Wednesday 25 November 2015

(vol 2) Chapter 46: “NaNoWriMo – Day 25”

2015 WORD COUNT=                        71806

2015 NaNo WORD COUNT=               40926

2015 TOTAL WORD COUNT =           112732

As the end of the month closes in, I feel a twinge of jealousy upon seeing several NaNoWriMo Writer Buddies crossing the finish line and validating their projects.  And while I’m a hundred percent over the moon for them and their success, I’m annoyed at myself for not being there with them.

But my race is not over, not yet. I still have five more writing days to go and I’m pretty much on schedule. Better still, other than day 19, I’ve managed to pass the daily target of 1667. Sure, I’d have liked to have validated already, and either carried on with less pressure, or called time and moved onto something else. But you have 30 days to write 50,000 words. Not 25. Not 35.


And it looks like I’m going to use every single one.

DAY NINETEEN – 1202 words

It was a last minute choice to create the other dimension library and so I just carried on with it on Thursday. And something else I decided to do was bring in the events of a future Chris and Mike story; CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE LIBRARIAN, my ode to the sad passing of Terry Pratchett. In that piece of flash fiction, written earlier in the year, I’d had our heroes meet the Librarian of the Unseen University.

Obviously it’s a character I can’t include in my own works, so I made a subtle change to my worlds version. I still wanted to keep it as a cheeky nod though, so the change is, as I said, subtle.

DAY TWENTY – 2129 words

Day 20 was one of those writing sessions that just seemed to flow. With a now working laptop, I was able to get a nice chunk done before my shift started, and another session at lunch just built on that.

These scenes see Chris and Mike make their way (in what may or may not be a stolen car) to the old tin mine, the start of their journey to find treasure deep within the bowels of the Temple of Gloom.

DAY TWENTY-ONE – 1906 words

With the elevator now out of action, Chris and Mike face their first real danger of this adventure as they make their way down the elevator shaft.

Despite a busy morning, my wonderful wife took our son out to allow me a little piece and quiet and I took full advantage. What would I do without her?

DAY TWENTY-TWO – 1822 words

The guys were reaching the end of what was the old abandoned tin mine and about to cross into the ancient cave system hidden deeper below it.

DAY TWENTY-THREE – 2089 words

Sometimes the story flows out into the laptop easier, sometime it’s a challenge. Monday was impressive, and I didn’t need to do more when I got in, the daily target pretty much accomplished. But I wanted to finish the scene.

And what a scene. With nothing but slow exploration and cave walls for company, I decided it was time to throw the first real threat at the boys. And what better way then for someone thought dead in the prologue to be brought back to life (sort off). A vicious scrap ensues, and our heroes are changed by the conflict.


And let’s not forget about the pair arguing between themselves when their lives aren’t in danger. I’m really enjoying fleshing out the relationship between the two main characters, something hinted at, but minimal, in the flash fiction pieces.

DAY TWENTY-FOUR – 1880 words

I managed a thousand words on lunch but didn’t expect to manage much more once I was home. Tuesday night is Pub Quiz night, after all. But the babysitter (aka mother) was caught in traffic and suddenly an extra thirty minutes appeared from nowhere.

So the guys entered the catacombs below the city of the caves. I carried on in the evening and threw in another homage, this time to the movie which this novella kind of borrows its name. That’s right; rotting rope bridge over river.  

DAY TWENTY-FIVE – 1747 words

Day 25 was a dark day, which fortunately had a happy ending.

I booted up the laptop at lunch time, ready to get stuck in, only to find that the memory stick I use was having some corruption issues. Crap!

Things got worse when the back-up version also failed, as did the compiled Word doc version. But a ray of hope came in the form of the copy of the Word doc that I normally stick on the desktop. I was saved.

Except that I wasn’t, because the previous night, the writing session before the pub quiz (we came second), I used a different laptop. And, trying to rush as I was saving it, I didn’t make a copy. So I lost every word written on the 24th. Every. Word. And I like those words.

So this lunch time I had the NaNo wind knocked out of me. I won’t lie; I was so fed up with laptop and save issues, I was very close to giving up for the rest of the month. But I spent the afternoon talking myself out of quitting.

And then something magical happened. I dug deeper when I got home, and found a backup that held all that I had done. Carefully I restored it and then jumped for joy, desperately looking for someone, anyone, to high five (son was in bed, wife was out, cat ran away scared).

And so, happy once more, I got on with what happened after that bridge I mentioned had a failure. More conflict between the boys, before something ancient, something waiting, revealed itself to our heroes.

The end is near, in more ways than one.

And that’s my last update for November. Next week’s post will be the aftermath where I discuss the highs and lows, what I loved, and where I failed.

Another big congratulations to those with their purple bars. Buy me a drink, and I’ll meet you at the bar. And let’s not forget those that are still running alongside me, all heading towards that glowing word target in the sky.

Of course some people won’t make it to the end this year, for a variety of reasons. But to them I say this; you may not make it to validate, but whether you wrote 1000, 10,000, or 40,000, they are words that you did not have under you belt when November started. With the pressure of November lifted in a few days, you have a seed to carry on working with. And that’s something, right?

Before I go, there’s just one more thing. There was a little bit of sad news last Friday for those of us in the Flash Fiction community. Upon looking up the Flash! Friday prompt for the 20th November, we were all greeted by Rebekah Postupak’s announcement that Flash! Friday, the launch pad for many of us Flash writers, will be coming to an end.

While I’ve wanted to be a writer for a long, long time, I can’t deny that, if I hadn’t been led to the Flash! Friday website all those months ago, if I hadn’t built up the courage to jump in with a swell bunch of authors, then I wouldn’t be still trying to realise my dream.

Sure, the regular writing, the forcing myself away from my comfort zones, has all helped to improve my writing and sharpen my skills. But you can get that from other sites, other writers groups. For me, Flash! Friday was is more than that. It’s a place where I found people like me. It’s a place where mighty friendships were born. And from these friendships, a cool admiration and respect grew. And then following the forging of a group, an Anthology was created, leading to people reading my stories in an actual solid, and very real, book. Any success I’ve had, and any success I achieve in the future, just wouldn’t have happened without Flash! Friday. Of that I have no doubt.

I’m planning a bigger article for later next month so I’ll leave it there for now.

And that’s all for now. So wish me luck. Five more days of writing, with tomorrow being a day off work (that should help big time).

See you in seven. 

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