Monthly Archives: November 2011

And so we end NaNoWriMo…

Day 30

Currently Listening To: Bladecatcher, by Mastodon (wild song, by the way…)

Final Word Count: 53189

To all my readers, give yourselves a pat on the back.

NaNoWriMo is a new adventure every year. You come up with ideas that you never thought you could imagine. You plan each day right down to the minute. You figure out innovate ways to stay productive.

Most of all, you attempted to reach a goal…and hopefully you had fun doing it!

Everyone’s a winner in my opinion.

I'm a winner!


Falling short

Day 29

Currently Listening To: Unholy Confessions, by Avenged Sevenfold

Word Count: 53189

At this point, I have too much to do to add in a few thousand more words. I think I will stick with this as the final word count.

However, there is still one day left for everyone else! If you’re reaching the goal of 50,000 words, keep going! I’ll be rooting for you!

While I am kind of bummed that I won’t make it to 75,000 words this year (I’d need a weekend to pull another 10,000+ word count), I am proud of the draft I did produce and the potential it has. I’m already looking forward to editing it! (and I never say that!). The story isn’t complete so it leaves me room to keep writing in the coming months.

Next month will be editing and world building. Stay tuned to the latter!

The end is near.

Day 28

Currently Listening To: The Tunnel, by Metroid Metal

Word Count: 53189

I hope all the readers had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I sure did!

Didn’t get any writing done though. I seem to be drifting off into the mindset of…world-building.

As I’ve said somewhere on this blog, one of the problems I am running into with this draft/NaNoWriMo is a lack of setting. Now you might argue about the importance of setting, but in a sci-fi novel where you control the rules – your readers will need a little guidance.

I know we aren’t suppose to be following our inner editor, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to write without a solid setting in place. The surroundings I think of on the fly change with every scene! It’s like my characters are warping all over the place.

I’ll try to squeeze a few thousand more words, but I can’t guarantee that.

Seize The Days

Day 23

Song That Helped Me Out: Seize The Day, by Avenged Sevenfold

Word Count: 53189

I am willing to bet that everyone that reads, comments or follows this blog is a hard worker.

You could be that worker who gets things done on time, every time.

You could be that parent who’s always there for their children.

You could be that writer who exceeds their daily goals.

You could be that student who just got through a gauntlet of exams in one piece.

No matter who you are, you deserve the time off.

Please enjoy the holidays, my readers.

– Gates

Feeling Better

Day 22

Song That Helped Me Out: Feel Good, Inc. by Gorillaz

Word Count: 53189

Got a decent amount written today.

Shrugged off some rust and made some progress in the story.

You ever accidentally veer off the plot you had planned out, and then make up stuff along the way to get back on track…or even just follow the new trail you made?

I’m doing the former, but I seem to like the path my story was going. This method forced me to think like my characters.

What would they do if I dropped them in this situation out of nowhere?

It’s a hit-or-miss really.


Day 21

Song That Helped Me Out: Bat Country, by Avenged Sevenfold

Word Count: 52447

I don’t get it.

I just seem to be out of gas these past few days. I am at the point in the story where I am itching to write…yet I am lacking the will to do so.

Is it because I already hit fifty thousand? Perhaps.

Burnout from the days I wrote over ten thousand? Perhaps.

I don’t know.

Let’s see what happens in the next two days.

NaNoWriMo 4 – Change?

Day 20

Song That Helped Me Out: 3’s & 7’s, by Queens of the Stone Age

Word Count: 52182

Part four of a four part series

So after getting a proof copy of my NaNo novel, I felt it was time to take a break and work on something different.

For 2010, I thought about trying a different genre all together. I wasn’t sure what to try, but I had a story in mind.

I thought I would try a character who was the typical smart but lazy kid in high school. He’s completely full of himself and thinks he’s all that. All that changes when he goes to college and he becomes humbled.

For this round, I had to make up a city, college, etc for my character to live in. I have to admit this was a bit of a fun exercise. Last time I did world building, it was more macro. This time it was micro because..well the planet Earth already exists! Weather, technology, etc. was set.

Things were set and ready to go. 2010 NaNoWriMo began and I was off to a good start. Factoring in job interviews and other shenanigans, I thought I was going to make it to fifty thousand words in time.

But as I was writing, I couldn’t stop thinking about Perverse Selection. I was entering the second week of NaNoWriMo, and I realized that I just wasn’t having fun this year. I was itching to write another draft of Perverse Selection.

So then I made an insane decision- throw out this year’s NaNo story and start off with a fresh word count and fresh draft.

So how the hell could I write fifty thousand words in about twenty days?

Simple. I just did.

Having already the characters and plot planned out. I just began writing with some differences. Different points of view. Different conflicts. Added characters, took out chapters.

With some work during the last few days, I managed to hit the fifty thousand word mark. I was impressed with myself.

It was here that I realized how much I wanted a complete story written and published. I was attached to Perverse Selection and it was my personal project.

NaNoWriMo 3 – The Birth of Perverse Selection

Day 19

Song That Helped Me Out: Knights of Cydonia, by Muse

Word Count: 51908 (yeah yeah I need to write…)

Part three of a four part series

2009 was a year of accomplishments.

4.0 semester in college.

Attended my first anime convention.

Saw one of my favorite bands live.

Oh, and crushed NaNoWriMo that year.

While what I wrote the year before was garbage overall, I managed to find some useful recyclables that I could use for next year. A few character concepts and parts of the plot.

During my free time, I would be sketching out ideas for my third attempt. Trying to nail down some physical attributes and character traits for my fictional friends and foes was a fun task. As they were created, the pieces of the 2008 plot began to form around them. My characters would take those pieces and grow them into a coherent plot.

As November was getting closer, I just needed a setting for my characters. This time, I would stick to a more sci-fi setting and see what happened next.

This time, my ideas were flowing right into the computer. My characters were coming to life and a story was finally being born. What helped me a lot was getting my time management skills up to par. Despite a major project, some exams and other commitments, I managed to finish the month with over 50,000 words. I had a large group of people to write with every week and we all gave each other support and competition. My English professor was impressed with my attempt at NaNoWriMo and announced it to the class.

It felt incredible to finally have a complete draft of a story in the making. The draft had a lot of potential.

The only problem left was…editing it.

NaNoWriMo – The Second Course

Day 18

Song That Helped Me Out: Circle of Cysquatch, by Mastodon

Word Count: 51908

This is part two of a four part series

It’s 2008, there’s a new President on the way and I am hungry to write a novel.

I sat down a few months back and thought about what I would love to write about. I love bad-ass doctors, but I don’t want to write about them. What about some fantasy story? I love playing RPGs and I always wanted to have my own story in an RPG. Why not write one? A cool main hero with a cool sword that goes on a quest with a party of friends and rivals and comes out of the quest as a new person? Maybe he has to save that childhood friend he secretly has a crush on? Let some stranger join the group and have to earn everyone’s trust.

I even had a small map planned out of the world I was going to set my story in. Made some creatures, some town names, even some plants! I was going to be writing a story in my own fantasy world.

I had a general plot lined up that’s more detailed than the year before. Took some time to create a villain with a purpose other than “I’m evil, that’s why!”. I bounced some ideas off with people on the forums and even had a friend who was also doing NaNoWriMo. Competition!

At this rate, I was planning to write an awesome story for a video game.

November 1st arrives and I begin with a good start. I had taken a great start, writing two thousand words a day. Decent lead and I was liking the story.

Then things came up that I really didn’t plan out too well. Some classes were turning out to be much more difficult than I had planned. My grades were beginning to tank so writing had to be put on hold to get them up.

Some personal issues began creeping up and soon, I was writing no words for days. This wasn’t going to end well.

Thanksgiving week was here and at this rate, I would have to write over five thousand words a day to reach fifty thousand.

I began using every trick in the book to boost my word count. Writing “did not” instead of “didn’t”. Making my characters hum the tune to a song that wasn’t even in their time period or world. Super detailed descriptions.

Last day of November, I hit 50,000 words and earned my certificate.

Quite frankly, I didn’t earn it.

The resulting draft I had wasn’t even worth editing. It was that bad. I’m pretty sure my characters changed names and physical descriptions throughout the story. The plot I had was now all over the place. Nothing wrong with a diversion here or there, but navigating through the story was like going through a dark forest blindfolded. The trees would all feel different and the smells would change at every breath.

It was so messy, I felt I didn’t deserve to say I wrote a draft of a novel. While I know that unplanned things came up and they had to take priority, I knew I still could have done better.

But as I sat during the end of the semester, I took another look at the draft and began to wonder if bits and pieces of it could be taken out and put together. It was like looking for gold. Shifting through all the dirt and rocks to find that sparkle. That’s what I spent the remainder of 2008 doing.

What happened in 2009? Find out tomorrow!

When I first started NaNoWriMo…

Day 17

Song That Helped Me Out: Even Flow, by Pearl Jam

Word Count: 51908

Part One of a Four Part Series

I remember it was 2007 and I was just a sophomore in college. Living in the dorms, making friends, having a blast. Oh and studying too.

It was the second week of October and I was just browsing the web. I was on a forum and I saw a post about NaNoWrimo. I then searched for NaNoWriMo. I browsed through the many pages on the website and thought that it seemed like a cool thing to do. Problem was that November was creeping up on me fast.

As you may have read here, House was one of my favorite T.V. shows at the time. I was also pretty interested in computers back then. I then had an idea.

“What if I create a doctor who approaches problems like a guy who codes software?”

I wanted to make a bad-ass character who was also a nerd! Thankfully, I did think of some ways to make this character to be…not so perfect.

I then had to create some other characters and come up with some kind of conflict. After all, that’s one of the reasons why we read stories or watch T.V. series. We are drawn to conflict and want to see if the protagonist overcomes that mountain of problems.

I never really considered bouncing my ideas off other people. I didn’t need other people’s ideas. I can write an awesome story by myself!

Once November 1st came around, I began writing. The first few thousand words seemed easy. Fifty thousand seemed plausible.

Then, writer’s block hit me, like a brick falling on your head.

I really didn’t do as much planning as I needed to do. Plus I wasn’t as creative as I would say I am now. Writing on the spot wasn’t really one of my strong points.

That novel just sat there, rotting in the digital refrigerator known as my computer. I just couldn’t get out of these mental freeze-ups. It also didn’t help that my time management skills were average.

November ended and I only wrote about ten thousand words. I was really disappointed and humbled. I think the biggest thing I lacked the first time going through this challenge was a network of other participants. I’ll admit, sometimes just seeing someone with a higher word count drives me to keep on writing. Plus, I never talked about my novel ideas with anyone. This was a good sign that I was already afraid of criticism.

What I wrote also didn’t seem promising. The characters were pretty static. I took too long to ever jump into any conflict. I didn’t even want to turn the pages!

But, looking back I’m glad I wrote so little. This wasn’t an easy challenge and it took a high level of commitment. Failing to write this year drove me to get ready for next year. I wanted to hit that fifty thousand word mark. I wanted to make some cool but flawed characters who could fight and work their butts off to win…even if I kept throwing every obstacle I could think of at them.