Thursday, November 10

Project: Not A Fanfic

So last night I had a dream about this amazing novelling software that helped with planning, note taking, quote collecting, and making high-waisted Guess jeans fit. Just a fun fact that has nothing to do with the rest of this entry.

Well I guess it does, in a way, as it concerns novelling (novelizing? noveltry? novel-mongering?) I figure since I keep declaring myself a writer, I want to somehow back that up by talking about the stuff I'm working on. (You can tell by the elegant structure of that last sentence that my Pulitzer is in the post.)

I have two big projects on at the moment, which will hopefully both grow up to be novels. The first is an idea I had about eight years ago and have been afraid of tackling since – let's call it Project: Stone Cold Bummer (30 Rock reference!) because not only does it involve elements of genocide and the moral bankruptcy of wealth and feral children, it's also forced me to do a lot of research into factory farming and modern agriculture, which believe me is a stone cold bummer in itself. If you don't believe me, just google ‘factory farming’ and you'll see why I'm thoroughly depressed about the world. And then google ‘do a barrel roll' to cheer yourself up.

But anyway, the second project that's alive and kicking right now is my NaNoWriMo attempt, and perhaps the kindest name for it would be Project: Not A Fanfic (I like the colon in my project names - it has a Mission: Impossible feel.) I've attempted NaNo two or three times before, but always faded away because I never actually planned much beyond “I'm just going to keep writing until I get hungry.” But this year, I made notes. Hell, I even have an ending! And a beginning! The middle, though, is a slightly different story... or rather, a lack of one.

Notes! What is it about a new black pen on fresh white paper that gets me all tingly?

There's just the tiny matter of this blank page.

As for the (incredibly kind though not highly accurate) name of Project: Not A Fanfic... you see, I've been watching Supernatural quite a lot lately (soon we'll have a whole blog entry devoted to the deranged excellence that is Misha Collins) and it's possible that a few elements of the story are shamelessly stolen from inspired by the Supernatural franchise. 

It's not a big deal, so maybe I'm referencing tiny insignificant things like a character (or three) and maybe the overarching plot or even a forbidden angel-human gay love story - but come on, what adventure fantasy doesn't include that these days? It's practically a given! (Like hobbit-wizard relations with homoerotic undertones. Or lightning-shaped scars that hurt when one is near a bad guy who killed one's parents.) I'm critically addressing the tropes of the genre! It's not copyright infringement if you're consciously troping, right? Right!

So Project: Not A Fanfic is roughly a quarter through its first draft, and it's been a bit of a mission to pull out of my brain (or out of the ether? Let's pretend my brain isn't made of ether) and get onto paper. I think part of the problem is that the devil-monkey on my shoulder – the same thing that tells me it's okay to have that third cup of ice cream or stay up past 2am watching Comic-Con panels on youtube – realised early on that I was serious about this project. Some people's devil-monkeys organise flat tyres, friends who call crying in the middle of the night, and computer viruses (*spits three times* *crosses self* *gives the monkey ice cream*) to keep them distracted from the work at hand. My monkey lacks this sort of initiative and creativity – it just makes me stare blankly at the screen, mind soaked in self-doubt, and convinces me to take a break every thirty seconds for either coffee or the bathroom (one habit tends to enable the other.)

So this project is alive largely due to the glory of the productivity steroids woven into Dr Wicked's Write Or Die. The web app is free and quite useful, but I highly recommend giving this god among men ten bucks for the desktop version. It's great because you can customize how harsh you want 'punishments' to be (I'm sensitive and easily spooked, so the screen going red is quite enough for me without the soul-shattering sound effects) and you can customize a bunch of other stuff too. It really is a lifesaver if you've got to write a first draft in a hurry and / or you suffer from devil-monkeys.

In case anyone cares, my devil-monkey looks roughly the same as the Chicken Licken orangutan, but mine wears those kitsch little light-up devil horns you find in every Cardies on Halloween.

Is it bad that this is one of my favourite ads ever? I love the music and the puppetry and the fact that this guy looks more like a strung-out junkie than a fried chicken enthusiast. But I can't think about those hot-wings without feeling a little sick. I won approximately a metric tonne of them once... let's just say the devil-monkey made sure they didn't last long.

Editor's Note: Sorry about the impossible amount of ellipses and brackets in this entry. I'm definitely in first draft mode... (and ellipses... will always be a bad habit... from my fanfic days... don't they just... imply so many... impossible.... to... articulate... feelings...?!?!)


  1. Haha! I like your last scene. I might steal it - um, I mean, I might critically reappropriate your concept! Because it's good and shiny and I like it. :3

    Devil monkey has been successfully fought for today! And don't get me started on jeans - I've been looking in the shops for months, and there are NO regular-rise jeans anymore. Apparently the human waist has magically migrated 10cm lower than it was five years ago, and mine missed the memo. That novelling software's gonna make Dream Me rich!

  2. You have so many notes! I'm in awe. I have one brainstorm, and half a page in which I started writing out the plot scene by scene, realised I only had half a plot, and then stopped. Except for the last scene, which is "They eat cupcakes". They're going to have to eat a lot of cupcakes if I want to reach word count.

    Good luck fighting the devil monkey! And I want that magical dream novelling software. I haven't bought a new pair of jeans in about three years.


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