S R Silcox - Author

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Category: NaNoWriMo (page 1 of 2)

Nanowrimo: Extract

So I’m all worded out. At just over 27,000 words, I’m done for the month. Quite an achievement, obviously not as good as I hoped, but I’ll deal with what went wrong, and what went right, in another post.

I thought, since you’ve come along for the ride, that I might give you a taste of what I was writing about. As I said in an earlier post, I changed my story within the first few days, and I’m pretty happy with what I have down for the new one.

I think it has the potential for a life after Nano, and I have most of the major scenes that I imagined written. The plan is to put it away until after Christmas and concentrate on something else. When I pick it up again, I’ll go through with a red pen and get rid of anything that immediately doesn’t fit, and then re-write it, filling in the gaps, and bulking it out to (hopefully) around 70,000 words in the first few months of the new year.

Until then though, here’s a small extract from my Nano novel. (Note: this is unedited – it is exactly as originally written, so apologies for bad sentence structure and typos).

Just a bit of background – Quinn and Luke are best friends in their final year of high school. As the result of an accident, Quinn has ended up in Luke’s body. This scene takes place when Quinn finally returns to her own body. Unfortunately, this means that Luke has to die. This is the scene that ensues.

Everything came flooding back to me last night. I woke in the early hours of this morning to a feeling of dread. I was sweating, my heart palpitating and my breathing ragged. The doctor was sitting at the foot of my bed.

“Welcome back, Quinn,” he’d said. I immediately knew who he was and why he was here.

“I’m me again?” I asked.

“You’re you again,” he replied. I smiled. And then I realised that meant that Luke was no longer alive.
“I have someone here who insisted on talking to you.” He nodded towards the door. I looked over to see Luke standing there, leaning on the door frame. He was smiling at me, but he didn’t look like the Luke I knew. He looked somehow lighter. Peaceful.

“Luke?”

“Hey, Quinn.”

“Luke!” I tried to sit up. Luke walked over to my bed and sat down on the chair beside me. He helped me sit up and then took both my hands in his.

“I thought you were…”

“I am Quinn. John let me come back just to say goodbye. We never got to say goodbye Quinn, and I couldn’t bear leaving you like that.”

Tears started rolling down my cheeks. I knew. All these weeks, I knew Luke was gone, but somehow, living in his body, even for a little while made him feel like he was still really alive.

“You have to go?” I asked. Luke nodded.

“So, is this where you tell me to be true to myself and live long and prosper or something?”

Luke laughed. “Something like that,” he said. “Quinn, I really want you to know that it was me who needed you. Not the other way around. You’re the brave one, Quinn. You always have been.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

“Do you remember the day we met?” he asked.

“Sure. You beat up Andy Fitzgerald for picking on me. That’s why I started hanging around you,” I replied. Luke laughed.

“You were the one who stuck up for me, Quinn. I was playing in the sand pit with some new cars I’d gotten for my birthday. Andy came along and took them. I yelled at him, and you just walked up to him and told him to give them back. He called you a girl. Do you remember what you said to him?” Luke asked.

“No.”

“You said ‘I am not a girl’,” Luke said and laughed. I laughed too. What a funny thing to say. “Anyway,” continued Luke, “just having you there standing up for me made me brave enough to stand up for myself. While he was focused on you, I snatched my cars back out of his hands. He was so surprised. He went to hit me, but I got in first. I guess I made his nose bleed because I still had the cars in my hand.”

“I don’t remember it like that,” I said.

“I know you don’t, but I’ve never forgotten that day Quinn.” Luke smiled at me.

John cleared his throat. “Time, Luke,” he said.

“Listen Quinn, I know you’re going to have a tough time over the next few months, but I will be watching over you, I promise. I believe in you, Quinn. I always did and I always will. Never forget that.” Luke leant in and hugged me. It felt like I was hugging air. When he kissed me on the forehead, it felt like the tickle of a feather. When he stood back to look at me, I saw a single tear streak down his cheek.

“I have to go Quinn. I love you,” he said.

“I love you too, Luke,” I said. I watched as he turned and walked through the door.

As per usual, comments are always welcome. I’ll release a few more extracts over the next few weeks.

Nanowrimo: Day 21 – Help!

So, here’s the deal. Three days off has meant no more words added to my Nano novel, and I’m finding it hard to connect with the story again.
I’ve also realised I’ve been focussing too much on trying to make this story “good” and “readable” rather than just writing the damn thing and having fun. While I think this story has a chance at life after Nano, I’ve reverted to “pre-Nano writer” and been giving the story too much reverence. I need to get back to Super Writer mode, and fast!

What am I doing to fix this? I’m glad you asked. I’m going to throw my characters out of their comfort-zone.
Remember back when I made my random generator? I knew it would eventually come in handy some day (for something other than procrastination).

I’ve picked out a couple of traits from the “specials” box, and I want you to help me choose what I’m going to throw into my Nano novel, just to mix things up abit.

I’ll give you a little bit of background, hopefully without giving too much away.

Quinn (17) and Luke (18) are BFF’s in their final year of high-school. Quinn has just come out to Luke (who incidentally always knew Quinn was a lesbian, but for some reason, never told Quinn). He, of course, pays out on Quinn for her crushes, and makes bad lesbian jokes, as a BFF should do.

As a result of an accident, Quinn’s soul ends up in Luke’s body, so she gets to do things she wouldn’t normally get to do. Things like peeing standing up, crash-tackling her arch-nemesis Josh who plays on Luke’s football team (and who also happens to be the boyfriend of Quinn’s biggest crush), and cracking onto girls without fear of getting slapped – or laughed at.

It stands to reason that while she’s Luke, she discovers a secret Luke has kept hidden even from her.

My problem is – what is Luke’s secret?

That’s where you come in. I’ve put up a snap-poll to help me decide what Luke’s big secret is. Feel free to offer up any other suggestions, or longer reasonings or comments, in the comments section.

I’ll leave the poll up for 24hrs, and then start work on the next part of my Nano novel – tentatively titled “Luke’s Secret” – tomorrow night.

The poll’s up on the left, and closes at 7pm tomorrow night.

So get voting! And don’t forget to tell your friends!

Sunday Sesh #12 – Cascade Stout

This Sunday Sesh brought to you by Cascade Stout.

I’ve cheated a little this week and also in order to get ahead over the next few weeks – I bought a gift pack from Cascade with four of their beers in, so I’ll be reviewing them all over the next month. I’ve heard they make a good brew down in the southern-most state (something to do with the pureness of the water they reckon), and I wasn’t disappointed with this week’s choice.

“Hints of coffee and chocolate”

I’m joined in today’s Sunday’s Sesh with the Little Sister and the Bro-in-law, visiting from the Sunny Coast. They both had a taste of this. Bro-in-law isn’t a beer drinker but thought this one was alright. Little Sis enjoyed this one. She said she couldn’t taste the chocolate but it smelled like it had something in there. And she liked that the aftertaste wasn’t overpowering.

(Caveat: Bro-in-law said Little Sis would like anything with alcohol in it – I’m not sure what the problem is.)

I say this is a pretty good stout. It pours well in the glass with a creamy head, but not too much. It smells a little of chocolate and if you swirl it around in your mouth you can get a hint of the coffee.

This is a pretty heavy one at 1.7 standard drinks – and it feels like it. It goes down well, but probably would be suited more to winter rather than summer. Very much an after dinner beer this one I think.

Having said that, I will be getting this one again.

I was reading over my first couple of Sunday Sesh’s and thought I should do a quick update on the weather front, since the whole point was to bring on Summer.

I think it’s worked. The temps have been climbing pretty steadily the last few weeks, and it’s been perfect beer-drinking weather up here on the Ridge. We have a half-done deck which will be great once it’s finished to enjoy a few cold ones with friends, and I’ve been getting a few tips for beers to review from friends – stay tuned – they’ll be coming up soon.

The rising temps mean that Christmas will soon be upon us. And that means more beer-drinking, water slides, and catching up with rellies and friends.

Which we’ve been doing this weekend, which is why this Sunday Sesh is so short.

It’s also why there’s been no improvement on the word count for my Nano novel since Thursday. Plus, I had another migraine on Friday night – oh the pressure of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

I was planning on being as close to 35k as I could by tonight, but that’s just gone right out the window. I have another busy couple of weeks coming up so getting 50k is looking further and further away. I do like my story though, and I will get it finished regardless of whether I hit that 50k by the end of the month, so I will still be giving it a good crack. There might have to be some long nights if I want to score some more wagon wheels.

And Wifey has a secret reward planned if I crack the 50k mark so I do really want to get there to see what that is.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,
Cheers!

Nanowrimo: Half Way

I’ve been a little bit lax the last couple of days with the Nano thing. We had a big weekend and I tried to find some time to write but it didn’t turn out that way. Usually, I’d beat myself up for it and spend the next few days depressed because I couldn’t be disciplined enough to get words down, but I tried something different this time around.

This time, I promised myself more treats.

And it seems to have worked. Rather than concentrating on hitting my 1,667 words/day goal, I decided that every time I cranked out another 1,000 words, I’d give myself a Wagon Wheel. It also helps that whenever I call out to Wifey that I’ve cracked another 1,000 words she calls back “Here comes the Wagon Wheels!” with great enthusiasm.

I’ve cranked out some pretty good numbers but haven’t bested my current one-day high score of 2,680.

I think I’ll give that a run though this weekend, but we’ll see how we go.

I’ve just clicked over the 18k mark, which feels great. Especially when I realised that I still have so much of the story left to tell.

I’m still writing in scenes, and jumping around a bit and it still seems to be working for me. The last few days I’ve surprised myself by cranking out over 1,000 words each session even though I didn’t think I had anything to write.

I’ve also been plotting (sort of) during the day – thinking about other things the characters might get up to and what other situations would logically (and sometimes illogically) follow from previous ones.

I have some great scenes coming up that I’m looking forward to writing, but I’ve been holding off on them so I can get started on them leading into week four. I think I have at least 20k in them alone, so the closer I can get to 30k by the end of this weekend the better.

Ideally, I want to be around 35k – not impossible but quite an ask considering I have to write as much as I have done already, but only over the next couple of days.

Reading the forums on the Nanowrimo site has been a great source of inspiration. I think it’s the whole community feel of Nano that keeps me going. Writing can be pretty lonely sometimes, so when you jump onto a website and you’re able to lament your lack of enthusiasm for your characters (or your very real threat of knocking them off and continuing on with another more interesting character), and you hear how others are coping, it makes you feel a little less alone in this crazy quest.

On that note, I’m off to recharge my vocabulary muscles and dream about what the cover of my nano novel will look like when it’s published to great acclaim.

Sunday Sesh #10 – Cricketer’s Arms Lager

Today is a celebration Sunday Sesh, and I’m doing the honours with a Cricketers Arms Lager, brewed in Melbourne.

This one is light and crisp. If you look closely at the photo you’ll see there’s lots of bubbles. It’s very light for a lager, and it smells sweet and fruity.

It goes down a little bit like a shandy, which isn’t a bad thing on a hot day. The sweetness in this brew takes the edge off the bitterness.

If you like Bare Cove Radlers, you’ll like this drop.

So, why the celebration?

In the last 24 hours, I’ve managed to write more words in one novel than I’ve written across 4 of them in the last 6 months. And it felt bloody good to finally get a good run on for once.

I guess the beauty of Nano is that it frees you from the constraints you normally find yourself under when sitting at the computer banging away on the keys, hoping that the words you form make some sort of sense.

I know I said the Sunday Sesh’s during November would be writing-free since all my other posts would be full of my Nano-neurosis, but I stumbled across something last night that made me fly through my writing, and I wanted to share it with you.

Of all the things suggested to help get you through Nano, the one thing I struggled with was finding the right tunes. Most of the time I write with nothing but the sounds of cars going past, ambulances with sirens blasting, and the dogs barking incessantly at people walking too close to the fence. (You can see why I get so much work done under those circumstances). On the odd occasion I do have some music on while I attempt to get words on the page, it’s normally something like Enya. I have a bad habit of actually listening to the music and singing along to it, bopping away at the keyboard and not actually typing anything, so any music without words, or with words I can’t understand is good.

However, last night a song jumped out at me while I was writing and it made me sit up and think. I stopped typing and listened to the song a few times over, and I realised that it embodied the essence of my story. The feeling I got when I listened to that song and thought about where my plot was heading was just magic.

I got goosebumps, and new plot points began forming in my brain. My words came more easily and my characters jumped to life. No longer were they skimming along on the edges, blurry in my mind and doing meaningless things in an attempt to move the plot forward. They were taking on lives of their own. I could see the settings as clearly as if the characters were me. Instead of sounding like they were talking under water, their voices became much clearer.

I began to dig deeper and started asking them some hard questions.

That’s all well and good for my plot, but the thing I’m really happy about is that I am much more excited about writing than I have been in a long time. Regardless of whether I hit the 50k at the end of this month or not, the one thing I will take away from Nano (even at this early stage) is that I need to make sure I stay connected with my characters, and I need to make sure that they’re following their true paths, and not the ones I think they should be following.

And finding a theme song early on should be a priority.

Having said all of that, I should be writing. I still have a huge amount of words to get down to reach 15k – not likely but I’ll give it a good shake.

And for everyone wondering, my Nano-novel’s theme song is “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan. If you listen to it, you’ll discover what type of novel I’m writing. I just hope I can do the story, and my characters, justice.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,
Cheers!

Nanowrimo: Day Five – 10%

Word Count: 5,772

Day five and I’m still struggling, but it’s getting easier. I spent most of today procrastinating – grocery shopping, helping Wifey out with some small renos and house-hunting.

I did get in an hour of good writing time though, and got just over 1,400 words down. My goal of 15k by COE tomorrow night is a long way away to say the least, but if I can get somewhere close I’ll be happy.

I’m measuring my successes in small steps at the moment – just sitting down at the keyboard and making my characters do something (anything!) is a success at this point. I’ve also been reading the Nano forums and pep talks and doing little bits of reading in between to keep me in the right frame of mind.

I’m not ashamed to admit that more than once last night I wanted to walk away from the keyboard and throw it in completely. Instead, I went and made myself a coffee, ate a piece of chocolate from my treat stash, and asked myself what is the story that I really want to be writing.

Turns out it wasn’t the same one I’d started on Tuesday night. Go figure! Half the words I’ve written so far belong to that story, and I’m still counting them in my tally since they’re still words on a page I didn’t have at the start. If I manage to get past the 50,000 words though, I’ll totally discard them at the end.

So what happened when I came back in, re-caffeinated and more determined? I thought about the essence of the story I started and what I wanted to say. I have some great scenes written that will hopefully end up in another book some day, but they’re just not right for this one. And they’re just not right for the theme of the story I really wanted to write.

So, I put all my characters in a line-up. I threw some darts and picked a couple, and then did some what-ifs. I ended up changing my main character to a girl, her best friend to a boy, and tossed in a few elements from the original plot just to make things interesting.

So far, in the roughly 3,000 words I’ve written in the new improved Nano-novel, I’ve managed to pull out no less than six different extra plot points and discovered some things about these characters I never knew before. There’s skeletons in closets and secrets galore.

And yes, someone is still going to die. At the moment, it’s a roll of the dice who it’s going to be, and not even my characters know at this point. Which is probably a good thing – they’d react differently if they knew they were going to cark it.

I’m heading back to it to see if I can hit 7-8,000 words by COE tonight.

Before I go though, a big shout out to everyone who’s seen me pop up on facebook or in person, or had texts from me the last few days and asked “Shouldn’t you be writing?” Thanks guys.

Nanowrimo: Day Three – Small Successes

After a slow start on Day One, I finally managed to get in over a full daily quota of 1,684 words. That brings my total word count on Day Three to 3,426. (Day Twos’ count was 1,207). Still short of the 5,000-ish I should be, but I’m happy to be gradually building up the word count each night.

I struggled early last night to make any sort of headway, so I decided to change tact a little bit and just let one of the characters tell me the story from their point of view. It turned out to be the right thing to do. Changing from third person (“he/she”) to first (“I”) also made a huge difference. Sam, (my character), turns out to be a bit of a loser, but he tells a great story.

So I decided to let him keep going tonight and he didn’t disappoint. I’m not sure how many words I can drag out of him, but I’m happy to let him prattle on. I discovered a couple of little plot points I didn’t know existed that I’ll be happy to incorporate somewhere along the line. All in all, it seems to be setting things up nicely, and Sam keeps throwing up questions that need to be answered further down the track. Hopefully, (and this is a bit of a spoiler), he doesn’t get himself killed before he tells me what happens.

The next big goal for my word count is to hit 15,000 words by C.O.E (close of eyes ie bed-time) Sunday night, which means getting in close to 4,000 words each for the next three days. Not impossible, but I have a lot of time on my hands this weekend, and I’m primed to pull an all-nighter tomorrow night with the assistance of some strong, hot coffee.

Until then, I’m off to bed. Some of us have a real job to go to in the morning.

Stay tuned…..

Nanowrimo: Day One

Goal: 2,000
Word count: 535

Not as good as I’d hoped, but better than no words. I only got time to write at about 8pm, and had to shut myself away in the bedroom since our visitors are still here. I hate being unsociable.
Very aware that wifey needs to go to bed, so wasn’t able to concentrate well at all and ended up only getting in an hour.

I made two different starts, which will probably translate into two separate chapters and fleshed out some early ideas.

I’m hoping with some more time tomorrow night I’ll get more done. I have a goal to be at or around 10,000 words by Sunday night which will put me slightly ahead, so I’m going to shut myself away for a few hours at a time, and maybe have a late one Friday night.

I’ve realised that I’m really going to have take advantage of my weekends and Mondays in order to hit 50k words by the end of the month.

No word count widgets available yet, but will stick one up as soon as they do.

Time for some rest, and hopefully a better count tomorrow.

Sunday Sesh #9 – The Sesh With No Beer

Sorry about no Sunday Sesh this week. I’m still not overly good at this pre-planning thing. I’m blaming Nanowrimo, since you’re not supposed to plan too far ahead in order to get the best experience possible.

However,

Unplanned visitors + planned visitors + housework + reno’s = Full house and no time for blogging.

The simplest solution would have been for me to do the post early, and then just add the beer review before I posted. Not for me this business though. What if what I wrote on (say) Wednesday for the post was no longer relevant on Sunday? I’d have to completely re-write the post anyway.

I thought I could sneak in a quick post, review my beer and just write some crap about whatever was happening that interested me and then go be sociable.

It certainly did not work out that way.

Plus, it’s the day before Nanowrimo starts, my work week starts tomorrow and I’ll have visitors until Wednesday. I am NOT going to get my head-start I was hoping for.

On top of that, we have the tupperware party and a going away party for friends in two weeks that wipes out almost a full day. I have the next weekend free, and then we’re in Brisbane both weekends after that.

So I was wondering how this month was going to work with such an unproductive start and so much other stuff on. For a few days I tossed around just dropping Nano until next year, and I also tossed around dropping absolutely everything else except my real job.

I’ve decided that even though this month is one of the most hectic we’ve had all year, I’m still doing Nano because no matter how much I could have tried to get a fully free month, something would have come up to throw a spanner in the works.

So this is how it’s all going to go down this month. Bear in mind these are your rules as much as they are mine, and I apologise in advance for dropping off the radar for the next 30 days.

Things I am NOT doing (or restricting to next to nothing) for the next month:

Answering the phone – I’m giving Wifey my mobile phone when I’m at home. From tomorrow, Wifey will be my secretary after 5pm. All texts and phone calls will go through her. I can call and text to my heart’s content between 8.30am and 5pm, and because I’m at my real job between those hours, it means not very much at all. So unless you or someone else is dying, you’re going to have to get through my secretary first.

Facebooking and blog-reading – I’m restricting my facebooking and blog-reading, and will only allow myself to jump on if I reach my word counts for each day. If I’m behind from the previous day, I’ll need to catch up on those words as well as do that day’s word count before I can access the net. I will, however, post a link to the blog whenever I post. If you catch me on facebook, and there’s no post on the blog, flick me a message and ask what I’m doing on there. Alternatively, poke me and tell me to “GET WRITING DAMMIT!”

Watching TV – No TV. Not even the news in the afternoon. I’ll be setting the timers tonight to tape everything I would normally watch. There are no if’s or but’s on this rule. Even if I hit my word counts every day, I won’t be watching anything on the idiot box. Sitting down in front of the TV in December, catching up on all my shows, will be my reward for getting through the next 30 days, regardless of whether I hit that 50k or not.

Restricted Twitter – Why restricted and not just banned? Because I want to see how the other #nanowrimo’s are doing since it’s my first year. They’ve been getting pretty excited lately, and so far I’ve just watched and not tweeted too much. I may get in on the conversation as the month progresses though. I’ll see how things go.

Staying off the internet – This one’s a tricky one. I want to get onto the Nano forums, but I will only allow myself to do that after I’ve hit my word counts. I will only get online for that though. Any research I think I may have to do for the novel I’ll keep track of in a notebook, and if the Nano novel turns out to be ok, I’ll sort it out then. I can get a bit of an online fix to read newspapers etc at work before I get started and at lunch-time, so this won’t feel too restrictive.

There are probably other things I’ll be giving up or restricting over the next 30 days, but those are the major ones.

Since this post is quite long enough, I’ll leave over the things I will be doing during Nano for the next post, when I give my first report from the trenches.

Until then, I’m going to try to relax and not think about what lies ahead.

Nanowrimo: The Panic Begins

Nanowrimo starts in a week, and up until yesterday, I wasn’t overly excited. Why? Because after re-thinking the 50,000 words in 30 days pledge, I realised just how bloody crazy that is.

What the hell was I thinking?

I have my Nano novel idea ready to go. I’ve deliberately been not researching and not doing character profiles (not too indepth anyway) and not overthinking the plot. I am basing my Nano novel on four basic plot points. I have the start and end points, and a rough idea (if only in my head) of what could happen in between.

And yet to be able to write all of that, in at least 50,000 words and in 30 days whilst still working four days a week, and trying to maintain some semblance of a life?

I started hyperventilating. My chest began to tighten, and I thought I was going to have some sort of panic-induced attack of writer-self-doubt. Wifey would come home from work to see me balled up in the corner of my study, rocking back and forth, muttering incoherantly.

So what did I do? I made myself a strong coffee in a big mug, and sat outside in the sunshine on the deck. Then, in a caffeine-induced haze of bravado, I came back inside, cleaned off my white-board, wrote down the bare bones of my Nano plot, and then started writing in my Nano diary.

I wrote down all the crap that my self-doubt was trying to sabotage me with, and made myself some pretty easy goals. I thought about my long-term writing goals and wrote them down too. I realised that there are two possible scenarios that could happen by the end of November:

1. I could end up with a crap-load of dross in 50,000 words

or

2. I could end up with no novel

And the worst case for me would be to end up with nothing. It is afterall what I’ve started with. If I manage to do this, regardless of what happens at the end of it, I will be 50,000 words closer to having a publishable novel.

So the decision is made – at least for today – that I will forge ahead, and in seven days time be sitting eagerly at my keyboard, typing out the first word of my 50,000 word Nano masterpiece.

I hope you can come along for the ride.

Now, I’m off to work out what treats I want to fill my study with as an incentive to write. At the end of November, my head will be 50,000 words lighter, but my body may well be 50,000 words worth of treats heavier.

This is the first in a number of posts over the next 37 days about Nano. If you couldn’t give a flying frog about my Nano journey, I’m totally happy for you to come back after it’s all over. I still intend on doing my Sunday Sesh posts though, and promise to make them a Nano-free zone.

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