Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year!! 2012 Wrap-up

Okay, so technically 2012 isn't over yet. But since I am sitting at the airport, preparing to jet off to Costa Rica with my amazing boyfriend, the writing year is over for me! I'm taking a real vacation for the next week and a half. NO guilting myself into writing (although if it happens, it happens) or freaking out about work. Can't wait! =D

But before that, I have to take a look back at what this writing year has been for me.

December was a little less productive than I would have hoped. One of my friends got married, which ended up wiping out a solid 4 days in the middle of the month, and after that I felt like I was playing catch up. So the month ended up being 3767 words total. (On only 4 different days!) Less than I'd hoped, but it represents another chapter done!

Which means that for the year, I clocked in at 38438 words. Yikes! But that was still more than 2011, and it met my goal  for the year. Because my goal was just to write, and I did.

But on the bright side, those words all represent progress on my novel. Brand new words that have never seen the light of day, coming together to build a new story! (I've dithered back on forth, but decided on not including my blogging in my wordcount.) And I only actually wrote on 43 separate days. Which means both that my writing sessions were decent when they occurred (~890 words on average), but woefully infrequent. Lots of room for improvement, then!

That's a good third of a novel. Sure, I'd like to write faster than 3 years per novel (I'm no GRRM!), but I won't turn my nose up at 1/3 of a novel!

For 2013, I have high but reasonable hopes. By this time next year, this novel is going to be complete. Originally I wanted to say second draft complete, but since that would include a month "rest" from the novel and an extensive drafting process...well, no need to set myself up for failure. I estimate that I have about 70k words to complete this first draft, and that seems like a decent increase over this year's lackluster total, but not an insurmountable task between work and travel and everything.

With a goal about twice what I wrote this past year, I'm looking at 86 writing days. That's less than 2 days per week! When I think about it that way, I know I can definitely do it. Butt in chair! And forward we go!

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Whatever your traditions, wherever you are, I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Here's hoping Santa brings me lots of words...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mental Tongue Twisters

I've had a few ideas percolating around in my brain lately (why is eggnog so delicious, will these cookies really go straight to my love handles, how feasible is it to take a redeye to see my boyfriend for about 4 hours, maybe this manuscript can write itself...okay, but I swear there are a couple pertaining to a blog post!), so here I am finishing up a blog post at 11 PM on Christmas Eve. Well, I live 3000 miles from anyone I'd want to spend Christmas with, so it's no skin off my back! Besides, I'm so full with hot spiced cider and eggnog that I could not possibly go to bed right now.

I Stumble my way around the internet a lot, and the other day I came across a list of 11 tongue twisters. Of course, human nature being what it is, I had to try them out. Some were easy, some were hard, and it wasn't always the obvious ones either. But I thought I made a pretty passable attempt at them in just my first couple tries. Proof:

Yup, I was way too proud of myself. But I had fun!

Okay, so, writing. Phew.

This collided with some other thoughts I had been having about writing, specifically in regards to naming and dialogue. I've been struggling with finding the right balance of naming in my current work. It takes place about 500 years in the future, so is Bob Smith a realistic name? And I came across this great quote on my @AdviceToWriters feed: "Realist dialogue doesn’t exist. We are all actors and we all play roles." (Jospeh L. Mankiewicz).

So what great conclusion did I draw from this weird amalgam of tongue twisters, unique names, and good dialogue? Don't use tongue twisters in your names or dialogue!

Seriously. I know it sounds kind of stupid, but it's astonishing how often this is ignored. Especially in SFF. Sure, you're a writer. Words on the page is your business. K'en'tisdl YuOli'main looks awesome on the page (it doesn't), so what does it matter? Because anyone who is reading that is going to react to it, and not in a "Wow, he sounds like a really great guy that could totally save the world even though he's just a farmboy" kind of way. They'll try to say it out loud, and they won't be able to. Yes, even with your handy pronunciation guide in the glossary. And then every time they come across the name, it will just be a blur of nonsense to them. He'll probably become "Ken" or "that K guy," and it's hard to get personally invested in someone you think of as "that K guy."

This same thing applies to dialogue. If you try to read your dialogue out loud, and your mouth has difficult making the words, then it's not good dialogue. It's someone trying to sound fancier than they are. So unless that very specific effect is what you are going for, avoid the stilted speech. Characters aren't going to be any better at spouting "She stood on a balcony mimicking him hiccuping while amicably welcoming him in" than you or I are.

So, as sad as it makes me, I think it's probably time to admit that the surname Ykterby, which I was rather fond of for one of my secondary characters, is getting the axe.

Friday, December 7, 2012

November 2012 Wrap-Up

I'm a little late on this, but I have a good reason! My boyfriend was in town last weekend, and it was the first time I'd seen him in almost four months! Needless to say, I had much better—much!—things to do than write a blog post. Alas, my boyfriend is gone again (22 days until we meet again, boo!), and so here I am again.

November was a really good month for me. My goal was 10k. Not a NaNo, but a good chunk of writing nonetheless. If I could do that every month, I'd have a novel every year!

I was right on track to make, if not exceed, my goal for the month, but the last week derailed. I spent a lot of time trying to get everything just right for my boyfriend's visit. Yes, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I didn't get everything done, but we still had an almost perfect weekend, so I don't consider the effort wasted!

So, my final tally of words written in November: 8754.

Not bad! My most productive month of the year so far. I am pleased, and hopefully December will live up to the standard I just set. I'm slightly behind already, but I'll have plenty of time to catch up. I have no plans for the holidays, until the very end of the month when I'm headed to Costa Rica.

My goal for December is 5400 words. Should be an easy target! It would be great to finish off the year on a high note. Just worked through some plotting kinks for the next section of the novel, so I am ready to go on a bender until I have a few more chapters under my belt!