Should I Stay Up?

Hopefully by now you’ve gotten the idea that I’m pretty excited about this year’s NaNo.  Heck, I’ve been planning my novel since the end of April!  Now, on the eve of the big event, I’m faced with a choice.

Should I wait to start until after work tomorrow, or should I stay up and start at 12:01am?

I only have one more day of work until I have a nice, long (and dog-free!) weekend.  I have lots of time to sleep over the three days, as well as to write.  So, should I sleep tonight and be fresh and alert for work (and then writing)?  Or should I go with the excitement, rush the field, and start as soon as November starts?

I think, ultimately, that the decision will come down, not to my concern for work or my enthusiasm for NaNo, but to my ability to stay awake.  As I am typically not a night owl, I often fall asleep long before midnight even if I want to stay awake.  Due to that fact, I probably won’t make my official choice until after 11pm.

Are you staying up or starting with a fresh night of sleep?  Are you one of the lucky/smart folks who took NaNo Day 1 off from work or school?

Most importantly, are you ready? 🙂

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Chatty Characters

My characters have been fairly quiet lately, for which I am grateful.  It gets a little tough when they start chatting and I can’t write it down, since the best way to get a scene to leave me alone is to put it to paper.  Of course, we’re nearing the time when I want them to be conversational again, but it turns out I don’t need to worry.

Apparently all it took to get Doug and Kiwi to start talking up a storm was to say the magic words “NaNo is about to start.”

While we’re still a day or so out, I get to listen to them dialog (most of which is argumentative or at least sarcastic) in my head.  That’s okay, though, because the more they talk, the more I get to know them.  And the last thing I want to do with the dawn of November nearing the horizon is try to get my characters to quiet down!

Honestly, it’s nice to have company again. 🙂

The Social Side of NaNo

Tonight I got an email reminder that the local kickoff event for NaNo was happening this evening.  Even though I didn’t take advantage of the social aspect of NaNo last year, I decided to give it a try.

The group was really interesting and fairly diverse (at least as far as writing is concerned).  There were a few folks who are trying this NaNo thing for the first time, and others who have participated before.  We had a couple of fantasy authors (including yours truly), a couple of Christian fiction writers, a few doing general fiction, and a couple who haven’t quite decided what they’re writing yet.  All in all, it was fun to talk stories, swap writing techniques, and get some ideas.

And, oddly enough, there was a computer programmer named Doug in the group.  (That would be the same job and name as my main character, if you haven’t heard.)

I don’t know how active I’ll be with the local group, since I’m typically not a social writer, but after tonight’s experience I might take in a write-in or two.

Only 2 more days to NaNo 2012!

Sometimes Longer

I am waiting on a response from my first query for Dragon, which was sent as an exclusive submission.  (For the folks outside the book publishing world, that means just what it sounds like – the agency who has it now is currently the only one looking at it.)  The agency lists how long it takes them to respond to queries, but then adds “sometimes longer” to the end.

We’re into the “longer” at this point, and I’m starting to wonder how long I should wait.  What is the etiquette for exclusive submissions?  Do I wait an extra couple of weeks?  A month?  Is this an unspoken contract, wherein I say that it is exclusive but they say it will be within a time frame, and if that time frame passes I am free to contact other agencies?

I’m not sure.  For now, I’m tired (today was day 6 of 10 at work) so the next query letter won’t be going out any time in the next few days.  I guess I’ll ponder this situation a bit further this weekend.

Anagrams

Tonight I went to see a show that was built around improvised musical numbers.  It was highly entertaining, and I think I learned a new trick for creating names.  (The show is called Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, if you’re curious.)

At one point a character said “My name is Cedric Peabody, which is an anagram for… Ced.. body… Peadric!”  (This was improv, after all.)

First, it made me laugh.  Second, it got me thinking about anagrams.  I mean, what could you really do with Cedric Peabody anyway?  Pearce Bociddy?  Corey Pedbaid?

Other names can make anagrams more easily, but the direction I went was to come up with odd phrases and play anagrams to find names of people or places.  Here are the results of my playing, with two semi-random phrases:

Monkey butt (one of the phrases I use instead of cursing) can become Tom Buntkey or Mount Tybek.

Llama duck (using both llamas seemed redundant) can be turned into Mack Ludal or the pseudo-French Lac DuMalk.

This seems like a fun (albeit somewhat silly) way to create names when they are needed, at least as possible place holders within the story.  It’s also good exercise for your brain!

Blocks

A couple of days ago I wrote about what I do when I have trouble finding writing inspiration.  Today I want to talk about some of the reasons for writer’s block (or whatever your preferred term), partly because tonight one of those monsters is leaning up against the doorway that leads to my creative place.  (In other words, I’m a bit short on the inspiration tonight.)

Much like the last post in this vein, I’m not going to make generalizations or assume that my experience is either totally unique or completely the same as everyone else.  Instead, I’ll simply share with you some of the things that make it hard for me to find words.

The large block in front of me tonight is work.  This is an insanely busy week for me (today was day 3 of the week, and I’ve already put in almost 4 days’ worth of hours) and it will continue to be (I have another 7 days of work to go before a weekend).  I’m not the only one at my place of business working like crazy – we’ve got a big event this weekend and everyone is putting in a fair number of hours over many days – and I still love my job.  The reason I’m even mentioning it is that my mind is in a work place, not a writing place.  This is often one of my biggest blocks, although sometimes it takes the form of professional development instead of my daily tasks.

Another block for me is emotion.  Sometimes I’m just tired, and not up for the process of starting the creative engine.  (This is a small sidekick monster tonight, sitting there next to Work.)  Occasionally I’ll be in a mood that prevents writing.  These can include fired up over an issue, irritation with people (or a specific person), or even the odd melancholy.  None of these is conducive to imagination.

Distraction can also be a stumbling block for writing.  If my kitchen is dirty or there is a pressing errand to run, blogs and stories often take a back seat.  (I have been known to use writing to procrastinate on other tasks, but this is a different beast.)  People can also be a distraction – a friend asking me to do something isn’t exactly a block, but doesn’t encourage the writing, either.

Sometimes I get blocked for no apparent reason, which I’m fairly certain happens to others as well.  Now that I’ve posted about some of the reasons, I’ll keep more of an eye out to see what monster is sitting in the way.  Maybe if I know what’s causing the lack of inspiration, I might have an easier time resolving it!

Do you think I missed any important blocking monsters?

Ways to Die

Sometimes, as a writer, you need to kill off a character.  (Occasionally it makes your readers very angry, but it is still necessary.)  Tonight, just for fun and because I am watching an old episode of Castle, I decided to list the ways that I’ve used to kill characters.

1. Self-inflicted stab to the temple

2. Executed for murdering the king

3. Limb torn off and flung to the ground from a height

4. Poisoned slowly over time

5. Stabbed in the gut by a sword

6. Tortured and then roasted by a dragon

7. Broken neck when thrown by a horse

8. Stabbed during the course of an attempted murder

There have been others, primarily lost in battle, that I didn’t include on this list.  This touches on the major fatalities of most of my writing to date.

How have you killed your characters?  Any creative ways?

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