Sound the trumpets … argh, too tired to bother right now …

Just won National Novel Writing Month … just wanted to make a note of it.

It’s now three in the morning.

Final word count: 79,254.

According to their word count. By Microsoft Word’s count, it’s 79,582. It’s all good, though. Maybe their count doesn’t include ellipses, and so on … suppose that’s fair.

Think I said in last blog … wanted to try to actually finish, as opposed to just (not just, far from just, but you know what I mean) hitting the 50,000 word target. Think I have a fairly conclusive last line, now. Wouldn’t have been happy, submitting before I got to write that. May have to adjust some of the stuff leading up to the last line, though. Hopefully not all of it.

Think I wrote just under 9000 words in this last sitting … hooray for personal records. The angle of my stats curve right near the end is pretty impressive, anyway.

Remains to see if this 9000 words – or any of the novel, for that matter – is any good, or even salvageable. Think I’ll give it a month. Or two. Or so.

Celebrations abound, anyway. I’ll probably feel more excited after a shower. And a sleep. I even have fresh sheets on the bed, though the cat’s already gone and covered them in her amazing coat of never-ending shedding hair.

Congrats to all who have or who are about to enter the winner’s circle, and congrats to everyone for happily summoning up their creativity and getting stuck into their novels even if they don’t win this year.

Hooray for National Novel Writing Month … time for celebratory shower.

A Brief Spiel on Showers and Narwhals

Some of my best – not exactly best I suppose, useful is a better word –  ideas have come while showering. Never anything new, no grand notions of new worlds to forge and fresh characters to spin into being. But showers have pointed me in the right direction when I’m stuck in a scene-rut, fresh perspective often just arriving with the kneading splatter of water on my shoulders and the pleasant heat or cool, depending on the season. A perfect line to sum up a situation, an additional devastating outcome that will shatter a poor character’s existence just that little bit more. Both and more have been the result of habitual cleanliness. One particular shower saw an old story idea freshened up, a single small, but important alteration ensuring I could immediately start work on it again

Perhaps I should try writing in the bath, like Douglas Adams did. If a shower helps keep a story chugging along, full immersion should see epics penned in record time. Just need a way to waterproof the laptop.

Are there any other useful tools, aside from water, that you find assist with the writing process? Not inspiration as such. Something that helps you keep the story going in a good direction while drawing on previously obtained inspiration and work you have already done. Pacing or stroking a pet, or doing something else habitual, perhaps. While partaking in such fundamental activities, it might be that the mind is more free to wander and contemplate your possibilities than when sitting, stock-still and frustrated, before a computer screen, trying to focus.

Admiring narwhals and attempting to summarise their magnificence in poetry may be another such story-enhancing, semi-habitual practice. The narwhal selkies shall eventually surface, this I know. I had originally thought to introduce them during NaNoWriMo. But I wasn’t sure justice would be done by them. Best they bide their time. Wait until they’re ready.

Television Plays Re-runs Like Stepping On Necks

I think it was the day before yesterday that I woke up with the tail-end of some pretty intense NREM sleep thoughts still running rings through my head. Repeating them a few times as I blearily entered the day, unsure whether they were important or not (as in, whether they were potentially related to a story) and unwilling to lose them in case they were, it was only as I came completely awake that I realised these words made pretty much no sense whatsoever. Not so unusual for sleep thoughts, I’m sure, whether they’re REM or NREM. Still, remembering them as I did has me trying to reason them out.

So, this thought, these words, were as follows:

The television played re-runs like stepping on necks.

At least, I think it was stepping on necks. Might have been chopping off heads, but I don’t think it was quite that violent.

So, now I’m trying to force meaning on this poor nonsensical simile-thing, something that was probably never meant to have meaning in the first place. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1 – That television plays too many re-runs, and this is likened to someone having their neck stood on because the sheer number of times they’ve seen the show is painful

2 – That television often plays re-runs, and this is likened to someone having their neck stood on because the shows that are being re-run are so terrible they were painful to watch the first time, let alone again and again

3 – That it’s painful when only re-runs are being played on television, and there are no good, new, original shows being produced

4 – That everybody steps on so many necks – as in get on others’ nerves? – so often that this phenomenon can be compared to television that plays nothing but re-runs

5 – A huge number of re-runs are being played on television, and someone (a criminal or psychopath, presumably) has stepped on so many necks/injured/killed so many people in their career that they can be likened to these never-ending re-runs

I’m not sure any of these make any real sense. Maybe if there’d been a few more words included in the thought, perhaps “the television played re-runs like insert person’s name or pronoun here steps on necks,” meaning might be easier to conjure. However, I’m fairly sure it’s not important. Not related to any stories, definitely not a simile I was trying to create before going to sleep.

So. Television plays re-runs like stepping on necks. Any thoughts?

A Short Celebration and a Slightly Longer Lament

Hooray! Entered the winner’s circle of National Novel Writing Month, passing 50,000 words today and currently sitting on 51, 777. Mum, on the other hand, entered the winner’s circle days and days ago, and is now on something closer to 56,000 and still tinkering. Hooray, once more.

Unfortunately, Pulp Runner is not yet near complete. Probably looking at 75,000 to 80,000 words in total. Hopefully no more than that. Haven’t even gotten to the part about the angry poultry salesman yet, though I have managed to beat up a boy handing out business cards for an antique clock and tea set shop. Shall probably continue trying to match my current daily word count into December to get Pulp Runner done so I can tuck it away, bring it out in a few months, exclaim something along the lines of “oh, my golly gosh, did I actually write something this terrible?” and proceed with an intense editing session. Slightly disappointed that I couldn’t keep it closer to the 50,000 words, as I’d like to return to spending time on my Tom novel, as well as writing the fourth instalment of Treading Twisted Lines and continuing with Behind Glass, which I managed to update by two sections not too long ago but is still being seriously neglected. Heavy conflict very (very) slowly approaching, if there are any Pan readers out there.

Currently writing a character profile for Maddi of Treading Twisted Lines. I know her, but good to put her all together in the one place. Never did that for Darren and Kai. Should probably gather them all up at some point to help with future instalments. I have been finding profiles helpful, though I think I still prefer just surging ahead with stories, and letting characters grow with them.

The unfounded stereotype: a correlation between writing and alcoholism

Saw “Seven Psychopaths” in the cinema today with sister Frannie, after indulging in a disgustingly awesome Maccas lunch. Awesomely fun film, gruesome gore, mad and memorable characters, and uber meta story line. Enjoyed it very much. My one little issue – and it’s not really a true issue at all, I suppose, as it was funny in the movie – was the insinuation that all writers are drunkards.

Snorted at that during the film, and returned the grin my sister gave me. I myself have only tried writing tipsy once – only notes that I didn’t want to forget after a fun karaoke evening – and never attempted it entirely drunk, sure it was a bad idea. My tipsy notes were difficult enough to interpret the next day, if I recall correctly.

Despite it being well-known, I’m quite sure this stereotype is unfounded. Even if there are a few prime example of writers who indulge a little too much in their alcohol – a quick Google search brings Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Truman Capote to mind – there are far too many writers in the world to have performed any good, solid studies on the relationship between writing and alcoholism. At least, there have been no such studies that I know of. And I suppose I don’t frequent all the psychology journals as much as I did as a student.

How would that even work? What sort of scale would the researchers use? A simple relationship between number of words written in a day and the amount of alcohol drunk using a randomised sample of subjects? Would they compare writers with non-writers? Would they compare the number of words written by a representative group of writers with the amount they drink, and see if amount written correlates with amount drunk? Instead of number of words, would they compare quality of the writing – as judged by a team of blind (to the study, not literally … just making sure there’s no confusion there) editors – to amount drunk? Or perhaps they’d compare the success of published authors to the alcohol they consume.

But using only published authors isn’t a representative sample of writers, that wouldn’t make for a good study. And how would drunkenness be measured? Only by amount drunk in a day – or a week, a month? Or would it be measured by drunken behaviour, as opposed to the actual amount of alcohol consumed? Perhaps a measure of mental functioning after a certain number of drinks would be prudent. But that might mess with the writing environment, making it less realistic, and less likely to produce realistic results. Perhaps the right number of drinks to induce suitable drunkenness for each individual writer observed in the study could be found, and the writers report if they reach that level as they write. Or in their daily life. Would the study only measure the amount they drink while they’re writing, or just in general? And how can we trust the writers to report correctly, if they’re drunk?

Planning studies is hard. So many factors to consider. Probably part of why I had no truly firm thoughts of pursuing a career in psychological research. Tis very interesting, though, I imagine. Researching, investigating, trying to prove or disprove stereotypes. I imagine some crusading psychology researcher has tackled the “all blondes are dumb” myth, and probably the “Asians are bad drivers” myth, too.

Not that I think this research would have any impact on people’s beliefs in relation to these stereotypes. Only a certain demographic regularly peruse psychology journals, one I am no longer counted among. And though often annoying and sometimes downright infuriated if they’re overused or considered by ignorants to be gospel, stereotypes like dumb blondes – one I’ve had significant experience with – aren’t really all that terrible, so long as they generally remain in fun and the “victim” knows it. I’d take all the stupid, ridiculous little unfounded stereotypes in the world, if it meant truly hurtful, just as unfounded ones would be forgotten.

Short Sunday Log Entry

Room cleaning today, forcing the place back into a more easily navigable state after allowing it to fall into unsightly disarray. Mighty storms fell before the cleaning feat and accompanied throughout, continuing sometime afterwards after a short quiet spell, though more distant. Lightning was impressive – caused several unbecoming outbursts of cursing from my own lips as my sister and I watched “Game of Thrones.” Storms reigned last night also, reaching its peak as the choristers of QUMS met for their academic dinner, this year a semi-outside affair. Though my yukata was christened by rain, as were many other suits and dresses, the thunder timed itself well (for the most part) to add emphasis and offset speeches, and the food was tasty, one delightful course delivered in individual noodle boxes. Received most gentlemanly courtesies from a friend in the form of his protective jacket, and also a rose from another’s friend’s mother’s garden, beheaded yet still lovely. White its dominant shade, the blossom is splashed with rouge  – would be as a blood splatter, were it more red, and less cool, lovely pink. This rose now floats in a small glass bowl on the kitchen bench, fed by sugar dissolved in water once warm, which I was assured the blossom would most enjoy. Not yet touched NaNo today, my intention to complete a side-section of the novel and top up my word count as soon as this log entry is complete. Which I suppose it is. Now.

Voices Behind Me – Haiku #1

Few hours ago, was flying home from Melbourne with a growing headache due to being silly and not drinking enough water during  the day. For entertainment/just staying occupied, was reading the first five chapters of a manuscript in progress – genius that I am, one I decided to write entirely by hand at work last year when I had no work, and haven’t worked on for ages – and then watched Doctor Horrible. Once it finished, think my thoughts were turned to Japan-related stuff due to the previous manuscript reading, and remembered a certain quiet experience while walking to my language class, once. I had earphones in, and it was quite breezy. And I heard things.

Wrote a haiku in English as the plane was descending. Then, just cause I wanted to see if I knew all the vocabulary, translated it into Japanese. Even better, managed to get it into Japanese without losing the haiku pattern. Probably not grammatically correct. But that’s okay. Shall now record in English, Romaji, and Kanji/Hiragana.

Voices behind me

Words I scarcely understand

But they’re only wind

*

Ushiro koe

Yoku wakaranai go

kaze dake da

*

後ろ声

よく分からない語

風だけだ

*

By the way, got another rejection today, first one by mail! Milestone, anyone? Twas a very sweet little rejection letter, too. Nicest one yet, I think.