Saturday, November 23, 2013

NaNoWhineMo: Final Edition

It is the penultimate week of NaNoWriMo but I already met the 50,000 word goal last week.  It was about 5:30 last Saturday when I hit the 50,000 word mark.  So yay me.

I really didn't get much out of NaNo, but then I didn't put much into it either.  One day I was checking the site and it said it was "Thank your ML Day" and I was like, "What the fuck is an ML?  Martin Luther?"  Still don't know what it is or why I should thank that.  But then I only have 2 "buddies": Rusty and Jay Noel.

The surprising thing to me is it really doesn't seem like the people who run the NaNo site have embraced the social media thing.  That site seems like it's stuck in a pre-2006 design where all the interaction is focused internally on the site.  For instance, when I go to the "Update Your Word Count" button it should have icons that let me automatically send an update to Twitter, Facebook, etc. so I can let all my "friends" know.  And I should be able to send invites to all my "friends" via social media or Email.

I'm not quite sure what they what want you to donate money for.  I guess to keep the crappy site running and they do some programs with schools or something.  But I remember in one email they said donating money helps you win.  Huh?  How does donating money help you reach 50,000 words?  Unless I'm donating money to some grad student to write for me.

Anyway, the secret to NaNoWriMo is simple:  write a bunch of words.  They say to write them every day, but as you can see I mostly wrote mine on Friday and Saturday.  If you don't have your weekends free to spend 6-8 hours writing then you probably will need to budget time every day for writing.  Or most every day.

When I wrote the epic Where You Belong I developed a schedule like this:

Monday-Thursday:  Write from 6ish-9ish at the library
Friday:  Day Off
Saturday:  Binge Writing
Sunday:  Day Off

Basically Monday through Thursday I'd pack a sack lunch for dinner and eat it on the way to the library.  Then I'd work 2.5-3 hours in the back of the library on the book.  That's a good way to write without many other distractions, unlike if you try to do it at home.

Then Friday I took the night off to go watch a movie or something and do my grocery shopping and crap like that.  Why?  Well for one thing all the libraries close at 5pm on Fridays.  The other is it was good after four days of intense working to take a break, especially since the next day would be the crazy 8 or so hours of binge writing.

I always like to think of it like an athlete, like a relief pitcher in baseball for instance.  You can't call the guy out of the pen every single game or his arm is going to fall off.  The idea is you pitch him 2-3 days in a row at most and then give him a day off to rest.  So it is with writing.  You try to do it every single day you're just going to wear out, so you need a break now and then.

Friday was a good point for a break and then so was Sunday.  I tried one Sunday to write but I ended up thinking, "Can't I just go home and watch football and eat pizza?"  Besides, I reserve Sundays for my domestic crap like doing the laundry and dishes and whatnot.  Plus like Friday it was good to have a break before going into four straight writing days and also to wind down after the Saturday binge.

So there you go, the sum of my wisdom on that topic.  Don't write every day; write a lot of days.  And it helps if you know how to type.  I was taught the old home row way, which works pretty well for me.  By comparison one of my coworkers uses that hunt-and-peck thing and it takes him like 10 minutes to pound out a two-sentence email.  If you type like that, it's going to be a challenge to write 50,000 words no matter how long you work.

This should be the NaNoWriMo theme song:
NaNo participants: You've got to struggle!!!

Anyway, my story is rapidly charging through the second act and heading towards the grand finale.  In that finale heroes and villains and everyone else has to come together to fight a Galactus-like creature that will consume all life on Earth unless someone can stop it.  Like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Pacific Rim, and Independence Day a lot of the final battle will depend on someone ramming a nuclear weapon down the bad guy's throat.

Up to that point a lot of the action stems from an alien weapon that turns the world's men into women.  If you're not familiar with the first story (which you're not) in the first Girl Power story a villain uses a salvaged alien weapon to essentially turn the Justice League--Superman, Batman, Flash, and Aquaman--into women.  In the third story someone figures out how to use the weapon to cover the whole planet, which creates mass chaos.  It's a lot like Y The Last Man, of which I read the first issue and Briane Pagel's very thorough review.  Only things are even more fucked up than that comic for a couple of reasons:
  1. The weapon suppresses the "fight" part of a person's fight-or-flight instincts, essentially making most people cowards, except a few who have the will to overpower it
  2. The weapon makes men into women and also makes women into younger women, which really compounds the problem
  3. There's a huge Galactus-type thing out there waiting in the wings!
It's the combination of 1&2 that allow the world's supervillains to seize control of most of the world's cities.  And those cities the supervillains don't claim, other riffraff might step in to claim, like the biker gangs that take over the airport in Detroit.  It also makes Earth easy pickings for #3 there.

So here are some before and afters of some characters.  To start with here's Midnight Spectre's trusty butler Jasper:

Here's the staff of The Atomic City Star, which obviously is like the Daily Planet of Superman lore.

First there's intrepid reporter Kate King:

And then freelance photographer Billy Leyton, who in Book 3 marries the resident Supergirl, Apex Girl.  Imagine if Jimmy Olsen hooked up with Supergirl.  That'd be freaky, right?

Their boss is Larry Black, like Perry White, get it?  That's one of the more obvious references.

And here are some of the villains, the ones who don't become heroes.

There's Rad Geiger, who has this obsession about "perfecting" humanity via radioactivity.  As a woman she declares herself Queen of the World.

Geiger's henchwoman is Icicle, who obviously is a freeze power villain:

There's also Inertia, who is a creepy stalker fan of Velocity Girl/Kid (the Flash essentially)

And "General" Carnage who uses a Venom-like serum to make her minions into supersoldiers:

And as you might guess Clownface is based on the Joker:

A side plot involves Apex Girl being captured by essentially the Green Lantern Corps and taken into deep space for a trial on some trumped-up charges.  Here's what the Galactic Peacekeeper Lieutenant Kila looks like:

Kind of a Sinestro look but she's the good one.  The other ones are really too alien to make on the Sims 3.  One is kind of crab-looking and another is like a rock creature and so on.  The Peacekeepers don't have power rings; they use a combination of high-tech staffs and good old-fashioned magic.

At some point I'll finish the first draft.  I figure like the Chances Are and Tales of the Scarlet Knight series this will be the end, though there will be room for sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and so forth.  I just might not feel like doing those.


  1. Here's how memorable "Y" was: I'd forgotten I read it and thoroughly reviewed it until you mentioned it.

    Sure you won't take any flack for making men who turn into women also cowards? You ought to leak a copy to "Jezebel."

    At this point, you're sort of like Stephen King or Piers Anthony: it's almost impossible to be a PT Dilloway completist and ever do anything else. I'm only 3/8 of the way through the "Scarlet Knight" series and now you've got two others you're already making me feel guilty for not reading.

  2. I think, probably, I'd write every day if I could. Or, maybe, if I was actually able to do that, I would think differently about it. Hmm...

  3. I write on most days and--confession--I don't know how to type. But this hasn't stopped me so far.

  4. I don't write every day, but if I could, I would. Sounds like you've got another epic trilogy on your hands.

  5. I hit 41k on Friday, and should be good for the remaining 10k+ on the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I feel good about it.



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