NaNoWriMo Month-Long Updatable Update


As part of my #NaNoPrep, I’m hacking in this roughshod post before the clock strikes midnight. Since my main focus over the next 30 days is to knock out the first draft of Phreak Show, I don’t want to waste words anywhere else. [Well, Twitter is–of course–an exception.] And a month of non-blogging is equal to child abandonment in 36 countries.

So, here is the skeleton. If all goes well, I’ll distract myself with an update once per day–slipping it between changing out my coffee IV bag & maybe a birdbath. [Because a month of poor hygiene is punishable by a public hosing in 28 states. Plus the District of Columbia.]

<— The widget over there should track my word count and % progress towards my goal of 60k. So, I’ll probably post each day’s total, perhaps an excerpt sentence, hopefully some epiphanies, and probably some whining–which is to say: venting leading towards more productive creativity…

Let the 30 days & nights of literary abandon begin.

Day 1 – Kicked off NaNo 2012 with a midnight write-in with the local Wrimos at a Steak & Shake. Churned out 632 words in the word war waged during the first half hour. Via three more sessions today, I ended up with 6,332 words added to Phreak Show. Breaking the 5,000 mark earned me a celebratory pack of Rolos. And, like a good boy, I made sure to back-up the file in all the places.

Day 2 – Words added: 2,795. Around 1 a.m. I had to comfort a friend with relationship issues. Friend duties completed, I whipped out a few unexpected paragraphs, then finally crawled into bed. A few more sessions throughout the day. Leaving #PhreakShow on pause at this upcoming scene: Tera is entering a unisex shower where she will encounter Shim the Gender Enigma. [Spoiler Alert! Shim is feeling frisky…]

Day 3 – Started the day with some early writing fueled by mucho coffee . Traveled 30 minutes east for a write-in [and more java] at an independent bookstore. Apparently, Chapter 6 decided to be hot & steamy & full of sexies. “So, are you ready to check out my crotch? Turn your guess into a known fact?” Ahem. 3,528 phreaktastic words added.

Day 4 – A little morning writing gave way to putting the final touches on a few new furniture pieces. Then, more writing. Enmeshed within today’s 3319 words is a bit more unfolding of the first page hook. Emotional? Yes. Today’s section also contains the official ‘1st Plot Point’ of the 4-Part Story Structure–right on schedule. Chapter 7 ends [as all chapters should] with an absolute, no-doubt-about-it, must-stay-up-even-later-to-read page-turner…

Day 5 – I was able to churn out a quick bit of writing before the day’s madness began. After a ton–as in, a marathon session–of cleaning, Micah and I hosted our first writing and art salon of the season. We had a dozen folks come in and out through the evening. [It’s after midnight right now & 5 us are still creating.] The artists seemed to have made more progress than the writers. We’ll get ’em next week. 3,161 words for the day. 19,028 for November. Total wordcount for Phreak Show: 24,868.

Day 6 – Writing. Packed the van for a show in Atlanta. Writing. Voted. Writing. Distracted by election results rolling in. Also, the insanely active buzz of Twitter. Impromptu :15 word war with some Tweeps. Checked election results. A tiny bit more writing. In the midst of all that, I somehow added 2,380 words, thus breaking through the 20k barrier. “Spanish moss dangled from the trees like stringy, gray clumps of witch’s hair.”

Day 7 – Most productive day since the kick-off. Was able to focus on writing throughout the day and landed 5,022 words. At this rate, NaNo tells me I need 983 words per day to hit 50K by the end of the month, I think I’m on my way to a “win”. The Phreak Show rolled into Savannah this morning and set up at Forysth Park. Part of it looks something like this: 

Day 8 – Added 3,633 words today which arced me over 30k. I’m halfway to my personal Nano goal. And that damn Tera made me cry today. I wrote steadily through the early hours which left me time to check Phreak Show’s pulse this evening. This included spending some time with my planning notes to make sure I’m on track, and refreshing myself with My Guide to Not Sucking: https://johnlucashargis.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/my-guide-to-not-sucking/  All is well.

Day 9 – Wowserz! Somehow I managed 5,088 words today. They came in fits and starts. Maybe, idk, 4 times, I stepped away, thinking I was done for the day. But when I sat back down and read the last few lines written, I found myself clacking away at the keyboard again. Go figure. Today, one of the exhibit tents gained a new name: Phantasmagorium. Here’s a line: “A pro wouldn’t show up to work in secondhand, old-lady-smelling pajamas.”

Day 10 – Writing traveled at a slower, more deliberate pace on Day 10. Drafted an all-important transition scene which ramped up to the next one: an experience which alters Tera’s entire perception of what is happening in the Phreak Show. The Big Twist is coming up 2 short chapters from now. Have to prime the chute. 2188 words.

Day 11 – 3,475 words and I think I’m done for the day. Maybe. The story is flowing along phantastically. Today’s scenes involving revelations regarding how ingrained the phreak images are within the teens–just, wow. I broke 40k. 20k more before Thanksgiving is looking like a goal I can definitely accomplish.

Day 12 – It’s funny how most write-ins end up more about chatting than actually writing. The writer/writer interaction provides for a much-needed break in the solo endeavor, so it’s welcome. I added 150 words during a 3.5 hour write-in last night. It didn’t boost the wordcount all that much, but it was fun. Total added: 2,881

Day 13 – Some writing in the morning, some writing in the afternoon, a duel with the NaNo Municipal Liaison for my region…all led to 4,149 words today. From here on out, I need to average 120 words per day to hit 50k by 11/30. With only 2,156 left, I’m pretty sure I ought to be able to hit that “WIN” tomorrow.

Day 14 – I’m eating a Special Dark. Because I added 2,590 words today. And because of this:

Day 15 – Took a roadtrip to Michigan and was able to hammer out a few words while in the car. 2,013 added for the day.

Day 16 – Added more words on the ride home, and then a few more late in the evening. Scored 1,902 additional words. Hoping to pick the pace back up over the weekend.

Day 17 – Another low wordcount day. [Compared to my 3500+ average.] Scraped up 1,783.

Day 18 – And…back on track with where I want to be as far as daily wordcounts. Added 4,274 on this lovely day. Also, if you check out that widget over at the top of the left-hand column on this here blog, you’ll see that I hit my 60k. Rock.on.Lucas. That was the goal I wanted to hit by next Thursday. I blazed past it, so any words I add between now and the end of the month are just extra gravy on the stuffing.

Day 19 – Zero, nil, zip, zilch words. And proud of it! Took a well-earned day away from writing to focus on some art.

Day 20 – 1,883 words added today. Left off at a great cliffhanger. Which is to say, set myself up with an excellent starting place for the next drafting session.

Day 21 – You have no idea how good these zero wordcount days feel! If I wasn’t at 60k yet, I’d be all: No! Oh no, oh no. Must right the wrong. Must write. Must meet goal. Ahhhhh! But, since I have accomplished what I set out to do, not writing a thing for a whole day comes with the greatest sense of satisfaction.

Day 22 – Churned out 1,767. Even on Thanksgiving. In the morning. Before mass quantities of turkey were inhaled.

Day 23 – Day 29 – Yeah, so no daily updates during this period. I wrote and edited a little, but at a leisurely pace. Once I rolled up and over that hump, I needed to move away from the drafting for a bit. So many other things going on right now.

Day 30 – The final day. I definitely hit my goal–and them some. Current wordcount for Phreak Show = 70,055. I need another week of focusing on other things before diving back in. The crux of the final 7 chapters is fully formed. I’m letting the characters act them out in my head so the drafting will flow out in all its gloriousness.

Beta Comments: FREEBORN


Holy FREEBORN, Batman!

Apologies for neglecting the blog posting over the last couple days. I have been churning out a chapter a day on FREEBORN. So far, I have been receiving amazing feedback from my betas. There have been a few minor issues I have corrected, but no major flaws.

Tonight, I received this as portion of some feedback from Tamara Hickman  http://tamarahickman.wordpress.com/ based on the first seven chapters. Of course, I took out the few ‘suggestions’ and just left in the positives for public consumption. 🙂

HOLY CRAP, MAN! Where is the rest? I need it!

I was sucked in, and couldn’t stop reading. There are large sections with no notes, and those are probably the places where I was completely enthralled by the story. If something jarred me out of the story, I noted it.

All of my preconceptions about this story are gone. I didn’t think that I could enjoy the story as much as I did. I love the characters, and their interactions with each other are fluid. The dialogue is sharp, and I can see distinct personalities in almost all of your characters. The introduction of the infected candystriper is genius, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Your story is extremely dynamic, and there is never a moment where the friction/action/conflict stops. There is always something going on, driving the story, and I could tell that right away when it forced me to stay up until 1:04am, reading to the very last word. And then I wanted to cry when there was no more. =)

Holy Handgrenades, Bat Man! Hurry up and finish this book so I can get my claws on it!

Review: FREEBORN


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By chance, I happened upon an opportunity to share the first three chapters of FREEBORN with a stranger–Alexandra Davidoff. We ‘met’ in an online forum where I was seeking feedback on the Pitch. Things progressed from there, and I emailed her a draft. Today, I received this comment in my inbox.
 
Freeborn is an intriguing piece. I like your style of writing, there’s almost an element of poetry in with the descriptive parts that makes it easy for the reader to understand the thoughts and emotions of your MC. I’ve never read anything that’s similar, and that’s a good thing. You’re very unique. I loved the concept, it wouldn’t appeal to everyone but it’s originality made it addictive. I think the chain of events in the first chapter make for an addictive opening, and the interaction between the two characters, Adam and Katia is fantastic. I felt for Katia. Her sadness, her rage, her self doubt came alive with your narration. I loved how the infected bellies were vividly described. The scenes were definitely easy to see in my mind, and the characters were memorable. The dialogue was well balanced with the narration, not overpowering it; I personally like description over dialogue, but your style holds a great balance between the two and I think that would appeal to your readers very well. The plot is adventurous, filled with adrenaline. Things move fast but aren’t confusing. It was an easy story to read, and I found myself smiling back on certain scenes as I moved forward. You have a great sci-fi adventure tale in your hands.”
 
That kind of feeback is good to hear. It echoes comments from two other beta readers that have read through the first seven chapters. I am definitely encouraged to continue writing this story. On to chapter eight!
 

$230K for My Writing!


Within the space of an hour, I received $230,000 for my writing!
[Sounds like a cheesy “Work From Home” commercial doesn’t it?]

Really, I did. Kind of.
Unfortunately, the cash isn’t legal tender.

It happened during the game of “Life” – $80,000 for writing a bestseller, then $150,000 for writing the great American novel. I’m not sure if they were the same book or not. Not wanting to be a one-hit wonder, I’m pretending each prize stemmed from separate novels.

If only Life was more like Ouija or a Magic 8 Ball. Then, I could definitely trust it to be an oracle… Then again, that would also mean I have Twins on the way, and “Tornado hits house! Pay $125,000 if not insured.”  That’ll cost me over half my royalties! (Unless I went the responsible route and paid the ten grand for the insurance. I didn’t.)

During this particular game of Life, I was the winner. I retired at Millionaire Estates and collected the additional “Life” cards. In my golden years, I won the Nobel Peace Prize – $250,000. Surely, this was the result of yet more phenomenal writing.

Looking back over my Life, I believe I know where all the success came from. Zooming along in my little white plastic car, wife at my side, twin boys in the back, I landed on a space that changed it all. “Mid-life crisis. Start new career.” Hmmm…

Now, the game is packed away. The spinner is stilled, and all the little pink and blue figures are piled in a jumpled mess at the bottom of the box. The idea and hope of successful writing is clinging to me out here in reality.

I’m still waffling over whether to include those writing accomplishments in my next batch of real-life queries. I might lead off with them in the opening paragraph. If I’ve learned nothing else, I know Life throws good and bad experiences at you when you least expect them. Why play if you’re not willing to take the risk? (Risk: That’s another game entirely…)