NaNoWriMo 2019: My Final Challenge

It’s day 30, I had just finished an epic short story yesterday and needed something new to write for my final day (complete the 30 day writing streak).

So in the NaNoWriMo Yorkshire region, we have our own series of WOTD, with two options presented every day, an easy option, and a challenging option.

So what better final challenge for my 30th day straight of writing? Use them all in a single short story. It seems a sufficiently difficult challenge, but I know others have done it before.

Here are the words that must be included:

CrowdCrowAlternate
LiminalAbateHegemony
FrameSnarlDrive
ObstreperousVulpeculatedCharette
DeliberateBootCup
InternecineSuperfluousRime
GeniusCoreCross
ParadigmSalutaryGallimaufry
BunchWoundRest
SubornNadirUmbrage
BurnKitSave
ImmolatePerniciousSempiternal
GameshotRun
GeliddiffuseCaissons
SlateWearCrown
CongeriesSuccourLimn
ShiftChartDeed
CampestralMeretriciousSaponification
MissPoreBook
ParoxysmJejuneZenith

And so, I set out with a shaky idea for a story, and have spent a few hours today writing it, it was slow going – people are clearly not speaking plain English, and in some places it’s a little forced. However, it is done. Complete. Challenge done.

And now I’m going to share it – it is unedited, served a purpose, and missed the mark of my original intention, (was going to make it feel like an 80’s comedy, and it went in a whole other direction, and I forgot the funny). But this is proof, that all those words can fit into a single story, (and warning it’s 5.282 words long):

Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2019: A chilled time

So I’m still not busting out those monster word counts, and that’s okay. I’ve done plenty, this is highest ever NaNoWriMo word count, I’m on course for 160,000 words in one month.

That’s one full adult sci fi novel, three children’s fantasy stories, one long sci fi short story, plus three sci fi short stories, and a horror short story. In fairness, one of the sci fi shorts and the horror short I’ve only just commenced in the last few days, so they’re unfinished and what I’m working on in the run up to the 30th November.

Still, I like to think of that as an impressive haul. Not to mention the challenge of hitting 50k in 5 days, and doing a 20k day.

Yes… I’m the saddo who had a badge made to commemorate his own achievement – I think the word is vainglory

Of them all, the children’s fantasy stories are my favourite. So much so I’m doing the plotting on the first, because I’m going to rewrite it in a second draft. I’m going to be using my Fabula cards to do the re-plot. So between alternating writing on two short stories, I’m also working on that re-plotting.

First of all, I’ve mapped all the scenes in my first draft:

Scene map, it spirals out from the centre, because I’m weird and make strange design choices (just look at my maps lol)

Now, I’m populating my Fabula setup with post-its, filling out the heroes journey proper.

The original first draft, which I wrote in a single day (the 20k day), had the most barest planning, which largely consisted of some story cubes, and I just wrote the hell out of it.

Ogre/troll trojan horse, portal/whirlpool, feast, sailing, throne, demon, woods, cottage – and if you go top row left to right, middle row right to left, and bottom row left to right, that is exactly how my story went…

And that was an amazing challenge, but the second draft I’m trying to get more serious about. All the stuff I learned about my story from the first draft will carry over, I’m going to drop some unnecessary elements, some waffling sections and try to get to a tighter plot. I also need to develop a sub plot or two in there, there is kind of one that was setup for events in the second story, but it wasn’t very strong.

I always intend on getting to second drafts, and editing my novels, but I’ll be honest after the initial burst of creativity in writing something, I’m nearly always ready to move on to something else. I can’t help myself, I’m addicted to the new and shiney. However I’m making a strong commitment to myself, that this year, this December, there will be a second draft to the children’s fantasy novel, and I’m hoping that we’ll get into the sequel, or at least the planning done for it.

I still want to do the same for the first novel I wrote for this year’s NaNoWriMo, the Sci-fi piece, as I genuinely do think that’s got legs and could develop into something I’d share – but the children’s fantasy story just seems to be closest to my heart, so I’m going all out at that.

So my next few posts are going to be about how I approach the plotting, and second draft. Because it’s something I don’t get round to, it’s a new area for me. One thing I do love, is learning new skills, so I’m going to share that love along the way.

Happy writing everyone, I hope those of you taking part in NaNoWriMo are having a good final week. If there’s anything I can do to help you, give me a shout, (short of writing your last few words for you that is, I’m good with ideas, names, and if I give you advice its usually to make you think about your own way).

NaNoWriMo 2019: My Auto Focus Has Broken

For a few days I’ve been struggling to write. The story is there, and in short bits it comes out easily on to the page. However, I don’t seem to be able to focus on writing for more than three minutes at a time.

It’s not writers block – I can write, just slowly and in small bits. The biggest problem is the frustration, I have things to write, just not the will power.

But its okay, instead of ramping up the challenge, which I nearly did by aiming for 200k by the end of the month (total word count),

So where as earlier in the month where I kept ramping up the challenge, I’m now ramping it down, I’m doing a couple of thousand or so words a day. It feels a bit better, and I’m filling my time to with building the Saturn V rocket Lego model, (I built the Moon Lander earlier in the month). I’ve also bought the Lego Y-Wing to go with my A-Wing, (my two favourite ship models from Star Wars).

So for those that marvelled at that early word count – I couldn’t keep it up.

As to why, I don’t know – could be burn out, could have done too much too quickly, but there are other factors out there, I don’t think I’m over the riot that happened on my street a few weeks ago, I’m also missing the structure of a normal work day, not sleeping to a proper schedule, I’ve slipped a few times into having caffeine after 4pm, (which has been a no-no for me for over a year now). And lastly I’ve had some medical issues to deal with, not just illnes that affected me earlier in the month, but also a couple of more chronic conditions I’ve been diagnosed with, which has imposed some lifestyle changes.

So, chill for a few days, I’ll ramp up for the last few days, finish my current story, and will do some plotting using my new Fabula deck, (review to come later).

NaNoWriMo 2019 – The Stupid Challenge Video

Want to see a man gradually descend into darkness?

Want to see what happens when you over reach?

Want to know why a calm and steady writing pattern, rather than a throwing all caution to the wind, is better?

Then fear not… I’ve got a 30+ minute YouTube video of my journey yesterday.

If you stick around to the end, there’s about two minutes me literally talking about orange things in my house, because reasons:

NaNoWriMo 2019 – The Stupid Challenge

So the question was, can I write 20,000 words in one day?

I over shot by 103, but I was in a fantastic sprint, and didn’t want to stop

The answer is, yes I can.

Addendum: I really shouldn’t.

Suffice to say aside from still being a little ill, and bizarrely really tired, I pushed on and did, starting at 8am in the morning, and finishing 11pm at night.

I was flagging pretty much from the middle day, just so tired. Think it’s the after affects of being ill. Obviously I didn’t do the sensible thing and stop, do the challenge another day. No, I pushed on. My WPM was getting less and less, but I did rally towards the end, had a couple of 1000+ 15 minute sprints, and the final sprint of the day managed 1002, which put me over the top.

I think if I ever aim for higher than that, it’ll be when I’m completely well, and I think I should do it sponsored or something, and it’d be a push for 30k. But not this year, this year I’m going to chill for the last 17 days, keep to around 5,000 words per day.

Now you might think I switched to writing nonsense to just to get words in… and I didn’t. I did slide away from a children’s book at one point had some hardcore violence that needs cutting and rewriting, but for the most part my moral tale of an ogre on a quest to save people written for children 9 to 11 came through.

So yes, it was a tough day writing, but I’m immensely proud to have achieved, despite some setbacks. And bonus no riot afterwards, unlike last Tuesday.

NaNoWriMo 2019 – Back to Writing

That title is misleading, I’ve not stopped writing, but since Tuesday may word count took a tumble. Combination of hitting the winning word count, and the after effects of Tuesday nights unpleasantness where I live, plus some illnes over the weekend.

My daily word counts (had a break yesterday to do something else, hence why it’s such a lower number – see below)

However, things have progessed since then, had an amazing Sunday night writing, where from 4pm I was feeling fantastic and put in a 10k, to have a 12k day in total. Very much enjoyed that.

Yesterday went back to a low word count, but that’s because I decided I deserved a break for me – so I built this:

Lego Apollo 11 Lunar Lander – most glorious Lego I’ve ever built

Now, I’m back writing again, on a new novel. I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo twice this year, this one in 10 days, rather than 5. It’s something different for me, it’s a children’s novel, aimed at 9-11, so I’m trying to pick up the skills and knowledge to make that work.

This plot is one I’ve gotten from my Fantasia story cubes. I’ve only ever done short stories from Story Cubes before, but I decided to plot this one out, and run with it. I always like fresh challenges, and I’m more engaged when the challenge levels up.

Speaking of which, today I’m going for a 20k day, that will be the most words I’ve written in a single day. It’s possible doable, but I might not make it. Slow start, but I’m starting a novel anew, with very limited plotting.

I’m doing mini-vlogs throughout the day, which I’ll stitch together into one vlog this evening, charting my progress, and my difficulties.

After this 20k though, it’ll be a more relaxed run for the rest of the novel. Though with no plotting, I don’t truly know how long it will be. I know for the 9-11 age range it’s recommended to be somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 words long.

So quick update, six hours in and I’m at 8k. Not my best pace ever, but I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself, my best pace so for this NaNo has been 12k in a day, I can definitely still do this.