Monday, October 31, 2016

NaNo and Fun

Oh yes, only hours to go now for me before NaNo starts.  I have everything ready, I think.  I need to sit the Scrivener file up yet, but that shouldn't take much. I believe I might use the same project as I did for Raventower 1, and simply move that manuscript down into an area that no longer gets counted in the word count.  That way, I have all the original notes and character material on hand and can still do a 'search' if there is something that I can't remember.

NaNo should be fun.  A lot of people take this little intellectual marathon far too seriously and think if they don't 'win' they have failed as a writer -- which seems to mean that anyone who has never done NaNo at all can't be a writer, either.  You can see how silly that is.  Some people do well during November (me! me!) and others find that it simply doesn't suit them.

Some people make this far more work than it needs to be.  Just remember that you are working on a first draft.    Have fun with it. Experiment.  change POV in the middle of the novel if you suddenly think something else will work better.  It will be a pain to edit later, but here is something to remember, too:

The only story you can't fix is the one you never write.

We worry too much about this because so many people see writing as simply a waste of time and many people feel that they have to defend their work, NaNo or otherwise.

I suspect that during the early growth of the Industrial Age, people began to judge any work in the arts on something like a Puritan ideal.  To be counted as real work, a person must sweat and labor, and in general be miserable.  If you don't meet these requirements, and especially if you enjoy what you do, then it cannot be real work -- well, at least not until you start making a lot of money at it.  Money apparently wipes out the stigma of actually enjoying your job.

The second problem with this is that it means a lot of new writers won't allow themselves to enjoy the fantastic fun of writing a story.  Everything has to be miserable, filled with angst, and probably a lot more complicated than it needs to be.  They mistakenly believe that if what they are doing isn't miserable, then it's not real work, and no one will take them seriously.

Writing is hard, but that doesn't mean there can't be joy and fun in it, too.  There are times to get annoyed and frustrated that the writing is not going the way you want.  NaNo is fun.  NaNo is a leap into writing without worries.  If you can adopt that attitude, you are more likely to have fun and you might surprise yourself with what you have written by December 1.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Flash Fiction # 222 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 6: Others

I stared in shock wondering what I should do.  People were shouting, and someone fired from the tower -- I saw the bullet kick up dirt a few feet from me, a startling sight.  I'd been shot once and I didn't want to go through that again.  I wanted to throw myself on the ground and roll up in a ball.  Let the others run over me.  Just stop shooting --

Someone grabbed my arm and yanked me away from the area and towards one of the buildings.  I almost went down but he dragged me on as I got my feet moving and in a moment he all but threw men into a room filled with bunks.  I barely had time to note a half dozen others.  Hands and feet started pounding on the door, while shouts and growls filled the air.  I backed up and wished that everyone would be calm.  This wasn't right.  I didn't know what set them off, but there was no question they were headed for me.

Maybe my wish worked.  Thought I still heard shouts and a couple more shots, I thought that the others were backing away and that things were calming.  I backed away from the door, almost stepped on someone's foot and muttered an apology, all the time trying not to be ill or to show how frightened I was now.

The man who had dragged me inside cautiously opened the door and peered out.  He gave a nod and closed it again before he turned to me.  I saw now that he had a long face, gray hair and dark eyes.  He frowned, but then shook his head.

"Sit down.  You're far too pale.  I have to admit that I didn't expect what happened out there.  Who are you?"

Someone guided me into a plain metal chair.  I sat down, aware that despite the metal roof, it was not hot in here.  Magic.  I hadn't considered how that would help, but why were they even here, then?

"Boy?" the man said, drawing a chair over and sitting in front of me.

"I'm Mark," I said.  I found it difficult to say even those words, though sitting down helped.

"Okay, I should ask a better question, shouldn't I?" the man said with a sight hint of a smile.  "What are you?  And tell me the truth because I will know if you lie."

He would.  I could sense a little bit of power within him, and that came as a true relief.  I knew it didn't mean he was a good guy -- I had Darman to remind me that magic had it's dark side, after all.  However, there was something Mark sensed that seemed he could trust this one.  He hoped it was true because he wasn't going to survive otherwise.

"I'm half fae," I said, which drew a little sound of amazement from the others.  I glanced their way and found three men and three women, various ages, colors, sizes.  My attention went back to the other man.  He nodded, so I decided to go all the way.  "My father is Lord Cayman and I am a Sanctioned Protector."

The man sat back, his eyes gone a bit wide this time.  "I had not expected --"  He stopped and looked me mover, his fingers twitching slightly and a little touch of magic in the air.  If he had I wouldn't notice, he must have realized from my smile that he was wrong.  He nodded again.

"Yes, you are telling the truth and I didn't have the power to even compel you to do so."  He thought for a moment, and then nodded.  "I'm Tom.  I sort of the leader of these people, at least at the moment.  I'll let the others introduce themselves later.  I just want you to realize a few things:  Everyone here has a little magic, but mostly just enough to get them in trouble and sent here.  A Protector is probably more powerful than anything else in the camp.  The nons ran to you for that reason."


"Non-humans.  I fear they would have swarmed you for protection."

"Do they need it?" I asked.

He nodded, denying nothing.  "Yes, but rarely from us, though they may not realize it.  The people who run the camp and the guards are less inclined to be friendly to them, so they mistrust more humans for that reason.  If you tried to do anything to help them, it would likely get you killed.  You can't trust all the guards out there."

"But I can trust some of them?"

"Yes.  We'll slowly introduce you to them, but we have to be careful, you understand.  This is a dangerous place to be, Mark."

I wanted to ask if they had planned on a way to get out, but that seemed impolite, to leap in like that -- and besides, it was not really a wise thing for a newcomer to ask.  Did they really understand what I was?  A question of that type might just set them against me.

"There were others with me when I was taken," I said.  "They all had magic.  Are they here?"

"Not yet," Tom replied.  He must have seen the worry edging into panic on my face.  "This has happened before, so don't worry yet.  Some times others arrive later."  He stopped and shook his head.  "Sometimes they don't arrive at all."

"Is there another camp?"

"We hope so."

The noises had stopped outside.  I took a breath to try and calm myself.  "What now?"

"Stay out of trouble while others make their decisions about you."

Stay out of trouble?   That didn't sound likely.

To Be Continued....
951 Words

Monday, October 24, 2016

Changing Things Around

When a person writes a lot, it's important not to get bored just with the act of sitting down at the computer and pulling up the same old program to do the same old things.  This can get difficult if the story itself has slowed down or you've hit a difficult spot.  It's easy to get a feeling of dissatisfaction that has nothing to do with the writing itself.
If you write every single day (like I do), then you know that there are days when even the most interesting story is going to cause you problems.  There are interactions with the real world (Go AWAY!) that can make concentrating harder.  Everything on the screen starts looking the same and boring and -- well, it might be time to make some very basic changes.
If you have the ability, play with different programs.  I use both Word and Scrivener at different times.  (Scrivener is really good for keeping track of Blog Posts, by the way).  At other times, when I feel myself flagging with a manuscript on Word, I'll change the font, the font color, the background -- do all kinds of things just to change things up a bit.
It's easy enough to reformat everything to something normal when you need it to be less silly looking.
I sometimes just change the font color for a new day during the NaNo marathon.  If I'm working in Word, that makes it easy to go back and see where I started for that day and get an accurate word count.
Scrivener is easier for that, of course.  Just start a new entry for each day.  I do wish the PC version had a 'how many words you need per day to reach your goal' feature, but I manage that with my Excel sheet (which I keep year round) anyway.
Which reminds me about my NaNo Stats:
This is year 16
Over 2,800,000 words written
41 manuscripts completed
14 manuscripts published
That's not a bad bit of work. There are several more NaNo novels still to be published, too.  I just need the time to edit and prepare them.  Tales of Grey Station 9 should be fun to get done.  So should Written in the Wind.  And a half dozen others -- and those are just in the NaNo listing.
There's the downside of being prolific.  Suddenly there is stuff you want done NOW so that you can hold the book in your hands and share it with others.  Oh, and read it myself.  I enjoy my own work.  I think everyone should enjoy what they write and want to read it when it's done.  Otherwise, why do you think anyone else should enjoy it?
My big change right now is that I've moved from my spring/summer writing spot to my cozy little autumn/winter office.  The view isn't as good here, but the heat is much better, and my teas are at hand.  I live in snow country (at least some years), and it's good to have a warm spot and the tea maker and teas close by.  And the cats, of course.  I think they appreciate the warm room better than I do.
We're almost ready for November ... as long as no one asks about the outlines for NaNoWriMo.