it IS!  I really should have taken the time to do a real outline, because I'm beginning to fear this is not going to be a viable story.  I still think the idea is good, but it's going to need some serious work to make it a fully fleshed story.  Not a good place to be in right now.  I'm going to plug ahead.  I have to, really.  I have nothing else even close to writable at this point. 

And this week is not a good one for carving out time for writing or even thinking!  Blood work today, piano lesson tomorrow, and dr's appointment on Wednesday!  All that just cuts into time. 


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day One

And I'm flagging!  It's been a long day, and my brain is getting ready to shut down.  I have just over 1300 words in and I wanted to get 2500.  I'm going to shoot for 2000 and see where I am.  It's been a long day- company for breakfast, then stuffing the 3 kinds of sausage we ground and seasoned yesterday.  And we were out last night, as well.  Not a good start for me. 

Back to writing.  At least 700 words to go.

Today's count: 2032.  Not bad, not bad.