NaNoWirMo – A Retrospective

A lot of you may have been wondering where I’ve been for the past month, minus the electoral upset taking place in the good ol’ USA. Well, I’ve actually been right here, typing out much smaller blog posts, and not spreading the word via social media. Mostly because unlike my longer, larger and more interesting posts, these were updates regarding my the little journey to write a 50,000 word novel in the span of thirty days. As of Monday November 28th at about 3:30pm in the afternoon, I crossed that finish line.  So bear with me as I talk about writing 1,667 words a day for the month of November.

It wasn’t all that hard.

Now, I’m not diminishing anyone else’s little victory, but I’m saying is not once during this month I felt stressed out by the thought of sitting down and writing a bunch. It never felt like a daunting task. All I had to do was make sure I was ahead of the daily quota, and to keep plugging away every day at it. Some days I only got 800 words scribbled down. Other days I managed to blow through more than 3,000 words. No matter the day, I managed to get some writing done. Not only that, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I still managed to give this blog an additional couple hundred words. I know some of the people here are writers themselves, so I’m going to whisk you away on an adventure into how Mr. Charlton managed to get so much writing done in so little time.

The Bad

1) The novel (so far) is a complete piece of shit.

I’ll state this right off the bat; it’s not a good book. The characters stand around shouting exposition at each other. Sometimes a chapter will end with “And then they all went out to do the jobs they had to do”. There’s a couple of little flourishes in there that I’m proud off, there’s also complete chunks of novel missing, replaced with COME BACK AND WRITE THIS SCENE IN LATER or GO BACK AND CHANGE THIS CHARTER SO THIS PART WILL MAKE SENSE. I’d love to sit here and tell you I wrote a masterpiece, but I’d be full of it.

2) I still have a shit ton to write to make it an actual novel.

It ain’t over yet, I’m afraid. There’s still at least another two months of writing needing to be done before I could even call this a first draft. I’m happy I was able to complete the task National Novel Writing Month set out for me, but the truth is, 50,000 words isn’t a heck of a lot. Both science fiction and fantasy novels tend to be at least twice that number. Seeing as how this is a science fiction novel I’m writing, I’ve got a long way to go before I can actually call this a first draft.

3) Holy sweet Peter, is this going to require a hell of an edit once it’s done.

With the book being in bad shape, once it’s actually completed, the book will need a complete overhaul. There are sentences that will need to be pulled out into full paragraphs to better paint the scene, and there are entire paragraphs I’m going to have to widdle down into sentences because when you’re trying to get a word count in, you occasionally pad stuff.

 

The Good

4) Every damn novel ever written requires an edit once the first draft is complete.

What did I expect, that I was going to crap out ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ in the time frame of thirty days? Even a book like ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ needed an edit after the first draft and numerous edits after the first edit. Here’s some wonderful news; I like editing. I’ve got no issue going over things with a fine tooth comb and giving it some TLC. Heck, if you’re a writer out there and you want someone to go over a page or two of your stuff, pro bono, give a guy a buzz.

5) I learned I’m a fast typist, and I’m getting better every day.

Hand-eye coordination, people. Whoever told me video games were a waste of time can suck an egg.

egg-871282749217q6v0

MAYBE HARD BOIL IT FIRST, AND GET A NUTRIOUS BREAKFAST, BITCH!

If the groove is going, I can crank out 1,500 words in an hour. That means I can crank out 3,000 words in two hours if the mood is right. And here’s the kicker. I could be faster and more accurate. Saying you’re a writer who can’t type is like saying you’re a chef who can’t slice an onion properly. Get better at your craft.

6) No such thing as the right time to write.

Picture a novelist. Maybe they’re in the nook of their home, a warm cup of coffee next to them, undisturbed. You’ll hear people say things like, “Unless the mood is right, and I’m in my special nook, there’s no way I can write”. Well, that’s fine and dandy for people living in some magical world that’s not populated by anybody else, but I live on planet Earth, and this shit can get wild sometimes. I would say that somewhere between 5-10% of this book was written on my phone. I’m on the bus and I have ten minutes? I can crank out 50 to a 100 words. I’m 15 minutes early to pick someone up? Another 100 to 200 words get put into an email and sent to myself. The right time to start something, whether it’s writing, or Ju-Jitsu, or learning to weld is right now. And if you’re lucky enough, the thing you want to learn is something portable, like writing or drawing or the harmonica.

Overall, I’m glad I did NaNoWriMo. I learned some things about myself, and because I hit the 50,000 word mark, I get a sweet deal on some killer writing software.

Don’t worry, next post I’ll be back to the usual garbage I normally write.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton.

p.s. My other big secret is not having children. My lord, do I have so much wonderful free time to myself.

p.s.s. Seriously, if you’re an aspiring writer, send me your stuff. I’ll give it the classic Mr. Charlton once over.

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Entry #8

The goal line has been crossed. I’ve hit the 50,000 word count, which qualifies me as an official NaNoWriMo winner. I still have two more days of writing. I’m going to try and crank out as many words as possible, and tack on a wrap up to the story.

The next post will be a NaNoWriMo perspective. I’ll be answering some questions I have for myself about the whole ordeal. Right now, I’m going to take a well-deserved break.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. regular posts resume on Friday.

NaNoWriMo – Entry #6

HA! Well, my crappy novel is at the climax right now, which I’m going to tell you right now is quite the joy to write. They say you need a beginning, middle, and an end to a story. What I’m finding out is you need a beginning, a teetering cliff, and a crashing conclusion. There’s going to be a wrap-up chapter, certainly, but right now the main focus is getting some resolution to some of the open strings I have laying about.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed by sitting down to write for at least an hour every night is this; I’ve gotten a lot better at typing. Kat’s grabbing me a nicer keyboard for Christmas, so hopefully I’ll be clacking away at a mechanical keyboard in 2017. Let’s see if I can boost up the ol’ words-per-minute.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton.

p.s. It’s one of those new fangled mechanical keyboards. It has LEDs in the board and plays dubstep when you turn on the numlock key.

NaNoWriMo – Entry #5

I’m sitting at 38,000 words, with nine and a half days left. This week is the last full week of the month, and I can taste the end approaching. It tastes like a poorly thought-out, quickly written story, with gaps and missing characters and so much required polish it makes me wonder if I should even bother finishing the novel.

It’s better to have a shitty novel than no novel at all. At least I will have something to edit, to change, to spruce up a bit before I have someone else look over it. I’ll finish the book this year. I will make it readable the next.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Thankfully, I haven’t had writer’s block yet. I just have periods of writing garbage.

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Entry #4

Halfway through the month, and I’m over halfway through the word count. I’m hoping to keep the pace up and finish strong. So far, it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be, but I’m also lucky to have a lot of free time on my hands, as well as a lack of children. I should have no issue finishing up on time.

That being said, even though I’m almost thirty thousand words in, it still feels like I’m starting out. The story is slow, and there hasn’t been a lot of action yet. I’m trying to limit the dialogue, but it seems at least a few scenes are people simply sitting down and talking. Once I’m done the first draft, I’ll go back and start sprucing the place up with furniture, if you get what I’m throwing down.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. To anyone who’s new to the blog. All kinds of apologies. Once this month is over, It’ll be back to interesting topics, I swear.

p.s.s. I feel bad for anyone who has to read this shit.

NaNoWriMo – Entry #3

It has been a week today, since the national novel writing month began, and I’m still on track to finish fifty thousand words by the end of the month. That’s the good news. The bad news is I took a break today, and haven’t actually written a word until this moment. Hear me out.

You see, for the last month or so, I haven’t actually had a real day off. Even when I didn’t have a shift scheduled, I still had some sort of obligation that had to be met. Which is fine, that’s life. But today marked the first day in a while where I could just hang out and not do anything. So, me and Kat did some shopping, I got some jeans, we ate some roast duck at a place, and kicked back later and watched a movie.

The point I’m trying to make is this; There’s a lot of pressure western society places on achievements and accomplishments. And these things are wonderful. But you gotta look after yourself too, and take a break every now and again. You can only keep a fire burning so hot until you run out of fuel. It doesn’t hurt to take a day or two and refuel a little.

That being said, I still have 45 minutes to write, and I’m sure I can crank out a few more words tonight!

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I also made Zucchini bread today. It was fluffy as all sin.

NaNoWriMo – Entry #2

It’s been four days into the contest so far, and I’m a little ahead of the game. Although it’s been going smoothly so far, each say has been getting a little tougher and tougher. Certain questions keep popping up in my mind. Here’s one of the big ones that has been rattling around in the noggin.

Has anyone explained to the other members of this national novel writing month group that 50,000 words isn’t really a novel? I mean, it’s not an adult novel, and even if young adult literature is popular is that what everybody is writing?

Yes, from the people I talk to, everyone seems to be doing young adult, typically referred to as YA.  Which is fine, I guess. After Harry Potter success, I can guess people are after that sweet teet of children’s fantasy.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Ok, that last sentence came out wrong.

 

NaNoWriMo – Entry #1

So I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, which is the clever abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. The goal, which is listed on nanowrimo.org, is to write a 50,000 word novel in the span of a month. A particularly lofty goal for many people. This year Mr. Charlton has decided to participate. As a result, I won’t be hitting my usual 750-1000 word article which graces the internet thrice a week. If I’m going to be running a word count, it should very well be towards the project I’m working on.

With that said, I’m still going to be posting here, thrice weekly, although it’s going to be a lot briefer than usual. Expect to see anywhere from 100-200 words put down on the intertubes. As it stands, I’ve hit about 3,500 words. It’s only day two, and to be honest, I haven’t written much today, until now.

I’ll keep you posted.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. See, this is 150 words that could have gone to getting me a deal on software. I’ll explain later.

Send in the Clowns

Clowns. They’ve been popping up in the media a lot more frequently than they used to. Clowns worldwide have been scaring the shit out of regular, honest folks. This new, viral, phenomena has taken the internet by storm, with people getting together, dressing up as creepy clowns, and trying to frighten others for the lulz. To give you an idea of exactly how bad the clown problem has gotten, there’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to clown sightings for 2016. Hundreds of clowns have been sighted over the world, most notably in North America. Clowns are now being banned from schools, from workplaces, and even entire communities. When did clowns become such a menacing part of our culture? Was it the Joker, from the new Batman films? Was it Stephen King’s IT? Or maybe it’s the fact a clown is currently running for president of the United States?

trump-ugh

Scariest Clown sighting of the year

Here’s the kicker, people. I don’t actually remember a time when clowns were popular. I’ve never heard of a clown actually doing a birthday party, except in movies from the 80’s. I’ve seen clowns at the circus, but the circus is something I’ve only been to a handful of times in my life. I’ve never sought out clowns. I’ve never said to myself, “You know what, Mr. Charlton? This day needs more clowns”. In fact, the only time I can remember using the word clown is when I derisively call someone a clown.

I did some research. When I say research, what I mean is I typed ‘when was the last time clowns were funny’ into a search engine. And what I found will shock you.

Clowns have never been funny.

There’s a bizarre notion people before our time weren’t funny. I never really imagined the Romans sitting around, laughing their asses off because Julius made a snide remark to Anthony regarding his footwear, but sarcasm has been around for a while. There were also clowns, but looking through the lens of time shows us clowns were performers showcasing demon tricksters. Clowns showed both the light and dark side of humanity through pranks. What I’ve learned is clowns have been jesters, fools, and pranksters.

You ever met someone who’s a “prankster”? They’re assholes.

“It was just a prank, brah” is the calling card of these jester jerkoffs. Youtube is filled to the brim of dickheads who have confused sadism and masochism with humour. That’s what these clowns are about. The point I’m trying to make is this; clowns are greasy performers, not funny people. We used to laugh at them because they’re terrible human beings, not because they’re comedians.

Why have these clowns started popping up? We stopped laughing at them cruelly, which is the only way to laugh at clowns to keep them at bay. We’ve ignored them for too long. Clowns were ridiculed for years, derided and called out for their foolishness. This was the natural order of things. It was the way to drive the demon spirits away. In our age of extreme tolerance, we’ve forgotten that if there is one group of people who should be laughed at, it’s clowns. We, unfortunately as a society, collectively decided to take clowns seriously. We said “Maybe clowns aren’t so bad, maybe we shouldn’t be spraying them with water, hitting them with pies, or forcing them to pile in clown cars. Clowns deserve every opportunity the rest of us do.” And that’s led us down the dark path we’ve taken. A prominent clown is running for president. The media surrounding him is now a circus.

We’ve stopped laughing at clowns. I guarantee if this clown gets into office, then no one will be laughing for at least the next four years. What can you do, dear reader? If someone is acting like a clown, then make fun of them. They’re the necessary punching bag we need. Clowns serve a very important function in society, and that’s to provide the rest of us an outlet to express our rage and disgust. It allows the rest of us to get along. To not just tolerate out differences, but to celebrate them. Because is some clown is going to spray his face orange and turn democracy into a crazy fun house, then maybe they deserve to be taken down a peg.

 Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. This is going to be the last long form post I’ll be doing for the next month. November is NaNoWriMo, and every damn word needs to count! I’ll still be posting, but it’ll be more of a diary about trying to squeeze out a novel in thirty days.

 

Mastering Procrastination

If you haven’t noticed, ol’ Mr. Charlton hasn’t exactly been posting a whole slew recently. Now, I could give you a bunch of excuses as to exactly why I haven’t been writing. You know what? Let’s try out a few excuses. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had to give an excuse, and it couldn’t hurt to flex that muscle. Just in case I ever actually have to start blaming things other than myself, like circumstances, scenarios, the weather, or other people.

  • I’ve been busy. (False. I’ve been getting caught up with season six of Game of Thrones and playing a lot of Fallout 3. )
  • I haven’t been feeling well. (False. I feel like the God/Prince I normally feel like)
  • The dog requires a lot of attention. (False. Pookie is about eighty-four in dog years, all she does is sleep and eat)
  • I’ve been learning new things. (True! Teaching myself some more programming junk, as well as a very specific program that’s used to write called “Scrivener”)

Long story short; I’ve spent a small amount of time learning some new skills, but most of my time in the last two weeks has been games and television. Some of the time, though, has been setting up a profile for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org). Time has been also spent learning Scrivener. I’ve been doing research for this novel I’m going to try and complete in a month. That’s also work, right?

Here’s what’s probably what’s going through your mind right now.

“Why the hell is Mr. Charlton telling us he’s being a lazy dickbag?”

See? I love it when you ask questions. Totally makes me feel like I’m not talking to myself. Here’s the reason. I’m making a point that procrastination sometimes tries to disguise itself as work. While I’m doing research for writing, or learning an incredibly complicated writing program, or getting setup for a writing contest, there’s one thing I’m not doing. Writing. Sure, it feels like I’m doing something, but truthfully there’s no actual work getting done, no words are being written down, no ideas from my mind brain are being chiseled onto the stone sitting on my desk. If I’m doing everything in an attempt writing

I like to write. I find it an enjoyable, and there’s a lot of people who find the hobby enjoyable as well. Musicians are the same way, there’s something incredibly satisfying about taking a song from your head and getting it onto an instrument and have it come alive. At the end of the day, though, whether your writing or making music or sculpting or whatever you’re doing creating stuff, it’s still work.

When I sit down, shit doesn’t just magically appear, I have to work to make it appear. There’s this weird idea (which is perpetuated by a number of pretentious folks) that creative endeavors just pour out of people. There might be a handful of geniuses that have absolutely had to write or paint or whatever, but for the 99.99999 percent of us regular folk, you actually have to do work. I love to write, but there is a slew of things I would rather be doing than writing. I would rather…

  • do nothing
  • eat some food
  • play a game
  • read a book
  • watch crappy television
  • go for a walk
  • put intoxicating substances, like scotch, into my body
  • touch myself inappropriately
  • touch someone else inappropriately (with their consent)
  • pretend I’m writing by mashing the keyboard

Procrastination goes even deeper. Sometimes, I’ll work on one project to avoid working on another. I lovingly refer to that as ‘Procrastinception’. It’s incredibly weird to think that sometimes you’ll do work to avoid other work. There a common theme in this ‘doing work to avoid work’ scheme. You’ll say to yourself “Hey, you know what? This place is messy, totally unorganized. I’m not going to be able to focus on the task at hand until I get this junk in order.” You’ll spend the next four hours arranging your bullshit into piles where you think it belongs, pat yourself on the back, then tell yourself that when you get some more free time, THEN, then you’ll get down to brass tacks and start working. If you’re a creative person, you’ve probably done this once or twice.

The secret is, there is no good time to start writing or painting or picking up the guitar. That’s a luxury many people can’t afford. Your home is always going to be a little messy, there’s always going to be interruptions, and there’s always something that’ll come up to pry you away from writing a book, or painting a picture, or laying down a track. In fact, try to learn to work when there’s chaos around, like when you’re at your job on your lunch break and everyone is yelling at each other.

I constantly see images online of people writing in nooks, with tea and paper. But if you’re like me, life is going on around you. You can try and fight the stream, telling yourself you’re  just  waiting for the right moment. Or you can get to work and learn to write or paint or play when

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m done binging on media for a while, maybe I’ll get some actual shit done now.

p.s.s. Seriously, if you’re into writing, check out Scrivener. Completely solid writing tool.