NaNoWriMo Progress #1

If you’re struggling with NaNoWriMo, it’s still early!  Don’t give up.  Even a mere 500 words a day hits the 50k mark in under four months.  A “failed” NaNoWriMo is really just delayed success.  It’s awesome if you can get it done in a month, but it’s awesome if you can finish in December, January, or February, too!

As for me, how much have I written?  Short answer: very little!  I’m only rocking around 1500 words.  It’s been the battle we all face.  50-60 hour work weeks (yay for writing challenges during peak business season), family dropping in for the (or, rather “my weekend”: Monday and Tuesday!), and general weariness.

Does this mean it’s over?  Of course not!

The month is still young.  The chapters will still be posted.  The blogs will still arrive (probably!).  Let’s see how far we can take this!

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NaNoWriMo Update!

For November, I’m working on a book called “Relic Empire” (a mere placeholder!) featuring airships, magic, and high fantasy.  The protagonists are a couple of young adults, a boy and a girl, who dream of adventure and end up caught in something much bigger than themselves.

Inspired by, and a tribute to, that SEGA RPG classic, Skies of Arcadia, but I hope it becomes a worthy fantasy in its own right, neither derivative nor a tribute in name only.  The spirit is what I hope to capture more than anything, and if I can manage that, I’ll consider it a success.

As for the writing itself?  It’s not going the best, but that’s okay!  Even with just 500 words a day, a novel can be finished in under four months.  So if you’re struggling too, keep in mind that you’re still pushing ever closer to the ultimate goal: a novel, even if it takes more than a month.

For me, as for many, life is busy!  I had every intent of plotting beforehand, which greatly increases my writing speed, because I know what to write.  Instead, I’m working with a mixture of the two: some existing characters and a rough framework from a couple of past, failed NaNoWriMos (but written from the ground up, 0 words to 50k!).

I’m going to try my best to hit the 50,000 word goal within a month, but more than that, I’m going to have some fun with it.  As I finish chapters, I’m going to post them here as blogs.  They’ll be entirely unedited.  Typos will be present, plot threads will be malnourished, and even names, places, and characters might change, or come and go completely, between this draft and the final.

But maybe it will be fun for you to see a first draft, done heavily on the fly without much pre-planning or plotting.  Watch for the first couple of chapters to appear over the next few days!

A Change of NaNoWriMo Pace

“It’s ain’t about how hard you get hit: It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky, Rocky Balboa

My blogging, tweeting, and general writing has suffered a bit lately, but that’s okay!  November is almost here, and with that comes an exciting new opportunities to take those next steps toward achieving those dreams.  This will be a challenging period in which to write for a lot of people, but that’s where we take those hits and still take those steps, however small they might be, toward our goals!

I’ve had to make a little change-up to my plans.  I was mulling over writing the first part in a new, four-part series, something more complex than I’ve ever done before.  I’m not quite ready.

Instead, I’m going to revive my failed NaNoWriMo projects from 2015 and 2016: an airships-and-swords fantasy about the excitement of adventure.  I’ve pinpointed a few of the weaker plot aspects that slowed me down in previous years, and I think the intended spirit will be much stronger this time.

The writing will start from scratch, and I’ll be posting bits of the book up here as I finish them–perhaps even each chapter as I finish!

This will be the busiest month in which I’ve ever attempted a large writing project, but it will also be the best I’ve ever done.  That’s the only way to approach it!

The Brilliance of Nadsat

A Clockwork Orange has its share of controversies (like an ending excised from the movie that changes the entire meaning of the book), but it’s hard to deny the excellence of the writing.  A big part of that is Nadsat, the fictional slang used by the novel’s anti-hero and the rest of his “droogs”.

Unlike full-on languages like Klingon or Quenderin, Nadsat is slang mixed within conventional English.  When Alex refers to his “droogs” or the “red, red kroovy”, it’s immediately apparent just what is being discussed.

Part of the brilliance is how seemlessly Nadsat blends within the language.  Rarely is the meaning of a word left in doubt thanks to how well contextualized it all is.  While oftentimes fabricated language is jarring, like a speed bump, Nadsat flows so nicely within A Clockwork Orange‘s framework that it draws in rather than pushes away.

It fills out the world and its culture, one that is similar to ours but just a little off–like Nadsat mixed within the familiarity of English.

Translating Video Games into Text

I have three great loves in life: video games, pro wrestling, and reading.  When it comes to pro wrestling, a keen eye can pick up not just typical story arcs but stories that take place within matches–really, a good match is little different in structure than a book.

But that being said, in my world books and video games have a symbiotic relationship.  Both carry me on dragon wings into fantasy realms that otherwise exist only in my dreams.  And my dreams are filled with ideas from the two mediums.

Even so, each format has its own idiosyncrasies.  In trying to adapt some of my video game experiences and inspirations into written stories, I’ve realized just how different the pacing can be.  Some games are taut narratives, but the best video game epics like The Elder Scrolls series are sprawling, oftentimes meandering experiences.  While numerous distractions would make a book bloated and unfocused, in video games, where you are the protagonist, exploration becomes its own reward.

Dolphin 2017-09-18 00-56-07-56How would you write a story that captures the spirit of a game like Skies of Arcadia?  SoA is all about exploration, about looking in nooks and crannies to find treasure and experiences unrelated to the storyline.  Similary, Suikoden is about searching far and wide to find 108 different characters: when translated literally into book form, it would be like an alphabet soup of names, swirling around the reader and mostly unimportant.  Yet it’s the heart of the Suikoden series.

Having a hero pause to inspect every little nondescript, unimportant cave probably won’t work well in text form.  Yet their essences can be distilled down to general ideas and concepts.  Skies is all about a sense of adventure in a free, open world.  Suikoden is about bringing together a wide range of discrete personalities to unite for a common good.

Find the spirit of a video game inspiration, and go from there!

Two Weeks until NaNoWriMo!

While I still don’t understand the desire to have it in November (peak season for some of us!), it’s still a blast, and it’s almost here!

This year will be the toughest yet, for myself and many others.  But let’s put on “Eye of the Tiger” and rise up to the challenge!

For my part, I’m going to try to do things a little differently this time.  I have plans for the first book in a tetralogy, my biggest undertaking yet.  I might post progress to the blog as well as I finish chapters, or see if I can attend a meet-up or two.

What about you?  What are YOUR plans?