NaNoWriMo Update #4

 

Skree.jpg
A pen and paper sketch of a creature from the story. Image by D. Buck

As many of my readers know, I’ve been participating in the summer version NaNoWriMo, known as Camp NaNoWriMo.  Well, we’re nearing the end of the month and this is only my fourth status update. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple: I’ve actually been writing at a decent pace!

Originally, my goal was to hit 60,000 words by the end of the month, effectively finishing the first draft of the novel. This goal didn’t last long; I realized after factoring in family, graduate studies, work and life into my schedule, I probably could only realistically do about half of that. So, I lowered my goal to 30,000.

Despite a strong start, an interesting (to me, at least) character and three completed chapters, I realized even 30K was a bit of a stretch for my word goal. Then, I lowered it to 12,000 words. I figured with my already busy schedule, I’d be able to accomplish that goal and complete the Camp.

 

The idea here was to stay committed for the entire month, rather than giving up entirely, as I have in past NaNoWriMo competitions. I’m proud to say that as of today – July 23, 2017 – I am at just over 11,000 words. I will hit my monthly goal and continue in November proper. Until then, I’ll continue to work on the story, refine it, edit it, have others read it and more.

I’m glad I’ve chosen to participate in this and keep steady. Now, I will continue to write away. If anyone is interested in checking out the story when it’s completed – to help with a proof of the first draft – drop me a line here and I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Aside from the novel, there are some other exciting things happening that I’ll post about soon. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you next time!

(# # #)

NaNoWriMo Progress Report # 3 – Writer’s Block Edition

Over the past week, I’ve written 11,150 words for my Camp NaNoWriMo Project. The characters are taking on a life of their own and some of the story is basically writing itself.

Now, I’m at a bit of a road block. After an exciting first few chapters, my entire plot is starting to go in directions I hadn’t planned for. Thankfully, I have an outline and a basic idea of where to head from here, but I’m having some difficulty finding the words to get there.

To combat this, I plan to try out one of the Word Sprints and to check out some of the exercises contained in the “care package” e-mails they send us daily.

I hope everyone else is having some luck with their stories and I’d love to know how some of you overcome writer’s block when it does happen.

NaNoWriMo Progress Report #2

Good morning and happy Independence Day to all! I thought I’d check in and share my progress on Camp NaNoWriMo.

The good news is, we’re off to a strong start. I completed a ten chapter outline prior to starting the project and have completed almost 10,000 words. I’ve been hit with sudden bursts of inspiration and the characters are going in vastly different directions than originally intended.

Now, for my biggest hurdle: keeping the plot going in a non-contrived way. I feel I can succeed here, but it’s going to be tough at a few spots. It’s been interesting so far and I’m hoping to complete a few chapters over the weekend. Wish me luck!

Now, if only I could find someone to do some kick-ass cover art for the project…

(###)

NaNoWriMo Progress Report #1

As I posted previously, I intend to enter this year’s NaNoWriMo. I decided to get started with their summer retreat and figured I would post a progress report. Here goes:

I began outlining my story. I have a primary protagonist and his personality is starting to fill out as I write about him. The story already took a tangent from its course to create a few interesting scenes. The outline has changed so many times that if I turned on the “tracking” feature in Word, it would crash the program.

So, I plan to outline in Word and do everything else in Scrivener, which is an inexpensive and awesome program for novelists. It allows the author to create character sketches, jot down ideas, export in epub format and more. It is, in a word, awesome.

I also signed up for the July version of NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo. I wonder how far I’ll get? I will be updating sporadically through the month as I move along the journey. We’ll see if I finish the darn thing this go-round!

(###)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King – Book Review #1

23492589

The below review has been written to keep things relatively spoiler-free. However, there may be a few items which spoil the first book, “Mr. Mercedes.” You have been warned.

“Finders Keepers,” the second book in Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes” trilogy seems like an altogether different novel than its predecessor, 2012’s “Mr. Mercedes.” At first, it seems disjointed, bouncing back-and-forth through different time periods and focusing on a character unrelated to the previous adventure: novelist wannabe, faux intellectual, angry, and irrational Morris Bellamy.

The story begins in 1978, when Bellamy, with two of his cohorts in tow, stage a home invasion of renowned author, John Rothstein. In the context of this story, Rothstein is the author of the “Jimmy Gold Trilogy,” a story chronicling the life of the titular character. The first two books show Jimmy making his way in the world; the third shows him settling down and selling out.

The cohorts are after his money, but Bellamy has other things in mind: disappointed with the way Rothstein ended the Jimmy Gold novels, Bellamy wants to confront the author and find out why. In doing so, he kills John Rothstein and thus begins a chain events that takes the reader through Bellamy’s life from being jailed in 1978 up to his parole in 2014.

At least one-third of the novel sets up the background of Rothstein, Bellamy, the manuscripts, the money and how the Mercedes Killer is involved. In the second part of the story, we meet our original characters: Retired detective Kermit “Bill” Hodges and the obsessive, socially awkward Holly, who now run their own business called, “Finders Keepers.”

Following the events of the “Mr. Mercedes,” Hodges has settled into a life of low profile cases of theft, bail jumping and private matters. Hodges also tends visit the near-comatose Brady Hartsfield often. Having been paralyzed by a smack to the head at the end of the pervious book, Hartsfield says and does nothing. However, eerie things seem to be happening around the hospital and it may just be Hodges’ imagination, but that picture does seem to be falling all by itself. But, that is a story for another day, which King expertly weaves into the narrative.

Between vignettes of the exploits of Hodges, Pete Saubers, Bellamy and other characters, King draws the reader into the story. Eventually, the threads of the story begin tying together, primarily through the characters.

Character development is strong, as is typical of King’s other works. Through the course of the story, we learn all about the history, motivations, lives and personalities of these characters. There is Morris Bellamy, the criminal, who buries the money and Rothstein’s notebooks. Then comes along Pete Saubers, the young boy who stumbles upon Bellamy’s hidden treasure and is faced with some interesting decisions.

The connection to the previous book is a bit tenuous here: it is revealed that Pete’s father, Tom was a victim of the Mercedes Killer and became injured as a result of the massacre. This eventually leads to severe marital tension between Tom and his wife, and significant financial troubles for the family. It’s a forgone conclusion for Pete to anonymously give the found money to his parents. Pete then begins to read the manuscripts contained in the notebook and falls in love with English Lit.

Of course, things have a funny way of working out, when Pete’s sister wants to attend a fancy school and Pete tries to find a way to raise money. Pete ends up falling in with the wrong person at the wrong time, which ultimately leads to a rather satisfying climax to the story.

In true King fashion, the prose delivers an understandable, relatable, interesting narrative. King begins in with a third person view, telling the story as it happened. Later, during the parts of the narrative featuring Hodges, Holly and Jerome, he switches to second person, similar to the style of the first book.

Though King is typically pigeon-holed into the horror genre, this book shows off his talents at writing a suspense/thriller. There are humorous elements sprinkled throughout, which match the tone of the previous book and stays consistent with what I’ve come to expect from this series.

This book is just as good as its predecessor, and in some places, much better. I found it compelling, unique, interesting and I simply could not put it down. Unlike some of King’s other stories, this one is brief and has a satisfying conclusion that makes you want to pick up the next one, “End of Watch.”