Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2016: Final Recap

You’ve got no idea of how hard it is to start writing again today, December 1st. As always, NaNoWriMo finishes and Thank Gackt Is Over and all that. However, this year has been horrible. To the point that I’m actually considering that this should be the last NaNo I attempt.

My first idea was trying to do the 50,000 words in a day, in the whole 24 hours of the first day. Unfortunately that was tampered due to the previous night being completely blank due to insomnia. No matter how much chocolate I ate or coke I drank, it would not work.

On the first day I was feeling not to well, but as it is a national holiday where I live, I puckered up 30,000 words. I decided that I wanted to do ‘diffuse writing’ and just grab a few writing minutes where I could, so there is no that much time following afterwards.

I then had a trip (which I don’t regret at all) over the weekend and most of my writing was done on a train. I reached 50,000 on the sixth, knowing that I was nowhere close to anything, so I continued.

Major depressive crisis hit on Tuesday 8th, and all the fun vanished. In hindsight, I should have stopped there. I should have just stopped the whole bloody thing, but no. I had made a decision, and I had to fulfil the goal because I’m that idiot. So I kept writing at a rate of about 2000 words a day to try to get nowhere.

Note to self. Next year, stop. Or better yet, next year maybe own up that you can’t get to everything and don’t bite more than you can chew. Maybe give in to reality, and don’t start the bloody thing, because this year you did not even have fun.

In the end, there were 105501 words. I’m not even writing the comma because the major high was getting a weird palindrome number over there. Even if I could have written more yesterday.

I feel that this was the worst NaNo ever. There has been no rush whatsoever, just relief that it is over. So I’ve learnt that NaNo is not the best place for creative experiments, it just gets stressy and difficult – unlike what I was expecting, that having a bunch of different subplots could get me slide from one to another if anything got too hard to write, or if I got stuck.

One of the main problems has been the supposed main character. He is bland, pale and he is not attractive at all. he is not fun to write, and I’m thinking if I can go back and rewrite things so I can kill him off. He claims that he is in shock and not reacting correctly though <.<. The rest of the subplots has been developing quite well. Keith became much stronger a character than I thought he would (and his plot twist is going to be very useful), and my kitsune turned out to be a racist idiot, but I hope I can turn her around.

The most interesting NaNoism has been my calling the Giants’ Causeway “Giants’ Castaway” three times in a row, so not even that.

All in all, I don’t feel like a winner. I think that it is because I still have so much to do that I don’t have the story anywhere close to wrapped, and that is a first. even when I’ve done Shourai “books” I’ve always gotten what I wanted to write in. Not this time.

Or maybe it’s my lack of mood and energy talking, because sheesh that sound dramatic as woah. Don’t get me wrong, it was not horrible or anything, it just did not feel as achieving, creativity-wise, as other years. I think, however that it has more to do with the format of what I am writing rather than the actual number of works.

Not sure. I bring you here some graphs that show that no, this was not the worst NaNo ever, it was actually third best. So no need to feel bad.

Hereon the graphs:

  • First day:

    2016nano_day1_1

  • Win day:

    2016nano_day1_3

    2016nano_day1_2

  • Final 2016 Graphs:

    2016nano_calendars_2016_final

  • Comparison with other years (bright blue is this year, because for some reason the legend only printed once):
    • Daily wordcount (DWC) per year: just how many words were written each year on each day.
      2016nano_comparisons_2

    • Cumulative wordcount (CWC) per year: this shows the total novel wordcount each day of the month.

      2016nano_comparisons_1

    • Pile-up of Daily word count (DWC): This graph shows how many words I wrote per day each year one on top of the other so it shows the combined total wordcount per day.

      2016nano_comparisons_4

    • Pile-up: Cumulative wordcount (CWC). This shows the evolution and the total wordcount each year for all the years.

      2016nano_comparisons_3

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NaNo’16 Plan: Final Paralell Timeline (October 25th)

Well, here it is, plot twist aside, we’ve got a one-liner timeline of Parallel. As you can see there are ten colours and they represent the (urgh) ten story lines that should come together to make a whole. Hopefully because I have got no physical time for the middle step.

nano16_paralell-timeline_final

There are 19 characters, out of which, somehow there are 9 male, 9 female and a sexless one, from different ethnicities, cultures and such. I’m a bit on the overwhelmed side, but hey. No guts, no glory.

parallel_character_oct25

And I still have Yuma around, whom I’m not sure what to do about… Yeah, I’ll tell you about Yuma some other day… Maybe in December…

NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep: Three pictures

Three thousand words? I wish. Here’s how the prep is going at the moment. Nine stories in one developing in parallel but mixing at points. Possibly about 12 points of view. We’ll see.
nani16_nanoprep_oct3_3

nani16_nanoprep_oct3_2

Timeline:
nani16_nanoprep_oct3_1

Shourai Writing during NaNo [December 1, 2015]

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-Square This that time of the year when I usually decide that this was my last NaNoWriMo because I’m usually in the creative slump after the month. This year however has been a bit different from usual.

For starters, I did not create a project from scratch. This gave me a sense of familiarity with the story I don’t usually carry – let’s ignore how last year I worked on Shourai after finishing Houritsu, too. That was not planned, not originally, so it was hard. This time I really wanted to give Shourai a push, because it has been stuck forever and a day. I am not completely sure that worked, judge yourself. The left side of the picture shows the original timeline, with what was planned for NaNo marked in bright blue, and what was actually done for NaNo in dark green to the sides of the column. Generally, red means not written, yellow means “written fragment, unconnected”, orange has to be redone, and light green means done. Purple is “whoooops I forgot that this should have happened, do I insert here or do I flashback to it later?”

nano15_shourai_done

As you can see, the right column, which shows what is currently done, shows some more light green. Still not enough, I’d say, and some more has to be added to the timeline in order to reach the ending. Because for the first time I have an ending in sight.
Let’s talk Shourai numbers:

  • Written this NaNo: 150,009 words
    • Average NaNo Daily wordcount: 5167 words
    • Best NaNo Day: November 1st (Sunday): 33,001 words
    • Worst NaNo Day: November 25 (Wednesday): 2,284 words
  • Written this year: 170,209 words
  • Current total: 278,171 words
  • Number of chapters: 84

This year I took upon myself the challenge of documenting the writing process, so I ended up with tables and writing time graphs:

nano15_1201_calendars_table

nano15_1201_calendars_graph

I should do some numbers (or ask someone to do numbers for me xD), because maybe they tell me interesting stuff. Who knows. For now let me show you graphs:

Here’s what I did compared to the NaNo daily count:

nano15_1201_daily_comparison_theoretical

And here is what I did this year compared to the previous years. Notice how last year’s count was ridiculously straight XD The graph shows the cumulated daily wordcount for each day, every year in a different colour.

nano15_1201_comparison_peryear

But I have more graphs! Here you can compare how much I wrote each day for every NaNo I have attempted, including zeroes because I am honest:
nano15_1201_comparison_daily

Something I’ve noticed was that apparently I… fluctuate during NaNo, daily wordcount wise. The following graph shows the daily wordcount, stacked yearly, one on top of the other (so total wordcount for November 1st, 2nd, etc…). As this is my seventh NaNo, there should not be a deviation regarding the day of the week, and yet, the results are confusing. I’m open to theories, what do you think? What bites me on day 20?

nano15_1201_comparisons_daily_cumulative

What have I learnt this NaNo? That if I want to aim for high wordcounts, I need to stories to work on. Or at least different points of the story to work on? Switching back and forth in Shourai, as well as adding the flashbacks has worked, but at some points I have lost drive, which was not the best way to work around.

The Timeline + Planning scheme, worked really well though. This means I had the timeline as I have shown you, and a notebook with a description of everything that had to happen, which basically translates into bad grammar, arrows instead of verbs, bizarre and obscure colour-coding, asterisks and other strange symbols. I think I’ll adopt it when I tackle working on the Shikigami verse again, which I hope is summer 2016.

Thus, 2015 was a good, productive NaNo. I gave Shourai a good push and even though I felt like stopping a couple of times, I managed to go through. I considered a new story when I was on day 15th, but I know that I need to push towards finishing the three big verses I have open – never mind that I am starting a short story today. That is a short story. Under 5000 words, because the rules say so 😉

Also, I need coffee, apparently. So please excuse any grammar horrors you might encounter in this post.

Shourai Writing during NaNo [November 22, 2015]

This is how things look at the moment. I’ve had to limit my writing sessions to three per day, separated in time by a couple of hours at least because I screwed my wrist the other day in an unrelated deed. I would like to get to the tie in before NaNo ends but I am getting a bit sidetracked – maybe demotivated? Or maybe distracted by wanting to work on other stuff?

This is how things look at the moment, with a little over 130,500 words, which is already more than the roughly 122,000 on the original story. And thus, Shourai is 252,700 words. I’ll leave the report here for now as I want to save wrist power.

nano15_1122_graph

nano15_1122_plan

Shourai Writing during NaNo [November 15, 2015]

Even if yesterday’s news were unsettling and I probably refreshed the BBC livefeed more than is healthy, I decided to write (and to delete the whole philosophical explanation on why I wrote). Thus I hit and passed 100,000 words during this NaNo, which takes the whole Shourai count to 223,690. On top of that, I have now a new colour for one-liners, which represent things that popped up as I was writing, tying the story together.

I’m surprised about how well Hayato’s point of view is coming together, as he did not have a POV before, and for a long time he was barely a supporting character. He has quite definitely raised up the pyramid of importance. That’s good. On the other hand Ryu remains emotionally important but his subplot is hard to write.

I finally got Sawamura in! And damn I fear this is going to be the beginning of another macro-crossover. Bugger. Anyway. Here you have the most recent graphs:

shourai_chara_triangle_prov

nano15_1411_plan

nano15_1411_graph

Shourai Writing during NaNo [November 7, 2015]

I have been asked how fast I type. My typing speed in English averages to 64 wpm, and during NaNo on a good spurt I can write 3000 words per hour, though I usually do about 1000 in 25 minutes and take five. that of course only works when I know what I am going to write. I don’t know whether it would be faster if I were to be listening to what to write. I may have to do the experiment some day.

Also, you can see that I don’t have a standard way of typing. This is because even if I did learn the “proper” way to do it, when I was young my hands were way too small do use it, and I got used to type like this.

I shabby-recorded this video with my phone. It was taken yesterday the scene was a phone conversation between Shota and Heizo during the summer of second year, and the subsequent meeting afterwards. It was only roughly planned – then again, Heizo is half nuts so he improvises a lot and says weird things.

While you don’t hear it there is music playing in the background. In this case X Japan’s Born to be Free and GACKT’s Graffiti. Music is there to make me have something different to focus on when my neighbours start screaming at each other or car alarms go out in the middle of the night, but not loud enough so I can sing along. Although I have to admit that yesterday I might have been abusing Golden Bomber’s 女々しくて a tiiiiny little bit. But it kind of fit. In a weird way. Ah, hell, it’s NaNo, it happens….

And here is how things are going at the moment:

nano15_71115_plan

nano15_71115_graph

NaNoFinish 2015

I finished NaNoWrimo 2015 this morning. That’s it, I reached 50000 words, after a very frustrating hours of blackouts and outages because my neighbours suck. This year I had decided to push Shourai through, after changing my mind from what I told you here. Once again I have decided to work on it as a whole item, and as an open project is not “nanorebeling” any more, well, I tried to push it forward in the part that I’ve given the working title of “Phoenix”.

In preparation, I summarised and organised everything I had written – in a bunch of different files – and made a rough timeline, with “one-liners”, very short descriptions of what had happened in every scene / chapter, and colour-coded them. I chose a part to develop linearly within NaNo and ended up with about 9 pages of handwritten notes on an A5 notebook, developing those one-liners…

I’ve done two pages of that, and to make it even worse, out of order, because when I was planning I really felt like I wanted to write one of the scenes towards the end. Thus I decided that I would push that one, and then go to the beginning and develop from one point to the other. Let me show you how well that worked:

shourai_oneliners2
Codes:

  • Yellow – pasted in the file, unconnected, needs to be tied in.
  • Light green – written in main file, and working
  • Red – to be written
  • Orange – to be rewritten / paid attention to
  • Purple – to be considered?
  • Bright blue (left) – planned for Nano’15
  • Dark green (right) – written Nano’15

 

 

 
Fine, the last ‘light green’ is about 45,000 all on its own but… seriously? That blind-sided even me, I’d really hoped to have at least dented the planning before reaching 50000 this November. All in all, Shourai has around 172000 words.

Regarding the writing progress: I had wanted to reach 40000 on the first as it was a Sunday and a free day. Saturday sucked though, with a car accident included and that kind of hampered my concentration – I guess I’ll have to try again some other time. This year around I’ve been documenting the writing progress per half-hour (aprox.)

nano_15_win_graph

Finally, here’s a screenshot of the ‘finishing line’, typos and all. For kicks and giggles, let me tell you that ‘in’ is not the 50000th word any more as I added more stuff:

nano_15_win_file

The year of writing outside the box indeed

gssalienAs we head off towards the ending of the year, I randomly looked back and noticed that I haven’t been updating as much as I should that this year I’ve been focusing a lot on science fiction. It all started with The Vortex, followed by The Spaceship Ghost, and I just finished Grey Shades and Shadows, which deals with grey aliens in an Earth which has developed a parallel history (the Timeless universe). So all in all, yes this seems to be the year of writing outside the box.

GSS was based on too many nights watching Stargate SG1, and follows situation in an underground UN base in Europe were a group of military personnel and civilians are trying to develop an engine which flies in the new volcanic atmosphere. They have possession of a Grey Spaceship donated by the aliens as a gesture of goodwill, as they are interested in the resources of our Solar System.

Previously I was working on Untitled, which mostly worked. The idea was to develop a write character along with the two stories he himself develops. However, in the end I only managed to develop one of those meta-stories (The Bizarre Case of the Puppeteer’s Mistress ) and gave up on the other one (One shot kill). In the end, I think it was a good choice to move on rather than forcing the idea. Untitled has been my main project this year, clocking just short of 66,000.

Another story I worked on was The Lesser Evil, which went completely out of control. One day I’ll have to revisit it.

Right now, as November approaches I’ve been thinking about NaNoWriMo and what to do this year. However, just when I had decided to rebel up and work towards the ending of Shourai when I found out starting a new project was not compulsory for NaNo anymore, so all is good.

Once NaNo is over I plan to head towards finishing the three open fronts I have – the Hyakki Yagyō universe, the Shourai one and eventually the Osaka Guardians. But there is also a part of my mind which wants to go back to an old story that needs a good overhaul but that has been rummaging through my mind again.

Watch me having an ‘aha’ moment

For a long time I have struggled with a story and a set of characters which eventually took the name of Shourai (meaning `Prospect’ or ‘Future’). For many who know me, ‘the bunny’ has been a recurring character in conversation and writing.

bunny‘The bunny’ is Iwase Tadashi, a 19 year old Japanese boy who moves into the big city to attend university. Originally he was a side character from my harder fanfiction times, but for some reason I developed a huge soft spot for him, and he started taking a central part in the stories I was writing. Eventually – as I was drifting away from that fandom in particular – I decided that I liked him too much to let go.

Thus I tried to rewrite him and his verse. Four times. I may have discarded around 100,000 words on failed attempts to rebuild that universe from scratch. People changed names, degree of importance, appearances, and sometimes sexual orientation (hello Haru, I mean Heizo…)

I think the problem I have writing Shourai is that everything is clear in my head, but at the same time, it is fuzzy. I know what happened in that verse, but it is vague. I know certain things which are very clear in my mind, but those are scenes, lost in their daily lives all through three years. That is what makes hard actually writing the story out.

This year, I had half a mind on working on Shourai for NaNoWriMo 2014, but in the end I went with Hoursitsu because a) it feels like NaNo is kinda yakuza territory b) I felt that I would be getting very stuck in Shourai and thus it would not be a good NaNoproject and a) I would have to ‘rebel up’ and work on an already-finished story.

Then I went and did something crazy, and finished Houritsu in a weekend. Yeah. Talk about sanity being gone. I was poked about continuing writing but what to do? There was still Sourai there, waiting, and a bit on the stuck area halfway through Tadashi’s first university year…

I had another crazy idea – start a new ‘school year’ with another ‘book’, and make Shourai semi-officially a universe. Thus, the first year would be ‘Build up’, stuck as it was, and I would start with the second year, ‘Crisis’.

shouraikanji During the first year, Tadashi gets to know Tokyo and those around him. His relationships develop in the friendship and love territories, and we get to know most of the characters that will be important later on. I was stuck at the end of summer, and I still needed to get to March… So I let that one stuck and moved on the first actual conflict that I had in mind – Tadashi’s first lover’s fight with his boyfriend Asou Shota. A number of misunderstandings lead up to a huge crisis and the two young men have to deal with it.

Yesterday I reached the conclusion of that crisis, and that felt… like an ending. That was the problem I had in the first part, which caused me to be stuck…

So I took a page out the philosopher Didactylos’ book and used his alternative hypothesis: ‘what the hell?’. It is an ending. The conflict in the book was presented, developed, and resolved. So it is a story in its own, inside a bigger scheme. Actually, both of them are. Thus I made a new re-structuring. Not three books, but six. I have the first one – the build-up – and the third one – the first crisis. Two completed stories. I need to fill up the second one, and I already have a few ideas about what has to be placed in the fourth one, and suddenly it all makes sense.

Yes, there has been a lot of work in this universe that has been discarded but finally I feel that I am getting somewhere.