NaNoWriMo 2014 – Week One

Week One is where you ride the wave and stack up as many words as you can in preparation for the cold shock of the dreaded Week Two. I realised this week if I finish book 4 of my trilogy (and then go back and finish the story for book #2), I’ll have over 200,000 words of this series. And if I finish this, my tenth NaNoWriMo novel, I’ll have written as many words as are in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, something I use for software testing because it is so long.

Saturday 1st

3077 words. 615 in front of the light box in the morning feels like a good start, over the 2k mark at Crooked Tree in St Charles after working in Stone Spiral during knit group, finished up at home after some Ubuntu work on my Alienware laptop (yay for bootable Linux installs). We are blessed with five weekends this NaNo year!

Sunday 2nd

5312 words, 2235 today. Testing Scrivener‘s Mac/Windows file compatibility today, I need the dual boot Win7/Ubuntu Linux machine with me instead of my trusty MacBook Pro. Thank goodness for the 32Gb thumb drive, I can throw everything on that and work wherever. This also proved that Scrivener files work on both Mac and Win7. Two characters decided to have lunch. One of them didn’t exist yesterday. It’s starting to look like I have a story to tell.

Monday 3rd

7351 words, 2039 today. Off-site at a client office, with one of those working lunches, came home exhausted and cancelled karate for the night. Pro tip: if your meeting room is the temperature of an icebox, people are probably not paying attention. Having trouble making the word count.

Tuesday 4th

9707 words, 2356 today.This was a hard day to get work done. Wrote a little before work, more at lunch while fixing a co-worker’s knitting skills, and ground out the last bit at home. I feel woefully under-plotted for this story but things are happening I didn’t expect. Went out and voted, so I have retained my right to complain about the results, and even got to use the newfangled touchscreen voting booth.

Wednesday 5th

12262 words, 2555 today. Crossed the 10k mark before work and earned another NaNoWriMo badge on my profile. 25k here I come! Planning to write in St Louis Bread Co before karate and hopefully knock out the second thousand words for the day with a character that’s verbally sparring with her counselor/interrogator. Ended up doing a little in the karate studio between group class and my private lesson.

Thursday 6th

14532 words, 2270 today. Eight hundred words at lunch in the quietest conference room at work. Skipped ahead to a different character and got to pull in some work from my 2009 novel. Left a note for myself to go update that novel to match the current one, removing an explicit date reference to 2009 and replacing it with "early twenty-first century." And Yellow Cat, the mammoth orange tabby that we were feeding at our old house, has now turned up in his third novel. Cats hold the secret. Brought in the big guns and started following @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, first sprint got me 455 words.

Friday 7th

16744 words, 2212 today. Made it over the thousand mark during lunch, characters are turning up in other character’s scenes and causing trouble. Wonderful, word-count-inflating trouble. I’m wondering if I can break the 20k barrier this weekend, there’s nothing planned except write-ins.

Daily updates over on the NaNoWriMo 2014 daily diary.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week Five – Plowing on

Slowing down but still plodding on. Must finish the story! (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 29th

54689 words, 1883 today. Black Friday, thankfully an office holiday. My task for the day is to caramelise condensed milk to make a banoffee pie for dinner with friends tonight. And write more scenes, I’ve removed some from my list so there’s only four more to go…

Saturday 30th

55818 words, 1129 today. It’s Shop Local Saturday! Or Small Business Saturday. Either way, I’m hitting a local bead shop for supplies for a beaded shawl/scarf, then up to the Crooked Tree to finish off another scene. Two down, two to go, and my Mac just got upgraded to 8Gb of memory.

Sunday 1st

56664 words, 800 today. Finished off the final scenes, this story is DONE!

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week Four – Rounding the bend

I usually find week four hard, especially once I make the official NaNoWriMo winning word count, because my story usually isn’t done. I have promised myself a bribe for finishing the story. (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 22nd

47303 words, 2221 today. Management book club at lunch, writing before Paul got home, and after dinner. Have well and truly broken into the scene bucket, all of Part Four is planned out scene by scene and I’m working on the last piece of Part Three. I think the hardest part of each day is when I’m over the NaNoWriMo target of 1667 words, but below my personal target of 2000 words. I love watching my spreadsheet cells turn green when I slide over the 2k and those last 333 words are hard to find.

Saturday 23rd

50016 words, 2713 today! Write-in at the Crooked Tree in St Charles, bread-baking to fulfill our StL NaNo raffle prize (2 loaves of Guinness molasses bread), and 50th anniversary Doctor Who in the evening! Rocking through with coffee and other WriMos. Bo staff demo after the write-in.

Sunday 24th

51071 words, 1055 today. I still have thirteen more scenes to go before I’m done and I’d like to make a thousand words a day. Delivered both loaves of bread to the raffle winners. Cast on a new knitting project, played some XCOM, it was a good day.

Monday 25th

51082 words, 11 today. Validated my novel at 6:15am! The validator trimmed some words off my total, but I was far enough over the line it really didn’t matter. One-on-one lunch with a VP today, I think I’m done with lunchtime writing. After 2 hours of karate, I’m taking the day off writing.

Tuesday 26th

51712 words, 630 today. Wrote after Paul took an early night. Managed to knit today, and watch TV, and have lunch with a work friend. Having fun with my villain in a scene I planned a while back.

Wednesday 27th

51780 words, 64 today. One of those office-half-empty days, followed by a brisk karate group class and my private lesson.

Thursday 28th

52806 words, 1026 today. Thanksgiving! Wrote while the Guinness molasses bread was rising, and while the honey-roasted rutabaga was between bastings. Always surprised when adults say they’ve never had rutabaga before. Eleven more scenes to write.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week Three – Plague and meetings vs. the word count

I had something planned at lunchtime every single day this week, and then I got sick. It’s going to be hard to get the words in, but I can see the end of the story coming. (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 15th

35359 words, 2045 today. Working on a summary of what’s been written to plot the rest of the month. A lot has happened in my story, not all of it planned. Writing in the dentist’s waiting room (no cavities!), 44 scenes written so far.

Saturday 16th

37385 words, 2026 today. Knit group at Stone Spiral in Maplewood (zero words), followed by lunch and write-in at the Crooked Tree Coffee House in St Charles. Mistaken identities are good for word count, and I know where this chapter ends now. Quick nunchucks demo for a fellow WriMo after the write-in.

Sunday 17th

40013 words, 2628 today. Plotted out another 20 scenes I need to write and put then in a Scene Bucket folder on Scrivener, there are probably others but I can see the ending of the story from here. Needed a break today so I skipped the write-in.

Monday 18th

40189, 176 today. Team lunch, group class and sparring class in the evening. Succumbed to the lure of XCOM: Enemy Within and started my first game.

Tuesday 19th

42203 words, 2014 today. I have the plague, or some kind of zombie death cold. When you open the door and they say "Good God, you look awful," you know you’re not well. Writing under the influence of cold meds.

Wednesday 20th

43016 words, 816 today. No karate today, cancelled it yesterday. I’m not entirely non-functional, but it’s close. Team lead tried to send me home early but another team grabbed me for an hour. I have no brain power left. Paul crossed the 50k mark today, but his story is far from done.

Thursday 21st

45082 words, 2066 today. Skipping ahead to a really fun scene to get me back in the groove. Love how I can tie this story into the start of my 2009 novel, and its 2011 sequel. Now if I can just write the final part of the story I’ll be set for a mammoth editing task.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week Two – Plowing On

My story needs more boom. More explosions, more crises, more stuff going horribly wrong. (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 8th

19175 words, 2050 today. A little writing before work, leadership book club ate my lunchtime, so everything else was at home. The NaNoWriMo validator shaved off about 20 words from my total when I tested it this morning, that was reassuringly close to the Scrivener word count. Struggling to make my words for the day.

Saturday 9th

22189 words, 3014 today. Marathon novelling day! Went up to the Crooked Tree Coffee House in St Charles and came home with 2800 words written. Crossed over the 3k mark after seeing Thor: The Dark World at the cinema (do stay until the lights go up). Hoping to hit 25k tomorrow. Also need to read another 5 chapters for book club and practice 30 self defense techniques and 11 kata.

Sunday 10th

25007 words, 2818 today. Wrote over a thousand words at the Clayton Bread Co, then more at home while doing laundry. Two characters have teamed up unexpectedly, another one went somewhere I hadn’t planned, the story is coming along nicely.

Monday 11th

26371 words, 1364 today. Wrote a little at lunch, some after work, and none after two hours in the karate studio. Gave one of the instructors my 2009 novel to read, the one that started the series I’m working on.

Tuesday 12th

29239 words, 2868 today. Really good day, got 300 words before work, over 1100 at lunch, writing in the Flying Saucer pub, and even more at home. Which is good because tomorrow will be a bad day for writing. Introduced a villain and a monster. I think I just hit the story halfway point.

Wednesday 13th

31289 words, 2050 today. Crossed the 30k mark before karate tonight, still need another 900 for the day though. Keeping on pace, but this was a difficult day with no lunchtime writing.

Thursday 14th

33314 words, 2025 today.The last day of the infamous Week Two! What I thought was a minor character keeps popping up all over the place, and what I thought would be a fun character to write seems to be dragging. Thinking I need to take some time tomorrow and plot the next couple of weeks.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week One – Building up a buffer

My story has turned out to be a prequel to my multiverse series (at potentially four books, I can’t call it a trilogy any more). I love incorporating places I know well into the story and I have a great location in downtown St Louis to use for my story. (Daily updates are posted here)

Friday 1st

3211 words. Got up with the first squawk of the alarm and hammered out 650 words before word, 1100 at lunch, and more after work. I feel rusty, it’s been a while since I wrote fiction, and five months since my last blog post. I really want to win this year and I feel woefully under-outlined and under-plotted. Hoping the characters start doing stuff to pick up the slack.

Saturday 2nd

6300 words, 3072 today. Hoping to hit 10k in 3 days for a good week one start. Wrote 1100 words at Stone Spiral in Maplewood, another thousand at the Crooked Tree Coffee House in St Charles, and more at home. Why is it easier to write in coffee shops? Perhaps because of Rule #1 of writing: turn off the WiFi.

Sunday 3rd

9303 words, 3003 today. Thank you Daylight Savings Time, for the gift of an extra hour to write in. Scenes are coming out around 650 words long, nine of them so far. Characters are taking jobs I didn’t expect and connecting to other characters. Need to figure out a good end-of-week crisis.

Monday 4th

11019 words, 1716 today. Tough day for writing, with two hours in the karate studio eating up the evening. On the plus side, I did surprise two of the sparring instructors (in a good way). Planning a quarter-book crisis.

Tuesday 5th

13060 words, 2041 today. Want to get back to my 2k a day schedule today. Little written at lunch or before work, and a hair appointment after means I have to clock 1350 words in the evening. Managed it, and finished part one of the story.

Wednesday 6th

15093 words, 2033 today. Came home with a thousand words, wrote more before karate class and my private lesson. It’s hard to write after a 90 minute workout.

Thursday 7th

17125 words, 2032 today. Week one is over. Wrote all through lunch for over a thousand words, and at home after finishing off the required reading for an Agile Leadership book club at work (could the timing have been any less novel friendly?).

Writing a novel

This is my tenth year participating in NaNoWriMo, hoping for my ninth win (2012 was a blowout for several darned good reasons). I thought I was writing a different story, and it turned out to be a prequel to my series. Book 1 is finished, book 2 is almost done written, book 3 is planned for a future novel-writing month. I have a vague plan to write all of the pieces then edit them en masse.

Projects in progress and stalled

If ever there was a year where I don’t complete NaNoWriMo it’s this one. Too much going on to have brain real-estate tied up with a novel. I may stage a dramatic comeback mid-month but it’s not looking very likely today. I’m sad because I have an eight year streak of NaNoWriMo wins. I’m still keeping my regional stats page though.

I have three knitting projects on my needles, which is more than I usually like:

Deco cardigan

Working my way up the single piece that makes up fronts and back, adding Deco pattern repeats as I go. The increase in needle size and pattern size seems to be working and I’m confident this will fit over a shirt comfortably. I also made it a bit longer and omitted the decrease/increase shaping. I’m not up to where I was before the Great Ripping Out of 2012, but I’m over halfway there and I still have five 200yd skeins of yarn to knit. The fabric feels good, the stitch definition is nice, I like this a lot. Planning to do the button band before the arms so I can get a better idea of fit. Might be done by year end but I’m not betting on it.

Tiled-In Topper hat

This is a simple stranded colourwork hat. Stranded knitting is something I’m not good at and it makes me very nervous. I’ve tried to make colourwork mittens before and they came out horribly loose, a different attempt came out so dense it had its own gravitational field. For the hat I’m using a self-striping red/purple sock yarn with cream for the accent colour. Stalled after the hem because I need a nice uninterrupted stretch to work on it and I’m not going to get that for a while.

Treacle Hedgerows socks

I’ve only finished one pair of socks this year and that was back in April, which is odd for me. The yarn has been sitting in my stash box since 2010 and it’s past time it earned its keep. Dragonfly Fibers Djinni sock is a thin merino cashmere nylon blend and the colour of this makes me think of looking into a tin of golden syrup. I’ve made the Hedgerow pattern before and liked it, but those socks were gifted. I deviated from the pattern early by putting a hemmed top on because it gets around my difficulties in making the cast-on edge loose enough to get over my heel. This is mostly mindless knitting to keep me occupied.

NaNoWriMo – T minus 10 days

Ten days. Keyboards on standby, tea ready to be brewed, notebooks filled with plot debris, friends and fiends recruited, donor halo firmly in place. We’re doing this.

I have a stack of index cards in three different colours, with events on relating to the group of characters in that plot thread. Each is numbered twice, once for its position in its own colour stack, the second time for its position in the overall story. That stack then gets transcribed to Scrivener and forms an overall skeleton for the story. I’m sure other things will happen that are not on the index cards, and the handwritten stack gets increasingly out of step with the story as time goes on.

Since we’ll be spending a lot of time sat down and typing, this article from the Telegraph shows how to exercise while sitting at your desk. Bodies are built to move, so get them moving.

My NaNoWriMo 2012 folder lives in my Dropbox directory. This means it is copied onto two computers, accessible through the Dropbox website, and can also be copied onto my cell phone. Another copy will live on my USB thumb drive, another will be on my laptop’s backup external hard drive. There is no such thing as being too paranoid about important coomputer files. What’s your NaNoWriMo backup strategy?

NaNoWriMo – T minus 20 days

I’ve spent October thinking I wouldn’t have anything to write beyond one cool concept. The novel is competing for brain real-estate with 30 self defense techniques and 11 kata that I need to have pattern-perfect for my third degree brown belt test in Chinese Kenpo. I’m hoping I can test before the end of the year. Brown belt is a big test, the first one where I’m not allowed to have friends and family with me, the first advanced level belt.

But one lunchtime session with a notebook and headphones and my plot is coming together nicely. The next step is putting the structure on index cards and into Scrivener, and finding some reference photos. A trick I got from the husband is getting actor’s pictures who would play the character in the movie of the book.

My NaNoWriMo donor halo is in place, and as of yesterday, NaNoWriMo had raised almost 18% of what they need for the year. It costs a lot to get server hosting for a global event with 300,000 writers, and code a new site free from the Drupal horrors of 2010. The St Louis regional stats page includes our donations and word count year on year from 2008 onwards, one of my jobs during November is to keep it updated.

The NaNoWriMo playlist for the year is loading up, one essential song for the St Louis region is "Paradise of Love" by DJ Sammy, on the Heaven album. When you hear the song it sounds like someone sings "Pterodactyl of Lurve" instead of the real lyrics, and the Pterodactyl of Love made it into several novels last year. Another novelling mascot is the Travelling Shovel of Death. It will be at the St Louis kick off, and all the write-ins I attend, to encourage and inspire the troops.