It’s like clockwork.

From the first time I ever gave it a shot, every year that I’ve done NaNoWriMo, there has been something to come up and make things complicated. Every time, something bad happens that threatens to derail the entire plan. I thought that it was just bad luck the first time, but I soon discovered that I could almost set my clocks and calendars by it.

 

The first time, it was being basically booted out of where I was staying—a situation that I’m choosing to call a “constructive eviction” as I really was afraid for my safety. Exactly a year later, things got a little different and I wound up with a computer to work on!

…except it blew up. The hard drive went up in smoke and the smoke damage delicate stuff inside the refurbished machine, and I had to try something else. I didn’t get a darn thing done for Nano that year.

 

The following year, things seemed to be going well. I had a plan, I had an outline, I had the skeletal first zero-draft from the first place I’d been living, and I had my own apartment.

…I also had a catastrophic injury to my left knee—remember that series of rants and lawsuit? That one—and my computer was somehow lost by my now-ex (not why things ended, but I don’t feel like getting into it. Some of you know the deets already, and some of you don’t, but the burden of an ongoing investigation means that until further notice, my lips are sealed). He arranged for me to borrow a friend’s tiny netbook until he could pay off my PC (I hadn’t even finished paying it off when it happened) and then replace it outright. That year, I finished.

 

I thought the luck had improved by then, that it wouldn’t happen again, but then—this was last year—my battery crapped out. I had to replace my warranty and then replace the battery. I managed to pull it off—and I managed to win, though the draft wouldn’t be finished for another couple of months.

 

My third shot in a row comes up in a few weeks. The plan was to back everything up, find my notes, make sure that the batteries and things were working properly, and then get ready to get started by creating the Scrivener project .scrivx files. Nothing going wrong here—

A strange error message popped up and I asked a friend what tests I could do. I wasn’t seeing problems in any of the scans I did, so we went to these tests on a CD-ROM.

The first test didn’t detect my hard drive.

“What is that?” I ask with a face resembling this. –> (O_o)

“I don’t know! I’ve never seen that error code.” Delivered with a “the hell is this” awesomeface sort of look.

“How the HELL does this keep happening to me?” I laugh. The pattern was coming back.

“Okay, we’re gonna try something else then,” Seamus*of course the names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent suggested, and we rebooted to the disc and tried something else.

This time we didn’t get an error message initially. We instead got system beeps. Like…loud, painful, I-actually-shouted-“HELL IS THAT NOISE?!”-beeps.

“I don’t know!”

My computer issues are kind of like patients in a teaching hospital: never a dull moment.

BEEP. Lag. Successful reboot. FREEZE.

“THAT could be the hard drive.”

 

Flash forward to now: I’m backing up my important data to Skydrive and an external enclosure. It’ll likely take days. A jar near my printer contains the money that I am saving for a new hard disk drive. The documents are currently safe, but backing up obsessively is the way to go. I’m not losing my work…again.

I HAVE OFFICIALLY SIGNED UP FOR NANOWRIMO. BASK IN MY MADNESS.

It has become something of a tradition for me: sign up for NaNoWriMo. Have something happen. Fail to do a damn thing because of weird events happening.

Except when I didn’t fail.

Of course, there are people who don’t get it—“You’re not getting paid for this, right?” “You don’t really USE that every day, do you?” [in reference to last year’s price, a discount on Scrivener] “What’s the point?” Or the most infuriating of all: “This isn’t anything beyond a hobby. Why are you wasting your time?”

…yeah, have I mentioned I’m no longer dating that guy? OK.

The fact is, this thing is a sprint that helps me to remember what it is that I am doing. I like the competition because it lights a fire under my narrow arse and reminds me of the adage, ABW—Always Be Writing.

So the first bit of preparation has begun—outlining. I actually started this outline a little after the end of last year’s competition, but things have changed since then, and so I need to alter the projected trajectory. Things have steadily gotten darker, and I’ve been watching my voice and style form as I do this project. I’m rather pleased at where it is going.


I should get to sleep. Work won’t wait in the morning, now will it?

100 Things #21: Blogging.

…if this seems obvious, just hang on a second and I’ll tell you why it wasn’t obvious to begin with. I didn’t begin blogging for a real reason. I was pressured into getting an account on LiveJournal a few weeks into my first semester of college, after having met my first new friends since grade school who liked to write and share things.

I remember being at one of the lounge computers, agonizing over what my username was going to be, and finally resorting to numerology to come up with something. In fact my first entry was sort of a rant about that activity.

It wasn’t for another month that I began to see why people blogged in the first place: having a place to vent a while is useful; and, as I was between computers at the time, I couldn’t keep a diary as I usually did. (Not to mention that the place where I was living at the time didn’t really have a place where I could safely hide a traditional diary without being caught.) So my blog became a refuge for my mind as well as a place to show off my writing.

Three months in or so, I’d begun to really get into it, even if I didn’t have the comments or the reader stats to back up my thrice-weekly (sometimes more) rambles about things going on in my life, my head, and the world at large. It’d become more than just a case of “do it because everyone else is” by then, and I couldn’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t keep doing it.


After some time, it became second nature. Blogging became a way to determine who actually gave a fuck about me and who didn’t. If someone didn’t understand what the point of blogging was and tried to make me feel like an idiot if I kept doing it, I had to get them out of my life and right away at that. But I’m still amazed that the one person who I thought would give a shit about it never did, ridiculed it as a waste of time, and consistently called me things like ‘eccentric’ for doing it. …honestly, I don’t know why I stayed on so long with him.

…actually, that’s a lie. I DO know why I did it, and it was stupid. But we’re not here to dredge up such things. Especially with me out of nerve pills.


As things have gone, this has become a way to keep myself sane. While I love greeting new readers and sharing things I know (or think), a lot of times, this is mostly me yelling at me, pointing out what I’ve done that could be done better and making sure to drill that point home.

Then there are the times where I really do have something shareworthy, and my closest (in location) friends either don’t get it or don’t care, and I know that there’s at least one or two other people out there who don’t mind listening to a strange woman with a fascination with food ramble about things.

I love that.

And that’s why no one’s going to stop me from blogging even more.

LiveJournal: ,
Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?

Prepare for Trouble! —Preparing for the Challenge

And make it double?

Sorry.  The fact that this was a perfect chance to reference Team Rocket just happens to be a coincidence.

I’m getting ready to take on the 100 Things challenge, and as such, I’ve had to do one of those things that I normally balk at:

Making an outline.

*tires screech*

Yeah, yeah, blah blah outlines won’t kill me blah blah.  But I don’t like doing it because it’s, well, work.

*tires screech*

Yes, I know writing is work!  Now stop burning my tires up with your rampant braking!

*lead foot to gas pedal*


The idea: I’m about to start the 100 Things Challenge, in which I plan to blog about 100 of my favorite things.  The structure isn’t—well, I don’t have one to speak of yet.  So what I need to do is come up with a structure of some sort.  I know for certain that the Things won’t be all THINGS, specifically—some are places, some are sensations, and some are situations.  Some of them will be little things, things that seem almost inconsequential in the grand scope of things.  But they’re things that I like, and as we’ve mentioned before, things that I like are going to be a big thing this year, making sure that I make it through the shenanigans that have been going on.

The Process: I haven’t really thought of the process yet.  I’m thinking, create a document in Excel or Word, list the Things that I want to do in a table, and then do them bit by bit, storing the information and drafts first in Scrivener, and then importing them here into my WebStory client for posting.

The Problem:  I’m…REALLY bad at that.

The challenge, therefore, will be more than just me faffing about going on and on about things that I like.  It’ll be an excercise in how to do things the way they’re supposed to be done, with a bit of structure.  In addition, because it’s going to be all about things that I like, there’ll be that little rush of feel-good chemicals that you get when you’re sharing stuff about the things you like.

And the gods only know how much I need that rush of feel-good chemicals right now.

I’d best get to work on that outline/spreadsheet/thing.

Chrysanth WebStory This is WebStory!

Process: Script (Or: “You go here and do this, OK?”)

I’ve gotten back to work on my script that I began for Script Frenzy, even though a victory is not something I’ll be able to declare on the contest.  However, I’m going to finish the thing anyway, because I like the way the story’s going and I want to have a finished script under my belt before November hits.

 

And now to dork about my script project!
(Note:  No title mentioned because I need to come up with something that sounds less like a cheesy romance novel title.  Seriously.  I’m TERRIBLE with titles.)

 

A little voice…?

In the script, an angel and god play important parts—in fact, the angel is one of the most important characters in the entire setup.  It was easy to come up with a compelling design for the angelic character—but giving a concrete presence to God (capital G for clarity here)?  Now there was a daunting task.  Rather than coming up with physical form, I decided to convey this particular character by sound.

It’s a rather artful (at least I thought so) conceit because it gets around the fact that three different people could see the same thing four different ways, to riff on an old rabbi’s joke.  The other thing that I liked about it was the fact that it gave me a chance to play around with reactions—it’s one thing to know what was said right off, but it’s another to watch the reactions as the thing progresses.

I’m well aware of how difficult it is to represent such a thing in a script, though, and deciding just what sound would be perfect to manifest the ‘voice’ of God not to mention getting around the fact that according lore only Metatron can actually hear said voice without developing an exploding head was a bit of work.  I eventually decided on a series of chime-like bells: soft and quiet when calm, discordant when agitated, brazen and loud when angered.  Only test readers will be able to tell me if this worked properly.

 

Snark Factor.

I’m going to have to reconcile the snark with the storyline…the snark’s necessary to keep the main plot from getting depressing (after all, my protagonist’s literally a dead man—not undead, just plain old regular dead) but I’ve got some mood whiplash working in this thing. Sometime during the editing phase, I’ll have to balance things out…which means—

 

Scope Change.

 

I’m probably going to wind up with something other than a movie-screenplay. I might have a miniseries before this thing is done.  Or I might adapt it into a graphic novel.  Or I might even just novelize it and go the novella route.  I could do all three.

Or I could just take the red-pen-and-scissors approach until it FITS in the movie-format.

I haven’t decided yet.  Hells, I haven’t even finished yet.  I’m WAY ahead of myself here.

So now I’m going to turn around and get started on getting finished.

The Top 10 Answers to “Do You Hear Voices?” That’ll Keep a Writer In The Loony Bin For a Long Time.

I found myself in need of a sabbatical due to unforseen circumstances over the last few days.  I’ve been asked if I’ve been hearing voices more times than I care to count up, and put on a veritable cocktail of medicines that, at long last, seem to be allowing my poor, frazzled mind to heal up from this exhaustive stress.  After the fifth time, I seriously thought of answering, “I’m a writer—I worry if I don’t hear the voices.” (…You know what I mean by this.)  But I wanted to get home in time for something nifty, and so I answered the standard, sane-person way.

But I DID have some interesting answers.  In ascending order, the top ten list of Bad Loony Bin answers!

10. “Huh?  I thought it was just me.”
9. “No fair hogging George!”
8.  “I wonder if he likes string cheese?”
7.  “Of course I hear the voices.  They think you’re hot.”
6.  “I wasn’t listening, I was on a conference call with three dead presidents and a mule.”
5.  “I don’t know, let me ask the lawyer in my head.  …he says no.”
4.  “I wish I didn’t!  They’re talking over the movie!”
3.  “Yeah, it’s Disembodied Voice Idol, and Disembodied Randy Jackson is WAAAY too soft.  SHOW SOME SPINE ALREADY!”
2.  “Nope—less voices, more cowbell.”
1.  “I think the real question is—do the voices hear you?

*Disclaimer: If you use these, I am not responsible for the length of your extended stay in the bin.  I will be fully responsible for the “I told you so” moment, though.

Script Frenzy – A Check-in.

In a fit of crazed impulse, I decided to try Script Frenzy.  Script Frenzy, in case you were not aware, is similar to NaNoWriMo in that you have thirty days to produce a zero draft—the difference here being that you must produce a script (ergo, Script Frenzy).  Stuck on enforced sabbatical from work, I figured “Hey, I got nothing else to do, why not try this on for size?”

With that same attitude, I started playing with the plot generator.  Some of them were…odd.  The others were…weirdly plausible if you were trying to make a film where one or more of the main characters were high at some point.  And then there was the one I got that I decided to run with.  So how am I doing here on the twelfth?

  • I’m three pages behind.  Of course this is down from fifteen pages behind, so I think I’m making some progress.
  • My MMC’s said “I don’t” at the altar, and his ex-fiancee isn’t hating him for it—she knows why, since [spoiler spoiler] isn’t his fault.
  • We’ve met the parents, who were first angry and then understood why it wouldn’t have ever worked  no matter how much they (okay, just her father) would have wanted it to.
  • We’ve met the FMC’s angry brother, who is NOT amused at the perceived humiliation of his little sister.
  • What else?  Oh yeah, my MMC protagonist is dead.  Accidental defenestration.  Broke his back on the landing—landed on a motorcycle.  Probably broke a few other things, too.

…what?  The love subplot can’t go on while he’s alive.

He’s also met the angel who’s been assigned to escort him to the other side.  AKA – the love interest.  I anticipate a bit of a hang-up toward the middle of act II, but hey—this is a zero draft, and there’s time to work out the kinks later.  Right now, my focus is on catching up.

Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?