A Great November

Monday, December 1st, 2008 07:37 pm
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Know what I really enjoyed doing last month? Not writing a novel.
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
1545 words in about four hours. That's close to seven words per minute.

Now I remember why I was underslept in college. I can type fast and I can think deep, but the chi flow between the two in the medium of English is often blocked. With my attention span of greatness I could write for hours, writing post-dated checks to my pillow.

6464 words after five days puts me at 12.9%. 16.9% would be on pace, but I'm counting on some power writing later in the month. And I've already written more words than I wrote in 20 days for my aborted story last year. I can do it.

Not So Productive

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 11:07 pm
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
I just heard a remix of Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds" with an English guy responding to "What were the skies like when you were little?" with "The skies were grey and monotonous and dull... It used to rain a lot. Like it is now." As the question gets asked again, he gets annoyed and repeats himself.

I was just reminded that today's the last day of Daylight Saving Time, meaning tomorrow is my least favorite holiday. I made sure to save up lots of daylight today; while my car's oil was changed and tires rotated, I basked in the sun in a black T-shirt and wrote. Words have been somewhat stilted, the flow isn't there. Hopefully I can build that soon, or 50,000 could be painful.

1790 words today: Ding - Establishing the New (Cauldron), Cui - Bringing Together. I did spend a bunch of time trying to convince my cat to eat antibiotics in pill pockets and/or wet food. I also donned my pirate hat and plundered Vitamin Cottage of its oat milk and cat food. But 1790 words on a day off is pretty pathetic. I want to keep writing for another hour, but I think it would be more frustrating than cathartic. At least I made a tasty potato/egg/onion/paprika/cinnamon omelette for dinner. I hope I'm able to fend off the cold lurking in my throat.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Thursday, November 1st, 2007 10:04 pm
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Zhun - (Difficulty at the) Beginning done. 778 words. Here we go again!

NaNoWriMo 2007

Friday, October 26th, 2007 09:11 pm
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Last year I spent three weeks working on a lame novel and then thought of a better story. In ten days, while sick for much of it, I wrote over 14,000 words toward a goal of 50,000.

Next month (National Novel Writing Month 2007), I'm setting the odometer to 0, but picking my I Ching-based story up. I can write 50,000 words in November, especially since I already have a good sense of characters and my chapters are already laid out for me. You can watch my status or sign up yourself and add me as a "writing buddy." When I got to the "Novel Title" section I figured Sixty Four Chapters About Eight People was a good choice. iTunes random comes in handy yet again.

I've got Huang's translation to use as a base in addition to Wilhelm's. Venerable though it is, some of Wilhelm's quirks were starting to get to me. For one, I found it hard to discern what he meant by key concepts like The Abysmal (water). Wilhelm also had sections I could tell were poorly translated because he used words (such as "God") for which I know ancient Chinese lacked an equivalent with the same philosophical baggage. Huang grew up in China and studied with an old I Ching master when the Communists had banned the book. He explains how the ancient ideograms represent the meaning of the hexagrams, explains senses of the words and a bit of their linguistic evolution, and mentions word choices from other notable authors (Wilhlem and Blofeld). His goal for the book (which took several years and 7 complete drafts) is to provide a faithful translation without interpretation and to provide the reader with an understanding of the gestalt of the hexagrams in addition to their meaning in isolation. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this edition by December, but you could certainly do worse than to buy a copy of The Complete I Ching: The Definitive Translation by the Taoist Master Alfred Huang. (I do object to the term "Taoist Master," but I suppose it helps the book sell.)
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
I got out of bed at 11 or later this morning (in part because I stayed up watching an episode of the original Star Trek series). I spent the next several hours expelling phlegm from my upper body, but my head felt pretty clear. I cleaned the felavitory (aka the cat box), had relationship discussions with Tam, had a shower, and started cooking turkey soup.

After my slow and steady vegtable cutting and other cullinary business I sat down with a bowl of said soup and read Wikipedia articles about the Chinese lunisolar calendar (maybe I should get an account so I can link this to the Chinese remainder theorem), Chinese numerals and number systems, the five elements, and I Ching. After that, I stopped sneezing and dribbling every five minutes, meaning I get 6 hours of sick-free time in a four day extended weekend.

At Tam's request I then proceeded to make some tasty baked apples, drink tea, and watch Family Guy. None of this involves actual writing, so my impressive word count for the day is 716. Those words are all in Lake over Water, ䷯: Oppression (Exhaustion). It's the shortest chapter I've written so far, and I've been unsure of how I was going to make it work for at least a day. I can tell that what I wrote is somewhat incongruous with the traditional wisdom of the hexigram. It also doesn't do a very good job of defining the two characters, who I'm still not sure how to handle.

My total word count is 18927, 13719 on the I Ching story. However, Wednesday and Sunday together came to only 1,000 words (a decimyriad), so at least I'm above 2,000 on a good day. Since I'm clearly not going to reach 50,000 by Thursday, I suppose I should start measuring progress in hexagrams, of which I've done 12 (20%). I'd like to hit them all in a "month," say by dawn on winter solstice. In the hexagram measure, I need to pick up the pace a bit, especially since I don't have another four day block to sit around in my gnome pajamas and only leave the apartment to throw trash in the dumpster. But it's comforting to see that I could write more than twice as much in less than half the time when I've got the right subject matter
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
In the last 48 hours I've written 7127 words, bringing my word count for the month to 15,632. Too bad I can't be sick and on holiday all the time.
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
In three days (if you combine yesterday and today as a single unit of mostly sick) I've exceeded my word count for the first two thirds of the month. Combining the two stories (hey, creative word count inflation is legit), I've written 10,509 words this month. More than 20% to the goal and a whole week left. Is it achievable after all?

It's a good thing that [livejournal.com profile] tamheals was feeling uncomfortable about a Thanksgiving with my parents and had invited friends over. My fuzzy-brained possibly contageous self didn't have to drive anywhere, could snack on tasty food throughout the day, and didn't expose professional wind instrument players and octogenarians to scratchy throat/heavy mucous/spacy head illness.

Thanks to Tylenol and Jasmine green tea, I wrote my best text segment yet this evening. Comments welcome. Please pardon the forced line breaks and LaTeX formatting. I'm writing a novel with vim, you see. (As he hits <ESC> to go back and change a word.)

Chung Fu / Inner Truth )


Thursday, November 23rd, 2006 01:56 am
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
So my enthusiasm has been derailed by a bug or virus. In my body, dork, not on my laptop. Tam and Melissa have been watching Family Guy and Weeds. If my forehead wasn't smoldering and my throat scratchy, it would be a distraction. Only 396 words today, but my brain made some future progress. I'm doubting I can hit 50,000 by next Wednesday. But I can probably do it in a month. National Novel Writing Phase Shift.

When you read this, be thankful you don't feel like I did at seven o'clock. Be thankful that you're well enough off to be an Internet user. Be thankful for the balance in your life. Be thankful you enjoy your family's traditions. Alternatively, be thankful that you don't have to spend an awkward evening with them this year. Alternatively, be thankful that you can look forward to putting it behind you and participate in the Great Holiday of Sloth and Gluttony.

And remember, Thanksgiving ain't over until you eat the last slice of pie.
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
In two nights I've amassed 3297 words, well over half of what I produced in the first two plus weeks. Ku (mountain over wind, Work on What Has Spoiled [Decay]), Kuei Mei (thunder over lake, The Marrying Maiden) and Wei Chi (flame over water, Before Completion) have been fluidly well above the 762 word target and haven't induced extensive amounts of living room wandering and detail googling as my other attempt, so I think this version has potential. To hit the target I'll need to go hermit style on Friday through Sunday, but even if I fall short I've got the motivation to keep the ball rolling.
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
I was planning on giving up on NaNoWriMo today, since I've written 5,000 words in 20 days. But then I got an idea.

When I signed up, most of the things I wanted to write were not novels (including musing about the word count algorithm and a 50,000 identifier program). I picked an idea with a guiding structure, but my heart wasn't really in it. It was a novel I could write to prove I could, but it wasn't what I really wanted to write.

So with ten days left, I did what a good project manager would do. Shelve the floundering Borges-inspired project and start fresh on something better structured to writing 5,000 words a day.

The I Ching provides eight convenient characters: Heaven, Earth, Thunder, Wind, Water, Fire, Mountain, and Lake. It also provides context for all sixty four possible combinations of those characters. If I write 64 short stories of 782 words, I hit the magical mark. And I think writing eight short pieces a day is more manageable than writing 45,000 words of a novel in ten days. Plus I can "cheat" by starting each "chapter" with the translated text for each hexagram.

It's time for I. Wish me Chin.

Update: 963 words in an hour and a half; only 76 from cheating. If I can keep that pace up for the balance of the month, I win.
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Two thirds of the way through November, I'm at 5208 words. If I average 3747 words per day between now and the end of the month, I can reach 50,000. I need to cast Bigby's Productive Graduate Student for that kind of output. I've sort of been assuming I'll power through over Thanksgiving Day weekend, but my weekend performance so far has been lackluster.

I don't think I'm going to make it, but that's okay. Having a novel I "should" be writing has put me in a mindset that anything I do should be more rewarding than making progress for my novel goal. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time naked in the sun, taking a luxurious shower and grooming, watching Ohio State vs. Michigan, and attending a massive food consumption and long-time-no-see conversation event hosted by [livejournal.com profile] netgnomemom and [livejournal.com profile] netgnomedad with logistical support from [livejournal.com profile] mythicsagefire, and spending quality time with [livejournal.com profile] mollybzz. I've felt like writing spare time programs, but put that off for post-novel. I've relished in good sleeping opportunities. In short, I've not done a lot I don't usually do, but I've made sure I fully enjoy all my activities and wastes of time.

Get To Work!

Sunday, November 12th, 2006 11:05 am
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Day 12 of 30 (three fifths) and I'm at 2226 words. What am I doing looking at the Internet?


A Home for Words

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006 12:32 am
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Quarter of an hour past midnight. No words written yet, but I've set up my nanowrimo subversion repository. For the non-programmers among you, subversion is a versioning file repository. Make a change to a file, commit it to the repository. Collaborators can then get your changes, make their own, and commit. If you realize you got rid of something and want it back (that was a good paragraph after all...) you can go to any point in history, view the differences, and restore the whole file if you want.

Even if I don't succeed, I'll at least get geek points for keeping a novel in a novel place.

Great Minds...

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 09:45 pm
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
Naturally, April March has inspired others.

A November Project

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 09:40 pm
flwyd: (escher drawing hands)
It's official. I'm crazy. I've just signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's a contest where you (the insane author) competes against time (whose champion is named November). If you write 50,000 words between the beginning and end of the month, you win.

I toyed with a few story ideas I've had floating around for a while, but I'm not sure they're a good match for the self-induced lexical diarrhea that is NaNo. Instead, I'm taking inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges's story A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain, which mentions the imaginary book April March. Borges described a book whose first chapter describes a scene. The following three chapters present mutually-contradictory scenes from the night before. Each of chapters three through five gives a different interpretation to chapter one. Then nine chapters follow, each with a possible chronological antecedent to one of the "second level" chapters, making nine narratives in all.

Borges says Herbert Quain predicted his imitators would employ a branching factor of two instead of three, and that's where I'll start. If the chapters turn out to be 7,000 words each then 7 chapters will take me to the target point; the remaining 1,000 can be a prologue. (Wow. My only tangible connection to 7,000 words is that it's a sizable research paper.) If 4,000 words turns out to be a more reasonable chapter, I'll branch three ways.

If you're looking for something crazy to do this month, sign up! If you're not interested in any of my novel ideas, ignore my posts with this handy Escher icon.


Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 10:38 pm
flwyd: (mail.app)
I wonder if a program which uses 50,000 identifiers counts for NaNoWriMo.
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