daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
November is half-over and I have a little over 8K words written. It takes very little math to see that I am very behind. I'd like to say that I think I can catch up, but given my experience from being on the writing team for L5R I don't think that's possible.

Nevertheless, I'm not depressed. I need to write this novel, need to learn how to write novels, and NaNo was a psychologically good starting point. I'm still engaged in finding out just how many words I can get done this month, so the game is still live for me. Also, I've promised myself some more ink samples when I hit 10K and an incense buying spree when I hit 20K. (The key to writing bribes, I have discovered, is to find something I want, but not want so badly that I'll just abandon the task and order the thing right away.) It's too far away to think about what the reward for finishing will be. (But I'm considering some bottles of Iroshizuku.)

I've tentatively decided that handwriting the first draft is the way to do it. Not because of some claptrap about it making me more creative, but because it makes it impossible for me to change things. If I was doing this on a computer, every time I reread what I had written I would see things I didn't like and would need to stop and change them. This is fine in a short story, but in a long project like this I need to keep moving and fix stuff in the next draft. When I see something that I think needs fixing, all I do now is grab a pen loaded with a contrasting color of ink (this totally justifies my habit of keeping about a dozen pens inked, btw) and make a note in the margin. Then I move on.

I'm planning on writing today. If there are no emergencies I should be able to order some ink samples tonight. Go me!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
Having missed three days in a row of writing on my NaNoWriMo novel, I really really need to hit the 2000/day mark if I am to finish on time. Trying to stay calm about this.

Yesterday I inked up the fox pen! I used Diamine Sepia, because that is the first in sample I came across that coordinated with the color of the pen. The pen itself feels nice in the hand, which makes me happy. The ink, on the other hand, is very blah. I think I'll try switching out the fine nib for something more dramatic and see if it helps. If not, I'll just make an entry in my ink log and dump it. I have too much ink on hand suffer through one I don't want to look at.

I also tried the Franklin-Christoph Dark Denim in my Black Ice pen. I like the color, but it seems like a very dry ink--the nib just kind of drags, and I know from previous experience that this is a smoother nib. I'm tempted to add a pin-prick of dish detergent to the converter and see if that helps.

While browsing a writers forum over breakfast I came across a post that broke down just how impossible it is for a new writer to get a short story sold. At least now I can tell myself that it isn't me, it's just the numbers. And DA started life as an experiment in writing first-person, so I still got that much good out of it.

Now on to a busy day of housework and NaNoWriMo.

NaNo update

Nov. 7th, 2014 06:00 am
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
By Wedneday evening I had reached the 5000 word mark, which was still behind schedule if I wanted to finish on time but not impossibly so; the trick is to always keep nibbling away. Also, I had noticed I was starting to pick up some momentum, and getting more done each day.

Alas, Thursday was physically and emotionally exhausting, and I got nothing done. It was horrible, I feel horrible, I am horrible. I'm still tired, I have a bowl of oatmeal I need to eat and a half hour to do it in and I'm not sure I have that much energy. And I have to go to work and bake all day!

NaNoWriMo!

Nov. 2nd, 2014 09:01 am
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
I started writing last night. I didn't get very far, but I started. I am resolved not to be angry at myself because I was sick, I was tired, and that first paragraph is always so hard. I need to pick up the pace if I am to finish on time, however.

One thing I have decided is that I absolutely need to stop expecting impossible things from myself. I have always written in short, ~500-word spurts, and this isn't going to change overnight just because I want it to. If I'm going to hit my 1667 daily target I will have to plan around this. So, after breakfast I will write. When I come home from work I'll write a little more. I'll cook dinner, eat, wash dishes. Then I'll do a little more writing. Real writers can toss off a few thousand words without breaking a sweat, but I can't. So I'll act like a real physicist and break the problem down to solvable parts.

The ink for last night's writing jag was Pilot Iroshizoku Fuyu-gaki (Sweet Winter Persimmon). I put it in my M200 demonstrator because I've decided that all my Iroshizoku samples deserve time in a demonstrator. I chose this one first because all the other pens I have inked have cool, dark colors in them and this would, I thought, give some contrast. And how! Fuyu-gaki is like Diamine Coral with less pink, so it really pops off the page. I don't loathe it, which given my normal reaction to orange is something of an achievement. I have no desire to own a bottle of it (after all, I already have a bottle of Coral), but I plan to use up the sample instead of dumping it.

Every time I sit down to write I am going to use a different pen. The non-practical reason for this is I love all the pretty colors. The practical one is that I can tell at a glance how long a particular writing jag lasted by seeing how many pages I have of that color.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
I didn't go to work today, having woke up with a sore throat and sinus pain. This was frustrating all around, because I could look around at all the housework that needed to be done but couldn't summon up the energy to do anything about it. My brain was frizzy as well, so I could neither write nor read anything needing concentration. It's been frustrating.

I did get a pen flushed out, the M200. I have decided that for my NaNo first draft I am going to use my Iroshizoku samples, so tomorrow when it is dry I'll choose the first one and load it up. Whee!
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
This has not been a good week for me, writing-wise. Since Sunday I've gotten maybe 500 words on my NaNoWriMo novel, and I'm afraid of doing the math on how far behind that puts me. Numbers never lie. Work is still stressing me, my RPG campaign is in the final stages of falling apart (and we were so close to the conclusion! so close!), and I'm pretty convinced that even if I could write something novel-length it wouldn't be worth reading. I'm not an amazing stylist, I have no great message to impart, I don't do conspiracies involving the Vatican, vampires, or sex scenes. Totally unmarketable. (And while I'm on that topic, I'm still dithering over from where to get another rejection slip for my story. It's been a few weeks, I should be sending it out again.)

Part of me still wants to continue writing on my novel. For one thing, I bought three beautiful XF nibs to go with the narrow-ruled comp book I'm using, and though they were cheap compared to buying new pens that's still real money down the drain. For another, on Sunday I realized that something I wrote as a throw-way piece of background on Saturday could actually be the key to the external conflict I needed for the climax of the book. I am unreasonably excited about the idea of trying to create the scenes and dialog needed to pull this off.

I can't even manage to give up right.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
To my surprise I was able to meet my word count goal yesterday, and it wasn't even that painful. Writing a longer work just feels different, and the fact that this is so obviously a rough draft without a deadline (unlike, say, my L5R fiction) means that I don't have to fret so much over whether each individual sentence brings me to closer to the conclusion. I'm not sure if I will hit my goal tonight (I had a lot of running-around stuff to do, and I had let myself sleep in) but that is ok, I feel relatively confident that I can make up lost ground tomorrow while washing clothes.

I discovered a few things while writing yesterday. One is, I really need to use fine nibs on the comp books I'm using; faux-fines and mediums will not cut it. My Lamy extra-fine worked well but I only had one of them so today I ordered two more, along with an extra-fine TWSBI 580 nib. (I technically have 540s, but the TWSBI folks cleverly made the nibs backward-compatible.) I cleaned the Scribal Workshop Lizard ink out of my Guider ebonite last night and this afternoon reinked it with a diluted Noodler's Air Corp Blue Black and wrote a page and a half with it: worked much nicer than the Lizard and I loved the shade of green the ACBB turned into. The nib was a nice fine, so now I'm kind of hungering for more of the handmade Guider ebonites. Maybe I'll use one as a reward for getting through a certain percentage of my book? On time?

As I am handwriting this draft I needed to come up with a way of tracking my wordcount: I utterly refuse to count every word of the entire novel. I counted the words in the first few pages and came up with an average of 287 with very little scatter, so I'm going to simply count pages and multiply. My comp book says it has 96 pages, so the math says I can get all of my target 50,000 words in one book--for some reason this terrifies me.

First words

Nov. 1st, 2013 06:39 am
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
Started my NaNoWriMo project in the space of time after breakfast and before getting dressed for work. Total words: 133. Used my Lamy 2000, loaded with Noodler's Turquoise.
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
A little bit ago I posted on FB a declaration that I was going ahead and making an attempt at NaNoWriMo, so now I'm bound to at least giving it a running go--most of my entire social circle now knows about it. Ugh. Why do I do stupid things like this? (Because I want to grow as a writer. But am I really capable of being better than I can be? And why does this matter?)

I don't spend a lot of time trying to sort out my emotions, but at the moment I'm a weird alloy of despair and defiance. It's similar to how I felt when I was going through the application process of being on the Story Team--I wanted to succeed, I was sure I was not good enough, but I figured that the experience would be good for me. (And it has been, in many ways.)

Currently fighting the urge to comfort myself with a Goulet order. It's not like I lack pens, inks, or paper! Maybe I should order some music--Chris Whitley is shaping up to be my muse, and I only have two of his CDs. Guess I'll hit up Alibris over lunch tomorrow? Can't hurt to see what they have.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I'd feel better about today if I hadn't woken up at 3:30 am and was completely unable to get back to sleep.

Good news: According to the DHL website, my book on how to write a book has gotten as far as Des Plains, IL, so it seems clear to me that it will arrive before the beginning of November. I'll have to start writing my NaNoWriMo novel before I can read and digest it, but I know what my first chapter has to be so I can start writing on November 1 regardless. Admittedly, later in the book I might decide I need a different first chapter but that's why they are called rough drafts.

I have gone so far as to commit myself to attending a gather of Lincoln NaNoWriMo writers this Wednesday. Agreeing to social events like this is not my usual kind of behavior, but I figured it can do no harm and I might pick up some useful tips. Also, trying to write 50,000 words in a month is scary and I'll need all the encouragement I can get.

Bad news: I spotted a mouse in my kitchen this morning, and thus need to go through the hassle of buying and baiting some traps. As if I needed more on my to-do list right now!
daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
When I was visiting my best friend last month we spent one happy afternoon shopping for clothes, and I bought myself a new nightgown/robe set. It was very a much a 'because it's pretty!' purchase because I don't lack for nightgowns and I am positively over-endowed with robes--I collect them the way some women collect shoes. (Having a thrift store down the street that regularly runs 99-cent sales makes this a surprisingly cheap affection, but it does not help with the 'find closet space' issue.)

However this weekend I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, which means that purchase has just become semi-practical: Given the choice I prefer to wear something comfy and pretty while writing, so I am going to need every single one of my pretty robes. All of my nightwear is comfy but not all of it is pretty, so the robes are going to be essential for my writing focus.

Food is going to be a problem because I'm not going to have a lot of time to cook and I can't afford to do take-out all the time. I need to start planning now what I can eat out of my freezer in the next two weeks so that I can cook up some extra meals, portion them out, and freeze them. Also, lay in a supply of jam so I can have PBJ sandwiches.

Sometime in the next two weeks I need to come up with a plot. Or at least settle on setting and characters. I could go with one of the ideas I was holding on to for after I left the story team, but I'd rather not have one of them as my first go. They aren't cracktastic enough, and if I am going to be generating 1,667 words a day I think I need to be writing directly from my deepest mind. This is kind of terrifying, as I know what lives down there, but no one will ever see what I've written so I have complete deniability. (I'm even doing it in longhand, so no computer hacking can trouble me.)

I need to come up with a list of Cool Things. Then when I run out of ideas for what to do next in my novel I can look through the list and grab something to run with. This plan pleases me more than is possibly healthy.

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