I didn’t do it.
Well, I did something, but not it.
I didn’t finish my 3 Day Novel.
With a heavy sigh, early Monday evening I decided that my 10k was going to have to suffice for the time being. The story is about half done, as I like about 25 k for a novella. I decided I’d rather have a good 25k eventually (hopefully in the next couple of weeks) instead of a half-assed 15k and no sleep.
Some things I’ve learned:
1) You can’t prepare too much in advance. I think I need to experiment with thoroughly outlining my novels first… I spend too much time going but…wait…what needs to happen next before that other thing can happen? Now, it’s true that I get a much better story when I pants it, but I can’t pants 25k without my brain getting ahead of me. My brain is definitely far ahead of me when I’m writing a 50k-100k novel.
2) Having images and talisman or two is very helpful. My story has a large lizard (like a komodo dragon) named Saint George. I happened to find a stretchy toy one lying around, and kept him as an inspiration. Sometimes I have a goat nearby (see the interview with Tiffany Reisz for why we have goats instead of goals.) I was quite fortunate to have the permission of Claudia McKinney and John Quinlan to use the low-res version of Siren Song, a gorgeous piece of art by Phatpuppy that actually inspired this story in the first place. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see my fake cover. If I’m able to eventually publish this story (and the publisher gives me some influence on the cover) I would love to buy this from Phatpuppy!
3) Location, location, location. Two years ago, I had hoped that my local Barnes & Noble would like to sponsor me for the contest by letting me sit in their store and write. It has wifi, a cafe, comfy chairs, and books all around to inspire me. Alas, I was informed that although they love to have people come in and relax and enjoy the store, they frown on people who “camp out” all day. Then someone suggested I go to work. No one else would be there on the holiday weekend, so I’d have the place to myself. Excellent choice! I did that again this year. I had a kitchenette, bathroom, internet, and privacy.
4) Food goes along with “preparation.” I stocked up on microwavable dinners so that whenever I felt like taking a dinner break, I could. Of course I had other snacks. Most importantly, I had chocolate. My chocolate of choice for this weekend was Brookside‘s dark chocolate pomegranate, goji, and acai berry candies. My goal for next year is to convince the company to sponsor me by providing a Costco-size bag of each. I’ll share, I promise!
5) Time goes beyond the actual dates of frantic writing. I need to prepare ahead of time by making meals and taking care of various life-stuffs that need to be taken care of. My hubby’s recovering from his gastric sleeve surgery three weeks ago, so he was able to take care of the kids, but he was too exhausted to do much more than keep them from killing each other. There are more things I could have done to prepare, including finishing the fist book in my Victoria Pontifex series Steamship Troopers. If I had spent a few hours on Friday writing or outlining, I would have been more warmed up for Saturday. And then there’s the “after” hours. I stopped early because I knew that today (Tuesday) was going to be a frantic day with the hubby and kids. I needed to go to bed at a decent hour. It would have been nice if I could have written furiously up until midnight, then collapsed in a heap and slept until noon. Or even nineish…
Did I write at least 2k? Helz yeah, I wrote more than 10k…
Did I help another writer? No… I put off editing for the sake of the first week of school followed by the contest weekend.
Did I do anything organizational? Not really. But this was an expectedly “odd” week, so I’m OK with that for now.
I wrote my Steampunk series in a weird order, figuring out how they fit together as I went. That’s an advantage to writing an entire series (or at least 5 books) together. You can make sure they all fit together, without regretting “Darn! I could have ____ happen, but in book one, which is already out, ____ happens and it wouldn’t make sense.”
The first one I wrote was inspired by a twitter dare to write a story with a Steampunk mermaid, a metrosexual naval officer, and an emo pirate. The next was inspired by two separate images that simply had to go together with an unrelated story I’d already started. The third (which is actually the first) was inspired by a facebook friend of John DeChancie telling me “Go write it” and I did. The fifth, which hasn’t been started yet, was inspired by music.