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Monday, November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo updates from the 5 Lectito.ME writers

Website Lectito.ME has posted their week 3 update on the 5 writers they're profiling for NaNoWriMo 2015, go have a look!

Blogging for WritersLife.ORG

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting some blogs for, a website dedicated to helping writers of all kinds make the most of their craft. First post, 5 Tools For Writers: A Roundup, is up now, go check it out!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NaNoWriMo Week 3 thoughts

End of week 3 of NaNoWriMo, and I can say something I've never said before about this:

I won. :D

Indeed, I had a good plan, stuck to it for the most part, and was able to write every single day. Some days, many days, I was able to write a lot more than the minimum to keep up, some days not quite as much. The key thing I've learned so far is to keep at it. Maintain the daily focus to write, even just a few hundred words, and that makes all the difference between an idea for a story, and an actual story.

I'm not finished yet. This novel still has two scenes that I haven't yet written at all, so there's work there to do yet, and a couple of the scenes I have written still need additional fleshing out in order to work right. But the vast majority of the story is there. There are important characters who died, loved, and lost. But in the end, it is all for the best.

Now comes what will probably be the harder part: revising it! Editing, I suspect, will take twice as long as did the writing part, and frankly that's okay. It is absolutely an illusion that writing flows from an author's pen or fingertips as effortlessly as sunlight streams through windswept leaves. It sucks, first. Then after being reviewed and edited, it sucks less. Then after being reviewed and edited more, it sucks even less. Et cetera, ad infinitum. Well, not quite, eventually the story either starts to really shine, or it maybe is set aside for something else. In any case, it is hard work, contrary to the romantic illusion.

Stats for the week:

Weekly word count: 14,053
Weekly average/day: 2,008
Total for month: 51,436

(totals are slightly different on the graphic because of the way NaNoWriMo's counter counts words, vs. how Scrivener counts them.)

Last Week's Goal Updates:

I did kill two, in fact I killed four characters (two important ones, two minor ones). Space combat is dangerous, what can I tell ya? I also did write every single day last week.

This Week's Goal Updates:

This week, I want to maintain the momentum of writing daily. I may not write as much in this work, even though I still have work to do, but I also have a freelance gig writing for another blog (details when blogs are published) so I'll also be doing that. Daily writing, of some kind, that's the goal.

Editing I am still going to wait on; I want to get all of the entire work out first. December & January seem like ideal times for that!

I'm still on track to hit 60k for the month, which would be a nice round figure—as well as a great foundation, from which to cull the best story possible.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

NaNoWriMo (Universo Responsoriis) teaser — Space Command Pilot Graduation Speech

I wasn't planning on posting any of the work I've been doing for NaNoWriMo, mostly because I was following the advice of one of my Mentors +Jamie Davis the @podmedic to just let it suck, and I'm pretty sure it does. Even if it does suck, though, I'm kinda fond of it, and thought I'd share it for feedback and just general information.


General Dodson stood at the front of the assembled formation, standing at attention awaiting his command. Thirty-six applicants, all highly distinguished fighter pilots from the US Air Force, US Navy & Marine Corps, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Israeli Air Force, Russian Air Force, and People’s Liberation Army Air Force, had completed the selection process—more than three hundred started it—and they were being acknowledged for their accomplishment today. They were also going to get bad news: there are only four fighters scheduled for completion in the next month, so the rest of them will have to just train in simulators for at least a half year while industrial capacity catches up to demand and testing requirements.
“At Ease, ladies and gentlemen. First, allow me to be the first to officially congratulate you all on completing the initial Earth Defense Space Command fighter training class. Each of you has proven to be an amazing warrior, ready to take the fight to our mostly unknown, highly advanced adversary. You have endured months of zero-gravity flight training, suit malfunctions, planet or orbiting body reentry procedures, and you have done it with the grace, determination, and sheer power of will the human species requires of the officers who will defend it.
“Your training, of course, is not completed here. This stage is the end of the beginning; starting Monday, you will be reporting to your new squadron commands for your next steps as the tip of the spear for Space Command, leading the fight against our mysterious enemy.
“There is much we know about them: they are highly advanced, and utilize technologies that have and will continue to awe us. For all their advanced technology, and the deference we afford them for it, they have weaknesses. Some we have already uncovered, more will be evident as this war progresses. We have incorporated some of our understanding of their weaknesses into future battle planning already, and as we gain experience from conflict with them, we will exploit more; you, will exploit more. You, the men and women of class 2033-01, will be the most important part of that battle plan. We can give you all the weapons we can muster, all the technology in the universe, and it all means nothing without deliberate, planned, focused application. Your efforts will have more say in the future of humanity than will any of our engineers, software developers, architects, or generals. They are important pieces, don’t get me wrong, but without the highly trained decision makers we graduate here today taking their technology and this training—and that to come—all the technology in the world is wasted.
“Standing here in front of you, I know that our efforts will not be wasted, will not be subjected to the demands of an as-yet faceless and nameless enemy. I see the best pilots in human history, and I know that our human approach to the delivery of war to them will be the deciding factor. Humanity will survive this crisis, as it has a multitude of crises in the past, by the one thing that makes us human: our compassion, our love, our drive to succeed and to do so by lifting each other up to higher ground.
“I am proud that the initial defense of humanity is led by you. You are the latest stage of millennia of human evolution, more highly trained and focused than any that have come before you. The hopes of humans everywhere, all people on Earth today and in all the tens of thousands of years gone by and yet to come, is in your capable hands, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
General Dodson then stood to attention, and called out “Class, attenTION!” The class responded immediately, all of them snapping to in unison. “Earth Defense Space Command Class Twenty Thirty-Three dash Zero One, I hereby declare you to be graduated, and to take on the missions that lie before all of humanity. You must succeed. You will succeed. CLASS DISMISSED, FALL OUT!”


Monday, November 16, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo week 2 thoughts

So, it's Saturday November 14th. NaNoWriMo's "official" halfway point is tomorrow, and after two weeks of my first actual attempt to do this, here are my current thoughts.


To start, I am really happy with my decision to do this. I've connected with some very cool people, and I've gotten so much better about "being a writer."

What does that mean, even? Well ... here's how I see it. An "author" is a person who publishes a book of some kind. There are lots of people who are authors, but are not really "writers." To my way of thinking, a "writer" is someone who writes because they have things to say. I have stories I'd like to tell, but if they sit in my head I'm not a writer. In fact, all I really am, at that point, is a creative dreamer or thinker.

When I sit at the computer to type the stories I have in my head down into a document, that's when I'm a "writer." That's the transition, and is the part I hadn't really quite figured out how to make work, at least not consistently.

As it turns out, it's really—for me, at least—as simple as saying "sit down and write." Making the time, forcing myself to have a goal every single day, as I have for NaNoWriMo, has proven to me that the main factor in wanting to call myself a "writer" is to just write. Yes, I also need to read. Yes, I also need to research. Yes, I also need to edit and proofread (although, I am not doing those things to my NaNoWriMo project yet, that's what December & January are for, for me), and I need to market and network and give people a reason to want to try reading the stuff I have written. But most important of all these things, I have to write. Steven King is famous for saying (among other things) that the writer who doesn't read lacks the tools to write well, and yes I need to read to get better. But if all I do is read, I'm a reader, not a writer. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So what I've learned in two weeks of NaNoWriMo is that I am absolutely capable of being a writer, if that's what I intend to do, and the first "trick" is to just plan time every day to sit down and write. Without the overriding "goal" of NaNoWriMo, though, what are some motivations I can use instead? What I plan to do is to continue to set weekly word goals, and focus on one or maybe two projects at a time. They probably won't be as ambitious as current goals—11,669 words/week for NaNoWriMo is fine—but a 5k/week goal seems reasonable for new writing projects (that works out to just less than 715 words/day). I will also need to set aside time to edit and polish this novel, as well as other works I will finish, so I also intend to set aside time each day for that process, as well. Maybe write new stuff in the morning, and edit or proofread or whatever in the evening.

But what I have learned the most is that I can do it. If I actually want it, it's there for me.

Alright onto the nitty-gritty.

Words for the week: 18,003
Average/day: 2,572
Total for month: 36,013

Goal updates

Main goal of course remains to get at least 50K with a "wouldn't it be great if" of 60K and even 75K by the 30th, both of which are certainly within reach.

First resolution: kill two more characters (I promise, it actually fits!)

Second: Every single day, write at least once, and preferably twice. I set my Scrivener session word count to reset every time I close/open the project, so the word count is by writing session. I have it set to the NaNoWriMo daily goal of 1,667, and although I haven't gotten each session that high every day twice a day, I have used it as a motivator to not give up yet on a session ("you can't get up, you're still in the red! Write at least until you get to the orange!").

So, that's week two for me, let me know how you're doing in the comments!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thoughts of Beauty Wandering (a poem)

Thoughts of Beauty Wandering
—A poem by Bacil Donovan Warren

I caught my thoughts a’saunter, as sometimes they will do
Across a heather field, all soft with morning dew 
Within my sight, her form approached; from Heav’n itself it seems
Her silhouette a perfect shape; the woman of my dreams.

She stands before my vision with her light brown hair askew
The gentle curve of her cheekbones, her eyes of pale blue
They don’t just see the man I am, they see the me inside—
The person I am meant to be, I can no longer hide.

As toes, buried in beach sand, are eventually revealed,
So she reminds me, every day, not to keep concealed
All the things I am within, the bad along the good—
To reach the heights I seek, upon her shoulders I have stood.

And even though it seems as if she’s disappeared from sight,
I know the woman that I love has given my dreams flight.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Silver Ribbons (a poem)

Silver Ribbons
— A poem by Bacil Donovan Warren

The initial enticement, words that seem to mirror action; at first, intoxicating. Embracing.
The dulcet tone of her voice, the mere presence of her: warm and inviting
As the bright rose and orange of sunset on thin clouds, stretching forever away
As love should.

Time moves, and the warmth becomes a raging inferno.
Desire to possessing; caring to giving to single-minded focus—
A need to provide, to comfort, to support as best he could.
The surrender of self to a picture bigger than one;
A picture so big only two can possibly fill it.

As the picture forms, the colors shift; not anymore are they the dreamscape of sunset.
Instead, they become first the penumbra of shadow:
Snaking out, like the silver ribbons at the end of twilight
Icy tendrils with frozen spearpoints, wrapped around his beating heart,
Squeezing it still. Stabbing it empty.

Even yet, it tries to sob tears of anguish—regret—appeals to sanity, to fate
Her ears deafened to the cry of the mutilated,
It screams its silent chorus of together, a song lost
In the now-frozen, darkest black of solitude.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 1 check in blog from Lectito.ME

As part of the NaNoWriMo festivities Lectito.ME is following five authors, and I am one of the five. Week 1 of NaNoWriMo is done, and all five of us have checked in to provide feedback and encouragement.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015, week 1 thoughts

It's been a week since I started my first National Novel Writing Month, and it's been an interesting experience so far.

First, I want to give props to a trio of inspiring fellow authors: Jamie Davis (the Podmedic), Sam Bradley (@SamBradley11), and B A Wilson (@BAWilsonWrites). Each of them has given a unique insight and inspiration to my efforts, and they deserve credit for reaching out to help a stranger reach his goals.

Second, I'd like to pass on a couple of things I've already learned, based on my experience and the advice of those authors above. Write! Write first. Write a lot. Write without too much concern for the polish, the flow, the "sound" of what you're writing. It can be edited later; in fact, you will almost certainly need to edit it later. It will be really rough. It may even suck. As Jamie told me: "let it suck." For those readers who, like me have a desire to constantly polish and fix things, please hear me echo his advice: don't. Seriously, let it suck, and write a lot of stuff that sucks. Michelangelo touched on this idea, noting "every block of stone has a statue inside it"; write a big block of stone, and only later, go back in and chisel out the story hidden inside. Said another way, by Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry, "it seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove." I believe that I will find it easier to remove and polish a lot of sucking writing, and turn it into a finely crafted story, than to try to fix small pieces.

On to the stats:
Average daily words: 2,572.
Largest single day: 01 NOV, with 5,023 words
Total words: 18,010.
Words remaining: 31,990
Estimated finishing date: 20 NOV.

I am aiming to hit at least one more day (probably Monday) of 5k words.

To my fellow NaNoWriMo writers, keep up the good work, and even if you're not as far along as you'd like, you're still farther along than you were!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 day 1 thoughts

Just a brief note based on my first day's activities (3,593 words so far, and I might try to get in a third session before bed).

First, the general advice that I got to 1) not edit, just write? Good advice, but oh so very tough for me! I edit as I think, mostly (I suspect a lot of other writers do, too), and I often will backspace or re-write a passage as I'm writing it. I'm trying to break that habit, though, in the interest of getting words on pages.

Second, the advice to just be okay with sucking, at first? GREAT advice (and, thanks to Jamie the Podmedic, +Jamie Davis). I am 100% okay with the first (very rough) draft being kinda icky to re-read later, because I'ma go in there and edit the heck out of it anyway.

Third, Scrivener. I love this tool anyway, but I changed the way I use the Project Tracker for now. It was set up, as was advised in many places, to track the overall project as well as per-session by using the deadline method. In short, if you open the Project Tracker on a Mac you can click "Options" and tell it when your writing deadline is, and how many words total, and it will calculate the daily word count accordingly. This is fine, but I found a better way for me: I did all that, then turned off the Automatically calculate from Draft Deadline checkbox. I set the session target for 1,667 words, and also changed the reset option to reset every time I close the project. That means that I have a session target of 1,667 every time I open it up. For me, it's just easier to close Scrivener when I'm finished, so I'm not tempted to edit right now (which I totally would!), and it also kinda kicks up my writing a notch. Next time I open it, I'll have a full day's worth of words as a goal, even if that happens later tonight. That certainly means I can blast through 3k+ words in a day several times, and have some leeway for things like Thanksgiving, etc.

Anyway, that's my first impression. Don't expect a blog entry every day, but I will endeavor to update again next Sunday.