Wednesday 11 November 2015

(vol 2) Chapter 44: “NaNoWriMo – Day 11”

2015 WORD COUNT=                        71507

2015 NaNo WORD COUNT=               17995

2015 TOTAL WORD COUNT =           89502

This week has been a lot more of a roller-coaster than the smooth sailing of last week’s post. Recurring illness gave me my first non-writing day of this year’s contest (losing me the chance to obtain one of this year’s new NaNo’ badges), and a struggle with the plot has caused me to go from racing downhill on roller-skates to trudging waist deep through golden syrup.

But there is a solution to hand, a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ button to press. And I’m close to hitting it.

But first, a look back.

DAY FIVE – 1441 words

When I originally wrote the flash stories, and even while planning this expanded version, the characters of Chris and Mike had their adventure while hiking through the woods. Just the two of them, walking through random woods.

So I was surprised as I got to work on the trip to find myself creating a sort of Centre Parks style camp site that had more modern amenities and a lot of civilians.

But I went with it and had some fun, a particular highlight being the creation of random character Pete Sugar; that guy you meet when you go away who forces himself into your holiday, who knows more about the place your staying than the staff, and who just annoys you but doesn’t seem to ever realise it. I don’t know where he came from, but it sure was fun writing him. He could end up being the series Sheriff Pepper.

DAY SIX – 1670 words

Once again I experienced a Friday calamity with my laptop after an error with yesterday’s PC update caused the device to loop. I used a bit of IT know-how and rolled the update back but had to redownload programs. With no Wi-Fi at work and 11% battery, getting a Flash! Friday entry and my NaNo word target done became a challenge. So, instead of writing in my lunch break, I got a good chunk done at home instead.

I began the main plot, the hike through the forest. After a discussion over breakfast, and the addition of two girls from the tent next door, the guy’s head off on a planned activity hike.

Originally I wanted Chris to be aware of the supernatural goings on from the prologue, but at this point I changed things so that he wasn’t lying to his friend. I didn’t want their trip to have ulterior motives.

Hence the creation of the two girls who join them on the trip. I wanted another victim and, more importantly, I wanted the disappearance to happen directly to Chris and Mike. So one of the girls goes missing as the heroes fight about being lost.

And the mystery continues.

DAY SEVEN – 1779 words

This weekend saw a relapse in my recent illness and I cursed whatever force clearly didn’t want me to participate in NaNo. I struggled to focus most of the day but suddenly found a drug aided window of inspiration late after dinner and managed to get some writing done.

Continuing the theme of not writing what I planned to write, I scrapped the heroes starting to search, and instead brought the surviving girl and our heroes back to the camp site. Where the police had been called in.

I liked how this turned out, the tension of the police keeping an eye on Chris and Mike, and it emphasised that what he does isn’t public knowledge. Dialogue between Chris and Mike shines light on what can and can’t be said in front of the general population. Obviously Chris was released from an institution at the beginning of the previous story, so he knows where the truth can lead you if you’re not careful.

DAY EIGHT – 0 words

This is the day a lot of NaNo writers fear. That first day where you can’t find the time, or that motivation has left you, or your brain just goes ‘stuck!’. After two days of punching threw a relapse in the flu that I thought I was over, I just didn’t have anything left in the tank.

It hurt to see my word count spreadsheet get its first ‘red’ as I went negative for word count, but these things happen and are easily fixed.

DAY NINE – 3178 words

Today was a glorious day. I had word count to make up and I was feeling feisty.

After getting into work a little earlier than normal, I took advantage of an extra half an hour writing time and somehow managed to get down 1050 words before starting my shift. Add another 1600 for lunch, and rounding out the day with 500 more after dinner, and I hit an awesomely high word count. Hope I can match it or beat it a couple more times before the month is out.

So what did I do with those words? Well, a lot of it was dialogue, as Mike fought to stay out of the supernatural world that Chris was part of. But his friend talks him round, and lets him know that fighting evil and their friendship are important together.

After that it was all about getting the pair from out under the police at the camp site and off into the woods so that they could begin tracking whatever was haunting the forest. I could have kept it simple and had them keep to the shadows and take the main path. But I remembered that I mentioned the camp site having a lake in an earlier session. I pictured all the different boats these activity centre places let people use and thought they could cross the lake and sneak into the woods that way. Of course things are never that simple for Chris and Mike, so I couldn’t let them just get any old boat. Swan peddle boats seemed in keeping with the spirit of the stories.

DAY TEN – 1417 words

The search of the forest begins with Chris showing a little bit more of his magical knowledge, as well as making Mike feel comfortable with a hand axe for company.

I got them back to the site of the disappearance before hitting a slight wall that I had feared since I’d started; walking in the woods can get boring and repetitive.

So I did the only thing I could think of as I struggled to hit the days word count; I dropped a mysterious haunted cottage right into their path.

DAY ELEVEN – 1342 words

Another struggle today as I played around with the purpose behind the cottage. Just throwing it down at the end of the previous day meant it didn’t come in with any history, so I spent the start of today’s session building it as the characters moved through it (thank you google for some spooky images). However, I hit that thick treacle. My fingers began to itch towards the emergency plan I’d set up for just such an occasion.

Still, I got home and gave it another stab; bringing in a mysterious creature and trapping Chris and Mike in the basement. The output slowed again and I cursed myself for writing my characters into a damned corner. How could they escape? Secret passage. What else could I do?

I moved my hand away from the big red emergency button, giving myself another day to see if I can write myself out of this rut.

I am hoping to lay down some high word counts this week end. Wish me luck.

And that’s it. I got close to that dreaded wall, close to coming to a full stop, though I still have that safety net of just moving onto the next Chris and Mike story. But I’m hoping I don’t use it. I managed to plan out a nice 2000 word scene which should not only see me through tomorrow, but get me back out of the red.

And while I’m struggling a little (it’s nowhere near disaster yet), it’s great to see my FlashDog writing buddies all speeding off, full steam ahead. There are some fantastic milestones being hit by my fellow short form experts.

One last thing; yesterday saw the release of Fallout 4. If you play video games, if you enjoy RPG’s, and if you’ve had any experience with the previous Fallout games, then you’ll know that there’s no other time sink like it. And while I lift myself out of several holes this week (illness, lack of time, writers block,) the biggest challenge I face now between here and December 1st, is balancing the work/reward system of writing and then gaming. Because as any addict will tell you; it’s one thing to say you don’t need something, but something else entirely to turn away from it.

And this blog post is almost the length of my daily word count target.

See you in seven.

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