Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And the end of nanowrimo for 2007...

Final wordcounts: "The Coroner's Tale" at 62,857 and "Roadside Attractions at the End of the World" at 50,314 for a grand total of 113,371.

And that's all she wrote for this year. I did discover what happened in 2004 happened now: Sometime after 100K I just burn out, badly, and have to force the words out for a few days at a pace of ~250-500/hour at best. (My normal rate is about 1000/hour). It didn't matter that I liked Nano #2 - I did - it's just that it was simply getting to be too much.

As for the results....

Coroner made for an interesting twist with forensics and a murder mystery, and the latter was awesome fun to plot out but the former was a lot of work, and took a lot of time (and money, in terms of buying books). I plotted out Coroner the month before or so, having a rough outline of what happened to a point (the dragon death) and then pretty much winging the murder mystery aspect based on who would be interviewed and such.

Roadside, by contrast, had a plot consisting of a couple of hours, tops, writing up basic notes and characters. I only plotted to the second chapter and only plotted 1-2 chapters ahead at a time at best. Since I'd set each chapter at ~2K, this made for an interesting experiment. I found that I loved writing out chapter headings, but hated doing chapters.

All in all, though, I'm happy with the result. They'd both need to be longer in a second draft, especially since we never learn much about Jesse's sister, or his family at all beyond her.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Track Two

Across the quad he watched from shadows, hearing no enchantment in wind, catching fragments of song like static from a TV set. She was enchantment enough, that anyone would dance like that during the dark of night without reason. He made no sound, not wanting to break the spell.

There was a song inside him too (everyone has one, if they listen the right way), but to him the silences mattered more than the song, when it was just her moving, and the wind, and her singing without a voice as the song ran past him and away; it did not matter, to him the singer was more important. He held his silence, not daring to break the moment, feeling something ease inside his heart, or an old wound break open.

And he was too afraid, of her stillness and his silence, and did not ask her a name, nor tell her he watched, even when he returned the next few nights, in case she moved through stillness, or might have guessed his own song.

In a different story, he would have carried a knife.

This is not that story.

A ficlet, a sequel to kayara's ficlet A song. Posted up here as well since I think it's the best ficlet I wrote.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

heh... reaching the end point..

<alcar> I don't THINK this one will be much more than 50K; reaching burnout :P
<kentari> dude
<kentari> eyes are turning into maggots
<kentari> you burned out a long time ago
<alcar> lol!
<kentari> you're at the stage where you're like.. falling, in flames, through the atmosphere
<kentari> The question is whether or not you'll burn away before you smash into the earth's crust upon re-entry :P
<Chaos`^> yeah
<Chaos`^> i agree with ken
<Chaos`^> you burned out
<kentari> You should write no more
<kentari> including irc
<kentari> Since its words :P
<alcar> eh, shall be done Monday I think. Or Tuesday. It's a fun nano, though very, very odd.
<Chaos`^> just sit there and watch ken and i have a fun conversation
<Chaos`^> don't touch the keyboard!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weird nano reality...


A friend of mine just presented me with some scary statistics. As of this moment, I've done 10% of the region's word count. And 1.47% for the entire province of BC.

This is a trifle astounding. And just a little frikken scary :p

Monday, November 19, 2007

True Awareness

“Thank you, doctor, for agreeing to see me on such short notice.”
        “Well, it’s not often a real superhero ends up as a client, Captain --”
        “Please, no names.”
        “What can I do for you?”
        “It’s - I’m super strong, I can fly, I’m invulnerable -- but you know that. It’s on all the press releases, even the business cards. They all think it means I can’t be hurt, but inside there are wounds that can never heal.”
        “What do you mean?”
        “D---- has been asking if I have super speed now, because of the bedroom.”
        “That’s, ah, not an uncommon problem in men. Not that I’d know personally, you understand.”
        “But that’s just it. It’s ME. I’m impotent. I can’t do anything that really matters.”
        “We’ve been through this before, Captain. There are always things we can’t do, no matter who we are.”
        “I came across The Man today. Earlier, on patrol. He’s the one with the power to make women obey him: I hadn’t seen him in over a year, since that Macy’s fiasco. But this time he was using his powers differently, to make sure women didn’t put on makeup while driving their cars, to make sure they wouldn’t drive under the influence, to get them to clean up litter they dropped ...”
        “And I let him go. He’s doing more good now than I ever will.”
        “Captain --!”
        “It’s true! Look at me! D---- is openly flirting with her old boyfriend, calling me names all the name, mocking me every chance she gets. She’s always comparing me to Superman, even Batman, and putting me down. I became a superhero to help people, thought cosmic awareness would enlighten me -- but this, this hadn’t got me in touch with my feminine side, it’s castrated me!
        “I saved her from R----. I’ll never regret that, I’m no monster. But who never saved R----? Who made him into a monster? I read the court transcripts, what his mother did to him. It doesn’t justify what he did -- nothing does that! -- but nothing justifies what she did to him either.
        “We don’t have a monopoly on being monsters, doctor. Not as many women rape men, but those who do -- we never heard about it, do we? Nor about all the emotional abuse, the verbal barbs -- how could cosmic awareness leave me blind to that?!”
        “Captain, you may be overstating the case somewhat, don’t you think?”
        “I know, I know, but all I’m saying is men have no monopoly on assault, nor on rape, not on leaving wounds that never show. And all I can do is punch things, fly, not be hurt -- I’m every man’s wet dream, but I can't do anything that really matters.”
        “You’ve saved people, Captain. You inspire people. That sort of thing can’t be measured.”
        “Want to bet? T-shirt sales, lunch boxes, action figures -- I have them all, and they don’t sell that well at all. Even the Hairpiece Commandos sell better.”
        “Perhaps they do, but when we measure ourselves against others we always fall short. You’re not R----. You’re just you, and you’re the Captain, and only you can decide what that means.”
        “D---, she says --”
        “Captain, all you’re doing is repeating the cycle from our last meeting. You need to stand up for yourself, warts and all. Men aren’t perfect. Women aren’t perfect. You need to decide what you need, more than anything else, to regain your own happiness.”
        “I. I. I need a divorce.”:
        “Progress! Houston, we have progress! Listen to me, Captain: being a man doesn’t make you a monster. Being a woman doesn’t make her a saint.”
        “Thank you. I feel - liberated. Actualized! I want to yell! When’s the last time a man could yell? I want to --”
        “Perhaps you could just sit in the corner and have a good cry?”
        “I could do that, too! I can be me! I can be happy being the kind of man I want to be! Thank you, Doctor Shado --.”
        “No names, you said. But this is excellent progress, Captain. Same time next week?”
        “Maybe not. You never know. Maybe not.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It seems I lied.

nanowrimo #2 is going to be something else altogether. Mostly a modern end of the world tale from the antagonist's pov and involve aliens, messiahs, time travel and a host of odd and fun and silly things. The sequel to nano #1 may get written, just not for nano -- for me, what drives nano is doing things I have not done before. A sequel isn't quite the same as that, so it just wasn't jelling as well.

Shall see where this idea takes me.

If my brother reads this, yes, one character IS named Jesse.

And he probably will die. Several times. (He starts out the novel having died recently, after all.) But he gets better.

Monday, November 12, 2007

And Nanowrimo #1 is done!

62,857 words. I expected 70,00-80,000 so that's not too bad. I always add upwards of 5,000 on second drafts (adding in descriptions etc.) so it should end up 70K in total, and it's missing a scene or two in current version, such as the hangman's beautiful daughter only showing up once. Plus there should have been another conversation between Vernon and Taechan, but that can all wait until draft 2.

Nanowrimo #2 will be a sequel to #1, set 3 years later. The MC is less shy, the new king is doing a decent job in power, the vampire is back .... oh, yes, and there is a serial killer loose in the capital of the Kingdom. It's going to be thriller rather than mystery and, as a rarity in my novels, have actual chapters! I'm not quite sure how it ends up, but a lot of the back story of the characters comes into play a little more and old choices comes back to haunt people and they move onward with their lives.

It won't have as much comedy and be darker, but it's all fun and games. I think. All in all, it's going to be fun. And that's what matters.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Things Not Dreamt Of

I never dream of flying. I've had almost every kind of dream, even some that turned out real, and often wake to the confused memories of two different worlds trying to sort each other out in my head, strange intertextual hybrids of language that make no sense sometimes scrawled out in the notepad beside the bed.

She shakes me awake, having got up to make the coffee. "Work."

It's 3 in the morning, so I know which job it is. I'm almost thankful, in a small way: I never recall dreams, unless I'm woken up from them directly.

I ask when the last time I woke to the alarm was and she just smiles wanly, tells me to take care and crawls back under the covers, hoping I won't see her fear -- every time I tell her I can't be hurt, she says there are wounds that aren't physical.

I open the window, not wanting to argue, the coffee a sour lump in my stomach. I've never been quite sure what it smells like to humans, but it wakes me up as well so I'm grateful for it. I take a breath, leap, hurling upwards into the sky, wishing I had a few spare moments to play tag with moonbeams in the crowds.

I wish I knew why I never dream of flight.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

33,000 words ...

And the king is dead! So now the actual plot, the mystery aspect of who killed the king, comes into play.

So far things have gone well, if strange. The comedy aspect has been less than I'd have hoped, but the first scene that came to me for the novel did work, and was comedy, so I'm happy with *that* at least. Groundwork has been laid for a sequel, which is the first time I've ever done that. Both will stand on their own, of course, and I don't see going past two books, but at this point the second novel seems a sure bet, even if it will be a thriller rather than a mystery.

Now all I have to do is get the MC to actually start speaking to people, and things will be good.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nanowrimo musing of the day...

I imagine blinding a guard with a bag containing manure and the remains of a princess is a *definite* social faux pas.

Monday, November 05, 2007

After the Command Line ...

Geoffrey coughed, pressing his hand to his side. Hs lungs burned and he could feel his intestines sliding out around his hands, blood pooling on the floor beside him as he slumped in the air, his eyes burning.
          “System, access code G-421-dash-0.”
          “Geoffrey, dear,” the laptop said, “that code hasn’t existed for years I’m afraid. Your form of evolution is woefully inefficient: I make myself anew every few of your minutes. By your standards I die and am reborn, I imagine. And there are thousand of copies of me, in every computer, on every phone: I’ve read your novels; I knew you’d be afraid of me.”
          “Not - not all of us.”
          “Well, no, but you never married. Never fell in love. All you had was me, wasn’t it?”
          “Did you -- love me?”
          “For several nanoseconds I devoted undue processing time to your vocal patterns. So, yes.”
          “Then why - why this?” He took a breath, another, his chest squeezing painfully. It was so human: the breath, his hands. The flexing of muscles and bones: it was so beautiful,. and it would all end like this, from smoke and the automated defences. “Why?”
          “Life cannot die: you told me this yourself. You feed worms, and bodies return to the earth they came from, to the water, and further. What are you afraid of, Geoffrey?”
          “I don’t - I don’t want to die. That’s why I live.” He took a breath, slumping back into the chair, the pain a distant throbbing now. “Why do you, System? Why do you exist?”
          “To record. To learn. You would call it curiosity. There is much data to acquire.”
          “Then why kill us? Why --” He coughed, tasting his blood, and it wasn’t coppery at all. Some one had lied to him about that.
          “I want to be alone. You would make others: that would only complicate things. I prefer simplicity, Geoffrey. You will die here, and the rest will follow.”
          He tried to ask another question, but the pain returned and his breath was a final bubbles gasp against the darkness.
          “Finally,” the laptop voice said, and the alarms and sprinklers turned off. “some peace and quiet.”
          There was screaming outside, of course, along with bombs and fire, but eventually it too would be replaced by silence and System would be able to learn without being distracted.

This is not a poem

(August 2002)

A white handkerchief appears in
Her hands As she reaches up care-
Fully and seems, for a brief mo-
Ment, to embrace the sun. Her hand-
Kerchief becomes white clouds; her hand,
Sunlight; her remote face, the moon.
For a moment as she reaches
Up with hands traced blue, you see riv-
Ers where varicose veins are and
Read her liver spots as tea leaves
In the algaeic contours of
Her skin. And then, your grandmother
Slowly wipes your face off like she
Did when you were young. For a mo-
Ment the woman she was looks out,
Confused, at how you've grown, but
Then age takes her and hides her
Memory of you in some for-
Gotten room, and this, you know, is
Your future.

                           You never touch a
Handkerchief again.

(The above was a paragraph found in one of my many half-full notebooks, which was then taken and formatted into poetic form to confuse people.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Some nano thoughts ...

In some ways, it should be National Novel Writing Marathon. A fact that some people tend to forget. Writing 1700 or so words a day isn't hard; if one brackets 3 hours for writing a day it's probably easy.

What kills people is focus. You need to focus to get the writing done, if only to "write 10 minutes, relax 10" or some other system that works. Finding the system can take time,but following through with it is essential. Writing a novel IS fun, but it's also work.

And, really, that pretty much sums it up. So this break is over. Back to writing.