Clearing my throat.

Ok, so some time mid-November, my website was hacked. Right in the middle of NaNoWriMo, at which time I couldn’t be bothered to spend the (what turned out to be) 20 minutes to get it up and running again.

Quick update: I finished NaNoWriMo, 50,012 words, with a few days to spare. I rested on my laurels for a while while my dad and my wife┬áread it, and stoked my recovering ego with their feedback. I’ve taken a few stabs at rewrites and edits, but lately have been spending the time to do what I’ve been avoiding all along — plotting.

I think I naturally lean toward the pantsing┬áside of the “pantsing” (writing by the seat of your pants) vs. “planning” (plan first, write later) spectrum, but having been through this, I have to say planning is really making its case to me. Larry Brooks’website, Dan Wells’ lecture and the method it describes, a flood of advice from Elizabeth S Craig‘s twitter feed — they’re starting to show their benefit. I still have a few heavy months chained to the keyboard before I have a strong full-length draft, but it’s taking shape.

I’ve spent a lot of time (say… my 20s?) trying to sort out what to do with the century (give or take) I have left, and looking back, I feel like I was trying to stall. Looking back to what I loved doing as a kid, what I spent my free time on, what spoke to me most in books and movies, I’m not sure what I was studying for if not writing.

Maybe it’s the allure of nice round numbers, but turning 30 help focus my attention — and I was smart enough not to fight when I saw NaNoWriMo (and writing in general) frantically waving its arms to get my attention.

I believe if we want the kind of future worth living to see, we have to sing it into existence. I know what kind of a world I want to be an old man in. Most of the people I know who feel the same are too busy gardening to tell the story.

I can’t stay silent any longer.

Here I am, clearing my throat.

NaNoWriMo Day 7: 1700 words (13520)

This was a hard one again. All 1700 words in one burst. I find this much more doable if I break it into bits, but a visit from my parents has intervened.

I wrote a lot of crunchy exposition today, including defining a geographic naming convention that refuses to use either First Nations or colonial place names. It’s clumsy and pretentious, which is perfect.

Enjoy the excerpt.

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NaNoWriMo Day 6: 1680 words (11820)

That was hard.

Election Day. Watched the results come in with a sick and nervous wife, went to the pub with my family shortly before it was called for Obama. My daily target took a second place to celebrating the historiacl re-election of Barack Obama — first Democrat since FDR, btw, to win with over 50% of the popular vote, if the projection holds up.

I hit my target in one hour. I held myself to a new high water mark of frantic production. It worked. Whew. I present an excerpt, never more unedited, then I sleep. Excuse the typos.

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NaNoWriMo Day 4: 2190 words (8100)

This was a good day. I’m sure I could have done more, but I topped 8000, which was my goal. I plan to top 10000 tomorrow.

I’m nearly a fifth into the book, and I still have lots to write before I run out of planned plot. It’s like making a presentation — I always assume I’ll have too little to say, and end up trying to cram stuff in. Luckily, nobody can cut off my microphone and give me the buzzer. I reserve the right to be longwinded, especially for NaNoWriMo.

Excerpt time:

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NaNoWriMo Day 3: 1750 words (5910)

This was a hard day, but a good sprint got me there in the end.

I did 1000 words (exactly) this morning, then planned to do another 1000 in the afternoon, and another at night. Well, events intervened, and it became 1000 in the morning, and a frantic 750 between 11:30 and midnight. On the upside, it turns out I can churn out 750 words in half an hour if push comes to shove.

Today’s draft is rougher than previous.
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NaNoWriMo Day 2: 1860 words (4160)

Not a bad day. Got to write the first major scene of the book, which was fun, and ended differently than I expected. It’s on the path I’d set out, but taking a different route.

I’m tired. Looking forward to the big weekend push, but moreso I’m looking forward to sleeping in. It’s still the weekend, after all.

Excerpt. Again, presented unedited, and for your interest, not for your commentary.
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NaNoWriMo Day 1: 2300 words (2300)

Exactly 2300 words. I wrote an extraneous six word sentence to round it up.

1300ish between midnight and 2am, then a further 1000 this evening. I hope I can keep up this pace, but I’m not going to count on it.

So far, I’ve discovered why I often find the first chapter of a book boring. It was certainly boring to write. But 2300 words in, I think it’s about to get interesting.

Here’s an excerpt. First draft, unedited, out of context. Please, no comments or criticism. Anyone who points out grammatical or typographical errors will be whipped in the public square. Spoilers are irrelevant, cause even I don’t know what’s going to happen.

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NaNoWriMo Grand Re-opening

Stand-by for the month of November as the this blog turns into my public NaNoWriMo tracking site. Ever since I first heard of NaNoWriMo a few years ago, it’s been a seed in my mind, just waiting for the right moment to sprout. This is the year.

This summer, I watched (via daily word-count updates on Facebook) my friend Chris Eng write a 50,000 word draft of a novel start to finish in June using the NaNoWriMo method. The experience he shared with his friends as he wrote inspired me to join the party this year.

I have decided to write a 50,000 word novel throughout November. I will probably write every day. I will post my word counts on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog. I will also be posting short excerpts each days. These are NOT an invitation to criticism or suggestions. I won’t read them, and I will delete any comments that are anything but unreserved cheerleading. That’s for my own sanity, to keep my energy and focus up. I am NOT producing a final draft, I’m just getting words on paper. Quantity trumps quality this month. If you’re also playing this year, or have in the past, please say hi and feel free to offer tips to keep the momentum.

So, if you’re as crazy as I am, check back here for daily updates and excerpts. Maybe you’ll be inspired to join in next year. I hope so.

What to say when there’s nothing to say.

I find it funny that on those moments when there’s the least to say we feel the most moved to say something.

Tomorrow, I marry my love Tanya.

Our wedding comes at the end of a week-long heat wave in Victoria. I’ve been wearing work boots most of that week, mostly for comfort. Again and again, I’ve deflected well meaning inquiries. “Aren’t your feet hot in those boots?”

I explained that I got used to them in Australia, on my Permaculture internship. That’s true, as far as that goes.

I should have said “I wear them so I won’t get cold feet.”

The truth is, though, I’ve never had so much as a moment’s hesitation about the prospect of marrying Tanya. I didn’t started this blog to air personal situations, and I don’t plan to make a habit of it, but I feel this is appropriate.

I am more because of Tanya. I will be more and more as the years go on.

Our year has been dominated by planning for our wedding. It’s all coming together for a beautiful Saturday when friends and family gather to help us mark our passage into a new era. That’s exciting and inspiring.

But not nearly as exciting as it will be be to enter into that new era.

(I’m off to Morocco after the wedding. I’ll be home September 7th, at which time I hope the desert has given me some insights worth sharing.)