NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 29 and VICTORY

That pretty much says it all right there.

When I ended my writing session earlier today, I had 1,678 words left to go. I made the decision right then and there that I was going to push myself across the finish line tonight, instead of waiting until tomorrow and the last minute.

This year went from amazingly easy and awesome to grueling and murderous. I don’t think it helped that I had already done a LOT of writing in the past couple of months, and this NaNo left me totally burnt. I decided to end the story at 50,228, mostly because I had an entire subplot that I just couldn’t make work in the time allotted. If I’d tried to make it actually work, I’d still be worrying about it and not getting writing done. If I’d had that subplot, I probably would be at 50k not even having finished it yet.

Now that I’ve crossed the finish line, I can get back to blogging more often and hopefully spending some more time on Twitter as I start some slow, methodical work on determining what D’Arden and Elisa’s next adventure will entail. I need to do some serious world-building to make sure that all the stuff I put in during NaNo 2008 that made Elegy what it is will make sense and be relevant to the plot and the world as I continue to develop it into a new story.

Here come the holidays!

NaNoWriMo 2011: Turkey Day!

It seems like Thanksgiving always falls around the middle-end of Nano. Weird, eh?

As of last night, my word count is 40,046, which means I’m down to the last 10,000 words, with 6 days to go. Should be a piece of cake, right?

As I discovered yesterday while browsing Wikipedia, I think I will need to change the name of this particular story if I ever end up publishing it (after heavy editing & revising, of course!) because Starfire happens to be the name of a board game system from the 80s, and is the backdrop setting for a set of books I really like by David Weber & Steve White. While titles can’t be copyrighted, I like those particular books and setting well enough that I do not want to be confused with them, nor do I want to tread on the toes of a couple of my favorite authors.

Besides, it’s pretty clear to me that the name must have popped out of my subconscious, because I definitely already knew all of that, but it had floated out of my mind.

Thankfully, it’s just a name and working title, which means it can be easily changed in revision. If I ever decide to put this particular story out there. That will depend on how well I manage to end it and what the beta readers/writing group think of it.

Right now my plan is to spend December planning and plotting Arbiter Codex #2, which I believe I am going to call ‘Legacy’ (but we’ll see). After the holidays, and hopefully once I have a plot that I’m comfortable with and I feel advances the series and the characters, I will begin the writing process.

‘Legacy’ (if that’s what it ends up being called) is going to be a severe departure from my norm. I’m going to have to outline it, at least a little, which is not at all what I normally do. However, I have discovered (from my approximately 80,000 total word fiasco a couple of months ago) that writing a Book 2 demands a lot more than just sitting down and writing. Threads have to be preserved, tone and setting have to be expanded without destroying what’s already been set down, etc. Who would’ve guessed? (Probably me, if I’d spent 10 minutes thinking about it instead of just writing.)

Hopefully, once January 1 comes around, I’ll be ready to begin actually setting words to digital paper, and we’ll start to see Arbiter Codex #2 taking shape.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, fellow United Statians – and if there are any of you from elsewhere, I hope 24-11-2011 treats you well 😉

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 16

Just one day later (well, 2 writing days, since I wrote “Halfway Home” in the morning) and I’ve already pushed past 30k. Right now I’m at 30,300 and things are about to get a lot more complicated for the Starfire‘s (ahem) remaining crew members.

What does that mean? I can’t tell you!

Less than 19,000 words to go before I achieve my 5th NaNo win in 7 years. I have no doubts that I will cross the finish line triumphant.

…then I can get back to figuring out what to do with D’Arden and Elisa.

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Halfway Home

Here it is: the halfway mark of NaNo 2011.

I’m still ahead of the game, although my lead has dwindled a bit. As of yesterday’s writing session, I ended at 26,397 words.

This is my first real sci-fi novel attempt, and I’m finding it tricky. It seems to be easy enough to back my characters into an impossible situation, but getting them out again without resorting to deus ex machina is tricky. I’m hoping that the methods I’ve used so far look more like character ingenuity and less like “Gee… now what?” I’m also trying to avoid technobabble just for the sake of it, but I’m using some sci-fi methods that I dreamed up years ago, and now I’m just happy to put them into a story.

The stakes got upped pretty severely back at the end of Chapter 9. I knew the general plot point, but the actual details of it came to me as I was writing it. I needed a reason for Liana to commit to the story, instead of continuing as just a hired ship captain – so I gave her one. Made it personal, as it were.

When I start today, my main character will still be trapped in a secure lab, behind a blast door of six-inch-thick impenetrable composite – with the control panel burned out. Oh, and she’s been shot in the leg. They’re no longer about to be explosively decontaminated and they’ve got the air back on, but she needs to get back to the planet’s surface before something much worse happens.

Hopefully Liana’s genetically-engineered brain can come up with a solution before it’s too late… because I’ve been having real trouble trying to figure out how to get her out of there.

Onward to 30k!

NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 11

It’s 11/11/11. An entirely meaningless coincidence, and even more meaningless set of numbers, seeing as the date is actually 11/11/2011. Not nearly so symmetrical now, is it?

It was probably cooler back on 11/11/1111… but the calendar wasn’t the same back then, and it’s all arbitrary anyway.

Sorry to, you know, take all the fun out of that. Carry on.

National Novel Writing Month drives me onward. I stand at the end of Chapter 7 with 20,724 words as of 11:11 on 11/11/11.

Instead of taking the last line from today’s writing, I’ve decided to share with you one of the better snippets of dialogue that have come out of this frantic mess.

————

“The Schulz agents must be after the artifiact!” Stahl said. “We need to get down there, and fast!”

“There are only four of us,” Liana snapped at him. “What do you expect us to do? Go in there and demand that everyone surrender in the face of our overwhelmingly insufficient firepower?”

————

This comes as a direct result of Holly Lisle’s writing tip for today: give your main character the best lines. Originally that line was going to go to a supporting character, but I thought that one was good enough to redirect to my main character, Captain Liana Dorn. Thanks Holly!

On the bright side, the scene I’ve written so far today was significantly easier to write than the past few, and it was worth somewhere around 1400 words. I plan to do another session this afternoon, and maybe a third one this evening if I can find the inspiration for it. I’d like to land over 2000 words before the end of the day, and push up over 25,000 by the end of the weekend. Let’s see if it can be done.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 7

At 16,622 words, I am definitely heading into the Week 2 slump. I’m glad I got a good boost to start off, because the ~1300 words I wrote today were like pulling teeth.

I’m still well ahead of schedule, but it’s definitely getting more difficult. Here’s hoping that once I get to the next significant plot development (which should be the start of Chapter 7, I think, which means I’ve got about 1500 words to go) things will pick up again.

I like this story a lot, and I intend to cross that finish line, come hell or high water.

Here’s the last couple of lines from today’s writing:

Almost four hours to kill. She pulled the tiny holo projector out of her pocket, where it had been since the crash, and looked at it for a moment.

Shaking her head to clear it, Liana left the flight deck and headed for her cabin.

Not as intriguing as last time, but it’s where I ended today. Here’s hoping for a stronger writing day tomorrow!