November Projects aka NaNoWriMo 2015

nanowrimoIt’s that time of year again. Oh, yes. It’s time to put my butt in the chair and crank out 50,000 words (or more) in 30 days (or less).

This year I’m going back to writing an actual novel after two NaNos of doing novellas.

I’m heading back to Outskirts territory to write The End of the (Werewolf) Curse. This story will feature werewolf Paxton Perlman in a starring role and without his vampire buddy Stanley Ivanov at his disposal. Instead, he seeks help first from conjurer LittleJessie Witt and then from a coven of witches. It should be a good time. I’ve had this story bubbling in my head for a while and I think it’s ready to become words.

Unlike previous years, I’m not doing a detailed chapter by chapter outline. This used to be my go-to in past years of NaNo. After the first few years of failure, I found that if I had that detailed outline and new exactly what I was supposed to be writing that day, then I made my word count a lot easier. This has been my key to winning.

But, this past summer, when I wrote my novella-turned-novel (that STILL doesn’t have a title, for crying out loud), I didn’t have an outline. I just rolled with it until the end. I wrote without being sure of the end. And when I re-read it and revised it, I found that I’d done a pretty good job and I didn’t have to make too many story alterations. I’m taking this as a sign that I’m getting better as a writer, getting better at letting the story roll naturally without having to write everything down before hand to see where I’m going.

So, I’m sort of half-pantsing NaNo this year (“pantsing” refers to not using an outline, but writing by the “seat of your pants”). I have a basic outline and I know the main characters and I have a good idea about where the story starts. But I’m pretty hazy on where it ends and I only have a vague notion of how I’m going to get there.

This method worked very well this past summer to get 1,000 words a day. We’ll see how it works out when I’m trying to get 2,000 to 4,000 words a day (so far, so good).

Even if it doesn’t work the best, I’m confident that my skills will at least get me 50,000 words before Thanksgiving.

Optimism!

Go team!

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Writing–March Projects

English: A White Clover (Trifolium repens). Fr...

Something old, something new…I’m in the mood to pile a whole bunch of stuff on my plate right now and since I’m feeling so eager and willing, I’m going to go with it.

In the old category, revisions continue on The World (Saving) Series. I’m done with this round of serious business revisions, but I’m going to start from the top in a couple of weeks and go through it again. I’m getting pretty happy with the way everything is working out and I don’t think I want to do any more major changes to the story. Thank goodness.

Also in the old category, revisions on Night of the Nothing Man. I’m tightening things up and getting picky with the sentences. The goal is to have it up on Smashwords before the end of the month, which I’m pretty sure is going to happen without much trouble.

In the kind of old, but kind of new category falls a couple of short stories. They’re Outskirts stories that I’ve already written and intended to get up on the blog a while ago, but never got around to revising to completion. That’s going to happen.

In the totally new category, I’ve got an idea for another short story that I’d like to write and put up in the freebie section. Free reads are good reads.

And finally, in the classified files, work on the sooper sekrit project continues and I’ve added sooper sekrit project #2. In my continued effort to broaden my abilities, I’ve started work on a script. I’ve only completed one before and actually had quite a lot of fun doing it. I’ve got an idea (don’t ask) and I’m going to run with it and get some practice in.

Getting some of these things done is not an option. I’m running out of room on my plate to add anything else.

Writing–December Projects

Snow Cat

December is always a screwy month for me. I’m coming down from NaNoWriMo, I’m dealing with the holiday gauntlet, and in general my time and energy is in flux. I never know what to schedule for myself during December because I never know how this roller coaster month is going to work out. I either give myself too much to do, decide to take on projects that are too ambitious, or I don’t give myself enough and I end up feeling like a slacker.

I’ve decided to err on the side of slackerdom this time around. I think I’m going to end up working on some Outskirts stuff. I’ve got a Paxton story I’m working on and some ideas for some Maisie Day stuff. I’ve got this idea for a couple novellas as written by Maisie (since she is a writer, you know). I think that’s what my morning project is going to end up as and I think I’m going to revise and cut down the Ivy novel I wrote over the summer to be one of Maisie’s. I’ve also got an idea for another one, but I haven’t done anything with it yet.

Working on all of that is both productive, but also low-commitment in a sense. There’s nothing urgent about it.

I will also continue my quest for rejections. It’s because obvious that I’m not going to meet my goal of 50 by the end of the year since I’m sitting at 15 right now. But 20 is within reach and I’ve got five stories out and four ready to go. If I finish the revisions on “Just Visiting” (I’ve already done most of the heavy lifting), that’ll be five. I didn’t submit at all in November, didn’t even really look around much. I need to finish the year with a final burst.

Trust me. It only LOOKS busy.

Writing–May Projects

Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) flowers

This month is all about novels.

Okay, that isn’t entirely true. In my quest for 50 rejections, I’ll continue to review, revise (if necessary), and submit my short stories. I’ll also do another round of revisions on “Gone Missing” to try to get it into publishable shape.

But my main creative focus is going to be on two of my novel manuscripts.

The first doesn’t have a title yet so I’ve just been calling it The Ivy Novel since the main character’s name is Ivy. I started working on the first draft last month, taking a different approach. I outlined the first five chapters, wrote the first four, then revised what I wrote. I’m going to do this leap frog method of writing for this draft just to see how it works out for me after doing so many first drafts in the NaNoWriMo style.

Not that I’ll ever stop doing NaNo. I’m addicted to that self-competition. And I like revising a crappy first draft into something better. It’s a winner all-around. But, I also think I should explore as many methods as possible. It’s all in the pursuit of getting better.

I also intend to revisit The World (Saving) Series. I do not deny that I hit a wall when it came to revisions because while I knew significant changes needed to be made and I had a good idea what they were, I also felt like the manuscript was lacking something. Between work on The Ivy Novel (which has a slight connection to Series) and the magic of me getting ideas in the shower, I think I found my gimmick for the book. I want to test it out on the first few chapters of the revised manuscript to see how it works.

I’m looking forward to working on these two projects. I need to stop avoiding the work it takes to produce a good novel manuscript in favor of the more instant gratification of the short story.

It’s time for me to long-haul this with some focus.

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.

Writing–May Projects

April was neither a rousing success or a crashing failure. Adequate would be the best word for it. But getting the job done puts me in a good position for May.

Of course the big project continues. I only got one chapter revised on The World (Saving) Series last month so I have some serious ground I’d like to make up. I’m shooting for two, maybe three. Minimum.

I’ve got two short stories I need to review. “Another Deadly Weapon” and “Soul Sister” are on the agenda.

A new Outskirts story will be going up this Saturday (get “Wait ‘Til Next Year” read while you still can). I’ve got two that need to be revised and one of them will be going up.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but with falling behind on the novel revisions, it will be some serious work to not only catch up, but also get ahead. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been slacking on it and I need to change my ways. I need to rededicate myself to this project if only to say that I got through the first round of revisions.

Keep plugging away.

Stories By The Numbers

Submitted: 1 (“Such a Pretty Face” is still out)
Ready: 8
Accepted/Rejected: 0