NaNoWriMovember: Day 23

Uncategorized

I’ve been neglecting my blogging a bit lately, considering how I started off the month having something to say every few days or so, even when not much was going on.

Now that I haven’t been talking about writing as much, I’ve been getting more writing done. At one point I was about 13,000 words behind schedule for NaNoWriMo. Now I’m a little over 8,000 words behind. Still a fair way behind, but it’s easy enough to make up the ground.

What I’ve been doing is I’ve been chipping away at it. Just chipping away at it. And since I’m a rule breaker this year, anything goes. I’m writing bits and pieces of little things and throwing them in there. But since I’ve been making an effort not to slack off, to write at least 1,667 words per day every day, and usually somewhere between 2,000 to 3,000 words, I’ve been chipping away at that goal. I’m now pushing 30,000 words. My target from here on in is 20,000 words in 7 days. I’ve done over 10,000 words in the past 5 days. So while I probably should have been doing even more writing than I have, my goal is still not out of my reach just yet. I just need to step it up a bit. I know things will probably slow down a bit this weekend, but my last four days of the month I’ve got no work, so I can really hammer it through to the end.

My main concern is something that’s caused me somewhat of a problem over the past two nanowrimos. That is, when I go to make things official, the NaNoWriMo word counter comes up with less words than what my word processor has counted, so I’m a few thousand words short. Hmm. We’ll climb that mountain when we get there.

So, what have I been writing about this past couple of weeks? Well, I’m carving out drafts of three novellas I’ll be developing after NaNo, of which one of them is around 13,000 words (with another few thousand words of the story written before NaNo but not counted), and the other two are currently drifting in between 4 and 5,000 words.

I haven’t been working on much else. I’ve got a couple of fan fiction stories I want to work on, and essays and such, but for now, it’s all novellas. Very crude first draft novellas that are high concept absurdist/surrealist fantasy. I also want to start work on a short story for an anthology that I might work on as part of an online workshop, but at the moment I’m thinking I’d like to finish my first novella before I get working on that, or any of the other stuff.

There are a couple of other story ideas I plotted out for NaNoWriMo that I’m thinking of turning into novellas. I might start on them, or maybe do some really crude plot drafts to get the basic concept fleshed out.

At the moment I know my main novella needs heavy editing, and I’m thinking it works better as a basic outline of plot points throughout the narrative that will eventually be reworked to fit the tone and aesthetics of the finished novella. I’m thinking of rewriting it as an epistolary story later anyway, so the tone will change a lot, as will the rules and aesthetics of the world. I think the aesthetics have been my biggest challenge. I’m working with half-baked worlds here, so I’m trying to flesh them out as I go, and somethings work, some things don’t. Some things will work once I’ve gone through and fixed up other things. It’s all part of the process.

I haven’t put a huge amount into planning this time around. I’ve put in some, but not heaps. I’m thinking I might try altering the way I write drafts to be more loose, more open ended, more of an ideas/brainstorming session rather than a hardcore gotta write a proper linear narrative down with tight prose and shit. Maybe keep it short and figure things out. Then go all out on the overblown and convoluted narration, figure out the voice, then cut it back to somewhere in between, find the balance, then edit the motherfucker.

This NaNoWriMo has been a real challenge so far. Well, more so than previous years, despite my attempt at diversity and adaptability. It’s been pretty illuminating.

And I briefly mentioned this before, but I recently signed up to a 4 week online workshopping class with Jeremy C. Shipp. Because even though I’ve been studying creative writing for the past three years, three years is bugger all really, what I’m looking for is experience. To write more, and adapt and develop more. Get more writing out into the world. Read more. Edit. Play around, learn, discover. It’s four more weeks devoted to developing my writing. Sure, I already consider myself a writer, but it’s something I’ve got to be constantly working at. I won’t “get there” overnight.

Yes, I use this blog, and I use twitter and facebook for “social networking”, to make connections as a writer. I’ve met a decent amount of people this way, and I think networking will ultimately help me develop and grow my readership once I get more stuff published. But it’s also helped me make friends with other people with similar interest and goals. These people are great people. They know who they are. They’re one of the reasons why I read and write and push myself as much as I do.

This next week, and these next 20,000 words are going to be amazing.

NaNoWriMovember: Day 14

Uncategorized

I’ve written a reasonable amount on my novella today, and I should be able to do a bit more of a catch up tonight. I’m starting to feel like the novella is taking more of a form, more of a direction, and I’m liking the direction. At this stage, I don’t want to reveal much, but I thought I’d post a short sample of the story.

Ice Popsicle Apocalypse

Chapter Three: The Heat

Her breasts had started growing.

They jiggled a bit as I wrapped a towel around her torso and put yesterday’s shirt with all our dirty clothes in a pile by the stream. She should have been old enough to change herself, but she didn’t seem to be able to do much without my help. What would happen to her if I were not around? I didn’t want to think about it. I was the only one she could trust.

She followed me down to the stream, her limbs dangling about like orchards in the breeze. As she grew, I noticed her start to transition from girl to woman. It had been so long since I’d seen a woman and I knew men would see her thin figure slowly filling out and get ideas. It was my job to think of these ideas and prevent them from ever happening.

I took my own clothes off and added them to the pile and slipped into the stream. I picked up a handful of water and rubbed it through my face, the dirt and grime washing away. All around me, the water turned a brown-yellow colour. Rose was dirtier than me, but we had our reasons for it. We met a man a few towns back who looked like your bog-standard swamp monster. Aside from the stench and the mud hanging off his face and body, he was perfectly normal. No sweat. He said the secret was to coat yourself in mud. Once it dries it acts as insulation. The problem is that if you’re moving around too much it’ll get cracked and let the heat in. And the extra weight makes the going slower too. Once the Heat kicked in he moved near a river and hadn’t moved much since. He said sometimes he doesn’t move for days. This stream was probably connected to that same river.

Rose let her towel drop by her feet and she joined me in the stream.

“Close your eyes,” I said.

She nodded.

I scooped up another handful of water and poured it over her head.

She laughed and smiled and wiped the dirt and water from her eyes and splashed water at my face. I laughed and we splashed water back and forth and the dirty water dissipated between us. There was never much point for us to get absolutely clean because we ended up covered head to toe in mud anyway.

I swam over to her and lifted her onto my shoulders and then threw her into the air. She screamed and splashed back into the stream. She was underwater for quite a while, her bright red body rippled through the (mostly cleared) water, popping up right in front of me. She was a natural swimmer. If only we found a stream that ran forever. I dunked her down then swam around to our pile of clothes. She kept swimming about while I ran our clothes through the water, soaking them nice and good, and scrubbing with the brush I took from the farm all those years ago and the soap we stole from a house in the last town we came through. I laid out the clean clothes on some rocks to dry.

When I was done with the washing and Rose was done playing in the water (now a sudsy white/murky brown colour) I got out of the stream, dried myself off and grabbed a few things from the shopping cart.

I had the mixing bowl, sifter, cups, and frayed, old brushes. I filled the cups with dirt from a little way up the bank, the stuff that’s not too damp and pebble-y, but doesn’t have too much grass and weeds and junk in it either. I sifted it into the bowl and repeated it until the bowl was a bit over half full, then I mixed in a few cupfuls of water. We didn’t want it too thick or too runny so we’d figured out a consistency that was like putting glue onto skin with a paintbrush.

Once I had mixed it up right I called Rose to hop out of the water and dry off, otherwise the mud would just slide off. I picked the brush up, dripping with mud, and started on her back.

Rose giggled and squirmed and said, “that tickles.”

“Shh. Remember, nice and quick, before the mud dries.”

She was getting pretty good at standing still while I ran the brush over her, but she was a kid, and there were spots where she always, always lost it. I lifted her hair and ran the brush over the back of her neck and thought she was getting close to needing a hair cut. I brushed down her legs, up her arms, and all over her torso. I brushed up her neck right to her chin and popped a dot of mud on her nose. She tilted back in surprise then laughed. I left her face free because it was too uncomfortable. Mud on the face never stuck for long, and she always ended up picking at it anyway.

While she dried in the sun I went about mixing up another batch of mud for myself. I sat by the stream and started slapping the mixture on my arms, legs and chest, spreading it around, working the brush around everywhere I could reach. By the time I’d covered everything but my back, Rose was dried and breaking in her new joints and ready to come fill in the gaps. She got dressed while I dried out. In our new mud suits we felt invincible. We looked like goddamn lunatics, but we felt like we could live forever.

NaNoWriMovember: Day 12

Uncategorized

It feels like a fair bit is going on lately. If only more of it were NaNoWriMo related, I’d be remotely close to target. Oh well, my last day of doing many extra shifts at work is tomorrow, then I’ll be back to working three (or four) days a week. I’m not making excuses though, I’ve been lazy. But I’m going to make up for it in my free time. I’m going to get around to starting a steampunk/cyberpunk/vampire story soon (to submit to an anthology) which I think will begin with two million tons of guts gushing through the streets of Melbourne. It’s going to be pretty insane, that’s all I’m going to say.

I’m also going to finish my exposition chapter of my novella. Well, it’s not so much exposition as world-building/basic plot and conflict stuff, but more of a character exposition, to get to know the narrator, I guess would be one way to put it. And then I’m itching to get started on the epilogue, mainly while I’ve got the idea in my head. Because I was planning the story to pan out a particular way, and then I wrote the prologue with a completely different tone, and then I decided to work on a kind of related short story, and then I thought of another short story that could close the narrative. So I think it’ll end up somewhat linked to my original concept, a proper cohesive narrative, with short narratives interwoven throughout the main narrative. I’m really looking forward to the point where it all comes together. In the beginning I thought of it as a surreal retelling of the Road. Then it felt like if the Road were more like that crazy Coke ad where a wild fantasy world existed inside the vending machine. Now I sort of see it as a mix of those with that post-apocalyptic ragdoll film, 9. Depressing, stunning, and epic from one moment to the next.

I ended up finishing a second essay, this one was on fan fiction. I’m keen on starting more essays. I know once they’re done they’ll need to undergo heavy editing and restructuring, but it feels good to be writing about this sort of stuff to sort out where my head’s at, where my writing’s at, and where the industry’s at.

I’d also like to commit to completing part two of Once Upon A Time On Mars. For a number of reasons. The story has been brewing for quite a while now and I just need to keep plugging away at it. The more I write now, the less I have to write later, and the more time I can spend on editing part two. I’d like to shoot for a January/February release for part two. At least before uni goes back. It’s be awesome if I could add another 7-10,000 words on to the story. I got my results back for my creative writing major project, which consisted of Once Upon A Time On Mars part one and a 3,000 word essay. I’m yet to read my tutor’s comments, but my mark of 43.5/50 has got me real eager to develop the story further and get more online as soon as possible. And I’ve also got an awesome cover for it now, thanks to my awesome friend Jason.

I also had a book delivery arrive last week, and I’ve consciously pushed my writing aside to read books. In particular, I had been hanging out for Scott Westerfeld’s “Goliath” It’s the final book in his steampunk/biopunk “Leviathan Trilogy” set in alternate history WWII.

The series is a ridiculously good fun read. It’s young adult, but it doesn’t get bogged down in sappy coming-of-age melodrama. Mainly because all that sort of stuff is juxtaposed with wicked fights and massive war beasts/machines and badass explosions and shit. The sort of stuff I’d love to cram into my own steampunk writing (maybe if/when I get around to rewriting the steampunk novel I did for NaNoWriMo two years ago…)

So yeah, I’m sitting somewhere between 8 and 9,000 words, where I should be around 20. But I look forward to taking up the challenge and catching up over the next couple of weeks. Also, the Movember aspect of this month is starting to take shape. I shaved for the first time since Nov 1 and now I’ve got this handlebar mustache type thing going on that just needs to fill out a bit over the next couple of weeks. And then it’ll be pretty glorious and it will stop prostate cancer and male depression dead in their tracks.

NaNoWriMovember: Day 7

Uncategorized

Progress is still pretty slow but I’m hoping to pick things up a bit over the next couple of days. I’m on about 6,500 words and I’ll probably do a couple more hours today. Staying optimistic.

I’m doing lots of little things this November. As of now I’ve started a novella, three short stories and a personal essay. I finished the essay yesterday at a little over 2,000 words. I’m pretty happy with that effort. I also found an idea for a short story under my bedside table yesterday that I might pick up at some point. All I’ve worked on today so far was one of the short stories. I’ve taken my Mythbusters fanfiction to Miskatonic University to study up on their Cthulhu mythos.

I wish I could have more to update here, but I don’t. I’ll probably start another essay soon and keep plugging away at these short stories and hopefully get some more stuff happening. I’m thinking my next essay will be on writing fan fiction/pop culture and avoiding the whole trashy amateur side of the immensely popular (over bloated, you could say) genre.

Not much is happening on my face yet either. I’ll save my Movember appeals for later in the month when I have more of a mo (and more of a no, as NaNoWriMo would have it…).

NaNoWriMovember: Day 4

Uncategorized

In this month, anything goes. At the moment, I’m behind schedule. At the moment, I’ve written less than I’d have liked to and it is not as good as I’d like it to be. Whatever, no big deal. I’ve had some really killer ideas lately, although none of them have really taken  flight just yet. What I’m hoping to get from this NaNoWriMo is to have a strong finish. As I start more and more different projects, I’ll start finishing more and more of them towards the end of the month.

I haven’t written anything more on my day one short story, House Hunter, yet I’ve started on two other short stories. One of them is a pop culture fanfiction which blends the Mythbusters TV show with the Lovecraftian story, ‘the Call of Cthulhu’. It’s called ‘Mythbusters: Cthulhu Special’ and it is written as Adam’s journal as he and Jamie search for Cthulhu, while their camera crew has abandoned them out of a fear for the great terrifying god. The other story, which I’ve barely started is a starting from scratch story about a man who comes to own a pair of disco boots which contain a civilisation of elf-ravers in their shoelaces. I developed the short story quite a bit when I first started writing it, but I figured I’d take it from scratch then maybe afterwards, look at the two together and kind of work them together in the editing process. The story is called ‘Electric Elf Land’. I’d also started on my first creative writing essay, on children’s films and the creative/spontaneous potential of the individual. And I’ve also been chipping into my main work for the month, ‘Ice Popsicle Apocalypse’, and I’m really pleased with how that one’s starting to take shape.

In all honesty, I should have written more by now, but on those projects, I’ve at least made a start. I’m not just looking at a blank page, and the more I work on them, the more they’ll fill out and get closer to becoming a complete first draft. I’ve got plans for December and beyond, editing and getting these stories and essays out and about to different places and such, but I know I won’t be able to put those plans into action until I get writing right away. I haven’t written much today, but I can say that at least I’ve written something. And tomorrow I will also write something. I’ll write more than today, and I’ll try to convince myself that writing will help my mustache to grow. It will serve a dual-purpose and once things get going, it’s going to be pretty amazing. Maybe I’ll get some decent flash fiction thrown into the mix too. It seems at the moment all I’ve got are short stories that are no doubt going to develop into something bigger. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice to get into the habit of writing out short bursts of complete short fictions in a single sitting.

I haven’t yet hit the 5,000 word mark, but I’m hoping to really zip past it tomorrow and kick shit into the next gear.