Friday, 28 November 2014

Cephalopod Book Club & Goals :: NOV

Geeez, the days are flying by! It's almost December. Yikes!

I know you guys are celebrating Thanksgiving over there in the U.S., so maybe not as many people will be participating in these blog hops this month. But I'm posting anyway just 'cause it's a compulsion I generally don't ignore. ;)

So here we go ... !

I'd known for years that I should read this book, but only just got around to it this year. The first section was about Stephen King's life growing up, and his early development as a writer. A great read. When I got to the "on writing" section, I read a lot of things that I felt I already knew. Much of it seemed to be stuff I was already doing with my own writing. But later I got to sections that surprised me.

First off, I was shocked to learn Stephen King is a pantser, usually writing without a plan even if he has some general idea of where he's going. He doesn't necessarily know how his story will end when he starts it - in fact, he usually doesn't. A lot of people talk about the importance of having your plot all dot-pointed out. But Stephen King says this leads to certain doom, in the form of a stiff, boring story.

Obviously that's just his opinion, and many authors who rely heavily on plotting are still able to come up with great, gripping stories. But King's words really impacted with me, because I could relate to them. I distinctly remember becoming bored with my own story when I'd overplotted before starting.

Another section of ON WRITING that fascinated me was about editing. This section made me realise maybe I've been doing it wrong. I generally like to get stuck right into edits, but SK always reads through his entire manuscript before editing. I know I've done this before, and it worked quite well - but I stopped, for some reason. I'm considering starting again.

The book finishes up with a recount of the horrific accident that nearly took SK's life in 1999. And finally, he includes an excerpt of a rough draft, totally unedited, and ends with an edited copy. I found the comparison very useful, as I could see his wordiness needing to be whittled down, and this really reminded me of my own problems - my stories usually start out bloated before I get to trimming.

All in all, a fascinating read, and inspiring as well.


First off, I reached my annual reading goal:

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Trisha has completed her goal of reading 40 books in 2014!

So that's one goal done & dusted for 2014!


Secondly, I am still working on reaching my NaNo goal, but wouldn't be surprised if I got to 50k tonight. But if I take it super easy, I will get there tomorrow, still a day ahead of November's end.

As mentioned, this has been a very slow NaNo year for me, but it's been necessary to not go at my usual breakneck speed.


I should mention that my bandmate Billy is releasing his debut album, THE FALLING SOUND, under the artist name Rotting Apples (inspired by the song "Rotten Apples" by our favourite band the Smashing Pumpkins).

I sing vocals on most of the songs. I've already got my copies and have been distributing them to friends & family.

In General

It's getting to that time of year when we look back & reflect on what we've achieved since setting our goals. I think I may be disappointed when I get around to doing that, but I'll focus on the good things.

Monday, 24 November 2014

A NaNo update [after day 23]

As of today (being Day 24, but I haven't written anything for Day 24 yet), I have 43,302 words.

I need to write 957 words per day to win, which is basically what I've needed to write for a week or so now - and I've been sticking rather closely to that basic minimum word count.

I've had 2 days during November where I didn't write a single word, and then wrote double the required word count the next day to make up for it (not a big deal when "double" is only 2k of words).

All in all it hasn't been the easiest NaNo year, but nor has it been the hardest. I've had years before where every word was a struggle, at least towards the end.

I've also had years where the words just flew out.

So yeah, this year is somewhere in between.

When I was at around 41k I realised I didn't have enough left in my planned plot to get over 50k, but then I realised there was an entire chunk of story I hadn't even been going to address. So now I have the plan to address that chunk, and that'll take me well beyond 50k.

All in all, I'm "okay" with the story, but I definitely think it's messy - despite me having had a plan this time around. ;)

Anyway, that's me signing off for another day.

P.S. If I don't get to say it closer to the date,
I hope all my American friends have a great Turkeysday.
I think I have a soft spot for Thanksgiving, because my
SQUEAKY novels have turkey characters in them. ;)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

NaNoWriMo ~ Slowly she goes

As of the end of Day #18 (yesterday), I had written 37,556 words.

I have slowed right down to barely 1k a day, because this is all I require to hit 50k by the end of November. I think I wrote about 1200 words yesterday.

It's possible I won't finish the novel by November's end, but I'll definitely hit 50k!

I'm still enjoying the story, but I guess I am slightly burned out with other stuff going on in my life - namely, kitty rescue stuff - so it's all I can do to hit that small amount of words.

Today we are rescuing at least 12 cats (including at least 10 kittens).
There are 8 kittens with no mum, in one lot.
The other kittens are with a mum - all I know is that there's plural kittens there, but not sure how many.
We are also rescuing an old boy who looks sore, tired, and in need of serious TLC.

I volunteer with a bunch of awesomely generous and caring people. But it takes a lot of coordination to make a rescue like today's happen.

First we have to find a rescue to take on the cats. We also have to find a carer if the rescue doesn't have one available. We always try to have carers sorted first, so we can 'entice' our affiliated rescues to take the new kitties on. ;) Then we get to think about how to collect kitty from the pound. We have to organise transport, which often involves multiple people participating in a "transport relay", as is happening today.

I guess that's the challenging part, but after rescue, we also need to get the kitties healthy, get their vetwork done, and find them a forever home! And while we're doing all this, we have to find room for new cats coming into pounds weekly.

But it's very rewarding to be a part of this. Here's an e.g. of why:

One of our little foster babies in care at the moment - Webster.
Look out on Facebook for his very own page, coming soon. ;)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Reporting from Day 16 of NaNo

It's November 16th, so we're over halfway through NaNoWriMo 2014.

I'm currently at 32,833 words, which is a result of me writing the bare minimum some nights, and far less than the bare minimum other nights.

Early on I had some good nights where I wrote well above the bare minimum.

It's all averaged out to me being 6,216 words ahead of schedule, even without having completed today's word count.

I feel that I got over a big slow-going section and from here on in I should be able to speed up a bit, or at least find the writing more free-flowing.

But I guess only time will tell!

I hope you are all having great Novembers. :)

Now I have to go outside with my cat as he's meowing his head off demanding some attention. He likes me to go for walks down the driveway with him.

Monday, 10 November 2014

NaNoWriMo - 9 days in

I got a late start on my NaNoing on Saturday, but eventually I did get stuck into the writing - and only wrote about 3k for the whole day. Yesterday was even worse, with only 1.7k written.

My explanation is that on Saturday I was exhausted and also had a few things to do - like get my car's carpets shampooed after a beer bottle broke on the front passenger floor Friday night. On Sunday I had a visit from a friend who is in my cat rescue group, and we spent about 3 hours chatting. I also cleaned my house on Sunday. So, yeah, "stuff" got in the way. Still, I got the bare minimum done on Sunday, and more than that done on Saturday. It's all good!

So I'm sitting at 21,761 words after 9 days of writing. Some years I would be over 50k by now. Every year I participate in NaNoWriMo, things go differently for me. One year I'm pretty sure I was at 50k after 6 or 7 days. In 2011, I hit 50k by day 15, and then switched to my second novel of the month. Other times, I've taken until much later in November to hit that winning mark. It's interesting to look at the variation in stats. :)

November is a pretty quiet time of year for Australians, as compared with Americans with their Thanksgiving and so on. But I guess we still have those pesky lives to live, so that is bound to get in the way. :P

How are your Novembers going?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

IWSG #10 ~ It's NaNoWriMo time!

November is here, and so is the first Wednesday of that month! Of course that means it's time to post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This awesome group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and November's co-hosts are:

 LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard & SL Hennessy.

So what am I feeling insecure about this month? Oh, just the usual - the fact that this year has basically sucked when it comes to achieving goals. Or rather, I have sucked at my main goal of trying to get a lot of revision done.

Still, I've had fun this year, including during November so far. I've kicked off with my twelfth year of NaNoWriMo and am currently at 13,802 words. I'm writing LOST & FOUND, which I've had as an idea for a while now. I am basically jotting the bare bones story down, and will need to go back and add 'atmosphere' later. But for now, I'm just doing whatever keeps the writing flowing.

I'm pretty sure also that because of the way I've been jumping from scene to scene, I already have some inconsistencies that need fixing. And I have one chapter that doesn't really fit anywhere anymore, but I'm keeping it in there because it goes towards my word count. I will remove it, amend it, or find a new place for it, after November is done. ;)

For now: bare bones word spewage. After hitting 50k later in the month?: focusing on the flesh-out task (that sounds gross doesn't it? "flesh out"? hehe. reminds me of zombies for some reason).

In other news, I got a request maybe a month ago or so to be a CP, and I am reading the lady's novel right now, a sort of thriller/mystery/romance tale. I'm loving it. It's a pretty rough draft, with words missing here & there and so on, but polishing can come later. For now, the story itself is awesome and so very gripping.

Gotta love CPing a great story!