NaNoWriMo ’16–final day @ 68,362 words

I officially reached over 50,000 words on November 23rd and have continued writing. Since I finished on the same day last year, it seems that’s how long it takes me to write that much with everything else going on.

I have seen people’s avatars on the NaNo forums who reached 100,000 words before I even finished. -__- Sorrow and jealousy. But regardless, the goal I set for myself last year is 70,000 words. In a few hours, I will reach that goal.

Its been a challenge. There’s always some mess or other going on in the background and distracting me. The good news is I did it. The even better news is I only have about five major scenes left in Oracle before I’m finished writing the novel. (The first draft or whatever you prefer to call it.) This is the first time I’ve ever written a full-length novel in six months. The bad and good news is I’m not done yet and the story is getting too big and too long for my head so I’ve decided to write it in three books. Originally, I had intended for it to be a much shorter project than it is. I’ll let the muse continue to carry me until I reach the intended and anticipated end of Oracle.

I’m going to finish Nation Novel Writing Month 2016…then I’m going to take a long nap. *sigh*

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month is nigh!

This will be my seventh NaNoWriMo and I was introduced to it in college. I never go into it without plans to “win”, and by “win” I mean reach the 50,000 word goal of this yearly event. My intention is to finish as much of whatever stories and writings I’ve got that has an ending.

My primary project this month is Oracle, which I started writing back in June. I took October for hiatus on the novel to rest my brain since it’s been at the forefront of my thoughts since I started it. The story is over 50,000 words and I’ve been trying to decide whether to write one long novel or split it into two or three book. Splitting it into books doesn’t change the fact that it continues where some readers would like to stop reading and/or start a new book. I can’t guesstimate how long Oracle is going to be and I don’t really want to. I just want to be true to my story, let it do what it do, and hope people enjoy it.

Though I have never committed to it before and have mixed feelings on the topic, I’m also writing a fanfiction based on a manga/anime that I recently discovered and really like. My fanfic is an estimated novella to light novel length (40,000 to 50,000 words apprx). It seems I’m incapable of writing anything too short, I’m too detail-oriented I guess.

That’s what I’m up to. I hope I can finish Oracle, my fanfiction, and a couple of short stories this coming month. I shouldn’t even be writing this post since I’m supposed to be resting up for NaNo ’16 for ! -__-

Myth: “It’s just fiction”

No, its not just fiction. The art is NOT separate from the artist. Every writer, everywhere, is responsible for what they put out into the world. As a reader, you should imagine what the author who wrote this book is like and why they wrote it.

I decided to take a chance and be a good community member on JukePop and read from my fellow authors. One of the JukePop 30 authors, B.B. Edmunds, has a serial there called Deathless. Within the first 500 words of this story, the main character is pilfering corpses and standing over a dead, raped woman while essentially saying, “I would’ve raped her, too, but been nicer about it”. The first chapter is over 8000 words long. Why would I want to read this? To add to this already mountainous-in-quality bullshit, Edmunds responds to my comment by saying he defends this character. I was really shaken and admittedly annoyed by Edmunds’ defensiveness and his desire to have the last word until I stated my point and opted not to respond to him anymore. Then he gets his feelings hurts and continues to argue with me about my position on Deathless. B.B. Edmunds didn’t get the takeaway, which is

  1. You are responsible for what you justify and what you write
  2. Readers will drop your book because your main character sucks
  3. Everything you write says something about you
  4. Yes, your book will be judged by the first 500 words, that’s all it takes sometimes.
  5. In getting criticized, don’t keep arguing with your reader.

I learned about JukePop through National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always found JukePop’s use of “reader analytics” and votes to be suspicious at best. Which is why I had hesitated to publish anything there since The Taker a few years ago. Its not my style, I just find parts of the platform to be helpful. But if this is what it means to be a JukePop 30 author, I can live without it.

I really feel that I need to be honest: What I’ve found in my quest for good serials on this website is that a lot of authors have great ideas but not enough skill, experience, or style to carry the great ideas. I’ve come across typos and perspective issues, for example; I’m not an editor or a proofreader and even I can see them.

Writers like Edmunds have skill and style but are writing stories I don’t want to read (because of their unnecessarily violent, trendy, or pretentiously gritty elements). I really hope this is not all there is to JukePop. More reading investigation is required.

It would be nice to surrounded by writers and readers who are aware of what they’re doing and supporting.

Writer’s Voice, Reader’s Mind

Every time I re-read a book, I see something I didn’t see before. My journey as  reader and writer is to see the soul of an author’s work.

Sometimes readers will make comments about my work that make me think, You didn’t actually read what I wrote, did you. I’d be the last person to turn down constructive criticism. But if I sense that they’re offering “advice” or “criticism” but didn’t take the time to read the words and understand them to formulate a useful opinion, I get irritated and jazzy in the mouth, just downright sassy towards them.

When I read, I don’t go in saying, “Let me see how well this author writes like my favorite author!”. (Also because I don’t have a favorite author.) And I don’t write stories for people who skim and speed read or want something fun, quick, and trashy to read at the airport. No, as a reader, I try to see how that writer is delivering information, details, so that my imagination paints on the canvas of my mind and shows me the story.

What next?

Coming down with it. I feel an overwhelming pressure to publish something this year.

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My plan is to run a short story/novella on JukePop. ^This is what I’m working on, ORACLE–fantasy fiction all the way!! I did these e-book covers on Canva.

Welcome to Oracle–a sprawling school of magic overlooked by a crystal mountain, surrounded by fields and forests beneath whipped clouds and endless blue skies. But you know what they say: If something is too good to be true…it usually is. Caprice Bilberry is a witch who suddenly arrives at Oracle’s extraordinary campus and is informed that as a student here, her greatest wish will be granted: She will be freed from generational enslavement and have the right to go to school and practice her magic. Why leave the only life she’s ever known, risking death and the murder of her family? Why say no and return to life as a slave in a colonial village where using magic is an offense punishable by mutilation and death? Caprice, Nezzle, and Bossa become friends, soon unraveling a terrifying secret: The school is more than what it seems, demanding a price more sinister than its lofty goals reveal or make up for. Its the ultimate fine print. For one does not simply enter and become a student at Oracle school….

And I just got an email that JukePop is doing the 2016 Summer Writing Project with 1888. Perfect, I’ll just do that.

Personally, I’m a little selfish and I don’t want to share my work for free but that’s my vanity talking. Most people advise against doing this though some argue that giving away some work for free helps build an audience. Writing is my calling and art should be freely shared, yet some part of me still wants to write for a living despite what that actually means in my society. Its a working class/poor people thing I guess, that dream of getting paid for doing what you love. I’ve had multiple people tell me I should be paid for my work and I decided to believe them.

I didn’t publish anything last year. Even if I do publish, I’d have to do book covers, editing, proofreading, and back matter/synopsis–all on my own. Not to mention promoting it. Or attempting to rather. I guess I’m already part of the way there: books covers done, synopsis okay, and first four chapters finished.  I wonder if its enough to go, “I wrote this thing” and shove it out there. Wanting a little bit more than that is a lot of work. (If I’m wondering then maybe its not….)

Less is More? Social Networking Sites

Social networking: I’ve never been one to use Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. Honestly, I thought they were superfluous fads. Of course, they can be useful but most of the time it’s about numbers. Yes I want people who are interested in me and interested in my work and want to follow me but blogging and social networking sites look like a popularity contest with a circus on top and I’ve never been the type to get caught up in those types of things or the type to attract that sort of attention. If rather have one reader who really likes and finds value in my work than a thousand followers that I have no real connection to. I’ve created profiles in several different places but I don’t use them, not the personal ones or the professional ones. Now that I have them, I’m not sure I should get rid of them even though I don’t use them. You never know what will be useful later. A tool that’s not relevant now might be a good thing to have in the future.

As much as I hate popularity contests and trying to win people over, planning and scheming, and numbering people, I always agonize over whether or not people hear me (as evident in my agonizing over whether cover art is part of my problem). Am I writing and no one is reading? But aren’t I writing for myself? If that’s true, then why does it matter who read it and how many? But, as a writer, I’m supposed to care about that right? With so many digital methods of reaching people, or audiences as they say, shouldn’t I be doing everything I can to connect with readers? How can you know for sure if you reached even one person on a meaningful level?

I’ve always believed that social networking and the internet has made people lazy and ultimately uninterested in each other. Everything seems so impersonal. Click a button to “like”. Share with contacts. “Unlike”. Follow. Retweet. Reblog. It seems meaningless and shallow. It gives some people a reason to be lazy and hide from solid connections with others. Some it strengthens and helps maintain their connections. Others it gives them a chance to meet in the first place.

So far I’ve deleted my Twitter and my Tumblr (which is still there but I’m not using it). I still have a FB page that isn’t getting any hits so that’s next on the list because I see the tumbleweeds a-blowing ’round. Honestly, I don’t know what will work for me. Even with this blog, I try only to post once a month out of concern for doing way too much.

Bubble-bursting: absolutely NO casual chatting about works in progress!

I decided to STOP talking about manuscripts I’m working on to my friends.

Chatting about the story (even if the feedback is positive and my friends are interested or excited), kind of “bursts the bubble”, so to speak. I soak up any immediate gratification I get from people’s interest and awe over my idea for a book when its better to JUST WRITE THE BOOK INSTEAD. Chatting about it makes me feel like I did something…and I didn’t. It also releases my own excitement and motivation to get the words down so I end up just kind kind of lazily driiftng around in my lovely, fantastical ideas where they remain locked in their own world in my head when they should be getting written down or typed out word for word.

So I accepted that the only thing to do is to write that book.

No more talking. Talking about the book isn’t writing it. Hold all that pressure in, keep the surface tension, maintain the bubble. It can’t be done until its written first.

Its way more exciting to give my friends and readers a wonderful book, as opposed to just telling them about it.