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Saturday, January 31, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 31 FINISHED!

It's 12.49pm on Saturday the 31st January 2009 and I've just written the final words to a 50,000 word (52,389 word, to be exact) novel done in a month in the spirit of the NaNoWriMo project. In usual summary:

Words Written Today: 4630
Total Words Written: 52389

More thoughts on the whole thing in the next couple of days, but for now I'm off to Gaucho Grill for some Argentinian steak, then out to Bermondsey to get righteously pissed.


Carry on reading...

Friday, January 30, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 30

Words Written Today: 5191
Total Words Written: 47759

Day 29? Err...try 1043. Not exactly a banner day when I needed to be hitting near 3000 words.

But then came today. Pretty much all I did today was write, travel into town, meet Dana for lunch, write, wander back to Angel, write, come home. It's now coming up on 6pm, so I've still got the evening free.

What a relief it is to have gotten today under my belt. I'm well within sight of the finish line now, hopefully getting to the end tomorrow morning. I've had the end in mind the last week or so, so I should be able to tie it all up fairly quickly from here. All the key players are where they need to be and the big bad guy is at the gates. Him and his undead army.

Just to go a bit meta here for a second: my spell-checker doesn't recognise the word "undead". Peculiar.

Anyway, pretty much just a climactic fight to get out of the way and some sort of nice final chapter and we're done. And maybe I'll kill someone, because hey, why not?

Carry on reading...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 28

Words Written Today: 2388
Total Words Written: 41525

Nearly there! Below required today and I'm still a little worried about tomorrow, but I still have Friday up my sleeve, and I may have more time on Saturday than I thought if I need to take it. It's funny to think it'll all be over soon!

Carry on reading...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 27

Words Written Today: 3380
Total Words Written: 39137

Man down, man down!

Okay, so I missed a few days there. The weekend kinda took me by surprise, by which I mean "I did sweet FA". Made a paltry effort on Saturday, got pissed Saturday night, hung over Sunday morning, shattered Sunday night.

Needless to say, the daily word count required has taken a bit of a hike. A hike I'm pleased to say I've managed to overcome the last couple of days. Still, the old morning and lunchtime effort no longer quite does the trick. I'm now having to stop in to Starbucks on my way home for an hour or two each night and I'm a bit worried about how effective I'm going to be on Thursday. I've got Friday off if I need to make a last sprint, but Saturday I now have to work. So Friday should be it! Going to a party on Saturday night, so I plan to get bladdered. I mean...celebrate.

Storywise, what's to tell? I'm still not quite sure exactly how it's going to end, but I'm well on my way there. We're barrelling along to the finish now, fighting crocodile/bear hybrids in city sewers and so on. Funfunfun!

Daily count required now : 2715.75

Carry on reading...

Friday, January 23, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 23

Words Written Today: 1910
Total Words Written: 32665

Well, not great, but better than I thought I might do. I knew this week was going to be a bit of a washout and it hasn't disappointed in that regard. Well, I guess the final week will be the stressful race I didn't want it to be but expected it probably would be. Really, though, given most of my efforts so far have been confined to just the mornings and the odd lunchtime, I'm pretty confident that I can get it done.

Doug's birthday this weekend, so I expecting the mix of hangover and work will taint things a little on Sunday, but from Monday on, baby, I'm like greased writin' lightnin'!

Things I am learning:
- I'm not sure I enjoy writing fantasy. I also have a greater appreciation of those folks who write fantasy which is halfway decent (see: Joe Abercrombie). It's far too easy to fall into shitty cliche.
- I love writing horror. Love it. The scenes where things get a bit horrific are where everything comes alive for me, writing-wise. It's the stuff I'm happiest with, the stuff that writes itself the fastest, and the stuff that really fires my enthusiasm. A good signpost for the road ahead, then. Roll on, November!

Carry on reading...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 22

Words Written Today: 0!
Total Words Written: 30755

Well, as expected, today was a wash. Having planner for it, however, I don't feel so bad. I've also planned for no words next Thursday, but I'm beginning to feel I may not have the luxury...

I am, however, reading some good comics.

Oh, hey, Morgue and Cal are getting married this weekend. Congratulations to you both! Everyone think happy, congratulatory thoughts for them!

Carry on reading...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 21

Words Written Today: 1046
Total Words Written: 30755



Carry on reading...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 20

Words Written Today: 1416
Total Words Written: 29709

Bah! No time, no time! This week doesn't look like getting any better any time soon! I have the feeling next week is going to involve some heavy lifting, keyboard-wise.

Daily target (allowing for Thursdays off) now: 2254.5555555555555555555555555556

Carry on reading...

Monday, January 19, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 19

Words Written Today: 2594
Total Words Written: 28293

Ahh, very good. Had a nice, satisfying day today. Got my writing done first thing, moving halfway through from Tinderbox, which I always find to be filled with sullen, self-involved staff and similar people, to Starbucks, which at least gives me a free drip coffee refill now.

After that I went to see The Wrestler, which I thought was great. It really does all hinge on Mickey Rourke's performance, who is totally believable in the role. Submerges himself in it, one might say. Marissa Tomei is pretty good as well, giving the kind of performance critics like to call "courageous", which is to say she gets her kit off. But it's a good turn and its nice to see her back on the screen.

Bought myself the second book in Joe Abercrombie's First Law series as well. Haven't been so excited about a fantasy novel in a while. I love getting excited about new books. It's a shame it happens so little now I'm all grown up, even though there are more books around I want to read than ever before. Just not that many I get really excited about.

Not sure how tomorrow will go. Lunch and after work are both booked up, so I'll have to go for gold before work. Doubtful I'll hit the target though.

Carry on reading...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 18

Words Written Today: 1024
Total Words Written: 25699

Oh dear, just not on game today! Well, at least that puts me over the halfway mark, and only a few days over schedule. Not too bad, maybe I'll get this thing done after all.

I guess I'll have to pull it up in the next few days. I'm off tomorrow, so lets see what I can do (around maybe catching The Wrestler, of course).

Carry on reading...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 17

Words Written Today: 2258
Total Words Written: 24675

Another slow start this morning, but I wound up having a bit more time than I thought thanks to Alex sleeping in, so I still managed to get it done. I was sorely tempted to push through to the 25,000 mark, but I've run out of time today. Still, I suspect tomorrow might wind up a bit of a stinker, so it'll be nice to have something positive to report.

Busy day today, actually. Wandered around the Barbican, taking in the Museum of London while we were down there. Popped down to Cannon Street to have a look at the London Stone, then went wandering around the back alleys of the City. Popped out at Liverpool Street where we had a very late lunch before walking home via Shoreditch. Nice!

Carry on reading...

Friday, January 16, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 16

Words Written Today: 2127
Total Words Written: 22417

Well, that's worked okay.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to get to the target count today, but I had a bit of a late burst, so got it all done in one session this morning.

Anyway, not much time to get this down tonight, as I have a small window of opportunity to settle in and play some Fallout!

Carry on reading...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 15

Words Written Today: 684
Total Words Written: 20290

Well, another duff Thursday, but I guess I kind of expected it. As with last week I started too early to do anything before work and I don't take a lunch break on Thursday, so it was down to stopping off on the way home and doing some. I did make myself stop at Angel to write, but just couldn't get my thoughts together.

I've decided the sensible thing for me to do now is revise my daily count to exclude the remaining two Thursdays. I'll try and do something, but I won't rely on them. This gives me a couple of days off as well, which is no bad thing really.

SO: With 14 writing days to do 29,710 words, my daily target is now 2122.1428571428571428571428571429.

Shit a brick.

Carry on reading...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 14

Words Written Today: 1848
Total Words Written: 19606

Well, another morning where I thought I might crash and burn, but came in okay. I clipped the one thousand word mark in the morning, finishing at lunch in pretty good time. I'm certainly coming to favour one character over the others and find writing for him a good deal easier. Mind you, it helps that his story thread is the most action-fueled at the moment, all ghouls, chases and dramatic rooftop escapes. Well, not quite escapes yet, but next chapter...

Bit of a nothing comics week this week, though I'm not looking forward to being asked about the Obama issue of Amazing Spider-Man all day tomorrow. Let me fill you in: the main story of the issue is a nice Betty Brant character piece with poor art, the Obama back-up is predictably a bit lame with poor art and you are not going to retire on the proceeds from your Obama cover. Case closed.

Okay, better hit the sack. Tomorrow is gonna be another tough day to make myself write. I'm getting the idea in my head that I won't be home until 6 or 7, which should give me plenty of time to get stuff done even if I meet Andrea for a coffee first. That way I won't finish work and immediately think "Must get home and chill out". I'd like to get over the 20,000 mark at least!

Carry on reading...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 13

Words Written Today: 1454
Total Words Written: 17758

Bah! Just wasn't feeling it this morning. Lots of window gazing (including watching a woman right outside the window throw up - nothing untoward, I think she was just sick) with the occasional burst of "Fuck it, write something!"

I can't make my mind up as to whether this is going quickly or not. On the one hand the past week particularly seems to have flown by, but then in some ways it feels like I've been doing this an awfully long time...

18 days! 1791.2222222222222222222222222222 words per day!


Carry on reading...

Monday, January 12, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 12

Words Written Today: 1851
Total Words Written: 16304

Man, I'm feelin' the burn.

I've hit a point where the writing each day seems pretty daunting. The initial thrill of progress has died down somewhat and I'm too far from the end to feel it as any kind of inevitability. What's more, I'm about one third of the way through and I've no idea how it will end yet. Worse, I'm about one third of the way through and I still feel like I'm in the early stages. I guess by the standards of normal novel length I would be. The result of this will be a novella really. I think next time I do this (and I definitely will do it again in November) I'll bring the scale of it right back. A world-spanning fantasy of rebirthed gods and apocalyptic scenarios was maybe a little ambitious in scope. Still, it should be fun trying to wrap it up!

Today's writing was started before work and then finished at the Starbucks near Angel on my way home. I feel pretty good about actually making myself stop there to do it, as my natural instinct on winter evenings is to get home, eat and veg. I suspect if I'd gotten a bus home I wouldn't have done it, but walking makes it that much easier to stop in.

19 days to go. The halfway mark approaches! Daily target is now: 1773.4736842105263157894736842105

Up and attem, Atom Ant!

Carry on reading...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 11

Words Written Today: 2095
Total Words Written: 14453

Surprised myself a bit with this today, given I wasn't feeling it at all this morning. Cops buzzing on the building door at 1.30am for some kind of disturbance upstairs meant a piss-poor night's sleep and I felt it when I woke up. But once I sat down I didn't have any trouble at all, finishing up over the pre-work and lunchtime period. So, happy with that.

I'm starting to be a little concerned about how I'm going to wrap things up. To make matters worse I introduced a third major character today.I guess as long as I can wrap her quickly into what else is going on it shouldn't be a problem. There was always going to be a moment where the different threads converge.

In other news, my ghosts have now become zombies. Sort of. Though they may just be possessed. The initial ghost-like figure has become the embodiment of a kind of mad god-like figure from the ancient past. Things are slowly taking shape and hopefully there will still be some shred of internal logical consistency by the time I'm done.

Carry on reading...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 10

Words Written Today: 1459
Total Words Written: 12358

Well, another day below my target. I'm going to have to put in some good days over the next week to get back on track.

It would seem that my days off, for all the extra time I have to get things done, are actually going to prove harder than my work days, if only because it's that much easier to faff about.

I'll tell you what I did do today: play video games. More than I have in a long time. Played the X-Box Conan game. Played Fallout. Played Mario Kart, Wii Sports Tennis & Bowling AND did 30 minutes on Wii Fit. Gaming Babylon!

Okay...21 days to go, daily target now 1792.4761904761904761904761904762.

Ready? FIGHT!

Carry on reading...

Friday, January 09, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 9

Words Written Today: 1396
Total Words Written: 10899

Well, hardly the plucky fightback I was hoping for, but better than nothing I guess, with the added bonus of nipping over the 10,000 word mark.

I found I had real trouble getting into things this morning. I wonder if that had anything to do with the lack of time pressure. Normally I'm cramming time in before work and during lunch, so I'm more inclined to go for it. There was a lot more dithering this morning. In fact, I started at around 9am at the Starbucks down by Angel and by 11, when I had decided to head into town to catch a movie at 12.45, I had only done around 800 words. The rest was done across the road from the cinema in about half an hour before the session started. After the movie I had a bunch of domestic things to get done, so I pretty much gave up for the day then.

Saw Slumdog Millionaire, by the way, which was a nice little film. Well, maybe nice is an inappropriate word for most of it, but I did enjoy it a great deal. Not without some serious flaws (one particularly jarring time jump and a lack of chemistry between the leads being the main two irks for me), but what Danny Boyle film is? Also, I think Irfan Khan should be in as many movies as is humanly possible. God I loved The Warrior.

Carry on reading...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update Day 8


Words Written Today: 0
Total Words Written: 9493

Mama told me there'd be days like this.

I hadn't counted on Thursdays in my plan. Thursdays, being new comics day, are an early start for me and although I'm not doing the 11 hour Thursdays any more, even finishing at 3.30 they're still knackering. I don't take a lunch break and I don't get any chance to rest. Okay, boo hoo. But the long and short of it is that I couldn't sit myself down and write. I'm going to have to do something so that I've got the time set aside next week on my way home. One I get home, forget about it. What's gutting is that this should have been the 10,000 word mark day! Well, I'll try and regain some ground tomorrow.

Okay, so let's reassess. From tomorrow I have 23 days. I still have 40,507 words to go. So I have to do about 1800 a day from here on out. 1761.1739130434782608695652173913 to be fairly precise.

Ready? Fight!

Carry on reading...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 7

Words Written Today: 1779
Total Words Written: 9493

Fairly happy with today's progress. hell, I even had some good story ideas start to shine through. Not ones involving how I'm going to end this unfortunately, but enough to carry me through the next few days and I'm sure by then I'll have a few more. But today was good fun to write, as the horror element started emerging. Happily, I'm not finished with the chapter yet, so there will be more of the same to kick me off tomorrow morning. I do love writing about ghosts. Everything is better with ghosts.

I once shared a flat where I thought my room was haunted. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling as though someone was in the room with me. Sometimes I would wake up having flung my bedclothes at where I believed the person to be (always bottom right of the bed). I would leap out of bed and flick on the light, looking for them and only after a few moments would I then fully wake up and realise where I was. I would also dream that people were looking down at me and I couldn't move, as though I were on some operating table. I actually wound up moving out of the room into the lounge, where the dreams and unpleasant awakenings stopped straight away. I did eventually move back into the room and didn't have any repeat episodes, but I was on a roll for a while there.

But I digress!

Carry on reading...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 6

Words Written Today: 1535
Total Words Written: 7714

A little below today, but I actually did better than I thought. I did a panicked rush in the last part of lunch which seemed to pay off. Anyway, no blathering tonight as I'm late home and need to get some sleep. Sleeping badly lately. I'd like to say it was due to the fevered pitch of my stirring imagination, but actually I think it's just down to snoring.

Carry on reading...

Monday, January 05, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 5

Words Written Today: 1735
Total Words Written: 6179

Bit better today, though I do need to sit down and recalculate my daily target to make up for the shortfall yesterday and the day missed on the 1st. Managed to make some good progress this morning at Costa thanks to the lack of manic distraction and even managed to write some stuff that I thought was better than total rubbish. Rounded off at the Lord Clyde pub on my way home from work, where I returned to the level I had maintained previously. Still, the glimmer of decent writing in there was a heartening development.

Plot-wise things are still pretty vague. I haven't woken in the night with any particular Eureka moment, though I have figured out some of the details as to how our two main characters will actually meet. Which is progress.

Carry on reading...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 4

Words Written Today: 1143
Total Words Written: 4444

Not a great day's worth of words today, and certainly no great shakes in terms of quality. Still, ham-fisted and amateurish it may be, but it's chugging along. To what I still don't know, but I had a couple of ideas I noted down this morning on my way in that may bear some fruit.

The low word-count comes from a stunted morning thanks to a crazy (or possibly drugged-up) guy sat behind me in the Starbucks at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford St. Between his bouts of swearing, banging his table on the floor and playing one Gogol Bordello song over and over on his mobile (never played fully through, with the volume constantly adjusted up and down), I found myself a little distracted, so only got about 20 minutes done. The rest has been banged out this evening at home, but to be honest neither evenings nor being at home are very conducive to me getting things done. Still, I managed to only come in just over 450 words below my target for the day, so not too bad in terms of catching up later.

Not counting the day's worth I have to make up for the 1st, of course...

Carry on reading...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 3

Words Written Today: 1679
Total Words Written: 3301

All action today! The second (technically third, though the first is only two sentences long) chapter, introducing a new character or two. I say or two, as I may or may not use one of the other characters later on. When I actually have a clue what I'm doing. Actually, I am starting to float some bigger ideas on the table beyond "fill this chapter", which will be handy when it comes to the whole "plot" nonsense: that point beyond which I can't just keep introducing new characters in new situations.

As for the writing, I must say that I feel appalled by the level of it, though I hope it's just a case of cracking the joints, as it were. Not that I should expect any kind of masterpiece given the time constraint.

Speaking of time, it's nice to find myself in that time-compressing writing groove again, even though I'm not thrilled at the idea of my pre-work and lunch time zipping by so quickly.

How are you other people faring? Mark? Andrea? Morgan? Leon? Justin? Bruce? Sharla? Jon (if you had inspiration)? Anybody?

Carry on reading...

Friday, January 02, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 2

Words Written Today: 1622
Total Words Written: 1622

Phew! Not too difficult to hit the count today. I imagine the problems will come at the point where I have to actually start tying things together. I've taken a "wing it" approach to this, and I'm not sure if it's one I will take again if I try this in November. Until this morning I really had no idea what I was going to do. I had been vacillating between fantasy and horror, just for the fact that they were genres I could sink my teeth into and have some fun writing. On the walk down to Angel this morning I settled on a fantasy/horror mash-up and had an opening sentence, as well as a name for the protagonist. Then as I wrote the first chapter, it all started to change. By the time I had hit the word limit, it had morphed into a weird kind of fantasy/Indiana Jones type of thing. I suspect it'll veer back to horror, but right now it's taken quite an unexpected turn, which is kind of exciting.

How is it? Bloody awful, truth be told. Full of holes already, glossing over certain practicalities (the ins and outs of desert travel isn't really my forte) and not particularly well written. The tone strays a bit and I'm not sure the single character I've introduced so far is convincing in the slightest. I'm sure looking back on it later I'll find myself being a little kinder, but right now it feels like a pile of shit. But I couldn't be happier, because I've started, and in starting it has all become a great deal more achievable. Not to mention the fact that, clumsy or no, there are already salvageable ideas going on.

So, I'm underway! The 1600 word/day target has led to me adopting a 1600-ish word/chapter approach, which feels like a nice breakdown. Not hard and fast as a rule, but it makes it feel like I'm writing a very short story every day.

Let's see how positive I'm feeling tomorrow, eh?

So come on fellow JaNoWriMo people! How are you doing?

Carry on reading...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

JaNoWriMo Update Day 1

Words Written Today: 0
Total Words Written: 0

Not a cracking start, but then I had suspected this day would be a write-off (har har). So, kick it into gear tomorrow morning! Scarily, I still haven't decided what I'm going to write. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Okay fellow JaNoWriMo folks! Gimme an update in the comments below.

Carry on reading...