Archives for posts with tag: nanowrimo

As I’ve mentioned I’m going to try to do Camp Nanowrimo in April. I haven’t posted anything lately because I’m kind of afraid to, at least when it concerns nanowrimo. Because, well, last time it went to hell, didn’t it? And maybe it will this time too. I really hope not.

Until April, though, I have a couple snippets of the novel for you.

***

A/N: A possible beginning to the story.

Riley Hopkins had been staring at the blank computer screen for quite a while. The vertical line towards the top left of the screen kept blinking, in and out of existence. If she flicked her eyes down to the bottom right corner she could see that another fifteen minutes had passed. She would have to go to sleep soon. But the daily diary entry was mandatory, and so she stared at the screen just a little bit onger, before fixing her fingers on the keyboard. Typing noises filled the air of the small apartment, as she forced herself to think of some trivial details to write down. There had been no mission. Nothing was out of the ordinary. And her microwavable ready-meal had tasted like carrots. Satisfied, she saved the entry onto the database and turned off the computer.

Riley had a mission in the morning, so it was time for bed.

***

A/N: A conversation between the antagonist and the protagonist’s mentor.

“We’re the same kind of people,” Murdoch says calmly, like he knows, like he’s in Hayes’ head. And if anybody can be in Hayes’ head, it’s Murdoch. And that scares him more than anything, because he still wants to believe they’re not the same. He wants to believe that he’s good still, strong still, courageous as he used to be. “You and I, Hayes,” Murdoch says and approaches him. Looks down on him. “If you hadn’t given yourself up for research, your own research, you and I could have worked together. We could have shared it all.” And Hayes is paralyzed, because Murdoch wants him to be. He is filled with renewed contempt for the man in front of him, a man who is way more delusional and idealistic than he is. The biggest difference between them also defines them. Hayes believes in the power of the people, but Murdoch believes only in the power of himself. What a dangerous person to be about to run the country.

Things don’t always go to plan. November, which has long since passed, did not go at all as I planned it would. No Nanowrimo this year. Or, well, about 3 000 words of it, but I don’t think that counts. There are a number of reasons why I failed this year. School work is one, but that’s mostly an excuse, actually. Thing is, after two days of writing that went marginally well, I hit a funk that I didn’t pull out of. Why didn’t I just keep at it, as I did last year, you ask? Well, I kind of lost faith in the idea. Or not the idea, per se, but the idea of me writing it. I think that particular concept was a little too mature(no not that kind of mature…) for me to write at this point. I think I would have done better if I had stuck with the science fiction one. Anyway, enough lamenting. Eyes forward.

I have a few stories, ideas and concepts in my head that I want to write(mainly so they’ll get out of my head). Here is a list, for personal reference as much as anything:

  • Dark Road Into You – This year’s failed Nanowrimo. It will get written. Just not now.
  • First Impressions – The extremely bad working title for my science fiction romance story.
  • Anthony Parsons – This one doesn’t even have a title, but it does have a few thousand words and it’s the one I spend most of my time on right now. It’s a queer romance(when is it not, with me? :P) set sometime in the 20’s, that is played out almost entirely in letters. I’m really excited about it.
  • Fanfiction: Are you listening to me? – A Glee fanfic that I’m writing for the Kurtofsky winterfest in January. Set winter season 3, Kurt meets Dave at the ice cream parlor and tells him all about how much of an idiot Blaine is.
  • Konsten att flirta(The art of flirting) – A strange thing that sort of developed after a lecture on safe sex and whatnot in school. It was a bizarre lecture, and a bizarre encounter with a boy that sparked this odd little story. It’s in Swedish too. For once.

Sunny Days, my very first novel is now finished. I’ve had a quick look through it just now, and of course I found several things I want to change. But that’s inevitable. I actually think this has been changed and revised enough times, and it’s kind of crap, which means it’s not really worth spending any more time on. It’s my nano novel from 2011, so I’ve actually spent almost a year on it already. I reckon that’s enough.

Now, and for my next novel, I want to focus on character development, and consistency, something that I… didn’t really do for Sunny Days. I focused on other, more basic things, like making the plot go round, making it realistic and describing the environment(and finishing it!). It’s very much a first attempt at a novel, and at around 35 pages it’s extremely short. But I like it because it’s finished.

My main characters in Sunny Days are quite simplistic, and they don’t really go through any major change. Plus the fact that the ending is a bit of a cop-out, mostly because I wanted to be rid of this before November this year. I promised myself that this would be finished by then. So I guess I took some liberties with the last quarter, cut some corners, you know. But, for a first attempt by a 15/16 year old Swedish girl, I think it’s pretty damn good. It’s interesting how my opinion on it changes according to what angle I see it from, though. I mean, if a publisher read it without knowing anything of the author, he’d think it was terrible. If he knew who had written it, he would probably be impressed.

I don’t know. Sorry if I repeat myself too much. I’m just really conflicted on whether to be proud of it or to be ashamed of it and shove it in a cupboard. I think I’m mostly proud of it. I think it’s important to allow yourself to be proud of what you achieve, and Sunny Days is a tremendous achievement of mine, and I can only get better from here.

So to everybody else who are writing their first novel, or short story, or script, or anything really, just don’t give up. I had given up on this, until I sat down with it one day in a coffee-fueled frenzy and something gave. I was able to find the continuation, that was previously locked inside my head. And then I had to fight to drag the last few scenes out of me, but now it’s done. Just after I printed it, just holding it in my hand, thumbing through it, 35 pages of something I’d written, it was one of the best feelings in the world.

So I had nothing to do last night and this happened. The song lyrics are of a song called “Flawed Design” by Stabilo, which I first encountered while reading a Kurtofsky fanfic some time ago, but it fits perfectly with one of my main characters for this year’s nanowrimo. So it turns out it was a good way to get into his character in a way I hadn’t done before.

And in case anybody asks about Tommy’s hair – yes he is based on Tommy Joe Ratliff, and I do plan to change his name sometime in the future, I just don’t know what to replace it with.

I know my drawings are a work of art, by the way, you don’t have to tell me. I’m especially proud of Tommy’s head and the buried brain.

(you can only see the details in all their glory if you look at the pictures in full size ;))

A/N: These are the very first scenes in “Sunny Days”, my Nanowrimo novel from last year. I plan to post a part that’s somewhere in the middle of the story as well, but I’ve been promising to post an excerpt for so long and this bit is actually okay, as far as my writing goes. Feel free to critique(as long as it’s constructive!).

Mark closed his folder, and without even speaking to his class, simultaneously the sound of them throwing their books back in their bags and scraping their chairs against the linoleum floor arose in the room. As usual, they were out of there almost before he could say “Class dismissed”. He sighed as he watched them all leave. Then he packed up his things, put on his autumn jacket and hauled his messenger bag over his shoulder. He was going into town.

He had planned to go shopping, to buy something nice for his 12 year old niece, whose birthday was just around the corner. However, the Underground gods didn’t approve of this course of action, a fact they made clear when Mark’s train stopped halfway between Warren Street and Oxford Circus.
Mark had been through this kind of stuff before, so it didn’t exactly phase him. However, he was the type of person who kept to himself, and didn’t talk to anyone outside of his family or small circle of friends if he didn’t have to. That’s why he inwardly groaned when the old lady beside him started to small talk in a shrill voice, one that was much too loud for a mostly quiet subway cart.
“I think I recognise you from somewhere!” she said, and half the people in the cart turned to scrutinise him. Everybody liked a good celebrity encounter, he supposed.
But he was no celebrity. “I’m sure you’re mistaken, ma’am. He smiled weakly.
“No, I’m certain,” she insisted and started rummaging around in her bottomless handbag. “I know I had it in here…”
Mark looked away, stared up at the ceiling. What had his life become? Ten years ago, his whole life had been promising. He had been so happy. He used to consider himself an author, a man on a mission to change the way people saw the world. Teaching was really just his backup plan.
“Here it is!” the lady next to him exclaimed without warning and tugged at his sleeve.
He suppressed a sigh and looked to her. He raised his eyebrows in confusion.
“Wait a minute, that’s my…!” he looked up at the lady, who was now smiling.
She smiled sweetly, the wrinkles on her face testifying about a long life with many meetings and moments of both happiness and sorrow. “It’s my favourite,” she said.
“It is?” Mark stared disbelievingly at the book in her hand.
She turned to the very last page and pointed at the picture that was printed there. It was of Mark, a picture of the author, from eleven years ago.
He gently pried the book away from her hands to look at the picture. He was so young there. So happy. With a start, Mark remembered that very day, and his former boyfriend who had been with him. He smiled, this time much more genuine, and handed the book back to the lady. He never thought he would see anyone with his book, as it only sold about 300 copies when it was published. “Thank you,” he said to her and pressed a kiss to the back of her hand. Thank you for reminding me who I am, he added in his mind.
She returned his smile with fervour. In that very moment the train powered up and started moving again. Mark and his newfound friend returned to sitting in silence, the rest of the people in the cart having stopped paying attention to them long ago.
“Oh!” Mark buried his head in his hands. “An autograph!” he turned back to the lady. “Did you want an autograph?”

***

He arrived in Oxford Circus at long last, an hour after he was supposed to. The streets were usually still full of tourists at this time of day, but today seemed to be a little quieter. He was mostly window-shopping, finding nothing he deemed good enough for his favourite niece. Alisha was his goddaughter as well as his niece, and he always felt like taking a bit of extra care of her. He himself wasn’t religious, but his sister was Christian and all her two children were baptised.
An hour later he had bought a gold necklace, and though he was very happy with it, it had been a struggle to get through to the jeweler  who had been wrapped up in his own problems and arguing with his wife. He headed back to the tube station at a leisurely pace, feeling more relaxed than he had in a long time. Suddenly he stopped, as he saw another man his age come running down the steps from another street, carrying an unwieldy guitar case. The man looked extremely scattered and in a hurry, and suddenly he tripped down the rest of those stairs, guitar case falling open in the air, revealing a very battered and well-used acoustic guitar, now laying outside of its case, next to the man on the cold pavement. Mark had, however, already been staring at the man for several seconds before he fell. He knew that platinum blond hair anywhere. He swore he wouldn’t have noticed if a tsunami washed over them at this point. It had to be him. Nothing else mattered, because it was him.
He ran up to the man, who was just rising to his feet. Mark had gone over there, meaning to ask if he was okay, if he could help with anything, but he found himself simply standing there, a dumbstruck look on his face.
The man he knew to be Mitchell finally looked up at him, and Mark’s heart constricted with an emotion he had abandoned, as Mitchell’s face flashed with sorrow, anger and shock. And then something happened that Mark hadn’t expected.
“Mitchell!” Another man came running down the steps from which Mitchell had just fell. “Are you all right?” the man glanced briefly at Mark before grasping Mitchell’s shoulders firmly and looking deeply into his eyes, as if he was searching for something. Mitchell closed his mouth, that was open but silent, making him briefly resemble a goldfish.
“Mitchell!” the red-haired man insisted.
“Yes, Allen!” Mitchell burst. He squirmed in his friend’s tight grip. “Now let go!”
Allen did as he was told and glared at Mark, as if everything was his fault. Which he supposed it was, in a way. Mitchell turned to Mark, an unreadable expression on his face.
“Mark,” he stated in a strained voice.
“Mitch,” Mark breathed, showing considerably more emotion with his voice. With barely perceptible motions, started moving his hands up to Mitchell’s sides, but suspended the action before they had touched. He had never expected to see this man ever again in his life. “What are you… doing here?” he asked, because if he recalled as correctly as he knew he did – he wasn’t likely to forget his year with Mitchell, least of all how it ended – Mitchell was supposed to be working as a music teacher somewhere in Yorkshire.
Mitchell picked up his guitar with slow motions, as if he had to think each one through. “Came back to follow my dream,” he said matter-of-factly, looking at Mark strangely.
Mark couldn’t decipher his former boyfriend’s expressions. Nor could he think of anything to say to the man he had once considered the love of his life.
“Mitchell?” Allen said from behind him. “Who’s this?” he curiously raised an eyebrow.
“Nobody,” he answered, all the while looking at Mark.
Mark swallowed, starting to feel sick.
“I’ve got to go.” Mitchell looked as pained as he was, but his voice remained unwavering, and so did his gait. He started walking, slowly, and looked back to catch the older man’s eyes one more time, before he started running, guitar held protectively against his chest. Outside of its case.
Allen, however, didn’t spare him a second look as he sprinted after his friend.
“Mitch!” Mark yelled. “Mitch!”
But Mitchell didn’t hear him. Either that, or he didn’t want to.
Mark sighed and looked down at the ground, where the guitar case did indeed lay, open and empty without its occupant. He closed it and picked it up gently. Maybe if Mitch was back for good they’d run into each other again. That was his argument for saving the case. He could give it back if they did. And he couldn’t just leave it there. It was Mitchell’s. Therefore, it was more important than anything he owned. It was another link to the man he had lost through sheer stupidity. He couldn’t even bare to think about what that ginger bloke might mean to Mitchell. He hoped they were just friends. He disapproved of jealous thoughts in general, especially when they were unfounded and even more so when the person having them had no right to, but he couldn’t help himself. It was in his gut, that feeling. In his heart. It felt wrong to see Mitchell with somebody else.

Mark and Mitchell’s last meeting was so long ago, they hadn’t seen each other in ten years. Mark had almost started seeing him as a dream, being so utterly perfect in his memory. And he knew, that nobody was perfect. Maybe that was why, with each passing week, even day in the beginning, Mitch had felt less and less real until he seemed to Mark a concept, a dream you barely remember when you wake up, and one you distort further every time you tell it to someone. Mark hadn’t even thought about him for months, yet there he was, just like that. The same day somebody reminded him of Mitchell. The same day he found a new friend on the subway.

I have some exciting news! I’ve made some real progress on my Nanowrimo novel from last year today(seeing as I called in sick and all even if I’m not really sick…). I now know how I want to end it, and there’s basically only one or two more scenes left to write. This is huge, seeing as I’ve been battling with this for about 10 months now. I literally just did a lap around the flat, dancing to ridiculously disco celebratory songs.

I’ve also chosen which plot I’m going with for this years Nano! It will be the dark romance one, and this is the revised synopsis:
Tommy is a punkrocker from a small town in Pennsylvania who has just moved to New York. There he meets Melissa, a French waitress who rocks his world. But he also meets Cameron, an eccentric man that he takes an instant dislike to. A man that attracts him, confuses him and just won’t leave him alone. Before Tommy knows it, Cameron is his best friend. His confidante. The person who calms him down when he fights with his band, his girlfriend and his conservative father. Cameron nestles his way into his life and when tragedy strikes – he’s all that’s left.
But what is it that Cameron really wants?

I’ll just leave it there for now, see you soon!

To continue with the Nanowrimo theme, the following is a comment I posted on Nanowrimo’s Romance:: LGBT Forum with the purpose of pimping out my plots and maybe getting an opinion or two on them.

So… I’m 16 now and I’ve been writing M/M since I was 12. It wasn’t until last year I started writing F/F as well, and this year I’m deciding between two very different plots.

1.Tommy is a punkrocker from a small town in Pennsylvania(subject to change) who has just moved to New York. There he joins a band and meets a wonderful girl who he falls in love with. He also meets a guy, who annoys him greatly at first. But this guy is persistent, and they start to become friends. Before Tommy knows it, Cameron is his best friend. His confidante. The person who calms him down when he fights with his band, his girlfriend and his family. Cameron nestles his way into his life and when tragedy strikes – he’s all that’s left.
This is aimed to be a dark romance, with Cameron mostly out to satisfy himself(he has some sort of hidden agenda that I haven’t quite figured out yet), BUT he also develops serious feelings for Tommy, which means this story could either have a happy ending with Cameron abandoning his evil plotting, or an ambiguous ending where Cam has gotten away with his scam, broken Tommy’s heart – and by extension his own.

2.Riley used to be an ordinary teenager. She had a pleasant enough life, some troubles at home because her parents wouldn’t accept that she was gay, but otherwise she was okay. But Riley is one of the few people that were chosen to become an “Angel”. The Angels are a secret government experiment that looks to be more from a science fiction film than reality. Angels are people that are invisible to everyone but the people that they’re meant to protect and watch over. The only other person who can see them is their soul mate(this was a biproduct of the genetic modification that the government never expected).
Jess is a 17 year old shy, quiet girl who is just going to her first party. There she meets Riley, apparently her classmate’s sister that he’s never talked about. She’s suspicious of her, and sometimes it feels like she’s not even there. Despite all of that, she can’t help but fall in love with her.

I’ve obviously thought through option 1 a lot more when it comes to detailed plot, but something about the sci-fi and mystery of option 2 makes me want to write that. The Angels are a concept that I’ve been working on for 3 years and in the beginning it was supposed to be a fantasy thing. It’s only this year that I’ve decided to make it sci-fi instead, mostly because I like the idea of the government having thought of this special breed of people to exist for the sole purpose of protecting others. It’s inspired by both vampire books, Charmed and Captain America xD

So if anyone wants to give me their opinion on these plots to help me decide which one to write, that would be more than welcome! 🙂

(my penname on nanowrimo.org is whereJIJisalive)

I’d like to warn you that this might sound like a pep-talk(and it probably functions in that manner – for myself).

Nanowrimo is coming up in three weeks and I can’t decide what to write. For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a challenge for authors to write 50 000 words of their novel during the 30 days that constitute November. I did it last year but I only got to 32 000 words.

This year I have decided to do it again, and try to get to the full 50k this time. The most important part, though, is that I give it my best try. I just have to keep writing in the hope that I’ll get better. So at the moment I’m trying to cement two sets of characters for two separate stories because I have not decided which one I’m going with. This unwillingness to make a decision was, I guess you could say, destructive for me last year. Then I wrote about three different couples, three different major storylines. That was a problem, but I also think it’s what got me to 32 000 words, as opposed to a much smaller amount. So this year I’m choosing ONE, and something tells me it’s going to present a whole new set of challenges. It’s all about perseverance I think. Not giving up.

So how do you not give up? How do you not let the story take you as far as it will take you and then just stop writing? How do you make sure you don’t write yourself into a dead end that you can’t get out of? These are all extremely good questions. Because the truth is, committing to something like Nanowrimo is scary. It means you’re taking a risk. And it’s possible that you’re going to fail. But when I think like this, when I doubt it, and when it makes me wonder if I’m insane taking on something like this in the month that school is probably going to be the busiest, then I remember last year. Doing Nanowrimo last year was one of the best experiences in my life. And it has improved my writing so much. And the – admittedly still unfinished – novel I got from it was worth the time, the effort and the tears. Because it was more than I had ever written before. I’m not saying it was very good(I’ll post an excerpt soon and you can judge for yourself), in fact as novels go I think it’s pretty shitty and unstructured, but it proved to me that I can write.

This year I have my second chance.