Wednesday, 29 February 2012

50,000 Words!

Today marks the end of the ongoing Kindleboards February Writing Challenge. In case you're just getting wind of this and wondering what it is, it's something a bunch of the writers in the Kindleboards Writer's Cafe have been participating in. The goal of the challenge was to write 60,000 words in the month of February (that's 29 days). It's sorta like NaNoWriMo, only more words and less days.

Well, it's been a long and hard 29 days, rife with everything from illness to self doubt. But what kept most of us going, amongst other factors, was the public-shaming nature of the challenge. We were required to log our daily numbers in the official challenge thread, where we could also discuss our individual progress and encountered hardships. It was quite a refreshing experience to see and hear from so many writers around the world.

We all got into the challenge for various reasons. For example, I was hoping to draft books 4 & 5 of my WIP, Guardians and the Lost Paradise. But basically, it was a need to write that drew us to the challenge. I had already said in an earlier post that this was to be the year that I made the transition from aspiring writer to actual writer. But I found myself spending the most of January trying to generate some much-needed buzz for my books recently released through Amazon.

Looking back, I remember the amount of pressure I felt on Day 1. Up until then, I had always written at my leisure, sometimes taking years to finish what I started. So it's understandable why I felt some mild trepidation at the start of that session. But at the end of it, I was 2,400 words closer to the goal. The two other milestones I most remember were crossing 10,000 words on Day 5, and finishing my draft of book 4 on Day 10 at 21,000 words.

Now, I have drafted both books 4 & 5, with 6 already under way. My final total word count for the challenge is 50,000 words. I know, it's 10,000 words short of the goal, but this is the most I have written in... forever! I still have at least 40,000 words worth of story left to tell. So I plan on taking the momentum already built and rolling the ball through to the end of March. Who knows, I just might have the entire series drafted by then.

I have learnt quite a few lessons during the challenge, the most important of which is the value of perseverance. There were days where the words came naturally, and others where I hit quite a few walls. I have also discovered what seems to be my comfort zone in terms of daily word counts (1,500 words or thereabouts). What remains is to transcend these lessons into actual practices.

Happy Writing everyone.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Academy Awards & 45,000 words

I can almost taste it. The sweet taste of victory. Sadly, I'm 15,000 words behind the 60,000 words goal in the Kindleboards February Writing Challenge. And with just 3 days remaining!

But on the bright side, I have now officially drafted books 4 & 5 of my series, Guardians and the Lost Paradise. I am currently using today to plot book 6, with the hope of getting back to writing tomorrow, and rounding out the month with 50,000 words. That's 10,000 words behind the goal, but I'll take it.

In other news, it was the Oscars yesterday, and the (supposed) best films of the past year were honored. The big winner was The Artist, which took home 5 awards, including 3 of the big ones, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture. Another big winner was Hugo, which garnered 5 awards out of its 11 nominations.

Other notable wins were Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress (for her portrayal of Minny from The Help), and Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris. Rango won Best Animated, and Meryl Streep won Best Actress (at the expense of Viola Davis).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 didn't win any of its 3 (technical) nominations. Not that it matters, since it wasn't even considered for the important one. But I won't get into that again. I've always made a point of trying to see the Best Picture winners from years past. So I guess now I'll have to go and see The Artist too, whether I like it or not.

Monday, 20 February 2012

February Writing Challenge: 30,000 words

It's Day 20 today, which means there are only 10 days left in the ongoing Kindleboards February Writing Challenge. The goal is to write 60,000 words in the month of February, averaging around 2,000+ words per day.

So far, I have managed to reach the halfway point. I have written 30,000 words in 19 days. I did take three of those 19 days off (a decision I am now starting to question), so it's more like 30,000 words in 16 days.

But like I said, there are only 10 days remaining before the end of the challenge. This means I would have to write at least 3,000 words each day till the end of the month. I've only written that many words once during the challenge, and that was because I was writing the climax for book 4 of my WIP, Guardians and the Lost Paradise. I am not giving up hope yet though. Not when I still have at least 70,000 words worth of story to tell.

Okay. I better get back into it. Happy Writing everyone.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

My Thoughts on the 54th Grammy Awards

I am putting in this post a day late mainly because I was out cold for the better part of yesterday. I ended up watching the Grammy Awards live (a tradition I've upheld for the past twelve years or so), which meant I had to stay up through the night. The bane of living in another time zone.

To clear the way for today's post, I need to get something off of my chest first. Lady Gaga did not only fail to win Album of the Year, she went home empty handed too.


Alright. I feel better already. On with the post.

It was a fairly predictable night at the Grammys, with Adele claiming all six awards she'd been nominated for, including the big ones: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. Given her dominance over the music charts and year-end lists this past year, this was no shocker I must say. But did she deserve it?

Well, like I've said before, I really wanted Gaga to score her first Album of the Year win, after three back to back nominations. But these things hardly ever turn out the way you want them to. I mean, one of the best albums to come out during the eligibility period, Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, wasn't even given a nomination. So I wasn't really surprised when Gaga and others fell victim to Adele's 21.

Another disappointment for me was Foster the People failing to win Best Alternative for Torches. They lost to Bon Iver's eponymous second album, who also won Best New Artist by the way, so there is at least some justification there. But it's the Grammys were talking about here. Just being nominated is an honor in its own right.

What did please me though was Skrillex gaining some well-deserved recognition in the electronic categories, whilst Kanye West and the Foo Fighters swept the Rap and Rock categories respectively. But what crowned my joy for the night was watching Paul Epworth win Producer of the Year. He had cemented his position as my favorite producer with his work on Florence + The Machine's Ceremonials, a (possible) forerunner for next year's awards.

As far as performances go, all the performers did well. I especially loved seeing the Foo Fighters perform with Deadmau5. But the performance that still has everyone talking was Nicki Minaj doing a new song titled Roman Holiday. The Catholic-themed performance featured everything from mock confessions, to demon possession and exorcism. It was one of those things you just had to see for yourself. No doubt the Catholic community and Christians at large are still enraged by the travesty.

All in all, it was a good show, considering the death of Whitney Houston mere hours before. How they managed to work in tributes in such short notice is anybody's guess. Props to the organizers for giving us yet another night where the best in music got honored.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Day 10: February Writing Challenge.

I just completed my writing session. I can't believe it's been 10 days already. Wow. I guess time flies when you are slaying dragons and rescuing damsels.

Okay. The numbers. In the past week and some days, I've managed to write... wait for it... wait for it... 21,000 words! Yep. That's right. 21,000 sweet words. I know for most writers out there, this is nothing. But for me, it's the fastest I've written since.... forever.

All those words mean that I am officially done with Book 4 of my work-in-progress, Guardians and the Lost Paradise. Might be taking the weekend off, to celebrate, get some rest, catch up on other stuff and even work on my outline for Book 5.

Things are really looking up. I never would have thought Book 4 would be in the bag 10 days ago. This just proves that it can be done once you set your mind to it.

Happy Writing everyone.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

February Writing Challenge: Day 1

Today, I officially wrote as many words as I managed to get down the whole of last month: 2,400. It's 30 minutes before midnight over here right now, and I'm feeling a bit worn out to say the least. Need to rest up for Day 2 of the challenge. Hopefully, I'll get to write as many, if not more, words as I did today. I'll continue posting my progress both here and on the official kindleboards thread. Peace.