February Status, Part 2

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

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

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

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.