Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 30th, 2008 | 6 Comments »

NaNo is just about over now. And mine is done. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few musings left. I’ll probably have a few more of them over the next few days, but here’s one I wanted to get in before the month is out. And no, the title of this post isn’t a Tolkien reference.

What this post is about is something I’m doing right now, and something I have been doing once or twice the last few days: I’m wearing rings. Now I’m not generally much of a ring wearer, but I do own exactly two of them. And for some reason putting one, or both of them, on occasionally helps to get the words going. It also seems to help keep my hands feeling good.

The rings mean I have to hold my hands just a little differently as I type. And that seems to serve as a good way to take some of the strain off them. I’m not sure I can tell why, but somehow having them on also seems to help keep the inspiration going. Possibly because the feeling of wearing them reminds me that I’m supposed to be writing.

This may not, strictly speaking, count as magic, but well, while it’s not a Tolkien reference I just couldn’t resist the fantasy feeling. What can I say, it’s late at night, and I’ve finished 166,661 words in the last 43,200 minutes. I’m entitled to make some weird references, right?

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 30th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

It’s been noted before, but showers are a hotbed of inspiration. So there I was, showering peacefully on the morning of the 30th of November, getting ready for the final writing day of this NaNo. The it hit me: new plot idea. Fortunately it’s an entirely separate plot – albeit it using some of the same characters I’m writing about now – so I won’t have to try to deal with it today, but still.

Still it’s typical. I’m barely even done with one plot and suddenly a new one pops up, begging to be written. Sometimes I think I must have an hyperactive plotbunny farm hidden somewhere. I’m still planning on going back to editing Gordian Knot, once NaNo is finished. But even so the universe I’m now working in looks like it’s trying to grow into one gigantic saga, which could potentially be a lot of fun.

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 28th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

My characters are gearing up for battle, and in a way I feel like I am to. I’ve just cut my nails again, about as short as I can stand them, to help with typing for the next few days. And I’m busy figuring out what I’m going to need the next few days. In short I’m laying in supplies to see me through.

Not for a real battle in my case, but for the final part of the month long wordwar that is NaNoWriMo. So while my characters are worrying about intelligence data and ammunition, I’m worrying about my supply of candles and tea-lights. About the only thing we’re both worried about is getting the food supply sorted out.

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 21st, 2008 | 4 Comments »

I’ve got my characters split across two locations right now – technically three, but two of them are linked so that location B1 won’t come back into view until the characters presently at B2 have returned – and I find it’s a great help. Obviously having two storylines to write is a boost to the wordcount in any case, but having two to switch between means that when I get stuck in one, I can pick up events in the other for a while.

Of course that in itself wouldn’t make me any less stuck in the first. That would actually be bad because there’d be weeks of stuff in one story line and nothing in the other. But I find that if I do a chapter or two (or three) in a storyline, my mind usually works through the problems with the other in the background somehow. I’ve switched a couple of times already today, and it’s really helped me to keep my wordcount going.

That’s not to say the whole thing is totally without drawbacks. Having two stories happening at the same time, and switching between them, means you have to keep track of what’s happing on either end to be sure you’re more or less synchronised in time. Especially when your characters have comlinks to each other they can use occasionally. I think I’m pretty much on track there as well though, and that at least is one area where any little mistakes are pretty easy to sort out in the edit… I hope.

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 11th, 2008 | 13 Comments »

Okay this is probably nonsense, I’ll admit that up front, but it’s fun so it’s allowed to be nonsense. But I’ve just got to musing about how music influences writing. I seldom write without something playing, and sometimes find I can’t do certain POVs justice without the right music. And now that you’re all looking at me funny I guess it’s time to get to the weird part of this post.

I’m starting so suspect that music may be influencing my characters as well. Granted it’s not what you’d call solid proof, but I’ve just had two of my male characters decide they’re in love with each other. It’ll be a few more chapters at least before anything is likely to happen there, but it is sort of there in the background.

Now what does that have to do with music? Well my playlist at the time this became clear consisted mainly of: Pet Shop Boys, Village People, and Boney M – with “So Many Men, So Little Time” by Miquel Brown thrown in for good measure. Part of me can’t help wondering whether they ever really stood a chance with that playlist.

Of course chances are that if there is any reason for my characters ending up gay at all, other than that’s just the way the story wanted to run, it’s because I’m the sort of man who’ll happily run a playlist consisting of Pet Shop Boys, Village People, and Boney M, with Miquel Brown’s high energy classic throw in. But still, it’s fun to wonder just how much the music can influence the story.

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 9th, 2008 | 19 Comments »

It’s late now, but I’m still waiting for the caffeine of the last litre or so of Earl Grey (I lost count but I’m guessing 5 litres at least in total yesterday) and the sugar rush from the last chocolate milk (1.5 litres or all after 21:00) to wear off. So what better way to spend the time than another little musing.

I actually started trying to write this on Friday, but figured a second musing on one day would be too much like procrastination to be allowed. So I postponed it. I will now take you back on Friday however for a very simple reason.

It was Friday afternoon and I’d just about decided I didn’t need to go shopping. Then I noticed I was missing one thing, and that changed my mind. “What was that one thing?” you ask – very kind of you to show and interest, by the way.

Well I’ll tell you a secret, though possibly not a big one given that you’ll have read the subject line: I went because I was out of candles. I had exactly one left, and maybe 2 hours of burn left on the ones that had already been going the night before. Which gave me a bit of a problem since I tend to write with at least three candles burning.

In fact I’ll often try to limit the amount of electric light while I write, to get as much of it as possible coming from the candles. This can go to the extend of toning down my screen’s brightness as far as it will go without becoming impossible to write with. It has also, the last few days, got to the point where I’ll place several tealights on my desk to read the paper notes I’m using this year rather than switching on my desk lamp.

I have to admit I haven’t a clue why this seems to help, but the fact of the matter is that is does appear to help, somehow. I couldn’t proof it scientifically, but I just feel I get more words in when writing by candle light. It way well be nothing more than a superstition, I don’t really care as long as it keeps working.

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 7th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

I cut my nails late last night. In a quick break during my final 500 word sprint. One reason was to just do something other than typing for a few minutes. The other was to cure one NaNoWriMo complaint, a sore little finger on my left hand.

My nails weren’t particularly long, a bit longer than usual, but shorter than they usually are when I cut them. But there’s a special problem during NaNoWriMo. I keep hitting the control key every five seconds to check my wordcount (Control + R is my shortcut for this). And when you hit the left control key the quickest way to do so is with the top/back of your left little finger.

Now I don’t have a particularly hard keyboard to type on, it’s a full sized keyboard, but with laptop keys. But even though my keypress is only three millimetres, as opposed to six to eight on most keyboards, it was still enough that bending my nail a little each time I hit control was starting to hurt.

So far this is my only NaNoWriMo injury this year, and compared to some of the complaints excessive typing might cause it’s mild enough. Let’s just hope it stays that way.

Posted by Jarsto in NaNo Musings 08
November 6th, 2008 | 10 Comments »

Occasionally you run into weird little moments during NaNo, or at least I do. I really shouldn’t be blogging about the of course, since it’s wasting precious writing time, but I find I can’t help myself. All of which has resulted in the creation of a new blog category, and this post about tea.

Let me start this post with a confession. I come from a family of tea drinkers, but my preference for Tea, Earl Grey, Hot started with Jean-Luc Picard. That is to say, it was this famous replicator order that first got me to try Earl Grey tea.

I found I liked it, which is actually somewhat weird. I don’t liked smoked teas as a rule (Lapsang Souchong can send me running) and I don’t really like Citrus teas. But I do like Earl Grey, a tea with a slightly smoky flavour and a bit of Citrus in there, go figure.

Now what has all of this got to do with NaNoWriMo? Nothing much, except for the fact that I drink an awful lot of tea while writing. It’s not unusual for me to empty a 1.5 litre thermos flask of the stuff in two hours of writing. It is also not unusual for me, at least during NaNoWriMo, to be so focused on the writing that I pour a cup and don’t touch it for two hours, by which time it’s pretty cold. And here we find a downside to Earl Grey.

Most normal supermarket Earl Grey has a major problem: it tastes absolutely foul when cold. Which brings me to the whole point of this post: I finally managed to find some pretty regular Earl Grey that doesn’t from a supermarket. Which saves a lot of time on hunting down better quality tea from other suppliers.

I won’t go into brandnames, but here’s a handy hint: have a good look at the size of the bits of leave in the tea bag. As a rule: the bigger they are, the better the quality. And now I really should get back to writing.