A shift is needed…

nanowrimo-journal-2016

It’s been a long month.  On November 1st, 2016, I started to write the most challenging writing project I’ve ever tried.  I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough material to fill all 30 days, and I was partially right, but I worked it out.  50,000 words was the goal to complete the challenge of NaNoWriMo, but I don’t consider it a victory unless I am able to finish the novel.  I surpassed that goal, finished the novel, and even had some time to do a little editing.  Faithful readers of The Paradigm, I have written a novel in 30 days!

National Novel Writing Month was a huge challenge for me this year.  It was difficult, but I have achieved victory.

Struggles of a Modern Vampire may be finished, but it’s still only a vomit draft, it needs some tender loving care.  It needs a scalpel and come vodka.  It needs to be polished, shined, and reworked again before it’s a beautiful gem.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever give this novel any extra attention.  This may simply be a “learning curve” project that I’m going to file away.  But, who knows?  Maybe one day I’ll pull it out of its metaphorically dusty file folder on my computer and work on it some more.  Only time will tell.  It was a hard project just because of all the new things I tried with it, but I’m glad I made the attempt.  I feel like I’ve grown because of it.

I want to take a moment to thank God for giving me endurance for this year’s project.  I want to thank my family, friends, and my readers.  Thank you for all the encouragement, advice, and sticking with me to the end.

Here is this year’s winner’s certificate:

nanowrimo-winners-certificate-2016

I have a lot more ideas in my head for future writing projects I would like to work on.  I am still pursuing publication for Written in Silence.  I may start looking into small presses.  The future’s bright; lit with possibilities.

The Stats for Struggles of a Modern Vampire

Here are the final stats on my 2016 NaNoWriMo project:

Title: Struggles of a Modern Vampire

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Humor

Words: 69,828

Chapters: 33

Pages: 268 (that’s in Microsoft Word, double spaced, 12 point New Times Roman font)

What I learned this year: I learned that I’m not that great at writing urban fantasy or humor, honestly.  I also learned a lot about going out of my comfort zone.  I tried a genre I’ve never written before, about a subject matter I’ve never written before, and used more of a point of view I don’t normally use.  Overall, this whole project was new to me and a decent challenge.

I want to say thank you to everyone who stuck with me and encouraged me this month!  You rock at life!

Until next time,

Andrew Ronzino, A Man Who Wrote a Novel in 30 Days

Challenge Completed

NaNoWriMo Day 29: Revision

nanowrimo-journal-2016

My word count hasn’t been going up a lot lately because I haven’t been adding new scenes.  I don’t really have anything I want to add just yet.  Maybe, if I rewrite and polish this story up, I’ll add more scenes, but for now, I’m content to just add more to what’s already written.  Revise what’s there, as it were.

I’ve been going over a few of the flashback scenes (which is where I wanted to focus my efforts for now) and adding details and information I had left out previously.  When I say that this first draft is a “vomit draft”, I mean it, it’s not pretty.  It’s awful, in fact.  I usually don’t have time to revise at all during NaNoWriMo, and it’s usually discouraged during the challenge because the focus is to get the words written down, not to make the words perfect.  However, because I finished earlier than I normally do, I figured I could work on some of the scenes I like and polish them up a bit and add more meat to the situations.

Tomorrow is the end of the challenge, and I will be validating my word count and getting my winner’s certificate.  I’m excited.  It’s been another successful and fun November.

Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 69, 551/50,000!

Until the end of NaNoWriMo,

Andrew Ronzino, Editor

nanowrimo-journal-2016

As I promised yesterday, I have the fourth and final excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel to share with you.  If you would like to go back and read any of the previous excerpts, you can do so here:

Except one, excerpt two, and excerpt three.

This scene is the climatic fight at the end between a vampire hunter named Miles O’Conner, Matt, another vampire named Quinton, and Jordy.  Matt keeps having different songs pop into his head as he fights, and I thought it would be a nice piece for you all to read.

Once again, like all the other excerpts, please keep in mind that this is a vomit draft, and thus may have a lot of errors in it.  The only editing I did to it was enough to make sure it’s readable for you.  Enjoy!

As I fought, it dawned on me for the first time that I was in very real danger.  There were vampire hunters who were famous for killing three or four vampires in a single fight before.  Knowing how hard hunters trained, it was most likely true.  I realized that if I didn’t fight to kill, I was going to die.  I had never killed anyone before, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to kill O’Conner.  Yes, it would be self-defense, but at the same time, I would always have that blood on my hands.  That yummy, tasty blood.

I couldn’t smell O’Conner’s blood.  I didn’t realize until now that I couldn’t in my other encounter with him either.  What was different about him?

When I got close to him to deliver another blow to his face, I smelled the reason why.  He smelled like garlic, powerful garlic.  My stomach turned for a moment as I jumped out of the way of his foot aiming for my chest.  It wasn’t a strange cologne like I thought it was when I first met him, he had smeared garlic on his skin to keep me from biting him.

I had never realized that that was where the rumor came from.  Garlic was a poison to vampires.  The smell alone wouldn’t repel us, but biting a neck covered in it would cause us to get sick, thus one who wore the garlic would no longer be a viable target for a vampire wishing to feed.  Quinton never mentioned that one bit of vampire fact to me.  Maybe it was only a hunter thing and the greater populace of the world, who didn’t know about the existence of vampires as a whole, didn’t even know about where the myth came from.

O’Conner aimed a punch at me, and cracked me across the jaw.  He smiled and I rubbed my chin as Quinton attempted to stab the hunter in the back again.

I needed to get into the zone.  I needed to fight for my life, or we were both going to die, and then there would be no one to stop Jordy from being killed afterwards.  I needed to fight, not for me, but for him.  It was my fault he was involved in all of this in the first place.  Had I not confided in him, he would be at home with his family now, none the wiser about the crazy creatures of the night who lurked around the city feasting on whoever smelled good.

I started to conjure up a song in my head that I could fight to.  Queen seemed to be what I called to retention when I needed to run for my life, but, for some odd reason, it was dulcet tones of Bonnie Tylor who came to mind in this dangerous fight to the death.  Not “I Need a Hero” like one would expect, but “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

I started to hum the power balled as O’Conner came in for another attack.  I blocked his blow with my arms, grabbed his wrists and twisted around, I bent over and threw him over my back at the ground.

I belted out, “Turn around, bright eyes!” as I spun to face him,

“What?” Quinton asked.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart?” Jordy said from across the street.  “Really?  That’s what’s stuck in your head right now?”

“Hey, what I choose for my battle music is my business, I don’t tell you want to sing when you’re fighting vampire hunters, do I?”  I watched as Quinton jumped at O’Conner again, but O’Conner was able to dodge it with ease.

I realized then that Quinton’s limp was slowing him down.  I continued to hum the song and I moved in to help Quinton.  He and O’Conner were locked in battle, and just as I reached them again, O’Conner jabbed at him with his sharp stick, missing his heart, but getting him in the chest nonetheless.

Quinton cried out in pain.

I grabbed O’Conner and threw him off of Quinton.  O’Conner elbowed me in the nose, and I felt it break, blood began to pore from my nostrils.  I gritted my teeth and ignored the pain.  “Nothing I could do, a total eclipse of the heart,” I sang though my teeth.

O’Conner lunged at me, and caught me in the leg with his stake, I yelped in pain and the ignored the wound.  It would heal in time.  All my wounds healed.  From what I understood, the only wounds that did not heal was something piercing the heart, and something being cut completely off, like an arm or a head.

O’Conner roared as Quinton jabbed at his heart again with his stake, but he also missed the man’s heart.

“Quinton!” I yelled to him.  “Stop thinking like a vampire!  He’s human, remember?  He’ll die soon enough from other wounds.  We don’t have to get his heart.”  Then I went back to humming.  It was a good thing the song was long.  I didn’t know what to expect would pop in my head when the song ended.

We continued to fight like that for some time, us getting in a few lucky shots here and there, but nothing large enough to stop the professional vampire hunter.  He also got in a few more lucky shots on us too, injuring us further.  Jordy was yelling advice from the sidelines, advice we ignored, because, honestly, he didn’t know what he was talking about.

We were fighting so long, that the song I had chosen as my battle music ended.  “No!” I yelled, mortified.  I needed that music, it allowed me to focus on the fight and ignore everything else around me.

Lucky for me, the song was replaced almost instantly, as if my head were an iPod switching tracks.  The song wasn’t epic death metal or awesome movie soundtrack like Dual of the Fates form Star Wars, but another power balled.  My brain and I would have to have a serious conversation about my internal playlist once I got home.  If I got home.

The song was “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meatloaf.  A great, long song, but not the kind of music you expect to fight for your life with. If my life were a movie, the audience would be so confused by the music choices the director agreed to, and would probably win a Razzy because of it.  Such a shame for that poor millionaire director and his Razzy acceptance speech.

I was bleeding from all over now, as was Quinton, who was in worse shape than I was, he was almost entirely covered in blood, vampire blood, which added to the horrid smell of my own blood and the weird garlicy smell of O’Conner’s.  Quinton was nearing the end of the fight, I didn’t know how much longer he could fight the hunter off.

I attacked O’Conner again, but O’Conner pulled his pistol out again and fired.  The bullet got me in the chest, but not the heart.  I could feel this more than the other wounds though, and the music in my head switched to “My Mamma Said” by Aqua the moment the bullet struck me, an oddly appropriate song.

I coughed and fell back, hitting the ground.  I looked up in time to see O’Conner attack Quinton one last time, and he too went down.

O’Conner limped over to his pistol, which he had dropped when Quinton attacked after he shot me, and picked it up.  He checked the chamber.  “One bullet left,” he said, panting.  “You two put up an exciting fight, I’ll give you that much praise.  I haven’t had this much fun in years.  It looks like I can kill one of you with a bullet, and reserve the stake for the other.  Wonderful.”

I knew I was done.  I was bleeding, my nose was broken, and I was pretty sure I had some cracked ribs too.  If O’Conner attacked me now it was all over.  Quinton didn’t look a whole lot better, in fact, he looked worse than I did.

The song was playing loud in my head.  “The drops of rain became a river, and now it’s time to end this dance.”  I didn’t want to die, everything I’ve done as a vampire was to keep myself alive.  But my energy was gone, my strength was depleted, I was broken and bloody.  I had no more fight left in me.  “So thank you,” I sang along with the words in my head.

“Oh, you’re welcome,” O’Conner said.  Without saying another word, he limped over to me.  He was hurt pretty badly too, but not nearly as much and me and Quinton.  He cocked his pistol and pointed it directly at my heart.

I closed my eyes, accepting my fate, wishing I had spoken to my parents one more time.  They haven’t hear from me in seven years, and the next news they would hear about me is that I was dead, if the hunter even allowed my body to be found.

A scream cause me to open my eyes again.  Jordy was bull rushing O’Conner.  Knocking him over just as he fired his gun.  But it was too late, his aim was off, and rather than hitting me in the chest, the bullet went through my arm.  I yelped in pain as O’Conner grunted from the impact.

Jordy was hitting him, but O’Conner recovered quickly.  He threw Jordy off of himself and proceeded to punch Jordy over and over again in the face, I heard his nose break.  Then the hunter wrapped his powerful hands around Jordy’s throat and squeezed.  Jordy’s face started to turn red as he struggled to breathe, he clawed at O’Conner’s hands, trying to get him to release him.

I felt a rush of energy, the song in my head turned from the Aqua funeral dirge to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.  Finally an appropriate song!  I looked around me for anything I could use to help Jordy, and I found Quinton’s wooden stake, which he had dropped at some point during the fight.

I snatched it up, pushed myself up, and ignoring the pain all over my body, I leaped for O’Conner, screaming, “Thunderstruck!” in time with the tune in my head.  He didn’t have time to turn or react before I reached him.  The wooden stake sank deep into his back, past bone and flesh and into his heart.

O’Conner gasped and cried out as blood pooled, now that it was exposed in great excess, I could smell that he had B- blood.  Not that it mattered at all, I wouldn’t drink it when it was contaminated by the garlic he had rubbed on his skin.

O’Conner tried to stand up and turn to me, but he lost his balance and fell back, splattering Jordy with a little blood, and plunged the stake deeper into his heart.  He garbled some words that were unintelligible, then he took his last breath.  He slumped over, his eyes open and dead to the world.

I dropped back down onto the ground and just sat there.  There a low rumble in the sky, and it began to drizzle.  The rain was cold, but I didn’t care at the moment.  I had just survived an attack from a hunter.

-Excerpt from Struggles of a Modern Vampire; Chapter 26, by Andrew Ronzino

That will be the last excerpt for this year’s challenge.  I hope it was a fun read for you.  It was fun to write.

Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 69, 300/50,000!

Until tomorrow comes,

Andrew Ronzino, Cthulhu’s Nightmare

nanowrimo-journal-2016

As a writer, there’s nothing more satisfying than typing the words “The End” after working hard on your novel.  Whether you’ve been writing the novel for four years, or 27 days, that moment when you include those two words is glorious.  You feel like you’ve accomplished something.  It doesn’t matter if it’s just the first draft, you feel like the thing you’ve been working on has been completed.  It may still need to be polished to a shine, but for now, it’s done.  You can sit back, drink a glass of wine, and breathe a deep sigh of relief.

I was able to do that earlier today.  For all intents and purposes, Struggles of a Modern Vampire has been completed.  I wrote “The End” today.

However, “The End” is not the end.  I still have three days left in NaNoWriMo and would I would like to spend them by adding a little more detail here and there in flashback scenes.  So, though the meat of the novel is done, I’m going to insert some more substance to what’s already written.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the final excerpt with you, and on the 30th, I’ll announce my official win of NaNoWriMo 2016.

Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 69, 149/50,000!

Until the golden light is lit,

Andrew Ronzino, Frienemy

nanowrimo-journal-2016

I had to work today, and afterwards I had a game of D&D to play, so it was a busier day than I expected.  I only got to write a little bit, but hey, any words count.

The end of my story is near.  I’m thinking I only have a few more scenes to write before I can type “the end”.  Overall, I’m glad I tried this genre out.  I’m not sure if it’s for me, and I’m not sure I was any good at writing the humor, but the experience of it was good, and I’m happy I tried something I was uncomfortable with.  I can always say that I tried it, and that, to me, is worth it.  I’m not saying that I’m never coming back and writing in this setting, but urban fantasy just isn’t one of my strong points, I don’t think.

Four days left to go, and I’m amazed I stretched it out this long.

Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 67,008/50,000!

Until the end comes,

Andrew Ronzino, Firestarter

nanowrimo-journal-2016

I don’t really have an update for you today.  I was having internet problems, and they just now got resolved.  I don’t have time for a proper post, as I have to get to bed for work in the morning.  I’ll have a proper update for you tomorrow.  But do know that I did get some words written today.

Have a good night!

Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 66,415/50,000!

Until I have time to write again,

Andrew Ronzino, Bison Hunter

NaNoWriMo Day 24: Thankful

nanowrimo-journal-2016

Happy Thanksgiving!  My belly is full of delicious turkey, I’m in my pajamas, I’m watching Catch Me If You Can, and I feel a food coma setting it.  Today was a blast.  I did get some writing in before I went to my friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  There’s a lot to be thankful for, so here’s a list:

  • Salvation
  • Family
  • Food
  • Friends
  • Getting your letter to Hogwarts…finally!
  • Eating food
  • Eating leftovers
  • The Paradigm’s readers
  • NaNoWriMo
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Watching movies while blogging
  • Writing
  • Acting
  • Reading
  • Books
  • The Bible
  • Struggles of a Modern Vampire
  • Punching dudes in the face
  • Italy
  • Pots and pans
  • Rolling pins
  • Superman
  • Jedi
  • Jedi Superman
  • Girls
  • The Three Stars: Stargate, Star Wars, and Star Trek
  • Red wine
  • White wine
  • Wine in general
  • Water
  • The New York Yankees
  • The Chicago Cubs
  • Pathfinder RPG
  • D&D 5e
  • Xia: Legends of a Drift System
  • Tavarua
  • The Nostalgia Critic
  • Santa Christ
  • The Secret of NIMH
  • The Neverending Story (novel)
  • The Neverending Story (movie)
  • The Neverending Story (play)
  • Jerks
  • Nice people
  • Written in Silence
  • The agent and publisher I’ll one day sign with
  • Emma Watson (she will always be on this list)
  • Photographs
  • “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
  • Dancing
  • Christmas music
  • The 80’s and 90’s
  • Not being a Millennial, even though technically I am one
  • The Ronziphone™
  • Clean dishes
  • Showers
  • Love
  • Pluto, it’s still a planet
  • The Bothans
  • Ewoks
  • The list of books I’ll eventually read
  • The Life of a Tree dance
  • Tom Hanks
  • Q
  • The letter “P”
  • The number 87
  • Lightsabers
  • Taxis
  • Legos
  • Stranger Things
  • 011
  • Eggos

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Current word count for Struggles of a Modern Vampire: 64,650/50,000!

Until the fires within remain lit forevermore,

Andrew Ronzino, A Thankful Man

%d bloggers like this: