Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 6. Update.

A friend posted this on my Facebook page yesterday. All I can say is Amen!

I missed out on writing yesterday because of the inconvenience of work. But I intend to put this to right today, when I hit five figures. 10,000 words, here I come.

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 1.

Lots done, lots more to do. The first day of NaNoWriMo has come and gone. At the stroke of midnight, I got writing. In a little over an hour and a half I had just under 1700 words in the bank. When I got home this evening I added another 1300 to bring my day one total to 3000 words.

As is usual for me, my inner editor and critic was shouting No! and Is this the best you can do? My answer to them is Yes! and No! If NaNoWriMo was all about quality rather than quality, it would be called NaNoWriYear.

 

NaNoWriMo 2011: Day 0

It’s the eve of National Novel Writing Month 2011. Thirty days of literary abandon start at midnight. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I’m stoked, but I’m nervous. Already I’m wondering if I’m good enough to complete the task of writing a minimum of 50,ooo words in November. Already I’m concerned that outside distractions (work, family, friends, life’s problems in general) will cause me to fall at any of the fences in front of me.

I can’t let that happen, though. I won’t let that happen. Barring serious injury and personal catastrophe I shall pass the post with days and words to spare. Okay, if I’m to be more realistic about this, I’ll be equally as content if I pass the 50,ooo word mark at 11:59pm on 30 November.

My preference is to write at least 2,000 words a day: 1,ooo in the morning, 1,000 in the evening. Two hours’ work, tops. Seeing it written down like this makes it a far less tortuous prospect, don’t you think?

Write Here, Write Now: “Wish” – A NaNoWriMo Update

At the risk of disappointing some of my friends and readers, (Scott Perkins being one of them), I have at almost the last minute changed tack on this year’s NaNoWriMo project. I had mentioned previously that I was going to take on Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Miserables and revisit parts of the story from the viewpoint of the supporting characters, the Thernardiers. And indeed I was building up a head of steam, what with reading the novel and brushing up on some French history.

But then I had a dream (though not the same one Fantine had) which really put the mockers on my original plan. I can’t describe the dream because I don’t really remember too much of it. All I was left with was a feeling that reality had somehow shifted. When I picked up a copy of Haruki Murakami’s new novel 1Q84, I took this as a sign that I was on the right track again.

My new project is called Wish and this is the synopsis you’ll find on my NaNoWriMo profile page.

“After breaking up with his long-time girlfriend, Steven Pepper is attacked by a group of boozed-up teenagers. Left licking his wounds, he wishes for a different life, one where he makes the right choices and is rewarded for being a good person.

On the cusp of achieving what many thought was impossible, Terry Gall wishes for the one thing he lacks: immortality.

It is 2014. Ireland is the one country left standing after a global recession has all but shut down the world’s financial markets. Someone, somewhere, made the right decision: a first for a country used to following rather than leading. Journalist Louise Harrigan wishes she knew who it was.

All three get their wish — and nothing will be the same again.”

 

We’ll see what happens.

Write Here, Write Now: NaNoWriMo Update.

National Novel Writing Month is just over two weeks away. To this end I have come upon an idea that I think will carry me through these “30 days of literary abandon.”

Having decided to not play it safe this year and write within my (limited) comfort zone, I will take on a challenge. For those of you who have read the book or seen the musical Les Miserables, you will know it features the innkeepers Monsieur and Madame Thernardier. In the novel they are an unscrupulous and devious pair, and they represent the true arch-villains of the piece. I know it’s Javert who is in pursuit of Jean Valjean but he’s not a true antagonist because he follows his own moral compass; he believes in God and the Law. The Thernardiers are a different story altogether, though.

In the musical they are used for comic effect and as such are good characters to play around with. So my challenge for 2011 is to reimagine Les Miserables from the viewpoint of the devilish duo. As part of my research I am reading as much as I can of Victor Hugo’s mammoth 19th century novel. This in itself is as much of a challenge as NaNoWriMo.

As an aside, I have to work out whether I want to portray the characters as they appear in the musical – comic relief – or in the novel – much more complex. I’ll work on this closer to the time. So enjoy what follows this post. I had the pleasure of seeing Master of the House performed live on stage recently and it is one hell of a showstopper.

NaNoWriMo: A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Hey, people. It’s been a week since I’ve been around Aardvarkian Tales. I apologise for my absence and neglecting my favourite blogs. I hope you all will understand. I was hoping to post an update earlier in the week, but if truth is told, once I’d finished writing for the day, the last thing I wanted to do was write some more.

I’ve been putting in some marathon sessions. When I got home from work last Sunday night/Monday morning, I wrote the first 2,000 words of my NaNoWriMo project, Bucktooth. Since then I’ve managed to write over 17,500 words in five days. Not a day has gone by when I haven’t written. In fact, last Wednesday evening, I wrote from 7pm until close to midnight and posted close to 4,000 words. My brain was fried afterwards. When I woke up the following day, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it anymore. It was too much effort, one half of me said. It’s a marathon not a sprint, the other half said. Take it easy, get rest – but finish the goddamn job.

These 17,500 words consist of three full chapters, with one nearing completion. I’ve followed the outline as close as I could but, as usual with any creative exercise, the artist/creator can sometimes lose the run of his or her creation. Tim Fanning, Bucktooth, has wrestled control from me a few times. Most of what he decides is good. He said he wanted his best friend to accompany him to Berlin, whereas in my original outline, I have him travelling solo. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a good idea. It allows for banter along the journey, and it creates conflict and danger.

I haven’t at any stage read over what I’ve written, other than to check simple things like name spellings, character descriptions (although I have my outline for this purpose, like I said earlier, sometimes I digress from it) and continuity. It’s not that I’m afraid to (okay, I am) but I don’t wish to be distracted by the rawness of my prose, the overuse of certain phrases and the sheer illogic of some its sections. I know these kind of flaws can be fixed at a later time.

But one thing I do know: all going well, I will complete and win NaNoWriMo this time around. I will win it at a canter. I will have, by the end of the 30 days, more than 50,000 words written. According to my stats, if I keep going at my present rate, I will finish on Nov 15. I can and can’t see that happening…if that makes any sense. If I get there by then, brilliant. But I’ll keep going; I’ll keep going until I stop.

I’ve got something going on with Bucktooth. When its first draft is complete, I’ll redo the whole thing from start to finish. That’s how pleased with it I am. It’s nowhere near perfect now; it needs a lot of work. But I won’t start any revisions until the darn thing is finished.

I love writing now. I haven’t for a while. I allowed life and all its distractions take me away from the one thing I feel I was born to do. It took NaNoWriMo and the support of some pretty wonderful people to get me back to where I belong. I’m here…and I’m here to stay,

NaNoWriMo 2010: Preparation Update

There are seven more days to go before the madness known as National Novel Writing Month begins. That means there is exactly one week to get that outline fine-tuned, those characters fleshed out and your plot in working order.

So, no pressure there.

As I mentioned previously, I didn’t fully commit to last year’s competition because of lack of preparation. I felt I could write on the fly and see what happened. Well, not getting further than 12,000 words is what happened. This year I have promised myself (and others) not to fail. I cannot allow this to happen. Barring natural disasters or circumstances completely beyond my control, I will write a minimum of 1,700 words a day, every day for the month of November.

This time I’m prepared. My story has been in my head for nearly a month and now my outline suggests I’m good to go. I have – unlike last year – a beginning, a middle and an end. I have my characters named and their motivations worked out.

The Main Players

Tim “Bucktooth” Fanning: 22, five nine, 160 pounds, round face with close-cut blonde hair. He likes wearing hooded tops and denim jeans, sports an earring in his left lobe, and has tattoos on each shoulder; one supporting Manchester United, the other Celtic FC. He has blue eyes, is state educated and is angry – a lot. His parents are Robert and Marie and he lives in an inner city Dublin housing estate. Single and unemployed, he likes soccer, GAA kick-boxing and WWF. His best friend in the world is Lester Drumm and together they go to rock concerts; though Bucktooth’s secret passion is the music of Leonard Cohen.

At the beginning of the story he’s looking for some work to pay for anger management therapy, and that’s where the plot kicks off. If I say anymore I’ll be in danger of spoiling how he progresses through the novel. Needless to say he changes – but not too much that it becomes ridiculous.

Valerie D’estang is a 20-year-old Parisienne and becomes Tim’s kind of love interest. She meets him while having her photograph taken at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. This will be my novel’s first major set-piece. It will involve her father, Nikolas, a journalist with AFP, who’s also in league with the major villains of Bucktooth, the clandestine organisation known as FILTH, controlled by the mysterious Mr. Sandross.

Tracking Tim’s every move, unwilling to help when he runs into trouble, is the equally shadowy MeerLin Corporation, a philanthropic organisation with headquarters in Dublin. Are they a force for good or evil, or are they somewhere in between?

Supporting Cast

Charles Formly: CEO, MeerLin Corporation.

Frank Lord: Chief of Ops, MeerLin Corporation.

Deandra Rimes, Security Chief, MeerLin Corporation.

Dicky Boyes, Press Officer, Meerlin Corporation.

Mr. Sandross, CEO, FILTH.

Dieter Hassberger, Security Chief, FILTH.

Frau Kessler, Mr. Sandross’ Personal Assistant.

Georges Matelot, UN Representative, Geneva.

Various goons, minions and henchmen.

The Locations

Dublin – Berlin – Athens – Geneva – Paris – London – Dublin (again)

The Plot

It involves a powerful historical artifact, a group of Neo-Nazis, some Chinese assassins, a little bit of sight-seeing, fights in airport lounges and a man who may or may not know who killed Pope John Paul I in 1978.

I have this and much more besides, ready to go for this day week.

How is your own preparation going?