5000 Words

Three days gone and I have 6787 words. 10% of the way there!

Had a horrible day playing basketball yesterday but came home and soaked the tired muscles. One and a half years in Japan not doing any running sports and as soon as I get back to Australia it’s the same old problems I had when I left. Oh how I miss Japan’s onsens.

After dinner I sat down to start the day’s write session. Somehow managed a couple of thousand words and without noticing it I’d hit the 5000 word milestone. In fact I’d completely leapfrogged it. No time to rest on that shallow bed of laurels however. I’m off to recharge my caffeine levels, my body is dangerously low after going without yesterday. On a Sunday! Crazy I know.

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NaNo Days 1-3

Quick recap on my first three days of NaNo (can’t be bothered typing the whole thing anymore).

Day 1: Did my first day ever of sitting down seriously to write a novel…at home. It was horrible, with my mum going about the house cleaning in the background and sometimes not the background, hassling me, asking me questions, complaining about my diet, etc.

To make things worse I was really struggling to write. One of the scenes that I imagined years back being the trigger for events was so hard to write and seem interesting on paper. The scene was far too slow and boring I thought. And I have to go through thirty days of this torture? I want to quit already. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer after all. Doubt already and it’s only day one!

 

Day 2: Chapter 2 was even worse. I slogged through it and by the time I was finally done I was happy just to be done with it. Save and close.

Sometime during the day I figured I was missing a prologue so I went back to type in a punchy action scene. This was great as it reenergized my writing, reminding me of what was good about this story, giving me hope.

Later, when I went to update my word count for the day I discovered the bottom paragraphs of Chapter 2 which I’d struggled with were missing. Gone. No amount of trying to go back and tracking changes could turn up my deleted words. I’d already saved over the complete chapter with the one in which I must have accidently deleted those words. That’s what I hate about typing with a mouse pad on a laptop, when you accidently touch it and move the cursor around, sometimes highlighting and then replacing whole chunks of text with a single letter.

After much cursing, I bit the bullet and re-typed those hated couple hundred of words. The second time round they did seem less corny and I even think I added in some improved ideas, so I the end I’m happier. I guess I can look forward to that in the second draft. Overall a good result but I’d really rather not have to try to recreate any lost words again.

 

Day 3: Wrote a chunk of words, getting my character to where I want her to be. I really am trying to avoid travelogue as I hate reading it. Lack of detailed planning means that I was happy to discover a character interaction that both fills in some plot holes and was an actual pleasure to write. Need more of this.

NaNoWriMo

What sort of crazy word is that? It’s an acronym for National Novel Writing Month, that month being November. Of the history I don’t know much about it but it seems that by ‘National’ it refers to USA. It’s certainly a bit more global than that which is fortunate for me.

It’s a little known acronym but fortunately it’s very easy to explain to those not in the know. 50,000 words in 30 days. One novel in one month. That’s the goal and it begins tomorrow.

I stumbled across it a couple of years ago at Stanton Library in North Sydney, wondering what in the world is that nonsensical word with the jumble of upper and lower case letters? At the time I was not ready to tackle such a lofty challenge. Now it seems I am.

I had originally planned on taking the three months of the Japanese winter, mid-December through to mid-March, to write my first novel but upon arriving home in Sydney this October, somewhere, I can’t remember where, I saw that funny word NaNiWriMo. I thought to myself, that’s bad timing, I’m writing my novel in December not November.

Situations change and I’m no longer planning on spending three months snowboarding Japan’s wondrous snow. Bad timing becomes good timing and tomorrow I’m going to start writing my first novel.

There’s a lot of challenges to tackle and there’s plenty of reasons why I should not be writing a novel to begin with. But it’s November. It’s Novel Writing Month. And I’m the kind of guy who goes with the flow on these sorts of things.

Now I need to get back to preparing my plot.

Wish me luck

The Writer/Photographer’s Fear

This morning I had a small scare. For a long time now my laptop has been running slowly and having battery problems. For one, the battery wouldn’t charge beyond 1%. This alone might not have been a problem if not for the second problem. That was that the power adaptor plug connection with the laptop was very finicky. Small movements would mean that the electrical connection would somehow be lost. Without careful monitoring, the laptop would quickly run out of power and turn itself off. Terribly troublesome.

I’ve been meaning to upgrade my over-five-years-old computer for a long time now. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back came this morning when I carelessly put my laptop in my backpack. On the stairs down from my room it fell out with a loud crack and when I tried to start it up it just wouldn’t get past the start up screen.

Oh crap. When was the last time I backed up? Fortunately most of my writing is done on paper (which is a separate risk altogether) but the loss of photos had me worried for a while there. All those precious memories.

After some careful bashing and shaking I managed to get it to turn on again, and there ensued some hurried backing up of files. I still haven’t turned off the computer for fear it won’t turn back on again.

Time for a new computer methinks.

Scenes of Love and Death

These past two days have been exciting for me. I wrote my very first love scene. I’m not sure how good or bad it is but it still leaves me with a good feeling having gotten it down on paper.

Then yesterday I killed her.

I’m not sure if that was the first death scene I’ve ever written but I certainly went to a bit of effort to get the climax to that arc in a good place. Just need to fill in the rest.

What will I write next?

A Productive Weekend

I wrote another five and three quarter pages today. Got some nice momentum going. It’s been a good weekend. Well, it’s not technically the weekend but since I work on Saturday and Sunday, any days off during the week feel that way.

Another One In The Incubator

Well it took me six days to complete, writing an hour or two here, and hour or so there. I just moved to a new city Hikone in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, and as usual am in search of a good place to write. I’ve been strolling around town a couple of times and have yet to find a good espresso but I have been able to get some writing done. It’s just a short piece, a small part of a larger story but also kind of an introduction to one of the main stories I’m working on. Thus I’m in a bit unsure if I want to publish it here quite yet.

In any case it’s just a first draft and not ready as yet. But I’m happy to have pushed through and got the whole thing written start to finish. I started out with some good momentum during my couple of days off work but then had a tiring few days at work. I also wanted to do some Facebooking and start a new book in Japanese but I knew I had to keep my momentum and get the first draft done. I then hit a difficult patch in the story but as I said, I just kept plugging away. And now it’s done. Time to put it in the incubator and set the timer to six weeks a la On Writing.

Oh wait, I should probably type it up on the computer and do a word count. ‘White Mist. Red Evening’ took four days writing and weighed in at 5,389 words. This one took six days though to be fair some of those days I didn’t have time to write much, maybe nothing on some days. Hmmm a working title? Oh I already have one. ‘The True Hero’. Sounds a bit dramatic I suppose. I can’t say much about the main character but the story does involve a dragon.

I also suppose it is about time I checked in on White Mist.

Edit: typed it all up with only minor fixes. 3,634 words. A little lighter than White Mist. Okay, 6 weeks will be about May 29th. See you then.

A Walk in the Snow

Some people do their thinking in the shower. Some in the other bathroom. Me? It seems I get most of my brainstorming done on the streets. More specifically, when I’m out walking, trying to get from A to B.

A walk in the snowI, like anyone else have many places to go but I tend to get there not by public transport (which costs money!) but often on my own two legs. The biggest advantage that comes about from this thrifty mode of transport is the time it affords me to think. Of course I could do this thinking in the comfort of my own home but as I’ve mentioned before, I tend to get distracted by the computer and the internet while I’m at home. I need to get out of the house and away from my computer in order to get productive.

So why walk? Well, again it’s about those nasty distractions. When I take a bus or a train somewhere I usually use the opportunity to tune out completely from the task of navigation and read a book. When I’m riding a bike or driving a car I definitely don’t have the chance to tune out like that and reading and daydreaming are out of the question. When I’m walking, however, I can generally set my legs to autopilot to get to where I’m going. Assuming I stick to my lane and the cars stick to theirs, then it’s pretty safe to start mulling over plots, fleshing out characters and in general, the work fantasy, fantasizing.

So, like tonight, when I’m faced with a choice between taking the bus home from the supermarket or walking home with my grocery bags for half an hour through the snow, often I’ll be walking home, hard at work dreaming.

In the Snow Country

Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and sometimes it’s fine just where you are. More than fine in fact.

I’m currently wintering in snowy Hakuba, Japan, a ski resort village chock full of Aussies. While that in itself is not the best thing for trying to immerse oneself in Japanese culture, it does provide me with a way to make a living and thus able to spend the season honing my snowboarding skills.

When I originally found out that I would be able to extend my visa and thus have plenty of time to spend 3 months of it in a resort town I was excited by the opportunities. I wanted to head to Hakuba as it was a place my friends had been to before and loved. As luck would have it a friend I had met earlier in the year in Nara had an acquaintance who was a manager of one of the hotels in town and there appeared to be work available. It’s good to have connections.

After multiple attempts to get details and confirmation of the job, however, the hotel manager seemed too busy to talk to me and that prospect fell through. I may have missed some vital communication due to the language barrier but I felt like I was being strung along a bit. I decided not to wait any longer hanging my hopes on that job and went back to the internet to attempt to find a job on the ski slopes. That proved to be quite troublesome as all the resort jobs were listed in Japanese and the task of translation was more than a little daunting.

In the end I found an older job advertisement for work in a ski rental shop. I filled out the forms and fired off my resume with photo in hope they were still hiring. One phone interview later I was offered a job and my winter prospects had gone from uncertain to great. I had originally come to Japan to experience its four seasons and what better way to appreciate the winter than in the snow country.

I feel truly fortunate that I’m working in the rental shop. Not only do I get the chance to learn about all the different nuances of ski and snowboarding gear, I pretty much get to take that gear out and try it out on the mountain, every day if I really want to. When I ride the chairlifts and see the workers sitting in their little operator huts or standing in the wind and snow keeping the snow clear of the chairs, I think to myself how lucky I am to be able to work in a nice and warm shop only 5 minutes walk to the chair lift. Life is good.

During the season I got a chance to assist a hotel that was short-staffed for one day. My job involved cleaning the small bathrooms each room had on one of the floors. While it was a new experience for me and even a little enlightening, it certainly wasn’t as fun or as profitable ideas-wise for me as my ski rental job. Had I gotten that first hotel job I would have never have learned all that I have about snowboarding and skis. Hotel work is hard and a little boring I think. Whew, dodged a bullet there.

When things fall through in the first place sometimes they really can end up working out for the better. You just gotta keep riding it out till the end.

Living the dream.

A Memory To Look Forward To

It’s almost been 3 months since my last post and I have been to so many places, seen so many sights and done so many things. I’d like to say I’ve been so busy that I’ve not had time for blogging but that would be a lie. So what does it take to get me to stop watching One Piece and to log on to blog.

A MEMORY OF LIGHT

Living in Japan means I’m a bit removed from English books, libraries and bookstores so I’m a bit out of the loop but I received an email saying that the ultimate book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is finally out. It was released a few days ago and by the time I am typing this, no doubt many people have already finished reading the final book. I’m sure some of those people finished in one night in fact.

Still, as I said, I am currently in Japan, and not even in one of the larger cities where I can go to a Kinokuniya to pick up a copy of the book. Hakuba does not even have a Daiso. So I guess I’ll have to wait until the winter is over and I move back to the big smoke. Ooh but I liked the previous book. I’m sure looking forward to seeing how my favourite author, Brandon Sanderson wraps up this legendary series.

For now I’ll just have to be happy with One  Piece.