The Road of Fame Reloaded.

I’m getting a bit tired with my NaNoWriMo tale, and decided as a treat to a good friend of mine who reads this blog that I’ll post this continuation of my NaStySuMo story. To recape, NaStySuMo was a writing project I participated in during August where the challenge was to write a story where the characters had super powers. My character was a young woman called Fame who found herself in a little bit more trouble than she could deal with. You can find the whole story in my Nastysumo catergory. J

The Road of Fame Part 10

Staring at the Wanderer, dreading the outcome of the next couple of minutes, Fame gave the young woman one last look and stood up, carefully reaching out to touch her. The Wanderer braced herself and closed her eyes as Fame closed her own. She tightened her hand on the young woman’s shoulder until, quite abruptly, she felt the woman disappear. When she opened her eyes it was only she and Lara in the room. Glancing at the Tomb Raider, Fame took a deep breath and slowly sat down on the floor, clutching her shoulder. She had slipped the game controller into her sling next to her PSP but didn’t reach for it immediately.

“It hurts.”

Lara grimaced and went to the kitchen to pour her a glass of water. “I’m not surprised. You better get on with it.”

The young woman looked at her and sighed, looking at her television screen. “What if ah can’t bring him back?” she queried and gladly accepted the glass Lara offered her. The game character’s face was very stoic as she shrugged, not giving away a shred of her own doubt and worry.

“We’ll answer that when we know,” she said simply. “Come on Fame.”

The young woman grimaced and took the control again. It only took her a couple of seconds to find another loaded game, but it took almost a full minute to load it.

It felt like the longest minute of her life.

When she paused the game, staring at The Wanderer’s computer generated hands, she grimaced and stood up again, fighting the sense of vertigo that threatened her balance. Lara didn’t join her, but remained in the corner of the room, watching as Fame went closer to the television screen and carefully rested her good hand on it. Closing her eyes, Fame took as deep a breath as she could and focused.

There was a lengthy pause and then…

“Did it work?”

Fame opened her eyes and turned to find The Wanderer standing behind her, her eyes wide with hope. Looking around the room, Fame glanced at Lara who shook her head. “I’ll try again,” she said. “Just stay here, I’ll see if I can pull him out.”

The Wanderer’s eyes were dark as she regarded Fame and crossed her arms. Biting her lip, Fame looked at the screen and took another steadying breath. She reached out to touch the television screen but was interrupted by a knock on the door. All three women blinked and looked at each other. When the knock came again, Fame quickly stepped away from the television and moved to the door.

“It must be Dr. Walker,” she said. “Just stay back; ah don’t want her seeing you.”

She linked in the security chain and opened the door and, as expected she saw her doctor standing in front of her door, peering through the crack she had made. She smiled when she saw Fame and made a motion down the stairs.

“Are you ready to go Amy?” she queried.

Fame grimaced and shook her head. “Ah just need tae finish up with a couple’a things,” she said. “Ye can wait for me in the car if ye want. Ah’ll be down in a second.”

Dr. Walker raised an eyebrow and put her hand on the door. “Why don’t I wait inside?” she said. “I can help you finish up then if you want.”

Fame refrained from showing her irritation and quickly glanced back at the two game characters. “Ah’m almost done,” she insisted. “Ah’ll be down in a second, really. Ah just need to… finish up.”

Again, the woman gave her that look in which Fame could immediately see that she didn’t believe her. “Fame, please let me come in,” she said. “I’m not going to wait for you in the car.”

Defiance burned inside the young gamer as she glanced back at Lara and The Wanderer. They had both had their weapons drawn, but Lara sighed first and put them away, motioning to The Wanderer to do the same. When the girl didn’t comply immediately, Lara pointed her finger at her in a ‘careful’ kind of gesture before she motioned to Fame that she could let the doctor in.

Sighing miserably, Fame nodded at the doctor and closed the door so that she could slip off the chain. Then, when she let Dr. Walker in she stood back, also giving The Wanderer a warning look. Rolling her eyes in an exasperated fashion the young woman holstered her pistols, following Lara’s example. The two crossed their arms and didn’t smile when Dr. Walker saw them.

“Dr. Walker,” Fame said quickly before anybody could say anything. “These are friends of mine, they’ve just… come from a gaming convention in Cardiff. They came round to see if ah’m alright.”

Dr. Walker studied the women’s apparel with a critical eye. She glanced over The Wanderer but looked at Lara with a little bit more attention.

“Lara Croft I presume?” she queried.

The tomb raider smiled and stepped forward smoothly, holding out her hand in greeting. “Trying to be,” she said with a small smile. “I take it you are Amy’s doctor?”

Fame glared at Lara for using her name, but Dr. Walker smiled and nodded, taking Lara’s hand and squeezing it briefly before turning to Fame.

“For the moment,” she said. “I’m here to take her back to hospital, we had an agreement. Didn’t we Fame?”

The welsh girl sniffed stubbornly, turning her face away from the woman so that she could look at her television screen. She couldn’t help but think suddenly that if the power went out without warning, she was going to have to explain a lot.

“Ah haven’t found m’dog yet,” she mumbled. “Ah can’t go back now.”

Dr. Walker seemed to grimace and shook her head. “Amy,” she said softly. “If he’s no here love, then I can’t see you finding him within the day. It’s really time that I get you back, you’re as pale as a sheet. If you let me take you back, I promise that I’ll go to some of the shelters myself and look for your dog. Your friends can come with me if they want – I’m sure they’ll be able to spot him quicker than I would.”

Not wanting to tell the woman that that would not be a very good idea, Fame shook her head tiredly. “Ah just need ten more minutes,” she said. “Please Dr. Walker – ah’ll be at the car in a moment. Just give me a little bit more time.”

The doctor looked ready to protest when, without warning, there was another knock on the door. Knowing the two women, Fame could see that it took a very visible effort from both of them not to draw out their guns in the presence of Dr. Walker. She too had to show an intense amount of self restraint not make it known how intensely irritated she was. She could not stop herself from cursing as she stormed to the door.

“What dumb smuck’s here now?” she drawled. “My apartment’s small enough.”

Once again she put the security chain on the door and glancing back at the three women in her small living room she threw it open, her irritation clear on her face. She looked at the person for a moment or two then said abruptly.

“Who the bloody hell are you?”

To Be Continued…


Alyss’s NaNoWriMo Tip 3: BACK UP!

This should’ve been tip number one, reinforced with tip number two and spelled out in detail with tip number three.

Back up your work.

It happens during every NaNoWriMo that some writers somewhere lose their precious word counts by either forgetting to save, by losing their USB disks or by faulty computers and freak thunderstorms that can destroying a hard drive in one single flash. For those of us who work on computers, it is wise to remember that we are at their mercy.

The sad thing about backupping is that we all know we should do it (myself included) but for some lazy, procrastinating reason we never do. We like to think that we will be spared, that we will miss this evil curse of every anxious writer but we are wrong.

It will happen to us. Not today maybe, or tomorrow or even for the whole of November. But, one day, when you least expect it, you will find that you have lost all your information through any of the above mentioned reasons (or different ones, you never know how creative Murphy’s Law) can be. And then, you find yourself swimming in the pool of regret, telling yourself over and over and over again that you should’ve backed up your work.

So, go now and back up. Save a second copy of your precious manuscript. Put it in at least two safe locations. Flash drives aren’t that expensive anymore. It’s quite affordable to have two of them. I have two, one which I use for my general work and the other which I use solely for backuping. It puts my mind at ease (even though I don’t nearly do it as much as I should). I also put my work on my computer hard drive (though not so much as I feel that that encourages the beast to crash). But, I always make sure that I have at least two or three copies available of what I’m working on. Another good idea, (although I don’t use it myself) is to email your work back to yourself at the end of the day. That way it’s in your inbox, safe on the world wide web (for every pirate and his mate to read, lol) which should save you from that fateful (and terribly unlucky) day where every single space where your work is kept is destroyed.

They cannot kill the internet.

Good luck with your writing guys, and don’t take this advice lightly. Not today.

Your work and word count is too important to keep at this stage. 😉

Good luck, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Alyss (who is following her own advice right about… now).

Alyss’s NaNoWriMo Tip 2: Go at your own pace.

Yesterday I spoke about finding your pace and sticking to it, and today I would like to elaborate on that idea. We’ve had a crazy amount of wild stats in my country this year. Port Elizabeth Region is currently sitting at number one with it’s average number of words per person, my region’s at number 6. We’ve had a whole bunch of people shoot out from the rest, putting up word counts three/four times more than they should have (yours truly shamefully included). Its impressive, and it can be intimidating.

I’ve noticed that some of the people have been comparing themselves to these over achievers and feeling terribly inadequate about their (on target) word counts that they have been posting. I would like to tell you now that there’s no need for that.

Like I’ve said before, we all have our own pace. Some of us can comfortably write 10k words a day where as others are comfortable to push for 1700 words per say. The thing is that we all have different experience and different skills My saving grace for instance is that I can type very quickly with all ten fingers. Some people write by hand, and that takes a very long time. Naturally, I’m going to be able to go quicker than the person writing his/her book in ink. It makes my effort no more greater than theirs and my word count no more superior. What’s more, some of us (like myself) write whether it’s NaNoWriMo or not. It makes us more comfortable with writing and juggling our characters where as those who do this only once a year needs a little bit more practice and rhythm to get back into the swing of things.

The thing is that (biggest cliché in the world to be stated right now) we are all unique and we have unique goals.

Mine at this stage is to try and oblivirate Port Elizabeth’s average word count, but (lol) that’s personal. 😉

Stay by your own goals and don’t be intimidated by others. Remember you have to do this at your own pace, otherwise you will burn yourself out and then you’ll be of no use to anybody. J

Happy Writing people.


A Brief Interlude: My Beautiful Country

One of the perks of my new job is that I get to travel quite a lot on company expense. It comes at a price naturally. I drive hundreds of miles a week, normally very far from home to place which are VERY hot to see people who can be quite rude.

But, on the other hand, it allows me to witness an afternoon here, at the river crossing the Crocodile River to the Kruger National Park’s Malelane gate. My colleague and I had to come here to see some clients and show our faces (as my country apparently only comes this way once every six months or so). I set off very early this morning, leaving my temporary lodgings at 4:50am to meet up with my boss at 5:30am so that we can start on the road heading East to Mpumalanga (I stay in Gauteng). The day wasn’t very exciting admittedly as it was very hot and the clients… Well. Clients. I’ll never fault them because they are my bread and butter.

We finished up just after 2pm and came through to the guest house where we’ll be spending the night. I took a moment to collect myself while my colleague went to visit with some old friends in the area. I had a headache (read caffeine withdrawal) and needed to cool down a bit. It was 46 degrees Celsius outside, and cooking me alive. When he returned we went to the bridge crossing over the Crocodile River to the Kruger Park. It was beautiful and somehow just what I needed.

I have a beautiful country, and amazing place with so much a variation which I am priviledged enough to see now that I’m travelling so much. I forgot about it in a way. I had been so taken with England that I forgot that my country has just as much scenic wise to offer then the small British Isle. It’s not the same naturally, you cannot compare apples with bananas.

But, it is beautiful and I thought to share it with you.


Alyss’s NaNoWriMo 2010 Tip 1

Is to pace yourself.

We had a massive word sprint in our country these past four days. A lot of people shot up to between 15 thousand and 20 thousand words within the first 3 days. Yours truly did almost 25 thousand which is exactly halfway with the set goal of 50 thousand words. The average word scores were amazing for the regions. One of our regions for instance is currently standing at number 2 for average word score per person and yours truly’s region is number 6.

In The World.

That’s amazing.

I found myself thinking about this as I tried to push myself last night to try and reach 25 thousand words. I couldn’t imagine that all of us would be able to keep up the pace because I realized quite suddenly that I wasn’t going to. I had done the one thing I had told myself in the beginning I shouldn’t do and that was out write myself. It hadn’t been hard or at all planned or hard. I had very good dialogue, very good characters and, when I started reading the Forum and Personal Message comments on my word count, I had the motivation to push myself as hard as I could.

It was with this frame of mind that I tried desperately to touch the 25k mark at 9pm last night. I hadn’t done a lot of writing (in comparison to my other days) because I had actually had to work for a bit and I had spend some much appreciated and much needed time with my Other Half. I also had to plan for a crazy business trip that my collegue and I went to in our Mpumalanga Province (Alyss is here right now) and get into bed at a reasonable time that would allow me to get up at 4:15am so that I could fall into the road.

The pressure was up and… I folded.

Just shy of 24k words, I sat back and realized that it was not the end of the world if I didn’t reach my goal for the day. It would’ve been cool and impressive and it would’ve given the other Wrimo’s in my country something to chew on, but I realized quite suddenly that it wasn’t really what NaNoWriMo was about for me. Some considered it their goal to reach 50k words, others set their own goals and worked with them. I knew that I’d be able to reach 50k easily (I did 58k in 21 days last year) but what I wanted to do was to be consident. To write a certain amount each day despite my hectic work schedule and stick to it (also giving myself sufficient space to take a days off to spend with my horse and Other Half without being too jittery about my lagging word count).

In other words, I wanted to be consistent and I wanted to pace myself.

Which I haven’t been doing and when I realized this, I found myself pushing my computer back, staring at my scene (which had been struggling actually) and thinking: It’s alright, I can relax. Tomorrow will be another day. And if it isn’t, then there will be the day after or the day after.

So, I suspect I’m going to fix my pace a little bit. Settle into the long distance rhythm as opposed to the flash sprint and see how far I can take this for as long as I can take this.

I have to say though – this is truly all I had hoped it would be. I am once again, having the time of my life. 😉

What about you?