Friday, November 30, 2007

I won. Though it may seem like a bit of a pointless victory, its not. My novel is far from done, mostly its a collection of "might work" chapters, some that aren't even finished, and a collection of notes that's actually more complete than the novel itself. It IS a victory. Under the presure of Nano, the story warped and twisted into something I hadn't planned on. It grew and flourished, it spawned ideas and new concepts that I hadn't previously entertained as possibilities. Most of all it created and killed characters and forced me to write more than I've written in the past three years, combined. I'm a better person for it though, right now, I am very tired.

Thanks for everyone's support, We'll do it all again next year :)

John, the Writer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nano is like a relationship.

Theres the honeymoon phase where everything is excellent, the days fly by and wonderful memories are created. Then theres the slow rut where you're comfortable and stable without doing anything spectacular. Then there's this time that apparently all authors hit: the slump.

I'm here, and its where we artistic types get the sterotypes of being angsty and depressed. How can life go on when this story is so horrible? The plot doesn't match up with anything, the characters are horrible and everything is very, very distressing. Its at this point that you wonder if it isn't time to call it quits, find something new to write and forget about this drivel. This is where I am with Culture.

I have the same misgivings about this story that I did when I first started it. The previous story ideas keep getting in the way of the new ones and the plot seems to be stalemating. From a prose point of view, its actually coming along very well; the city of Sarient is taking on amazing shape. But its not exciting, not yet. And an adventure that isn't exciting isn't much of an adventure at all.

With that said here's my plan going forward ( heh if anyone cares )

1) I'm hitting the 50K word goal. I will accomplish this feat by use of what I'm going to call the 'Odds and Ends' approach. I'm going to try writing bits and pieces of what the final product should look like, experiment with a bunch of different scenes that may or may not find a place in the final version and try my characters in a bunch of different roles until I find something that fits. This will not make a complete story. As far as I'm concerned this will result in a big mess.

2) I'm going to finish it. I won't be finished by the end of November, not by a long shot. But I think I'll be in a position that I know where the story should go, how the major events should happen and, most of all, know who my characters are. Imagining my characters has been the hardest struggle with Culture, but hopefully they'll stick with me and get me through.

That's my plan. If anyone wants to read the resulting "mess" of Nano, you're more than welcome to. I would really enjoy any critisism that anyone has to give me on this one. Just know it for what it is, a first try on a very large piece that will come into its own someday, Just not someday soon.

Thanks to everyone who's encouraged me this month and thanks to Tina for listening to my rants and smacking me when I needed it. Love ya babe!

John, the Writer

P.S. 27559 words and counting ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update from Nano...

I'm not going to report too much today, except that I'm on track. I think I'm driving my fiance nuts with my constant word count calculations when really I should just be writing and checking it later, but thats ok. Less than a month to go Babe, then I'll go into edit mode ;)

Anywho, I took a four day weekend this past weekend that I was able to set aside at least an hour a day to work on Culture, and sometimes more like 3 hours. The result was over 8000 words written for a grand total of 19100 words. Already I've exceeded my word counts from last year, so that in itself is fairly major victory.

The real challenge will be to finish strong next week as One weekend I will be visiting my parents and there are a few days during the week when I have other commitments. Still, whatever the word result of this month, I am very happy with the place that Culture is going. Its exciting because its not a place I would have thought it would go a month ago and really, thats what Nano is all about; forcing a writer to expand their ideas of a story with new ideas.

I'm really looking forward to finishing this piece of writing, and looking forward to sharing it here and other places. I won't post an excerpt at this time as it really does need to be edited harshly.

Thanks for the support, and God Bless ya all :)

John, the Writer.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Update from Nano...

Hey all! I've got to say that I was right, somewhat. I feared that trying to rewrite a story instead of writing on a new idea might be harder just because there is a previous version. This weekend I kept trying to write on the original idea and lets just say, it didn't work so well. Saturday was a very frustrating day. Yesterday, however, was a good day and I came up with some very fresh ideas on how to use the characters I already had in a slightly different place in thier lives. Although I only have a little over 2500 words written (and realistically should have just about 10,000) I feel I am in a better mindset to forge forward. The hardest part is to keep from going back and editing as I get new ideas for the story, but that comes later, in december :)

Alright I will quit yaking now and give you all what you so deeply desire. Heres an excerpt from the first chapter of 'Culture: a working title'. I hope you enjoy this part as much as I enjoyed imagining Sarient's central train transfer station.

John, the Writer


The square at Sage and 6th was the busiest corner in all Sarient. The two streets came to a junction and formed a square with most of three sides worth closed in with buildings, leaving an open square in the middle. Sage came from the east and exited the square through a tall arc at the far western side of the square, a tunnel built through the buildings themselves.
Originally home to a set of University dorms and two sides worth of shops and coffee houses flanking it, the square was now home to two of the largest rail companies in Dinland, the South Transit Company and Greenway Rail. The Dorms had been torn down in recent years to make room for the transfer platforms and massive service garage that both of the companies shared, but the stores had stayed on. No longer having to cater exclusively, the shops at Sage and 6th enjoyed a much higher volume of traffic. Everyone who worked in the South Side factory district had to, at some point in their day, pass through Sage and 6th.
As such the square had attracted other tenants; the nation's bank occupied a narrow space between two platforms and rose up in an umbrella like tower. The base only had room for several doors, two elevators and several teller boxes; the upstairs was significantly larger, as were the basement vaults and offices. Other less significant money lenders and accountants rented vault space from the Nations Bank. The Walton was a gentleman's club of high repute, walled off from the rest of the square with black iron and a small garden. Sherman's livery and tack, Maybelle fine dresses, various stores specializing in clothes or clocks or a hundred other things made up the malls on either side of the square, where the buildings at times were four stories tall. Each was attached to the other through a maze of halls and elevators, meaning that a shopper could go inside at one end and spend an entire day making their way through stores and come out on the other side.
The square itself was one of the only open squares left in the city where most of the streets had become clustered with houses and buildings to the point where even the streets themselves seemed to be shrinking. Street vendors, performers and baggers made the most of this, hawking wares from push wagons and begging for money by way of entertaining or pity. Children and dogs ran amid the legs of the workers that streamed constantly to and from their shifts in the factories, picking up garbage and scraps left by the commuters. It was a sea of gray workers tunics and grubby faces where the occasional bright woman's hat or fine business suit would drift, listless and then lost amid the shifting tides. The people were the water and the trams were the current.
Over the past ten years the rail companies had laid down mile after mile of track and set up the wires for the trams themselves. They moved almost endlessly, filling the city with noise, stopping only for a six hour period each night for maintenance. The rest of the time they moved people effectively, each seat crammed full and more passengers hanging off the side steps. Those that ran through the city ran on wires and electricity but the larger trams meant for crossing the Greenway to the North East were monsters powered on steam with elegant coach and dining cars for those that could afford it and box cars lined with benches for those that couldn't. From Sage and 6th a man could get anywhere in the country.