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miranda

My attempt at NanoWriMo....

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

The above link is to a site that is attempting to get people to write a novel of at least 50,000 words between 1st and 30th November.   You just write it on the wing, post it on the site when it's done, they count it and if it has the right amount of words, you win!   Sounds simple.....

I started my attempt today and it's not easy...... Spent two hours and have 1,340 words.   Most of it cobblers!    Laughing   You have to write at least 2000 words a day....

At the moment I'm just chucking words at the page.  I don't even have a plot or character plan yet.  It's kind of working itself out as I'm going.

Would anyone mind if I posted the first bit just to see what you think?  Remember, it's not an attempt at a serious novel.  At the moment I'm flying by the seat of my pants..........  so be gentle!  

Quote:
I was staring out of the café window, watching a dog outside the supermarket opposite.  It was staring at the door, eagerness and anxiety vibrating through its body.   It was brown and long-haired, the fur sticking out in all directions.   Small feet and long legs, ears standing up, tail wagging uncertainly.   Reminded me of me.   A mongrel to the bone.   Then its owner came out and the dog erupted into a fit of happiness.  Jumping up and down, tail going like a rotor, its world alright again.   Hmm…..not like me.   Oh well….  

I took a mouthful of coffee and winced.  Stone cold, yuck.   How long had I been sitting here?   The café was pretty full and noisy, people chatting, cursing the staff, reading newspapers, playing with their mobile phones.   No-one interesting at first glance.   Steam from the espresso machine billowing over the counter, smelling warm and rich.   I knew I should move on but couldn’t raise the energy.   I wanted to sit there for ever, avoiding what I knew I had to do.   ‘Get up, girl, get a move on.’   But even my own brain couldn’t force me to my feet.   And then he approached my table, looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Are you Sarah?’


He was tall and blond and thin, reminded me of a milk ice lolly.   A linen suit, creased from sitting on a hard café chair.   I’d spotted him a while earlier but had taken no notice, just another citizen wasting time over a coffee.    He was looking down at me intensely, as if he wanted to tell me something.  But I’m not psychic so could only give him a puzzled look back again.    
‘Can I help you?’
‘That depends on if you are Sarah.’
‘I might be, that depends on who you are’.   He was still staring at me and I shifted in my chair.  
‘Look, either sit down or move away.  You’re making me uncomfortable’.
He blushed and then sat.   But he said nothing, just stared at his shoes.  They were nice shoes but they didn’t rate that much scrutiny.    
‘Is there something I can do for you?’  
He nodded, his face still red.   His hands were clasped in his lap, thumbs rubbing over each other.   He looked up at me and tried to smile.  
‘I’m sorry to bother you but I need you to find someone for me’.
‘Oh?   How do you know I’m the person to ask?  I’m just sitting enjoying a coffee  and minding my own business.  Suppose you tell me who you are.’
‘My name is David.  David Adams.  A friend of mine told me that you would be able to help and I’m desperate.  I don’t know where else to turn.’
‘Hmm… that’s me.  The last refuge of the desperate.’
He blushed again.  ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean that how it sounded.   It’s just….. I can’t go to the police with this and I don’t know anyone else who does this kind of thing.   But my friend told me you were good at it and had helped her a lot.’  He gave me a pathetic, puppy dog look.  ‘Please, I really need you to do this….’  
I leant back and studied him.   Young, minted as far as I could tell from the suit and the shoes, uncomfortable and desperate.   Just my type.  
‘Ok, tell me what you need.’
He reached into his jacket pocket and took out a photo.   Stared at it with pain in his eyes for a few moments and then handed it to me.  
‘I need you to find her.  She went missing 5 days ago and I’ve searched everywhere I can think of.’
I looked at the photo.  Hmmm… long blond hair, long nose, long legs….. beautiful.  
‘An Afghan Hound, nice.   Where did she go missing?’
‘From my back garden.   I let her out to …you know… and went back in the house.   10 minutes later she still hadn’t come in so I went to look.  She was gone.   I ran all around my neighbourhood searching for her.  Calling her name.  No sign.   I’ve put up posters everywhere and cards in the local shops but nothing.   I checked the fences in the garden but there is nowhere she could have got out.   I don’t know what to do.’
His face screwed up in pain and for a horrible moment I thought he was gonna burst into tears.   I handed him a tissue, quick, and looked away.   He blew his nose a couple of times and then handed it back.  
‘No, you’re alright, you can have that one for free.’  I paused for a beat or two.   ‘Why have you come to me though?  This sounds like your usual missing dog story.   I don’t do that.’
He stared down at his shoes again.  ‘There’s something I haven’t told you.’
‘Thought there might be’.
He reached into the same pocket and pulled out a dirty piece of paper.  
‘Take a look at this.’
My heart sank.   I took the paper from his fingers and looked at him hard.   He squirmed in his seat and the shoes got another good scrutiny.   I unfolded the paper and saw exactly what I hadn’t wanted to see.   The writing was the same, the phrasing, everything.   Another epistle from The Hound of Doom…… I sighed and asked the question I had never wanted to ask again.
‘Is your friend named Diane Smith?’  He nodded.   I sighed again.  
‘How she has the gall to send you to me after what happened last time………’
‘I know, I know!’ He grasped my hand. ‘But this is serious!  What else can I do?  He might mean it!  And if he hurts my poor Subaru…’
‘Scuse me?’  
‘That’s the dog’s name.’
‘You named your dog after a car?’
‘It’s a long story and we don’t have time.  Please!’
Oh…. what the hey…..
‘Did she tell you my terms?’ He nodded. ‘Right, the first thing I need to do is see the scene of the crime.’  He went pale and looked up at me. ‘Just a turn of phrase, that’s all.   It’s how we speak.  Come on.’

We pulled up outside the house.   A very nice house, red brick, large, nice patio and conservatory, blinds in the windows.   Double garage.  Oh yes, the kind of place a high-maintenance dog like Subaru would suit.   Oh yes.   I climbed out of the car, holding on to the door to lift my self from the reclining position demanded by a car like that.   I pulled down my shirt and adjusted my jacket.   Got to look neat for the neighbours.
‘Garden first’.  
He led me to a gate in a high fence and unlocked it with a Yale key.   I took a long look at the lock but no signs of tampering.  No footmarks on the wood of the gate.   Hmmm…..   we turned the corner and the vista opened up in front of me.   I gasped.   How big was this garden?  
‘Are you sure she’s not still here and you just haven’t searched hard enough? I mean, you could lose a whole herd of cattle in here!’
‘Trust me, she’s not here.  I have covered every inch of this garden, ruined an expensive pair of shoes too!   I looked everywhere, called her name, I even looked under the shed.  She’s not here.’
‘Ok, go and make a coffee or something while I take a look around.   I might find something, you never know.’
He looked at me blankly.  ‘Urmm… coffee…. I’ll have to see if Mrs Durton is in.  She may have gone shopping or something.’
‘Mrs Durton?’
‘My housekeeper.’
‘Uh huh….. so you don’t know how to make coffee yourself then?’
‘I’ve never needed to.  There’s always been someone to do it for me.’
I nodded but he must have seen contempt or something in my eyes.   He turned away, unlocked the back door and stepped into the house, his head bowed and shoulders slumped.  Ah well, he’d get over it, he was a grown man.  Possibly.

MikeAlx

The required average daily word count is 1667 (50,000 words over 30 days), though it's probably good to give yourself a margin of error. I really want to do Nano some time, but this year has not been conducive for various reasons.

Don't have time to read your stuff at the moment, but will look later. You're very brave though - I wouldn't show a first-draft to anyone!!

Good luck!
miranda

Laughing  I think there is only going to be a first draft!    I won't have time to do too much playing with it.

The reason I'm doing this is I have a book in my head that I just can't get started.   So I thought if I join Nano and throw words at the page, it will maybe kick off something, throw some little switch and I will be able to start my 'proper' novel later.  

The one above is just a bit of fun, really.  To see if I can do it and if there is anything there worth building on.
MikeAlx

Well that's what Nano's all about. Some years back I did a phase of Nano-like writing (albeit with more modest word targets over a longer period) and got my attempted novel up to about 30-odd thousand words. This was inspired by reading Nano-founder Chris Baty's excellent book "No plot - no problem!".

I'd like to do similar again, but am really struggling to find any time for writing at the moment.
miranda

So.... did I write too much or is it really that bad?
Apple

You are very brave!! I have had an idea in my head for a story for years but never really got the courage to do anything about it, Good luck!! and it sounds alright to me so far!! Very Happy
MikeAlx

Sorry, didn't get round to reading this as soon as I'd hoped. I think it's very good. Obviously would need some later polishing, but it sets the scene well enough, establishes the characters and situation and has some promising glints of humour.

But don't lose time listening to critical feedback, or indeed your own inner critic - nano is all about thrashing it out, going ever forwards and worrying about the consequences later!

How is your wordcount now, by the way?
miranda

5,642.....   Embarassed   I am so far behind it's ridiculous!  Still, keep going.  

The problem is I keep rewriting bits to inspire the next bit.....
MikeAlx

The usual advice is: don't rewrite, just make notes and move on!
miranda

I wish I could!  But it seems to be developing at its own pace.   The character of David has changed completely.  The opening scene is pretty much the same except for a change in dialogue.  I've got Mrs Durton down.  And there is a huge internal monologue about the Hound of Doom.  All of the characters in it so far have a name and a back story but I have no idea where this story is going.   I'm hoping the ending will reveal itself as I go......... maybe one of the characters will let me know!   Laughing
Thursday Next

I've been doing Nano, too! I only heard of it a couple of weeks before and got persuaded into it at the last minute. And I won! 54, 435 words and (just about, probably) finished. It is so much fun. Hard work, but fun  Very Happy
miranda

WoW!  I have so much respect for you!  I didn't get anywhere close.  I couldn't stop myself from editing.  

But .. on the positive side, it has got me writing and I think this is turning into the story I've been carrying in my head for years.
spidernick

Well, how did you get on?  It's not something I could envisage doing personally until my kids are much older!
miranda

I haven't been able to write for about 4 days.  Life is getting in the way but hopefully I will get some more done tomorrow.  

I'm on 16,000 words now.  Which sounds terrible but I have all my main characters and their relationships with each other.  The plot has moved along a bit but most of what I have is scene-setting.   I'm still not exactly sure of the plot but I am trusting it will reveal itself as it goes.  

I am fascinated by the way the characters are revealing themselves though.  It's like it's not me telling them how to be, it's them telling me.
spidernick

That's sounds pretty good to me.  I have about 5,000 words for mine after months!
MikeAlx

Miranda, it's 16000 words you didn't have before nanowrimo! The glass is 32% full. Smile
miranda

True!   I shall get there eventually.   Actually, I'm really looking forward to finding out the ending!   Laughing

Just to derail the subject for a minute....

Spidernick, what is your avatar?  OH thinks he recognises the artist.
spidernick

It's of Oscar Wilde, but I don't know the artist, I'm afraid.  I just found it when I googled 'Oscar Wilde caricatures' from memory.
Chibiabos83

The artist appears to be this chap: http://www.quarehawk.com/about/

A link to his blog post about the Wilde drawing: http://www.quarehawk.com/2007/09/09/oscar-wilde-caricature/
miranda

I now have 25,000 - ish words but have come to a dead stop.  I can't find the next part of the plot.
miranda

I've started writing again but still don't know where the plot is going.  But at least the block is broken.    Just have to wait and see where my characters want to take me!  


Is it usual for the writer to not have much control over what the characters want to do?    I know that sounds odd but sometimes it feels like they just pop into my head and tell me what they should be doing next!
Thursday Next

miranda wrote:
Is it usual for the writer to not have much control over what the characters want to do?    I know that sounds odd but sometimes it feels like they just pop into my head and tell me what they should be doing next!


Quite usual! I think that's generally regarded as a good thing, if your characters have a life of their own. How is it going?

I am onto the editing process. Well, strictly speaking I haven't edited a sentence of it yet, but I've had a couple of people read through and give me feedback so I've got some idea of what to do when I do finally get round to editing. It's quite daunting!
miranda

Tell me about it!  I'm still writing but am more than two-thirds of the way through.  I'm building up to the big finale.  

Apple is reading mine for me and giving me good feedback.   I asked Apple as it's her kind of thing.  The kind of book she likes so the feedback is useful.  I'm just waiting for the feedback on the second part I sent her.  

It's feeling pretty good at the moment.  Flowing pretty well.  I'm looking forward to the editing.  Although I have no idea what I'm meant to do....

Laughing
spidernick

I envy you - I'm not disciplined enough with my novel, although kids getting in the way is a reasonable excuse.  I have written some short stories for young children though, as they are much smaller projects.
Mikeharvey

Hello Miranda,
I haven't actually got writer's block, I think in my case it's called laziness. I have been halfway through a new play called 'Grimy Moon' for over a year and can't seem to get on with it.  And I have lots of time so there's no excuse.  I haven't had anything performed for about four years. My last was a dramatisation of Longfellow's long narrative poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' written for a festival in Chorley, Lancashire. This was enormous fun to do and I wrote it quickly.
But I have a structural problem with 'Grimy Moon' and that's my excuse.  I tinker and tinker but never seem to get any further.
With other plays I've written I used to take great delight in tackling technical problems and making the thing work.  Writing the dialogue is easy and enormous fun.  But as remarked on this thread, the people I've invented quite often do their own thing and don't behave themselves.  Sometimes my characters say things and I think 'Where the hell did that come from?'
I don't think I'd like a psychiatrist to delve too deeply.
Michael
MikeAlx

Mike, sounds like you need a deadline...  Wink
miranda

I know what you mean about characters not behaving themselves!  Mine quite often do something I'm not expecting.  At the moment, I'm just letting them do it and seeing where it takes me.  But it does mean I have a lot of loose ends that needs tying before the end and I'm hoping one of them will show me how!   Laughing   I've a psycopathic villian, a housekeeper with some very unusual skills (I'm not saying what as I don't want to spoil the surprise for Apple!) and a woman who is Napoleon reborn.  Only smarter.  I think.   And my heroine who is only revealing her back story a little bit at a time.  

It will all come together, I'm sure it will ........
MikeAlx

It's great that you're keeping going. My best attempts so far have floundered around the 40,000 word mark. I'm determined to get there one day though!
miranda

I've just discovered I've only written 26,000 words!  It feels like loads more than that!  

I think this might be a short story rather than a novel.......
MikeAlx

Well for one thing, you haven't finished yet! For another, that would be a pretty long novella rather than a short story.

Depending on the market 70,000-90,000 words is reckoned to be a good length to aim for, at least for a first-time writer. That's about 210-270 pages in paperback format.
miranda

70,000?  Flipping eck....

Oh well, we'll see how many it is when it's finished.  Apple does keep telling me the MC needs some more back story!   Laughing
Thursday Next

I just finished editing my nano-novel, Nightingale!! It's more a second draft than a final, I know there are still problems with it, but I was working on a time-limit (for which read, left it to the last minute as usual).

I wanted to get it fixed up so I could get the free proof copy from createspace that you can get if you verify your 50k on the nanowrimo website, and I got it sorted out and formatted just in time.

So now my novel is going to be an actual book on my bookshelf! I am quite excited Very Happy

It got to 70,000 words give or take (word counts in Word and Open Office vary slightly).

Writing a novel is both easier and harder than I thought it would be. I have new respect for authors, having done this, and promise not to be so harsh on plot holes and disappearing characters in the future...
county_lady

Wow Thursday!
Congratulations and much admiration from me.
It must be a wonderful experience to have a copy of your own work. cheers
Chibiabos83

Congratulations from me too! A tremendous achievement. I know I could never do it.
Evie

Thursday, that's fantastic - well done!  And the extra bonus of a hard copy edition on your bookshelves is wonderful.  With two small children, it is no mean feat to have written a novel!   Cool
kitsumehime

Congratulations!  Any details you want to share with us?
Thursday Next

Thanks everyone Smile

I suppose I should have said what it's about, but somehow I can write a 70,000 word story, but I always find writing a 200 word summary difficult.

This is as far as I got with writing a 'blurb' . It's horribly cheesy, but then the novel itself is fairly cheesy, so:

In a politically unstable near-future society where policing has been privatised, the stage is set for murder, betrayal, love and revenge as police, criminals, musicians and a journalist are all caught up in chaos at an outdoor concert.

Rafe Hawley, the less famous half of one of the country's most successful bands, is tired. Tired of touring, the endless rounds of publicity and most of all tired of Guy Nightingale, his faux-punk fellow band member, tabloid darling, media whore. But in the days before a sold out homecoming gig in Victoria Park, Rafe stumbles across an anarchist plot to disrupt the concert and kidnap Nightingale. Finding himself quickly out of his depth, he turns to Molly, an unhappily married American journalist and one-time fling of Guy's, to help investigate.

Liz Loveless, an earnest new recruit to the SecuriCo security force, deals with tentative romance and divided loyalties as she attempts to prove herself to her new colleagues when her unit is assigned the task of policing the concert.

Vic and Tony Tanaka have just buried their father. While Vic takes over his father’s business, Tony indulges in an infatuation with the girlfriend of a sinister local nightclub owner. But some of their late father’s less savoury associates want explosives, and they won’t take no for an answer...



It's not at all literary, I'm afraid. I can't claim it's a genre novel, either, as it doesn't fall into one genre, but has elements of thriller, sci-fi (but not really, it's just set slightly in the future) and a couple of romantic sub-plots. 'Mainstream general fiction', then. Although I can't imagine it's the kind of thing that would sell in supermarkets, either... [/i]
Green Jay

Wow, that's got a lot going on! Well done. And it sounds like a convincing blurb to me. The characters have got great names.
Thursday Next

There is rather a lot going on  Confused  I'm glad you like the names!

I just got my copy in the post this afternoon. I wasn't expecting it to be so quick! It's thicker than I thought it would be although that's largely due to formatting problems, some of the indents are further across the page than I'd like. It will be interesting to see how it reads as an actual book before I start thinking about the third draft...
MikeAlx

Sounds like enormous fun - perhaps you have invented a new sub-genre: Romantic Techno-Thriller?  Wink
Thursday Next

Romantic Techno-Thriller? I like that. I would buy a book that was described like that.

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