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*sigh*

So I spent most of my writing brain/energy on my LJ Idol competition entry. It was the original idea I had, back when I saw the topic was “Gauntlet.”

I’m not sure I can say I enjoyed writing it. I mean, I did. But my brain has been so heavily focused on writing my NaNoWriMo Novel (now titled One Day at a Time, because my brain decided Savin repeats those words enough/that sentiment enough that it should be the title).

I’ve been finding myself writing more detail; trying to provide sensory material different from my norm. My writing has improved as a result of this competition; I know it has. I know it keeps me on my toes. And that’s why I keep doing it, even as I lament the fact that i feel I’m going to get voted out soon, when I feel I’m one of the better writers left in the competition.

But enjoyment of writing is subjective. But it’s also part a popularity contest, and I’m not sure I have it in me to beg for votes like some of my fellow contestants do. I keep telling myself I will stay in (and not quit) until Gatekeepers or until I get voted out. I will probably pimp. I might not pimp. I don’t know. Depends how mentally exhausted I am with the competition, when the time comes.

I have written just over 1100 words of my NaNo, too, but I started one LJI entry (450 words), then decided on another (1580 words), so I’m at a total of something like 3k words written for the day. Which, for me, is on the high end of what my brain will produce on the daily — even on a day where I’m off from work.

Enough whining in here, though. I am watching my son stick playdoh to the under side of our kitchen table and wondering if this is a thing I should stop. And if I’m wondering it, probably means I should. Maybe.

If it keeps him busy for another 30 minutes maybe I can punch out another 1000 words…

NaNoWriMo, Day 22

I am stuck in between the infamous rock and hard place.

I am off this weekend, but it’s also my weekend with my child. In fact, I am off until Thanksgiving morning, where I work 6a-10a. A nice, short shift, and while I appreciate the holiday pay, I have to go back in at midnight for a 12a-7a shift, Friday morning.

To say I am displeased with this is a little bit of an understatement. Of course, I work the rest of the month from that point onward.

As my NaNo novel stands (still untitled, as I type this today), I am at roughly 31k words. I need to write something like 2k a day to finish on time. I have taken a break from it because I’m still in this crazy ass writing competition on LiveJournal. A friend threw down a challenge for us to write outside our comfort zones.

I had a great idea for doing just that, but I can’t quite get my brain to wrap around it and put words down on paper. I had a back up story, decided meh, I don’t like doing the same characters two weeks in a row. So of course, earlier today I had a different idea for our topic, “Gauntlet,” which involves Ryan and his universe, and him trying to incite the rest of the human race against the injustices their government has put them through — by lying about a Disease that was artificially created and meant to target those of a certain descent (those with fair skin and light features, like Ryan himself).

It’s a risky move, but Ryan’s ‘verse tends to do well in Idol polls. And honestly, I’m tired. I’m tired of competing. I just want to write my NaNo. I am tired of staring at polls every week and panicking because there’s a part of me that still wants to be in and get past the top 30 and well — I don’t think I’m doing that well, this year.

My writing process has been all over the place; my sleep schedule even more so. I need another 900 words of my NaNo at least for the day before I can call it quits, and honestly, I don’t know if I have it in me. I’m tired. And I started my Idol piece, which isn’t due until Tuesday, but part of me wants to just quit on that, too.

Thing is, I’ve written more words this month total than I have any other month in the past year. February was the only month where I averaged 1k a day. I’m averaging more than that with the words I have from my NaNo alone, and let’s not forget the words I’ve written for my Idol pieces. NaNoWriMo has done an amazing thing, showing me I can still write that 1-2k words a day, even when working. Which has been nice.

But damnit, I really want to win this month, too. I haven’t lost a year since 2012. I need this win. NEED.

I guess I will go back to writing, now.

NaNoWriMo, Day 11

I have approximately 14k words written of my NaNo.

I made some unsettling discoveries yesterday while writing an Emperor’s Council Meeting. Jazz, at this point in the story, hasn’t become Emperor (yet). He will be, eventually.

And apparently, the previous Emperor, Richard Casio, has essentially groomed him for the part. But he’s also been erm, grooming him in other ways, too. Like, my first thought was, “Oh god, I think Jazz and Casio had a thing.”

Then it went, “Oh, god, I don’t think it was consensual.”

Because in the Council scene, Jazz is tense. It’s a little obvious (to me) that he finds Richard attractive; he doesn’t usually describe any characters to me (ie, I don’t end up writing prose about their appearance) unless the detail stands out to him ( women) or they’re attractive to him (men). And he basically gave me this image of Richard that was similar to Anderson Cooper.

And then I got the image of Richard circling the meeting room table. I got a mounting tension (of the bad kind) as he approached Jazz’s chair. As he stood behind Jazz. As he spoke, while standing behind Jazz. The exact weight and feel of his hand on Jazz’s shoulder once he agreed with something Jazz had said in the meeting.

I’m digesting this. Jazz always seemed a little too perfect for the part of Emperor. It always seemed a little too convenient that Casio chose him. I mean, he’s 23 at the time of this story — that’s fucking young to give someone the responsibility of Emperor. And originally, I thought Casio passes unexpectedly, leaving no family behind, and with Jazz listed as his first choice amongst his Council to succeed him.

Except now, I’m starting to see the whole picture — of how Casio handpicked this kid, taught him the ways of the Empire and law, shaped him into a perfect potential Emperor. And how he used his position of power to almost coerce this young man into a sort of relationship — whether it’s sexual in nature or not, I’m not entirely sure, but there’s definitely sexual undertones to it.

And I think this “relationship” is discovered. I think that Casio is blackmailed into resigning — with his ill-health (later revealed in the story) as the excuse. I don’t think Jazz is aware that he was forced to step down and disappear, essentially. Just that he felt he was too unhealthy to run the Empire.

Worst part?

I think it’s Mitchel who comes to Jazz’s quasi-rescue. Not Savin. Because Savin wouldn’t allow himself to get that close to the inner workings of his Empire; it holds no interest to him, other than it’s what Jazz eats, lives, breathes.

And that, to me, opens up a lot of questions for the progression of GM, as well.

So I guess I really needed to do this damn novel, after all. >(

NaNoWriMo — Day 4

I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year, after all. The premise? A prequel of sorts to Gray Morning, with the intention of wrangling together Jazz and Savin’s backstory.

Except this is precisely what I did last year, and I didn’t even realize it.

I didn’t realize it until yesterday, when my best friend pointed out that I hadn’t listed this year’s novel on the official NaNo website. So I went to register the novel, upload an excerpt, and went and looked at the novel I had listed from last year.

You know that thing where you forget about some of the things you’ve written? There are some who refer to the phenomenon as Writer’s Amnesia. I get it really bad. To the point where I remembered that I did NaNo last year —  and won! — but I forgot what it was I wrote. I even reread the excerpt I posted last year and couldn’t remember where I was going with the scene presented at all, until towards the end.

I’ve been rereading the draft ever since. It’s no longer canon; I changed a lot of the basics because Jazz as a Prince just doesn’t work for me. Him as a member of the previous Emperor’s Council and being “selected” as the predecessor does. But it still fascinates me, how quickly I am tearing through rereading this draft — I’m devouring it, and now I’m remembering bits of where I intended for it to go. And how I had left it incomplete.

I kind of want to borrow the over all plot of last year’s draft and place it in something else, but I’m not sure what. Or if I would have to create a new world to make this particular plot work for me. And this is really how Gray Morning has been a huge producer of new ideas — I end up writing “AU’s,” or non-canon material and they spawn novel ideas and even the characters based on Jazz and Savin become entirely their own characters. Kenji and James? Yeah, they were originally based off of Jazz and Savin. Just Talk is its entire own thing, now, with both characters developing their own sets of flaws and personalities.

I just have to be careful that I don’t do this again NEXT year. =p And now — an excerpt from my current NaNo in progress ( which I am behind on):


Savin stood off to the side, his feet aching and eyelids drooping, unwilling to stay open. He watched as Jazz strode forward, hands half-balled into fists at his sides, chin raised in a display of confidence that seemed so unlike him, jaw set and eyes focused on the crowd in front.

The same crowd waiting for their newest Emperor to be crowned.

Emperor. The word tumbled around in Savin’s mind, trying to stick to something and finding that it had no grip. Jazz couldn’t possibly be the Emperor. They had known each other for almost a year now, dated almost as long, and the smart, goofy guy Savin knew as “Jazz,” just couldn’t be the Jasper Callahan, Emperor-to-Be.

Except he was. And today — today it was all becoming official. Jazz would no longer be a mere member of the Emperor’s Council, a prestigious political position in its own right. No, he’d be the one in charge. Running everything. Constantly under the media’s spotlight, where they would scrutinize his every move, reading between lines that didn’t even exist.

Savin felt his throat tighten at the thought, and he stood up a little straighter. The Emperor’s Council — Jazz’s Council, he corrected himself — stood with him, each member stony-faced and reserved. Most of them were older than Savin himself; a couple of them were at least twice Jazz’s age, which was a strapping twenty-four. He was the youngest Emperor in history, and —

And the first openly gay one.

Without thinking, Savin tugged on the knot of his tie and cleared his throat. A small speech was made, not by Jazz himself, but by the the most trusted member of his council, Mitchel Foraker. The older man perhaps had the most severe expression of all, envy and pride and something else all twisting under lines of his face.

Savin didn’t hear a word of Mitchel’s speech. Instead, he replayed the night’s past surgeries and dragged a finger along the length of his thigh, replicating an incision he had made only hours ago on a patient fighting for their life. His boyfriend was becoming the Emperor. What did that make him, exactly? Was he going to be able to continue his medical career? What about his desire for privacy? Would the media follow him around like they had significant others of the Emperors in the past?

These thoughts all cut short when Jazz’s voice rung out, loud and clear and impossibly confident. Savin’s fingers relaxed as Jazz continued to speak; he was too tired to comprehend the words, but the rhythm and power behind them affected him, all the same.

And then there was a pause. One that made Savin stand straighter, his fingers curling in on themselves as Jazz turned away from the podium and smiled. That same, soft and full smile Jazz often reserved just for him.

“I have another announcement to make,” Jazz said quietly, slipping his hand inside his pocket. “Actually, it’s more of a question…”

Savin felt every muscle in his body tense except for his jaw, which went slack as Jazz approached him with unnatural slowness and then lowered himself to one knee.

“Savin Bates,” Jazz began, his fingers fumbling with the small box trapped inside them, “will you marry me?”

“I –” Savin found it difficult to breathe, his mind on overdrive as he stared at the ring Jazz had presented him. “I –”

His gaze moved from the ring to Jazz’s face, eyes brimming with hope and expectation.

“– can’t answer that — not, not right now,” Savin stuttered, his own eyes filling with tears as he watched Jazz lower the ring box and his hopeful expression shatter.

NaNoWriMo?

This is the first year in the past like, 3 or 4 that I haven’t outright committed to doing NaNoWriMo. I keep going back and forth. I have a novel I need to finish by December 31st (Gray Morning). I am still in The Real LJ Idol Competition, though things have gotten tight now that there’s about 60 contestants left (out of a starting total of like…280?). I am working nearly full-time. I have a five year old with special needs. A divorce to plan and prepare for, and a free online writing course that starts tomorrow, of all days.

I kind of want to just…write something purely without doing ANY preparation. Gray Morning and The Stellar Challenge both require so much work, for two entirely different reasons. Gray Morning is on its second official draft, I’ve written large chunks of it out of order, and I need to piece it all together/fill in the gaps (which is probably around 20-30k worth of words, maybe more). I have a good idea for the plot arc of it, I know the major events, it’s just…filling in those gaps and rounding everything out.

The Stellar Challenge is still on draft one, and very, very slow going, because it requires a lot of forethought and planning. Each Planet focuses on a specific Challenger. Once each Planet is complete, there’s a “(Character) Story,” that explains how the Challenger came to do the Challenge, in the first place. Like how they died, why they think they need to go on a redemption quest, etc. I realized just yesterday that the book’s true Main Character is Saito — who is possibly one of the grossest characters I’ve ever written.

I’m doing an abridged version of his Planet Chapters (Saturn) for Idol — where he essentially breaks the cycle of his own Limbo/Hell and finally, finally earns a fate other than the one he’s been experiencing for the past however long. But he has to do it by preventing another Challenger from falling into the same traps he has for the past however many (I’m thinking at least 100) attempts at the Challenge himself. Saito is supposed to be forced to redo the Challenge forever and ever for all eternity; but after so many repeated attempts, he starts to remember his past attempts. He’s resigned himself to his fate, but he sees a lot of promise in Jordan — a young teenager who killed himself in a murder-suicide (with his mother as his victim). So when he sees Jordan falling for a trap that’s been set for Saito at least one hundred times before, well…

It should be interesting to write. But I have worked the past 5 nights (and, in fact, have only briefly napped today after getting out of work at 8am), and I’m exhausted, and it’s difficult to write something like this. I am not unemployed anymore; I don’t have the time to dedicate to the writing and the LJI competition like I used to, and it kills me.

So adding a NaNo project on top of these two novels (which are my closest to “completion”) just seems kind of… silly. I have a couple of other words that aren’t as well developed, but I’ve at least started all of them or have completed shorter, rougher drafts of them. And honestly, if I do NaNo, I want to do something fresh and new with characters I don’t know like the back of my hand or with a universe I haven’t done all the worldbuilding for, etc.

But like, I can’t seem to come up with anything? I dunno. It’s been a struggle. I’m sure on November 1st, I’ll find myself opening a new document and titling it NaNoWriMo14 and just… going with it. But until then, I keep going back and forth.

The start of my LJI entry, if you’re curious:


Saito stood at the threshold of the train, his lips pressed tightly together and his jaw clenched.

Saturn.

He had made it to Saturn.

“Dude, are you going to get off the train or what?” Jordan’s grating voice asked.

Saito’s jaw clenched further, and he took one step off the train and moved out of the teenager’s way. He didn’t look at the boy, instead averting his eyes from him as much as possible. Megumi followed Jordan off the train, her tight, black dress seemingly tighter and more revealing in the odd, overcast lighting of the gaseous planet.

Saito looked away from her, too.

He might not remember all the details, but one too many trips back to the Start had broken the amnesiatic effect of death. He remembered his mistakes. Remembered the promise of Redemption, and how he was to fail at it, every time, as punishment for his crimes.

But this was the first time he had made it to Saturn since his first trip.