Writing

Final 2014 Na No Wri Mo

Today is the first of November, and along with indicating my rent is due it the marks the end of Na No Wii Mo. Congrats to all who succeeded and all those who tried but did not do.

I got about 31,000 words in. Not as far as I would have liked, but further than I expected. At least now I have a bones that I can go back to and work on to flesh the novel out and fix some of the problems.

Next year will be better for sure.

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Na No Wri Mo #4

Well, it’s the fourth week of National Novel Writing Month. I hope everyone else who has been participating has had better luck than I.

Currently my novel is at 28,002 words. While I’ve averaged over a thousand words a day, I’ve failed to actually stick to my desired one thousand words a day minimum and probably won’t hit my original hoped for length.

Still, I think by the end of the month I will have about 35,000 words of a rough draft. This is a pretty good start for a rough draft, especially considering I’m going to have to go back through and add an excessive amount of world building and explanation for things I came up with mid draft.

While I prefer a much slower pace for novel writing, I still think this has been a good learning process and the eventual result, with some work, might be passable.

Na No Wri Mo #3

It’s the third week of National Novel Writing Month, I’m 21,287 words in and I have hit a wall. Or to be more accurate, Sunday Football and other work got in the way over the weekend and now I’m struggling to find the motivation to return to my daily word count. To make matters worse I’m at the dreaded mid first draft hump.

It’s my experience that most novels that never get finished usually fall apart around 20,000-30,000 words. I have several aborted attempts at novels of about this size and I’ve heard countless tales from other writers echoing my own experience. I wonder, what is it about this number of words that cause us to fall off?

I think it’s because 20,000-30,000 words is a sufficient number of words to be into the story, but not enough for the story to come to a conclusion. We get lost, and unable to see the forest for the trees get frustrated and give up. 20,000 words is sufficient length to tell a story, but not enough for the story to be a novel.

By 20,000 words we are far enough in that we forget the story we intended to tell. The story has changed so much it no longer matches the outline, and there was never enough detail in the outline to begin with, so while the end may have already been thought up, getting there is still daunting. It’s at this point that starting a new story sounds better than finishing the one that’s currently causing so many headaches.

However, stopping means the novel will probably never get finished.  The only way forward is to keep writing.

Odyssey of the Heliotrope

Getting a full length novel published is a long and time consuming process. So for those of you who just can’t wait I’m going to be making some shorter pieces available through e-publication. The first of these is Odyssey of the Heliotrope, a story about an ill-fated  interstellar trip to colonize a foreign planet and what happens when things don’t go the way they are expected to.

It can be found on Amazon.com for the very low cost of .99 cents.

http://www.amazon.com/Odyssey-Heliotrope-Collin-Vincent-ebook/dp/B00PG8QNR0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415733690&sr=8-1&keywords=Odyssey+of+the+Heliotrope

 

Na No Wri Mo Update #2

Today is the tenth day of November, which means it is one third of the way through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As of today, without having added today’s word count, (Which I’m procrastinating by writing this post) I have roughly 14,000 words.  By the end of today I will have at least 15,000 words.

If I can keep this rate up I’ll finish with 45,000 words or so. A good start, not quite as many words as I originally hoped, but it’s easier to add material than subtract it.

I still have no clue where the story is going. (That’s a lie. I wrote an outline that I’m generally sticking to) I don’t have a title or really know what the story is about. (This is true) But despite this I have been diligently adding new words, and forcing myself to not get bogged down with rewriting.

This process is so much different from the one I used for my last book, Boom Town. With that book I spent at least six months plodding through a 60,000 word rough draft, only to throw out 40,000 words rewrite it, show it and re-write it ad nauseum. With this process I’m finding myself chained to a word count, much higher than Hemingway’s, but also less constrained by trying to make story elements fit perfectly. The frenetic drive for a higher daily word count means I will inevitably be forced to re-write 2/3 of what I write, but that would probably be the case anyway. At least with NaNoWriMo I know by the end of the month I will have a complete story. After that I can spend the next five months trying to make it a good one and still not spend as much time as I spent on the last novel.

Na No Wri Mo

It’s November, which means it’s National Novel Writing Month or (Na No Wri Mo). Na No Wri Mo is exactly what it seems, it’s an attempt by authors to write a book in a month.  If you want more details, http://nanowrimo.org.

Now, in the past I’ve avoided Na No Wri Mo, mainly because writing is rewriting, and trying to speed through a piece is a recipe for disaster.  This year is different because I find myself in-between pieces and want a way to kick start a new project.  So while I’m not going to be jumping on board completely I will be attempting to write a complete draft of a novel by November 30.

I began this in ernest on November 1st, with a project I had been brain storming, but had not yet begun to write. I figure that I need at least a minimum goal of 1,000 words a day, with a overall desired average of about 16,250 words a week or about 60-65,000 words total. Today I have 6,686 words, but I haven’t written anything today, so in four days I’ve almost hit half.

 

 

Cheaper Than Therapy

Standing at the paint table for what seemed like the umpteenth time (really only the fifth) sanding spot putty and primer from my gas tank I began to wonder, what’s the point. Why am I doing this? Why am I spending over a dozen hours trying to smooth down the lumps, fill the holes, and round the curves? Wouldn’t it be better to spend my hours toiling on a project that pays me money so I can just hire someone else, someone more skilled, someone who could do a better job than I could ever do?

TIM before

TIM before the rebuild.

The resounding answer is no. I wouldn’t be better off letting someone else do it. Why? Because the point isn’t the end result. No matter how misshapen, or terrible the paint turns out, the point is the act of doing.

Tank all stripped with paint idea marked out.

Tank all stripped with paint idea marked out.

Some people build bikes, because they have a passion for it or because they can’t do anything else. Other people build them as a hobby, something fun to pass the time. And a few, mostly naive hipsters fueled by trust funds, foolishly try to build them as a way to fame, fortune, and glory.

Me, I work on my motorcycle as a form of therapy, It gives me something physical and tangible to show for my money and time. Something that works, something that’s not just bought with money, something I’ve built.

 

This is way too much bondo.

This is way too much bondo.

When I first left my big boy job as an associate attorney, the one with the secretary, paralegal, office with a view, healthcare, and decent salary. I thought I was crazy. Many of my friends, who were still struggling to find work, almost two years after being licensed agreed. At the time I was despondent and filled with anxiety, so I began to see a therapist. Once a week for over six months I sat there telling him all my problems, paying him money to listen. Eventually though I realized that instead of repeating my same problems, I needed to do something.

 

A lot less bondo, not quite, but getting there.

A lot less bondo, not quite, but getting there.

I don’t have anything against therapists. I find they can be helpful and I have at times benefited greatly from talking to them. But for me the act of creating is ultimately more therapeutic than sitting around endlessly talking about my thoughts and feelings.

Building a motorcycle is more than just a hobby, it allows me, even if for a brief period of time each week to turn off my over active brain and ignore the problems I see in the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s, the rising trend of religious fundamentalism, Russian separatists in Ukraine shooting down a jetliner, the ups and downs of the stock market, my frustration with a piece of fiction, or just my often depressed and anxiety ridden thoughts, even a bad day working on a bike allows me a respite. It allows me to escape into reality.

Underside painted with Truck bed liner.

Underside painted with Truck bed liner.

When I first got TIM I loved the knee dents and black pearlescent paint job. I wasn’t a fan of the silver stripes. So I took them off. In doing so I removed a not insignificant amount of paint, which led me down an epic rabbit hole. The knee dents were poorly done, and it was only massive amounts of paint, bondo, and spot putty that made the tank look decent. All of which only became apparent after I’d stripped the tank to bare metal.

Mandatory selfie of your Intrepid author covered in dust.

Mandatory selfie of your intrepid author covered in dust.

Lessons I’ve learned From my Work on the Tank:

1. Use less bondo than you think you need.

2. Sanding down takes longer and is more of a pain in the ass than layering up.

3. Mr. Miagi was right, “wax on, wax off.”

4. “Whatever you can see after it’s been primed you will see when it’s painted.” (Words of wisdom from Ernesto)

5. Doing it the wrong way is still worth while, but only if you learn how to do it better the next time.

6. Wear appropriate protective gear.

Tank prepped and mocked up on the frame.

Tank prepped and mocked up on the frame.

If I had to do it all again, I would be able to do it quicker and better. In all so far, I’ve spent close to fourteen hours sanding and prepping my tank. This doesn’t include the time I spent stripping the paint and old bondo, the time spent staring at it in agony trying to figure out what I was going to do with it. It also doesn’t include the time I will spend painting it, sanding it, repainting it, cleaning the insides of rust and then resealing it so it lasts another thirty plus years. I expect when its finished to put in close to fifty hours on a single gas tank.

Why? Why am I doing all this? Because it’s cheaper than therapy, that’s why.

(Side note, look for the soon to come release of the first original fiction piece Odyssey of the Heliotrope, written by yours truly, cover art by Tom Vincent, available for purchase digitally.)