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 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…


NaNoWriMo: Writing Outside My Comfort Zone?

I had the idea of writing a fantasy Book for NaNoWriMo this year rather than my usual Science Fiction. That for a start is a little outside my comfort zone. I’ve had ideas for fantasy stories in the past but they have all been spin offs of things I’ve read before, or more likely rip offs, with one concept changed.

I think I have a relatively original Idea, this year but time will tell, it started as a basic fantasy romp, unfortunately I don’t think there is enough substance in it to fuel a whole book, or if there is I have yet to come up with that substance.

So I’ve decided to once more step outside my comfort zone, originally my story was going to be quite tame, it was going to follow one main protagonist and his merry band of adventurers on their quest.  Except their quest as far as I could make out was not being where whomever was chasing them was… Which doesn’t really lend it’s self to a good story. The whole “Just keep running”  idea is just a bit crass I think.

So I’ve re-thunked my Idea and I’m adding a few levels to the story. The merry band of adventurers aren’t the only characters I’ll be focusing on, I’ve added a concept of politics and I’m creating a group of nation states that all fall under the rule of a single empire. I’ve only really got a skeletal plan for three of these nation states at the moment, but I think I like where it’s going.

I’ve also tried to add some severe brutality to to the story, this is seriously outside my comfort zone. In the past the worst I’ve ever done to a character (main or incidental) is to make their lives a little rubbish by sacking them, or making their significant others leave them. I’ve already got a rape scene, a few murders and political espionage plotted in at different parts of the story.

I’m not sure how I’m going to work this, but I think making it more brutal/controversial might make it more interesting to both read and write. I just hope I get the tone right, as I’m aware that sometimes it can seem like people writing about this kind of thing tend to desensitise it and or glorify it, the last thing I want to do is to glorify it, especially the rape scene, which I think is in there partially to illustrate just how evil a character is, but also how brutal the society is, I think I’m aiming for a fairly grim story world, and I don’t want to be afraid to push my characters to their limits.

I don’t know if it will work, if it doesn’t I can take it out, as it stands it’s not a cornerstone of the plot, but as the characters involved in the scene only came to me last night I can’t really say how that will change.

So far I’ve got just under 3,000 words of notes, which is two days NaNoWriMo work, I’m hoping to have more by the time that I start, because at the moment I have a setting, some characters ideas and a catalyst for a plot, but not actually a plot, which is kinda important.

I’ve also got another idea ferreting it’s way out in the back of my head which I am working hard on ignoring lest I lose focus before I even begin. Should be easy enough though as it’s completely unrelated.

So anyway, I’m writing out with my comfort zone, and hopefully it’s going to make the story more interesting.

Incoming! NaNoWriMo 2010.

The start of NaNoWriMo is pretty much exactly a month away now. And I’m both psyched and apprehensive. I think I’ve decided what I’m going to write but it’s a bit of a jumble. I’m taking a break from dystopian science fiction and going for “Epic” fantasy. I think I’m trying to incorporate a bunch of ideas I’ve had for fantasy stories into one mainly for the sake of giving me enough ideas to work with.

The basis of my idea is that in the beginning there were three gods one of Light one of Darkness and one of Twilight. These three gods represent Good, Evil and the balance between the two, the god of light and the god of darkness were at constant war with each other while the god of twilight merely observed not wanting to give either side an advantage. This war between Darkness and Light, Night and Day is the reason the seasons exist, in winter the Darkness is winning in Summer the Light.

At some point in history or prehistory the it looked like the god of darkness was going to win over the god of light, so the god of light asked the god of twilight for help. Fearing that the balance would be upset if the god of darkness won the god of twilight agreed to help the god of light in defeating the god of darkness, but on the condition that upon his defeat the god of light would also surrender his power, lest the balance tip in the other direction.

The god of light agreed to this and together they managed to seal away the god of darkness and break up his power into crystal shards called “God Shards”. However the God of light reneged on his agreement and tried to create a world of true Light.

The world cannot survive with light alone, the endless day meant that people could not sleep, crops dies because it was too hot, and there was no rain.  The overpowering good was corrupted and twisted, good taken to extreme can be just as evil as evil it’s self. In order to return the balance the god of twilight enlisted the help of man to topple the god of light, it was a long fought out war but eventually the god of light was also sealed and his power broken up into “God Shards”.

At this point the god of twilight fearing that he too would become corrupt decided to take a back seat and let the age of man begin.

The god shards were entrusted to an order of knights/monks who were sworn to defend their power. The crystals gave the monks a modicum of power that enabled them to protect the shards lest the fall into the wrong hands. If all the shards are assembled why can imbue someone with the power of a god, or possibly lead to the god trapped within them to be reborn. The monks for the most part live in a solitary existence, they accept one apprentice who is chosen with the help of the crystal and is trained up so that they may defend the crystal when the monk passes. (Someone has already made the Always there are two a Master and and Apprentice Sith analogy).

The story will centre around one of these monks trying to protect his crystal shard from someone who is trying to steal it for some nefarious plan.

I’ve got some other ideas but I’d rather not say much more as it would give away the story.

At the moment I’ve got a 3 page document of Ideas and Questions, I fear the number of questions out weighs the number of ideas, although the answer to each question is an idea I guess.

If anyone want’s to offer suggestions/ideas I welcome them, I’ll try to take them on board, but I may also ignore them.