Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

7+k and 6 days left…

Book and gblassesOy, I think I might actually make it.

With 42+k words written so far, and about half the story told, I doubt my novel will be finished for real by November 3oth, but at least I will have reached my 50+k by November 3oth. A nice Chanukah gift to myself. What do I think has been the hardest? The transitions. You know the parts when a particular scene has just played out that led to whatever comes next and the characters either EAT, SLEEP or THINK. I find the THINKING parts really difficult. I know how to convey emotions in an action filled scene, but how do characters relate to their own inner realities, thoughts and feelings, and how do I the author convey that to a reader. I am good at ‘episodes’ – I am less good at tying the ‘episodes’ together. (See this post).

Well no matter, I will get my 50k words in the bank and the story will make sense up to that point – what happens to it after that is anybody’s guess:)

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50k of Mary-Stu.. Why not?

PenFireSmall“Maybe I should do the opposite… try to write purple prose, Mary Sues and revive my “darlings”…” (From Ketutar Writing)

It’s all about the Inner Critic, isn’t it? In the end we have to like our characters, even those who are not likable – I don’t mean that we have to like them when they are unlikable, I mean that we have to like that they are unlikable.

Somehow we have to accept that in fictional writing any character is exactly that – fictional, a product of fantasy – so it’s really silly to try and make them too perfectly ‘non-Mary-Stuish’. So a character is inordinately beautiful or extraordinarily intelligent – there are people like that in the real world, so why shouldn’t there be such people in a fictional world?

Besides, NaNoWriMo is about writing 50k words, not about writing prose that is so dry the ink would fall off the pages if they were printed, or about ‘dehumanizing’ characters to a point where they come across as the figments of some “Mary-Stu-Grand-Inquisitor-Test-Inventors” imagination.

Unless one is exceptionally gifted at inventing original plots, some generic idea is going to insert itself in any story – even if one does a Terry Pratchett and turns the Universe on it’s head and writes satire.

So, if all you can come with is a run-of-the-mill generic plot set in a fantasy society, inhabited by elf-like, exceptionally beautiful, multi-talented and intelligent females and gorgeously sexy, multi-talented and intelligent males, and then let your hero or heroine outshine them all in various situations, described in flowery similes and over-stacked metaphors then, by all means, be consistent and write 50k words of thatEdit: After all, it worked for Good Old Uncle Tolkien, who created an entire race of Mary-Stus so why not? Really, why not?

To quote on of my characters (who frequently spouts things like this – because it is his job do so…):

“So the Order reasons that no matter how mundane the topic of a book is, the contents must be a reflection of how life is experienced by its author even if it’s beneath layers and perhaps obscure. Anyone reading any specific book will come away from that reading with a piece of that author’s life-experience, either in practice or in understanding. He or she will then in turn bring this practice or understanding into their own experience. In fact just reading the book will add to their particular life-experience. Eventually, then, as such life-experience is added to that of oneself and is shared with others through reading and writing, it will bind together Life as a whole, within all of those who share. Thus it maintains the Core of Everything, since Life is Everything.”

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My Wife – A Confession

Derived from http://ketutar.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=72#/dy0ciw - used with permissionI have no idea how many Husbands out there have their Wives as their main Muse. I guess, hope, wish, fantasize, that I am not the only one. Yeah, I know it is kind of TACKY and CLICHÈ. My Wife would say that it is ROMANTIC.

Tacky or not – for me it’s true. I used to write a lot when I was much younger – another cliché – to handle my existential angst. Like a Byron, Shelley, KeatsBoye, Lagerkvist or Anderson. I fancied myself if not on par with those then at least not far from. I still think that some of what I wrote then was that good.

Then I met my wife. Found other ways of dealing with my angst, and for a while I wrote very little fiction or poetry.

But Wives are trusty creatures :D My better half kept poking me, kept asking me about a few characters I had shared with her, prodded me, nudged and nagged. The  she dragged me over to NaNoWriMo in 2008. Nothing, absolutely nothing. ‘Cause I thought I’d actually have to write a REAL Novel, one of quality, that could be published after some editing.

It wasn’t until this year, this NaNoWriMo, that I realized that it’s all about getting the word count, not about the quality or even the outline. So what if my characters are shallow, inconsistent and Mary-Stu’s to the power of 100? Let them be, let them, and let the storyline run all over a horribly thought out world. So what if my first 50k words are noting but The Greatest Generic Predictable and Non-Unique NaNo Novel ever written? Really. Who does it harm, if I manage to write 50k words – which translates to around 200 pages of PROSE – I have never done that before, so in actually doing it I will have WON´- over myself, my inner critic, my bad self-confidence and above all over my inability to ever FINISH anything :D

All that because of my Wife.

Darling, I love you.


Btw – do go and have a look at my Wife’s Blog on Writing, she has worked so hard at making it worth your while – nice, personal posts all about her struggles and victories in writing, with links, a stack of Fantasy Writing Prompt Generators and links to other writers’ blogs.

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Let the Story surprise you…

There was a post in the NaNoWriMo Forums which I got inspired by.

“One subject that keeps resurfacing on this forum is the idea that characters are somehow able to make their own choices. While this is a cute idea, it sounds like it is derailing some would-be authors. Rather than try and address this misunderstanding on a case-by-case basis, I thought it might be a good idea for us to explore why some people feel this way and what the harm of it is. […] The big pitfall of believing your characters are actual, sentient beings is that you lose the ability to tell the best possible story with them. Grow too attached and you’ll always find a way to keep bad things from happening to the character. You’ll enhance their traits until they’re the embodiment of everything you want to be. You’ll give them unrealistic rewards, or become blind to their faults. You’ll stop using them to serve the needs of the story, and they will become a parody of excellence that you may adore, but no one else will want to read.

Nah, I don’t believe that my characters are People (well they are people in the story, like any third person I see and describe the actions or words of in life), nor do I think that my characters ‘hijack’ my story/stories. But I do believe that my ‘storyteller some times comes up with twists and turns, concepts and ideas, that was not present in my mind when I started out writing. That is not the doing of my characters, that is the doing of ‘the story’. I had one of those ‘incidents the other day – I was plodding along in cavern full of possibly dangerous creatures (that was planned) when “Mr Bright Idea” started hollering from somewhere in my word counting brain that I absotively NEEDED an order of cloistered monks! I could not let go of this idea, every other word that my mind produced had to do with cloistered monks. Now the Monks are in the story, and they work fine there – but it was a twist in the story I had not anticipated. I don’t believe any story is a slave to me. I feel that part of telling a story is in the ability to let it surprise me, as it possibly will those who read.

Some ideas and twists might have to wait for later in the story – for me the ART of writing and the CRAFT of writing are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, when my mind comes up with an idea that ‘absotively’ has to get ‘in there’, it is a test of my ability to get the story where it is supposed to go despite the unexpected twist.

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Past the half-way mark – one day ahead

I didn’t think it would happen. That I actually managed to get past 25000 words. And relatively easy too. What I have now are two stories that will at one point converge and merge into one. I think that is probably why it’s been ‘easy’ – by writing two stories ‘simultaneously’ I am ‘getting over’ the ‘rough spots’ without straining myself or the story as a whole. It feels a bit like I am driving two cars on semi-parallel roads towards a junction or riding two boats on side-rivers that will flow into a larger river at a point up ahead. It is a very fascinating journey.

So how did my researching experiment go? I haven’t decided yet. I can do that in December. Now I just need to get 50000 words in the bank by November 3oth.

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Book Notes…or I am researching…

Remember this entry?

Well, I decided to give ‘research’ a try. And came up with a very interesting Book Notes Page.

  • What are my definitions of various societal structures?
  • Matriarchy
    • Mother or oldest living female is the head of family, clan, tribe.
      • Define: family, clan, tribe.

Matrilineality is a system in which lineage is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Matrilineality also is a societal system in which one belongs to one’s matriline or mother’s lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.

Does Matrilineality naturally imply Matriarchy?

Does Matriarchy naturally imply Matrilineality?

If either case – is this then true also about Patriarchy and Patrilineality?

Can a society be a Patriarchy and at the same time Matrilineal? Or vise versa?

Does that imply an Egalitarian society?

VERY important question:

What is an Egalitarian society?

Is it a society where Power and Property are evenly distributed according to and/or between genders/gender-roles?

OR

Is it a society where Power and Property is distributed according to Ability and Inclination, irrespective of gender and gender-roles?

So,,, what have I decided that at least one of my races’ societal system is gonna be? Well, I haven’t decided yet, I really want to discuss these question with my wife – she would love to have that discussion, and even if it’s my decision in the end, I always get superb input from my wife!

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Not a Word…

17,366 words so far…and I didn’t write a word yesterdayNaNoWriMo 2010 Participant Badge. Dunno why, I was gonna, or so I thought, but I kept blog surfing instead…

So today I have to do a whole lot of Writing.

… but…. what’s the use? No-one reads this blog or care about many words I get in the bank…

I asked someone on NaNoWriMo to be my writing buddy – they didn’t even reply to my NaNoMail….

I am sorry, Hart, but that is REALLY bad form, since I can see in my NaNoMail that you have received my note. At least have the frigging decency to reject me ‘face-to-face’.

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