Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fell Off The Horse

It is the 29th of November; I have today and tomorrow to finish my novel of 50,000 words. I am currently at 37,140. It is a decent amount written this month, but it will be a true grind to get the remaining 12,860 written. It's not an impossible task, though. I just need to write 6400+ words today and again tomorrow. I've written one shots that long before. I've written that much in one day before. Not THIS year, but I've done it.

It will be a challenge, that's for sure, but not an impossible task. Shame I don't count my blog posts as "words written." Yeah, it's cheating a bit if I did, because they aren't words towards my novel. Still, this post alone is 1729 words; which is over 100 words more than a day's normal Target Word Count.

It just bums me out that I'm so far behind, because Hubby took vacation time this week, and this is my only day off with him. Instead of spending it enjoying the day together, or getting errands done, or even cleaning the house, I'll be hiding in my room writing.

I had hoped to catch up at least a LITTLE last night so this last-minute crunch didn't seem so daunting. However, apparently the drain of the weekend was a bit more than I thought. As soon as I secluded myself in my bedroom to write, I typed up about 500 words, and then promptly passed out.

Poor Husband. He stayed out in the living room to try to not disturb me; patiently waiting for me to emerge and let him know I was calling it quits for the night, and that we could go to bed. He ended up passing out on the couch, and it wasn't until 3am did he decide to venture into the bedroom. Since neither of us had work today, he assumed I was downing coffee and grinding out words for the last five hours.

Nope. I was snoring away that whole time. Poor thing.

I did manage to get SOME writing done over the Thanksgiving weekend, though. The Saturday of our get-together, I managed to knock out over 2300 words, which kept me on track for my normal "two days off" word goals. Sadly, I had already missed three days, and I didn't write anything on Sunday. Four off; three on; and not hitting 2000 words most of those days. This week I did indeed fall way behind. I was doing so well this year, too.

I was on top of things week one. I began to slip in week two, but I managed to play catch-up, and was only a couple thousand words behind. And then this past week just killed me. I don't even have the "Oh, I was super depressed" excuse this time. It was just poor time management. November is just too chaotic, and instead of saying "NaNo; sorry, I can't hang out" I instead was like "Eh, I can catch up on writing later; let's do the thing." Dumb move.

I'm the closest to winning that I've ever been, and I haven't given up hope yet, but this will be an annoying final two days. I'll know better for next year, though. I really DO need to keep my writing time fiercely protected. I also will make sure to have the book play out in "real time," so to speak.

See, most books take place over the course of a few hours, or a few days. Some will take place over the course of a few months where the time jump happens between chapters. There are rare books that try to cover multiple years, and when they do, there's usually a consistency with it. The male and female protagonists meet up every summer. The main characters go back to school every September. The protagonist hits another growth milestone: walking; talking; school; first love; etc.

Jolene's story is similar to that last example, but a lot more chaotic. For the stories that cross over large passages of time - such as a memoir - each chapter is typically one major event before jumping to the next major event. This chapter is about a birthday. That chapter is about the wedding day. The next chapter is about letting the parents know she's pregnant. So on and so forth. Well, Jolene's story is about each of her boyfriends. I was going to have a boyfriend per chapter, but then I realized that a single chapter couldn't really cover months-long relationships from introduction, through the romantic gestures that got them to fall in love, to the chaos going on in the guy's head, to their inevitable break up. There is just too much to tell in just one chapter. Plus, there's too much time to cover. If I were to keep it as one chapter each, there would be about a dozen time-jump breaks through each chapter. I'm not a fan of that.

So, instead, I ended up writing multiple tiny chapters per beau. When I say "tiny" I mean they all average about 1900 words. On a typical 8.5x11" paper, 11pt font, these chapters are about two or three pages long. Upon the rework, I feel like I want to find a way to combine them into their own chapters, but I still don't know how to do so without either twenty time jumps, or really broadly showing each relationship.

As of right now, I give a quick recap of what advanced in the relationship since the close of the last chapter, and then I drop into a specific moment. I show them interacting and talking with each other. I go from fast forwarding through the mundane, to stopping at a specific moment to showcase their relationship. I then fast forward again.

To cut back on the time jumps, I'd have to not showcase these moments. It would simply be: this is how they were introduced; this is the nature of their relationship; this is when she realized she loved him; this is when he told her that he loved her; this is the moment he broke her heart. End of chapter; next beau! There really wouldn't be much dialogue and "show vs tell" except for the beginning and ending of each chapter. Showcase how they met. Give broad "telling" of the relationship as a whole, and hope the reader connects with the guy the way Jolene does; understands why she likes him so much. Then I can do another showcase for the reader to see their break up.

Now isn't the time to think about that, though. Now is the time to just get the story down on paper - as it were - and once I'm done writing everything leading up to Rensin, I'll stop. I'm fairly certain my readers would want to know how her love life story ends, but I don't have a conclusion. Also, I'm respecting Rensin's wishes - the player - in not including Rensin - the character - in any fanfiction. So, her story will stop upon the morning she's informed that a ship is about to crash land at Guthram. From there I'll set it aside; maybe read it at group to get insight on where to start with edits. Then I'll attack it again.

Getting to the editing phase will probably be later than my original January thought. Considering I'm still not done writing about Jolene's fifth main love: Searl. Once I have him kick her to the curb I still have close to four years of her life to cover.

She still needs to join a brothel, learn to become a prostitute, suffer there enough to get out of the brothel, and work solo until Bannerman Marcus sleeps with her and nearly kills her. Then it's off to the Thieves Guild to learn how to better protect herself. She's there a year learning a new trade while sleeping with Sandy, and the complicated relationship they had while she still prostituted and slept with the guild leader Pezer. Once she leaves the guild there's a huge blank space in her timeline where it's just generic "She prostitutes herself out, and then steals from her Johns before skipping town, and doing the same in the next village." She begins getting called the "Golden Succubus." Tragedy again strikes Jolene, which leads her to her first female "relation" while drunk in a bar with a pirate friend who is a repeat customer of Jolene's. Then she meets Orick, who falls madly in love with her, but she no longer believes that anyone COULD love her, so she skips town without giving Orick a second thought; he becomes a stalker of hers. Jolene winds up in a major city state, and ends up seducing the closing bartender and barmaid in order to steal the full night's till. That was when she noticed the wanted posters of herself going up, and heads to Guthram. I then need to write about her short experience while in the "Thief Port" for about a week leading into my conclusion: the serpent-wrecked merchant ship carrying Rensin crashing into Guthram's port.

I am NOT going to get all that done in the next two days. The story will probably push 100,000 words when all is said and done. This was a much larger undertaking than I thought when I tried to conquer it.

So, I will write my little heart out to try to make it to 50,000 before midnight tomorrow. Then I'll probably calm down to only a couple nights a week of writing. I might finish Jolene's epic by February. Then I'll take a month off to let it process. Then back at it in April; if I don't try to again take on Script Frenzy with this new Plantser process. I might have the second draft ready for Shadow to read come summer. I wonder if he can hold out that long.

Life would be so much easier if I could get back into writing at work. Silly store actually getting customers; or the chain manager hanging around....

Oh well, you need to work with what you've got. And right now I've got a little less than two more hours before this blog is supposed to go live, so I'm going to try to use them to up that word count!

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