The Homestretch!

As NaNo wraps up for the year…

This last quarter of the year has been a rough one.  I stressed through a lot of October about the election, needing an idea for NaNo, and health issues that I needed to address. Thankfully, towards the end of the month, I got an idea for NaNo (thanks, Londa!) and I finally saw a doctor and started addressing my health concerns.

I went into November fired up about my NaNo idea and started writing, keeping to par for the first week like a BOSS.

Then election night happened. My follow-up appointment with the doctor about my bloodwork was that night, I’d come down with a cold, and when they took my blood pressure the nurse was VERY concerned. I wrote about my adventures in medical panic that eventually landed me in the ER in another post that I haven’t posted yet, but I got on blood pressure meds after that and thankfully that’s been steady and the side effects have been minimal.

But my creativity stalled for a WEEK thanks to the election and my health concerns, and my word count suffered until I was almost 7K behind where I should be. I started writing again, but it was half-hearted; I was trying to push through so when I got to the overnight writing event that our local NaNo group hosts, I would be ready to close that gap to something manageable. I was getting there too!

And then came the diagnoses (yes, plural): Type 2 Diabetes. Hypothyroid (possible Hashimoto’s Disease). Hypertension, Vitamin D deficiency. All like a ton of bricks, and I went from being on no medications at all to taking five different drugs to manage these conditions, all of which could potentially have ALARMING side effects. More on this in another post.

So my health has been on my mind a LOT over the course of this month. That, plus the disaster that was our election took over my brain for a while and squashed my creativity, replacing it with this dull fear and despair of what will become of our country, which until now had made some real strides towards equality for everyone and not just white people. I did get some of my energy back to plug away at words here and there, but until the overnight event I just didn’t have it in me.  I’d lost track of my story and was having trouble finding my way back to it, but I managed to write almost six thousand words of pre-history and flashbacks and lots of sex and lasted until three a.m. before heading home and feeling more accomplished. I still wasn’t quite back on track, and I watched as my word count gap widened again over the next week and I just didn’t have the energy to do more than focus on my new diet and exercise plan. A couple hundred words here, a hundred words there, and it just hadn’t been happening. The gap widened from four thousand to six, then to eight.

And then yesterday, when I had all day to write and a goal of 6K words, by six o’clock that night I had 500 to show for it. The scenes just weren’t coming. Again the despair crept in. So many of my favorite celebrities died this year. This garbage fire of an election. All of my health diagnoses and new medication schedule. THIS YEAR NEEDS A HIGH POINT.

And I already ordered my “Winners” shirt.

I put out the call to my friends, all of whom know what I’m writing and most of whom know the fandom. All I need is a little nudge to get me going, and my peeps know just how to either ask the right questions or suggest the right scenarios, and BAM. 2K words before I finally went to bed.

So this is where I’m at. Health balanced for the moment.  Three days to go. Ten thousand words to write. At least three scenes in the queue and ready to go.

I can do this.

Alex O'Loughlin - crazyface

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Look, Ma! I’m growing creatively!

snoopy

So I’m at the Panera Friday Night Write-in (what I call Friday Night Writes), and I’ve been thinking about this blog post all day. Of course I have it in Scrivener, because words are words are words in NaNoWriMo 🙂

Every year I do this, I seem to learn something new about my creative process and growth. Once all of the stresses that had previously overtaken my creative energy were gone, I’ve really gotten in touch with my creativity and the way I approach my writing.

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NaNo idea: Acquired and Outlining!

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You guys, I am SO STOKED. Thanks so much to my friend Londa who plot-stormed with me and gave me that spark I needed to fan into a flame of inspiration. I’ve already set the story up in Scrivener and am working on an outline that expands with every person I tell about said idea.

It’s gonna be H50 fanfic, a shifter AU (because shifters are my JAM), and this is the first out of the other ideas I’ve thought about that I can see reaching 50K words. Here’s the basic premise:

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Winding up to NaNoWriMo – HALP!

Okay, folks, it’s NaNoWriMo time! I could really use your input. I like the first two ideas, but I just can’t see how I can get 50K words out of them. My old chestnut, the TW/Sherlock crossover, has promise, and I can definitely get 50K words, but the characters’ voices are very faint in my head. I haven’t watched Torchwood in over a year and, while Captain Jack is truly unforgettable, I worry that too much time has passed for people to want to read it when I eventually post it.

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall here’s the list so far.

One of the ideas is slightly NSFW but not overly so, just letting you know!

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I DID IT!

I did it

I did it!

I posted the last chapter of MWD last night. At 41,797 words, it marks a new milestone as the longest fic, solo or collaborative, that I’ve finished since I began writing fic back in the 90s (ah, X-Files).

32K or so of this fic was written in November 2015, and I started posting the edited chapters around the end of January. I reached the end of THAT content around March, and wrote the remaining 9K over the next couple months, posting a chapter every week or so.

That last chapter, however, took me a month as I worked through creative slumps, trying to find the source of my frustration with happy endings and resolving it enough to finish this story on a high note, and a few tears here and there.

I know I thanked folks in the story notes, but I want to mention them here too:

Sarah C – Without your suggestion of the story concept beyond the initial prompt, this fic wouldn’t have even gotten off the ground in November. Thank you.

Rudi – My girl. When I need a hug, a distraction, more encouragement, brainstorming ideas, or a virtual kick in the ass, you were there through it all. Thank you.

Ricechex – Your fannish enthusiasm and brainstorming and encouragement and fresh perspective into my writing and words I’d already vomited out made my story better. Thank you.

Heather B – Your encouragement meant so much, especially when I know you’re not a fan of the show. Thank you.

The fanfic workshop at 221Bcon 2016 – The unbridled enthusiasm and interest you folks showed at my story concept helped keep me writing towards that happy ending. Thank you.

The Hampton Roads NaNoWriMo crew – Without all of you, fannish or otherwise, I wouldn’t have found that creative place to get me writing again. Thank you.

I don’t plan on stopping, either! The first edited chapter of my Teen Wolf AU has been sent for beta (thanks in advance to Sally B, my very first internet friend – so glad we’re back in touch!), and I hope to started posting that in the next few weeks! This was my NaNo project from 2014, and I already have 50K written for that, so we’ll see how much of it stays in the finished product.

For all of the frustrations and creative blocks and “How the hell am I gonna get these crazy kids together?”, I love writing. I especially love writing fanfic, and I hope that inspiration continues as I watch new shows or get fresh inspiration while watching old shows.

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Rest easy, Steve. Your work here is done…for now 😀

Writing is easy, young man. Editing’s harder.

Editing

So I’ve reached the point in my writing life where I can be more critical and ruthless when it comes to editing, and I’m cutting entire scenes instead of just editing words here and there. This is a good thing!

However, I can’t help feeling the residual frustration over having to take them out. Some scenes have emotional beats! Some scenes are just sweet id-inspired moments! But they have to go.

I keep telling myself that the story has to move forward with every scene, especially when I had four chapters of buildup just to get my pairing to meet, and even then they haven’t “officially” met (this is Steve the Dog, after all). Some readers are already thinking ahead to when Steve is back to his body and he and Danny can work out their awkward feelings.  I’ve had to cut three scenes just to get it to two more chapters until Steve makes it back to his body and can try to work through how much he liked being part of that little family unit and how he feels about Danny before the exciting conclusion/denouement.

This is what happens when so many scenes in my NaNo were written during word sprints. UGH.

At least I can admit to myself that not all words/scenes are effective in the scope of the story, even if they were fun to write.  LOOK MA! I’M GROWING!