It’s April 2013. You may have noticed that NaNoWriMo 2012 is kind of over. And yes, I managed to finish my NaNoWriMo novel Staring in the Void of Patience – at least the draft of it – even if I never quite got around to mentioning that.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet gotten around to actually mop everything up, much less actually continue the work. I was supposed to finish two video logs and do cover art for the novel. Unfortunately other things took precedence – which is just a nice way of saying “well, some things may have happened and some may have not, to be brutally honest”.

The good news is that I actually did get the draft out this time, and it has been available for a while.

So here you can finally find my Reddit /r/nanowrimo diary posts, similar to what happened last year.

November 1: 2234 words! I did some work on both the beginning and the end (though obviously less on the end). Basically, I hit 2000 words, started rambling about stuff that I had mentioned in other pieces of fiction but never fleshed out, and finished it up with some intentionally horrifying poetry.

I’m making a Tangentially Related Vlog (here’s what I did yesterday [edit: video lost], mostly waste of time =), I may even include a recording of the song there. If it doesn’t turn out sucking entirely. We’ll see. =)

November 2: 4095 words!

Because NaNoWriMo isn’t about perfection, I refuse to write just one word to bring it to nice round 212 words! =)

Today’s stuff: More random musings that don’t actually contribute that much to the plot, but which are nonetheless interesting. Which is just a nicer way of saying that characters got introduced to other characters, and there’s sex. We also meet previously established characters, and since they’re already kinda together, there’s sex.

No, I’m not out of ideas, as unlikely as it may sound. =) It’s just that I’ve not yet established the full awesomeness of the milieu. I need to focus on the places tomorrow. I need more plans. And perhaps I’ll write after I’ve had food. =)

I have a vlog video about what I did yesterday and today, I’ll edit the link here when it’s rendered and uploaded.

Edit: Here it is [note: video lost], can’t check if it actually works but it’s supposed to go there or something.

Edit2: My project page finally has some relevant stuff, which isn’t much, unfortunately.

November 3: 6153 words. I actually did something really odd. I was fed up with writing all of the boring introductionary stuff. The introduction is, among other things, about having a new member join the order of assassins. Well, let’s give her a bit of a work, shall we? She goes and plans an interesting bit of an assignment and the guy dies. Holy shit, compared to the introductory stuff, that was fun to write.

November 4: 8235 8613 9231 words. Strange ways to accommodate the wishes of a fan. I added a side character to an earlier story of mine. A friend of mine liked it. I thought I’d bring him to this story and then kill him. Now that I’ve written the scene, I just let the characters talk it through. I think I found new sides of my characters. The guy may yet live. (Doesn’t stop him from getting killed in the story. The conversation happens in the netherworld. =)

November 5: 11235 words. Annnnnnd my head is broken. I barely made it to 2000 words today. Headbrokenness meant it was a boring day of character introductions and backstory and such. Okay, a new policy: If I can write 2000 words of interesting dialogue, the literary worth is good enough to get the characters in bed. =)

Also I upgraded Git on this computer and I sure hope I didn’t fuck anything up because I did my first ever git commit --amends today. Because my head was broken.

‘twas the night before Halo 4, and I’ve got to watch Rambo II because my DVR’s hard drive is getting full again. And I’ve got so much other shit to do tomorrow.</random>

November 6: 13569 words.

That’s 2334 words right there.

Funny how the still-shrinkwrapped Halo 4 Limited Edition sitting in front of me is motivating me.

Planning stuff and dialogue and breathing life into old characters I’ve not used a lot, mostly. Sorry, focused on boring stuff today.


November 7: 15285 words.

Well, it’s over 1700 words. Not quite as much as before but at least it’s over daily quota.

I wrote some complicated pondering on how my two characters are seeing their relationships. Really complex situation of changing emotions and circumstances beyond either of them. And then they have sex. And then she tells him to go have sex with her friend instead. When he gets there the two have a seemingly stupid conversation and, when they get nowhere, they have sex. (…look, I know what this looks like, but I swear this will make much, much more sense later on!)

Yesterday I had Halo 4 as a carrot, today I have Doom 3: BFG Edition. But I think I’ll spend the night mostly with Halo anyway. =)

November 8: 17226 words.

Milestone day.

I thought I sucked, but I didn’t.

My head didn’t really work today either. I couldn’t get writing. Got random inspirations. I got the ball rolling on another odd thing that I didn’t get around doing before.

I’m a little bit unsure of how I’m doing. I’m trying to go over the undiscussed issues from various characters’ pasts. I’m a little bit itsy about what I’m going to write about one of the characters. (Short summary: She’s a survivor of an attempted rape. It didn’t really affect her sexually, but it did give her a hell of a stagefright and made her drop her dreams of being a famous bard one day. How she and the other characters will get her over all that is one of the story issues I’ve been meaning to tackle a long time now.)

I noticed I wasn’t fluffing around today. I wasn’t writing pointless stuff. I was actually writing something that has something to do with the idea I was after.

I had complex characters doing complex things and it had all something to do with the plot and the general theme I was after.

This book is a tale of recovery. A tale of how old problems can be faced and solved. Positive symbolism, message of hope, all that stuff. Holy crap, the characters are trying to get that stuff done and the story is going in that direction.

In short, I suddenly find myself writing a novel that just might work.

It just usually happens when I’m starting to get close to the 20000 word mark. Things are complicated. It’s starting to look like something.

November 9: 19209 words.

Another day where I had an empty head for most of the day, and then, all of sudden, “holy shit, I just got the best idea ever for this scene, this will be awesome.”

And I didn’t even get to write that scene today. I just put the ideas in the notes. I started writing all other scenes that that scene kind of required. I need to tell how people got to the scene. I need to tell what happened afterward.

Things will be beautiful one day.

November 10: 21470 words.

A day of patent silliness and disquieting solemnity.

The Silliness: My worldbuilding notes just didn’t have enough discussions on sexual euphemisms. So I decided this was as good time as any to get creative, and complicate the communication to great extents. Because one way to get wordcount up is to have one character being painfully oblivious. =)

The Solemnity: I found myself continuing the last nano’s themes, particularly the notion that there’s all this creativity out there that never gets captured or cherished. I hope that this little scene I’m writing has enough of the same spirit that I put in the previous nano. This was a real joy to work on and I hope the thing will be incredible.

This was the first time in this nano that I just stuck in USB keyboard and went rambling interesting stuff without looking at the screen at all, too. That was a bit painful to clean up. =)

Halfway summary:

Will soon be halfway (21.5k last night). It’s actually nice to try to summarise what I have so far - let’s see if this makes any sense. =)

Our intrepid anti-heroes have managed to get their first clues about the ginormous mystery that lies ahead. Auria, a wind-witch of great skill from the countryside, joins an order of assassins. Whoops: the first neophyte drug-trafficker she decides to kill turns out to be her uncle she hasn’t seen since she was a kid. (She always knew her father’s family was full of rotten apples, but this?) Meanwhile, a crazy old hoarder has been bugging the orphanage where Kara, another of these assassins, grew up in. Turns out this guy is related. There’s an as-of-yet-unwritten ginormous “accident”, after which the assassins are left to wonder how the heck this family is involved in all this. Is this an orchestrated effort, or what?

Meanwhile, we see some of the social lives take strange turns. Auria meets up with a buttkicking tomboyish Battlemage, Quirierle, whom she met long ago. Auria’s boyfriend research partner Otto moves to the city in her footsteps. Auria isn’t entirely happy about this, because she doesn’t want reminders of what happened in her old hometown, and has found a fascinating former thief Jactyr whom she just might consider marrying. But things can be worked out just fine, right? Knowing that Otto can’t say no to smart mages, Auria tells Otto to go warm Quirierle’s bed. Which turns out to be a great idea, because Otto starts getting great ideas on what he can contribute to the city (and incidentally show Auria that he’s just the same great guy he used to be). Quirierle and Otto start working on this seemingly nice, creative, beautiful and innocent plan, which just might turn out to be a little bit of a horrific soul-crushing disaster due to shadowy meddlers from a certain direction…

November 11: 23257 words.

Today: A character who supposedly kicks butt according to my notes ended up kicking butt. And writing that was absolutely great.

Unfortuntely, I ran out of time today to write more of this stuff, but I did overhaul most of the sections and I now have a pretty damn clear outline of what’s going on. And writing the halfway point summary post really helped me to pull together some of those threads and organise my story so far. I recommend doing the same if you want clarity for your story.

November 12: 25308 words.

Hell yeah, halfway point.

Which was spent in less than jubilant times. My head just wasn’t ready. Spent the afternoon looking for decently priced USB hubs. One store, one model, one price. And turns out all of the stores nearby only sell 16GB USB sticks, not 32GB ones. And the computer store where I used to go apparently still has gigantic plaques in the windows, but when you look closer, it says “this space for rent”. Goddamn it. Anyway: Lots of fresh air, but also a lot of bicycling.


Back home. Can’t write. Has to write. +2051 words, damn it.

Today: the assassin becomes a cleaning lady, cleaning a place of important records. Her accomplice brings in a wheellock rifle, which she decidedly doesn’t use just yet. It remains to be seen whether it eventually will be. (In your face, Chekhov.) Suffice to say, the assassins don’t need to be particularly subtle here, but loud noise would still be pretty much undesirable.

Also, there was a fire. Which wasn’t very exciting, because the fire brigade somehow got there before the protagonists did.

<whine> My head still doesn’t really work. The goddamn DVR’s hard drive is full again. As much I’d need Halo, it’s movie time.

November 13: Head. Mush.

I was so convinced I’d get a big fat red mark in my calendar widget today. I’ve been in the green for the whole month so far.

Then I was convinced it’d be yellow.

Then I noticed it was only 21:00 and I was almost a third through the daily goal. Plenty of time!

Finished around 23:00 at 27530 words. That’s +2222 words since yesterday. Not planned or anything.

Still green. Whoopsie daisie.

So today’s highlights: Continuing to be unintentionally awesome by putting my characters into interesting situations where, um, their characters are shown. A law-abiding alchemist, who got attacked, gets to tell the assassin protagonists that she wants the justice to run its course and going randomly killing people in retaliation might be a pretty stupid idea. I really love it when I have some stuff in character notes, and when the character actually acts according to that in the page, the character turns out to be even more awesome I thought. And by doing this thing, I actually managed to put in words some of the ideas I had in my head but didn’t quite have any words for.

Also, almost-comedy hour: our hilarious assassins and thieves manage to interrogate a prisoner. Not as funny as I thought it’d be, but interesting enough, I guess.

November 14: 29491 words.

I’ve been reading a famed blog of a Twilight critic. Made me go a little bit metafictional.

One of my characters is this ghoulish undead figure, who is pretty much a normal person apart of these few unsettling traits. Such as her kinda creepy voice. So while we’re waiting for her to work on her evil magics, the other characters whipped out a thesaurus and started thinking of proper terms for her voice. And I don’t mean they did it metaphorically, they just randomly found a thesaurus in the bookshelf. (They mostly ended up making fun of fascinating unapplicable suggestions and ended up using “say” and “whisper”, I think.)

I think I did something else yesterday, but I can’t remember what it was, so there.

November 15: 31321 words. Zzzzzzooming past 30k and cleverly stopping before 31337, because last year I looked at wordcount at that point and I’ll never forgive myself. =)

Today: An alchemist gives an introductory lecture to alchemy. Boring Research Mages talk about their options when there’s a madman out there opposing their work.

A character shows up to give a random reference to my previous nano novel. (She’s reading a book called The Big Book of Lesbian Carnival Wolf Stories. Because she’s a lesbian and the last novel involved carnival wolves. This is such a clever reference. …actually, I was just reading this list - if anyone needs completely random inspirations like this, there’s a few good ones.)

November 16: 33361 words. Saw that I was at 33133 words. Decided to go for 33333. Overshot. =)

Decided to finish an earlier scene. Ended up making my assassins absolutely evil, but I suppose that sometimes happens when people need to be killed. I have serious trouble keeping track of about five zillion villains who have same or similar last name (the protagonists are going after a really devilish family here). Need to update the family tree, I suppose.

November 17: 35067 words.

I didn’t really get much done. Didn’t sleep too well. The day just happened.

Noticed that at some point, Reddit memes started invading my writing.

“Every fibre of my being serves She of Withering”, Kacia said. “I kill with bow. I kill with magic. I stalk the night.”

Kara chuckled. “Watch out, Auria, we’ve got a brooding fighter over here.”

(Insert Neil deGrasse Tyson)

…not to even mention finally doing what I thought of doing ages ago and introducing Lilianna of Lime, the cleaning woman and corpse disposal expert extraordinaire. (Probably a bit obscure if you don’t get the reference. Shoutout to subredditdrama!)

I promise I’ll stop with this stuff right here and come up with some actually a bit more original material in the future. =)

November 18: 37089 words.

This was a great day in that once again I was pretty much too tired to do anything and thought I’d fail, yet somehow managed to mash together about 2000 words without the need to start thinking of filler stuff. At all. And to top that off, I was using worldbuilding material that I had in stock, just as I intended.

Made a really horrible illustration of the scene I was working on yesterday, featuring some of my protagonists. (Basically, it looks like hell because I was using my TV as a monitor and drawing with ArtRage, and I have less experience with it than with MyPaint.)

[“<p”, “ class="asset-centered-big"”, “>”, “<img src="/assets/blog/n/na/nano2012kaciaintro.jpg" alt=""/>”, “</p>”]

Also I was supposed to make a nanowrimo video blog, but I spent most of the time writing over the past few weeks, so it has been boring so far. But I’ve edited some of it now.

November 19: 39008 words. +1919 words. It’s 23:30. I’m tired. For once, I seriously have no idea what I wrote, but I think it may have been completely relevant to the plot. As long as I have written around 2000 words and it was pretty much relevant, I can call it a day. Dammit. I need a bit of a brain relaxation.

November 20: 40715 words (+1707). Was tired. Got a bit late start. Hope to write more tomorrow.

I have this Really Awesome Scene™ I wrote earlier. I went back to it and kept completing it. It’s now kinda draft-like. And the cool part is, it got better.

I’m so happy that I can say that there’s actually something in this novel that I think was fairly decent. I’ve been feeling that I’ve had all these lofty ideas and some of them haven’t been materialising. But now they have. This may yet look like a decent thing some day.

November 21: 42519 words. Okay, I wanted to do better than yesterday today, but I didn’t. Gah. Hope tomorrow’s better. But at least I’m having my characters solve the problem of convoluted situation with the antagonists in a spectacular manner: “goddamn it, let’s not sort this stuff out, let’s just figure out how we can kill the whole lot”. This is what you do when you have too many villains, right? =)

November 22: 45097 words. (+2578) (“Yet another famous case of ‘men and gods said it could not be done, but he did not listen!’”)

Heh heh. Bloody hell. That’s a lot of words. *cough* The website says there’s maybe two days to go at this pace. Probably more like three (weekends aren’t very nice for writing), but we’ll see.

The good news: There’s a whole bunch of chapters that say “DRAFT”. Some say “UNFINISHED”, but they’re wayyyyyy in the minority. A whole bunch of chapters probably need some additional crap.

But the coolest thing is, I just eliminated my prologue and epilogue (merging them into the first and last chapters) and made the last chapters explicitly numbered. There’s now 21 chapters and no fluff between them. Cohesion!

My calendar is fully green at the moment and I’m definitely ahead of the curve. My plan is to write at full steam until I hit 50000, and then I may have some slackier days and spend some time fluffing it up. I have a few proper chapters to do and some scenes, maybe. But I’m definitely already looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s some kind of a story here!

November 23: NaNoWriMo day 47280: 23 words! No wait, the other way around.

I’m kinda tired, but somehow got 2k words done. Awesome.

Just adding more awesomeness. And one more completely unplanned scene. I decided to reuse a webcomic plot I had thought up but never actually written down. Turned out it worked much better in literary format. =)

I wrote the first piece of random NaNoWriMo software for this year - an emacs macro to clean up the exported HTML so I can just open the bastard in web browser, Ctrl+A, and paste the thing in the validator. I usually have to write some random hacks to facilitate stuff.

Oh, and turns out the validated wordcount is maybe a few hundred words higher than what my wordcount script says. Hope yet lives.

Less than 3k to go, most of the chapters are in, lots of spackling in to do, a whole bunch of planned but unwritten scenes, and other major idiocies. I guess that after I hit 50k I still have a lot of work to do before I can honestly claim victory. But the end is definitely in sight!

November 24: 50052 words. The bloody estimate was right afterall. Today, I was so sure I’d go to 50k by tomorrow. I can’t believe it.

Obligatory screenie of the contrived part where I retroactively try to put a funny word at 50k spot:

[“<p”, “ class="asset-centered-big"”, “>”, “<img src="/assets/blog/n/na/nano2012finale.png" alt=""/>”, “</p>”]

Ain’t done yet. Some scenes still unwritten and I’m obviously running at unvalidated wordcount right now. Estimate that the final draft will be at most a couple of thousand words more. But at least I can slack down now a little bit and quit pushing out 1.7k-2k words a day. =)

November 26: 50354 words. Yellow day in the calendar. Mostly spackling, trying to figure out what the hell did I try to say when I was writing without looking at the screen and getting all these millions of typos. Realised I need maybe two scenes to finish this thing. Will make them awesome tomorrow.

November 27: 52037 according to my wordcount script, but the validator pegs it at 52195 words. I’m claiming victory!

Tomorrow: Doing some cover art and stuff. I hope to have a downloadable version of the draft available soon.

(Postmortem note: obviously the art isn’t done yet, I need to get that done eventually. Same with the rest of the stuff.)