NaNoWriMovember Reflection

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This is the third year I’ve completed NaNoWriMo. This year really tested me, and I pulled all my dirty tricks out of the bag to make it over the 50k line.

So what did I write?

Two shitty essays. One about a writer’s potential, and one about fan fiction.

One shitty novella.

The start of two shitty fan fiction stories.

One flash fiction story.

One short story.

The start of three novellas.

About two thirds of another novella.

They’re all works in progress. None of them are anything outstanding or fantastic, but the ideas have begun to formulate, and I’ll go back to the drawing board and flesh them out some, and chances are, I’ll be coming back to these drafts over the next few years to turn these stories into something else. After all, the one novella I finished, and the other novella I got a decent way through, they were ideas I’ve been working on since last year. One was a chapter from my last NaNoWriMo, and the other, I think it might have been as well, but I remember working on it in December and January of 2010/2011 as well.

So, what else did I do during the month?

I read a few books, watched a few movies, TV shows.

I finished reading the manga “Elfen Lied.” It was ok. The action was really good. The story was decent. But the domestic stuff just wasn’t my thing. I watched a couple of episodes of the anime, which I enjoyed a lot more. I should try to watch the rest of it some time soon.

Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld. This is a book I’ve been waiting for a while. I was a big fan of Leviathan and Behemoth, and this book finished off his massive steampunk-esque young adult trilogy. The story is an interesting one, not exactly uncommon, but it is a story told well, and the world (and artwork) is bloody brilliant.

Sam Pink’s Hurt Others is a short story collection that is truly cringeworthy. In a totally fantastic way. He writes the most annoying everyday characters. They’re the type of characters that could be someone you work with. But they’re anything but flat. They’re numb. They’re stupid. They’re maddeningly frustrating. And Sam Pink’s writing is really fun.

I’m also getting right into my comics lately. I read the first volume to Grant Morrisson’s “The Invisibles” and the first volume to Richard Starkings’ “Elephantmen“. The Invisibles is pretty crazy, pretty confusing, and Elephantmen is pretty darn stylish. I’ve also started reading Morrisson’s graphic novel, “The Filth“.

Along with those books, I’ve started reading a few others. Some ebooks, Spike Marlowe‘s “Placenta of Love” which I’ve just started and don’t have a lot to mention at this point in time. Some Goosebumps. And a couple of bizarro books I’m real excited about.

I’ve been reading Cameron Pierce‘s new novel, “Cthulhu Comes to the Vampire Kingdom” and Kevin Shamel‘s “Island of the Super People“, and I’ve been pacing myself with these books, really savouring them chapter by chapter, although now that NaNoWriMo is over, I’ll probably rip through the rest of them. Both are fantastic in their own ways. Cameron Pierce took out the Wonderland award for his short story collection “Lost in Cat Brain Land” at this year’s BizarroCon, and since writing that book, he’s gone on to do some really fantastic stuff. And Kevin Shamel, this is his debut novel, after releasing his first book, a novella, “Rotten Little Animals” at BizarroCon two years ago. Island of the Super People is the first book of his I’ve read (am reading?) and it’s shaping up brilliantly.

I got around to watching that new Coen Brothers film, True Grit. I love the Coen Brothers. They do great films. And Jeff Bridges is a great actor too.

And I’ve still been watching my fair share of anime. Mind Game is quite possibly the strangest anime I’ve seen. It’s totally insane in a totally insanely brilliant way that at times I had no idea what to make of it. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. I bought this film ages ago. When I first started watching anime, earlier in the year. It was the only thing out of all the stuff I bought back then that I still hadn’t watched. I don’t know why. It was brilliant. It had that stylistic energy to it that Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy did in book form. It was crazy weird, violent, the story was pretty good, and the animation was stunning. A real gothic action masterpiece.

And then there was Arrietty. The Secret World of Arrietty. A Studio Ghibli film. Please excuse me while I grab something for you to feast your ears upon.

There. Click play. The music for this film is beautiful. Everything about this film is beautiful. The story is a retelling of “The Borrowers”. Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki. The story is really well told. And the animation is stunning, the perspectives are brilliant. When I watch a Ghibli film, it takes me to another world completely. While I love Ponyo and Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, those particular films to me didn’t feel as breathtaking and exciting as Princess Mononoke, or my favourite, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. To me, Arrietty is right up there.

I watched bits and pieces of a few anime shows too. I watched a series called Noir. It’s about female assassins. Girls with guns. If Japan has taught me anything, it would be that everything is better if you make it more violent, and give it guns and bigger tits. This isn’t that kind of anime. It’s plot heavy stuff. Set in France and focusing on a secret society conspiracy of elite assassins and such. There’s still a decent amount of action, but it’s based entirely around the pacing of the plot, and while the gunfights are pretty awesome, there is zero blood. So, where the typical thing would be to overexaggerate those sorts of scene, it’s totally understated. But the story develops really well, and the animation is great. It’s more of an action/mystery, sort of noir-esque without being hard-boiled noir. It’s now one of my favourite anime series.

So, while my bizarro writing friends have been getting up to amazing things in Portland recently, I have to say, this month for me has been pretty fucking great.

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