Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Crash and Burn

The first week, I finished slightly ahead. The second week, I finished slightly behind, like a thousand words or so. The third week...

Well, City of Heroes is a fun game.

But beyond that, I'm stuck in the Great Swampy Middle. I know I said I had a solid structure, and I still think I do, but what I found out was, I didn't have quite enough stuff in the middle to fill 50,000 words. I'm writing little filler scenes here and there to stretch the middle before the big Act II climax, and it's really slow going. I'm something like 10,000 words behind now.

Meanwhile, I changed my work schedule yesterday to reflect my post-promotion status (I have been working early mornings Wed-Sun, and now I'm working the normal 8-5 hours). I had almost literally nothing to do for six out of the eight hours I was at work yesterday. I keep fearing they'll decide they made a mistake and take back the promotion. Man, it's been a long time since I've done this.

On the plus side, I get Thursday off this week. I haven't had a Thanksgiving off in four years or so. So there is that.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Act I Done

I've finished the first act of my NaNoWriMo project. I'm slightly ahead on word count, but I expect to fall behind again tomorrow because of a work emergency that might take up a lot of my time and energy. Still, I'm plunging ahead, and although I've missed some rather major elements on the way, it's nice getting the rough shape hammered out quickly.

On the other hand, I updated a couple of drivers and finally got City of Heroes working. I have to admit, it's a hell of a fun game, once it finally works. I've been running around town blasting thugs left and right and getting my levels up. In another couple of days, I'm going to be pretty tough. I wonder if it will affect my writing on the book?

Monday, November 07, 2005

The First Week Almost Done

I thought I would get worked way ahead over the weekend, but instead I actually dropped behind on saturday and had to scramble to catch up yesterday. I'm past the 10,000 word mark and still more or less exactly on pace to make 50,000 by month's end, if I keep going for 23 more days. It's tough.

Even tougher because I did some shopping with birthday money at Best Buy the other day and picked up a free demo of City of Heroes. I've wanted to play a good superhero game for a long time, so I thought I'd give the demo a try.

What a pain in the ass. I installed the game disks, then tried to use the automatic log-in to register an account (CoH is an online game). The URL that the disk tried to access was no longer valid. So I hunted online and found the new official site, created an account, and then launched the game.

It downloaded updates for almost TWO FREAKING HOURS before it would let me create a character. Once my character was created, I attempted to enter the tutorial and actually see my character in action.

The game locked up as I was trying to load the tutorial level. I had to reboot my computer get out of it. Tried again. Same thing.

AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!! as Charlie Brown would say. What a pain.

Friday, November 04, 2005

3 Days Down

This is a trifle worrying. I'm between 5,000 and 6,000 words in, basically right on schedule, and it's mostly talking heads. I just threw in a random piece of action so I could have something happen other than folks sitting around talking, but it's mainly just a slow build to the first act climax (which is a really big action set-piece). After that, everything drops again as we introduce the main villains (who are set in motion by the Act I climax - this may be a major structural flaw), but there are a few small action bits leading to the Act II climax, which is another biggie. Act III is going to be frantic (as I envision it now - we'll see if I pull it off - it's so big that I fear I'll just shut down rather than write it badly).

I'm a little worried just because I was hoping to be working ahead much further than I have, and already, the words are starting to come in fits and starts rather than sustained scenes. My Inner Editor, who thought the structure was so complete and perfect two-three weeks ago, now shudders with every new scene ("No more talking! Oh hell no!").

At the same time, I'm starting to get the third-person flow, and the characters are taking some interesting turns already. So if nothing else, maybe I'll end up with something that can be rewritten into a decent book.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

NaNoWriMo Day 1

So here it is, the commencement of this thing I've spent three weeks fantasizing about. I went to a book signing last night by some friends of mine, M.T. Reiten and Amanda Gannon. Then MTR and I went out for a beer to discuss writing stuff. Then I went to my office to await midnight. I created the new file, set out my notes, pinned my index cards to my corkboard, put on some music, and just waited for the magic moment to hit (midnight, which signalled the arrival not only of NaNoWriMo, but also my birthday). At 12:00, I started typing.

It was not magical. For one thing, the Digger stories I've written before have all been first person, and there's just something about writing in that fun, flippant voice that really keeps me going. I decided that with the larger cast and simultaneous action that I'd need to make it third person, and it seems just lifeless and dull (plus my opening scene is terribly static, just a bunch of people sitting around a bar talking).

But I wrote over 1300 words before coming home last night, plus another 500 at the office this morning before picking up my daughter from school, plus another hundred or two this afternoon, so I've got a decent beginning, a little ahead of schedule. It should get easier as I get used to the voice and the action starts, at least I hope.

This Friday, several local NaNoWriMo participants are going to meet up at Border's. I may go. I like meeting local writers. Joining my local group certainly gave me lots of inspiration to sit down and do the work, as well as giving me the courage to submit my work to publishers. So on the one hand, I look forward to networking with even more folks.

On the other hand, it looks like most of the people showing up have screen names like "Witchy Robyn" and "Green Goddess" and "Ravyne Hawke," so I'm not sure I'll really fit in. Still, I'd like to give it a try, at least once.