Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elusive Apartments

What is it about deciding "I'm doing 'X'," that  makes it so hard to do 'X'?

I decided again that I'm going to get an apartment by the end of the month and it is being a very elusive target. Yeah, this sounds like a lot of my posts. But I'm not sick, and I fear this hotel room like the plague, because I think it might contain the plague.

Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo starts in only days. I'd say I feel like I'm not ready, but no one is ever ready for Nano. It would be better if people were just randomly informed of Nano on the day it started, so it wouldn't have the opportunity to terrify us.

But really, I am ready. I was ready when I came up with a plot a month ago. I actually planned a lot more than I thought I would. I should plan more. I should also research more because it occurs in the near future and I need near future tech. I asked on the forums and I got the most half-assed answers. Maybe that's the wrong word, I don't really care. They were bad, and vague, suggestions.

Okay, instead of hanging around here, I'm heading off to plan a little more.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tips for NaNoWriMo

I participated in National Novel Writing Month 2009 and won. As with all winners I have to give my advice on how to win.

Leave the story open ended. 
When you start, don't block your story down to a day, or a week. If you do, suddenly your characters will decide that they all want to go to mexico for a week, or decide to take a nap and miss an important event. Or you will find yourself nearing the end with 30,000 words left. I did this last year and had to add extra characters just to have something else happen in the twenty four hour period. That was after spending hours panicking about what to write to waste words.

That part you think will be really cool? It won't be.
By the time you get to that part the story will have altered it to the point that it won't work out the way you thought it would. Luckily, the part right afterward, which you thought would suck, will end up being pretty awesome.

Write out your problems
Start by writing out your problem and possible solutions to it, even the weird ones that would never work, mostly just to get them out of your system. You may come up with something you never expected, or you combine the odd ones with a more realistic one. (This is actually how I was taught to design sets)

Take a nap
If you can't figure something out, try coming up with a solution while falling asleep. I find doing this gets you to think outside the box. Even when you think you are consciously thinking out of the box you probably aren't, being sleepy you forget the earlier events in your story which allows to to rewrite them (not literally). You also tend to lose those logical boundaries that we work with while awake. Think of it as writing while dreaming.

Break the rules and reread the beginning
Everyone at the Office of Letters and Light says not to read any part of your story until one month after NaNoWriMo is over. The reasoning is that you will read it and decide it sucks and stop writing, or you will try to rewrite it and waste time that could be used adding more words. But you could suddenly remember about a character you had in the beginning that could be used in the current scene or maybe you added an extra character in chapter ten and you realize she could make an appearance in chapter two. Couple lines of added foreshadowing lessen the total amount you need to write.

Keep track of how much you "need" to write each day
This threw me last year. has the progress report tool that will tell you how much you are suppose to write, but it was broken for the first two weeks of November 2009. If this happens again calculate it as ((50,000-WordsWritten)/(31-DayofNovember)). Do this on a regular basis to remind you that just because you had a really good day and wrote twice as much doesn't mean you get to take a break and not write for a day, it means you get to write maybe one hundred fewer words for teh rest of the month. Your goal should be to write at least thirty words beyond what you "have" to write, this way you "have" to write one less word the next day.

Break up your writing
Write in the morning, write in the evening, write during lunch. You might not get much written in the morning, but it will be three sentences that you won't have to write during lunch. It also helps keep the story in your mind during the day. And 500 words during three sessions is a lot easier to think about than 1666.67 words a day

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The possibilities are endless

What should I post about today?

I could post about how the new forum notifications at Nanowrimo suck and they took away the autosubscribe feature, but I won't because I'll get over it.

I could post about how I don't have a job or an apartment,  but I don't really have anyone to blame for that other than myself.

I could post about how my new laptop barely runs Mass Effect (which I got myself for my birthday) and that the new Sims 3 patch makes it impossible to use custom content, but I suspected that would happen when I bought it.

What I will post about is I was suggested the site by someone at Nano because I mentioned that I have too much time on my hands. It's a critiquing site, post your work, people read it and give feedback. This sounds pretty awesome and it would mean that people would actually read what I write. 

Now the site has a feature built in to make sure that people are actually critiquing. If you want to post, you need "karma" points. To get karma you need to read and rate/critique other works. Rating gets you .02 karma, critiquing gets you more based on the length of the work, the length of your critique, and how recent the work was published.

First month I didn't really do any of this. I tried to write something to have something published on it but that didn't turn out very well (never finished the work, mostly because it changed from a short story to a novel) then I thought I could just start sticking my Nano on as I write it. Almost unedited, but it would be something and if I note that it is for Nano and that plot advice is most important (even during Nano I'm good about my grammar). The problem shows up that I only have the 2 karma points you get for joining and I you can't even post with that.

So the last couple of days I've been looking for stuff to read and critique but everything is something like "Feminine Hygiene Issues - Chapter 28" in which case I'd have to read the previous twenty-seven chapters first and it doesn't sound very interesting. Everything I do find interesting is either past the preferred critiquing time or for some past the any critiquing time. So all I've done is rate a couple short works and I now have 2.2 karma... and I need five to post anything and I have to pay ten dollars to post more than two pieces a month.

Maybe over use is a bad idea. At least until I get a job. When I won't have time to write.

You know what? I'm tried of this. Going to go write something instead.