crows: (Default)
For NaNoWriMo 2010, I wrote the almost complete manuscript (through the climax; there are a couple scenes of wrap-up that aren't written but I generally know what's in them) of a mystery(?) novel called Ghost Stories. It clocks in at about 75k, and in its original form was the conjectured future story of a side character in Phantom of the Opera, who's mother took her away from France after the fire in the theater (she was a teen). Fifteen years later, she's returned to France after her mother's death and the subsequent inheritance of a small property back home. She commences to try to sort out her life and events surrounding the fire, which she's almost totally blocked from memory, especially where it concerns the unreported death of a girl who was, at the time, a few years younger than her.

Writing it, I defaulted to Paris but realized a bit of the way through that the story I was telling was clearly happening in a much smaller town with a much more intimate community. I'm pretty happy with the story, events-wise, but it occurred to me in my ramblings through back-country Iowa of the last months that... reversing the locations featured in the story could work a lot better for me. Whisking an American-born Megan away to France when she's 15, her frightened mother unwilling to talk about the life they left behind in the Midwest. Returning to a decaying house in a decaying town after an education and the beginning of a career in Avignon because it's all she has left of a family.

Also, I live here, I can visit these fading coal-towns and look up into their broken windows. And I do. Sounds like more direct research than trying to figure out what the life of an existentially-confused 30 year old is like in Europe. Also, that way, the loss is more acute, and I think it will bring the central conflicts of the story into sharper relief. I'm really excited. I start re-writing today.


crows: (Default)
So last night before I crashed I cobbled together, to the best of my understanding from several different files written during November last year, and November this year, all of the Chant of the Sibyl text. Now, this year I was writing on two stories - Chant, and its sequel True Life, so about 10k of my 50 is True Life. Of the Chant text, some of it is from where I left off last year, and some of it is from the big hole in the middle of what I wrote last year (which I filled in some, but not all of). So far, the thing I unsteadily hazard to call the manuscript for the cohesive novel, is 117 pages in Word (well, OOWriter) and 75k words long. I'm closing on the end of it, and I know generally -how- it ends, but I need to actually get it written, the fine details ironed out, and that hazy chunk in the middle that regards the war taken care of.

Then, the rest of my life editing. I've never written anything even close to this long before. The longest completed story is what... 15 pages or so? The longest chunk of a novel-length piece is like... 27. Chant is very careless in execution so far, but I really like it... I didn't expect to come out of NaNoWriMo with something that I would feel like I could actually sit down and turn into something meaningful, but I honestly do believe this has potential and I intend to pursue it.

Also, next week I'm ordering parts for my computer. On Monday. I know specifically what I'm ordering and how much it will cost, and it will be on its way to me soon. Who wants to play WoW? I'm committed to transferring my main two characters (or at least one) to Dawnbringer off of Lightbringer; we play Horde. I also play sometimes (Horde) on Black Dragonflight, but it's low level.

ZOMG!

Nov. 28th, 2008 12:11 pm
crows: (caw)
47! Over! Check my widget, yo! I'm going to make it this year. I'm going to make it I'm going to make it I'm going to make it. What's more? I'm going to have a novel finished by the end of the year. Capping 50k will not close out Chant of the Sibyl, and there's still a chunk (only one really) missing in the middle, but it's so close. I'll be writing the end of the story next week, then it's just a matter of making sure all the connective tissue is in place. It's a mess... GOD it's an AWFUL mess but ... it's here. It's HERE. HOLY CRAP. I've been trying to do this like... my entire life! I have no idea if I'll get it into condition where I can even TRY to get it published... but you know I'm gonna. SHAZAM! WHAT!!

GOD DAMN I'VE HAD TOO MUCH COFFEE AAAAZXZZZZZZZZ

Also

Nov. 23rd, 2008 10:39 pm
crows: (caw)
I have just officially surpassed last year's final wordcount for the '07 NaNo attempt. I feel giddy and anxious. I'm a little behind, but at this point, only a day or two. I should be able to catch up to 40 by tomorrow. I'm at very nearly 36 right now and won't likely go to bed until I hit 37. I've written 3k today. Things continue to fall into place unexpectedly; I'm learning every day about the struggle of these characters and the odds the world has presented. And the strange new order of things. This is one of the best feelings in the world.
crows: (red)
I hit my 10k before I went to bed Monday; that was my goal at outset, to hit ten thousand words by Monday night. Technically it was during the small hours Tuesday morning but that's good enough for me since I'm still up ass early and writing. Or, I would be writing if I were not writing this LJ post. /slacker.

Having just pasted together last year's Chant of the Sibyl text, and this year's Chant of the Sibyl text (not including, of course, what I've written of the sequel), I come up with a document that's 65 pages long. AND that I don't totally loathe although it is a terrible, terrible mess. Out of the material that I drum up this month... I think I will be able to cobble together one complete novel (True Life will NOT be finished this year though I hope to have a solid start on it). I'm sure that in the coming months, or however long I need to sit on it before I continue, I will have to fill in a lot of holes before I even start looking at fixing continuity errors and other wonky places in the plot and structure. And all of that before the word 'edit' so much as crosses my mind...

But for god's sake, I've been doing this my entire life. Do you have any idea how exciting to me it is to actually have a concept of a novel-length piece of work? To have story completion within my reach?

(Also: How's my initial energy burst lasting for ya, HUH?! Oh ye of little faith! (Ye of little faith knows who they are). BANG BANG!)
crows: (Default)
“Ho there! What's that!” a voice nearer to him cried out in curious alarm, drawing the snap of his attention out of his swirling thoughts. He stopped and looked down the hill, watching the collective of his brethren bewilderedly drop their their skids and turn, raising their hands to mitigate the indistinct glare of the sky.
His senses honed to a sharp enough focus a few moments later to perceive the sound, and the black mass in the sky, at the same time. An ungainly flying shape angled its way through the petticoats of the cloudcover, which was low over the ground but so featureless that it offered little depth-perception to the eye. The staccato of its blades slicing the air to keep it aloft struck Caleb's ears unfettered by the haze that made its shape inconstant in the sky.
Caleb narrowed his eyes for a few moments at the helicopter as it moved inland and then burst into a run back down the slope away from the base. He paused on his way down, skidding to a stop that almost sent him tumbling to grab a bewildered compatriot's shoulder.
“You. Find a pair of binoculars,” he gasped, gulping the air, his tired lungs unprepared for the sudden sprint. “Watch that thing as far as you can see it, keep an eye on its direction.”  )
[True Life] )
crows: (black raven)
My local NaNo group seems pretty nice, hosts 4-times weekly events so I won't be saddled at work wishing I could do one. Programmed them all into my phone along with the Monday evening write club as hosted by [livejournal.com profile] alaskanmermaid which I'm also excited about.

I love this particular psychosis more every year. Fills me with a sense of purpose!

Now, to battle.

WHAT!

Oct. 31st, 2008 03:16 pm
crows: (caw)
One extremely excellent kick-off write in later, and just shy of 3800 words.

This is going to be a very social NaNo for me and I think that's going to make all the difference (in a LOT of things).

Anyone know what's up with the author search on the site disappearing?
crows: (Default)
[And so it begins again. For NaNo this year, I'm writing more chunks of last year's story, and chunks of its sequel, called True Life. This is from the kickoff last night, between midnight and 3 AM; picking up where I left off before. Fragments. It is not spellchecked.]


Jadany sat on her knees, feeling her feet go numb against the cold concrete floor of the compound. The stone, the air, all felt warmer than Witch's gaze curiously down at her from where he sat across her, their knees only a hand's bredth apart in the half-darkened room. She breathed in once, laboured, and breathed out again.

“You don't have to,” his voice came, as if from beyond a great distance, the low rumble of thunder that might call one's attention to a stormy horizon.

“No,” Jadany breathed slowly out, letting her eyes fall finally shut to the heaviness that pressed them. “I do.”

...like the thunder that might call one's eyes to a stormy horizon... )
crows: (Default)
The hand of the clock falls slowly from the hour of midnight, through the growing hours of the pre-dawn morning and toward daybreak, but the sun never rises. The clock hangs on a string, from a nail that has stained the wall with rust, like the iron frame of the window to its left. It is a whole, narrow world of oxidized metal that has a look about it not unlike flakes of dry blood, let to char in the air and never cleaned away.

A woman stands in the corner of the room. It is hard to tell whether her eyes are on the window, or the clock, but whatever she is watching she never stirs her gaze from, not even for a second. As if one waiting so desperately for something that they feel even the most brief instant of inattention could ruin everything. Everything. But what is there to ruin in a tiny world made of rust and plaster, a window with no glass, and the sere, papery face of a clock that never ushers in daybreak? Her face is like a bird, her eyes wide and dark, frightened hands paralyzed in the fabric of a shapeless, off-white shift. The cloth, like her skin, is an unhealthy color. It is not dirty... but it doesn't have life enough to look clean. The cloth, the skin, and the woman's face are too tired to be anything. From the hair that grows unevenly from her scalp, to her bony pigeon-toed feet planted on the floor, she is as withered as a dying flower, staring motionless as the hours on the clock melt from midnight into some interminable, unnamed hour.

The hands of the clock never reverse themselves, never speed past all of the hours of day that hope, always, to be birthed into time so that everything can start to move again, start to grow, expect the sun. But somehow, they retrace the same span of hours again and again, working blindly over some unsolved mystery.

More than a few hours waiting for absolution, more than a night waiting for sunrise, it is a winter waiting for spring, an ice-age waiting to be pulled out of eternal stasis by the curve of an elliptical orbit.

Gradually, the streaks of rust that make their way down the dun-colored wall are growing longer and longer, as if the metal itself is slowly bleeding out against the uneven plaster. The hands of the clock begin to slowly fall again; an hour goes by, and then another, and then another. Beyond the window, the featureless night never changes, never shifts in terms of even a single star, a moon to show some phase, some ritual of passage.

The hands of the clock crawl down from that inaugural hour, ticking over every minute, every second with deliberation. They draw down, all the way to the bottom, as if drawn by the earth's very, bitter gravity, and then they stop.

The woman turns her dark, sunken eyes away from clock and casement. Her hands twist deeper into her nightgown. Leaning forward, she crumples slightly toward the floor, as if she is no longer able to keep herself upright. Before she collapses, her eyes boring a hole straight forward, perhaps carving out the very air into pitted space, she splits her lips in an agonized expression.

Her mouth – the opening of her mouth – is as still and lifeless a black as the unending night beyond the iron frame of the window. Slowly, from the aperture in her lips, a stain like old rust spreads hazily over the flesh of her narrow chin and down her throat.



"She is a mother, oh god, she is a mother!"

"Jada, calm down..."

"Where is her child! What happened to her child?!"
crows: (Default)
http://www.nanowrimo.org

November is National Novel Writing Month; put as simply as possible, 50k words in 30 days, WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. If you're not familiar, go read more about it on the site.

This will be my fourth NaNo year; every year I start getting antsy for it earlier and earlier. After being at first skeptical about the notion, I've discovered a great love for the process, and in the last three years, it's taught me some pretty enlightening things about myself as a writer. It really has been an important exercise for me, and will continue to be.

Is anyone else out there in my small corner of LJLand participating? (IF NOT, WHY NOT?!) If so, come find me on the site so that we can be pals:

http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/116849

I'm sure I'll need all the moral support I can get ;)

Reasons to NaNo at the NaNo time: misery loves company, and the community that springs up on this site for the next couple months is absolutely incredible.
crows: (Default)
Today I gave notice at my job. My manager was totally sweet about it, will still be my friend, was not disappointed in me personally, and took me out for Pink Berry frozen yogurt cause I'd never had it. I'm glad, because, she is my friend and I also look up to her a great deal. She also doesn't need me until the end of the month; took me off my remaining weekends and made my last day the 14th or so. It's a lot of stress off my shoulders.

I'll be flying home early and maybe staying a little longer. That should give me a little more ample opportunity to hook up with everybody for more than the flyby lunch, and do some meaningful work at the store.

As for NaNo, I did abandon my post over the middle of the week. I end at about 34k... way longer than anything I've ever written at a stretch. I'm extremely satisfied with my experience despite having not crossed the finish line, as it were. Jeremy and I will probably be attending the little after-party thing this Saturday.

What I finish with is 50 pages of text on a story that I feel like is conceptually solid with both the plotline and the characters. It will need substantial re-writing, and of course for the story to be finished, but it's far from trash. I don't hate it at all. Best part is, I was confronted by some of the most profound reasons why I don't usually finish stories, long or short... and they're issues I can actually focus and work on, now that I've identified what they are.

In sadder news, my grandfather was back in the hospital over the weekend. Complications with his medication. As in, how much of it was in his bloodstream.

Mother inferred that it may or may not have been accidental. That's the worst part. Not that he's sick, not that he probably doesn't have a lot of life left after today, but that he's so unhappy that there's a possibility he was trying to end his own life. It's a strange feeling... I've never been super-close to my grandparents. We've always lived far away from them, and not visited excessively. But, when blood of my blood is in harm's way, there's definitely something deeper that moves in me... a totally different feeling from when I'm worried about a friend or relative that is conventionally closer to me. It's almost as if the trauma I feel about it is totally subconscious; the reactions are delayed and sudden. Twice now, I've been totally fine, feeling very rationally about it... being able to think about how unfortunate the situation is. Then, as soon as I opened my mouth to say something to someone else about it, I started crying uncontrollably. As if someone had turned on a switch.

I've also had some very bizarre dreams lately... there might be more about those later. Right now, I'm tired.

31,047

Nov. 24th, 2007 09:49 pm
crows: (Default)
It's not over yet

PS:

Nov. 21st, 2007 08:40 pm
crows: (flying raven)
I haven't quit. I just updated corbie.livejournal.com with the rest of the fragments, and will be updating my NaNo site wordcount after this. I'm just over 25k... I know I'm behind, but I'm still fighting!
crows: (flying raven)
In which Marie decides to destroy most* of the entire world.


[*an undetermined and more than likely substantial amount]
crows: (Default)
Something ironic that happened today:

As I was standing at the bus stop on my way to work this morning, plugged in as always when I am out and about and alone to my Ipod, a nicely dressed woman approached me with a small attache open in her hands and asked me if I was looking for something to read on the bus. I politely declined and she didn't press; but a glance down to what she had in her case revealed that it was a publication on the part of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Now, I'm not categorically offended by this in any fashion and I wish her the best at what fulfills her... but through my headphones at that very moment Damien, by Iced Earth, was blasting. "So here who comprehends, that the number of the beast is a number of a man, a number just for me!"

Something sad that happened today (maybe):

Walking back from my lunch break in the middle of the day, I approached a dark blot on the sidewalk that was shifting around in that way that only birds do. It turned out, once I got about a foot away from it, to be a crow laying there on the pavement... I couldn't see where he was hurt, but he was obviously not well. I pulled my scarf out of my bag intending to scoop him up and take him inside where I could call around to find an animal rescue agency that would take him in, but startled him enough that he did manage to get up and fly across the street to a nearby rooftop where he lay with his wings slightly extended from his body. I went back in to work, but could see him from the door, and he was there quite some time. Then, when I went to look, he was gone and wasn't on the sidewalk below so I assume (hope) that maybe he was just stunned and came out of it.

And my novel:

Things are beginning to come together. Wordcount wise, I'm a little (but not unrecoverably) behind. However, I'm getting to the point now where details that I feel like I'm pitching in aimlessly are starting to add up and connect in meaningful ways. That means that, somewhere out there in the ether, my characters are coming to life and doing things of their own accord, and I've just to turn my lens their direction and observe.

IT'S ALIIIVE!

PS:

Nov. 7th, 2007 08:32 am
crows: (flying raven)
I haven't written for two days. :(
crows: (flying raven)
My story has a title [The Chant of the Sibyl], and my narrator has a name [Ivan Roque].

So does his cat [Lobster].
crows: (flying raven)
I've started like a good girl, and I'm on track at least for today. This will be the first year out of three that I've actually started on time and closed November First with a sufficient wordcount under my belt. I'll be posting the swaths of draft-zero fiction to my writing journal, dusty though it may be, which is located publicly here: http://corbie.livejournal.com. My profile on the actual site is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/user/116849. For all of you other compatriots who are participating, power to you and happy writing!

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