Tag Archives: writing techniques

NaNoWriMo

It is upon us!  National Novel Writing Month has come again.  Am I participating?  Yes!  Am I going to make the fifty thousand words?  Probably not!  I’ve done it before, more than once, but I’ve also failed more than once, too.  It’s just a question of my focus, and, if I’m honest about it, my focus right now isn’t very good.  I’m in a slump, I think I mentioned that in a recent post.  That certainly isn’t going to help.  I also have a lot going on in writing projects that don’t count towards nanowrimo.

I’ve got a cookbook I’m working on.  It’s a humorous little creation that needs to be tweaked a bit, then edited, then handed off to someone who knows a bit more than I do about cooking, then tweaked again… eventually, though, it’s going to be quite hilarious.  I hope.  I’ve also got book three of the ghoul series that I’m working on, and, I hope, I’ll be able to start promoting book 2 and the print version of book 1.  Soon.  I hope.  God, I really need them to put that stupid book in print.

Anyway, the point is, it’s going to be a rough year for nanowrimo.  But that’s actually a good thing.  The purpose of nanowrimo is to get writers to push themselves, and one way or another I will definitely be pushing.  I just have to pick a project.  I’m thinking about doing a YA story that I’m planning to release under a different name.  My actual name, in fact.

Part of the reason that I have this nom de plume is because I write in several different styles, and it feels like a bad idea to write my adult oriented works and my YA stuff under the same name.

Well, for those of you out there who enjoy writing, Nanowrimo is an exciting experience and I suggest you look into it.  It’s more than just a goal of fifty thousand words in a month, it’s an opportunity to bond with other writers, and participate in a group tradition in a field that is, traditionally, an individual activity.

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How do you clear your head?

I love to write.  I really do.  Building, not just a story, but an entire universe, then populating it with interesting characters isn’t just my idea of a good time, it’s my obsession.

But sometimes it gets to be a burden.  There’s so much going on, so many things that you know need to happen, so many directions to pursue and loose ends you need to keep track of so you can tie them up later, it just starts to weigh you down.  When that happens, you need a way to clear your head.

When I’m dealing with a few tangled threads and just a little bit more chaos than I meant to create, I take a quick walk.  There’s a wonderful two mile loop right next to where I live.  It’s a long enough walk that I’m sure to get distracted and calm down, but not so long that I’m actually tired when I get back from it  Just far enough to get the blood flowing.

But sometimes I’ve got more than tangled threads.  Sometimes there are knots.  Sometimes the strands I’m trying to weave together have been rolled in dirt and those stickers that I can never seem to keep from growing in the yard.  Sometimes what I have isn’t just chaos, it’s anarchy.

When that happens, I play with numbers.

Specifically, primes.

Now, let’s be clear, I’m not a mathematician, either by profession, or talent.  But that’s the beautiful thing about prime numbers, you don’t need to be a mathematician to play with them.  People have been trying to sort out prime numbers for centuries… actually, millennia.  They are fascinating because they continue infinitely, but without reliable pattern… at least, not that anyone has discovered yet.  Play with them long enough, though, and you’re sure to find something that looks promising.  But pursue it at your own peril.

I’m currently pursuing a theory that involves a pyramid of numbers.  So far I’ve written the pyramid out to 1680 digits, and dammit if I don’t need to write it out a couple thousand more.

It’s tedious and frustrating and mind bending, but by the time I’m exhausted from that, the unsolvable puzzles in my latest work have usually worked themselves out.  And if they haven’t… well, they just don’t seem quite so insurmountable anymore.

What about you?  How do you clear your head?

All across the wall

I’m working on book three of the Corpse-Eater Saga, and I have to say, there is a lot of stuff to remember.  There are characters of varying importance who may or may not come back into another story later.  There are descriptions of people and places, which, though not important enough for me to remember all the time, would be embarrassing to get wrong.  There is the description of distances and drive times.  There are endless details.  And, let’s face it, I am not good with details.

Because of that, my walls are becoming increasingly crowded.  I started by drawing a map of the my imaginary city, Collinswood Colorado.  Then I wrote out very brief sketches for each of the nine books that I’ve agreed to write in the series.  Then I drew blueprints for a couple of buildings, so I wouldn’t find myself describing a place that can’t exist in three dimensions.    Now I have a couple more buildings to draw, and several character arcs that I’m going to be sketching out.  I’m also about to start a list of events that exist to foreshadow upcoming plots and stories.  I should’ve done that at the very beginning.

Dammit, I’m running out of wall space!