Ready for Camp?

Since it so happens that my deadline for writing the next draft of Rogue Sorcery coincides completely with the deadline for Camp NaNoWriMo, I have decided to officially participate in it, even if it’s not a full rewrite and definitely not a first draft. To compensate, my goal is 80k, not 50k. In order to prove that I am sometimes a responsible adult I won’t even make any super-ambitious goals this time around. Mostly because I cannot bend the laws of time to my will yet. (I wish!)

Perhaps participating in Camp will help me stick to my deadlines. Because so far this deadline thing isn’t going very well. (I’ve only committed myself to following the main deadlines of my plan, right? Right?) I am supposed to have revised the ending of Rogue Sorcery fully by April 1st, but considering I also have two translations due before the weekend… Yeah. No.

I can plot an ending by then, no problem, but a good one? That’s a bit more problematic. Same goes for figuring out the problems with the old one. Currently it’s a bit too “whoops, look who happened to be in the right place at the right time!”. I feel a bit hesitant to change things around too much at this point, especially since the rather vague changes I have in mind will add a lot more words, but I might have to. The main question is: Will they all end up in the same place in the end as I had planned (which is a bit too convenient, really), or will they actually do stuff separately? But then what will Group B do (the ones who are not fighting the main baddie)? Are they even travelling? Perhaps something happens in Village A that means they will go back there? But then who does that? Does it have something to do with the plot in Forgotten Sorcery? Or perhaps C’s background, which has been sort of an unresolved issue? Do they even go to Fortress A? Isn’t it a bit too convenient that they reach the city where Group A is exactly at the right time?

Clearly there are some issues going on here. I could of course just say that it’s my good old perfectionism that rears its head again, but it’s better to tackle potential ending issues now rather than later. My gut feeling isn’t happy about it anyway. Besides, I have a couple of ideas. Some are rather easy to implement, others are more extensive and require changes to be made almost throughout the book. And some carry more weight, plot-wise, than I would really like. Still, everything’s up in the air right now. I haven’t found any one idea that really work, that ties everything up nicely while leading into book two, that is sufficiently dire and not too conveniently neat… Why are endings so difficult?


 

I am also working on my website nowadays. I have an unused photoblog and I’m not too happy about the layout of everything, so I’ve been thinking heavily about it. My current idea is to have one subdomain for my art and one for my photos, with separate wordpress installations (so that they can have themes customised for the content (For example a photo header for the photo section, while the art will have a painted one) and can be reached neatly and easily), but I haven’t completely decided yet.

I could of course put everything inside my current WP installation, but I don’t want it to become too cluttered, and then I would have to find a layout that works equally well for my photos and art and writing and blog and everything. In other words, I would never actually get it done. I just discovered that there is a plugin that allows you to have a completely different theme for certain pages, but I expect there will be a significant amount of tweaking there too. For example, the gallery pages will probably not have a sidebar or many widgets at all, or they might have a featured image section and so on.

Also, wouldn’t it be easier to direct people to art.ciuva.com than to a page address? If I link from my deviantART account it would be more sensible to link directly to the art section rather than the front page of everything. I can link to the gallery pages in the menu anyway, and there will still be only one blog (this one).

Or would it be confusing with three different themes? I cannot decide! The art and photo sections will most likely have the same theme, only with different graphics, in order to look similar, but they will all look different from the main site. Unless I change that too… Ideally I would find a theme or a design that works for all three sections, but I somehow doubt it.

Of course, to add to the problem, there are no themes I am 100% happy with. Either they don’t have the right fonts, or the right colour options, or they don’t work completely right, or I get frustrated because I cannot tweak that tiny little thing I apparently really, really need. Typical.

Anyway I think I have decided to stick to the subdomain idea, now if I can only decide on a theme…

I’m not dead

Well, here we are, around three months after my last update. I never intended to be absent for quite so long, but I never really did anything worth mentioning here. I did do some editing during March (thanks to Cicilie, mostly), but it was mostly trying to pick up where I left off and realising that huge things needed to change. I also had big plans of doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I think I wrote around 1.5k in total, soooo… Nope. Didn’t happen.

I have done plenty of other things, but they didn’t feel natural to write about here. With four blogs it doesn’t take long before you feel like you’re constantly repeating yourself, which unfortunately have led to my not really updating any of them. Since last time I’ve focused on getting my health back on track, more seriously (and successfully) in the past week or so. I’ve run my very first half marathon (after three weeks of absolutely no training – how much worse could it really get), and even if I walked a lot of the distance, yes, I did cross that finish line and have the medal to prove it (but on another computer, so I can’t upload it now). I did a showcase with my dancing group on Saturday 2nd, which went okay. I’ve finally started reading again, at least a little bit, and once I’ve read two more books plus the one I’m reading now, I’ll finally allow myself to buy books again. I’ve had a rule to finish all the books I own before I can buy new ones. It’s worked really well – some books ended up at the used bookstore because I didn’t really want to read them, but that’s fine. I’ve taken up running again. I’ve applied for a two-year course (part-time) in business economics, which I think will be interesting. I’ve spent quite a lot of time at work or in meetings (sort of related to work). I’ve cleaned my apartment from ceiling to floor, getting rid of quite a bit of unnecessary stuff.

But. There are also quite a few things I haven’t done.

I haven’t continued working on my conlangs, even if I do need quite a few more words before I write the second draft of Rogue Sorcery (for the place names). I did some work on them in March, but there is still a LOT to do. In that vein, I haven’t continued my worldbuilding either. I haven’t written anything new, apart from the one chapter for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t edited anything old. I haven’t painted (apart from, I think, a quick sketch a month or so ago) or drawn, I haven’t made any of the maps I wanted, nor have I played any of my instruments or written any songs or done anything remotely creative that I might write about here.

Perhaps I needed some time off from my creative pursuits (which felt more and more like chores) in order to get other things back on track. I needed to get back into dancing, to work out more, to clean and tidy my apartment, to get all those boring little things off my mind. I needed to allow myself some time to do nothing or watch trashy TV series (I have now watched more World’s Strictest Parents and Toddlers and Tiaras than I ever want to watch again), time to spend with my friends, to go for walks, and to spend enough time randomly browsing the internet to realise that yeah, might be fun to do something productive again. I think that’s been really necessary for me now – to move painting, writing, editing, conlanging, conworlding etc. from the “should/must do” category to the “want to do”. At one point I simply had too many things on my mind, fighting for attention.

So what now?

First I’m going to finish those two books that I have left to read, plus the one I’m nearly finished reading now. Then I’m going to take a week or two (or three) before I buy new books, to simply re-read old ones. And perhaps do some conlanging. Then I’m going to finish the maps, and work some more on the culture and history of the country in which Rogue Sorcery takes place. And then I’m going to re-plot the whole thing. Again. But it’s necessary.

That’s the plan, anyway, but you never know what will happen, so we’ll see. I’ll try to update this more often too!

Oooh, and by the way, today it’s exactly four years since I submitted my Master’s thesis. How time flies! I remember how happy and exhausted I was that day, when I finally could hand in the thing that had caused me so much frustration, after two years of extensions and delays and mental illness and whatnot. I never expected that I would work in an office, happily doing accounts and sending invoices and answering the phone and so on. Things don’t always go according to plan, and I will perhaps never know whether I made the right choice. The road to a PhD is still open, though, at least once I get a paper or two published (who knows when that will happen), but I still debate with myself whether or not I should continue with linguistics or keep working with economics and finance. Guess I should just get that paper written, and then we’ll see. There’s no point in worrying about it, anyway.

Writing projects 2014

Oh, my how this blog has died. I just looked at the info in the Blogger interface and saw that the last update was October 24th. That’s a long, long time ago. But then again, after October is November, and we all know what that means – NaNoWriMo. I think I updated my Norwegian blog a couple of times during November, but it was such an immensely productive year, NaNoWriMo-wise, that I didn’t really have time left for blogging. In addition, I’ve struggled to find out what to write about here and on my Norwegian blog – I don’t want one to be merely a translation of the other. And so, as I always do, I’ve just postponed the issue.

Anyway. NaNoWriMo was a massive personal success for me last year. I wrote more than 160k, which not only broke my previous record, but smashed it to bits. I rather like my stories, too. I wrote two novels (book two and three of my currently unnamed series) and 20k of a third one. Very pleased with that. I had intended to finish the third before the end of the year, but alas, I hardly touched a computer during my Christmas break, and before that there was just no time. However:

The third NaNo story was finished today, clocking in at 55k. It is particularly satisfying for this story, since I’ve struggled a great deal with it. I’ve had the idea for years, and I’ve actually written a first draft twice before. Only the beginning (kind of) remains from those earlier drafts. I’ve never really found a plot that engaged me – but now I think I do. It involves elves, monsters, magical forests, mad queens and sneaky assassins. There’s also a sprinkle of love, a tiny hint of betrayal and a dark past. I’m always in love with a story I’ve just finished, but I do think this one has potential. At least I hope so.

Over to the topic of this post. 2014 seems to be the year of overly optimistic writing ambitions, and I’m not ashamed of it. I will say that I’ll be overjoyed if I manage even half of my goals, but how wonderful wouldn’t it be to finally have written all the stories that’s in my head? I also need ambitious goals in order to break the barrier and actually write those three second drafts that I’ve delayed for ages.

Anyway, here’s the list* (please ignore the hideous titles):

– January 1st to February 15th: Border Forest (1st draft): DONE
– February 1st to March 15th: Rogue Sorcery (2nd draft):
– February 1st to March 15th: Article based on my MA thesis**
– March 1st to April 15th: The Exiled Prince (1st draft):
– April 1st to May 15th: Forgotten Sorcery (2nd draft):***
– May 1st to June 15th: The Shopkeeper (1st draft):
– June 1st to July 15th: Natural Sorcery (2nd draft):
– July 1st to August 15th: New beginnings (1st draft):
– August 1st to September 15th: Border Forest (2nd draft):
– September 1st to October 15th: Noirinu Athiar/Foen Eiunei (1st draft):
– October 1st to November 15th: Inadhra (1st draft):
– November 1st to November 30th: The Academy (1st draft, NaNoWriMo novel):
– November 1st to November 30th: Apprentice Sorcerers (1st draft, 2nd NaNo novel):
– December 1st to December 31st: The Misplaced Dragon (1st draft):****

Extra stories (if somehow this list isn’t enough:
– Secret Society 1st draft
– Chamiroun 1st draft
– City Wizards 1st draft
– Mining Camp 1st draft

*I know that most dates overlap; that’s on purpose in case I write faster than planned one month and not the other.
**Not fiction in the slightest, but it’s good to have the deadlines there. Not sure how I’ll juggle two projects in one month, but if I can write two and a half novels during one month this should absolutely be possible.
***Just realised that if I follow this plan, I won’t actually write any first draft in either of the Camp NaNoWriMo month. Might have to reconsider the dates, but it would be nice to alternate between first and second drafts. Mostly because I’m not used to rewriting and editing anymore, so it might be too much. As if this whole list isn’t already too much…
****Yes, I realise this means one novel per month, plus an extra one during November, plus a huge article, as well as four “bonus” stories. Would be cool if I succeeded, but I’m not expecting it.

I… won?

I joined Camp NaNoWriMo very spontaneously, because my friends were going to do it. And the first few weeks I didn’t exactly write very regularly. But then suddenly my story started to really grab my attention, and these past few days I’ve been writing and writing, not really thinking of the word count. Yesterday I wrote 10k. Today I wrote 5k – and thus reached 50k and won Camp NaNoWriMo.

I really can’t get over the fact that I did win, with all that’s been going on this year. New job, upcoming surgery, plenty of things to distract me. But I feel my story is good this time, I’ve really found how I want it to be, on third attempt. There’s still a lot left to go – it will probably take at least 20k before I’m done, so I’m aiming for 75k. Preferrably I’ll finish before November, when NaNoWriMo starts, and it would be even better if I got two weeks “off” before that.

But damn, I won. It was unexpected (probably not for everyone else, but it was for me), but I won’t complain!

Writerly realisations: Novel length

I am, as you probably know, participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m a little behind at present, but I don’t think finishing on time will be a problem. I’m at 35000 and need to be at around 38000-39000 or something like that. But I realised one thing… There is no way I’ll be able to finish the novel in only 15000 words more. No way. I haven’t even written half of my plot!

I could of course cut it down, but the most important things are from now and onwards. The two main characters will have to finally meet and they will have to slowly realise that they might not need to be on opposite sides and that, well, sometimes you have to change your mind, they will have to find another character and so on so that the magic in the area won’t destroy everything and everyone there, and they have to sort out the sticky situation that caused them to meet each other in the first place. That sorting out will have to take quite a lot of words.

I would have hoped that I’d have a finished first draft at the end of the month, but it seems it will be a bit more extensive than that. Oh well… I guess I’ll finish it someday. At least I’ll get the 50,000 words. I hope.

Now I only have to find a working title for the thing.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 11

First post! It’s always a little strange starting a new blog. It won’t really be that much of a difference from my already existing blogs – I have a book blog in Norwegian and a now dead writing blog in English, but it never really felt natural to me to separate reading and writing. They will both cover the same general topic in two languages, and some things will be cross-posted, but mostly they will not have the same content.

So! Over to the main post. It’s now Day 11 of Camp NaNoWriMo, and while it took me quite a while to get properly started (started anew twice) I have now found my stride. Yesterday I wrote nearly 8000 words, and I plan on writing a great deal tomorrow. I really like my current story, which I’ve tried to write several times before – I daydream about it, constantly get new ideas for it, and really enjoy writing it. That’s the three main criteria for knowing if your story has potential, in my opinion. I’ve ended up with a story within a story, an increasing number of characters who are not quite human, several love interests and some lighter parts in between all the dark stuff.

It’s a little late at night for me to be coherent here, so I’ll stop there. I’m now at 19800 words, and will probably rack up a great deal more words tonight. My downstairs neighbours are noisy, you see, and apparently think that playing loud music and standing on their veranda smoking and chatting loudly is a good idea in the middle of the night. Add that to the fact that my next door neighbour was hammering and drilling all day, I’m a little tired of noises right now.