sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Victory is mine! On this eighteen day of November, Two thousand and nine, I finished my Nanowrimo project well ahead of schedule. I have a novel under my belt. Not a good one--but a novel nonetheless. I'm very pleased.

In other news...I'm posting from my wife's computer because I've royally fucked mine up. One of the good things about Linux is that you are not at the mercy of Microsoft. You have far more control over what your computer does and doesn't do, than most Windows users.

The bad thing about Linux is...you have far more control over what your computer does and doesn't do than most Windows users.

In my case, I was trying to get more resolution from my video driver software. It isn't using the current monitor to its full extent. More importantly, I can't update my operating system (OpenSuse 10.3 at the moment) to anything more current because anytime I try i get a black screen and the error message "Input Signal Out of Range". That's been the case since I bought my widescreen LCD monitor, but it wasn't an issue until recently.

OpenSuse 10.3 has officially reached the end of its support cycle. No more updates or patches. I need to update my OS. Which wouldn't be a problem...except that my video card and/or drivers can't handle the newer versions. I saw a message today on the OpenSuse forums that yes, this is a well known issue. My Radeon 9200 video card is officially legacy hardware.

I was hoping to use a fix i read about on the forums to give me a little bit more performance. Alas, now my system won't boot into the GUI. it crashes back to the command line. I've tried almost everything _I_ know to try. Now I'm asking for help on the OpenSuse forums. If all else fails, I can always reinstall 10.3 from scratch. it will be a pain in the ass, and take a couple of hours...but I can do it, if I have to.

I'd rather not. it would still leave me with the original problem. If that's the case, I'd rather just get a quick fix and then address the underlying problem. Which is that I'm going to have to bite the bullet and upgrade my video card--which means I need to figure out what newer video cards a) will work with my equally antiquated motherboard (Microstar International's MS-7104), and b) will work and play well with OpenSuse and my Hanns-G HW191 monitor.

It's annoying, but it's also my own damn fault. I clicked 'yes' when I wasn't absolutely sure it would work. That'll teach me, I guess.

Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,313 (very good)
Present Total Word Count: 50,445 words (50,082 according to the NaNoWriMo word verification page, but what do THEY know)
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (NaNoWriMo Red)
I'm less than 3,000 words from the end of my 50,000 word novel now. I should hit the goal tomorrow! Go me!

This novel will never see the light of day, of course. It will remain a deep, dark secret, shared with no one. Not even my lovely and talented wife. It's purely for practice, and as such I'd prefer it not be exposed to even the kindest eyes.

But I'll have a novel under my belt. Which means the next one will be a lot easier to write. I'll know--not think, but know--I can write a novel. And I've learned things from this effort. I need to be crueler to my characters. More conflict. Lots more conflict. Get deeper into their heads. And other lessons I'll be contemplating for a while to come.

But I'll have written a novel, damn it! And someday I'll mine this one for characters or ideas, I expect. I will certainly recycle the title and the character names, if not the characters themselves. Even some of the ideas for places and events. But done, you know, better.

Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,423 (very good)
Present Total Word Count: 47,132 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Nothing of note to add. Just the facts, ma'am.

Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,653 (very good)
Present Total Word Count: 43,709 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (NaNoWriMo Black)
Day 14 was a bust. I didn't write at all. I didn't get around to writing until this evening, but I had a goal and I achieved. I broke the 40,000 word mark.

As is typical of my experience with writing, I alternate between feeling good about what I've done and thinking that it's no good at all. Now, on this particular effort, even at my best I've thought it was only good for practice at sustaining a story for novel length word counts. Today I'm feeling like it's not even that.

I will finish it. That's a given. But I have no idea how to wrap it up and I'm getting to that point. On the other hand, I had no idea how I was going to begin or continue it--and I'm four fifths of the way through it. So I'll just keep chugging away on it. When it's done, if it's as awful as I suspect, well, nobody else ever needs to see it. But I'll have written a novel.

Which means that the next one should be easier. And better.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,969 (excellent)
Present Total Word Count: 40,056 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
An excellent day on the nano writing front after a slow start. I also had an idea for a new story, which I'm hoping to start writing on soon.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 4,045 (excellent)
Present Total Word Count: 36,087 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Thursday I had real trouble getting motivated to write. By pure will power I managed to produce 2,042 words. A mediocre showing at best. Friday I took the day off from NaNo. I slept in, I went by the comic shop and bought a compilation of Noble Causes, went to the library, and a few other places. Nothing special, just going wherever I felt like going.

Thursday night I went to my regular weekly face-to-face RPG session (GURPS Traveller currently). It was a lot of fun. Lots of combat, lots of fear and death-defying action.

Tomorrow (well, later today, now) it's back to the NaNo project. Also, my second sale, Bound by Convention, a sequel to Flying High will go live on the Cobblestone-press.com website. Yay! I'll be posting promos on various promo yahoo groups and elsewhere. Feel free to take a look.

For now, though, time to eat something and go to bed.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 2,042 (meh)
Present Total Word Count: 32,042 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (NaNoWriMo Red)
I'm at 30,000 words exactly on my NaNo project today. That wasn't by design. Oh, I wanted to reach 30,000 words today, but hitting that total exactly was pure coincidence. I hit what I thought was a good stopping point for the day's writing, checked the word count and there it was. Thirty thousand words precisely.

My next project today is to finish filling out the cover art request form for my latest sale to Cobblestone Press.

For those who don't know, the process goes like this:

You receive an email with a contract offer.

You have seven days to sign and return the electronic contract, which includes all your contact information, pen name you're using, if any, how you want to be paid (Paypal, electronic deposit, or a check--and whatever infor is needed for the option you choose), and so forth.

You also have to fill out and return a book information form. That includes your contact info (again), pen name (if any), title of the work (and series title, if applicable), word count, the author bio (again), two blurbs (one 50 words or less, the other 100 words or less), and 3 possible log-lines (10-15 word one sentence description that, ideally, will motivate people to want to read the book),

Finally, you fill out and send in a cover art request form. While CP has final say on cover art, they do ask for your input, and will send you a proof of the planned cover art to look over before it's finalized and banners, various size cover images, and other promo items based on the art are generated. The form asks for descriptions of the primary characters, any special symbols or themes you'd like to see in the cover art, and what kind of image you have in mind. The artist will try to meet your request, but as I say, ultimately the publisher gets final say on the art.

I've had two covers done so far and I like them both. Neither of them is quite what I envisioned, but they're both very much what someone else might imagine based on my descriptions.

That's what I need to finish up and send back to them in the next few days. So, I guess I'd better get to it.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,504 (good)
Present Total Word Count: 30,000 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I chalked up more than four thousand words today. Go me!


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 4,081 (excellent)
Present Total Word Count: 26,496 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!


sinanju: The Shadow (NaNoWriMo Black)
The story continues to go in unexpected directions. But I'm just letting it go where it wants, though trying to throw in surprises and cliffhangers along the way. Tomorrow I should hit the halfway mark, exceeding 25,000 words!


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,274 (good)
Present Total Word Count: 22,415 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30





Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE!

sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Nothing more to say right now.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,118 (good)
Present Total Word Count: 19,141 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30



Stories in Circulation: 12 <---one less today because...
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE! <---...I sold another one!


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
The novel is coming along. I have no idea from one scene to the next what I'll be writing, I'm just making it up as I go along, and trying to end each day's writing (or each chapter, if it feels like a good place for one) with a cliffhanger. Both for practice at writing a cliffhanger and also because it gives me a hook for the next day's writing session.

I haven't worked on any other fiction this week, alas. I'd hoped to do so but it just hasn't happened. Maybe next week, now that I'm less worried about getting my novel writing done. I don't feel as much pressure now; I still don't think this novel is going to amount to anything, but I feel a lot more confident in my ability to get it down on paper (or carved in electrons) in a reasonable amount of time.

Quantity, as the Soviets used to say, has a quality all its own. Let's run the numbers, shall we?
  • On my worst day so far, I wrote 1,736 words. So 1736 words x 30 days = 52,080 words. More than long enough for many an epublished novel, based on my research into various epub sites, but not really enough for a dead tree novel from a New York Publisher. Even so, if I take two months to write a novel at that rate, at the end of sixty days I'll have 104,160 words. Now we're talking!
  • My best day so far clocked in at 3,855 words, or 115,650 words in 30 days. That's more than enough for a New York published novel.
  • My six day average is 2,670 words. Over a month, that adds up to 80,115 words, or somewhere in low-to-mid range of words for a novel from a New York publisher.
All of this is a long-winded way of demonstrating to myself that writing a novel length story is well within my power. It's something I've worried about. I've never done it before, but experience will go a long way toward convincing me (and my skeptical subconscious) that it's possible. And that's good.

Why? Because once I've demonstrated to my own satisfaction that I can, in fact, write a novel-length story, I can spend more time and attention on making it a good one. One step at a time, baby. One step at a time.

Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,277 (good)
Present Total Word Count: 16,023 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30




Stories in Circulation: 12 <---one less today because...
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE! <---...I sold another one!
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Today was both good and bad. Good, in that I went out to get lunch for myself and Twoson at the local bakery, and when I returned I found an email from Cobblestone Press with a contract offer for "Queen Bee". That makes my third sale to them! The editor's email was very ego-boosting, too. She really liked it. So that was a very welcome surprise.

On the other hand, I just barely exceeded the daily minimum for NaNoWriMo today. That's not so bad because I'm well ahead of schedule--I'm 25% of the way through my novel and we're only five days into November. But I'd hoped to double today's production. But it was not to be.

Part of the problem was that we had a crew in today to thoroughly clean the furnace and heating ducts, so as to minimize my lovely and talented wife's exposure to allergens. I doubt the ducts have ever been cleaned before, and certainly not in the many years we've been living here. It was well worth the time, expense and noise--but it was very distracting and made it hard to do a lot of writing.

I admit, I might have done more writing this morning but I worked on other projects. I have my journals (this one and the livejournal of the same name), my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I'm subscribed to a number of Yahoo groups of one sort or another. These are all personal accounts. Then there are the Facebook and Twitter accounts I've created in my pen name, along with the numerous Yahoo promo groups I've joined under that name.

That's a lot of accounts, and it means constantly signing in and out to use the right name with the right account. It got tiresome. So I installed a secondary web browser (Seamonkey) in addition to Firefox and did some organizing. Now all my personal accounts are signed in via Firefox, and all the accounts I access via my pen name are segregated to Seamonkey, so I don't have to be signing in and out and in and out all the time. Plus, when I open Seamonkey it puts me in the "this is business" frame of mind. I think that'll make it easier to juggle all those accounts.

Tomorrow, though, I need to buckle down and produce some serious wordage. And more cliffhangers. I'm trying to end each day's writing session with a cliffhanger, just for the practice. Today...not so much. But there's always tomorrow. I'm learning from this experience, and that's really the point.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 1,736 (meh)
Present Total Word Count: 12,746 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30




Stories in Circulation: 12 <---one less today because...
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: THREE! <---...I sold another one!




sinanju: The Shadow (NaNoWriMo Red)
I wrote 3,211 words on my nano novel today. Then I opened the file for another story I'm writing (working title "If You Catch Me" but ultimately to be called "Fast Friends")...and I had nothing. The novel effort seems to be soaking up all my writing mojo. I may try again later tonight, but I don't hold out much hope.

So, with a little less than an hour left before I had to drive downtown to pick up my lovely and talented wife from work, I opened the Nano file again and added 644 additional words. I figured, the sooner I get it done, the sooner I can get back to writing other stuff.

But while I was working on it, I had an epiphany. I could see the flaws (the big, big flaws) in this story. Which, to be clear, I was aware of from the beginning. But I realized I knew what those flaws are, and that I also knew what I needed to do in future to do better. (I have no intention of trying salvage this novel once it's done. It's practice. I'll finish it, celebrate having done so, and then file it where it will never see the light of day again.*) But the next novel will be better.

And that's when it hit me. I caught myself thinking about the next novel. I realized that a) I was learning from this, and b) that I was contemplating doing it again. Not for NaNoWriMo either, but with Intent to Publish in the First Degree. Wow. Maybe writing this terrible, terrible mess of a novel isn't just finger exercises. Maybe I am actually learning something from doing so.

To be perfectly honest, my lovely and talented wife has said as much to me. She's been incredibly supportive, not just of my bellyaching over NaNoWriMo, but of my writing efforts in general. I appreciate that immensely. She's said that this was practice, practice with my process--which I'm stretching from short stories to novels, a learning experience. And I agreed. Intellectually. But today I grokked it in fullness, as Valentine Michael Smith might say.

I'm learning more from this experience than I expected I would. And that's great. It's liberating. And now, on with the countdown!

Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 3,855 (good)
Present Total Word Count: 11,010 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30




Stories in Circulation: 13
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: TWO!



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Drove my lovely and talented wife to work this morning, then headed down to Eugene to retrieve Twoson. He spent the month of October there to help Oneson and DIL before and after the birth of Granddaughter, though he stayed with his dad. Now he's back here with us.

Yeah! Five hours in the car--woo! Well, five hours including a fairly quick stop in the McDonalds drive-thru to get a sausage biscuit, hashbrown and orange juice. I almost never eat at McDonalds, and never anything but the aforementioned items. But occasionally I just gotta have that sausage biscuit.

Then I drove down, collected the kid, and drove home, stopping to pick up some pork chops for dinner. Which Twoson cooked. Delicious!

I didn't get around to writing until late in the day due to my long-distance errand. I ended up writing 2,009 words, for a grand total of 7,155 words to date on the novel. Which still sucks. But which I am still intent on finishing. Today I made use of Dashiell Hammett's advice--when you don't know what else to do, have a man come through the door with a gun.

So I did. Well, actually, he was already in the room. Undercover. But he kick started something. Now the cops have arrived. We'll see how it goes.


Project: Strange Attractors
New Words Written: 2,009 (meh)
Present Total Word Count: 7,155 words
Goal: 50,000 words by November 30




Stories in Circulation: 13
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: TWO!



sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Wrote 3,239 words on my NaNo novel today. Or 3,184 if you go by the word counter on the NaNoWriMo site rather than the word count in OpenOffice Writer. But either way, I'm at over 5,000 words for day 2. Which pleases me mightily.

It's not the same novel I started yesterday. I mean, it is--I didn't scrap anything. But hard as I tried to push it in the direction I originally intended, I just couldn't get it to gel. But that's okay. I'm going in an entirely different direction, striking out into uncharted territory. I still suspect it will suck mightily, but that's not gonna stop me writing it.

While stewing about this issue last night (I didn't get the brainstorm and/or give myself permission to change the novel concept until this morning), I assembled bits and pieces of another story I've been thinking of turning into a novel for some time. All told, that story is already at around 14,000 words of previous work. I thought about using that as my backup story.

I might still work on it some this month, but not as a last-minute swap-in. Just as another story to be finished eventually.

Borrowing a page from the Book In A Month workbook, I started a companion document for keeping notes on the novel. I noted that I needed to change the description of the opening setting (a moderately large house) to something different (a small apartment), I've swapped out the heroine's name, personality and talents for someone entirely different, but who will suit the new direction.

Which means, of course, that the original character(s) remain available to me for some other story.

In other news (already shared on Facebook), I got a rejection letter from The Atlantic. No surprise there. I haven't seen the story out again yet, but I will. I've been busy writing til now.

And I got the first monthly royalty check from Cobblestone Press for "Flying High" (www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/flyinghigh.htm). It's tiny, but it's a check! I hope to do better in the future, since a) this check covers only September and the story only went live on the 25th, and b) I aim to do more promotion. Plus, as of the 13th of this month, I'll have TWO stories to promote.

Anyhow, that's it for now.



Stories in Circulation: 13
Rejections: 20
Stories Accepted: TWO!


sinanju: The Shadow (NaNoWriMo Black)
I've written 1,907 words today. It's possible I'll write more, but at a minimum I've done my first day's quota.

And I think it sucks. This can't possibly be any good. I can't possible write a novel based on this! Or says my ego.

And to my ego, I say, "Nuts to you!" The absolute worst thing that can happen is that when I'm done, I'll have 50,000 words of crappy novel--which will include at least some good bits. Good bits I can steal to use in other stories. So I'll just have to deal with these feelings of inadequacy and soldier on. Harder in practice than in theory, but still do-able.

I gotta say, though, that I'm discovering depths of self-doubt and fear in my attempt to write this novel that I haven't had to deal with on short stories. Or maybe I got past that and blotted it from my memory. It's an interesting experience. A "learning experience", as they say. But it's good for me.

In other news, I received rejection on "Ink" from Strange Horizons on Saturday. I immediately sent it out to Shock Totem. Never say die!




Stories in Circulation: 13
Rejections: 19
Stories Accepted: TWO!


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