NaNoWriMo 2013: Doomed to Failure

writing

This isn’t an admission of defeat, I don’t think you you can admit defeat when you weren’t really planning on trying to win.

I honestly didn’t think I would have a chance in hell at winning NaNoWriMo this year, I’m way to busy with other things, but I signed up anyway just in case I suddenly had an influx of free time.

I think my word count is currently sitting at 361 words when it should be closer to 20k (18,337 by close of play today), technically I could make that up if I spent every non working hour writing, but if I’m honest I’m not likely to do that. I’m not engrossed in my idea for a story, and I don’t have the spare time to spend (I want to say waste but I don’t think that time spent doing creative pursuits can be classified as time wasted).

So my story for this year is not going to happen, I’m going to gather my notes and try and come up with something fresh so that next year I can march proudly into ranks of the winners.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Should I? Shouldn’t I?

As if trying to write 50,000 words in November wasn’t enough, I’m debating participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this April.

What is Camp NaNoWriMo? Apparently it’s a bit like NaNoWriMo Lite, you set a word count goal for the month (I’ve provisionally set mine to 10k) and you get assigned a number of “Cabin Mates” who are your partners in crime for this literary adventure.

At the moment I don’t know very much about what I’m going to actually write, my one goal is to somehow incorporate tea into the story, aside from that everything is a little up in the air.

The seed I have in my head has a main character whose life has stagnated several years after finishing University, one by one all their friends have moved off to other cities for work, or on crazy adventures. It’s reached the point where they have one friend left in the city, and that friend announces that they are moving away too, leaving them alone in the city.

On a whim they decide that they are going to go on their own adventure, I’m not entirely sure where to at the moment, and I’m not entirely sure I’m going to go with this idea.

I’ve got till the end of the month to flesh this out or to come up with another idea, assuming I actually go through with this at all.

If anyone else is thinking of joining up you can sign up for free on the Camp NaNoWriMo website.

 

NaNoBabble Day 3

I am trying to keep my NaNoBabble to a minimum, partly because I know most of the people who read this couldn’t care less and partly because every word I write about NaNoWriMo is a word that could have been added to my word count for NaNoWriMo

After a fairly good start, having written about 1,800 words at midnight on Thursday and about the same after work, I didn’t write very much if anything on Friday because we had people round.

I’ve now managed to scrape enough words to make me almost on track for the end of today (Sunday) even though it’s only 1AM and I’m about to go to bed. I need to do this because I’m heading through to Edinburgh to go to the Zoo and then a Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds concert in the evening. The net result is going to me not having much time if any to write tomorrow.

So what am I writing about? I’ve got three characters in mind:

  • My main character is a guy who can’t be sent on to the next life because they can’t find his paperwork, so he gets sent back to earth and can’t die until his paperwork is located.
  • Another character is a demon who works for an organisation that collects resources which is distributes to find plots to destroy the world.
  • My third character is a fake Wikka girl, who accidentally summons the second character because she’s not really paying attention while her friends and her try to perform a ritual to make boys like them

The whole thing is tongue in cheek, and so far I’ve only written from the point of view of the first character.

I have just written a really dull conversation which I’m going to probably have to rewrite in it’s entirety to make it snappier, but for NaNoWriMo it’s the word count that matters….

Close of day 3 start of day 4 my word count is sitting at 6,457 which I think is more than I wrote for last year’s NaNo in it’s entirety.

Anyway it’s bedtime now, otherwise I’m not going to go to the Zoo tomorrow, and that would be tragic.

NaNoWriMo Kick Off Event: Pimp My Plot

So for the first time ever, despite having done NaNoWriMo 4 times before, I attended a NaNoWriMo local meeting. It was quite fun, in as much as 20 awkward, introverts meeting in a pub with a group of people they have never met can be fun.

One of the exercises that we did was called Pimp My Plot, the idea is you write a short synopsis of your plot on a bit of paper and then you hand it round the room each person adds a little to your plot. While some people will have gotten more use out of this than others it was none the less an interesting exercise.


I was caught off guard and had to scribble down my plot, here is what I wrote:

Due to a clerical error James finds himself unable to die. Meanwhile a demon working for a charity that raises money to fund plots to end the world is accidentally summoned by a group of teenage girls trying to perform a ritual to make boys like them.

I’m not even sure if that summarises my ideas well, like I said I was caught off guard. Knowing that 20 other people were going to comment on it I was pressed for space.

Here are the responses I got.

Babo is the Devil
James finds himself caught in a conspiracy to end the world through his mere existence, to use him as a source of infinite power to power a device that will rip a hole in reality.

I’m not sure that the first word is “Babo”, I can’t read the handwriting. I hope the word I’m missing isn’t intrinsic to the idea. While I reckon that the there will probably be some conspiracy, and James will be at the center of it I’m unsure how this will pan out. I think the way that imagine the clerical error happening means that it’s unlikely that he has been given any kind of power. I think it’s just that they can’t harvest his soul/move him on to the next plane of reality until his paperwork is in order, and since they have lost the paper work that is going to take some time.

James is the key to either life or the end of the world, but the girls decide he is the ultimate man…

I hadn’t actually figured how James and the girls were linked, I didn’t think that the girls would actually fall for him, the teenage girls were actually a McGuffin to get the demon into the world in a comical fashion. I was debating killing them off, although I might have just one survive and she will be his bane. Or something along those lines, whether she will “Fall for” James is another matter entirely.

…and must fight the demons, their alternate selves and a fallen god to have him.
The girls start to make boys into girls and the balance of the world is upset as girls start to find it difficult to find boy friends.

I don’t think this is going to feature much, I have a concept of how the theology is going to work in the universe of my story, and that is that every religion is right. I have a quite complex justification for this that probably doesn’t make sense and is probably going to sound better being explained by one of my characters through the narrative rather than here.

I’m going to drop the Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 – Unmanned esque plot idea as i don’t think it fits with my setting, but there will probably be many fallen gods. Just maybe not in the way that the commenter intended.

James suddenly finds himself in possession of powers – much like cupid – that will help the girls. This will be key (and hilarious) to defeating the demons

Thinking my way round the table I think that this might have been written by the person who has 4 erotic fiction novels published. While the concept isn’t in it’s self erotic, I’m not entirely sure I could pull this plot off.

The only power I’d intended to give James was that he couldn’t die, I think anything else doesn’t gel with the setting. Not having Cupidian powers kind of makes this plot point moot sadly.

James falls in love with one of the girls but decides to just have them all, with disastrous consequences.

I envision James as being a bit of a lost soul, quite literally, he’s not the Casanova type, sure he might develop feelings for one of the teenagers (I’ve not decided how old he or they are but 18 is still a teenager and they may well not be teenagers, they might be University students, naïvety was what I was going for not age) assuming any of them survive. I don’t think that he’s likely to have the social skills or the balls to try to seduce all of them though.

James develops a killer allergy and must find a cure because he can’t die but his life is boring because of ….

I don’t think that word toward the end is boring and I can’t read the last word. If the point of the story was to torture my character this might be a good way to go, you can’t die but you are going to spend the rest of your life in anaphalaxic shock, is pretty horrible. The allergy could be his Kryptonite I guess, “I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky cats!”

I’m unsure, initially I dismissed this outright, but I think that having such an Achilles heel might make the character more rounded. I’d have to ensure that it doesn’t crop up too often though.

It was all a dream…

Really, I’m not even sure this warrants and answer. James is going to have to get killed at some point to kick start the whole process,and the whole story could be his dream as he is lying on a hospital bed in a coma. I’ve always thought the it was all a dream plot was a little tired though, unless you are writing a story where dreams have some tangible effect on the real world like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series then it’s a bit of a cop out.

As neither the protagonist nor the demon can die their battle plays out over and over again with the whole of human history as a backdrop. Until… James finds another immortal.

This is a great idea for another story, James is not a fighter, he’s a guy with rubbish social skills and a crap job who gets killed and finds out he can’t move on to the next life because they’ve lost his paperwork.

The demon is also not a fighter, he’s an accountant (I know I never said this in the synopsis) at a charity that tries to raise money to fund schemes to destroy the world.

Also James’ death takes place in modern times, my current plan has him “Killed” by someone holding up a convenience store. He’s not been about for years, he is just getting used to being an immortal.

Also this story is a little too epic for me, I tried epic for last year’s NaNoWriMo and it didn’t gel with my writing style.

Does he want to die? Or was he happy with the situation? Does he let people around him know? Use it for the good of others? Can he still be hurt? IE bleed, break bones… That kind of thing

That is a list of useful questions:

Does he want to die?
No, at least not to begin with. He’s not made his peace with the world and he dies trying to save someone. I guess a darker version of this would start with him slitting his wrists and then finding out, much to his chagrin, that he can’t die.

Is he happy with the situation?
I think happy is a strong word, confused with what to do with himself is more likely. I see him as having lead a fairly mundane aimless life previous to his “incident”, when he gets sent back, he tries to find some sort of purpose for his life. After all if he can’t die then he probably should do some good. Unfortunately I see him as being a man with little or no practical talents, and he probably doesn’t have the strength of will to stick at anything for any period of time. It’s not like he could go off to the Himalayas and spend 20 years training to be BatMan or anything like that, that would be too much hassle.

Does he let people around him know?
I’ve been humming and hawing about this for a while, I don’t know the answer yet. I think the people who send him back have a process for successful reintegration of people who for whatever reason have to be sent back due to processing misshapes.

This process will have been set in place due to previous cases where a person who could not be processed was inappropriately reintegrated into society.

“We really screwed up with this one guy about two thousand years ago, guy died on a cross but we couldn’t find his paper work so we sent him back. Everyone thought he was some kind of messiah. Luckily Bob over there found his paperwork three days later, it had been filed under Y when it should have been filed under J”

Something like that.

Use it for the good of others?
I think he will try to, but he won’t know how to. I mean if your only super power was that you couldn’t die what would you do?

Can he still be hurt?
Yes, I think he will be imbued with a healing factor by the administrative body that sends him back, but it’s not like Wolverine’s healing factor, he heals over days, and gods does it hurt.

If he wants to die he must give the demon ten koala souls.

There was someone who was trying to work Koalas in everyone’s story… I’m not going to humour this. Although I might mention Koalas in passing during a trip to the zoo.

Is he able to choose life or death? Was he meant to die in the first place?

He isn’t able to choose, he can’t be processed until his papers are processed and since they can’t find his papers he can’t die.

I don’t think the concept of fate is going to play into my story, nothing is meant to be until it happens, if it happens then it has happened.

All boys like them – from toddlers to octogenarians

Again I’ve not put much thought into the girls, if I were scripting an episodic story then this might be possible, it sounds like the plot of an episode of Buffy that vampire slayer though, and I’m not sure I’d be able to write that. I might though, the whole point of it is that the ritual failed though.

He sells his soul to fix things

Souls and the selling thereof are governed by contract law. As James’ paperwork cannot be found it cannot be determined whether or not he has a soul to sell in the first place.

What happens if he loses a limb?

Like I’ve said earlier, he is given a healing factor, but it would take days to grow one back, and it would be excruciatingly painful to lose a limb. He’s not a comic book character who shrugs off pain like that.

James has been trying to commit suicide and continues to try again and again, but the demons start to chase him and he realises he does want to live.

This would work in a different book, with a different James, but not with the character that I envision.

I love this idea and I really want to read it. Anyway the demon’s older brother is much higher up in the hierarchy of hell, and their relationship is typical, overachiever vs unlucky slacker

It’s nice to get a compliment, I might add in other demons, I’m not sure at this point. Part of me wants to add in depressed version of the devil himself, he’s given up on running hell because he’s depressed. Lilith has left him for someone else because he doesn’t have the fire he used to.

Part of me likes the idea of the overachieving sibling for the demon character, I want him to appear to be just as down on his luck as James does.

James is doomed to eternal celestial filing.

I don’t think I want James to spend is time filing souls, he may well have been filed away, but he gets sent back to earth to continue/resume living. Perhaps as someone else.

Dead Pool references

I really wish I’d read more Dead Pool comics, I’ve seen the odd snippet here and there on the net and I like what I see, but I don’t know enough about the character to be able to make references. Also I don’t think James has Dead Pool’s sense of humour, or his multiple personality disorder for that matter.


So uh yeah, that’s that. NaNoWriMo starts in 2 days and I have some food for thought.

Idea Seeds Wanted

It’s the 9th if October which means that next month is November, which means that I’m subjecting myself to NaNoWriMo once more. I have the seed of an idea which involves a guy who can’t die due to a clerical error. But I don’t really know where I’m going to go with it aside from a few scenes I’ve thought up from the characters point of view.

I think the general theme of the story is going to be a dark comedy possibly involving defeating some otherworldly power, but maybe not.

I’m looking for Ideas for things that could happen to a guy who can’t die.

If you have any ideas shoot some away in the comments and I’ll see what I can incorporate into my story.

I’m going to have to sit down at some point and brain storm this idea to flesh it out and having something to fuel that would be useful

Keep Calm And Write 50K

It’s drawing closer and closer to November and you know what that means? NaNoWrimo, a month of me spamming the internet with drivel about how I’m trying to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of 30 days.

I’ve tried 3 times and failed three times, but my word counts have grown each time, i think I had about 40K by the end of last November, which is much more impressive than the 7 or thousand I managed in the first year.

This year as with every year I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m going to write about, my current lead candidates are to restart a story that I began writing a couple of months ago but only wrote 1,000 words for. The premise for the story was/is a one night stand gone horribly horribly wrong.

The other idea I have is a story following a guy who can’t die because the bureaucratic agency that runs the after life can’t seem to find his paperwork.

I’m leaning towards the second as it’s more humorous, and thus will probably be easier to write…

I know I’ve asked this on Twitter quite a few times, but is anyone else thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo this year?  If so what are you writing?

If on the off chance you are interested in reading the drivel I came up with for NaNoWriMo in previous years I’ve posted two of them in the writing section of my website:

1. NaNoWriMo 2008: Untitled

Is a near future science fiction story that never got the chance to get properly going. I think it’s quite amusing though.

2. NaNoWriMo 2009: The Cryonaught

Is the story of a guy who volunteers for an experimental military program on cryogenics.

3. NaNoWriMo 2010: Fantasy Story (Not Posted)

I’ve not put up my NaNoWriMo from last year yet, maybe I’ll think about putting it up in the run up to NaNoWriMo, it was a fantasy story that was never going to just be 50K words which was it’s biggest problem.

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo: After the Dust Has Settled…

First I’m going to to say this… I did not win NaNoWriMo this year, I did write 32,152 words that I would not have written otherwise though which is something I am proud of. For anyone who is interested here is a breakdown of how it went down:

I started fairly well, the reason I don’t have a word count on the first day was that I couldn’t access the NaNoWriMo website because it was so busy. About halfway through I hit the wall as it were, I had a few social events that got in the way and I got a seriously bad case of writers block.

My main issue was that I bit off more than I could chew with my story, I wanted to write something epic, filled with intrigue in a grim and perilous world, but I hadn’t planned enough for that kind of writing, I had a beginning and a vague concept for the world, but I didn’t have a middle or an end. Also looking at how the story was panning out it was going to be much much more than 50,000 words…

I think for NaNoWriMo your story has to slightly whimsical, and able to change at a moments notice. I do admit that I used the “A man bursts in with a gun” technique” once when I was at a complete loss for where to go.

Next year I will try something more within my comfort zone, and something where I can just go on a tangent when I need to without worrying about it destroying my whole world.

I read an article by Max Barry called 15 ways to write a novel on the 30th and I kind of agree with some of what he said, NaNoWriMo is a rubbish way to write a novel, it’s a great way to get you writing though, which I suppose can lead to writing a novel.

I’m a little disappointed I didn’t finish but I’m really glad I participated. I’m also glad that November is over and that I have my evenings back, it was really exhausting coming home everyday knowing that I had to spend the entire evening trying to get myself to write, I cancelled pretty much all of my social engagements and locked myself in a room for pretty much all of my spare time. Now I just feel weird for not writing, the closest sensation I’ve experienced is when I walked out of my final exam at university having spent months studying, I didn’t know what to do with myself, it was almost as if I’d forgotten what I did in the evenings before there was a NaNoWriMo…

NaNoWriMo: The Final Mile

There are 3 days left in November and my word count is sitting at 30,083 words when it should be 45,000 I’ve had a few off days and a few days where I’ve not been able to write due to social commitments, but I’ve written more than 3 times what I’ve ever written for NaNoWriMo in the past.

It would be very easy at this point to just rest on my laurels and say I did my best, maybe next year I’ll finish. I’m not going to do that though, I’m going to keep at it as much as I can, unfortunately I’ve got a social commitment in the evening on the 30th but I’ve asked for the day off work, I’ve got all day tomorrow and Monday evening and I’ve got to average 6,666 words a day… Its doable but its not going to be easy.
I think I’m going to have to sit down and plan where my story is going because at the moment I’m a bit lost, then its write write write.

I’m unlikely to win but its not impossible so here is hoping.

NaNoWriMo Day 12: Not going to lose hope!

I will do this! I’m lacking a bit in the inspiration department at the moment I’m currently sitting at 18,330 when I should be sitting at 20,000 I’m going to try and hammer in a few more words but I doubt I’ll get more than a couple of hundred before I need to go to bed.

Tomorrow is another day and I plan of spending the weekend doing quite a bit of NaNoWriMo.

Of the people I know who are participating in NaNoWriMo I’m currently doing the best which is not normal, I’ve also managed to reach more that double my word count from last year which is an achievement in it’s self I guess. This year I will however win! I am going to do this no matter how hard it is, I am determined, I am also probably doomed to fail…

I’ve jumped the story 10 years into the future, added a character which I’d not initially envisioned being in the story and I’ve written a chapter from their point of view. I think the next chapter after the one I’m writing will also be from their point of view, I’m going to have to come up with some more characters because I keep on killing the ones I have. I’ve also got no idea how I’m going to work one character into the plot, and I’ve not even begun to explore someone who I thought would play a major role but has up till this point only been mentioned in passing. I don’t know how to introduce them at all.

I’m writing utter drivel, which is to be expected, especially for NaNoWriMo where word count is king and coherence is well a little lower than king… Maybe an estranged cousin of the king who they still call a prince, but would never ever inherit the throne…

I’m having serious trouble naming my characters, I’ve tried to come up with names that don’t sound silly, but to be honest they all sound stupid… I may have to rename every single character in the book when I am done.

That is all for now, because I actually need to add words to my NaNoWriMo and I’m sure none of you are actually interested in reading about it.

NaNoWriMo Update: End of Book One?

I’m managing to keep on top of my NaNoWriMo workd count which is impressive for me, by this time last year I was no where near my word count goal and this is where my spiral into despair began. It’s not that I don’t know for a fact that you can recover from a low word count, Avarinne managed to not write a single word during the first week of NaNoWriMo 2008 and then went on to win that year, but personally I think it’s hard.

I am struggling, I am fighting, and I am not happy with what I have written, but I have written it. At present my word count is sitting at 15,064 words which is a whole 64 words more than the target for today (Technically yesterday) although I didn’t submit my word count till midnight due to a mixture of my not watching the clock and the NaNoWriMo website being pummelled by a million people across the UK trying to submit their word count, so my graph looks a little off, but only a little.

The thing is I’m almost a third of the way through my NaNo and I am still in what I would call the prologue part of the story. I’ve killed, I’ve maimed, I’ve raped but I’ve not gotten to the crux of the story and I’ve only just begun to explore the original concept I had for the story.

I’ve been writing the story from the point of view of a slew of different characters off the top of my head I can count 7, and I plan of jumping into the heads of a few others, but I think I have reached the point where I am going to have to travel forward in time about 10 years in order to jump start the story, I’d always intended to do this, but I hadn’t intended for the first part of the story to take up so many of my words. I think I’m going to break up the story into books, the “Prologue” which I am writing now will be book one, and I’ll have at least a book two and maybe a three within this novel. There is scope, I think, for the novel to spin off into a sequel, however, I think for the time being I need to think about how I’m going to end the novel in such a way that it actually comes to some kind of conclusion near the point where I hit 50,000 words.

Not intimidated in the slightest…

Anyway I think it’s time for bed now…

Zzzzzzz