Archive for the ‘ SoCNoC ’ Category

SoCNoC 2010 Day 30: The Finish Line!

The Southern Cross Novel Challenge (SoCNoC) is NaNoWriMo for the Southern Hemisphere. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction over the 30 days of June – and to have fun, of course!

Final Word Count: 53,730 words
Rating: I MADE IT! 50k and a finished draft. BOOYAH.


So, seeing as it’s the last day of SoCNoC I thought I might as well make one last post about it and consider the things I have learned from this month’s triumph.

I will be completely honest with you – last year, I won NaNoWriMo with an excess of 200,000 words. I kind of avoided mentioning that this month as I didn’t want to brag (or psych myself out), but when I came to SoCNoC I was not so much worried about managing the quantity as maintaining interest in the story, keeping myself motivated, and hanging in there until I reached 50k. June has not been a great month for me in the past, and this year I’ve had postgraduate study as well as life in general to cope with, so it was actually a struggle to keep going.

As those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will no doubt recall, my main goal for this year is to finish what I start. Consistency, dedication, commitment, call it what you like but it’s a quality I possess only intermittently, and have never before applied to writing in any serious way. That all changed this year with the introduction of my 1k-a-day habit, and I think my completion of this draft in spite of the obstacles has really highlighted how far I’ve come. In 2009, I made it only a week or so before I gave up in disgust and never touched the story again. This year, I not only refused to give in even when I hated it, but I also actually finished the draft and am thinking about starting on the second. What a difference!

I also found myself more able to regard my work objectively. Instead of getting caught up in worrying about individual words and phrases, I was more interested in the structure, what things fit together and what things didn’t. I ended up with a number of ideas for how it could be improved, and felt considerably less despondent about the whole thing than I have in previous years.

Consequently, I decided to share a small teaser/excerpt, mildly edited:

Cathryn called Miriam the next morning.

“I’m a lunatic,” she said. “I did it. I just sat down and told him that I wanted a divorce. I’m so stupid. I’ve never done anything like this.”

“Slow down,” Miriam said. “What are you talking about? You’re getting divorced?”

Taking a long, deep breath, Cathy pulled herself together.

“Yes. And it’s been a long time coming.”

There was silence on the phone.

“Hello? Miriam?”

“I’m sorry. I’m still here. I just – I don’t know what to say. Congratulations seems kind of inappropriate.”

Cathy laughed. Then she was appalled at herself. She sat down at the kitchen table and stared out the French doors into the garden, thinking of Caleb’s face at the dinner table the night before, thinking of her two boys growing up in this house, and thinking of the stilling, stifling weight of her husband’s hand as he had reached out to stop her nervous twitching. She expelled a huge lungful of air in a single gust.

“It had to be done,” she said.

Congratulations to everyone else who made it to 50k and to those who participated! It’s been a great month and I’ve enjoyed sharing the experience with you all.


SoCNoC 2010 Day 23: OMG, I Made It!

It’s just after 4am and technically I should totally not even be awake right now, but I spent the last four hours clawing my way through 8k to reach the 50,007th word and just wanted to mention that fact. The novel is almost finished – about 5-10k should wrap it up, although it’s far from neat and definitely needs to be thoroughly edited. Still! I’m a week early, so I have time to finish it off nice and slow, and then get to work on Draft 2.

And now: to sleep, at last!

SoCNoC 2010 Day 21: Turtles All the Way Down

The Southern Cross Novel Challenge (SoCNoC) is NaNoWriMo for the Southern Hemisphere. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction over the 30 days of June. I’ll be updating with my progress every three days throughout the month.

Current Word Count: 40,119 words
Rating: Sssmokin’.


Oops. I just about forgot to update here again. My apologies for missing the last post; I’ve been, well, I guess you could say a little overwhelmed. I have a presentation due at the end of next month that I still haven’t written, way too much research to do, a move to plan…Basically, my life has been pretty hectic the past few days. And to top it all off, I had a complete crash-and-burn period of writer’s block on the 17th, and had to resort to writing a random vampire filler just to get my 1k for the day done. No SoCNoC at all!

However, I am pleased to say that I did recover, and ever since then plot seems to have been coming thick and furious. My poor characters! The pacing is all over the place, and will definitely need to be fixed in the next draft (assuming there ever is a next draft), and I seem to have a tendency to veer wildly from the drily humourous to the dramatic and angsty. No matter. That’s what SoCNoC is all about: finding your weaknesses and learning to overcome them. And I have plenty of weaknesses in my writing. Oh boy, do I.

Still, I think I’m doing pretty well, all things considered. I wouldn’t be surprised if I hit 50k by the end of the month after all! Quite an achievement after last year.

Entering the home straight now. Wish me luck!

SoCNoC 2010 Day 17: Suddenly, There Were Zombies.

And it’s Thursday already! For those of you doing SoCNoC 2010, you might want to check out my latest guest post over at Kiwiwriters. This time, there are zombies involved. Everyone loves a good zombie apocalypse or two, don’t they? Of course they do. So head on over and check it out!

To the Zombie Apocalypse 2010!

SoCNoC 2010 Day 15: Passing The Mid-Way Point

The Southern Cross Novel Challenge (SoCNoC) is NaNoWriMo for the Southern Hemisphere. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction over the 30 days of June. I’ll be updating with my progress every three days throughout the month.

Current Word Count: 26,615 words
Rating: Pinch me, I’m dreaming. It’s actually not that bad!


Had some very good days recently, which is interesting, since non-writing wise I’ve been feeling kind of crappy. Still. A good writing day is a good day, as they say. Crossed the halfway point a day early and cruised to 26.6k this evening with effort to spare. I attribute this to the fact that I’ve discovered (I can’t say created, because I have no idea where she came from) a new character who is, I have to say, completely the most awesome person ever. I’m having to be careful to make sure I give her flaws as well, lol. Her name is Julie. She likes punk music and lives in a bookshelf. Not literally. But yeah. I was intending to give my main character a love interest at some point, and when his mother’s friend decided she had a daughter around his age, I thought – aha. There she is. Poor Caleb is a little intimidated by her right now, though. She’s very, um, forthright. He’s not used to it.

…am I talking about my characters as if they’re real people again? Sorry. I have a tendency to do that when (a) I’m in the middle of a novel and (b) the work is going well. Or going terribly. I find it helps to regard them as entirely separate from myself, because that way I can examine them objectively(ish) for being too much like me, or not sympathetic enough, or any of the many faults that can beset a writer’s creations. Plus, they and the plot seem to be operating of their own accord at the moment, so I have to give credit where it’s due!

Here’s hoping I’m over the slump and on the downhill slope to home. Happy writing, everyone!

SoCNoC 2010 Day 12: In Spite of Everything, Plot Occurs.

The Southern Cross Novel Challenge (SoCNoC) is NaNoWriMo for the Southern Hemisphere. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction over the 30 days of June. I’ll be updating with my progress every three days throughout the month.

Current Word Count: 21,175 words
Rating: Please-don’t-make-me-reread-this.


Had a couple of good days, mostly thanks to Twitter word wars with other SoCNoC participants – thanks guys! To my surprise, once I got stuck into it and forced myself to write, not only did I reach a personal best of 1.5k in half an hour but I also found the plot kind of developed on its own. I started out with only the vaguest idea of what I thought might happen; I knew that my main character’s parents would be involved, because I didn’t want this to be a YA novel even though the protagonist is only 16, but I had no idea what their storyline would be like. Now, I not only know what the mother’s subplot is about but also how it ties in to the main plot – and I love it! The father is proving a little intractable, but perhaps he will become more voluble as the story progresses. We shall see.

Overall, I find that even though my heart isn’t really in it (I’m still pining for my beautiful, perfect fantasy novel), and even though I don’t have an outline or much of a clue what I’m doing, it’s not going too badly. Here’s hoping I’ll pull off a 6k day tomorrow and make it past the half way mark. I’m hoping that will prove a tipping point and things will be downhill from there. In a good way, that is.

Fingers crossed!

SoCNoC 2010 Day 10: In Which My Second Guest Post is Posted

Just a heads up: my second SoCNoC guest post went up on the Kiwi Writers Blog today. It features the perils of long weekends, rude inner editors and encouragement for the flagging spirits: check it out!