The End of NaNoWriMo

I Fix Your Shit by Ewkn

I Fix Your Shit by Ewkn

This past month was National Novel Writing Month. I would've loved to post about it while it was going on, but, as you might have noticed, I rearranged the color scheme and played around a bit with the site while I was slacking off. Slacking might not be the right word - I did write 47,589 words in 30 days after all. However, I did have 9 days where I wrote less than a hundred words. Hell, five of those I wrote nothing. So I did have some slacking in there.

It's now December and it's become holiday hell once more. I manage a Specialty Retail store, meaning I deal with movies, music, video games (primarily), but also cards, toys, comics, even clothing sometimes. So we call to just about every demographic out there. Our music goes back to LPs and 45s, our games back to Atari. As of today, I have to work 60 hours (up from my previous 45 to 50) until the end of the year. Needless to say, I'm not going to get much writing done.

On the writing tip, my novel for NaNoWriMo dipped into my Magician storyline. It has taken several turns along the way, calling locations from every novel I've written, pulling in secondary characters into the forefront and placing it squarely after The Faithful and possibly its sequel (as yet unwritten). I enjoyed certain sections of it, but ran into a fundamental problem: I do not understand my magic system. As a result, there's huge swaths that will need to be redone, modified, or possibly plain excised once I do figure out the particulars. My main note to myself at the beginning of this was:

Do not become The Sorcerer's Apprentice!

In this movie, they go to great length's to make the twenty-something main character out to be the one. However, every scene that involves Nicholas Cage's Balthazar is filled with impossible, amazing magic that doesn't seem to have a negative to it. He's able to ride stone griffins, shapeshift, enter alternate dimensions in a car, etc. with no ill effects. The only slight conceit are these gems, but the characters spend so much time with them that it's moot. My memory is fuzzy about this movie, but I only really recall Alfred Molina's Horvath having one on a cane.

My point is that this movie shows no reason why the mentor couldn't take care of the entire problem himself, without subjecting us to this whiny nobody.

In my novel, I lay out vague consequences for my main character, a robot who has sold his soul to a demon, only to realize that he's gotten involved with some far more dangerous deities. Throughout this admittedly rushed story (still not complete, by the way), he moves from creature to creature making deals to sell his body to achieve some new level of power only to realize that they're using him for their own nefarious ends. And when he finally decides to settle down and commit, he accidentally brings about the apocalypse and has to figure out how to stop it.

This is no way follows my original vague idea for the story, but it does toy with the world, showing it in various states of disarray after the events of my other novels. One thing it does make me realize though: I essentially have an empty world. The several times my character moves from city to city in this novel, he is essentially alone. He sees no trade routes, no wandering people. Even the city of tourists feels empty as he enters from the fringes of the city, then moves into the actual city, which is devoid of tourists. It's a shortcoming to my worldbuilding. It also highlights the disparaging levels of technology from one city to the next.

I absolutely do not feel comfortable writing cars in my novels. I did so in only one of them, but before that novel (from another NaNoWriMo inspired event), all of my cities had means of public transportation but cars did not exist in their worlds. Not even a bike was mentioned or used.

So I guess when it comes down to it, I have learned quite a bit about my writing as I tried to shape this essentially formless idea, one that I'd toyed with for about a month and could never get past the first chapter, and was forced to confront some of my weaknesses as a worldbuilder and a storyteller. I did this entire novel without plotting and I'm sure it reads that way. However, I do believe with every fiber of my being that if I had tried to plot this thing, I wouldn't have gotten half of what I did write on the page. It changes so drastically with the speed at which I was writing it that it would've felt stilted and I wouldn't have been able to continue on it.

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you know I used Write or Die to help me this month to great effect. I have paid for both versions of it and there's things I like and dislike with both of them. Thankfully, Write or Die 2 is having patches multiple times a week so hopefully the bugs will be ironed out quickly and we'll have a much more stable release. If you're wondering, I put it on a variable time limit, most of the time with no word count to hit, and on Kamikaze mode. This means that if I stop writing for any appreciable amount of time (somewhere around fifteen seconds), it will begin to decimate what I've written. In the first iteration, it would completely erase the words. In the second version, however, it will only eat the vowels, making your writing into an unintelligible word soup.

It's ingenious really and gives a great incentive to keep your hands on the keys and focused on what you're doing.

Seeing as it's now the final weeks of the year, it'll be early next year before I get my next big content push through the website. I plan on redoing my novel pages. I would love to do more with them, but as it is, I've got multiple artists that have done work that has nothing to do with my novels and I can't very well feature those images, even though they did inspire me in one way or another. Once I get some artwork done specifically for my creations, then I can get them to where I really want them to be.

Until next time.

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.