It’s around this time of year I get all nostalgic for videogames I got as Xmas presents: Age of Empires, Baldur’s Gate 2… Mount & Blade Warband. Actually, I didn’t get that one as a present, so I’m not sure where the association comes from. But I’m also reminded of where I was this time last year, and it seems like every year it gets more unbelievable how little I’ve progressed.
This time last year, I was attempting NaNoWriMo again in order to finish the sequel (or one of them) to Cloudgazer. In it, there’s a scene where we get a look into the past of the main character Kiy, shortly after he became separated from his little sister Julene. There is this one scene where a young Kiy is bracing himself for the harsh reality that it may take him as long as a year to find her, as unbearable as that sounds. Those who read the first book (and the start of this one) know however, that Kiy will still be looking for her some 11 years later. I can sympathise with Kiy here, as I feel this is how so many of my project timescales go when I think back to the aspirations of my younger self.
Okay, so “failed” isn’t the most constructive word to use, but I am feeling somewhat masochistic and in need of a stern talking to. This has been a difficult year for me, but I feel I’ve been making a few too many excuses. I’ve been made redundant, headed out onto the hostile airless moon that is Self-Employment, and I published my first book; which nobody knows about and I’m struggling to figure out how to make people know about it. But I am free; what more do I need?
I thought that with my workday effectively under my control, I’d be able to negotiate with myself to get the necessary time I need to write 1,667 words a day (or sixteen-and-a-half centiwords, as I have started to think of it). Problem is, that amount of time with me is a bit long, it would seem. Something like 4-5 hours, most days. Which makes the challenge at best a 150-hour commitment that earns me exactly zero toward my monthly deficit of bills.
I’m missing out on the fun of NaNoWriMo again this year. It’s hard to keep writing, sometimes. I find it all too easy to just want everything to be perfect and never let it out. But you have to keep writing. Because the alternative is stopping. That sounds obvious, but it’s something I have to remind myself from time to time. Keep on writing, even if everyone seems to disagree with you. Keep on writing, even if you think nothing will become of it.
Here’s a toast to anyone too busy trying to finish something to start something new this month.
So now that it’s November, where have all my travel blog entries gone? Well, in short, I decided to do NaNoWriMo. Thus a large portion of my writing juice has been taken up by working on my novel Chronozone Zero; a book that’s been in progress for oh so many years. Anyone familiar with NaNoWriMo would rightly point out that this is cheating. This is true, but I really fancied doing NaNo and the last thing I need is to start another novel. I am also not keen on imposing yet another foolish dare on my long-suffering Lucy while we are meant to be exploring the great Down Under. The upshot of it all will be that I shall (hopefully) finish a book I have wanted to finish for some time (and Lucy, having read the preview, is also impatient for).
On a similar subject, I finally finished the 3rd draft of Cloudgazer just in time to be free for November. Lucy completed reading it last night ( in two days, no less! She’s posessed of a reading prowess that I cannot begin to comprehend). I will be doing another short edit some time soon, before seeking out a wider proof read audience.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more posts on Oz, I promise to do another in the next day or two!
Last November, I completed National Novel Writing Month by reaching 50,000 words on my fantasy-scifi adventure “Cloudgazer”. To say I was pleased is an understatement; to say I spent most of December 1st with a big grin on my face would be more accurate. Finally, I felt as though I had something complete, something to be proud of.
A colleague of mine was also a ‘Wrimo’, and completed ’09 successfully. When I asked him how it went, I was somewhat startled when he declared he was going to have to just bin it and rewrite the whole thing. Surely, I thought, that is some sort of kneejerk reaction that should be resisted. There must be something of merit in there. I knew mine certainly had.
And yet, when I got stuck into my editing over the past four weeks, I started to see why one might draw such a conclusion. I love what I have written. There’s parts that shine, snippets of dialogue and lines of prose that I might even go as far as to say are brilliance. But it’s awkward, terribly so. There is a lot that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t fit, and I have considered that their only fix may lie in a fundamental re-writing of the background history, and by extension, the entire plot.
But I’ve been warned about this sort of thing, and I’m prepared. When editing, it is a little like tidying up. You usually have to mess things up worse before they become neat again. In an ideal world, I would be concentrating on this, but at the moment that simply isn’t possible. Too much to do. But interesting things to follow soon.