First Finish

Guess what?!  I FINALLY FINISHED!!!!

That’s right, at 2:23 AM last night, I finished my first draft of the damn fantasy story I’ve been working on for two years!  I knew it would be the day, and I couldn’t stop once I sat down after dinner that night .  I owe my progress to the challenge of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in which I have cranked out about 35,000 words, which is roughly 138 pages since the beginning of November.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to say that I’m done.  There is a spiteful little voice inside telling me how awful the revision process will be, but I am ignoring it and focusing on the joy of knowing I saw this first and worst stage to completion.

I will be taking 4-6 weeks off from this story to get it out of my head.  My plan is to write something absolutely silly and light-hearted to distract myself so that I look at the story with fresh, objective eyes in late December.

Thank you all for putting up with my emails of failure.  Hopefully, I won’t need to hold such a flame under my butt to get the second draft out.  Yes, I will eventually have something readable put together and yes, I would love to share it with you once it’s done.  That’s probably a good six months away, so just sit tight ;-)

Epic day

I am spent.  ~4,500 words (~18 pages) in one day, including a 2.5 page angry monologue.  That’s right–more than twoepic pages of heated ranting.  It was awesome!  That takes so much out of you though!  You can only make something like that good if you are truly caught up in the emotion, and I could hear this character screaming in my head.  I would get up now and then when I couldn’t figure out exactly how to frame his words and pace with my brows all pinched, letting him vent over and over again until it finally sounded right.

This is going to sound fantastically stupid, but I think I’m getting the hang of this writing thing.  It’s a blade that loses its edge quickly, and that’s why everyone says you have to do it  every day.  I must have been a worthless heap of rust when I really committed to this if I’m just now starting to feel it flow naturally.

I’m going to admit right away that there is some serious repetition of adjectives and I am letting far too many adverbs poop on my screen, but the whole point of this month is to just keep going, poopy words and all!  Oh, and every now and then I hit a wall and I just can’t possibly give a scene as much detail as it deserves so I’ll just write, “fix shitty description later,” and move on.  We’re aiming for quantity this month and quality will come later!

War is on!

warI added a “word war” pic to the right column of my blog to show you all how much I am kicking Kayla’s butt at NaNoWriMo!  It updates automatically so you can witness her defeat in real time–YEAH!

Of course, I love Kayla dearly, and I hope she does well–just not as well as me ;-)

In other news, I wrote a super sweet fight scene and an epic war scene over the past couple days.  If you know me, I’m not a violent person, and I can’t stand gory movies, but I don’t like being cheated out of the drama of an honest battle.  If you’ve read Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, I’m sure you noticed how there would be a lot of tension before each major battle that would result in the absolute annihilation of one or more elvish kingdoms which would be summed up in about two paragraphs–very anti-climactic.  Now when you’re dealing with nothing but swords and archery, it does get a bit old if they go into blow-by-blow descriptions, but you gotta throw in some major details of the action.  Did everyone fight fairly?  Any crazy weapons or monsters involved?  Who died and to whom did they fall?  You can’t just say the battle waged for about a day and a half and give a list of corpses.  Anyway, I put a lot of effort into my fight scenes so I hope my readers love them!

Kayla, fight me!  I challenge you to a NaNoWriMo duel!

UPDATENaNoWriMo

I totally kicked Kayla’s butt ;-)  To be fair, Kayla had already written one book earlier this year, and she got engaged, so she has an excuse.  She still lost though! Muah ahahahah!

Save those scenes for the privacy of your own home

To say that I am empathetic of my characters is an understatement.  If you were to open me up like a Barbie dollhouse, you would see them inside me, each of them having their own little space, complete with miniature plastic hair dryers and whatever else they might need to go on about their daily lives.

In this symbiotic relationship, I am prone to experiencing their emotions.  This is normally a fantastic moment, where I, as as writer, connect with them on a level that allows me to see and feel enough detail that I can effectively relay their experience to the alleged “real world.”  I have learned to exercise some caution about where I choose to do this, however.

You see, for most scenes in a story, I might type away with my brows slightly furrowed as I struggle to absorb all of thesaveScenes details of what’s going on and spit them out in a way that makes the reader think, “golly, this is such swell writing, I’ve forgotten I’m even reading!”  I recently wrote a scene that I’ve always found moving when I daydream about it.  I never thought it particularly sad, but when I actually wrote it while sitting at a coffee shop, I totally watered my face.  It was instant and I had to pack up my thoughts and things and relocate to my apartment where I could sit and bawl over the words without causing a scene.  Lord, what people must have thought if they noticed.  I bet they thought I was sending some desperate love letter via Facebook to a person I had never actually met.  Or maybe I was on my favorite celebrity’s Twitter page pleading to be recognized as a long-time fan that’s always been so supportive, even when everyone said she was a demon-possessed android that gave birth to dragon-headed puppies that would never be house trained.

But did I learn from that experience? Oh no, it takes a long series of beatings over my head to get anything in there.  I found myself in the lounge of my apartment building tapping away at my keyboard, making more progress on a chapter than I had thought I would and feeling quite content with myself.  I thought the chapter was over, but then I thought of a better way to end it.  There’s a very innocent love story that peaks its head up here and there throughout the plot.  It’s not really a pivotal piece of the overall story, but it gives the characters depth and adds meaning to many of their actions.  Anyway, so it’s just a quick moment where they pull away from the others to have a little kiss and exchange some pukey sick lover words.  No one was in the room when I started writing it, but I grow this dopey smile and blush like a twelve-year-old girl whose crush has just discovered little hearts around his picture in her yearbook.  That’s right when a group of people walk in the lounge, and I look up, visibly surprised as I am ripped back to reality and give them a quick nod.  From the face I wore before and my reaction to them entering, I’m quite certain they think I was watching kiddy porn and got caught in the act.  What would I even say if they accused me?  “Oh, no I was just working on a kissing scene in this fantasy story I’m writing.  When I’m done with it, I’m going back home to put in my retainer, tuck myself in bed and stare up at the Star Wars and X-Men posters I have taped to the ceiling.”

It’s often hard to know what will appear on the page when you sit down to write, but if you know it’s something that might make you blush or tear up, just go home.  You don’t want to be that guy.  Ever.

NaNoWriMo and BIW

This week is BIW (Book in a Week) and this month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month).  It’s a recipe for craziness!  I, of course, signed up for both because I’m thirsty for madness.

Why are these events so popular?  Because most writers are despicable procrastinators (myself included).  However, we are all sensitive to a kryptonite in the form of  a certain question, “how’s that book coming along?”  Ugh.  I cringe every time someone asks me that.  You can only lie so much, so usually you just kind of mumble and at least mentally tell the inquisitor to screw off.  I’ve learned it’s not very healthy to ask your friends or family to hold you accountable.  I don’t know, maybe that works for some people, but it just burns my cookies when a co-worker asks when they can read a chapter.  They are genuinely curious, and have the best intentions, but your failure masks all this and makes it impossible to not view that person with utter contempt.  So NaNoWriMo and BIW are great because I don’t feel this way with strangers, especially other writers who are victim to the same procrastination.

I’m keeping up with my goals so far.  Who knew writing every day paid off?  I should have tried doing that years ago!

NaNoWriMo is only in November, but you can read about it anytime at www.nanowrimo.org

BIW is every month, and I believe it’s the first full week.  Info is available at www.book-in-a-week.com

Do whatever it takes to finish!