This will never become a book.

2012 November 16 Friday

danger in the hills

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 00:06

I had to push my characters out of their comfort zone.

“You think they know something we don’t?  For truth? I’m not so certain we should trust them. What if where they’re taking us is dangerous?”

“Can it be more dangerous than hiding from the authorities in Lancer?” Molly glanced over Rick’s shoulder at the family gathering at the side of the barn.  She could tell they were having a similar group discussion about the wisdom of bringing strangers into their midst.

The new surroundings should be giving me plenty to write about for the next week, and a chance to explore more observations about how this world works.  It could also turn out to be a bunch of silly filler until I send them back to the city for the big confrontation.


2012 November 14 Wednesday

creative writing

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:50

My story assumes humans have evolved the ability to see spirits.  Their technology is dependent upon electricity, but there is no use of petroleum and wireless transmissions do not work.  How do I make all of that seem normal, while putting the main characters into a situation that is unfamiliar to them?  I invent new words, of course.

“You’re a couple of hungry zins, that much I can see.” The man’s tone of voice was soft and easy, not accusatory at all.

Molly turned back to face him. “We’re ‘zins’? What does that mean?”

“Citizens,” replied the man, “from the city.  I can usually spot the tourists from a mile away, but you two were doing a real good job of blending in until you got closer.”

It’s like I’m afraid someone won’t realize this is fiction.

2012 November 13 Tuesday

this is work

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 18:53

I dragged myself back to the writing task in several half-hour chunks of time today, and scraped my way past the 15,000 word quota.  No ninjas were harmed in the making of this scene.

“Well, well, now that would a shame to waste.”  The man hopped down onto the platform beside them. He reached down and picked up the soiled apple with the fewest possible number of fingers, then wiped it dry on the lower side of his pants leg.  “Looks like Gretchen gets a treat.”

Molly had a look of disgust on her face, shocked that he would consider giving the apple to anyone to eat now.  She certainly no longer wanted it for herself.

The man laughed at her reaction.  “Missy, Gretchen is my horse, here.”  He held the apple on his flat palm and fed it to the animal.

Maybe I write more when I’m hungry?

2012 November 12 Monday

week two lull

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:36

I’ve been in this position before.  It’s the doldrums.  I sit here with no wind in my sails, drifting in circles.

I’ve sent my characters on a road trip, but all I’ve written about is the road, not the trip.

Molly had always wanted to see the ocean, but they had better chances of survival by going north.  North towards Compton, but first across neutral lands that refused to be governed by any political body larger than their own settlements, and by doing so had cut themselves off from most advances in technology.  The train line ended where the electrical grid ended, and the dirt roads began.

The thought of adding a ninja attack is beginning to have some appeal.


2012 November 11 Sunday

Let’s pretend

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:20

Let’s pretend I didn’t just have the least productive weekend in NaNoWriMo history. (Oh fine, I exaggerate. It’s more dramatic that way.)

Let’s pretend I’ve come down with the flu, instead of a mild head cold.

Let’s pretend we’re on day seven instead of day eleven.

I’ve just hit 12,500 words, which is nothing to be ashamed of.  It’s more than I had at the end of November two years ago, and with a lot less of the mindless filler.  Here’s an excerpt of today’s meager output:

“We haven’t even had dinner yet, and you’re talking about growing our own food.  I can’t even think about life without indoor plumbing right now.  Let me use the bathroom first.”  Molly stood up.

Rick laughed and fell back down across the bed.  “You do have your priorities, don’t you?  I yield to you for running water and chicken pot pie. You’ll see things my way, eventually.”

Let’s pretend I’ve made some notes about where the plot is headed, and that I’ll actually follow them.

I could tell myself that my word count widget is wrong, and just add 5,000 to my running total.  After all, it’s only a number. It might be good for morale.  (btw, I don’t really have a head cold, either.)


2012 November 9 Friday

better than a bribe

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:24

I tried to get back on track today.  My plan was to do nothing else in the morning before I had laid down one thousand words.  I wasn’t going to get dressed or anything, just sit and write.

But it was garbage day, so I had to get dressed to take the can to the curb.  It was tempting to take a walk to go get a coffee, since I was already dressed and outside, but no! I went back inside… and made myself a latte.  I fed the cat.  I checked my emails.  I wrote 250 words.  Then I took break.

I saw the bowl of leftover Halloween candy and said, “If I reach one thousand words, then I can have a chocolate bar.”  I picked out two and put them next to the computer.  I wrote another 350 words.  Then I ate both candy bars.

I fixed myself a sandwich for lunch and wrote another 400 words.  What does that make?  One thousand?  Oh good, I can go watch some television.

Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, after I had visited all of my forums and read of all my news feeds, I got down to business.  It took me another two hours of solid focus to write another 1000 words.  I was finally reaching a solid quota for a single day!  This put me past the 10,000 word mark (where I should have been three days ago).  I deserved a good dinner out.

Back at home after a walk in the cool night air, I dropped in on an IRC chat room where a bunch of NaNo people were having word wars.  They challenged me to a 15 minute sprint.  I wrote 500 words.  Five hundred words in 15 minutes!

Here is where I had ended my long day of slow writing.

She kissed him again, harder this time.  It was something she couldn’t describe to him in words, but she needed to share that knowledge with him. She let him know with her touch that she was ready to meet him again in the spiritual realm.

And here is where I began my sprint:

They lay in bed together for a long time, saying nothing with spoken words, but looking at each other as they touched.

Do the math.  I could spend all day grinding away in chunks spread over 4 hours to produce 2,000 words, an average of 500 words per hour, or let go and produce at a rate equivalent to 2,000 words per hour.

Plus, IRC word wars are less fattening than two chocolate bars.



the over and under of prepared

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 00:12

Is is possible to be both over-prepared and under-prepared at the same time?  I feel like I am stuck at both ends of that spectrum.

I thought that having an existing universe and a set of characters from my last novel (still only a first draft) meant I was prepared to pick up where I left off and write a sequel.  Then I let some new ideas get in my way.  Now I’m trying to create a complex structure to tell a specific story in a specific way, but find myself unprepared to tackle it.

The formal document said that the tribunal was being called to make a determination of her legal status.  That seemed like a simple thing to do.  Determine whether or not Molly was a criminal.  But really, their hidden agenda was to determine whether or not Molly was fully human.  And it angered her.

Today’s excerpt is where I want to just skip all the setup and dive into the meat of the action — if I had any action.  All I have is exposition.

(By the way, my inner editor rewrote this post three times.)

2012 November 8 Thursday

pep talk

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 00:02

I am not fulfilling my quota.  I barely passed the 8000 word mark today, now two days behind schedule.  I have not lived up to the promise I made to myself to take this NaNoWriMo seriously.  There, I’ve said it.  The secret was eating away at me.

However, at the very minimum, I have kept my promise to post an excerpt every day.  That sense of obligation to someone (or something) beyond myself is the kind of motivation I need to keep going.

“We never got the chance to properly meet. My name is Ben Fording. I was a journalist at the time, but between your…” — Ben almost used the word ‘threat’ – “advice and my editor’s idea of what the public wanted to hear, my story was buried.  I never got the chance to follow up with you until now.”

It’s hard to pick out a paragraph that stands alone.  It’s even harder when I have so few new ones to choose from.

The NaNoWriMo pep talk (which is mailed to participates at various intervals) for today was timely.  It was written by someone who was even more behind in word count than I am.  And there are more of us out there, posting in forums and talking in chat rooms and going to write-ins.  And many of them do go on to have a burst of writing. It is still possible to catch up.  For them and for you, and for myself, I promise to continue.

2012 November 7 Wednesday

american values

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 00:20

Another day, another excerpt.

Molly unlocked the door and paused before opening it.  “Don’t judge me on the clutter, Poppy.”

He smiled at her.  “I’m sure you’ve just been too busy this morning to tidy up.”

Relieved by his light tone, she let her father enter the room ahead of her. Molly joked, “If I had known you were coming to visit…” but as soon as the words left her mouth, she regretted them and cut herself off.  She remembered that he couldn’t have told her he was on his way, because he didn’t know where she was.  “I’m sorry,” she said, standing in the open doorway.

“It’s fine.” He barely looked at the room, then turned back to look at his daughter in a new light.  She seemed so much older now, even though she had been gone for less than ten days.  “I’m fine, we’re fine.  Come on in and close the door.”

After that, there’s a lot of hugging.


2012 November 5 Monday

progress is relative

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:08

Day Four.  Added only 440 words, none worth mentioning.  Moving on.

Day Five.  Accumulated 4 hours of writing and 2,550 words.  Still under 7,000 words total and a full day behind on the quota, but feeling optimistic that I can catch up before the next weekend sets me back again.

For today’s excerpt, it was a difficult choice.  I had some long passages of description, and long passages of dialog, but nothing much actually happened.

The man in the dark blue robes stood up, while his companions in light gray robes stayed in their seats at the table.  Their combined aura showed Samuel that they had come to an agreement while he was out of the room, and he knew that he would regret not being able to watch how that had happened.

Right now, I am more concerned with getting the action started than with the words I’m putting down.  It’s a start, but it seems the starting line keeps shifting forward.



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