Friday, 9 November 2018

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

Welcome to my second NaNoWriMo update! 😀

How was your week? I spent most of it typing up a storm. Well, there weren't any actual storms in my story, but there is quite a bit of drama, a lot of creepy stuff, and some pretty screwed-up imagery that's so vivid I keep getting lost in the words. And can't stop typing.

My daughter picked up some extra shifts at work, but was home at the beginning of the week, so I planned several 3k-word days. So I could write during the morning, and then take the afternoon off. BUT, once I got stuck into it, there was no point in halting the flow.

If the words are coming and the scene is unfolding in my head, it's best to keep going.

Anyway, here's how I went this week:
  • Monday: 14,425 (added 4289w)
  • Tuesday: 19,244 (added 4819w)
  • Wednesday: 23,395 (added 4151w)
  • Thursday: 30,203 (added 6808w)
  • Friday: 34,499 (added 4296w)

As you can see, I've passed the halfway point. In both NaNoWriMo word target AND my story. I'm still not sure how many words the first draft will be, but definitely somewhere between 50-60k. I'm hoping for 55k, but whatever it takes is cool with me.

The actual story is turning out even better than I hoped it would. It's creepy, intense and sometimes confusing--which is on purpose. LOL. There's also more drama than I expected, and some interactions between characters I didn't expect.

Monsters is turning out to be a very cool challenge that won't stop after the first draft. For this novel to work, the revision process will help tighten the vision I have.

But that's enough about the story. 😁

Hubby and I watched THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA on Netflix and it was SO awesome. I enjoyed it a lot. It's dark, freaky, brutal and fun. The character journeys were interesting and impressive. Loved how things were tied up, yet helped setup the next season. Hope there'll be more!

I liked it so much I picked up 8 issues of the comic book series from the Kindle store because they were on special. Very cool.

I also read an intriguing book called ANNIHILATION. Been meaning to watch the movie for a while but I wanted to read the book first. Now, we can.

Well, that's about it for another week. I'm mentally drained right now, so I'm looking forward to taking the weekend off.

I'm sure I'll still dream and think about my WIP because the story is coming together and racing towards the finish line. But no actual writing will take place.

Have a great weekend!

ELEVATION by Stephen King

Castle Rock is a small town, where word gets around quickly. That's why Scott Carey wants to confide only in his friend Doctor Bob Ellis about his strange condition: he's losing weight, without getting thinner, and the scales register the same when he is in his clothes or out of them, however heavy they are. 

 Scott also has new neighbours, who have opened a 'fine dining experience' in town, although it's an experience being shunned by the locals; Deidre McComb and her wife Missy Donaldson don't exactly fit in with the community's expectations. And now Scott seems trapped in a feud with the couple over their dogs dropping their business on his lawn. Missy may be friendly, but Deidre is cold as ice. 

 As the town prepares for its annual Thanksgiving 12k run, Scott starts to understand the prejudices his neighbours face and he tries to help. Unlikely alliances form and the mystery of Scott's affliction brings out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

It's no secret that I'm a Stephen King fan, so of course I couldn't wait to read his latest novella.

Scott Carey lives in the small town of Castle Rock. He's divorced but has a comfortable job working from home, and shares his house with a cat. He also has a peculiar problem. One he decides to share with his friend, a retired doctor.

Scott is losing weight, but still looks the same. No matter what he's wearing, or not wearing, the numbers on the scale don't change. Even when he's holding something!

His other problem is that his new neighbour's dogs keep pooping in his yard. And their owners happen to be a new couple in town--a married gay couple who is finding it hard to get their restaurant business off the ground because of close-minded fools.

But Scott's had enough of staying quiet, and decides to take a stand. While using his condition to his advantage, he hopes for a positive outcome...

He's done it again! King took a simple but mysterious seemingly medical condition, and turned it into an emotional story about friendship, tolerance and acceptance. 

The way so many of today's issues casually form some of the narrative is done well, smoothly layered into the main character's troubled condition. There is a message here, but it doesn't slap you in the face. Instead, it follows one man's decision to change, to deal with bigotry in an honest way. 

I also really liked how Scott speaks up when others judge without thinking, or bothering to get to know who they're badmouthing.

Whenever I pick up a Stephen King book, I know it's going to affect me in a lot of ways. And this story did that. It also swept me away to Castle Rock, and beyond.

Elevation is a short and sweet story that, in typical King style, hooked me in from the beginning. The mystery at the core of the novella is intriguing and freaky, which leads to a heartbreaking conclusion. The way everything turned out was bittersweet, because although it ends on a sad note, it's also nice because of the connections left in his wake.

And I HAVE to mention how beautiful this book is. It's hardback, the cover is lovely, the inside is pretty, and the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are lovely.

Can't wait to see what comes next for this very awesome author.

Elevation, October 2018, ISBN 9781473691520, Hodder & Stoughton

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)

This is a book that I've wanted to read for a while, so when hubby found a really nice copy during one of our thrift store adventures, I was super excited.

Area X is cut off from the rest of the world, and has been for a long time. It's why groups of expeditions are sent out to explore. But every time they are, something strange happens. Some expeditions end in murder, others in suicide, the latest were shells of their former selves when they returned. But new groups keep training and new professionals are sent out.

During the 12th expedition, a biologist, surveyor, anthropologist and psychologist are sent. And they're all female. Not that this will make a difference when facing such treacherous terrain...

Whoa. Wow! This is such an intriguing and unique SF story. I was hooked instantly. It's SO intense.

The narrator--the biologist--has such an addictive voice. She kept me riveted to the page because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, exactly what was going on in this world, and just wanted to know how everything was going to turn out.

This is such an intriguing psychological (ecological) thriller. The biologist's voice is strong, yet shy and even standoffish. Not to mention that she often becomes an unreliable narrator. She explains a lot about what she sees and what she's gone through, but conveniently leaves out important bits of information. She also seemed to struggle with emotion and relationships, which comes across whenever she talks about her husband--who was on one of the ill-fated expeditions.

I especially liked how the biologist talks about her surroundings. It makes everything come alive, her words filled my mind with amazing and impossible imagery about a world that is often hard to comprehend.

The mysterious and creepy vibes were addictive. The more I read, the more I got lost in this insane world. A lot of weird shit happens, and the writing style captured everything perfectly. Add a bunch of clever flashbacks to tie in to what the biologist discovers, and there's no way I was putting this book down until I reached The End.

After that ending, I'm really curious about where the other two books in this trilogy will take this story.

Now we can watch the movie. 😊

Friday, 2 November 2018

NaNoWriMo: Week One

Well, it's hard to believe... but it's that time of the year again. Yep, I'm talking about NaNoWriMo. Of course. 😊

It's time to squeeze in one more novel WIP before the year is over. Time to join a bunch of people from all over the world as we string words together until we reach the goal of 50,000 words. Or reach the end of what will (hopefully) become a first draft. Yay!

This year, the 1st of November didn't hit until Thursday, so I spent the first half of the week taking notes and getting a feel for the story. And was (pleasantly) surprised when I managed to map skeleton notes for the whole book. What? 😳

Usually, as long as I have the first three-five chapters figured out before starting, I'm cool. But this story just came together better than I expected.

So, here's my first word count update:
  • Thursday: 5,626w
  • Friday: 10,136w (added 4510w)

I was aiming for 6,000 words by the end of the week, but this is even better. That's four chapters almost written. I say almost because I stopped in the middle of Chapter 4 on purpose.

The tentative title for this book is Madness, and is a psychological YA horror story about a girl who's life is turned upside down by the monsters living in her new house. The challenge with this WIP is two alternating POVs that connect the past & present to reveal the horrifying events.

I'm actually enjoying this new challenge, and how well it helps the story reveal itself. I love dropping breadcrumbs along the way, as well as fairy tale references.

Looking forward to adding more words. Plus I love how the story is already dropping hints I didn't initially add to the chapter notes. I knew this would happen!

You know what else happened this week? We enjoyed Halloween, and even went to watch the movie on Saturday. It was SO GOOD! An honest and fun sequel with plenty of nods at the original, and unexpected angles. Loved it!

Oh, and our daughter finished her HSC exams. That means she's graduated high school, has completed her HSC and will now take a breather. As well as take extra shifts at work, and read. Not to mention play games, as well as just breathe without having a new assignment or test to prepare for. Congrats to her!

Well, that's it for this week. As usual, I'll be taking the weekend off so I can spend time with hubby.

Have an awesome one! 😀

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