Friday, December 24, 2010

Some Christmas Cheer

Due to holiday mayhem and deadline accumulation, I shall present you with some multi-cultural and hilarious Christmas cheer. Enjoy:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paul Cornell on E-Books & Illegal Downloading

Paul Cornell has a wonderfully detailed post on e-books and then illegal downloading. Illustrates a rather interesting development. Here is an excerpt:

It's hard, these days, to tell people they've done a minor wrong. Because one is now either a saint (or whatever the atheist version of that is) or a pedophile. Illegal download sites look perfectly normal, and ominous orchestral tones don't strike up when you visit one. 'Everybody' does it, and people who do are often quite surprised at the thought that they're doing something wrong. But they are. A small thing. They're each stealing small sums of money from creators. But put those minor wrongs together, and they become an enormous problem. Vilifying these people rather than educating or preventing them will just convince them that their minor wrong is cool and rebellious. A lot of them tell themselves that already. They're sticking it to the man. The trouble is, the man in question is me. And those like me.

The rest is [HERE] It's eye opening.

Monday, December 20, 2010

[State of the Writer] I wish I could say I wrote new words, but you know that's not the case

There is a funny thing about productivity. When you manage a great deal in just one week, you think 'hey, I can do this again and again' and lulled by this sense of security in one's own ability to combat procrastination YOU assign yourself too much to do. The inevitable result is the bitter taste of failure on your mind's metaphorical taste buds. *intense music*

Kinda like what I did to myself. If you ever want to learn how to sabotage yourself, this is it and I make a great tutorial for it. Though I was optimistic and the goals were doable. What I didn't at all consider had to be whether "Rabbit Heart" would easily give in, when it came down to edits. I knew how I wanted the story to look and to feel, yet it was static and had to be revised. Brand new opening scene and etcetra. I thought it'd be easy... Took me the whole week, around ten re-reads and making all the pages bleed with red and blue to get it right. I think at some point I had a very high blood pressure, because the story played hard to catch. But you know, after filling all the cracks and chopping off one third of the material, it was done.

Apart from that, no new story, no new chapters. Coincidentally those are my newest goals for the week.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Thoughts on "On Writing" by Stephen King [Part 2]

As promised I'm continuing with my thoughts on Stephen King's "On Writing". In the first post [HERE] I look at the memoir aspects of the book, while here I'll focus more on the actual advice and instructions King provides.

As Charles Gramlich said in the comments, "On Writing" isn't an actual book on writing. To a point I have to agree with him. Even when King discusses writing and tackles all the necessary for a budding writer building blocks he gives examples through his fiction. He distances himself from abstractions or a lengthy list of rules one must apply while writing.

In about one hundred or so pages King covers the nature of writing, vocabulary, grammar, dialogue, paragraphs, structure, pacing, characters, plot, story, themes, descriptions and editing. Is this enough? For veteran writers with several manuscripts under their belts [be they published or not] supposedly not really, but "On Writing" is the perfect book on the art of writing for new writers. Probably those writing book one or two or those planning to sit down and write their first novel.

"On Writing" lays the easy-to-grasp fundamentals in each category. King does so without overcomplicated explanations and remains honest about it. Two concepts King backs up through the whole bulk of his book. King advocates for simplicity. When he talks about word use and vocabulary King emphasizes on the context. One of his rules is to never use big words for the sake of sounding erudite. In the chapter for descriptions, King advises to be minimalistic, employing only key details in key positions. When he talks about direct speech and how to introduce it, King is adamant that 'he said/she said' suffices.

As far as truth goes, King delivers it on many levels. First, he is big enough to admit that whatever works for him probably won't work for others, which is true, because I have not the slightest intention of agreeing that outlines kill the spontaneous act of creativity. You'll never read 'You should do this or that', you will read 'What I do here is this or that' or 'it's this and this that work for me'.

On employing truth in writing King comments when explaining one of the sacred cardinal rules 'Write What You Know'. It's important to understand that this rule does not restrict the writers to topics they have dealt with, because which writer has ever slain zombies or dragons with weapons [be they makeshift or enchanted]. No, the rule binds writers to be honest in the emotions they portray. As long as you are not faking the fear of the zombie horde your protagonist has to face, then all is a-okay. For the rest there is research.

This is it. In short. Hope this didn't turn into a 'too long; didn't read'.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Thoughts on "On Writing" by Stephen King [Part 1]

I planned on doing a regular post on reviewing books that dealt with writing, but seeing how I review books for about seven websites, I don't think that is a promise I can keep, so I'll make this rare bordering on may not possibly happen again. Interlude over, I've chosen "On Writing" by Stephen King.

I'll review "On Writing" in two parts, since the it's essentially a hybrid between a memoir and a manual on writing. I'm starting with the memoir sections.

What I love about "On Writing" time and time again is how it doesn't read like a textbook. It's not extremely focused on the craft as other how-to books on the market and while it's a drawback for writers who want in-depth advice and a tutorial, you should really pick it.

More than the half the book pieces together King's past, his childhood, his adolescence, his college years and the years before becoming... well, King.

There is no direct lesson. "On Writing" easily reads like a memoir and for all King fans I imagine it will be a treat. However, apart from learning more about King, there are subtle points that he makes. I group and label those into an 'emotional workshop'. For starters, sharing all his personal tidbits and how his ideas form underlines how different all writers are and while the market is influenced by trends there is no master mold.

Your big break maybe won't be through a novel, but through short stories. Or vice versa. I can even say that you could very will be published with your experiment in a different genre, for a different audience or a different medium [King has written for newspapers as a young one]. Your introduction to the publishing industry depends on chance. It may be months after you've decided to pursue this path or it may take years.

King's also saying that every writer will differ from every other writer on the planet. Every writer is a conglomeration of experiences and it's guaranteed that every writer's voice will be strictly individual. What else comes with this individuality?

The confirmation that universal advice on writing is non-existent.

But perhaps the most imporant advice here is to never give up, when pursuing a career in writing [or in any art for that matter]. This is mentioned in the first one hundred pages, in which King describes in detail how he worked in a laundry shop before his big break. Up until that point, Stephen King was not much unlike any of us, doing something we don't like so that we don't starve and support a family. You don't know whether your dream is a realistic one. No matter how bleak the situation may feel, the lesson is to keep writing.

Some writers give up after bitter disappointment, but once you've started and you KNOW there is nothing other than writing, it's better to keep going. Because you never know.

In the postscript, King relays how he was run over, his hospitalization, his fear that he may not live long enough to see his wife, how writing managed to bring him back to life. I think this is not much what you have to do for the sake of writing, but what writing has to do for you. Writing has to be fun. Writing has to uplift you. Writing has to keep you sane, while you drag other people through hell. Writing has to save you.

If writing does all that for you, then it's worth all the sacrifices you are willing to make for it. The forceful late night writing sessions, when you feel like crap. The nerves of getting it wrong. The pain of rejection. All worth it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

[State of The Writer] I'm semi-rocking it

Let's see... I stated last Monday that I wanted to write a completely new short story "Rabbit Heart" for the 20 Spec Anthology. The goal has been met. At a little able 4,000 words I have a very rough draft. The issue is that there is no direction, no spine to it. The story is a cephalopod at the moment, wrapping its tentacles around every possibility without deciding on one.

This week's challenge will be inserting the spine [direction] and I have an idea on how to do that [it involves the MC's hair]. I even know how I will manage to stay below the 5,000 word restriction, which I feared I would pass. It was a very helpful post by Matt Delman [HERE] The post addresses steampunk as a genre, but it has sage advice "if it doesn't serve a purpose, get rid of it", something I need to do with my pretty descriptions.

In addition to this I want to start on my Lovecraftian horror story set in Japan.

Last week, I said that I will be editing my novel. So far Chapter 1-12 are the ones I managed to edit. Wordcount-wise that is 15,000 words in the novel. I write short chapters, because I feel that the shorter the chapters the faster the novel will be read. This illusion of a fast pace is what I need since the build-up towards the action is slow and that is a bit fatal with UF as a genre. At the least the Buffy sub-category of it [not that I am writing a Buffy story, no, I'm writing a Willow story].

Among getting on board & editing three chapters this week [modest goal because all the other chapters are written in a journal and have to be transcribed AND edited], I will have to actually administer the changes on Chapters 10 to 12, because I had to rearrange dialogue and some info-dumping AND did those on paper.

Like last week, I aim to write a story for the Friday Flash. I think people really do like my funny superhero.

BUSY week ahead. What are your plans?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

[Blog Spot] 'I Should Be Writing' run by Mur Lafferty

It's been a while, since I've done a Blog Spot post. They are pretty much the direction of this blog, promoting the websites that aid in my writing and why they can be beneficial for yours. I am aiming for a weekly post every Sunday, starting now.


This Sunday I've picked "I Should Be Writing" a podcast for writers run by Mur Lafferty. I was introduced to Mur's own brand of awesomeness on Twitter through my friend @ghostfinder, who has been following this podcast since it's first episode. That is in on itself a feat, because the show is currently at episode #173. That is what I call dedication.

"I Should Be Writing" opens with a fun song by John Anealio, which will make you smile as it hits close to home [I'm talking about procrastination, people]. Then there is a short segment called the State of Mur, where Mur shares what she has accomplished and what she struggles with or has overcome. After this, the episode has a two part structure.

In the first part Mur tackles an aspect of writing, be it characterization, worldbuilding or software. The second part is where things get interesting as Mur interviews an author, who writes and has published in the speculative genre. What I love about these interviews is that Mur tries to encompass everything about writing. What the author's routine is, the publishing industry and the author's experience, general geek talk and advice.

Yes, episodes may vary from 30 minutes to an hour. I generally don't listen to podcasts. I'm a bit ADD to pay close attention so the length of some of the episodes are a test for my will, but they are so worth it. Mur has a pleasant voice and it's a pleasure to listen to her and she gets it. She knows and if you are serious about this whole writing deal, then she's worth your time.

A few more details. While discussing a wide range of topics "I Should Be Writing" focuses more on the craft and the advice is geared towards speculative fiction writes.

Friday, December 10, 2010

[#FridayFlash] With Leotard and Cheerleading Baton in Hand

I'm back with the followup of my humorous super hero story called "Worst Superhero Story Ever" At the end of the story I left the heroine Amelia with her newly handed symbol of office, namely the fabled baton and leotard of power. Oh, and a lot of loaded guns pointed at her. How the heck will she get out of this one?

"With Leotard and Cheerleading Baton in Hand"
by Harry Markov

“Oh my god! What is that on my lap?!”

As far as improvisations went, this one wasn’t half that bad. All the bad guys postponed their trip to Trigger Happy land to look at my lap, distracted by the white blot that was my leotard.

I used the moment to bolt to the right, both leotard and baton clasped in my hands. The goal was to reach the stacked crates and try to Houdini myself into the leotard, while handcuffed.

Gun shots mercilessly followed and I found myself dodging bullets. Among zigzagging and praying I didn’t get hit, I found myself performing cartwheels, front aerials, handsprings and roundoffs. Go team ‘Survive this Night Goddamnit’. Ra-Ra-Ra!

Surprisingly, I took cover without getting shot. Perhaps the first thing I’d write in this thing’s manual would be that the leotard gave the wearer super magic acrobatic acts without wearing it beforehand. No wonder that Robin, the Boy Wonder pranced around in tights.

Squatting with the leotard and the baton bundled in my hands I wondered how to get out of the cuffs. At this point I was numbed with the absurdity of this problem to worry how close to home the bullets hit. What I needed was a key. I didn’t see how else I could free my hands. I was no handy woman to work with tools and there were no tools in sight (well, other than the assholes with the guns that is).

Thinking it over and not finding a solution freaked me out a bit (a lot more than I’d admit it), but not as much as the baton growing smaller and lighter. Now, that pushed all the wrong buttons at the wrong time. The baton disappeared in the leotard and when I searched for it, I found a pair of keys for the handcuffs.

Deus Ex Machine to the rescue! No three words had made me happier in my life (other than the ‘Monthly Ex-Husband’s Allowance’ combo). I unlocked the cuffs and crouched around just as the goons grew the balls to follow me to the crates. There was something unsettling about this ‘in the nick of time’ business. I could’ve very well dined there and the only disturbance would have been the damage to my hearing.

The octogenarian planed on teaching me a lesson, so I wouldn’t die per se, but spending all my time in a gun fight didn’t rank at the top of my list for fun Sunday night outings.

I somehow moved to a different hideout position without getting shot. It seemed to me that I would do a lot of things in a somehow fashion, but I’d work it. I always did.

In all honesty, the leotard proved a lot more difficult to put on. I had to strip (the weather did not make this pleasurable), then the blasted thing caught on my…eh…muffin top (more hours in the gym, yey! Not.), then I came face to face with a shotgun barrel.

“Any last words, sweetheart?” The man holding the shotgun smiled, winked (in response I swallowed my bile or else he’d come face to face with projectile vomit) and prepared to kill me, though his motive still remained a mystery.

In the mean time I held the keys in my hand and was prepared for a second test run.

“Yeah, sure. Just one.”

I lifted the hand with the keys to his groin, which was really below his shotgun and in his blind spot. Really, because every gangster had to squint with one eye aligned with the barrel two feet from the target.

“Taser.” I yell and immediately feel how the keys grow into the familiar taser (every reputable businesswoman had one).

I shot. The wires darted. As they made contact with his crotch, I rolled out of the way (the leotard’s survival instinct, not mine) and the rest was a Home Alone action sequence. The shooter’s crotch was electrocuted. He fired at nothing and then curled up in pain.

With a single tug, I pulled the lifeless wires from him and ignoring my heavy accented muffin top I turned around towards the majority of bad guys, who just stood there (the power of the leotard). I might have been a sight. Sneakers, leotard… nothing else actually.

“You guys are the most inefficient henchmen in the world. I’d fire you if you worked for me.” I said in my most hardcore movie voice.

As they drew their guns, ready to take me out (personally, I’d lost confidence in them as enemies) I aimed the taser at the majority, hanging wires and all.

“Rocket launcher,” I said and sure enough, the taser elongated until one end rested on my shoulder and the loaded end faced the guys.

“You really want this to go down?” I asked. In my mind I tried to sound bad-ass, but then again I must have sounded constipated (that thing weighed a ton and I had no upper body strength at all).

The clatter of weapons on the floor answered my question as the tough guys made an exit, stage right, never to be seen again.

“Baton.” I commanded and huffed as the launcher shrank to the familiar baton.

God, what a Monday morning.

I placed a hand on my hip, thinking that this was the beginning of a super hero career that would totally damage my business life. Oh, and the muffin top reminded me about a renewed gym membership for I would have to avenge the streets with a leotard and a baton in my hand.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I learned from reading H.P. Lovecraft

I'm trying something new here. Most blogs on writing handle writing almost exclusively. I read more about writing advice and theories behind writing, while at the same time I don't see reading mentioned anywhere.

Isn't one of the main advices to read and try to learn about fiction, about what can be done and what is best avoided through someone's already published work? I know that another rule says that you should never try to copy, but still as a writer you read to grow. It's why I'm starting the semi-regular feature [the feature with no schedule] Learn from the Great Ones. Whenever I pick a book written by a household name or a name that rings all the right bells given a genre or movement, I will list in short the lessons I learned during my reading.

Last week, I focused on Lovecraft as part of my research for a Lovecraftian horror short. I went to the source to test the waters. Here are the things I learned from this master of the horror genre.

The Good:

~ Lovecraft understands the psychology of human fear, possibly because he had felt afraid most of his time. It all bowls down to the unknown. Not knowing can mean that whatever is threatening you be it human, animal or something organic, yet not from our world can be anything. Not knowing means that you can't figure out an exit strategy. Not knowing is translated to being helpless, a victim, prey. This is useful in times, when I want to recreate genuine fear.

~ Lovecraft knows how to enhance the unknown by smearing out all details except those he deems essential. In "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" Lovecraft is focused on the evil that is the character James Curwin, so he simply states how horrific the chimeras he built are rather than giving descriptions. In "Shadow over Innsmouth" he gives descriptions of the unnatural Innsmouth look as well as the depth-dwellers, because this race is central to the story's development. This is a technique to use in combination with the previous lesson.

The Bad:

~ Lovecraft can't write dialog and that's it. Period. In "The Colour out of Space" a dying farmer spends an entire paragraph in chaining senseless words separated with ellipses. I've yet to read someone's death bed speech delivered in this manner. The closest Lovecraft has come to writing direct speech is in "Shadow over Innsmouth", where the drunkard of Innsmouth engages in a drunken monologue.

~ Lovecraft's paragraphs are monolithic. He places blocks of text atop other blocks and I made miserable progress. It's a lesson in how to structure my work so that it is engaging and not a chore to read, because the less there is on a page, the less clogged the mind is during the act of reading. King said that, I think I can trust Stephen King on that, especially when I tried and tested it.

What are the lessons you learned from the big names in your genre?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ready, Set, Write... and Edit on the multiple projects I have in mind

Guess the witch!

NaNoWriMo is over and so is the celebratory weekend filled with doing nothing. My wrists had to rest a bit and I also have family return home for the weekend, so there. I have perfect excuses to justify not-writing. All of which end now.

I've jotted down ideas for my 1920s inspired mythological story called "Rabbit Heart". It's a story especially written for an anthology called 20Spec: Speculative Stories of the Roaring Twenties. It's a secret so far, but it has a very famous witch from mythology appear. I've also planned this one to fit in the "Lungs" concept of Florence and the Machine inspired shorts. I have to keep it under 5000 words, which will mean that I will use some dream logic to weave in all the elements I've envisioned.

In the spare time... Okay, that was a lie. My main focus will always be revising "Crimson Cacophony", a novel neglected when NaNo came. I kind of dread it, because it will involve retyping it from the journal I wrote it in. Several months of journal pages. But then again, if it was not for the journal I would not have finished it at all.

So what are you working on?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Write or Die: The Essential Tool for First Drafts

I've always complained what a slow writer I am. I have a friend, who can type up to 10 K in one sitting for about three hours, if I remember it correctly and don't exaggerate. I have a different one, who covers up to 2000 words in an hour. On Twitter I discovered a writer that does 3000 words in one hour. Me? I can do 1000 words per hour at best. Pretty slow and time inefficient, if you ask me.

However, thanks to Mighty Mur I discovered the ultimate tool for first draft writing. If the goal you as a writer pursue is speed when typing and generating wordcount for first drafts only, then this is the tool for you. I admit that quickly slapped-on words aren't the answer to solving your writing problems. A lot of people live by the words 'quality over quantity' and I agree. However, writers need to produce [it's a given that you will edit later on] and first drafts are meant to suck.

I'm a slowpoke. By the time I'm done with the first draft of any project my heart is not as invested in it. My mind is already chasing the newest shiny. I need to seize the story by the horns and get it out before my muse distracts me. Write or Die came as a blessing, when things with NaNoWriMo were going downhill. It helped me reduce my writing time by a double. I can [optimally] write 1000 words in just a bit over 30 minutes.

BUT what is Write or Die?

Write or Die is a free, browser-based software. Its purpose is to keep you writing. It's very proficient at it. But first, the basics. You manually set the wordcount goal and the time frame. The website offers you several modes of operation.

Gentle mode lets you know you've stopped writing with a pop-up message. Normal mode has an annoying demonic baby scream on a loop, whenever you slack and the Kamikaze mode actually deletes the words you have writen, if you rest for too long. Electric shock mode is the only mode that doesn't work on the free website version, perhaps the people, who use the downloadable paid software know what it is.

Then you can also determine your grace period. If you want more time to think, therefore stop to think more, then go with Forgiving and raise the bar to Evil.

I personally go with 1000 words set for 48 minutes [so that I can be smug, when I write 1,500 words] set on Kamikaze and Evil. Yes, I'm heartless towards myself.

After you are done with those hit WRITE button and you get transported here. if you have difficulty seeing the image in detail, which I'm positive you will, click to enlarge and see what I'm talking about:

You have a word counter on the right lower corner and a timer on the left. You write the text in the box. You have two buttons on the upper right side of the page. The Pause can be used only once, so beware when and why you use it. You can stop the timer and through that prevent any negative consequences like the screams and deletion of words. The other button is Done.

When you slack, your first warning sign is a gradual reddening of the screen like this. This is very helpful, because the website gives time for you to prepare and avoid any of the consequences:

When you are finished, you press Done and you get transported here:

As you see the text is formatted and ready to be copy-pasted in MS Word or whatever you fancy as text processor. As a bonus you even receive widgets with your wordcount and the time you managed it in.

Write or Die has become my essential go-to tool for generating high wordcount, when I'm in need for many words quickly. My advice is to use it for first drafts and for stories, in which choosing the right words is not of the utmost importance [as with high concept, dream-world stories or stories with a highly specific voice that needs paying attention to]. It keeps my brain awake and thinking.

I wouldn't recommend this to people, who paralyze when they see a timer or any other negative stimuli. Write or Die is aimed to buzz you into action, but if your psyche is all about defense and not the offense, I'd suggest you skip this product.

Do you use Write or Die? Do you think of using it?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Process Porn, Organic Writing & Post-NaNoWriMo

Since I will take you into the land of writing [where fantasies come true], I've decided to set the mood with illustration of La Fontaine's Fabled by David Kawena

As promised, I will talk about my experiences with NaNoWriMo and the discoveries I made about my writing process. For starters, the end is quite fresh in my mind and I learned from it that I experience burnouts, when I conquer the middle [the place that temps me to quit, which I’ve done with two projects]. I beat the challenge. I feel satisfied with what I’ve achieved and then: who cares about the ending? I know how it ends… On to the next one, now please.

This is why this NaNoWriMo I pushed the last five to seven thousand words to descriptions of what is supposed to happen rather than showing it. It’s storytelling in its crudest sense. Like when you relay what happened in a cool movie to a friend, who is interested in it, but not enough to go watch it. Is it cheating NaNoWrimo? Perhaps, but it’s story telling nonetheless and it got me through the end, no matter how underdeveloped it is.

Lesson: After a month, I develop burnouts. Here, I think that I can develop a short story for a week or so and then return to the long project. Dave Brendon does this, but then again he is in the middle of an epic, so I guess that for him it’s a valid approach. What do you do to manage the burnouts?

It’s no secret that by the time I hit 20,000 words I had plot-wise finished my NaNo project. I just came to a certain point, where I couldn’t push the story any more. I stalled for two-three days and the epiphany hit me. I was done. The story was written. Not the actual story, but the gist of it. The main plot arc.

I went back to the drawing board, figured out what needed to be done and dived right back in. This time around I had the basic subplots lined up. The second time around I knew the story, so I could focus on the characters and I made some subliminal progress there. I may actually produce worthwhile to read characters… Can you believe it?

I still ended the NaNoWriMo and if I had not sketched out the last scenes I might have gotten a 65,000 word novel that was with better character development, basic arc and basic subplots. It’s novel-like, but it’s not a novel. It will be a novel, when I sit down and revise it.

However, this is an interesting process of layering. It’s not the strict linear approach, but not the chaotic ‘write the scenes you want’ approach either. I would have called this the weaving technique, but today I found this article by Juliette Wade called Sequence Outlining.

Here is an excerpt:

In sequence outlining, you start with events first and worry about calendar later. Often I start with a list of questions or suggestions that come directly from my sense of the demands of the story. Such as:

• Someone has to be the target of an assassination attempt.
• Sorn has to be part of some nefarious plan to influence the voting.
• Tagret has to learn that Selemei wants to expose his mother to the public eye.
• Tagret has to do something bad in order to save his girl from the candidate Innis.

Then I put my mind on how these things can be ordered relative to one another, and relative to other events I have in mind. I ask myself, "what would be the worst time for this thing to happen?" So for example, the worst time to learn that Selemei wants to bring attention to his mother would be just when Tagret realizes his mother is up to something that would put her in serious danger if she were to be exposed to scrutiny. That gives me a hint for another event, "Tagret realizes his mother is up to something," which I can then look for a place to add. Of course, I know that it must happen right before "Tagret learns that Selemei wants to expose his mother to the public eye." The two events now have a required relative sequence.

Technically, this is about outlining [I actually kind of outline in the same way, but not as focused as Wade does it, for I learn about my story as I write] and how you can arrange your scenes in a correct for the story sequence, but the principle is organic. You start with the main points and build upon them, which is what I do with my writing.

This is my process porn. I will most likely have to go through a few rounds of revisions, do a chart to get the plot write, bang my head to get the characters develop their own distinctive voices and then a heap of other things, but I trust that this is enough for me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I promise to say NO to my Muse and her Shinies

Pictured: The New Shiny

I promised process porn… The cogs and the wheels and the grease that make my stories tick tock. Yeah, be patient, it’s coming. Today I’ve an announcement to make. It’s a most solemn promise and has to do with my writing:

I swear to not start a novel project until it’s time for NaNoWrimo 2011. Exactly one year, if you decide to pardon my conscious miscalculation.

“But why, Harry?” cry the astonished readers.

I never ever finish anything that I start. If I do finish a first draft, then that remains unedited. If I do edit something, then I do not submit it enough or I don’t send it to beta readers to get additional feedback. It’s a catastrophe.

With my NaNo [semi]completed, I have five novel length [aspiring] manuscripts in a different state of chaos. Not to mention all the short stories I have neglected.

It’s semi-official, but here is what I want to achieve:

- Revise some novels
- Complete work on my short story collection
- Submit to more anthologies
- Revisit old and unfinished stories
- Do more Friday Flash

I will most likely make my projects and plans official, when December 1st pops up.

Anyway, tell me, do you think you radically need to change your routine and habits as well?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

[#NaNoWriMo] Not a Loser

November passed and with it died two things. NaNoWriMo and a whole lot of mustaches [go figure out what I mean]. I’m surprised that with what has been going off-screen I’ve managed to hit the big 50K, something which I doubted highly, until I found my first draft crutch, but I won’t be talking about tools today. So I won NaNoWriMo [see the magnificent badge I have here in this post and on my blog] and I discovered a lot about myself as a writer.

The wordcount: 50,057 words [I admit that I let myself go the third week and had to seriously make up for it, which is why my wrist hurts]

Nothing as a very tight deadline makes you experiment and also observe your behavior as you write that first draft. Even self-imposed, private deadlines don’t give the opportunity to learn about your writing habits, strengths, weaknesses and crutches. NaNo is effective, because you make a public commitment that keeps you busy and a short enough time frame to see how you react to road blokes or as I like to call it: subconscious self-sabotage [in short, the three S’s].

But I will spare you the process porn until Friday.

Right now, remains the question, whether I will try this next year. I’m definitely sure. With my new writing tool [Write or Die] I’m confident I will rock it next year.