It’s July!

It’s July again and I’ve completely forgotten about Camp NaNoWriMo.

Oh crap! It’s July! This is Camp NaNoWriMo month, and it’s Day 3, and I haven’t started writing–haven’t even thought of an idea. Didn’t even realize it was July until this third day.

Should I write something?

Coincidentally, I’ve had a story in my head for the last few days. Actually, I should say I’ve had a setting in my head for the last few days. It’s from an old idea I wrote down years ago, which was rekindled by running across The Conjunction Of The Spheres in the The Witcher 3 which I’ve been playing.

My idea was about the modern world being taken over by an invasion from a magical plane, and what that would look like.

Before that, I had also been thinking about another sword and sorcery idea that’s been floating around my head for years, which revolves (hyuk hyuk) around a single scene: A sorcerer conjuring a hurricane as a weapon in some king’s war against a rival country. (I like to go big and scary with magic.)

Years in Westeros

It occurred to me: The seasons in A Song of Ice and Fire are many years long, right? In the show, Old Nan said that men were born, lived, and died all without seeing the sun (presumably in winter, in the north). But when the characters talk about how long the seasons are, they use the word “years.” (At least, I think they do. I would have to comb through the books to be sure.) But since for us a year is defined as one revolution around the sun, or one cycle of seasons, how do the people in Westeros know how long a “year” is, since it would be some fraction of the length of their seasons? Why would they even have a concept for a fraction of time shorter than a season?

And how does their crop rotations work? Do they have to harvest and store food all through summer and fall because no food grows for years during the winter?

These kinds of things go through my head when I’m worldbuilding my own worlds. Things like, “Why are there 12 seasons months in a year? Why aren’t there 10? Or 15? There’s no astrological equivalent for months so somebody must have just made it up out of thin air. How would 5,000 years of civilization be different if that person decided to use 20 months? Or no months at all? Oh yeah, why did that guy pick 7 days to put into a week? Why did we need a week at all?”

Hrm. Maybe when they say the word “year” they mean a unit of measurement similar to our word for “month.”

April Camp NaNoWriMo

I’m off to a bad start in the April Camp NaNoWriMo event.

I am off to a terrible start in the April Camp NaNoWriMo event. I set myself a modest goal of 30,000 words (since I don’t think this story is a full novel), and I’m already about three days behind schedule. I’m just not “feeling it.” My story idea seems like an awful idea again that makes no sense. (Exactly what happened to me the first time I started writing it.)

Still, I’m hoping to get into the swing of things pretty soon. I spent a month preparing a reasonably complete (well, 75% complete) outline to work from, so that should help a lot. While working on the outline, I was pretty excited about the idea, so I’m trying to hold onto that sentiment and trust that this story will turn out better than it seems right now.

 

February Status, Part 2

How my writing went during February.

My last post was a “February Status” but it was posted at the beginning of February, so in reality it was more of a “January Status.” It’s now the beginning of March (sort of), so this writing update will actually cover February.

As of now my manuscript from November is over 80,000 words, and Scrivener says I wrote nearly 12,000 words in February. Not great, but better than nothing.

A couple of interesting story twists occurred in February: 1) I killed off a character that was no longer doing anything interesting, and 2) I came up with a new idea for an interesting group of people to encounter in the post-apocalyptic wilderness.

I feel like this story is no longer a book, but rather a series of short stories. There are very distinct “phases” that the main character goes through, and they are not necessarily connected to each other by an over-arching plot. Perhaps it might be time to take a break and dissect what I’ve written and figure out what to do with it.

In the meantime, Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up for April, in which I plan to resurrect my dismal failure from NaNoWriMo 2013. This time, I’m going to plan out an outline and make sure I know where things are going. Even though I hated most of what I wrote last time, I always felt there was still a kernel of a good idea in there. To prepare, I’m re-reading what I wrote in 2013. It’s not as bad as I remember it being, which is a good sign.

February Status Report

Continuing work on my post-apocalyptic novel, slowly but… surely?

Perhaps if I update my blog more often, it will inspire me to do more writing, so that I’ll have more to talk about in my blog. So…

As February begins, I’m still working on my post-apocalyptic novel that I started in NaNoWriMo 2014. I’m up to about 70,000 words, so you can probably figure out that I’m not writing very fast–typically I only put down about 500 words a night, somewhere around four a five nights out of a week. (I went from 50,000 words in one month to 20,000 words in three two months.)

On the plus side, I’ve discovered that 500 words is a very good “session size” for me. Sitting down to write 500 words does not feel daunting to me, even if I have nothing in mind to write. I can usually knock it out in a half hour, more or less. And by the time I’ve written 500 words, mentally I’m usually ready for a break. So chalk up another self-discovery finding there. For the next NaNoWriMo I participate in, I think it will go better if I plan to try to write three 555 word sessions per day, instead of one 1667 word session per day.

I’m pleased to say that I wrote the ending of the novel. By which I mean that I wrote what I think the final scene should be–at least the final one related to the main character. This was a tremendous accomplishment because for most of the lifespan of this novel I’ve had no earthly clue where anything was going. I wasn’t even sure who the main character was. This first draft has basically been a very, very long brainstorming session. I think it would be more appropriate to call it a zeroth draft, actually.

The biggest story problem I have now is somehow connecting where I was in the middle of the novel to the ending, which could be challenging considering that the middle part has nothing to do with the ending. There are still some issues to work out, in other words. I’m not very adept at solving problems like this, either. I think I’m just going to have to put my head down and power through it.

My Writing In 2014

I recap of my writing adventures in 2014.

Well 2014 wasn’t my greatest writing year ever, although compared to some years where I didn’t write anything I suppose it was still pretty good.

I started the year trying to revise the Sovereignty manuscript, which ended in miserable failure. After a lot of fiddling, I still couldn’t figure out the story I wanted to tell and basically realized I needed to start over. By June I had hit rock bottom, so to speak.

Then I tried writing something new in July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. It started well, but then things got really crazy at work and it derailed everything. After August, I ended up with about ten thousand words of a short story called Moving Day, but it still needs work.

In September and October, my biggest writing accomplishment was a series of episode reviews of the television show Continuum.

Then came NaNoWriMo in November and things got somewhat back on track. Apparently I completely failed to blog about it, but I successfully completed 50,000 words to win the event, however I have not yet successfully finished the novel since I have only completed about 10,000 more words since November 30. The novel is a post-apocalyptic adventure, currently dubbed Raccoon Mountain. I am still plugging away on that manuscript, a few hundred words at a time, trying to find the story. (I started with little or no plan for it.)

And that’s where we are at the start of 2015. Depressingly no closer to sending manuscripts to publishers. But I feel like I’m zeroing in on “my process,” for whatever that’s worth.

Holiday Binge-Watching

Recent binge-watches include Broadchurch, Gracepoint, and The Borgias.

The holidays means sitting blankly in front of a television screen. My recent Netflix binge-watches include:

Broadchurch. BBC murder-mystery series starring David Tennant (of Dr. Who fame) and also the guy who played Rory in Dr. Who. This is a gripping series of 8 episodes. Great, great acting.

Gracepoint. Of course, I then had to get a week-long trial of Hulu Plus* to watch the American version of the Broadchurch murder-mystery, which also stars David Tennant, using a different accent. (I actually thought this is what I was watching when I started Broadchurch, because I remember seeing ads for Gracepoint, but it quickly became apparent that everyone in Broadchurch had an accent.) Gracepoint is a decent series of 10 episodes with some slight but interesting changes from the original, but it’s nowhere near as good as the British version. If you have to pick one, definitely watch Broadchurch. (It was interesting to see that the American script had clearly been edited so that scenes and lines were much shorter.)

The Borgias. This series is basically a more scandalous version of Game of Thrones set in 1492, following the adventures of Pope Alexander VI, the Borgia Pope, and his colorful family. It’s melodramatic at times but pretty good.. then again I’m always a sucker for period pieces.

* Hulu Plus is a terrible, terrible service.

The 100 First Impression

The 100 and the horrible, whiny teenagers in it.

I’ve just watched the first episode of The 100 on Netflix. Well, actually, I started writing this at about the 35:00 mark.

Is it wrong for me to want every single one of these whiny teenagers to die horribly? I mean, it’s not just that I don’t like any of them. It’s more of a deep-seeded loathing, a visceral hatred of everything about them and everything they stand for. I don’t just want them to die. I want them to die suffering, only lingering long enough for them to finally realize in their last moments–too late–just how awful they are as human beings and potential role models. They must, in the end, die knowing that it was the only just fate for them. Because if these whiny teenagers are the last hope for humanity, then I think we can all agree that it’s okay for humanity to die out. We should, in fact, celebrate the end of this breed of whiny teenager.

If you don’t know what The 100 is, it’s a show based on one of those ubiquitous Young Adult dystopian novels that were so rampant around the time of The Hunger Games, where every story had to be set in a bleak future apocalypse and every character had to fit neatly into a familiar high school cliche and also be in some sort of a love triangle. (Ruining the market for any other dystopian novels for years to come.) This particular story has our high school cliches (100 of them, get it?) landing on a post-nuclear-holocaust Earth after having grown up on a space station. You see, a nuclear holocaust wiped out everyone on Earth except a bunch of astronauts from different countries, who somehow glued all of their space stations together into one big space station and colony. Now the evil space station adults (who are dead set on making all teenagers’ lives miserable, as is required in Young Adult stories, except for the “cool mom” of course) need to reduce the population. So they decide to jettison 100 whiny teenagers (who for some reason all happen to be prisoners, because teenagers are are hoodlums and adults never do anything wrong) and send them to the planet to see if it’s still covered with radiation. Because it’s not like you can measure that from orbit or even see anything happening on the surface by, you know, looking out the window.

The plot holes in this show are big enough to drive a truck through, but still I would support the concept if not for this tiny problem of the entire cast of human guinea pigs being so incredibly repulsive to watch. They seem to think they are going to the prom instead of being forced to survive with no food and no shelter and possibly mutant monsters trying to kill them at every turn. But it’s okay because they can build a bonfire and party and those nasty adults can’t tell them what to do!

Still, I might see if I can pick up the book if it’s cheap. I like post-apocalyptic stories. Perhaps network executives injected all the whiny teenagers into the show to appeal to The CW’s audience.