Tag Archives: planning

Almost ready for NaNoWriMo

Earlier this month I considered attempting NaNoWriMo. As the month has progressed I have become more and more certain I would try it. This post is therefore to declare my intentions: I am definitely attempting it. After hitting the 50,000 words mark in my writing since July on Sunday last week, it seems apt to try to double that at the time of the year when tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are making the commitment to write.

Over the last few days I have started to make preparations. I’ve put the main Kell story aside for the time being in favour of background stories to help me get a better grasp of the characters. So far I have not, as I had planned, gone into the other characters in Ekan’s crew, but I have gotten a better grasp on Kell’s history over the last ten years. I’ve also been busy making notes and filling out the world. Characters have new names and basic descriptions, regions are better defined, I’ve got a few more locations, and I’ve sorted out a linguistic framework (which is partly why some character names have been changed).

There are now two days remaining until NaNoWriMo begins, and though I’ve covered a lot of ground in preparation, I’ve still got more work to do.

  • I feel that the first chapter lacks a hook and an early conflict, so I’m hoping a prompt or dare (from the Fantasy Dares thread in the NaNo forums) might give me some ideas for that.
  • My outline for the second chapter remains very vague. There will be a storm, and character relationships and interactions will play a part in the arc, but aside from that I’m unsure. Again, I might need to add another element, perhaps an old grudge between two of the characters that comes to the fore as a result of the circumstances. Maybe I’ll write the story of the source of that old grudge today or tomorrow.
  • While the third chapter is pretty much decided at this point, after that I have nothing. Again, dares and prompts may be what I need to get things moving there, but it does worry me. The first three chapters won’t get me past 20,000 words tops, probably more like 15,000, so I will definitely need some more ideas. I’ll go hunting for them over the next two days, and on into November, and keep a record of what they are in my NaNo Resources spreadsheet (where I’ve also listed possible character names).
  • Linked to my chapter 2 problem, besides Kell and Ekan, and to a certain extent Meyri (who has been renamed Merdrig), my knowledge of the characters is quite limited. Writing background stories in the last two days of this month (and perhaps ongoing into November) will help, so I’m going to push in that direction.
  • Locations. I’ve done a bit on the places certain characters are from, but beyond Waytown (which appears in chapter 1, and is where Merdrig is from) and an as-yet unnamed village a few days south of Waytown (which features in chapter 3) I’ve got nothing. Googling the bronze age and stone age landscapes of various regions – Brittany, perhaps, since it’s the inspiration for the names and culture for the region around Waytown – might give me some ideas beyond just a string of villages and towns. Hopefully those locations can help with further ideas for chapters 4 and onwards.

To get all that done, I’ve got a few hours this evening after work, and a few hours tomorrow. I can of course continue working through those issues into November, until such time as they become critical, and I will do that, but I will want to focus on meeting the 1,667 words per day target as a priority.

I’ve read advice that aiming for a higher target, such as 2,000 words a day, is a good idea. It gives a buffer in case of bad days, and can help towards not just meeting the 50,000 word goal but flying on right past it. So I’ll see if I can manage that, at least for the first week. Background stories might just help me towards that.

All going well, I should end up with between six and ten chapters of this story completed in first draft by the end of the month. My intent for December will then be to tidy up the earlier chapters and continue writing more. Hopefully come January I will be ready to start posting them here on my blog for you to read.

A Dry Month

Regular readers may have noticed I’ve not updated this blog in a while and missed the end of March progress report. After a busy few weeks with work and moving house, things are finally starting to settle back down again and I’m back to writing.

In the end March proved fairly successful in its first three weeks, with more days written on than all of February, but from the 21st onwards, until yesterday in fact, I haven’t written a word. This is due to needing to travel for work, including five nights in a hotel, and the long process of moving into a new flat, with all the paperwork, legwork and busywork that involves (today I put up curtains!) With everything going on writing took a hit – even in the days I’ve had access to my PC and the time to write after hours of overtime, I’ve not had the energy.

But now the work deadline has passed and the move is just a matter of waiting for the last bits of furniture and packing my bags and moving my stuff over, I can get back to writing. And with some time off coming up over Easter, I’ve got plans.

Continue reading A Dry Month

On Freewriting and pulling a story together

I have only recently learned of the freewriting technique, from an article called Freewriting: Writing for Crappy Writers. I decided to try it out. In the last few months, I have not been actively working on a project (except Ailith’s Gift, but that’s only ~3000 words so doesn’t count). I decided to give freewriting a go, see if I could shake out the cobwebs and get my brain moving again.

I set myself a topic: “a settlement”, and I feel it went quite well. A few typos, a spelling error or two, some awkward grammar and quite a lot of rambling nonsense as I tried to keep my fingers moving even though I had nothing to say. But it came out alright. I created a settlement, a small town with a bridge, on the main road between a city and a place of pilgrimage, the main economy of which is to sell objects to pilgrims which they can dedicate to the sacred shrine the other side of the river.

Continue reading On Freewriting and pulling a story together