NaNo Again, 2016

I hadn’t planned to NaNo this year. Heck, I still have last year’s NaNoWriMo winner sitting in pieces in Scrivener, waiting to be assembled and the gaps filled in. It’s mostly all there, just not quite a first draft yet, because I wrote it in chunks.

Normally, I’m linear as a writer. I guess I’m what is called a Pantser for the most part, though I do usually start out at least with a rough outline.

This year, I had nothing. Not even a smidge of an idea had been born, and I planned with all good intentions to skip NaNoWriMo 2016.

Then, this evening, I was washing dishes. Suddenly, there was a story knocking at the inside of my brain. It wasn’t just the bare concept of a story, but actually had the rudiments of a plot, some interesting characters, a conflict, potential danger…. It wasn’t enough to be a full-grown book, but what book starts out fully grown?

So, today reached 2,300+ words, and I am still not even sure where the story came from. The working title is The Burden of Proof, but that’s probably not going to be what the book is called once it’s done. In fact, I’m pretty sure that one’s already been used by someone, somewhere. It was just something to type in where they asked for a title on the NaNo dashboard page.

Will it see 50,000 words? Will I still be writing on November 30th? Will the story evolve into an actual novel? Who knows? Not me! But I’ll keep clicking and clacking away at the keyboard and see where it leads me!

 

Final Ten Days of NaNoWriMo

Some days, the words flow freely. You hit that goal mark effortlessly, and float away from the keyboard to bask in the literary sun.

Others, every darned word takes a sump pump to extract. You stare at the screen for hours, and that word count just won’t reach 1,667 no matter how you plead.

Today’s somewhere in between, but close enough to the latter that I needed to take a break before jumping back in to take another lap.

I am, however, doing pretty well. A heck of a lot better than last year, anyway. I’ve got almost 40,000 of the target 50K words written, and ten days to go. I’m going to make it; I really do believe that. For the first time, I will actually “win” NaNoWriMo.

In the past, several of the losses were on a technicality, though. I actually finished the first draft of two novels during NaNoWriMos past. However, both were mid-grade mysteries, written for kids in the 5th to 7th grade levels, more or less. The 50,000 word count is just too high for a genre that rarely reaches 30,000. (Don’t tell J. K. Rowling that, of course.) This year, though, I’m writing for grown-ups, with grown-up attention spans.

Well, theoretically, anyway, though I must confess I know quite a few twelve-year-olds who can read circles around some of my adult acquaintances.

My book, if you can call it that, is written in a hodgepodge of disconnected scenes. I’ve jumped from beginning to end to middle a dozen times, with a large assortment of disjointed scenes in between. I hope and pray that, once November and the first draft are basically done, I can stitch it all together in a way that actually makes sense. I keep praying for Agatha Christie to channel through me, make this task a bit easier. I’m pretty sure every other mystery writer who has signed up on nanowrimo.org does the same thing.

Methinks our literary inspirations in spirit all have learned to take November off by now.

But, for your enjoyment (or not, as the case may be), before I dive back into the water, I’ll just copy and paste here the last couple of paragraphs that I wrote today, before my brain screamed that it needed to come up for air.

The sketch artist looked all of fifteen. She wore no makeup, jeans with a hole in the knee, a faded tee shirt featuring some huge-eyed anime character, and bright red hair in braids that hung nearly to her waist. She introduced herself as Siobhan in a voice as sweet and fluffy as cotton candy.

Tara stared at her, before realizing the girl had reached out for a handshake. The grip was hard, firm, and strong enough to make her wince. Appearances what they were, she was guessing this kid probably had a black belt in something … she glanced at the shirt … Japanese.

Happy November, all. If you’re in the US, and I don’t get back here before next Thursday, a Happy Thanksgiving, too.

I’m Not Dead Yet

Well, that went well. Not.

If you peek in at my last post, all the way back in November of last year, I was still doing my best to plug away at NaNoWriMo. There was also mention of a strange “bug bite” and infection. It turned out that the bite wasn’t a bite and the infection wasn’t an infection. An old auto-immune disorder had resurfaced and took me down hard not long after I last blogged. Still, I kept fighting my way through the daily writing, made it to about 30,000 words, and just … lost it.

This thing with my immune system really gets to me. People will say I’m such a strong person, but they really don’t know the way this cripples me inside. I shut down, went to bed, lost most of my income, and set aside the book.

I’m back here now, because I am doing better, and my intentions are to open up that blasted file again in Scrivener, read through everything I’d written back in November, and finally finish that draft.  I’m just under half-way done with the story itself, with a great big sign hanging over the file that says, “Some Assembly Required”.

Normally, I write linearly. I embrace the words of a very wise man:

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In the case of this book, though (maybe it was the fever and illness), ideas were coming in disjointedly. I would receive (it seemed, from nowhere) a chunk here and a bit there. What I have in Scrivener consists of a mess of disconnected segments from beginning, middle and end. I know how the story ends, it’s all drafted out, but am only loosely aware of how I’m going to get from here to there.

I have been writing in the interim. The output has been mostly non-fiction; I’ve been writing informational articles centered around my other self, my other life. I just haven’t been writing what I really want to write. What I want is what I love: paranormal mystery.

I’m back. Or, at the very least I am bound and determined to return. I didn’t win at NaNo ’14, but I haven’t lost, either. There is a darned good story in there, somewhere. It’s time to open the gates again, and let the words run free.