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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo day one…

… and I’ve already thought of joining a monastery for the month.

Chuck Wendig has an apt post: The NaNoWriMo Dialogues: Day One, โ€œSo Not Readyโ€, but then he’s already a published author and has all the time in the world to … what am I doing?

This is worth a watch:

Back to the blank paper, then.

 

 

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo – fin.

NaNoWriMo? Failed, just short of 30k.

I shan’t batter myself, stand in the corner, sit on the naughty step, or curse my ineptitude and bone idleness. I shall just sniff and say “Meh. Next year, then.” After all, it’s not as if I haven’t ‘made it’ before. I have: several times. I’ve been taking part since 2006 when half of you weren’t even born … so there! ๐Ÿ˜‰

In other news … I joined a writer’s site called Scribophile.com which, though seemingly useful in that it offers peer critique, has a very odd – and expensive – paid version that doesn’t really offer enough to warrant the $9 a month cost. That’s my view, though maybe I’m missing something.

Duotrope.com are going to start charging for their service (for writers searching for publishers) as of the 1st January 2013. I’m miffed, because I’ve only just started using it. However, if it’s as good as I think it is then $5 a month is well worth paying.

There is so much available for free on-line that it is a shock when you have to pay for something – especially when you’re brassic. I gave a little to Wikipedia last week and felt really good about it. That fact that I use the Wikipedia site everyday, and that it is my favoured go-to for info site on the net, didn’t cross my mind. Google is the same: I uses their services shamelessly, yet they’re still ‘apparently’ free. Lucky old us!

Percy, our wonderful black cat, isn’t very well. He seems to have lost his sight and is drinking a lot of water. So it’s off to the Vet tomorrow morning which won’t make him happy – poor chap. It’s odd when you consider how much we love him, and yet in some parts of the world they’d happily have him for dinner. Humans are peculiar creatures.

Ave.

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NaNoWriMo

NaNowriMo day 22

Kittens. You’ve got to love them. ๐Ÿ™‚

What? Apart from that? Nothing happening here … move along. Oh, okay. Here’s a bit of salutary advice from one who knows. It’s better to build the world before you start writing a story in it.

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo days 11, 12 & 13

Where was I? Oh yes, heat and water. Writing the great novel was slid onto a back burner while there was suffering. Suffering, I tell you!

Sunday came and went with those visiting going home to their nice warm gaffs and their turn the tap hot water whilst we … well, I’ve mentioned suffering, haven’t I. To add salt and irony to the wounds of pong and shivers on Sunday night there was an advert on TV – the first time I’d ever seen it – for Worcester Boilers. An advert that … oh, watch it yourselves, do ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank Worcester for that? I pondered the question, weeping into my soup, and decided to hold off on the cheery affirmation and thank you presents.

And then (yes, I know I shouldn’t start a sentence – and especially a paragraph – with ‘and’) came Monday morning. The same repair chap arrived along with the head honcho. There was a lot of muttering and finally the big dude called the manufacturers. More muttering and reading of serial numbers, then a request for my phone number. Odd, I thought.

“Why do you want my phone number?”
“So the repair man can call before he arrives tomorrow,” Head Honcho said, his expression indicating I must be daft.
“Umm, not today? You said it was only a fan.”
“It is, but they don’t have them in stock and they won’t arrive until tomorrow anyway. Besides, it’s under warranty.”
“Ah,” I said, “so when will he arrive?”
“Sometime between eight and five.”
“What great service!” I said. He smiled.

Today The Worcester Man arrived! A pleasantly pleasant chap who was genuinely amazed the fan had broken. So all’s well that ends well, as William S once said. I’m clean, washing up is a pleasure (that maybe a little fib), and all is roses in the hot water and radiator department. I pray it won’t ever, EVER, break down again.

I’m back writing, too! It’s so much easier whenย  you don’t have to keep blowing on your fingers to keep them warm.

The caveat, that crept up on me during this debacle, is that I feel a tad guilty. Guilty that with the number of people on the planet who don’t have clean water to drink I have the temerity to complain about mine being cold. Guilty that I have a warm house to live in when there are people freezing on the streets. Guilt isn’t a good emotion, but pragmatically what can I do? Giving to charity assuages the guilt to a certain extent, but … but? Maybe the subject is best dealt with post NaNoWriMo and once I’ve finished my fantasy novel.

Sincere thanks to all those who have ‘liked’ my posts. I’ve visited some of your sites, but I’ll be dropping in on all of you, sooner or later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Onwards and upwards! NaNo day 13 is far from over (almost four hours left), so I must buckle down and catch up.

Ave.

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NaNoWriMo

NaNowriMo days 9 & 10

warmth is good!

Yesterday, the 9th, we had a brand new boiler fitted. It was truly wonderful to be warm and wallow in a hot bath!

Today, the 10th, the boiler broke down: it’s blue and steady ‘hi, I’m ready to keep you warm and clean, you wonderful, deserving human, you‘ light started flashing in panic and … nothing. I read the manual whose suggestion – after pages of intimate boiler speak and complex flow charts – was ‘call repair man soonest.’ Remarkably, seeing as it was Saturday, the repair man came. Overjoyed? I’ll say I was!

I moved the microwave and all the other bits from the counter top so he could remove the boiler’s cover.

Ten minutes, and lots of prodding with his multimeter, later:

“The fan’s broken,” he said.
“But it’s brand new!”
The repair man shrugged.
“I assume you don’t have a fan on your van?” I said.
“No. Monday’s the soonest,” he said, as he packed up and quietly left, leaving me sobbing in the kitchen.

As to NaNo: it progresses as I slowly get older … and now, inevitably, smellier. If I had a old tin bathtub I could put it in the kitchen and fill it from a kettle on the range. I could scrub my back with Lye soap, drink moonshine, dry myself in front of the fire and … nope. I’m too soft. Besides, there isn’t a range or a fireplace, and I’d end up in A&E.

Roll on day 12, a new fan and a working boiler, and breaking the 20,000 words barrier. ๐Ÿ™‚

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo day 8

Welcome to day eight of the most fabulous show on earth. Erm, yes. I’ll split this into three sections, which, seeing as it’s gone 7pm isn’t good – you’ll see why later.

Life

The boiler blew up last week and we’ve had scant hot water. Consequently, I’m beginning to look like a bit player in a Dickens adaptation, and certainly feel like one.

Went to bed late so got up late. Getting up late isn’t good and it’s lucky I’m self-employed. Not so lucky that the work I was expecting hasn’t arrived yet. Yea! thought I. Iย  can write.

Haven’t written a jot … yet.

Frittering

It’s a pity I can’t find a niche market for frittering as I seem to excel at it, and I’m also rather good at net research. The proof of the pudding being finding out that my Great-Grandfather would have been 157 this year! It’s a bit of a story so I’ll keep it short:

I accessed an email account I’d almost forgotten about and found a link to a website called Genes Reunited which I’d joined a few years back to try and discover my family tree. It offered me free access to the 1911 census. Now free is good, because census access can be expensive. I clicked the link (first checking it was legitimate and not spam for a ‘ penis enlargement’ scam) and arrived at the logon page. Luckily, I use a password program – otherwise that’s where this tale would have ended – and it logged me in. Colour me embarrassed but there was an email from a chap I’d last corresponded with four years ago. To cut a long thing short: the 1911 census gave me all the information I hadn’t been able to find out before. Seeing where my long dead relatives used to live and who lived with them in the house in 1911 was amazing! And, I remembered my Great-Grandfather was an author of children’s books!

I trundled over to Google,ย  typed in his name and arrived at Project Gutenburg where to my amazement I found they had transcribed one of his books into .mobi and .epub: The Hero of Garside School. It was quite an emotional moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe I write because it’s somewhere in my DNA? My Grandmother was a journalist, too.

After lunch – because a sensible fritterer always has cheese on toast – I tried loglines again (see yesterday’s post). As a pantser – one who writes on the fly rather than having a plot to follow – I don’t think they’re going to be that useful for me. When I finish the first draft I’ll try loglining again. At that point I think they’ll help me to refine the story.

NaNo day 8

As it’s now nearly 8pm I’ve got to get my skates on and start writing. No point in spanking myself (a la John Cleese in Fawlty Towers) and no point in wailing as I rip out my hair. No, I’ll just toodle off and write.

Ave.

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo day 7

Addiction is a terrible thing, especially when it keeps you away from writing. I’m not talking about drugs – though maybe I am as all addiction has to do with Brain chemistry – I’m talking about frittering away time on-line.

Luckily, today’s frittering fix found gold (argh, gold I tell ‘ee) in the form of ‘loglines’.ย  If you’re a writer loglines are a very useful tool for clarifying your story.

A logline is a short, pithy, outline of your novel (or screenplay). It is short, as in twenty seven words (that’s 27 words for those who have fallen off their chairs in shock). Yes, I too thought it was a ludicrous idea until I tried it.ย Even if you’re not convinced do have a go, because then you’ll be able to say ‘Na, tried loglines and they did nothing for me, mate.’

This NaNo I’m writing the back half of a novel I started in NaNo 2008. I was having trouble with various elements of the plot until I stumbled upon the logline concept. It took me a while, but I managed to refine the basic premise to 27 words. Now, I’m flying! Okay, so not flying exactly, but my logline has helped.

A day before NaNo I joined a site called Scibophile (fun, free to join, and no, I don’t work for them). It’s a critique site where you crit, get points and spend them getting a crit for your own work. It’s a good concept, but I digress. One of the forums I discovered today was called ‘Loglines’. Here and here is more information.

Here is my 24 word logline – I have three words in reserve:
Unknowingly chased by Nasties across the multiverse Davy has no idea of the trouble he’s in, or the trouble he’s causing his parents’ kindnappers.

Now, I simply must carry on writing … or … maybe I’ll spend another ten minutes frittering. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ave.

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo day 6

Writing fiction is a strange and rather magical pastime. There are two types of writer: the pantser – who literally writes by the seat of their pants (or trousers if you come from the U.K., like I do), and the plotter – who outlines and plots meticulously before they begin. I’m a pantser. I begin with just the very vaguest idea and the story either quickly dies, or, it seems to write itself: characters arrive and are either minor bit players, who soon disappear, or major characters I get to know well. I can take those characters anywhere and they’ll bear it without too much complaint.

It is a bit like buying a magical ticket for a holiday without any idea of where you’re going or who you’re going to meet en-route. It’s big fun, but you still have to bear in mind that there will be drama and tears,ย  love, and fantasy and death.

Today, on day six of this years NaNo, my story clicked and I became involved. Some characters are now more than acquaintances; they’re friends. Some characters I’m beginning to loath, and at least one (wipes a tear away) is going to die.

I’m a bit behind as far as word count goes, but I don’t think that’s going to last long. I’m invested in the story and I really want to find out how it’s going to end. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ave.

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo day 5

I’ve been plagued all day by thoughts of word count, why I’m slipping, and do I really care?

I write: ergo I’m a writer. I may not make a living at it: I may not get up at five in the morning and, bleary eyed, write beautiful stellar prose because that’s when the squirrels are cutely cavorting and it is just the way it’s got to be, darling. I may not even write a lot when I write … but I do write. So do I need the artificial kick in the arse that is NaNo? Yesterday I said:

NaNoWriMo is all about the 50,000 words. Write, write and write! Do not carefully construct each and every sentence while writing…

But that’s just not me. I’m not good at churning out pages and pages and then going back to edit. I prefer to try and get it right the first time. Besides, I write short stories, not novels as they seem to be an easier form for me.

The question I should probably ask myself is ‘why haven’t you finished one of your NaNo novels, then? Hmm?’ Honestly, I don’t know. It’s not that they’re bad, they’re just unfinished. Also, it’s more fun writing something new.

I’m beginning to think NaNo is a bit like Birthdays, Christmas, and Guy Fawkes: the anticipation is much sweeter than the reality.

I’ve ‘done’ NaNo every year since 2006–back in the days when participation hadn’t got near a hundred thousand people and the servers were so slow it was a miracle if you could update your word count. Then, it was an utter blast, and huge fun! But then I knew a lot of people taking part. Now, it seems, no one I know can be bothered. Maybe the global economy is partially to blame, yet year on year the number of people hammering away on their keyboards grows, and the whole shebang has becomes slicker and slicker and better orchestrated … which is not a bad thing at all, it’s just….

I don’t know what I’m trying to say, here. I’ll stop blathering. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and yes, I do care my word count is slipping. It’s a cracking story and as I want to finish it I’ll do better. Honest, guv.

Ave!

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo day 4

Yeah, so, I’ve just had diner, which was a simply scrumptious affair of pie, mash and sweet corn, followed by coconut yoghurt for pud. Today I’ve been in a much more positive frame of mind, and though I’m still taunting myself with artificial deadlines I’m doing it with wry good humour. Add that I’m happy with what I’ve written and it’s no wonder the cat is purring.

Also, this afternoon was the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was won by Kimi Raikkonen, and was an excellent race filled with excitement! If you don’t follow F1 you really should. True, it’s not a mandatory part of NaNoWriMo, but it should be. Ludicrously expensive fast car racing and novel writing: what could be a better mix? ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I haven’t done on day four is write as much as I should have. I’m going to be a tad behind going in to day five, but not so much that catching up isn’t doable.

Blimey, the English language is wonderfully rich and infinitely malleable, isn’t it? Maybe, for clarity, I should have said: I’ll be behind on day five, but I can catch up. I love it! There are so many different ways to couch a thought. Actually, that’s a very good point….

Note to self: NaNoWriMo is all about the 50,000 words. Write, write and write! Do not carefully construct each and every sentence while writing or, unless your name is Stephen Fry, you won’t get to 50,000 words. Re-writing comes in December, and then is the time to tweak, primp and tartify your prose.

Ave.