Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Off the face of the Earth

This all seems trivial in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, of whom I have family affected, but I sit here thinking about the impending trial of NaNoWriMo. I have spent nearly the last month refining my outline and feel selfish for being so concerned over the incoming challenge. So many lives have been affected over what we, simple humans, cannot control. Whole cities are in the dark and lives have been lost. It makes me feel insignificant. In my mind I can manipulate and create a world to my own taste, with its own trials. But reality is just that; reality. I'm not going to go on and on, just stopping by to sat that I will be foregoing as much of the internet (including this blog) for the next month as I can. In the spirit of perseverance and humility, I will be writing.   

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Every evil genius has a plan

King Evil Do-er knows how to ensnare the masses and, like every great genius, has thought of everything and planned accordingly. I want to be King Evil Do-er. Right now I'm like the Baroness of Badstuff. I'm no evil genius. I walk haphazardly, lopping my sword like a fumbling buffoon, just hoping I'll hit something. Putting aside the metaphors, I hate outlines. I hate making detailed plans of my perfect vision. It's tedious, frustrating and technical. Not that writing can't go that way aswell, but we're not talking about writing. We're talking about outlines. Blah.

So, back to the metaphor. Baroness of Badstuff has great ideas. Some are visionary and truly evil, but because of her penchant for winging it, she's always foiled in the end. King Evil Do-er sits her down and has a nice long chat about the importance of thinking ahead and creating a master plan. He hands her parchment and a quill, telling her scratch out a detailed description of her next evil coo. She isn't allowed approval of this coo until it has been reviewed. Baroness of Badstuff grumbles and sits there for hours. She could be out there, wreaking havoc right now, but nooo. She has to make an outline.

Back to reality. So, I keep wanting to get to the writing. I've been brainstorming and outlining for a little over a week. I'm preparing for Nanowrimo. Nanowrimo doesn't begin for another two weeks. I can't do anything. We have to start from scratch, outlines notwithstanding. While I've been outlining, I get bored. Planning isn't really my thing. And especially in writing. I guess I feel like there's a bit of seduction in the idea that, even as the writer, you have no idea where the story is going to go. Alas, I have to plot out my story if I have any hope of writing 1,667 words a day over the course of a month. That's ontop of the revision of my previous book. Outlining is important, especially for me. I have a tendency to derail and end up in new and confusing places that have nothing to do with the direction I was headed. Ha. I just now realized I do that with a lot of things. Talking, for example. Hmm....

On with the metaphor. As Baroness of Badstuff plots out her master plan, toiling endlessly, getting distracted and finding interesting ways to stall, King Evil Do-er looms over her head. She knows there will be no more evil do-ing if there are no plans. As she dots the last 'I', King Evil-doer pats her on the back and sends her on her way. Now the fun can begin. Halfway through her brilliantly executed high jinks, Baroness of Badstuff realized that nobody had put a wrench in her plans. She'd thought of everything. Well, shoot. Baroness of Badstuff felt a little sheepish thinking that a carefully constructed plan would suck the very essence out of being an evil do-er. Yet, here she stood, lord over many minions with people groveling at her feet. She'd never known such victory. King Evil Do-er sent her summons. He was proud of her. She had finally realized what he saw the whole time. She was a great evil do-er, all she needed was a plan. Baroness of Badstuff smiled at the compliment as King Evil-doer promoted her. She was now Countess of the Corrupted.

In reality, I have not finished my outline yet. This is just another way to distract myself. With that, I'm off to grind among the wicked keys.        

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I don't talk too much. I'm just working out.

Let's start with the facts. The average adult knows 30,000-40,000 words. Oxford Dictionaries estimates the english language approaches 750,000 words. That means (at the top end) we only know about 5% of what the language povides. Whoa.

How many words are there that I don't know? Better yet, how many words do I know? As a writer, harnessing the english language is essential. Ofcourse, I don't need to litter my prose with words like anathema or ecumenical to feel like I'm using everything our language has to offer. It just makes me sound pretentious and my writing can be confusing if I strive to go "high-brow". Do you really want someone reading your writing to stop every few minutes to look up a word? Kinda takes out of the whole experience, dontcha-think?

There is a giant hitch here. Kinda like trying to solve an unsolvable puzzle. Where's the line between using your expansive vocabulary to your advantage and to your detriment? I mean, you want people to understand you. Right? But it's also nice to use words that not everyone may know, but describe what you want tosay perfectly. So,what do you do?

I've been accused of sounding pretentious, but I don't think that qualifies as an insult. Why should I stop using my vocabulary? And I don't. I use it everyday, in as many ways I can. I talk A LOT. I can see the sea of nods right now. It's like flexng a muscle, really. And it also helps me get a grasp on words that may be new to me.  And in peparation for refining my novel, I've been doing crosswords, word games, usin word aday apps and so-on. And you bet your ass I'll be using new words in conversation. And I always ecourage people to ask what a word is when they don't know why waste that opportunity?

Check out these cool places to brush up your language skills!

http://dynamo.dictionary.com/ (this game will estimate how many words you know, and gets more accurate the more you play)



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Procrastination, disengage!

*clench teeth* 
*roll eyes*
*sigh again*

This is me. Now. I have just suffered a MAJOR fallback at the hands of inadvertent procrastination. I never do so on purpose. Although I become highly aware of it from time to time. A simple mistake over a year ago has resulted in my being denied fiancial aid for this semester. And now I have to withdraw from my classes. Pissed? You betcha. But I'm really angry because I did it to myself.

There's a corralation here between the grind of shoveling out words for a novel every day and learning how to avoid procrastination. Discipline negates procrastination, for the most part. We can't forget that big hairy monster of fear. But fear wasn't the culprit in the case, so we'll let that slide. I see things in a whole new light compared to a year ago when I couldn't have made myself write everyday to save my life. You can't reap the rewards of your work if you leave yourself hanging in limbo. I kinda want to scream at myself in the mirror. What an idiot!

Chalk this all up to another life lesson. Procrastination can ruin your life. Okay, that may be a little overdramatic for my current situation. But it still means I'm out for the rest of the semester. Boo-hiss.   

Monday, October 8, 2012


A few days ago I signed up for a one-way ticket to insanity. In short: National Novel Writing Month, aka, NaNoWriMo. It challenges writers of all walks to punch out 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Yes. That means, in order to succeed, said writer has to scribble out an average of 1,667 words a day.

Some people are well adept at this. I am not. First off, I only have a few hours a day to write. Yeah, I try to squeeze in a few things while Tristan, my toddler, is causing mayhem. But it's not exactly productive. Finding creative space while your kid is more than capable of taking advantage is a bad mom move. Especially since he's barely two and half. So you may be thinking, then why even do this NaNo-whatever-it's-called? Good question. Call it an exercise in delusions of grandeur.

I have this old screenplay that I wrote back before I was even in film school. It's crap. Utter crap. However, the idea and plot isn't half-bad. And since I'm not ridiculously attached to it, considering I haven't even read it since 2007,  I thought I'd try and adapt it into a manuscript and see what sticks.

As of now, I'm preparing the outline. This requires me to do some serious research on bio mechanics, judo, fencing, genetic engineering, and and volatile chemical compounds. Woo-Hoo!! It's actually very exciting. But also time consuming. Yet, if I get in all the legwork before the actual novel writing has commenced, I'll be more likely to succeed.

This whole thing begins on November 1st. And during that month I'll be going through midterms, temporarily raising a toddler alone while my husband is off in the woods surviving with a bunch of other Army dudes, editing the first draft of a different novel, and outlining the follow-up to that.

See, and now I read what I just wrote and think, yeah right. Nope. Not gonna happen.

But I'm a stubborn ass.

If anyone wants to join-up and try it out with me, Just click on the NaNoWriMo link *points left*.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

10 Years and then the 90-Day Novel

Only a few more days and I won't have wasted an entire decade! After all the head-against-wall moments, over-editing, rewriting (and rewriting, and rewiting, and rewriting), surges of inspiration and just plain crappy writing, I'll have actually finished the first draft!!

And to think this all because of some desperate impulse buy back in the beginning of June.

The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within

Alan Watt's guide to finishing a novel didn't help me finish in 90-Days, not because he failed, but unforseen circumstance. Still, I would NEVER have come to the days before finishing my book without it. In reality, it's taken me four months from brainstorming to writing the last chapter.

I want to jump for joy!! But I also want to hit myself over the head, repeatedly.

I have spent ten years on this story and never even came close to a viable first draft. Hell, I never even had a first draft! And this is what I learned, something I believe rings true for many writers. I had to learn to write everyday. To commit myself to write nomatter what. Sometimes I had surges of inspiration where I'd write 2,000+ words in two hours. Other days, it would take me four hours to barely scratch out 600 words.

I've already purchased Alan Watt's follow-up, The 90-Day Rewrite: The Process of Revision so I can jump right into the second part of every novel's journey. Aside from the standards, day I got married, day my son was born, the day I finish this will be on the short list of the happiest days of my life. And now I know I'll get there.