This year’s NaNo is underway. I knew I was going to do it, but I put off registering until two or three days ago. I was in denial.
I’ve got 508 words so far.
I am not writing.
I have not written for weeks. It was Camp, then the summer holidays from college (where I work, not study). Then I went back to work. Now, i’ve lost the spark.
I have enrolled on an English Literature with Creative Writing degree – switching from Law, which I was studying up until June – ish. I have started the work in my course books early, but the concept og creative writing, and any plot ideas I had, have curled up and died in the corner since I went back to work on the eighth of September.
And I just struggled to spell the word ‘eighth’. But that might be because it is nearly 2am.
I don’t know if I am doing NaNo this year.
I’m completely stuck in a rut. I’ve tried everything. Even meeting up with the others at group this Friday did nothing to help my motivation. I wrote a total of 824 words. Though this is more than I have written in one sitting since Camp ended, it was all venting at someone who had completely pissed me off, and none of it is worthy of publication.
I’m sick to death of seeing the story I promised I would do. I went to start another that has masses of planning sorted, to give myself a break and maybe get the spark back, and I managed around a hundred words. Then I got stuck. With pages of planning, I got stuck. I started the story in a much more logical way than i’d planned, so that notebook has gone out the window until I can tie it all back in.
On top of this, i’ve decided to change my degree to a language based one. I had a moment of decisive clarity, where I thought i’d do what I want, rather than what I think I might need for work, or what was expected of me. I’m still torn between English Literature with Creative Writing and Language Studies. I like languages more, but I want the creative writing modules. I’ll probably go for the language option, i’m leaning that way.
I have noticed it has been two months, nearly, since my last blog post.
At least I can put a month of that down to Camp.
So, what have I been doing with the rest of the time? I’m honestly going to have to say i’ve done absolutely bugger all. No writing, anyway. Nothing writing related. Not really.
Every time I do NaNo or Camp, July being the third such event, I have found that I completely neglect the work afterwards. It is as if I need a break. So excuse my slack work ethic… but i’ll probably take the next few weeks off.
I hit target though, and I have more of an idea where the plot is going. So that’s something.
I have two weeks left to decide what to write for the July Camp NaNo. According to the Camp site, I have decided on a story. That could not really be farther from the truth.
I have been ignoring the book dubbed Sin Bi. Not actively ignoring, just working on the other idea. I have a few pages of planning for the other idea, and I think I could easily write ten thousand off the bat. I probably have planning right up to about twenty thousand, maybe a bit more. But I said I would get a story out before November NaNo, and for that I really need to get my head down.
I also have that other story… the one that I started last November. That’s still sitting under two thousand words I think, and I would really like to get that one off the ground sometime soon!
Maybe I should take a poll. Let’s add a poll.
There’s the poll. I’d appreciate it muchly if you could join in and help me decide. There’s no guarantee i’ll do the most voted one, but it might tell me something about the weakest idea. You could tweet me or catch me on Facebook too if you would like some more depth to the plot ideas.
I’ve just set up my Camp NaNo account for July 2014’s story. I’m planning on writing the new story, i’ve even entered a word count and everything. But now i’ve (partially) committed to it, I am now feeling a little guilty that I should be finishing Sin Bi instead.
I’m 20k into Sin Bi. It was my April Camp story. It’s just I have such plot problems. Maybe I needed a break from it, I don’t know. Thinking about it from a distance isn’t helping, but it’s certainly making me want to take another look at it.
I spoke to a writery man on Twitter, and he said he could only inhabit one book at a time. I seem to have a concentration problem, as I now have one completed and three planned or half – written. This fits in with some other people I know, though. Susan.
I might do Sin Bi, but i’ll have to edit the first few chapters for flow. We’ll see in 28 days, as the Camp clock is already counting down on the website!
Yeah. That story. The second one.
It is no more.
I kinda started a new one, based on a one line prompt my friend got really attached to about a shrink ray gun that people would use on babies to ease birthing. A whole story came from this, so i’m hoping to get that one done during the next Camp. Maybe. I’ve already planned around 10,000 words of it, so maybe I can finish it.
I wish ideas would stop popping into my head just for a bit, so I could finish at least one story this year!
In Nevada, Hotels Are Not Actually Hotels
I had no bed for the night. I was really stuck for somewhere to sleep, but the idea of sleeping rough was not an option I ever wanted to take. I had done it before, but it was always far from ideal. Especially round here, on the side of a highway with not even a blanket to my name. My last motel had thrown me out for not paying rent, which had increased by the day, and I had no way of keeping up with what they were asking. I packed up what little belongings I had, which all fitted into a small backpack, and hit the road. Again.
It was already dark, and the highway had a sickly sweet aroma. It was obviously harvesting season, as the air was full of the scent of weed clippings. Either that, or a car ahead had been set fire to by a rival gang whilst smuggling a shipment across the desert into Las Vegas. I was absolutely shattered, I had been walking since morning and it felt as if I was getting nowhere. Just as all hope was fading, my eyes hurting, ready to fall to the floor and sleep where I was, I saw a light coming from a building in the distance. Salvation! I hurried along the road as fast as my feet would take me, wincing in pain. I had taken my heels off partway through the day as I kept falling over on the uneven desert road, and I did not want to break either heels or ankles. Maybe there was a hangover lurking from the night before too, or maybe that was only just approaching. I could not tell, all I knew was the whisky I had bought with me was all gone and I needed more. As I approached the light, I could see that the building was an old church, abandoned for many a year, with a small bell tower, bell intact. This did not please me, as religion in general frowned upon my profession. But if they offered me a bed, I’d take it. I would leave in the morning, it was not as if they were going to force me to become a nun against my will.
I knocked on the door as the breeze picked up again. This caused the mission bell above my head, in the tower, to ring out slightly. It all felt slightly ominous, but still, all I could think of was getting a bed, and then in the morning, finding some more work. The heavy door creaked open slowly, and a woman stuck her head out of the gap. She did not look much like a nun. In fact, she looked positively like someone I could get along with. She was one of me.
“Yes?” the woman said.
It looked as if I had pulled her from doing something more important. The odour of vodka surrounded this woman, mixing with the smells already in the air, creating a heady aroma of what a good night should be.
I explained my predicament to her, and she seemed more than willing to oblige. She opened the door wide, and I saw the inside of the building was nicely decorated. There were drapes from the ceiling, and carpet on the floors. This was definitely not a home for a nun. I followed the woman down the hall, which was lit delicately by candles, one of which the woman was carrying. It was flickering, creating dancing shadows on the walls and curtains. There were muffled sounds coming from the other side of the walls, but I could not clearly make out what they were. They appeared to be voices, but I couldn’t be certain; these old buildings were built with thick walls to last through weather and defend against desert winds. She led me to a door, and signalled to open it myself. I walked through to a bar. This was going to solve my need for alcohol, but how was I to pay? The barkeep explained that I would pay it off in other ways.
Then it dawned on me – I had entered an organised brothel. How did the woman at the door know? What if I was an innocent passer – by? It always confused me how people could tell just from looking if you were a hooker or not. Ah, well. I figured I could stay for a night, work to pay it off, and then look for somewhere better to work from. These places always get found out sooner or later. I asked the barkeep for some wine, thinking I would take it easy for now. I really needed something just to take the edge off and help me sleep.
“We haven’t had that here for years, lass.” the barkeep replied.
Which was a bit annoying.
I looked round at what he did have, and it looked as if there were only spirits or beer. I suppose I’ll be back on the whisky for the night then! I had a few measures, and then asked where the woman had gone, so I could find out where it was I would be sleeping for the night. I found her, and she led me to a room. It was obviously a working room, but I thought nothing of it. It was a brothel, most of the rooms were going to have mirrors on the ceiling and kinky stuff by the bed. They were not going to do it up just for me. She left the room, and I fell asleep.
I was woken up by a knocking at my door. Was it already morning? There was no window I could check for, but there was a clock on the wall. It read three – thirty. I wonder why someone was knocking at my door? I answered, and there was a man in front of me, swaying slightly. He lurched at me. “Such a lovely face you’ve got!” he grinned, grabbing my chin to get a better look. From there, it appeared I was working for the roof above my head. There were a few men that night, and I slept in fits and bursts, sporadically being awakened by knocks at my door. There was a constant stream of men through the front door, some were sent to you and some chose you personally. Some were also there to kill the beasts of their addictions, but some were much closer to killing themselves. I stayed for a few days until I decided I wanted to leave. The woman on the door gave me my earnings, minus their very generous cut and my expenses, and it left me with near nothing for my time. She was very understanding as I left the building, but as I walked away, I heard her say –
“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
Copyright – Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey of The Eagles, 1977.
Last Friday was meant to to a Guild meeting. We decided to move it, because exams and sporting endeavours were major conflicts for a few of us.
This Friday is meant to be a Guild meeting. I cannot attend, because the dodgeball practice that was meant to be last week has been moved to this week. I didn’t find this out until it was too late to ask anyone if they wanted to come, so i’ve had so send my apologies. I’m going to Birmingham on Saturday instead. It’s a longer day, but I spend about the same amount, as the coffee costs more but I buy less of it.
On the plus side, i’ve edited my first two chapters. I still don’t know if they are right, or if they’re even staying in though. They might have to be removed. It’s not like they’re a prologue, per se, but they are the story of the day before, leading up to the event. If I cut the chapters, it’ll make sense, with a bit of reworking, but I like the reader knowing a little more about what the character is doing.
There’s a bit of memory loss, you see… but I like that you know what has happened. Not the why, that’s what the character is investigating, as well as trying to find out what happened, which is the bit you already know.
Also, you may, or may not, have noticed that this post is in a new category. This is a working title for the Camp NaNo story. It’s a ‘thinking ahead’ move, so I don’t have to go back through everything and recategorise it all.
Camp has ended. I’ve left it a few days to recover, as it ended at Midnight Wednesday, which was the same day as my first day back at work after the Easter holidays.
That day was a little manic.
But here is the final tally –
Can you see that? That is complete. It may not be the 30,000 i’d planned to do, nor the 25,000 I aimed for after I realised I couldn’t do a thousand a day whilst working, but it is the 20,000 I committed to after that. It’s a lousy target, and i’m a little disappointed in myself, as I had wanted to do a half NaNo kind of target. But 20k will do for now.
In the last week, the Guild met up so many times i’ve lost count. I know we definitely met up on the Friday, Monday and Wednesday though.
The next Camp is in July, so i’ll be aiming for 30,000 then, and I won’t be changing my target. That will make my total Camp writing 50,000, just like real NaNo. There’s no work in July, so all my time will be dedicated to self employment and writing.
And, as writing is half of my registered self employment trade, it’ll be perfectly legit.