Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 7 (Bonus) – I Was So Close to the Endgame

Ugh. You guys, seriously, I am right there.

I was fully intending on being stubborn and writing all night, posting at 4am that, “We’re in the endgame now.”

But then I realized that what stands between me and that endgame . . . is the fight at the end of the second act. A fight which, mind you, I did not plot out.

And realizing that, I immediately switched gears to, “Oh. Right. There’s not a chance in hell I’m getting through that tonight.

However, I will get to the third act tomorrow. It’s not as perfectly timed, sure . . .

. . . but eh–this week was still awesome writing-wise.

Because it yielded some of the best changes I’ve ever made to any WIP.

And yielded some important lessons.

Lesson 1:
Additions Always Require Smoothing Out,
No Matter How Free They Seem

When I initially decided to add what I’m calling “the Cave Scene,” it wasn’t the first time I added a scene in the middle of a WIP. My first novel, Exiles, got slowly destroyed by those additions, and, conversely, the original version of Memory was greatly improved by a single addition to its second act. In both cases, however, the expansions were massive; the original version of Memory saw an entirely new area added–an area that is so iconic to the finished product that I can’t believe the very first draft of the story didn’t have it.

Anyway, the difference with my current WIP is that the Cave Scene was–and still is–a small addition; I didn’t invent a whole new area for the heroes to adventure through–I just expanded the events in an area they had already passed through.

For that reason, I thought the Cave Scene would be super free (“free” in this case being a gaming term for “so easy that it’s guaranteed”). I thought I’d add it and it would be no problem whatsoever.

This week, however, I realized that wasn’t the case.

Because although the addition was good, the tone it brought to the story really needed to be reinforced. In my notes, I wrote that the relationship the Cave Scene created needed “room to breathe.”

And I am . . . so grateful that I didn’t plow through to the end because giving it the room it needed (by editing everything after the cave scene) would have been so much worse if the entire novel was already finished.

As it was, I was able to edit the (effectively) three chapters after the Cave Scene to give my characters room in this week alone.

It required that I rebalance the emotions at the end of the second act . . .

. . . but I seriously cannot state enough how much better the end of act two is now. It is ridiculous how much better the story is now. I wish I could just spoil it, but I can’t, so just trust me: the end of the second act is so much more intense and meaningful that I get chills imagining the horrible alternate reality where I went with the version from last week.

Which sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn’t.

And on that note . . .

Lesson 2:
I Need to Take More Time with My Outlines

My process is going to need a little tweaking because, while I was laying out the changes that needed to be made this week, I realized . . .

I really should’ve figured this all out in the Outlining Phase of my process.

And the only reason I didn’t . . . is that I was hellbent on getting the outline finished in time for Camp NaNoWriMo.

This is maybe the umpteenth time I’ve realized I need to slow down my process, so I’m just going to respect it.

And admit that, yes, I need to slow down a bit with it.

In particular, I need to give myself another month or so after I finish writing an outline to evaluate it. My writing group helps a lot in this regard, but I need to instate a dedicated, chill Review Phase for myself, the goal of which really needs to be heavy, objective criticism.

I know I just said the Review Phase would be chill, but I guess that just means I’ll be sipping wine while I harshly judge my outlines?

Cause the harsh judging part needs to happen; I re-e-e-eally should’ve caught that the Cave Scene needed to be added before I wrote past it. I feel like I lucked into it (which I know is impostor syndrome bullshit because I spotted the need for the Cave Scene myself and literally took extra whole weeks to add it in a way that felt interesting and natural to the rest of the novel).

But I guess what I’m getting at here is that I really don’t want to be surprised by the need for this kind of addition ever again.

The Goal for Book 3 / 5: Make sure the outline is whole before I start writing. I know things will change in the final product, but I never want to add another Cave Scene.

With that said . . .

The Book 4 Lesson Tally So Far:

  1. It’s okay to take days off when you’re writing your novel. Speaking personally here, I am not a machine and my healthy pace naturally includes days off.
  2. Ffs, plot out your fight scenes.
  3. Giving yourself options for ways to complete scenes > stating the one way a scene can go >>>>> telling your future self to have fun deciding what a scene is like. That’s not my job, Past Louis! That’s your fuckin’ job, dude! Who writes, “Have fun making this up!” in an outline? Motherfucker, you make it up!
  4. There will inevitably be changes from the outline, no matter how methodically you plot it out.
  5. However, rushing an outline and accidentally leaving it incomplete is definitely not good. It creates a ton of work for you at best. In other words, it’s okay to chill, maybe actually celebrate finishing your outline, and return to it with as objective an eye as you possibly can.

To close out here, I’d like to add one final lesson. It’s small and I came to it by accident last night, after I finished writing at 2am.

To put it concisely, it’s okay to tell impostor syndrome to fuck off.

I’m not advocating for everyone to start talking to themselves, but last night, I saved my MS, closed it, and immediately thought, Oh man, I barely spent any time writing today though.

To which I said, aloud, “Dude . . . I just spent six hours writing. Six fucking hours. It wasn’t all day, sure, but my ass was in that chair for six hours. Fuck you.”

And I’m sharing this because, seriously, if there’s any concept it’s ever okay to curse out, it’s impostor syndrome when it tries to make you feel bad for only writing for six hours.

Seriously, give it a shot. Because no matter how little writing you did today, your ass was still in that chair, and if anyone or anything wants to downplay that achievement, you deserve to tell them to fuck off.

~~~

That said, I’ve decided I’m tuning out after this; no additional work on the MS–I’m just going to relax.

If you’re new here, I post every Sunday. However, I am a vampire who wakes up at 2pm and (sometimes) plays D&D for hours on Sundays, so posts may come out in the wee hours of Monday morning, like this one. And, yes, I played today and my warforged fighter got one-shot by a super powerful mage who crit with an ice spell; I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like 37 damage after I succeeded at a Dex saving throw. Definitely one of those “Holy shit–am I about to skip death saving throws?” moments.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this post, please leave it a Like so I can decide if I should keep doing posts like this one or move on to other content.

And if you really want to find out how much further I get with my WIP by next Sunday, you can always give my blog a Follow via the button on the left sidebar (on PC) or the top right drop down menu (on mobile).

Either way, take care, stay hydrated, and remember that if you’re an aspiring writer, you’re seriously working a second job and you deserve all the respect in the world for that.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 6 (Bonus) – We Are Not Yet in the Endgame

Yep, I was overconfident about how far I would get this week.

To give myself credit, I haven’t written yet today (although I started the day with my first D&D session in over a month, so I feel totally justified). My point is, technically, I will be further along by 2AM.

However, full disclosure–staying honest–I just finished adding the new chapter yesterday.

In part because, as per usual, a bit of writing that I thought would be easy turned out to be a struggle.

Specifically, the chapter I added was full of what I’m calling “micro-events” that needed to be smoothed out. This may sound weird, but the flow of dialogue and character actions is something I obsess over, so there were plenty of times this week where I sat back in my writing chair with a sigh, rubbing my eyes as I tried to decide things like, “Should Memory mention that she saw this plant before Kole sees them?”

“Does Kole realize what this structure is before Memory tells him?”

“Wouldn’t Memory stop Kole from firing his gun in this fight scene because they’re still trying to lie low?” And then, with a huge sigh as I remembered that Kole used his gun for the entire fight scene in the outline, I grumbled, “Yes, she would.”

Tiny logic problems that absolutely dictated how natural scenes felt.

They dominated this week’s sessions because I’m so hell bent on making sure my story beats feel organic (particularly important for a mid-novel addition, in my eyes).

Still, I’m not bummed; I did finish the addition, and I do like it.

I just decided that I’d post now instead of 4AM because today’s session probably isn’t going to add words; if anything, I’m going to lose words as I neurotically comb over the addition to make sure it works. In particular, there’s one line of dialogue that I have to adjust because it creates a moment of one-sided tension between the protagonists when they’re supposed to be getting along. If nothing else, I imagine tonight is going to be me editing through the addition and the chapters that follow while carrying that one line of dialogue in the back of my head, trying to find a place to put it (because it’s a juicy moment of conflict that adds to their arcs so well that I can’t just drop it).

That said, I’m keeping this one short today.

I will go out on a limb and say there’s no chance in hell I won’t be in the endgame by next Sunday.

Absolutely impossible.

No way.

Not happening.

Definitely not going to regret posting any of this.

Nope.

Really tempting fate here.

But seriously, I’m creating a public, social deadline for myself here. Because I re-e-e-e-eally need this novel to be over and the one way to make sure I stay focused is to give myself a genuinely over-the-top, public deadline.

So yeah, are you kidding? Pssh! No way I’m not getting to the endgame by Sunday! Please! Easy! Poppycock!

. . .

I’m gonna go write! Bye!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 5 (Bonus) – Yep–I’m Basically Adding a New Chapter

Hey, everybody.

I am fresh off of a meeting with my writing group and feeling wildly optimistic about Memory.

Because it turns out I didn’t waste my week outlining an additional chapter for the novel!

Well, I say an additional chapter, but really I’m just extending an existing chapter and adding a fight scene to smooth out its pacing.

To back up and explain here, I nearly got to the end of the second act of the novel a week ago; I was all set up to do the last fight scene that I didn’t plot out (still looming over my head), thus closing out that leg of the novel and entering the endgame.

But . . . I realized there was an important moment missing from the novel. Something pivotal to a character’s arc, essential to them making an important decision later on (in the scene directly after the point where I stopped a week ago). And I knew that I couldn’t just weave that moment into existing scenes and wash my hands of it.

So I decided it’s super-in-depth, probably-more-work-than-it-needs-to-be-and-thus-totally-on-brand-for-me editing time, baby!

Basically, I’m doing an extensive reorganization of an existing chapter, which sounds daunting.

But, thankfully, it isn’t.

I’ve already spent the past week outlining the reworked chapter, taking a bit of extra time with it because I wanted to run the idea past my writing group to make sure I wasn’t being overly critical. Thankfully (?), they agreed that it sounded like a good idea and the concept I had for the fantasy monster the protagonists will encounter in that chapter got some ooh’s and ah’s. That means I’m all set to write the chapter itself (which will thankfully include copying-and-pasting specific dialogue from the original chapter because it still needs to be in the new version).

All of that should only take about two days. Especially because I outlined the new fight scene in advance.

“Ha ha! I learn!” Louis screamed, loud enough for his neighbors to hear through the wall. “I le-e-e-earn!”

All things considered, I should be past the second act and into the endgame by this time next week.

Wish me luck, everybody. Fingers crossed that nothing explodes.

~~~

Thanks for stopping by. If you want to find out if I actually make it to the third act of my novel by Sunday or if I’m out-of-my-mind-overconfident again, you can always give this blog a Follow. If you liked this post, please consider leaving a Like because it’s the only way I can gauge what posts all of you enjoy.

That said, take care, stay hydrated, and grapefruits are delicious. Bye!

Shifting Posts Back to Sunday

Hello.

I’m writing this to explain that, hey, I’m moving posts back to Sunday now that NaNoWriMo is over.

And, yes, I realized yesterday that A) I did not mention that shift in my last post and B) I should mention it on here, via a quick post like this one.

But then I got distracted with life stuff and forgot.

My bad.

But also, yes, I am going back to posting on Sunday.

Specifically Sunday night this time because the update to the Memory draft that I want to post requires waiting until after my weekly writing group meeting with my friends.

Because, essentially, there is a sizable addition I believe I have to make to Memory–a new chapter I have to add–but I’m waiting to talk to my friends about it first.

And by “waiting” I mean “plotting out the entire chapter in advance,” because I need to be able to roll right into writing it and finally finishing the second act or I’ll lose my mind.

Will this week have been a total waste of my time??? You can find out on Sunday!

Until then, stay safe, stay hydrated, and check your cane tips.

Seriously, if someone you love uses a cane, get them some extra cane tips–unless they already have extras. If they don’t, they should, because those things always wear down, and if they don’t have them, they won’t be able to walk–trust me, a cane that slips all over the place is a dangerous goddamn nightmare.

Anyway, see you Sunday!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 4 – Omfg, Plot Your Fight Scenes

Hi. Oh man, it’s me, your favorite chronic late-poster.

I’m keeping it pre-e-e-etty short this week.

Because I am . . .

. . . exhausted.

If you don’t know, I have a bad leg that’s been acting up for the past few days. That coupled with a much needed reset to the diet I’m on (now totally cutting sugar) has me absolutely wiped out.

And so does Memory.

I’m still writing it, of course, and my protagonists are on the cusp of entering the third act / endgame.

But man, some of the sessions this week were like pulling teeth.

In particular, there was one encounter Memory and Kole had with a bad guy. An encounter I thought would be a breeze to discovery write.

And I. Was. So wrong.

Full Disclosure: I spent at least three days on that one encounter.

Which wound up being about five pages long?

It was terrible. One of those instances where I wrote the encounter one way, then realized it wasn’t working, wrote it again, realized there was a whole other angle I could take it in and finally settled into an “okay for now” version that I know is gonna get heavy edits.

Just the worst.

I don’t know why I thought this wouldn’t be a problem for me, but the real tragedy here is that this encounter was the second out of three encounters I didn’t outline! The next one is the very end of the second act, which I’m going to get to by the weekend.

In my defense, I was convinced Future Louis would love writing these fight scenes. Unfortunately, it turned out Past Louis was an idiot.

On the plus side, another huge lesson learned: it’s not just okay to detail fight scenes in my outline, it’s kind of essential.

Setting descriptions? I can handle ’em on the MS.

Dialogue? I can discovery write it all day.

Fight scenes? No.

I am not the cartoon-loving cherub I once was, who collected video game boss music and wrote twenty-page-long fight scenes. That just isn’t me anymore (except for the collecting-boss-fight-music part) and I’m grateful.

But I also have to remember going forward that fights need to be plotted out every single time or I just get lost in the possibilities.

That said, please, wish me all of the luck for this weekend.

Because that last fight scene I didn’t outline has a pretty extreme power imbalance between characters, so I just know it’s going to be an absolute nightmare to write.

Godspeed, Future Louis!

~~~

That’s all for this week. If you want to find out how incredibly hung up I get on that last fight scene–or if you want to find out how long it takes me to finish this NaNoWriMo novel, Memory–you could always give my blog a Follow. And if you liked this post, I’d appreciate it if you gave me a Like because it’s the only means I have to gauge the content people like to read on here.

Until next time, take care, stay safe, and you should think about what you’re gonna Mandela Effect. I know it’s a long shot, but if you ever get godlike powers, you gotta Mandela Effect something. For me, it’s “bunana.” If I get god powers, the first thing I’m going to do is make it so half of the world thinks it was always spelled “bunana” while the other half remembers “banana” . . . So, long story short, don’t give me god powers. Things would get real annoying real fast.

Bye! Have a good weekend!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 3 – A Time to Chill

Fun fact: I did not remember that A Time to Kill was a movie until I wrote the title for this post.

Was not a pun, is not a pun: I have just come to terms with the fact . . . that I really need to relax.

Week 3 was fine. In fact, Week 3 was wildly productive–I have been averaging 2000-3000 words a day for the past few days, and my protagonists are halfway through the second act of their adventure.

However . . . I have come to some super important realizations in the past few days.

Thing the First: I Am Not Going to Win
Camp NaNoWriMo 2021

I know that sounds terrible, but I am in no way saying that I’m giving up on Memory.

Seriously, I’m going to finish the novel–in part because my process works so well for me that I now find it harder not to write for the day? It’s a weird feeling, but I just naturally think of how I’ll start the next scene and then–with the same energy I used to have when opening Twitter–I just pop open my MS like, “Man, I wonder what Memory and Kole are up to?”

That said . . . I am definitely not reaching 50,000 words by the end of the month.

It’s absolutely because of those days off I took earlier in the month. Lesson learned: if I didn’t take days off and just stuck to the 1,666 daily word goal, I definitely could’ve hit 50,000. But, I did take those days off on the first two weeks, and the result was a quota that kept getting steeper and steeper.

Until today, the first day where I needed to write at least 3000 words. Which would be followed by six additional days, in a row, where I also needed to write 3000.

And, full disclosure: I tried to hit that 3000. That’s why I’m posting so late.

But I ultimately realized . . .

Thing the Second: I Don’t . . .
. . . Need to Win NaNoWriMo?

I’m laughing as I write this because, when I wrote the first version of Memory, this same thing happened.

I took days off, fell behind, “lost” NaNoWriMo 2014, and then finished the book anyway a week later.

But here we are, seven years later, and it’s going to happen again.

The important part being: yeah, just like last time, you bet your ass I’m finishing Memory regardless.

It’s just going to take an extra week or so.

And.

That’s.

Fine.

If it’s happened twice now that I just needed days off and taking them didn’t stop me from finishing a WIP, then I guess the occasional day off is just part of my process now. The same way belting out a novel in (roughly) a month after outlining it for (roughly) a year is my process, so are the days when I wake up, look at the ceiling, and just say, “No.”

I don’t know why it took me so long to accept this. I guess I got caught up in the gaminess of National Novel Writing Month. But I just don’t need to satisfy the win condition of Camp NaNoWriMo 2021. Especially because I knew from the start that Memory was going to run longer than 50,000, as I said in Week 1 post. I guess I just wanted to be able to say that I won?

But I think being able to say, “I tried to win NaNoWriMo twice with the same story and I failed both times the same exact way,” is significantly funnier and more on brand for me. It’s a story and I like those.

And also, I like being able to breathe. This whole air-in-out thing is oddly comforting.

~~~

That said, yes, I’m going to keep these posts running until I finish Memory, because I’m staying honest about it.

If you’d like to find out if it’ll take me one or two extra weeks to finish this WIP, you can give me a Follow via the button on the left sidebar on PC or the upper right drop down menu on mobile. Likes are also always appreciated as a way to gauge what posts you guys enjoy and what content I should focus on.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and if you’re struggling to do something in a way you think it needs to be done, accept that maybe it’s okay to do it the way you want to.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 2 – Oh Yeah, I Jinxed It

I’m still writing.

That’s the important thing.

But . . . man did I take a few hits this week.

Hit #1 – Saturday

I smacked right into another logistics question about a location. Basically, once again, I didn’t thoroughly plot out the floor plan for one setting. Not because I didn’t realize I should, but because Past Louis thought that Present Louis would have fun designing that setting in prose.

. . . Nope.

Dear Past Me,

Never again with that shit, please.

Seriously, any logistical worldbuilding I have to do while writing the novel absolutely destroys my flow.

I got back on track by Sunday, but spending Saturday fumbling with set design sapped an entire day’s worth of Write Energy.

Lesson learned.

Hit #2 – Tuesday

I have to set this up by admitting that, on Monday, I made the total, honest mistake of just taking a day off. That was my bad; I had a rule in week one that I’d save days off for when something really, really wasn’t working, not for leisure.

But I was exhausted from Saturday and Sunday’s bullshit, so I took Monday off.

And then Tuesday hit amazingly hard.

Not writer’s block, but pure, genuine depression stemming from my personal life.

And, of course, I am aware that personal drama can significantly influence my writing–in fact, my entire writing career is about five years behind because of how often depression dominates my time. I have experience with it–I’m almost used to it–but something that had been building all weekend hit extremely hard on Tuesday and I spent . . . about 98% of the day in bed, staring at the ceiling. If you’ve dealt with genuine depression, you know what I mean.

Here’s the good thing though: I still wrote on Tuesday. 1000 words, belted out in the remaining 2% of the day. Which is as good a test as any for my process; if I wrote on Tuesday, I can write on pretty much any day.

And that’s going to be my approach going forward: I’m upping my daily quota to 2,000 words (because I can get to 2,000 pretty easily and 1,666 isn’t going to cut it with the way I’ve wound up writing this draft) and I’m writing every day unless I am genuinely unable.

I have a lot of catching up to do, but even if I finish 50,000 words by July 31st, the stone cold truth is Memory won’t be done by the end of Camp NaNoWriMo regardless. At 18,323 words, I only just got to Chapter 6 out of 21.

That means–with some quick, terrible math–that from here, there’s roughly 50,000 left to go.

I’m going to do my best to keep at it, and hope that nothing terrible happens in the next few weeks.

And I’m also going to end this post here.

If you want to follow my progress, feel free to give this blog a Follow.

But either way, take care, and stay hydrated, especially if you’re drinking tonight–like I am.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 1 – I Can’t Believe It’s Working

Hi.

And also, seriously, I can’t believe the Promises Outline approach is working as well as it is.

If you’re new here, I’m Louis Santiago, a writer from New York who’s been trying to perfect his writing process for sixteen years. Before that, I was in the Post-Its phase of writing (all worldbuilding, no actual writing–outside of a few embarrassing short stories).

But in 2005, I started my first novel, which was extensively worldbuilt and very heavily outlined. It didn’t work; the outline was so detailed that it fell apart the moment I veered off course in prose (the terrible ripple effect of, “Well, let me alter the rest of the outline so it works with this change I just made–and now that I’ve taken 2 days to do that, let me go back to the novel and . . . what scene was I writing again??”). The end result was bad, even after a bunch of edits and a 2010 rewrite.

In 2014, I went the total opposite direction and tried discovery writing a novel. Which was a lot of fun . . . but ultimately very, very messy. I felt like I was getting somewhere, and even submitted that 2014 novel after a few edits, but after a handful of tries, I stopped, because something was still off.

Now, on July 8th, 2021, you’re joining me right at the point where I actually think I’ve figured out my process. It took listening to class sessions that a highly successful, published author posted on his YouTube (Brandon Sanderon is a saint), and a bunch of sessions with my private writing group, but I think I’ve finally got it.

And it’s such a positive, optimistic moment in my life that it’s actually scary.

The answer appears to be both pantsing and plotting. Kind of.

The pantsing part of my brain is sated by worldbuilding and (I know this is going to sound weird but) outlining; I still write detailed outlines so I can hit all of the same dopamine highs, but I also leave those outlines wide open to change.

So the plotting side of my brain can follow a roadmap of possibilities to a finished product (although I’ve discovered that part of my brain loves to just have details cleanly laid out so he can just knock out scenes).

And that is the part that I cannot believe is true, because I was so sure it would be a massive hurdle.

I thought I would get to the first scene and be like, “No. I want this to be completely different,” thus falling into the trap from my first, 2005 novel.

But, even though that has happened . . . I still managed to make the outline loose enough to totally allow for it.

As of right now, I am 11,278 words into Memory, a really heavy rewrite of my 2014 novel. And, yes, the fact that it’s a rewrite makes it easier to belt out–totally.

But whatever. Let me have the giddy disbelief that my excitement from last week’s post didn’t die 20 minutes into July 1st.

Especially considering there have been those tough moments:

On Day 2, I got crazy over-zealous and wrote two day’s worth, absolutely burning myself out for a day, which has made me hyper aware of and respectful to my internal reserves of Write Energy (it sounds less weird than “Write Juice”).

On Day 4, after a break, I struggled with a scene that had a strange flow in outline; I assumed I would be able to use some elements from the original novel, but they really didn’t fit the tone of the rewrite, so I had to make a bunch of tweaks.

Day 6, was an absolute nightmare because I didn’t clarify the location where a scene took place (to specify, not the immediate setting, but where that setting was located in a city). I spent the entire day contemplating extremely esoteric details of a scene that amounted to two pages.

I cannot believe that went through that gauntlet of momentum killers, and I’m still in it. That I have a functional process. I didn’t just give up on Day 6 and turn on video games. I didn’t convince myself I needed a week away just to come back having forgotten every last plot thread.

Sixteen years and I finally found a way to reliably write something whole–in roughly 2 years.

I am so goddamn excited for the next steps. The goal is going to be making that 2 years canon (with worldbuilding, outlining, writing, and editing).

But I’m also going to have to work out an outline for the rest of the Memory series. And then Aixa. Hand and the Tempest.

Just naming those projects made me starry-eyed.

I’m going to end this post here.

And hope that the next time I write to you, it won’t be to report that the other shoe dropped.

Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2021, Feels Like Fate

I know that’s a little dramatic . . .

. . . but I just finished editing my outline. Not rushing or stressing. Just at my normal pace, I just so happened to finish editing my outline an hour before July 1st–giving me exactly enough time to write this post.

And that outline didn’t need massive changes–the finale was just good.

And the tweak I made to an earlier scene yielded a significantly better scene.

And there was a thunderstorm as I edited the last bit (and, seriously, if you don’t know, rain and thunderstorms are my ideal setting for writing because of Jurassic Park [a major inspiration for me as a baby writer]).

And a heat wave just ended–on the eve of Camp NaNo.

I don’t know if that’s the requisite amount of things to qualify for auspicious, but it sure feels like it to me.

I would have nerves . . .

. . . if I wasn’t so goddamn pumped to write this novel.

My Camp NaNo 2021 Info

My name on nanowrimo.org is “LouisSantiago.” Feel free to add me if you’ll also be toiling away on a project this July.

My project for this Camp is Memory, a rewrite of a novel I originally completed in 2014. I spent the interim seven years working on other projects, learning more about my novel-writing-process, and outlining the rewrite.

My word goal is 50,000, the lowest total you can select because, at this phase of my writing career, I am extremely concise. There is a chance I won’t write a full 50,000, but we’ll see.

My daily goal is going to be 1,666 words, which would be a bad omen but, ha ha! Fuck you, world! I was a Goth in high school! Your supposedly evil numbers mean fuck all to me! Ha ha!

My weekly total is going to be roughly 5 chapters (the outline tops off at 19), which is probably less lenient than it feels. But, hey, I will at least accept the shoulder-tension-release I’m getting from that potential wiggle room.

~~~

That said, I’m ending this post here, because my ritual lately has been waking up super early and getting to work right away, and I refuse to break that–especially tomorrow.

This will be my post for this week because I want to give Camp NaNo and Memory all of my attention. I figure for this month, I’ll switch to Thursdays, and then go back to business as usual in August.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and, please, no matter what happens, don’t let other people slow you down. I don’t mean that in a weird, lone wolf way. I just mean that if there’s anyone in your life who’s constantly telling you not to do the things you want to do, or manipulating you into second guessing yourself, fuck them. Your dreams don’t have to conform to what they want–ever. Be yourself. Live your truth.

And let’s fucking do this.

I Finished the Outline for Memory

Finally.

I can’t explain how good it feels to finally get over that hurdle. To finally be one step closer to writing anything else.

I love Memory, and I’m excited that I have ideas for its sequels, but man am I ready for the next steps in my process: making a few tweaks to the outline, and then using it to write Memory next month for Camp NaNoWriMo.

And, after that, moving on to a new project for the first time in six years.

There’s some additional tweaking and retallying I need to do between now and July—in particular, I need to bolster the one plotline and add additional stakes to the finale—but I am still in what I’m now calling “forced celebration mode.”

Which means I’m continually loading up my outline, staring at it, and realizing that I can’t work on it because I’m knee deep in what I call Recovery Mode, which is when I’ve just written a bunch and I know from years of experience that, if I push myself to do more, I’ll just be writing nonsense that I’ll have to delete later (no shame if you can push yourself, and I’m not advising anyone else to do this, but I have a finite amount of Write Juice [or whatever you want to call it] and I know to respect when it runs out session). Usually, that dearth of Write Juice (I like it) just means I stop writing for the day, but when I hit a milestone, I usually like some breathing room for a few days.

Which mean I keep telling myself that it’s okay—that I don’t have to work this weekend—and then I just kind of . . . wallow? No—wrong word. It’s not a sad thing.

“Not-work!”

Not-working is what I’ll call it.

Never in my life have I experienced it, but yes, I am in a perpetual state of not-working, where I just kind of roll around my apartment, lying and sitting in different places, thinking about the outline, excited to get back to it, but also accepting that I need a break.

Things I have done in my determined quest to just fucking relax for a minute:

Watched Escape from L.A. for the first time.

Played through Superliminal for the first time—in one sitting.

Read a ton of Ultimate Spider-Man, which I’m trying to catch up on after finishing Spider-Man: Miles Morales. There’s something addicting about experiencing all of the different iterations of Miles in succession (I just finished Spider-Man: Miles Morales recently and I watch Spider-Verse all the time). Every version of Miles’ story does some things better than others. For example, the video game version of his mother, Rio, is the only version with an actual personality. Video game Uncle Aaron is also the best. The comics have the best version of Ganke (the video game version of him is such an over-the-top, app saavy genius, that the moment he suggested monetizing the app he made–so people could contact Miles and ask him for help–I couldn’t get over the idea that he’s a silicon valley monster waiting to happen). When it comes to Miles himself though, there is no beating Shameik Moore’s smooth, reluctant-nerd Miles from Spider-Verse; I love comic book Miles’ reluctance to be Spider-Man, and I appreciate video game Miles consistently speaking Spanish (the only one who actually feels Afro-Latino), but cool, confident (eventually) Spider-Verse Miles is such a departure from Peter Parker’s routinely-beaten-down-little-guy, that he’s definitely my favorite of the now many, many Spider-People out there.

Anyway, I also suffered through Tenet (which I might rewatch to do A Writer Watching—I have so much to say).

I tried Goat Simulator, which I played for longer than I thought I would, but got tired of pre-e-e-e-etty quickly. The weird thing about being me and taking forever to play / watch / read anything is experiencing trends out of sequence. So, to me, Goat Simulator is just bad Untitled Goose Game. I know Goat Simulator came first—I know it birthed both the trend of wacky animal games and the trend of intentionally bad sims, but it is impossible to divorce myself from Untitled Goose Game.

I started Rime, which is absolutely beautiful so far. Having just finished Superliminal and intending to move on to Okami (which, yes, I’m playing for the first time), Rime turned out to be the perfect transition.

But the thing that I’ve done most recently to celebrate is ending this post here. Just keeping it light, possibly going back to sleep for a bit while it’s still cool. I have this last day to relax before rolling into edits and Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m just gonna kick back.

And, yes, I will be posting here about my Camp NaNoWriMo run. I’m not going to write a series like I have in previous years, but, at the very least, I’ll share my profile name here so anyone else who’s doing Camp can friend me. We can cheer each other on!

Anyway, if you enjoyed this post and want to know when I’ll be posting an absolutely fierce, needlessly brutal takedown of Tenet, you can give this blog a follow on the left side bar (on PC) or the top right drop down menu (on mobile).

Until next time, stay safe, and I’ve been saying it for a while, but seriously, stay hydrated for the Summer. You can absolutely do that however you choose to, but I’ve found that, since going full Summer Mode (no coffee, just ice water and caffeine-free iced tea) I’m so much better at dealing with high temperatures that it’s insane. Seriously, I feel like an idiot: for two years, I lived in AC that facilitated me chugging iced coffee, not realizing that doing that made me a Grass type Pokémon; anything over 80 degrees was super effective against me. Kicking caffeine takes some work, but I’m so much more functional in hot weather now that I’m like, “Ah. ‘Summer Mode’ is going to be a rest-of-my-life type thing, huh? Got it. Cool.”

Anyway, bye!