Gravely Amusing
NaNoWriMo: The Aftermath

So. Well then. November is over and done. I guess.

Month ago I announced I was intending to participate in this year’s nanowrimo and even win it. And well, I did and I returned my full-length novel on the last day (but with plenty of hours to spare!). The net length is about 50 176 words that makes over 300 000 characters. It’s about 80 pages long, but I bet that had I used spacing it would easily double that number.

Personally this all feels a bit anticlimactic. I won the thing and wrote the damn book, what now? December rolled in with no applause. Nothing really ended for me, except the daily quota of writing that I stressed about all the time.
I didn’t even finish the story as I noticed that the vikings didn’t even get to China!
You know, the place their adventures were supposed to set in.

And I won’t count the numerous scenes I want to write or rewrite or the characters I want to add. The story doesn’t nearly fit into 50 000, so there will be a sequel and another one. Atleast in my mind there is, I boasted that I’d write them next year, but I suppose I have better ideas by then.

Did I learn anything? Yes, loads. Most of all NaNoWriMo has been a huge learning experience for me. If you’d compare my prose in the beginning and in the end - you would probably kill me why I’d written such a thing.
For once, I thought I knew what “Show, don’t tell” mean, but still the first half of the novel is full of the characters thinking about what happened to them. It took about 25 000 words to notice the text was far more spacey, interesting and fun to write, if I chopped up that wall of text, wrote the things happening: the action, the discussions and everything.
Secondly I learned that even if the ideas seem so robust and vibrant in my mind and the characters so lifelike, I would still need to plan some things, such as vitals like character’s names and personality. Halfway through the story I got much more interested about my team of villains, because compared to the band of swedes that only had couple of named characters (names thrown in at random), the finns had a clear defining idea and their own hats to make them seem different from eachother. After I had realised that I managed to weave some of that stuff to the protagonists, so in the end they were not all such a bunch of blands.

Third, writing creates more writing. At the beginning of the month, I was worried that writing NaNo would not leave time nor focus to write anything else. On the contrary, I think I’ve written more than before even if I don’t count my daily allotment of novel-time. I’ve shown this blog more love (though I still need to pick a proper layout…), written poems and rustled up some fun ideas for short stories I could write next.
The experience also made me wish to try out other means as the “write the story as it goes” I used in the nano. I think I’ve read too much and written too little, as writing the end scene first feels somehow wrong to me. But to be honest, when the current scene grinds to a halt, it is much more productive to just write that scene lingering in your mind. The one you actually want to write. Even if it is another hundred pages in the future.

And to be honest, I don’t even feel emotionally exhausted as I thought I’d surely be. Morelike, there’s an empty spot inside me, where the nanowrimo used to be. A spot that wasn’t there before, and it yearns be to write more. I think I’ve awoken a beast that cannot be satisfied. Hopefully I’ve atleast gathered the proper tools to combat it.
I also discovered some nifty programs I wish to promote:

Write or Die (http://writeordie.com/) is a handy little thing that helped me finish the deadline on more than one occasion. One’d wonder how much a reddening screen can promote writing.
One piece of advice considering it: Disabling backspace is not as good an idea as it sounds like. First, delete and arrow keys still work so you quickly get other, just slower, means of correcting your typing. (And when you have the means, the urge returns, worse than ever.) Second, for some reason I made a lot more typo’s, when writing without backspace and the sheer weight of errors made me depressed and gave me maybe the worst writer’s block of the month. Enabling the button again cured it straight away.
Otherwise however, it’s a lovely little program that helps one focus to the writing at hand. Though I still recommend you edit it afterwards, especially if you’re writing something more important.

Next Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php) is a text editor designed for all kinds of projects, novel-writing being one of them. I didn’t have time to use it for my nano because I already had half of the thing in an Open Office document before getting this program, but I bet I’ll be doing my following projects using this. I like its layout more than yWriter, which I tried a year ago. I still haven’t used Scrivener as much as I want to, so there’s not much for me to say yet. I might make a post about it, if I discover anything I deem interesting (I don’t care about your opinion ;D ).

You can gauge my infatuation with these programs that I bought both of them. Before buying programs from the internet has been somewhat of an anathema to me, but I got smitten with Write or Die’s webapp, so I had to get the real deal and Scrivener seemed so full of potential. Money well spent.

It was a good month and I actually finished. I have to say I’m quite content with myself. Next I should just finish the essays I neglected in nano’s place…

On the Third Week of Nano

There won’t be an update for the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign, because our GM had to postpone it for Wednesday, I’ll provide the usual summary there and then. ;)

So, now I get to use the sudden free time I got, not by doing vital schoolwork, but musing over how my work in my novel for NaNoWriMo’s going. :3
Last week was a bit of a crisis, because monday was packed full, full, full! After the session I was too tired to write (as I had one or two other deadlines ahead too) so I took that day off nano. Due to this last week I spent continuously late in writing. Yesterday I finally got back on track with some movies guiding me. I’ve little idea what I wrote, how many errors did I make and how horrible the pacing has become, but those are things that should not matter at this point. What’s important is the wordcount.

How has the story developed so far, you ask. Let me answer:

At this point I have two groups of vikings sailing northward on the coast of Norway. One is a group of Swedish longboatmen, who were exiled from their village so the community could survive the harsh winter ahead. They are on a suicide mission though only their leader Thorgilt and their navigator Sven know that.


What they don’t know is that all the bad weather, fog and storms has been caused by a five-headed party of finnish vikings/pirates, who are pursuing the Swedes. They have a seashaman in their ranks, who has been summoning the storms. These vikings have been modeled by the characterisation of a finnish director Aki Kaurismäki and coincidentally their leader shares the name. They don’t speak much, so it’s yet to be revealed, why they hold such a grudge against the Swede’s. Only thing implied is that it’s personal for Kaurismäki.

Currently the narrative has shifted to Ancient China, where Lao Taifun, the Mandarin of the Yellow River holds court at one of the provinces. He and his right hand Hon Yan have been consulting an imprisoned mage, Qin Chai Wun, about a dire prophesy spelling doom to the entire dynasty.
Unfortunately for Hon Yan, Lao Taifun intepretes him as the main culprit and locks him into the cell in Qin Chai Wun’s stead.

As you can see, the story hasn’t even begun it’s phase of “Vikings having adventures and homoerotic martial arts in ancient China”. My wordcount is currently at 21 715, so it’s possible we won’t be getting far into it during this NaNo. I’ve toyed with the idea that I should save the whole China sections for the sequel, but most likely a divine intervention is due soon.
I already have something fitting in mind.

What about my priest Thenkar then? I saw he didn’t really fit into the scope of the story. Right now he’s part of a prisoner caravan, but I intend to either ignore him or write him out of the story somehow. I’m inclined to remove his parts whole, but I’ll be very hesitant to do it before I go over the 50 000 word mark.
He is the star of his own tale and his ego is far too large to share it with the vikings.

Have I learned anything during NaNo?
Well, frankly, quite a lot. I’ve written more prose during this month than in some previous years, so it’s been and still is a revealing experience. Compared to the beginning the text comes out smoother and is in far better shape than earlier. It took me surprisingly long to understand the “Show, don’t tell” rule, even though I had known about it long before this. In the beginning the vikings thought about what had happened to them, now when something happens it actually happens.
I’ve also gotten better at writing dialogue than earlier.
Before nanowrimo most of the creative writing I’ve done has been in the form of scripts and roleplay-plans, which differ greatly from prose. Even now I think some of my scenes would suit better for a play or a comic, but to make that true I’d either have to get an acting group or learn to draw. Perhaps someday.

I’m a lot better than in the beginning, but still not there! Luckily there’s a lot more writing in store.

So, how’s your NaNoWriMo going?

Feelings from NaNoWriMo and its second day

I’m reporting from those sweet few minutes before the lecture begins.

It’s now the second day of Nano and I’m feeling quite confident in myself. Monday night we had a kickstart for the month with the local wrimo-community. A good thing too, because through peer pressure I got the hardest 1667 words out already (the first ones!). Yesterday I also had energy to write another batch and today’s looking good too, if you don’t count the fact that I have no idea when I’ll be having time to write…

Well, I haven’t had much trouble coming up with prose (horrible, but hey! No one’s gonna read it but me!). That’s a real improvement to the last year. Partly I

—-

Now, turns out we were watching a movie, so I didn’t have the chance to finish this post. What I was saying, that I think it is because I’m juggling two solid ideas: each time I hit a roadblock in one, I can advance in the other. Now today I didn’t have much time to write, because of all this stuff, but luckily tuesday’s enthusiasm covered it. Still, I’m going to try and stay awake through another some hundred words so I can feel good about myself.

So that’s all, I’m off to write and sleep!

Prepping for NaNoWriMo

November approaches!

And you know what that means? DAMN RIGHT! It’s NaNoWriMo season soon!

(If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, check the site www.nanowrimo.org. I’m too lazy to explain it here)

So, like any creative person, I’m intending to participate. I first heard of this couple of years ago, but didn’t try before year ago, when I failed miserably, because I had zero preplanning and I begun a few days late.

This is not what I intend to do this autumn.

In fact, I’ve taken a few precautions to make sure I actually finish the task:
Firstly, I’ve announced my intentions to almost everyone (Yes, now even you!).

Secondly, I collected a circle of students from my guild to instill peer pressure, advise and general fun times.

Third, I actually have an idea of what to write.

Well, scrap that third part. I don’t have an idea yet. Or to be precise, I haven’t decided which idea…
You see, around the fancies I’ve sheltered two solid ideas: Another is more random and silly, but well it’s only a plus for NaNo. It would be a story about gay nordic vikings adventuring around empireal China.
The other idea would be about an undead priest who drifts and in the end ends up to be a leader of a Cult that’s cause even he doesn’t fully believe in. For some it may sound familiar, yes it would be the broad story of my undead character in WoW.

The main thing is that even when I would have most of the work cut out for me in the latter option (I already know what has happened to Thenkar, so I’d only need to write the journey.), I’m sentimental and might want to spare the story for a more worthy endeavour. All in all, I might have more fun writing the viking one. Or there’s still time left, I could come up with something completely different.

Or mix them all together. NaNo is fun like that.

While I’m still pondering, I’ll probably go with Thenkar’s story. From the way I see it, if I didn’t write it now I doubt I’d ever get it written. And NaNoWriMo’s all about getting it written.