NaNoWriMo 2009 – An Update 10/11/2009

Well we’re now into week 2 of NaNoWriMo, and I managed to resolve my problems that came about at the end of last week. I say temporarily, because despite introducing a brand spanking new character, to whom I switched to, so I could imply the extent of the problem with my protaginist, without gettimg bogged down in detail, (and the logic of how long healing should take), I still wrote in the troubles just later in the process.

Two thousand words dropped for nowt, and probably another thousand to erase the second mistake.

I do have a plan though, and it is a cunning plan, go back again and undo the difficulties, limit the protaginists psychological difficulties (which are what would take too long in the time wise to deal with), but keep the secondary character. Kind of a sidekick to help out my protaginist through the couple of days recovery he needs (I’ve also undone shooting him in the legs, and instead had the bullet nick his brachial artery).

This should mean my character is less on his own, and has more interaction, and I can up the humour a bit. I’d much rather my characters were funny people than the narrative, or situations. Gallows humour is good, especially in procedural crime writing.

So, recovery is in sight – but I do have some monster writing sessions between now and this Saturday. Which is fine, I don’t mind the pressure, it’s only when deadlines become tight that I really put my foot on the gas and blast those monster wordcounts out. I had hoped this year woukd be different – but events conspired against me.

Meeting up with other NaNoWriMo’ers helps – it’s where I found mysels thinking out the solution to my plot problems. It was a good meet up on Sunday, (7th November 2009), some new faces and old. It’s enough to make you believe writers are generally smart, talented, driven people, who are genuinely nice, friendly, and social – until you remember I was there ;), brutish talentless oaf that I am.

The only way to hit 100,000 is going to be by being diligent, and erm… Deadlining with an all nighter on Friday – yes my bad, but we each have our ways of writing afterall.

NaNoWriMo 2009 – Week 1

Well we’re now seven days into NaNoWriMo and I’ve only achieved 13,000 words so far. This is actually to plan, yet now we’re going I can’t help but feeling I’m falling short. Today is Saturday however, and I planned in most of my word count for Saturdays and Sundays (because I’m not lucky enough to be able to live without earning lots and lots of money).

In my defence (against myself, since I’m my own harshest critic), there has been a lot of drama to trip me up along the way. From car thefts, work, and family – all neatly working their way into my writing time, and mindset.

I shouldn’t be bothered, the plan was for 20,000 a weekend, with and extra 5,000 on a Friday, and we’ve not had a full weekend yet – but I want to do more, be faster stronger as a writer.

I’m not helping myself however, trying to exercise and write at the same time isn’t easy, and it’s taking it’s toll. The Friday just gone, I should have done 5,000 words, instead I slept. Oops, my bad.

It just means today (Saturday) I have to hit 15,000 to be sure of my targets.

Actually, I do realise I’m being unfair, everytime I think about it, I ramp up the amount of words I need to do each week (and subsequently each day), because of how badly I’m doing. It’s not just to contemplate for being bad now, it’s to compensate for things being just as hard later. I know that if I could get away with it, I would probably set myself a target of 50,000 words a day this weekend. Which isn’t unachievable really – think about it, assuming I slept for 12 hours, out of the 48, and wrote for the rest – I’d only need to achieve 52 words per minute consistently.

Of course, that’s not likely since I’m here writing this, oops. 15,000 today and tomorrow is fine – it’ll get me to 42% of my target, which does give me room to relax for the rest of the month.

I am my own hardest task master… I’ve as many psychological issues as my main character – but he’s paranoid delusional, since I started writing his life has now gone quite psychotic. The irony is, I didn’t mean to do that, all I did was shoot him, and he’s gone nuts. Oops.

So now I’ve got to get him functional, get him out of hospital, and somehow have him run (a bullet passed through both thighs, and at one point he starts bleeding out). Oh hum – well here goes.

The good thing with a 100,000 word count target, if I don’t finish this in 50,000 I can push it to 60,000 and then have a nice shorter to finish the challenge with.

And if you think I’m a harsh task master this year? Next year will be 50% harder… and you don’t even want to know about the year after that.

A Neighbourhood To Call My Own…

Nostalgia is a funny thing – it’s always there, and so much seems better than it really was, in memory, but when you actually sit down and examine in it, suddenly it’s not so rosy. Like watching that old television show you remember as a kid, it might have seemed fantastic, amazing plots, brilliant characters – but in the light of day it was actually pretty shit. Of course, this is not always the case, and when it is not, it is a wonderful thing.

Right now, I am watching Magnum P.I., which let’s face it, is crass populist television, but at its best. I remember watching this show as a kid, and I’ve got to admit the Ferrari helped (I loved cars as a kid, mechanics son and all that), but even now it seems quite fun. It has aged better than say Knightrider.

That is not the reason for this post however, I am sure I could fire up a poem – but I ended up watching it after flicking through the channels in the mood for something nostalgic. It all started with an email, from Yahoo, they are closing down Geocities, and it was their umpteenth reminder that I should go and download my website there, or transfer it to their paid for hosting service.

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Losing My Flow

Flow, what a wonderful thing when you’re in it. I’m not saying it’s easy there, there’s a lot of work to do, a lot of time and effort – but when you’re there it’s easier. Inspiration is less of a battle, and getting words down is far easier. When you’re in a flow, "the zone", it’s harder not to write.

Woe betide that flow being broken. That’s what happened to me, having suffered a series of technical set backs, and professional distractions, I lost my flow with this blog, and writing in general. My attention snapped. It’s not a nice place to be, I’ve not written much in the past two weeks, which is a travesty when you consider I’ve had two weeks holiday in that time, and didn’t go anywhere.

I feel bad, I should have done more – but life isn’t always that simple. Besides, what’s done, is done. I can’t change it, I don’t know the secrets of controlled time travel. I can only move forwards and hope to reccapture my wayward writing spirit.

Suffice to say I’m back, I may not be as prolific, but I’m going to write again.

Imagination: Worlds of My Creation

Writing is a truly amazing thing for me, it allows me to dump my big random imagination, and allows to keep it for all time. Even if I don’t get far into a novel, anytime I want to relive that imagination I just read what I’ve got.

I’m one of those writers that are blessed with hardcore imagination. Ideas come easy to me, anything can trigger an idea. There isn’t any work involved in shaping the imagination, if I let it just run wild, and I can reconjure an imaginar episode with just a few mental or physical prompts.

Of course if I want to shape this into a story I have to harness it, and that requires a great deal if force.

I imagine whole world’s in my head, a litany of characters, intensive situations, there’s detail o’plenty, as a character slams into a building, I’ll be stood at the bus stop opposite, I’ll see every half broken brick, and bits of mortar. As the protagonists of my imagination move closer for that all but inevitable kiss, I can see it happening, I can see the lines in the woman,s lips, I can see the guys forced face as he struggles not to go too fast, he wants to project a certain image with that kiss, and I see the car speeding towards them, the one who’ll brake hard, and speed away, the moment spoiled. The driver by the way has brown hair, a blue denim jacket, and was smoking – he’s actually fleeing the scene of a crime, which he had nothing to do with, but he’s got form and doesn’t want to go back to jail on a mistake.

The reason it needs to be strong armed is two-fold, firstly my imagination can run rampant at the worst time, I can easily switch between genre’s, decades (even centuries), and characters, it takes practice to keep it on track. The second reason is writing for a mythical readership, I love my imagination – most of the time it’s better than TV, but it’s to my tastes (most of the time, there are occaisionally things I can’t stand, and even offend me), however whether it’s to the taste of a reading audience I’m less sure. Therefore if I want to write an imaginary scene it has to be guided, and then censored and modified further as it flows from the pen.

There is of course another downside, an overly rampant imagination can completely change tracts, starting a whole new story when your only part way through the current one. This does happen frequently, and usually coincides with me losing the will to write. You put all that effort in, and lose the zone for that story, it’s a terrible thing, you’re not interest in the new scene unfolding – or rather not interested in writing. I have to find a way back to the original imaginary story, if I want to continue. That’s one of the things I had to learn during NaNoWriMo last year.

Most of the time, me and the left side of brain are usually on excellent terms, feeding things between us. Living the ideal life, the scary life, the exciting life, the romantic life, and the mysterious life.

The final great thing is I find it wasy to roll into an imaginary story details from research and such.I’m a sponge for information, and I can squeeze me out and spread them over my stories. So if I’ve read something about a theoretical form of space travel, and find myself in need of a mechanism to travel through space, (in my story, if only I could craft the real world as easily as my story ones), I draw through the details, and give my world a touch of realism that sets it shooting for wherever it needs to go.

My imagination is my most treasured asset as a writer, were I to lose that, were I to go in life without that – I honestly would rather be dead.

Aspiring.org’s First Blog Entry (for the umpteenth time… this is the last, honest)

So here I am, once again in the blogosphere, with  a whole new blog.

I struggled with what would be the first post. It should be prolific after all this time, right? Grand in nature. Broad in scope. So, I struggled. Should I be business like, or should I be all pally? I struggled some more. And then I realized it’s just like walking into a room full of people you’ve never met – I’ll introduce ourselves to you. It’s the only polite thing to do, right?

My name is Jonathan L. Lawrence (yep the name’s in the banner, so you’ll never forget), I go by a few nicknames, for this blog I’ve chosen JL Legend, a monicker coined where I work, an ironic confidence booster. This is also my name on Twitter, if you want to follow my micro-blogging.

I’m a Business Analyst by trade, but in my spare time I’m (deep breaths this is coming straight from the banner),  writer, poet, artist, geek, among other things. I’ll admit, I’m not the shit at one of these, but I aspire to be – and that’s what this blog is about, my aspirations. Now, the benefit of having a blog is that I can show case what I can do, and pretend I know what I’m doing. I do have some clue, I’ve been plying myself at the creative arts for fifteen years now, ever since I was a teenager. I’ve studied in school, in college, in my spare time when I started work (and shhh over the years occaisionally at work too – though obviously not in my current job *psst anyone from work looking?).

So, you have an idea of who I am, you kind find out more specifics in the About section. You also know why I’m posting (no it’s not just to further my ego by having JL Legend plastered everywhere across the site!), it’s showcase what I can do, to diarise where I’m going, and where I’ve come from, to offer what advice I can, commentaries on the creative world, and the news around it. I might also throw in a review or two of books, such old and new. It’s not all about me (damn the world not revolving round me!)

I encourage anyone to comment (if you’re not a spam bot, or a sweaty, greasy, puberty waiting troll), I love comments, makes my day to hear my inbox ping. You can also email me at lex-a-like [at] [dot] aspiring.org, or through the comments page. The more the merrier.

My Poetry Archive

Here we have my poetry archive, here I will undertake to type up and post as many of my historic poems as I possibly can. There are of course many that won’t make it, some were sadly not kept together, others given away as gifts, others that are unreadable (I have shocking handwriting, made worse by writing on buses and trains), and others no matter how low I set the bar, I just couldn’t bear to post.

The bar is low though, these are poems from across the past twelve or so years, and though I don’t consider myself a great or talented poet, I’d like to think my use of rhyme, structure, and English has improved over those years. Certainly looking back at some of my poems, I feel I definitely have improved. Who knows where I’ll be in another twelve years time, here’s hoping to way out there.

In the meantime feel free to peruse this category, sadly I don’t have dates, even just years, for some of these poems. I’ve kept most of them together, but my version of filing is fairly chaotic. For instance, the picture below is about two thirds of my collection laid out:

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I shall do my best to catalogue these writings accurately, and with as little prejudice as possible (what’s a little embarrassment between friends?), and hopefully it will all work out. Suffice to say, this blog will be the premier place for the complete collection of the works of one Jonathan L. Lawrence, should anyone ever need one.

It will take some time to achieve, in the meantime, here are some already typed up, saved from the now closing GeoCities site I’ve had for many a year.