Whew! I was supposed to do this earlier. Better late than never, I hope.
As in the previous year and the year before that, I hung out on Reddit's r/nanowrimo subreddit, which in general has continued to be an awesome writing community over NaNoWriMos. Here's a compilation of weird notes I wrote over last November.
November 1: 2506 words. Got prologue done, mostly, even if it mostly deals with intricacies of immigration bureaucracy and peculiarities of regional sports. (…it all sounds a bit daft, but it will make sense later, I promise.) And some parts of a chapter where one of the protagonists rage about the unspeakable peculiarities of poker variants. (Which is relevant to the plot. You see, the fact that they just lost a bunch of money creates an obstacle in the narrative that the characters have to overcome. =)
November 2: 4405 words. In today's episode: Arrrrr! A privateer is gambling money away very badly. And she buys a slightly discounted ship (discounted for good reasons, see) and has to explain the whole thing to the people who paid for all this. Also, she doesn't actually say "arrrrr". That would be silly, you see. Unlike the rest of the story, which provided altogether different sort of sillines through and through.
Like I mentioned before, I have a project page. Added word counter to it and a link to Flattr, not that anyone ever donates, but hope must be kept alive. =) Today, I kept updating the page and ckeditor doesn't actually reconcile anything with the Drupal edit form for some reason or other. Goddamn it.
November 3: 6547 words. Mostly dealing with the gruesome business of hanging a criminal. And the inconvenience caused by the fact that he probably knew the solution to a few ciphers. It is altogether plausible that the state might hurry the execution of someone that the everyone calls "The Mad Spear-Murderer", and might not believe that he would still have some useful information.
Anyway, today was cool because I could actually poke fun at myself. Twice.
"…Most of it is written in cipher."
"And some isn't?"
"Yes, the parts that piqued my curiosity weren't. There are a bunch of calculations in the back where he mentions himself, and someone called "Mingles", and "Terveyron", and someone whose name I can't quite read yet."
…that's right, he can't, because I have no fucking clue who that third guy is yet. Our intrepid heroes have found some conveniently smudged pages, don't you agree? (And I admit "Terveyron" was a total ass-pull too, but at least I vaguely know where that clue leads!)
"Ah", Cassandra said. "I was just confused because the docks entrance says Owninson's Docks."
I made a really odd discovery today. My notes have claimed, at least since 2006, that the shipyard in question was called Owlinson's Shipyards. In the story where I first mentioned it off-hand, it's Owninson's Docks, and of course it's such a terrible early story I've not read it too often since then. Grr. So here I get to explain that the guy is such a scatterbrain (and, as the original story mentions, has a reputation of building slightly shoddy ships) that he never bothered to fix the sign at the front gate. Retconning notes from ages ago! Wonderful!
November 4: 9008 words. I had to overdo today (+2461) and tomorrow because I probably won't get much done in Wednesday.
Also, I'm off to a good start. But today I really, really had a few good moments, even when I was totally just bullshitting most of the time.
One dialogue is basically a bit of a recap and reflection of an earlier short story of mine. The character was the protagonist of a story about discovery of an ancient ruin, an ancient goddess and a lost order of assassins - and the order was revived and that's basically where I've spent most of my writing lately, before almost completely abandoning this character of mine. And of course, she didn't actually take part in the new order of assassins. So in this bit of dialogue we actually hear some of her thoughts and immediate concerns about this order. It's an interesting tangent, at least.
Another bit of dialogue was that I wanted the characters to meet… uh, a recent writing challenge of mine. I wanted to make a character that was genuinely dumb. Realistically dumb. Had to think of how this will actually affect her work and her life and how people need to deal with her. So here the protagonists meet an old friend who is a heck of a good city guard, despite of the lack of her resources. Doing some of the stuff better than people who ought to do better, you know?
November 5: 11079 words. I'm damn amazed I got over 2000 words today, because I felt a bit sick last night and tonight I'm feeling that I'm sorta kinda recovering but not entirely yet. Tomorrow will be much better, but I doubt I have enough time for 2k words - will be lucky if I get 1700 which I think is the absolute minimum for me.
So I did what I usually do when I'm in no condition to write. Bullshitting.
It started off with a scene later in this book. One of my favourite characters that I hadn't even used in this book before yet opens up the really heavy crates the group has been lugging around. Out comes a sturdy theodolite. "What the hell did you take that for?" asks one of my protagonists.
You see, there is a funny thread in Finnish NaNoWriMo forums where people feed their novel through Google Translate (multiple times if necessary). Apparently, Google Translate was confused by the chapter title. "Surveying the Valley where Copper-men Walked". Yyyyeah, you see, the characters obviously would have done a rather superficial, uninstrumented survey of the valley, but Google Translate interpreted surveying as actual surveying. We don't use words lightly in Finland.
In another scene, I made history by introducing us to the dreaded Communist Vampires. Of course, I don't refer to them as communists. That would be silly. Instead, they're just the night shift in the Anchorfall's biggest factories. Where some shit is about to go down. Led by this guy:
"Well, who else do you think the night-shifters are these days", Terveyron said. "Pleasure to meet you. You may address me as His Highborn Robert Aeternacandelabria Fryghtefang Terveyron III, Count of Bat-Flappy Dayy-yyrrrknyss Moon-Shadely Graves Most Eternal County of Frightful Province, by grace of Ol' Oldbones III of Heart Kingdom, bestowed to the bloodline most foul in dead of nightly perils. No, screw that, just call me Robert. Been a commoner. Always a commoner. Not a drop of noble blood in my family, by birth or by taking."
And then came the bane of my uncreative NaNoWriMo days. You know the old adage. "Can't think of anything for the characters to do? Well, random sex scenes never hurt."
I'm not particularly proud of those scenes. In fact, one of the reasons that I won't release Nano2011 is that there was more than handful of those, and mayyybe a few served the plot somehow. Would need a bit of editing, all I'm saying. But since most readers hadn't actually objected to my steamier passages when I've done them up to my standards, I thought maybe I could actually integrate that to the story somehow. Epic sexposition time. …isn't that damn popular these days, or something? I'm sorry, I still haven't actually read A Game of Thrones, only saw the TV series. =)
November 6: 12809 words. Damn! I have a bit of a headache and a bit of stomach problems and I REALLY should be dealing with the TV backlog and have a dinner and whatnot. But I didn't think I could get 1700 words done today, and I did.
Mostly boring stuff, but I did get a few cool ideas on how to apply some of the ideas I got earlier. It's always nice to have random ideas and then figure out how to use that stuff logically.
November 7: 14509 words. Precisely +1700 words.
It's 22:40 or so now. Today was a bad day, even when my health is getting back.
Well the good thing is that I joined Netflix today. Just don't think I'm going to enjoy the trial period that thoroughly for some unexplainable reason. Like having to spend all this time writing and shit. =)
But still, I'm getting to the point where I'm actually starting to see some plotlines forming. More on that tomorrow when more plotlines are actually forming. =)
November 8: 16540 words. Doing pretty fine, I guess.
In the last few days I've really just been adding some random odd scenes to the story, and have had some really big problems trying to think of anything clever. But I've noted that by adding these random scenes, I'm actually able to tie some of the loose ends and come up with a compelling narrative to link them.
For example, I managed to come up with an actually bit more interesting backstory for a character that I haven't yet used in any of the stories before this. I had to fiddle with some of the dates in my notes, but now it all makes sense. I also had some random satisfaction by writing a scene that makes reference to two other stories I'm writing; it takes a location that was mentioned in my 2011 NaNoWriMo and happens on the same day as one of my webcomic pages.
Also, I've noted that it's actually pretty funny to make the characters react to my frustration. For example, I made the characters go through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops, because they're travelling to a country of evil vampires. So when my famed diplomat meets the third person they're talking to, she has really eloquent way of just saying "please give me the fucking papers already". Also, in another scene where the dreaded communist vampires do their glorious revolution over the said evil vampires, the leader of the revolutionaries shows up and talks about their philosophy. A few bits of babbling later, I took a pause and randomly managed to read someone complaining about Atlas Shrugged, so when I got back to writing, the guy just says "I'm not going to spend hours rambling about philosophy, so here's what we do instead…" =)
November 9: 20010 words.
Yes, that's +3470 words today.
Today I was facing a really weird feeling, I really wanted to go out there and write some other stuff. Anything but the bloody nano novel. So I stuffed my face with Tuc and Foster's, attached an USB keyboard to my netbook, and fucking closed my eyes. Lots and lots of interesting rambling there that may or may not actually fit the story. I think I did get some interesting ideas strewn here and there in middle of it all, so it was not all that terrible. I just dread looking at this badly misspelled garbage later on, though. =)
Today's big motivation: Bought a few games on GOG (fucking Rise of the Triad, I played this like once back when it was released) and took part in their WWF donation thingy, but since it's a nano day, I really can't play them much. Then I realised too late that it's a nano donation day and I'm not sure if I have much money left (moneysink month), but I had already donated for this nano so I hope it's not that evil. =)
November 10: 21772 words.
Things are definitely looking up. I just got the relevation I was looking for. Just a few days ago I was moping along the lines of "oh damn, my original plan was garbage, there's no way I can turn this into a 50k word story."
Then, yesterday, I got the bright idea to write a scene where It Isn't Over Yet. Totally out of blue, the characters get shipwrecked in a place I had no plan of using in this story. Then I figured out "hey, maybe if I could use this? Maybe there's two big baddies in the story. The characters are witnessing an epic battle that has gone for centuries and manage to resolve it so that the lesser of two evils wins. Hmmmmmm…"
Another random idea that happened today: a while ago there was some post in /r/creepyPMs about awesome submarines. So I wrote a scene in which the characters get an awesome submarines. (And obviously didn't put the creepy stuff in the story, duh. =) Then I realised "oh, I think I can use this submarine for something here! Keeping the plot moving!" =)
Lesson learned: Never despair! Keep bullshitting and the pieces will eventually fall in their places! =)
November 11: 23794 words. Arrrrr! My pirates had a small problem yesterday. My pirate scenes, you see, sucked! But, avast! Now my privateer and her pirate villain be having fierce fights and cunning sea battles and having actual naval encounters like. Also the pirates make fun of each other's more and more unconvincing pirate accents. Because excessive use of "arrrr!" may contribute to the word count, but it won't make for great literature, you see, so I try to avoid that. My protagonists still refuse to do that. And that's a good thing.
(Not much to report besides that. I had fun writing today because I started earlier and had a bite to eat beforehand. Now it's time to get drunk and
play ping pong actually read some books because I'm perpetually behind in my goodreads challenge)
November 12: 25799 words. In which our heroes meet one of the antagonists, who dispenses ice cream koans. Seriously. "My Wisdom is like a Parable about Desserts." Sure is metafiction here. Things will be so much better when I sit down and figure out what this great conflict between the two antagonists is really about. =)
A bit earlier in the book: An epic shipwreck scene needs some more drama, so I decided that one of the other characters who was not even supposed to be in this story shows up as a stowaway. So her friend goes and rescues her and stuff. So subsequently there's a heartwarming and romantic lesbian sex scene but let's not get into that because it doesn't yet serve the plot. It will. The characters are facing severe setbacks here, it's important that they bond and stuff. =)
November 13: 27629 words. Today, I actually spent some time planning what kind of a group of antagonists we're dealing with here. I had used a few of the characters already, now I needed to come up with the rest. The exact nature of the final antagonists is shaping up but still a bit cloudy to say the least.
The novel is definitely slowly turning from "probably a bit of a terrible book" to "might, just might, actually have some potential". =)
November 14: 30113 words (+2484 words). Just decided I needed a little bit of a break here and went to write a little bit more fun scene than the usual strange adventures. Sneaking in office buildings! Safecracking! And a wacky assassination plot that involves practical jokes in form of slightly rigged mechanical calculation machines.
I'm thinking of getting rid of some of the scenes at some point. It's just terrifying garbage I wrote at some point and it's only tangentially related to the actual story. It's just that yanking it out would cost me ~3000 words, so I think I'll keep it for now and try to sort of replace it bit by bit. Or after I hit 50k or something.
November 15: 31933 words. In which we ramble about the sordid details and the aftermath of an assassination plan involving shoddy workmanship of mechanical calculation machines (incidentally from a company called "Cramcksel"). It had initially absolutely nothing to do with the main plot, but it was actually fun to write and it probably makes for an interesting sidetrack. =)
November 17: 34365 words.
Yep, I've done ~2000 words a day up until now, but yesterday, I failed to write anything for the first time. I had to spend some time catching up with web shit and wrote the starts for a few blog posts that I really need to get out soon.
But today I got +2432 words. I'm usually aiming so that I'll be finished with writing around Nov 25, and that's what the website is saying right now.
So today's big thing? I actually came up with a reasonably poignant story idea so that I can actually finish the story. I have an actual incentive to finish this stuff! It's an awesome feeling! And I know that no matter how boring the beginning half of NaNo is and no matter how ill-thought-out the project seems at the beginning, this is the moment I'm actually waiting for. I have an actual goal. Now I just need to write a boatload more stuff and wrap everything up nicely! I know I can do it!
November 18: This is all part of my "write some shit in the middle of the night" campaign that I need to try every year. I tried this in saturday and failed miserably. Now again, and failed a little bit less miserably because I got a few words done.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey. I have beer.
I got only 402 words because I'm a bit overdrunk and shit.
To reuse an old joke: I'm clearly not built of same stuff as Hemingway. Hemingway would have gotten drunk and killed sharks in fair fistfights on high seas. Where the fuck am I going to find sharks in Gulf of Bothnia? In fucking november?
Okay, so instead of shark-punching, I think I'll write a whole pile more of Shit tonight. Yes, capital S.
November 19: 36458 words. Terrible day, +1691 words and I really need to do more, considering there's been two fail days already. Tomorrow, I'll write a ton of shit! (Edit: Delays today were mostly due to the fact that I had to go visit some offices. And I bought a new router to replace my aging model that's long out of support.)
Today's update: Lots of pondering on how gods are tricked and how some gods have disappeared. An attempt at resurrecting a god goes really weird. Two characters who have had sexual tensions in stories I wrote years ago finally go to the bed.
So I guess it's not that bad. Shit actually worked and such. =)
November 20: 38150 words.
Dammit! Got distracted by other fiction writing projects. Er… basically, I was writing a dumb scene. Then I realised that there was a way to make a not-so-dumb scene in another story I'm working on better. So I got writing that. =)
But I still got +1692 words. Tomorrow, more! Much much more! Hope to get +2000 if I just start early enough!
Also annoyingly it turns out I didn't do a git commit and push yesterday. Oh well!
November 21: 40162 words. I didn't think I could pull another >2000 words day, but dammit, I did it. And I'm in the last 10k! Woo!
A while ago, I wote a scene where two characters of mine had sex. Nothing weird about that, as this NaNo was all about wrapping up loose ends in earlier stories and I felt that the characters probably deserved that. But the problem was that I got distracted by other stories. So I've spent some time twiddling other stories.
And silly thing is, I'm currently staring at the manuscript and thinking "good grief, I've run out of things to write". Bullshit. There's unwritten scenes everywhere. I've come to the conclusion that I'll probably wrap the draft up by writing a little bit past 50k words, but I won't publish the draft yet because it'll end up totally incomplete.
So I didn't think I could pull 2k words today. Lots of computer rage. (Video encoding and streaming is hard when all you have are stone knives and bear skins.) Distracted by other stuff. But I did! And it's 9 o'clock and I can go gaming way before my head's beered to hell and back. =)
November 22: 41873 words. Bloody hell. My last wordcount update for the day was at 23:57, preceded by a lot of rambling. (For example, I was flabbergasted by the fact that a simple thought like "the fact that they're not quite as awesome as they would like everyone to think they are" is actually quite a few words. =)
I had random stuff to do and realised there was a random Drupal super important security update to do, so I was getting more and more tired. SO I just whacked the keyboard in full stream-of-barely-consciousness mode to get this far before the time ran out. But I made it. +1711 words!
November 23: 43693 words. Welllll that didn't go as expected. You see, I was banging words out like a motherfucka. I found an actually cru-fucking-cial scene that had to be written. And that fucking inspired me. Ya know? I actually got around 1745 words done before the Doctor Who special started.
And it started in glorious HD and with popcorn and fuckloads of beer. Bri-fucking-lliant episode. Go watsch it.
I was supposed to have about 1 hour to keep writing after that, but unfortunately I was a bit too drunk to write afterwards so the word delta for today is only +1820. I really should drink a bit more responsibly =(
EDIT Oh yeah, I forgot. I think that this is the point where Reddit somehow surfaces in the story! I basically stopped at one point and though "my goddess, am I actually getting inspired by /r/alienpumaspacetrain?" Because it seems that some of the stuff that a crucial character does is pretty similar to the APST stuff. Cheers to the dude who did the box. Beers. More beers. It's just subconscious influence, I know, but this was fucking awesome to figure out. Fuckit, I'm drunk. Beeeeer.
November 24: 45942 words.
This is the first time I've needed to use the daily word count editor at nanowrimo website. I started updating my wordcount at 23:58 and everything froze for several minutes. In summary, Windows is still sometimes funny and I bloody hate it. =)
But still. +2249 words, and I'm officially in the last 5k. I'm going to write a lot of shit in the following days, and I'll probably end at around 52k words.
Anyway: Today, I wrote a lot of stuff about the places we're actually visiting in the story. Arrival on a weird valley. Some of the initial impressions. Setting up an outpost, a journey to a mystery town that's know to be good or something to get more supplies and such. Coming up with new characters too.
Funny how I ended this particular writing job by giving new hope for my most central character by making her meet old friends. Totally out of blue. At this point, we all need to look up. Even totally random shit can help the stories grow sometimes!
November 26: Gaaaa! 48518 words. Approaching fast the threshold of victory! Will probably write a little bit farther than 50k, but it's so obvious that I'll not be able to totally wrap this puppy up during NaNoWriMo, not even if I try. So I'll just go a little bit farther than the goal and then finish a proper draft at some later point.
But I'm so far happy that the story has definitely taken some kind of a shape. And I'm totally happy about that.
Today: The heroes head to the epic… place… that has Stuff in it. It's curious, I really think I could actually describe this place. Really cool.
Last week's monday was a fail day. This week's monday was a little bit less of a fail day, but only because I got some words down in the middle of the night. Wasn't really in condition to do much stuff (read: got drunk and watched quite a few videos from this channel). I tend to be busy with media stuff in Mondays and Wednesdays.
But today? Today was a busy day, and I wondered if I would fail again.
Basically I grew fed up with my tablet because it constantly kept failing to update applications due to low disk space. (The tablet was sold as having 4 GB. Of which 502 MB is reserved for "internal storage" and the rest appears as a SD card. And there's also an external SD slot. And Android is a bit silly in that it refuses to download update files on the ginormous external SD card or the part of the internal storage that appears as "SD card".) So I made a backup of my files, fucking factory-reset the bastard, and redownloaded the apps I really need. Easy peasy. 2 hours instead of 4-5 hours of total screaming at failures to upgrade.
Then I got really mad busy writing tons and tons of shit.
I was so happy to get 2k words down today. PHEW.
I have a working tablet again! And I've got a story to wrap up somehow! Yayyyy!
November 27: So I rambled something cool about submarines when suddenly word counter did something weird. I just kept writing for a while.
I hit 50450 words according to my calculator. I sent it for validation and it's bloody officially a winner at 50648 words.
The novel is really, really incomplete. I'll definitely keep writing it, but at a little bit more leisurely pace. I think I managed to find some interesting bits that make for a bit interesting turns. I just need to plan the next nanowrimo a little bit better so that I can see better what needs more stuff and whatnot. It's always awesome when there are moments when I realise the novel might have some worth in it after all. I hope to release a draft sometime next year! I need to remove/rewrite some absolute rubbish and add stuff that ties various scenes better together. =)
But this is the end of NaNoWriMo phase of this novel, I guess. Tomorrow, I'll do a cover for this and that's about it. =)