He would have spat on his shoes

Day two of Camp NaNo and I’m still above water! Sure, I was afraid I’d dip under a few times, but so far it’s going well.

This morning was quite busy. Took two terrified cats to the vet for their shots and a bath. I learned a lesson while we were wrangling cats too. When two kitties are locked in a bathroom, and you walk up to the door carrying two open cat carriers in your hands, it’s probably best if you don’t frighten them. Especially don’t open the door making loud noises while pushing the bags through. Poor Watson, being the big kitty that he is, tried to back up really fast, then jumped up into the tub. By the time I walked in he was straining his neck up over the edge with big, frightened eyes. I felt so bad! I’d intended just to scare them away from the door so that they wouldn’t run away, not frighten the hell out of them.

So yeah, I terrified them then took them to the vet. I rock. 😛

Ran lots of errands this morning in addition to getting my word count in. I’m a little more hesitant about tomorrow since I’ll be going with friends to the Atlanta Zoo. It’s going to be great seeing them, and getting to hang out with them before they leave town in a few months, but life does seem to be conspiring against my writing plans. Next week I’ll be taking off two extra days from work just to get some breathing time now that our major website has gone live.  Turns out that will also be the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend. Ugh, I’m pretty sure I’ll be falling behind those days. Oh well, if you don’t live a little, what the heck are you going to write about? Maybe I’ll get some inspiration from the Zoo tomorrow. Hmm…

Tex_maam mentioned how she really liked some of the western resources I’d found, and I remembered that I never did put up this one. It’s a fellow WordPress blog that I started following, The Cabinet Card Gallery,  where they post up pictures of folks who did these types of portraits and put up a small blurb about who they were. There is no About page that I could find regarding where they find these cards or where they find the information, so I can’t tell you any more information than that, but I did find the photos and information to be very inspiring. If I had to put a time stamp on Ghosts I would say its in the mid-1800s, and a bunch of these photos come from mid-1800s to early 1900s. Fanny Davenport was the lady that really got my attention. I think she showed up on a search I did for something completely different, but then I got drawn into the site. I was pleased to see that there were so many actresses working in that time period since Mary works as one. Anyway, I needed that validation just to keep my head straight. The site even has a section for actresses, which is pretty darn cool.

Today’s writing updates:

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 52,911
New words written: 2,353

Progress in Story: One on one battle time followed by a very bad realization. Looks like our group just got sucker-punched. Had a fabulous time describing the bad guy too.

Total Words for 2012: 65,434

Deadly is the word you’re looking for

A gunfire goes off and the racers start down the track, kicking up dirt at their heels. Let the writing begin!

I love NaNoWriMo. It’s one of the things that got me inspired to write and helped me gain confidence in my ability to tell stories. I won my first one back in November 2010, and again with Camp NaNo in August of last year. This year I’m hoping to compete in both versions of Camp NaNo, the one in June and the one in August. I was hoping to pick up my Secrets in Leekston novel again and work on it, but apparently Ghosts of Pikes Peak will need to be finished first. I refuse to have two big works in progress sitting around, cluttering up my subconscious. One storyline is tough enough to figure out without having to deal with two at once.

Today was busy. Went to work, had lunch with my sister where we shared writing ideas, then hung out with family and friends this evening. I came in second in Canasta, which isn’t bad since I’ve won the past two games we’ve played. (Gloating? Not me!) Tomorrow I’ll be the DM in the final piece of my three-part series which will require some interesting roleplaying. A villain will be revealed, which is ironic since I’m at the same place in Ghosts as well. I guess the stars are aligning for my bad guys.

My sister told me something interesting today that I hadn’t quite realized. She told me that Rennick sounded like a bad guy who is doing good things, which is ironic because I never really thought of him as a bad guy. He’s a sleazy, womanizing card shark, and of course a killer, but in the Old West I’m not sure if that really constitutes a bad guy or if he’s just a regular person. I don’t know, morals were kind of screwy then. Either way I like him. I knew I would when I dreamed him up to be Colton’s partner, kind of the opposite to his cool demeanor. It takes a jerk like him to really get a reaction out of a man who is as hardened and infuriatingly controlled as Colton tries to be. It’s going to be weird when I finish this piece and have to switch over to the much more serious themes being dealt with in Secrets. Not that Ghosts doesn’t deal with serious issues, but they’re just in a different league. Colton and Rennick are dealing with a skirmish you might say, while Suzie, Fred, and Terry are working to prevent an all-out war. Different stakes are involved either way.

I got my Camp word count in today, but only barely. I always recall the phrase of having to squeeze water out of a stone. That’s what it feels like sometimes. I write for days on a wonderful pace, easily hitting 2,000 words a day without any trouble until I have a real deadline. Then it’s tough. I guess it’s just the knowledge of having a required word count that apparently freaks me out. You wouldn’t think it could, but it does. I’d better get my butt in gear to keep up at the right pace!

The story also hit 50k today, so I guess it’s really getting to be novel length now. Bumped up my anticipated word count to 60k because I really don’t think it’ll be any more than that, but again we’ll see.

Here is today’s writing:

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 50,558
New words written: 2,557

Progress in Story: Major battles begin, and the trio moves into position. Regardless of the feelings that are being left unsaid (both good and bad), they’ll have to try and stay focused on the goal and find a way to work together. The creature though still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Total Words for 2012: 63,081

One hell of a shot

A quick update and a few bits of inspiring music to leave behind. Our group is still moving closer to their enemy, though they’ve already had to deal with more craziness than they expected to find on this trip. Most of it came from their own issues.

Here are a few videos I wanted to leave in place of my normal wordiness. This song came up on my iPod again on my drive in to work, and it always makes me want to write werewolf fiction again. Especially Suzie’s series. E Nomine is a German band with German & Latin lyrics. This song is always great even if it is a bit older.

This song I discovered on the drive home. Trent Reznor has been putting a bunch of his music up for free online lately, and I believe this was one of his free albums. This song, “Head Down” is from his album The Slip, which is a free download. He has a whole Ghosts compilation that is all instrumental and quite inspiring for horror writing as well. I love how Trent’s been giving away so much free music lately for his fans. 🙂

Anyway, on to today’s word count!

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 48,001
New words written: 2,534

Progress in Story: Rennick makes a new “friend”, and Colton starts an argument.

Total Words for 2012: 60,524

Snippet:

“Mary is fortunately a much better shot than you are.”

Colton frowned. She was smiling at him, that cocky, annoying smile she wore like a badge lately. “Sorry about that,” he muttered as he adjusted his hat. “Even I have to admit that was one hell of a shot.”

“I know,” she cocked her head at him. “I’m just glad you finally admitted it.”

Oh ew, are those… spiders?

Another good chunk of writing in! Seems like I’m getting all my productivity milestones in before Camp NaNo even gets started. I can’t complain though. If I can find a way to finish this piece and maybe my other WIP, I’ll be one happy writer. Did this over lunch and then had a few hundred words to get in this evening, which turned into over a thousand hehe. I end up getting into scenes and forget to break for air occasionally.

By the way, caffeine withdrawal is sooo annoying. I guess I kind of indulge my caffeine intake over the weekend so when the work week comes around, and I’m back to herbal tea, water, and soy milk, headaches start returning. I sometimes mistake it for allergies, but this time I’m 90% certain it’s caffeine withdrawal. Still plan on staying clear of it though. Something about working out and trying to be healthy followed by massive caffeine intake just never sits well with me. I guess it’s kind of heresy to be a writer AND a programmer and attempt to steer clear of caffeine though, right?

Moving into the final confrontation, but I’m in no rush. The climax will happen when we get to it, and in the meantime I’m having a fabulous time with the character complexities. Nothing like rubbing your protagonist’s nose into his woes before a major battle, right? What was it I recently read in Hooked?

“Basically, get your protagonist in a miserable place and then make it worse. Get the character up a tree (in trouble) and throw rocks (obstacles) at him. Don’t let him off the hook for a second.”

I think I’ve been taking this advice to heart with this story, much to the annoyance of Colton. He’s been in many trees and survived a slew of rocks, and the book hasn’t even gotten to the worst part.

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 45,467
New words written: 2,559

Progress in Story: Preparations are made, an amusing trip across town, followed by a disturbing discovery. Then it’s down to Goblin Town.

Total Words for 2012: 57,990

Snippet*:

“I – I don’t remember these being here when I helped you get dressed.”Mary smiled, arching an eyebrow, “Sounds like you two were using this as your vacation spot. Got to say you could’ve chosen a better place.” She side-stepped a large black spider that was hanging directly in front of her. Colton was amazed she wasn’t shrieking in horror. He thought about saying so, but then thought better of it. Words like that might go to her head.

“You were pretty out of it, kid. I was surprised you had the energy to find a costume for me,” he emphasized the words for clarity. “Don’t start telling lies about me now.”

Rennick nearly walked chin-first into the spider that Mary avoided, and gave a meek little gasp before moving around it. “You know, maybe being outside wasn’t so bad after all.”

It’s good to know what you’re hunting

This writing train just keeps on churning forward, and I’m having lots of fun along the way! Plenty of words added in today, over 2.5k which I’m very happy about. Started writing around 1:00 and ended close to 5:30. During that time I got a ton of words in and plenty of research as well. Luckily Kelley has a bunch of books on the paranormal and the occult which I’ve been able to pull for research purposes. As far as other inspiration, here are a few that have really been helpful.

How the Wild West REALLY looked – Beautiful sepia-tinted shots from the late 1800s. Really gives you a feel for how vast and empty the west was, and helps me get a feel for the place and the people who live there. See that picture on the right? Those tiny white dots on the bottom are tents. Yeah, it’s that freaking big.

What did cowgirls wear? – A few interesting pictures and descriptions of women’s clothing during the 1800s. More importantly, it talks about what women wore who needed to ride horses all the time. I was fascinated to see that up until the late 1800s, if women *had* to wear pants so that they didn’t have to ride side-saddle, they wore them beneath long ankle-length skirts so that they could keep their decency. Women who wore even split skirts in the late 1800s were considered brazen.

Ghosts and Spirits – This research is probably the most telling of what I’m working on in this section of the story. I found the section labeled Demons in the Occult to be the most useful though and I was surprised to find it mixed quite nicely into the world I’ve already been crafting in this story. Unfortunately this write-up is full of spelling errors and grammatical headaches (hello, run-on sentences!), but if you can try to look past that, the information that’s given is actually quite interesting. It even goes into Time Slips, other dimensions, and how that might play into interpreting the paranormal world. I find that sort of thing intriguing, especially since it’s at the crux of another novel I’m working on.

As you can see, today’s work took quite a bit of research and maybe you’ll find some of this stuff as interesting as I did, but there was also quite a bit of character fun mixed in as well. A couple of characters in particular just can’t seem to be able to stay in the same room for ten minutes before breaking out into another argument. You’ll understand why that’s in italics when you read the entire book too. Promise.

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 42,908
New words written: 2,689

Progress in Story: Some new clothes get purchased and more detailed plans get made. We also learn how inexperienced our experts are, but get a bit more information on the creature. They’ve even planned out how they’re going to get rid of him, but we’ll see how well that works out. As you could probably tell from yesterday’s snippet, Mary doesn’t seem to think they know much more than she does. Guess they’ll have to wait and see who’s right.

Total Words for 2012: 52,489

Snippet*:

Colton sighed, “One thing I’ve learned is that you need to know what you’re hunting before you get on the saddle and head out. Rabbits and quail are two completely different animals, and you need to know what to expect. So let’s try and figure out what kind of creature he is. How long has he been doing this? How strong is he?” He grabbed a couple of pieces of pork and nibbled on them.

“He’s been doing this a long time,” Rennick crossed his arms behind his head. “And I do mean a long time. I’d guess maybe a hundred years? Two perhaps? He’s definitely one of the strongest I’ve ever heard about.”

* You could probably tell this is the censored version. Don’t want to give too much away after all. 😉