NaNoWriMo Complete!

ImageI did it! It’s been a pretty tough month, but I’m looking forward to having my life back. I think I’m going to take a little break from TBAP for a while. I’m feeling very fatigued by it. I’ve no idea what I’m actually going to do with my time from now on, though.

I’m thinking once I’ve taken a little break, I can do all the editing within another month. I still haven’t actually read the whole thing through.

Wondering how to treat myself. I’m thinking pizza, but since I’ve put on so much weight during NaNoWriMo, maybe I’ll have to stick to vegetable sticks…

Biological Clock Vs. Inspiration Time.

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When I started NaNoWriMo, I told myself that I’d get up early every day and try to finish that day’s word quota by lunchtime. Before coming to university, I was always quite an early bird. This probably had something to do with the fact I was forced to go to church at 6:30 most mornings by my parents. I did this when I was 14 – 18, and so I was really used to getting up early, and didn’t even understand how someone could possibly stay in bed until the afternoon.

Even now, if I continue to go to bed late and sleep in, I start to feel really awful after a while. Unfortunately, I often find myself inspired to write at like 10 – 11PM. When this first happened I’d be like, “Forget about it! I’m going to bed!” Now I know that, if I feel like writing, I have to do it, especially while doing NaNoWriMo.

This is possibly the reason I’m so susceptible to illness of late. I’m feeling loads better than I was, though. I only have a slight cough, but apart from that, I’m feeling really good. However, I am looking forward to a point where I can straighten out my body clock. And get on top of my laundry pile. And I seriously, seriously need to sort out my room. And help out with the housework. (My housemates probably hate me right now.)

So far I’ve written 30,000 words. 20,000 more to go!

Your invite to my pity party.

ParacetamolKleenexDon’t feel obliged to attend. I’ve never been particularly sympathetic when others are ill, especially people who claim to have every illness under the sun. If I were a superstitious kind of person, I’d say karma had a hand in this.

However, if you’d like to  sympathize/revel in my unhappiness, keep reading.

I have been struck down with the plague.

Okay, maybe it’s just an ordinary cough and cold. I seem to have developed toothache on top of that, which means my head feels so pressurized, I’m slightly scared that my head will explode every time I’m about to sneeze, or at least that I’ll burst a blood vessel. My housemates have started walking rather widely around me whenever we cross paths, and I don’t blame them. I think it might be the luminous red nose, bloodshot eyes and the trail of kleenex I leave behind me that’s putting them off. And maybe the occasional whimpering.

Combine this with the 30C weather, and it’s been difficult to sleep. I got maybe two hours’ worth last night? Also, I’ve not been eating very well, because when I try to eat anything I start to feel nauseous really quickly. Which means it’s difficult to take painkillers.

Poor, poor me. If you don’t feel sorry for me, I feel sorry enough for myself. #sadtimes etc etc.

BUT. I am not the kind of person to retreat to bed in times like this (even though it would probably help me recover), it just makes me feel worse. So I’m continuing on with my NaNo quest, in the hope that the distraction makes me feel better. Hope other NaNo’ers out there are faring better than I am.

Too Gruesome? Books/TV shows affecting your work.

I find my writing to be influenced by the books I read. I don’t believe it affects me as much as it used to. Within my novels, I like the think my writing styles and voice are fairly consistent throughout whatever story I’m writing.

Within NaNoWriMo, it can be difficult to write quickly while maintaining quality. The point is that you’re supposed to switch off that inner editor and try and write pretty much what comes into your head. This has increased the degree to which the styles of the books I read come through in my own work.

For example, I recently finished American Gods. While I can’t possibly write as well as Neil Gaiman, I feel that I can feel it’s influence in a particular scene that I wrote. Here’s an extract:

 

“What a lovely surprise!” Keats almost jumped out of her skin. A slender man appeared from nowhere. He had sandy coloured hair, a wide smile and he looked to be no older than 25. He clapped his hands and chairs appeared. “Sit down! I rarely have visitors, but when I do, I like to treat them well.” Keats did not sit down, but Kanber did. She began to remember how pleasant this man had been to her last time she’d visited. Keats looked at the stranger with suspicion.

  “Who are you exactly?” she asked.

  “That, unfortunately, is a secret. I can’t tell you.” He answered her question with the politest of smiles. Keats snorted.

  “Are you aware that living in this place is illegal? How long have you been staying here?”

  “I’ve been here for so long that I’ve forgotten exactly when I arrived. But I remember the circumstances. It was a very sad day indeed. Would you like some tea?”

  “No thank you. Care to elaborate on those circumstances? What are you doing here?”

  “I’d like some tea.” Kanber butted in.

  “I wait.” He got up to make the tea, using magic alone to provide the hot water. “And before you ask why, it’s another secret.”

  “No surprises there.” Keats muttered. Kanber graciously accepted her tea and the man lowered himself down onto a chair opposite her.

  “This tea is really delicious.” Kanber noted.

  “Thanks. Secret recipe.” he replied.  Keats rolled her eyes.

Also, watching Hannibal seems to have taken its toll on my writing style too. I’m a little worried this might be too gruesome for YA Fantasy:

Minutes later, they were looking down at a bloody, butchered corpse on the floor of the prison corridor. It was the unlikeliest of mother-daughter bonding activities. Kanber’s eyes were fixed on the heap of broken flesh. Aside from a couple of fragmented tattoos, it would have been impossible to tell that this foul mess was what used to be Vett. Kanber started to feel a bit nauseous, but not enough to stop looking. Blood and bits of organ tissue slid down the prison bars. It looked as if someone crushed him against the bars until most of him had fallen out of the other side.

I’m interested to hear how other people prevent books/TV influencing their writing.

Friday Fictioneers – Trapped

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Copyright – Randy Mazie

Feeling good this week, despite NaNoWriMo starting to become insanely difficult. If you’d like to take part in Friday Fictioneers, click here.

My body is long gone. I didn’t feel my heart stop beating, and I didn’t feel the maggots devour my skin. I didn’t feel time melt my flesh, but I know it happened. I don’t know how I remain conscious, but more than anything I want another vessel to travel in. Humans walk through this ground but I cannot challenge them. They are too full of themselves to share their bodies with me. Insects don’t have the capacity. I am trapped.

A four legged beast wanders past me. It stands by my grave. I leap at my chance of freedom.

Let’s Talk About Sex (Scenes)

I suddenly have a whole new level of respect for chick lit. and romance writers.

To Be A Magician, if anything, was an anti-romance novel. It looked at how you can become obsessed with another human being and how that’s dangerous for not only them, but you. Pretty gloomy stuff, I have to admit. I began writing TBAM after a pretty painful break-up, which might explain a lot about my attitudes towards relationships in the novel. (I say it was a pretty painful break-up. I was sixteen. Every break-up at that kind of age is soul-destroying.)

To Be A Pawn has some similar themes, but it does have a romantic thread in it. I tried to prepare for it with Taking Back The Crown, but am woefully inadequate at writing love stories. Maybe I just lack the empathy for it because I’ve been single for so long.

I’m especially beginning to appreciate what an art the sex scene is. When I was younger, I read some Jilly Cooper novels and they taught me more about human genitalia than Biology lessons ever did. However, I’m a total coward and I am supposed to be writing a young adult fantasy novel, so I’ve found myself leaving the erm… mechanics to be imagined and focused more on emotions or other things.

So guys! Let’s talk about sex (scenes)!

How do you feel about them? Do you struggle or avoid them? Is there anything you avoid while writing them?

 

We Can Do It!

So. Camp NaNoWriMo begins.

Just a quick post here on my plan to write 50,000 words in 30 days, without going insane:

1. Keep desk/room tidy. I’m not off to the best start here, I have to admit. But I’m working on it.

2. Get up at at least 8 every morning. This is horrifically early for me, but it means that I shouldn’t have to spend all of my afternoon writing.

3. Lots of natural light. Having the curtains open also encourages me to keep my room tidy as it’s on the ground floor.

4. Go outside at least once a day. Even if it’s just to Tesco and back. Preferably longer walks if I have the time.

5. Eat properly. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, at a reasonable hour. This also means I’ll snack less.

6. Motivational videos. I think this sort of counts:

 

NaNoWriMo – Disaster strikes

I have to admit, one of the major appeals of Camp NaNoWriMo for me is the cabins. The idea of being able to talk, support, and be supported by people who are undertaking the same goal seems like one of the best features of the camp.

In the forums, I found a small group of people who were in my time zone. This was great news, as it meant they wouldn’t all be sleeping when I was awake, and would probably be working at the same time I was. You can imagine my disappointment when the sorting bot failed to put me into the group! I was ridiculously gutted, as if it were a real life camp and all my friends had been put into a different cabin.

However, I’ve been sorted into a new cabin, and my new cabin-mates seem really nice. We’ve created a Facebook group and they’ve already given me feedback on an except of TBAM. I can’t wait for the actual writing to begin.

Unfortunately, new problems have arisen. I had to go to my G.P. today about some various pains etc. I’ve been having. They’re not very bad, but it’s been going on a while now so I figured it’s about time I stopped ignoring it. My G.P. was a little bit baffled, and sent me to have some bloods taken and asked me to make an appointment for a chest X-Ray.

I think this has spooked me a little bit. It’s ridiculous I know, but I think because they want me to take these further tests it makes me feel that I must be sick, and so I now feel a bit ill. It might just be an after-effect of having my blood taken this morning. I’ve never considered myself to be scared of needles, but I have to admit that staring at those little vials as they filled with my blood made me feel just a little bit queasy. In hindsight, it might have been better for me to look away rather than fixing my eyes on them with morbid fascination.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t affect my ability to write in July, and that the good people working in the NHS will know exactly what’s wrong with me by the time I have my second appointment.

Good luck to all you other NaNo-ers!

NaNoWriMo Dry Run

ImageToday I did a dry run for National Novel Writing Month. To hit the target of 50,000 words in thirty days, I’ll need to write approximately 1700 words per day.

I timed how long it took to write 1700 words. I often found myself distracted, but I was pleased when I managed to reach my goal within three hours and forty minutes.

Given that I’m now into my summer holiday, and I don’t have much else planned in July, I think it’s a fairly realistic target, although I can see it taking longer and longer to complete each day as I get more tired and I get into parts of my novel that I haven’t fully planned out yet.

I’m working the first three days in July on a residential summer school, where I will never be “off-duty,” so to speak. I probably won’t have access to my computer. That means I’m already going to be behind as soon as I start. I imagine that there will probably other days where I don’t manage to meet the target. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll catch up without too much difficulty.

The novel I’ll be working on is the sequel to TBAM. I’ve already written 11,900 words. I’ve accordingly adjusted the target on my NaNoWriMo account. My major concern is that I’ll run out novel by the time I hit 62,000 words!

Here’s my Camp NaNoWriMo Profile Page.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Eleven

Collected my first year results from my university tutor today. After convincing me that getting a 2.1 instead of a 1st was not the end of the world, he asked me what I had planned for the summer. I ended up telling him about NaNoWriMo, and now I’m really looking forward to it.

 “Your highness, I can’t tell you how relieved we are to see you again.”

 Linden Hayber was red-haired, well-dressed and handsome. His dark eyes surveyed Sonya. She met them, and they looked at each other in silence for a few seconds.

 “Is there any news of my mother or grandmother?” she asked.

 “Unfortunately not. I only have bad news. The information we have gathered suggests that both Trin and Naria have been trapped in some kind of netherworld, the entrance of which lies in the Back Desert. We have been told there is very little chance of them escaping.”

 “I have faith in them. They will find a way.” Sonya replied, stubbornly.

 “We have no way of knowing.” Linden stroked his chin. “Where have you been?”

 “Somewhere safe. Trin told me not to leave until she came back for me…” Sonya found herself reluctant to talk about the Natetic training ground.

 “She probably did not envisage these events. She couldn’t have known. You are in the right place now.”

 “How many people are here? What is your plan?” Sonya asked. Starved of information about Litia for the past four years, she was now eager for details.

 “We’ve been trying to gather troops for a long time now,” He gave a short sigh. “About two years, and we have thirty recruits.”

 “Only thirty?” she replied, sharply.

“Things will undoubtedly change now. We had assumed you had been taken by our enemies, along with Trin and Naria. With you here, things are different. People will fight if you are leading them.”