Writing–Rereading the Written

English: Page of a manuscript written by Penns...

I’ve got several manuscripts that I’ve written that have been hanging out, waiting for me to get back to them. Some of them are just first drafts; others have had one or two rounds of heavy-lifting revision done to them. All of them were put to the side so I could focus on something else.

Since I didn’t have much going this month, I decided to read them all to see what I had and get reacquainted with them.

It was interesting to see where I was as a writer a few years ago. I can pretty much tell what was going on in my life just by reading the manuscript. It’s fascinating. Nobody else would be able to pick anything up, but I guess because I wrote it and lived it, I know exactly where I was.

Looking at the pieces in a more professional, critical light, I’m happy to say that all of them are workable to an extent. I could make them all into something that you wouldn’t gouge your eyes out while reading. Which is reassuring in a sense. There will always be work waiting for me because I’ve got four manuscripts in various states just waiting to be finished.

And it won’t be a waste to work on them since there’s something worth working on there.

I admit to liking some more than others. Spirited in Spite and A Tale of Two Lady Killers have gone through a couple of heavy-lifting revisions and their stories are pretty good. Fun, quick little things that won’t require too much more lifting to finish.

The untitled Ivy novel should probably be revised down to a novella because I padded that thing pretty hard. The other POVs can go (though I might save Leo’s and rewrite it as a short story). Sticking to solely Ivy and shortening it up will do the story wonders. I might also end up changing the location. We’ll see.

American Vampires, I don’t care for. It’s only a first draft, a NaNoWriMo draft at that, so it needs A LOT of work. And I know what I was trying to do with the original attempt at a story, but I missed the mark. Of all the pieces, I like this one least and it will take the most work. Somehow, though, I think it might be worth the effort. Eventually. I’m in no rush to get back to it.

When I’m done with The World (Saving) Series, it looks like I’m all set for the next revision project. I’ve got plenty to choose from.

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Writing–NaNoWriMo 2011 Thoughts

This year’s Nano was interesting.

As you may remember, I went into the month with only half of my outline done. Despite this, I still managed to hit 50,000 words in 16 days, making this my 5th NaNo win in eight years.

It was when I was doing the last half of my outline that I realized that I was just going in circles. I wasn’t getting anywhere with the story for the sake of a word count. I figured that so long as I hit 50K, I was good.  60K was my goal, but if I fell short while wrapping up with story in a satisfactory way, it was worth it. I figured I’d hit about 55 or 56K.

I finished the first draft of American Vampires on November 20th at 62,000 words.

Yeah, I’m a real good judge of my story. Oops.

The story itself is okay. I can’t say that I’m in love with it, but that could also be that I’m kind of bored with Stanley. Remember, I wrote about him last year and I’ve done a few short stories with him. So it’s possible that my burnout is clouding the quality of draft I have to work with.

There’s also the possibility that pushing myself to finish as early as possible fried my brain.

The point is that I’m done, I have yet another novel-length draft to work with, and I can forget about it for a month.

Or more.

Ah, bless NaNoWriMo.

Writing–NaNoWriMo 2011 Project

This year for Nanowrimo, I’m once again journeying into The Outskirts and once again writing about Stanley Ivanov, ugly shirt wearing vampire.

The novel is called American Vampires and it revolves around the possible existence of three, well, American vampires and what should be done with them. Stanley, his girlfriend Neda Kovar, and arch rival Nathan Vacek are sent to Mesa, Arizona by elder vampire Andrei Carp to track them down and deal with them. Unfortunately, two “hunters”, brothers Zeb and Zeke Heller, have been sent to Mesa to deal with the vampires, too.

Hilarity, bickering, violence, and blood-drinking ensue.

My goal for this novel remains the same as in previous Nanos. I aim for at least 2,000 words a day, 2,000 words to a chapter, with a target of a 60,000 word finished product with 30 chapters (it makes the math so easy). I’ve already got about a 4,000 word cushion in just this first week. I’m hoping that by doing an extra chapter or two on the weekends, I’ll be done before Thanksgiving again this year.

One thing I’ve deviated from this year is my outline. In previous years, I’ve had the outline done and ready to go for Nano. This year, I only had it about half done. So at some point, I’m going to have to outline the last half of my novel. I’m thinking that since I tend to leave the outline a little bit during the actual writing of the story, it might help in later drafts if the second half of the novel goes off of what was written.

It was planned this way, it just kind of happened due to laziness and apathy. I spent plenty of days in October in “I don’t feel like it” mode and ended up working on other things instead. I hope it doesn’t end up costing me.

Some days have been easier than others. I think yesterday stands as an accurate prediction of what this novel is going to be like. My plan was to do at least 3,000 words to add on to my little cushion. It took me over three hours to milk 2,000 words out. It was like trying to get juice from a turnip, just painful and pointless. I went out to dinner with some friends, came home, made some hot chocolate, and then managed another 2,000 words in an hour with no pain at all.

I’m just hoping for more of the latter than the former.

Writing–October Projects

It’s getting into my writing busy season.

NaNoWriMo is coming up, which means I’ve got to start planning for it. The loose idea I’m kicking around right now is another Stanley novel called American Vampires. It would involve Stanley, Neda, and Nathan hunting down a trio of, well, American vampires that may or may not exist and may or may not be living by the unwritten vampire code (it’s all hearsay and Nathan’s the one doing most of the hearing and saying and since Stanley doesn’t trust Nathan, well…).

I’m also going to continue revising The World (Saving) Series. I finally got chapter one done after starting over. It’s still not great, but it’s a lot closer to what it needs to be and it’s good enough that I can move on.

Also on tap is more work on The Outskirts site. I need to, at the very least, get some bios up on some of the characters that inhabit the universe and try scratching out some ideas on some of their stories. I’m not expecting miracles when it comes to getting anything accomplished, but I need to get something done. It can’t just sit there.

And lastly (told you it was my busy season), I’ve got an idea for a memoir and I’m going to start jotting down some ideas for it. I have no idea if I’ll even write it, but it’s not going to hurt anything if I do some brainstorming on it. Who knows? If I decide not to do it, I’ll at least have something to come back to if I change my mind.

So, those are the writing projects on tap for October. I’ve got to get my butt out of low gear and into high.