Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: My Progress Report

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, and for the first time I can take a rest. Well, I did do some writing today, but I decided to stop at 85,317 words. That's more than I've written in any Writing Month, ever. I can rightly say that this time around, I was on. And at no time was I more on than on Friday the 13th, when I wrote over 11,000 words to clinch my victory, before finishing the first draft of Dirty Pop just a week later.

I've definitely made progress over previous WriMos. The first two, in '06 and '07, I got my 50,000 words in a final-week push I came to call Panic Time. NaNo '08 was all Panic Time, as I wrote all 54K words in the final week, after a nearly four-month bout of writer's block that began on the first day of AugNoWriMo while I was still struggling to finish my '07 monster, Bad Company.

As for word counts, I've been breaking personal records in the last year. In last year's NaNo, I wrote over 54,000 words in that final week. Two months later, I beat that record with 63,161 words for JanNoWriMo. And now my NaNo best, 85,317 this month.

Winning NaNo on some day earlier than November 30? Actually finishing a first draft, and without using an outline or even an index card? Those are absolute firsts for me. Forget my record word count; those are the actual firsts.

NaNoFiMo is starting now. I'm not starting it yet, however. First, I want to get out my index cards, the ones I didn't use during NaNo, and do some replotting. I'll replot Dirty Pop in order to edit it, and I'll replot Bad Company so I can find out where the plot holes are and what important characters and storylines are missing so I can finish it. I might take a break in the next few days. Maybe. But there's still writing (and editing) to do, and a book (or two) to finish...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: And Now The Victory Is Official

On November 14, 2009, I wrote my 50,000th word for NaNoWriMo. On November 21, I finished the first draft of Dirty Pop, and my first complete first draft ever. November 25 is the first day of validation (okay, validation's a little bit early in my timezone for some reason), so I followed the instructions and pasted the text of my novel into the text box so the word-counting bot could count the words. It counted 67,029 words, so at last the green bar I earned during my long 11,000-word Friday the 13th session turned purple. So the NaNoWriMo victory I earned at the end of week 2 is now official. I've won NaNo! But, interestingly enough, my three-year streak of come-from-behind victories has now been shattered.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: The First Draft Is Finished!

This is a month of NaNoWriMo firsts for me. First, I wrote my 50,000th word in my long 11,000-word Friday the 13th session that lasted well into the morning of the 14th. That counts as the first time I've ever won a WriMo (one that's not FAWM or Script Frenzy, anyway) early, without a Panic Time. Here's another first: I've completed the first draft of a novel for the first time in my life! What's more, I finished it on November 21, just three weeks into NaNoWriMo!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bad Company: What Is This Dictel Corporation, Anyway?

Now that I've slowed down writing my new novel Dirty Pop for NaNoWriMo, my mind is beginning to return once again to that '07 NaNo novel that has defeated me repeatedly: Bad Company. The novel I'm now subtitling "A Corporate Horror Story" (because, remember, the villainous corporation tried to invade America in a futile attempt to keep the collapsing Republican dictatorship in power) is about to get its third go-round in NaNoFiMo, and this time I'm determined to finish it. I'm going to make this "National Novel Finishing Month" live up to its name, at least for me and BadCo.

But first, I need to know for certain what the giant military conglomerate that gives Bad Company its name truly is. What, really, is Dictel Corporation? The first thing I'll tell you is that it's more than just some parasitic for-profit entity. Much more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Character Profile: Charlie Richter-Thomas (to be revised soon)

(Note 8/15/2010: This profile will soon be updated to include Charlie's appearances in the Dictel Saga [Bad Company, Black Science, etc.] and Spanner as well as Dirty Pop and its upcoming sequel Bigger Better Faster MORE!)

Dirty Pop revolves around Charlie. She's the main character, and the narrator who tells the tale of her own adventures. So who is Charlie Richter-Thomas, really? She is the star of two of the four novels I've written for NaNoWriMo, so I'm giving Charlie her first public character profile since I created her.

In Bad Company (NaNoWriMo 2007), she is the very first character to appear in the main story, and with her sister Desiree one of the two narrators. She is the fallen pop star who uncovers a monstrous conspiracy surrounding the murder of her reporter fiancé by the giant military conglomerate Dictel Corporation in the novel's opening scene, and must overcome her bad reputation in order to get the news out to an indifferent and seemingly doomed world. In Dirty Pop (NaNoWriMo 2009), she tries to build a singing career of her own, independent of her tyrannical cult-leader stage mother, only for it to be threatened with destruction by the record industry.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: What? I Won Already?!?!

#NaNoWriMo #DirtyPop #nanopanic
Remember that I said in a previous post that there will be no Panic Time for me this month? I followed through on my promise. I've now written over 50,000 words this NaNoWriMo and earned the green bar of provisional victory. On the 25th, I'll send my text to NaNo's validation bots for counting, and the bots will grant me the purple bar bearing the all-important word "WINNER!!!".

Of course, I'm still not done writing Dirty Pop yet. There's still some plot holes left for me to fill. And if you know the way I write, you know just how hard it is for me to fill plot holes. Which is why Bad Company and Black Science aren't finished yet...

What drove me to push my way over the top? One: it was Friday the 13th, which I consider my Lucky Day. Second: ambition. I had 11,000 words left to write before victory, so I decided to dedicate Friday the 13th to writing all of them. And so I did.

Of course, writing sessions in which I write 10,000 or more words tend to strain my forearms, shoulders, and neck. Especially if I do them back to back. So I earned my rest. On Saturday the 14th, I wrote only 1,440 words before allowing myself to get distracted reading about punk rock and New Wave bands on Wikipedia. (Did you know that New Order broke up in 2007? It was a surprise to me to see one of my favorite bands gone already...)

In this year's NaNoWriMo, victory alone isn't enough, and can't be. I have a bigger goal, and that's to actually complete the first draft of a novel in November. That's my next goal, and now I'm working toward it.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: Land Speed Record!

As I write this, I've written over 25,000 words of this year's NaNoWriMo novel. I hit that mark at 11pm my (Pacific) time. That's the fastest start I've ever made during any WriMo. Usually during any WriMo, I procrastinate long enough that it takes me a last-minute "Panic Time" to win. This won't happen. The way I'm sprinting now, I'm going to write my 50,000th word and win NaNo by the end of this week, and I'll complete the entire first draft of Dirty Pop before NaNo ends. This is as new to me as NaNo itself was when I did my first one back in 2006. And Dirty Pop has turned out to be more coherent in its first iteration than any other novel I've attempted to write. I'm beginning to awe myself.


Remember those other novels I've written the past three NaNoWriMos? Let's see: they're called The Jennifer Theory, Bad Company, Black Science, and Points of Authority New Race New Flesh. Yeah. Those. They're still not finished, not a one of them. And not one of them still has a coherent plot, or more than a semblance of one. So far they still resemble nothing so much as the "practice songs" Charlie and her band play to warm up before recording sessions and live shows in Dirty Pop. The rest of the year, except for FAWM and Script Frenzy, is dedicated to trying to finish all these novels, one by one.

I will finish Dirty Pop this month. First the first draft, with which I'm going to win NaNo in just two weeks; then the edited version that I'm posting online as my very first blog novel. But then I'll have to return to Bad Company one more time for one more NaNoFiMo before I can consider it ready for NaNoEdMo at last. I'll have to completely replot the story before I can write the final words of the first complete draft. And those plotlines and story arcs that still want to fly apart? I still need to tie them together so they can operate as a unit and reinforce each other. Then during JanNoWriMo, I'll be taking on Black Science and write the majority of the novel I still haven't written even after four years. Even after I start serializing Dirty Pop online, I'll still have to finish that unfinished business.

As for the "land speed record" of the title, it's my personal record, not an actual world record. Just forget about Kateness and her one million words in just one month...

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: No More Panic Time!

This is not about my NaNoWriMo novel. It's about NaNoWriMo itself. Specifically, what I usually do every year, and every WriMo too. That, of course, is procrastinate. That's going to change. This is not just a promise. I'm so impatient to win NaNo this year that I've already started writing. So far, even despite some nasty procrastination (I took time off writing to unfollow most of the news feeds I was following on Twitter and transfer them into a new "Newsfeeds" list, using Twitter's new lists feature), I managed to write 1,100 words from midnight to midnight on November 1! Since I'm not procrastinating this month, there will be no Panic Time.

First, I must explain Panic Time, Usually, I procrastinate so badly that by the last week or 10 days of any given WriMo, I find myself so far behind that I panic. Panic Time begins, and it puts me into Panic Mode, during which I write most of my words. Usually, I've written about 20,000 words by day 20, and I have to write the remaining 30,000 words in those final 10 days. The most extreme panic situation I got into was during last year's NaNo, when I wrote absolutely nothing until the final week; then I wrote over 54,000 words in that final week, including a 13,600+ word day on November 29. When I write over 6,000 words a day, I start to cramp. I certainly pay the price for Panic Time.

My usual pace is about 4,000 words a day. If I keep that pace, I can win NaNo '09 early, and then I can rest. But my goal is not just to win NaNo '09. I also intend to complete the first draft of Dirty Pop so I won't have to struggle with it for years like I'm still doing with the Dictel trilogy (Bad Company, Black Science, and the newly renamed New Flesh, formerly Points of Authority — my '07, '06, and '08 NaNo novels respectively). Since Dirty Pop will be shorter than those epic political thrillers, this should be relatively easy; it shouldn't be much more than 50,000 words anyway, since it's intended to be the "grownup" equivalent of a Japanese "light novel".

So, coming full circle back to Dirty Pop, I'm not just going to write the first 50,000 words of it this month, just enough to win NaNoWriMo. I'm going to finish the first draft this month. Then I might even do some editing on it, so I can dedicate NaNoEdMo to wrestling those difficult Dictel novels into publishable shape. Once I get Dirty Pop just right (or at least suitably coherent), I'll serialize it online. And when I do, I'll let you know.

Stay tuned...