Friday, November 27, 2009

The Truth about me and NaNo

People have often asked how I write so much. Now you know the truth. It's what many of you always susected....

From Captured Videos

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The last week of NaNo!

I love NaNo. I really do. But the last few days are just tough, even for those of us rushing through the stories. I'm still writing about 6k a day, but it's getting difficult to keep it up. The story is there. I want to tell the story -- but I can see December looming ahead, and I know there are tons of things I need to get done before December 1. And then there is everything that needs to be tied up for the last month of the year.


I love NaNo.

This is a difficult few days. I can see the end. I can see past the end, and I want to get a head start on those things. However, I also have two unfinished novels here -- Wildlands and Autumn Storm. Since my rule is to finish them before the end of the year, I might as well keep pushing here, right?

Like I need an excuse to continue.

The good news is that my replacement part for the computer is here. The bad news is that Russ is not here to replace it. We're going to try to do with pictures, phone calls, and a lot of really good thoughts.

And here is a fun little snippet of Autumn Storm. My main character has brought a couple fae home while they try to figure out what to do next. They're waiting for another person, Tessa, to arrive. Arinith is a very powerful fae who is causing trouble in the area.

I went out to the kitchen and filled the teapot and put it on the stove. I thought I caught a look of curiosity as I moved through the room -- and I realized that York had never been inside a human home before. That might have been half of why Brandis was so on edge as well.

I wanted Tessa here and right now. Could that bring him? Did I dare try to demand it, the way Arinith had done before? That didn't seem like a good idea at all. I had to trust that Tessa would know what to do. I had to believe that this was not the entire crazed, beyond hope situation that I was seeing.

I wondered what Arinith was thinking right now. From the look of the weather outside, it couldn't be anything good.

Cookies. We needed cookies. I got them out as well and put them on a plate, pretending to be a good host. It kept me busy. That helped at first, but the longer it took Tessa to get here, the more worried I became. Even I gave a little jump when the tea kettle began to whistle. But I had the cups ready, the tray, cookies, several types of tea, honey and sugar cubes -- no more reason to linger here.

I set the tray on the coffee table and began to make my own tea, letting them see what to do. "There are many different teas there. Find one you like. And try the cookies," I said. I sat back with the cup in my hand. "I hope Tessa gets here soon."

Brandis nodded. He made his tea slowly and York seemed to copy his moves. They both sat back and sipped, and seemed reasonably pleased.

"Humans live better than I thought they would," York admitted. "Without magic, I hadn't thought you could do so many things."

He waved a hand to the wonders of a modern kitchen. I nodded. "Technology is our magic, you know. It's not as reliable has having the power within you, but that works for us sometimes, too. It means we don't have to worry about growing too weak that we cannot provide even the simple comforts. But there is a downside. Technology can fail. With a storm like this, we might lose power and then at least part of my lovely kitchen would be useless."

"Power failures, yes," Brandis said. "We have noticed those things, and how they badly affect the people here. I just had not realized what they use that power for."

"We have moved past the campfires and hunting stage," I said with a smile.

He gave a little laugh. "I had noticed when I saw the cities. I don't understand how you can crowd together so much."

"Sometimes neither can I." I reached for the remote. "Let's see what's going on --"

I turned on the TV.

My mistake.

Tea cups flew, tea splattered everywhere. Both Brandis and York were on their feet, magic aimed at the flat screen --

"No, no, no!" I shouted. It stopped them. "Television. News. Communications transmissions!"

They looked at me, eyes narrowed, hands still raised.

"Television," I repeated frantically. On the screen I saw a too cute and precocious little girl child in a witch costume. She sang as she danced around a haunted house, singing a stupid song about her favorite time of the year, which included spending more money at a certain local shop. I tried not to grimace. "Entertainment. Sometimes. And news. It's a one-way system of delivering information to people in their homes."

Brandis looked at me and back at the screen. The child had stopped dancing and now stood holding out a banner for the store. York looked either intrigued or appalled. I knew that feeling.

"It's not dangerous?"

"No. I am going to change the channel." I held up the remote. "This controls it. On and off, change to a different channel which will show us different things." The little witch appeared on another one. "Most of the time. That's a commercial intended to convince people to buy things."

"And this works?" York asked, still looking appalled.

"Sometimes. There. Weather Channel. They'll be talking about the weather in this part of the country soon, I suspect."

York looked around, and with a wave of his hand, cleaned up the mess. Well, that was handy at least. I poured more water. We had more tea and cookies as the people on the screen took the time to explain the about lows in the Gulf of Mexico and highs spreading down from Canada. We watched the local radar which looked chaotic. Then the weather people came back and talked about the horrible weather around the Omaha area -- though from the excited looks on their faces and the sounds of their voices, you wouldn't have though it was hell out there.

Then back to commercials again.

"Amazing," York said, looking at me. "They almost can make sense of the weather without ever considering the magic involved."

"Yes, and they even made some sense out of it," I said with a nod. "But that's what humans do, you know. They want to understand everything. So they make certain that they have answers."

"And what if they learn that those answers are not right?" Brandis asked.

"Then they search for new ones."
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Friday, November 20, 2009

One book completed

In January 1989, I finished reading a book called Disraeil, A Picture of the Victorian Age by Andre Maurois. It was a fascinating book about a fascinating man, and even as I read it, I knew that it was going to inspire me to write something. I wanted to write the story of someone who came to power in a place he had no right to be. I began it almost immediately.

That book was Silky, which first saw publication in 1998. Much, much later, Silky 2: Lord of the Land saw publication along with a new publication of Silky. Then I wrote Silky 3, but I felt that it just ... lacked something. For NaNo this year, I decided to write Silky 4, which would be the last book in the series. I also re-read Disraeli in October of this year, for the first time since the original reading. (I put the dates inside the book, by the way, so I know.)

I finished the first draft of Silky 4 tonight, almost 21 years after I wrote the original book.

It's an odd feeling to have it done. This has always been one of my favorite sets of characters, and while I really love the last chapter of the final book, I have a problem knowing that it is really done. The only thing that is saving me from being depressed is knowing that book 3 still needs 'something' and that I might end up melding 3 and 4 into one book, which means a lot more work.

And who knows -- since the stories do take place in the Tales from Another Place universe, a character or two might yet show up elsewhere.

But... I am done.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nearly done with one

I am down to the last two chapters of Silky 4, as well as some pieces I want to add in a little earlier in the story. The book is nearly to 60k, so I think it will be somewhere around 65k in the first draft. For my first drafts, that's running about right and maybe even a little higher than usual. The book is going to need considerable editing, fixing, reworking -- but now that I finally have this last story written, I can see what I want. Until now, I've been playing with it, dancing around the ideas -- and afraid to face it, I think. I don't really want to end the Silky books.

But it is time.

I'm over 128k in the NaNo run. After this I'll likely work on Autumn Storm and run it to The End as well. Then I'll go back to work on Wildlands and get it at least to 50k. I'm looking at a NaNo run this year of somewhere around 180k total, I think. Very good, considering the problems I've had.

Did I mention the problem with my computer? Fan on the video card, but it's a known problem and I'll get a free replacement. However, that has to wait until Russ can help me with it, either via Skype or in person. And that's going to be a while yet. So I have to keep turning the computer off to get rid of the incredibly horrible noise that drives me nuts.

And I can't do much with graphics at all. Even just getting pictures for the blogs tends to fire it up into screeching range.

It's late tonight. Right now I'm writing in a couple little things I wanted to add into the Silky Story. Then I'll head for bed. Tomorrow I think I'm going to finish the novel. and I know the ending scene. I am really looking forward to that part.

Even though I'll be sorry to be done.

Writers are such contrary people sometimes.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things not to worry about

We're midway through NaNo. Now is the time to think about what it's going to take to reach your goal and still have fun doing it. Your goal doesn't have to be 50k. It can be more or less than that number, and it's entirely up to you what you decide. You need at least 50k to get the winner's certificate at the end of the month, but that's just a computer-generated file and really doesn't say anything about how hard you worked. If you are happy with your work, then that's all that matters.

What you don't need to worry about is what anyone else is doing.

More words, less words, good words, 'bad' words (whatever you think those might be) or anything else. This is now between you, the blank page and the calendar. That's all you need to consider.

Complaining about what others are writing is egotistical and rude, though I don't think the people doing it quite realize it at the time. Well, at least some of them. You can say things in private. We all do. (It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of fanfiction.) But posting on the boards about it shows that your focus is not where it should be -- on your own work.

I spend a lot of time defending NaNo to people who think that it is some sort of attack on literature and a travesty against the 'real' authors of the world. Then, finding people talking about what people should and should not write in NaNo just annoys the hell out of me. It's much the same as being told that the science fiction and fantasy genres aren't 'real' writing, which is another longtime problems those of us in the genres face. It's defining what's proper based on personal likes, dislikes and goals.

It's no one's business what others write. It's not going to affect your life one way or another. Celebrate that they are writing at all and enjoying themselves and don't worry about it!

And on my own writing, I am in the midst of writing probably the most boring magical battle I've ever seen. Right now it's mostly just a set of actions and occasional dialogue to remind me of what I want to happen. When I get to the edit phase, I am going to focus on this scene and see what I can do to bring it back to life. Right now, though, I'm going to keep moving to the end of the novel. I know that there is one more major magical battle by the end. I think, when the novel is done, that this battle that I'm writing now is going to partly foreshadow the final one. So... writing the final one will actually give me more focus on this one.

With that in mind, I think I can stop fretting and picking at it and just move on. I need to get back into the focus of NaNo and past being ill for the last week.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009


I've been busy, ill, busy, busy, busy. I'm still holding on to the NaNo work, but it's not been easy. I'm somewhere over 92k. Yes, that's a really good number. I don't know how I've managed it, given the week I've had!

Oh, and I have a wonderful story in print. Info here:

I am having fun with NaNo, but it's harder and harder to fit the time in to write. More work just landed in my email box even while I'm writing this.

I hope that by this weekend I'll be feeling better and have more time.

Hey, I can hope for miracles, you know!
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Sunday, November 08, 2009

A lot of words

I'm somewhere around 68,500 words.

I'm also so tired all I want to do is curl up and sleep on the printer with Zaphod.

So, off to bed I go!

I had a good first week of NaNo, but I've put off as much work as I can and it's time to start getting back to normal.

Like I would know what that means.
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Day 5: 8804 -- 50,171 Total

I forgot to post this yesterday.

Let's just say that it was a very busy day with a lot of real work plus the writing. I was pretty much like Wind there in the picture by the end.

And now it's time to start over.

We're doing this for fun, right?
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Day 4: 6731 -- 40,266 Total

I didn't think I would make it to 40k today. I had far too much real world work to do, and a lot more of it to do tomorrow, too. I think I'm going to be dropping into to the 5k days now. I'm just way too warn out tonight from trying to do more.

Tonight, you get a little snippet out of Autumn Storm, which is an urban fantasy. In this part, the main character, who is human, was in a car accident and woke to find his two fae companions gone. It's a snow storm. He's not happy.

Something appeared at my feet and I started to jump back in shock, and then realized it was a pixie. The little creature was soon joined by a second and then a third. They did not like the snow. I could tell by the way they leapt through it and made little sounds that were plainly annoyed. One finally stopped and looked up at me, his teeth chattering, and his eyes narrowed in anger.

"This isn't my idea, you know!" I said looking down at him. "Take your magic weather and go back where you came from!"

He snarled. I wasn't sure if he understood what I said, but he turned and fled off with the others. They would be going after Arinith, I thought. Wasn't that what Tessa had said? That the pixies would be with him?

I followed the paw prints, which were heading in the same direction. I tried not to curse any more. I was, really, trying very hard to listen for other sounds. There were some, but they seemed badly distorted by the storm. And maybe by the magic as well. I stopped, but I dared not stand still for long. I wanted to rest already, and I knew that would mean death.

Followed the sound, the tracks -- they were getting harder to see in the fall of snow. I could see the little green pixies moving on ahead of me, though, so I decided just to follow them. They semeed to be heading the way I wanted to go.

My head pounded. I began to fear that I wasn't going to survive this after all. I didn't want to die out here in the snow. And right now, I was getting damned angry at Tessa for leaving me in this situation. I had expected better of him.

The sounds were odd again. Then I realized why. The ground sloped down a little. I hadn't realized it until the Pixies suddenly just disappeared, and then I took a step forward and found nothing there --

I landed on my ass and slid down. It was not pleasant, but maybe better than trying to walk it. I wasn't sure.

I was cursing again by the time I stopped at the bottom of the embankment. I couldn't breathe for a moment . I couldn't move. i laid there with the snow falling on my face and knew that if I didn't get up that I would die there.

I wanted it to matter more to me. The apathy came from the accident and the cold. The little logical part of my brain knew it and tried to convince the rest of me to listen. Unfortunately, the rest of me had been hanging too long with fae and working for woo woo news. We were kind of strangers, logic and me.

What did finally startle me back to reality -- well, my currently warped version of it -- was when another half dozen pixies came tumbling over the embankment and down into the snow about a foot to my right. They all squeaked and growled, flailed around a bit, and then gathered themselves up and kept going. I watched them disappear into the white wasteland and it annoyed me. I was not about to let those little green fae creatures out do me!

Oh yeah. Logic retreated back into a dark little corner of my mind and whimpered for awhile.
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 3: 10,125 -- 33,535 total

Current novel counts:

Wildlands -- 11586

Silky 4 -- 11110

Autumn Storm -- 10839

So, I did better than I expected today. The 10k days will come to an end soon, though. I did get some paying work done today, but I'll need to get more of it over the next two days.

It's been fun, though!
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day 2: 10,301 -- 23129 Total

Day 2 went better than I thought it would. I had work to do for DAZ, and then I kept having trouble with the outlines. But they came through in the end, so I'm happy.

But tired. Really, really tired. I was going to try and find some snippets for today, but I don't think I can stay awake that long.

The books are going like this so far:

Wildlands: 7858

Silky 4: 7679

Autumn Storm: 7592

I hope they keep doing as well tomorrow and that I can get at least 10k on each of them.

But now...

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Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNo Day 1: 12,828 Words

I did not expect to do this well today, and for a couple reasons. First, Russ left to go back to New York at about 6:30 this morning. That was, of course, depressing. However, he helped get me going by staying up past midnight last night, cheering me on through the first 2k hour, and even baking me cookies to celebrate. That really did help.

We slept for a few hours, then he was up and leaving. I got up to see him off, then slept for a few hours, and woke up again -- with a horrible cough and sore throat. I took stuff and slept for a couple more hours.

Then I went back to work on writing and doing some DAZ stuff. I don't dare let that fall behind.

Russ and I wrote together for a little while on Skype tonight (just the message board, not video), and that helped, too. He was waiting to see if his luggage was ever going to show up -- worrying stuff since it had all his work suits and stuff. It did, finally.

I am doing something a bit odd this year for me. I normally write two or three first draft novels during NaNo. This year I am going to do three. And I am working on them at the same time. I needed something a little different to get me going. I couldn't decide which of the three outlines I wanted to start with, so rather than fussing over it any longer, I decided to just go with all three of them. If any of them don't make it to 50k, I'll subtract that one's word count from the total.

It was far more exciting than I expected it to be.

So, I'm up and moving far better on my first day than I expected.

I hope everyone else is having fun!
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

First Attack at NaNo

I wrote 2052 words to kick off NaNo. Now, however, I am just beat and I'm going to get a few hours sleep before I come back and start at it again.

I have started with Wildlands. I am thinking, though, that I might work on several novels at once this year, just to make it different. We'll see how I feel when I get up in a few hours. I might be sane by then.

Time to get some rest, though!
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