Hours to go

Nanowrimo starts in a little less than five hours. Unfortunately for me, I’ll be in bed asleep. I have to be up at four so I can be at work by six. Luckily, I’ll be out early in the afternoon, and I’ll have plenty of time to write. A group of writers will be meeting tomorrow at Roasters for a write in, if you can call a three people a group. Hopefully we all show up. It’s be better if more do.

I was having trouble coming up with something to write this year. I wrote a few short stories this past week, trying to spark something, but neither inspired anything. It was more an exercise in working through some negative emotions that had been bringing me down for a while. What it did was bring me back to one of my favorite short stories, Harvest Moon, which I wrote back in 2013.

The story follows a woman who is visited by the spirit of her teenaged love, who died when they were both attacked after sneaking out late one night. On the anniversary of his death, her spirit leaves her body and she walks to the secluded field, the scene of his death, to endures his pleading for her to leave her life behind and join him, he being unable to move on, his destiny tied to hers.

I’m not one to write supernatural stories, but this one struck a chord with me, and I’ve shared the link on my Facebook and Twitter several times since I wrote it. For me, it’s a story about being stuck in the past, unable to move on, enduring the torture of reliving the same heartbreak time and again. She haunted by the memory, haunted by his ghost, unable to live in the present, unable to change the past.

I have no idea how the story will actually play out. Well, that’s probably not true. I have a few ideas. I will have to flesh out the characters more, especially her husband and children. I’ll probably also come up with new names since I hate the original names I came up with, Evie and Bryce.

What kills me is that I have to wait a few more hours, really almost a whole other day before I can start to write. I want to write now. I have a clear vision of how I would like to start. I don’t want to lose it! I wish I didn’t have to go in so early. Even an hour would be better than nothing.

But at least I have something to write about, a story to tell. As I write, I’ll figure out what questions I need to answer, what problems need to be solved. What is it that keeps my protagonist attached to her life? Who is the antagonist? What role does her family play in keeping her in this life?

I have a whole month to discover it. I’ll continue to write until I’m done. I have thirty days to write fifty-thousand words, a little less than two-thousand words per day. I’ve done it before, no sweat. Okay, I’ll be sweating a little. November is a horrible month for me. Let’s see where it takes me.

How many words should you write?

Another of my goals for this year is to start blogging again on a consistent basis. I let myself slide last year, and the stats reflect that. I know it should be more than simply a numbers game, but building an audience is part marketing, but mostly it’s just creating content to be read, shared, and I hope enjoyed.

So for the second day of the year, I wanted to look at something we writers focus on, word count. Why is it so important? Again, it’s a numbers game, one that’s tied partly to ego. We all want to write expressively, artistically, and hopefully coherently. For those of us who are naturally quiet, it’s a way to say what we need to say as eloquently as we wish. Through my writing, I can say anything I want to say in real life.

What brought this on was a question someone posted on a NaNoWriMo page on Facebook. A member asked, how many words do you put in a scene? I didn’t answer since I honestly don’t know. Is there a set number of words one should strive for? Does it matter?

Maybe it depends on the genre you’re writing for, but in my humble opinion, who cares? In writing, quality should always trump quantity. Why say in a thousand words what can be said in a hundred? It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of trying to paint an elaborate fresco that we lose focus of the point. Say what needs to be said in as little words as possible.

In my own works, I’ve noticed a wide range of word counts, from a few hundred, up to several thousand words. In each, I worked to add, or to subtract, words in order to accomplish the particular goal of each scene. That’s what makes writing so difficult sometimes. There is no word count rule. It’s all dependent on what you the writer want to say.

I know it’s a crappy answer, if you had hoped for one. I believe I have already stated that I don’t really have an answer. I write as long as it needs to be. The number of words should never be the main objective in anything, whether in the length of a scene, a chapter, or even the finished project.

What’s more important is to engage the reader, to give them enough to create the scene in their head. Too many words have often over-whelmed me, and even bored me to the point I stop reading. Too few, and there isn’t enough information for the reader to form the scene, and why bother continuing?

On that note, I’ll take my own advice and stop here. Write to your heart’s content, but keep in mind that the story itself is what’s important. Don’t belabor your work with unnecessary words, and more importantly, just have fun.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 30 – Limping towards the finish line

It is day thirty of this madness and I’m limping towards the finish line. I slept only a few hours last night and now I’m wide awake, exhausted, and I think…, I don’t know what I think. Right now, I’m don’t know how to think.

I’ll give you a few facts first. It’s a little after nine in the morning and I have a total of 46,799 words written. I need to write 3201 words to finish. Then factoring in the loss of words due to trying to validate, I probably need to pad my word count by at least a thousand words.

I also had the great idea that we needed to have lasagna for dinner, which since it was my idea, I get to make. From scratch. No store-bought frozen crap. I’ll even make the sauce from scratch. The lasagna noodle will be from a box. I’m not so committed that I’m going to make that from scratch. Also, I don’t own a pasta maker.

Damn I’m tired. I should have written yesterday, and I had originally planned on making it to a write-in, but I went with my brother, my sister, and her two daughters to see Mockingjay Part 1. I’ll review it later, maybe. Then I bought some shoes. Then we went to eat at Fuddruckers.

But I surely can write about 4K words by midnight, even with my stupid idea to make dinner tonight. I’ll have to postpone my book review a few days, which bums me out. I wonder if any of this is coherent. It seems so in my sleep-deprived state.

Also I’m hungry, and exhausted. I want to sleep. I also want someone to hold me.

It’s almost over….

God help me

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 29 – Oh crap, oh crap

Two more days of this madness: where do you stand? I’ve seen many of my fellow Wrimos already surpass the 50K mark, and some others are way behind. Myself, I’m behind as well, but not too bad. I’m at 44,481, which means I lack only 5519 until I cross the finish line. That’s only 2759 words per day, though I could conceivably cross the finish line today.

Happily, I have today and tomorrow off. I’m going to spend as much time as possible writing towards the goal line. There’s a write-in in Lubbock that I hope to join, but that depends on me getting some sleep first and then waking up on time. Also, I promised my sister and brother that I would go see Mockingjay Part 1 later today. I really can’t wait!

So for now I’m off to bed, even though it’s only 7:20 in the morning. Until later this morning, have a great day. For my fellow Wrimos, you can do it!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 23 – Catching Up

Giada Mock Up

Idea for a book cover. I’m sure I can find someone to do better.

You’re not going to believe what happened this week. Yep, I fell behind yet again. This time I was two a little more than 4K behind, and I got within 600 words of par. All it took was me jumping into the car, driving an hour, and parking my rear end in a chair in a coffee house in the great city of Lubbock. And also coffee, delicious coffee. Why am I shaking? Co-co-coffee! Whee!

The trouble I’m running into, in addition to working nights, is trying to advance the story forward. I get to the end of a scene and I’m left wondering, what now? It can be a little frustrating. I know the ultimate destination, but I’m having trouble steering myself that way. I’ll get there eventually. I’m taking the extended scenic route.

A problem I found was that I had a character that did nothing, but is the one that started Giada on her journey. Francesco Manfredo needed to be introduced as more than a place holder character. I wish I would have realized that sooner, but I brought him in, and he’s giving me a wealth of information. Another character is proving to be a surprise, which I’m enjoying. He went from White Hat to crazed stalker.

For now, I’m going to take a nap and start on Sunday’s writing. I hope to get ahead today and tomorrow. Only one week left. I don’t want to lose it now.