Tin Man Series

NaNoWriMo Approaching – Planning Ahead

Plan AheadOnce again this year I intend to participate in the NaNoWriMo writing contest. I learned so much from last year’s event and the year since, resulting in my “Tin Man” story. I have expanded the original story idea into a possible trilogy and plan to write the 2nd installment during 2012 NaNoWriMo. However I am not leaving anything to chance.

Last year I outlined my initial concept for “Tin Man” just before writing it during 2011 NaNoWriMo. I felt a little guilty about going into the contest with a “head start”. But later I learned that it was actually a smart move. Instead of plodding around haphazardly for 30 days, counting words toward the 50,000 goal, I was instead moving in a specific direction to a tangible goal. It helped me tremendously.

Others had the same idea and planned ahead too. But some did not and relied on “seat of your pants” writing and inspiration to direct their story. About that … yeah. Not so smart. While some folks seemed to have a talent for storytelling and were able to pound out scene after scene, others were meandering all over the place with no real sense of direction.

One WriMo I spoke to during a Write-In last year admitted that while he was far ahead of us in word count, he knew that afterwards he would be dumping @ 60-80% of his writing efforts during the first edit and that his final draft would probably not look anything like his NaNoWriMo end product. That’s a lot of words being sacrificed to the delete button!

His point was that the NaNoWriMo process was a means to an end, helping him to flesh out an idea and learn what works and what doesn’t. If he could come away from the whole experience with a small kernel that would eventually become a great story, then the exercise and the sacrifice was well worth it.

I hope so.

That’s a huge investment of time and typing. And to me my free time has value and I don’t like wasting it. So I intend to thoroughly outline my “Tin Man 2” story before November 1st comes around, so I can spend the month in a worthwhile endeavor. Hopefully by the time December 1st rolls around I’ll have a nice rough draft to work with.


Tin Man excerpt – Part 1: The night before

Waving an empty glass and with a smile a big as Montana, Isaak Manzur tried to get the attention of the lovely young waitress with the long hair. Finally a large grey bearded older man stepped up to the bar and took Isaak’s glass, refilling it.

“Don’t forget to settle up your tab while you’re here. It’s getting up there and you know my policy about carrying a debt past the end of the month.”

Isaak’s smile disappeared but he nodded politely at the bartender and owner of the establishment. “Sure thing Evert. I’ll take care of it tonight. Say…” he paused to look around for the object of his interest, “who’s the new girl?”

Evert ignored the man’s query and instead dropped a napkin in front of him with a 3 digit number written on it. Isaak’s eyes went wide and he decided that he wasn’t quite drunk enough to dish out that much cash.

As the night dragged on, the beers and whiskey began to loosen the tongue on the long haired, mid-aged man. On cue Isaak lit another cigarette and started talking to anyone else sitting at the bar about his conspiracy theories. The regulars at the dusty out of the way bar and grill, largely ignore him. Even Evert has heard Isaak’s banter numerous times before. But to the new folks, especially one young and well endowed waitress, it was all news.

From the other side of the bar Atiana tried to focus on her tables and the numerous drink orders, but Isaak’s words captivated her. For the young people that were spared the war service, they were eager to hear all about it. She was part of the first generation that had to learn abtavernout the war second hand, from the veterans, unlike all those that came before her.

“They have all kinds of new technology now, left over from the war, and they are itching to use it here on our home soil.” Isaak rambled on. “They monitor everything from your personal e-mail, telecom communications, bank accounts…”

“They can do that?” She finally blurted out, unable to contain her curiosity any more. “Isn’t that illegal?”

Isaak smiled and tried to hold in a burp. “Yeup and nope. They’re the government. They don’t need our permission to spy on us.”

“But the war is over and Marshall Law was lifted more than a year ago. Congress would need to pass a law to give the government that ability.” Atiana rambled on.

The conspiracy theorist was surprised by the young woman’s knowledge. Wow, boobs and brains! “Yeah, well if they were following the rules they would. But they don’t need permission from Congress when they still have their secret weapon.”

A few groans were heard echoing through the bar and Evert rolled his eyes anticipating the next topic.

“What secret weapon?” The naive waitress replied, ignoring the groans around her.


Back to the Forest – Hyper focusing

You’ve heard the expression “can’t see the forest for the trees“. Well when I’m writing, my (AD/HD) hyper-focusing “gift” sometimes causes me to miss the entire forest, trees too, and spend oodles of time on the leaves of every branch, of every tree, in the forest.

Earlier this month I met with my writing buddy Joe to compare notes on our respective writing projects. I vented a little about my inability to move forward on my “Tin Man” (TM) story, even though I was spending hours every week on it. After I showed him all the detailed info I had been working on, he gently pointed out that I had strayed away from “the forest”, from the bigger picture. He was right. It happens more often than I care to admit. 🙁

Now understand that hyperfocusing is not all bad. It has it’s place. It is tremendously useful for getting me into the writing “zone” and keeping me on the write track (pun intended). During NaNoWriMo I spent hours at a time banging away at the keyboard, oblivious to the distractions around me. The cat could have run past me on fire and I would not have noticed. I was a writing machine.

The problem happens when I spend hours fine tuning small, not so critical, scenes or details … researching every iota of dialog or element … and it’s not even a certainty that the info will be in the final draft. That uber attention to detail, at the expense of the overall story, is not good.

So after a brief chat with Joe I have set a new course back to the forest that I had forsaken. I will focus first on updating my overall outline for TM and then slowly move into the forest, one tree at a time. And I shall resist the urge to climb a tree. 🙂


Tin Man Synopsis

For those interested, here is the “working” synopsis for the first volume in the Tin Man series. I started this story during the 2011 NaNoWriMo contest and I am hoping to have a completed first draft before November 2012.

“A very special and unique military unit was thought to have been killed in an explosion near the end of the great war, but one of them was accidentally discovered. The military scrambles to take custody of the soldier and secure the sensitive information he possesses. But the technology company Cyber-TEK gets to him first hoping to use him to locate his teammates and protect their interests.

On the run from both Cyber-TEK and the military, the rest of the unit comes together to protect not only themselves but also their secret, which forced them to fake their deaths years earlier and go into hiding. Only one man can unite them and lead them, but he has gaps in his memory from his traumatic war experience. Can he regain his lost memories in time to save his unit and more importantly to protect their secret?”

I’m sure this synopsis will change again and again as I flesh out the remainder of the story, but you get the basic gist.


New Year, New Thoughts

Happy New Year!  Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliz Ano Novo!

I’ve been a busy spinner this month. First I gave my brain a break by putting the “Tin Man” (TM) project on the shelf for a month. Need to get it out of my daily thoughts so I came come back to it in February with fresh eyes.

So what will I be working on?

I am going back to my monstrous multi-volume story “Son of War” (SOW). I left it in state of chaos last Fall when I focused my writing efforts on my NaNoWriMo project instead. Recently I began tightening the outline more and straightening the derailed plots this month. The characters in that series are very opinionated and have led me down many interesting paths. However this year I’d like to finally nail down this wandering series and finish the first volume by the end of year. It’s a daunting task for this huge series since any decisions I make in any of the volumes will effect the others.

I plan to return to TM in February and make some serious decisions on what to keep and what to dump. There’s also room for a sequel or two  if I write it that way.  I also have plans to finish the first draft of TM by the end of this year. We’ll see.


step into my parlor