This will never become a book.

2012 November 30 Friday

approaching The End

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:32

The month of November has run its course.  NaNoWriMo is over, and I wrote more than 28,000 words of prose, adding to the 50K novel I produced in August.  I accumulated only 40 hours of actual writing time (not counting these blog posts), but probably spent at least as much time simply thinking about my story.  I did not finish my final chapter — yet.

Molly started to say something, but Samuel motioned for her to remain still.  He waited for Marcellus to disappear into the main building.  “We need to talk, but not here,” he whispered. “For the sake of our safety, mine as well as yours, act like you are cooperating.”  He sat back down, and indicated that she should do the same. “Do you trust me?”

She thought for a moment. “Do I have a choice?”

In mathematics there is a structure called an asymptote  from which we get the general concept of an asymptotic approach to a goal, meaning it gets closer and closer but the progress become incrementally smaller without ever reaching completion.  I feel that way about my final chapter.  I made great progress at first, but the closer I came to the conclusion, I slowed down.  I still want to reach that goal, but I am going to need to approach it from another angle of attack. I just bought a copy of Scrivener, and I am on a mailing list with a group of locals talking about forming a writing support group.

We are entering December, and the end of 2012.  I have always been fascinated by “end times” prophecies, so you can imagine how excited I am to see the Mayan calendar roll its odometer over to zero while the nutters panic the way they did for Y2K.  Assuming the world doesn’t end, the new year is slated to be full of changes.  I can’t wait to write about it.

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2012 November 29 Thursday

home stretch

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 12:01

I owe you a few entries.  To be honest, I have only written an average of 600 words per day over the past week (rather than that magical 1667 daily quota which NaNoWriMo encourages) and much of it isn’t really the kind of writing I want to share. I have pieces of scenes that are incomplete or need context for an excerpt to make sense.  I still write dialog which is really me thinking about the premise of my universe instead of driving the plot forward.

“When you have a particularly vivid dream, it can seem so real, but you still know it was a dream when you wake up.  Sometimes you can be in a dream and know that it is a dream, too.  It has its own properties, its own reality.  And you can retrieve the memory of that dream when you’re awake, but it somehow has a different quality.  The memory of a dream is never quite as real as the experience was inside the dream.”

I have no idea how to say what I’m thinking.  I’ll just keep writing the same ideas in different ways, and will probably cut it all from the final draft.  I thought I knew where this story was going, but the final chapter is still a mystery to me.

With only a few days left in the month, it is hard to remember why I started this challenge in the first place.  It is tempting to skip ahead to the “what have I learned” post, or quit writing for the sake of word count.  I want to take everything I have put into this novel so far and rework it with a proper outline, but today is not the day to start a new phase.  Today (and tomorrow) need to be about finishing the project at hand.  Prepare for padding.

 

 

2012 November 27 Tuesday

painful

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 10:50

I started to see a way to end my book, but to get there will require the funeral/memorial scene to be an emotional climax.  It’s hard to write this stuff, and just as hard for me to share it.

Molly felt the tightness in her throat climbing up the back of her tongue. Her eyes clouded over with tears, and she squeezed them shut. Her nose burned with the rush of blood through capillaries and hot air pumping from her lungs.  She began to sob uncontrollably.

She had never felt so alone and isolated.  All those years of standing on her own in a crowd had felt empowering.  She was special and unique in a magical way, beyond human understanding, and it had given her strength to think of it as a blessing to be different.  The others were so weak in their dependence on each other, so incomplete and imperfect. She could go anywhere and be with anyone and yet remain unchanged.  She was constant, entirely self-contained.  Until now.  Where was her center now? Where were her borders?

She missed her mother more than she ever thought possible.  This was not like being homesick.  This was not like wishing she could share a funny story with her mother and having to wait until after school to see her again.  This was forever, cut off from the root which can never grow back.  How could there be a hole left behind in what was already empty?

I cried a little bit, writing that. Wasn’t this supposed to be a fun way to spend a month instead? I’d rather go back to my other plot, my other character, the detached reporter investigating an anomaly, but I was just spinning my wheels with that device, making no progress.  The path I’m on now leads to a more spiritual ending than I had originally intended, but I may have no choice.  Without an ending, this has been a lot of painful work for nothing.

 

2012 November 26 Monday

writing prompts

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 13:31

I needed something to prod myself back to life, back to writing my novel.  Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of a scheduled write-in with my regional NaNoWriMo group.  In terms of raw numbers, I don’t get a lot of writing done at a write-in, and the added travel time makes it look like an inefficient way to boost my word count.  The people who come out for these events are usually more interested in social bonding, and their chatter about where they are in their books is a distraction when I’m trying to write mine.

Still, just being in the presence of other WriMos gives me some assurance than I am not unique in my struggles.  They offer one another the same advice I hear every year, about how to “tame the inner editor” and “feel free to write crap” and suggestions like “add zombies” just to keep the plot moving.  I repeat the same advice to other newbies, and ignore most of it myself.

Yesterday’s conversation brought up examples of various poisons a character might use to kill someone.  While I had no intention of poisoning my characters, the mention of mushrooms sparked an idea for me.  Poisonous mushrooms are often taken in small doses as hallucinogens, for fun as well as religious experiences.  No one in my novel has mentioned the use of substances, legal or illegal, for recreation or mood altering or escape.  In a story about a spiritual quest, how did I neglect the possibilities of drugs?

She shifted the cushion which was propped under her arm.  She thought about the process involved in choosing to perform such a simple action.  In the moment, she forgot whether or not she had completed the thought, and so she shifted the pillow again. This action felt so familiar that she questioned whether or not she had actually done it, rather than thinking about it.  It was impossible to see the difference.  Maybe she had only imagined moving the cushion.  Maybe she had only imagined that she had thought about doing it.  She reached for the cushion – again?  She watched her own hands as if they were a visual echo.

I haven’t decided what drug she has taken.  I don’t have much personal experience, so I might simply make up something appropriate for her world.  Maybe this scene will be a turning point in her quest, or maybe it will be a dead-end, but at least she’s willing to explore the questions.  She’s been rather passive lately.

I took a walk this morning, looking for more writing prompts.  What the universe gave me was a glass marble with flecks of sparkle inside, an unmarked compact disk lying in the street, and a delivery van with the word ‘HOPE’ on the side.  The CD was scratched, probably run over by the garbage truck, but the laser surface still reflected rainbows of color.  I wonder what had been recorded on it.

 

2012 November 25 Sunday

stalled

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 13:04

just a quick update: I have not written anything in the past three days.  My pace was slow before the holidays hit, and then I lost all momentum.  The current word count is stuck at 23,700 with little hope of winning NaNoWriMo this year.  I haven’t entirely quit, however.  Tomorrow I will have the house to myself once again.

2012 November 22 Thursday

faking it

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 10:00

I decided to plunge into writing the funeral scene, skipping past whatever occurs to get all the characters there.  I have not attended a funeral service in so long, I can’t even remember how many decades have passed.  It means I don’t have many memories to tap into for descriptive inspiration.

They said things to her like, “I grew up with your mother,” and “She was such a wonderful woman to work with.” Molly only nodded and tried to smile in a sad way.  They accepted her stoic appearance as normal grief and moved on to talk with someone else. She didn’t have much experience with this specific emotional facade but there were plenty of people in attendance whom she could imitate.

Today is Thanksgiving (in the USA), another one of those times when people who might rarely spend time together gather anyway.  The emotional tension might be a reasonable substitute for how they would act at a funeral. Do you think they’ll mind if I take notes?

 

2012 November 21 Wednesday

more rambling

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 09:32

Posting an excerpt every day is still my biggest motivation to continue working on the novel.  Finding a passage worth of an excerpt is still just a difficult, but saving the blog-posting duty for the next morning is less of a distraction, and it helps me to warm up for the day ahead.

Yesterday I just let my main character spew a bunch of exposition.

“I can’t choose either side.  The Aetherists make a good argument for why I belong with them, but it seems like it would be a betrayal of my family if I did renounce the Kirch.”  It dawned on her that she was in a unique position in all of history, and shouldn’t squander the opportunity to use it to her advantage.  “And maybe that’s the point.  Taking a side, either side, shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing choice.”

I am frustrated by the fork in the road.  She should choose a path, stick to it, and explore the consequences.  I just haven’t decided which path will make for a more interesting story.  Perhaps I need to write both alternatives.  I blame this on my being a Libra.

p.s., The proper nouns are placeholders, subject to revision.  I’m trying too hard to avoid the terms from our own religions, but it’s rather obvious that it’s the same dichotomy.

 

2012 November 20 Tuesday

avoidance

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 09:34

I have reached that stage where I find reasons to avoid writing this book.  I had this brilliant idea to send my character to a funeral, where the contrasts between our culture and her world should give me plenty to explore.  Unfortunately, I don’t want to explore those emotions myself.

Molly waited for the bus to drive away before she started walking down the street.  She passed a block of shops, looking in their windows, seeing her own reflection in the dark glass.  Some of the stores were familiar to her, places where she had been sent as a child to fetch a carton of milk, places where she had shopped with her mother for clothes.  Some of the shops where less familiar, selling items which their family had no use for.

One store was new since she had last been on this street.  She stopped to read the posted list of items for sale inside.  It was a book store, but it also carried miscellaneous objects.  Partly driven by curiosity, partly from a need to postpone the dreaded confrontation with her father and the other mourners, she decided to enter the store.

Although a detour into a mysterious shop would pad my word count, I’ve done it before and it never goes anywhere. Even my main character is helping me avoid working on her story.

 

2012 November 19 Monday

rambling

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 08:45

Slow weekend, adrift, not writing much.

“You need a place where you can put down roots, as we say out here.  Tap into the life force of a community and let it sustain you.  Plants don’t grow without soil and water, and animals don’t live long without a herd around them.  People are like that, too.”  Ellen thought it would comfort Molly, but it did not.

I may need to kill off a character just to inject some drama.

 

2012 November 17 Saturday

halfway

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 00:15

The NaNoWriMo calendar decorates my computer desktop. It suggests that I should have more than half of my novel written by now, as we have passed the middle of the month. My personal goals have slipped over many days, but I had hoped to have at least 20,000 words by now.  I do not.

I’ve had this scene in my head for a week now, but kept waiting for the inspiration to write the plot points which lead up to it.  Today I just skipped ahead and got some of the imagery down to move things along.

Molly sat next to one of the younger sisters of their traveling companion. The girl reached across and took a small tomato from Molly’s plate.  Molly said, “That’s mine.” The girl stated, “No it isn’t. It belongs to us all.”

One of the adults, probably her father, came over to their end of the table. “Miranda, the gleaning has ended, and Molly is our guest. She did not participate in the circle tonight, but she will remember your behavior at the next meal. Perhaps next time you will think to take enough tomatoes to feed those around you.”

I like the scene in my head more than how it came out on the page.  A lot of what I wrote leading up to this point was the description of action rather than actual action, if that makes any sense.  It’s like I’m not telling a story, but instead I’m relaying explanations. I’ll have to work on that (in the edit-and-rewrite phase, later, not now!)

 

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