Archive for the 'NaNoWriMo' Category

50% NaNo

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Today is the 25,000 word mark. I’m a little behind schedule, but overall the novel is going well. The first draft is complete, with an exciting action-packed climax in which the fecal matter hits the rotary air circulation device and alien excrement ends up everywhere. As requested by Jerie, I canned the volcano plan and went with the stealth ending, so only a few aliens got chewed up, stealthily.

The urchin that Rocky suggested adding managed to survive all the way to the end of the novel, although another urchin got himself chewed. The two urchins may merge into one during the editing process (under that literary law about not multiplying urchins unnecessarily). I’m tempted to edit now to get the events into better order, but overall I’m happy with my 60 or so scenes. They just need to be twice as long by the end of NaNo.

Bad, Bad Words

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Boston weather of the day: snow—actual snow!

Seema and I have been writing some bad, bad words as part of the NaNo rush, but I think my bad words are different from her bad words. For one thing, I haven’t used “cough” even once yet, never mind three times in the same sentence.

At this stage, my NaNo novel is an outline with passable dialogue (except for Jack phoning it in) and a whole lot of bad words where the stunning prose ought to be. The bad words are:

  • look
  • seem
  • be
  • turn
  • smile
  • frown
  • shrug
  • sigh
  • jump
  • stand up
  • sit down
  • raise eyebrow
  • nod
  • shake head
  • motion

My characters need to do something while they’re speaking, so I toss in a bad word wherever I know actual relevant actions should be happening. Now I’m getting to the end of the story, where Snark Conquers Evil and our heroes ride off into the stargate together. And that’s where the trouble starts, because I have to go back and fill in some real action where my characters were just jumping around like crazy people.

Maybe I’ll do the descriptions next, instead.

33% NaNo

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Today is that magic day when a third of the novel is complete. My plot is almost done; soon I’ll need to go back and add the setting. I’m writing in layers, with the dialogue and clunky screen directions first. I wonder if I’ll be able to keep up my current pace once I go back to the beginning and start adding quality to my quantity. Quality takes time.

I’ve had another difficulty nanoing; Bitter!Jack the Muse has been reluctant to come out and snark. Daniel is going fine, and Sam and Teal’c are out of character for plot purposes (my nefarious scheme to conceal the fact that I can’t write either of them), but Jack just isn’t as snappy as usual. I think it comes from watching too much season 6. Jack is phoning it in and the muse isn’t getting enough material to inspire snark.

Maybe I’ll back up to season 4 for a while—the Best of Jack.

Blogging while the Blogging is Good

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

I should blog now while the site is up. Like the B Line (on its third day out of commission), the website has been running less that smoothly lately. Maybe the spammers are getting it down, or maybe Potholes Attacked.

My sympathies to those of you distraught over the election results. I was surprised at how unconcerned I was as the electoral college swung back and forth all night. I just can’t get all riled up about these things like you young’uns. My greatest disappointment was that now I'’ll never find out what John Kerry’s plan was.

I’ll spare Jerie the wordcount updates, but I’ve kept to my NaNo schedule so far.

NaNo NaNo Again

Monday, November 1st, 2004

It’s that time of year again. This year I’ll be writing a fanfic novel for NaNoWriMo. As Seema says, the stuff just writes itself. It hasn’t yet written my quota for the day, though…

So you’ve decided to be lazy…

Monday, March 29th, 2004

Link of the day: So You’ve Decided to be Evil

NaNoEdMo sent out a home stretch email today. There are 50 hours left in March (or so they tell me) and I have 25 hours left of my EdMo quota, and other things I need to do. Thus, I’ve added another year of not finishing to my EdMo record. But I did get the restructuring of the novel done, so it was a month well spent.

Part of my EdMo problem was that the novel gave me ideas for related stories. In my research, I discovered that the left side is the lazy half of the brain. (The right side is the creative half.) Laziness is a feature of consciousness - schizophrenics and hypnotized people are far more industrious in their non-conscious states. I suppose that explains why the muse (a non-conscious entity by definition) is so industrious, when she shows up at all.

If you see her, please remind her I have a deadline coming up.


Thursday, March 11th, 2004

Flash link of the day: The Exorcist in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies

I na, I no, I edmo. My full-color flowchart outline has been finalized, with one column for the plot and one for subplot(s). It looks kind of like this:
But does it flow?

Now that the cat has been quite thoroughly vacuumed, I need to rewrite my novel so that it goes in the order indicated above, using the handy key to scenes. It’s a good thing I decided to date all the scenes back during NaNoWriMo.

Lastly, some actual plotting advice for Seema: if you have trouble with plot, there’s an exercise I found helpful. (It’s not quite the level of cat-vacuuming involved in flowcharting your own fic, but it’s close.) Take a novel you like and write a one-line summary of each scene.

I don’t remember which how-to-write book that came out of, though I suspect Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold. [I was wrong: it was in the Novelist’s Essential Guide to Creating Plot.] There were other steps involved as well, like writing a chronological summary of the same plot and determining which scenes were spectacle and a few other bits out of Aristotle, but I found looking at my resulting outline - the bare bones of a novel - the most enlightening part. I could see how the plan all came together.

Virtual Index Cards

Tuesday, March 9th, 2004

Contest of the day: win Star Trek: Voyager season 1 at

I was going to do the index card plot outlining thing (50,000 words late) for NaNoEdMo, but then I thought why copy everything into a dying medium like paper when I already have plot summary comments attached to all my scenes? There had to be a more high-tech way.

So I searched for just the right program to simulate index cards with scene and character notes on them. I thought fondly of Hypercard. I googled at length. I read up on the history of mac outliner software. Nothing seemed quite the thing.

In the end, I came back to OmniGraffle, a sort of lightweight Visio for the Mac. I used grep to get the scene summaries out of my story file, then imported them into OmniOutliner (by opening the text file), then imported the OmniOutliner file into OmniGraffle (by opening the file). I got both programs free with my PowerBook, so this wasn’t my usual open-source approach. (OmniDictionary is free, though.)

After the import, I had about 50 little squares for my 50 or so scenes. I started coloring them in and sliding them around (because the story needs some serious rearrangement), and a great cat-vacuuming time was had by all. I think it’s been more helpful than index cards, though I was only going for a reasonable approximation of index card functionality.

The Subplot Thickens

Saturday, March 6th, 2004

Haiku of the day: T haiku

I can’t believe I re-read the whole thing. There’s something gratifying about having written something that takes hours to read, even if a third of it is raw, undisguised info-dump and nothing of note happens for the first 20,000 words or so.

On a dark day of NaNoWriMo an extra year got inserted into the narrative, and now I think that year must go. I have no subplot to fill it, and my pivotal event needs to happen earlier on. That means that two years must now become one, and not end-to-end but simultaneously. I think index cards are in order.

On the geek side, I downloaded a 4mb IPA symbols package for LaTeX (tipa) for the sake of one schwa (ə) buried deep in an infodump. I’m not counting that towards my 50 hours of editing, though.

You may already be a winner…

Sunday, November 30th, 2003

Word count: 3323

NaNoWriMo 2003 Winner

I can’t believe I wrote the whole thing! Many thanks to Jerie for listening to my whining yesterday, and to Seema for writing companionship during the two or three days it took her to write her novel.