Category Archives: NaNoFiMo

Wordasaurus Rex!

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the challenge is simple: write 50,000 words in the month of November. This was my second year participating in NaNo and my second year winning it.

That’s right… I’m a winner!

Rather than start a new work I continued my work in progress, and used the inimitable @FeakySnucker‘s term and tag #NaNoFiMo (National Novel Finishing Month) to signify that I was doing things a wee bit off the reservation.

I checked with the Office of Letters and Light (the wonderful folks who run NaNo) and they said as long as I was writing 50,000 new words on the story it still counted. After a short discourse in which I asked if I had to create 50,000 brand new words that weren’t in any dictionary, (they replied that I didn’t. I could actually re-use existing words, I just had to put them in arrangements that weren’t pre-existing within my story), I set about writing the rest of my novel.

The word count that I finished NaNo with is 50,417 NaNo words, and 100,439 words on this draft. The draft isn’t entirely complete yet, there’s still a chapter and some extra text to go, and there’s a LOT of revision to do on this one, so that draft number will definitely change as I edit and polish.

I’m beaming right now. It’s past midnight, I have to get up at 7am and go to work, and I’m literally buzzing with energy.

I’d love to dig into finishing that last chapter and the extra text, then dive into cleaning up some of the stuff I’ve left myself notes all over Scrivener to do, but my Scrivener trial expired at midnight!!! I can’t buy a full version until my “Winner” status officially comes through on December 5th. It’s almost enough to make a man gnash his teeth at the unfairness of it all.

I leave you with the term Wordasaurus Rex. I’m not 100% sure where or why it came about, but it’s most definitely NOT something I’ve created. But it’s how I feel when I finish NaNo. Like a great big excuse eating dinosaur made out of words! RAWR!!!

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Not so easy now is it?

Remember when I said “the words were easy”? Yes, well. In the days since, not so much. I wrote that post having just passed 80K words. Tonight I wrestled my way past 90,000 words, just barely keeping on track to finish NaNoWriMo and this last 10K has been quite the struggle.

I’m neck deep in the climax of my book and all I can say is that it’s going to need a LOT of revision to make it flow. I’ve got a fight scene that feels like a badly choreographed, by the numbers, blow by blow account; I’ve got some not-so-engaging and oh-so-stilted dialog, and I’ve had to struggle to get every sentence on the page.

The annoying part is I can picture it all in my head and it’s just so much fun when it tumbles around in there. I just have to get it out to share it with everyone/anyone in a manner that’s as exciting and engaging for them as it is for me. The last thing I want on the page is a dry and boring step-by-step technical manual on how to get your ass kicked.

I have 4.5 chapters left of my outline to finish writing, which at approximately 2.5K words per chapter should put me just over 50K for NaNo, and 100K on the draft as a whole. I intend to take the first week of December off in it’s entirety and not look at it. I can’t promise I won’t, as I tend to obsess over these things, but I’ll sure as hell try.

Then it’s time to dive heavily into revision and clean-up and there’s plenty of that to go around.

The good news for the Alpha Readers is that you’ll be getting revised chapters dropped into the DropBox bin on a fairly regular basis. They’ll be in order, and they’ll add up to the whole book when all is said and done.

I’ve got another week of writing (and possibly a bit more) to go, then my two week break before that gets started, so let’s just let me stay concentrated on finishing NaNo first shall we?

– Grimm

P.S. If you don’t have DropBox, it’s fantastic and it’s free, and I get more space if you use my referral link to sign up, and I’m always hungry for more space 😀

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Filed under Alpha Readers, BookB, dialog, dropbox, NaNoFiMo, NaNoWriMo, Revision, Word Count

Full of Awesome and Worry.

Ok, I’ll try to keep this one short, as I’m bagged and liable to ramble.

One of my secondary characters is turning out to be simply amazing. I have two that are already really strong, but the more I write about this one, the more I absolutely adore her. I worry about that. I think that it might be a bad sign, and I hope it’s not.

You see, one of the things I always hear writers talking about is how they’ve all had to kill their “darlings”. “Darlings” in this case usually refers to characters, or scenes, or purple prose that they’re just so damned happy with, that their agent or editor tells them simply must go. I don’t think that will be necessary in this case, but I always need something to dread.

I’ve written about 3,000 words today (2,998 if you listen to Scrivener), which isn’t bad for the short timeframe that I had to write, this character helped with that, they just liven up the scenes they’re in. Oh wouldn’t that be great? If an agent or editor asked for MORE of this character? I could live with that. Not sure HOW I’d pull it off, story-wise, but I’d sure as hell try.

In short I’m enjoying writing her and having her in the book is making hitting word count goals easy.

There, see, I kept that pretty short.

– Grimm

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Filed under Agent, BookB, Editor, NaNoFiMo, NaNoWriMo, Word Count

Like a Madman!

Work has been driving me barmy lately. Between the nightmare of dealing with Windows platforms integrating with Linux NFS WatchFolders and other platforms integrating with those Windows platforms I could just about lose my mind.

I spend at a minimum 6 of my 8 hour workday up to my eyeballs in configurations, log files, xml traces, and metadata, then I spend at least 3 hours a day commuting to and from my job. It’s a wonder I have any time to write at all.

The key is, I make time. In the evening, after my kids are in bed, and my wife is gently tucked into her Pandaren in World of Warcraft, or Facebook, or Pinterest, I shut down my browser, put on my headphones and write.

I started behind the 8-ball on NaNoWriMo but I’m slowly and steadily catching up. I even took a night off for Skyfall (go see it) and I’m still gaining ground.

Tonight I hit ~70K words on my draft. I started November at 50,000 words even on the draft. I went so far as to change a few wordings here and there to make it even out so I could do NaNo and keep on track with minimal math. I’m supposed to be at 73,333, putting me 3,333 behind, which is far better than the ~7K hole I’ve been climbing out of.

So anyone out there who’s having trouble catching up on their NaNo. Sit your butt in the chair and shut down your browser. Disconnect your internet (turn off wi-fi or unplug it) if you must. If I can do it with only 2 hours a day, then you should be able to.

– Grimm

P.S. Natalie Bahm and her agent Sara Megibow are running a promotional contest on her book The Secret Underground with all the profits going to help a sick baby boy named Jayden. The contest is simple, comment on the contest blog post for a chance to win a 50 page critique by Sara Megibow (agent extraordinaire) on a finished or unfinished manuscript (yours or your friend’s).

While you’re at it, buy the book, the cause is most definitely worth it and from what I gather it’s a damned good book (I haven’t received my copy yet).

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Filed under BookB, Contest, NaNoFiMo, NaNoWriMo, Real Life™, TV/Movies, Word Count

Skyfall (and some writing)

I’ve been looking forward to Skyfall for over a year now. Pretty much as soon as I heard that Daniel Craig was in for Bond 23 I was all over it, watching for any tidbits of news. When Miramax ran into financial trouble I was seriously worried about whether or not it would even get made.

I’ve been a fan of the Bond films since my first encounter with 007 as a child at my grandparents. Sean Connery in Thunderball was on late night TV and I opted to watch that instead of getting a good night’s sleep like I was supposed to. I had no idea that it was a “Bond” movie, or even what that was, or that there were so many more to see. Needless to say I loved it, and over the years I’ve seen every Bond film ever made, even the unofficial ones as bad as they are.

My favourite Bond for the majority of my life was Connery, whether it was because he was the first I’d seen (despite there being 4 bonds before I was born!) or because he was simply the best I couldn’t say (though I’m going to go with the latter, even if his last 2 movies as Bond are some of my least favourite).

Brosnan was good fun, and I enjoyed Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies immensely. I enjoyed watching Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough, even if her acting was flat. I had a huge crush on her at the time. Die Another Day, however, almost made me quit the franchise. It was just too… goofy I guess.

When Daniel Craig stepped into the role for Casino Royale I had just finished devouring all of Fleming’s books, and pulpy as they were, I was hoping for a Bond that could reach their potential. A cold-hearted, yet human 007. Craig delivered.

He was hard, yet not impervious, he was funny, without losing his edge, he was a lady killer, without looking like a pretty-boy. This was my Bond.

Quantum of Solace, yeah, I actually really liked it. So sue me! When you take into account that the whole thing was nearly improv because of the writer’s strike, they actually managed to fit a lot of neat call-outs in there.

Skyfall (I know, I’m long winded, bear with me) is the penultimate Bond movie in my books. It’s got everything a great movie needs. Action, Suspense, one HELL of a story, and my favourite Bond in his best performance.

I don’t want to ruin anything, but some of the stuff that gets pulled out in this movie to tie it in with the past, add in Dame Judi Dench as M and the powerful relationship she’s cultivated with Craig’s Bond over the previous movies and this one, and it’s all so far beyond amazing that I have every desire to rush back to the theatre, hand them my money and watch it again and again.

The pacing is perfect, the twists are just the right amount of “I saw that coming” and “OMG I never saw that coming” and Javier Bardem as the villain Silva is bloody awesome!

The chemistry between Silva and Bond and M on screen is simply electric. It blew me away.

So, as you can imagine, it’s made #1 on The List, just edging out The Avengers. With only The Hobbit or Django Unchained left having the potential to unseat it this year. I don’t know that that’s going to happen.

Oh right, writing, about that. I busted out a nice run on words today (~2,600), after slumping the past few days between clipping the puppy’s nails too close and having a veritable fount of blood in my kitchen (no really, who needs corn syrup and red food colouring for a horror movie? Just cut one of my puppy’s toenails too close!) and a nice head cold (still have it, yay!).

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Key(board) Dependencies.

I swore I’d never turn into a “Mac” guy, and as far as I’m concerned I’m still not. The commercials annoy me, the dogmatic love of a product/company/brand despite things like price or functionality or open flexibility always irks me.

When I was given a MacBook Pro (late 2009 15″ model), I grumbled and groaned and whined, “Why can’t I just have a Dell, or an HP”, something that I could install Linux and run Windows or whatever in a Virtual Machine.

Those systems weren’t the “Corporate Standard” and weren’t supported, so they wouldn’t let me purchase one. Here, take your used MacBook Pro and shut up.

So I learned to work on a Mac, while still using a PC at home, and playing games on my HP laptop. See, I was flexible. I could adapt!

Well, adapt I have. I forgot to bring my MacBook power cord home with me from work this evening and it only had 36 minutes of juice left. There was no way I was going to reach 1,667 words in 36 minutes, not coming in cold without time to get my head in the game anyway.

So I despaired. Here I was, falling madly in love with Scrivener and cranking out words, good words, into my book for NaNoWriMo/NaNoFiMo, and I was going to have to use my HP to write for a night, without Scrivener!

Then it clicked. I could grab the Scrivener demo for Windows! I’m saved! I don’t even have to export my draft to a word doc and go back to the “old” and “clunky” way of word processing.

I set things in motion, got Scrivener installed, opened up my draft and got started. Only to find that the keyboard on my HP is INFURIATING to type on. Keys don’t take my input at a tap, I have to PRESS them firmly (F in particular, which is really no fun when your main character’s name is Flynn), and the shift and return keys are all kinds of messed up in their location and size.

Anyway, long story, um, long I guess, I met the minimum word count quota for a single NaNo day in about twice the amount of time it takes me to write 2k words on the keyboard I’m used to and I’m calling it a day.

Does anyone else find they can’t work near as productively if their environment or tools change?

– Grimm

P.S. This blog post took over 15 minutes to write on this keyboard :-/
P.P.S. Give me a keyboard like on my MacBook Pro with any other OS (that supports Scrivener) and I’d be just as happy, so I’m NOT a Mac guy, just a guy who loves his keyboard and hates change.

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Filed under BookB, MacBook Pro, NaNoFiMo, NaNoWriMo, Word Count

Secondary vs Tertiary Characters and the Princess Bride

I spent what time I had for writing this evening getting out half a scene with a secondary character.  This character will only show up twice in the entire book, but I think she’s going to be pretty memorable, and I really like how she’s turning out.

That’s the thing with secondary characters, they can’t be a cardboard cut-outs or props. To me that’s a Tertiary character, the type that doesn’t have anything to say, or any motivations beyond ,”Hot dogs, get your red-hots.” as far as the plot is concerned. There’s certainly a place for that sort of character, the stand-in.

But in my not nearly as humble as it should be opinion, secondary characters should be fully realized and if not necessarily memorable, at the very least believable.

Think Miracle Max in The Princess Bride (we’ll go with the movie). William Goldman could have easily written a throw away scene of someone performing CPR on Westley after the Pit of Despair, or Billy Crystal could technically have phoned that character in and gotten away with it. It would have made for a much less memorable part in a much less memorable film (or book if you want to discuss the book).

Instead, Goldman opted for a truly memorable secondary character, and not just with Miracle Max, but every secondary character, from the torturer, to the old King are all wonderfully realized (with a good bit of camp, but it fit the story perfectly).

That’s how I want my secondary characters to be (albeit with less light-heartedness in this particular book). I want them to be memorable and true to the story, and I really didn’t feel that was 100% necessary until I was working on this one.  Of course that means I’ll have to pick up some slack on the next pass and figure out exactly which characters fit secondary vs tertiary, but that’s what revisions are for.

What are your thoughts on secondary characters? Do you like to flesh out as many as you can or do you leave them as stand-ins/tertiary characters unless they’re truly needed?

– Grimm

P.S. Surpassed my #NaNoWriMo/#NaNoFiMo word quote for the second night running. Shouldn’t have too much trouble catching up to where I’m supposed to be.

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