Go fuck yourself, Juxtaposition (also featuring bananas)

I haven’t shared my hilarious and insightful wisdom or sarcastic bile in a while. I presume that THE ENTIRE INTERNET has been tearing out its virtual hair wondering where I’ve been and what I think about Jonathan Stroud’s latest blog entry about caravaning in Norwich and about the progress of my non-existent NaNoWriMo project. Not to mention the roller derby: am I still a roller derby superstar? Actually, if anything, I’m even more famous in that respect than I was a month ago. I now feature on a certain Nottingham team’s recruitment poster. Surprisingly, this is not because I exemplify the lithe and powerful athletic form of those involved in the sport of roller derby, nor the image of a strong and independent roller girl, tattooed and unusual – an alternative to the mainstream, that roller derby teams often prefer. Alas not. They have used this image of me because I look like an overstuffed human sausage in a sports dress, and am conveniently located next to one of their particularly lithe and  particularly powerful-looking athletes.

Go fuck yourself, juxtaposition.

Anyway, enough. I’ll start back again with all the usual shit soon enough but for now all I want to say is that Neil Gaiman (smugly) eating a banana is nowhere near as good as Amanda Palmer eating a banana. Discuss.

NaNoWriMo 2011. And swearwords.

Oh SHIT! Shitty shit McShit. It’s September already. SEPTEMBER! How the hell did that happen? Where has the time gone? Tell you what, trying to become a roller derby superstar sure makes the months roll quickly by (pun intended).

For the uninitiated, September is the month before the month before NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, that wonderful and terrible writery month of self-loathing, melodrama, repetitive strain injury, procrastination and glorious, GLORIOUS writing. September is the pre-planning-month month of planning; October the actual planning and pre-start Complete Collapse Of Faith In Everything You Hoped To Achieve month; November the month of furious writing, frequent breakdowns, and comfort eating. There is a reason why we do it but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it is… I think we writery types must be slightly masochistic.

The target is 50K. Last year I ground to a halt at 16K. I couldn’t be displeased with the result: I’d written SIXTEEN THOUSAND WORDS. Some of those words – heck, meaty chunks of those words – were even pretty good. And I’d been writing again. I’d forgotten how ridiculously satisfying it is when your characters start to flesh out, when you start writing in a voice that is distinctively theirs, when the decisions they make come out of a thought process that is particular to them. When you write characters or a conversation or an entire scene or series of scenes, and it is BELIEVABLE, has the smack of truth to it, is entirely logical and plausible within the context of the world you’ve built around it, there’s this incredible sense of having created. Out of nothing but your imagination you realise these characters, these events; you bring them into the world; you make them real.

Deep. Compelling. Rich. Just another day out at Sasperella’s Story Shack [immediately changing blog name to this]. Pull up a chair. Pour yourself a cuppa. Stay a while.

So far, as usual, I have done no NaNoWriMo planning. I’ve done some very general thinking-about-plots for non-NaNoWriMo ideas but these tend to be meandering, disconnected scene ideas, or long, complicated and overblown plans for the first three scenes of a story. I have a collection of characters, a collection of ideas, but they all seem to be from different stories, which I’d bring together in one ugly patchwork if the different stories didn’t seem to me to require completely different settings and voices… tough times; tough decisions. Focusing is the problem, I think.

What about you, writery people: do your characters naturally fit together? Are your ideas coherent? How do you force your brain to take one thing and run with it rather than dancing from this character to that idea to this vision of the world and then the other, ad infinitum? What tricks do you have? What strategies? What advice?

Good luck fellow WriMo people. See you at the start.

Smuggity Smugface Fails at Words

Day three. My latest imaginary boyfriend is Mark Ronson – he gets on better with the imaginary cat.

But back to “Day three”…

I went to bed pretty smug last night. Not just smug, actually: Smuggity. I was Smuggity as hell. Neil Gaiman-esque.

I’d had a good session (of writing, don’t be filthy) in the evening and felt like I’d cruised to my word count without problems, having written in some good interaction between my characters, solid dialogue, plodding-but-actual tension building towards a definite scene climax and revearsal. I keep calling it the ‘Wronski Feint’, but I think that’s actually something from Harry Potter. You know, like in Quidditch… *Ahem* AS IF I know about Quidditch tactics. What do you think I am, some kind of loser? Oh. Hang on…

Anyway, even though I keep calling it by the wrong(ski) name I *am* actually thinking of a real thing. I think. I’m thinking of a term Mark Gatiss used in A History of Horror to describe a particular kind of tension release and revearsal of expectations in horror movies (used by and named after some director or other). An example of the kind of situation it describes is, say, where a woman is walking down a dark alley and hears footsteps coming after her; she quickens her pace; the footsteps also quicken; she breaks into a run; suddenly there’s a hand on her shoulder (moment of maximum tension) BUT in a revearsal of expecations (is it the monster/murderer?) it is revealed that it’s just the friend she’s on her way to meet. That kind of thing.

I’m getting carried away. The point was supposed to be that I’d done a day’s-worth of good writing, felt highly pleased with myself, greased my moustache (I don’t have one but if I did it would be like Dali’s), and did a lot of “faw faw-ing” before going to bed a confirmed Smuggity.

Tonight, I write nothing (to do with my story). I’m not even properly procrastinating. I just have absolutely no plans whatsoever to write. And do you know why? BECAUSE I DID WELL YESTERDAY AND TO CONTINUE TODAY WOULD BE TO INVITE FAILURE! Deep, right? Like, totally.

What I want to know is this: who the hell invited my inner bloody editor to take part in this project? I thought I’d sent the snarky bitch off on holiday for a month; why the hell is she back so soon?

Let’s do a count: 1700 tonight + 1700 that I’ll fail to write tomorrow night because of  bonfirenightbrilliance + 1700 on hangoversaturday = 6800 words on Sunday.

Probs well easy, that. Right? Right guys?

Shit.

Running and Word Sprinting

Today is a success. My first word sprint (500 in 20 mins) using Write or Die (thanks for the tip Ms Plumb xxx!) PLUS an actual real-life run. The latter was disgusting, obviously, but the former marks the most words I have written about my NaNoWriMo project to date. Winzies.

After that incredible effort I think I ought to go to bed. Up early tomorrow for another word sprint – but no sprint-sprint… my ankles hurt!

In the meantime why not:

♥ gaze longingly at some Bookshelf Porn.
♥ dwell on other people’s brilliant Literary Tattoos.
♥ play some Bookworm.
♥ or… JOIN IN WITH NaNoWriMo!

Night, night! xx

Go Go Gadget NanoTechnology

No, seriously, see what I did there? It’s hilarious. I used the expression ‘NANOTECHNOLOGY’ to mean ‘technology for NaNoWriMo’ rather than the more generally recognised ‘technology wot is, like, *well* small, innit’. I’m a blinkin’ (heavily sarcastic and rather drunk at this point) genius. Or not a genius: APPAZZA, according to Wikipedia, Nanotechnology “is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale”. Yeah sure. Whatevs.

Anyway, look. There’s bloody loads of brilliant-sounding (although largely untested my me, so I can’t really comment on its actual brilliance) writery technology out there. Here are two music-based technologies that I’m all excited about at the moment. I’d explain them but, you know, I’ve got wine to drink an’ that:

Fave music stuff
SPOTIFY – Like borrowing someone elses music collection, but in an excellent way. Download it, type in what you want to listen to, and there you have it! You can – almost unbeliveably – create playlists etc using even the free version. Even the annoying adverts (which you don’t get if you cough up and pay for the Premium subscription) don’t spoil it…
Last FM – Music radio online. Type in a song or artist you like, and Last FM will use this to find tracks that are musically similar. Brilliant. Free. Win.

Tonight I’m listening to Gomez, Fleet Foxes, Temper Trap, and the brilliant song that my imaginary boyfriend Joseph Gordon-Levitt dances to in 500 Days of Summer, You Make My Dreams. Speaking of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, if you like aforementioned man, or love good film shorts with quirky visuals and scripts, then I DEMAND that you watch Morgan M. Morganson’s Date With Destiny immediately. When not swooning over my imaginary boyfriend I’ve been browsing the TV Tropes website on the advice of a fellow NaNo-er (be warned: it’s highly addictive and is going to be one hell of a procrastination tool when it all kicks off) and checking out a whole host of…

Story writing software

Storybox – I didn’t really like the way this looked so deleted it almost immediately. I’m shallow like that.
Storybook – Better looking than Storybox but still a bit fiddly for the stage I’m at now… maybe later.
Spaaze.com – A nifty on line corkboard that’s simple to look at and just as simple to use. First impressions are pretty good.
Bubbl.us – THIS IS A GLORIOUS INVENTION! Online mind-mapping, simple to work, beautiful to behold, free to use. You can test it out without signing up and I IMPLORE you to do so immediately. Thank you to NaNoWriMo’s EvilBenFranklin for bringing this into my life.

More technologies to come later, when I’m less likely to fall off my chair asleep.