BETTER LATE THAN NEVER



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First, a small correction to my last entry. I refer to my favorite character from Revision, that was going to be recycled, as Oliver. That was a different character from the same novel. The character I am recycling is actually named Cooper. I will try to remember that when it comes time to start writing him on Saturday…



That said, I actually started prep work this evening. Basically going through Revision to get the character details that I needed, but it is something at least. My plan is get a couple characters written up each day, until Saturday and then just go for broke. It is going to be a lot of winging it, and writing by the seat of my pants this year, but I think I am up for the challenge.IMG_4732


Friends and family still think I am crazy though. Full-time job, part-time job as a Personal Trainer and now writing a novel on top of that. It feels like 2006 all over again, that first year I took part, where I had to convince people that working part-time, going to university part-time and writing a novel in a month was not a crazy idea. Time to prove them all wrong.

KEEP CALM AND KEEP WRITING

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The closer I get to November 1st, the more I begin to panic. This has been a particularly busy month. October is usually when I do the bulk of novel prep for National Novel Writing Month. I like to a decent plan down on paper before I sit down to write the actual piece in November. In previous years I have usually just had to juggle work, gym time and writing. My friends and family (bless them) have gotten used to the fact that I am largely not around/available the month of November while I do this little crazy contest.

This year has been really different though. I have the full-time job. I have the part-time job as a Personal Trainer. I have family from out of down visiting for the next week, and I am dealing with a neighbor from hell where the situation has gotten so bad that I have to go to court over the issue next week. Needless to say, I have done let’s say, nothing to actually plan for Certain T.

Am I still participating? Yes. I wavered a bit over that last night, and briefly considered just dropping out of the contest for this year. I am not going to though. I will make it work, and if that means writing by the seat of my pants this year, then so be it. It will be crazy, but I must finish.

A couple weeks back, when trying to figure out characters I came to the conclusion I might as well recycle a couple of them for this project, cutting down prep time. I used to have this philosophy of not using characters more than once, but I have largely broken that rule over the years. Sometimes a character you already have just fits a theme you want to write about. Or a situation. And it is quite frankly just easier to use a previous character than reinvent the wheel from scratch.

One of my most used characters is named Ashton. He appeared in my first National Novel Writing Month submission, Zero. That was way back in 2006. Since then he has starred in another story, 2007 it’s not what i mean, it’s what i say, a short story from my 2012 submission The Six Cs and has appeared in a couple other novels as a bit character. Ashton literarily speaking, gets around. I thought briefly about using him in Certain T this year, and ultimately decided against it. The situation did not warrant using him.

Another character, or two characters, did though. Oliver and Patrick from my 2011 submission Revision. They are two characters that I never thought I would use again. Patrick did not quite turn out the way that I wanted to originally, and Oliver while a great character, was at the time of his creation more of a one-time use character. It turns out that this year Oliver becomes a two time use character, and I may even present myself with the opportunity to do with Patrick that I originally intended three years ago.

Of course, this is all subject to change, because we all know how well novel prep has been this year…

CERTAIN T

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I was putting off doing this entry until I was officially registered for National Novel Writing Month, but as it turns out, registration for the contest has been delayed until next week by their website. So, I currently stand unregistered, but no less committed to completing the novel that I have entitled “Certain T”. Yes, It is an intentional play on words, and the background on the title goes a little something like this:



“Tea” as definted by Urban Dictionary



1. Used primarily within the homosexual communit as a way of greeting


2. A term which is abbreviated for “truth”, as in, the latest gossip around the clubs and between other homosexuals



3. Giving/spilling Tea



e.g. Honey, you better have your Big Gulp Cup ready because I am about to spill you all the tea.



Mike e.g. Play on words; “certainty”


With that out of the way, a quick plot synopsis that does not give too much away:


When a member of the gay community needs life advice, they go to drag queen Pearl o’Wysdom who serves them the “tea”. For some, the adivce is life altering, while others just see her for confirmation on what they already know in their hearts. For Pearl, it is a way for her to stay connected to the world, a world that asks to her, but never about her.




Next week: some characters

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR



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No, it is not Chrismukkah, but it is something I enjoy almost as much as I do opening gifts: it is nearly time to register for National Novel Writing Month. Registration is supposed to begin on Wednesday, and that means it is the final month of mad panic, trying to nail down those plots, characters and descriptions. It is a crazy time of year for those who take part in the contest. It is also the most fun.



I have a very vague idea of what I am going to write about this year. There is one idea that has stuck out as something I have to write about. Actually, it is more of a character, but they have been in my head since probably June, and it just fits. I had planned on doing a lot of prep work this past weekend, and then life decided to throw me a curveball. Nothing that I can not overcome, but it did mean I was thinking about the novel more than I was actually committing ideas to paper. I am hoping I can remedy that this coming weekend. Throw some stuff at the wall, and see what sticks.



This means Closer will have to be set aside for the time being. That is a bit frustrating since I am very close to being half finished with the second draft, but honestly, I can not juggle two novels in the same month (even I have limits to how crazy I am willing to make myself in the name of art). I will come back to Closer, but for the next eight or nine weeks, expect me to National Novel Writing Month a whole lot more.



Oh, for those interested, the title for this year’s submission is Certain T and I will be writing a little more about that title later this week.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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One of the problems that have been identified with Closer is my use of “he said, she said”. That is, a typical exchange looks like this:

“I can’t really understand why this is a problem,” Jonothon said.

“It’s really quite simple,” Cassandra replied. “You say it too much in verbal exchange, when you should be showing it instead.”

So therein lays the problem.

And it has been persisting through rewrites as well, because one of the beta readers made mention of it in a previous blog post. Show, don’t tell is a difficult thing to do in writing, and I mused over the weekend that perhaps I would have been a better playwright than a novelist.

I have been thinking about National Novel Writing Month a lot in the past week. I still do not quite have a full plot nailed down, but it is a bit early for me after all. Quite often I do not confirm my actual novel until after I have registered, though it is less about superstition than it is just when everything happens to fall into place. I have been thinking about it though, and with registration coming up in about two weeks, it is time to start getting serious about it.

A BREAKTHROUGH!

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I am pleased to report that I managed to completely and totally stick to my plan to write 1,000 words a day towards Closer while I was holiday. Okay, it works out to a daily average of 1,000 since I did not have the opportunity to write every day, but I made up for missed days when I did sit down to write. It is a bit funny to think that a month ago I was writing about crossing the 10,000 mark, and now I am rapidly approaching 30,000, which will put me at roughly the half way mark of editing. My original plan to have Closer revised by the end of the year is still a longshot, but the odds did get a little better in the last two weeks.

While I was on holidays, I also watched Cruel Intentions. It was during this viewing that I reminisced. The movie came out in 1999, when I was sixteen, impressionable but not yet a writer (That would happen the following year). Despite that, I cannot deny the impact that Cruel Intentions, and its soundtrack (which remains flawless to this day) had on my teenage self, and eventually my writing.

Unfortunately, Cruel Intentions does not hold up as well as it could have over the years. The acting is stilted, the dialogue a bit… camp, but despite the film’s flaws, it still has an impact on me to this day. Jonothon is a protagonist/antagonist blend in Closer because that is the way I saw Sebastian in Cruel Intentions. People are people, and that does not always mean that a hero is purely a hero, or even for that matter, heroic with their intentions.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE



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I have, on average, maintained my goal of 1,000 words a day while on vacation. This has surprised me the most, believe me. Halfway through my vacation, with another half to go. Time to see if I can keep this momentum up; if I do, I will be well over the 20,000 mark by the time I go back to work next week.



Just a short excerpt this time, because the portion I wanted to republish needs a bit more work, and a little written about it.



Calvin fiddled with his pencil as Ms. Gardner droned on about the importance of family in the text of King Lear. Her words drifted through one ear and out the other, as they often did when Calvin sat in this English class. All Calvin could think about was the conversations that he and Jonothon had had in the last few days. He never thought in a million yeras that Jonothon would agree to go on a date with him… or rather, admit that he had feelings, Calvin corrected himself. He still was not sure if he was going to accept Jonothon’s invitation of giving it a try. He truly felt that he needed the time to figure things out. He could not explain where these feelings for Jonothon were originating from, but he did know that they felt real to him; a feeling that he never really had with Angela, he now admitted to himself.



Calvin pulled himself out of his reverie in time to hear Jonothon debate whether the theme of family in King Lear had any cultural impact in today’s world. Calvin had always admired Jonothon for being able to articulate himself so well. There was a firm man that reside underneath Jonothon’s meek exterior, something that Calvin had only seen glimpses of in the past. Jonothon caught the smile on Calvin’s face as he spoke, and returned it with an awkward one of his own. Jonothon had not said two words to Calvin all day, respecting Calvin’s wishes for the time, but the Calvin was beginning to realize that the silence was driving him a bit crazy. He secretly hoped that Jonothon felt the same way.



Rubbing his left eye quickly, Calvin attempted to refocus his attention back to his King Lear text, but found his mind almost immediately drifting back to thoughts of Jonothon. He did not want to admit it, but he was definitely falling for Jonothon.



As the bell rang and students gathered their text books, Calvin decided it was time to approach Jonothon and make the first move. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and stepped over to where Jonothon was shoving books into his own bag. “I was going to the library to study for chemistry duringmy spare, care to join me?”



Jonoton’s smile in repsonse beamed like a ray of sunlight. “Sure, that would be great.”



As the two of them strode into the hallway towards the second floor library, Calvin tried to form the words in his head. He wanted to make sure he got the exact perfect combination of words out that expressed what he was feeling for Jonothon. “I want to go for it,” he finally said, quickly, suddenly forgetting about the perfect coupling of words and just throwing caution into the wind. “I want us to go for it.”



Jonothon stopped in the middle of the hallway. “Are you sure?” He asked. It was clear to Calvin that there was a lot of skepticism in Jonothon’s tone.



“Yes,” Calvin admitted. “This entire situation is driving me crazy. Of course it’s what I want.” Jonothon smiled for a second time, even brighter than before. “So Mister Stroom, shall we continue on to the library?” Calvin held out his hand.



“We shall, but listen, I’ve got to his the washroom first. Would you mind taking my bag to the library? I’ll only be a few minutes.”



“Sure,” Calvin replied with a smile as Jonothon passed over his bag. Jonothon smiled in return before hurrying off in the opposite direction towards the nearest boys washroom.