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NaNoWriMo 2012: Update 1

I can hardly believe we’re 12 days into November already.

So far I’ve managed a total of 30,154 words, comprising of over 13 chapters and 43 A4 pages of text. In the first week of Nano novelling I managed to write 21,742 words, about 2k more than I wrote in the first week last year. According to the stat calculator on the main Nano website I’m due to finish around November 19-20th at my current average per day.

The story is going well too. I actually feel like I’ve got some really good stuff written and some brilliant dialogue.

Writing a sequel has also been interesting. Until now I’d only ever written stand alone novels so to write something with characters I already know and respect has been great. I’ve found it’s made it really easy to just dive in and let them take the book where it needs to go.

I’m hoping to finish my second week of writing on about 37.5k or maybe a little more. My third week will probably be a little lower as I’ve got several interruptions but with any luck I’ll still get very close to finishing the 50k target sometime around the end of the third week and then keep chomping away at the rest of the books word count. With any luck I might even get so far in that I can finish this book this year.

NaNoWriMo: Update 2

So I reach update 2 and find myself with only 4000 words to go of the massive 50,000 word total. The writing since my last update has been relatively uneventful. My original plot has been so forgotten I don’t really know what’s happening next in my book but that’s not really that unusual. Once I’ve finished this next 4k I’ll sit down and re-evaluate where it’s all going.

Despite the high chance of me hitting 50,000 way before the end of the month I don’t really expect to get much more done. It seems my last few days of November are so full of wedding related things like Hen nights and bridesmaids dress fittings and then the few Christmassy things on to that other than the rest of this week I’m not going to get much opportunity to add to the total.

But back to my beloved characters. Anya turned out to be a little more gutsy than I imagined her. Seems the first few chapters helped her grow some inner strength and Sherdan softened a little but only a very little. I’ve got countless semi named characters whose names are bound to change a few times in editing and a country I’ve still not properly named. I don’t really like naming under pressure.

For my first attempt at NaNoWriMo I’m pretty happy with how things have gone. It’s been harder lately than it was at the start of the month though. I really think I need to get some kind of tablet with handwriting recognition software. The typing up is a complete pain.

NaNoWriMo: Update 1

So far NaNoWriMo is going very well for me, I’m around the 30k mark for words and not even half way through the month. I’m also getting a good handle on the actual plot length now, even if I’ve not stuck that well to my plot notes. Thankfully all the research I did before has paid off and it’s been light work.

There was one point I got stuck but thankfully adding a little snow and letting my characters frolick for ten minutes seemed to unstick the situation and moved the plot on nicely. Let’s face it who doesn’t like snow angels?

I’m falling even more in love with Anya and improving Sherdan so I’m quite in anger of loving him too. I’ve already laughed at my characters and come very close to tears on several points during writing.

It’s a lot darker than I intended but actually so far I think it’s a good thing. Sometimes the light seems all the brighter for darkness before hand. Either way you’ll be able to decide for yourselves soon. I am hoping to get the first chapter polished up nicely and it will hopefully be one of my first blogs in December.

Anyway time for me to get back to my writing. Good luck everyone else NaNoing this month.

NaNoWriMo Prep

I’m all set for NaNoWriMo and due to start tomorrow. Book 3 is now named, it’s called Sherdan’s Prophecy. I am signed up on the main NaNoWriMo site and all set to go, you can check out my user page here. I will try and update my progress at least a couple of times during the month to let people know how I’m getting on but people can also check out my user account on the NaNoWriMo site to see as well.

Obviously a lot of my background work has been put up here as well as some small parts I considered having in the book itself. I’m not necessarily going to be including the parts I’ve already written and if I do I’ll need to rewrite anyway to fit them in with the story as it goes so I don’t consider myself to actually have started writing already. Thankfully with the wind-down to November I’ve managed to get all of Novemeber’s blogs scheduled, apart from a few slots for updates, so blogging will continue as normal over November.

Good luck anyone else doing NaNoWriMo, please comment if you are.

Background Details: Book 3, part 3

I’ve been plotting book 3 and in the process have found I needed to do some more research. I wasn’t going to share it but it ended up actually being quite cool, so I am now.

The main point of research I wanted to look into was declaring a patch of land an independant country and whether that was possible. Also if it was possible if it was likely to happen and how easy it was to achieve. It turns out it’s one of those things that is easy in theory but not actually easy to do.

The first info I found was the wiki page on micronations. You can view it here if you’re interested. A micronation is a entity that claims to be a state or country but is not yet recognised as one, for whatever reason.

The page then goes on to list some of these. There are some very special ones. My favourites are the off shore one in the UK where people have claimed an abandoned war brig and called it an independant country and somewhere in Oz A guy declared independance when he couldn’t pay his mortgage and now does not allow lawyers access to his country. People are special, they really are.

The most useful part of wiki’s page however was the list of things needed to become an independant country. I’ve listed those for ease.

  1. A permanent population.
  2. A defined territory.
  3. A Government
  4. The Capacity to enter into relations with other states.

There were then a few other useful pages I found about people and places that were trying to declare independance. The most useful of those I found was a non-country in Georgia that is doing everything it can to become a seperate country from Georgia. The info on that can be found here.

In terms of writing book 3, I’ve decided I’m actually going to make it my NaNoWriMo book. With all the stuff I’ve been doing to prep this book I’ve not given myself enough time to prep another for NaNoWriMo. It also means I’ll get book 3 written quicker than I originally anticipated and should be blogging it sometime either in November or just after. Either way my blog in 12 days time will probably be NaNoWriMo related.

The plan: April 2011

Last month’s progress:

Last month I tried to do a trial run at NaNoWriMo. To write 50k words of my new novel in one month. I didn’t quite manage it. I did manage just over 40k words, however, and I’m now well over half way through the next book’s first draft. So I do consider it a success.

  • I hand-wrote: 41k words
  • Typed: 65k words (including emails and blogs)
  • Spent 10 hours planning for the old book.
  • 5 hours on Flight work
  • Spent approx 15 hours in the month distracted by something (not including emails).
  • Sent 103 emails
  • Spent 25 hours reading

I think I need to be distracted less but still good progress, and maybe send a few less emails.

This month the plan is to get my book cover done for With Proud Humility, finish off the last of the t-shirt designs for the new website/shop and work on the graphic novels with Kezia Warren and Andrew Bellingham. I’m also going to need to dedicate some time to a top secret project for Flight. Will post more about that when I can.

I’m taking ten days off from easter, so assuming I still have some time left, I’ll then continue writing the second book (and maybe finally name it too).

Geo-caching: A distraction

March seems to be flying by and with breaking the 30k words barrier on my new novel I have hardly done much else.

Last Saturday, however, my lovely in-laws came over, forcing me to take a much needed break. Their suggestion of what we could do was Geo-caching. I’d vaguely heard the word being thrown around but had no clue what it was and I imagine right at this point you’re wondering what on earth it is too. Well it’s most easily described as the modern version of a treasure hunt. Now that makes it sound infinitely cooler (I really think they could have given it a better name).

To keep it simple and short you go to the main website, type in the area you want to treasure hunt in and it gives you a bunch of caches in that area. You pick one, plug the coordinates in your gps device (mobile phone, sat nav etc) and then go walking until your little piece of technology tells you that you’re practically on top of it. You then search the nearby area for some hidden box of some kind. The boxes vary in size from a tiny object nothing will fit in, to larger lunch box sized containers that people leave ‘treasures’ in for others. At this point you get to write your name in the log book and take something out, as long as you put something in of greater or equal value. When you are finally back to the safety of your house and your adventure is over, you go back to the website and log what you’ve found, what you added and what you took from the cache (If anything). Nice, simple and outdoorsey

If you wish there are also extras and variations of this basic idea. Some caches have what’s called a travel bug in it. These are seperatly packaged dog tagged things that each have their own mission. Some will wish to be put in every cache in a country, others to simply go to as many countries as possible etc. If you take these to move them on it needs to be done quickly and needs to be logged on the website, that it’s in your possession, and where you then put it.

There are also puzzle caches that require you to solve a puzzle to get the next location and then the next etc, until you finally find the cache at the end location. With multicaches being a similar variant of these with clues instead of puzzles.

Needless to say, I loved the idea. I love walking, countryside, puzzles and most of all feeling like an old fashion pirate hunting for treasure (well I do write historical fiction, check out With Proud Humility for evidence of my love for treasure hunting). You can imagine how much I grinned when the first thing I saw in my first cache was a toy Jessie from the Toy Story trilogy. I can see myself getting very very distracted by this passtime, especially as there are just under 1000 caches within a 10 mile radius of my house.

If you like the sound of this and want to check it out you can here, who knows, maybe I’ll see you out there, searching around tree stumps and mountain tops for random objects half the world doesn’t even know exists.

Writing progress and distractions

I’m just under a week into my challenge now and currently I have written approx 7500 words of the new book. While I am not quite on target at the moment I’m not too worried. I’ve found with writing books that the first 10,000 words or so take by far the longest. They are the words that are hardest to find, the characters are still not quite defined right and require thinking about more . Also I find about 90% of my research is needed in the first 10% of the book.

However, I think it’s also fair to say I have been rather distracted and I wish to share a few of my distractions with you. The first was a link on a friends facebook page I found last Thursday. The moviebarcode website, where this one guy has taken every screen from a movie and put them all together in a row, then squished them all up into one image, just over 8 inches long. I was very distracted by these pretty pictures and they led to me thinking about movies and the overall impression a film gives. On page 3 of this guys website there is a beautiful green hued picture. Can you guess what film it is before you see the title?

Well it’s The Matrix (surely all that green gave it away?), I have to admit I couldn’t help wondering at this point if the second and third matrix films would be infinitely improved by being turned into one of these pictures instead.

That wasn’t what got me thinking though. It was the next few pictures I saw. I started to go through and noticed that all the happy animated films like Toy Story and How to train your dragon had lots of lovely bright colours and made really pretty pieces. I began to wonder if the essence of these films was coming out in the 8 inch barcode made from them and it got me thinking. We put art on our walls because of how it makes us feel. Happy pieces often go up in hospitals etc to try and brighten the places up and I’ve heard of people randomly buying up artwork, because it makes them feel better about something, on some deep level they don’t fully understand.

What if it’s like this with the films we watch as well? What if they actually leave an imprint behind on us, depending on the film we watched and the relative artwork within it? Would you start being more careful what films you watched? I think I just might. If I wouldn’t put a picture that made me feel depressed on my walls why would I watch a film that had the same undertones and left the same feeling behind just because it’s mildly entertaining? It doesn’t really make sense to.

Take this next movie barcode for example. Would you hang this on your wall?

I know I wouldn’t. It’s dark, oppresive and would just make me feel sad and overwhelmed everytime I looked at it. So I guess that means I won’t be watching The Dark Knight again. Just too much heavy atmosphere for it to be entertaining. I want to feel better after I’ve taken time out to relax and watch a film.

If that’s all a bit too heavy for you, you can check out my much lighter distraction, that didn’t lead to much other than a debate on whether fuschia pink toilet paper was too much. All courtesy of Fiona Flame’s interior design blog last Friday. It’s available from redcandy.co.uk and they have toilet paper as well as kitchen roll and pocket sized packets of tissues in all sorts of funky colours. I have to admit I was quite tempted by the black toilet paper, even when Ms Flame informed her blog readers Simon Cowell uses it.

You can check out the moviebarcodes here.

Fiona’s interior design blog here.

And the Fuschia toilet paper at the Redcandy store here.

The plan: March

In November every month there is a writers competition called NaNoWriMo. There are pretty much only two rules to this, you can’t start writing before the start of the month and you have to have written and uploaded 50,000 words of the same story/novel by the end of the month. Nice and simple, well maybe, 50,000 words is a lot to write in only one month.

My plan for March is to try exactly that; 50,000 words of my next book in just this one month.

When I write I find it incredibly difficult to write straight onto the computer. There is something about having a familiar fountain pen in my hand and a pad of paper in front of me that helps me think so much more clearly about what I want to write. So when I have finished writing for each day I have the added task of typing up those words on to the computer. This may seem like a lot of effort, but I find it helps insert an extra editing phase, without the annoying editing feeling. However, when it comes to writing a certain amount of words in a deadline it can make it a good bit harder.

Trying to abide by the rules of NaNoWriMo this month will hopefully help me get back into the good writing routine I got into writing my last book. Also when it comes to November and the actual competition, I will have some idea what I’m letting myself in for, and if it’s possible with my odd habit of writing by hand first.

For more info on NaNoWriMo and entering you can read the blurb here