Nov 1, 2010

Farewell for another year!

Well, that's it. It's November 1st and GothNoWriMo ended at midnight last night. I reached my 20K wordcount goal and I now have a finished novella to revise and polish till it gleams.

What a great feeling of satisfaction that gives me!

This blog will be in hibernation until next October when GothNo 2011 starts, but if you'd like to keep up to date on how my writing is going, pop over to Writing, Dreams and Drops of Ink.

I wish you all the best with NaNo if you're doing it this year, and with your writing in general. :)

Oct 30, 2010

GothNo Days 29 & 30 Progress

Didn't get to blog yesterday, but progress was as follows:

18,772 / 20,000 (93.86%)

I'm pretty sure I'll finish GothNo this evening so I'll update this post again when I do!

UPDATE 8:08pm

I finished! 20,797 words - 104%. Yay! I got to the end, included a snippet of the song I wanted to include in the story and finished with an appropriate HEA.

Hurray! I "won" GothNo. Woo hoo!

And I'm actually too tired to do more than give that tiny cheer. Will blog about the achievement next time. :)

Oct 28, 2010

GothNo Day 28 Progress

The ghost is going back over the past, remembering the incident that led to her death...

Writing creates the mood, not the other way around.

I have to keep reminding myself of this. Because the nearer I get to the end of GothNo, the harder it is to sit down and write. Especially when I have been lax on 11 days during the month and now need to do almost twice the daily wordcount to make up for lost time!

Oct 27, 2010

GothNo Day 27 Progress

I wrote over 1,300 words today. Phew!

The ghost has been given a lot to think about after Deirdre and Brian's attempts to help, but facing fears is never easy...

I still have a couple of scenes in mind to bring the story to a close, so I should be able to reach the 20K wordcount mark. Yay!

Oct 26, 2010

GothNo Day 26 Progress

If I want to "win" GothNo, I now have to type over 1,000 words per day.

Today, I did just that!

Deirdre and Brian know a little bit more about the ghost but as to how they can go about helping her, they have little idea...

I'm fast running out of story here (in terms of wordcount), but the exercise I did on the ghost's limits has given me one or two ideas for new scenes so that's what I'm going to be working on tomorrow and over the next few days.

I also have that love scene to write, too. So that will take up some wordcount.

It's important to state that I'm not looking to create scenes just for the sake of wordcount. The scenes I'm coming up with are relevant - they move the story forward, tell us more about the characters, or reveal information to the reader. I suppose if I didn't have the wordcount to make up, I could be tempted to just finish the story and sit back in my seat with a sigh. But with a wordcount in mind, I have to push myself a bit harder.

Oct 25, 2010

GothNo Day 25

Crumbs. Life caught up with me on Friday and I've been borne aloft on its wave since. My feet haven't touched the bottom.

No writing done, in other words.

Tomorrow will be a different story!!!

Oct 22, 2010

Day 22 update

Today's writing progress is linked to GothNo but not to my writing project... I managed to sit down with my rough notes and produce a pep talk email for the end of Week 3. *wipes brow*

I now have to head off to town and do some non-writing things, but I intend to come back this afternoon and whack out a wordcount to keep me on track.

I'll update this post when it's done.

Oct 21, 2010

GothNo Day 21 Progress

Deirdre is now in contact with the ghost, trying to understand her situation, but the ghost insists that she's fine and doesn't need any help.

I'm in the middle of that scene, and that's where I left it. I hadn't pre-planned that scene at all. I knew at some point both Brian and Deirdre were going to help the ghost that had helped them, but I hadn't realised it was going to play out the way it is.

I have a few other ideas about how it could unfold from when I did the limits exercise - i.e. what limits the ghost has - and I can see how that might make an appropriate ending. Still hazy and vague, but it's in sight at the same time.

Oct 19, 2010

GothNo Day 19 Progress

Passed the daily wordcount goal again today. There really is something to that idea that writing creates the mood, not the other way round! It doesn't matter what sort of mood I'm in when I sit down to write, as long as I open the laptop and think about the where I've left the story and what I want to write, the words show up. That is really cool!

Deirdre and Brian have returned from town with a few items that Deirdre believes will help her to get in contact with the ghost... The ghost, meanwhile, is not sure how to respond to this development...

Oct 18, 2010

GothNo Day 18 Progress

It was hard to get going after the weekend away, but I took the advice I'd included in the second GothNo Pep Talk email which was: Writing creates the mood; the mood does not create the writing!

After breakfast, I wasn't particularly in the mood for writing, but I opened up the laptop and typed more than was needed to catch up with where I should have been, had I been writing consistently.

The scene is what was going on for Brian and Deirdre after the night they spent together, and Deirdre's telling Brian that there's a ghost in the house that they need to do something about.

Quite what they're planning to do, I don't know. This was not part of my pre-planning in any extensive way. I'm going to have to wing it tomorrow, I think. :)

So, all good. I've caught up with the wordcount and I've got another interesting scene to write. I'm happy!

Oct 15, 2010

Writing Update

We're heading away for the weekend and I'm supposed to be packing my bag and making a lunch we can eat in the car on the way. I also had the Week 2 Pep Talk Email for GothNoWriMo to finish and send out and the packing and sandwich-making has taken a back seat. As has my daily wordcount for today. (Tiny scream)

However, the pep talk email has been written and sent out on time (I'm aiming to send them out midday my time on a Friday), so that's one item I can check off the list.

Now I need to make some food to keep me going till we actually get to eat the lunch I need to make. And I need to put clothes and toiletries into my bag. We're leaving in less than two hours. (Another small scream and some hyperventilating.)

I can do this! I can!! I just need to remain focused. And stop blogging!!!!!

And so I bid you good day! :)

Oct 14, 2010

GothNo Day 14 Progress

I passed the half-way mark today in terms of wordcount. Story-wise, I'm practically at the finish, so I need to think about transition scenes or some new scenes in order to make sure I reach my 20K goal!

As it happens, I need to work two "golden oldie" songs into the narrative, and a few scenes showing the ghost's backstory, instead of having it told to us, would also be interesting to read. And more dramatic.

Time to haul out a notebook and get some ideas down on paper!

Oct 13, 2010

GothNo Day 13 Progress

I wasn't able to finish the second half of the love scene between Deirdre and Brian so I will have to come back to that another time. I moved on, instead, to the next scene. The ghost is being bothered by something...

Surpassed the daily wordcount goal. Typed in 1,199 words to bring the total wordcount so far to 9,457.

I've also drafted up the second GothNo Pep Talk email. I need to add in a few things and revise it to tighten things up and then send it to Lily Munster for the OK before sending it out on Friday.

Oct 11, 2010

GothNo Day 11 Progress

I wrote the beginning of a love scene between Brian and Deirdre. Both their points of view were inserted with a break to indicate when the point of view character changed. I'm going to have to think about this scene in some depth when it comes time to revise and rewrite. Both their points of view are important in terms of motivation, but so far I've only been writing from the ghost's point of view so I need to even up the viewpoints a bit more so that the story settles down more easily for a reader.

Surpassed the daily wordcount goal, too. Hurray. :)

Oct 8, 2010

GothNo Day 8 Progress

Deirdre and Brian have settled down on the couch in front of the fire with a bottle of wine, and she explains to him why she needs the "object of concern". (I'm being deliberately vague for the sake of any Beta Readers who may be reading this!)

I did WAY more than the daily 645 wordcount goal. More than twice that. I really got into that scene in a big way.

Tomorrow's scene is going to be a lot of fun, too....

Oct 7, 2010

GothNo Day 7 Progress

The two young people have had an argument and the ghost, in an effort to make sure the young man doesn't leave, has tampered with his car.

I haven't managed to work in the two songs (two oldies) to parallel the ghost's own story. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, either. So far, it's the ghost's efforts to help the guy and girl that have my focus. Either the songs will come in later, or else I'll have to work them in during the re-write.

Surpassed my wordcount again. 999 words. :)

Oct 6, 2010

GothNo Day 6 Progress

The ghost has taken matters into her own hands and has revealed the presence of the object of concern to the young man. Unfortunately, this has sparked a terrible argument between the two young people, and the ghost has to once more step in and smooth things over in her own way...

I really surpassed the wordcount today - over 1,000 words. Not bad considering I sat down to write far later in the day than I usually do and that I'm feeling a bit worn out.

I'm also working on some ideas for the second GothNo pep talk email which will be sent out at the end of the second week.

Oct 5, 2010

GothNo Day 5 Progress

The scene unfolded quite easily and once again I surpassed the daily wordcount of 645 words. I know, I know, it's such a tiny wordcount there really isn't any problem getting past it, but it's the psychological effect that it has that matters!

One problem I encountered was viewpoint. I'll have to take a good look at this when I go back and revise. I knew a lot of my scenes were going to be told from the ghost's point of view, but this particular scene between the two young people might benefit from being told from a different point of view. Close third, possibly, from one of the two.

Anyway, no need to think too much about the technicalities just yet. GothNo is about wordcount, developing a writing habit, having fun, letting go, and all that jazz. The re-write - which I also enjoy - is a different kettle of fish and requires a different mindset.

Oct 4, 2010

GothNo Day 4 Progress

The ghost has figured out how to ring the first person in Deirdre's Contacts list. She has rung said person. She has remarked on Deirdre's screensaver. The deed is done.

I had another note to make to self on why the ghost decided to go to all the trouble of ringing for outside help instead of getting rid of the item in Deirdre's belongings that caused her so much concern. I need to work on the motivation, otherwise the story won't seem plausible.

I have once again surpassed the daily wordcount goal and I'm still loving my story and looking forward to writing again tomorrow.

Part of the reason for this is because of the plot developments that sprang to mind as I was falling asleep last night. I was thinking about the elements of gothic fiction and suddenly it came to me that if I changed one of the characters, I could work in some new developments and tie everything up with the ghost's backstory and story arc. I don't want to give too much away at this point. There may be Beta readers for this story out there who are also reading the blog posts, and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Besides, if I summarise the developments here, I risk making the actual writing redundant as far as my Muse and creative self are concerned.

Oct 3, 2010

GothNo Day 3 Progress

I started on the second scene today. The ghost is looking at the mobile phone and wondering how she's going to get it to work. I added in some reminiscences and also some world-building, namely the ghost's limits - what she can and can't do.

I know how the rest of the scene is going to go, so there won't be any problem getting started tomorrow.

I've also made a list of the Muse Bombs I've come across so far in and saved them in OneNote, and included a note to self about the ghost's motivation in wanting to help Deirdre. She does have a reason for doing it, but I want to make it even stronger.

So, Day 3 wordcount achieved and surpassed!

Oct 2, 2010

GothNo Day 2 Progress

Finished the scene today with 1583 words which is less than my estimation of 2,000 words per scene. But no matter, I've finished the scene!

The ghost has seen that something troubles the young woman who has come to stay at the house and she'd like to help in any way she can. Being a nosy individual, however, she goes through Deirdre's zipped bag and finds something disturbing...

Oct 1, 2010

GothNo Day 1 Progress

It took a while to get going. I fiddled about with loading the playlist onto the laptop, then playing a couple of songs to "set the mood", then added my 2010 GothNo wordcount calendar to the laptop so I could update it on a daily basis. Then I set up the orange-font-on-black-background template which I understand is easier on the eyes than a black font on a white background.

Then I sat looking at the blinking cursor for a few moments and thought "OK, I just have to start."

So I started typing. First person pov - an intro to the character and the setting through the character's own eyes. A bit of backstory, but not too much, and the hopefully tantalising revelation that the character is a ghost.

I may type more later on, but I'd prefer not to cause any shocks to my system that might undo all my good intentions. Sometimes it's better to leave your writing when you know where you're heading with it next.

The nice thing is that I've already passed my daily wordcount goal of 645 words. Yay! :)

Sep 30, 2010

GothNo begins!

Oh my word! Less than two hours until GothNoWriMo officially begins!

I intend to get a good night's sleep and then start into some serious typing tomorrow after breakfast.

Best of luck, everyone!

Image courtesy of phaewilk at Morguefile.com

Sep 23, 2010

Final tasks before GothNo 2010 starts.

All I really have left to do as regards the pre-planning is writing the Sentence Lites onto notecards (I use Mindola SuperNoteCard). And ... that's it!

I've offered to write up some pep talk emails to help keep me and my fellow GothNo-ers motivated and on track to reach our wordcounts. I have a few ideas in mind, so I'll have some fun putting them together over the next few days.

Only 8 days left till GothNo starts. How exciting!

Sep 21, 2010

GothNoWriMo Pre-Planning Progress 5

Today I looked at limits.

Holly Lisle has covered this topic in her How to Think Sideways course. Randy Ingermanson also covered it in Volume 6, #3 of his Advanced Fiction Writing Ezine on 2nd March 2010. (It's in the second section entitled Creating: Some Things are Impossible where he examines Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and why it works.)

Despite having a number of things to do today, I sat myself down in a coffee shop with paper and pen and worked on the ghost's limits.

For example, I created a scene yesterday whereby my ghost can manipulate physical objects in the house - she uses Deirdre's mobile phone to call Brian. Today I fleshed out this idea with how she was able to do this (the whole physics behind energy-use), and the limit beyond which she could not operate. i.e. she can't make noise (not having a body) unless she uses one physical object to strike another one. This means she can't knock on a wall with her knuckles, for example.

I've lots more examples of limits, but just in case any prospective beta readers are reading these posts, I'm not going to go into any details because that would spoil reading the novella when it's finished!

This was a great exercise to do because I found answers to questions I hadn't yet asked; I was able to link up character motivation with plot and I could see how some of the limits would very likely lead to new, fun scenes to write.

Limits. They're very important because they allow us to become more creative.

****************

As an aside, below are a couple of interesting articles here on the relationship between limits and creativity:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/limits-and-creativity.html
http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com/2010/01/27/limits-can-free-creativity/

Sep 20, 2010

GothNoWriMo Pre-Planning Progress 4

Today I sat down and dissected my plot cards with the Sentence Lites to find out where there were weaknesses which would lead to bland scenes. Of the seven cards, I found two with weak Sentence Lites.

Scene One:
Delighted to have company in the house, the ghost becomes afraid when she sees something in Deirdre's belongings.

Scene Two:
Unsure how to proceed, the ghost is relieved when Brian shows up at the house.

In these two examples, the text in italics show how weak the conflict is. becomes afraid is passive, although the reader might be interested in the reason behind the ghost's fear. is relieved is also passive.

I amended the Sentence Lites as follows:

Revised Scene One:
Delighted to have company in the house, the ghost pokes through Deirdre's belongings and finds something unexpected.

Revised Scene Two:
Needing live human intervention, the ghost figures out how to use Deirdre's mobile phone and rings Brian, hoping he'll respond and come to the house.

These two revised Sentence Lites are a lot stronger - the ghost is more proactive for one thing, it gives insight into her character, and gives way more scope for a few laughs. (I'm writing for the Creepy Comedy genre.)

Today, I also went through Holly Lisle's How to Think Sideways course and made a list of the tools I can use while writing the novel. I'll continue with that list tomorrow and possibly try the LUC technique to come up with one more scene. (I have a few things to do tomorrow, so time constraints might prohibit me from doing the exercise, but if I don't get it done tomorrow, I'll do it the next day.)

Something else I want to keep in mind while I'm writing is the structure. Although I follow Storyfix.com and novel structure as it's put forward there, I prefer to keep it simple for the time being as far as the planning for my first draft goes.

So, the tool I'm using is the 8-point arc:

1 - Stasis - the initial state of the MC at the start of the story.

2 - Trigger - something disrupts the MC's life.

3 - The Quest - the MC sets out to achieve something (probably hoping it will set things back on track)

4 - The Surprise.

5 - The Climax

6 - Reversal

7 - Critical Choice

8 - Resolution or a new Stasis

As I write, I'll look at this structure to see what point I'm at in the story, and what point I should be moving towards.

Sep 17, 2010

GothNoWriMo Pre-Planning Progress 3

This morning I worked on the conflict and scenes worksheets and now have seven scenes pretty much ready to be written once October 1st comes round.

I'm estimating about 2,000 words per scene, although I'm not sure how that will pan out once I start writing. But using those numbers, seven scenes at 2,000 words each will take me more than half way to the finish line of my 20,000 GothNo wordcount goal.

Next week, I'll be looking at my plot cards and dissecting them to make sure my Sentence Lites are working as hard as they need to so that when I finally start writing, I won't be creating any boring or static scenes.

It's a first draft, and I'm not aiming for perfection, but it has to be on track otherwise the revision will be a nightmare.

This is the pre-planning process from Holly Lisle's How to Think Sideways course. The great thing about the course is that there's a logic to the exercises but you still have the ability to have fun with them and not drain the life out of the project.

Oh, and I am revising my Sentence for the story to:

Fun-loving 1950s ghost plays matchmaker to two young people ... and learns about life and love and happily-ever-afters.

That happily-ever-after bit is one of the key elements of the story.

Sep 16, 2010

GothNoWriMo Pre-Planning Progress 2

So, I've finished all three character worksheets from the How to Think Sideways course, one each for the ghost and the two young people she's hoping to entice together.

I've made a start on the Planned Conflict worksheets, filling in The Sentence as it has been developed to this point. The next few elements of conflict to look at are the organic conflict, the effect on the characters, the effect on the story and the effect on readers. I might start in on this later today, or I might start afresh tomorrow morning. We'll see.

Sep 14, 2010

Pre-Planning Progress 1

Today I used tools and techniques from Holly Lisle's How to Think Sideways course to work on the pre-planning.

I used her Dot and Line technique to get some idea about characters and setting. I have some firm ideas now about who my ghost is and her backstory and also the two young people whom the ghost is hoping to successfully matchmake for. :)

I already had my Sentence from last year's pre-planning, and as I'd worked quite a bit on that there's little (if anything) that will need to change with it.

The next couple of tools I plan to use are the Character, Conflict, Time and Scenes modules. I'll start on the Character module this afternoon, depending on time and other constraints.

It's great knowing as much as I do now about my characters. It's helping to flesh out the story and has led me to some ideas about possible scenes to include. And I haven't even looked at the Character and Scenes modules yet. Sweet!

Image from Morguefile.com

Sep 12, 2010

GothNo project-planning tools

On the GothNo forum I posted links to four tools that I considered useful for planning writing projects. They are as follows:

The first is an article by Phebe Durand (Lolaness) about using notecards to visually create a plot:
http://tinyurl.com/2daff8f

The second link is to an article by Stella Cameron about the six steps to a perfect plot:

http://tinyurl.com/yhnol9u

The third link is to an article by Larry Brooks called "The Single Most Powerful Writing Tool You’ll Ever See That Fits On One Page":

http://tinyurl.com/nx3cmy

The last link is to an exercise called The Snowflake Method. I tried this the first year I did NaNoWriMo (and reached 50K) and it worked because I knew each day what scenes I was going to write. (What didn't work so well is that I discovered I'm a writer who does not like to work from a heavily-planned outline - it leaves me feeling claustrophobic! For anyone who does enjoy having an outline to work from The Snowflake Method is a great tool.)

http://tinyurl.com/yw43r6


What I might end up doing is using a combination of all these tools to produce a plan that allows me the freedom to write in an inspired way while also knowing in advance what needs to be written each day.

Here's a link to a spreadsheet I also used my first year NaNoing. It was put together by Cameron Mattews at Truckpoetry(dot)net. It's based on The Snowflake Method and for anyone who likes using their laptop or computer to outline, this could be useful:

 
http://www.truckpoetry.net/2007/09/author-resource-outline-helper.html

Sep 8, 2010

GothNo 2010 is nigh upon us!

I got an email a couple of days ago from the GothNo boards, reminding me that there's not long to go before GothNoWriMo starts.

Despite the fact that there's so much going on right now, I am seriously considering entering this year. I was not able to get started on my planned project for last year, but I have my notes (somewhere in one of the many boxes lined up in the spare rooms) so I could give it a go this year. It would be fun!

So, with that in mind, it might not be a bad idea to change the look of this blog in readiness for October 1st!