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Writing: Keystone's NaNoWriMo Experience

Updated on January 23, 2013

Keystone's NaNoWriMo Experience

The image at the left might catch some of you by surprise. In 2008 I finished my piece The Neighbor's Basement a few days early even with band gigs and my 9.5 hour plus drive time work day. Why I could not get situated to play in 2009 I am not sure. 2010, saw the start but no completion of Wyldheart.

In the mean time, I have several projects on the board over at WeBook that I would love for you to have a look at. Jump by and get me a yell!

Stay tuned for more!

the current tentative cover for SunDay
the current tentative cover for SunDay

Nano 2012


60,000+ words this year.

All for a book that I still haven't finished.

SunDay is still in it's infancy. And I'm not prepared to let the cat out of the bag just yet, though you can read my unpolished chapters so far posted on my blog: sirkeystone Look under - J.Aric Keith - Titles - SunDay in the menu bar... Only a few chapters and it is the rough draft so be nice with the comments ;)

Astronomical's New Cover
Astronomical's New Cover

From 2011 to 2012

A Lot Changed

A couple of books shown below changed my Nano life forever. Larry Brooks first hit me over the head with his book Story Engineering. Then I stumbled across 45 Master Characters from Victoria Schmidt. I managed to self-pub three books during 2012. But unhappy with all of them they are again on the drawing board for more massaging.

I jumped on the band wagon of a Twitter group called #WIP500. Work In Progress 500's goal was 500 words per day without a break in the chain. I had only 4 days in all of 2012 that I had to put a zero. We had a leap year last year! 366 days and I only missed 4 days all year!

Now that doesn't mean that I didn't have days that I failed to post 500 words. No, I had many days that I only wrote 100 or 250. But over the course of 2012, I wrote seven rough drafts and made the second draft of two of them. My intent is to put those two into third draft and start looking for beta readers and critique partners for them as they are completed. In all, due to pushing myself through many months of NanoWriMo styled writing I knocked out 448,000 words last year! Some of it was short stories that are too weird to be published, some are just plain bad.

As I said I completed Nano 2012 with 63,000 words, even though I didn't come anywhere near finishing the book in question.

Last Year's Planning


Stepping up to the plate will be one of the new stories for the Maraude Series. Which one is up for debate until the design phase. Right now, Astronomical is in production. I will be starting a contest for the artwork for the full release of a lulu paperback and hardcover by late summer.

This will put book two on the plate for the design phase right about the perfect time for NaNoWriMo for 2011.

Definitely Stay Tuned for this little epic. This is the story I have been working on since I was eight years old!

A Busy Year

But lost at Nanowrimo

The huge 120,000 word Stage was finished and nearly ready for edit for use as a podcasted book and dramatic audio book, and subsequent audio CD of Blown Pageant. But the project was put on hold, due to lack of funding for pushing forward on the CD and the editing. 2011 will likely see the publishing of Stage under it's preliminary edit by me as a limited first edition complete with my first rendition of the artwork.

So also SpeedBreaker my post apocalyptic themed war story was in a pantser fashion without much of an outline as to how it needed to work. This will change with a new rewrite, possibly in summer 2011 after Maraude: Astronomical is finished and published.

But NaNoWriMo was outfitted with a sequel to the recently finished Stage. I will break Wyldheart down to it's thematic elements here later, but it will need a rewrite because of trope issues and lack of a solid voice. That and I did not stay with my original design much as I only finished the outline to about where the story stopped. I really do not have an ending yet. That will change though. I just have too many loose ends to tie up and have no pinch points or plot points to speak of to push it a bit more literary.

Also, Wyldheart, Blown Pageant, and Red Tinted Zebra will need CDs released for the launch of the novel.

There Was Nothing In 2009


I was not able to sit down and write out what I wanted for any kind of time frame. I really did not even have a storyline until mid November and by then I could not even get close to the computer as I was working my job at Locke Supply and they had cut back on personal computer time, even during lunch.

Then I was also moonlighting with my uncle back in floorcovering again. Zero time for writing because to be successful for me I need at least two to three hours a night just to get into a mood to produce anything. Once in the swing I can pull out 2500 to 5000 words easily, and have been responsible for much more.

But a subsequent lull in the band and work, then being fired at Locke (mostly for mistakes due to dyslexia) in December, put me back to work in odd jobs and floorcovering. But there was a two week period when I was at home wondering what to do with my life.

I stumbled across several series of blogs, Procrastinating Writer, Storyfix, and Men With Pens just to name a very few. This was a turning point.

I will be published now, one way or another!

The Two Modes

Writing to finish before the deadline

Mode one is at the computer at my house.

I set two cans of Dr.Pepper on my desk (even though I just posted the lens on why not to drink pop), I open Firefox on my ancient desktop (an old server actually), I open a can of pop, I open my favorite tabs, (Squidoo dashboard, NaNoWriMo, WeBook, and the 61), I hit play on one of my lists on the 61 or maybe even the Rack so I can make points while I'm working, then I open the Neighbor's Basement project on WeBook, then I open my mind and let the new outline flow to paper.

When I finish a chapter of about 1500-3000 words, I change stations on the 61 and post my new chapter words count to NaNoWriMo. If I'm feeling the slightest bit blocked I move on to my other WeBook project: Stage and write some on a chapter there, or work on organizing my favs on the 61.

Then I wiggle around in YouTube, and my hotmail account, where I might read some paid emails or squidU mailings, or take some of the polls or paid surveys. Then I might toodle around on Twitter or one of the 30 other social sites I'm a part of.

Then it's either some more writing or bed time, depending on whether I'm about to pass out or not.

Then there is mode two:

At work, in between customers or orders or unloading trucks or the other tasks associated with being an assistant manager of a HVAC supply house, I might get a few words in or I may get a chapter in, but I'm usually working on my next run in the plot whether I'm writing or not.

[fast-forward to May 2009] About halfway through the month Locke changed the blocked sites list to anything that wasn't work related because of their ancient bandwidth. So no more writing from work. Besides that I have now moved to the Electrical side of our store as the assistant manager there, and don't have as much free time.

Which probably makes some of you wonder, "Why am I doing this lens?"

Because I thought some of you might like to see how I'm doing it, and to give you a link to the writing so that you can find it easier should you want to read it as I go.

And of course anyone who comment s at WeBook or here could be eligible to help with editing and expanding it so that I can publish it. As I'm sure there will be character problems as the story goes along.

Like I said I fear that I might run over my other stories characters. Apryl is an awful lot like a cross between Marissa in Maraude and Tylisant in Path. Especially in theme: because of my experiences in life I wish to portray the different angles of the destruction of the esteem and consequences of sexually abused children, and the character flaws and mistrust that they tend to have because of this. Besides, I have always thought that this is a much bigger problem than we think it is.

Anyway, many of my leads tend to be alter ego transfixes of myself. So of course they will have the low self esteem and addictions to technology and hobbies that cause a rich person to become impoverished. So many of my characters will have definite connections.

Where I'm At!

Just for giggles here are my project's links and my user page at nanowrimo

My process

I started about a week in advance getting a loose outline together, then started with names. I wanted them to interact a certain way before putting them too deep into the outline. I still jumped in further than I wanted to at the beginning of the story.

This caused an uncomfortable span where I started feeling boring toward the close of my 50 K word count. I had to drag out the arc of the story a bit more than I intended, but I think with some massaging it can work into the storyline quite well.

The characters tended to follow more of the superhero archetypes though I tried to push some stereotypical kidness to them, but that disappeared, as it was supposed to, when they were put into Barnhauer's treatments.

I may have over done the tech aspects of Barnhauer's experiments.

My research into the scientific process of altering the mind through auditory and visual stimulus has been a recurring theme in many of my short stories for over a decade. Now with recent discoveries in this field, my speculation hasn't been that far from wrong.

In fact, what Dale does to the young agents in Maraude and what Barnhauer does to the kids in Neighbor's Basement, can be frighteningly real. Why someone hasn't attempted something like this is actually beyond me. It doesn't seem to be that hard.

Of course I make it seem easier than it is, and it also becomes a matter of using your mind after this sonic process to alter even a person's very DNA. Like in the processes in Maraude in which the covert CIA sub director uses converted children to get into places adults can't and do the sniping and covert military actions.

In Neighbor's Basement, this process doesn't take that form. It actually moves more in the Frankenstein direction with the mad scientist creating something only to better himself even though when he started, his intentions were good.

Maraude however, deals with another spectrum. The damage that this process could do if over enacted, causing severe Bi-polar reactions and destruction that could even cause hemmoraging.

Details On My Plot

The plot has developed completely though it stumbles a bit toward the end because of surpassing the 50K goal. I could have gone back to rewrite some of the earlier chapters but I felt it was neccesary to continue on to the ending. I will change it back during my rewrite because I will be adding more.

The plot is actually quite a bit weaker than I was hoping it to be. It is too predictable. Maybe not completely but several elements are stuck in production anyway.

The plot basically evolves from the latest scientific use of sonic waves both sub sonic and ultra sonic to control aspects of human brain response. The goal for the health care industry is to have a drugless way to heal. The conspiracy theorists view would be that they could create an army of psychic warriors with the electronic enhancements to be not only similar to the individuals from the movie "Push" but also capable of downloading information from wireless internet to become very similar to the online world from the movie "Matrix"

Five kids taken from normal everyday life and thrust into the new and disturbing life of Dr. Barnhauer. And his basement.

Character List

My characters aren't that complicated, mostly... I'm going to try to write this so as not to have any spoilers.

Brent Chalmers - The classic nerd character but has become a strong fighter because he had to to survive in his own home. Used to looking the other way when someone makes fun of him, or tries to hurt his feelings, but don't hurt the girl he has a crush on.

Kennedy Dart-Lawde - The son of the town cop, a bully complex and a half. Also had to fight to survive in his own home. He and Brent find friendship when they realize just how similar they really are.

Apryl Gaashe - A typical girl running on to the popular crowd but not wanting to leave her friend behind. Has some home issues as well after her mother dies in a car accident and her father turns to other types of abuse and alcohol.

Kimberly Rice - The shy girl in glasses who actually becomes Barnhauer's target first. She and Brent follow Kenny and Apryl's lead and become very close during the ordeal. Her story crosses some genre typical lines when we find that she is the only child of a one night stand and grows up alone because her mother works all the time just to squeak by. She later witnesses the towns-people kill her mother because of what Barnhauer has turned her into.

Dr. Barnhauer - A brain surgeon who went crazy when he could not save his young daughter of an incurable disease, so he set out to prove to himself that he can find the cure. In the process, stumbles across a sleeping part of the human brain that empowers humans to become nearly god-like. Real life super heros.

Buster - The little robot built specifically to look like the Sci-Fi classic dog from Dr. Who, K-9. The droid is instrumental in helping Barnhauer convert the kids to the psychic wonders that they become.

Angel Faust - A little kid that really changes the direction of the plot in several ways. I can't even really get into this part of the story here because it really becomes a spoiler to talk about this kid at all.

There are a couple of other characters that are instrumental in the story, but they are part of the later arc and would be spoiling the story for sure.

Let Me Hear From You

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