Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 29

And tonight I crossed the fishline for National Novel Writing Month. It was a fun ride again this year, and I have to say that I feel like I got a good chunk of my novel completed because I had that driving deadline in front of me. Official total number of words for this year is 51583. But that only represents a portion of the total word count of the book. I had already written about 27000 words of the novel when I started, and doesn't sound the 30000 words spent on the world building and character creation work that I started in August. All told, that is a lot of material for just this one book.

What is great is that I haven't really felt any drag in writing this novel. Each time I sat down to work on it, it really felt like it was flowing pretty good. There were a couple days where it was tough to work, but I still met the minimum word count and was able to progress the story further.

At this point I'm still working away at Act 2 of the story. I'm going to toggle between the protagonists and antaongists as they continue their journey toward the goal. This means I'll continue working on the novel until it ends. At this point it could be mid-January when I finally wrap, depending on how busy December gets.

I will continue to post updates on this blog, but they will be a little less frequent and be more focused on the process of writing this novel and less on the word count goals. Speaking of that, here are the stats for the final night of writing for NaNoWriMo 2016.

Page Start: 177
Page End: 184
Word Count Start: 76163
Word Count End: 79194
Nanowrimo Word Count: 51562

  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Jeremy Soule
Thank you to everyone who has been reading and cheering me on. Your encouragement means a lot!

Monday, November 28, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 28

So yeah I took some time off from NaNoWriMo. I was doing so well, I figured I didn't have to sweat things too much during Thanksgiving. We had people over, so that meant time spent prepping, time spent cleaning up and time spent recovering from massive amounts of food. So five days without writing a word meant that I felt a little cold when I sat back down at the desk to start back in. But I did a quick bit of rereading the first three pages of the chapter I started and it was pretty easy to get back into the story.

Protagonists are entering some dangerous territory this time and are about to encounter their first major obstacle. I originally had an attack by panther happening in this sequence, but I switched it for something a bit more bizarre. I left an homage to the panther idea as the priestesses discover a strange panther statue that acts as a warning marker.

Today I was listening to The Golden Voyage of Sinbad one of my favorite Harryhausen scores and one of my favorite Harryhausen films. There is also a little homage to this film coming up too. So I thought it was fitting to listen to it while I wrote.

Looking at the word count I think I'm going to meet my goal in my next writing session. That might be tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. Cutting this a bit close, but I'll still make it.

Tonight's stats:

Page Start: 169
Page End:n 177
Word Count Start: 72625
Word Count End: 76163
Nanowrimo Word Count: 48531
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – Mikos Rozsa
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion- Jeremy Soule

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 22

Another day I get a late start, but another day I don't let that stop me. I pressed ahead to finish may action scene. Gotta say that I could see this sequence appearing in a classic adventure film with the antagonists battling a stop motion Ray Harryhausen monster that emerges from the river and attacks. Had some fun coming up with a way for them to escape a bloody demise.

That chapter ends with the leader of the antagonists worrying about the toll the dangers are taking on the groups unity and if he has enough pull to keep them together to achieve his ends. Then I started in on the next chapter focusing on my protagonists as they begin their journey through the jungle to reach the same final location. Of course the path isn't going to be easy for them either. Some of the challenges will be geographical, but I have some monstrous elements in store for them too. Harryhausen creatures all around.

Of cours this meant I had to listen to some Harryhausen music. "Jason and the Argonauts" is one of Bernard Herrman's most bombastic and colorful adventure scores. Fit great with the monstrous creature attack that I started the writing out with, especially the music for the Talos scene in the film.

Stats for the evening:

Page Start: 161
Page End: 169
Word Count Start: 69360
Word Count End: 72625
Nanowrimo Word Count: 44993
  • Jason and the Argonauts – Bernard Herrmann
  • Fire and Ice – William Kraft

Monday, November 21, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 21

I got another late start today. We are hosting Thanksgiving again, so when I get home from the office I try to get some stuff down around the house. So I was messing around for a good while before I finally had dinner and then sat down to write. I was afraid I was going to end up barely meeting my goal, so I just focused on the task and kept writing.

I was even able to ignore the cat who came in to remind me when his snack time arrived with some yelling and a gentle tap on the arm. But other than a quick break for his snack, I kept writing and writing and writing. I actually passed by target by about 1000 words, which brings me ever so much closer to my final goal for the contest. That's great news, because I'm thinking that I'm not going to get much more writing done this week. We'll have to see.

What helped me keep writing was working on a pretty exciting action sequence, that popped into my head on break at the office. It made for a surprising peril and it actually leads directly into the original peril I thought up for this scene. Back to back dangers really put the characters on their toes. They were fracturing before, but now a couple of them are really questioning what the hell they are doing in this jungle hell.

As for the musical selections, well Goldsmith always writes great action cues. Both these scores deal with characters in and around water, so it seemed fitting for the writing tonight.

The stats:

Page Start: 153
Page End: 161
Word Count Start: 65513
Word Count End: 69360
Nanowrimo Word Count: 41728
  • Deep Rising – Jerry Goldsmith
  • Congo – Jerry Goldmith

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 20

I had planned to get some writing done on Saturday and maybe even get some more done on Sunday. But Saturday turned out to be a bit of a bust, so I was only able to get writing done today. Still traveling up the dark river with my antagonists. They are getting closer to their goal and things aren't going quite as well as they hoped. There is tension in the ranks, and they are about to run into a big challenge. I'll be tackling that tomorrow. But for today I got to write as the misanthrope for a bit. That was fun.

Not much else to add. I'm still having fun writing, even though i'm still a bit nervous about overworking this section of the story. I'm really curious to see how it reads and how much trimming it will need.

Here are the stats for today:

Page Start: 146
Page End: 153
Word Count Start: 62474
Word Count End: 65513
Nanowrimo Word Count: 37881
  • Ben Hur (1959) – Miklos Rozsa
  • Dragonheart – Randy Edelman

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 17

Got a bit of a late start tonight so I'm going to keep this one the short side. Had a bit of trouble getting back into the mind of the loathsome antagonist. But once i got there it wasn't too bad. I covered the first peril they run into and then they get to talking about some of the legends around the river they are traveling. One of the concepts in this story is that there are all these stories and legends that permeate this world. But some cultures see the same events in different ways. As they are talking this occurs with one story being about the birth of a glorious kingdom, and the other seeing it a corrupt race perpetuating itself.

I had a good conversation with my wife about one of my protagonists who was feeling a bit one note. She gave me some good insight into the mind of someone who strives so hard because they are insecure about themselves. That element is missing from this character, who is coming across more like a straight up bitch. I think my second draft will build on those insecurities a bit more, giving her a bit more depth and maybe even making her sympathetic at times.

Well that's all for tonight.


Page Start: 139
Page End: 146
Word Count Start: 59506
Word Count End: 62474
Nanowrimo Word Count: 34842
  • Dragon Age 2 – Inon Zur
  • Red Sonja – Ennio Morricone
  • Sword and Sorcery Spectacular – Basil Poledouris

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 15

Well it finally happened. I started act two. Yay! I got my protagonists on the Path of Trials and my antagonists traveling up the river toward their final destination. Now I'll get to write all kinds of challenges and perils for them to encounter and attempt to survive. I have a few already planned out. Some are environmental hazards. Some are wild creatures roaming the jungles. Some are traps laid out to prevent treasure seekers. And some will be generated by conflict between the characters as the path becomes more and more difficult.

This is actually one of the original portions of the story I thought up when the idea for the story first tickled my brain. I was reading about the Maya, and how their ruins were hidden in the jungle and the perils that archeologists encountered trying to find them. I suddenly had an idea of a fantasy adventure story set in jungle setting similar to that. I'd never read a fantasy story that used that kind of setting before. So I daydreamed up some of obstacles, some based on the history of the Maya book I was reading. Others based on fantasy tropes. I think I've got a good mix going and it should make for some exciting writing and I hope reading.

Writing from the perspective of a particularly loathsome antagonist right now. Its a bit challenging, because he isn't a very bright guy, but he is cunning. He isn't super observant and pretty much only aware of what he wants and needs. A very in the moment kind of guy. It is proving fun to write but also a bit of a challenge, especially after writing for four well educated and very pious women. This guy is a brutal pig.

Stats for the evening:

Page Start: 132
Page End: 139
Word Count Start: 56389
Word Count End: 59506
Nanowrimo Word Count: 31874

  • The Hobbit (playlist) – Howard Shore

Monday, November 14, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 14

Didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I wasn't really feeling the writing bug tonight either. But I pushed ahead anyway and actually met my goal. Most of what was happening was the acolytes going through some final ceremonies and rituals before they start on the Path of Trials. Again, I'm not sure how much of this will end up in the final draft. It feels right to be adding all these details to the world I'm creating, but how much of this is going to be interesting to a reader? Not sure.

But since I'm using the perspective of the different acolytes as they experience these rituals, we are getting some good character stuff in there too. In addition, the High Priestess tells us a bit more about what is actually at stake on this Path of Trials during he ritual. It is really spelled out for the first time here, and I think that works fine.

So my next writing session will have the four girls starting on the path and finally, finally heading into act 2. No really they are. :)

And yeah, I was listening to some Star Wars scores today. But in all honesty Star Wars is primarily a fantasy story with science fiction trappings. The music especially isn't particularly sci-fi. But it really falls into the swashbuckling adventure score mode of the Golden Age. I know these scores so well, they' don't distract me, but do inspire... well except for "The Jedi Steps and Finale" track from The Force Awakens. That is such a great build up, I just have to stop and listen to it.

Stats for the evening.

Page Start: 126
Page End: 132
Word Count Start: 53463
Word Count End: 56389
Nanowrimo Word Count: 28757

  • Star Wars: A New Hope – John Williams
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 12

So this is the second weekend day I'm working on my novel for NaNoWriMo and I wasn't sure how well it would go. I wasn't really feeling the writing bug tonight, but I have a bunch of stuff to get done tomorrow and I wasn't sure when I'd get my writing time in. So I decided to give it a shot, and even thought about splitting my word count goal over today and tomorrow.

Surprisingly once I got started I was able to meet my word goal and get some important character stuff added to the story. As I mentioned I have four acolyte protagonists. I've been bouncing around between two of them primarily - the queen bee character and the rogue character. I've also go the bookworm who got her scene earlier in the week. I finally had some time to work on the Jock character. Yeah I'm kind of giving them these stereotypical names in the blog, but they are all a bit more rounded than those descriptions indicate. In fact my "jock" character is actually dealing with what she thinks is a loss of faith in herself and the Goddess. She's struggling with the idea of even attempting the Trials that will lead to full priestesshood. But her and the queen bee characters are intense rivals (at least in queen bee's eyes) so I have some fun with the sparks they generate whenever they run into each other.

But it was nice writing in the jock's head for a bit and giving her perspective on some of the events that have happened up to this point. I'm feeling like this is the end of act 1 (finally) and that once they start on that Path of Trials, act 2 will really kick in. That should occur in the next writing session or two.

All told a productive night. But I'm done for the week. That's fine because I just hit my halfway point in word count for NaNoWriMo. Right on schedule!

Tonight's stats:

Page Start: 120
Page End: 126
Word Count Start: 50542
Word Count End: 53463
Nanowrimo Word Count: 25,831

Sodom and Gomorrah – Miklos Rozsa

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 10

Well I wasn't intending on writing tonight, but I decided to go ahead and give it a shot anyway. I wanted to get ahead in my word count in anticipation of Thanksgiving weekend. But I was a little confused on where to take the story next. I know where the next big beat is, but for some reason I was having a bit of trouble visualizing how to get to it.

So I'm not sure how much of this chapter will end up in the final version. I had my rogue character talking to her friend about her encounter with the misanthrope. It was fun to craft the conversation, but I'm not sure how much new or interesting material is revealed. All it might have done was given the friend a bit more opportunity to be fleshed out in the novel. She hasn't been in too many scenes yet and she will have an important part to play. Of the four acolytes, she is the most devoted to the Goddess.

So the writing was a little tough tonight, but I met by goal and that was what I was shooting for.

Stats for the evening:

Page Start: 113
Page End: 120
Total Word Count Start: 47643
Total Word Count End: 50542
Nanowrimo Word Count: 22910
  • Jupiter Ascending – Michael Giacchino
  • John Carter of Mars – Michael Giacchino

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 9

So I had my first snag last night. I was all set to get some writing done, but life came in and smacked me around a bit. Between some bad news and all the craziness of the election I didn't want to do anything more than sit around and watch some mindless sitcom (Big Bang Theory if you must know). I'm a little worried only because my writing time is limited this week. Thursday and Friday are pretty much shot, and I doubt I will be able to write both days over the weekend. So I had to push past my typical goal of 2778 words a session. I managed 3709, not double, but a good boost. I've been over in my count this whole time and that is adding up. I'm at 20011 words so far. It is ahead of the average. That is where I want to be as we move closer to Thanksgiving - the time of no writing at all. :)

As for where I am in the story, well I just hit a new chapter where two characters play a bit of word fencing. I love writing conversation scenes (probably too much), and this one was a lot of fun. The time just flew by as I had each of these characters spar, giving hints as to their goals and how it will impact the protagonists and antagonists. Both of these characters feel they are puppet masters of sorts, but that is for the reader to decide when the story is done.

That section made me realize that one of the themes of this novel is going to be faith versus cynicism.  I never really thought about it in those terms, but that is one of the cruxes of conflict in the story. My protagonists are acolytes to The Great Goddess. They're actions are motivated by their belief in the path the Goddess sets before them. The antagonists are motivated by greed, fear and a world view that doesn't allow for faith in anyone but themselves (and sometimes not even that). I think that that time spent really fleshing out there backstories and perspectives of these six character will keep them from being one dimensional. I think the reader will really understand where they are coming from, and even sympathize with the antagonists on some level. When these two meet it will be a clash not only of arms, but also of ideals. And since I'm writing it, neither one will escape unscathed.

I don't think this is the only theme in the story, but it was made very clear in the dialogue scene I wrote tonight. In On Writing Stephen King feels that themes aren't something a writer should focus on in the first draft. They should be worked in during the later drafts, to give extra texture and depth to the novel. But identifying them early on it is always a good thing.

Stats for tonight:

Page Start: 103
Page End: 113
Word Count Start: 43934
Word Count End: 47643
  • Gods of Egypt – Marco Beltrami
  • The Monkey King – Christopher Young

Monday, November 7, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 7

Got started a little late tonight, but was still able to meet my word count. Tonight's writing was a lot of description. I'm not sure how much of it is going to end up in the final draft. I usually find that going into too much detail of settings or movement through the settings can actually end up confusing the reader. But leave too much out and you aren't actually giving the reader enough to flesh out in their mind. It is a delicate balance I think.

In this case, I have my protagonist rogue character sneaking around a temple complex. I went into a lot of details about her sneaking around guards, staying in the shadows and climbing walls. Fun to imagine all these details, but I wonder how it will all read.

What was interesting was fleshing out a bit of her backstory during this sequence. The reason she is going to all this trouble is to talk to another one of her race. She's been living among humans for a long time, so she is excited to meet someone like her. But as I mentioned in my last post, this antagonist is a misanthrope. So their dialogue was quite a bit of fun to write, as the protagonist goes from perky and cheerful, to confused, to disturbed, to outright terrified by the antagonist. Yeah it was good.

Here are the stats for tonight:

Page Start: 97
Page End: 103
Word Count Start: 40850
Word Count End: 43934
  • Princess Mononoke – Joe Hisaishi
  • Wonder Woman – Christopher Drake

Sunday, November 6, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 6

Got in some good writing today. Finished one chapter and started in on another. Leading up to the moment when one of the protagonists actually interacts with one of the antagonists. It should be a bit of fun to write. The protagonist is a curious rogue character. The antagonist she chooses to meet with is a cynical, bitter rogue character, who pretty much hates everyone. It should make for some entertaining conversation to write.

I'm nearing the end of Act One here. The middle act is going to be the main journey/adventure portion of the story. I'm looking forward to seeing how my characters deal with each other and the perils in store for them.

Here are the stats for the day.

Page Start: 89
Page End: 97
Word Count Start: 37854
Word Count End: 40850

  • Conan the Barbarian (Complete) – Basil Poledouris

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 3

So I reread what I wrote last night and did some slight editing. Mostly tightening up some repetition (my biggest fault in the first draft). Since last night was a rough one, I knew that what I wrote was needing some work.

One aspect of this novel (and many fantasy novels) is the journey. My antagonists are on a journey as the story starts and they eventually run into my protagonists who start their journey later in the story to the same goal. I need to balance story with world description, something I don't usually do too much of in my thriller/horror stuff. But i'm having fun describing the lands the antagonists are traveling through as well as their adventures and interactions with other characters.

The problem with the world last night was that a lot of that journey material was missing. So I added some good description where I could and actually used the antagonist's musings to feed on the environment around him. They on a slow river heading into a jungle Heart of Darkness style. I had some fun with the jungle setting affecting how this poor guy is feeling about the whole mission.

This mini rewrite helped me feel more confident as I got into the new material. This included a lot of description of The Great Southern Temple that plays a key role in the story. Had lots of fun painting a word picture of this ancient and colossal place. I may even get to use the Lovecraftian favorite adjective - cyclopean!

In any case, it was a good night of writing, and Jerry Goldsmith and Morton Steven's epic score to Masada made it even better. I'll take tomorrow off and then either Saturday or Sunday will be another writing day.

Stats for this this evening.

Page Start: 83
Page End: 89
Word Count Start: 34574
Word Count End: 37854

  • Masada (Parts 1 through 4) – Jerry Goldsmith and Morton Stevens

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 2

Today at work was a bit of a soul sucker. So it was hard for me to get back into the world of the novel. But I pushed myself and met my word count for the day. I finished a chapter and started a new one. I'm playing around with POV in this novel. I usually stick to one character in most of my horror/thriller stories. But with so many characters in this fantasy story I'm actually jumping around quite a bit.

I'm eight chapters in so far. The first three chapters were from one of the protagonists point of view. There are four protagonists. The next three chapters were from one of the antagonists point of view, and there are four primary antagonists. Chapter seven actually jumped between all four protagonists as they experienced a ritual in different ways. I felt it gives the reader insight into each of these women and how they are going to view the coming adventures. Chapter eight is starting with a different antagonist, but I'm not sure I'm going to switch away from him. I kind of like the perspective he gives everything.

Hopefully this experiment works. I try not to jump around too much, but I think I can pull it off in this story.

Stats for the evening:

Page Start: 76
Page End: 83
Word Count Start: 31672
Word Count End: 34574
  • Copernicaus' Star - Able Korzeniowski
  • Braveheart - James Horner

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - November 1

So here we are again with a new log for my National Novel Writing Month. Like my posts from last year, these will be off the cuff and done after I've completed by writing for the night. So if they get a bit confused or contain more grammatical errors than I usually let by, I blame the lateness of the hour.

So this year I decided to do things a bit differently, but only by necessity. You see I already started working on a novel over the summer. It was a fantasy adventure story set in a world of my own design. So I spent most of August and good chunk of September crafting my main characters, drawing maps, creating some legends and lore for the world and some additional historical elements that are going to play into the story. I wanted to get these down so I had a solid reference as I progress through the story.

But I learned long ago that this stuff is just a guideline. I have to let my imagination run along a bit so that things stay fresh and interesting as I write.

And yes, I did start writing the novel in September and through a good chunk of October. As I was trucking along, I started to realize that this novel was going to be a bit longer than I originally thought (at least from a word count/page count perspective). I think all that world building helped me visualize a lot of these settings and people, creating more description than I usually tackle. Not sure if all of it will make it past this first draft, but it is an unusual development.

That said, I figured I would be further along in the novel when November rolled around, and I was ready to sit NaNoWriMo out. But looking at the fact that I was on page 67 and not even a third of the way through, I figured I could give it a shot.

So I'm shooting for the 50,000 word goal by the end of November. That means I need to hit about 2778 words for each time I sit down to write. I'm looking to write about four days a week. I'm not sure if that goal will be the end of the novel or not. If I do end the novel somewhere in the middle, I still have plenty of legends and lore, history and other elements I can write about. Because if I'm still having fun with this world after finishing this book, I can see this becoming a series. Yes, the world needs another fantasy series. :)

I think that is enough babbling for now. I'll start giving some more plot and character details in later log entries. But here are the vitals for this round.

Page Start: 67
Page End: 76
Word Count Start: 27632
Word Count End: 31672
  • The Wind Gods – Pinar Toprak
  • The Egyptian – Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman
  • Dragon Age Origins – Inon Zur