Writing and Soaping Update, 12/04

As I suspected, my NaNoWriMo novel didn’t hit 50,000 words during November. C’est la vie. I has, however, hit more than 20,000, and gotten to the introduction of the central tangle of conflicts that will drive the rest of the story. So I’m pleased, and I’m still making progress.

On the soaping front, things are going well. I have shaving soap samples out to a few people that agreed to test for me, and a few more lined up. That’s pretty exciting for me, and it looks like early 2014 is still a realistic goal to open up shop. I’ve also been focusing a bit more on face/hand soap, with an eye toward extending that part of my product line.

This has involved learning some things about cold process soap that I didn’t know before. Such as, the temperature of your ingredients really does make a difference. Not so much because of functionality (it will create soap either way) but because of the rapidity of trace (setting) and the “gel phase” process. I made a batch of soap for cold process and combined them when the oils and lye were both pretty hot. It traced rather abruptly and started a gel phase right away. Usually you have to insulate a soap and leave it overnight for that to happen. (Or make it by hot process.)

So, I ended up with a functional but messy looking soap:

Strawberry Shortcake Handsoap

Not exactly consistent.

I have a nice new silicon mold now, and plan to try making a hot-process batch. I think that HP soap that is done in a shallow container like the one I received this week will be easier to handle than the tall cylindrical molds I had been using.

Oh, and the Dapper Dragon himself is starting to take shape!

The Dapper Dragon

Bubble pipe, of course!

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NaNoWriMo is almost certainly a “failure” this year

It’s November 25th, and I’m sitting at 19,200 words. It doesn’t take a degree in math to know that’s not nearly enough to “win” NaNoWriMo.

While I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out, I can safely say that it was never really in my hands to win or lose. I had a medical procedure (nothing big) that I expected to get me behind. But then my oldest got pneumonia, which put the rest of the family under a lot more strain. Things had to give, and totally voluntary writing contests are high on the list of things that have to shift first.

But still, I put failure in quotes for a reason. Because even if my word count won’t be hitting 50,000 this month, I have the beginnings of a good story down, and I’m much more in the habit of writing regularly than I was before the month started. So in that sense, I still benefited from participating, and that’s a win.

NaNoWriMo Continues, but not quite apace

What happens when you add a rush of orders to your wife’s pottery business, minor surgery, and a teenager with pneumonia to a month-long rush toward a manuscript?

Your manuscript takes a major back burner, that’s what.

I’m still working on it. Lifting the Yoke (working title) has been rumbling around in my head for a while, and I am enjoying getting it down on paper. But to finish the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, I have to turn in just over 2500 words/day. Something tells me it’s not going to happen.

NaNoWriMo 2013 – Here we go!

At the last minute, I decided to go ahead and participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. My wife is behind me, and ready to work with me to be sure I get the time to write my 1667 words/day. If you’re also trying, feel free to add me as a Writer Buddy. My profile page is right here.

I’m going to be writing a secondary world fantasy story that I had already planned to do as my second novel. The idea came to me years ago, after thinking about weapons of mass destruction. Mages, I reasoned, are potential WMDs. Yet in traditional fantasy settings they are usually completely unregistered and self-regulating. I didn’t think that was very likely in any place with a semblance of government. In fact, I thought control would probably be very tight indeed.

My first attempt at playing with the idea was as a D&D campaign. Unfortunately, my ideas required a fair amount of house rules, and being in your late thirties doesn’t lend itself well to spending a ton of hours designing a campaign. It fizzled, but the idea remained.

So now the first day is done, and I’m a little off the pace but feeling good.

Word Count: 1328/50,000

NaNoWriMo 2012

Tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo, which I completed back when the earth was cooling and Tyrannosaurus Rex ruled the dinosaurs.

I won’t be participating this year. I have a pretty decent pace going now. I’m frankly afraid that if I worked on something else, or tried to complete this book at the NNWM pace, I would screw it up.

will be trying to write every single day in November, and I’ll be rooting on everyone I know that’s in it. And everyone else, too, but in a more general way.