NaNoWriMo

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The Plan (NaNoWriMo Edition)

Today’s post would normally be about my goals for the month, but as it’s November, my goal is to participate in and maybe even win NaNoWriMo, as evidenced by my super cool badge here:

So, today I thought I might talk about how I plan to do that. If it can be considered a plan. It doesn’t feel much like a plan, but it is at least a little more than the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I was working with before, so maybe?

Anyway, this month’s theme is Pot Luck.

Meaning I didn’t have an idea for a singular story that could net me 50,000 words, so I decided to call upon my current slate of unfinished/unstarted WIPs in hopes that between all of them I can cobble together those elusive 50,000 words.

This puts me firmly in the NaNo Rebel category, but truth be told, I am a rebel in November more often than I’m not. (And somewhere, the support group of authority figures who had the displeasure of trying to tell me what to do just collectively scoffed and said, “Yeah. It’s not just November, you pain in the ass.”)

So here now, for your reading pleasure, are the WIPs on which I hope to be working this month:

Terrible Romance Sequel

As you may have guessed from the very clever name, this is supposed to be the next installment of the Terrible Romance Series. I started it last November during NaNoWriMo and didn’t finish it and didn’t look at it again until recently when I took it out of the drawer to take stock of its state, for lack of a better word.

Yeah…it turns out there really isn’t a plot. Or a beginning or an end. Or a romance between my main characters, but why is that important in a romance novel?

One of my goals for 2021 was to finish the first draft of this story, so I would like to see if I can maybe do that this month. It will require me to come up with an actual plot, though, (and probably some romance) so we’ll have to see how it goes.

—Adventures In Babysitting

This is the working title for a companion novella idea I had for my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles. It doesn’t have very much in the way of a plot yet (why do none of my stories have plots?!?), so again, we’ll have to see how it goes.

Threnody

This is the title for the fourth book in The Coileáin Chronicles. You know, the one I really didn’t want to write? Yeah, well, it has a name now, and I’m super thrilled about it. And no, it doesn’t have a plot, but apparently, I just don’t work that way anymore.

At this point, I’m viewing this more as a thought exercise. I’m not sure what will happen, so I’m going to explore what can happen and see where that takes me. Who knows—maybe it’ll lead to a better ending for Full Circle.

—The Third One

This is the third intended installment of the Terrible Romance Series. Because OF COURSE there are three of them. It’s on the list mostly because I have some ideas for it, and it’s possible that working on the Terrible Romance Sequel could lead to additional ideas, and every idea I get down is more words toward that 50k. So it’s on the list.

How Many Angels

This is my attempt at literary fiction. It’s supposed to be a hybrid of Steel Magnolias and William Faulker’s As I Lay Dying but set in Maine. I started writing it back in high school (so, you know, back in the dark ages) and have been ignoring it since college. I’m curious if I can get past all of the extremely cringe-worthy crap I wrote back then (because OMG, it’s terrible) to see if there’s a worthwhile story buried in there somewhere. Because right now, I think the only thing maybe even a little salvageable here is the concept.

I don’t know how this month-long experiment will go. I admit I don’t have high hopes for a win. I just feel too unfocused for that. I don’t mind if I don’t get a win, though. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve lost, and it won’t be the last. Besides, though I admit I do enjoy winning, I don’t do this for the win. I do this thing for the challenge itself. I want to see what will happen…even if all that happens is me spending thirty days staring at a blinking cursor while ingesting an inhuman amount of sugar.

But who knows? Perhaps I shall surprise myself. The good thing about not having high hopes is that it’s a hell of a lot easier to meet and/or exceed those expectations. (And yeah, you’re probably going to look at the word count stats below and be all, “WTF are you talking about, you weirdo? It look like it’s going all right to me.” To which I have to say, “Yes, I am more than a weirdo, and I usually crush the word count in the first week. It doesn’t mean anything.”)

Perhaps one of these projects will catch fire (hopefully not literally, though…) and grab hold and inspire the hell out of me.

It could happen.

NaNoWriMo started on Monday, so I am now three days into the Pot Luck experiment. Here’s where things stand thus far:

CAMP STATS

Word count goal: 50,000

Where the WC should be: 5,001

Where the WC actually is: 7,648

WIP getting the most love: Adventures In Babysitting (7,081 words)

What will happen? Stay tuned to this channel for occasional updates. Unless I forget or go into some kind of sugar coma. If that happens, I’ll see y’all in December.

Stay safe and well, all.

October Goals

It’s a new month, y’all, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of MY MONTHLY GOALS!

But before we get to the main event, let’s take a look at how I did with last month’s goals…

—Complete the first draft of Full Circle

Well…it’s…let’s just say I am done working on it. For now. Maybe forever. Probably not forever, but I don’t know. What I do know is that I wrote the worst ending in the history of endings (Congratulations, Game of Thrones, you’re off the hook!), which doesn’t really matter given that the whole damn book is pretty much held together by scotch tape and chewing gum. I’m not convinced any of it is anything worthwhile, but the manuscript is now sitting in the metaphorical drawer until at least January (maybe longer. We’ll see how it goes) and the storyboard went through the shredder, so…I’m done working on it.

But because I’m so unimpressed with…well, everything, these days, this is not something I’m choosing to celebrate.

—Figure out September’s marketing attempt and, you know, attempt it

I did this. I mean, these attempts all year have been the silliest, smallest things that could possibly be considered ‘marketing’ and ‘attempts’, so it’s not like I’m really achieving a whole hell of a lot here, but I did do a little something.

—Walk at least three miles every day

This, I did. Well, on average, anyway. I was short a couple of days for various reasons, but my daily average was 3.5 miles per day.

Thanks, puppies!

Now for October’s goals…

—Make a plan for NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I am once again acting as my region’s ML (municipal liaison), so participating in the main event is part of the deal.

I don’t, however, have a solid plan of what I want to work on. Or any plan, really. The original plan from way back in January was to work on a brand new project because, in theory, both Full Circle and Terrible Romance Sequel would be finished and sitting in the drawer come November.

Which…didn’t happen.

So a new plan is in order. Because right now, this is my project:

—Walk at least three miles every day

Because, apparently, it’s good if one doesn’t just become part of one’s couch or one’s desk chair.

So that’s what I have going on this month. What are your goals? Are you also gearing up for NaNoWriMo? (If you’re looking for wrimo buddies, I can be found using the very clever user name of M.J. Fifield…)

Thanks for stopping by! Stay safe and well, all.

One Last Postcard From Camp: Wishful Thinking

This month finds me at a bit of a loose end.

My Camp NaNoWriMo experiment was not entirely successful, nor entirely unsuccessful, so I’ve been left wondering where do I go from here?

Let’s break it down.

I didn’t finish Full Circle. That was the main goal of the month—to finally type THE END on this first draft—and that didn’t happen. It feels like I may have come close, but…I don’t know if that’s just wishful thinking on my part, or if it could possibly be true.

I do feel as though it may be worth my while to finish the FrankenWIP experiment, to follow this thread through to the end. It feels like, though this ending may need more finessing, it is, perhaps, heading in the right direction. Though I may need to circle the block a few times to find an open parking space or whatever, I am at least in the right neighborhood.

Of course, that could just be wishful thinking, too.

Back in June, I made a deal with myself. I had the thirty-one days of July to play around with FrankenWIP and do whatever I wanted—whatever I could think of—to try and finish the story.

Then—win, lose, or draw—the WIP would go into the metaphorical drawer for a while. If finished, it would stay there until January 2022. If not, it would depend upon any progress made on other writing projects (Don’t you love how I say that as though making progress on things is actually something I do?)

One way or another, this WIP was meant for the metaphorical drawer. Either because it was finished and didn’t need me to look at it anymore, or because I’d be so pissed off at my failure to finish it that I would need it to be in a safe space while I threw a world-class temper tantrum. ‘Cuz I’m mature like that.

But here’s the twist…I don’t actually feel the need to throw a tantrum at all. (I know. I’m shocked, too.) Don’t get me wrong—I’m not happy that I failed yet again to finish this stupid story, but I’m not nearly as upset by that fact as I thought I would be. I know it can’t be because I’m being some kind of reasonable adult about it (because that would never happen), so I wonder if that may be a sign that I have, at last, found the right road to the end and just need a little more time to get there.

Or again…that could just be wishful thinking. I could just need one more month. But I could just as easily need six more months. Or six more years. My ability to judge these things is really quite terrible, so I honestly have no way of knowing.

But all of this leads me to my current quandary: Do I stick with the original plan of sticking this WIP into a drawer for however long that lasts while I work on a different WIP? Or do I keep on keepin’ on, working under the assumption that the ending is just around the corner?

I’m leaning toward the latter right now because my preference would be to put a completed manuscript into the metaphorical drawer, but I don’t know that I trust my ability to make a smart decision in this circumstance. I mean, I also seem to think that Dr Pepper is a good breakfast beverage, so, you know…smart decisions aren’t exactly my strong suit.

So now I turn to you, oh wise readers. What choice do you think I should make? (Note: about the story, I mean. Not my very healthy soda addiction.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Stay safe & well, all.

Postcards From Camp: You Can’t Get There From Here

I may have mentioned this a few (million) times, but I am from Maine. In addition to the lobsters, blueberries, moose, and tourists, we have an expression: You can’t get there from here. Said, of course, in a Maine accent.

(Yes, there is a Maine accent. Search for “Bert & I Which Way To Millinocket” on YouTube for a slightly exaggerated-for-comedic-effect example. There are other Bert & I stories, too, but the Millinocket one contains the ‘you can’t get there from here’ line.)

Anyway, ‘you can’t get there from here’ essentially means there’s no easy, direct path between two places. Sure, you can get to Millinocket, but it’ll involve some back roads, dirt roads, a whole lot of road construction, and probably some potholes big enough and deep enough for a great blue whale to swim in. Amongst other challenges.

And that, in a nutshell, is how I’m feeling about this damn WIP of mine these days.

I know where I am. I know where I want to go. But there does not seem to be any damn path to connect the two.

I keep trying things, throwing ideas against the wall—sometimes literally because I have an uncontrollable Post-It Note addiction—trying to figure out how to close the gap. I gain inches, only to lose feet.

One path was rejected because one of my characters said, “I thought you would make this more interesting. Are you even trying?”

Now, she wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to one of the main characters, but it felt very much like she was talking to me. So much so that I scrapped the storyline and went back to Square One.

In theory, each rejected path gets me closer to figuring out the actual right path, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I am seriously questioning my ability to…well, to do anything, frankly, but mostly my ability to write an ending for this book.

But here’s hoping that I’m wrong, and that my next post will be the sure-to-be thrilling tale of how I managed to get there from here.

Camp Stats

Word Count Goal: 20,000

Where my WC should be: 13,545

Where my WC actually is: 28,705

Average words per day: 1,435

Rejected storylines: Too many to count

Postcards From Camp: The Slog Remains The Same

I’m now two weeks into this month’s session of Camp NaNoWriMo.

In my last post, I talked about how I was crushing my word count, mostly because I was writing out two separate timelines because my character has to make a choice (retreat & recover or keep going & kick ass), and I have no idea which choice is the right one for the story. So I’m writing them both, hoping that one timeline will eventually emerge as the clear and correct choice.

But…I’m still not entirely sure. I am leaning heavily toward one path over the other, but I feel like the final determination is coming down to one pivotal (at least to me) scene on which I am currently working.

If this one scene can accomplish all the things I would ideally want it to accomplish, then I can go with Door #2, and Door #1 can go live in the deleted scene file with all the other displaced and obsolete storylines.

But I don’t know if that one scene can accomplish all the things I want it to do. It feels like it’s a lot of emotional whatever for one scene, and at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t have enough emotion in it. It feels like I have all the right pieces to this puzzle, if I can just figure out how they all fit together. But it also feels like these pieces may belong to two entirely different puzzles.

I don’t know what it is about this WIP that just refuses to be finished. Maybe my characters are screwing with me, Home Alone style, in an attempt to keep me from writing the end of the book because they suspect it will only lead to more misery for them.

Which, to be fair, it probably will.

So, on the word count front, I am good. I am better than good because, as you’ll see in the Camp Stats section at the end of this post, I have both reached and exceeded the word count goal I set at the beginning of the month. But, as I have stated in previous posts, the word count doesn’t matter here.

My real goal this month is to finish the first draft of Full Circle. And that?

Well, that’s still a work in progress.

Camp Stats

Word Count Goal: 20,000

Where my WC should be: 9,030

My current WC: 22,504

Average words per day: 1,731

At this rate, I will reach my WC goal by: July 11th