Friday, November 30, 2012

Another year, another NaNo

Whew, I just managed to get to 50000 words by 2 pm today, which is good, because I have other stuff to do this afternoon. The NaNoWriMo validator kindly added another 500 to my total. That's certainly better than having it subtract 500 words!

Final notes for November:

I'm not feeling the luuurve!
I gave myself three traditional male/female pairings (Rabbit/Toad, Rat/Dog, Vampire/Elf), one male->neuter/female (Phoenix/Silver), and one bromance (Phoenix/Rabbit). None of them convinced me of their passionate love for each other, none of them moved me to tears (not even of laughter: comedy me, you fail!). Yeah, I suck at this romance thing.
I need to organize my books
I used to have them contained and sorted on my bookshelves, but sometime in the last decade, they've gone completely out of control. *sob* Stacks of books everywhere all over the house, piles of books sent to the library bookstore, more books that fell under my bed, in my closet, left on the basement table, stolen by the children, etc. etc. I can't find anything anymore. And that's why I did all my "research" via Google this year. Yeah....suuuuure...
After 50,000 words, I have more or less arrived at the beginning
By "the beginning", I mean the scenes I imagined back before I started writing the novel. Those scenes which were supposed to set up all the exciting adventures to follow. So fine, I have an idea. Then I think about how the characters got there. And what they're going to meet later on. So I do a few scenes to set things up. A few scenes turns into six chapters. And finally, here we are.
Hmm. That wasn't the scene I imagined!
See above. So when I finally get there, everything has changed. Characters are not what I thought they were. The choices they make are not what I vaguely imagined them to be. Even today, the scene I actually wrote differed substantially from the one I imagined last night when I was thinking about it. This is why I don't like to skip around in writing stories. If I do things out of order, I'll end up like that idiom about the horse mouth not matching the ox head.
POV? What POV?
Usually I stick to the third-person limited point of view (with multiple POV characters throughout the story, but only one per scene) or first-person (that year I tried to do the diary format, and the occasional short story/novella), but this year I went crazy with the cinematic jumping about. Mostly I tried to stay out of people's heads (telepathic communication doesn't count as internal!) except for the occasional reaction shot or when I wanted to be sure I knew why someone was doing something. It seems I wanted to have an omniscient narrator this year. I dunno. I'll have to think about it.
Ok, that's 50000 words. What about the rest of the novel?
Uhhh... umm. Yeah, I guess I still like the basic idea enough that I want to finish it. Plus, this is meant to be volume one in a multi-volume series. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
The background story/prequel I didn't tell
("The shipwreck. The plague.") Apparently that refers to the space opera/Cthulhu/cyborg/fae/psi-power world ("Future History Channel") where the last humans from Earth use an experimental stardrive to start a new colony on a different planet. Bad things happen. Does that sound like Chinese-style fantasy to you? Or like Sapphire and Steel? At all? No, I didn't think so. But there it is. That's what those two characters (the vampire and elf prophets) were up to before they came here. And no, I don't ever use the words "vampire" or "elf" in this novel.

December tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hey, look, it's the plot...

Where have you been, you dear old thing?

Umm. So yeah. Hit 44000 words now. I feel like rolling around on the floor moaning "ugh ugh ugh" like my son does, but that would probably be unproductive (that's what I always say to him) and undignified (maybe I can just eat some chocolate instead.)

The last week of NaNo is so so so painful. On the other hand, at least I'm writing something.

What is that something? Well, after diverting myself for the last 30000 words on the setup for "assignment one" for my nominal main character, I finally went back to him. Sort of. He was really boring to write about because he's been spending all his time studying for the imperial exams. (And since I don't know anything about that, can't describe it in any detail. Research is called for. Later.) Actually, I'm with his wife right now. She's boring, too. Boring, boring, boring. This is one of those "romances" where they're going to be happily married, then turned into enemies, then have a sentimental reconciliation at the end.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Ok, yeah, I'll believe it when I see it. (Or write it, whatever.)

6000 more words for the November goal.

No padding.

That really hurts when I delete my placeholder notes once I write the scene they were standing in for. *cries* The word count! Decreasing! Nooooo!!!!

Only six thousand words. Think. Think faster! Quickly! Write words! All November, I feel I'm barely able to think ahead enough to know what the next scene is. I can't NOT write 6000 words, right? It would be too pitiful if I failed NaNo at this point.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10000 words to go

Which is to say, I just hit 40K and wanted to take a break from my NaNo.

Yarrgh. Here I am in the last week again, making my frantic efforts to finish. It's been worse every year. I suppose I'm daring myself to fail, so then I'll know how far I can push it and still manage the 50000 words. Bad me, no biscuit!



What happened to paragraphs? This month, I suddenly realized that all my paragraphs have disintegrated. I have words, I have sentences, I have scenes and possibly chapters, but paragraphs? What the heck are paragraphs? I think being on the computer all the time has influenced me to make my "paragraphs" shorter and shorter, since I hate looking at a solid block of text.

All these line breaks.

And white space.

Are easier on my eyes.

And as I said last year, they give me the illusion that I am progressing rapidly with my story, even though the actual word count doesn't go up by much. I feel that I have a huge fluffy story! Ha ha! *lolls around in the white space*

But it's the last week. Which means...

Even more long sequences of pointless dialogue!

Even more side trips to random new places that I made up on the spur of the moment! Which always ends up as some dark, lifeless landscape. (Cf., "Thousand Sunless Valleys", from last year's story.) This year it's a monastery on a cliff where the king keeps his wife, concubines, and children imprisoned. I have yet to figure out what the ghost is doing there, though, besides waving the "Follow me!" plot flag.

Even more unconvincing "character development"!

And possibly some "cheating", where I just guess at what happens and write down a summary. Normally, I like to run scenes back and forth in my imagination as if watching a movie, until I can see it clearly, at which point I write it down. When the deadline is too close, I'll write it down anyway whether it's right or not. This can cause problems for me later, but at least it keeps me writing.

Grrr. This post is probably full of lies. I don't even know, anymore. Must... write... more... words...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Procrastination method #25

Randomly browsing in a dictionary.

There's nothing like a big clunky volume of paper that you can physically flip through to read entries at random. Typing and clicking just isn't as fun. My excuse is usually "I'm looking for cool words that I can use as character names." (I keep a file with a list of names that I want to use someday.)

Today, for me, it was my good old Chinese-English dictionary. Chinese is full of fun four word sayings (many from ancient literature). I only know a few of them because I own volume 3 of a series of books explaining these idioms. Other than that, I have no clue unless someone explains it to me or I look it up specifically. But the dictionary conveniently lists them in the entry for each word (so it has all the phrases that start with that word.)

Amusing ones for NaNoWriMo:

While browsing the entry for word 4761 in my dictionary: "卧薪尝胆" ("Wò xīn cháng dǎn"), which Google tells me is "Stooping to conquer", while my dictionary says "(literally) to lie on faggots and taste gall --- to goad oneself ahead by depriving oneself of all daily comforts and subjecting oneself to life's bitterness (a reference to Kou Chien when he was nursing vengeance)". Ok, so NaNo isn't exactly a great conquest, but we goad ourselves by depriving ourselves of... uh... TV? and subject ourselves to the bitterness of... hmm... pounding out the daily word count and seeing the "At this rate you will finish on..." date get farther and farther away.

Then there was word 4763, which gave me: "临渴掘井" ("Lín kě jué jǐng"), which Google says (as definition #2) (I'm not sure why #1 is KMT - Kuomintang. Not gonna google to find out about THAT...that would be another hour wasted in googling irrelevant topics) "need for last minute frantic efforts". Mwah ha ha ha ha! My dictionary says "(literally) to dig a well when one feels thirsty --- to do something too late and without preparations; to make no timely preparations". I guess traditional Chinese culture frowns on "pantsers"!

Well, the second one is very fitting. I aim to be at 35K tonight. And then if I can do 5K a day for the next few days, I may even reach 50K by November 30. Frantic efforts! Frantic efforts! Not to be confused with the English expression about "digging oneself deeper into the hole".

P.S. Note how word 4763 "临", just 2 after word 4761 "卧", is pronounced completely differently and (in simplified script) doesn't look anything alike. Damn the simplification for messing with the radicals! Why simplify one but not the other? Just how was I supposed to look up the word if I don't know how it's pronounced or what the radical really is?! Stupid f***ing Chinese dictionaries.

Friday, November 23, 2012

YARRGH! It's day 23!

<panic mode>...and I only have 31K words!</panic mode>

This writing thing. It's always like pulling teeth.

I've never pulled anyone's teeth, but after personally witnessing the literal truth of expressions such as "nit picking" (and I don't mean my inner editor), "slippery as an eel", "pissing contest", and "steaming pile of shit" (and I don't just mean my so-called novel), I'll trust that "pulling teeth" can be believed to be difficult.

At any rate, every time I check my word count, it seems it's only crept up by 100-200 words. Damn it.

Of course, yesterday, every time I checked my word count, it remained the same. Novel, why u no rite urself!?

After 30000 words, I've almost reached the point in my story where I started thinking about it. It's always like this. I have an initial conception, a scene, or some characters in mind. Then I wonder how they got there, and so I end up writing a long long long backstory. This time, it's because I filled in some blank character slots with characters from my previous NaNo stories. They brought a lot of baggage with them. In fact, they seem to have settled in and evicted my original 2012 NaNo characters!

Ah well, it's ok with me. There was no particular reason to write one story or another, so whatever comes to mind will do. (See, so much for the outline that I didn't make!)

Today I had two more characters appear. It turns out that the little dog was actually working for evil warlord XXX! (That XXX! I need to kill him off tonight.) And there's a wolf. I don't think he'll last long in this story, though. He has enough sense to skedaddle before someone kills him off. You see, he recognized the rat as being a shameless ripoff from the Legend of the Condor Heroes and... no, wait, I didn't say that. If I use the "Beggar Clan" and the "Dog-beating stick", it's an homage and an inside joke, not stealing. So there!

Look, that's about 350 words I just wasted on this so-called blog! Words, why u no be in my novel!?

Food, then back to writing...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Too many damned fights

It seems like my characters can't walk two steps without getting into a fight.

At least that's how it feels. Though maybe that's because I've been listening to bits of the Dungeon Siege soundtrack while I write. I love the epic Dungeon Siege main theme, especially the Glacern variation (so icy!). It's the only computer game I've restarted several times just to hear the music again. I'm serious.

All right, so I don't have quite as many fights as Dungeon Siege, but it's still annoying. It is the genre convention for what I'm writing (Chinese wuxia-influenced supernatural fantasy), but I'm no action director. In theory it could add to my word count as I describe every cool move and technique and weapon and blah blah blah, but in reality I haven't a clue.

It's gotten to the point where I just say that they fought, then give the results. They fight more often than they eat, as far as I can tell. To be fair, the characters usually don't have a conflict with their food, which is why I don't mention it. How often does anyone want to hear "so-and-so had a bowl of rice with some stuff on it"? But then, they don't want to hear a recitation of the catalog of Awesome!Magic!Exotic! Weapons, either. Or at least I don't. (Even though it was funny when those guys in Gu Long's novels had their rankings of the top 100 fighters and their weapons, or whatever it was. They were always missing people in the list, anyhow.)


Two-thirds of the way through the month, and only halfway to 50000 words. ARRRRGH!!! Yep, still badly behind at 26K words this morning. It's horrible. I hate writing. All the cool words run away when they sense me approaching the keyboard. It's so annoying. Ah well, time to get one of the kids to school now.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This is not called "catching up"

Day 17, and I'm starting this morning at 21000 words.


I wish my plot was better. Where is my magic plot-improving wand!? Stupid plot! Everyone just plods along in predictable ways. Well, it would have to be predictable by me, since I'm the one who wrote it. But wouldn't it be nice to be surprised by your own plot twists? (And I don't mean like in those movies famous for their "plot twists" where just hearing the premise and being told there IS a plot twist, the supposed twist is obvious. *cough cough* Sixth Sense *cough *cough* I mean the stories where things veer off in ways that I never expected at all, but not in a WTF out of character way.)

Plot twists? Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I wish I had some.

Nope. I'm just sending my characters on the plot choo-choo... ugh. Well, the only surprising thing last night was that the Rat had an imperial seal from the previous-previous dynasty. O...kay... And they're going to use it to trick some bandits? What bandits? There were no bandits in my original "outline" (what would have been my outline if I'd sat down and written one, which I hadn't.) Apparently I got sick of typing about the soldiers here and soldiers there blah blah blah.

So now we have bandits. Ugh. Why is a nice girl like her (the schoolteacher's daughter) getting mixed up with bandits? Isn't that dangerous? I blame it on the Rat.

I also need to think up a new batch of names. The past few days I've been writing about the need for revenge on XXX! That bastard XXX! He's so evil! They lived in XXX, but then they went to XXX, where there was no sign of XXX, so then they went to the village of XXX, and asked XXX about it, but XXX didn't know where XXX was either. Maybe he went to XXX. Oh, FFS! Just go jump in the XXX river already!

But look. It's over halfway through the month. Let's take this "catching up" thing more seriously, eh? The lock-myself-in-the-library thing kinda works, but I just need to speed up with the writing. Why I can't just pretend this other room in my house is the library, I don't know. I need to work on my self-hypnosis skills.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another day, another character...

Three years ago, I wrote my NaNo novel in a claustrophobic first-person diary format. This turned out to be horribly difficult to sustain. Even I, the author, lost my suspension of disbelief that this person would dutifully sit down every day to transcribe Exciting! Dramatic! Ooooh! Traumatic! Standard Fantasy Epicwank! in exacting detail. I didn't want to turn it into a memoir halfway through, or an interrogation, etc. I should have picked a different plot for that. Probably a romance/mystery in a fantasy setting would have worked better, rather than giant magical mecha and mass slaughter and torture and stuff like that.

Don't say I don't learn from experience!

This year I went in the opposite direction. I skip merrily from character to character, not worrying overmuch about point of view. And instead of trying to think of it as one big novel (which I can't keep in my head), I think of it as a basket of individual stories that happen to be jumbled together.

I'm actually enjoying it, once I force myself to start typing, and once I set aside the "Good lord, this story sucks, is lame and shallow, has boring characters, who talks like that anyway what's wrong with my dialogue writer!?, when is everything going to make sense" worries aside. (This may all be true, but I stop worrying about it anyway, or I'd never bother to write anything.) I'm writing the story I want to read, or at least that's the idea.

So I write these characters and meet them properly, when they were only placeholder pieces in my "outline". And they inevitably turn out differently from my initial conception. This includes my so-called main characters, who always end up more boring than the so-called secondary characters. After this many years, I know to expect that. The whole classification of someone as the "main character" is now just a game I play with myself so I have a starting point to hang the novel on. This year the protagonist is secretly the character from a previous NaNo, so this project is secretly a sequel, but since in the previous novel, the character suffered from "main character syndrome", this project is secretly the "first" book after all, and the previous one was about someone else.

Meanwhile, I've skipped on to another character. Hey! It's the Annoying Child Character (TM). It's the boy from the minority culture *cough*elves*cough* that I'm making up off the top of the head. It seems they have connections to India: so Buddhism wasn't the only religion that went to China; so did what seems to be a cult of Kali. Looks like we're headed for a Mahadevi vs Xi Wang Mu goddess smackdown! (Or not.) There's also a problem with the customs of the royal family... it took my children to point it out to me. Heh. Something for me to think about.

Today I've introduced two more characters. Ha ha! The Dutiful-Daughter-Seeking-Revenge and the Rat Fairy-Beggar now have names and a scene together.

What I don't have is 25000 words. It's November 15. There's something wrong with my math... I have 18000 words right now. Blah. The sit-in-the-library-and-write thing is working, sort of. I just need to write FASTER.

But I got too hungry and came home to get food. Then I got distracted and wrote up this blog post. Which proves I wasn't REALLY that hungry, eh? Eh? *facepalms*

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's that time again...

...when I realize it's about halfway through November and I'm BEHIND!!!! *cue horrified music* It's November 13 and I have about 14K words this morning.

It's not that I haven't had time to write, it's just that I haven't spent the time I have in writing. Time to move on to the next step! I will go lock myself (mentally) to a cubicle in the local public library and sit down until I have my words done. No food, water, or bathroom breaks. I prefer writing in the library to going to a coffee shop or whatever. It's quieter, I don't feel pressured into buying drinks and/or food, the tables are bigger, and the electrical outlets are placed more conveniently.

But I can see today is another evil day of evil: I'm starting a new file. All that blank space usually puts me off. There's nothing for it but to start...

...infodumping. Yeah. Back when I visited Yunnan, I saw some really cool exhibits with artifacts from an archaeological dig uncovering some old mostly-forgotten kingdom/tribe. There's tons of these in China, especially to the west, southwest, etc., that were at the "frontier" of ancient imperial China. It's a pity I didn't take pictures or notes, nor did I buy any picture books/museum books (if any were available.) At the time, I was not thinking "Hey, I want to steal this culture for my NaNo this year!" (Reminder to self: You ALWAYS want to steal things for your story/RPG campaign/whatever.)

So it's back to "make shit up as you go along". Bah. Whatever I think up is usually more boring than the real thing. It will have to do for now. So I'm making up my own "lost kingdom" (of which this village that I'm infodumping about will be the last remaining outpost) with its random alien culture (elves, I tell you!) and shtuffs. I will try to do more serious researching when I get around to revising this first draft.

So, not yet Bottomless Pit of Despair time yet, but definitely Butt In Chair, Fingers to the Keyboard, No More Internets, For Realz time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ugh, I'm behind

I really need to write faster.

And not spend so much time not writing.

Ugh, ugh, ugh, moan, moan, whine, whine, blah blah blah.

I have this gaping hole in the middle of the story where I have no idea what happens. ("And then a miracle occurs.") It seems I may do the Gu Long thing where he goes on for pages introducing some random cool characters, builds up the suspense...then has them killed off by the end of the chapter. Rinse, repeat. I did think to have a revenge plot wander through the middle of the story (it's not even the middle, it's more like the late beginning), where some woman wants revenge on the warlord fellow (he had her family killed), and it's the rat fairy who helps her. The warlord is running away now that the Mongol dynasty got overthrown, but why the heck would he end up in the village? Wandering around delirious from fever from an infected wound? Everyone else thinks he's dead?

Why do the villagers shelter him? Is it all just a coincidence?

What's going on? Am I going to offend people by making the villagers be from some non-Han minority group about which I know nothing? What if it's an imaginary minority ethnicity? One that does magic? (The elves!? WTF? They must be the elves! Yes, because elves are so Chinese. Or not. After all, they're 'foreign' and they're weird and they dress funny and they're rumored to be anthropophages. Plus one of the characters was originally an elf. That explains everything! Not.)

What about the emperor sending his army to take over Yunnan?

What am I going to do with all those soldiers? I don't want to deal with thousands of soldiers in my story.

Maybe the villagers just want to hide until everything's all peaceful again.

Why why why why why? What happened to the two disciples who got killed?

I don't know, I don't know, and I don't know. I'm under 11000 words and need to be at 20000 by the end of Saturday. ARRRRRGH!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The triumph of the vague

Also known as, "the chapter in which I summarize in 500 words what happened in the prequel (or sequel, depending on one's point of view) novel which I never wrote, without giving enough detail for anyone to understand what the hell it was about." Gah! I bet I could get more wordage out of it if I described events with something more specific than "Long ago, a long way from here, a woman who wasn't there had a conversation that never happened with a man who couldn't speak" and glossing over a whole adventure with "The shipwreck, the plague."

But then again, I'm trying to write THIS novel, not the other one. If I'd wanted to write the other one, I'd be doing that right now. But I'm not.

Which is no excuse for the parts of the current novel I'm not writing, either, such as "Years passed. Of the Phoenix's passage through the underworld, we will not speak." Well, I said I wouldn't speak of it. So I won't! But who is this "we"? Since when do I have a narrator in this novel? Damn it! *headdesks* But I think it's because I'm doing this novel in "fairy tale mode". I read too many fairy tales at an impressionable age. I still read them. So sue me, I like them. Why shouldn't I write in fairy tale mode if I feel like it?

But, um, yeah, skippity-skippity, skippity la la la.

So I'm not having my cake and I'm not eating it either. That is, I'm not writing the scenes I don't want to write so I can skip ahead to do the parts I do, but I'm also slow in writing the scenes I claimed to want to write. That explains why I'm currently lagging at 5000 words behind.


Go me!

...I said, "Go!"

...Now? Hello? Writing? Words?

...I'm going to go wash the dishes now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

There really is a nun in my story!?

E-mi-tuo-fo! Shanzai, shanzai. (Do I want to write it like that? Maybe the "shanzai" part should be translated. As what? "Very good"?)

So there apparently the toad demon shows up dressed as a nun. Is she really a nun?

November's plot is only a distant cousin of October's plot.

Nothing is what I thought it was, or not quite. So much for planning!

The outline is like a light that I throw ahead of me, so I have something to focus on as I move forward. Once I get there, I find the ground is full of new details and formations that were unknown to me before I got there. Sadly, this year the "light" runs on a wind-up battery, so every time I catch up I have to spend a lot of time figuring out what happens next.

What happens next? Gah, I'm behind, behind, behind. I'll write what happens next on here. Maybe that will motivate me to write 4000 words today. (Let's pretend to believe that for now. It's not impossible, merely unlikely.)

Just how evil is this toad demon/nun supposed to be? She says she's there for knowledge, and maybe that's true. All those years seeking enlightenment, but it eludes her. She thinks the boddhisattvas know a secret that they could share but refuse to, out of spite or fear (that too many commoners will ruin a good thing?) She doesn't believe that they are acting out of compassion. I suppose it's a projection of what she would feel if she was the one with secret knowledge. A secret is only valuable until it's revealed, she says. Fine. So, if the boddhisattvas won't share, what about one of their outcast disciples? Being a disciple, they might know. Being outcast, they might be persuaded or bribed to speak.

So what about the rabbit immortal? He's the local earth god now, and meant to guard the prisoner (the outcast disciple). Why does he let her pray to the apostate? I suspect he's a romantic. The prisoner might corrupt her, but then again, the influence might go the other way. Maybe he'll fall in love with the nun! Isn't that what happens in stories? Wishful thinking, but he has to allow them the chance.

What happens, of course, is that it's the Rabbit who falls in love with her instead!


Monday, November 5, 2012

In which I eat too much chocolate


Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I really shouldn't buy three bags of candy bars and stick them in the drawer by my computer and expect them to last through November. If they're there, I'll eat them. Like, now. And another one, because that first one was so tasty. And then another one, because if you've already eaten two, what difference does a third one make? And if you've eaten three, why not four? And so on.

A pity that doesn't work for my writing. So, it was nice to finish "part one" and to start up a fresh new file...

...fresh new file...

...Part 2...

...Go on, what are you waiting for?!

It's still looking awfully empty.

Maybe I'll go do something else for awhile.

(hours pass)

What do you mean there's only 200 words in that file so far?!!??!!!11111one?

...I think I'll go eat another piece of chocolate...

...No, still not feeling writerly...

I think I'll go add some wordage to my blog.

And eat another piece of chocolate.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

5000 words, Lalalalalalalala Lalalala Lalalalala

"Geduld, nur keine Bange
In zehn Tagen seid... ihr... tot...!"

Wait, what what what? Um. Maybe I was better off listening to the Schumann symphonies.

It's all death, alcohol, shoes, robbers, alcohol, and death with these songs, isn't it? Never mind. After three or four repetitions of this "Fau" album (by Die Streuner / "The Strays"), I dragged myself to 5000 words. (And to think I only bought it for the "Charley is my darling" song, as my son was playing it on the violin at the time. Three cheers for random Youtube searches.)

Meanwhile, in my NaNo story, we're at the palace of the Queen Mother of the West. The Man and the Woman have seen each other for the first time. For about ten seconds. And she died shortly after that (but he was already on his way elsewhere). Then he was reunited with either an imposter or a possessed corpse. This "romance" isn't looking too healthy at the moment. We also met the Friendly Rabbit (the one named after a cabbage), but he is on the chopping block. He dies tomorrow! That gives me something to look forward to, eh?

At least I hit my quota today earlier than yesterday. There's hope yet! I still need to figure out what happens when everyone gets dumped into the mortal world. I think we're going to end up in Yunnan in the early Ming Dynasty. Lots of turmoil and thus chances for wacky supernatural meddling by desperate people. (I'll have to do some research... but will probably end up making most of it up off the top of my head, gah.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Only Schumann will get me through this...

It's only day 2 and I already hate everything. (My story is lame, shallow, meaningless, cliched, racist, sexist, riddled with cultural/linguistic/ecological errors, devoid of interest, etc. etc.)

On the other hand, I'm only 2000 words in, and I've already "discovered" new things about the characters. Admittedly nothing very deep, but now that I know that "Silver" and her fellow disciples have been practicing the "Shifting Body, Changing Element" technique, but lacking a crucial breakthrough, that explains why "Phoenix" would end up using something like it (obviously "Rabbit" stole the secret manual from the ruined temple and gave it to his friend.) Speaking of which, who is this "Rabbit" and where did he come from? He was never in my original plot outline. But there you go. That's what happens once the actual writing starts. I'm told (by me) that he's a nephew of the rabbit in the moon (the one who brews the Elixir of Immortality) and he's a fat, nosy, meddler who grows magic snow lotuses in icy crevasses.

One of the stupid things that slows me down is that I make up Chinese names for all the characters and techniques and powers and so on. (And where I don't make them up myself, I steal them from other people.) Yeah. It doesn't help that I totally suck at literary Chinese, and it's only the power of Google (and a dictionary) that lets me limp along. Even if I never write them down where anyone can see it, it still helps me mentally. The other stupid thing is me making up their dialogue in the language of Chinese wuxia novel cliches. And then I try to translate it into English. Badly. ARGH! *headdesk*

Meanwhile I still have lots of words left to write tonight. I can tell I'll have to be sitting at the computer late at night, desperately wanting to sleep, before I can get any of it done. I predict I will go through three repeats of the Schuman 3rd and 4th symphonies before I log off. That's how slow I am. Ugh.

Day 2 and so far my character death count stands at: 1 named, 4 unnamed!

Naturally I'm excited to continue and see how high I can get that number this year!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Off we go... to somewhere?

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo begins. Well. That wasn't exactly a speedy start. Took me until now to get the first 500 words down.

No, I didn't ever finish my outline.

No, I didn't ever finish carving all five pumpkins.

No, I never got around to vacuuming.

No, I haven't figured out yet how to connect villain A to villain B, much less how to get the other characters into the right places at the right times. (Note to self: except for one thing: remember that the Dog wasn't saving the Phoenix, he was saving the backpack, which had all the yummy-yummies inside it.)

No, I didn't ever finish making up names for my characters. (Even worse, many of them need multiple names, for their various lives and identities.)

No, I didn't ever finish making up names for the places, sects, mysterious powers/martial arts, etc. etc.

Guess that means I'll just have to make it up as I go along. I'll try to keep to strict chronological order (though I will skip between characters) so that I can keep the flow of cause and effect straight in my head. Last year I split my narrative into alternating "past" and "present" chapters, but that was a pain even with an outline prepared. This year, if I mess around with the ordering of scenes, I'll wait until revision time to do that.

So what did 500 words get me? Through the first event I wanted to note, and a little bit into the second one. And way too many Google searches for trivial things I don't want to admit to. Note to self: just make something up! Skip it! Get writing! 1500 more words to go for today! Fun fun. Yay. Smell that enthusiasm. (Not to be confused with broccoli, which my younger daughter insisted her oatmeal smelled of this morning. Too much Halloween candy last night, I say.)