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No NaNoWriMo Now

December 1, 2012 Leave a comment

To those who may have been wondering, I have not been participating in NaNoWriMo this year. This may be obvious since I haven’t mentioned it at all in the entirety of the last month and it is now officially December.

The reason I haven’t been participating is simple. I’m busy with other stuff, namely editing things I started in last year’s NaNoWriMo.

Last year, I decided to give NaNoWriMo a whirl, since I had ideas for a detective series and it was about damn time I sat down and wrote it. So I did. I didn’t hit 50,000 words, but I had something down.

The problem was, I didn’t want to look at what I’d written, and really didn’t feel like editing it into something better, largely because I felt that, for the most part, it was pretty dull. What I had was a detective novel without much detecting and spent much of its time sitting around waiting for stuff to happen. In order to edit that mess, I needed to do something drastic.

That something was to completely start again. Considering how successful NaNoWriMo was, I made a conscious effort to turn March into an alternative NaNoWriMo for myself, intending to produce a better draft. I’d spent the previous months deciding how to fix the lacklustre plot, and it was time to put it into action.

My solution was to move the opening events of the first version to the middle of the book, shed much of the deadweight and squish all the important stuff closer together to make a much tighter, much more logical and more importantly much more interesting to read experience. And yes, the new draft was actually the second version, first draft. The two versions are so drastically different that to call them separate drafts of the same story feels kind of strange.

But I went further. With the intention of making a series, I made the decision to try and write the first two books in the series, making each roughly 40-50,000 words. I had no intention to write them at the same time, but I did intend to write them back-to-back, and that is what I did.

Neither first draft got written in a month, sadly. It was more like a month and a half for book 1 and two months for the second, possibly a little longer since I overshot my self-set deadline by a good few weeks (because, I must add, the story ended up longer than expected and not because I procrastinated!). But by mid-September, I finally had two first drafts for books to kick off what I hope could be an interesting series, and I felt proud of myself.

This means that ever since, I’ve been editing both of these books, including during NaNoWriMo. I have no intention of writing another novel while editing these, since I want to make them a focus. Might work on more short stories as I improve them though, just need to get myself moving on doing so.

The current state of each book? Well, the first book is now a 42,000 second draft that could probably be expanded a little further here and there, and the second book is still a work in progress on the second draft, but the current word count stands at 52,000 and could still creep higher.

I have no idea when I’ll release these books or how, but I do intend to bring them out together somehow in future. But I’m excited about them and looking forward to getting people reading this stuff and hopefully taking the series further.

Ambitious stuff, I know, but I like to think I’m an ambitious fellow.

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Dangers Of Wealth

December 1, 2012 1 comment

It is a dangerous man who pursues wealth at the expense of all else.

Everyone pursues wealth, admittedly. But what makes someone dangerous is the reason they’re trying to gain money. Do they have some major life plan? If someone wants to travel and see the world, and they’re raising the money to do so, then they are not dangerous. If someone is raising money for charitable purposes, then they are not dangerous. The person who raises money for the purposes of living comfortably and not having to be in debt is not dangerous.

The person who is dangerous is the person who chases after wealth aimlessly, the person who decides that they want to be rich for the sake of it. The kind of person who feels that if they were rich and flaunted their wealth around, they’d be well-respected and well-loved, or that it will give them some kind of status.

The problem with existing in this state of mind is that when your life goal is to get all the money, you assign something inhuman to define your existence, and when this happens, you too become inhuman.

We can see this in the state of the world economy today. Economists argue over what is the source of all these problems, and the answer is the City bankers, the Wall Street traders, the multinational corporation CEOs, all of whom define their existence by how much money they have. They all, as individuals, want more than everybody else. This leads them to believe that the only way to achieve this is to deceive, steal, fiddle the numbers and ruthlessly push themselves to the front of the queue and take everything before anyone else can get there.

The truth is, this is a sad way to exist. Note that I have avoided using the word “live” at any point to refer to these people, since they do not live. They exist. Look at the life of an investment banker or a stock trader. 14-hour days, seven days a week. Sure, they make shiploads of money due to these horrible hours, but what never gets mentioned is that these people have nothing else going on in their life. There is no time for friends, no time for relationships, no time to get out and see the world.

I don’t feel envious for these people’s wages, I feel pity that their lives must be the dullest lives in existence. Wake up, roll onto the trading floor, shout a lot and look at numbers for fourteen hours, then collapse back into bed and repeat. What’s the point of earning these obscene amounts of money if you never get to do anything with it all?

But I also said they were dangerous. They are dangerous because they realise how empty their lives are, but don’t realise how to fix this, and honestly believe that more money will help. This causes them to cheat and steal and play the system even more in a desperate attempt to have all the money in the world, a goal that they will never achieve, but will try and crush everyone around them in an attempt to get there. They perhaps won’t be happy until everyone around them is living in abject poverty while they’re sealed in their solid gold mansion with a huge money bin to swim around in like Scrooge McDuck.

So when are we going to start treating these people as the danger they really are?