Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2011, and I am ready and raring to go!
I know I said all the writing stuff would go over to The Storyteller from now on, but this is a funny story. At least, it's funny now.
It was not at the time.
I've mentioned NaNoWriMo before, the National Novel Writing Month challenge. We have the month of November, 30 days, to write 50,000 words of a first-draft novel. I'll be putting a button in my sidebar much like the one I had for the Coffin Hop, but this one will take you to my page at the NaNo website, where they keep track of my word count and I can post little excerpts if I like. There's one there now... but first, the story.

I've mentioned Scrivener, the writer's program I got that helps to organize and plan your writing as well as write it. I have never been an organized writer. Never. Short or long, I've never done much planning before I sat down to write, I just sit down and write. I have a Christmas Novella called the Christmas Spirit that runs for 66 pages, and that's cut down and revised. The original 1st draft ran 81 pages, and I didn't plan a damn thing. I just had the idea, sat down and wrote. Well, I sat down a few times and wrote, but you get the picture: I never planned. Much like this blog. Just about everything you see here is all 1st draft, no real revision (other than spellchecker) and it's off the top of my bald, shiny head.
Scrivener was allowing me to plan. I had character sketches, setting sketches, and a whole scene-by-scene rough outline. I had a floor plan to the house the story takes place in! Can you be more prepared than that?
So this morning I woke up to the first day of NaNoWriMo, and I felt confident. I had the day off. I'd start out working on my most recent story for Handsome, and then switch at 10:00 and start kicking the rear cheeks off my NaNo project!
The morning rolled along and I worked on my son's story. It was going well, the story was flowing and I was almost typing it was coming out so fast. Then came 10:00. I closed Handsome's story, went to the bathroom (essentially 'going before I left the house') and clicked on the Scrivener icon on my desktop.
I hit it again.
I began to freak out, slowly but surely.
I said "Screw the shortcut!" and went to the windows menu.
Not only did I get nothing, but it told me it was still looking for it from the last time I asked for it.
My heart was racing like I was running in a race, but I was sitting in my desk chair.
My freak-out had begun in earnest.
I went to the program list and tried to bypass the Shortcut.
Nothing. I went into the C-drive and attempted to start the program from there, right where it lives. When I got there, however, I discovered that great whacks of the program were missing.
Hold on, I'll say that again.
I discovered that great whacks of the program were missing!
I paused to take a breath. Actually, I paused to remind myself to take a breath. By now my heart was pounding in my ears so loudly I couldn't hear that my breathing had stopped. I won't even go into the numbness that was setting in.
Okay, I thought, all I have to do is re-install the program, right?
But what, thought back some evil, heartless, Devil's Advocate portion of my mind, what if one of the great whacks that went all Walkabout was all your saved work? What happens if -
By this time the rest of my mind had its fingers in its ears and was singing "What's Under the Scotsman's Kilt" at the top of its lungs while I went into the program manager and uninstalled Scrivener. I mean, what was left of Scrivener. I went to the NaNoWriMo homepage and used their link to get to their trial version of Scrivener, the exact version that had just gone off the rails on me.
Now, I live in a kind of Internet Bermuda Triangle. My download/streaming speed does strange and unusual things for reasons no one can explain. So today, when I attempted to download Scrivener, which is 43.3 Megabytes, the download stalled out.
At .7.
Not 70, or even 7. POINT SEVEN.
I tried it again.
Point nine.
This program that was supposed to be helping me so much, that I had looked so forward to using, that I had been counting on to make my NaNo experience this year flow smoothly and easily, now had me standing up in the middle of my room, staring at the screen and yelling "You mother#$@%ER!!"

Eventually it downloaded, and I found that my saved work was still there waiting patiently for me to find it again. I sat down to write with an unopened Hydrive beside me. I had so much adrenaline flowing through me by that point I think adding a little caffeine to my blood may have actually caused my head to explode!

So now I'm behind on my NaNo project. You can see an excerpt at my NaNoWriMo Author's page. Just click on the "Novel Info" tab.

There. That's the story of how Scrivener eased me along the path to novel writing.
Not exactly goose dirt through a hot tin horn.

Talk to you later!

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