NaNo 2017, Plodding Along

I’m behind the NaNo word-count goal by about 3300 words, so I need to write more than the minimum of 1667 words a day to finish my 2017 novel at the end of November. It’s still well within the realm of possibility, but today, other than being a work day, I’m finding all sorts of excuses to avoid the beast. Write before work? It didn’t happen this morning. I usually take a short coffee break in the morning and fit in some writing, but I avoided that, too. And now it’s nearly lunchtime and I’m writing about not writing instead of writing. Ah, the procrastination has set in!

But there’s nothing new about that, and only one way to fix it. So, a bite of lunch, another cup of coffee, and words. Many, many words. Let them gush forth like a geyser and spray on the virtual page, never mind what gets wet. Unless it’s the keyboard …

Good luck, fellow NaNo writers!

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NaNo 2017, Day 3

Well, I’m doing NaNo again. I put off making the decision until October 31, at about three in the afternoon. While that’s not quite a last-minute decision, it does reflect the amount of energy that I have to give the novel this year. I think that I’m still stinging from the slop that I wrote last year and disappointed that I never managed to wrap my head around a suitable plot for a murder mystery.

The novel-esque thing I’m working on this year is a dystopian novel. It’s sort of science fiction, but not really, although sci-fi spans a really large range and doesn’t have to include aliens or space ships. Though if one shows up in chapter eight, that might up the interest level — mine! I named my novel Waist Removal, and here’s the description I put on the NaNo site:

Dystopian sci-fi/fantasy in which our heroine finds herself wanting to get away from her parents, but her only escape is to get sent away to a state-sponsored fat farm. However, Heroine isn’t fat, and with the government monitoring everyone’s health (for their own good, of course), she has to figure out how to eat enough food to gain weight so she can be “transported.”

I think there might be a love interest in there somewhere, maybe a mystery or some strange documents that Heroine discovers.

I wrote about 2100 words before I settled on a name for Heroine. It was actually easier to come up with a name for her best friend. Oddly, I had as much trouble in my first novel “seeing” the main character, while describing the supporting characters was much easier. At the end of day 3 I finished a synopsis (chapter zero) and chapter 1, and my word count is 4298 (703 behind).

In other writing news, I’ve just broken the 100,000-word barrier and I’m within 56,000 words of my goal for the entire year. NaNo should take care of most of that (if not all), but I’m working on some other projects and trying to schedule them all so NaNo doesn’t eat all my time. I’m accomplishing that by doing self-inflicted word sprints with NaNo. The less time I spend second-guessing myself at this point in the draft, the better, and I’m hoping that as I get more words down my writing momentum will pick up. I want to turn this year of writing angst into one of finishing projects.

And speaking of that, Corrugated Sky‘s second anthology, Smoke and Steam, is due out any day. We’ve submitted our final files to CreateSpace and hope to have the book go live next week. Stay tuned!

I Can Has Allergies

I really, really, really need to move. Since mid-March I’ve had a stomach bug, allergies, and a sinus infection. After battling the sinus thing for three weeks and coughing so hard that I pulled a muscle, I realized that I needed more than vitamin C. So, I went up to a local walk-in clinic for antibiotics and some nasal spray. Well, that helped a lot, but I still have allergy headaches, and now I’m having eye strain headaches. I need a vacation, and I need a paradise to escape to. It sure looks pretty outside, but … achoo!

In March and early April I’ve so busy that I’ve had to let the blog “rest” for awhile. I had an encyclopedia article on howdahs to complete by the end of March, and then I had to prepare a paper for presentation on Victorian detectives, detective fiction, and journalism for the 2017 meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of British Studies. And this week I just wrapped up an entry on the cultural and historical impact of Ray Bradbury for another encyclopedia. And all this stuff is in addition to my full-time job.

Yes, I do sit at the computer for a very long time every day! And this is a problem, so I’ve joined a local gym and signed up for four training sessions. My second one is today, and I’ve actually worked out twice so far this week.

I’m slowly catching up on my writing goal of 240,000 words for this year, despite a couple of very unproductive weeks. With this blog post, I’m just about 700 words behind where I want to be, but I still have two days left in my writing work week. On the fiction writing front, I’m starting the revisions to my Steampunk story for Corrugated Sky’s second anthology, to be published in late spring or early summer. Seacombe Island is next up; it’s getting a final revision and should also be published this year. I have several nonfiction projects in the queue as well, including a proposal for a chapter in a book on World War I, a book of writer’s prompts, and extending my research and writing about Victorian detectives. Oh, and there might be a cocktail book in the works, too. But that’s for after hours!

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 137

Cutaway view of a shaggy bacterium.

Cutaway view of a shaggy bacterium.

I’m writing a short Steampunk story set in the same world as my Seacombe novel, which I expect to publish this year. The story involves some science, and I went looking for pictures of plant cells so I could describe them in the story as the character sees them. I came across this cutaway image of a bacterium (not a plant, though). I couldn’t find any copyright information on it, so I’ve appropriated it for the blog and done some photo manipulation on it just because I felt the need to do something artsy this morning.

So, this bacterium looks pretty shaggy, doesn’t it? It makes me think of a cheese puff that’s fallen onto a carpet and rolled around for a few days, picking up crumbs and stray hairs. Not that I have stray cheese puffs roaming about my house, mind you! Potato chip crumbs might be another matter …

This week’s Thursday Writing Prompt celebrates bacteria. They’re not all bad, and despite the bad rap that Escherichia coli has earned (a rod-shaped bacterium that looks suspiciously like our shaggy friend above), it’s only one variety of E. coli that is dangerous. Many species of bacteria are beneficial, and we wouldn’t have yogurt without them.

In honor of bacteria, for this week’s writing prompt, you have a character who is biologist studying a bacterium that has some very unusual properties. Write a short paragraph describing this microscopic beast and what makes it so special. It doesn’t have to be realistic, but as with any good science fiction you may want to do a little bit of research. Bacteria inhabit some extreme climates, and have even been found living in rocks, so don’t feel that you have to limit the environment that it lives in. Push the boundaries, and come up with something fantastic. Happy writing!