NaNoWriMo Update #2- Breaking the Rules in Week 2

Today is Day 14 of NaNoWriMo!
By the end it, you should have written at least 23,333 words
What’s your word count?

Seeing as I have a big fancy to-do to attend tonight (for Tanner’s work. Even bought a dress for it), I know that having any post-work time to write is an impossibility. So my final word count today is 25,650. It’s a good place to be. I’m still ahead of the game, and I’ve made great progress this week. It is, one might notice, significantly less than last week’s word count (where I wrote 15,011 words, meaning I only wrote 10,639 this week alone). And that’s 100% due to the fact that I have been breaking the rules by rewriting.

Experienced NaNo-ers are probably shaking their head over this. After all, isn’t the point of NaNoWriMo to allow yourself to suck? To write without abandon, to not go back and revise, as that way leads to madness?

In many ways, that’s true. The trap of never really progressing, to only rewrite the same things over and over again is a dangerous one. You really do need to accept the fact that first drafts are not only imperfect, but highly flawed and, sometimes, actually pretty bad. That’s what revisions are for.

For me, it was the fact that I couldn’t see myself moving forward until I went back. As I’ve mentioned before, in this novel I have four central characters whose perspective I shift between. I was having a hard time getting the feel for them all down, so I knew that before I could move these characters to the next level, I needed to get a better feeling for who they were in the beginning. And I’m really glad that I did.

This has made me think a lot about revising/rewriting during NaNo. I actually think it can work, but would recommend the following if you still want to hit 50k by the 30th.
1. Don’t do it until you’re ahead. Like, more than a few hundred words ahead. Behind ahead by a few thousand words last week gave me lots of room to play with. As a result, even though I’ve made some cuts, I’ve never fallen under par for my daily word count.
2. You still need to be adding to the overall word count of you manuscript. Whether this be in the form of fleshing out existing scenes, or adding in new material all together, your story still needs to be growing and progressing. I did both this week. Notice I did not say “write endless description that you know you’re going to cut out later” or other tricks I’ve seen people do to artificially inflate their word counts (like removing all of the contractions, which only results in your dialogue sound unnatural). Seriously, you’re just making more work for yourself during revisions. Still, make sure your novel continues to grow and progress each day, or this is where you fall into the trap of revising the same shit over and over again and not getting anywhere.
3. You need to set aside more daily writing time than you’d initially planned on for NaNoWriMo. Because revisions take time.
4. No wordsmithing. This is not the place for it. As mentioned above, rough drafts don’t need to be perfect.

Hope everyone is doing well. If not, well it’s only the halfway mark. Plenty of time to double down and catch up!

NaNoWriMo Check in- Week #1

Today is Day 7 of NaNoWriMo!
By the end it, you should have written at least 11,669 words
What’s your word count?

So it’s been an interesting week one for me on this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’m not quite as on fire as I was last year, but while there have been days when the going’s been tough, there have also been days when my novel (working title The Twin Kingdoms) has been so much fun to write. So I’m feeling mostly positive as I go into week two. My word count is a healthy 15,011, which is more than I expected it to be. You see, I’ve had a very busy week, often with only just enough time to squeeze in writing. Then yesterday, I blessedly found myself with a whole extra hour and a half on my hands, and I used it to jump ahead. I don’t foresee myself having this opportunity again until Tuesday, when I have a vacation day from work.

Beyond lack of time, I’ve faced other challenges with this novel. For the past few years, the novels I’ve been working on were all been YA with a third person limited perspective. This is an adult fantasy work, with four central characters. Juggling the multiple perspectives has been tricky. Also, all of three YA books had taken places in the same universe, and featured the same MC. Developing a new universe is incredibly fun, but also challenging. The big hurdle I’ve had this time is mostly related to revealing information. What’s the best way to reveal background information that doesn’t feel info dumpy? How much should I tell the audience about my characters now, and how much should I save to keep up the sake of mystery? Most of this will get ironed out in the next draft. I’ve made a bunch of mistakes already!

Hopefully, things will go smoothly in week two!

Everything I Read in October 2014

Similar to the “everything I watched post” for last month, if you want to see what I read for the months that I didn’t update here, you can check out my goodreads, or pinterest page.

And now, for October! I got a lot of reading done this month. Links go to goodreads reviews

Books
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed- BEST BOOK
Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well Adjusted Cat, Not a Sour Puss by Pam Johnson-Bennett

Audiobooks
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire- BEST AUDIOBOOK

Short Ebooks
The Card Sharp by Laura Lam- BEST SHORT EBOOK
Hunting Monsters by SL Huang

Literary Magazines
Fantasy Magazine, October 2014. Women Destory Fantasy Special Issue

Graphic Novels
Thor, the God of Thunder, vol 3: The Accursed by Jason Aaron
Batgirl, vol 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone
Batman, vol 4: Zero Year- Secret City by Scott Snyder
Sex Criminals, Vol 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction- BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL
Batgirl, vol 2: Knigtfall Descends by Gail Simone
Batgirl, vol 3: Death of the Family by Gail Simone

Single Issue Comics
All New X-men #32
Angel and Faith: Season 10 #7
Black Widow #11
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #7-8
Cyclops #5
Death of Wolverine #2-4
Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #19
Lazarus #12
Miles Morales: Ultimate Spiderman #6- BEST COMIC THAT’S NOT SAGA
Saga #24- BEST COMIC
She-Hulk #9
Superior Spiderman #14-16
Thor #1
Uncanny X-men #26-27
Veil #5

Everything I’ve Watched in October 2014

Clearly I’ve fallen a little off the wagon with these. I thought about doing all of the months that I missed, but figured that no one wanted to read a post that long. Instead, if you’d like to see what I’ve watched in previous months, check out my pinterest page. For my thoughts on movies and TV shows I consumed this October, please continue on!

In Theaters
Gone Girl- This movie was incredibly faithful to the source material, but never in a way that dragged down the narrative of the film. Gone Girl is a wonderfully crafted film that scrutinizes both the media and marriage. Pretty much everyone here is perfectly cast and Fincher’s directing is top notch. It’s a good thing too, because had this movie not been so meticulously put together, it would have been more obvious to the audience that some of these big twists are pretty far fetched. Tanner didn’t like this one so much, but I really enjoyed it. B+

The Book of Life- A vibrant and charming fairy tale of a film that is sure to make you smile. Admittedly, the story is noticeably uneven and the musical aspects often fall flat, but the characters are so lovable, and the visuals so spectacular that it’s worth seeing as a matinee. B-

On DVD/Blu-Ray
Divergent- You know, this was a lot better than I expected it to be, given Hollywood’s notorious mishandling of YA lit that’s not the Hunger Games or a John Green book. Divergent is an all around solid adaptation of it’s source material, but suffers from being overly similar to other YA dystopian film adaptations. Even I found myself thinking things like “wow this is pretty suspenseful… but the Catching Fire was more nail biting. And Shailene Woodley does a really good job as Tris… but she’s no Jennifer Lawrence.” It can feel like a poor man’s Hunger Games at times, but it’s still entertaining. Check it out from your library. B-

How to Train Your Dragon- Gah! I love this movie so much. I love Hiccup’s and Toothless’s first moments together. I still laugh at all of the jokes, and I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat during its action packed ending. How To Train Your Dragon, from voice acting to character development to plotting, is a perfect example of how to do an animated movie really well. Watching this makes me excited for the third movie in the series. A+

Snowpiercer- Damn, this movie is grim. I went into this movie with pretty high expectations, and I’m happy to see that they were met. Snowpiercer is a wonderfully dark and violet dystopia that succeeds due to it’s wonderful world building, and talented international cast. Yes, the movie suffers from some issues of logic, but the overall greatness of the film makes up for it (much like X-men Days of Future Past). Proof that not all sci-fi/action films need to to have giant budgets and superheroes. A-

Thor: The Dark World- Third time seeing this one since it came out about a year ago. That should tell you how much I enjoy it. B+

On Television
Agents of SHIELD- Come back everyone! Come back! I swear, this show is pretty much the highlight of my week now. It’s so suspenseful. The character relationships, whether they be romantic/friendships/adversarial, are so compelling. And the villains! The villains are great! Oh why did this show take so long to find it’s grove. Everyone’ missing out on how good it’s gotten :(.

Castle- So I was pretty pissed back in May when Castle and Beckett weren’t allowed to get married. It’s like season eight of Bones all over again! We can’t have our central character’s relationship progress to the next level, so let’s come up with a convoluted way to delay it for at least half a season! Admittedly, the mystery plot of where Castle was when he was missing is intriguing, but there’s going to have to work harder than that to get me sucked into this season’s storyline. Come on guys, I’ve supported this show for six whole seasons. Don’t make me jump ship now!

Constantine- Only seen the premiere, which was kind of choppy, yet intriguing at the same time. I quite like the guy they got to play Constantine (even if this non-smoking, straight version of the DC character feels unnecessarily sanitized), the effects are better than I expected for a show like this, and the horror elements are very strong. I’ll be sticking around for at least another couple episodes to see if it will work for me.

Doctor Who- What a controversial season it’s been! Some people love the new Doctor. Some people hate him. Some people like what they’re doing with Clara. Other people, not so much. Personally, I have been enjoying this season, even if it has been a little uneven. There have been a handful of truly “meh” episodes (Deep Breath, In The Forests of the Night), but they have been counterbalanced by some really intriguing ones (Kill the Moon, The Caretaker, Flatline). Also, I quite like Capeldi’s take on the Doctor, even if he hasn’t reached the heights of David Tennet or Matt Smith yet. All and all, I’m curious to see how this season ends. Unless they really fuck the finale up, I will be back for next next season.

Gotham- Yep. Watched the first two episodes and they did nothing for me at all. Were it not a Batman show, I don’t think I would have made it that far at all. I wasn’t impressed with the writing, or the acting (with a couple notable exceptions). I wasn’t fond of the decision to cram every DC villain into the first episode, and I’m not quite happy with how they’re choosing to deal with the young Bruce Wayne character. There are far too many great shows on right now to waste time with this one.

The Legend of Korra- Looks like Korra’s going out with a bang. Season four may have been a surprise season (both in the speed in which it was produced and Nickelodeon’s means of distribution), but every episode has been more than worth your time. The time jump worked brilliantly, as did the return of Toph from The Last Airbender. I can’t wait to see how Korra will figure out how to take down Kuriva. We are so lucky to see Korra’s story finally come to its intended end.

Phew. Not sure how I’m keeping up with all of those shows! It’s a good thing Doctor Who is almost over and Korra has a short season.

Getting back on track with NaNoWriMo

Ye gads has it been a bad season for writing.

It started going downhill in late August. Since then I’ve just had no motivation to write. I guess all of those rejection letters and lack of progress really got to me, not to mention other sources of frustration from my personal life (don’t worry! everything’s going fine!). A combined feeling of “what’s the point” combined with “and you’re not really all that good at this anyway” can be dangerous.

I’m hoping the one thing that will get me back on track is NaNoWriMo, because I’ve done well with that in the past. Every time I’ve attempted NaNo I’ve won, and I’ve gotten good at seeing the project through after NaNo as well.

I’m trying to stay positive, to push away all these insecurities and just enjoy writing like I used to. I’m embarrassed at how hard it’s turning out to be, but I have a feeling once I get going again, things will get better. I just need to find that flow again.

So is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year? My profile can be found right here. This is the first year that the local write ins have worked for my schedule, and I’m tempted to try them. Writing is just such as isolated activity for me. It would be nice if I tried to be social once and a while!

Hopefully, this will help me get back on track, both with writing and this much neglected blog!

August Writing Update

Hello, much neglected blog! I’ve barely updated over the past month for a couple reasons. At first it’s because the writing wasn’t going well at all. I just found myself in a funk. I didn’t want to write anything longer than a tweet, never mind a novel or even a blog post or book review on goodreads. With a new project on the horizon, that wasn’t a good thing at all. After a few weeks of very little production (and, let’s be honest, all of it was pretty shitty), I decided the only way to deal with it was to completely change everything that I was doing, and hope for the best.

And you know what, it’s actually worked!

As someone who’s been writing in the mornings for over a year now, I decided to move my writing time to 9:30-10:30 at night. I also changed from laptop only writing to pen and paper. I scrapped the novel idea that’s been lingering in my head for a while now for one that I’ve only been mulling over for a few months. And instead of obsessing over word counts, I began to keep track of the amount of pages I had written. This project has only been going on for a little over a week, but it’s been going really well. I’m almost afraid to talk about it, as I don’t want to jinx myself! But needless to say, it’s a portal fantasy novel intended for adults, meaning I can be a little freer about the f-bombs than I was with my YA stuff.

Writing a lengthily project by hand provides an interesting challenge. It irritates my wrists a little bit, which have never been the same since I worked in a call center for two years and spent the whole day typing, but the fact that I immediately go to bed afterwards and don’t use them for a solid 8 hours helps a lot. It’s slowed down my production some- I write pretty fast, but I type faster- but it seems to be worth the sacrifice. I’ve also burned through four pens already, but given that the majority of my pen collection had, previous to this summer, been living in the old Civic for god knows how long. It’s a miracle some of them even work at all!

I guess this teaches me the drawbacks of being too comfortable. Do the same thing over and over again for too long and writing can just get boring. This is great motivation to switch up my schedule every now and then. Hopefully by next month, I’ll have written many more pages!

Everything I Read in July 2014

Very light on the reading this month. Guess reading all of those Hugo moms wore me out a bit. Links to to goodreads, when available.

Books
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Audiobooks
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson- BEST AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Short Ebooks
The Exchange Officers by Brad Torgensen
The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang- BEST SHORT FICTION OF THE MONTH
Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
The Fisherman’s Net by Laura Lam

Graphic Novels
Justice League Dark, Vol 3: The Death of Magic by Jeff Lemire

Comics
All New X-men #29
Angel and Faith, Season 10: #4
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 10: #4-5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16- BEST COMIC THAT’S NOT SAGA
Lazarus #9
Rocket Girl #5
Saga #20-21- BEST COMIC OF THE MONTH
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6
Superior Spider-man #3-5
Veil #3
The Wake #8-9
Wolverine #9-10