Unearthed, Potential

I haven’t been keeping up with NaNoWriMo like I wanted. As soon as I took a day off, my “plan” went all to heck. It’s been a challenge to catch up and keep up. I should be able to hit the 50k by day 30. Fingers crossed.

Even though I’ve been writing I decided not to post the story any longer. Partly because it’s no longer sequential. I’ve ended up writing scenes that I want to use in the final book as they come to me, not necessarily following any order or pattern. Definitely not linear and posting as I write would only confuse any potential readers. I guess that’s what I get for not having the outline done before Day one of the project.

Also it’s possible this is going to end up being more than one book. I always knew the story would be open ended at the end. Not because I wanted to do a sequel, but as a writer I like leaving the reader with a thread to wonder about. Something that lets them speculate and possibly build their own conclusions.

This has been my best NaNoWriMo yet. Perhaps after 40 years, I’ve finally matured or maybe realized that — yes — I can write on a schedule.

As we close in on the New Year — yet another — I’ve got plans to finish and make public UNEARTHED and my previous novel in progress TERMINAL.

Thank you for the continued support.

Where do ideas come from?

I’ve never asked nor been asked the question, but having read dozens of comments and accounts of professional authors it appears to be a common one among fans and would be writers.

Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere.

Seems like a simple answer doesn’t it? It’s a rather simple question to be honest. Writers in particular, humans in general, innately learn from experience. Take mundane moments in life and apply them to future events.

There is an old adage “write what you know” that is driven into every creative writing student. Taken literally, this is crap. If we wrote only what we knew there wouldn’t be Harry Potter, there wouldn’t be monsters, there wouldn’t be super-heroes, and there wouldn’t be Stephen King. Well I’m sure there would be Stephen King, but he’d be a literary hack who writes riveting stories about the human condition in small New England towns, without all the gore, horror and intrigue.

“Write what you know” isn’t meant to be taken literally. What it means and how it should be taught to mean is to take your experience, your encounters, and apply them to atypical scenarios.

Let’s say you live in a small community and close enough to work that you can walk each day. This is routine, it’s mundane. On that walk each day you meet the postman. He gives you a smile and you watch him walk up and down walk ways and driveways. One particular house you notice he always gets out a milkbone for the dog. Knowing the long history of dogs and postmen you assume its a bribe to prevent an attacked. A writer on the other hand suspects conspiracy. An unnatural interaction between the postman and dog can only mean bad things are afoot.

This has germinated an idea. The postman was trying to save himself from a dog bite, but in your reality as a writer, the postman lime-lights as a burglar and has cleverly canvased his route for houses with dogs who he has trained to welcome him and not see him as a threat. From there you could write any numerous outcomes in any various genres.

See it wasn’t necessary to be the postman or to be a thief to build the idea for a story about body snatching — oh, is that where the story went — only thing necessary was the seed, the fragment of experience that you could build upon.

If such a little element as a man giving a dog a bone can generate a story of post-apocalyptic alien domination, then any little bit of your experience if you let it can phantasmagorically blossom into a story that even Stephen King would be envious of.

Your story ideas come from everywhere. From anything you encounter:  news, books, dreams, television, co-workers or a chance encounter with an alien postman. Your job, your challenge,  is to take that experience and put it somewhere it doesn’t belong. Where it can cause the most effect and stir a chain of events turning the mundane into something adventurous.

Are you ready for adventure? Are you ready to write?

After these messages …

If you’ve been following me during my crush through the NaNoWriMo experience, you might have noticed I didn’t update yesterday. I know that makes me a bad NaNoWriMo writer. Horrible for stalling out at 10k+ words.

Yesterday was a hectic day. Usually I have time in the work day to wind down, take a brake, let my brain cool down and relax. I’m a programmer and web developer, most days entail working out coding issues or update previous code. Yesterday I hit a loop in logic and just kept at it until I was mentally drained. On top of that, I haven’t had the best of sleep lately.

After work, all I wanted to do was crash. And that’s what I did after dinner and vegging with some TiVo’d Venture Brothers.

Today I’m rested. I could knock out a couple thousand words or so, but — yes, always a but — today I had lunch with a college buddy and tonight I’m going to celebrate my grandfather’s 94th birthday. With alcohol to compensate for all the yelling he’s going to do because we’re celebrating how old he’s gotten. I’m of two camps here when it comes to birthdays. You can hold them in reverence, especially upon hitting certain milestones, which after a certain age is any that you manage to live through. Or you can just go with the flow and ignore them because somewhere in the middle it doesn’t really matter if you’ve lived 24 or 42 years. Getting belligerently upset really shouldn’t fall into play. I’m a celebrate and hold them in reverence kind of guy. If I live to 94, I’m going to dance with my artificial body parts like it’s 1999.

I hope he doesn’t tear us all new assholes, but he probably will. The man is remarkably healthy for his age. He worked as a lawyer until 85 and didn’t stop playing tennis until he was about 89. I can’t even run up the stairs without getting winded.

Tomorrow I should be back to the grind. Goal is to have 20k by Monday. Two fifths of the way. Then I’ll decide whether to step back to 2k a day or keep on rolling the fast track.

Thanks for the support, and if you want, you can wish my old codger of  grandfather a happy birthday. Silently. You don’t want him to find out.

NaNoWriMo 2009 – Day 4

The body count is growing. Both for the dead and the undead. Call me a murderer. I love killing. I’m 4 for 4.

Quite tired this morning, so I skipped my usual 600-700 hundred word session. If I’m going to maintain this pace I’m going to have to sleep. Had had about 5 hours last night. Sure that might be enough for some of you, but I need my beauty sleep.

I managed to pour out 600+ words during a 30 minute run at lunch. The remainder was excised from my exhausted body over about 2 hours, with a dinner break of chili and cheese, with a side of Destination Truth. That’s a funny show.

The total is what you want, so here you go.

Today: 2708
Total: 10462

I appreciate the support from my favorite forums (DigitalWebbing, PermutedPress and Brian Keene), as well as my twitter pals and of course my family.

I think this is the most I’ve written in several months.

If  you want to read what I’ve done so far, click on Unearthed in the sidebar.

NaNoWriMo 2009 – Day 3

It got a little shaky today. I hit about 1200 words and I wasn’t sure where I was going to go next. Sure would have helped to have an outline. Yeah, that’s planning for you.

But I did manage to rock out another 2539 words for a grand total of 7754 words.

Oh, I tweeted earlier today that this is turning me into a murderer. Aside from the unnumbered bodies found in the pit, this story has managed to take one soul a day. But in this story, they just don’t stay dead.

If you want to read what I’ve written for fun, you can catch it here: http://www.ronearl.com/unearthed.

And please keep in mind this is NaNo so bad grammar, bad spelling and plot holes are expected.

NaNoWriMo 2009 – Day 2

My friends and colleagues. I’ve survived the second day of NaNoWriMo. I’m keeping up with my 2500 wpd count, hitting past with 2672. A grand total of 5257 words according to the NaNoWriMo site.

I want to thank friends and family for pushing me on. I know it’s only day two, but I nearly gave into watching TV all evening instead of finishing the last 1000 words.

It feels good to be ahead. Woot me. I don’t care if most of my friends are kicking my butt.

If you want to read the story so far in it’s truly unedited form, go ahead.

http://www.ronearl.com/unearthed

NaNoWriMo 2009 – Day 1

Every year or so I attempt to tackle NaNoWriMo. Most times I fail. Usually because I run of steam or I get caught up in the need to edit myself. This year I’m going to tackle NaNo a little different.

1. No Editing!
2. Have a Plan!

I intended to have the story fully outlined, but like many things it got by me before I could embrace the idea. That said I have a really firm idea where this is going and how I’m going to tackle it.

In the past I’ve always been strong the first week or 10 days, then I wane. This time I’m going to push myself at the beginning and taper off purposefully. Week 1, I’m going for 2500 words a day. Every week after drop the wpd by 500. This way I won’t be beating myself up when I should be spending time with family over the holiday.

To keep myself honest, I’m posting the story to my blog. Feel free to read and give comments. I know that there will be holes, there will be gaffs and horrible grammar. It’s truly a rough draft.

I’m posting this under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

I had a really good first day. In just about 3 hours I knocked out 2700 words. So I’m over goal. I hope to keep up steam and make it through the next 29 days. Who knows maybe I end up with a good story that I can work with at the end.

Thanks for reading and the support. If you’re participating too, best of luck and knock it out of the park.

You can keep up with me daily at: http://www.ronearl.com/unearthed.