National Novel Writing Month 2012 Page 36

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  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 10:13:44 23,920 posts
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    Only today and tomorrow to go on official time - although I suspect I won't be the only one writing to finish the story after the whistle blows (again).

    I read an article the other day that suggested that sleep deprivation and/or alcohol intoxication were good for creative endeavours, so, a sleepy/drunken night or two won't do you any harm =)
    Unless you're doing something important the next day, if you're a medic, a cop or operate heavy machinery, forget I said that.

    Last reminder to BACK UP your work. Nothing sucks hot salty balls like losing an MS.

    @evild_edd
    Congrats! *\o/*

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • Salaman 29 Nov 2012 10:50:29 19,602 posts
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    Metal, you made mention a few pages back of paying particular attention to my feedback as I'm a first time reader. Which made me realise that I've not really been paying attention much to that angle of things.
    I've been absorbed in your story and I've been doing this mental substitution thing where anything that doesn't make perfect sense is ignored so I can carry on in the story. Not useful for your purposes. =)

    I've been paying a lot more attention in the last few chapters to what bits of your story I just skip over for ease although I could/should question them.

    So here's the "first time reader's feedback".

    Assumptions I've built up of your story world that I've since noticed might not be completely right.

    4L:
    Your first chapter start with location "London Constabulary", which in my mind = Police. So Walker is a cop and he goes out to meet someone.
    You've later described other locations as 4L Better Living 4U Constabulary S.O. Quarters, 4L Better Living 4U Constabulary Support Quarters, 4L HealthWize Hospital.
    So although I initially took it that 4L - police force. I'm starting to realise that 4L is probably some sort of conglomerate or corporation which provides medical services, police services, housing, etc.

    Mars / Eden
    Mars is mentioned early on but it's significance isn't very clear. It's clear that it's of big significance to your main character but there's not a lot of elaboration. As it keeps coming up, sometimes under the name of Eden. It becomes clear as the story goes on that it's something quite big and important and a lot of people died on Mars somehow and Sway was in the middle of it. Sounds like he was trying to prevent some tragedy but failed and is seen by (parts of) the public opinion to be at fault even.

    Sway
    His character/temperament is established quite quickly.
    His back story less so. It becomes clear as the story goes on but that seems to be more incidental as his interaction with various people in his life automatically ads backstory. You do end up building a mental from nothing and then adjusting it as new info becomes available.

    Sway/doc
    Their relation is fairly clear. It's spelled out that they're exes in the scene when Sway asks for the Doc to come to the stacks very early on. I assumed for quite a while that doc just had one leg (or 1.5). Nothing more special than say, if he had brown or blond hair. Although as it's clear that doc was also on Mars, I'm starting to suspect he actually may have lost it during whatever happened there?

    Sway/Walker
    A bit less straight forward to follow. I slotted Walker into the role of Sway's superior, then added "and sort of surrogate dad" to it. Or adoptive dad actually?

    augments/implants
    So Sway can smell really well and some people have special UV eyesight and stuff. I slotted that into "brave new world" attributes. We live in the future. People are biologically enhanced.
    As I got further in, it seems this is actually more related to 4L and the role the person has to fulfil there. So the company provides "upgrades" to certain people they make them better equipped at their task? (why doesn't the doc have any then? Surely they could use some).
    is it also tied to rank? At what age would one get it? The aunt's story about the budgie in the fridge made it sound like an anecdote from Sway's childhood. "I can smell your dead budgie in the mousse" sounds like something a kid might blurt out at a dinner party. Although I guess with Sway it's also something he would do as an adult.

    Heppa
    Not much in terms of a frame of reference here. Sounds like a stimulant used to help people stay alert and better at their jobs. It's clear this is regular and not a one off/ad oc thing. So it's supplied by 4L at regular intervals. Sounds a bit "druggie" as the descriptions of people nearing refresh sound like a druggie craving his next fix. I initially assumed a refresh meant that they popped in at the sick bay, hopped on a stretcher and were put on an IV for their "refresh". After I assumed they inject themselves at some pre-assigned time.
    Only in one of the recent chapters where the woman threatens Walker and fiddles around in his armpit where she finds his heppa pump does it become clear it's an inbuilt system with automatic release.
    From the context of the story I should've realised sooner probably as the refreshes are mentioned often without anyone mention of anyone ever sticking any needles in themselves or each other.
    There is a mention of black heppa somewhere in the first third of the story. That's not really clear. Blue heppa was mentioned in one of the later chapters. There's not much there to help make sense of this though.
    How many types are there? What's the "scale" they go by? Is it tied to rank?

    Controllers
    I assumed them to be of little consequence. People walk into a place and say "controller, lights at usual levels" or some-such, making it seem to me like the "computer" in Star Trek or something. It's there. It does what you tell it to do.
    There were some comments here in this thread about controllers at some point which made me think they may have more significance than that though. If that's the case it hasn't come across.

    Hierarchy
    I don't know much about military/police hierarchy. I assume whatever hierarchy is present mimics that and would be clear to someone familiar with it. I could follow who's above who in rank but all the jargon around that (DI, CI, DCI, Super, sergeant, detective ...) gets substituted by "policemen" as I read them. It's an integral part of the story/setting. So I wouldn't worry about.
    Although to be fair. You listed a who's who on the left of your blog page and that seems to be in hierarchical order. So I have no excuse. It also mentions how to pronounce Szwejkowski, wich I only just noticed.

    Clow
    I got a distinct sense of "missing backstory" here. The scene makes it clear that he's a very high up guy who knows Sway and Walker and has an affection for both. Some personal relationship or some prior dealing with each other. But there's not a lot to go on here.

    Friends of Eden / Deering
    These two elements make it clear that this whole Eden thing is actually a pretty big deal and a large part of Sway's back story. Although how it all fits together ... ?
    Presumably Deering's father died on Mars (but so did many others) and Sway isn't keen to see him there for. But he did see family members of lots of other people that died on Mars. So what's different about Deering?

    I think that's it. Overall, I've been sucked into the story. As I started reading I just built up a picture of the world the story was set in.
    Anything incongruent is then either ignored if it's minor or if it's major I readjust the picture of the world I had built up.
    To help facilitate this process, maybe some "Terry Pratchett" style intro section can be used to establish the universe the story takes place in, sketching out some key aspects (4L, heppa) and backstory (Sway/Eden).
    Some signposting here and there throughout the story would also help.
    That said. It's an enjoyable read and I wouldn't have much issue with it as it is. There's some sense of not seeing the full picture bit it doesn't distract from the current story. Only though some comments in this thread here did I get a real sense of "hey, I really seem to be reading this differently than some other people who know the characters and stuff".
    Not something other first time readers would be confronted with. :-)

    My apologies for the wall of text everyone who isn't MD. =)
  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 11:15:36 14,716 posts
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    @Carbon_Altered

    I can't help but think that whatever is controlling the Titans has a good reason to destroy the Moon. Although I do count "For the fun of it" as a good reason :-)

    Some imaginative combat.

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 11:20:35 14,716 posts
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    @Salaman

    Thanks, the car is right hand drive so the driver is facing down and towards the passenger doors. He fires through the window, Sarah heads down the street to the next car. Reynolds then heads up and around the front of the car, behind the driver. He hits the door because the door is between him and the driver.

    It does need some clarification.

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 11:29:35 14,716 posts
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    @MetalDog

    Good luck for Friday!

    Day 28:

    More interesting developments, looking forward to the next update.

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • Salaman 29 Nov 2012 11:40:17 19,602 posts
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    TechnoHippy wrote:
    @Salaman

    Thanks, the car is right hand drive so the driver is facing down and towards the passenger doors. He fires through the window, Sarah heads down the street to the next car. Reynolds then heads up and around the front of the car, behind the driver. He hits the door because the door is between him and the driver.

    It does need some clarification.
    Aah bollocks. Of course it's a right hand drive. I did imagine the scene as you describe it (once there was mention of the driver being pinned between car and door) but in my mind they were on the pavement on the right side of the street, the car pulled up next to them on the right side of the street with the driver sat at the left. It's identical really but mirrored. =)
  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 12:01:56 23,920 posts
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    @Salaman
    That's tremendously useful, thank you!
    I'm very happy that story has taken more priority than any confusion, but I definitely need to fix a few bits there. I'll probably end up fixing more than I plan to right now, that's just the way it goes =D I always err on the side of not explain enough, than too much.


    b]4L = you are bang on with them, I feel okay with you realising it as you went along

    Mars/Eden = a problem I was hoping to avoid but quickly realised I couldn't which is causing problems - some of this is in the wings waiting to become clearer along with Clow and the Deering thing. Hopefully without boring the arse off of anyone who read the last one, but I may well need to throw more explanations in sooner.

    Sway/Doc = since Sway is asexual and was straight before he lost his libido, they've never actually been a couple. But I'm not sure how much I care if anyone thinks they were... I'll ponder this =D

    Sway/Walker = surrogate father, all good.

    augments/implants/Heppa = I'm thinking I do need to clear this up way more than I have. Perhaps a scene early on with Balestra giving a rookie his first Heppa port and induction will cover most of it. I'd rather do it in scene than in a big chunk of exposition, that's for sure and we haven't seen Balestra actually working much so it'll probably slot in nicely.

    Controllers
    I have flat out said that they're made from people at least once. Not really a problem though, I don't think. Let's see how we are at the end?

    Hierarchy
    Lifted straight from the Metropolitan Police, because I was too lazy to come up with a unique one and it's fine if you sub in 'policeman' for all their crazy acronyms anyway.


    @Technohippy

    Cheers dude!
    Pedal to the metal until midnight Friday, after that I'll ease off a bit and start alternating writing with reading again, yay!

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 12:07:34 14,716 posts
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    @sunjumper

    You're right, whether you hit 50,000 words or not isn't as important as having a good story with significant writing being completed. The same goes for MetalDog and others.

    I personally like the nano as it seems I work best with harsh deadlines(probably why I like working on games as well), however not hitting the word count shouldn't be the failure. The only real failure is not trying at all.

    Anyhoo - onto chapter 8:

    "When they arrived at their destination the Sun was still the sole ruler of the the immaculate blue sky" - 'still reigned' might be better?

    “To hot.” - Should be 'too'

    Suggestion for the edit is to have a song for each chapter. I know its been done before, but it would also set the mood as well provide an interesting insight.

    "The looked away losing itself in thought for a moment" - 'She looked away'?

    Another good chapter, I'm enjoying this quest.

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • sunjumper 29 Nov 2012 12:30:07 3,248 posts
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    @TechnoHippy
    Thank you for your feedback. It is good to see that some of the stuff I am trying to achieve is actually working and having a few words on it does help gauging how well I am doing with it.
    Also the typo lists are quite useful because this is exactly the stuff that I will totally miss when it goes into revision.

    Another Thing I learned is that there obviously are some stories that need more mental work to get going, not that I wasn't also a bit lazy, but this time last year I was already past the 50k mark and that had not been easy either, but the story moved faster in my head than I could write it while with this one it is the other way round.


    @EvilEdd
    Thank you for your kind words. I am feeling a bit avatarish today but it could be worse. Also the weekend is near!
    The most important thing is not the word count (although it is essential to get your shit together. At least until you have built a routine that let's you write regularly no matter what), the most important thing is actually sitting down and writing a story.

    I think MetalDog did not make it across the line in time, but had she given up we would not have her spectacular Mars story, which was a) awesome and b) finished in its own time.


    @Salaman
    You sir are like the super hero of feedback. o_O

    By the way, do you read different when you look closer at the stories to provide feedback? Has that given you a different kind of apriciation for the things you read?


    @MetalDog

    Congratulations to you general success. Seeing that for a fresh reader things can seem extremely strange and somewhat confusing, yet having them stick around page after page so that they find out what happens next is an incredible achievement.

    Oh and:
    I told you so!
    :-P
  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 12:48:47 23,920 posts
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    @sunjumper
    You always tell me so, it's true.
    There's a happy middle ground between explaining absolutely everything and my innate minimalists approach - it's a case of finding it. People who have read the earlier stuff always worry a bit too much, so I need fresh victims to find the holes =D

    You're going to finish this music story, you are going to rock it and punch its lights out and generally make it your bitch.

    /hands you some pepper spray and a riot shield

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • Salaman 29 Nov 2012 12:51:55 19,602 posts
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    sunjumper wrote:
    @Salaman
    You sir are like the super hero of feedback. o_O

    By the way, do you read different when you look closer at the stories to provide feedback? Has that given you a different kind of apriciation for the things you read?
    :-) I like reading and I prefer my reading in English, so whenever I'm in the UK I go into WH Smith or Waterstones and come home with a pile of books to work my way through in the months after. So this thread was quite cool. A whole bunch of stories to get tucked into. Although in the end I think I started following about 4 of them regularly (MD, Carbon, TH & Blerk). I hope to check out the others afterwards as well.

    I read it normally, not in "review mode" where I'd be so concentrated on finding stuff to provide feedback on. It'd ruin the enjoyment.
    I just read it as I would read anything but I open a reply in this thread in another tab and when I happen to spot a typo I copy paste it and read on. When I finish the chapter, I'll flag up anything that "stuck out" for me. Either where I was wrong footed, the timing sequence seemed odd or the characters behaviour seemed to not make sense with what I happened to know of them so far.

    I have no ambitions in terms of writing but I'm massively impressed by what everyone has churned out in just 4 weeks time.
  • sunjumper 29 Nov 2012 13:01:46 3,248 posts
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    I have to say Salaman that it is really quite impressive to see you quite analytic approach to reviewing while you still maintain your focus manly on the story being primarily in it for the ride.

    What you is is very commendable and even if you are not writing stories you ended up writing quite a lot this month (maybe even 50k?) so there is a maybe not that obvious achievement hidden in there.

    By the way you might want to consider getting an e-book reader as that will allow you to lug around entire libraries with you, providing you with reading materials for the ages to come. While I still love real books with their paper pages and the smell of ink and paper, I now hardly ever leave the house without my Sony reader.
  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 13:51:36 14,716 posts
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    I second that emotion - your feedback Salaman has been most useful.

    Anyway I've finished chapter 44, so I'm now at 49,500 words with two chapters to go.

    http://zenapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/faust-20-chapter-44.html

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • Salaman 29 Nov 2012 14:16:51 19,602 posts
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    TechnoHippy wrote:
    I second that emotion - your feedback Salaman has been most useful.

    Anyway I've finished chapter 44, so I'm now at 49,500 words with two chapters to go.

    http://zenapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/faust-20-chapter-44.html
    You utter bastard! :-D
    I had assumed Reynolds dead when he went down on the pavement with a hole in his forehead.
    Then he's miraculously alive despite a bullet lodged in his brain. Only to be killed off towards the end of the chapter!
    You writer types are cruel.
  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 14:36:52 14,716 posts
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    We are all bastards :-)

    My 50,000th word is 'to' a bit boring, but I'll take it :-)

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  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 14:48:22 23,920 posts
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    *\o/*

    Congrats Techno!

    How the hell are you people finding your exact 50k word?

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • sunjumper 29 Nov 2012 14:59:25 3,248 posts
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    @MetalDog

    Time to ease into the right mindset by reading some stuff.

    MetalDog I choose you!

    Chapter 23
    A strange moment in the story. As I watch Walker suffer I remember his arsehole past. What distracts me more is not his torment (despite what he was in his youth being killed now after all these years by a form of modern crucifixion isn’t really activating my justice glands) but wondering how a simple hormonal block has turned him from the little shit he was into the man he is now. Strange. Thought provoking. I do like it even it does detract slightly from the situation.

    I can’t help but notice your tendency to physically break your protagonists. (This is neither good nor bad; it is just a pattern that I see emerging.)

    Oh congratulations for the stack mega murders. When I read this part I think to my self that those idiots are killing Walker, it won’t take long. Then I remember all the dead people in their bathrooms, how long they survived and I stop myself thinking ‘Hmm.. these people probably know exactly what they are doing.’
    As always your descriptions evoke tons and tons of empathic pain. I’m cringing as I read.

    Loyalties with the constabulary. Good one! Reading that made me remember how many people in the police force are mainly bound in loyalty to their colleagues and their station in the first place. In the end it is also a very human observation. A little thing but I like it a lot. It’s details like these that raise your stories above the average.

    See! I told you that that tech guy was not to trust!!!

    Hard, harsh chapter. In this case this is a compliment.


    Chapter 24
    Clow is still around? My, my. Things are getting more and more strange.

    OK I must say that Yew is an awesome character. I still don’t like him, but I respect him. What you are pulling off here is one of the hardest things to do as a writer. Establish a character who is mostly unlikable but show the world through his eyes so that I as the reader understand his behaviour.
    I come to realise that my dislike of him is also enhanced by me being firmly on the side of Balestra (congratulations by the way for having a gay character who is a normal human being who just happens to prefer his own gender over the other) and Swejkowski.

    So far Yew is grumpy and bitter. But he is good police.

    Very strange that Yew is supposed to take exactly that plaque with that motto away from the apartment…

    Good one. By the way the Yew perspective is pretty much that of the ‘new guy’, apart form the Heppa and 4L stuff, he is the perfect source of background information for the shit that went down on Mars. Also what might help is to reinforce that Eden is a Mars colony, it could be a code name or some strange cult thing or stuff like that.


    Chapter 25
    (How did I miss three updates?)

    Good one. More Yew turning into a human I can relate too.
    No big surprise on the plot twist here. It would have been too easy otherwise.
    It does look like controllers might become a bigger part of the story here again.

    Any chance of seeing Joe again?

    Good stuff.
    Very good read and as always a source of inspiration.

    Now I am off back to my own project.



    @TechnoHippy
    Congratulations to reaching the 50k!
    I am looking forward to reading your finished first draft.

    Edited by sunjumper at 14:59:51 29-11-2012
  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 15:41:39 14,716 posts
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    I found mine by keeping an eye on Word's word count.

    And the penultimate chapter is done:

    http://zenapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/faust-20-chapter-45.html

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • Salaman 29 Nov 2012 16:21:32 19,602 posts
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    Techno:


    Dan did give me something useful to go one.
    on

    The demon it occupied every time zone simultaneously.
    Wasn't sure if the it was intentional. The use of it in the sentences after makes me think it is but just in case.

    Piece by piece the demon disintegrated. Its dying howl echoed across the Internet before it too was deleted.
    Wait, did you just delete the internet? 0_o

    Edited by Salaman at 17:24:00 29-11-2012
  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 17:00:27 23,920 posts
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    @Salaman
    Can you spoiler that please? =) I have a lot of catching up to do with Techno and I don't want to know stuff and things too much!

    @sunjumper
    Cheers dude
    I'm glad you're thinking along those lines with Walker, because that is something I was planning to tackle head on - it's even in the notes (unlike a whole slew of stuff that just turned up and gatecrashed the party).

    Yew is a gatecrasher. He wasn't supposed to get this much screen time, but I decided I needed him as a viewpoint character a week or so in - the Walker/Balestra/Sway switching was feeling too incestuous and I wanted a viewpoint that didn't much like any of them to break it up. He is, as you say, dead handy for revealing Mars info to without having people who already know all that stuff sit around and discuss it, which they're unlikely to want to do.

    I thought about bringing Joe in during the note-taking stage but that's really something big and emotional for Balestra to deal with in some other yarn, I reckon. Joe's not with 4L anymore and he's not a Tech anymore, so he'd be no use to them in an investigative capacity.

    Have a beer and write like the possessed =)

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 17:02:16 14,716 posts
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    Maybe I did :-)

    Anyway I am done, the first draft comes in at 51,367 words.

    Here is the final chapter:

    http://zenapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/faust-20-chapter-46.html

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 20:08:03 23,920 posts
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    Well done Techno!
    Excellent work, looking forward to finding out how it all turned out for the cast I met earlier in the month =)

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 20:24:39 14,716 posts
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    Thanks - I hope you're getting some progress on your next chapter?

    I was going to take a break, but I'm back to editing Conversations.

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • MetalDog 29 Nov 2012 20:53:30 23,920 posts
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    I've written bits of two and have a third tapping me on the shoulder and they're all arguing over which order they should go in.

    /beats unruly scenes with a stick

    Save your first draft off before you tinker too much, you're still all red hot and dangerous =D

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • TechnoHippy 29 Nov 2012 20:56:27 14,716 posts
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    Ah no, this is another first draft that has been fermenting for a month or so.

    My books, contests, reviews and author interviews on my blog

  • Deleted user 29 November 2012 20:58:19
    A dance for TH!

    /o/ \o\ /o/ \o/ _o_ \o/
  • MetalDog 30 Nov 2012 00:53:15 23,920 posts
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    @TechnoHippy
    Ahh, yes, that's safe =)

    The scene that won the fight:
    Day 29

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • sunjumper 30 Nov 2012 01:21:20 3,248 posts
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    Pre writing warm-up read.

    @MetalDog
    Chapter 26
    A girl not Balestras type? Who would have thought?

    Hmm.Not much to say I have to admit.

    The chapter is rock solid. Moves the plot. Maybe it is me being tired but it seems to lack some of the emotional impact that is so typical for your writing. Was this a chapter that you had to work through to get done?
    The descriptions are very good. The bleak scenario and the happy children are an interesting contrast. The ‘warden’ is an interesting character. In a way I feel that she needed a bit more characterization as she is an emotionally important character even if Szwejkowski does not admit remembering her.

    Still a rock solid chapter that gets the job done.
  • RobTheBuilder 30 Nov 2012 04:02:12 6,521 posts
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    After my work stuff detour I got back to writing today. Well done everyone who has finished, I plan to keep at mine and have it done in roughly the same time of possible!
  • sunjumper 30 Nov 2012 04:25:26 3,248 posts
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    39k

    On one hand it is a bit depressing that I only wrote 4k today. I was really hoping for a bit more.

    But on the other hand there's a new chapter done.
    At least I will get close. I also noticed that the NaNo page itself tells me that I still have two days to go instead of one.


    For better or worse:

    Update

    P.S. I noticed that under normal 'work-like' circumstances I can write roughly 1000 words an hour. I can also go on for about two or three hours before my brain explodes and I need a break.
    That is not to shabby if I do say so myself. I'm actually quite surprised at how much I can get done in an hour.

    Edited by sunjumper at 04:28:02 30-11-2012
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