Sunday, November 18, 2012

Too Many Stuffs

I am trying out blogging on the tablet again. Several reason for this: there is a new version of the Blogger app (not that I ever used the old one). I'm hoping it will work better for this than the painfully wonky write-text-w/-Jota+-&-transfer-via-browser method I tried in the past (which sucked). I dropped my tablet a while back and the (full-sized--best feature of Acer A500, IMHO) USB port stopped working, making the tablet far less usable. But an emergency surgery session last week, inspired by a dream, resulted in me using a tiny hypodermic needle to bend one of the four prongs in the USB, which wasn't making contact. This involved headlamps, flashlights held with teeth, and no small amount of swearing. It was a complicated/simple fix, if that makes any sense.

But now my USB works again. Yay! Which means I can use my favorite portable keyboard (A chiclet-style Perixx that flies).

Side note - If I could get a portable, ergonomic keyboard, I would be in heaven. I love my big MS Natural keyboard knockoff (also made by Perixx), but it couldn't be less portable. I've seen one that would almost work  (Kinesis Freestyle2), except it's super-pricey. Why more manufacturers don't make split keyboards like this one, I don't know.

Anyway, I've now been working on this post for about half an hour (Amazon research soaked up some time). I won't know for sure until I try to send it, but so far the Blogger app works well. It's really sweet to be able to enter rich text instead of plain text. I can do italics, woot!

Edit - Just hit blip numero uno. The editor for the Blogger app has no undo function. Not having control-z isn't the end of the world, but It's an unexpected omission. Also, no preferences menu to do things like adjust font size, etc. Hrm...

Another interesting note - all the keyboard shortcuts I've learned for navigating on the AlphaSmart Neo (which has no other input device, no mouse or touchscreen or anything) are coming in really handy on the tablet. Which is nice, because I really hate trying to move the cursor around with my sausage-fingers.

Anyway, on to more important matters. It's the end of week 2--or the beginning of week 2 1/2, I suppose--of  NaNoWriMo. I can confidently report that I'm kicking ass. No, seriously. While chewing bubble gum and taking names. It's an awesome feeling. I am currently at around 44k. I've been averaging 2.5k a day, so I should 'win' within a few more days. Ya, again!

I won't actually be finished when I win. I'm on chapter 35 of a planned 48 chapters, so I have  15-20k more to write. I originally expected to hit 70k this year, but I think I'll probably end up closer to 65k. Good enough :)

The even-better news is that I am far happier with this book than I was with last year's NaNo. Not that the last one wasn't fun, or that this one will need any less editing/rewriting later on, but I feel like I have a much better grasp of both the story I'm trying to tell and storytelling in general. The prep I did definitely helped. Although I need to do way more next time. It turns out that what I thought was a ton of outlining and prewriting was really only the bare minimum to get my story started. I've had some hair-tearing moments trying to wrap my head around the plot and characters this month, stuff I thought I already had worked out. Lesson learned.

I am, as always, still not satisfied with the work I'm doing. Definitely room for improvement. But a far more fluent effort than last time. Plus--and this is the key, the whole reason I'm so hyped on NaNo--I feel like this is a repeatable process (during non-NaNo time). The pressurized writing environment suits me, although I might take things slightly easier on the next book. I've been missing out on sleep (and most everything else) in order to keep up with my wordcount goals. But that's gotten easier, in some ways, as the month has worn on.

In other words, I think I have the trick of writing novels now. Perhaps.

All that remains is to work on writing better ones :)

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