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So we've come to the end of another November and I've come to the end of another novel. Well. As someone who writes out of order, the word "end" can be creatively applied to mean not so many absolutely terribly gaping holes remaining. As such, I've applied it here, even though there's at least two places that have only the barest bits of scaffolding to show where the story goes.

The story itself is... unexpectedly intriguing. Of course, it's a completely different story to the one I started with, in almost every respect. It's pretty much followed the plot that burst into my brain at the beginning of week 2, although it developed a number of unexpected themes as well as a rather fun major secondary character.

In the end, it isn't all a dream, and in fact my muse didn't press that point at all after receiving notice that my lawyers would be in touch with his. It doesn't need to be a dream, I can make it work without, I just need to work on my protagonist's characterisation a bit more until she can manage a ten-year-mope (leaving her husband to raise their disabled daughter alone) without losing the reader's sympathy. Yeah, I'm pretty confident I can manage that. :P (Actually - thank you, muse - I've just realised how I can. See what happens when we cooperate?)

As far as the future of Cloud Castles goes... )

In other news: where's my weekend gone? Waaaaah, two ballet concerts, a gymnastics recital, and serving as chef/waitress/dishwasher for mother-in-law's orchestra's Christmas breakup party, all crammed into my first two days after NaNo! Sometimes I wish I wasn't the good aunt/daughter-in-law...

Half way

Nov. 15th, 2007 12:52 am
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Final word count for... well, I guess it's technically this morning: 25,122

Go, me!
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And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.

        -- Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village
The night before last, I was pretty happy to find a villain. Last night, I found the rest of my story.

It's day seven, I'm a quarter of the way through, and instead of hitting Week Two Blues, I seem to have mainlined the entire Orion supply of Perky Juice.

It all started when my villain from the previous night finally met up with my protagonist and, rather than genteelly pushing her off a cliff, he started making annoyingly unspecific threats, and when I tried to make him get more specific I realised...

Everything. It was one of those intense explosions of clarity, the kind of ecstatic flash of plot coalescence that should be familiar to any NaNoWriMoer who has started without anything resembling a plot and ended the month with a novel, where I could see the whole story laid out in front of me, spreading out in all directions, complete with motivations, reasons, themes, context, and overwhelming potential.

... and then he pushed her off the cliff.

If I'd been taking a bath when it happened, I would have been halfway down the street shrieking Eureka! before I even realised it. As it was, I contented myself with dancing and running around the house screaming wordlessly, fully clothed, and spending the rest of the night visiting my sister as a fidgety wreck, with the whole thing in my head, desperate to get back to my story.

I now have a quest for my protagonist, which falls naturally into three sub-goals before she can acheive her main goal. I have the potential for the villain to throw any number of bizarre encounters or random obstacles in her path, if these sub-goals don't provide enough material along the way. I have an entire virtual fantasy world originally created by a little girl, which gives me the freedom to (a) mock any cliche that I want to as well as (b) use it anyway. I have an intelligent, cruel, motivated villain who is thoroughly enjoying himself in the role of a lifetime. I have the development and resolution of physical, personal, and relationship conflicts faced by the protagonist all rolled into one coherent story. I even have a map.

And it's all just there in my brain, bubbling away at increasing pressures and straining to gush out of my fingers the moment I sit down in front of a Word document.

Why do I do NaNoWriMo?

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And I've suddenly had a villain leap fully formed out of a throwaway line in the middle of a couple of paragraphs I'd put in to explain away a little plot divot. (Seriously, I wouldn't even have called it a plot hole - it was just me deciding I should think up a more interesting way to get from A to B than "my protagonist has leet hacking skillz".)

Yay, yay, yay! Special thanks go to procrastination via watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent. That put me in the right frame of mind to recognise the true potential of a random, old, mostly forgotten foe whom our protagonist was forced to take a big gamble to beat, not realising that in the process she'd revealed her biggest vulnerability, and who is now looking for revenge. *nods*

Hurrah for a villain! And given the location (Cassie's Castle, see previous post) - he may even get to do some moustache twirling and cape swishing!

And now I need to keep actually writing. Darnit!

Also: any ideas on what the digital parallel of the word "incarnation" would be? Carn is the root meaning flesh. Can I just replace that by bin, or something similar, and end up with the essense of a person - not just represented by - but infused into a digital body? Any linguists here? Or does "inbination" work for people?

*not procrastinating* *really*
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Still doing it tough on the word count, but... oh, boy, today's words are some fine verbiage. Worth sharing a small sample, I think. :)

Oooh, an excerpt! )

Now, if only my muse would let these prettypretty words out just a little bit quicker. And in shorter sentences. :P

@ [ profile] the_zaniak: At first I was worried, because the character I named after you for this year's dare was once again randomly turning out to be a complete bastard. Now he's milk-soppy father-figure. Oh well, since he seems to be both, I'm sure I'll hit some middle ground eventually.
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I'm over 2000 words, which has been a bit of a struggle, but I'm past my daily target, so all is well. Slow and steady wins the race.

The biggest bone of contention between myself and my muse is his abrupt decision that my protagonist is in a wheelchair. I can't decide whether to give in on this point, so at the moment I'm avoiding mentioning anything about how she gets from one place to another.

Mostly, I don't mind this subplot - in fact, I think it'is quite cool - except that I'm quite certain that her daughter, who is probably the other main character, suffered a brain injury as a small child which resulted in complications some fifteen years later that means she's in a coma.

Still, I would rather not have the two main characters entirely coincidentally disabled; that's just sloppy, so I guess unless the reasons for putting Louisa in a wheelchair get substantially more compelling, I'll keep her walking around. Even if it does makes my muse all pouty and angsty.

Might head off to bed early tonight. I've got my words out and they're actually pretty good plot wise and quality wise. But I still can't help wishing that I'd managed to write anything that looked remotely as I'd expected it too.

Time for a bit more plot dreaming, I think.
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It’s the countdown to NaNoWriMo – less than twelve hours remaining!

Last year, before November started, I read No Plot? No Problem! which was most interesting in a number of ways. But one of the things that struck me was the assertion that writers often find themselves writing books that they’d never read, and that’s never a good thing. The suggestion was to make a “Magna Carta” of all the things they like (or don't like!) in a book, and make sure they’re doing some – or all – of them in their story. I wrote a list back then, but didn’t publish it – this year I’ve decided to expand and post it.

So here we go: my fictional kinks. If a book’s got a fair few of these in it, I’m practically guaranteed to like it.

Magna Carta I )

And now for the the Magna Carta I’s evil twin. These are the elements of a story that will make me pull my hair out, spend all night jittering with rage or disgust, tear out the offending pages and burn them, then bury the ashes at the bottom of the compost heap.

Magna Carta II )

In other news, I now have a working title: Cloud Castles – and my protagonist has finally deigned to inform me that her first name is Louisa, but she’d really prefer to be called Lou. Oh, and my wrists have settled down to a managable level. Yay!
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So, November is nearly upon us once more, and the answer is yes. Yes, I will once more be participating in NaNoWriMo.

My lessons learned include:
1) Don't even try to write in order. I can't count the number of times I've made this mistake: I just can't write in order, and I screw things up if I try. Write what I know, and follow that up by writing the bits I've learned while doing it.
2) Know at least one problem for the protagonist in each of the three main categories (external conflict, internal conflict, relationship conflict) before I start.
3) Be true to the original flash, and make sure to have one, even if I have to spend an entire weekend lucid dreaming to get it
4) Stick with the successful high-tech spreadsheet rather than fooling myself with annoying low-tech notecards
5) Have at least one - preferably more than one - event happen every day. Under absolutely no circumstances let an internal monologue just continue until I work out what happens next.
6) Don't let myself procrastinate writing sessions within a day, even though I know I am fully able to actually hit word targets in a small amount of time.

As for the story itself... )

I've got two other possibilities for the story if this one doesn't work out, but I really don't think it'd be good for my momentum if I peter out from one story a few days in and have to switch.

So. Specifics. Sounds like it's time to do some sleeping in - or given the new sleep schedule - some early nights. :)


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