Posts Tagged With: writing a novel

Day 1

Well, I have no outline. No scene list. No complete list of main characters. And, there are some serious decisions I still need to make.

BUT, I have 1,760 words towards my goal of 50,000. Yay, me!

I took care of my other responsibilities before I allowed myself to write today. I really want to accomplish this NaNo goal, but I really, really need a job. So, I applied to a job (which took longer than anticipated. I swear those online job applications are designed like weeder courses: they frustrate applications to see who is really serious about applying for the job). I already know which job I wanted to apply for today. Tomorrow will be busy with some other commitments, but I need to find a job, apply to it, go grocery shopping AND find 2.5 hours to pump out my 1,667 words. Think I’ll be able to sustain my productivity throughout July?

I am not wholly sure I understand why I’ve been dragging my feet with this job search thing. Well, part of it is wondering how I am going to ever get anything not job-related done once I have a full-time job: my days pass so quickly and seem so full of obligations rights now. When will I have time to clean? When will I have time to cook? When will I have time to wash clothes? Am I supposed to fit all that into the weekend? I also know part of it is because I am scared of having an 8 to 5 job. I spent the past 10 1/2 years in grad school, which essentially means I set my own schedule. I’m scared of being in the “real” work force. But I also want to be able to buy a house sometime in the near future and be able to start a family. So, I’ve made it a goal this month to write 1,667 words of my novel every day, but before I can do that, I need to apply to at least one job. Every day. Maybe that isn’t enough. Maybe I should be applying to more jobs in a day. But, at least one job app a day is better than one job app a month, which is what I have been averaging. Although, come August, if I still do not have a job, I am going to start freaking out about not having a job. At that point maybe I will start spamming.

Sometimes family members give me advice, but I know that, at the moment at least, it is my own fault I can’t find a job: I’m not really looking very hard. I’ve never had to look that hard for a job before. I’ve been really lucky about things falling in my lap. Well, that and finding teaching assistant gigs followed a regular pattern. I have been really lucky. But, the job market sucks now and I’ve never looked for a “real” job before. I keep telling myself it doesn’t have to be the job I stay in, and if I don’t like what I end up doing I can look for something else. In the meantime, though, I need a salary so I’ll still be able to pay the bills come August. My modus operandi is usually to wait until the last minute and let the deadline stress spur me towards my goal. Well, I keep waiting for that kick in, but it hasn’t yet. I don’t really want to be stressed, but I also would like it to kick in soon.

Okay, enough about my job woes. I have 1,760 words of my story! (Did you notice my bar to the right has some color on it now?)

It has been a long time since I have dedicated myself to writing. Today was kind of cool. I probably spent too much time looking things up (What is that hairstyle called they wore in the 20s and 30s? What kind of animals are indigenous to northern Norway? What are antique hat boxes made of?). Nevertheless, I feel like I had a scene in my mind and the words kept coming. I just need to meet myself at the computer for 2.5 hours everyday and allow/force myself to write. I know this sounds both trite and obvious, but today it really seemed like all I had to do was show up and the rest took care of itself.

Anyway, to all my fellow NaNoWriters, I hope your first day was as satisfying as mine. And here’s to every day in July being even more productive than my first day was.

 

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Last week of June 2013

Well, the first part of this week was not nearly as productive as I wanted it to be. Let’s see. I know a little more about my protagonist. Nothing more about my antagonist – I’m not even sure that the person I have in mind will turn out to be the antagonist. I know there are at least two other main characters – of whom I know absolutely nothing, not even their names. I have not settled on any particular scenes. I only have a very, very vague idea of where the story should be at the end of the first and second acts – still not sure how I want to end the story.

I have to admit something: This is the first time in an extremely long time I have sat down and really tried to write a story. I mean, I have written a few pages here and there of an idea I have for a story. I have lots of ideas for stories and some of those story ideas have even been researched. But I have no, or very little, prose for any of them. This is the first time I have really decided to structure and finish a story. And, I’m not sure how obvious it is, but I have no freakin’ idea what I am doing. Which is why I was hoping to have more of my story planned out before diving into the writing part of it.

However, from what I understand, that is part of the purpose of NaNoWriMo. Because left to my own devices, I would probably end up doing what I always end up doing: planning, researching, planning, deciding…and never actually writing. So, I don’t know how this story is going to turn out since I’m not entirely sure where to take it, but I am still determined to have 50,000 words of it at the end of July. They may not be that cohesive or terribly exciting to read, but I’m going to have 50,000 word, by gosh!

Well, that’s all I’ve got. This past week kind of had a rather large distraction in it – I’m hoping that July is largely distraction free. I have to make finding a job my priority in July, though, but I should still be able to devote at least two hours a day to writing my story. That’s the plan, anyway. See y’all next week!

Categories: Outlining, Planning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

July 2013 Camp NaNo

For far too long this blog has deviated from its original intention. That is, to chronicle my journey from blank page to finished manuscript. So, starting today and for every week until the end of July my intention is to record my experience with this summer’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

I graduated in December last year and I still do not have a full time job, which will be the other major objective for this coming month. I have been teaching part-time, but now I am done for the summer. So, what better moment than now to take this writing thing seriously?

During the last week of June, my plan is as follows:

  1. Decide on all my character names and genealogies. I know that having to know the family trees of my major characters isn’t really necessary, but it helps me get to know my characters better.
  2. Get to know my characters and settings. I have a couple of books I am going to be using to help facilitate my process. Schmidt’s Book in a Month has some worksheets that look like they may be a good starting point from which to help me chart my story. Watt’s the 90-day novel also looks like it has some helpful direction. Since I do not have a degree in creative writing and I am a little unsure about how to craft a novel from beginning to end, I feel like having a couple of resources to help me along the way may be a good idea. Otherwise, I may end up with 50,000 words that go nowhere.
  3. Try to define my acts. Nothing too solid – just to try and figure out where I want my story to start and end. And what kinds of scenes I think should come in the middle.

I haven’t been thinking about this story idea for that long. I am not even really sure what is going to happen yet. I just have a vague idea of the town and the mystery that heroine will uncover throughout the story. I really don’t know how to move past that, but I suspect that part of my problem has always been a lack of discipline to just sit down and write the damn thing. I’d rather have 50,000 words of crap than 1,500 perfectly crafted ones. Which, if I am being honest, has always happened in the past. I get a story idea and I am really good about doing the research and crafting the world, but when it comes to populating it, I usually end up spending two writing sessions writing only about 2,000 words. Then, I get discouraged and I quit.

But not this month…At least, that’s the plan. Even if I do not finish 50,000 words, my goal is to spend 2 hours a day writing. I have this next week for the last bits of my planning and whatever doesn’t get planned will have to be decided on the fly as I write.

I don’t even need a cohesive story (although I am going to try) – I just want a complete manuscript with something that resembles a beginning, a middle and an end. I will update at least once a week to track my progress.

I’m putting my plan out there in the hopes of keeping myself accountable. So, here’s to hoping that I don’t have to eat my words.  

Categories: Planning, The Process | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Americans

The_Americans_2013_IntertitleSo, the novel is…well, I’m thinking about it. Why does life have to get in the way like it does?  So many other things to deal with throughout the day. And I’m a master procrastinator, and what does this procrastinator do to facilitate the procrastinating? She watches television!

I just finished watching the first episode of The Americans. When I first saw the trailer for this show, I was definitely intrigued, but I wasn’t totally sold. Well, throw it in the bag, because they’ve convinced me to buy!  Having grown up in the 1980’s I adore this show and can totally relate – the music, the cars, the outfits. I also think that having grown up in this time period, the show hits the nail on the head for me in terms of making me feel slightly uncomfortable rooting for the spies. As an adult, obviously, I have a different understanding of that time period and the players in the Cold War, but as a child, I just remember being scared that the Russians were going to drop a bomb on us. I wonder how others have reacted to it, particularly those under the age of 30.

The Americans

With this first episode the creators, writers and everyone else have done an excellent job balancing the human side of this couple with their reality and their conflicting loyalties. Add to that expertly executed suspense and I think this may be my favorite new show of the season. (I’m still a fan of 666 Park Ave., but since they’ve canceled that show and haven’t even aired the final episodes, my enthusiasm for it has most definitely waned.) I think I was expecting something drier and not quite as exciting.  Something more…historical? But, they seem to have the history in there, while making it exceedingly entertaining to watch. And that last scene!

The timing on this show also seems appropriate, as opposed to something like Zero Dark Thirty, which admittedly I don’t know much about, but seems to be in very poor taste, especially in light of that Esquire article. The creators of this show waited at least two epochs (the post-Cold War era and over a decade of our current era) before they created this show, which allowed them to create something that feels real instead of something that feels like propaganda. Well, as real as an undercover KGB spy thriller in which the FBI agent that is pursuing them lives next door can feel real. But, any which way you slice it, it is some damn fine television.

Edit:

After writing this post I had a quick look around at what some other bloggers are saying about this show.  My first impressions Continue reading

Categories: Miscellaneous, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2013 update so far

Boy, did I start out this year with a fizzle!

At the very beginning I was so motivated, so determined not waste any time.  I jumped into everything.  I started volunteering with this organization that would aid me in my software programming goal.  And very, very quickly I realized I was barely keeping up with my life and, despite having finished my dissertation, I still had no time to spend with my family.

Then a nerve-wracking day that I had been anxiously anticipating for awhile finally came and went – it was bittersweet, but not largely disappointing.  (Although, it is not officially resolved just yet, which is driving me crazy!)  Then, I lost my dear companion – our 9.5 year-old cat.  That happened less than a week ago and this is the first day (so far) that I haven’t cried over his loss.

I think I was scared about being finished.   Continue reading

Categories: Miscellaneous, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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