November Projects

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I probably should have posted this earlier in the month, but obviously I didn’t (I’ve been busy).

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

You may have noticed the that the example NaNoWriMo ProgPress meter in my earlier post is actually live. I wasn’t really sure I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year until fairly late. Then I considered how much writing I haven’t been getting done, and started to consider it.

I participated in 2006 and 2007 (“winning” both times), but this was going to be different. The problem was, I didn’t have an outline ready, or even an idea I’d been grooming for a new project. The idea of trying to write 50,000 new words in thirty days without any real plan and only a few days to come up with one scared me. Which is exactly why I decided to do it.

I started the month with about 10 sentences of semi-connected thoughts where I’d usually have a more detailed outline. Some of them haven’t worked out at all, but I am producing words at a steady pace and I have a reasonable chance of “winning” this year. Feel free to follow my progress on my NaNoWriMo profile.

HoNoToGroABeMo: How Not To Grow a Beard Month

HoNoToGroABeMo 2010: Day 8I’ve also been participating this other, less stressful, month-long project.  I shaved off my beard late on October, 31 (although not before doing something silly with it first), and I’ll be letting it grow throughout the month of November.

This isn’t just about growing face fur though, it’s a fundraiser. All funds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  The lofty goal is to raise $5,000, and you can help by sponsoring me. Check out my HoNoGroABeMo page where (just about) every day on I post a photo of my progress, and blog entry (which is probably more blog posting than I’ve done in the last year). It currently looks like despite all the manly facial hair antics the fundraiser is going to come up short this year, so anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

ProgPress 1.1: Now With NaNoWriMo Support

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

ProgPress 1.1 is available now.  There are a number of internal changes, with the goal of making it easier to create “add-on” plugins for ProgPress.  The biggest new feature is the first one of the add-on plugins allowing you to use ProgPress to integrate into the NaNoWriMo Word Count API.

ProgPress -- NaNoWriMo Support in the Plugin AdminTo enable this feature you have to first activate the ProgPress — NaNoWriMo Support plugin (automatically installed with ProgPress 1.1).  Once that’s done, you can use the nanowrimo attribute on the [progpress] shortcode to pass in your NaNoWriMo user id.  This overrides the goal, current, and previous attributes.

Example shortcode:

[progpress nanowrimo="136732" title="NaNoWriMo 2010" label="words"]

Example output:

ProgPress Error:NaNoWriMo Wodcount API Error (username=136732) Please switch to using your username

Novel Snippet

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I’m going to be leaving my latest novel draft to sit for a while, but a good number of people cheered me along so I thought I’d toss out a small snippet in case anyone is interested in reading it.

Be warned: It’s rough, this is not my greatest work, and possibly not even a good example1. Also it shows at least one quirk of my early drafts that may be a deal breaker for some folks.. When I’m writing along and I come across a character2 that I’ve yet to name, I just pick a word3 and place it in brackets ([ ]). I do this because I’ve found stopping to decide on a name can kill my momentum deader than dead. Also, as I have developed rather strict language rules for this world I can’t just pull something out of thin air. So even though the second guard is a major character throughout the novel, so far I know him only as [Driver], because when he showed up, that’s what he was doing.

So, if after all that you still want to read it, I hope you enjoy it.

(more…)
  1. I’m currently too close to this one to be in any way objective at this point. []
  2. Or a place, or race of strange creatures, or a new flavor of pie. Pretty much any noun. []
  3. Usually a word that describes who they are, or what they’re doing in the first scene they appear []

Well That’s Done

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
WIP Novel
First Draft
97,778/97,778 words

Just a quick post to note that yesterday I finally typed “THE END” on the first draft of this latest novel. I’ll post about it in more detail soon, but I wanted to thank all the folks who offered encouragement and support throughout the process. You know who you are. I’d list you all, but I’m sure I’d leave someone out1 (but if you can always list yourselves by leaving comments).

  1. and I’m already running late this morning []

NaNoWriMo 2007: I Win (Now Back to Work)

Friday, November 30th, 2007
NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner Yesterday I passed the 50,000 word goal necessary to succeed at NaNoWriMo. I didn’t do quite as good as last year, which probably stems from the state of the outline going into November. It still has some holes, but it’s in better shape now then when I started. I don’t think I learned anything new from the process, but it was great to get back into serious a daily writing ritual (a process I started before November to be sure I was prepared). It’s also great to have 55% of a new novel down in first draft form. The trick will be keeping at it for the next 40,000 words. I can’t keep up this pace, but I plan to not drop below 1,000 words a day. I didn’t intend to take today off from writing, but life had other plans. I want to thank the folks who cheered me on via twitter. It really was a great motivator (and one I hope to keep using now that NaNoWriMo is over). I’d also like to thank the folks behind The NanoMonkeys podcast, both for the daily advice, and for giving me a chance to try my hand at podcasting1 and risking the reputation of their Parsec Award nominated podcast in the process. I hope other writers who listened found my advice useful. And of course, thanks to my family for putting up with the hectic schedule that allowed me to succeed. Congratulations to everyone else who reached their goal this month. I hope everyone who tried, whether they succeeded or not, came out of the experience with something positive.

Progress Graph

  1. original post is long gone, but you can snag the replay []

NaNoWriMo 2007

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 Participant

I figured it was time for a bit of a writing update. I’m currently prepping for NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is you can read about on their site. Short version: Write 50,000 words on a new novel during the month of November. I did it last year (and won) and I’m looking forward to trying again.

I’m currently doing some plot work in preparation. I’m using the same world as I used for Miracles, but none of the same characters (although I could easily play six degrees of separation I don’t think any of that will make it into the book). This will be the first novel I’ve written using Scrivener (the software that got me to buy a Mac mini, but that’s whole other post). I’m planning on the novel (not titled, I never seem to title my novels until the end) being about 90,000 words, which means I should finish my first draft sometime in January, although I’m aiming for the end of the year.

After this one is done I’ll go back and restart the stalled slog on Miracles, and possibly toss around some of my short stories back out into the market. I hope to have the Miracles revisions done by April, then I’ll hopefully start revising this new book. My first novel is pretty much dead in the water. I’m still waiting for feedback from two of my first readers (hmmm, time for an email). The feedback I’ve gotten to date has me thinking that there’s something worth saving there, but it needs a lot of work. If nothing else it was a great learning experience.

I’m also planning to try and post updates once a week in November, but it all depends on my word count progress (pretty much everything in November depends on my word count progress). If you miss hearing from me or just can’t get enough of me I recorded an episode of The NanoMonkeys Podcast1 (my podcast premiere, not counting voice mail or live chat) during the first few days of November. Besides, if you aren’t busy you should sign up for NaNoWrimo yourself (and leave a comment if you do).

  1. original post is long gone, but you can snag the replay []

Sunday Morning Progress

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Made some good progress this AM on the manuscript slog. I polished off two chapters before everyone got up (and managed to take a walk in between). My first draft was all from a single characters POV. This was great during NaNo to keep going, but I never intended to keep it that way. Chapter two was the first to change POV, and it went pretty well, but I think it might be a bit short. We’ll see once I get to the type in. Two characters with one line each at either end of the book merged into an all new, and much more fun character with a bit more to do, which was nice. I hope to squeeze some more time in somewhere today, but I’m happy with what I got done if I don’t.

“Miracles” First Draft Completed

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

I finished my first draft this morning. I’d been having a hard time writing the past few days and I wasn’t quite sure why. This morning I was able to turn my inner editor back off and just write, and to my surprise I had reached “The End”. My goal was to make sure I finished this draft by the end of the year, so I’m rather glad that I’ve gotten it out of the way now so I can enjoy the holidays more.

I don’t think I’m going to revise this draft using One Pass, but instead I’ll write an expanded second draft after this one has cooled for a bit. When I started I had some ideas for what to do with a short work, but since I wrote this book with very little description I want to add the missing detail in and see where that puts me. I also want to take some of the new ideas about the world and work them back into my other worldbuilding note before starting the next draft, so things seem a bit less nebulous.

NaNoWriMo 2006: I Did It!

Monday, November 27th, 2006
NaNoWrimo2006 Badge (small)

Yesterday I was ready to stop writing for the day, so I calculated my word count and was a surprised to see I was within 300 words of the 50,000 word finish line. I decided to keep going and ten minutes later I checked again and I’d crossed the line (not by much, but that’s not the point).

So 50,000 words in 26 days. That beats anything I’ve ever done before. Is it any good? I think it is. Maybe not right now, but with a bit more work. Of course the novel isn’t finished. I’m guessing it’ll be about 60,000 by the end of this draft. It’s a very rough draft, but it’s nearly finished. My last novel had over 100,000 words in the first draft, but it took me about a year to write. At my current pace I’d have that done in two months.

So what have I learned? (more…)

NaNoWriMo 2006

Sunday, November 5th, 2006
NaNoWrimo Progress Graph

Sorry about the lack of updates. If you’ve been wondering where I am, you haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo, meaning I have until the end of the month to complete 50,000 words of a novel. I doubt I’ll be updating much during that time because if I have time to post then I should be working on the novel. Things should return to normal once I’m finished.