Day 1 of National Novel Writing Month and obviously my brain was overeager. It woke me up at 5am to start writing. I crawled out of bed managed 3,179 words before crawling back into bed for a couple more hours sleep. At least the writing went really smoothly. Hopefully I can look forward to that every day though I’m not holding my breath.
The headaches have been back today but that is probably due to the sleep deprivation. I only have a couple of days to go before I can start taking another Gabapentin tablet in the middle of the day and see if that helps me reduce the headaches.
I spent this afternoon catching up on my emails to fellow nano-ers. Hopefully I’ll be chatting backwards and forwards throughout the month to get and encouragement and support. The middle of the month is always a tough writing time so hopefully we can get each other through.
Otherwise it has been a quiet day, apart from the rain lashing the windows. Now I’m off to bed to catch up on some sleep before my sister comes home and demands I watch TV with her.
Wonderful but exhausting. I slept on the way home which is very rare for me and then had fours asleep as soon as I could stumble into bed. I find the face-to-face tutorial extremely useful for the exam revision. I wish we had been able to go a bit more in-depth with the exam question analysis but what we did was helpful. I was able to get some of my quibbles answered regarding my final assignment so I shall be fiddling tomorrow and then submitting as soon as possible.
National Novel Writing Month
I had honest to goodness tears in my eyes as I validated my novel yesterday. I made it! 31 days of thinking about my novel everyday, supporting my fellow campers and here I am a successful National Novel Writing Monthwriter.
I’m a winner!
This is me hitting the 50,000 word bullseye
My total word count for this month came to 50, 802 words. I did cheat slightly. I’ve been using acronyms for a lot of my military characters like DHMI for Deputy Head of Military Intelligence to save my fingers as I write. But this morning I went into Search and Replace and put in all the full names so I increased my word count without actually writing. Of course on the re-write I am going to have to think of actual names for all these people. They can’t just be job titles forever!
Tired day today. I was off to be poked with needles this afternoon.
I was up at my customary dawn hour. Since I was up I put my time to good use. Writing was like pulling teeth this morning. At 750 words I thought I was taking pliers to my teeth. At 1200 words I thought someone was raking nails across my brain. Then the next time I checked I was on 2500 words! Sometimes you just have to fight through to find the sweet spot. I’m am not just 30 words off 60,000 total word count. I thought about pushing on but I was too tired this morning. I went to crawl into bed for a couple more hours sleep.
I got up to my alarm to take my tablets at midday. I was incredibly disorientated. I had a really vivid dream involving having sharp aching pain in my abdomen, and being in a hospital ward. I think my brain is finally starting to process the events with my sister only two weeks ago.
I did get some reading down after acupuncture but non-fiction. I am working my way through books on writing advice. Today I finished:
My cat, Tiggy, has been getting thinner for a while now and so we finally bit the bullet and made the 10 minute drive to the vet yesterday. She was an absolute darling on the table, spent the examination rubbing up against the vet and me. But she really doesn’t like the car and meowed piteously the whole way there and back. She was fine once she was in her box but getting her in earned me a big scratch across my hand where she swiped me by accident trying to get her paws back out of the cat box – again ! The vet just eased her back in the box like nothing had happened. She was like Houdini when I tried ! 😉
Looks like she might have kidney or thyroid problems. She is quite old, 10 years, so it is not unexpected at this point. We just have to wait for the blood test results to come back on Monday and then we’ll see whether we will be forcing tablets down her throat regularly. I may end up covered in stripes! 😦
Made my word count!! 🙂 It’s been a day for naps today. Everyone ended up going back to bed for at least a couple of hours today. I’m still sleeping in short stints so I was up til 5am then slept from 9am til 13:00. It is working out well to aid my writing as I can get a couple of hours writing in early in the morning when everyone is asleep so there are no interruptions or distractions.
I made myself cry today. I had to write finally(!) the scene showing the deaths of Jasmine’s, my young female heroine’s, mother and sister who have been held captive for over a month by the evil invaders. It is actually a very peaceful scene as they commit suicide by swallowing a special poison but Jasmine is watching it in a vision. She gets a graphic view of all their injuries but can’t speak or touch them. In fact because it is a vision she can’t scream, or cry, or move at will at all. So she is held immobile watching it all unfold. I think it was the fact she can’t scream or cry that is the most disturbing element.
My poor Jasmine – she has no idea. It is only going to get worse in terms of what her visions show her.
I want some liquid morphine. My sister got some why can’t I? The headache is appalling today. I’m barely sleeping – only an hour or two at a go. I’ve been tossing back the painkillers every four hours.
I did manage to use my hours in the dark to mull over my next scenes. Looks like my characters are trying to go off on their own plot again. I’ve decided to let have their way for now but they will listen to me later. We have plot points to hit!
I’ve been enjoying the diving and equestrian today. I can potter on my computer and see the TV out of the corner of my eye so I can look up for the good moments. I got very distracted by the diving though. Eye candy anyone?
I don’t know why I bother crawling out of bed some days. Today I’ve been wrestling with the lurgy monster. I’ve come down with a cold: sore throat, nausea, severe migraine, chills and flushes. It’s been a day of chucking back the painkillers and hiding in the dark.
Given that sleep has been pretty difficult I was up at 05:00 this morning and typing away. I managed to get two scenes written today. I haven’t quite figured out how to finish one scene. I’ve kinda just stopped but that is what the editing process is for. Final word count today is 43, 750 words. Chapter 18 is probably done for now so I shall move onto Chapter 19. It was slow writing today. I’m writing the scenes showing the horrors of the invading army’s occupation. It is pretty hard going in places. I’ll be glad to get back to events in the capital and the politics – even though I’ve been dreading it!
My sister is looking up. She is walking around reasonably spritely and not tossing the painkillers back. So I’ve taken back my title as ‘the sick one’.
Slow day today. Been curled up in bed studying my eyelids or watching TV. My sister was home today so she ‘encouraged’ me to watch Once Upon A Time and The Closer. I spent most of the rest of the time curled up in the dark. The headache has been persistent over the last couple of days. Today a mad scientist was using a laser to cut circles into the bone beside my eyes and on top of my skull, while using a scalpel to slice up the center of my forehead and holding my head in place with probes spearing into my skin behind my ears.
I did manage to get a scene in my book written this morning at 06:30 !! I’m still not sleeping well 😦 35,042 words as of this morning. 🙂
It’s too early !! 😦 Why am I awake? Gahh. I managed 6 hours interrupted sleep over night on the heels of yesterday where I only got 3 hours sleep. I had the most horrendous headache yesterday. I felt like some creature had got it’s mouth parts on the back of my head and was trying to chew its way in, while its pointy sharp fingers tried to gouge out my eyes. I made it to an 8 on my headache scale. It was a pleasant couple of hours in the dark !
I was trying to get some sleep in as I am well aware 3 hours sleep is a nap not a night’s sleep. However my afternoon nap was doomed to failure and I spent 3 hours lying in the dark staring at the back of my eyelids. Eventually the pain died down enough that I could cope with my bedside lamp on, so I was able to read my Kindle for another hour before my headache eased down to normal proportions.
I used my hours in the dark working out an excellent back history to my fictional countries interactions. Combined with my research on rainfall and geography I think I have a solid basis for why one country would be fertile and the neighbouring country have water shortages. I also tried to think out my current outline. When I started I was only planning on one book for the whole story, but it is taking me a lot longer to get through the first section than I thought. Either this is a bad thing and I’m over writing this section or this is a ‘good’ thing and the story actually stands up to being much more in-depth than I originally intended.
I think I have 6 sections to my outline and I’m about 2/3rds the way through the first section. Now they may not all be of equal length but if all six sections are 30,000 words plus then my final word count would be 180,000 words plus. Given that I think this first section is going to need at least 2 more chapters I expect this section to come out at a draft word count of apprx. 48,000, which would make the final word count 288,000. Rather long for one novel !!! So I was thinking, in my enforced darkness, that there is a reasonably natural stopping point in the first 1/3rd of section 3 so I could split the whole story in two at that point and depending on how the last few sections write there is a way to make the last section into an entry into a sequel. Anyway thoughts like this keep me happy and entertained while my head feels like it is being chewed open.
‘Good’ stories mutate on you as you write them so I’m not totally surprised by this turn of events but I think I am surprised that I had so much depth planned without really realizing it. I think this is mainly to do with the fact that everything has to have a reason. I can’t write it if I don’t know why it is the way it is even if that reason is never explicitly stated in the novel. Which is why I spent some of my three hour contemplation working out why the building I’m using is place where it is geographical which lead to a complex territorial dispute between neighbouring countries in the early formation of their states. I love my subconscious since the details dovetailed nicely with some previous thoughts I had had on history of certain famous figures in my backstory.
It’s too early ! My body is very confused that I actually went to bed before 1 am and thought I was going for a nap not a sleep. So here I am awake at an unearthly hour of the morning. I have managed to get some work done though so that’s a benefit of these extra hours awake.
I’m still trying to tackle the use of the comma and other punctuation. I got a grammar guide out from the library to see if reading on paper vs off the screen would help me. I’m not convinced I’m getting the plot any better. I did learn something new about the apostrophe. Apparently if you say “in a weeks time” it should be “weeks’ time” which I did not know so that’s something I’ve learnt.
I’m refusing to pay much attention to the use of commas in my own writing; otherwise I would spend most of my writing sessions agonizing over them. I’m a bit worried I’m being overly descriptive in my writing but I can’t seem to stop myself so I will have to rely on a good editor to help me weed out the unnecessary passages. Currently I can justify why I’ve included those passages but perhaps once I get to the end of the novel these early scenes will take on a different weight within the story and I’ll be able to shuffle material about a bit more.
I haven’t quite decided if I am finished with Chapter 4 yet. I may add in another scene or I may jump to the next chapter. At the moment the end of each chapter is a jump in time and character viewpoint so far I have ended each shift with a ‘cliff-hanger’ or at least a concern that is not resolved until the middle of the next chapter. I am hoping this creates a desire in the reader to keep reading to find out what the outcome is / was.
I’m currently at 24, 732 words precisely ! With a bit of maths I work out that the current word count per chapter multiplied by the current number of chapters gives me a final word count of 136, 000 words. So at least this is going down from 145, 000 on my last calculation. I’m hoping I can get down to at least 100, 000 words by the time I finish. Given that I intend to sell as an ebook length is not a consideration in quite the same way as with a paper book where weight is an issue. However without a tight control on the word count it is easy for books to get flabby. There is nothing worse than getting three quarters of the way into a book and then being dragged through some tedious descriptions when all you want as the reader is to know what happens next.
Well I’m off to decide on that extra scene. If you are interested in any of this writing stuff then I have put together some useful resources on the Your Writing page. I’ve included the computer programs I’ve been using, the online grammar sites I regularly end up checking and some free ebooks from Amazon about self-publishing on the Kindle.
Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 8 hours in 3 sessions 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 4 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 😦
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 5 😐
I hate the dentist. I’m being frogmarched to see him today. This has resulted in a dreadful night’s sleep and a piercing headache. I’m not looking forward to facing daylight. I’m currently in my cave of a bedroom nicely insulated from all natural light. I shall have to leave eventually though; the countdown to departure has already begun – T minus 50 minutes.
I spent my fitful waking hours in the night soothing myself with thoughts of the palace grounds layout I’ve completed and town layout which is still in progress. Chapter 2 is now ‘complete’ at 6200 words. Some of the scenes will need some work to add in descriptive stuff. I tend to be more focused on getting the dialogue and major movements covered in the first run through. Things like characters’ appearance descriptions get added in later.
Chapter 3 is going to be a bit tricky since I haven’t worked out all the logistics yet. I need to get my characters about 50 miles across a border but I haven’t quite confirmed in my mind what their initial destination should be. I know where I need them to end up by the beginning of Chapter 4 but haven’t quite got the details worked out yet for how I’ll get them there. Hopefully those details will come to me as I write the scenes. One thing tends to lead to another so that the end location is totally logical once you are working the details though.
Actually another thought I had while avoiding thinking about the dentist was that I shall have to try to slow down with the writing. I’ve been putting in about 4 or 5 hours a day which in my health state is a lot. I’m enjoying this boom in brain function and don’t want to kill it off by over working. I have a terrible history of boom and bust with the ME. It’s a classic problem with sufferers of the illness and this time I want to extend my brain health for as long as possible. At least until either my Open University exam in October or I finish the novel which comes last !
Right I’m off to face the disapproval of my dentist. Wish me luck and the retention of all my teeth.