Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 by Pencil: SUCCESS

I scored this little fella late last night.

50k+ words completed in 26 days. One composition book filled, plus the first few pages of a second, in which I'll continue working on the story until the first draft tells me it's complete.

Just over half a Field Notes Expedition Edition filled with notes--I'll continue to use that. Yes, almost everything smears on that paper, which annoys me, but I do like how sturdy the thing is and how smooth it is to write in. I also like the fact that the front cover is BRIGHT HI-VISIBILITY ORANGE and thus easily locatable the dozen times a day I drop it or lose it amongst the things on my desk.

I can work at a slower pace now, but I'd like to finish this draft by Christmas if I can. (Self, please revisit this statement frequently.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Brains are Weird

Last night I had a really horrible dream.

I was driving down the road, minding my own business, when there was a loud sound from the car in front of me: part explosion, partly tearing metal, and a rod or chunk of metal shot up into the air. The driver swerved and pulled over to the side. I stopped to see if they were OK, and found that he--a Hispanic man in his early twenties--was trapped, pinned in his seat with a piece of metal sticking out of his abdomen. I couldn't see to get a good look, because the frame of the car was broken and I couldn't get the door open, plus he was bleeding heavily.

There was no way I could pull him out without making things worse, so there wasn't anything I could do for him but hold his hand and talk to him. Another driver pulled over and I asked her to call 911, but instead I overheard her talking to the switchboard operator at the local hospital, going through step after step. In the end I was left having to fumble out my own phone to call 911, and then I couldn't get the dispatcher to grasp the seriousness of the man's condition. And while trying to stress how bad things were, I was simultaneously trying to tell the guy it wasn't so bad, he would be OK, he just needed to hang in there. He was cold and frightened and obviously bleeding out.

He died just before the EMTs arrived. THe EMTs seemed surprised to find an actual serious injury--I could only guess what the dispatcher told them. I was sobbing, covered in blood, overwrought by the whole situation and angry people hadn't helped, angry I hadn't been able to do anything.

It was horrific. I hate dreams like that.

But it's frustrating that I obviously have the imagination for that kind of drama (realistic or no), yet a lot of time can't seem to find my inner dramatist when it comes to writing. Garrrr.

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013: Final Countdown

I started today with five thousand words left, give or take a hundred or two. Might have gotten in a thousand during the morning session, leaving me with four thousand to both write and transcribe. I'm thinking I'm not going to make it to the finish line today as I'd hoped, but I can at least finish up the first composition book if I push hard: twelve pages left!

Been using mechanical pencils a bit more in these last stages, to reduce even pleasurable distractions like switching out pencils. When I was at Fred Meyer yesterday I noticed they now carry the Pentel Graphgear 500, so I grabbed one both out of curiosity and because it came with the cutie-wutiest wittle baby Hi-Polymer eraser. Dawww!

I like the pencil, too. It doesn't have a retractable tip, so I have to be a little careful with it, and the balance is way different from the back-heavy Graphgear 1000. But I actually find myself liking the tip-heaviness of it, and the rock solidly secure feeling of the sandpapery knurled grip (the 1000 is knurled, too, but much smoother, and also has little rubber grippies embedded, so it's softer and more slippery in general). If I didn't already have a callus on the side of my finger, I'd guess this one would start to cause pain very quickly, but as it is, I rather like how it sticks in place.

Anyway, onward toward the finish line. Figuring I'll probably cross tomorrow, with about another 15-20k to write at my own pace to finish the story.

Monday, November 18, 2013

NaNoWroMo 2013: Week Three Update

The post-it note's text (At some point, inertia takes over) was actually for another purpose entirely, but I thought it kinda fit, so I left it on the desk.

Week Three. Somewhere around 34000 words. 138 pages into my composition book.

I'm doing better than Week Two, mostly because I've accepted the fact that the honeymoon is over, and the best way to make progress is to strap myself in my highchair (metaphorically speaking) and not let me up until I've written for an hour or three pages or whatever my current goal is, no matter how much I scream and cry and sulk (metaphorically speaking). (Mostly.)

Going to a coffee house or some such thing can be helpful, since I have no option for walking over to stare at the computer every thirty seconds. However, this has its own set of drawbacks. Those of you who follow me on twitter (eliz_herreid) witnessed my mini-meltdown over coffee house lighting and wobbly tables.

The excuses we can come up with, no? But life goes on. This morning I gritted my teeth and sat down at the coffee-house-down-the-street and wrote about a thousand words despite funky shadows, a napkin-propped table, and giant sucking plot holes.

Pretty sure I'll make 50k this year. Whether I'll make something of this story, however, remains to be seen.

Repeat after me: this is just a first draft. This is just a first draft. This is just a FIRST draft.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Oh Yeah, This Part

NaNoWriMo Week Two: suddenly I don't buy my own premise, I despise my main character, I find the villains more pathetic and annoying than truly villainous, and I generally want to throw in the towel.

On the other hand, one should never go anywhere without one's towel.

'Tis a predicament.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

NaNoWriMo: One Week In

NaNo Stubbies
A bunch of older pencils have reached stubby stage at once. Hard to tell without a full-sized pencil for scale, but all of these are within a sharpening or two of being retired to the shorty pile: pencil pasture.

So we're just over a week into this year's mad venture. How is everyone doing?

  • I've finished off about 75 comp book pages (hopefully more by this evening).
  • I'm again enjoying scribbling with pencils, finding myself most appreciative of the middle-of-the-roaders which are dark enough for easy legibility but still hold a good point: Forest Choice, possibly first in line. Ticonderogas. The older Golden Bears. Staedtler Noricas. Cedar Pointes (though these are a *little* on the too hard and not-as-smooth side) and the new Field Notes pencils.
  • I have a story, which wasn't the case a week ago, and I've already been through several ups and downs on the roller coaster:
    "This story rocks! It's the best thing I've ever written! Almost like real writing!"
    "This is a bunch of pathetic, overwrought, repetitive garbage. Why do I do this to myself year after year?"

In other words, same old NaNo.

I also haven't made it to the gym in rather awhile because I've mostly been writing in the mornings and transcribing at night. Other excuse: I spent part of the week with a cold. Also spent another part of the week wondering if my character was queasy because I was really, truly queasy, or if I was queasy because my character was queasy. (Half the office had a stomach bug, so I did have valid reasons to wonder.) Writerly chicken or egg.

I also have to be careful not to write work e-mails and memos in my protagonist's style. Seems like this post devolved that way.

How about you? How have things been going?

Friday, November 01, 2013

NaNoWriMo Pencils: Day One

Why do I carry so many pencils? This is why. All of these were used today, and I didn't hafta stop and sharpen.

NaNoWriMo Pencils Day One, Take Two

Bottom to top (the order I used 'em):

  • 1. Palomino Blackwing 602
  • 2. California Republic Golden Bear (the original, non-Made in USA ones).
  • 3. Musgrave Test Scoring 100
  • 4. Staedtler Norica HB (really liking these for the task).
  • 5. General's Semi-Hex HB
  • 6. Palomino Golden Bear (new US made one: much softer, not sure I like 'em).
  • 7. My first ever California Republic Golden Bear, and a past NaNo veteran: a gift from a fellow pencil blogger.
  • 8. Ticonderoga Noir: hideously garish, but I like them anyway....
  • 9. Reg'lar Ticonderoga (Chinese made)
  • 10. Papermate Mirado Black Warrior
Got in about thirteen comp book pages, which at least means I made my count. Hopefully can build up a bit of a buffer this weekend--I'm going to need it!