Oh Well Guess 20k WIll Have to Wait

Until the end of today. Had waaaay too many interruptions and extra hours of work this weekend to go over and above on the writing. So I ended the weekend w. 4300 words and a total of 18,500. A regular day today should see me over 20k.

We didn’t get to see Spectre opening weekend either. See above for the reason. But hey, at least I’ll have lots of OT on this check. The IRS will love that.

Only 15 pages of notes left

Oh no! That’s not far enough ahead. Fortunately, I’ll be scribbling more today. 😛

14,200 words so far for NaNo. My goal is to be over 20k by the end of the weekend. That might be a tad ambitious, seeing as Mrs Cole and I are planning on seeing Spectre this weekend too. But I’d always rather set high goals than lower ones.

NaNo projects my 50k word date at November 22nd right now. I’m hoping to be able to validate on the 20th. At any rate, the last couple NaNos were more chore-like than fun for me. So it’s nice to have one where the words are flowing readily.

So keep writing! Wait…if you’re on NaNo, why are you even here in the first place:

Take HEED!

Thanks NaNo.

But I really don’t think I’ll be done by November 12th. *chuckles* Of course, I don’t expect to be.

4500 words on day 1 was a nice start. But the general plan from here one is 2000 words a workday, save Thursdays, where if I can squeak out a thousand, I’m doing well. (Work is crazy for me then, and typically leaves my brain dribbling out my ears.) Then rack up 3k on the weekend. Of course, that still puts me at 20k at the end of next Sunday, and going over 50k on November 20th (the earliest validation day, as I recall).

The point is this: One of the things people rag on NaNo about is it being ‘speed writing.’ It really isn’t. 1500 words a day, every day, will get you close enough to 50k in a month to make it with a couple bigger days thrown in. That’s not a sprint. Not even close. That’s less than Stephen King’s maxim for ‘real writers’ in On Writing. It doesn’t require ramming speed recklessness. It simply requires consistent effort. Something which anyone writing novels really needs, since the Doubt Monster will otherwise come and swallow up your half-finished manuscript.

Sure, you’ll have to edit, so it really isn’t ‘done’ in terms of publication ready. But it’s a lot harder for the DM to critical hit that completed rough draft than it is the thing that’s one-third to half-finished. Messing with that, before you’ve seen how all the plotlines shake out, isn’t editing. It’s tinkering. Make editing its own phase. Separate from writing. It’s neater that way.

Praise Literature and Latte

For giving Scrivener five automatic backups. Or Tarien would be gnashing his overambitious teeth right about now. Having been spurred to place a book 5 between my recently finished 4 and the series finishing 6, I thought again on putting a book 2.5 between my present books 2 & 3. Which are of course, in the can.

The outline for the book was again, frighteningly simple. But when I started rearranging scenes and moving files, I started to get a headache. The timeline, which is fairly neat now, was about to become a mess only Steven Erikson could approve of. But by now I had pulled chapters out of existing works, piled up a dozen new chapters. And still had 4 pages of outline.

Well, right about then, the throbbing in my head told me that nuking the outline was better for a writer’s sanity than introducing my very own Garden of the Moonism to my Hellenistic Fantasy. So I managed to find my backup from last night, save all my real work, and pretend tonight didn’t happen.

Then of course, I saved it for all perpetuity. Because the internet is forever. One note to Scrivener users who might recall the distant past where I discussed using it with this series (And all my fiction writing outside short-story length since 2012). Decide whether to break the project into chunks (of novel size or greater) or keep it unified at the beginning and stick to that choice. Your humble blogger tonight also experimented with breaking up his project, as I thought seven books would become unwieldy for the laptop’s memory. That choice did not last as long as the book 7 outline attempt. A good chunk of my keywords got nuked going from volume 1 to 2 and 3. I would’ve had to rearrange all of them, and rewrite a passel. I thought that acceptable, as then I could change ranks, and put characters who were deceased now back into live columns in earlier volumes for editing purposes.

Erm…not so much. It seems editing the keyword in one project changed it for all…even though they were distinct projects. Maybe because I had all 3 open at the same time, and if I closed the others it wouldn’t. But opening and closing them each time represents a level of tedium even I am not masochistic enough to endure. And I was a goalkeeper in soccer and hockey. So I know pain. 😛

Here There Be Dragons

Ok. Not here, on my blog. That would be silly. But in Book 5 of the Epic Fantasy? Oh yes. From the 1st chapter. One of the things I had to deal with when I finished Book 4 was that since the villains unleashed the winged wyrms from their underground prisons, how would our heroes deal with something that could attack anywhere, and ruled the sky, where humans could not go.  Plus I started another messy civil war. Finishing that off-screen would be dubious.

So yeah. That was the outline that took 40mins to write for as many chapters (added a few since, lol). As for how the dragons get fought? What, you think I’m telling here? Inspiration from Greek Myth, that’s all I’ll say. Which, given the Hellenistic inspiration for the story and era, makes sense.

Now for something completely different: The US loss to Mexico the other night…. 😦 Gutted. I don’t agree with Landon Donovan, whose obvious personal animus is getting far too old. But the seat under Klinsmann should be blazing hot right now. To be fair, it’s not the first time it’s been that way for him. At least Sporting KC can win trophies.

The Good, The Bad, and the Catastrophic

First the Good, I’ve officially been in full writing mode again. An 18,000 word in 7 day stretch that officially flushed the Doubt Monster and saw me finish up Book 4 of my planned 5 book Epic Fantasy series. I was even motivated enough with it again to charge straight into book 5…

Except Bad: When I looked at the ending of Book 4 that I wrote, even though I think it’s awesome, I saw that I had just written something that needed another book to get to the planned finale. No time line issues or anything like that. It’s just there would be a lot of things ‘explained’ going into the last book that would’ve been better played out. One of the things that annoyed me about the otherwise excellent David Gemmell Trojan War reimagination was how the war started, and then magically we jump over 10 years of fighting (which wasn’t all siege) to get to the end. I didn’t want readers to feel the same way with this. Not after four books. That it took me less than an hour to write the 40 chapter outline only convinced me that my 5 book series needs to be 6. lol

The Catastrophic: I was writing with my fountain pen today, when pop. I unscrew the pen and inspect it, and it looks ok. Until I put the cap back on. Next time I pick it up, and the body is cock-eye. I think it might be a trick of the light, and an hour later, I take another look. Nope. Clearly bent. So I unscrew it to look for the crack, and snap. Breaks right below the retaining ring. So much for the fountain pen. Sadness.

Let’s just hope that doesn’t put the brakes on my good writing spell. I was actually rethinking not doing NaNo this year.

Time for a SHAMEFUL Admission

My real-life work’s been crazy the last few weeks, and it’s really crimped my writing. As in, left me too drained most days to look at my notes, which I don’t have nearly as many of, since I haven’t had time to think about it during the times I normally do. I’m going to sit down this weekend and rework my writing schedule to match what my new realities at work and home.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I firmly believe that writers write, even when “We don’t feel like it.” On the other hand, I’m a fairly schedule-driven person. And when my schedule gets disrupted on a routine basis, I start making white knuckles around my coffee cup. That leads to having precisely 1 page of notes in the last week, and a whole lot of time hiding from Scrivener in Football Manager 15–but hey, I’m running away with the Serie A title!

Erm…no excuse, Mr Cole. Time to come out and write. Besides, this isn’t the first time I’ve had my schedule changed since I picked up the penname. I’ll get it sorted. Or this will stay up here taunting me. 😛

Solid Writing Week

First time this year I wrote over 10,000 words in a week. And that was despite being too baked to write Friday after working in the real world 11 hours. So while it’s not the pace I like to keep yet, I’m good with it.

While I was working on the Hellenist Fantasy, I thought about doing something Stormlight-Archive(ish). One thing I have had to accept by limiting the number of PoV characters is that a lot of the story is told “from the top.” Now this probably isn’t *that* unusual for Epic Fantasy. But part of what makes The Black Company and Malazan Book of the Fallen superior to most, IMHO, is that battles are told just as much ‘from the fray.’ Codex Alera was also good at this. Now for one character, this isn’t a real problem, because like his inspiration, he leads from the front. But for the Dessians, whose Legates typically watch and only intercede when the battle is at the crucial moment, it’s a tad more complicated.

So to address that, and add some color and examine the soldier’s culture & trials of the time, I’m going to add a sprinkling of subchapters, similar to the Interludes of Stormlight, but contained in the main PoV of whoever they serve under. I might do this for the political bodies as well, in order to demonstrate how they operated–or failed to operate, as the case may be. I’d write those a little more in an “annals” style. As objectively as histories in the time got (which was rarely THAT objective).

I’ll wait until rewrite to decide if I follow through on that. But right now, at least, I like the idea.

And the Entire First Half of This Season’s ARROW

We were trying to figure out what purpose the Hong Kong flashbacks had.

Huh. Guess we found out with a WHAM tonight. Midnight on the Fire Line-esque indeed. Well played.

Now if the writers on Castle could figure out what THEY are doing by destroying the chemistry they spent 6 years building in Caskett. Because the last couple episodes have been…tepid. Actually, this whole season has lacked. Probably because the ‘cliffhanger’ they were left with was ill-conceived.

Oh, and in my writing. Not satisfied in killing off characters, as I did last night. Tonight I offed a member of my world’s pantheon.

BIG fall.