Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoNoMore



Late last week (three and a half days ago, to be precise) I had a wonderful seed of an idea appear in my head. It was awesome, and I decided it would be a pretty cool project to do for NaNoWriMo.

But… that seed didn’t grow. I wracked my brain, researched to see if I could find some fertiliser, even put my thoughts to paper… but nothing happened. No ideas formed, the seed didn’t sprout… and so, fourteen hours out from 1 November, I’ve got nothing.

It’s a bit of a shame, really. I was looking forward to doing my first NaNo ever, and being in the northern hemisphere I wasn’t going to be tied down with assignments and exams (I’ll still have a few, but nothing compared to Australia). Yesterday, I contemplated the idea of just writing, and seeing what happens, but I quickly decided against it. I don’t work too well without a plan, and I didn’t want to put my current WIP on hold for a month just to struggle with a half-formed idea that I would shelve come December.

So, yeah. My plans for NaNo are no more. I’ll still be cheering everybody on from the sidelines, and hopefully next year this seed will bloom. I think I might even try a Camp NaNo in… whenever it is. August? July?

My question for you: are you doing NaNo? If not, why not? And if you are, good luck!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Talking Sidekicks



I’ve recently discovered just how useful sidekicks are. Sure, they’re good for comic relief and getting your protag out of trouble, but I’ve also realised (maybe “realised” isn’t the right word. It’s become very obvious to me that) sidekicks are good for:

Talking.

Having a sidekick present really helps with the story, because it gives the characters something to do. I find that there is more interaction between characters with a sidekick present.

For example, I’ve only recently introduced my sidekick. So before that, and particularly in the first action scene, everything was very do orientated. My character did this. My character did that. He did this. He did that. It was really difficult to come up with exciting things to do.

But since I’ve introduced my protagonist’s sidekick, things have started getting easier to write! There’s interaction! My protagonist has someone to talk to! We get to learn more about him!

What about you? Does your protagonist have a sidekick? If you’ve ever written a story without a sidekick, did you find it harder to write? I’m interested in your thoughts. Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 15 October 2012

When Bad Guys Aren't That Bad



Now that I’m past the first action scene, the words are beginning to come easier. (Except for today. Absolutely horrible.) I hit the 7K mark last week, and I’m smashing my way to 8K!

Lately I’ve been thinking about our bad guys, and how they don’t really have to be bad. You see, “antagonist” comes from a Greek word which means “opponent”. The antagonist simply opposes the protagonist. I think it’s also worth reminding that the antagonist should be the hero of their own story (except they normally lose).

I think the antagonists in ROGUE are good examples of that. While my antagonists are usually pretty bad, the antagonists (well, one group of them, anyway) are actually pretty good. They just oppose my protag.

It’s interesting to work with, and on one hand it’s actually easier than my previous antagonists – I don’t have to figure out their motivation like I did in EXCALIBUR and POSEIDON’S TRIDENT (“why does he want to overthrow the British Government?” “Why does he want to dry up the world’s water supply?”). But, on the other hand, they can’t really be as ruthless as my previous villains. Car chases kinda seem toned down when there isn’t any shooting… Fortunately, I’ll be having some gunfire in the coming chapters, and my bad baddies will be coming along soon!

What are your thoughts on “good” antagonists? Do you enjoy reading about them, or does it lower the stakes for you? What about your own antags? Are they “good” or “bad”? Let me know in the comments section! I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

When You Jump in the Deep End, Sometimes You Drown



My writing routine has been, well, pretty crap. I haven’t been writing first thing in the morning as I wanted to because the internet’s just so… pretty. I’m still so busy at the moment, and so I just don’t have time to write during the day. And at night? Ugh. I’m so exhausted, I just want to crash.

Also, I’ve discovered I still have the Curse of the First Action Scene, where pretty much I have way too much trouble trying to write the very first action scene in a novel. It’s taken me over a week to write fifteen hundred words (although I’m pleased to say that I have finally finished it (with a heck of a lot of trouble and “I hate this!”)).

I think another problem is that I’ve committed to too much. My goal is 500 words a day, but it’s just such a struggle. When I do write, I spend ages writing, and I think I’ve smashed the 1K mark for the day, only to realise I’ve written 499 words.

So, I’ve really jumped into the deep end, when really I should start in the shallow end, and ease myself in. I should be starting with 250 words, and then working my way up to 300 words, than 400 hundred. Instead, I’ve drowned in the 500 word target.

How about you? Have you ever committed to something massive in your writing, only to find you can’t do it? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Getting Back into a Routine



As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve started writing my WIP and I love it. It’s just as explosive and fast paced as I envisioned it to be. It’s also the first set of new words I’ve written since I finished the rough draft of EXCALIBUR back in November.

After nearly a year of editing and planning, I have to admit that I’m finding it hard to get back into the routine of writing daily. I built up the habit during the ‘100 Words for 100 Days’ challenge, but in 2012 my hard work has gone backwards, and I’m struggling to commit and sit down every day.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m making progress, but rather than my goal of 500 words a day, it’s more like 1500 words, then two days off. I’ve still got the same word count as I would if I were writing daily.

Nathan Bransford blogged about how it’s not necessary towrite every day. He did mention that “…some people totally [write daily], and more power to them. They set word count goals, they wake up early or stay up late, they bend schedules to make sure they're getting some words down every single day.” 

That used to be me.

See, I like writing daily because it helps me to keep up momentum. Every day, I can remember where I left off, and I can remember where I’m going. But in my current state, I have to spend valuable writing time (and because it’s sporadic, it is valuable) rereading my current chapter to get the feel for the story again.

This week and the past few weeks, have been difficult, because I don’t have a schedule yet, but from next week things should settle down into a routine, so I should be able to get into a good habit again. I’ve decided to try writing in the mornings, because that’s when things should be least hectic.

For the comments, I’m interested: do you write daily, or do you fit in words whenever you have the chance? Let me know!