Category Archives: NaNo

I Won, I Won LaTaDaDaDa!

Finished of with 50,242 words, so I crossed the finish line with this.

NaNo-2017-Winner-Certificate

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NaNo Day 28

Did 2093 today. I am at 48,782 (although the website says 48,998 – I don’t know what sort of calculator they are using…). I will probably finish tomorrow quite early and then post it for my non-prize.

Today consisted of looking for gaps in information and trying to perform not too unsightly info-dumps. I should rename this A Load of Disconnected, Contradicting Scenes.

I am always disappointed (just a little) whenever chapters are just called Chapter Six and there are no titles but the book’s title. I like chapters and even sections labeled. And when I wrote this, every section had to have a title. Some of them (if I ever give it the rewrite) will change. But I thought it would be cool to share them since they don’t belong to anything in your mind as pertains this story, reader, maybe they would be at least entertaining.

The Spaniard

On the Run

End of the Line

Riders Outside the Storm

The Asylum of the Betrothed

The Courtyard

The Cabin in the Woods of Fable

The Story of Elischk

Strait of Ambiguity

Gangia

Out of Time

Death Revisited

A Violation of the Third Order

Man Without a Path

Marking His Territory

Confession

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Didn’t Think It Would Be That Long

Warning From Above

The Three Moments of His Life that Mattered

This Time by Stealth

Tabitha

The Deepest Depravity

Ovidious Station 709-W


NaNo Day 27

I did 3388 words today. Total now is 46,689.

I will have to fall deathly ill not to reach 50,000 now.

Problem is I already finished the story!

Perhaps I could change the title to The Six Deaths of Horace Gumble and add an additional death. Or The Many Deaths of Horace Gumble.

Whatever. I will spend the next couple of days putting some stuffing into this turkey.

And a turkey it is! I had to totally fake the resolution of the story by firing all kinds of gins that were not revealed in the first act. Well, not that bad. But it is like someone writing a mystery story who forgot to leave the clues by which the detective solves the crime and so uses whatever incidentals were already there as if they gave an indication of the culprit.

It was a sort of mystery (although I had no idea it was until nearly the end). It was up to Horace, when he started to gain memory of his past lives, to put together the pieces that would resolve his endless loop of deaths at the hands of the demon.

The whole process of writing something this long was so overwhelming and mentally over my comfort level I think my hind brain was feeding me ideas my fore brain couldn’t recognize. The longest story I wrote before this was maybe ten pages in length.

Actually one of the means of story resolution here had some legitimacy, there was some foundation for it established in a part o the book. The other means of resolution I pulled straight out of my butt (pardon the expression but it fits) it is completely unfounded in the rules as I set them up in the book.

I say – so what? I can change that. At least I see it. I can’t count how many stories I’ve read, or movies and shows I’ve watched where this is blatantly perpetrated by so-called professional writers. And, apparently, no one from writer(s) producers, editors, actors, and even legions of fans seem to notice or care.

I give myself a pass. Hell. I literally didn’t know what was going to happen next until it was coming out of my fingers. I counted it as a good day if I knew the next few actions let alone the next paragraph.


NaNo days 25 & 26

While I have had fun, I realize this is certainly no way to regularly write. This story is probably completely senseless. And the words! Where the hell does the vocabulary go when writing? I can’t bring forth a word beyond the reading comprehension of a sixth grader when I’m writing. [A sixth grader from the 80’s, I have no idea what it is now].

Show don’t tell is out the door as a rule when you have no structure planned out at all.

Oi, I will be glad to get to the end as much as anyone who reads this blog will be glad of these posts demise (if there is anyone reading this blog).

Not to say that I am not having fun. But after twenty-six days of writing with absolutely no idea where the next word is coming from nor what the next scene, character or event is until it flies off the keyboard, I am a little tired.

Because of this the writing is bland. Two of my favorite writers are G.K. Chesterton and R.A. Lafferty, I don’t want bland to be an ascription of my writing. And this piece, as written, lacks the verve, the daring and the color that I so like in their work. It was in my work on the clowns, Sad Face. But it is largely missing here. There are some moments of flair, but I find it very hard to maintain at such a pace – such a blind, groping fast pace.

Anyway. Saturday’s numbers were 683 (boo, but I had to be at work early for the stupid Apple Cup) and Sunday 2550 (yay!). For a total of 43,517. A little more than six thousand words to go. And then I will file this novel in a drawer for a time and do a lot of shorter work before I revisit it.


NaNo Day 24

1675 words today (work day). 40,284 words. Seven days left, less than 10,000 words. Target for November 30th. Thursday is going to be a busy day.


NaNo Day 23 and Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry I post at the end of my day. It is actually Friday the day after Thanksgiving.

Happy buy a bunch of discounted stuff while you fight and curse your fellow man day!

Word count today 2290 for a total of 38,609

Speaking of black friday, I saw a funny meme that said the following:

Did I say funny? Sad perhaps is better.

In the spirit of the holiday season, you may ask. Mr. Wizard are you going to rip on and make fun of Leonard Peikoff’s CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE MORE COMMERCIAL again this year. Answer dear reader: I sure hope to have the time because I never tire of ripping that absurd essay!

I may also, if time permits, rip on another Objectivist theme, thanksgiving as the original American secular holiday – despite the obvious fact that it never was. They have several of these, but I think I may pick on THANKSGIVING: THE PRODUCER’S HOLIDAY

Sometimes I read these things and I can’t believe I once nodded my head in agreement to these arguments!


NaNo Days 21 & 22

Catching up with my slower week today and yesterday.Posted 2639 yesterday and 1703 today. I have a grand total of 36319 words with an average needed of 1521 per day here on out to finish on time.

Scrivener says my project right now stands at 94 paperback pages taking two and half hours of reading time.

I can’t wait to cross the finish line. Not only for the accomplishment. But also because now that I am this far in it I am certain how I want to write it – and in ain’t this way!


NaNo Day 20 – And Reflections So Far

Still playing catch up from a rough weekend. Posted 2568 today for a total of 32,436 words so far this month. And that leaves 17,564 to go.

The tracker on the NaNo says that I will finish on December 3rd at my current rate which is an improvement from yesterday that had it for December 5th. I need to reach at least the same number of words tomorrow, the minimum on Wednesday (a workday) and then max out on Thursday (Thanksgiving, challenge day!).Too bad before last Thursday I was at finishing on November 28th.

I am treating this not only as a teaching exercise in actual writing (as opposed to my professional procrastination (which I think I’ve achieved the rank of MASTER – bonus to me for double parenthetic comments, btw)) but also as an exercise in reaching deadline. I will reach that deadline, so help me God!

I have learned a bucketful so far in just twenty days. Number one, every single writer you have ever heard say that the way to learn how to write is to write is one-hundred and fifty thousand percent absolutely freaking correct. And I’m not saying that because I have acquired the skill in twenty days to write. Far from it. What I have learned is how much there is to it.

There is so much that goes into a story you can barely keep it in mind. Every single thing that is potentially a variable out there comes at you every single second, and there are always twenty or more of them. Now I think some of those can be eliminated with a little forethought and practice. Surely I could have reduced mine if I had thought of doing NaNo even a couple of days before November 1st and not the night of Halloween!

Even then your story may not go the way you anticipated. I had no idea what I was doing at all except for this idea that a Dark Lord of sorts who lives outside of time in a (outside of, that is) cyclical universe. It was an idea I toyed with briefly five or so years ago and then forgot about. He keeps killing a recurring iteration of this person who lives multiple lives (so think Shirley McClain meets The Matrix).

That’s it. And… write! And I have wrote some stupendous piles of crap in the last twenty days (and perhaps a few decent passages that would be alright with a little tweaking). It is scramble writing, I’m scrambling to a finish line. So yesterday I wrote this one scene where this Dark Lord (he’s actually now referred to as the Dark Surfer but that is just a placeholder as that name is already taken) kills this man yet again but this time as a newborn – he breaks the newborn’s neck.

I was very displeased with myself for having written such a thing as I do not like writing something that is evil merely to be evil. But then I thought, “well, I’ve been looking for a way to extricate the main character from this cycle of being murdered, and as long as the main character never remembers his prior life and demise there is no way out. How about make the Dark Surfer’s heinous act of murdering a child be the way out? That, somehow (and right now I don’t know even though I’m right in the middle of writing the scene) it causes his next self to recollect his past deaths and lives. I got this from listening to Father Mitch Pacwa on his call in show on EWTN answer a question about the souls of aborted children and whether or not they get to see the Beatific Vision. Pacwa answered in the affirmative.

Problem – Answer – Muse – QED.

That started a snowball where I wrote in three separate parts of the story tonight. I finished a meta-fictional piece (the novel is littered with such things that hint at the overall cosmology by the use of questionable sages and the esoteric writings of biographers without having to be explicit and dry – R.A. Lafferty uses this technique all the time and I’ve always wanted to do it myself)

– I also started what I thought was the final segment and the penultimate segment, then switched them, and then wrote a little back and forth in each section as one would make the other clearer the farther I went until I petered out (and my back as well!).

The switch occured when I was writing what I thought was the final segment when the character, (named in this iteration Dobromir Danneskjold – I like it!) who has gained the memory of his past lives in a dream, asks his priest what is eternal. The priest answers – Love. Ah, and what is love? And how has this man died up to now? Fearfully and cowardly and selfishly. There is only one way to end the cycle and that is to die by love, die in an act of love, and love is self-sacrifice.

And in Scrivener switching scenes around is easier than flipping a pancake.

Wala.

And the important lesson here, for me, is that even though I could have planned some of this, I do not think I could have got all the way there (at least not at first – maybe not at all?) without first actually writing. I don’t think I would have got to the riddle to even come up with the answers. But that last, to die in an act of love, is a bonafide story solution, a thematic solution even. I was just hoping to have a coherent series of decently written events with some sort of physical resolution for my first try.

Well, I won’t have a coherent series of decently written events on November 30th. If I were the Demiurge (and I certainly was for this story) you would all have asses where your heads are supposed to be and you’d all have wings for feet and genitals for ears. But I solved a story problem through writing it. And in a much bigger fashion than I gave myself credit for being able to come with. Also I think there might be a few short stories in germ form sitting in that muck of chaos.

On December 1st I will have the material necessary for writing an actual novel.

I’d like to also write down the observation that in all the time I was an Objectivist I was never able to solve one story problem. It was always like trying to jam a fist down a dime-sized hole. But now that I am of Catholic mind, the story solution literally fell into my lap. Actually a priest on the radio dropped the first part right into my ear on the very day I was considering one of the problems. Plink!


Nano Days 16 -19

Bumpy last couple of days. I got something like 1400 on Thursday, 500 on Friday, nothing on Saturday (Saturday is a really hard day to get anything done) but I did 2367 today. I’ll have to do that or more for the next couple of days if I want to catch up.

The only thing I don’t like about this is the rush. I went down a wrong path tonight but I had to keep going to get to the 50,000 by the end of the month. I had to keep going even though I know I will entirely cut out the last 900 words I wrote tonight.


NaNo Day 13 and 14 – And a Sample!

I did not write at all for Monday. I took a day off. The story was starting to suffer. Starting to suffer worse, that is since this is my first novel ever, and I am doing it 100 percent pantser style. No outline or even forethought (except what I get away with in the shower, walking the dog, etc).

That said, there is a deadline, so I doubled down today with 3491 words. I wrote it all in one sitting and my neck hurts!

Total word count now is 25097. Past the halfway mark!

I offered a sample on day one, so I thought it would be interesting to offer a sample two weeks later. This part I like a lot better than my original offering as it is more in my style and interests even though I don’t think the writing is technically better than my first offering. I went off the rails today (literally) and it is really hard to make first drafts clean when you go off the map. Actually I went completely nuts here.

Saim went back to watching the stars peak out from their cloud-veils. The instrument Gangia played produced hollow lilting sounds that were at once sorrowful and, somehow, hopeful. Or maybe that was the melody Gangia played. But Saim liked it. It seemed to tell a story in its notes that played itself out in front of Saim’s imagination’s eye. After a moment of being lost in that tonal landscape he noticed Gangia lay back upon the earth with his elbows sticking out to his sides as he continued to play. Saim also laid back and returned to the tonal fantasy before his head reached the earth.

He was upon a gentle mare in tall grass bent in the rushing wind. In the distance he saw a rider approach, the rider’s hair, long and icy blonde flowed with the grass as did the horse’s mane. This person, this woman approaching, he did not know, but somehow he greatly anticipated it as if he had for so long he could not remember.

How long have I waited for you?

Forever and a day, she said. She said it as if in front of him yet she were still far off across the field. Yet this did not trouble him.

And then she was there in front of him. He had reached his goal. Is this what the thing they call love feels like? He wondered. Or was this something else? She was sitting straight in her saddle looking at him with an open look, waiting for him to speak further. Her hair was so blonde it was almost white, yet her eyebrows, fair and slight, were darker. Her eyes were kindness and deep ocean blue and her features were abstractions of daintiness and symmetry. She wore a long thin white dress with a cropped front – but modestly so. She should have been freezing in the breeze that rolled along the plains but she did not seem to notice.

Then something terrible began to happen. She was receding away – and growing thick facial hair-
“Er.. Wha..” Saim thought he was opening his eyes but he saw that they were open all the while. He was looking into the chiseled and bearded face of one of Helbec’s more simian looking men. “He’s almost out.” The man said. How long have I been gone? He thought he asked this but he had not. But it felt to him it had been many hours since Gangia had started to play that instrument.

Then he was back at the base of Mt. Martyrdom and the day was still new. No- it was tomorrow. They weren’t there yet! But what about today then? Today must have been a dream was his last coherent thought in time and object.
And then nothing.

Then a sliver of something. A shaft. A streak. Then a constant. Constant. Constant. Constant. He felt like Continue reading