Saturday, November 28, 2015

Two for One

This year I am doing back-to-back NaNo, although it remains to be seen how December will go, with family commitments and such. I aim to try, at least.

I am writing two very different novels. This is the only way to do it, I feel, much like reading two books at once. If the books are similar, you may confuse the plots if you go back and forth between them. With two very different stories, that becomes less of an issue. And so too with writing. I chose two plots that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, in two different genres, for different ages.

The first novel I started at the beginning of November got me through 19000 words, before I hit a block. It's okay, because I'll get back to that one in December, and if I manage a full NaNo I will have completed the necessary word count.

The other novel that I started in on when I hit writer's block on the first will be longer, but I've been 'cheating'. That is, I've been writing the required 1667 words a day, but several days a week I've been doing extra words. It means I'm at about 45k now, which is where I should be for a NaNo novel if I'd started it on November 1st. I'll hit 50k for this month, and then will have to write another 15k or so to finish it off. Perhaps between writer's blocks in December. I may just spend the first week of December finishing this one off so I can focus on the other one (and not get distracted). We'll see. It's only the 28th.

What are the novels about, you ask? You didn't, but someone reading this is wondering. You'll have noticed I don't really talk about what I'm actually writing on this blog, and there are reasons for that. Until my stories are 'finished' they are very personal for me, and I don't like sharing something that isn't complete.

Still, no harm done in a short plot synopsis.

The first book I started was junior fiction, about a young girl who has to move to a new city when her mother gets a job transfer. She keeps hoping and wishing that her parents will decide to move back home. But then her mother is killed in a car accident, and the young girl blames herself, because she wished so hard that something would happen that would let her go home. The only person she feels understands what she is going through is her bedroom's resident ghost. A young boy named Timothy who died a 100 years before.

I've never written junior before, so it's been an interesting lesson in language and kids stuff. We'll see how it goes, but I wanted to branch out and see if I could do it. And also, the hook for it was brilliant.
The second book is a memoir and it is entirely a selfish pleasure. After I got back from Spain I wrote a guidebook for the camino, that was half guidebook and half memoir, but I've never been particularly happy with it. For one, it's not fiction at all. So I decided to try my hand at making it fiction. It worked for Cheryl Strayed. And it's kind of going alright, although it may be entirely unmarketable. It will certainly not be the first novel I query. But they say write what you know, and I know this more than anything, because I lived it.

If I can make 100k by the end of the year, I'll be quite happy. Since I finished That Winter Book this year too, and edited it. Not bad for 2015.

Oh yeah, and I got my PhD too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Creativity Updates

Well now, it's passed the middle of the month. The good news is that I'm on par with NaNo's suggested word counts. The bad news is that neither novel is as far ahead as I hoped it would be. The good news is that Novel 2 is speeding alone admirably, though, and I don't think I will run out of ideas (though I might run out of plot). Novel 1 has stalled and I suppose it will be December's Problem To Deal With. How joyful that will make the holiday season.

[Good spotting, that was sarcasm. The things we writers do...]

I've been sick, a lot, the last few weeks, and when I haven't been I've been away. But I got back to painting today and it's coming along. I've done the easy bits now, though, so it's the near perspective that's left and that requires much more patience and determination. There are A LOT of red leaves to add in to this thing.

The entire left side is one giant maple in full brilliant autumnal red. Each individual leaf will have to be painted, after I finish filling in the details on the rocks, the leaves in the water, and the rest of the floating twigs and such. Oh, and the trees in the distant left too, though they are mirrors of the ones on the right.

Now that I'm looking at it...that water ended up much redder than intended. Might have to fix that. It's supposed to be muddy brown, but it could just be my iPhone too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

And good heavens, how time flies

The 11th already, where does the time go? Oh, right. [Never mind, I remembered what I spent the last week doing.]

But onwards and upwards are the mottos of National Novel Writing Month, and so we go on (unless you've given up already, which I wouldn't recommend). I've discovered a small advantage to deciding to do back-to-back NaNos. When you get stuck on one novel, simply work on the other. You still hit your word count, you still get further along in the plot, and you still contribute the success of both.

One of these is so much easier to write than the other, and there's a simple reason for that. They say 'write what you know' and I've usually taken that to heart. Or at least 'write what you love'. But this time, this time I'm challenging myself and it's not going so well. Oh, I hit 18000 words or so, so it's not a total disaster, but it's not been easy. I'm way out of my comfort zone here (a worrying fact, if you knew what my last novel had entailed). So, I went back to the 'easy' one. The one that's me. The one that's my story. This is literally writing what I know. And who I know. And how I know it. And, for now, that's just going to have to be good enough. I'll get back to the other one later, even if later is December.