Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Won #NaNoWriMo

Hey guys, guess what? I won National Novel Writing Month!

Yes, I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November. It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be, in different ways. It was easy to write that much, because I write pretty fast anyway, and had already outlined the story extensively, but it was hard to write that much without editing. I ended up getting to a point where I knew I would have to go back and change major plot things, but I had to keep going, because I was behind. 

I learned a lot about my process during the month--namely that I can't not edit while writing. I can't turn off my internal editor, and that's not a bad thing. It makes my prose pretty workable by the time I get done with a chapter, but it also makes writing a chapter take a little longer. When I was completely focused on writing during November, that wasn't that big of a deal, and I could more or less churn out a chapter every three to five days or so. But now that I have to work on other things, such as my music, college preparation, and other projects, I'm not going to be able to finish chapters as frequently. But that's okay. It works.

As people have been reading along online and critiquing To Look Skyward, I've caught a lot of things that I need to fix. Unfortunately, I need to keep this book plodding slowly forward, so I don't get stuck in an eternal rewrite. That means I'm going to have to ignore the glaring mistakes and focus on making the next parts of the book better. I can come back and fix everything in a second draft. So, off I go! Wish me luck. 50,000 words down, lots more to go. This is definitely going to be a thick book. But it is an epic fantasy... So there's that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

NaNoWriMo Week #4

This is it. Crunch time. I have eight days to get fifteen thousand words in. I did about three thousand today, and so I'll have to do about two thousand a day to get finished on time. Unfortunately, my two best friends ar going to be in town, so distractions will be many. BUT I WILL OVERCOME!

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaNoWriMo Weeks #2 and #3

Well, it's November 20th. And I'm behind. I have ten days left to get to 50k, and that means 2,000 words a day--which is what my goal was in the first place, but that didn't happen. I hit a wall for a little while, stuck on a chapter that I had to fix before I could move on. Something just wasn't right about the first part of the piece, and until I went back and made it tolerable, I couldn't keep writing. So that cost me some time and some words. Also, life distracts sometimes. Things happen. But I will win NaNoWriMo, I'm confident of this. And--call me crazy--but I think I'm gonna do another 50k in December.

Yes, I'm insane.

But this book is definitely going to be longer than 50k, and it may even be longer than 100k. Only time will tell. And I don't have that much time left, so back to work. No, what am I saying. Sleep first, then writing tomorrow. I'm not that insane.

As a side note, I totally got Johann Johannsson's new score for the movie The Theory of Everything, and it is fantastic and is now a part of my To Look Skyward playlist. Seriously, check out his stuff, he's an amazing composer. (Enjoy the soundtrack below.)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NaNoWriMo Week #1

Well, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm right on par for my NaNoWriMo novel, To Look Skyward. 15,000 or so words, and almost three chapters in (finishing up that third one today), and I'm excited for this story. Of course, my initial ideas were shifted around and rearranged in my head even with the first words written down, and I expect that to happen more and more as I get closer to the end, but I am still super pumped to write this book, and I am super pumped for people to read it!

For this project I decided to try something a little bit different on the critiquing end--I uploaded my chapters to Google Docs and shared the links with my writing group and on a writing forum I'm a member of, allowing them to comment while while reading to give me their honest reactions as they happen. It's been super helpful so far, and I'm definitely going to keep using it. From the initial feedback I've gotten on my first chapters, the book is going well, and though there is obviously some work to do on the editing side of things--for example, I didn't get the characterization of my main character quite right in the first chapter--but that is the nature of first drafts.

(Note: If you're at all interested in reading my novel as I write it and giving me feedback, send me a text, Facebook message, email, or direct message on Twitter and let me know, I'll get you the links. I'd really appreciate any suggestions you could give me.)

So far in November, I've been listening to a custom playlist I put together just for the writing of To Look Skyward, including music from Rhian Sheehan, Johann Johannsson, Hans Zimmer's Man of Steel score (which is the theme album for the world of TLS), and soon Hans Zimmer's Interstellar score. I just finished watching that fantastic movie, and though the soundtrack has yet to be released, it will fit perfectly with the rest of the music I've set aside for TLS, with beautiful piano, organ, and strings. Sorry, I'm a film score buff.

Well, I'm off to do some editing on the first scene to rectify with the prologue I just added, and then I'm off to write more. (Shh, don't tell anyone I'm editing my novel during NaNoWriMo. I'll get in trouble.)

Have a good day, and I'll give you another update in a week!

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm Writing A Lot

Hello there! It's been a while since my last post, but for somewhat of a good reason: there wasn't a whole lot to talk about. But now there is! And so I will spill the beans.

Writing: During the two weeks my family was on vacation, I wrote a total of 11,068 words, which was fantastic! Obviously not as much as I could have gotten done, but a significant amount when compared to what I usually get done. In that time, I wrote a short story to its completion (Annoyance In The Air, which needs some revision, but should be finished soon), and another short story almost to its completion before I realized that I was going to have to scrap the whole thing because it was way too complicated to be a short story. I also got closer to completing Spend A Winter In Hell, but got stuck on the ending of that, and am going to run it by some people to get their input, and false started another short story that turned out to also be too complicated (this is me trying to put too many magic powers in a short story), but did provide a springboard for a very interesting character arc that I'll use later.

Since then, I've been doing some editing on short stories and my novella, while worldbuilding and outlining for my NaNoWriMo novel, To Look Skyward. I still have a lot of worldbuilding to do before I'll be completely satisfied with everything I need to know about the world, but tomorrow is when NaNoWriMo starts, so I'll have to be quick about that if I want it done before I have to start putting words to paper. All in all, though, I'm very satisfied with how the outlining process has been going. I've done more outlining than I usually do on a project (but recently it has all been shorter stories, so there's that), and I think the first half of the story is pretty solid in terms of story structure as a result. The last half, though... I still need to work on that. I have a feeling that once I hit that I'll either have a wonderful shot of inspiration and figure out the direction I need to go...or I'll need to brainstorm with my writer friends about where the heck I'm supposed to go with it.

Just as an aside, I also came up with a very interesting short story idea a couple days ago, as a result of one of the writing sprints for a NaNo Write-in. I didn't have time to go into it very fully, as I needed to focus on To Look Skyward, but I'm excited to write that in December sometime.

Music: Well, it looks like my plan to go to a recording studio in October has been postponed, because of crazy schedules on both sides, and so that's not going to happen until sometime later. But that's okay. I have recording equipment that suits my needs, and a good program to work with, so I can have fun with demos for now. I've been slowly but surely working on A Promise To Write's demo, but it still needs more work before I'll be satisfied with it. I did make an acoustic demo of my newest song, entitled "The Girl", and so there's that. I really like this song, so hopefully soon I'll release it somewhere. I also have the opportunity to play one of my original songs (with the rest of the worship band accompanying me) at my church this Sunday, so that's exciting. I'll be playing Somebody Has To Start, which is one of my favorites that I've written.

I'm planning on recording a rather special song in early December (after the craziness of NaNoWriMo dies down), but it's a secret as to what it's ultimate goal is, so I will not say anything more.

Reading: If you're at all interested in what I'm reading right now, you can follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Xcarthan12 -- as of now I'm reading through a bunch of different books, some non-fiction, but mostly fiction. Part of that is my annual reread of the Belgariad and the Malloreon series by David Eddings, ten books of absolute awesomeness that formed a significant portion of my childhood.

Listening: So, the other day, I fell in love with a New Zealander composer named Rhian Sheehan. You should go check out his music. Right now. It's so beautiful. http://rhiansheehan.bandcamp.com/


Well, that's about all, so I'll sign off. Hopefully this is interesting to you in some way.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Next (Late) Update

Sorry about the lateness of this post. Well, I would be sorry if anyone ever read this, but whatever. Nothing too crazy has been going on in my life, internet. Just working, making music, and writing fiction. Crazy thing happened, though: my family just left on a two week vacation without me. This is the first time they've done that in...well, ever. So, right now I'm sitting in the living room by myself, after binge watching Legend of Korra, and I'm a little lonely. You don't realize how much you miss talking to your family about things until they're literally not able to talk to you about things.

So, for two weeks, I'm going to be working, writing, making music, and doing the chemistry I should have been doing the last three weeks of September. Hopefully I'll make some progress in all of those areas.

Writing: Clock Strikes Death is finally being read by some critiquers (took long enough) and so I should have some feedback on it soon. Also, I finished To Look Skyward, though it didn't necesarrily turn out how I hoped, and only fueled the fire for a project of mine that's beginning into the outline stage: my NaNoWriMo novel. I decided to write it in the same world as was To Look Skyward, and have those characters be a part of that story. To be honest, since I'm never going to use that short story for anything other than fuel for that story's fire, and I like the title To Look Skyward so much, I'm probably just going to steal that name for the NaNoWriMo novel and scrap TLS Prime entirely. Oh, I've also been in the process of writing a few other short stories that should be finished soon that I'm very excited about, and once I get enough of those, I'll probably release a short little anthology on NoiseTrade (though I'll need to get them proofread and polished up first).

Music: Well, I did actually put one of my songs on YouTube, one I wrote for one of my best friends, Miranda Steiner, for her birthday. You can find that below. (Yes, I know there's buzzing. I don't know what caused it, and it's gone now, so I didn't bother re-recording the entire song). I'm now working on a demo for what is probably my favorite song I've ever written: A Promise To Write. I really like the way it's coming along, and I'm going to get to work on it more tomorrow.

Chemistry: Eh, you don't need to know how far behind I am on that.

Well, that's about all for now, except for one last thing. If you've ever heard of John Maxwell, you'll know what I'm about to talk about. If you haven't, you should, because his speaking is incredible and very inspirational. Well, anyway, he says that everyone should have a Rule of Five. Five things you do every day that will make you successful in what you want to be in life. John's Rule of Five is Think, Ask Questions, Read, File, and Write (those may or may not be in the right order, and there may or may not be an actual right order at all). He challenges others to find their own personal Rule of Five, and to stick with it every day.

This is my personal Rule of Five:

  1. Communicate (with God, through prayer and the reading of His Word, and with those that I love).
  2. Read (fill myself up with stories, life-lessons, and ideas)
  3. Think (think about deep life issues, or story ideas, or the future)
  4. Sing (whether with my voice, or with instruments, just create music)
  5. Write (whether it be song lyrics, non-fiction, a letter to someone I love, or stories)
Obviously, there are a lot of other important things to do during a day, but those I will undoubtedly do because I have to in life. My Rule of Five is a reminder to me to do important things that I may forget to do, but are also vitally important. As of today, I will be doing these five things every day. Or, at least, I will try very hard to. I want to try, at the very minimum, to do it every day for a year. I've been more or less consistently writing lately, but I could stand to do that better as well, and my other four things.

So, wish me luck. I'm off to change the world, one word at a time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

When September (And October And November And December) Ends

It's been a while since I've written, so I decided to pop back in and give all the people who read this (so, almost no one) an update. I've been writing fiction, though not quite as much as I'd have liked to, and though I did finish the first draft of my Clockwork Cowboy story, it took me a lot longer than was expected, and as such, I'm only partially into my new short story, To Look Skyward. It's going to take a bit to get that short story to exactly what I want it to be, but I'm gonna work hard at it. In the meantime, people are reading my novella and giving me feedback, so by the time I get around to the second draft, I'll have some comments to work with. I already know most of the problems with it, but I want some input before I tackle it (that, and it's a good idea to distance myself from the project a little before revising).

Most recently, I've been recording demos of my music! So that's exciting. As you already know if you read the last blog post, I just got some recording equipment and an audio program, so I've been recording music like crazy over the last week. Most of the stuff I've been working on with that is either top secret or still not finished, so I can't really share it, but suffice it to say, it's been coming along great. 

As you may know, I've been struggling with whether or not I was going to go to school right away this semester, or take a semester off to work on writing and music, but that was kind of decided for me a little while ago, as it suddenly was too late to really enroll anymore, and so I am officially taking a semester off! I do have a bit of schoolwork from last year (oh, the joys of homeschool) to finish up as well, and so I'll be using this time to get that done and to focus more on my relationship with God, and my writing and music. 

In October, I get the awesome opportunity to go up to the Upper Peninsula to a recording studio with a friend of mine and record some professional music, so that's exciting. You should be seeing music from me on Noisetrade very shortly. And in November (by which time, I should have all the schoolwork leftover done), I'll be doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time ever. If you don't know what that is, it's a month in which you take the time to write every single day and crank out 50,000 words by the time you're done, starting a new novel on day one and having a completed (or at least 50,000 words worth, if it's going to be longer than that) novel in your hand by day thirty. I'm still torn on what I want to write for this, but I should have it figured out by November. I have two whole months after all.

That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

And of course, in December, all of my friends return from college and I get to see them all again. So that's really exciting. And you just might be seeing some new music around that time as well... More details to follow.

Well, I suppose I should go do something productive with my time. Not that this isn't. But there are other productive things I could do too. So I'm going to do those. The end.