Saturday, October 31, 2009

In Which I Plan To Go Crazy

BT at 43,388. Looks like I've slowed down a bit after that two day word purge.

(The fact that 3K in two days is "slowing down" pleases me greatly. I don't always write like this. Actually, this is the first time I've ever written like this. Ever. I like it.)

ALSO: Don't forget to enter contest! There's only, like, six entries, and SOMEONE is going to win a free, new, shiny, word-filled, (insert adjective here) BOOK! It could be you. Or you. But you'll never get it if you don't enter. Ends tonight at midnight, California time.

Fun fact: Only Honolulu and Alaska are in later time zones than mine. Us folks here in California are going to be some of the last writers jumping in on the midnight NaNo train. Our friends down under in Australia are already counting down the final hours. How's the future over there, guys??

Anyway. I had a point. I swear.


The other day I offered up my dilemma in the hopes of getting some advice, and you guys gave me some good ideas. The general gist was: Don't ditch BT. Finish it first, or maybe, possibly, work on both. One especially cool idea was to use a different font/text color to help my subconscious get in the proper mode for each story. Love that idea! Totally doing that, as I've decided to work on both. (Since I didn't finish BT before Nov 1, which was secretly my goal behind that crazy word purge the other day. But, alas, BT decided to change up on me and grew another 20K at least in length. Crazy story! Why can't you just stick to your outline?!)

So. My goal is to finish both in the month of November. See, I've written nearly 44K on BT in just over a month, and I slacked off a lot. So I don't think accomplishing 50K will be too insanely difficult. My issue (possibly because I'm OCD) is that I don't want to split up the 50K between the two. I don't want them to share word goals. They are completely different projects! They can't touch! Like my mashed potatoes and veggies on my dinner plate. They can't touch either. That'd be gross. (That's mostly an exaggeration to make a point. I don't eat veggies.)

Anyway. I've had a lot of coffee. Yeah, it's midnight. Whatever.

I want to do NaNoWriMo in the classic way. I don't want to break "rules" by using the month to write 50K on BT (or whatever finishes it off. Looking like at least another 40K, which worries me, because anything over 80K is pushing it lengthwise for a YA novel.) So here's what I'm gonna do:

I'm going to do The Plural of Love for NaNoWriMo. Not writing a word before. Setting word goals of 1.7K/day to reach the 50K mark. Completely separate from BT. Though I'm still going to be working on BT, with a goal of 1K/day. 2.7K/day isn't so bad. I've been averaging that lately, and hey, some people keep that pace all year long.

Hopefully that'll make it so I have BT and Plural at least almost finished by Dec. 1. I plan to use December to finish them up. Then I'll set one aside and start editing the other for querying. Okay. That's it. That's my plan. Please feel free to tell me I'm crazy now.

Though, hey, if I like the 2.7K/day thing, I might go ahead and join the Milwordy crew. A year of writing crazily. 83K--more or less a novel--per month. Impressive. Scary. I like it.

So what does your writing plan look like for the next month or two? Or year, if you plan that far ahead? Do you have a writing plan/goals?

Please share, I eat this stuff up. It replaces the veggies in my diet.

Love and caffeine,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thirty Thousand Words

BT word count at: 30,586

(Also, don't forget to enter my contest! You can win a brand new book! Yummy!)

Woo! 10K words in a week. I'm on a roll. But, alas, I am now conflicted. Torn.

Blood Ties is getting good. Like, really plot-tastic must-turn-the-page-and-keep-going good.

Like in The Hunger Games, when Peeta is giving his interview, and he drops that bomb right at the end of the chapter and you just HAVE to turn the page. There's no possible way you can just bookmark it there for the night. No matter how many times I read that book, when Peeta says that line I find myself squealing and flipping that page as fast as I can without tearing it out. Yes, even though I know exactly what happens next. Yes, even though I've read it enough times to quote exactly what happens next. It's just that good.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. Team Peeta.

Anyway, moving on...

Right. Blood Ties is getting to the must-keep-reading part. Which, if you can tell by my progress, is also the must-keep-writing part.

So what's the problem?


There's this other novel, the one I planned to write for NaNo, called the Plural of Love. And it's there, hanging over my shoulder, watching me type BT, and wondering when it gets its turn.

"November," I tell it. "In November I'll set Blood Ties aside and write you. Just calm the crap down until then." (Yes, I often talk to my stories. Yes, they also talk back. Sometimes rudely.)

But here's the thing: I want to keep writing Blood Ties. I want to finish it. I'm shoulder deep in the story now, and if I put it aside I fear I'll lose a lot of the fire for this story. I feel like the voice will suffer. I fear that I'll come back to it in Dec and be like "This sucks" and ditch it.

But PoL is a good story, too. I have a bunch of scenes and dialogue floating around in my mind. I don't want to set that one aside either. And I really do want to participate in NaNo-- 50K in a month. I'd like to say I won.

I don't know if I can juggle both. Very different characters. Very different voices. And I need to be in very different mind states to write "in the right mood" for each story.

So what do I do? This isn't rhetorical, by the way. Seriously, what the heck should I do?

Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you decide between two stories when you really wanted to work on both?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Twenty Thousand Words

WiP Blood Ties at 20,011 words!

I can't tell you guys how happy I am to reach this milestone for Blood Ties. I remember when I hit 20K on Untouched-- that's where my writing flow really picked up. 20K is serious business. It's not something I'm just tooling around on anymore. It's starting to represent actual story!

I'm projecting Blood Ties to be about 80K. That's the goal, but I'm starting to think I'll end up with a good chunk more. Good? Bad? I'm undecided as of yet. Right now I'm viewing it that I'm about 1/4th of the way through. Maybe I can get another 20K before NaNoWriMo, that way I'll be about half done when I pick it back up in December. That would be lovely.

Soooo, now I'm going to share a little excerpt from Blood Ties. In this scene Elle is talking to her younger brother, Ash, before she infiltrates a very dangerous city in disguise.

* * * * * * * * * * *

We are hidden in a dry creek bed which runs parallel to the road leading into the city. I'm losing patience, getting more and more frustrated by the second. Ash is going to get me killed, I can just feel it. And now I have a headache. Great. I rub my temples and seethe quietly for a moment, then I clasp my hands together and practically beg.

“Ash, just stay here,” I plead. “I've let you come with me--”

“Yeah, but you've argued against it the whole time.”

I tip my head back and groan. “I should have jinxed you back at camp.”

He laughs and I jump up to cover his mouth. We're awfully close to the road, anyone passing by could hear us through the underbrush.

“Please. Ash. Just promise me. Stay here until I return. If I'm not back by nightfall... well, go back to camp. Warn the others. If I don't come back it's probably best that everyone clears out. Move on.”

Finally, miraculously, Ash nods his head. He hears me. He understands how dangerous this really is. “Okay,” he says. “I'll stay here. I'll climb up a tree or something and play lookout.”

“Thank you.” I sigh with relief.

“But if you're not back here by nightfall,” he pulls the string on the crossbow, readying the weapon, “I'm coming in after you.”

“Ash...” I start, but when I see the glint in his eyes I stop and bite my lip. At once I can picture Ash attempting to infiltrate the city-- trying to find me, trying to save me. They'd kill him instantly. A chill creeps up my spine, and I can't shake it off. I don't want him to think about doing this, but I can't blame him. I'd do the exact same thing in his position.

“Fine,” I snarl at him. I'm not mad at him, not really. I draw on my rage over what King Rayne has driven this family to. It's better than bursting into tears, which, honestly, is exactly what I want to do right now.

“Fine,” he replies, just as hard. Then he climbs out of the creek bed and disappears in the trees.

I take a moment to compose myself. Make sure my hair is free of leaves. My bag is secure. My boots aren't covered in dirt. When I'm all set I turn toward the trees, and hope he is close enough to hear me. I whisper, “Bye, Ash. I'll be back soon. I love you.”

A few seconds pass, then the trees whisper back. “I love you, too.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Friday, October 16, 2009

Alternative Options

Not doing NaNoWriMo next month? Try one of these! (From 101 Reasons to Stop Writing)

* NaProMo
National Procrastination Month is by far the largest community challenge project, with participants throughout the world (though most participants don’t even bother signing up). All you have to do is put off whatever you can put off, until at least the beginning of December. It’s also the oldest community challenge, predating NaNoWriMo by millennia. In fact, recorded history began when an ancient participant failed the challenge.

* NaMoGroMo
National Moustache Growing Month, otherwise known as Movember, challenges participants to let the mo gro. Women are encouraged to participate.

* NaNoMoMo
National No Moustache Month challenges the partners of NaMoGroMo participants to convince them to shave the mo.

* NaNaGaMo
National Navel Gazing Month invites participants to ponder, mull, ruminate or philosophise over an existential, theoretical or theological question, for the entire month. Extra points are given if the participant:
o Achieves nothing else in the month, except basic maintenance of their earthly vessel
o Is able to convince someone else to take care of the basic maintenance of their earthly vessel
o Frequently refers to the work of an earlier philosopher they’ve read
o Frequently refers to the work of an earlier philosopher they haven’t read
o Spends the month arguing the same point with the same person, to no conclusion
o Ends the month with exactly the same opinion

* NaPerMeMo
National Perpetuate a Meme Month invites participants to spread Internet memes, via blogs, emails, IMs, and particularly by describing them to others in person. Extra points are given if:
o The meme is more than a year old
o The participant doesn’t check other sources to see if the meme is pure bullshit
o The participant creates their own derivative example of an existing meme (such as their own Lolcatz photo, or Demotivator)

* NaTeYoFriYoPlaMo
National Tell Your Friends Your Plans Month is very popular amongst young people, especially college students. Participants are encouraged to tell their friends what they plan to achieve in in the short and long term. Extra points are awarded if the plans require extraordinary serendipity, divine intervention, or a suspension of the fundamental laws of the universe. Bonus points are awarded for returning participants if they haven’t achieved any of their plans from the previous year, and if they have all new plans this year.

* NaWhiAboDePubMo
National Whine About the Death of Publishing Month encourages participants to engage in lengthy discussions about how publishing is going to hell in a handbasket, and to make predictions about when the industry will collapse and society will abandon reading altogether. Now in its 400th year! Extra points are given if the participant:
o Uses the example of a bestselling book they think is bad as evidence that human civilisation is on the verge of self-destruction
o Uses their own failure as a writer as evidence that the publishing industry doesn’t know literature from a pile of manure wrapped in a tabloid
o Fails to see the irony in their refusal to buy any more books until the industry lifts its game

* InIOToLiAmAgMo
International It’s Ok To Like Americans Again Month launched only this year – November 4, to be exact – and already it has millions of signups worldwide. Participants are encouraged to openly discuss American politics without shaking their heads in disbelief, to see American movies, read American books and listen to American music without feeling ashamed, and to give American tourists the opportunity to prove themselves to be boorish assholes, instead of simply assuming it.

* NaNaNaNa-NaNa-NaMo
National Sing Along Without Knowing the Words Month – If you get through an entire song without anyone noticing, you win. You’ve been participating for years.

* NaIDoThiThaFuMo
National I Don’t Think That’s Funny Month challenges participants to write to so-called satirists and comedians, and explain exactly why their brand of humor is wrong, illogical, unacceptable, dangerous to children and generally devoid of value or place in civilized society. Extra points are given if the participant:
o demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the concept of satire or comedy
o reacts as if the piece was intended seriously, and refuses to back down when they discover it wasn’t
o insists that the benchmark for publication should be whether the participant thinks it’s funny
o insists that satire is only clever or funny when it’s obvious or clearly labeled that it’s satire
o insists that anyone who finds humor in the piece must be just as mentally retarded as the author
o gives examples of other satirists or comedians they do understand in order to prove that the author isn’t funny
o attempts to give their own examples of what satire or comedy really is in order to prove that the author isn’t funny
o uses the word “sorry” sarcastically
o claims to support the right to free speech while insisting that the author must voluntarily relinquish this right
o threatens an organized boycott amongst the seven people they know
o threatens physical violence upon the author, should they happen to wander into the participant’s basement
o Complains anonymously, especially if doing so in a blog or forum the author will surely never read

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NaNoWriMo: The Plural of Love

Sooo I was going to do pirates. I was set on it. But then I got this idea... what if a girl fell in love with a boy with multiple identity disorder? What would happen when he switched into an alter identity? Would she love him, too? How would she deal with his changes? Could she deal?

I posted a thread in the NaNo forums (Which, even if you aren't doing NaNo, is the greatest place to chat with other writers, and do research for things you might not be able to find elsewhere). Anyway, the thread I created got some great feedback, and I started researching online, and went to the library, and not only is dissociative identity disorder (DID) really fascinating, but I think it will make a very nice character driven novel.

So here's my log line:

After a (possible) suicide attempt, sixteen-year-old Clare meets a boy with dissociative identity disorder in therapy and falls in love with him... and several of his alter identities.

And here is the little banner I made for my signature on the NaNo forums:

I haven't created the word doc for it yet, but I'll admit, I do have a lot of scenes and dialogue already scribbled down in short hand notes. And I came up with the first paragraph in my head a couple days ago, so when Nathan's 1st paragraph contest arose I couldn't resist.

(Also, side note, to GhostFolk who saw my paragraph entry and liked it so much they felt the need to click over to my blog and tell me on my last blog post-- you totally made my day :D )

Anyway, my point is head over to Nathan's blog and enter an opening paragraph from your favorite WIP. You've got nothing to lose, and you can win an ARC of The Secret Year and a signed bookmark! Oh, yeah, you also get Nathan to critique a partial or query, but you know, whatever. Oh, and he did totally end up repping the winner of the paragraph contest last year. But, BOOKMARK!!

Okay. I'm done now. That is all.

Thank you and goodnight!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Perfect First Draft

Okay, so I have a problem. I want my first draft to be perfect. I don't want to do revisions, I don't want to chop away my precious darling words, and I don't want to rewrite the opening chapter five hundred thousand billion times.

Is that too much to ask for?

Um, yes.

And because of my insane obsession with writing a perfect first draft, my writing has been non existent lately. You know, because if I don't write then it's not crap. Um. If I don't write then it's not NOTHING because it's NOTHING. Sigh.

I'm having mucho issues turning off my inner editor (sometimes outer editor when I yell/cry/sing to the computer screen.) This does not bode well for NaNoWriMo. (Which, side note: I totally got another wicked awesome idea for and now I'm debating between pirates, punk rock hitch hikers and a girl falling in love with one of the personalities of a boy with dissociative identity disorder.)

Anyways, I've had far too much caffeine today (or possibly not enough) and I'm not quite getting to my point. (And you guys are probably getting tired of all the parenthetical statements. I kinda like them. I don't use them in my writing too much though... perhaps I should...) I digress.

I'm going to start keeping track of my word count again! Jeez, it took the whole post for me to say that? Yes, yes, at the beginning of my posts I will now be adding word count and maybe some other tidbits. Maybe a line or two as an excerpt.

So. Conclusion.

I want a perfect first draft. (Yeah, right.)

I need to tell my brain to shut up when I'm writing. (Er, kinda.)

I'm going to start posting word count. Maybe I'll be more inspired to write because then I can show you guys how well I'm coming along! (Or maybe I will never blog again because my manuscript ate my soul.)

Word count currently at: 14,470.

Today's goal: 17K

Okay. Time to write.