Archive for November, 2003

11/2/03: Wait, I changed my mind

Word count: 38652 About 750 words written before and after tonight’s Simon & Garfunkel concert (which was way cool). Technically, it’s Monday already (Mon Nov 3 00:36:00 PST 2003), but I figure I probably wrote at least 500 of those words before midnight, so I get a gold star for the day. I decided that one of the two scenes I’d left out at the end of chapter 4 really, really couldn’t wait until the next chapter in this thread. It’s a big whammy. Putting it at the beginning of the next chapter would unbalance the whole chapter (I think that chapters, like short stories, have to start slow and end big, especially since in this book each chapter ending has to hold the reader’s attention through the intervening chapter of the other plot thread), and putting it at the end of the next chapter… well, that would be too late for this particular revelation. So I went ahead and wrote that scene, and I’m going to mail it to my critique group as an appendix to the chapter I just handed out.

11/1/03: If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done

Word count: 37891 Went to a Halloween Haunted Hoe-Down last night, then did my critiques after the party; to bed around 1am. Up at 6am and immediately got to work writing. 2000 words (!) later, it was about noon and I decided to cut off the chapter at that point. There were two more scenes in the outline, which I wanted to get in at the climax of the chapter because they tie the two plot threads together, but the chapter had reached a semi-satisfactory stopping place and I just didn’t think I had time to write any more. The good news about writing a novel is that there’s always another chapter. Took a shower, during which I realized that the scene I completed and the new scene I had just written could be slightly altered to tie them together better and increase tension (in the new version, it’s Raptor who rescues Clarity from the roof rather than Honor). So I altered them, and it worked. Reformatted it for critique, printed it out, took it to the copy shop, and arrived at the meeting exactly on time. At which point I discovered I’d neglected to press the Collate button, and I had to spend the first 15 minutes of the meeting manually collating the 10 copies of 28 pages. But I got the chapter finished in time, by God! Got Chapter C critiqued at this meeting. In general people are happy with the way the novel is going, though some folks thought the pace was a little slow and a couple of people said they thought the characters were well-realized and believable but they didn’t like them as people. Sara in particular said she wanted to slap Jason silly. Also — as I already know — the aliens aren’t alien enough, Jason isn’t motivated enough, and Jason (and to a lesser extent Clarity) is too much reactive rather than active (“a catalyst, not a hero”). Despite these critiques, I plan to keep writing the characters as they are, so that I will have an internally-consistent first draft when I go back and start fixing it. (Is this a mistake?) Also, if Jason isn’t a hero that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He does becom the villain of the piece (for a while, to the extent it has villains), before he hits bottom and begins to redeem himself. But, as Sara pointed out, there are no Evil Fucks (thanks, Jim) in this book. Is this a problem? Meanwhile, my crashed phone came back from Nokia, repaired — but without its battery. Grr!!! They’re sending a new one, but it won’t even leave Florida until Monday. Waah! One more thing before I fall over (I got five hours sleep last night — I feel like Clarion, whee). November, as you may know, is National Novel Writing Month. But I can’t do NaNoWriMo for real, because you’re not supposed to use it to work on a novel in progress. Nor do I imagine I can write 50k words in a month. I tried a “PseuDoNaNoWriMo” in March, with a goal of 40k words, and only managed 10k. So in November I’m doing a “not really a NaNoWriMo” (NoReNaNoWriMo). My goal is to write every day — minimum 100 words, and not necessarily on my novel. I’m going to put up a calendar and stick gold stars on it. I’ll be tracking my progress here. Wish me luck!