Thursday, 22 November 2012

NaNo Update - Week 3

Another week, another update. How's everyone doing out there, as we race towards the home leg? Life has been extremely hectic at casa Wilford, and my progress reflects this. As of now, I have 28,523 words, so that's 7,970 added since last week. I'm not quite where I need to be, but I'm hanging in there by sheer bloodymindedness and I've found an iron will to finish. Anyone else get that. If you've done this before, do you feel like you're possessed by some kind of demonic force in the final week?

For those who may not know, my stepson Andrew has been in hospital for an operation to straighten his legs (this involved cutting tendons among other things). This should work to improve his posture when he sits in his wheelchair. Everything went really well, and he got home on Monday, but obviously he requires a lot of intensive care, around the clock. We've got our mattress down from our room to sleep on the floor next to him, and his bedroom is now the centre of the house! Fortunately, he allows me an hour in the morning to write while he and Mum have a doze, and I can still do my early morning, 4am session. That's already been done today, and I'm hoping to add 1500 later to bring me up to a round 30k. If I do that tomorrow, and each day next week (hitting 3k each day), and do 1000 on both Saturday and Sunday, I'll hit the 50k bang on. But, obviously, I'm hoping to exceed it! At the minute, I'm feeling very positive about being able to finish this.

And I'm now writing this story specifically for Andrew. I can't help feeling guilty about being away from him, even if he's sleeping at the time. He's a connoisseur of YA, and I'm counting on his reaction as a beta reader. I'm lucky to have a ready-made audience to provide feedback!

I'm fairly pleased with how the story's coming along, and for the most part it's flowing at a great pace. There's only been a couple of occasions where I've really struggled, which is far different from my previous novelling experiences. I just hope it's not too easy! It feels like there should be one more big plot twist, which is eluding my grasp. The answer? Keep writing. For everyone who's commented on these updates to that effect, I'm incredibly grateful - it's meant a massive amount to me!

I've learnt that I enjoy writing fantasy, whereas before, somehow, I never felt like I'd be capable of it. I'm letting my imagination run riot, removed from "real world" constraints. This is something I would definitely do more of, so I'm glad I gave it a go!

I hope all my friends across the pond have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving, and I wish you a productive week, whatever you're up to!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

NaNo Update - Week 2 and "U Got the Look" Meme

It's the end of another week in NaNoLand and the halfway point in the month. I've got to say I'm doing better than I thought I would be. I didn't have time to write anything between Thursday and Monday: we took my stepson for an assessment at his new college on Thursday and Friday, then we had a fundraising Fun Day on Saturday, then other stuff came up. But I've added about 5500 words since Tuesday, bringing me up to 20,553. My aim was to get to 23k today, so I'd only be 2k words under par. Unfortunately, my predawn session this morning was a bit of a struggle, and my little one has a bug so she's off nursery. I'm writing this while she's watching Spongebob. Hopefully, I'll get a bit more done tonight when she's in bed.

I'm kind of coming to the middle part of the story where I'm hitting the really sticky bit. The conflicts and problems are there, now I need to work through them. I've thrown my main protagonist and his newfound female friend into a seemingly impossible dilemma, with pretty much no idea how they're going to get out of it! Luckily, she's smarter than he is, and has connections in the right places...

I was also tagged with the "U Got the Look" meme this week by the very talented C.M. Brown (thank you!) So I thought I'd link that in with my update this week in bringing you an extract. All that's required is to "go to your current WIP, hunt down the word LOOK, and post the surrounding paragraphs." So here's something from the last week...

Eventually, the door opened and sharp footfalls echoed on the hard floor. Wellesbury opened his eyes; he had been trying his best to think of absolutely nothing.

“Good evening,” said the examiner, sitting behind the desk. He was a lean, sinewy man of about sixty, with blue eyes that seemed to be boring into Wellesbury’s soul. “It is unfortunate indeed that we have to detain you in this way, but perhaps it shall not be for too long.”

Wellesbury didn’t answer. He tried to meet the man’s gaze, but somehow it was like looking directly into headlights on a dark winter night. He was feeling groggy and spaced out from the protracted period of sitting on his own. Don’t let him brainwash you.

The man punched a few buttons on the computer terminal. “My name is Examiner Tharl, and I work here at the Assessment Centre. Please, do not be afraid of me. I, along with the entire Government, am working in your best interests. This session will just be about exploring what has happened and finding the best ways to minimise any damage.

“Now, you are aware that you’ve been brought here because of your exposure to a demon from the Under-Region.”

Wellesbury remained silent, making no move whatsoever.

Of course, I'll have to change the name of the Under-Region, because it makes me snigger too much...

And I will tag the following five:

Basically I'm being really nosy about your NaNo stuff. ;)

How are you all doing with your projects, NaNo or not?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

I've Been Interviewed... the illustrious Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh over at the A-Z Challenge Blog today. So, if you'd like to know about my inspiration for my A-Z posts in April, and what I've got up my sleeve for next year (clue: it will involve you getting to challenge me quite a lot), I hope you'll check it out!

That's all for now. I'll be back tomorrow with more tales of clambering up the NaNo cliff face. Have a good day!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

NaNo Update - Week 1

So, how's everyone doing out there? NaNoers on track? I have to say I've had great fun on the first week of my first ever NaNo. Things seem to be flowing nicely, which is good. As usual, I'm not sure if anything is any good, but I'm definitely enjoying it! As I'm away today and tomorrow to accompany my stepson on an assessment at his prospective new college, I've been beavering away, busily building a dam of words so I don't fall behind during the time off. Total so far is 14975, with about 11000 added since Monday. I don't think I could keep up this pace all the time, but my procrastination habits have been well and truly zapped for the moment. My new daily goal on a "normal" writing day will be 2000. So if you want to write more, yes, it can definitely help!

Sorry about the lack of blog commenting, by the way. I'm still snooping on people's progress on Twitter and the NaNo site! Fundraising and campaigning for Andrew is very much ongoing, so most of my other time has gone towards that. Hopefully next week will be better. And my internet connection is being extremely unreliable. Which is probably just as well, really...

OK, how about a little extract? I've just had a look through my WIP for the first time, and I did quite like this dialogue between one of my two protagonists, Wellesbury, and his gravball teammates (a game based on football) after one of them recounts how a dirt-streaked boy materialised in the midst of their gleamingly clean city.

“Well, that settles it,” said Hedgeson, with the air of one solving a great mystery. “He must be a demon.”

“There’s no such thing,” said Wellesbury.

“How do you know? We’ve all heard about them. Demons live under the ground, in the place where it’s... not clean.”

“That’s just kids’ stories, Hedgeson. We’re not five any more!”

Hedgeson leaned into him. “So you think you know best, do you? Just because you reckon you’re a hot shot at gravball? Fine, you explain where this kid came from. Assuming Finnister didn’t make the whole thing up.”

“There’s no way I could have made it up,” said Finnister, imploring Hedgeson to calm down with his eyes. Hedgeson tended to be domineering, and he hadn’t meant to cause a fight.

“Right, okay,” said Hedgeson, sitting back. “I can understand that alright. But let’s hear Welles’s opinion on it.”

Wellesbury shifted, not willing to come out with what he was thinking. One of the boys coughed without covering his hand. In this world, that was fine.

“Well...” said Wellesbury, and looked up to study the ceiling, with its pitch markings mirroring those on the floor. “Maybe he came from... somewhere else?”

“What, you mean outside of Whitopolis?” said Hedgeson. “Anyone been out there?”

“I have, on holiday,” said Salvo. “It’s the same as here, just... smaller. You know, small towns. And the people are the same. Everything, you know... white.”

“So that can’t be it.”

“No,” said Wellesbury, and Hedgeson snapped his head up sharply to look at him.

There was no turning back now. “I mean... outside of... outside of Pristinia.”

The boys looked at him for a minute, slack-jawed. Then, on a cue from Hedgeson, they all started laughing – some more nervously than others.

Wellesbury put his head in his hands. If only he’d just kept quiet and let Hedgeson have it all his way. What had he been thinking?

See you next Thursday. How are you doing with your writing, editing, or anything else you're up to?