NaNoWriMo Day 23: Quick Slap

I’m not sure how to explain it but I feel like Severus Snape (note Snape’s placid swingng action) and Ron Weasley (note Ron’s face) at the SAME TIME:

I’m trying to tell myself that I haven’t given up with NaNoWriMo, but I think I have taken on too much this year. I’m losing site of the finish line and am pushing forward whenever I can. I don’t think I’ll make it but I’ll keep writing when I have time and energy to spare.

Useful tip I picked up from NaNoWordSprints: write in white. When the text is white you cannot stop to correct typos, agonise over grammar or improve imagery. I actually found I crafted a pleasant and aesthetic scene doing this – possibly the best I’ve splurged out in the past few days.

Writer’s stress: ‘Is my character developed enough’? ‘Is the plot coherent’? ‘Should I kill off character B even though I really like zem’? If these are the only thing getting you down, plaguing your dreams and pissing you off: it’s a good life. You’re doing OK. Keep going and don’t let your inhibitions get you down. I swear, these are great questions to be asking yourself and if you’re novel isn’t on your mind most of the time, then it probably won’t be on the reader’s mind, either.

If you’re stress is making you ill and is caused by a combination of factors then it’s OK to put the pen down. I know there are hundreds of pep-talks telling you to keep pacing on, don’t worry about the world trying to bug you for attention, but they aren’t law. Don’t make yourself ill, like I did. I’ve acknowledged that I can’t flog myself into achieving everything and NaNoWriMo is the thing that should take least priority. Writing a novel is a huge task and should be enjoyed, especially if you plan on making it your career, like I do.

Do your best, write in white, love your novel for all its current flaws and stay happy. ❤

#NaNoWriMo Day 17, Dwarves deserve love too, y’know, and the stabbing finally happened

That awful moment when your writing programme freezes and you know you’re about to loose a whole paragraph of beautiful words:

*le sigh* The trials of life. Well, I’ve personally found this week to be an up hill (mountain) struggle. I had such a mental break down at one point that I was actually convinced my bedroom was an illusion. Crying to laughing, crying to laughing, to inane giggling. But I’m OK now. Despite my ‘professor’ changing the specifications of this months essay (again) he’s at least made up his fucking mind. There are fixed deadlines, there is an outline and I can plan and prepare.

Elijah Gill and myself attempted to bash out some of our scripts in the library this week. After I’d been staring at the end of scene six for ten minutes, Elijah leant over and typed in a new scene heading for me. I’d like to share it with you:

As you can see it’s all very productive over here.

So aside from barraging you with moving pictures (GIFs) and screen captions, what am I bringing to the metaphorical table? For the most part: dwarves. They are a seriously underrated fantasy race. What actually bothers me, though, is how role-playing games tend treat dwarves as undesirable lovers. My main example shall be Dragon Age II. Now, Dragon Age is an epic fantasy role-playing game that leaves me little to complain about. The companions (people in your party) are without doubt the main attraction, especially as far as romantic allure is involved. But why, oh why, are you never able to woo the dwarves? In Dragon Age II I think the one character (aside from Anders) who really holds great appeal for me is the dwarf, Varric. He is the one companion you cannot have a relationship with. Not even a fling. It’s the same with Oghren in Dragon Age: Origins. Is it because they’re dwarves and it’s seen as unlikely they’ll have sex-appeal to some people? It certainly doesn’t seem like a plot problem to hook-up with either of these characters. I know Varric is a free range chicken, it’s cool. He can move on and we go our separate ways at the end of the story. So why can’t we have an interesting relationship for the nine years he chooses to stay by my side?

But why am I talking about dwarves and their sex-appeal to begin with? At the start of the week I posed a question on my twitter: ‘What kind of city would you expect Southsunder to be?’ Mick Deak replied with, “Dwarven!” In the spirit of things, I agreed. Now my city is occupied by short people who are blatantly dwarves. My main character has a liking for the inn helper and she is head-over-heels for him. It’s very cute. I’m trying to get them alone in the same room for more than ten seconds but it’s proving difficult (almost wrote ‘probing’ – cripes). These people are short, stocky, broad and beerful and just as gorgeous as elves. I don’t understand why they are shunned so much. Look at Varric. Seriously, you couldn’t be more charismatic than this man:

As far as NaNoWriMo goes, it’s not too bad. I’ve been making notes in a tiny note book each morning to help spur me along, but I’m afraid there is now a scene involving stabbing and human blood. I felt defeated for a day. I’d done so well not to include anything nasty this year, but it couldn’t be avoided. I felt I was doing the reader a disservice if I tried to write around the truth. Saying this, it’s not a gory scene and it’s not written to make the reader squirm. Cringe, yes. Worry, definitely. Feel ambivalent, of course. Want to run away in terror, no. It’ll need improving but I think I’ve done alright.

Last but not least, my mood board is finally printed and arranged on my wall – hooray! The picture of the girl with red paint/wings/blood/an explosion of emotion coming out of her back inspired the ENTIRE story. Click [here] to see the artist’s page.

EXTRACT (Screen printing was the only way to avoid the text being tiny again. I don’t understand it. Oh well)


#NaNoWriMo day 9 and we’re still hunting a fucking snake

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Somewhere, I know there is a light. A light I might not be able to see at the moment, but a blazing olympic torch nonetheless. My ‘professor’ has decided to bring forward a few script deadlines to give us a ‘taste of the working world’. This would be fine if he wasn’t asking for an hour long pilot episode and a film. Bastard. But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m sure WriMos everywhere are feeling the heat as the real world demands their attention.

My main character is a hunter – in a fantastical, dark fantasy sense of the word (no magic though) – and he and his buddy have been hunting a ‘tornado snake’ for the past three pages. There’s lots of rain and wind and grass. It’s also turned out quite phallic but what isn’t these days? Or any day. I don’t even. It was rainy, it was windy and damn was it wet. I’ve found there are plenty of ways to describe just how intense this scenario can be.

Do you know what is OK though (aside from describing the rain a lot)? Skipping stuff. Especially the bits that bore you. My friend will sometimes turn to me and say, “I would write the next bit but it’s the boring bit.” What boring bit? There (idly) shouldn’t be any boring bits. If a section of the story bores you then it’s bound to bore the reader too. The reader knows. Always knows. If the next scene is boring, then perhaps it’s not necessary. You simply cut it out. See how well the story continues without that ‘boring’ bit there. I’ll bet you 9/10 you’ve made the right call. If that ‘boring scene’ is integral though MAKE  IT  INTERESTING. You’re a writer, be creative or something. It’s what you do best.

Of course, NaNoWriMo prohibits cutting. That’s for December. I tend to colour the bits I don’t like in white so I don’t have to read them.

It’s time to carry on writing and stop procrastinating. I’ve got my coffee, my movie soundtrack playlist, unfortunately no popcorn but plenty of duvets. I love writing. I’m beginning to feel squashed by NaNo + Work but I’m a determined person. There’s nothing more satisfying that sitting on the finish line and knowing I managed to keep going. Through all the extra deadlines, scripts, rap gigs, XBox fright nights, extra curricular activities, research on top of research – I survived and wrote a freakin’ novel on top of it all. By choice. I could choose to give up but I won’t. Writing is wonderful and anyone who’s got what it takes to not give up is awesome, if you ask me. Tally-ho! Sit your butt down and let’s get back on target together.

EXTRACT
Isandro saw something out the corner of his eye and took a deep breath as the snake reared high above Patetico’s head. It’s usually bright orange stomach was slick with mud. “THERE!” he shouted. With a flourish of his vicious pole, Patetico danced aside. The snake snapped out at him and launched a few meters through the air. Its long, thick, beastly body weighed it down and it landed with a thud.

Before it could streak out of sight Isandro sprinted to where he could see the beaded tail. It was beginning to spin like a club. The spinning tail picked up speed in seconds and Isandro could feel a surge of wind around him. The rain lashed against his face like blades and he gritted his teeth. Isandro imaged the snake’s venom-covered fangs and wondered how painful it might be to feel them sink into his arm.

Crying out, Isandro swung his axe around and plunged in into the snake’s lashing tail. The winds around him spread out and his breath was easier to catch. Redirecting his energy, Isandro tensed and sized the snake’s thick body with two hands. It slid beneath his fingers and thrashed to escape. He clambered up the hissing beast, applying more of his weight to flatten it to the floor, until Isandro was able to force down its head.

Without fail, Patetico appeared and held his spiked pole high -ready to attack. “Careful!” he cried and skewered the tornado snake through the head. It stopped moving and Isandro slumped on top of it, out of breath. Wind whistled through the grass and rain roared in his ears, thundering over the marshy field.

#NaNoWriMo Day 7: lala mentality reached, Nouns everywhere, and no one’s been stabbed yet

Phew! What an intensive weekend. 10k Sunday, I nearly choked a lung trying to reach the word count on Saturday, never mind the overall weekend target. But I made it. Elijah Gill did question my mental health at one point and made me go to bed at a sensible hour, but other than that I’m on track, baby!

How are you doing? Have you started to feel despair and begun taking it out on your characters? Has anyone lost a limb? Has anyone died? By Day Two last year my supporting character had been stabbed, my main character’s skin had almost melted off, the lead female was masturbating in the forest and lives were saved by eating raw meat.

This Thursday I reached ‘lala mentality’, also known as, ‘if it’s shit I don’t care anymore’. It’s gone pretty well. The only child in the novel has had her voice sucked out and it turns out that Main Character has a brother who also lost his voice as a child. There’s romance blooming, stars have names, people almost have back-stories… I’m into my novel now that the WRITE OR DIE mentality has returned. It’s like running naked down the street and feeling no shame. I hope you’re enjoying the writing process too.

If you’ve not read Erin Morgenstern’s pep talk for this weekend, get on that. My inner marmot felt motivated again.

Good luck, keep writing and tell me the name of your main character!
Favourites so far:
Marcella – lorna_librarian
Kyrah – wrimosftw
Daffy Daphne – tinknevertalks

EXTRACT
(I don’t know why the text is irrechangably tiny. I take no responsibility for those who bust an eye trying to read it. Proceed with monocles.)

What’s the commission?” he asked. Marian thrust her notebook at him before Patetico could answer. Her letters were still messy and slanting up the page at a severe right angle, some of the letters floating out of their word. “Kill the…tomato…” Marian slapped his arm and gave him a pleading look. “Don’t give me that. I’m trying, I’m trying,” Isandro said. “Ahem, so, kill the tornado snake in the…ice basket? Rice market?”

Marian kicked him in the shin and he scuttled back, laughing. Cecilio smacked him on the shoulder and Isandro raised his arms. “What, you’re siding with her now? I’ve not even introduced you.” He waved the book at his brother. “Look at this, come on, what does it say to you?”

Cecilio peered over, expecting to contradict him, and then took the book to inspect the page closer. “See, I’m not just teasing her.” Marian sighed and glanced at Patetico, waiting for him to say that she needed more lessons and practice.

“You’ll get the hang of it,” Patetico said instead. She smiled at him.

Cecilio handed back the notebook and she waved at him, asking him to introduce himself. Bowing his head, Cecilio spelt out his name with his fingers and then made the symbol he used as an abbreviation. Marian’s eyes lit up and she looked at Isandro for an explanation.

“This is my brother, Cecilio. He was chosen at your age, too.” Her mouth fell open and she regarded him with awe and hope. “Cecilio, this is Marian.” She slid off the bench and shook Cecilio’s hand. Holding her hand he intertwined their fingers and then stroked a circle around her wrist. “Behave, brother, you’re here to help.” Cecilio stuck out his tongue.

“What did he say?” asked Patetico.

“Nothing appropriate for a first greeting.” Marian blushed and pulled her hand away. “My brother should be able to teach you a few things. I thought it might help. Plus, when we tell you how the Mist thanked him for his voice, you might not feel so bad.” The girl chewed her lips thoughtfully and Isandro couldn’t hold her gaze. “Let’s not make a big deal. Shall we go?”


NaNo, you poor weeping people with broken fingers (I guess that includes me, don’t it?)

The following was written by pathwaytomars over at the Flat Flops blog.

It’s NaNoWriMo folks and we know what that means! It means a flat full of people (who don’t actually share a flat anymore) are holding each other close as they weep because they now have to an extra 1,667 words a day  and have only themselves to blame. Soon the smells of tea and coffee will be wafting through the streets of Southampton and random strangers will be accosted at bus stops and asked “Why? Why did i kill him?” and then shocked policemen will discover that the victim in question was fictional. Poor sweet flat floots, poor naive writers, poor over worked keyboards! We think of you only with love and a small amount of pity.

NaNoWriMo Day #1: ribbons, cloaks and unexplained drivel. Mostly grunge. Lots of grunge.

OMG IT’S NANOWRIMO 2011!

HOW WE DOING? You keeping up with NaNo? Did you meet today’s word count? I certainly didn’t. I’m 300 words behind but do you see me in despair (yet)? Bwaha, nooo. It’s good to see a cluster of my friends working and fretting to meet the daily target. You’re all excellent for partaking in such a mammoth task, especially for starting something so daunting.

I began my chapter at midnight, on the dot. Hypothetically. After staring at a blank page for more than three minutes my housemates told me that I had to name every chapter after a 60s Psychedelic Song, which gave me instant inspiration. Thank you, Dexter Child. Perhaps I should state that by this point I was tipsy after a Halloween gathering the pub called The Hobbit (where cocktails are named after characters. I had a Bilbo).

Words began to flow! The city was grungy, it was grimy, it was dirty, and you know what it stank but the protagonist loved it anyway. Exciting though it was to settle into the mentality of  ‘write or die’, within the hour it began to turn into repetitive drivel. Like I said, it was a grungy city.

Today was not as productive. After rolling out of bed Mikey Wyatt flounced over to my house. We shut ourselves away with mugs of tea and commenced project ‘DAY 1, SRS BZNESS’. Serious business frazzled away rather quickly… I even took time out to make hot apple cake and ice cream for five people. I even volunteered to be tea-monkey. My willingness to procrastinate and make everyone else write has come from having my NaNo idea for over a year, I think. I love the idea but truly must make myself write it. My biggest problem at the moment is having two characters whose name begin with ‘Mar’. Gosh darn it. I’ll have to change one of them…

But that is just this day. Tomorrow (so technically once I finish this post – it’s now midnight) I shall continue with fresh gusto. Once I’ve been forced to stop and attend dull lectures, I’ll race home full of inspiration. The coffee pot will stew and the cat will eat the goldfish. Best of all, guess who has not gone back and edited at all today?

-Willow //end scatter-brain spew. It’s midnight. I’ve had a bucket of coffee. Just go be awesome and write more novel already.

EXTRACT
Arcatera was a grey city. The streets were narrow and the buildings crooked. The pavements were cobbled and the most important buildings were made of green, worn metal. Having grown up there all his life, Marziale did not see anything wrong with the dull, dirty city. In fact, Marziale loved Arcatera.

“Come on, Marzie!” cried Marian. “We’re going to miss the play at this rate!” Marziale gave her a withering look.

Marian was a small girl of about thirteen years old. She had brown eyes, short brown hair, tanned brown skin and an average, healthy shape of any young female. Resisting the urge to flick her tomato-nose, Marziale went back to sharpening his axe. Whoever let a child join their Clan was an idiot, he thought.

“Oh Marziale, pleeeease,” she whined, “I really want to go.”

“You’re a big girl, go by yourself.”

Marian chewed her lip, her eyebrows touching in a look of distress. “I don’t want to go by myself.”

“Then you should have woken up early this morning and left with the others.”

She grumbled and stropped over the Marziale’s bedroom doorway, then stropped back and crossed her arms, snarling at him when he did not budge from his bed.

“Go away, Marian,” he said.

“You’re so mean! Why don’t you want to go with me? You said you like Mist Plays.”

“I do.”

“Then why won’t you go?”

“Because I like them best in tomorrow’s newpaper. Look, I can’t be bothered.”

Marian gasped and he peered up at her. She looked as if he had just spat in Father Aksel’s face. “What do you mean you can’t be bothered? This is the most important Mist Play of the year!”

“Marian, I won’t say it again. Go away.” Marziale gripped his hefty axe in both hands and stood up. As he carried it past Marian and hooked it onto the wall beside his bed, the girl made an angry noise before storming off; her boots thudding on the wooden floorboards. “I probably should go…” he mumbled to himself. It was his last chance to find work before the Clan moved on.