3 Nov 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 - The First Two Days

NaNoWriMo has started, and so have I.  It has been a frustrating two days.  Not because of the story, oh, no.  The story is progressing well.  No, the problem has been technical.  Two events combined to throw my pace off on Saturday.

First, my glasses broke.  Glasses do that, break.  It started Thrusday morning with one arm gone so far past the plastic stage in strain that it resembled a wet noodle that not so much snapped as fell apart.  I came up with a solution that would let me keep wearing the glasses while waiting for my next payday to pay for both a doctor's appointment* and a new pair.  However, thanks to winds that gusted up to 70km/h on Friday, the other arm basically did the same thing.  Without at least one arm to hold the glasses at the right height and angle, I started to get headaches.  My plans for Saturday changed drastically.  Originally, I was going to grab breakfast then go get groceries in the morning, eat lunch at home, then go to the library to write 2500-3000 words.  Instead, I walked up to the nearest mall, bought a pair of reading glasses that were meant for farsighted vision, then took the new pair and my broken pair to the optical store to transfer the arms.  The fit isn't perfect, but it'll do for the two to three weeks it'll take to get my new pair.

The second event was a return of an old problem on my netbook.  For whatever reason, instead of giving me an out-of-memory error, Windows 7 Starter** just hangs.  If you have music playing, you get to hear that last half-second of music until either the system sorts itself out or you give up and power cycle the machine.  I chose the power cycling option after five minutes of waiting for the netbook to sort itself out.  Not my first choice, either; there is a lot that gets loaded these days that really doesn't need to be.  Every application seems to want to be part of the start up.  It's getting to the point where I miss how fast Windows 3.11 started.  That aside, the netbook finished its startup, I killed a few programs that weren't needed, started the suspect program, Google Chrome, to shut down a few tabs, then, while waiting for pages to load in it, reopened my word processor, Libre Office 3.4 and recover what I could.  I lost a couple of paragraphs, maybe a hundred words at most.  Fine, I can retype, the dialogue was still fresh at the time.

Five minutes later, the same damn thing happens again after I type in the previously lost paragraphs.

Not fun.  I left Chrome closed after the second power cycle.  I was annoyed and frustrated enough that, once I typed the same paragraphs for a third time, I had lost the flow of the section.  I managed another couple hundred words before giving up for the afternoon.

The first two days weren't all frustration.  Because of the same wind gusts that finished off my glasses, the game night*** got cancelled due to a power outage.  The original plan for Friday night was to write a few hundred words while waiting for the rest of the players before going to the GM's home to play.  Thanks to the wind, not only did the mall suffer a partial outage, but the entire area surrounding did as well.  No game.  Instead of gaming, I wrote, getting a little more than a full day's worth of writing****.  These extra words meant that on Saturday, despite the setbacks and not reaching the 3000 words I wanted at the library to get ahead, I was still on schedule and even slightly ahead of where I wanted to be.  I also managed to get more than a full day's writing done in the evening, once I had a chance to re-focus on the story.

Thanks to the break I took, I realized that I had given Diesel, Ione's cat, an extra role.  Cats are apparently mystic in nature in my story.  It was never planned.  Diesel was just a small detail, a way to add a bit of depth to both Karen and Ione.  He was never meant to be a potential plot device.  This is what writing by the seat of your pants[link to scaffolding] allows; unexpected little details that come up can be integrated into the story without causing a cascade of rewrites to an outline.

Two days in, over 3600 words written.  I'm on a good pace, and the story is unfolding further than I realized.  I have a good feeling about this.

* In Ontario, eye doctor appointments cost $70.  The rest is covered by OHIP.
** Win7 Starter came with the netbook.
*** For the record, Legend of the Five Rings.  For those who have played the game, my character is a Tamori shugenja of the Dragon Clan.
**** A full day's worth of writing is 1667 words, or one-thirtieth (1/30) of 50k words.

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