Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing while Traveling, and NaNoWriMo

It's a funny thing to write while traveling. Between absorbing all the things you see and hear and smell and taste and touch, you also have to continue writing a book that, for me, has absolutely nothing to do with what's going on outside your little world.

Writing while traveling takes discipline... almost more so than at home. At home I can waste time all day if I want... while traveling I may not have a plug or the location to be away from people talking and questions about the story. I was in a car for four days straight... and it felt ridiculously rude to pop out a laptop and start writing. So I didn't.

This means that I didn't write for four days. Part of this reason is that I was sick on Thanksgiving, which was ridiculously amazing-- I didn't visit one of the monasteries and instead spent the day trying to figure out how to watch High School Musical.

I didn't even like High School Musical the first time! I watched it out of a duty to figure out what's going on in the mind of tweens who are nuts about it. I think I was a tween when HSM came out... hence the research. While I only saw half(ish) of HSM, it was enough to realize that it's a cute movie... but not award winning. Zac Efron was freaking young though.

November 30th came and went... I think I wrote maybe 1.5k? A very measly drop in the pot compared to the 10k days I had in Lhasa... (8k+ three days in a row is exhilarating)... but I didn't care. I broadly sketched what happened in the scene and declared that there was not enough space.

And after that... I couldn't find anything else to write. I knew exactly what I needed to write, but I couldn't find the words. I couldn't even type properly. It was like my fingers had forgotten the keyboard in 5 days. So I stopped and went off to lose brain cells on something else.

Why? Because, though I'm about... 35k behind, I know I can catch up by the end of the 2011 year... at which point I will have 400,000 words of semi-coma-inducing genius. In 2012, it will be better-- 1,200,000 words of less-semi-coma-inducing genius.

Usually the best place to write is in the hotel room after a long day of doing nothing... or the train station, or the train, or on the street waiting for the streetlight-- I planned about 500 words a day this way in Japan on my iTouch. Those words formed the backbone of a lot of my characters, and so at home I could focus on the details instead of the basics. I also figured out a lot of motivations... and found out that Gerald is a victim, not a villain. He was very clear on that.

Thoughts on NaNo'11

It was ridiculous, to say the least. I wrote the book in a total of four countries and about six cities.

Japan: Tokyo Wrote upstairs in a tatami mat room.

China: Beijing Wrote in a hotel room
Xi'an Wrote in the hotel room... kind of
Xining Wrote a bit in a hotel room

Tibet: Lhasa Wrote a ton in the hotel room

Nepal: Kathmandu Wrote very little

The most productive place? Lhasa. I have no idea how. I spent a week in Beijing and only 5 days in Lhasa... and yet Lhasa's word count beats out Beijing's by about 6k. I think it's mostly because that is when I got my breakthrough-- Gerald would help Frederick, and he would be pretty normal when not attacked by the voices. It catapulted Gerald out of his one-man story and into something else, which for some reason made things much more interesting.

I'll be updating "What NaNo has taught me" with this year's notes, but this NaNoWriMo has been an adventure.

I realized that planning too far forward is one of my downfalls, that I like having a lot of characters (really), and that writing during vacation is actually pretty easy. I was writing in a lot of different places all the time, and I did a ton of word wars with the lovely people over at Write Write and Write! and NaNoWriMo Word Wars and NaNoWriMo WordSprints on Twitter.

So that was fun.

I only hit about 90k in the Blood Feud, which is slightly annoying, but I did hit 98,089 words... which means that September is the only month I made my quota... yes, it's rather annoying, but... -__- I'll get 135k in December to make up for it all. I hope.

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