It’s Over

So, today is December the first and NaNoWriMo is over and done. I failed…in a sense that is. I only achieved forty thousand words in my project. Combinations of early mornings, work, and dealing with life are part of the reason. As well, I started struggling with the manuscript and story near the end. So, I will hang my head in shame that I didn’t write the fifty thousand words.

Is it a total failure? No, not at all. I have now a story that needs to be finished and I will try to work on it going forward. I may have to put it in the drawer until I can figure out where it’s going. It’s going to be a long book when it’s done though, so there’s that. The whole goal with the past month was to kick start my writing again that has languished after I had moved and was dealing with all manner of things.

Where to now? Well, I may look back at a couple of stories that have been poking at me that need finishing as well. I have been failing at Rule #2 of Heinleins rules (You must finish what you write). So, time to go back and finish some things and work my way forward.

Remember everytime you fall down it’s only a disaster if you don’t pick yourself up. So I am standing back up and moving forward. In the meantime a small excerpt from “The Sleeping Kings”. Enjoy.

Norman took the bedraggled looking cigar out of his mouth and tossed it into a nearby garbage can. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small tube and deftly removed another cigar. He bit of the end and popped it into his mouth. From his other pocket he pulled out a zippo and lit it with deep short draws.

“Ah, that’s better. Damn laws saying I can’t smoke in my own store.” He wandered over to a switch panel and pushed a button, activating an overhead exhaust fan. “Now, Mr. Black, you said you wanted my special armor, right?”

“Of course, nothing but the best for my employees. Especially if they are going to be put in potential harms way.”

“Mighty considerate of you,” Norman said between puffs of smoke. “How much does your ’employee’ know?”

“At the moment, not much. I am figuring that will change soon enough. He’s pretty sharp considering your initial view of him.”

“Alright, I won’t go into details then,” Norman wandered over to a bench and pulled a roughed out vest that looked a little thicker then a fleece vest. Although it had a bit more heft and looked smoother. “Right, one of my specials here. Guaranteed to stop anything up to a .45, maybe even a 5.56mm. Won’t do nothing over anything larger in rifle cartridges though.”

Chuck looked at it with a critical eye, “Little thin for that much protection isn’t it?”

Norman grinned around the cigar in the corner of his mouth, “Like I said, one of my specials. These suckers take time and special materials to make. Would be worth a king’s ransom back in the day. Still might be if you could ransom a king. Don’t sell them to just anybody. Takes a good year or so to make enough material for just one vest.”

“A year,” Chuck exclaimed. “What’s it made of? Diamond fiber?”

“What do you know about diamond fiber,” Norman said glaring at Chuck.

“Ummm, nothing really. Just something that popped into my head is all. Might have read about it somewhere maybe?”

“Well, anyway a good guess, but no. Not diamond fiber. I won’t go into details because it’s a personal process that I am not going to try getting a patent on. Here, try it on for size.” Norman threw the incomplete vest at Chuck who managed to catch it.

The vest was heavier than it looked. Yet not too heavy. He pulled it on and looked for a way to fasten it. No fasteners yet it seemed. It just hung on his shoulders loosely at the moment. Chuck moved around a bit trying to get a sense of it and was impressed.

“Not bad, and it’s as good as you say?”

“Not just as good, probably better. I try to under sell the bloody things so the people wearing it don’t think their invincible. Now come over here so I can get an idea of what I need to do to get it to fit properly.”

Chuck braved the cloud of cigar smoke swirling around Norman who went to work pulling and tightening and making marks on the vest with a piece of chalk.

“Right, I need you to take the vest off and the shirt you’re wearing. I am not remiss to thinking that this will be going under a shirt or suit,” Norman said to Mr. Black.

“You wouldn’t be. As well I need it to be metal free if possible. Just in case we need to go through metal detectors.”

“Shit, that’s a given. Got just the fasteners for that too. Right. You said you expect this tub of lard to lose weight?”

“I do, and he should if he follows through with my directions I have already given him.”

“Okay tub, what was your battle weight when you left the army.”

Chuck kept his thoughts to himself over the insults and answered coldly, “two hundred pounds. Had a thirty six inch waist if that helps.”

“Expect to get that low and small again? Don’t be shy, this is fucking important for the fight and sizing adjustments.”

“Yeah, I can do it. If not in a month maybe two months depending on what I do.”

Norman grunted, “Good I can work with that. Okay you can take it off and put it on the bench. Do you need it right away? Cause if you do it ain’t happening.”

Mr. Black sighed deeply, “No we don’t need it immediately, and I am aware of what you do. How soon do you think?”

Norman took the cigar out of his mouth and used it as pen and did some sketching in the air and muttering under his breath. To Chuck, it seemed as if there was numbers and letters forming in the air in front of Norman. He shook his head and all he saw was eddies of smoke. He narrowed his eyes as if trying to see better on a bright day and briefly caught another glimpse. His head started to hurt so he stopped trying.

“Right,” Norman said, taking another draw on his cigar, “going to be two weeks to get it fully formed and together. That good?”

“Perfectly acceptable,” Mr. Black answered. “Now do you need anything else?”

“Nah, I will send you the bill. Usual payment method and delivery. Now get your asses out of here. I got work to do. You know the way out.” Norman turned back to the bench and stared at the vest. Effectively dismissing Chuck and Mr. Black. Black grabbed Chucks attention silently with a tilt of his head and proceeded back to the door to the shop. Chuck followed behind him closing the door between the store front and the shop after he went through it.

 

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Quick Update

So, it’s one more week to go for the end of NaNoWriMo. Currently I am sitting at over 30,000 words. and I have been upping my writing output when I can. Work has still been busy and I am juggling all the things. Except there’s a small problem.

Problem you say? Well, I am that far into the “novel” and the way things are progressing even if I do manage the 50k words for the month, it won’t be finished. Yeah, there’s lots of stuff going on in the story and it appears that it’s dragging while I am trying to get the main character kicked in the pants. Trouble is I don’t know what the main bad guy is planning. He’s keeping his cards far too close to his chest for my liking. Professional paranoid I guess.

The good guys are scrambling as well because they know there’s something big coming down and poor Chuck… Caught in the middle and no clue at all. Well, maybe a few clues that something isn’t right… Stay tuned and I may post a snippet or something later today.

It’s a day off work and I have other things to do besides write. If I am lucky I will get over 2k words done. Back soon maybe.

 

 

Yet Another Update

I am slowly grinding away at NaNoWriMo. Really slowly grinding. As I noted before I have started a new job and the hours have been rather more than I expected. Not to mention the shift timings. Then there’s the requirements of taking care of the Squire, my son, household duties and other responsibilities.

I am currently sitting at over nineteen thousand words and struggling to get a decent daily word count going now. If I am lucky I am now getting a maximum of a thousand words a day. The past week has been averaging under that though. I am finding too many things to distract me which is my fault really.

Anyway, enough procrastination. Have to be at work later this afternoon, and I will probably be exhausted by the time I get home. Perhaps I can get a decent word count done before I have to go.

Haven’t given up just yet.

NaNoWriMo Update

So, here we are at the 7 day mark or one week into the challenge. I am feeling good about the process so far and have made great strides into this project. At the moment I am sitting at 14k words written. Averaging around 2k or more per day while I have been off from working.

My concept that I started from has been fleshed out better than I imagined and I am pleased with the turns things have taken. It’s still struggling in places and I don’t know where things are going just yet. All I know is the main character is in for a rough ride. Side characters don’t know what exactly is going on just yet either. The main villain is still mysterious and showing some nasty and slick tendencies. Yep, things are going according to the pantsing tradition. Going to be a surprise to me as well how things wind up or turn out.

Alpha reader has been really enjoying how things are going and always looking forward to the day’s progress. Caught her today before breakfast sneaking a peek at what I had written yesterday when I had walked away to check on something else. This is a good sign in my books.

So until next time. Who knows, I may post a snippet here when I get a chance. I just hope the new job I start today won’t impeded too much with the writing progress I have made.

 

Phil

Getting Back in the Saddle

This hasn’t been a good year for me for writing. Life intruded and other priorities have seemed to get in the way of things. I moved, had to deal with legal issues, and got back to work as a productive member of society. Needless to say writing took a back seat if at all.

Then there was the feedback on my short story challenge from the beginning of the year. Having your work critiqued brutally tends to put a dent in your ego. Let’s just say that I was making a lot of errors. Errors in formatting and errors in story telling. One thing I learned was that some story ideas and executions are off the table until I can learn how to do them properly.

I am lucky in one sense. I have a partner that is pushing and prodding and supporting my dream and goal. So I decided that I needed to step up and put some of the things I learned to good practice and use. I have entered into NaNoWriMo and see if I can punch out a new novel this month.

The month is still young and I have managed to get off to a good start. I am recycling an old story idea I had about a year and a half ago and ended up putting into the drawer. I realized that there were a lot of problems with the beginning and other things. I haven’t copied it exactly, just taking a couple premises and went from there. The idea is good and sound in my mind so it shouldn’t be a total waste. As well, I didn’t open it up and do any cut and paste. Just took two characters, reworked them and started totally fresh in the writing. There will be no comparison at all to the original manuscript.

So, if you are also participating, you can find me over on the NaNoWriMo site as paladinphil3000. Cheer me on and challenge me. The month is fresh and it’s a long way to the end.

Phil

Not Gone

The past few months have been crazy in a number of areas. Writing has suffered unfortunately. here’s basically a summation of what’s been happening.

At the end of May I moved myself and the Squire from our old residence into the domicile of my fiancee. We have settled in nicely and are enjoying the quieter tempo of small town living.

I have returned to work on a part time basis which has done wonders for my morale.

I was involved in a custody court case and finally have that resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Hopefully that won’t need to be reopened for a few years if at all.

As well, I finally got the response from my short stories I wrote in January and February. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me in that regard. I have a lot of issues that need to be fixed with my writing.

Finally, I am writing this on my phone because the lack of internet, or should I say reasonably priced internet, isn’t available. That situation may change in the near future. I will be checking in more frequently as I am able.

Back to the grind and back into the dark.

The Lost Story

It’s gone, and probably will never be re-written or dragged out from the depths of my memory. A story I wrote years ago and in changing computers, floods, and other calamities it’s gone. Mind you, I do remember enough of it to resurrect it if needed. That’s not my focus currently and if needed it may return like a phoenix.

It began about eighteen years ago. Had a dream where a halfling was arguing with a bard and he was extolling his father’s virtues to her. I won’t go into details about that argument, let’s just say it stuck with me for a long while.

Finally I sat down at a keyboard and started writing. Not about the halfing, but about the bard and a warrior. I slaved over it and worked at it until it was done. Went back and edited for spelling and other formatting and figured it was done.

At the time I was seeing an English major and talked her into editing and reviewing my story. Bad mistake on all levels. She trashed it and told me that she had to stop marking it up because it was so bad and she didn’t know where to start or end. It didn’t help that I had referred to it as my “baby” and she understood what she was doing. She was very forthright and honest and I took it to heart. Partially.

You see, I had rubbed in my face all the mistakes I had made. I didn’t hate her for that, I took it as a learning experience. I put that manuscript aside and started looking at improving the story by exploring other aspects of the world I was trying to create.

The halfling became a northern barbarian, the bard was doing her own thing, and the old warrior? Well I know what he was looking for and I know what the whole purpose of his new quest was for. I had to stop writing that story for other reasons.

You see, I got part way through the barbarians introduction when I realized something. I was letting some of my biases get in the way of the story. Certain institutions weren’t even covered with a good coating of a veneer and I sat back and looked at what I was doing. I couldn’t with good conscience go on with that story at that time.

The purpose of writing is to tell a good story and not preach at your audience. I found that I was preaching and wasn’t ready to tell that story with the proper skill and art that it needed. The program was closed and the file saved only to disappear in the electronic ether never to be seen again.

So here I sit, mourning a lost story. One day, when I get everything else back under control it will rise up and I will finally do it the justice it deserves. The Dragon’s Teeth are waiting across the far deserts for those who dare, and need to, scale it’s deadly peaks….