Report from Loony Land.. The lost days.

So I learned a few lessons this week:

1. If you stay away from your story for a whole day it is so much harder to ignore the voice in your head, that tells you it is OK to take a break from writing. That watching an episode of Vampire Diaries is absolutely fine instead of plonking your ass into the chair and strapping your fingers to the keyboard.

2. If you stay away from your story for a whole day it is so much harder to get back into the heads of your characters. They get all upset and insulted and then they turn their backs and sulk in the corner instead of whispering in your ear all the fricking time.

3. If you do throw away a whole day you just have to GET THE FUCK BACK UP ON THAT HORSE, or it will ride off without you.

 

We celebrated my daughters birthday this friday and saturday. I took friday off, telling myself that I could manage organising the whole party thing, shop, cook and clean and still have hours left over to write. And I was right.

But the thing about having lots of time is that I tend to squander it. Friday rolled around. I gave myself 1½ extra hours of sleep, got up, drove husband and daughter to work and school. Came home. And instead of doing the right thing and write my ass off for an hour or so before going shopping, I told myself I deserved a little time off to watch a little VD. Highschool Vampire Drama. It’s a slippery slope I tell you. Later I shamed myself into writing a measly 5-600 words, before allowing myself another episode.

When the last of a gaggle of 11-year-old girls had gone at 9.45 pm I was beat. Went to bed. And got up late. Ignored the voice in the back of my head telling me I had to get up and write something. Tucked myself under the covers with the Ipad and watched another episode before a new round of cooking and guests began. When I went to bed saturday I still hadn’t put a single word on paper.

So when I got up this morning my nice little 2500 word lead was gone.

Let me tell you, that is really bad for morale. My little spreadsheet of daily written words, is now full of red squares and more :-(‘s than I like. Positive reinforcement has left the building baby. So I named today Get-Back-On-The-MF-Horse day.  And my backside hurts and it feels like I have dragged words out of my brain by force. And though I am ahead in the word count again I still feel a little guilty and wasteful to have thrown away my nice little lead just to watch television.

Stats

2756/18086 (31914 to go)

I should post the stats for the other days. But I won’t. I’ll just pretend it’s never happened.

 

Report from the Looney Land part 5 or 6… but who’s counting

November madness is starting. And by this I don’t mean NaNoWriMo. I mean the insanity of November in general. I normally don’t plan things for my weekends. I probably only have set-in-concrete plans for 10 of years 52 weekends. Apparently those ten weekends all occur in November. My stress levels are off the charts.

Last year around this time I took a course in stress management, and learned some of the physical symptoms of stress and what stress does to your body. One thing is your memory centers shrinking when confronted with stress.  And I am suffering badly. Normally I can juggle a large number of requests from co-workers and bosses, commitments and appointments. But now I have to write note after note to myself to remember even the smallest thing.

Not for the first time I wish NaNoWriMo was NaMaWriMo or NaFeWriMo.

But to be fair on myself, it is going pretty well.  I write 2-3 times a day, I am over target and if I keep up this pace I hit 50000 with a week to spare. GO ME!

Stats for the day

Words written: 2334/12838 (37162 to go)

To hell with the other stats. This is what matters.

Report from Looney Land part 3. A pattern emerge.

I don’t know if I can call it a pattern three days into NaNoWriMo, but I can definitely say I am trying to make saner writing habits this year. I figure if I force myself to do this I might as well try and do it so I actually still want to write once December roll around.

To this end I have made two rules/survival strategies for myself and my story, oh well to be honest I have made more, but two that so far, three days in, seem to work. (I am currently successful in my No-going-back rule as well. But.. been-there-done-that. I am not holding my breath for that to keep being successful throughout November)

First rule/strategy was inspired by a post by Justine Larbalestier (here) (found via the Scrivener Facebook page) where she explains her small word count approach. Many of her reasons ring true, so I have made a deal with myself only to expect 700 words every time I sit down to write. I write in the mornings and evenings, and sometimes I manage to cram in a slot in the afternoons as well. If I aim for and manage 700 words twice a day I will not be catastrophically behind on words, and if I manage 3 rounds a 700 words a pop,  I am automatically ahead. So far it works. I aim for 700 and usually run cold around the 950 word mark. Perfect. I do better than expected, I meet the daily target and cut the risk of self recriminations in half. Yay!

Rule number two. Each session starts a new scene. It might read disjointed and hectic, unfinished, but so far it has kept me from getting stuck on small details.  A rule still in early developmental stage, but for now it is fun and easy.

Stats for the day

Words written: 2209/6514 (43486 to go) (Edit: realized the structure of this stat thing made it seem like I have been writing an increasing amount of word each day. Edited to reflect the daily/overall word count. )

Cups of coffee consumed: 2

Hours spent staring at the screen and/or procrastinating and/or “researching”: 2.

Naps taken: 0

 

Report from Looney Land part one… or how first day of NaNoWriMo went so far.

Warning: If you tire easily of inane, irrelevant nonsense turn away now. Go take a nap, hug your significant other, go out have fun, enjoy what there is to be seen of the sun. I’ll just sit here, cooped up in my little overcrowded mess of an office, surrounded by weird things like trash, headphones, teddy bears, forgotten coffee cups and stacks of notebooks with abandoned stories. I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo.

What I need to learn every damn November, over and over again, is that on the strike of midnight, when October transitions into November, the world shifts, from regular run-of-the-mill days with lazy-ass weekends in between, to middle-of-the-night alarms, to  workdays spent juggling the boss’s expectations of work effort with my droopy eyed tiredness, to hours squinting at the screen hoping some miracle will happen and this story will actually write itself.

Not unlike how a new mother forgets the pain of delivery once the baby is placed upon her chest, I have spent the past year forgetting the force of hateful self-recriminations and the whirlpoon of weird characters and plots in my head.

I have whinged and complained, I have pulled my hair out by the handfuls in frustrated preparation yes, but really, I forgot the total lunacy of getting up at 4 in the morning to wrestle an hour of writing time out of my day before going to work. I forgot how disjointed my writing gets when I try to actually write more than a couple thousand words of ONE story. I forgot it all.

So now its time to relearn.

Stats for the day

Words written: 1800 (48200 to go)

Cups of coffee consumed: 3

Hours spent staring at the screen and/or procrastinating and/or “researching”: 1½

Naps taken: 1

 

 

 

Jeg kunne godt bruge din hjælp/I could really use your help

(If you happen to not understand a word of Danish, there’s an English translation further down)

Jeg deltager i NaNoWriMo (Sindsygt skriveprojekt, sølle 50000 ord skal forsøges skrives på 30 dage), og det starter den 1. november. Jeg har tre mulige historier i hovedet, og jeg kan ikke vælge hvilken en jeg skal skrive.  Jeg skal gerne være klar om en uge, så jeg kunne godt bruge lidt hjælp.

Jeg har skrevet lidt om historierne længere nede, så hvis du gider give dit besyv med i kommentarfeltet eller på facebook så er du en skat og jeg vil være dig evigt taknemmelig!

De tre historier jeg leger med er:

A good cup of Joe (foreløbig titel)

En slags urban fantasy. Da Joe, en mand med evnen til at standse tiden,  redder Maddie fra hendes morderiske ekskæreste indser hun at verden ikke helt er som hun troede.   Jeg startede historien for nogle måneder siden som en Flash Fiction og hvis du har lyst kan du læse den her.

Silverflame

En klassisk fantasy historie, med drager og magi. Historien handler om Sorrow, der har levet et isoleret liv sammen med Ferinea, en slags troldkvinde/healer, midt ude på den øde prærie. Da Ferinea dør, må Sorrow prøve at finde sin plads i den verden hendes nye magiske evner åbner for hende. Denne har jeg også skrevet en Flash Fiction til, den kan du læse her.

Skyld/Skam

Og til sidst, så er der en krimi på beding. Lasse er en depressiv ny-separeret fængselsbetjent, der møder en gammel skolekammerat, Maggie, da hun bliver sat i fængsel, mistænkt for mordet på en gammel mand hun har passet.  Hendes fortid er broget og mistænkelig, men hun benægter alt. Hvis Maggie ikke er morderen, hvem er så? Lasse er nysgerrig nok til at risikere at miste sit arbejde for at finde ud af det. En historie om hvordan vores barndom former os, og om hvordan ikke alt er som man tror når man er barn.

————————– English translation———————–

I am doing NaNoWriMo (Insane writing project, 50.000 words in 30 days) and it starts on 1. November. I’ve got three possible stories in my head, and I cannot choose which one to write. I’m supposed to be ready in a week’s time, so I could really use your help.

I’ve written a few details about the stories below, please leave a comment below or in Facebook, and I’ll be in your debt forever!

The three possibilities are:

A good cup of Joe (temporary title)

An urban fantasy. When Joe, a man with time stopping abilities, saves Maddie from her pshyco ex-boyfriend, she realizes that the world isn’t quite as she had thought. I started the story a few months ago in a Flash Fiction, if you want you can read it here.

Silverflame

A classical fantasy with dragons and magic. The story is about Sorrow, who has lived an isolated live with Ferinea, sorceress/healer, in the middle of the lonely prairie.  When Ferinea dies Sorrow inherits Ferinea’s abilities and becomes a target for those who want to steal her magic to themselves. This story also has a Flash Fiction attached, you can read it here.

Guilt/Shame

Last, but not least, a piece of crime fiction. Lasse is a depressed, newly-seperated prison guard, who meets his old school mate, Maggie, when she’s jailed, suspected for murdering an old man.  Maggie has a troubled and sordid past, but she denies vehemently having killed the old man. But if Maggie isn’t the killer who is? Lasse is curious enough to risk his job trying to figure it out. A story about how we are shaped by our childhood and about how not everything is as you think it is when you are a kid.

 

 

 

Flash Fiction, three sentence horror story.

This week Chuck’s challenge is a little different. We have to write a three sentence horror story and publish it in the comments of his post.

I’ve done this, but I thought I’d post the story here as well.

I watched Kayleigh from the bedroom window, spinning the wheels of her trike ineffectively in the mud, her delightful and infectious laughter filled the air and made me smile at the ironing board.
I looked up when her laughter stopped, a white van had pulled up at the curb, and a man was leaning out of the window, extending his hand toward Kayleigh, who was clambering off her trike.
My heart stopped and I spun around, flew down the stairs and out into the empty, silent yard.

There are some really great stories in the comments, I recommend you go have a look.

Now if only all the challenges were this fast to write, I might even consider doing them while NaNoWriMo is on.