Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is When I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is. Not.

Yes, it's true. I have written exactly no words in Clocker since my last post. I'm not sure what gives exactly, but I just realized that it's 11:30 on the 29th of November and there's no way I'm going to make it anywhere of import in my novel. It's kind of a bummer, not going to lie.

I'm not sure why, but I have had trouble feeling any sort of urgency about anything lately. This has causes problems because I'm a crisis manager--no crisis means I don't feel like I have to do anything. Trust me, I'm investigating the issue and intend to resolve it ASAP. I'm not a fan of being unproductive.

Not that I have been. Looking back (at the last couple days mostly) I have been surprisingly productive--I completed all but one of my Thanksgiving break homework assignments and I'm currently helping to found a club, not to mention functioning as Senate secretary and keeping up with all the homework that's been assigned since break--I just don't feel it. Wow, I'm such a whiner sometimes. I apologize. Life has actually been brilliant lately, I'm just disoriented with nothing concrete to worry about. It's wigging me out.

The good news is that I'm not stressed out about finals yet, Christmas is on its merry way and I can't wait to go home (though I don't feel anxious about that yet either). Tomorrow I'm going to make one last effort to get my word count over 15,000 (because anything less would be ignominious), but until then I'm just going to play Christmas music and not think about it.

Blog Christmas by Reilly Powell on Grooveshark

Monday, November 28, 2011

This is When I Put My Foot in My Mouth. Or Try To.

I tried to put my foot in my mouth, I really did, but I'm not that flexible.

Guess I should have knocked on wood harder. Or removed myself to a nunnery until NaNo was over. Or resigned myself to F's so long as my manuscript got done. As you can see over on the right hand side of the page I added a word count to make myself more accountable . . . Let me tell you right now, there is no way I'm finishing 38,728 words in two days. What a shock, huh?

The new goal, which may be just as out of reach, is 25,000 words. Except that's 4,000+ words every day this month so we'll see. Luckily for all involved, I have only a few weeks left of this semester and I left December project free. I'm going to attempt to finish last year's NaNo, Iron Shoes, put some serious effort into finishing Clocker and reevaluating my 6 novels/year plan and revamping or reorganizing it. Super excited.

Until then, I have finals coming up and no more wiggle room. I'm going to be cutting things close, but hopefully I'll finish the semester with my grades and health looking no worse for wear.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is a Real, Honest-to-Goodness Glimmer of Hope

Two days in a row actually fulfilling my word count, what? And I am becoming more attached to this tale every day. I keep forecasting that someone will get kidnapped, but I'm having too much fun developing my main character's home life for that to happen yet.

No excerpt today as nothing thrilling happened, but tomorrow our heroine will venture into an open animal market and may (though I won't confirm anything) try to purchase a harpy. Yeah, this story has half-women, half-vulture creatures too. But, honestly, what did you expect when I said circus animals? Surely you didn't think I'd stick to lions, tigers and bears?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This is When I Wing It

Yesterday I was on sick leave, but I actually got 1,701 words typed out today (and it's not even 11PM!). Unfortunately, my handy NaNo stats inform me that at this rate I will finish on December 21 . . . Guess I should pick up the pace slightly.

I'm proud of myself (today at least), though I'm not so sure how I feel about my tale. I guess I don't do as well with friendly characters as I do with enemies, but today we were introduced to three different people who actually carry some importance in our heroine's life.

Oh, and there was finally some foreshadowing. Hallelujah. Unplanned foreshadowing, but it's better than none.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is When Everything is Outta Whack

You know how yesterday I thought I was going to have tons of time to NaNo today? It didn't turn out to be that much--even with an extra hour! I actually didn't get any writing done and, as you might guess, I am rapidly falling behind. I have come up with two possible options:

  1. I give up NaNo this month and work really hard between semesters and over the summer to get novels done. A rather depressing prospect if I say so myself. Or,
  2. I set aside a specific amount of time every day (say one to two hours) and write like crazy without letting that crazy bleed into the rest of my life and take over. Sounds like a better option . . . until I think about everything else that needs one to two hours allotted to it.
I haven't yet decided, but I'm definitely leaning toward option 2. I would much rather do option 2, however, if things stay as hectic as they have been so far this November, I may very well have to resort to option 1. Dun dun dun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This is When I Knock on Wood

Today was good (insert knocking on wood here). I was not as productive as I have hoped and I have to double my word count (5,404) to get back on track tomorrow (goal-10,002), but it's Sunday so I should have time, it will just come down to the effort I put in.

I repeat, however, that today was good. There was a cage fight, a near-death experience, and (finally) an end to Chapter One.

Excerpt from the cage fight included below, as promised:

The snake-dragon had yet to take flight. Most of its sinuous body was still coiled along the far edge of the cage and its flicking tongue and venomous fangs could not quite reach her. Hink yelled, cracking the whip right before the beast’s snout, hoping that she would appear to be enough of a difficulty that the snake-dragon would not try eating her.

Then, before she could draw the whip back, it struck. The snake-dragon uncoiled in an instantaneous motion, throwing itself into the air. Tiny skin pockets along its sides rippled, functioning as wings as it darted at her. Hink tried to step back and get out of range, but she was trapped against the cage bars.

She saw the beast’s forked tongue before she threw her whip arm up to protect her head. The mainlanders cried out in surprise as one of the snake-dragon’s fangs pierced Hink’s hand, slicing straight through her palm.

Hink cried out, her hand lit on fire. She pulled down, trying to slip the fang from her flesh and get away before the venom paralyzed her, leaving her body at the mercy of the snake-dragon’s appetite.

She yanked convulsively, her whip dropping from her fingers and thudding to the cage’s wooden floor. The snake-dragon hissed, its hot breath enveloping her body in a cloud. The beast shook its head, irritated by the restraint of being attached to Hink by its mouth.

Hink hissed in return, hoping that the beast would respond to the basic calls of its kind—the cry of a young, vulnerable snake-dragon or hiss used to call off an attack—but the serpent did not seem to hear the noises. It shook its hooded head, throwing Hink to the cage’s floor. The forked tongue flipped in and out, curving like a heated leather whip around Hink’s face, scraping like sandpaper.

She hissed at the animal, its bitter-tasting saliva splashing into her mouth. It threw her into the air, her entire body weight hanging on the impaled fang. Hink felt as though she were drowning as the salvia dripped into her eyes and filled her nose and mouth. She hissed desperately, hoping to sound authoritative enough that the snake-dragon would pause in its thrashing.

Her vision blurred, blocked by the snake-dragon’s saliva. She blinked rapidly, but her mind was moving more slowly, dulled by the venom coursing through her system. Through the blazing pain in her hand, Hink felt the fang loosen with the snake-dragon’s head tossing. It slammed her to the wooden floor; the fang finally slid out of her hand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is When I Get Back on the Horse

Yay, celebrate, I actually got a reasonable word count in today and my muse has returned (hopefully for a more prolonged stay this time), however, I did not get back on the NaNo horse early enough in the day to write the almost 4,000 words required to catch up. Blah.

Today's final word count: 3,895. Word count for tomorrow: 8,335. Yes, I have to more than double what I have written so far to get back on track tomorrow, but I'm on a roll and I think if I don't make it I will at least get close. You see, our heroine is in a potentially lethal situation, which I will not reveal at this time, with her back literally up against the wall and the adrenaline is running high. Things are going to get rough and I'm stoked.

OK, I can't deny anyone this information--I'm just too excited! Hink is currently trapped in a cage with a 12-foot, venomous, flying snake-dragon that is supposed to be sedated and is not. Did I mention she is armed only with a whip? Yeah, it's about to go down in the snake-dragon cage. I promise to share the action--expect an excerpt tomorrow.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is When My Muse Decides to be as Useful as a Lead Balloon

Due to some unforeseeable circumstances, I ended up staying up until 4:30AM yesterday/this morning. And, I think due to that unfortunate turn of events, my muse has deserted me. She didn't even leave a note or any spare ideas. Of course, there are also several other possible explanations such as being busier than any 19-year-old has any business being or not making a novel outline BEFORE NaNo. Regardless, I am in desperate need of some sleep and without any inspiration so I'm making the difficult and absolutely irresponsible decision to call it a night with only 2,911 words out of 5,001.

Yes, that means being responsible for a whopping 3,357 words tomorrow, but it also means approaching that ridiculous amount of work with a solid night's sleep under my belt. I'd give you an excerpt, but nothing spectacular has come our heroine's way tonight.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This is When I Realize You Can't Make a Silk Purse out of an Hour and a Half

Today was my first Senate meeting as Secretary and the sheer logistics required for meeting preparation left me with no time before the meeting to work with and, as you can see from the time stamp on this entry, very little time after.

To be on track I needed to hit 3,334 words today. I made 2,707. However, I did create a working(ish) Senate agenda on incredibly short notice, finalize a newspaper article, and breeze through a Child and Adolescent Development Exam. With those accomplishments in mind, I'm going to try not to feel completely desolate about already being behind so early in the game.

That confession made, today was an eventful day for our heroine. A total of four characters who drive her totally crazy were introduced and she resisted the inexplicable urge to bite them. Here's a little taster of her interaction with her coworker, Brangen:

Brangen was sitting in front of the werekid cage, staring in at them. They were curled up together, sleeping peaceably, so there was at least that to be thankful for. Brangen’s blond head bobbed as if to a rhythm that only he could hear, his thin curls bounced dejectedly with the disinterested movement. Hink could not fathom what Antin had seen in the kid.

Brangen began rubbing his cheek against the cage bars, staring in at the sleeping werekids. Hink’s skin prickled unpleasantly. Werekids were cuddly enough, but she would never have allowed her face that near their clawed hands and sharp, short teeth, even while they were sleeping.

“Brangen,” she barked.

The teenager hardly reacted, turning slowly to face her, still leaning his shoulders against the cage bars, but the werekids woke. The weregirl jumped in front of her sleepy-eyed companion, snarling at Hink. She seemed to realize that Brangen was no threat to her or her new friend, but perhaps that was not because Brangen came off as harmless, but rather that she recognized Hink as female and, therefore, a challenge to her ownership of the wereboy.

“Get up, Brangen, she’ll take your face off.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This is an Historic Event

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to my NaNoWriMo novel for 2011 (sans real synopsis, but with an extra 10 words to its name):


Sky pirates. Kidnapped bride. Clockwork people. Circus animals. Flying contraptions (heavy steampunk influence). Cigar smoke and steam. Giant golden eagles and anti-romantically romantic romance. And BIG guns.

(Please note, Clocker is a working title and it, like essentially everything else in this introduction, is subject to change.)

Exciting, no? If you've read any of my upcoming projects you will notice that I have combined two separate ideas (sky brigands and clockwork people). We'll see how well that actually works. If you know me personally you may also recognize a slight correlation between the way clockers (clockwork or partially clockwork people) are presented and the way cyborgs (mechanical or partially mechanical people) are presented in one of my favorite Disney movies (no, I won't tell you which one--guess). And, because I really am super stoked for this project, here is a little excerpt (the first approximately 500 words of today's word count):

It was late afternoon, low tide. The jetsam that had drifted over from the mainland to beach itself on Hanwood’s shores stank. Steaming beneath the late summer sun the cloth wrappings of kilstca bales, the bodies of illegal exotic pets probably dropped in the water when the Land Rangers passed by and left to drown, and contraband literature written on parchment made from animal hide gave off a stench worse than when the cemetery had flooded, bringing cadavers floating up to the surface of the water.

But Hanwood always stank. If it was not the beach refuse decaying in the heat, it was the great black chimneys belching yellow and gray smoke as they burned heaven only knew what in an effort to heat storefronts or the fumes drifting up from the cracked open street-level windows of kilstca dens. Most of the island’s residents had lived with the seasonally shifting odors of Hanwood for long enough that they could ignore it; only the mainland tourists even noticed the reek of decay rising from every aspect of the tiny islet.

Hink walked down to the beach on her midday break, regretting that the break had not come until it was nearly evening. She loved to walk the broken, littered strand and stare across the channel at the mainland and listen to the whir of the tram lines above her, the light reflecting off the water so brilliant that it turned everything white and gold. But the sun had sunk too far to scald the crests of the channel waves so Hink sucked on the stump of a cigar and observed the debris of the beach beneath her feet.

She remembered venturing down to the shoreline as a child and playing in the cold, salt water waves. Taking in a deep drag of her cigar, which smelled almost as repellant as the beach itself, she wondered why she did not remember any of the children who must have come with her.

They had probably been orphans and island-born like the children she passed on the street in the morning—so covered in filth they had hardly and need to wear clothing and one could only guess at what they actually looked like. But she could not remember and of their names or faces.

Clamping the end of her cigar between her teeth, sucking cold air into her mouth around it, she bent to gingerly turn over a long, narrow wood frame. The sea water had warped the image in the frame, bubbling and crumpling paper, but Hink could see a pretty woman with dark hair, too dark to be a native mainlander, and a heavy upper lip, perhaps made heavier by the portrait’s sea journey. Hink scoffed in her throat. The portrait was probably of some Land Ranger’s son’s immigrant lover. Forbidden and so entrancing and then forgotten. The mainlander had probably dumped her into the sea along with the portrait and any other evidence of the affair.