Friday, October 30, 2015

It's almost Nano-time!

So, remember that whole "I'm going to get back into writing shape by writing every day before Nanowrimo" thing I was planning on?  Clearly, that didn't go as planned.  That's OK!  I have plans and schemes and...we'll see what happens.

I decided to scrap my original plan, as it simply wasn't gelling for me.  Instead, I'm pillaging an idea from my husband.  He's an incredibly imaginative person and comes up with great ideas for settings for role-playing games, so I'm taking one of those settings and running with it.  The more I write the outline, the more I'm realizing that watching all those episodes of NCIS and Castle are going to come in handy.  At least, I hope they will.

Anyway!  I hope to post fairly regularly with stats, if nothing else.  Happy Halloween/Samhain/Dia de los Muertos for those that celebrate!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book review - Furiously Happy

It's been a while since I've done a book review, and since I've just finished this one, it seemed like a perfect time to review it.  I've been reading The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson) for several years, and thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened.  When she started discussing her new book, Furiously Happy, I knew I would pre-order it.

The author has had more than her fair share of struggles with mental illness, including anxiety and depression, and this book includes several essays that deal with those struggles.  There are moments of hilarity mixed in with serious discussions of self-harm and suicide, and the balance feels like what you would expect when a fantastic author allows her brain to run wild.  Even when things are at their darkest, she still finds some glimmer of light; even when things are at their brightest, she subtly points out the shadows in the corner.

I've been in a pretty rough spot the last couple of weeks, and I didn't realize how much I needed this book until I started reading it.  The author also narrated the audiobook, and I highly recommend it; the conversational tone of the book definitely benefits from the author's reading.

If you need to remember how to find the funny, or just want to know what the deal with the diabolically happy raccoon on the cover is, pick up Furiously Happy in your format of choice.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nano Planning

So, what happens when your writers' group includes at least one person with lots of project management experience?  You get together with a list like the below to plan for Nano.  Memorializing it here, so I can refer back to it.

1)      Talk about what we might want to do
a.       Genre?
Spec fic
b.      Conflict type? (Man vs Self/Man/Nature)
Man vs Self and Man
c.       Character based? Location based? Thematic?
Character based, with some theme (superhero/villain)
d.      Specific details, scenes, locations, or characters?
Eliza Jimenez - main character, admin at Serrano Transportation, new-ish (moving up from the mail room, doesn't realize that the company is a front for the Company of Miscreants
Colin Serrano - CEO, 3rd generation of Serrano Transportation, AKA [VILLAINOUS NAME]
e.      Goal for nano? (finish an old story, write a new one, just hit 50k, etc)
New story, aiming for 50K
2)      What’s blocking us from doing that?
a.       Non-writing blockers
                                                               i.      Work?
Not much, though there's always more to do
                                                             ii.      Home stuff?
Always - mostly trying to keep up with the cleaning, keep up to date with gaming, actually spend time with my husband
                                                            iii.      Mental health?
Again, always - new meds for pain are increasing anxiety and some depression, which doesn't help
                                                           iv.      Possible solutions
Specify time to write, block internet access, make self-care a priority
b.      Writing blockers
                                                               i.      What motivates you to write?
1.       Do you know your ending?
2.       Do you know events in the story that you want to write?
A few, though I'm hoping to get more of an outline together between now and Nov. 1
3.       Is there a particular character or location that you want to write?
I'm looking forward to writing how the villains and the heroes come together
                                                             ii.      How can you build off of your answer in 2.b.i?
1.       What kind of ending do you want? Epic, inconclusive, depressing, uplifting?
An ending would be great.  I definitely want to have an ending.
a.       What sorts of events would result in that type of ending?
Monkeys.  In the end, it all comes back to monkeys.
2.       What sort of story would the events you want to write make sense in?
a.       Ie, woman screaming in horror – there’s gonna be a traumatic event of some sort for that character. Even if it’s just someone mixing hair dye into their shampoo.
The villains will have to try to do something, well, villainous, or the heroes will decide it's time to cleanse the city of its villains once and for all.
3.       What sorts of events or conflicts would that character be in?
a.       Are they dumb/unlucky enough for the events to be their own doing?
It'll definitely be something the villains and/or heroes planned, though probably not the exact confrontation
b.      Would they be trying to help someone else?
Heroes would be helping, villains would be helping themselves (probably)
c.       Is it part of their lifestyle? (Ie, hunters in a hunting disaster)
Seeing as their lifestyle is being a hero or villain, yes
4.       What sorts of events or conflicts could happen at that location?
There will be property damage, oh yes.
a.       If your story was a movie, what would make the awesomest still frame?
I'm not sure yet
5.       What types of events are typical/tropes for your genre?
a.       Natural disasters?
b.      Psychopaths?
c.       Hormones and social pressure?
d.      Beach episode?
e.      Minorities die first?
f.        “I can explain!”?
Definitely "I can explain!", with some 'natural' disasters resulting from the confrontations
c.       Put it all together, as best you can.
                                                               i.      How do your answers work together?
Generally pretty well
                                                             ii.      What sort of story can you make?
I'm thinking a mash-up of the standard four-color superhero comic and a telenovela
                                                            iii.      What part of that do you NOT want to write?
So far, none of it strikes me as particularly onerous.  I'm sure that will change.
1.       How can you write around it?
2.       What’s the goal of that scene/character/whatever?
3.       What else can achieve that goal?
3)      Nano schedules
a.       Weekend food prep?
That sounds great, and like something I probably won't do, because I know me.
b.      Lower weekday word counts?
I tend to write more during the week, actually - particularly if I can get some good writing in on the commute.

c.       Other strategies
Writing on the train has worked reasonably well in the past; forcing myself to stick to a schedule would be a good step, too.