Monday, November 28, 2005

Reflections on Undertaking Massive Projects in November

Ah well, the hard realities of time show themselves. 26,169 words as of this evening.

I was all prepared to berate myself for lack of progress while traveling, but then it occurred to me that failing to shut myself away for an obscure project--after going to great lengths traveling to see family and friends--might not be such a bad thing.

Anyway, my goal for the project has been revised down. I'll be very happy if I can make 35,000 words for the month, and settling for 30,000 won't be so awful. If I could bring myself to call in sick for the next few days and make a much higher number, I would, but I can't, really, and they can't spare me at work at all this week (especially after sparing me all last week).

This month has taught me a number of wonderful things, not least that I'm capable of generating verbiage en masse and at a much higher quality than I expected.

I'm halfway considering setting myself a New Year's Resolution goal of a thousand words a day. After some of the 2,500-word days I've pulled this month a single thousand nightly ought to be no trouble at all.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Party On, Garth

Well, after my weekend hiatus, I have pulled off two straight days of word counts higher than 2500. Go me!

Poor Sarah (my main human character). I've really set things up for maximum pain once things go to Hell for her.

Tomorrow I start the parallel narrative of her brother Brian, who's participating in the Singularity and has gone posthuman. I'm kind of intimidated to write from his point of view: after all, he's supposed to be dozens of times more intelligent than I am, and getting moreso all the time.

(That's part of the concept of a technological Singularity: self-perfecting superintelligence. Imagine the headlong pace of advancement we've seen in computer tech over the past thirty years or so, only applied to human health, longevity, intelligence and discernment.)

Anyway, I plan to have another, similarly productive day tomorrow, after which is Harry Potter, the midnight showing on Thursday, and the trip to Atlanta on Friday, so those will be two evenings lost. Perhaps I can use my lunch breaks at work.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Oh, Dear, Where Did the Weekend Go?

I had such plans for my word count this weekend. :-(

I ran into a plot problem, which froze me up, and then I neglected to correct for the fact that I had a more social weekend than usual planned: dates Friday and Sunday, and a visit from friends Saturday evening. I did much thrashing about in notes to myself (wish I could count those words!), and seem to have got around the plot problem, but the all-important Big Number hasn't moved since Thursday. There I said it. Sigh.

The wonderful thing about stll having a goodly portion of the month left is that I can still get through if I average 2,350 words a day. Obviously getting some big-word-count days over the course of this week (2,500 or even 3,000) would build in some padding, so I intend to do some of that tonight and tomorrow.

Of course, when you're trying to get something accomplished is when Life decides it wants a bigger piece of you. Watch this space for the comedy!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Whew, this Writing Stuff is Hard Work

Whoof. 11,127 words--officially past the NaNoWriMo one-fifth mark. Still about 4,000 words behind my target, but on the fifth of the month I started over 6,600 words in the hole, so I'm making progress.

I'm going to call tonight's work the Agony Aunt chapter--our murderess returns home the Prodigal Daughter, after having had the error of her ways shown to her, replete with a deep conversation with her victim's coexistent backup personality. Anyway, she comes home to the vineyard that her parents started and makes a tearful confession to her mother while her father is seeing the doctor for his might-be-operable-now-that-the-posthumans-are-in-town bone cancer.

I feel the need to write a gunfight with lots of smoking, drinking and wench-pinching in it. Yeesh.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Progress Report

Whew. Up to 7,443 words. Yes, way behind, but I've bumped my target to around 2,000 words a day, which over time ought to get me there.

I jumped into the middle of the story tonight, and had one of the main characters commit a very important murder, get caught, and begin the process of paying (and paying, and paying) her dues for it.

Grueling, but rewarding. I also may change her outcome. Suddenly redemption seems plausible. But maybe not.

Philosophical question: how does one justify fighting an almost entirely benevolent, nearly omnipotent, ethically superior, yet in all ways dominant society?

All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
-Reg, Life of Brian


Saturday, November 05, 2005

First Post in Forever, and a New Project

Well, as usual life has been full, and I haven't really been in a "bloggy" mood, but as usual things go in circles, and I've discovered (or had recommended to me once again) the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

I've been tormenting Tripp, Hunter and Matt with tales of my desire to write for years now, and this would appear to be my opportunity to prove whether I'm all talk and no toenails, or whether there's something more substantial there.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get a 50,000 word novel written in a month, which translates to just shy of 1,667 words a day. Of course I started today, which means I need around 10,000 words written by the end of tomorrow to be on pace. As of tonight I've hit on characters and a plot, and got 2,007 words written. I'm off to a dinner date, but when I get back I'm going to try and get a little closer to 5,000 for the day.

5,000 more words for tomorrow ought not be too bad. The first several hours today were spent on deciding on something in the science fiction realm that wouldn't require too much research (i.e., conventional spaceflight times between here and Mars, or time-dilation calcs for near-lightspeed travel).

Yes, fifty thousand words in a month is a pretty insane pace, but quantity is the only real goal of the event: the only way to get there is to give yourself permission to write utter crap; if you're lucky, some non-crap will find its way in there as well. ;-)

I figure, since I work best with a deadline, and my primary stumbling block has been the question of quality over quantity, this ought to be right up my alley. If nothing else, I'll finish the month in something resembling the habit of writing daily, and from where I'm sitting that's worth a laptop's weight in gold.

I've added the logo at left for the project and a link to my NaNoWriMo profile, which contains an excerpt from the prologue. Be kind, should you choose to read. Remember, it's basically unedited.