jessicasteiner: (Default)
So yesterday I decided to take a day off, lol. I know it might seem strange that I would take a day off only four days into a 30 day challenge but:

1) I desperately needed it. Not because the writing was stressful, but because the week as a whole was and I was on the edge of a general stress-related meltdown of epic proportions.

2) It was Friday, and I think Fridays are a good day to choose to have a regular day off. Writing 7 days a week, 365 days a year is a pretty harsh thing to set yourself. From what I've heard, most people do take one day a week off. Most of them seem to choose Sundays, but the idea of sacrificing a weekend day gives me the shivers. Those are usually my best days. Whereas it's nice to come home after work on a Friday evening and know there's absolutely nothing that you need to do.

3) I'm ahead in my wordcount so it wasn't a big sacrifice.

So I think I made the right decision. I plan to write a bunch today and tomorrow to make up for it and take advantage of the weekend, as well as giving myself a solid cushion heading into week 2, which is always a tough week for me. More updates to come.
jessicasteiner: (NaNoWriMo: Logic)
Today I finished Chapter 7 of Dreaming. I wrote about Sam waking up in the real world again. He's been placed in a hospital, and his wife, Kendra, signed his rights away through her Power of Attorney, so the hospital has the right to keep him until they can be sure he's not a danger to himself or others.

We meet a new character, Dr. Chevalier, who is to be Sam's psychiatrist. He is an intelligent man, and more than a match for Sam's stubbornness, rather mule-like in his determination to keep Sam here for a while, for his own good.

Sam, of course, has no idea what caused the hallucinations, but he's not about to admit to any sort of mental deficiency, even to himself. He's afraid that he really did have a nervous breakdown of some kind, but he's not about to stay in a hospital. He really wants to get out of here.

He and Kendra have an argument over it, and she leaves in tears. Sam's home and work situation are definitely going from bad to worse.


I had a rather tiring evening and wasn't really in the mood to write at all, but I did force myself to and I'm glad I did.

Part of the reason why I found writing a bit daunting at first was because I felt like I really didn't know what it was like in a psyche ward. But I talked to a friend of mine who had spent a stint in a psyche ward at a hospital and asked a bunch of questions about what it was really like, from the smells and sounds to the procedures. It was super valuable, and I felt far more capable of tackling this part of the chapter after I talked to her.

The next chapter will continue in the hospital, so I guess I'll get started on that tomorrow.

When I first counted my words up I was at 1985 for the night. I've been giving myself a multi-tiered goal each day, which is my usual strategy for NaNoWriMo that has served me well in the past. 1667 is the absolute minimum, I-will-force-it-out-no-matter-what daily goal. But if I can, I want to hit 2000 words or exceed it each day, giving myself a cushion for days when things get hard and I really don't have time to write at all. The nice thing about the multi-tiered system is that once I hit 1667, 2000 doesn't seem that far away, so if I write towards what I absolutely have to do, I usually can go further and hit the second goal as well. But I don't have to do it, so it's less intimidating.

So I could have stopped at 1985 and achieved my minimum goal. Since I was kindof feeling low, I might have given myself a pass and not bothered to try to reach 2000. Especially since I had reached the end of a chapter, I was tempted. But 15 more words...?

So I went back and massaged a paragraph into being longer and wound up with 2020 for the night. Yay!
jessicasteiner: (NaNoWriMo)
Every year (this is my 9th) I participate in the National Novel Writing Month event, or NaNoWriMo. Some of you may have heard of it, some not. Let me explain.

NaNoWriMo is an international event in which people attempt to write 50,000 words of an original novel in the month of November. It's a hell of a lot of fun, a huge challenge, and I've used it to make leaps forward in my drafts each year, though I'm not always successful at writing the full 50,000 words. The last two years, exams really got in the way, for example, though I did win the three years before that.

Since I haven't had as much time to do reviews (or even listen to podcasts) for the last while - mostly because I moved and now have a 5 minute commute instead of an hour - I thought I would shift the focus of my blog more towards writing and my experience. To that end, I'm going to blog quite often this month about my NaNoWriMo experience.

So last year at this time, I started writing a novel called The Dreaming. Dreaming is about a lawyer, called P. Samuel Cox, in Toronto. He's a driven guy, really involved in his work, and very close to becoming one of the youngest partners in his firm. He has a wife named Kendra and a son, Damien, who is entering difficult teenage years. Both Kendra and Damien feel abandoned by Sam, who is letting his home life suffer because of his work, but Sam figures it's a temporary situation, that when he reaches a certain point in his career, he can slow down and take time for his family, whom he loves very much.

But Sam's biggest problem is that he has a special ability. When he dreams, he, in a very real sense, travels to other worlds. Worlds that really exist. What he does in those dreams actually affects real people in other dimensions, some of them worlds where magic exists. While the people in these worlds are often similar to the people in his own world, Sam is special, and unique.

One day, a mage living on one of the worlds Sam has never yet visited, performs a magical spell to summon Sam and force him to remain on that world. He wants to use Sam to affect his world and allow him to accomplish certain goals. Sam starts to have the same dream over and over, and for those dreams to affect and invade his waking life, such that he can't really tell what's real and what's not. At that point, his life really starts to fall apart.


I wrote the first 30,000 words of Dreaming last year, and I intend to do another 50,000 this November. I don't know if that'll mean the book is finished (likely not) but hopefully I can get enough momentum to finish it off in December.

When I began writing again yesterday, I was about halfway through Chapter 6. Kendra, Sam's wife, had told him that she wants a divorce, and he had spent the weekend at a hotel. Meanwhile, every time he falls asleep, he is encountering a fairy version of Kendra, who is just like his wife, only magical and has never met him before, in this magical world of Ching that he can't seem to get away from. He's been told that the King of a country called Gen is trying to capture him, and they've had some narrow escapes from the King's forces already. He still believes that this world is only a dream, and he and Dream!Kendra slept together one night as they hid in the forest.

Sam has an important divorce case starting on Monday morning, and in Chapter 6 he arrives at the courthouse after a horrendous weekend in which everything seemed to go wrong. Two of the firm's partners are there to watch his performance, so it's extremely important that he do well.

As he starts to give his opening statement for the trial, he begins to hallucinate. He sees magical creatures around the courtroom, and sees a little pixie creature stealing his files. He's bitten or stabbed by the pixie, and the hallucinations grow worse. He ends up passing out, and returning to the dream world once again. That was yesterday's writing session.

Today I wrote about Sam and Kendra in the dream world. They travel through the forest to a rundown castle, which Kendra says is safe and magically protected, and there they try to figure out what to do next. Sam is okay with basically hiding in his dreams, and is hoping that the disastrous incident in the courtroom was a dream, too. He's still not taking anything in the dreamworld seriously, and that's pissing Kendra off.

Sam learns more about Kendra's history, and about the King of Gen, whom they scry in a pool and see him casting a magical spell to try to find Sam. They decide to travel halfway across the world to the country of Qian, to seek help.


So far I'm finding the writing basically effortless as I'm doing it. I don't always know what's going to happen in the scene, though I know what I want to accomplish, and that's always both fun and scary for me. If I let myself go, Sam's inner monologue is fun to write and flows well, and magical things seem to happen. I wrote over 2000 words in less than an hour tonight, which is about twice my usual pace.

I really hope I can keep this up! I'm feeling really good about it, though. I hope you find the concept interesting and will stick with me as I go through this journey this month.


jessicasteiner: (Default)
Jessica Steiner

February 2016

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