Once for NaNo I wrote a story about a redheaded mage chasing after the man he loved. It wasn’t quite that simple, of course. I tossed in demons and broken magic and a mad mage and a llama, just to mix things up. Also to go with my long fascination with marine life, this was the first time a landsquid showed up. I didn’t really know where it was going but I wrote it anyway and realized a good ways in 1) where it was going and 2) that it wasn’t a stand-alone book. It was a trilogy.
That was 2008. In 2009, I wrote the second book. I posted it on my blog as I went, which was an exercise in AAAHH!! let me tell you.†
Anyway. I got to the end of book two in seventeen days, but I’d skipped a lot and left a lot undeveloped and I didn’t have a clue how to write the third book. Add all that to the work of starting up Turtleduck Press with my co-Turtleduckers, and then publishing several novels from the Dream’verse, and you get me never getting back to Hiro’s third book.
Yes, dear faithful ones, this NaNo I write the third Hiro book. I’d meant to edit the first one again before I did, but that didn’t happen. I’d meant to straighten out the mess that is the second book, but that didn’t happen. So I’ll plunge on and we’ll see where it gets me. It had better get me to 50,000 words in a month, though. I’ve already met my one and only allowed (without major lifesplosion, anyway) NaNo Loss already. That’s a lifetime quota, and I have no intention of exceeding it. *some exclusions apply
I’m excited! I’m scared. I’m wondering where in the heck I’m going to find the time to write 50,000 words when I’ve barely managed 750 most days for longer than I care to remember. Sure, I’ve won NaNo before. I’ve also failed before. So we’ll see.
Things I should probably do before NaNo begins–
- Figure out the root of my magic system, because I’m going to need that information. I sort of figured out the surface–okay, the top five layers or so, I’d say–back when I started, but I never managed to dig down to the bottom. I should be able to come up with it now, seeing how I’ve been poking at it on and off for five years.
- Decide what would be a satisfying ending for my less major characters. (can’t bring myself to call them minor characters.) I know what’s going to happen to Hiro and Eshan (bwahahahaha!) but still have no idea what I should do with Devendra, Shukri, Ume, and Huggsley. Better cover Shione as well.
- Profit! I mean…write a good book. Yeah. That.
So this is it! I’m publicly committing. If you want to keep an eye on my progress, it will be here. If you’re NaNoing this year, I’d love to buddy up. Want to support the Office of Letters and Light (the NaNo organization) and cheer me on in a tangible manner? Here is my fundraising page. The more you guys commit, the more I will have to be committed, right? I would hate to let you down.
LET’S DO THIS!
†I put it behind a password because I plan to publish this at some point. But the password is the last word of the post’s title, and I tell anyone who asks that, so I’m not sure exactly what the password thing is supposed to accomplish except I guess it hides the post from search engines? I should hope so, anyway.
OMG no matter how much I need it, I hate being between projects!
I have a lot to do, though. I’m not so good at writing boundaries–when I’m deep in a project (especially one fast approaching a deadline, cough) I don’t do other things.† Website maintenance. Home maintenance. Relationships. *shifty eyes* All fall by the wayside.
When I’m writing, I think about it all the time. I feel like I’m wasting time if I’m doing other things–reading a book, say, or watching a movie. Thinking about a book that isn’t the one I’m in. I think it yields pretty good rewards, and it certainly makes me happy. I’m not looking to change that. (yes, yes, you can give me your speeches on moderation if you like. I’m sure you’ll say something I haven’t heard before.)
Now, though, is the time of catch-up. I have a list ranging from “laundry!” to “Update Joomla!” passing through “talk to my friends!” My world, my life, is not empty. It only feels that way.
You see, I’m homesick. I miss my imaginary friends. My worlds. The brilliant amazing process, start to finish.
I’ve said it before, but I feel half-alive when I’m not in a project. I feel like I stumble around in a daze, wishing I could make my brain work. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? It doesn’t work as hard when I’m not writing/editing, so it’s hard to feel like it’s working at all. I’m on a lower level. My life is less…alive.
When me and my muses are on a roll, it’s like Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. All of Creation dances to our will.
I guess I’d be an idiot not to miss that, hmm?
† Unless I am avoiding my project. Then all bets are off. I might even be found scrubbing the grout in the bathroom if I’m avoiding something.
I get it a lot. “Oh, I don’t pay attention. I hate politics.” It makes me want to bash my head into a wall. Or someone else’s head into that wall, until they get a clue.
I hate politics too. Dear God, do I hate that crap. All the weaseling, the backbiting, the “well he did that ten years ago and that makes it no big deal that I did this now!” and the “Yes, I cheated on my third wife with six hookers but dammit marriage is a sacred institution and those gays will sully it!” All the lies and misinformation and the things people know are true but really aren’t anywhere close, like the idea that Social Security is bankrupt and/or part of the deficit problem. The WMDs in Iraq. The “death panels.” The “ground-zero mosque.”
And I really truly hate that when you look at the elected officials on a national level, it’s a glaring wall of straight white men staring back at you. Here and there a woman or a Latino or an African American–but does anyone think our leaders actually represent us?
Who likes politics? I don’t know anyone who does–including the most politically-active people I know. Here’s the thing, though–do you breathe?
Politics affect you.
This morning I signed a letter of support for new rules the EPA is trying to enact to limit how much mercury can be dumped into the air. Lobbyists are already trying to weaken the regulations.
Yes, mercury. Apparently right now they can do what they like. Hands up if you think trusting corporations to act for the public health is a great idea?
Politics is stuff you care about decided by other people.
Did you know that some in Congress are trying to say that the EPA doesn’t have the right to regulate greenhouse gases? Whether you believe in climate change or not (like it’s a fucking matter of faith and not science but anyway…)–whether you think scientists have it right or not, think about that.
Other nations have looked at the facts presented and believe something needs to be done now. Other countries can’t make us clean our asses up. But there are things they could do that would slow the CO2 build-up in the atmosphere. Things I think we’d really rather they not resort to. Maybe you do think “global warming” is all a myth. You’re in the minority there, and some of those who follow the science have the power to do something about it.
So what? You vote, right? You elect the guy or girl you trust to make decisions for you, and that’s enough.
It’s not enough.
In Michigan, the governor now has the power to fire your elected official. Yeah, it’s just Michigan. Just a big state, giving a ton of power to one man. Guess what? It’s going to spread. He got it passed, didn’t he? Did you even hear about it? Do you think you’d hear about it if it happened in your state?
Probably not, if you’re ignoring politics. Not until too late.
Do you work for a living? This stuff affects you. Like weekends? Thank a union thug. Want your kids in school instead of in a factory? Thank a union “fat-cat.” Do you even know why I’m talking about unions?
Pay attention. Please.
People with no conception of how we live are making decisions about how we live. They lie in pretty soundbites and busy people working hard and taking care of their lives and their families think they know what’s going on.
It’s not that hard to get at the truth, and it doesn’t take that much to keep up.
Yes, civic action is increasingly afflicted by the same perfectionist tendencies that afflict our efforts to live green or to raise healthy, happy, responsible citizens. There’s always some way to do it “better.” So effing what? All we can do is the best we can. That encompasses the fact that our ‘best’ changes from day to day. Today I can type up a blog ranting at anyone who will read to pay attention. Tomorrow maybe the best I’ll manage is a re-tweet to pass the news of something I think people need to see.
If we all did the best we could every day, even with changing values of ‘best,’ we could change the world. Your best doesn’t have to match anyone else’s. You don’t have to be better than anyone at it. You just have to try, and we’ll succeed.
You and I probably don’t agree on everything–but I’ll bet you we have a lot more in common with each other than with, say, Rupert Murdoch. Or David and Charles Koch. I’d much rather we were the ones deciding our future–wouldn’t you?
I know why Yaoi-con is 18 and over, and it’s not just the hotness. It’s because this much fun is barely legal, and not for the faint of heart. ^__^
I met a cool writer who was wearing a “writer” patch and we talked NaNo and fanfic and her friend and I bonded over Renji/Byakuya hotness. I gave them bookmarks, and she recognized Sambre’s style and was thrilled to have it.
Huggsley is having quite the exciting weekend. I’ve decided he’ll have his own page–the adventures of Huggsley Inksquirt at Yaoi-Con. Because a squid is a lovely thing to have. I’ve gotten pictures of him with several of the awesomely-dressed cosplayers about the con, as well as on the ninth floor balcony rail. (I was scared. He wasn’t!)
I ran into the voice of Byakuya again, coming off the escalator. I think I’m scaring him. XD
Figured out I have a tendency to whine at yaoi-con, ’cause good as things are, I want them to be better. Bishie Bingo is awesome; I want to win. Bishie Auction, I want to SEE. Understandable it may be, but I’m going to knock it off. Time spent whining is wasted time I could have been chasing bishies. (for PICTURES, not theft. Honest. >_> )
For the record, landsquid are a great icebreaker. And I’m getting less hesitant about handing out bookmarks. I have to remember I would love to have someone hand me a pretty and awesome bookmark about something I might like to try, so it’s good all around.
I’ve always felt like a writer. This weekend I feel like an author.
Let me begin by saying I am not anti-agent, nor anti-editor. I believe what James Owens said at a recent panel, “My editor makes me look good!” with all my heart. I am all for allies in this crazy venture I hope to launch one day. I do not want them to go away, and I hope that they never do.
It’s just that the articles I’ve read are missing what I see as a key factor, and I want to put in my two cents.
When I’m not editing, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the need for “gatekeepers” in publishing. Currently that means agents and editors who keep the unwashed masses of bad writers away from the reading public. The fear is that with the advent of e-publishing, a way has been found to get around the gatekeepers. It’s just a trickle now, but soon it will be a flood. Editors talk of the dangers of reading slush. Writers talk about how hard it will be to find anything worth reading. Nathan Bransford is more optimistic, but it seems most think he’s wrong.
I’m not buying it. I’m with Nathan, and I’ll tell you why.
Just as you are not currently reading the first page of every single book in the library before choosing which to check out, finding e-published books worth reading will not be wading through the swamps of primeval North Carolina. For one, there won’t be killer mosquitoes big enough to carry off your dog. Also, there will be guideposts. Compass directions, if you will, to aid you in your treasure hunt.
For example, some brilliant person invented these amazing things called tags, and someone else recommended lists, and these exist to help you find just exactly what you’re looking for. Their use is already prevalent, and can be expanded pretty simply.
Now, I have to say: I’m not what most would consider an expert. I’m not an agent. I’m not an editor. I’m not even a published writer. But what I am–is a reader of fanfic.
Ever try to find a good fanfic to read? Let’s say you just can’t get enough Firefly, and you’re not okay with it being gone forever.¹ You need MOAR. Simple enough. Probably the easiest way is to start on Twitter or Facebook and type “looking for some good Firefly-fic. No slash please!”² If your friends have similar tastes to yours, I bet you get a rec or three. In the publishing business, this is called word-of-mouth, and it’s invaluable.
Now your friends’ recommendations give you a start, and you don’t have to read any slush (unless your friends are idiots, in which case get new friends). You read what they suggest. Some stories you love, some you don’t–just like with any published book you might be handed.³ But you want MOAR. Very quickly your appetite exceeds that of your friends and you need to find a new supplier.
Hey, that author of the best fic you read has an LJ. And on that LJ, you click the tag “Firefly” and find more stories she wrote. And then you find her rec list.
You read everything she recommended. You need MOAR.
Join a support group. Not a “get off the fic” group, a “find a fic” group. They exist. For every fandom, pretty much, there are fans out there talking about it and about good stories and everything they love. At this point in our hypothetical journey, you’ve probably already stumbled across a few in your search for good stuff. Think that won’t/doesn’t happen for books? I think you’re wrong. Check out LibraryThing.4
Fanfic is a mixed bag, of course, but I say so is publishing. You have to watch your step in fandom, but not any more than you do on say, Powells.com. A book being published does not guarantee it being right for you, for heaven’s sake. Do you just go and buy whatever book happens to pop up when you land on their homepage?
I’m betting no. I’m thinking you’re like me, with good friends and trusted critics already packed sardine-like into your compass. We, as readers, already have our gatekeepers.5
¹ Who is?
² Can’t say I blame you. I love slash, but I never want to read Mal tossing over Inara to sex up Jayne. Just…NO.
³ I mean, a friend tried to get me to read Twilight. Knowing that I don’t do vampires, don’t care for ‘romantic’ romance, can’t stand decorative females, and have high standards regarding basic use of language. Meyer can’t decide what tense she’s in. Uh…NO. Her anime recommendations are dead on. Same with fanfic. Book recs? Not so much. This is important to know about a friend.
4 That’s my profile. Say hi!
5 As writers, on the other hand…we really need those agents and editors as keymasters. But that is a whole other post.
That doesn’t sound like much until I mention that the MS is only (was only) 150 pages long.
Yes, folks, after a blasted month, containing fifty solid hours of editing, I am only two thirds through my MS.
But the esteemed Colleen Lindsay has declared this No Whining Week, so I shall not whine. I shall instead focus on the good.
I’ve written some marvelous scenes in this last week. I’ve clarified motivations and increased conflict. I’ve touched up my description. I’ve added depth to all my characters. I’ve added thousands if not tens of thousands of words to the MS. Seeing that it was only 53K, this is a very good thing.
Seems I am one of those “my first draft is my outline” writers. At least at the moment. I expect things will change again as I grow in my craft. It is a good thing to know my process, so despair doesn’t get me when things are going badly as a natural part of it. (Like that first week of editing. Whoo, boy, is that one a doozy!)
This novel is, even if I stopped now (which, NO WAY!!), exponentially better than it was. What on Earth would I have to whine about?
If you’re thinking of taking karate, realize that. Purple Mat Work hurts. Purple Mat Work hurts. If that doesn’t bother you, go for it.
Mostly it doesn’t bother me. Doesn’t mean I don’t want a hot shower and a lot of ibuprofen.