Saturday, November 29, 2003
Vaguely meaningful milestone passed!
Well, and there it is, I guess. My Attempted Novel, still not yet renamed something other than Bard Wars, has reached the 50,000 word mark and is officially a National Novel Writing Month Winner.
Check it out, they gave me a nift graphic, which I guess I'll put on the NaNo page next time I update it (which will be when Chapter 8 is done, which might be in a couple more days):
Yep. Guess that makes me a Winner all right. Now all I have to do is keep the momentum up and knock off the next 40 or 50K before I take three weeks off at Christams and then probably become distracted for most of January by house selling.
Speaking of houses
Fi and I went out looking at houses again today, just in case the perfect place had suddenly come onto the market. And just look at what we saw on offer. The ol' Perkins place! We just had to check it out.
It's had some fantastic work done on it - you would literally not recognise it as the same house once you got past the door. All the carpets have been removed and the hardwood floors have been polished. Ducted gas heating has been installed. The trees that made it dark down one end of the house (and let the cats into Jimbo's room) have been cut down. The kitchen has been ripped out and turned into a spare bedroom, the dining and lounge have merged into a single living area, the laundry had been completely gutted and turned into a supremely modern kitchen (and the laundry has been relegated to the bathroom), and Jimbo's room has been replaced with an ensuite! Sweet! They've even extended the outside landing by a couple of feet and ripped out several tonnes of ivy.
This is, mind you, the cold, dark, cramped ice box we lived in for several years - and it's the best place we've looked at since we started going to open houses. The only thing stopping us from putting an offer in right there was the fact that we really don't want to move back to the south side of town at the moment. And even that might not be enough to stop us, in the unlikely event that it's still on the market when we're really ready to buy.
But anyway - woah! De ja whatsit. I could have sworn I've been there before, but it wasn't familiar...
Friday, November 28, 2003
Last day but one
Not really, because the novel's only half done, but it's 10:30 on Friday night and I'm totally knackered, so the final burst of 2500 words to get me over the NaNoWriMo line will have to wait until tomorrow sometime. I should get to the finish with a day to spare, which is just as well as tomorrow's a bit busy and there will be cricket on Sunday.
Still, this counts as a pretty successful experiment. I'm still quite enjoying it. It feels like work, but it feels like that theoretically-conceivable variety of work which is both rewarding and fun, so I keep at it. Spending a few hours a night writing and listening to music is a hell of a lot better than watching the appalling summer TV lineup (cricket excepted).
So I plan to keep at the first draft at least until we go away at Christmas. It would be nice to think I can actually get through the draft by then, which would let me start the rewrites while I'm away, but realistically there will be a lot of interruptions between now and then, and I doubt I can keep up the same pace. Won't be for want of trying though - I'm going to set myself a target of at least 1500 words a day (on average) between now and then and see how I go.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Chapter Seven is now up. Word count is above 45,000. I'm on the home stretch for NaNoWriMo, and should be finished by Saturday. Tonight's out, with cricket practise and a pub session sure to ruin what little productivity I manage most evenings.
The novel is somewhere between a half and two-thirds done, I think. But I could be wrong. There's certainly still quite a few more plot threads I've left hanging (thanks for the reminder, Ralph!) which I will have to review and get stuck into. I should have expected to have some dangling threads, as I have not really been referencing back to what I've already written, except to check on names, places and what people said to one another. I've mostly just let the story come out as it will, line by line, which means that it is building on imperfect memories often formed after 11 o'clock at night, when my brain is not exactly in its most scintillating form.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Found (where else?) on the internet:
Hello, I'm a meme! If you're reading me, without even thinking, you're considering my well-being and perpetuation. If you want me to live, copy these four sentences, and paste them somewhere other people will read. Thanks!
There's something in that for all of us, I think.
Daily update on The Attempted Novel
Tiredness from long days at work and later night than I'm used to (but not as long as some and not as late as most) are starting to take a toll. I'm feeling especially ratshit today, having woken up with a headache. I thought about packing it in and not coming to work, but there was an awful lot of stuff going on that would probably get harder if I left it, so I dragged my sorry arse in after all.
Although the present chapter is not proving as hard to get through as the previous one, progress is still pretty slow. Some of the gloss flakes off the whole glittering affair when all you really want to do is sleep and you don't care what you write as long as you make your word count. It's even less satisfying when you look at the clock, realise you should have been in bed an hour ago, and you still haven't made the count.
But that's just the tiredness complaining. Last night was harder because I also managed to batter myself up playing indoor cricket. I now have the standard half-an-elbow-scraped-off carpet burn and my left arm doesn't work so good, so that was probably another reason why typing was (and still is) a bit of a chore.
But anyway, the novel: yeah, it's going okay. I've got a bit of feedback from Andrew and Ralph Mazza (occasional correspondent and author of the outstanding semi-competitive story-telling game Universalis, which I intend to teach my family to play this Christmas), which has been encouraging and helped me to focus on some issues which I had sort of realised were there but wasn't worrying about too much. If there's anything bugging you about the story, feel free to let me know. I probably won't do anything about it until the first draft is done, but I'm already gearing myself up to be ruthless with the rewrites.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Late night novelesis
I made that word up. Sue me. In ten minutes it's going to be midnight and I have a stupidly busy week coming up. And there's Radiohead on the CD player, which is doing my head in.
I made a good start on Chapter Seven and have now passed the 40,000 word mark. I notice Andrew's finished his 50K and, as I expect to be, he's still not done with his story. But he's made the word count, which I am least four days away from. So he's a bastard.
A menu of Doctor Who for a 40th anniversay Dayy of Celebration:
- Scream of the Shalka, Parts 1 and 2 - Richard E. Grant as the Doctor with the most sinister hairstyle in all history, and special guest nefariousness from Derek Jacobi. Download it from the BBC site. It's jolly good.
- Earthshock - We played it with the voiceovers by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse. Best moment was the revelation that during the filming of this story, which was Waterhouse's last one, Fielding (who's obviously a supremely cutting and sarky queen bitch, just as you'd expect from her performances as Tegan) took to calling Waterhouse "Matt Finish".
- The Horns of Nimon - I demanded this one because I recalled it was one of the worst stories ever, and sure enough there were the terrible, terrible costuming disasters, and there were two of the main players having an overacting competition, and there were some of the wettest and most pathetic supporting character, and there was Tom clearly phoning it in - but there were also some unexpected highlights, like Lalla Ward pretty much carrying the entire load of giving the affair any dignity, which she pretty much carried off. Huh. Who knew?
- Survival - I just wanted to watch it for the "Somewhere the tea is getting cold. Come on Ace, we've work to do." speech at the end. But I'd forgotten that this was a story from pretty much the strongest season in ten years (ironically the last of the regular series) and it still stands up pretty well, if you ignore some thematically correct but dramatically strange sequences towards the end. And Sophie Aldred looks hot, so there.
Not a bad day's viewing. Happy birthday, Doc. Come back soon.
Some stuff done
Progress slowed down this week as I struggled with tiredness and not having a clue as to several characters' motivations, but finally Chapter Six is up.
I must make a resolution not to care so much whether what the characters are trying to achieve actually makes any sense. I can fix that up later, like I can fix the small problem of most of them not having a distinct personality, the troublemakers.
Linda and the Rugby World Cup Final
Went to Linda's place to celebrate her birthday by watching the RWC showdown between Australia and England. Happy to see that everyone did their best to make it an exciting game (except the ref) and that in the end it came down to Johnny Wilkinson's boot anyway. Hilarious. Now can we get on with the cricket, please?
Linda's been sick all week, but seems better now, which is good. She proudly showed off several extremely dubious anime fan videos of clips edited to music. Unfortunately she could only download half of the one set to to the Weird Al polka. We also surfed Allhomes.com on the big TV screen, so that gives you an idea of how hyped up everyone was.
We ate Indian food and then try to choke down the sponge cake Fiona and I made. The less said about that (sweeeet!) the better.
Doctor Who-ooh! Hah! The TARDIS! Doctor Who-ooh! Hah! The TARDIS!
Today Simon, Chris and I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who by watching the (painstakingly-edited) Scream of the Shalka webtoon, and the Earthshock DVD with the actors' commentary. I look forward to much piss being taken out of Matthew Waterhouse, in the great tradition of Doctor Who fandom.
Friday, November 21, 2003
(da-da da-da-da da-da-da-da) WOOO-HOO!
I've just got back from the test for my provisional motorcycle licence. I passed! In spite of a severe case of the nervous shakes, I just managed to avoid losing enough points on the test to disqualify myself.
I can honestly say that I have never felt so awkward and uncomfortable on a bike as I did while taking that test. The same thing happened with my driver's test (which was, omigod, 15 years ago!), when I honestly felt so nervous that I could have hit a bus and I wouldn't have noticed. This merely confirms my suspicion that I don't test well and should avoid all circumstances of formal examination, for fear of personal injury.
Novel: Night off
After a totally stressful day yesterday, I was pretty drained and didn't really feel like sitting down and writing anything more, but what really persuaded me to take a night off was the fact that Fiona's week has been even worse, and she needed pampering. Therefore I declared the evening novel-free and instead spent two hours preparing a lasagna. No, wait: THE lasagna. The Platonic ideal of lasagna. The Greatest Lasagna That Ever There Was. Super, if you will, Lasagna!
No kidding, it was actually pretty good. I've just had some leftovers for lunch and even after being sogged up by the microwave, it's still the best lasagna I've ever made or even tasted. So yum.
Plus there's the fact that I actually got a decent night's sleep, which was nice. It's the little things in life that matter.
So, anyway, zero new words, but on the plus side, positive new attitude developed.
This coincidence amused me: the release of the "new" version of the Beatles' Let It Be album, with its notoriously appalling levels of overproduction by Phil Spector, the same week that Mr Spector finally gets arrested for murder. If I understand Evan's opinion of the original album correctly, Spector should have been shot for crimes against music decades ago. So ha ha.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Partially Clips (say it out loud) is one of the most brilliant ideas I've ever seen for a comic strip for the artistically-challenged. The artist, Robert T. Balder, just adds dialogue to free clip art pictures. Genius. Check out these gems:
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
News from work: Actual progress
Hm, there seemed to be actual genuine progress and even a modicum of goodwill and understanding between the various warring factions I am working near (I won't say "with") today. Astounding. Even more astounding, I managed to get several useful milestones achieved. Unusual.
Beers with the Yobtoberfestmeister
Mitch, one of the instigators of the quite salutatory Yobtoberfest that Andrew dragged us along to on the Weird Al weekend, was by odd coicidence at drinks this afternoon with Fiona and a couple of her contractors from Synop, Mark and Matt. Turns out that both Mark and Mitch are Baltimore veterans and know Andrew from way back. When the conversation got around to NaNoWriMo (most the ones I participate in do these days, I've noticed), they both mentioned a writer acquaintance and were quite shocked when I explained that I knew who Jon Blum is.
I think they would have found this disconcerting, but then we started talking about watching Doctor Who. Mark showed his age by recalling that it used to be on after Bellbird. That would mean he stopped watching about 1977.
Four days until the Fortieth Anniversary. The ABC are playing a very dodgy promo voiced over by a very average dalek impersonator. I wish I'd managed to tape that instead of The Rescue Part 1...
Novel going ahead
I did a couple of thousand words today and should really do a few more before I turn in, but I've hit another one of those bits that I want to think about. I know I need to have two characters meet and speak to one another, but I feel like I need to clear up in my head what they both want to get out of it.
Plus there's one character I keep dropping into the story to push things along, and I have no idea what his actual agenda is. Nearly everyone else is starting to find a niche to sit in quietly, but this guys just keeps sticking out like a sore thumb until I get embarrassed and put him in a scene. The thing is, he always finds a new way to surprise me about halfway through the writing, so I can't just kill him off.
Or I can, but not until I know what's he's doing here in the first place. Writing's weird.
And Tazza's right. Outlines are a fetter on the wings of just making stuff up. Down with outlines.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
It's late. Time to blog
I've been trying to post up Chapter 5 of The Attempted Novel, but the Otherleg server doesn't seem to want to know about me at the moment. So instead, I blog.
Today was a horror at work. I made a really stupid mistake which was and wasn't my fault, but either way I feel bad about and it will have tiresome office-politics-style repercussions. Worse, I was trapped there for another two hours after that, when all I really wanted to do was go home and forget I'd been such a bloody imbecile. Sigh.
Fiona didn't manage to get home for an hour after that, so I quietly shut up about my day, because hers was obviously worse (and it was). The soft launch of the project she's been working on for the last two years is next week and it's a race between the technical problems and the "caused by frigging idiocy" problems to see which one can cause the biggest problems. I suspect that "technical problems caused by frigging idiocy" stands an outside chance of cutting them both off on the home straight.
Although I haven't really done enough writing yet, tonight's word count came out in a nice rush. Most of it was a fight scene, and it spilled onto the page/screen/whatever in a nice gush of verbiage. Which probably means it's utter rubbish, but in any case it means that Chapter 5 is ready to go.
If I can convince the Otherleg server to accept a couple of files, that is.
Monday, November 17, 2003
Ow. What the -? Ow!
Okay, so commensurate with the commencement of the outdoor cricket season (Summary: we won, I did nothing, it was a real team effort, let's leave it at that), so begins the post-match pain. This would be distinguished from the pain that follows the beginning of the ski season , but for the fact that they can both be attributed to a complete lack of physical preparation on my part. So I deserve it really.
D40 Minus 6 Days
Sunday is the 40th anniversary of the broadcast of the first episode of Doctor Who. Mister ChrisT has proposed a Whouse-warming party at Der Simonster's Temporary Abode of Residence, wherein we shall watch a DVD of the new animated Ninth Doctor story (starring an extremely scary-looking caricature of Richard E. Grant as the Doctor) and probably a few other select episodes besides. I personally think we should be coming up with geeky trivia games or hilarious sledges aimed at our favourite hammy performances, because I can think of no better way to impress my wife...Uh. Hmm.
Pretty productive weekend, but I had trouble concentrating for more than an hour or so at most and I still have yet to get into a "words pouring out unedited" state. Perhaps if I leave the dictionary and thesaurus in a different room, I might be a little less tempted to refer to them every ten words or so. Anyway, 6000 words later and Chapter 5 is still not done, and I'm beginning to worry that this is going to blow out to over 100,000 words. I hope not, I really want to be done by Christmas.
More tales of the Near Future
Other forthcoming Huge Events include such birthdays as Miz Lindor's, on Saturday. She is old, but I won't tell you how old because that would be indiscrete. But it's pretty damn old, you betcha.
Hopefully we'll be doing something fun for that. But it probably won't have quite as stupid a name as the Whouse-warming party.
Sunday, November 16, 2003
Progress: Ah, that's the stuff
Haven't really done the Big Push, powering out some implausible word count over the weekend, but I have managed to crack the 30000 word mark. Chapter 5 is getting longer and longer and I think I need to chop something out of what I have planned, but I dunno yet. I may shuffle some stuff around before I post it up (which may be tomorrow)
I still don't know what's going to happen during the other half of this thing yet. Is that a problem, do you think?
Played the first outdoor game of teh season. Didn't bowl, didn't do anything with the bat, didn't really need to field that much. The other team very obligingly lost all their wickets cheaply, which made life easy for us. We had to race the weather, before the clouds turned into ice trays, but we finished them off in about three hours, which might be a record for us.
Saturday, November 15, 2003
Progress: Not really forwards either
Yesterday was another near dead-stop on the novel writing front. I found the time to knock together a quick plan for the chapter at work, but didn't actually manage to write any prose as such. In the evening we had drinks with Fiona's cousin Erika and her new fiance Mal. That turned into a long and very wine-drenched night which didn't actually eating until about half past eleven.
Today I'd like to be typing up a gale, but I'm feeling mildly seedy and the words are just not coming out. I keep referring to the dictionary and thesaurus about once a sentence to make sure that I know what the perfectly common word I'm using means or to find some way of calling something a "building" five times in the same paragraph. Not only that, but what I've written so far (the first section of Chapter 5, watch for it later this weekend!) is utterly unnecessary and really puts the brakes on the story. I just got in a rut and couldn't get out of it. It will have to go in a rewrite, but for rright now it can stay where it is because I'm buggered if I'm going to throw away an hour's work just because it's essentially sludge.
It's possible that after I've eaten something and made myself a really big coffee that the situation might improve. I hope it does. I've set myself some big productivity targets today. I'd hate to let me down.
Friday, November 14, 2003
Progress: Not Backwards
I didn't manage to write a single new word yesterday. Work was too busy even to manage my plan of plotting out Chapter 5 (which will pick up the pace, I hope), and after cricket practise finished, we had to cook dinner and clean the house. To be honest Fiona did most of that, because I collapsed on the couch after dinner and fell asleep a couple of times. After that I decided that I really wasn't in a fit state to be writing the next Great American Novel (as Fi insists on calling it despite demonstrable evidence to the contrary), so I went to be instead.
I'm feeling quite rested today, thanks for asking. Hopefully I will get a bit of time at lunch to knock out a couple of hundred words or at least plot out the chapter. My goal for the weekend (which will include Sunday afternoon off for a cricket game and at least a couple of hours of practise for my riding test next week) is to complete Chapter 5 - probably around 6000 words - and hopefully get a good start on Chapter 7. At the moment I figure I'm somewhere around a third of the story, which means my earlier estimates of 70 or 80 thousand words is about right. Which means I won't actually finish the novel in November without an episode of convulsive typing frenzy syndrome, but I'm still on target to knock over the 50 K word count target.
Story in this week's Onion is amusing. And yes, my Mum reads Lexifab. And yes, she's probably very disappointed about all the swearing.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Started work at 8. Didn't get home from work until 7. Pretty much don't want to talk about that.
Hammered out the rest of Chapter 4 and just posted it up. Not much to say about it, except that things are slowly starting to build some momentum and the plot is starting to make some sense. At least it's making sense to me. At least I think it is.
I'm in the odd position of not actually having any idea what will happen in the next chapter. If I don't manage to do a bit of plotting at some point, I'm just going to be writing stuff as it randomly occurs to me. Which was fine in the early chapters when I could just introduce a new character if I went a bit blank, but now I have to start thinking about what this reprehensible bunch will actually do next. Huh.
Let me know if you want someone killed off. I'm taking votes.
Hey Doctor Clam, wait just a minute, before you turn on your death machine....
It's Herr Fellows' birthday, unless I'm wrong, and however often does that happen? Happy birthday, Chris! Walk tall! Write much! Win awards!
Oh, and I trust you noted the reference to our early shared story exercises included in Bard Wars?
No. No, I'm not talking about the gratuitous swearing.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Novel's going well. Actually made my word count yesterday, which had fallen behind mostly because I got bogged down over the end of Chapter Three. Chapter Four is coming along at a decent clip and if I get a decent head of steam up tonight I will have it done by tomorrow. I nearly cracked the 20,000 word mark last night, but then looked at the time and decided it could wait.
Andrew's past the halfway mark. Go, dude!
David Carradine and Danny Trejo guest starred on the same episode of Alias last night, which proves that it is the funniest thing on television ever. Our indoor cricket team won its first game in about seven or eight weeks. Fiona and I are planning to see Intolerable Cruelty tonight, because the crowds for Matrix Revolutions will probably be too long, and because George Clooney is fab. Work is getting frustrating again - the atmosphere is argumentative when it should be cooperative and there are too many agendas at complete cross-purposes. It's an interesting study in group dynamics and miscommunication, but not all that much fun to be in the middle of.
But at least I'm having fun writing a novel.
Monday, November 10, 2003
Not much progress since the last entry. I wrote a scene and a half this morning, about 500 words or so, introducing yet another character and yet another plot thread. But fear not! My dread of this whole thing collapsing from the weight of its own complexity has fled me and my own confusion about what is going on has lent me wings to type!
In other cool news, Mister The Fellows (whose birthday is on Wednesday, if I am not mistaken) and son Caillan are also playing the NaNoWriMo game. Admittedly Caillin might be a bit behind the word count at this stage, but it's nothing that a physically and emotionally challenging stream-of-consciousness outpouring over twenty uninterrupted hours can't fix. Go Caillan! (Chris too).
That's Meagan vanishing in the distance...
After the traditional motorbike breakdown and celebratory pub sendoff of the weekend, Meags is finally off back to Tassie as of today. The plan is to spend tonight in Melbourne with Pats and then catch the ferry to (is it Burnie or Devonport?) tomorrow. Hopefully the pessimistic noises being made at the last-minute mechanical inspection this morning will prove unfounded.
Admit it. You thought this day would never come.
I finally got around to booking a test for my provisional motorbike licence. I now have ten days to learn how to do a U-turn without stalling the bike. Fortunately I have a borrowed Bandit to practice with (though for some reason I thought it was a Honda, not a Suzuki). It's a lot lower and lighter than Fi's Zephyr, which should make it easier to manage through the slow manoeuvres that are tested. The Zephyr's really good for straight-line riding, but, as Ford Prefect once said, it steers like a cow.
Wish me luck. If I don't pass (and most people don't first time) the saga may continue another three years...
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Haven't managed to do much of the novel over the weekend, which is a bit disappointing, but I finally got past the hurdle of the rather complicated scene at the end of Chapter Three, so that's now up. It's longer than the previous chapters, which I will be trying to avoid in future, but several things had to happen before the final event of the chapter. So there you go.
It's been a pretty eventful weekend. Meagan and Fiona I started Saturday with riding all over town, going to open houses and quietly mocking bathroom decorations. Didn't see anything that day that really grabbed us, although there were quite a few good ones. We were just heading to the last one of the day when Meagan's bike chain popped a link. We were forced to split up so that they could go get a spare part from the one bike shop still open and I could go meet the gang, who were on their way over to join us for Meagan's farewell party.
Eventually they joined us at the local faux Irish pub (or as Ted said, not even faux Irish) for beers in front of the Rugby World Cup on the big screen. Had quite a nice drunken evening. Simon brought along his new digital camera and demonstrated his mastery of the art of taking quite bad digital photos and not being able to turn off its very annoying flash.
Today was more of the same (except the pub part). After a farewell breakfast for Meags, we drove around for about four hours, visiting more open houses and bemoaning people's tastes in kitchen appointments, colour selection and, well, pretty much all other aspect of home ownership. There were several that we kinda liked, and one that we thought we could probably work with until we were happy, but again nothing compelling yet (which is just as well). Still, we're getting a feel for the market and the areas we might eventually like to live in if we can't get anything close to where we are now.
Bard Wars is starting to take shape now and parts of it are flowing nicely (the murder investigation, the activities of the Grape Corner mob) but other plot threads are resisting my attempts to get them moving. I'm recognising that I actually have to do some thinking about the political and underworld backgrounds to make sure that what my various conspirators are getting up to actually makes sense, so I anticipate a bit of inconsistency as that resolves itself (mental note: write now, fix in edits).
Comments on Chapter Three are welcome. And yes, I'm quite comfortable with the appalling behaviour of certain characters.
Friday, November 07, 2003
Today was AusAID's annual social golf day, which has always struck me as as good a reason as any to take a day off work. The weather was unreasonably beautiful (expecting showers, I didn't plan well for sunburn), the company was amusing, the good was (ho! ho!) subpar and the day was not unexpectedly a lot better than going to work.
But did I mention the sunburn? Ouchie-wa-wa! Them calves don't see as much light as they used to in tropical North Hotland. They ain't used to the sun. They sure as shoot ain't used to turning lobster red and having to be slopped with aloe vera.
Novel productivity was down today, because I kept getting distracted by the ouchiness of me. Things have improved slightly since I got stuck into the wine, but the accompanying dinner had wiped me out. Now all I can think about is bed, which is where I'm going to be in about ten minutes. Chapter 3 still has another page or so to go, but shouldn't take long to knock off in the morning. If you're reading this at a sane hour on Saturday, it should be up there by now. But if it isn't, it's because I've got to cricket practise, or to look at open houses, or to practise riding for my motorbike test. Or, if it's very late, I'm at the faux-Irish pub, celebrating Meagan's imminent departure and watching the rugby while sipping Kilkenny.
I envy Tomorrow Me.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Mad props from my homies
Andrew has been making encouraging noises about my NaNoWriMo movel and putting in the odd plug, which makes me feel kind of guilty that I haven't done the same thing. But it's funny, Fork has been around for such a long time, and has such a cemented place in my consciousness after he read the outline to us on the ski trip last year, that reading this latest version feels just like catching up with an old friend who's changed their hair since you last saw them. Not new, just a bit different.
Anyway, go read it, because it's a great story and a hell of a lot better planned than mine. Plus, he's really powering through it, and his combination of short chapters and feverish output makes for a very satisfying daily read. Plus, as he says himself, it really makes no difference one way or the other whether you're a Doctor Who fan, because this is not a typical Doctor Who story, so much as a story with the Doctor in it (and Fitz, who rocks).
Started writing late last night because I was making a couple of cakes for the cricket team's fundraising cake drive today, and food didn't arrive until about 9 (we craved Thai, as you do). The progress was a bit slow and patchy. I was working from a rough outline of the chapter that I had put together during the day, and that helped, but the words didn't exactly flow smoothly.
I wrote up one scene that I was pretty happy with and another that I struggled with because I was having to make up back story as I went along. Sometimes I find that easy, but for some reason I am finding the murder mystery element of this story is intimidating me, and I am struggling to make it work properly. I think I know what I have to do with it next, but it's just as likely that I will make something up at random that sends the whole thing heading off down a different path. I guess that's part of the fun.
What was less fun was being interrupted around midnight by yet another loud and unfortunately violent argument next door. She threw him out again, he slammed things and destroyed the letterbox, then drove up and down the street doing doughnuts. I called the cops, because the car was being used for angry emphasis and as a target for rocks at one point, but I honestly couldn't be bothered to wait and find out whether they would come, because then he drove off and things quietened down. But I was too keyed up to write anything more, or sleep, so I read for an hour first.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Oh yeah, forgot to boast...
As of the moment I am writing this, I'm ahead of Andrew in the word count. Of course, I did have the day off, and he didn't...but, hey! I'm winning!
Felt sick this morning, so I slept in until ten o'clock. Felt marginally better, but not really good, but good enough to sit infront of a keyboard all day. It's a tossup as to whether I spent more time working on the novel or ripping Blur CD's onto my hard drive, but either way I think the quality of the second chapter suffered.
Nonetheless, it's done and up there, and I am now trying to work out whose turn it is and what they will be doing next. It's starting to help to think of this project as one of those round robin stories that Chris Fellows and I and a few others used to do at school. One person would write a chapter, introducing a whole bunch of new situations and characters, and then finish on a cliffhanger and pass it on to the next person. If I treat each new scene as a chunk of story that someone else has just handed me, that might help keep the momentum going.
Hmm - that sounds a cautionary note, though. Those exercises usually ended up collapsing under the weight of their unresolved plot complications. Must remember to keep it moving and keep the loose ends under control.
Some cliffhangers probably wouldn't hurt either.
I didn't check any email today, so if you've written to me about the novel or something else, and I haven't responded, I'll get to you tomorrow.
Last chance to get in on the ticket-buying spree for the Radiohead concert in April. I'm going to order them tomorrow, so if you haven't told me you're coming, email or phone me now!
Monday, November 03, 2003
Slow progress made this evening. Too easily distracted, not feeling very well, possibly from increased stress related to poor sleep related to thinking about the novel. Or maybe it's because my back was hurting from overdoing it during the hailstorm in the garden yesterday.
The first chapter if finished and is open for inspection. Have a read. I ain't going back and fixing anything (not this month, anyhow) so if you see a mistake, try to live with it for a while. Next chapter is due in on Thursday, but at my current rate of output I can see some problems with making that deadline.
Mind you, if I spent less time sodding about with Dreamweaver and Blogger and the NaNoWriMo website, I'd probably have written more of the actual novel by now.
NaNoWriMo: The Progress
NaNoWriMo started first thing Saturday morning, after I spent Friday night tinkering with the web pages and avoiding thinking about the plot or characters. The initial phases were pretty difficult, and I did a lot of struggling to find some rhythm. It took a couple of hours just to get a few hundred words done, but by then Fiona was awake and it was time to start working around the house.
I got back to the writing on and off through the day on Saturday, but ended up spending a total of over four hours before I hit my 2,000 word quota. Sunday was much better. I had completed a couple of scenes and was starting to get enough of a grip on the story and characters that I could hear its tone. That made the words flow a lot more smoothly, and by the end of Sunday I had done more than the previous day in about three hours.
(You'll notice I'm not discussing the quality of the story here. You can judge that for yourself).
This morning I hammered out another three hundred words in about twenty minutes. It was easy. Suddenly, it feels like I can do this, as long as I don't smack into any sudden eruptions of writer's block. Which I won't.
I didn't quite get as much done as I planned to, though. I had hoped to finish the first chapter (of about five thousand words) but I only got to what I expect to be the final scene of that chapter this morning, and didn't have time to finish and post it. If all goes to plan, I will motivate myself by posting up each chapter as I goes, the way that Andrew is doing. My chapters are likely to be a bit longer than his, but then he is working to an actual outline, whereas I am making everything up as Igo along.
Dude, where's my page?
Uh, so don't bother looking at the Writing page just at the moment. It was there for a while, but it seems to have vanished again. Why, I couldn't say, but I daresay there's nothing much I can do about it until I get home.
But it was really cool. You believe that, right?
Update: apparently it is there after all, but I can't see it from work. Okay, so don't mind me. Go look at it and feel free to rip into it if it offends thine eye.
Presenting our house
Okay, so the valuation from the Real Estate Guy made a big deal of the fact that the front yard is a bit of a mess. Admittedly, at the time he called around, it really was quite untidy. It's been raining a lot lately and I've been trying to encourage the grass and clover and stuff to cover up the bare patches, so yeah, it was a mess. But we took it to heart anyway and decided to do some more work on it.
The big problem is the main bed, which we planted with a heap of azaleas in the hopes we would have a wild, bushy hillock of dark green leaves and brightly coloured flowers. Instead we have a mulchy hillock with patches of yellowing leaves and barren stalks, which is a little disappointing. So we decided to fill the gaps with lots of wild groundcovers and visited Fiona's Aunt Rose's place a few streets away to raid her garden.
That turned out to be the easy bit. We filled a basket with lilies, violets, sea daisies and some other stuff I can't recall the names of, but then the car wouldn't start. It's been getting sicker in small increments for a while now, so this was disappointing but hardly surprising. We got a jumpstart from a much better car and decided that rather than risk it breaking down and stranding itself somewhere even more inconvenient, we'd take it straight to the mechanic's and leave it for them to sort out. Unfortunately the mechanic in question is halfway across town, which meant a long bus ride back. It was just getting dark when we finally made it home, so we planted that stuff and left the rest of the project to Sunday.
The rest of the plan involved a few more plant purchases to fill the unsightly gaps with a variety of plants which experience has shown us are capable of surviving the harsh conditions of the front yard. We walked a wheelbarrow to the nearest nursery, loaded up and hurried back, noticing for the first time a huge cloudbank racing up the valley from the south. Uh oh.
Sure enough, no sooner do we start planting the roses than we're being pelted with sodding hail! I think I pulled muscles in both arms swinging the pick, the shovel and various bags of garden supplies with furious abandon, trying to get everything done before we were completely bruised or drenched.
Unsurprisingly, we finished the hardest bits of it just as the rain let up. But it all looks a bit nicer now, so that's good.
Saturday, November 01, 2003
NaNo Day One
This is pretty much just a filler blog entry to restore all my settings at Blogger, but while I'm here I might as well mention that I've started the novel and have (so far) just barely exceeded the minimum daily word count in order to make the full 50,000 words by 30 November. So far I have one slightly laborious scene introducing two characters that goes pretty much nowhere, but it's a start (and I have no intention whatsoever of doing revisions until and unless the whole thing is finished.
I've created new content for the Writing page and a separate page to track the Attempted Novel. I'll actually post up content as I complete each chapter, which should be about every three days (if everything goes according to my "plan"). Hopefully I will take the opportunity of a weekend to get a bit ahead, so you might conceivably see the first chapter up tomorrow. I wouldn't hold your breath though. There's painting to be done, and I can avoid only for so long...
Okay, that worked
Looks like we're up and running with the Writing page (click on the link to the left there, I'm too lazy to do the proper HTML tag. The NaNoWriMo link will be up later (maybe tomorrow), as soon as I have something to post. I will put each chapter of the novel up as it's completed. WARNING - it will not have been edited. It may not even have been spell-checked, and it certainly won't have been re-read. Only Forward, as the obscure SF reference goes.
Blog while U wait
Am typing this while I wait for the Otherleg site to sort out whatever it's sorting out. I'm trying to upload the new version of the Writing page, which I've finished prepping this morning in order to track my NaNoWriMo progress. In the meantime, progress to date is 681 words and no sign yet of a plot. But mostly I've been playing with Dreamweaver and not working on the novel too hard, so no worries there.