Articles in the WRA’s Special Series Category

As I push to get these last few thousand words written what I find myself doing is more brainstorming than story writing. Earlier this week I’d reached a “hopeless” point. I knew the draft I have, the one I’m jamming into this box of “book-like-substance” just isn’t going to work. But I still like my original concept to some degree and I’m starting to picture the alternative ways this book could be written. That inkling of the “maybe” is back with me again and it’s a much nicer feeling than the “I hate everything”.

I think that’s what being a writer is a lot about. We go through stages where sometimes the writing is going well, other times it’s terrible, and we sustain ourselves on the maybe when there is an intangible beauty about the potential for creation. Well, we sustain ourselves on that, and those days when what hits the page has some resemblance to that beauty. Those days definitely happen. The closer my books get from first draft to final draft the more I feel in tune with the concepts. That’s the real reason a first draft isn’t a final draft. Even when you’re a planner that first draft is giving your mind and your muse a chance to flesh out the ideas, to see them take form, but it’s the future drafts when the ideas become woven and tangible.

I’m re-imagining Spirit Talker now. The concept is fresh and new. It’s not quite ready to start drafting, but I’m no longer hating the whole thing. I see the potential again.

I’ve decided I might be able to salvage parts of what I have written this month. To be honest, when the whole “alien” thing decided to jump into the book when I really didn’t want it to I was mad at myself. In that moment I had the inner critique rake me over the coals and I took the abuse because I believed it. I forgot, in that moment, that although I’m a creator the blame doesn’t only lay at my feet. As most writers will willingly admit, our stories come from beyond us, so that alien concept wasn’t really mine. If it were I’d never have written it, not in this book, not in any book. Sure, I think aliens are cool but this book isn’t about aliens.

Now I’m rethinking even that. I started thinking about one of our speakers at Write Night, Ian. He’s an editor for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. And you know what? They take speculative fiction. It occurred to me that this alien concept that just doesn’t suit this book could make an intriguing short story for Andromeda. So, although it’s a bit of a blur and mushed into a story where it just doesn’t work, the concept isn’t horrid. There is potential in that too.

I think coming to this new understanding about the story in parts rather than as a whole is pretty inspiring. I start looking at the 47,000 words – the 50,000 I’ll have by the end of today, and I think “Well, it’s not a complete waste.” And that’s the miracle of NaNoWriMo. Even the junk that gets tossed in, because you’re going for quantity more than quality, has potential. The words are on the page, and now they’re written we can play with them and see where they take us.

29 November 2013

Tuesday, Nov. 26th, 2013

Ok, so I totally slacked the past few days. On Sunday I did go to the library but I didn’t get a word written. Ok, actually I got three words written. How abysmal is that? I had good intentions to do some writing that evening instead but nope, I crashed into bed and stayed there. I try to use the fact that my son isn’t well as an excuse but honestly any excuse at all would have done.

Yesterday I also didn’t get any writing done. But with just a few days left until the end of the month and 18,000 words still looming over my head yet to be written I’m having to push away the “don’t want to” so that I can get this done. It’s not as easy as that however. When it comes to creative writing pursuits you’ve got to be inspired to some degree. Sure, there are writers who say they sit down at start writing and that’s when inspiration comes to them, but I’ve found resistance can be more insidious than that. And that is where my problem is right now.

You see, I have 75% of a book. I’m at the Wall. The dreaded point in the book where enough of the story is laid out before me that I should be rounding on the finish line. But I don’t feel it. I don’t see it. It’s beyond that horizon, over that hill, and everything behind me seems like terrain that’s lead me out into the middle of nowhere. I’ve run 32,000 miles into nothingness. I’m hating this book. As it stands there is no way I’d want to attach my name to it. It doesn’t MEAN anything. There is no message. I wandered way too far from what I had originally wanted to write about that it doesn’t even feel like my book anymore. But what do I do? Do I toss out these 32,000 words and start from scratch? Where I’ll face those same problems I faced in the early days of having no clue what this book would be about? Or do I just throw some wild twist in at this point and scrawl out 18,000 words of jibberish so I can happily call it written and throw it into a draw for the rest of its lifetime?

Or are all these doubts just the wall manifesting in resistance? What do I do right now? Pushing on to 50,000 because that’s what this month is about. And it’s 50,000 words of experience, and 50,000 words as a writer. Good or bad, when I roll over those 50,000 words I’ll have spent the month chasing that elusive name, “writer”.

Ok, so I kept writing. Now I have 34,828 words. Just 15,172 words to reach 50,000.

What rot. This is absolute trollop. I swear everything is a load of bull that’s just not worthy of being book-like. I swear I’m half about to start talking aliens and sci-fi. This is NOT a sci-fi book. It’s supposed to be about a girl with a ‘gift’ that’s cursing her to tortured teenage years. And yet, there is something else entirely coming out here and I don’t like it. Remind me never to pants again.


Ok, I need about 5,000 words each day for the next three days to get my 50,000 words for the month. I don’t know if I’ll make it. Especially since my book is now even more irredeemably horrible. I mean, seriously, aliens? ICK! I mean, it would be acceptable to write about aliens if the book was supposed to be about aliens. But it’s not. This whole pirates, diamonds, kidnapping, aliens, etc. is all meaningless. None of that has anything to do with the book I originally wanted to write. It was supposed to be about a girl who didn’t fit in at school or home because she could see dead people. None of that is in there.

I admit, the original concept doesn’t quite make a book either, but now it’s a pile of vomit. It started with a flawed concept and became more and more convoluted and ridiculous the more I forced myself to keep writing. Honestly, I do not recommend pantsing if you’re a planner.

Once I get these final 15,000 words I’ll toss this book in the big pile of “never see the light of day” works in my digital archive. I’ll go back to FoT and finish and publish that then settle in to writing the other two books for the Blood of the Nagaran Trilogy. We will never speak of Spirit Talker again.

But who knows, someday the concept might come to me with better bones, with a real story, and real meaning and message. When that day arrives, maybe Spirit Talker will find the page in a way that isn’t absolutely ridiculous.

26 November 2013

Monday, November 4th, 2013

We’re at Gosnells Knowledge Centre this afternoon. It’s another quiet one with people working away on their books. Today I have a semblance of a plot outline that should hopefully give me enough to get a few scenes written for the first act and lead me into finding out more about where the story might go next. Time to get stuck into it.

Ok, been at it for over an hour and only have 450 words to show for it. I feel like it’s trudging along. Primarily because I don’t like not knowing what is going on. Somehow I’ve made Bobby’s kidnappers Russian. Don’t ask me why.

I need 1,500 words to get back on track with my wordcount today. It’s do able but only if I get my act together. Right now, however, I need a quick stretch and etc.

4 November 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

We’re settled in at Armadale. Made $8 in badge/coaster/bookmark sales and donations so far today. And made six name badges. Now it’s time to actually get some words written. Come to my rescue Muse, please!

There are words happening. But I don’t feel them. I’m really struggling with this story. I’m starting to wonder if I need to go back to scratch and repurpose it again.

Ok, this pantsing thing is killing me. I’m just getting more and more frustrated. I need some sort of outline. I need to know that I actually have a story and a point. I don’t like the idea of writing myself into a hole. So, brainstorming it now. Lets make something happen.

Ok, I have a first act plotted. It’s a very quick and dirty plot but at least it has some action and some story. It even gave me another character. :-)

I’m having a little difficulty with Bobby’s voice. He’s supposed to be very young. How do I have him tell the story of his death from his point of view? OH! I could use Sara’s ability to flashback to the actual situation and therefore not use his voice at all but the omniscient point of view. I could have her watch the event unfold. That would also make her an “eye” witness with the challenge that her account couldn’t be used in court.

3 November 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ok, day two.

Tony Park was fantastic. He is a lively and enthralling speaker. His books are not what I would normally choose to read, but as I listen to him talking about Africa and the ideas for his stories I can’t help but be fascinated. Another thing I found intriguing was that he is 100% pantser. He doesn’t outline any of his novels. He writes on the fly, day by day, a few pages at a time and just lets the present influence his inspiration. He looks to the world around him to pick a key feature and then writes about that. I’m looking forward to reading one of his books now to see how that style of writing comes together in the finished product.

Speaking of styles of writing, I’ve decided I need to at least piece together some sort of outline. Something I can string together to make a story. I’m not like Tony Park. I can’t just turn to the world around me and choose an interesting feature and begin writing. But maybe I can use the world around me to inspire something. It’s a beautiful surrounding. We’re sitting in the park opposite the Gosnells Knowledge Centre. The crows are cawing. Oh! Interesting fact, despite the fact that we have always called them crows, in Australia the black birds we call crows are actually Australian Ravens. Go figure? I was wondering the different between a crow and a raven on Wednesday and Googled to discover that fact. So, the ravens are cawing, there are a few of Dads in the park playing with their kids. The cicadas are clicking, the river is trickling, the breeze is blowing softly, and an airplane flies off in the distance surrounded by the wisps of cloud and brilliant blue sky. I love Australia. But how can I use any of this in my book?

*screams in frustration!!!!* I swear I am hating every word of this drivel. It’s pointless. Aimless. Junk.

I spent almost the whole first hour of the Write In avoiding my book. I have plenty to do as ML so it’s really easy to assuage the guilt of not writing by hiding it in the fact that I need to schedule Facebook and Twitter posts, write broadcast messages, and forum posts. It’s all “important”. But none of it is getting my book written.

I’ve started to wonder if having the story in the point of view of a teenage girl is where I’m going wrong. I’m having trouble finding a plot in it. Part of me wants to throw away the whole concept but I remind myself that what I do have concept-wise is good. I can work with it. And it’s malleable, I can change it without completely scrapping the whole idea. After all, I already have a cover, a really beautiful cover. So, lets give the cover a book.

OMG! What if I wrote the book in 3rd person (a POV I’m much more comfortable with) but from the vantage-point of Bobby, the young ghost?!? Could that be cool? And someone suggested to me last night that I could make the book about the mystery of Bobby’s death. Originally I was thinking of having it more about the angst of being a teenager who can see ghosts but I’m starting to think the murder mystery is more solid. It’s something I could really sink my teeth into. I can still weave threads of teenage angst into the story but that would be secondary.

Ok, so it was going okay, but I’m struggling. I’m not sure where this needs to go. Obviously the action needs to begin but it’s feeling a bit staggered and choppy. I keep having Bobby and Sara talking, and talking, and talking. How can I get some real action into this?

Ok, I know what I can do with this scene now but got an urge to take a break. I really shouldn’t, because I haven’t got anywhere near quota yet. Although I’m over for the day if I really do think about it. Looking at what I have today so far. 1887 words. I suppose I feel better about taking a break. :-) We’ll be finishing up here soon anyway so 20 minutes before closing is a good time to begin winding down. I can see my daughter has already reached her limit for the session too. She’s reading a book now. :-)

2 November 2013

So, in keeping with the tradition I started last year I thought I’d plug up my “notes to myself” that I tend to write while working on a book. If you’ve ever wondered “what goes on in the brain while a writer is writing?” then follow along on my journey to 50,000 words this November (accompanied by ML duties this eyar) or browse back to the Journal of a NaNo Writer 2012 where I put together the first 70,000 words of The Flight of Torque.

Friday, November 1st, 2013

I knew we would start here. NaNo is officially begun. We’re at my awesome Kick Off party and it’s silent, because everyone has started writing. I’ve eaten and I’m ready. But… I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE!!! Muse! HELP!!!

The irony is I had a first few sentences about two weeks ago. I ran them through my head trying to memorise them. They’re gone now. :-(

A character came to me during the day and he’s been quite insistent that he’s part of this book. But I don’t know who he is. His name is Will, and I get the impression he’s Sara’s best friend, but I also wonder if he’s her older brother. I’m not sure. Hopefully he’ll give me more information soon because it would be a pain to start writing him as her best friend and then have to edit it to brother later, or vice versa.

I’ve also had a character in mind for a few weeks now. He started as a G. name, and then it’s evolved into Grayson, Graeson, or Graeme. Something Grae, and shortened to Grae, just because. I kind of liked Graeson, but tonight he definitely wants to be Graeme. Maybe I could start with him.

Ok, I have words. 102 of them. I don’t like them. I just said to the others they are “terrible” but I know they’re not terrible, but I still don’t like them. Hopefully the flow will come.

For what it’s worth as a Kick Off Party it’s toooo quiet to be a party. But we’ve got a good turn out so far with more due later in the night so I think it’s going to be a great one. I’ll just have to make sure I force everyone to put the words away for a while from time to time and have some fun too. Except of course I bet if I said that everyone would say, “We’re writing, that’s fun!”

grrrr False start after false start. I need to find the groove for this thing. I swear, I don’t know how pantsers do it. I need to throw up some sort of wicked twist of crazy and get this story off to a start with a bang.

The tree we are sitting under is horrid on my Mac. It’s dropping some sort of sticky tiny drops all over the screen.

I’m wondering if this POV is going to work. I don’t like first person.

Kaylie: 418
Rebecca: 402

Ok, so after two word wars and almost 3 hours I have 890 words. I’m trying not to beat myself up on such a shocking total. I have a lot going on being ML I need to be a Hi and Bye to everyone coming and going. But the real crush is that I’m hating everything I write. This YA genre is a difficult one. I want to be in the voice on my main character. Sara. But I’m not feeling in her skin. I don’t feel her. I keep feeling like I’m missing the start. I haven’t found the beginning of my story yet. I’m just rambling through this random stuff. I need to come back to beginning, back to basics. I need to think about what this scene needs to accomplish. “Introduce the main character in her normal life and then lay the ground for blowing her normal life to smithereens.

One of the young writers just gave me a chance to read her first 1000 words. OMG! I’m gripped by her story. And it’s so emotionally involved, darker than her years. I’m so jealous. I’m writing utter drivel and she’s writing this incredible work. Why won’t my words come?

8.40 Word War – 367

This just isn’t working. I have discovered ALL of the pitfalls of pantsing. I just have NOTHING! It’s pointless drivel. I have no idea where this story is going to go. Maybe I just need to take the day or two to put together some sort of outline. I need to know what might happen in the story so I can find the path to get there.

1 November 2013

National Novel Writing MonthFriday, November 30, 2012

Aww, NaNo will be officially finished for the Perth :: South crew in a few minutes. I didn’t end up going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screening. Much as I would have liked to I just couldn’t handle it. My head is still aching. Darn migraines.

I also didn’t get any more written today. *sighs* I kind of run myself over the rails for that too. I’m letting myself, my book, my characters down. If I’d really put effort into it I could have written 80,000 words in November. I could have finished this draft. But once I hit that 50K mark all the energy of it fizzled. I guess part of that is because other people were hitting their 50K and so their energy fizzled a bit too.

Still, I’ll get there eventually. I’ve decided I’m going to keep showing up to Write at the Armadale Library from 12-4pm every Sunday. I’ve sent out a standard invitation so if any of the writing crew want to join me they can.

Even better, the Perth :: South people put together our own little post-NaNo forum where we can support each other all year round. We’re arranging future Write Ins, general hang-out parties, and the like. It’s so great to know there are like-minded people living locally. I still have insecurities, wondering if people really like me, wondering what they whisper about me behind my back. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that, but I’m trying to get to know people. Trying to trust that I’m the kind of person people can like. And that’s really all we can do, isn’t it? I really like the idea of making local novel writing friends.

Speaking of writing friends, there are a bunch of lovely ladies at the Wednesday, Writer’s group. They’re such an inspiration and every week we write something so it feels good to have another day, another place, where writing is the priority. I also get to meet people nationally who write. This study period I’m doing a course with Griffith through Open Universities Australia on Creative and Professional Writing. The energy of the group on the discussion board is really good so I’m hoping to learn a lot.

So, it’s back to the regular grind. Yes, I’ll still be writing, at least every Sunday afternoon. But these days, I’m also trying to drum up more freelance work as a writer, editor, and Web technology specialist. And, in the long term (hopefully not too distant future) I’m going to go back out into the work force and get a you know *whispers* real J.O.B. *gasps* I’m both terrified and excited all at the same time. But it is so good to feel like I can, maybe, finally, do this.

That’s it for the Journal of a NaNo Writer, at least for this year. I’ll be back next November. *waves*

Meanwhile, would you like me to continue sharing my journals from other months and other days I write?

30 November 2012

National Novel Writing MonthThursday, November 29, 2012

I spent today mostly doing house work. Again, I avoided the words. I did also finish a Web Tech gig (aka paid work!) for a client which I’d started on Wednesday. Normally, I would have finished it on Wednesday but the thunder and lightning conspired against me. Blew out my power (and the whole neighbourhood apparently). One of the downsides of Web technology is that it’s dependent on power. Without power my modem and router don’t work. They’re not like my laptop which has battery backup when the power goes out.

Speaking of my laptop, I was able to do some file management after the power went out but my MacBook’s battery only gives me two hours these days. I really should get it sent in for a new battery and a service. That’s why I’ve been doing file management. I’ve been backing up to my external drives and clearing as much off my HD as possible. I really should avoid using my HD for information storage but sometimes it’s so much easier just to hit save without having to make sure I have an external drive plugged in.

Anyway, this isn’t even about writing. Except to say I have another reason not to write (sort of). My sister called me in to babysit. My nephew is gorgeous. Even better, he’s such a breeze to babysit. Even in the daytime when he’s always on the go he’s so delightful, but at night, he goes down to sleep and sleeps several hours. Usually he’ll wake up about 11pm and since his mother won’t be here to give him a feed to get him back to sleep (she’s an attachment parent) he’ll need cuddles instead. Even so, he settled back to sleep on me and he’s so adorable when he’s sleeping.

Isn’t he gorgeous? ————->

Ok, so time to get some more job hunting done tonight. Apparently, you can’t live on unfinished books. Who’d have thought it?

30 November 2012

National Novel Writing MonthWednesday, November 28, 2012

I didn’t really give myself the fan fare I deserved yesterday. It was all about how hard I was finding it pushing on after the NaNo energy had started to wane. I’m still facing that demon today. Thankfully, I have not been idle. I did take a dooner (Australian for duvet) day. I slept in (haven’t done that in a long time) and I spent the day just idly turning a static website created by someone else into a super awesome WordPress site. It’s a little tricky for users to manage, but it beats average netters trying to figure out how to edit the HTML. It’s not finished yet. I’ll work on it some more tomorrow and Friday, but it is coming along and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done on it. I’m always amazed at how easy and enjoyable working on Web Tech is because, although I love it and feel I’m called to be a fiction novelist, I hate that terror I feel facing the blank page. I never feel that with Web Tech work.

I guess, running away from that fear really isn’t doing me any favours, but, just for today, I’ve given myself the right to say, I’m not turning pro yet. I want to love the process, not dread it.

Still, I do desperately need the finances so I should knuckle down and finish the couple of books, and the workshop, I’ve got part done. First, I’ll finish this website, because it’s another product I’ll be able to sell when it’s finished.

Oh yeah! I was supposed to CELEBRATE! Yesterday, I validated! So I’m officially a NaNo Winner. I got a certificate and everything!

28 November 2012

National Novel Writing MonthTuesday, November 27, 2012

I’ve been procrastinating all day. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that I’m starting a new scene and it’s another blank page and I’m having a total freak out about that. I get this wave of anxiety, heart racing, breath shallow, hands shaking, sick to my stomach kind of panic attack. I don’t understand it. I’m a great writer, but when I face that blank page, I’m terrified.

Unfortunately, the NaNo boards have lost their momentum now so many of the Perth :: South people I was hanging out with have finished their 50,000 and validated, including me. That, added to my shift of energy toward some Web design and maintence issues means I’ve sort of lost that drive of enthusiasm that has been driving me through the month.

I just need to get these two scenes written and then the third act is done. Then act four is only fifteen scenes. I’m so close to the end. Then again, this close to the end means I’m facing that 75% wall. Have you heard about that wall? You go SMACK straight into the damn thing. The only way to get past it is to climb it, brick by brick, with your bare hands and feet.

Have you ever faced that wall?
Have you had any success getting past it?

Screw it. I’m going to keep procrastinating. I just moved the scene I need to write up to the middle of chapter 22 and hopefully a single scene in chapter twenty-three will be enough to flesh out a good sized chapter. If not, then I guess I could move Lucas’ scene back down again.

I really shouldn’t give in to this anxiety.

You know you’re having a bad writer day when you sit down to work on a very, very short story for writers’ group and what you end up with is this:

“There ain’t nothing wrong with being a galaxy rancher, but I’ve been to nine planets in twelve years and it’s starting to show.”
Parker really did look run down, Natasha decided. So she shot his brains out.

Um, yeah, so. I’ve decided NOT to work on Flight of Torque tonight. I think I need a break, some mindless T.V., and an early night.

PS. I won’t be reading that story at writer’s group tomorrow.

27 November 2012