Month: November 2009

December Marathon

Alright, let’s do this.

I will write a complete paragon tier 4e D&D adventure (approximately 25,000 words) complete with GSL-compliant game stats. (I’ll Pathfinder it in January. Looks clearer to my mind to convert in that direction and I want to do both.)

Everyday I do not make significant progress toward it, I will spend 60 minutes cleaning the basement.

Ok, it’s official and I start tomorrow. Good luck to the other December Marathoners!

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NaNoWriMo Fail!

If it wasn’t obviously already between some miserable illness, getting a late start, and usual procrastination/life hectiness, no NaNoWriMo again this year.

However, Monica Valentinelli posted on her blog about the December Marathon. It’s an idea she came up with for a lower key NaNoWriMo. For one thing, you set your own goal. Secondly, for fun, you pick something that you will do if you fail to make writing progress on a day. This sounds like it might be more fitting for me right now than a full on NaNoWriMo. Both because life is just busy right now (even the kids are complaining about it being too hectic!), and I’m also more interested in producing a finished product than just pure word count (with the corollary that I’m not polished enough to presume pure word count grinding will lead to a finished product).

I’m still trying to figure out my choices. First off, should I try taking a chunk out of the novel I was starting on for NaNoWriMo? I still have plenty of planning I’d like to do on it first, however. Monica has also mentioned RPG products since she’s quite a seasoned pro in that realm.

Since:

  1. I’m more comfortable with RPG writing (having published a few things over the past 8 years),
  2. psychologically, I could use an “quick easier win” to get my writing mojo going before I try jumping into the fiction deep end again,
  3. I set a goal for myself to either be ready to release some of my eRPG product ideas by the end of the year, and here it is the last month, and
  4. I’ve been jonesing for more RPG since both of my main groups have gone on hiatus,

I’m set on working on a RPG adventure. Gotta pick which – either the standalone “Adamantine Prison” idea, or the beginning of the planar Adventure Path. Considering #2 above, I think I’m going standalone.

Now, for the “punishment”. My pain in the butt house chores, I have to do either way. I’ve considered exercise things, but that seems like a mixed message since I mean to do more of that anyway. Hurm… I suppose basement cleaning could work. It’s an overwhelming job that has been waiting to be done for years. Plus I can always set it as “Do an hour of cleaning in the basement”. That way, I can pick an hour and just decide – spend it writing or cleaning. Kind of a nice cop out. Sure that’ll work. If I think of anything more interesting, I’ll go with that. But for now, that sounds reasonable. Plus if I do end up cleaning down there at all, I have quite a bit of old RPG material stored away that can work as nice research/motivation. Win-win!

So, let’s give this another try with the December Marathon.

Procrastination Cleaning

Took a sick day because 1) I’m coming down with a cold and want to head it off so I don’t sound like Owen McCoughsalot (poor fella is miserable), and B) the kitchen was so nasty I was going to be sick. Well, thankfully it wasn’t utterly disgusting, just cluttered with the table and counters gone, dishes piled up to wash, blah blah. The amount of cleaning necessary hurt my brain mostly. However, there were a few leftovers in the fridge that almost made me pass out. Always a lot of fun tupperware sniffing.

Went with Diana’s Sing-A-Long Musicals playlist and cranked through the day. The kitchen is looking much better now but of course that means zero NaNoWriMo progress. But if Diana is going to be reading or Facebooking tonight after the kids are down, I’m going to crank through some word count.

NaNoWriMo 2009 Part 2 – Progress of a Sort

I made some serious progress today and this weekend… on my Snowflake outline. No more writing done, which isn’t great, but I’m more interested in using NaNoWriMo to make sure I crank out a finished first draft than I am in meeting the 50,000 words by Nov 30 deadline. Sure I’ll still try and hit it, but if I take a week (or two) to finish up organizing the novel so that I have a clue who the characters are and how the plot flows, then I’m much happier.

Unlike in the past, I feel good that the organizing is actually product and not my typical spinning my wheels endlessly planning with no real progress. The snowflake method has worked great for me.

Early on, I lost a lot of time feeling beholden to the Snowflake structure even when it wasn’t clicking well. For example, I was still quite unsure on many of the characters, but I was ready to do the 1 page summary and delve into the flow of the story. However, I felt that I couldn’t just skip a step and it made sense that I should have some idea of the characters before the details of the plot so that those characters are pivotal to and drive the story.

So I lost a couple of weeks stumbling over forcing myself to clarify characters I didn’t have clear yet. When I finally said “screw it” and moved onto the plot, the characters then fell naturally into place as I have been fleshing out the flow of the plot. So the Snowflake has worked wonders, but I need to remember to trust my gut and ignore the structure when necessary. I’m feeling better this time around that I’m still able to avoid the endless planning even if I wind up skipping around the process a bit.

This afternoon I snuck down to the Med Student study lounge and managed to finally get a detailed flow of the plot without any “(This section needs more detail)” or “(Should I do A then B, or B then A?? If B useless?”) kinds of notes. So I’m feeling quite comfortable in the story now.

Just have to make the switch over to producing some word count now. I hope to keep detailing things and get an actual scene breakdown, but at least I have it planned well enough that I won’t have to worry about writing a few more sections and possibly throwing them away completely before I even finish the draft.

1525 / 50000 words. 3% done!

NaNoWriMo 2009 Part 1 – Slow Start, of Course

Well, I’m giving NaNoWriMo a shot this year. Considered it a few times, but never really went anywhere with it. This time I’ve been doing a good amount of planning between the Snowflake method of novel planning and the 30 Days of Worldbuilding. Unfortunately, things have been busy as usual and my planning is behind.

But I have 1500 words down and am feeling close on the planning. Besides as others have said, your first novel always sucks, so my expectations are low. As long as I can clarify the vision enough to not ramble aimlessly, I’ll be happy.

So, we’ll see what the rest of the month holds. But it’s been fun so far.

1525 / 50000 words. 3% done!