Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

NaNoWriMo Redux Roundup

Posted: December 3, 2014 in Writing
Tags: ,

So let’s see. Remember how I said I was modding out NaNoWriMo and it was really going to be 61k in 36 days? How’d that go?



I actually don’t really want to talk about any of this. Because of the lameness. But I feel I have to. Half the point of starting this blog way back when was simply to think aloud to get my crap together. Still. 50-50 that I actually press publish.

When I did this in 2012 as the final push to finish Amity, my kid was all of six months old. Infants are adorable, but often as lively as a sack of potatoes. My kiddo was not mobile and went to sleep at the drop of a hat. Now? Yeah… he’s two. Anyone else who has ever had an offspring is nodding in understanding. My kiddo is a fantastic little two year old and very low maintenance … for a two year old. He’s still a ball of fire. Who is starting potty training. And had to ditch the binky cold turkey. A two year old who is confused and pissed as to why he can’t have his binky can and will raise a lot of hell over it. I vastly overestimated the writing time I could carve out of life.


It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. The kiddo needs what the kiddo needs. Insert witty zen-like phrase.

I still got In A Murphy Minute up to 50k (total, remember I started in October with high 20s). I wanted to be at 90k by tomorrow. Unless I can start bending the space time continuum, 40k in 36 hours is not going to happen. I did get a sizable chunk of it done though. That’s better than most months I have so I guess I will live with it.

What about the content of all those words?


Seriously. Meh.

I am having a lot of problems with Murphy right now. Honestly, that’s part of why I’ve lost headway on my wordcount this past week. I had a moment where I realized I was hitting the halfway point of the novel, and I still had not introduced the actual antagonist. It was a big double you tee eff moment. I wanted to give the relationship between my two main characters the attention it needed. By making the romance the A Plot and the magical gangsters the B Plot, I let the antagonists sit around on the sidelines waiting to be introduced for much too long.

My original framework for the plot was build when the protag was a guy and the character was a lot more abrasive. By making her nicer and expanding the roles of some supporting characters, large chunks of the middle of the book were not going to make sense as originally conceived. But that was ok. The first act and the last act were going to stay the same. I knew where I started, and I knew where I was heading if I got lost.

Still, it has made the middle tough because, even though I updated my working outline, that stretch of the plot is a lot less refined than the rest. Now I’ve got this big realization that I’m still have not introduced one of the primary characters that drives the whole fucking thing and the book is over halfway through the expected word count.


So I am having a serious lack of confidence in this book right now. I am sorely tempted to work on a different project. I have another novel that has been dominating my brain lately as opposed to the one I am supposed to be working on. I am resisting the temptation, though, because that is how novels never get finished.

But I can’t keep going on a project I have no faith in. Even though Amity never sold, I never lost faith in it until the rejections piled up. And still, I have a plan in the back of my head to strip down 90% of it and rewrite it as a single PoV in order to resurrect it some day.

And I think that’s what I need to do with Murphy Minute. A plan. Even if I don’t fix the first half of the book now, I think I need a game plan of how I am going to get the plotting into shape. With a game plan, I think I can regain my confidence in the book. One thing that I learned writing Amity, is that most of my editing will probably occur in the first act anyways so I am not terribly concerned or surprised by this fact. I know the characters better when I get to the end of the book.

I also finished the steampunk book I was reading yesterday. For today’s New Book Day, I decided that I needed to hit up a couple rereads that will jazz up my writing. Certain books inspire my writing on a level that others do not. So today I started my annual read of Nine Princes in Amber, my single all time favorite book.  I think I may follow up with a reread of Breach Zone which I was reading when I first started writing the novel. I might follow up with some Delilah S Dawson books as well. The romance disguised as sci fi is exactly how I’m handling writing Murphy Minute and surrounding myself with more of it should help. Not that the other books I’ve been reading haven’t been good or anything. I’ve actually been on a very good streak of excellent reads. I just think reading more spiritual kin to my own novel will be a positive.

And positives are what I need so I can finish and make this a damn good book.

NaNoWriMo Redux Update

Posted: November 8, 2014 in Writing
Tags: ,

Here’s a quick update on my 61k/36days mod of NaNoWriMo…

I’m around 11k words for the week so far. That’s fantastic for me. I don’t think I’ve hit that kind of word count since the final push for the first draft of Amity two years ago. The Amity final push was only 35k in a month. I don’t remember the exact week by week breakdown of the Amity push. I would have not even known then, remember, I wrote my first novel by hand so I could write at work when I was on third shift. There were a whole bunch of things that made hand writing a novel a special kind of hell, not least of all, no word count, just a rough estimation. Which ended up being overestimated by 20k when I was done. Amity was kind of short.

Anyways. According to my Calendar of Doom, at this very second, I am 5k behind getting Murphy Minute done by my birthday. Twice this week I fell asleep on my couch when I was putting my kiddo to bed. Twice more I started dozing off at the keyboard well before my 1.8k daily word goal. It’s not easy to write a lot of words with a two year old. He was an infant when I wrote the last book and small enough to fall asleep on me while I typed.

Rather than getting really annoyed with myself over not getting enough done, I like to think I’m doing pretty damn good at reminding myself that 10k in a week is probably one of the best weekly wordcounts I’ve ever had.

How’s the rest of In A Murphy Minute going?

Well, I think it’s solid. A lot more solid than Amity ever was.

Remember how a while back I scrapped 12k words, genderflipped my protag and restarted the whole thing? When I did, I also pushed back the timeline of the opening chapter and replotted the whole thing. Finally, after all this time (and triple the word count) I’ve gotten the Amina version past where the Cole version stopped. The basic framework of the plot stayed exactly the same and since I’ve started the Amina version, I’ve made her a lot less abrasive and expanded the role of some secondary characters. I’ve gone off the rails of the outline a few times, in part because of the changes Amina’s character has gone through.

The novel is stronger for all of that.

One of problems I did not see with Amity after it didn’t sell, was that I tend to rush from one big moment to the next without stitching them together well. I’ve seen this in short stories of mine too. Certain chapters of Murphy Minute are like pulling teeth because I want to rush off to the next important conversation or the fight scene or concert with Amina on stage. There’s a car chase I’ve been looking forward to writing for years. But I can’t rush. I can’t leave holes in the book like I did last time. I’ve seen it early enough to fix it this time around without wasting all my queries and getting a fist full of rejections.

But stitching those chapters together is a pain in the ass.

Which is why I’ve been screwing around on the blog for the last twenty minutes instead of writing new words.

Sounds like I’m in store for one of my patented “Dear Future Me (Present You), I’m dropping the ball on you cause I don’t wanna do it. Sucks to be you. Signed, Present Me (Past You)”

So National Novel Writing Month officially drops in eleven and a half hours when the clock strikes midnight.

Writers across the world drop into the word mines and hope to hell that when the clock strikes midnight on December 1, that we have something complete we can work with on a second draft.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year. Well, kinda sorta not really.

I’m doing NaNoFinMo aka National Novel Finishing Month aka NaFiTFuckThiMo aka National Finish The Fucking Thing Month.


Really I get a couple extra days (plus that extra Daylight Savings hour this weekend) because my actual goal is to get this done by my birthday. Remember how I did that for my last novel? Yeah. The “Finish by my birthday” goal was very reasonable back in June. Now that I have 36 days to go? Eh… not so much.

It’s still doable. I’ve got 29k written right now. Based off the length of my outline, I estimate the draft of In A Murphy Minute will hit 90k. So that’s 61k in 36 days. That’s 1700/day. Because my birthday is on December 4 and not December 1, I really only have to do a little bit more than a NaNoWriMo pace.

So I guess that means I’ll be ignoring the blog a lot this month. Again. Writing takes priority until this novel is done and then I’ll breathe during the month of December then I have another grandiose project I am going to start in January when I’m rev’ing Murphy Minute.

Not joining me in the word mines? Well I’ve read some great books lately you should read too.


The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. I will be surprised if this one doesn’t win all the awards and Hurley is one of the smartest people in the genre. Read her blog just as fast as her book.






All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. This is a fast paced military sci fi book from Japan that reads kind of like Old Man’s War. It was made into that Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow. When I get a chance to see the movie, I’ll dust off my film degree and write about that.




Perdition by Ann Aguirre. This is the first in a new series that takes place entirely on a prison space station. As in, someone docks, dumps in prisoners and then that’s it. Who needs guards when there’s no where go to? It’s a dark sci fi starring a kick ass heroine in a world where everyone is the worst of the worst convicted killers.

The Final Stretch

Posted: November 28, 2012 in Junk, Writing
Tags: ,

See what I did there? You thought I was going to say The Final Countdown. And I didn’t! Except for just now. So it’s stuck I my head now…

Neglecting the blog for a little bit more. I’m so close to being done with NaFiTFuThiMo. I actually get four extra days to boot since the original goal I set back in summer was “The End for my birthday.”

How close to the end am I? Very. I have two chapters left to go. One might get split into two because the way I’ve been structuring Amity is that I start a new chapter each time
I switch the perspective among the protags. I’m close enough to being done with a week to go that I don’t feel the pressure to finish as bad. I feel like I have the time to make sure I’m throwing down quality words.

And thus ends my experiment with posting from my phone. Ten minutes is as much free time I can spare. The word mines are calling.

NaFiTFuThiMo Update 2

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Writing
Tags: , ,

Hey look at me finding the time to not neglect the blog for once!

I feel bad that my productivity around here has plummeted to nothing since I started the push to finish Amity by my birthday. But that’s the way it’s got to be. I have trouble with self imposed deadlines. Back in college I was always the guy who did everything right at the deadline. I’d write twenty page papers that I wouldn’t start until the morning it was due. Because I could do it and get the good grades, I never felt the need to change. So now it’s years after college and those habits are still around and a lot less useful when I don’t actually have any real deadlines to frantically finish against.

So how’s it going?

Well it’s going good. I’ve been getting a lot of words done and they’ve been good words. I’ve been finding chapters and scenes that weren’t on my outline though so I’m writing like a fiend and not getting as close to the end as I should. But the end is still in sight. I was real sick last weekend so lost three days completely to a head cold which I’m still not really over. But if you follow me on ye olde twitter (or saw it over on the left), my word count officially topped 50k back on Tuesday. And that’s my low estimate. I’m writing the first draft with ink and dead trees so 50k is my low estimate.

How much left to go?

Well I’ve got eleven chapters on my outline. At the rate I’ve been going, I’ll probably find at least one more. I don’t expect too much more than that because the climatic chapters have been sketched out in more detail than the last couple I’ve been working on.

So I’m still on track. Amity will be complete on my own deadline.

I still owe the post on Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues. It’s still awesome though. Go read it.

NaFiTFuThiMo Update

Posted: November 9, 2012 in Writing
Tags: , ,

I’ve been a ghost around here for the last week or so. So I owe a post about Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland which I finished a couple days ago (short answer: Even better than the first!). I try not to let those posts sit around for more than a couple days, but most everything is on the back burner because of NaFiTFuThiMo.

Remember? National Finish The Fucking Thing Month.

So how’s that going?
Well it is. I haven’t quite kept up with the word count, I’ve lost the battle with sleep a lot this weeks. It’s a tough battle to fight since my infant kiddo sides gangs up with sleep against me. But even though the word count hasn’t quite been where I want it, I’ve made positive gains every day so I’m taking all the victories I can. I’m still optimistic I’ll have my novel finished by my set goal.

A few days ago, I sat down and did a full bullet point outline straight out to the end of the novel. That was the first I had done that. Previously, I only had a broad strokes outline because it changed as the events in the book grew and evolved. The rest of the plot is locked down except for the epilogue. That’s still marinating in the back of my head as I go.

But I’m getting good writing out of this and solid momentum. I originally estimated I had 30k words to go til the end of Amity but I keep finding more scenes and I’ve even added in whole chapters I didn’t plan on before so I think I’m pushing towards 40k or even a full on NaNoWriMo count.

Circles back around to how I haven’t quite been hitting the word count. Well notice how I’m blogging now and not at work? Oh yeah. I’ve got vacation time to burn before the end of the year. So I’m going to go spew out words until my brain melts. 5k would be nice. I’ll happily take any word I can get though.

So now I leave you with the same thing many other authors of note in the genre circles do when they’re busy, or just ’cause… a picture of my cat.

Blog, meet Mr Pibb. Mr Pibb, the blog.


Posted: October 29, 2012 in Writing

NaNoWriMo is coming up and clearly, writerly types all across ye olde internets are all a flutter about it. The first I heard of it was back in 2006 when I got the No Plot No Problem companion book that the National Novel Writing people put out. I was freshly laid off so it sounded like an awesome idea. I rocked it in January what since I didn’t want to wait around until the official date.

Started strong out the gate, but not so much after Act One.

That’s one of the biggest problems I have been working through in general. What goes on after Act One has bogged me down many times. The opening and the scenario swirl around in my noggin over and over, but then I find I’ve used up all my great noodling on that and not the movement I need.

So how have I worked on my Act One problems?

A lot more structure than the typical NaNoWriMo throw down.

Everyone writes differently and I am very much not a seat of the pants writer. I wish I could be, but my stabs at NaNoWriMo are how I found this out. I got through 22k of a formless modern magic thing involving a bartender and the illegitimate heiress to the Brazilian Imperial Throne. I got lost and didn’t know where I was going with it and it fizzled out. When I write now, I’ve latched onto something I just now decided I am calling an evolving outline. I have a detailed outline only for the chapter or two that I am currently working on and leave the rest of the outline as broad strokes. It leaves me a lot of wiggle room in my outline so the story can go in the direction it needs do rather than get shoehorned into an idea I came up with at the start. The outlines actually change a lot and my notebook gets pages X’d out with “Out of date” scrawled across it fairly often.

Anyways. I didn’t start typing tonight to ramble about my outline methods. Yeah. Back to NaNoWriMo.

Am I doing it? No.

I’m participating in NaFiTFuThiMo.

That’s National Finish The Fucking Thing Month.

Why? Well, first I want to finish one thing before I start the next. Second, I have an infant at home so my free time gets limited. Plus, you know, that whole mortgage thing. I think when the kiddo is older and on a proper routine, I will one day make the proper prep and take the time to do it.

But my self imposed deadline for finishing Amity is December 4. Finishing this is going to be my birthday present for myself. It’s still reasonable 36 days out. I have one act left of my novel to go. It’s hard to nail down the word count since I use dead trees and ink, but my estimate is that Amity is around 45k. I think by the time I finish it is going to be around 65-70k for the first draft. So figure I have 25k left to go. That’s half of a NaNoWriMo title. Math tells me that’s 695 words a day which is all of three and a half handwritten pages.

Saying all this out loud is bringing on the agida but you know… motivation in the form of a kick to the pants.

So yeah. NaFiTFuThiMo. That’s what I’ll be doing during November.