November 25, 2009

Mid-Novemebr NaNoWriMo News

November is not quite over, but I wanted to give everyone an update on what has been happening so far this month. We stopped work on The Siege of Kwennjurat, the sequel to Tanella’s Flight, a mere four hours before midnight on October 31st. There are still a couple of chapters to write on that book, but we are still anticipating it will be ready for reading by sometime in October 2010. We started work on our NaNoWriMo novels at 12:01:01 on November 1st. Mine still has no real working title that I am satisfied with, but eventually that will come to me. I experienced a real breakthrough while working on this novel. My usual pattern while writing a rough draft is that I come to a place about three-quarters of the way through the manuscript where I get stuck. I know where my characters are, and where they are going, but I am unsure of how to get them there. At this point, I usually have my partner write one chapter for me, which gets me going again, and I continue and finish the manuscript. This is against the rules of NaNoWriMo, which has proven to be a major obstacle for me in my previous wins. This year, I managed to unstick myself, and I feel quite pleased with that. My novel is somewhat shorter than our usual work, but it may grow some during the editing process. I ended with 50,055 words by my word counter. My partner reached 50,000 words about a week before I did, and gleefully announced that she was at 50K, and her novel was “just getting going”. She is still writing fantastic amounts of verbiage, and nouniage too, on a daily basis. Her book continues to lengthen well past the winning criteria of the contest. We are both winners, and glad to be so again this year. In her very first NaNo, our friend Nitrocat well outstripped the both of us in terms of speed and finished her 50,000 words on or about the fifteenth, which included taking Sundays off. We are astounded, proud, and looking forward to reading her book. My daughter is past 32,000 and still working. We have every confidence that she will also be a winner. She has already overcome so much along the way. Her first story, which involved a demon and a kidnapped teenager, turned out to have a plot that was negative and draining, and she couldn’t stand writing it. She abandoned that idea on the 14th, plotted out another entire novel in one evening, and began writing that story. The second story, involving a cultural clash between centaurs and humans, went very well, but she ran out of story before she ran out of word count. We encouraged her to make her novel a collection of short stories which added up to 50,000 fictional words written in November, and she then wrote a second story which details a car accident. A third story is a short romance involving a proposal on the beach and a somewhat annoying crab. Having finished that one, she was driving me to the optometrist yesterday and asked me for a writing prompt. I said, “A guy and a girl are walking down the street, and a large, heavily muscled man carrying a weapon of some sort comes strutting out of an alley.” She said, “Oh, that’s good! What happens then?” I said, “Whatever you want to have happen. It’s your story. Maybe he attacks them. Maybe he ignores them, though that wouldn’t make much of a story. Maybe he protects them from something. You decide.” She sighed and rolled her eyes, but by the time we finished at the optometrist, (my glasses will be ready in 7-10 business days) and had driven to a spot to eat lunch, she informed me that there were cannibalistic zombies in her current work. Should be interesting. As if NaNoWriMo wasn’t enough to fill my November, I have also opened my big mouth and inserted my foot to the knee by volunteering to work as editor of a cookbook, with recipes contributed by the talented and wonderful people at Atlas Quest. Recipes have been pouring in, and I ended up using three entire writing days to organize them and get the cookbook moving. I actually had to tell everyone that I was not doing anything more with the cookbook for a couple of days so I could finish my novel before the November 30 deadline. With my rough draft now completed, I can turn my attention back to the cookbook, and also to editing Deadly Gamble, our next book, which is scheduled for publication this coming April. I will also bend my efforts to encouraging my daughter in reaching her 50,000 word goal. This involves great chunks of time during which we are both sitting in the office at our computers, and I tell her to keep writing every time I hear the rattling of her keyboard cease. Day before yesterday I played a rather involved game on my computer, while she worked very hard to see how many words she could write before I completed each level. It’s a difficult job, but a mom has to do it! ;-) Oh, and I still have a turkey to cook and Christmas decorations to put up, and a bit of on-site research for Deadly Gamble to do before the end of this week,too. Happy reading! —Anne

November 10, 2009

The Story is Unravelled--Finally!

Murphy was right. If anything can go wrong, it will. At least when it comes to publishing Fabric of the World. When the manuscript was ready, we sent it to the publisher, and got our proof copy back in time for the original "publish-by" goal of mid-October. There was one huge problem. The pages were formatted backward (right pages on the left, and left pages on the right) and the book started on the wrong side of the page. I learned a lot about formatting while solving that problem, and we noticed several other mistakes too. So we fixed the other mistakes, fixed the formatting problem, and resubmitted the book.

The original colors we'd used on the cover were...not in the same places, but we liked the second cover better, anyway, with its lighter color.

When the second proof copy arrived, we had somehow missed an entire blank page right in the middle of the book...which we contemplated just living with and blaming on the printer...but then we discovered we'd also spelled our hero's name wrong, right on the back cover. That wouldn't do, so more changes were made, and another proof copy was ordered. Finally! Well, I won't go so far as to call it "perfect", because I'm sure there are mistakes hiding in there somewhere, but I'm not going to go looking for them. The book is available for sale. (Go over to the website and you can get the book from the Ye Olde Book Shoppe page.)

In 2006, I never dreamed I would have come so far in my writing just three short years. A letterboxing friend, Brandy, casually mentioned on the message board that she was participating in something called NaNoWriMo. She challenged others to join her.

Doubtful I could complete the challenge in time, because 50,000 words seemed like a lot, and also because I have a tendency to get stuck about three-quarters of the way through a book, and rely on my partner to un-stick me, (and partners aren't allowed at NaNo), I still jumped in with both feet, and eyes tightly shut.

I hit 50K in November, and finished Fabric in December, and decided I was going to try this NaNo thing again the next year.

NaNoWriMo has given me more confidence in my writing, as well as more volume. Although Tanella's Flight took thirteen years from first meeting the characters to publication, Fabric of the World has accomplished all the same steps in only three years and one month.

Writing fast is a true challenge. You go off on tangents, and you're certain they will be "darlings" that will be cut from the book later. Later comes, and you discover the tangent was a necessary thing for the plot...not something you ever imagined would be there, but a part of their life the character tells you needs to be included.

I am glad I have learned the art of creating realistic characters, and then listening to them tell their story.

My partner's 2006 NaNo novel is called Deadly Gamble, and we expect it to be published sometime this spring.

Our 2007 NaNo stories never materialized, since we had an opportunity to go to England that November and didn't get much writing done. Our 2008 novels await in our computers. My partner's is not quite finished yet, and will be published some time in the future, but there are other stories ahead of it in line. Mine took a left turn and ended up being fan fiction. Although it's a fun read, it will never see the light of day.

And 2009? We're well on our way to finishing on time. My novel includes telepaths, ciphers, an expensive bracelet, and a plot to take over the world. I don't know much about my partner's story, but I can share that her main character sees streams of words floating in the air, and though most people think she's just a little bit crazy, I'm sure her talent will prove most valuable in the end.

For now, rest assured that we're writing like mad (It is November, after all!), and enjoy reading Fabric of the World!