NaNoWriMo, Day 10: Sprinterrific

The write-in at the International House of Johnson was… small. I would say “intimate”, but I’m trying to avoid any inappropriate connotations. Only Charley, Lord of the Sprint, attended. Over the course of four and a half hours and at least four cups of coffee each, we completed ten ten-minute sprints.

At this point, Charley writes because he wants to finish his story, not because he’s worried about making his daily word count. In 100 minutes, he wrote more than 5,500 words, which brought his total for the month to roughly 66,000. Charley is a writing machine.

I, on the other hand, am mere flesh and blood. Over the course of the evening I added just over 2,400 words to my total, averaging roughly 240 words per sprint. I’m gaining ground, and Laura and I plan to do a lot of writing this weekend. With a little determination, I may be able to catch up by Sunday night, especially if the Lord of the Sprint stops by again for a rematch.

NaNoWriMo, Day 09: A Different Point of View

As an alternative to kicking puppies, yesterday I decided to give my story a new point of view. The problem I had run into earlier in the week was simple: my protagonist was locked in a room with no hope of escaping. I knew that a certain leggy blonde nurse with a 1950’s hairstyle would be instrumental in gaining Bannister his freedom, but I had no idea what to do until she decided to bust him out of the joint, nor even what would motivate her to do so.

The solution: switch to a new perspective so I could see what the other characters — Doctor Gordon, a pipe-smoking fellow who looks a lot like Dennis the Menace’s father, Nurse Watson, the aforementioned leggy blonde, and Manley, who’s just this guy who runs the computron and wonders if he’ll be arrested for inadvertently uttering a Class 2 Vulgarity — were up to while Bannister was trying to find a way out of his predicament.

The tricky bit with the perspective shift is that I don’t really want to go third-person omniscient and I have to be careful about crawling into the heads of characters other than Bannister Proulx or risk giving away too much too soon.

I’m roughly 12,000 words behind at the moment, but there’s a write-in at the International House of Johnson tonight and I know that Charley will be there. Charley is the reigning king of word sprints. I have absolutely no hope of dethroning him, but his presence will push me to crank out those precious, precious words.

Music: Coulton Does Cleveland

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton — who is responsible for songs like “Code Monkey”, “Skullcrusher Mountain”, “First of May” and “Soft Rocked By Me” — will be playing Wilbert’s in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, 30 November.

Also playing that night are Paul and Storm, formerly of the excellent a cappella group, Da Vinci’s Notebook (“Title of the Song”, “Another Irish Drinking Song”, “Enormous Penis”Here come the Google hits!).

If you are in the Cleveland vicinity on 30 November, have dollars numbering ten at your disposal, and enjoy music with a humorous twist, you may want to get yourself to Wilbert’s.

NaNoWriMo, Day 08: Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Boy, I sure could stand to follow my own advice right about now. On the NanoMonkeys podcast I’m telling people that they shouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to get through obstacles, but should simply write around them or ignore them and move to a new scene. So what have I done with my story? Written myself into a situation that I can’t get out of, and now I’m just staring at the page trying to will myself through it.

As a result I’ve gotten next to no writing done this evening (I’m not even going to bother uploading the file to get a new total) and I’m feeling very unmotivated. I’m nearly 10,000 words behind, and when the minute hand swings around to the 12 again, the ever-moving target will go up by another 1,667 words.

I’m going to sleep on it, and tomorrow I’ll probably kick a puppy.

NaNoWriMo, Day 07: Hey, I Wrote Something!

It’s not a big gain, but it’s a gain. I’m still way behind, but I managed to crank out just shy of 500 words in two ten-minute sprints at the write-in tonight. It’s nice to know that I can follow my own advice and write around trouble spots. I’ll see if I can’t crank out at least a few hundred more after the Daily Show/Colbert Report election coverage has concluded.

We’ve got another write-in scheduled for Friday evening, perhaps at the International House of Johnson.

Election Day 2006

The morning Laura and I went to our polling place and cast our votes using the ES&S iVotronic, which is not nearly as nifty (or portable) as some other iProducts, specifically my Apple iPod. I was mildly amused that the machine must be activated by briefly inserting an “electronic ballot” cartridge — roughly the size and shape of an old SEGA video game cartridge — prior to each vote being cast. I was hoping that the ballot screen would be replaced by Road Rash 2, but instead of being able to beat motorcyclists with tire irons and chains I was presented with candidates for Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and so on. Worst. Game. Ever!

Also amusing was the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Greg Hartmann. They say that name recognization plays a big part in elections; if so, poor Mr. Hartmann will likely be denied the office, as his name is associated with a politician who drew an Ace when exposed to Xenovirus Takis-A and gained the ability to manipulate the emotions of anyone with whom he came into physical contact. Gregg Hartmann (D-NY) created an alternate persona, Puppetman, who fed off negative emotions and psychic pain from those he touched. Though this Hartmann appeared to be a kind, compassionate humanitarian, he was actually a deceitful, calculating sociopath who used his abilities to further his own political career.Leigh, Stephen. 1987. “Strings” Wild Cards (George R. R. Martin, editor), Bantam Books

So, yeah, there’s a bit of a stigma attached to that name.

In related news, Kyle has shown an early interest in the democratic process, and he came home with an “I Voted Today” sticker on his cap. He voted on a modified ballot that included such proposals as fewer naps, later bedtime, decreased border security between the living room and the dining room, and mantadory petting periods with the kitties.

NaNoWriMo 2006, Day 06: Uh-oh.

The loaner laptop that Laura has been using this month appears to have suffered an unexpected death this afternoon. I’m waiting for it to cool down a bit in the hoped that it overheated because it was left on overnight. If that’s not the problem, I fear that Laura may be out of the running, as the laptop is really the only way that she’s able to write during the day.

Me? Still wallowing below 3,000 words. I have some catching up to do.

NaNoWriMo, Day 05: Confuzzled

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers, shall we?

Given an optimal daily output of 1,667, today’s target is 8,335. When the zero words I wrote today are added to the zero words I wrote yesterday and that number is added to my Wednesday-through-Friday total of 2,762 we see that I have made absolutely no progress since Friday, and I am 5,573 words off the pace.

Thank you, Con on the Cob, for being a convenient excuse. Had I not attended, I would have had to conjure up some sort of lame reason that I didn’t get any writing done this weekend.

One of the things I picked up at the con is a print of “Responsibility” by Nigel Sade. It’s a stylized version of the emblem Spider-Man bears on his chest. Sade has done similar works titled “Vengeance” (Batman), “Power” (Green Lantern) and “Justice” (Superman). If I’d had another thirty dollars in my wallet, I would have bought the “Vengeance” print as well. All four works can be seen at Studio de Sade. Click the image on the left for a much larger version of the graphic.

I also bought Savage Worlds, a roleplaying game from Great White Games. The entire idea behind Savage Worlds is to make roleplaying “fast, furious and fun”. I’d probably classify the system as “rules-light”; the core rules are contained in a single 139-page book rather than spread out over separate weighty tomes for players and game masters. Leafing through the book, I see information on everything from orcs and elves to aerial dogfighting and car chases. I’m already imagining a crazy blend of Crimson Skies and The Road Warrior and I haven’t even read the chapter on Game Mastering yet.

Captain America by RAK

Last and least (in terms of size), I bought three of Robert A. Kraus‘ Superfreeks. These were available in several different sizes, but I opted for the $100 bill. Each Superfreek (I bought Captain America, Batman and Optimus Prime) replaces Benjamin Franklin’s head on the $100 bill, and each mock bill is signed by the artist. You may be wondering what wise old Ben Franklin ever did to deserve such treatment. Well I’ll tell you one thing he didn’t do: transform into a semi-truck.

Tomorrow night, the gang is getting together to record the second half of The Round Table Season Two, Episode 5, which we had to postpone Friday night due to technical difficulties. Wasn’t I supposed to be writing a novel this month?

NaNoWriMo, Day 04: Confounded.

In lieu of writing today, I took Laura and Kyle to Con on the Cob in Kent. Today’s target word count is 6,668 and I’m roughly four thousand words off the mark. To make matters worse, I’m going back to Con on the Cob tomorrow to get a couple more interviews and bear witness to Eternal Jamnation, the Guitar Hero tournament.

I may not have gotten any writing done, but I did get to interview fantasy artist Jeff Easley, whose paintings adorn the cover of not only the AD&D 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook I’ve got in my garage, but at least a half-dozen Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels on the bookshelf in my office. I only wish that I could have been a better interviewer, for I fear the end result of our conversation will not do Mr. Easley justice.