So Nanowrimo 2014 has officially kicked off as of yesterday. As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I wasn't originally planning on doing Nanowrimo this year, but after having one of those "shower thoughts" moments, I decided to work on a collection of short stories. So far I have been doing really well. Last year my target word count for each day was 1,500 words. That is slightly below Nano's stated word count, but I felt it was a manageable goal for a new comer. This year I do still have that as my stated target daily word count, but after two days I am sitting comfortably at 3,396 words.
To give you a quick synopsis of my story idea, my short stories are a collection of adventures for my characters Apath and Spice. They are a husband and wife rapid delivery team set in a sort of despotic sic-fi future. It is all very sci-fi tropish, but I am hoping that I can get some fun stories out of the two characters and their interactions. I am taking a lot of influence from "Cowboy Bebop" for this design. I always loved how that series balanced comedy, action and some remarkably heavy topics.
Here is a quick list of my character profiles for both Apath and Spice. These were brainstormed with my wife and I one evening and truthfully the character profiles are loosely based upon the two of us. Of course, I have attached a little snippet and you can hit the "read more" button below to check that out.
- anal. über planner
- critical eye
- loving but firm
- tough love
- no suger coating
- polite, well mannered and well spoken
- well educated formally. A bit of a snob.
- enjoys whisky
- good shot with the handgun
- calm under fire
- has too many hobbies
- Easily angered. Moody
- poor with money, always in debt
- giving to a fault
- good detective or finding things. attention to detail
- hand to hand combat
- can’t pull the trigger figuratively or literally.
- Temple of doom bugs pulling the lever getting crushed.
- good at gambling
- carries baseball bat.
- excellent pilot/driver
It is now October 7th and Nanowrimo starts on November 1st. Last year was the first year that I in earnest attempted (and successfully completed) Nanowrimo. It is an accomplishment that to this day I am extremely proud of. I wrote a book in a month. That book is still far from finished and is mostly scattered ideas, but there are about 65,000 words in that project file that I continue to slowly work on.
I initially wasn't going to do Nanowrimo this year. My success of my book from last year was scuttled by little action in fine tuning and editing the story for the rest of the year. I went from cranking out the 50,000 words in a month to barely going back and editing the first few chapters the rest of the year. I suppose in some ways it was meant to just sit for a while. My original plan for Nano this year was to basically edit my book from last year. I spent approximately three months planning last year's story so when mid-September hit and I got those emails from Nano that it was approaching I figured I had no chance in planning something for this year.
Nanowrimo though has this certain desire to it that I have felt creeping up in my mind the past couple of weeks. It is the same sort of creep that I have felt from other very tough events I have done in the past, like Tough Mudder. At the time of doing it, it is sometimes an incredibly painful process. There are moments of brilliance, but mostly extended periods of pain and frustration. If you successfully come out the end though there is this sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that is difficult to describe.
I have been quietly talking about Nano on and off the past couple of weeks with Megan and she sort of encouraged me to just go ahead and try and do something. I think this is a habit of mine that I often do. I fester on topics or ideas for weeks at a time and then finally there is a tipping point where I do them.
Up until about a week ago I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about. I have material from last year's book that certainly will most likely go into the second novel of that story so I could have started on phase 2 of that story arc. I didn't quite want to do that though. The fact that I don't have the first story completed has be a bit afraid of taking off in the second books arc. I did have an epiphany though. Last year when I was writing I accidentally misspelled a couple of words that resulted in two characters. I have a tendency with my typing and muscle memory to mistype common words. "The" for example almost always comes out at "teh" when I type.
The words word "Apath and Spice" were the resulting words. At the time I just threw them into my character notebook for last year's novel and figured I could incorporate them into the story at some point as a sort of Bauchelain and Broach type cameo seen in the Malazan novels. After looking at the names though heir style didn't fit with the other naming mechanisms I used for the rest of the book. That book borrowed heavily from a Persian influence so I didn't feel there was a way to fit those names in effectively. Instead I decided to take those characters for this year's novel and make them their own identities set in some sort of sci-fi universe. They are going to be a husband and wife team that are going to take a lot of influences from Cowboy Bebop. I don't think they will be bounty hunters, but they are going to have something that causes them to get into some over the top adventures. I like the idea of conflicting personalities that I can draw upon from my own relationship with my wife. We have these "events" in our daily routine that I sometimes find hilarious and I think could make for good material for a story.
My structure this year is to actually write the novel as a collection of short stories. I think based upon the character structure and my influences from anime and other sci-fi that would make an ideal format for these two characters . I am taking some heavy influence from the Gotrek and Felix novels on this one since those are all essentially a collection of short stories placed into a novel.
I am now rather excited to try and put this novel together over the next month. I have to spend the next few weeks fleshing out character profiles and also developing the 7-10 short story ideas that I have for the book. Hopefully I can once again complete a Nano.
Day 29th Check in and I have to say "YES!!!!!"
I finished the day today with 50,329 words and I successfully complete Nanowrimo. Now, my novel isn't complete. I feel I still have ~15,000 words left to flesh out some of the story. There are huge plot holes and all sorts of other things that would need to be revised, likes names for about 90% of the characters, but I wrote 50,000 words this month into something that conceivably, could sort of may be look like an actual story.
Hopefully this is just the first part of this journey with this story and I hope to keep going on with it. That being said I am going to take a couple of days off the rest of this weekend to enjoy my victory.
So this past week I thought was pretty difficult. However, as I finished up Sunday night I found myself sitting at 41,476 words completed. That puts me at just under 9,000 words left to complete this week. The ring is within reach. Unfortunately I didn't get any writing done today. Let's make up for that tomorrow.
So this past week was the dreaded and infamous week #2 for Nanowrimo. It is said that most authors really hit a wall during this second week in their novels. I am not sure if it is because they have gotten past the introduction portion of their books and are now in the setup phases or if the realize how big the mountain is that they have to climb in front of them.
Whatever the case is, I have to say that I did find this past week to be pretty difficult. Early in this week I had some real problems trying to get my book going. I found that I have run across a lot more auxiliary characters and locations than I originally anticipated. I spent a good portion of this early part of this week just wracking my brain on how my characters were going to get from point A to point B, or why they cared about risking their lives to do something. I ultimately found a good path for their progression, but not without some turmoil on my end.
One thing that has helped tremendously is talking with someone about my ideas and bouncing the ideas off of them. Getting the words out of my head and asking for advice on how to approach a scene or on how someone would act helped a lot. My wife was that person this week and she actually responded back to me with some really good suggestions.
I finished off this evening with 25,159 words. I am technically a few thousand words behind schedule, but my goal was to be "half way" to 50,000 at the end of week two here and I am proud to say that I accomplished that this evening. I also left my novel in a good spot to allow me to pickup tomorrow with the next section of the story. Let's hope that this next week goes more smoothly.