Category Archives: Project Melan

Behind the scenes of my current writing project: Melan.

NaNoWriMo 11

Every day, when I’m writing, I feel like I’ve written a large chunk, but when I add up the words at the end of the day on a separate word document created specifically to keep track of my word count, it’s a lot less than I expected, which is really discouraging.

Today, what I did was paste what I’ve written on the new word document in bits and pieces as I write them. It shows me exactly how much I’ve written throughout the day and motivate me to pick up the pace so I can actually reach 2k by the end of the day.

It actually does help. Because with every little bit I write and add to the word count, I can physically see myself inching closer to the finish line, which gives me that extra energy to write a little more so I’m a little closer to my goal.

If you’re having trouble staying on track, maybe you can try this too.

 

Today’s word count: 2060
Total word count: 14593

NaNoWriMo 10

Today, I had the whole day to do assignments and clock in some words for NaNoWriMo.

In terms of assignments, I managed to finish one and almost finish the other.

In terms of NaNoWriMo, I managed to write 1798 words, not including the other words I wrote down for other scenes I thought about but haven’t fleshed out into actual sentences.

Switching between the assignment and Melan did help force me to work on both projects, but what really helped me write for Melan was getting the inspiration for a pretty big scene. In the end, tricks and technique help, but there’s no substitute for a real idea.
Conclusion: I was just short on both sides for my goal, but NaNoWriMo went from predicting I’ll finish in 12 December to 10 December, so today was great 🙂

 

Today’s word count: 1798
Total word count: 12533

NaNoWriMo Day 9

I thought I had plenty of free time to write.

I underestimated how long it would take me to put down words.

In the past, I was one of those students who started working on assignments with a few weeks to go to the deadline. Not because I was hardworking, but because I know I’m the kind of person who likes taking breaks. Some people can sit for eight hours straight and churn out pages and pages of work. I am not one of those people.

Given a chunk of time, I’ll jot down some ideas, check out something else, come back to flesh out some sentences, scroll through some pictures, add more details, play a bit, return to continue the scene, etc. It’s a routine I’m comfortable with, but it also means I waste a lot of time. At the rate I’m going, according to my NaNoWriMo stats, I’ll only reach 50k sometime in mid December.

Something needs to change.

Today was a full day out for me, so I didn’t have the luxury to work my way slowly towards my 2k+ goal. Instead, I wrote in little sprints. One sentence when I woke up, a few words after breakfast, as many pages as I could on the train, little bits and pieces throughout the day. When I came back, I had accumulated 400+ words written on stolen time. Which wasn’t as much as I thought, so before I sleep, I’m squeezing in more. I would have liked to at least hit 1k, but it’s past midnight.

Tomorrow, I’ll need to focus on finishing my assignments. Hopefully, I can switch in between that and my writing as if I’m ‘taking breaks’ on one side while working on the other for extra productivity.

Or maybe I’ll end up procrastinating on both sides. We’ll see.

 

Today’s word count: 765
Total word count: 10735

NaNoWriMo Day 8

I got distracted in the morning by someone else’s story. Fortunately, I managed to write quite a bit on the train, but it’s not a good feeling to know that I wasted a ‘good day’ for writing. With the time I had, I should have been able to hit 2k.

That’s fine. The month has only just begun. And if NaNoWriMo is anything like uni assignments, my writing pace will definitely pick up as it gets closer to the deadline.

On a different note, having a writing soundtrack of (mostly) lyric-less songs does help me focus on getting words out. I’m still adding more as I go, but I’ve found some pretty good ones with different tempo and styles. Any suggestions?

Today’s word count: 1015
Total word count: 9970

NaNoWriMo Day 5-7

On 5th and 6th November, I helped out at a convention for most of the day, which meant very little writing. This was something I knew would happen before I started NaNoWriMo, which was why I divided my 50k word count by 20/25 days instead of 30 days.

Aiming to write 1667 words a day wouldn’t give me any buffer for days where I wouldn’t be able to do any writing. And anyway, 2k and 2.5k are round numbers. Round numbers are nice.

I’ve already used up a lot of my ‘off days’, and it’s only the first week of NaNoWriMo. Better pick up the pace just in case I have more days where I can’t do a lot of writing later in the month.

 

Today’s word count: 2470
Total word count: 8955

NaNoWriMo Day 4

A lot of people plan to participate in NaNoWriMo weeks and months ahead. I was not one of those people. Simply put, I completely forgot it existed, but when I found out NaNoWriMo was coming up, I just didn’t want to wait another year to go for it.

The result is that I’ve stepped into this 50k word challenge with little to no plans on what to write. Having no carefully thought out plan doesn’t mean that I’ll definitely fail, but it does mean that I have to approach this challenge a little differently.

Instead of writing the story linearly (A –> B –> C –> D), I’m writing scenes that pop into my mind first, in no particular order. I only have the bare bones of what I want to write? I’ll just write those bare bones first. As I write out the scene, I get ideas of what I want to write next or make references to incidents that I will need to write before. So every scene I write spawns another idea or two for me to work on, and I slowly flesh out the story and increase my word count at the same time.

It’s day 4 of NaNoWriMo, and this system has been working pretty well for me. I hope my scenes will continue to spawn more scenes.

If you find yourself getting writer’s block, you can try writing ahead to your climax or turning point. That might give you some ideas of what information you need to foreshadow in the scenes leading up to the important points in your story.

 

Today’s word count: 2153
Total word count: 6485

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Despite the distractions (because life doesn’t stop just because of NaNoWriMo, and the internet helps as much as it hinders), I didn’t do too badly. Mainly because I knew what I wanted to write for a mini storyline within the novel, so I can race ahead. Today, I’m writing the exciting stuff 🙂

Which makes me a little sad that I didn’t hit 2.5k today, but I only wrote in the evening, so that’s not bad.

 

Today’s word count: 1878

Total word count: 4332

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Busy day. Snuck some writing in on the train.

Today’s word count: 307

Total word count: 2454

NaNoWriMo Day 1

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a challenge where writers around the aim to write 50k words in November (30 days). A common way to break 50k words down into more manageable daily chunks is to use the formula 50 000 words/30 days = 1667 words/day.

I don’t do that. Not because I want to be different, but because I know there will be days where I can’t write a word, either because of writer’s block or because life gets in the way. Instead, I go by a combination of these two formulae:

50 000/20 = 2500 words/day + 10 off days
50 000/25 = 2000 words/day + 5 off days

My goal every day is to write between 2k to 2.5k words, which would give me more leeway to take breaks during the month if I need it. Just in case, it would also be great if I can write about 500 words even on the ‘off days’. Anything to buffer the bad days when I can’t put anything on paper.

That’s it for day 1 of NaNoWriMo. I happened to have a day off today, but still couldn’t hit 2.5k. Not great. But I did hit 2k, so not a bad start.

Sigh. If I only I can count this blog in my word count.

 

Today’s word count: 2147

 

Project Melan: Hoarding ideas

When it comes to ideas, I hoard.

I still have my student diary from secondary school, where I jotted down my ideas during the weekly forty-minute school assembly. I also have pieces of lecture notes, where I scribbled down ideas when something in the lesson sparked something.

There aren’t many people who would like living with a hoarder. Imagine waking every day to this disaster before you even walk out the door.

But, you can be a compulsive idea hoarder and no one would care because the only space getting cluttered would be your laptop. Unless you record your ideas on paper, like I did, then you’d still need to keep things neat and tidy. Which is why I try to transform my scraps of ideas into electronic form.

Why hoard ideas?

I’ve been working on Melan for three years now, and the current version I’m working on is version 3-ish. I still keep my older versions and deleted scenes, and these remnants have helped me as I work on the latest version of Melan. It’s easier to find a sub-par scene to work on than face a blank page when looking for ideas.

Sure, not every idea is a gold mine, but enough gold nuggets scattered around could melt down into a single gold ingot.

Melan progress: climax completed. Working through bridging chapter to start the next arc.

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