Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Big, Fun, Scary Goals for 2009

While I was writing more of Bad Company for NaNoFiMo, I got an email from Chris Baty of NaNoWriMo about the 2009 Big, Fun, Scary Challenge. Since I achieved several (though not all) of the Big, Fun, Scary goals for 2008, I got the winner's badge to the left and a winner's certificate in PDF format. I posted my 2009 list of Big, Fun, Scary goals in the BFS goals thread on the NaNoWriMo forum. But I'm posting them again here, to make sure I don't forget them.

So here's the complete text of the post:
Like last year, I'm going to divide my goals into "WriMo" and "Extra" categories. This time I'm going to achieve a greater percentage of my goals than in '08.

WriMo Goals:
1) Finish '07 novel Bad Company and start submitting it to publishers.
2) Finish '06 novel Black Science and get it ready to submit.
3) Rewrite and finish the entire first volume of Spanner and get it ready to draw.
4) Complete all character designs for Spanner.
5) Win JanNo, FebNo, FAWM, EdMo, Script Frenzy, JulNo, AugNo, and the next NaNo and FiMo.
6) Enter NaNoMangO.
7) Post the first issue of Spanner online.

Extra Goals:
1) Exercise regularly.
2) Post on my blogs (project and opinion) regularly.
3) Set up a personal webpage that will be the center of all things Dennis Jernberg, from blogs to webcomics.
4) Create a web course on how to draw comics.
5) Learn at least one of these languages: French, Spanish, German, Japanese.
6) Learn how to play the keyboard, play the guitar, and sing.
7) Start a relationship with my first girlfriend (the really hard one, since I'm notoriously unsociable...).

If, like last year, I find I need to add extra goals, I'll add them in this thread. Only this time I should link to this post.

Here goes...
I call on my friends and fellow Wrimos to help keep me to 'em!

Back to Spanner’s World...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bad Company: NaNoFiMo 2008

I decided not to continue writing this year's NaNoWriMo novel this month. For NaNoFiMo, I decided to pull out my '07 novel, Bad Company. I'm both rewriting previously written scenes and adding new ones to fill plot holes. I'm even adding a new and important story arc, "The Trial of the Dictel 10".

While rewriting a previous scene during my idle Christmas Eve, I realized how much better I write now than I did before BadCo burned me out in August. I've completely rewritten the Intro so that my first preview is now obsolete: the entire prologue which began with this scene is now gone, replaced by something almost completely different. Those who like this scene shouldn't worry, however; the second part of the new prologue, which follows and contradicts the new opening (the Dictel corporate spin), is a news report of just this event, edited to increase the urgency.

Chapter 1 has also undergone some pretty radical changes, too. I thought this opening was cool enough when I wrote it. But now I have Charlie overreacting for one paragraph, after which she drops the melodrama (says Ruby: "Stop it, Charlotte! You're acting like your mother!"). And I realized that the first two chapters should each act as if they were television episodes or (more accurately) issues of a comics series (a prequel to Spanner, to be exact), each a mini-movie with a cliffhanger ending. Each should build up in tension and action till the climactic cliffhanger. So my Chapter 1 preview is obsolete, too.

Both of these radical revisions occurred when I rewrote the Intro and the first two (originally four or so) chapters for NaNoFiMo. That's because, I now realize, I can write so much better now than I did when I originally wrote these two scenes for the second incomplete draft.

I only started writing again on the 23rd, almost two weeks after I last wrote (my first session for FiMo). On Christmas Eve, I managed to write several new scenes (fast) and rewrite several others (much slower). I managed to write the definitive versions of certain previously written scenes. What got me writing again? I was struggling to find some way to put the structure of Bad Company back into place. Then, the night of the 23rd, I read two books: Hooked by Les Edgerton, a book about how to open your novel; and The Triumph of Narrative by Robert Fulford. I read the former first and the latter second. Reading Hooked again after having put it on the bookshelf months ago, I realized I understood the book and its principles better than I did the first time I read it. And so I started writing, and what I wrote was the new opening: part 1 of the Intro (the Dictel propaganda video) and the first parts of chapters 1 and 2. Finally everything fell into place, and now I'm writing (and rewriting) BadCo again.

I'm currently up to 8,900 words, exactly. I have absolute confidence that I'll make FiMo's minimum recommended word target of 30,000 by the end of the year. The more I write BadCo, the more interesting it gets; the more it interests me, the more I write it. For the first time since I started writing Bad Company last November, it looks like I'll actually be able to finish it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Now that I've won NaNoWriMo again...

After an excruciating battle with my archenemy, procrastination, leading up to the most spectacular comeback I've ever pulled off, I won my third consecutive NaNoWriMo victory. In my three years doing NaNo, I've never lost one. I've put too much of my ego into it to allow myself to lose one. The price is that the story I was writing — which I've decided won't be called Points of Authority after all — suffered the complete collapse and fragmentation of its plot. That should teach me not to start NaNo unorganized. But now what?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Now that four months of writer's block has finally come to an end...

I haven't posted here for a full four months. Last time I did, I was just starting AugNoWriMo when I burned out. Since then, I managed to score my third consecutive come-from-behind NaNoWriMo victory with the most spectacular comeback I've ever been able to pull off: 30,000 words in just three days! Now I've started NaNoFiMo (National Novel Finishing Month) for the second time, but this time I'm going to finish a NaNo novel. My 2007 novel, the same one that has both obsessed and stymied me for 13 months now. Bad Company. But...

This time around, I think I can actually finish BadCo! First of all, I now have a new structure for both BadCo and Black Science: an "intro", the body of the novel in three parts, and the "outro". (There is a lot of rock & roll in the Dictel trilogy, hence the terms "intro" and "outro".) In the case of BadCo, the three parts are called "Bad Religion" (meaning Drusilla's cult), "Bad Girls" (Desiree, Charlie, and Drusilla on trial for their lives), and "Bad Company" (the actual corporate invasion of America that fails to keep Barack Obama from becoming US president). I realized that BadCo neatly falls into three parts rather than two when I finished plotting the middle section, the long trial sequence.

Now that Bad Company has a workable structure, I finally get the feeling that I can finish the it! I'm taking the name "National Novel Finishing Month" at face value: I'm not merely going to write the recommended 30,000 words; I intend to finish the first draft of Bad Company, once and for all, period.

Also, I'm going to revise the script for Spanner. I'll keep you posted here on my progress from now on.