Monday, November 30, 2009

"Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman - Mini Review

A fun story about two brothers who are the sons of the African trickster god, Anansi.

Spider knows who and what his dad is, Fat Charlie does not. He doesn't even know that he has a brother. When the old man kicks the bucket while performing on a Florida karaoke stage, events are set into motion that enlighten Fat Charlie about his heritage -- and fast. He quickly discovers that a dull life can get dangerously interesting when the gods are involved.

Set in the same literary universe as "American Gods" and loaded with his trademark wry wit, "Anansi Boys" is a worthy addition to Neil Gaiman's body of work and is a must read for fans of original tales well told. Recommended.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In Your Face, 50k!

Well, I did it! Checked the counter shortly after midnight and found that I was at a nicely balanced 52052 words -- a couple of days beyond my personal goal of 5ok by this past Wednesday, but I'm not complaining. All in all, I'd say this year's NaNo was the most fun to date -- a couple of slow days here and there but that happens. It was fun, challenging and, dare I say it, easy all at the same time. The "easy" part doesn't come from me thinking too highly of my rather workman-like abilities but, rather, from the fact that I was lucky enough to have an idea that I really liked and a pretty good outline. It's a lot easier to keep going when you have at least some idea of where you're headed.

Now, have I finished the novel? No. I just beat the NaNo 50k in a month word challenge. The finishing part will come in the months ahead.

Here's where I stand as of 11/28/09:
  • 52052 words. I'm guesstimating the first draft will top out at around 75-80k.
  • At the start of Chapter XV (out of XXIII).
  • Our hero and his intrepid crew have just been captured on board the archfiend's flagship while attempting a bold rescue. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was curtains for them.
I'd really like to finish up a first draft by the end of January (my daily word count seems to drop off dramatically after the 30th, for some reason) but we'll see. I'll let you know when I reach that goal. The cool part is that I'm well on my way toward producing a manuscript that I can try to get published -- my foundational motivation for partaking in the craziness that is the National Novel Writing Month.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Big 40

Hit the 40k mark in my novel late last night. A day behind schedule but that's okay. I'll try to catch up and spread the "lost 2k" out over the next few days and still try to finish on Wednesday.

Here's where I stand as of last night:
  • Finished Chapter X (out of XXIII) for a total of one hundred and seventy-two pages so far.
  • In the middle of an exciting escape sequence where the protagonist has been seriously injured by minions of the evil arch fiend. The cad!
  • Greatly enjoying myself. Ideas are coming fast and furious which is infinitely more fun than the alternative. I'm not a big believer in writer's block, but I have experienced extended chunks of "My brain is full of molasses. I don't want to write." Never fun to slog through that condition. It certainly helps that I really like my idea and, like I've mentioned, have a good outline.
In other news, I'm getting my third Scooby assignment on Monday which is very exciting for me. I'm having a blast writing these too and needless to say I am very grateful for the work.

I'll check in again when I hit 50k.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Halfway Home

Passed the 25k mark on my NaNo novel yesterday and feel pretty darned good about it. Some of my "buddies" are cranking along too, with several of them already past the 50k mark! That's impressive as you know they had to throw in some 3, 4, and 5k days to get that far that fast. My "2k a Day" goal is plenty for me. I can get it done in a couple of hours and not burn myself out -- helps me approach each day's writing with enthusiasm as I know my brain won't pucker and I'll have plenty of time to do other stuff. You know, have a life and what not. Definitely going all tortoise in the word count race.

On a side note, there's a woman who does NaNo every year who regularly posts totals of 750k - 900k by the end of the month. Seriously. Now assuming she's telling the truth (if you cheat on this challenge the only person you're cheating is your own moronic self), that would mean she has to average at least 25 - 30k -- every single day of November! I cannot even imagine how that is physically possible as just reaching her daily count took me two full weeks of writing. The cynic in me wonders if any of her stuff is remotely coherent but if it is -- damn! I'm triply impressed.

Here's where I stand at just a little over 25k:
  • Very near the end of Chapter VII (c. 107 pages so far).
  • No longer worried I'll come up short. Now worried I'll go too far past the standard word count for a middle-grade novel (50-60k). This is a great worry to have as things like "too much" can be fixed in the edit.
  • Still pleasantly surprised with how smoothly it's going (more knocking on wooden head). I think having a fairly well thought out and detailed outline helped massively in this regard.
I'll touch base again at around 40k. See ya!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On Writers and Money

Author John Scalzi has a very interesting post on why writers seem to have a hard time managing their money and aren't all crazy rich.

Friday, November 6, 2009

10k, Olay!

Hit my first NaNo '09 milestone last night. At ten thousand words, here's where I am:
  • Almost at the end of Chapter III (the novel template in Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 uses Roman numerals as the default).
  • Almost at the end of an awesome space battle involving spacecraft, space weapons, and a black hole (in space).
  • Pleasantly surprised that it's going as smoothly as it is (taps forehead with knuckle). Knock on wood.
My next personal milestone will be 25k so I'll give you an update on all things NaNo then. Oh, and as you can see, the super fancy word count widget is now working.