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Becoming a ruthless killer…of words May 31, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study.
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It’s getting down to the business end of things.  The due date for my novel project is just around the corner and I have buckled down for the home stretch!

The novel itself will not be complete (the project only requires a certain number of words) but what I submit will have to be high quality, polished stuff.  And so I have essentially stopped drafting new chapters and am solely focused on reshaping and reworking the existing ones.

On top of that, I have to start trimming the words down to a manageable size.  I’m about 10,000 words over what I should have, and it’s going to be brutal.

Yesterday I commenced what I thought was a murderous rampage through my draft manuscript.  I deleted whole chunks, moved others, rephrased and slashed words and sentences here and there.  I thought I was on a roll.  But when I checked the word count at the end of the day, I had only cut a few hundred words!  It may have had something to do with me adding a little too much new material.

The good news is that I can simply cut entire chapters for the submission.  Find the ones that aren’t working yet and just take them right out.  Get back to them later.

The best advice I received from all the  workshopping I’ve done recently is that for comedic writing (which is what I am striving for here), the best way to go about it is to gather a whole bunch of stuff, find out what works and what doesn’t, and just keep the best bits.

For some reason I was under the assumption that brilliant comedic writers struck gold every time — and some of them probably do — but there’s bound to be certain passages that don’t work and some that work better than others.  The key is finding out which ones.  I find reading the writing out loud really helps — in identifying the strengths and weaknesses, separating the interesting from the boring, and assisting with the rhythm and comedic timing of the jokes and punchlines.

Oh well, better get back to it.  Time is running out.

Epic Fail: My NaNoWriMo Challenge December 4, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Novel, On Writing.
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About a month ago I tried to attempt what many may have done before me – attempt NaNoWriMo without actually entering into NaNoWriMo.  That is, write 50,000 words on my work-in-progress fantasy novel in the month of November.

The verdict: epic fail.

Try 10,000 words (which, to be fair, is not that bad under the circumstances).  I tried, I really did.  But I just couldn’t find the time.  For most of the month, I was working 13-15 hour days, 5 days a week.  Travel time to and from work took up 1.5-2 hours per day.  Factor in 7-8 hours of sleep a night, keeping up with blog posts and needing almost the entire weekend to unwind and recover, that didn’t leave much time for writing.

Where does that leave me?  Two positives came out of this experience.  One, I progressed another 10,000 words on that first draft.  Two, and more importantly, I know for certain that if I ever want to finish this book, I need to find another job.  At this rate, it would probably take another 10 years, so it doesn’t really leave me much choice.

The good thing is that after yet another brutal week, I don’t feel like all hope is lost.  Even though I should be catching up on some much needed sleep, I ended up getting up earlier than usual because all I wanted to do was write.  That’s a good sign, isn’t it?

NaNoWriMo Challenge Update! November 11, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Novel, On Writing.
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As I write this post from another late night at work, it has become very clear to me that I am fighting an up-hill battle in this NaNoWriMo Challange I have set for myself.

Eleven days in my monthly word count stands at around 4,000.  Only 46,000 more words to go!  The main problem is, I just haven’t had the time.  Actually, backtrack.  I have had very little time, and to be honest I have not utilised it particularly well.  Thanks to: long book (still reading Gandhi’s autobiography), waste-of-time video games (playing a game of NBA 2K10 every night) and too many blog posts (I am currently in the middle of preparing 3 other posts on this blog, plus my regular duties at Pacers Pulse).

That said, work has been BRUTAL.  Essentially working across two time zones at the moment.  But it’s not just that.  It’s the constant tension, stress and panic that I am having trouble dealing with.  I don’t know why I signed up for this insanity a second time.  One would have thought that as lawyers, we would have come up with laws to prevent this type of abuse from happening, and yet we only seem to perpetuate it.

Things don’t look too bright right now, but surely there’s a light at the end of the tunnel?  I can fully see myself pumping out 20,000 words this weekend…if I’m not at work, that is.

NaNoWriMo Challenge! November 3, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Novel, On Writing.
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NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) has arrived.  For those who aren’t sure of what this entails, check out this link here.  Essentially, it involves writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  Sounds daunting, but when you break it down, that’s just 1,667 words a day.  Actually, that sounds like a lot.  Way more than what I’ve been doing on my debut masterpiece, my WIP fantasy novel!

Despite its name, NaNoWriMo has very much become an international event.  I have never entered NaNoWriMo before, and I chickened out again this year.  Well, not really.  I kind of just forgot. 

Nevertheless, I have given myself a NaNoWriMo challenge this month.  To be in the spirit of the whole thing, I am going to try and write 50,000 words on my novel in the month of November!  Feels like mission impossible at this stage especially with the way work has been lately, and given that it’s taken me about a year to write about 140,000 words…but right now I need any excuse to keep things moving or I’d never finish that dreaded first draft!

I’m already quite behind, having only hand written some crap on the train the last couple of days, so I better start moving.  Word count updates to be posted every now and then (especially if it’s going well)!

Update: novel, blogging and exams May 25, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Novel, On Writing.
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Well, the time has come.  Exam time.

For the next couple of weeks, blogging is going to be a luxury.  Unless something is REALLY worthy of discussion and if I have spare time (which is going to be virtually impossible), I’m going to try and leave this blog alone…

As for my fantasy novel?  Nothing has happened on it (not a single word) since I began revising for my exams about 3 weeks ago.  It’s been on my mind and I’d love to work on it, but the last thing I want to do after a full day of bashing my brain in with textbooks is to work on the novel.  It’s almost guaranteed to make me write crap that I will surely delete.  Besides, it will probably make me too creative to be in a frame of mind to study.

I look forward to when the exams are finally out of the way, so I can get back to the novel.  It’s about 100,000 words still, and roughly around the halfway mark in terms of plot progression, but I’ve already thought of so many things I want to change and add to and delete from it.  Can’t wait.

But until then, have to focus!

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