I’m Still Alive…

I know it has been some time since I last made a blog post. Well, there were reasons for that. I had a bad time with the NaNoWriMo 2015, though I did get the fifty thousand words done. Afterwards, I had a mental flop, of sorts. I’ve done very little, and I suspect that I had burned out mentally.

In the end, I sort of had a meltdown, of sorts, and stopped writing and working on all of my projects. It is only now I am trying to get back to writing, and finishing that November Novel, because I am curious to see what it is like finished.

Another change is the fact I have now started attending a local writing  group, which is now brining in some changes as well. I feel it is a good thing, because it is introducing a different dynamic and focus to my writing.

I will look at posting up some of the recent writings, to try and showcase what I have been attempting, and to see if anyone is interested in such posts. I am still trying to work out how to best use this resource, and what those who read the posts want to see.

All I know is that I am now planning to use some of the David Bowie music videos in upcoming writing, because Blackstar is utterly creepy. And if I can combine a rainbow somehow, I can then hand it in as the writing group’s homework…

I wonder if I can include Alan Rickman in somehow, and maybe Back To The Future? Additional challenges for myself, I suspect…

Preparing For NaNoWriMo 2015, Part Three

Well, it is nearly here. And I’m dreading it.

As those who have followed will recall, I made the mistake of thinking “Everything is ready… what can go wrong now?” Well, i ended up with the netbook going mental, and I had weeks of having to use my phone as a laptop. All old news.

But the problem lies in the fact that I had realised that there was more to do. Details on locations, fleshing out the characters some more, pinning down the time-line, and placing it in relation to the greater mythos… and my notes were trapped in a cyber-limbo.

Face-palms all round…

So, the moment I could, I got myself a replacement. That in itself is in some ways not as good as the original… but at least I can attach a monitor to it, which is helpful. As is my having a phone with a large enough storage capacity to use as a glorified USB stick. Tens of gigabytes of data was transferred, and I am still sorting things out. But now, I am slowly getting to put together the information… and with NaNo about to start, I can see me having to add information as I go along. Not the most helpful of situations.

But at least I have a chance of operating, and I still have the crazy plan to get the first draft finished within a week, then spend the rest of the month editing and polishing it. This is more to have a finished item, and not something waiting to be completed: there is more than enough of that on that pile. So an item done, dusted and completed would be a wonderful thing indeed.

What is also a fair bit nerve-wracking is the fact that I am now hosting Write-Ins in my town, not a idea I had in the first place. I expect it to be a simple affair, and all low-key: a few people meeting up, and doing Word Sprints. I also have had the idea of myself and friends having an all day session in the local library… which has now been added to the calendar. Thus a lesson of learning precisely what to say, and when. But there is potential advantage for a small group to emerge, and gel in my town, and that would be wonderful. And who knows? It might just carry on through all year round.

So, there is still lots to do, but lots to anticipate. And I am back at the literary precipice, preparing for the plunge…

Preparing For NaNoWriMo, Part Two

I have to confess that I’m finding the lack of a computer rather annoying. I think by the end of this post, it will becme clear why.

The problem is that, despite having an outline ready to go, I have realised I want to delve into the characters and setting a lot more than I have. Of course, that is easy to do, because I have all manner of notes and details stored in a writing program, to track the entire mythos I have been creating.

As I have already said in a previous post, my netbook has effectively died on me, and I can’t access the contents until i have a new computer ready to go. So, I cannot access that information. Happily, the outline was saved to my phone, so I can  write away still.

So, how can I circumvent the problem?

My solution is a novel one, to say the least. I have started creating word processor files on my phone, one per topic. This way, I can keep going, and get more details of locations and characters donw, whilst I am waiting ptiently until I can manage to get a new computer. This is far from an ideal solution, but it will have to suffice for the time being.

Of course, it has gotten me to contemplate getting hold of Scrivener, as a way to update the software I currently have. It was made in 2004, so is antiquated in software terms. But do I go and risk causing massive upset for myself by  getting a new program, then transferring all the information over to it? Thus, the Great Scrivener Debate rages on, at least in my head.

One other idea I have had is to join the NaNo London Forum. It is perfectly possible to join more than one region, though only one region will be your home region. I’m on there, because i know I will end up with questions about London that only locals can answer. Or at least, people who have lived there a while will know the answer to. And I am needing this increasingly so: there will be at least one other story set in London. I say this because the July Camp project I have talked about is still slowly being written. And it is becoming clear that a good part of it will be set in London as well.

Add to this the fact that I have two friends looking at doing NaNo this year as well. So, part of the preparation for me is to psyche myself up, because I am going to need to know their availability and such forth. I also plan to get write-ins done, using the Internet to do just that. I also intend to run an all day writing session on a Saturday in November, where we invade the local Library, and then start doing numerous word sprints, then go to lunch somewhere, then back to the Library to forge ahead some more. All good stuff, if it pulls off.

And that leads to another NaNo aspect, which is somewhat magnified this year: that of the nerves and the worming fears. Yes, that little voice of burrowing doubt is creeping back, saying the usual things… I’m not really good at writing, it is all pointless, I’m an imposter. The usual affair that happens. I know I am far from alone in this, which is comforting, to say the least.

So, November is edging closer now, and despite the nerves, despite the fears and doubts, the trials and tribulations, I have just one thing to say about it all now.

Bring. It. On.

Am I Resting On My Laurels?

I have been wondering about this years NaNoWriMo. I have a game plan, I know what I am doing… So, what do I need to do?

Well, it would seem panic.

I just went to turn on my laptop, and it turns on… but there is no charging of the battery. And I have a lot of items on there…

Now, I know it might seem melodramatic, but I already had one laptop die on me. So, I am rather nervous of technology dying on me at present. That said, I plan to buy brand new this time, to get around the whole business of second-hand lifespan issues. I doubt I can be blamed on this.

It does mean that the plan I had – go and look at the locations I plan to describe in London – cannot now go ahead. I can’t guarantee me being able to finance it, not when I am getting a brand new computer.

In the meantime, I will be using my phone a lot more. As point of interest, I am writing this blog post on my phone using the phone/Bluetooth keyboard combination I have described in the past. I also feel a strange liberation; I have a feeling I will be doing more writing, and less procrastinating for the time being. Who knows… I might even get through the large pile of books that need to be read.

I plan to still do NaNoWriMo, and will get the outline from the online back-up if I need to. What I know is I am now in interesting times…

Gearing Up For NaNoWriMo 2015

I have been busy, getting ready for the National Novel Writing Month Challenge – known as NaNoWriMo – for the past couple of weeks. Every November, you get the chance to sit down, and with fellow, like-minded people, fight to meet the challenge of writing fifty thousand words a month. This might seem impossible, but I have managed to write whole first drafts in a month, and at seventy five thousand words. I also know people who have (somehow) achieved a hundred thirty words. Impossible isn’t something that should discourage you, but rather inspire you to do more, push harder and reach further. I remember in GCSE Geography being told I would not get a C grade. I was expected to get an F grade, based on how I had been getting along. My coursework I hadn’t understood, and on top of that, I ended up having a breakdown at the point all of my coursework for all my subjects was to be completed. I also had been sitting with the wrong crowd in Geography, and that didn’t help, either.

But I was told that the C grade I had believed possible was out of my reach. I could accomplish a D grade, but only by doing extremely well in the exams. I then silently resolved to prove my teacher wrong, and show her up. Of course, I ended up with a second breakdown, right at the time of doing my exams. (It was an interesting year.) I couldn’t revise. I kept on sitting down, managing to read a couple of lines, before I was having panic attacks, and had to stop revising. After a small number of attempts, I realised I wasn’t going to manage any revision at all, so gave up the notion. I went into all of my exams without doing a shred of revision. I had no choice in that, and it made me even more panicked and insecure. I walked away with decent grades, and with a D grade in Geography. I was annoyed and disappointed at the time, but have since concluded I was on the Intermediate Tier exam, so the highest possible was a D grade. In any case, I think I should have – upon hindsight – have chosen History instead. But such as is life…

Again, hindsight is a wonderful thing when it comes to last year. It was an utter nightmare, that November. I had been working since August to have an outline ready, so I could be fully prepared when the first of November came along. I had been trying to come up with a Book Two to The Thorns Of Lovecraft, and nothing I came up with would work. And I tried, and tried… and all that was happening was me growing more and more agitated. In the end, I had to declare it impossible. A week before the start, I had seen the trailer for the film Lucy. I read up on it a bit more, and then was intrigued by what was coming up in my head. I decided to run with it, because I had something, even if it was something very vague, and wasn’t fleshed out at all. I set it in the town i was living in at the time, and then played around with the concept.

I had a month of nightmare. At more than one point I was gleefully plotting how to kill all the characters, just to end my misery… in the end, I had it in the same universe as the Thorns Of Lovecraft, thus helping me out slightly. But it was a hard, bitter struggle. I managed to get past the target, and before the end of the month. I never managed to finish the story, because the laptop died, and I had it all on the hard drive, in limbo. I have back-ups, but not of the final couple of days of writing. The rest can be readily salvaged, however. I’m rather annoyed, because I want to finish it.

I plan to get a new computer, and then work around the issue. I know what to do, and how to do it… I just need time to get it done. And a computer to do it. I have tried with the replacement netbook, but it is rather uncooperative in that aspect. If I can’t succeed, then I shall carry on, try to rebuild the missing parts, and then continue it. This is rather personal to me now: I know it will be an okay story when finished, and I want to go and prove it. I also want to prove the impossible, and demonstrate that this will be something worthwhile. It also has helped to pave the way forwards for me, and the whole Thorns universe I have been establishing. Two years on, and it is a much more rich, diverse place.  I enjoy exploring it more and more these days.

This year, however, should be a different story. I know this because this time, I am ready. I have a full outline, I have everything fully prepared, and have done for months. That is because I had watched the horrendously bad film The Coven, and had tried to work out how to make it into a decent story. I decided to keep the name, because I had something more in keeping with it. I also accidentally discovered The Sword Of Truth series, through people Cosplaying characters in the television series adaptation created by none other than Sam Raimi. I have now managed to watch the whole of the first season of it, despite being in a country where it was never released on DVD. I love a challenge, and I love interesting stories. And Legend Of The Seeker certainly is. I will probably talk some more on that series, because there is a lot in it, and is worth taking a closer reflection on. I also took some elements, and then played with it, and expanded those ideas. I ended up having new ideas to add to the story I was developing. The end result was something that was very much in my universe, but with shades and elements being influenced by the Nightmare November story. This is something I find interesting in and of itself. And no doubt will be exploring further, when I fully write the story.

In addition to having an outline, I have been working more in the Thorns universe I created, and there is more “canon,” and more exploration of the setup, and the rules. I feel so much more confident of success, for a number of reasons. Firstly, as already detailed, I have an outline ready to go. I also have been preparing mentally, and trying to not be mentally over-taxed. I probably should start getting into Meditation again, to help keep myself centred. Another advantage is the fact I have managed to book off the first week as annual leave. So I have an eight day block where I can just write away to my heart’s content. There are also other long weekends as well, but I plan to finish the first draft in that first week, so I can focus on editing and honing it for the rest of the month. The plan is to have a fully finished novel this month. (Another impossible challenge…)

I also have managed to be writing continuously since July, when I had to switch Camp Projects about. I was working on a part finished, but fully outlined, short story. But as I progressed, I found myself being presented with a story that is really better off as a full novel. In addition, I started to sit down, and closely work out details to the story, I discovered some rather startling problems with chronology and background. So, it needs to be overhauled.

To get past the word count, I went and created a new project on the fly. It was meant to be a simple short story, but more and more kept emerging, and I just kept going. It is now well over 15,000 words long, and I’m wanting to finish it this month. Ironically, it is working into being Book Two of the multi story arc I had been trying to continue. But again, it is helping to further and develop the whole tapestry of narration I have been developing. It also is helping me hone and develop my storytelling skills, because I have been working almost every day on it, even if it is just a couple of hundred extra words per session.

I know now that I am well on the way towards succeeding, and getting more stories finished. I just need to keep going, keep finding my path forwards.

I just need to keep on proving that the impossible is possible.