Saturday, November 28, 2009

Orange you glad it’s over?

Can I get a woo hoo? Because after this there will be no more NaNo posts. I'll be going back to my usual stream of consciousness silliness.

Why? Because Nano is done for me. The challenge isn't officially over until December 1, but I finished today and I'm feeling an odd mixture of emotions about it.

For one thing my 50,000 word "novel" is a hot mess….laughing….oh some of it is good. Some of it is better than good and some of it is stunning. But a lot of it is just awful…….and I mean really really awful. And until I add at least another thirty thousand words the story won't be wrapped up. But the challenge is done and I'll be able to shape it into something great at my own speed now.

Working at the speed of NaNo was freeing, but it also left a lot of room for letting the characters run off at the mouth. I found myself typing things that I didn't even know that I THOUGHT let alone that I would let a character say on the page. But they did. Hey they were under the gun so they just said whatever the heck they wanted. And some of my characters had the tendency to be preachy when it came to human rights. They were of course preaching about alien rights, but it all boils down to the same thing in the end.

Summary: An Earthling and a Cirilian are ripped from their respective worlds and wake tethered together on a space ship bound to who knows where. They are pushed beyond reasonable limits by their captors and find that they must cooperate or perish. Over time the two stop trying to kill one another and bond. Unfortunately one of their captors becomes obsessed with the female of the pair and becomes jealous of the very bond that his experiment has created. When he goes mad and violates the safety protocols put in place to protect his race from contamination from the alien captives and tries to enter the sealed enclosure where the captives are being held his lab partner intervenes and is killed in the ensuing struggle. As the struggle takes place the captives take advantage of a door left ajar. They run down a hall and find to their shock that they are not on a spaceship but in some kind of laboratory. They find a door and burst through it into a landscape so alien that it makes them light headed. As alarms sound behind them they know that they must either flee into the dizzying unknown or go back into the cage.

Steeling their minds against the worrying brown sky they rush headlong into the alien night.

Excerpt:

I finally found a stream. I put Marcus down on the bank and explored the water to see if it was drinkable. The landscape still made my eyeballs hurt. Dirt is not supposed to be yellow. Sky is not supposed to be burnt umber. And there didn't seem to be any animal life. Not even insects flitting around the water. I didn't know how to test the water other than tasting it, so I cupped my hand and brought some to my lips.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

I looked around and didn't see anyone, but I wasn't foolhardy enough to drink something after a disembodied voice had warned me not to. I've read plenty of fiction in my life and I understand the concept of portent.

I told some friends that the two biggest jumps in my word count were 1) when I woke up one morning and was suddenly channeling Gene Roddenberry [it makes me giddy with delight that spell check knows how to spell Roddenberry] and 2) when I let the captives loose on the planet surface.

When I started channeling Roddenberry and truth be told also Rod Serling….. [damn spell check doesn't know how to spell Serling….that's a major oversight] I started shaping the moral character of the beings populating the worlds I was playing on. And once that happened, hey I had a lot to write about. And it's interesting how easy it is to show moral fiber. You don't have to just drone on and on. It was amazing to me how you can get an absolute feel for a character in just a few lines. And since I've been writing very short fiction for a while, there are places that I fit whole universes into five or six hundred words.

[Which just killed me since this whole thing is about word count]

When I let the captives loose on the planet it opened up the story so much for me because I could introduce new characters and a whole new civilization into the mix. Oh and once I introduced Crenna, an evil rogue alien who was supposed to be dead, oh….what fun.

Four really great things that came of doing this insane challenge were 1) I met a bunch of nice new people 2) I now possess whole chapters that I can polish and use as stand alone pieces 3) while I was working on the challenge I got a bunch of new ideas for flash pieces and wrote them as well and 4)I found out that the sci fi pool is a lot of fun to play in.

So some of it was fun, a lot of it was productive, and it definitely pumped up my creativity.

But would I do NaNo again?

NO. Absolutely not.

I think that Chris Baty is an awesome person and the whole idea of Nanowrimo is a great one, especially the involvement of young writers and the boost to get people to let go of the idea of "some day" and grab hold of the idea of "now or never"……. but only a young single guy would put something this rigorous at the beginning of the holiday season.

I want to start a movement to change NaNo to March. March would be good. March is the dead of winter and there aren't a lot of other things going on in March.

Ok, here's where I shout "WHO'S WITH ME?" and we all swarm out into the street chanting change NaNo to March! ……

But in this case let's swarm out to a coffee shop, I could really use some caffeine and a big slice of chocolate cake…….

Who's buying?

Oh, and woo hoo! I'm done.

[now I need a nap]

[but someone please buy me the cake first, ok?]





Here's a link to Anton Gully's story "Divine Rage" regarding NaNo.... it's hilarious..... and succinct.

26 comments:

Laura Eno said...

I'm on my way to a nap, but I'll stay up long enough to have chocolate cake with you.
Your excerpt was very entertaining, Karen, but you didn't mention anything about the alien sex that you previously said you'd tuned in to. I feel cheated...
Moving NaNo to March makes much more sense to me.
Congrats on completing the nano goal!

Anton Gully said...

I do NaNo cos otherwise I'd live in stark flash pieces all the time. I fervently believe in the "million words of crap before you get good" theory. Just 18 more years of NaNos to go then.

Karen from Mentor said...

For some reason Anton the words stark and flash together bring nude dancers to mind...not sure why...still might be NaNo hangover working.

I'll cheer you on next year. But once was enough for me thankyouverymuch. I just commented on your chapter 18. Oh hey maybe that's why naked dancers just jumped to mind...
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thank you Laura. Congratulations to you as well! You were an early bird.

I'm sorry that you felt cheated because I posted a tame excerpt. Send me your snail mail address and I'll print a few pages of alien sex out and send them to you in a plain brown wrapper. Oh no wait, I think that might violate some laws....um...you might just have to wait for the movie.
:0)

Anton Gully said...

My NaNo story has merrily skipped from genre to genre. Hard boiled detective story, HP Lovecraft, torture porn, sex comedy, slapstick. The only consistent element has been the quality of the writing. Or lack thereof.

Karen from Mentor said...

I was going to teasingly ask if you meant all in the same project? But then I reread the comment and yep, I think you mean all in the same project lol.....

So was alcohol involved?

Oh and thanks SO MUCH for those two little words "torture porn" can't wait to see the traffic I get from that....laughing....

Anton Gully said...

Alcohol is always involved. Even if it's only as an incentive.

Oh and:

Lady Gaga's penis

and:

Megan Fox nude.

Best of luck with your traffic!

Karen from Mentor said...

GAWD....laughing like a loon. oh man.

Ok that was my own darn fault.....I opened that particular door. But it's shut and bolted now.

ESPECIALLY BEFORE CAT GETS HERE..... oh man...

ow. I hit my head on the table laughing...

Cat Connor said...

Congrats on the win, win win!!! Got ya badge? Are ya flashing it about everywhere? I was thinking of printing one out and pinning it to my shirt.
March is a great idea. I've done a 50k challenge in April before now, and it's awesome - way less stressful than NOVEMBER. November sucks especially in our house with four birthdays in the first 12 days of Dec, (was five but ya know - Nana bit-the-big-one back in July at 97!). PLUS Christmas looming fast and end of school stuff happening. (Our school year finishes Dec, cos that's summer)

Jo Jo and I went Christmas shopping yesterday for Bex boys -Santa stuff. So much fun!! Now Nano is DONE I can get into the birthdays and Christmas planning... oh joy!!

Cat Connor said...

Whaddaya mean before CAT get's here.. .too late... I saw it. I read it.

As if 'Alien sex' wouldn't get you some fun traffic... now you have 'torture porn' 'Lady Gaga's penis'and 'Megan Fox nude' - ya just no nothing good will come of that!

Cept maybe the ensuing laugh fest will cure this headache I have!!

Karen from Mentor said...

Holy cow Cat, such restraint.... laughing.. you didn't add to the list. I'm stunned.
[thank you]

I still can't get used to Christmas happening in the summer in New Zealand. It's hard enough for me to wrap my brain around friends in California and Florida putting up inflatable snowmen in 80 degree weather.

hugs honey. oh and btw I laughed and laughed at the offended tone of "whaddaya mean before Cat gets here..." still am....

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh and Cat thanks for the heads up. I just collected my badge. I want the one that you can project onto tall buildings....

Can't print out my certificate though cause I'm out of ink....but under the circumstances...maybe the certificates should be printed in coffee, sweat and tears....

:0)

estrella05azul said...

I'm so happy for you! Glad to see you've finished and with extra word count too.
Now go sleep, eat and get back to your post-every-day self :P

Karen from Mentor said...

All I've done today is sleep and eat Estrella.
Oh and talk on the phone.
Thanks for all the cheerleading throughout.

hugs honey!
Karen :0)

~Tim said...

Woo hoo! Chocolate cake! Oh, and that nano thing too, of course. I knew you could do that.

Karen from Mentor said...

So that means you're buying right?

fair warning:

I had some caffeine already...your ears might fall off.

thanks for all the cheerleading Tim.
Karen :0)

~Tim said...

Oh, and I meant to say this too:

You wrote, "And it's interesting how easy it is to show moral fiber. You don't have to just drone on and on."

I wish someone had told Ayn Rand that....

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh I'm right there with you on that Tim. I picked up Atlas Shrugged at one point and just couldn't read it.

Good thing it wasn't for a grade. :0)

judy said...

Yay you, super girl! You're as awesome as we all suspected. (Well I did, anyway, because I am, in fact, a super genius.)

I think I might want to read Anton's mulit-genre nano novel. Maybe. While drinking heavily to celebrate the end of all this insanity.

AstonWest said...

I think NaNoEdMo (or whatever the editing month is) is in March...where you're supposed to edit your NaNoWriMo piece to its final configuration. ;-)

I did NaNo last November, succeeded, and then ended up not doing a thing, writing-wise for over a month. I did not bother this year.

That novel is still in process, btw.

Karen from Mentor said...

Aston I thought you were kidding, but NOPE, I typed nanoedmo into google and yes March is when writers are slated to edit what they wrote in November. *sigh*

I think a month sounds about right for the brain to recover from all the heavy lifting of a month of non stop panicked writing.
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

There is a long tradition of drinking and writing going hand in hand Judy, but I don't recommend it unless you're writing something dark and tortured....then maybe it'll help.
My recommendation? Brownies and coffee. Or in your case....cheesecake.
:0)

Lisa Katzenberger said...

Congrats Karen!!

Kris said...

With the alien theme of your book and the "NaNo" title of the contest, I feel the strong urge to make some kind of "Mork and Mindy" "NaNo NaNo" joke. I don't quite recall how they spelled that on the TV show, though.

Maybe your aliens should have some bizarre, sadistic experiment where instead of strapping the the Earthling to an alien in a lab, they strap him to a typewriter in an isolated room and leave him there to his own devices for a month to see how quickly he would go insane.

Oh, wait a minute. That's pretty much the story of your recent life, isn't it? Does NaNoWriMo have autobigraphies as one of their categories?

Congratulations on successful NaNo-ing!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks very much Lisa!
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

I could absolutely write the story line you outlined as an autobiography Kris, and since I still have the cool tentacles over my eyebrows that emerged when I hit 42k I could probably get tabloid coverage for the book launch.

If you click the NANO label you can read my birthday posting and see that our minds work very similarly. I went down the Mork nanu nanu route too. [yeah us]

Thank you for your congratulations!

Now I just need the NaNo hangover to go away. And the headache. It came back when I hit 51K....maybe I need to go forward to 52k to stop it, but I'm kind of afraid of what will show up this time...although I HAVE always wanted antennae.....

:0)