Day 1, Sprint 9: NaNoWriMo ends

NaNoWriMo is over, and while I wasn’t officially joined, I did manage to write nearly every day in November. I worked on plot the other days. I will add up the words later for a grand total for the month. Following this Scrum method helped me write consistently, even it was a little at a time. I’ve built a habit and the image of the kanban board with its “To Do” list is always in my head now. Today, I wrote 507 words, a transitional scene. I struggle on with chapter 12, which seems to be all transitional. I hope to end it with an oomph tomorrow, though.

Day 7, Sprint 8: A character surprises me

I have written 595 words, and they took me to a place I wasn’t expecting. It’s a good place, and forces my hand as to the good or evilness of a main character. I’m glad it turned out this way. I didn’t get as far as I wanted to this weekend, but I never missed a day’s writing, and something can be said for that. I have finished chapter 11 this sprint, and so the goal is met. I’m halfway through chapter 12 and know what the next scene will entail. I hope Monday is kind to me.

Day 6, Sprint 8: Progress despite mental drag

I achieved 737 words today, effortlessly, if not all that eloquently. But it got the job done. More importantly, I have conceived of more plot that glues the whole thing together. This process of developing plot is uneven and rather clumsy, coming in bits and pieces, and building upon what came before. It’s a lot like Bob Ross, the artist in PBS from the ‘70s, who built his layers of background upon background, sky, mountains and trees, and then adding the finer details after all that was done. Only this is not a fast process like he painted his pictures. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. Other times it just falls on my head. Tomorrow I will continue working on chapter 12. I had hoped to get more done this weekend, but there’s a lot of chores and a lot of mental drag.

Day 5, Sprint 8: Violence begets writing

I achieved 1342 words today. I wrote a very difficult scene filled with violence, but I haven’t captured the viciousness. My heart has not been been fully immersed in the story. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I didn’t want to feel the pain of the characters in this particular scene. It all feels very remote. Yet I believe writing my way through it, putting words on the page, is the only way forward. It has brought me to a decision point in the plot I hadn’t planned for. Tomorrow I must determine if it’s a viable plot devise.

Day 4, Sprint 8: Talking turkey

I wrote 642 words, which isn’t a lot for a day off work. The plot is still unwinding in my mind, but every little bit I write gives me insight into what’s going to happen next. I truly believe that moving forward into the unknown is the only way to unlock the ideas that will allow for the next sequence of events. Even if some retro-tweaking is involved later, the most important thing is to keep going and produce something that maintains a basic shape. A scene, a chapter, a character profile, pertinent research. These are all usable components that are used as building blocks for the final product. Tomorrow, I continue on chapter 11. My goal for this sprint is to finish this chapter and to have solidified the plot for the second half of the novel. Today’s blocker: having to leave for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house.

Day 3, Sprint 8: Overcoming a blocker: myself

This was a treacherous day. There was a blocker: my state of mind. A friend promised something they could not deliver, and it made me so angry, I couldn’t write. I have not been this angry in long time. However, I did manage 352 words. Not quite to quota. I know where I’m going though. I have created some new cards: a character profile for Jon Reddy, some retro edits to emphasize certain character flaws. Tomorrow is a day off. The blocker has resolved itself. I intend to write prior to going off to Thanksgiving dinner.

Day 1, Sprint 8: A faltering start leads to progress

I’ve managed 551 words of absolutely new material today. It’s Monday and it was a tough row to hoe. I wrote 250 and counted. I conceived of the next little section of the scene, and I counted. 370. Then I conceived of the next bit of action and ramped up into the zone a little bit and achieved my quota. I’m glad I stumbled forward, even though it was a bit blind, because it shook some additional plot from the eaves of my mind and solved a transition for me. Also, it brought me to the moment when my main character meets her grandmother 30 years before she was born. I had only just started that scene when work distraction descended and my lunchtime was over. Tomorrow, I forge ahead into their interaction.

Day 6, Sprint 7: Timeline issues

I started chapter 11 and wrote 739 words today. I discovered there was a problem with the timeline. I went back and rewrote chapter 10 to fix it first. Then I mapped out more plot. I’ve finished my research tasks and put them in the “Done” column. Now my research is churning around in my brain together, and tomorrow I will continue to weave it through the plot. I’m ending the sprint today, because it’s Sunday, and I’m starting Sprint 8 tomorrow. The most significant things that came out of Sprint 7 was the construction of plot, allowing me to move into unchartered waters of new material. I’m at 34716 words in the novel now.

Day 5, Sprint 7: Cooking with gas

Success! I more than made up for my lack of words yesterday. 3369 today and chapter 10 is done. I am caught up with the legacy chapters from 2008, and forging on to new material. The best part is I’ve conceived of all the plot I need to take me through to the end of the novel. It will be smooth going now. Now I’m cooking with gas. Time to start mapping out the next few chapters.