Category: Writing


Wow…this is still here?

I’ts been a long time since I did anything here and I’m actually surprised that this blog still exists. I think it may be time to simply delete it and maybe build a new one.

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Four days ago NaNo officially came to a close and people all over the world breathed a sigh of relief. (And I expect that thousands more groaned dreading the onslaught of horrible fiction that would soon descend upon them in the editing and publishing worlds.)

While I do not know the results for most people that participated in the event I can be pretty sure that there were plenty of people that finished (I know of six in my region that were over the 300K mark and dozens that reached the goal in the end), many that gave up part-way through the month and likely a number of cheaters as well. I say this last one only because I have met some of those that cheated their way to 50K in past years by employing tricks like copying song lyrics, quoting long passages from other works, and other tricks that really are just wrong for a contest of this nature against oneself.

Regardless if the individual cheated themselves to reach the total or not there are many that did reach the goal of 50K or more by the end of the month. I am, happily, one of them. But it was not an easy task.

Though I had not expected this last month to be a simple thing I entered this process believing that I had what it took to press pass all the demons and bad habits that have plagued my writing over the years. In this end this is true for I did succeed but it was quite painful. By the middle of November I reached a point where I simply could not see myself writing. Life came into the picture and demanded attention several days and on others I became distracted. Consequently several days would pass without anything being written.

I also found that I neglected this blog for the very reason that I am writing it. You my friends were the reason that I write this. Whether any of you read this or not I am here writing things so that they might be read. It is by knowing that there is someone out there who may take an interest in the words I put to this page and to my stories that keeps me moving even when the tale is something I can only tell myself.

During the course of these weeks I found myself in pits where I could not move and my story did not significantly change. This is not to say that I did not write at all but that I could not do so consistently. But I knew that you were out there, my friends and though I don’t know who most of you are I still appreciate that you are there.

Thank you for being with me my friends. It has been a pleasure to have you all join me on this journey.

But the journey is far from over. I did achieve my minimal goal and reached a total of 50,771, but I am far from the end of this story. I estimate that this is approximately 1/3 of the story. But that does not mean that the end result will be over 150,000 words. No, what this means is that I need to return and continue to write until I do reach the ending, whenever that may be. Once I have finished writing the story I will return to the beginning and will start to answer the questions and research notes that I have related to the story. The world must yet be built and fleshed out and then entire scenes and chapters rewritten so that the story is improved.

I have taken the last few days off from my writing as a bit of freedom from the hurried pace of the final days of NaNo (averaged 7K days lasting into the last night) but that is done. I am now ready to reenter my world and see where the story will take me.

I hope you all will continue to stay with me as I continue down this path. Soon I will return and discuss more about what I have learned from this experience and what else I plan to accomplish. I will also begin to delve into the nature and method of creating various aspects of the novel as well as the publication and editing process when the time finally comes.

Until then my friends I wish you all well and thank you once again.

~Daniel

Winner-120x240

The weekend proved to be a somewhat difficult time for me and for my writing. This is not to say that something bad happened in my life but instead to say that my drive and desire to write was subsumed in the act of living and spending time with my family. Overall this is not a bad thing but it certainly does not help in reaching the goals that I have set for myself.

Day 10 – Saturday was simply a busy day of appointments, shopping and a dinner that was so foul that I considered writing negative reviews about the restaurant in question. (I will be writing that review actually, but since the restaurant in question already has negative reviews I will not post them in yelp or urbanspoon. Instead I will be creating new posts for the food and dining blog that we are building for this area.) Consequently by the end of the day I simply had not desire (and an aching stomach that proclaimed a loud NO to doing anything) to write at all.

Day 11 – This day was slightly better though I was still reeling from the dinner of the night before. I managed to get up early for a Sunday and went out to a local coffee shop to join people from the local NaNo group to write. While I did manage to write a bit during this period I have to say that it did not feel like a success to me. The group was overly loud that morning and it seemed as though nearly everyone was more concerned with socializing than with working on their stories. I could understand this of the one guy who was already nearing 100K words but not of anyone else. I actually left the group that morning feeling disgruntled and unable to get back into my writing since that time. However, I did manage 1,305 words in those short hours.

One thing I should mention is that I can compare this day to Day 5 since I had met with a couple people from the group on that day as well. There was some talking on the 5th but the level of discourse was much lower and quieter. So the question is whether the fact that more people showed up is what made it an unpleasant experience for me or if it was the continued effects of the night before. I am not certain as of this writing but since there is another meeting next Sunday I will hold off on a conclusion until after the meetings end. (Although I am somewhat hopeful that I can continue to talk to these individuals after NaNo is done as having fellow writers locally could be a positive impact on me.)

Day 12 – Yesterday was simply one of those days that is broken into smaller chunks do to errands and other things that had to be done. Sadly each piece felt like it wasn’t long enough to actually get any writing done. But that is not the truth. In reality I am making excuses even as I sit here saying that I didn’t feel like the time was enough or that something else was in my way.

In reality my friends, I stopped myself. For whatever reason within myself I know that I didn’t want to write yesterday and it has come through. I did nothing all day yesterday and these words here (571 as of this spot) are the first words I have written since Sunday morning.

I cannot let this be the end my friends. This is who I am. I am a writer and I will be published. Even as I work on these words I have the desire to get back into it though I still feel like my story is going nowhere and that it is utter crap at this stage. But that is just it right? The story is crap and only by finishing this draft, reviewing the total, evaluating each scene and rewriting them for better impact and grammar can I make the story something amazing.

Like all writers I have ideal role models to follow after (I believe I shall talk about them and their impact on my writing in a future post) including Robert Jordan, ‘grandfather’ Tolkien, and so many others. Right now I feel like they are watching over the writers of the world as we battle ourselves in the process of becoming better writers in order to produce those pieces of gold and silver that are our craft. While I could say here that I will not fail them, the truth is that I will first be failing myself.

And that is something I cannot do. This is my goal and this is my life.

I have 21,445 words written and as of last night my goals were 20,004/40,008/60,000. I am barely above minimal right now but I can and will press ahead to reach the upper goals. It is time I go my friends for I know that if I do not get to writing I will not write.

It is time to put the pen back to the paper under the watchful gaze of one of my cats.

Be well,

~Daniel

The last several days have not been exactly pleasant and have proven to be somewhat problematic for my novel. Fortunately I had worked ahead previously and was in a good enough position that this lack of writing did not imperil my work. Today I learned something completely different in my quest for the completion of my first novel.

Do Not Forget To Have Fun

No matter how much we want to write, no matter our desires and the need that we have to get the story done there is still fun to be had. No matter what our life may throw our way there must be time for relaxation and pleasant experiences.

Today I was able to make some decent progress on my writing but this came interspersed with more episodes of problems but also a few moments where I was able to really enjoy myself. It is a lovely day here in Texas with very pleasant temperatures and a breeze that blew throughout the whole house making everything delightfully cool. The cats too enjoyed themselves and it was fun just to see them excited about birds and squirrels outside.

But tonight was even more enjoyable. Tonight we went out for sushi at a new place that we had been told about called Sushi Zushi. There we have a very long and leisurely dinner consisting of gyoza, two rolls, and some grilled skewers (plus gohan and miso). What made the entire evening pleasant though was the pace of the dinner. The gyoza was very late and so it arrived just after the two rolls arrived. During the entirety of our stay we were in their courtyard enjoying the evening and the wonderful weather.

Due to the lateness of the courses we took our time sipping sake and watching people pass time. This went for over an hour until finally the grilled skewers were to arrive only to discover that an error in the kitchen had resulted in our food being made incorrectly. They still served us but also offered us another roll in compensation. This was a strawberry kiwi roll that we would never have ordered on our own but was surprisingly tasty in a sweet and spicy fashion.

Finally our main course arrived and it too was delicious although, sadly, they had run out of quail eggs and had substituted a second skewer of chicken filled with other items that was simply wonderful. Unfortunately their online menu is not complete and thus I am unsure what the dish was called.

All of this was followed by a leisurely walk through the Domain which is a combination apartment complex an shopping mall.

Overall the entire experience was fun and relaxing. And that is the point of this post. No matter what you do and how much you work on your stories. Do not forget to take the time to relax, have fun, and please yourself. Be with your friends and loved ones. Enjoy life. And recharge yourself so that your next writing session will be all the greater.

Remember friends, Dont Forget the Fun.

~Daniel

On the sixth I reported that I had a lot of trouble with my daily life and issues that needed to be addressed before I could do any writing. At the end of the day I had written nothing relating to my NaNo novel. Yesterday, Day 7, was basically the same. From the start of the day I had to spend a lot of time doing various things that took up most of the day.

I did manage to write a little bit but overall it was negligible in total and I ended the day in a headache. The moral of Days 6 and 7 is that you really do need to prepare a good sized buffer for yourself. As of the end of Day 7 I had spent two days of essentially no writing and in most cases this means that I would have to rush through the rest of the month to catch up which is always problematic. But with the additional writing I did over the first five days I was still in a comfortable position.

At the end of the day yesterday I was at 16,119 words. This is still a wide enough buffer that if I did no writing on Days 8 and 9 I would still be okay. Not great, but okay. It isn’t until day 10 that I would fall behind. However, I am still behind both the double standard and the my goals at the beginning by 7,200 and 14K respectively. One could say that this means I am failing but instead I think this means that I am learning and still have plenty of room to improve.

Today though I was able to make some progress despite additional personal items that came up and ate part of my day. Today I totaled 3,455 words which brings us 19,574 total words in 8 days. To me this feels absolutely amazing as I dont think I have written this many consecutive words in one story in such a short time in many years is not since high school. Currently I am averaging 2,447 words per day which is a good improvement over the 1,667 standard.

With this I am now 7,098 below the double standard 20,426 on my stated goal. These first is something I am certain I can reduce and eliminate as time passes though I am less certain on the later. I still believe that I will make my goals though and I can do nothing more than keep at them.

However, these days have shown me that bad days will come and I need to work hard to keep them from destroying my progress. With that in mind I will work as hard as I can tomorrow and over the weekend (though without destroying the aspects of family life that I believe are important to me); and in the end I will persevere and keep my novel on pace and end it at the appropriate time.

Until next time my friends, be well.

~Daniel

Today was the worst day so far for my writing and not because I was having any problems with the scenes, plots or characters. No my problems today involved the rest of my life and various factors that required my attention throughout most of the day. Just to give some perspective these factors were the type that cause anger and massive headaches.

But, although the day is mostly a loss for my writing (I do not think I will get anything done by the end of the day though that is not certain), I have come away from today with a good lesson. Plan ahead for the inevitable.

In all of our lives we will have those times when something else must take our concentration and all our attention. Maybe it’s an important paper for school, a project at your day job that has to be done, family issues, or some emergency within the home. Regardless of what the item or event is, it will occur and will take your time and energy away from writing.

Due to this always think ahead and work into your writing a buffer. I know a lot of the web-comics that I follow have buffers that include two weeks or more of comics in case something may happen while others have piles of extra materials (fan submissions or guest comics) ready for these times. As writers we can do the same. Maybe we have a short story that can be published when we are out for a while, or an article that we have sitting around that can be used as filler.

But for us NaNo participants this means working to get a few more words done on any given day  so that when a day in November becomes difficult you have the time to repair the little damage or better yet there is no damage.

In my case there is very little damage. Including today’s 0 word count I am still averaging 2,682 words per day. This is above the NaNo standard though less than my double standard. However, it is not much less (approximately 700 under per day) and is an easily correctable status.

So I will call today a bust and realize that life sometimes takes a turn for the worse and will prevent us from writing for a time. But Tomorrow comes and I will write again.

~Daniel

As days pass and I continue to work on my novel it seems that NaNo is continuing to present new lessons. Today it showed me the value in a new location.

Usually I write  in my office (although its far from complete since we moved) and never at a set time of day both of which I am realizing may not always be the best setting. Today though I was invited to a coffee shop for a writing session. In NaNo writers are generally divided into regions which allow those that live one another to offer support during the process in November. This time around I decided to take advantage of this and have joined the group here.

I learned that the group meets periodically at various locations in the area. Yesterday I learned that some members (in the immediate area rather than regional) frequent one of the local coffee shop. Today I decided to meet with some early this morning and while I arrived a bit late I found the experience to be enjoyable. Primarily for the fact that it actually worked and I managed to crank out approximately 2500 words in about 3 hours.

However, the fact of a new location is not what really made any difference in my writing. What I learned today is that if I am in a place and time where writing is the norm and that is what is expected of me (even if no one is going to check) then I write. Normally I have a dozen distractions vying for my attention. But if I am out where I expect that I will be writing then that is exactly what I will do and will make good progress during the time I spend there.

While this is not completely confirmed I know of additional sessions that are coming up where I can experiment and see if set times and places outside of the house will have similar results. I actually expect great things for myself.

Since today was a good day I know that currently my numbers are inline with what I need and wanted over all. Its not perfect of course but I am getting closer to my goals. Today I penned 4,077 words which brings me to a total of 16,093. Overall this means I am still double the standard NaNo count, just under my double NaNo by about 600 and 9000 below my previously stated goals.

As I said, this is not perfect but I am pleased with my current results and cant wait to see how well I do in the coming days.

~Daniel

Today was the fourth day of NaNoWriMo and to me it was the hardest day yet of this project.

By the numbers today was only the second worst day with only 1,966 words written in total before I finally decided to call it quits a few moments ago. This leaves me with a total of 12,016 words. By NaNo standards for the 50K novel this still places me nearly two times ahead of the minimal word count. But, considering that I am attempting to write a High Fantasy genre novel which is typically 100-125K total words I am behind schedule by approximately 1300 total words.

Obviously this is not an insurmountable amount and if i can get on a good pace I could have this done within another hour. But I am still a long ways from completing this novel.

The real problems I faced today came in the form of several passages that I had to work through. My main character (MC) came across a few situations where the actions he performed felt pushed, rushed, and unrealistic. The entire scene basically came across as so bad that if I was reading this novel I would have stopped and never read another word. Normally I would go back and change everything before I could let myself move on. But that is not what NaNo is about, so after several hours of clearing my head by cooking and cleaning I finally was able to return to the story and just get the writing done.

The down side is that this meant I spent valuable writing time trying to think on how to fix the issue instead of just moving past it. That is the lesson that NaNo is trying to teach me. The question is “How long will it take for me to learn?”
~Daniel

The end of day three has arrived and it has proven to be a very good day indeed but not without its share of problems.

The major problem I faced today in writing is one that has plagued me throughout my writing career since I was a child and is one that plagues a large segment of writers world wide. This is a problem of writing something that is less than perfect. Sounds absolutely horrible doesn’t it?

But sadly it is really a huge problem for me and many like me. For years I have written something only to look at it and declare that A, B and C are wrong. So I have to go back and fix those things. But because I fixed them now D, E, F and G are all wrong. Well then we need to fix it again. But still I find something else that is wrong or no longer works and so that must be fixed too.

This is a pattern of writing that I know so well that I can feel the buildup of dread for the moment when something is done and I know it has to be fixed. Or that moment right after I type a new paragraph where it must be changed immediately.

Today’s writing was no different and I wanted to scream with the inadequacies of my work. There are things that I don’t know about the location my characters are in that need to be defined (which would mean a good bit of research), pieces that I feel are simply wrong and need to be reworded, and entire paragraphs that I should simply throw into the trash bin.

But that is exactly the point of NaNoWriMo. NaNo is an exercise undertaken to battle these very issues in one’s writings. I may want to correct every little flaw in my work but I can’t. To do so simply puts me back in the same track I have followed countless times before and it has only one destination. It places me right back at the beginning of the project no closer to completing it than the moment I first began.

Well, no more I scream and, while doing so is pure agony, I have left every little error and bad paragraph exactly where I have written it. At the end of the process when the first draft of this novel is completed and my novel is somewhere between 100 and 125K words, then, and only then, will I start the editing process. I don’t know what will happen to my novel at that point. But once the first draft is done then I know that anything I write then will be an improvement correcting the flaws and making the masterpiece that dwells in my mind a reality.

As far as numbers go today was a very good day for me. Previously I stated that my personal goal was 5k words per day and today I wrote 5,536 words. That was very good considering it seemed like I would not get a chance to start writing at all until later in the afternoon. Today was very good progress towards my ultimate goals. Based on NaNo standards I am ahead of where I need to be with a total of 10,050 which is more than 5,000 beyond the standard.

I am making great progress and feel confident at this point that I can keep this up and will achieve my goals to finish this novel.

Be well my friends and I will speak with you tomorrow

~Daniel

I’m writing a little early today as I believe I shall go ahead and call it a night and end my work for the day.

So far I can safely say that I have made some decent progress in that I reached 4,514 words today. This was a definite improvement from yesterday as I moved past the minimal daily number of words to write and the cumulative minimal words. So right now I can feel somewhat confident of reaching the standard goal of a completed NaNo novel by the end of the month.

However, I am about 5500 words shy of my personal stated cumulative goal of hitting 10K today. Can this be fixed? I don’t know but that doesn’t mean I am not going to try. One way or another I am going to keep pressing forward and we will see where I end up tomorrow and Sunday.

Sadly though I am not sure how the weekend will play out. Normally that is a time for errands and taking care of family. Yet I still need to write. So I need to schedule some additional time alone in the office and get more words cranked out. At a minimal I need to reach 10K by the end of the day Sunday which will put me at 50% of my stated personal goal, but well over the minimal NaNo goal.

First though its time for a relaxing pot of tea at a lovely tea shop that we found recently and perhaps a little dessert.

Goodnight friends and be well

~Daniel