sunrise over swamps

sunset over melancholy seas

Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Days 29 to 30

A dragonfly I saw on a bridge. Taken on an iPhone 5C. November 2013.

A dragonfly I saw on a bridge. Taken on an iPhone 5C. November 2013.

Here’s a photo I took yesterday, just to keep this post looking pretty!

Friday 29 November. 10.55 AM.

I just had a quick read through my previous NaNoWriMo 2013 Journal posts. It is amazing how much growth one can go through in a month. In the almost four weeks I have worked on this project, I have nearly reached the end and am still in with a chance. I will try to do a follow-up “How it all affected me” post in early December; for now, I have just under 7,000 words to write before the cut-off time for novel validation. It’s been quite a journey!

Thank you to the readers who followed my blog during this time. I appreciate the support you have shown through the “Like” functions. I try, whenever possible, to follow up all the wordpress likers and followers and see what you’re posting on your blogs. I am humbled that so many excellent writers and lovers of good books have been kind enough to show their support. I very much appreciate it. Now, back to writing!

Friday 29 November. 2.30 PM.

Current word count: 45, 326 words out of 50, 000.

Listening to a mix of Eluveitie, Wintersun, Amorphis and Amon Amarth (most of whom have a viking/Celtic folk vibe). I will not apologise if my science fiction novel turns out to be nothing but a thinly disguised Viking adventure, with a few Celtic warriors thrown in for good measure. As it is, it’s already headed in that direction. Also, I’m pretty sure my lead male characters look like a composite of the typical lead singer of any popular Nordic heavy metal singer you can imagine. Let’s face it, that’s about as attractive as it gets. (Not sarcasm.)

I am being forced to take a break. Good mums don’t forget to pick up their children from school, even if they are deeply immersed in describing just how blue a person’s eyes are.*

*When I wrote that, just there, I immediately thought of the brilliant book How Not To Write A Novel , by Newman and Mittelmark (2008, Penguin Books) which has a section called ‘The Vegan Viking’ (pages 65-66).**  In light of that particular section, I should probably reassess one of my characters… Also, read that book. It’ll ruin every trashy romance novel you’ve ever read, and you’ll be grateful for it.

** In case you haven’t read the other parts of my blog, I should clarify. I like vikings, and I like vegans.

Friday 29 November. 9.23 PM.

Current word count: 47, 242 words. 

The Beatles album Abbey Road playing, got a glass of wine and less than three thousand words to go. Bring on an all-nighter and some intense writing.

I’m interested to see how music affects my writing. Especially after a month of alternating between progressive metal and Ludovico Einaudi albums (think classical piano and violins), just throwing a bit of The Beatles in the mix should make for some interesting subtle influences on the plot. I definitely just wrote the most upbeat, lighthearted bit of dialogue in the entire story while bopping to this latest set of songs. I might find that my dark brooding story about guys that look like vikings generally being dark and brooding, will suddenly result in them all getting bowl haircuts and singing love songs.

Friday 29 November. 11.26 PM.

I just copied and pasted the entire text of my novel into NaNoWriMo’s word count validation thingamajig. I am just short of 50, 000 words. On the one hand, I’m a little frustrated. On the other, I’m relieved. I have grown rather fond of my story’s characters over this last month. I will be sad to say good bye.

Saturday 30 November. 12.01 AM.

If we politely ignore the bit where I’m awake waaaaaay past my bedtime, I would like to say that at some point I actually managed to write more words than necessary. I officially just validated and won my first ever NaNoWriMo. I am so excited. I didn’t think I would manage it.

Final word count: 50, 255 Words.

…And counting – I haven’t finished with this story yet. It’s got potential.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Winner's Banner

NaNoWriMo 2013 Winner’s Banner

2013-11-29 at 23-54-11

Midnight screenshot of my NaNoWriMo profile. Preserved for the future’s sake! Also to prove to myself that I actually did this through sheer hard regular work.

My NaNoWriMo Profile

My RedBubble Profile

My 2013 NaNoWriMo Journal

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Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Days 13 to 16

Wednesday 13 November. 2.42 PM.

I find it so very difficult to write without getting distracted by the Internet. I only just passed the 16,000 word mark. It makes me wonder how on earth I accomplished anything in my life since the Internet connection first dialled-up its fierce and seductive temptations to my rural Australian hometown in the mid-late 1990s. I guess the difference is that back then, if I wanted to use the ‘net at all, it was only to check my hotmail briefly, and to do that I had to jump on my bicycle, ride a few kilometres uphill to my grandparents’ house, and take several minutes to open my virtually empty inbox while my grandad repeatedly reminded me that I had to hurry up because he was expecting a phone call. This isn’t one of those “in my day we had to walk fifteen miles in the snow” stories, either, it’s all true, and also we measure things in metric and don’t get snow in my hometown.

It wasn’t until my first year at university, when I started up an animal rights and Wiccan paganism geocities website, that I first tasted the temptation of social networking. Add to that countless pictures of cats, and Star Wars forums, and here we are. I love the Internet, I do. But I also strongly dislike it at times, and lament the hours I have spent vacantly refreshing Facebook in the full knowledge that every single one of my friends is at work or university right now and won’t have had time to like any of the twenty or so posts I shared in the last hour.

I really have to get on top of this.

For my fellow social media addicts who struggle with this stuff, in all seriousness, please read Nicholas Carr’s The Shadows: What the Internet is doing to our brains, which – funnily enough – has its own website. I read that book when I was floundering through my final year at university, trying to research and write an 18,000-word dissertation. It helped me get my head around some of the things stopping me from thinking clearly.

Bam. On that note, let’s get back to writing.

Friday 15 November. 7.51 PM.

I think I hit a wall. I’m having to try the method of just writing anything – whatever comes to mind. Not worrying about chronology.

Current word count: 17,790 words.

Friday 15 November. 9.32 PM.

I am writing a section of my story where the narrative takes place in a forest. By a brilliant coincidence, I happen to be listening to a Listening Earth album, “Tall Forest,” a compilation of birdsong from the forests of Gippsland in Victoria, Australia. One thing I particularly love about this particular album is that, being from the Gippsland region, which covers much of the south-eastern section of the Australian state of Victoria, it reminds me of the sounds of home. It turns out it was the perfect choice of background noise while I’m writing a story set in a forest.

I highly recommend their products, by the way. They are recording unique wild nature sounds and their work deserves far greater exposure. There is no music added to it – it is just nature sounds. They’re on Facebook, and post interesting links relating to the environment. They’re worth checking out.

Okay, back to writing!

Saturday 16 November. 10.08 PM.

My husband surprised me with a gift: the gift of Scrivener. It’s a writing and editing programme and it’s already proving itself useful in enabling me to easily divide up my manuscript-in-progress, and helped me flesh out details. I think it’s going to be important with helping continuity. I have been keeping handwritten planning notes while I type this first draft, but I have to say it’s very convenient being able to type up little information files as I go. Whether that’s a description of the terrain in a particular fictional town, or a profile for a character, it’s handy for me to keep tabs.

In other news, I’m exceedingly behind my target word count for this stage of nanowrimo, but I have to be honest: I’m really happy with my progress so far. For the first time in years, I’m looking at a story I’m writing as a legitimate piece of creative work with a lot of potential, rather than dismissing it as the time wasting of a housewife trying to ignore the pile of ironing that just won’t iron itself.

My NaNoWriMo Profile

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My 2013 NaNoWriMo Journal

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On the Bookshelf: Creation Waits

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Agnes Sanford (1977). Creation Waits. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International.

This unique little book is quite remarkable. I think it sits in that rare category of Christian books that would probably be meaningful to people in other nature-centred belief systems, too.

Sanford’s basic argument is this: God’s creation (nature, the world, its systems and functions such as the weather and climate, animals and gardens) are able to be encompassed in prayer. As an environmentally conscious Christian, I appreciate her ability to draw in scriptural arguments and testimonies regarding our duty of care to our planet and its inhabitants.

It’s interesting to note that the book was written in the 1970s. There are Christians who, for a long time, have historically regarded creation as something worth protecting and healing. Some early vegetarian movements in Europe were, for example, based on a Christian theological position that death is a curse, and that vegetarianism pointed the way to a renewed Earth in which the “lion will lie down with the lamb.” We Christians are not all out to plunder the finite resources of the world that sustains us. It is sad, in my opinion, that we so easily twist the teachings of the Gospel to imply a level of self-deserving consumption of resources, thinking that it is our God-given right to take what we want without regard to the consequences of our actions on other people groups and the environment. We take more than we should, and call ourselves blessed.

By seeing the Earth as belonging to God, we seek to uphold it in prayer and in practical acts of conservation and kindness to animals and plants. Sanford details a fascinating, prayerful approach to encompassing the planet in spiritual light, seeing those who have faith as channels for that light.

This book is definitely worth tracking down and reading, studying, and considering that our prayers must be extended to the world beyond our own immediate individual needs.

I bought my copy from Amazon.Com. As it is an old book, most copies I found available were second hand.

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