Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're not happy until you're unhappy

Okay, this is one of the few times in my life I feel like posting a rant. I'm still not going to, since my opinion against spreading negativity online should be known well enough by now.

...but I sure came damn close this time...

Instead I'm going to post a warning.

For anyone travelling to/from/within Canada, seriously, choose Westjet or ANY other airline. Air travel is... invasive, de-humanizing, and horrible enough without also adding on the Air Canada unofficial motto, "We're not happy until you're unhappy."

...and if you think I'm being too harsh, my best friend is married to an Air Canada pilot and when they travel, THEY choose a different airline despite the fact he flies for free and she can fly anywhere for only $25 (or maybe it was $75)

So, if even their own staff choose to use another airline, what does that tell you?

NaNo, Day 30

I hope all my fellow NaNo-ers have finished or are on the home-streth right now :) I'm on a 5:35pm flight from Toronto to Seattle tonight, so hopefully I'll have managed to get in some writing time by the time this post goes up here's the second-to-last-nibble:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reading, reading, reading

Well, I haven't had a chance to get much writing done this trip, but I've been reading a whole heck of a lot.

5 books so far.

Liar, by Justine Larbalestier ...loved it... wasn't expecting werewolves... if I knew ahead of time, I probably wouldn't have bought the book and then I would have missed out. Great example of an unreliable narrator.

Liesel & Po, by Lauren Oliver ...I loved this writer's first book (would probably go into my top ten of all time) but had to really push myself to get through her second. This one sounded so unlike the first two that I just had to give it a try. Very cute.

Light Beneath Ferns, by Anne Spollen ...I went into this book really not knowing what to expect, but was taken by the atmosphere of the tale. I will probably end up buying her first book, 'Shape of Water'. the *feel* of her writing seems familiar to me somehow... and since I've been reading voraciously since I was a little kid, I'm sure of of these days it's going to hit me which author I am being reminded of. This will probably sound completely un-helpful, but the writing feels like still water.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms & The Broken Kingdoms, by NK Jemisin ...I'm going to read the third book in this trilogy before I read anything else. It's an interesting series and I could tell immediately why that writing buddy of mine told me it reminded her of my own Project #1.Well, perhaps more the second and third books of that ongoing (long-suffering) project. For those who have read Jemisin's books, what feels similar are the non-god-like-gods, their origin story/relationships, as well as the rampant racism and arrogance of certain *peoples* within the world. Mine takes place in a school though. I'm curious to see how the series ends, but I am not going to start the last book until I'm on the plane (or in the airport) tomorrow night for my Toronto -> Seattle flight.

...but now... I'm going to sit my butt down, turn off the wi-fi and try to get some writing done :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNo, Day 28

Today is my last day in New York. We have a 8:55am flight to Toronto. We're only in Toronto until the evening of the 30th, then we'll be on a flight to Seattle. Since the husband will be at his conference tomorrow afternoon (after we land) and all day on the 30th, if I haven't had time to get some new words written, I know I've got this time set aside for some furious writing.

Since I was only home 17 days in November, I had secretly planned to shoot for 25,000-30,000 words for my NaNo project. Should be interesting to see how far I get :), here's the next nibble:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So tired...

It took us four and a half hours, but the husband and I just managed to walk the entire perimeter of Central Park, then to Rockefeller Centre.

...and after that we had no stamina left to actually ice skate at the cute little rink there.

Sorry if there AE more spelling mistakes than usual, since I'm typing this on my phone.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaNo, Day 25

Well, I'll have been in New York for a couple days now, and just so you know, there's NO possible way I'm shopping today on Black Friday, though we are going to take in a Jets game while we're here and possibly try ice skating at the big outdoor rink. I'm already mentally prepared for falling a lot ;) I think the only other *for sure* thing we want to do while we're here is go to the new Apple store which is on the balcony inside Grand Central Station.

I am curious if I'm going to be mistaken for the actress Kirsten Dunst again this year ;) The husband and I always get mistaken for locals, but it did give me a laugh the last time I was in New York to have a sales agent slide up to me and ask, very quietly, if I was KD.

Honestly, I don't see the resemblance... but apparently what I was wearing was similar to what she wears while in-cognito ;)

...and onto the next nibble:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNo, Day 23

Well, as this post goes up, I'll be on a plane to the east coast. The husband has a conference in Toronto, so we're flying there today and taking a hopper flight to New York (since we've both always wanted to see the big Thanksgiving Parade), then flying back to Toronto (for the actual conference) next week, then instead of going home, we're flying straight to Seattle for a Seahawks game on December 1st., I won't be home again until sometime on December 2nd. It's just a hopper flight, so we'll book it when we're in Seattle.

Since I *promised* myself I would continue to post 3x a week minimum no matter what, I'm going to set up some posts to go up while I'm gone, like I did when I was gone in the summer.

...and I'm hoping you'd like a few more nibbles of my NaNo story (Project #4) which I plan to pick away at on the plane, if possible.

Comments and criticism are ALWAYS welcome, as usual ;) And I'll try to pop online whenever I can... but I just don't know how often that'll be.

I'm going to continue on from last time, but if you've been following along, you're going to recognize part of this scene from the Unicorn Bell suspense post:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feel the fear and do it anyway

So, I'm feeling a little beat-up this morning.

I submitted my Project #2 to the Baker's Dozen contest a few weeks ago... and found out today I was not selected.

I suppose this could be considered my first rejection as I haven't really gotten into the query process yet.

Am I disappointed? Certainly.*

...although I am interested in the battle of wills currently playing out in my head between my larger analytical-response-side and my smaller emotional-response-side.

In general, I always distrust that emotional-response-side of my brain. Right now it's telling me I suck. To quit, that it's time to give up, that I've been wasting my time on something I will never achieve. It's laughing and saying I'm an idiot for telling people I tried... 'cause now they know I failed.

If I had listened to that side in the past, I would have accepted my dyslexia as a wall I could never overcome. I wouldn't have worked my butt off over the years to not only read/write at a normal level, but to excel (yes, still working on the *excel* part.)

That emotional side says, 'be afraid.'

The analytical side says, 'fight back.'

Time and time again, I distrust the emotional part of my brain and focus on the analytical side. This could be the main reason I can't get into stories that have a heavy romance element or a lot of the higher-fantasy type stories. I need the facts. I need to be convinced.

But that analytical part of my brain is what continues to prod me, to poke a sharp stick into my soft, white-underbelly and tells me to throw off the chains of self-loathing and do something. Do anything.

The point is, 'do'. Not 'try', 'do.'

So what can I do? Well, most things in life we have no control over, so worrying about them is not only a waste of time, it's self-destructive.

In this case, I have control over my words, over my story, over my reaction, and over a million other little things.

So, since I know I get a 50/50 love/hate reaction to Project #2 (half love the fairy-tale-like opening, half tell me to chop out all the description and get to the point), the biggest, most productive thing I have control over today is playing those odds.

What am I going to spend today doing? I'm going to research agents and I am going to send out queries. 10 is the number I am committing myself to.

Curling up into a ball and whining about it isn't productive. It is only going to make me feel worse, not better. It's a lose/lose response. Sure, maybe Project #2 isn't ready to send out yet... maybe it isn't good enough, maybe I'll get form rejections back from every query I send out...

...but if I don't do it, I won't know. I will be held up, not by failure, but by fear of failure.

...and the thought of that disgusts me. To be so crippled by fear that I would not even try in the first place.

One of my husband's favourite sayings is, "Feel the fear and do it anyway."

It would be a fallacy for anyone to claim that they don't get afraid at times. The point is to recognize when fear is the only thing holding you back from doing something.

So, what are you afraid of today? What's getting you down, holding you back and making you want to curl into a warm blanket and hide away from the world?

Say it with me... "Feel the fear and do it anyway."

*I think I went into this with higher confidence than usual because I was one of the September Secret Agent winners... so again, another example of how this particular story can get the 50/50 love/hate reaction :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

GREAT book...

Habibi, by Craig Thompson.

If you like graphic novels that is...

...and if you don't mind seeing some pretty harsh realities like an arabic girl married off at age nine, sold into slavery and later becoming a prostitute to survive. If you love the tales from 1001 Nights, you will probably love this book. It is... amazing. Both the art and the story. And, it's huge! 665 pages with a gorgeous hard-cover and a small index in the back.

Here's a review on it. You can see some of the amazing pages here.

I opened it up last night and couldn't stop until I reached the last page.

Interesting blog-hop for *voice*

Brenda Drake is doing an interesting blog-hop. If you're worried about whether your character's voice is authentic, head on over and check it out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finally the answer...

...if you've been reading my posts at all, you'll notice the absurd number of ellipses I use.

On my blog is fine, but when I'm writing, I've never been certain of the precise grammar rules for ellipses and all the different kinds of dashes.

So, I was delighted to find this article today.

I have definitely bookmarked it for future editing purposes ;), if I can only find out the correct grammar for formatting a stutter, I'd be golden ;)

NaNo, Day 17

...oh my goodness, day 17 already? (please, please don't ask about my word-count...)

One thing I'm super happy about today... 'Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' by NK Jemisin is finally available via Kindle for Canadians!! ...and I just bought it!

I'm serious... like, two years ago one of my writing buddies told me I had to read this book. She had read... pieces of Project #1 (but parts of the second book) and said it reminded her of Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Ever since I got my Kindle, I have been checking like, once a month, and even after it was available on Kindle... it was not available for Canadians...

I've never read a lot of fantasy books, even though that's what I started out writing. So, as a new writer and as a non-reader of fantasy, I kind of made a list of what I didn't want to read and asked for recommendations from other writer friends.

Some of the things I didn't want were*:

- farm boy realizes he's the chosen one and goes out to save the world
- big-bad-evil dukes it out with ultimate-good-guy+friends
- elves, wizards, orcs, dragons, etc, etc, etc
- magic that kindof saves everything and is basically a bunch of shouted Latin or other dead language
- medieval setting

I'm sure there was more on my list, but those were the basic ones. So, I got introduced to a lot of authors I didn't like, and a few I really liked/like. I got introduced to the show 'Firefly' the same way, well, technically the movie 'Serenity'. Supposedly one of my main characters (also from Project #1) was... eerily similar to the character River in the movie. And after seeing it, I realized immediately why the buddy would think so (and not just 'cause my character's name also starts with an 'R').

So, even though these weren't direct influences on my writing, it was pleasantly surprising for me to know there were similar things out there in the wide, wide world... and that people actually liked them!

Honestly, I get worried, like everyday, whether what I enjoy writing is commercially viable at all. And by that, I don't mean sell-a-million-copies... I mean, other people actually find what I write interesting.

It's the concern that freezes me up and makes me look for anything to distract me from writing. Anything.

I don't write big-exciting-stories, I write quiet ones. Like, contemporary YA style, but within a fantastical world with no magic or actual bad-guys. So, Speculative YA, I suppose, but perhaps even a little quieter. If this was manga, you could call my genre 'slice of life'. Out of any writer in the world, I think my style of story-telling is closest to Banana Yoshimoto. If you've ever read any of her works, you'll notice right away that none of the action takes place on the pages. Usually it has already happened (a death, divorce, etc) and the actual story is about the characters dealing with the aftermath.

So, yes, there are nasty things happening all around my characters, but they ultimately aren't going to be solving any of the greater problems... they just want to survive the best they can. You could call them incredibly self-absorbed (since they have no interest in changing the world), or you could consider them to be incredibly self-aware... in that, they realize they can't change anything big, so they focus on the things they do have influence over.

...and I think perhaps this is why I'm currently stuck on my NaNo novel. There's a death at the centre of the story, and I haven't settled on why the death happened. Each time I think, "Oh, what if <x> happened..." I almost immediately discount it because the consequences are suddenly too far-reaching from the boundaries of the story, so it feels wrong. And I'm not interested in those consequences. The death of Jackson, like the decaying civilization in 'Simon's Oath', impacts the characters choices/growth/etc, but ultimately, it's not what the story is about.

So, instead of writing, I have been browsing the Kindle store, digging up my front lawn, giving my dog a bath, cutting the cat's nails and brushing him, re-potting indoor plants, splitting/hauling in firewood (oh! We lost power last night for a few hours and it was AWESOME!!) and things like that.

I'm hoping that taking a short break from this story will help me figure out where it needs to go.

...and no, I'm not going to read the book I just bought. I'm trying to hold it back as a post-NaNo-reward.

How about you guys? Anyone else fighting with a story right now? Or something else?

*The reason I actually started writing in the first place was 'cause a girl I used to babysit (and still hang out with on occasion) was a really big reader of fantasy and complained to me that it was all farm-boys-saving-the-world, that the world and races were always similar and that there were no good female main characters kicking-butt and saving others. So, Project #1 was intended to just be a fun gift for her to read and enjoy... and then I sort of fell in love with writing. That's also why Project #1 took place in a high-school, 'cause she had just started high-school... not 'cause I was trying to write the next Harry Potter (which I also had not read).

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo, Day 14

Well, I JUST got home... the wind was so bad, my ferry home was delayed, then I had to detour to pick up the pets from jail.

My little beagle is a favourite of theirs since she's so sweet and easy. My black cat... not so easy, but he seems to like the owner (so, no hissing, growling, biting and he'll actually let her touch him!!)

...and every time I pick them up, my little black cat astounds them.

He's kept one floor down from the kennel entrance behind a total of three closed doors. There is almost no possibility that he could hear my voice, yet the moment I come to pick them up, he crawls into his carrying bag and just sits there waiting. That is the second astounding thing. He HATES his bag. And I do not use that term lightly.

So, I got home, realized the husband didn't lock the front door when he left for work this morning, and now I'm about to give the beagle a bath since she's always covered in slobber/etc after roughhousing with 20 other dogs for three days.

Then I think I will make a nice, hot cup of tea and relax until the husband gets home. So, perhaps I'll try to get in a few words tonight, but I'm pretty wiped.

Oh, and for all those that asked, the game was AWESOME!! The Hawks beat the Ravens and, even though it rained on the drive down and on the drive up, it was clear throughout the game. It was really cool to spend the whole day with my dad and we had some pretty interesting conversations about uncertainty/risk, the butterfly effect, open systems vs. closed systems, and a ton of other really nerdy things.

So, we had fun ;)

Oh, I also figured out the end of my NaNo story. Now I just gotta figure out what happened the night Jackson died ;)

How are all you guys doing on your writing goals? ...or non-writing goals?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNo, Day 12

Well, on the 12th day of NaNo, my word-count is mightily behind what it should be.

Instead of writing, I'm sitting in one of my least favourite places in the world. The ferry terminal. Yup, I'm heading over to Vancouver and, since my husband is in Detroit, I'm taking my dad to the Seahawks game on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to the game, but not looking forward to losing 5 hours of my life travelling to Vancouver today, 5 hours travelling home on Monday, and then the 6 hour round-trip Seattle drive on Sunday.

That's a lot of hours I could have spent writing...

It's actually surprisingly cold* and rainy right now and I'm wishing I had brought gloves or a jacket 'cause my fingers are all stiff as I'm trying to type out this post. I think I'll head up to the SeaWest Lounge after we've loaded and have some nice, hot coffee or hot chocolate.

...and maybe, maybe, try to get a few new words in on the 1:45 ferry ride...

* According to my iPhone weather app, it's exactly 0 degrees C, which is 32 degrees F

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspired by failure

I'm sure some of you have already read this guest blog post from Sara Zarr on being inspired by failure, as it seems to be making its rounds...

What this made me think of was a post Janice Hardy wrote on art and writing (my link from which you can get to the original discussion).

The short version is, I claimed that I believe the entire revision process (even up to copyeditors, if you are an agented, soon-to-be-published author) IS part of the act of creating.

So, where's the line of failure?

When  I was in the process of making demo reels (basically the equivalent of a resume -> to showcase my animation and storytelling abilities) I would literally draw hundreds of sketches while deciding what a single character would look like and what possible adventures I might take them on. After that, you don't even want to know how many sketches I would do to practice getting the character *on model* in a number of different poses, expressions, etc. You have to know the character inside and out, from all angles to draw a character that stays on model, which is something Disney can't even do, and if 'The Little Mermaid' is hailed as one of their masterpieces, then really... you have to know that pass/fail doesn't have a whole lot to do with being perfect.

So, how is that different from writing a consistent character? Knowing them and how they will function/act/react in different situations, how they show their emotions, what choices they make, etc. Most of the time, all that is explored while you write the first draft and, like an inconsistent sketch, you know you're going to have to toss some of those mistakes in the end, but you're still closer to what your Ideal is.

When is a story actually *done* or at a point you can say, *I failed*?

Personally, I think a story fails the moment you give up on it.

The first draft isn't the end. Your first round of revisions isn't the end. Querying and nabbing an agent isn't the end. Acquiring a publisher isn't the end. That final stage of copyediting before it goes to press... is that really the end?

As soon as it's in printed form, can it truly be judged as *fail* or *pass*?

When you think of how many writers and artists were considered untalented hacks during their lives and are revered as masters twenty, fifty, a hundred years later... where is the end? Is there one?

You can't please everyone, and if you try to, you'll never please yourself, so I agree when she said to have fun.

When you start thinking negatively, all you're going to do is get disheartened and want to give up. I think it's healthier to say, 'This isn't quite where I want it yet...' and view it as an evolutionary process rather than thinking about a virtual pass/fail chopping block.

The article is good, but I think it's more of a jumping off point.

What do you guys thing? Do you get hung up on the idea of *failing*? Think about anything in your life... anything you're learned how to do... can you really *fail* at any of them? Do you tell your 5 year old kid, you *failed* at learning to tie your shoes, I guess you'll be in velcro forever? How about your teenager struggling with Calculus? What about a marriage, is there a point where you say, *I failed*? How about your job, raising kids, being a friend?

There's a big difference between making a mistake, not being correct, and failing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The *implication* of a background

Okay, I thought, instead of writing an entire post's worth of clarification on this post from yesterday, I'd just write a separate post.

So, what do I mean about enough details to imply a character background without stating any hard-core facts/etc?

Throughout the story, there are lines sprinkled around like these:

I was thirteen and ran with a crowd whose idea of a good time was lifting stuff from the local Walmart, jacking cds and stereo parts from parked cars and selling it all for cash.

It’s not like I’ve ever eaten somewhere fancier than a fast-food joint.

Sure, my fingers still itch sometimes, especially when I’m hungry and I know there’s a buffet-worth of food small enough to stuff up my sleeves at the local 7-11.

You can starve to death on principle. To steal successfully is to understand that morality is like a jacket you can put on and take off.

You want to be loose with resolve and desire. Tension means your brain is getting in the way of your gut and thinking only slows you down.

To survive, you have to be cold.

Hell, if I had to live in that house with Triss’s mom, I’d go back to sleeping in garbage bins behind the mall.

I know she wouldn’t knife me in my sleep or anything, but it’s still hard to relax, to turn your instincts off when you’re wired up a certain way.

Even if the goosebumps are so bad that they prickle and ache when I run a hand over my skin and the muscles in my neck have locked into knots, I can usually push it all away and forget.

“They need to be properly cleaned. Soaping them up in the bathroom sink after school isn’t enough.” I hear a rustle and a muffled laugh. “Ugh, I can’t even tell what color your t-shirt used to be.”

“The kid talks. I thought you were a mute.” He looked me up and down, at my faded, too-small t-shirt and the cheap jeans worn so thin they were more white than blue. “So I guess you’re just a charity case then?”

You never know, in hostels or wherever, who’s prepared to roll you for the clothes on your back and whatever valuables you might have taped to your skin. Or sometimes the threat is much, much worse.

I haven’t had such bad coffee since I lived at home, and those aren’t memories I want to dredge up while in the middle of a journey to dump a dead body somewhere deep and dark where it won’t ever be found.

And then Triss stepped forward and briefly wrapped her arms around me, tighter and harder than she ever normally would, but just long enough to whisper in my ear, “I’m so sorry. I know you don’t like to be touched.”

Now, very few hard details, right? No explanation of why or how or when. There's no sense of blame, like if it was due to the MC, the MC's parents/family/friends or some external force like social services/etc.

But I'm betting every person who reads these lines will spin a slightly different background for the MC.

And y' know, I'm perfectly happy with that. I'm confident my MC is consistent, and that's all that matters to me.

I firmly believe in the right of the reader to make a story their own. I don't particularly enjoy books that wrap up too neatly, that explain every detail and, oh my goodness, let's not even broach the subject of epilogues...

I wonder about my own story while I'm writing it.

And I like to wonder when I'm reading other people's stories.

If there's too much *explaining*, then I get bored, 'cause all the work (and wondering) has already been done for me. I feel like I might as well be reading 200 pages worth of bullet points or a scientific journal outlining, in minute detail, the hows and whys and whens of a particular experiment.

Taking away the *wondering* aspect ruins my fun.

...and anyone who has had me edit/beta-read one of their stories will tell you I'm over-analytical. I like to think through all angles, I constantly throw, 'what if?' questions at the story while I'm reading. I don't necessarily want answers, but I like to examine the possibilities.

...this also means I love brainstorming solutions ;)

So, I'm perfectly happy with readers making what they will from the details I do *know* about my characters, just as I'm perfectly happy whether readers choose to believe the MC is male or if the MC is female.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNo, Day 9

18,148 words into my story and I just found out something dastardly about the night Jackson died...


Any big surprises in your own NaNo novels?

Character Backgrounds

Wow, an actual real post during NaNo, can you believe it?

So, my NaNo novel jumps around through a few different time periods.

1) The present (where Jackson is dead in the trunk of Triss' car)
2) The party (before the stabbing) 6 months earlier where Triss and Jackson bet on Fay and Spence hooking up
3) The night Jackson died (Thursday night, the story begins two days later on a Saturday and will end Sunday night)

Sure there's the dead body in the trunk... but since I'm more into character arcs than plot arcs, I'm much more interested in figuring out all the complicated relationships between the characters. The 'why' rather than the 'how' of the death.

In fact, the third timeline (the night Jackson died) is something I'm going to have to go back and insert after I finish writing the story, 'cause at this point, I still have no idea what happened.

So, with the narrator already hopping between three timelines, what about character backgrounds beyond that?

Well, I made a firm decision.

I don't care about the specifics of their backgrounds.

Does that sound, like, completely against all writing rules about knowing your characters inside and out even if the backstory doesn't make it onto the page?

Okay, I have a sense of their backgrounds... the MC's more than Triss' ('cause I am following this strange journey through the even stranger mind of the MC), and there are lots of details littered in and around the scenes, and the reader should be able to pick up other hints through subtext/etc, but I honestly can't tell you why the MC is homeless or what other major events in his/her lift put him/her there. I don't know the major points in Triss' life either, and since Triss and the MC don't talk about deep things, I doubt very much it's ever going to come out in the course of the story, but there are also enough details that the reader will wonder.

With these two characters, the relationship between them is so intense, that their separate pasts and their theoretically separate futures just don't matter to them. They care about surviving the present moment, and despite the fact that they are trying to dump a dead body, because they have each other to lean on, things are just a little bit easier that it otherwise might have been. This is the core nature of their relationship.

So, if that is the case for the characters, then their pasts shouldn't really matter to me or to the reader.

What do you guys think... do you agree? Disagree?

Off the top of my head, I can already think of one, full-length novel where you get almost no sense of past or future for any of the motley collection of *broken* characters, and it is one of my absolutely favourite books (as disturbing as it is).

What are your thoughts on importance of past events, as a reader or as a writer? As a reader, do you get annoyed/frustrated if there aren't clear reasons given as to why a character is so messed up? As a writer, how important do you feel the non-novel-timeline is? Do you usually try to suggest a firm past/future for your characters?


To be honest, I really hate stories where a character behaves horribly and their sad childhood keeps getting brought up to somehow validate their bad behaviour. Alcoholic parents, rape, abuse, etc, sure those are horrible things that change and shape people's lives, but I think it's lazy to use one specific incident/factor like that to *explain* away a character's in-novel behaviour, and it always irritates me as a reader. We are shaped by more than a few bad experiences, so shouldn't our characters be the same?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suspense shred by Unicorn Bell

So, I promised you a link :)

Go, read, leave your thoughts there, or come back here. I'd be interested in seeing your comments on this scene, especially those of you who have read the previous snippets and know more of what's going on., on to read it myself ('cause I haven't yet)


Since they didn't post the scene unedited, here it is:

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo, Day 7

You know you're truly writing in the spirit of NaNo when your best description of the day is:

"...a sharp, vomit-baked laugh..."

...what can I say? It's a bunch of drunk kids at a party... how else would you describe that?

So how am I stacking up, word-count-wise?

At the end of today, I should be at 11,666 words. Currently my story is 15,167, but I wrote 4,255 of that before NaNo officially starts.

That puts my NaNo count at: 10,912 which means I'm 754 behind total word-count.

I have already written 2,578 today, and it's only 4pm here on the west coast, so I'm pretty sure I can make up that 700+ deficit before midnight, and hopefully get in a few extra ;)


The Unicorn Bell site is talking about suspense this week...

And, 'cause it sounded fun, I submitted a scene from my NaNo novel for them to tear apart :)

...and I chose one with LOTS of different layers/kinds of tension, especially if you've been following the tidbits I've been posting.

I'll post a direct link when it goes up, so for those curious to read a new nibble... head on over there tomorrow and check it out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNo, Day 6

Well, after taking yesterday off to work on the witch's hut, today I've scrounged up a few words. Well, mostly I've gone back over what I've already written and cleaned it up, fleshed it out/etc.

Continuing on from the last nibble, until the end of the scene:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A mission to make the world less witchy

So, it's day 5 of NaNo, and have I even opened my file?

Nope :)

Instead, I was working on the witch's hut to make it less witchy for winter.

Here's what the entrance used to look like:

...and here's what it looks like now:
We totally thought it was an old tree stump under all that ivy, but it was really a stone light post!

The ivy had actually crushed the original light housing. The metal just crumbled away in my hands when I pulled it off. So, I bought a new light fixture (a taller one to get more light), installed it and re-painted the house numbers so they are actually properly visible again. I'm also going to have to get some cement to widen the top of the stone post 'cause there's no place to screw the light fixture in... right now it's being held on by a ton of outdoor, metal-bonding caulk.

..though there's still a mountain of ivy everywhere, at least the entrance is a little less witchy and, when we come home at night, we will now get enough light to see the steps/walkway up to the front door. We were getting really tired of having to use our phones as flashlights...

Now, maybe after lunch, I'll think about getting in some words ;)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo, Day 3

Well, I squeaked in a few words, somewhere in the 500 range.

I also patched the asphalt in my driveway (about 30 square feet in one long broken strip), made homemade chicken soup, and put up the bird feeders ('cause, y'know, it normally takes 5 months to do that...)

For my NaNo novel, today I played with the whole gender-mystery of the main character :)

So, I went through and added bits like this:


This post definitely mirrors my philosophy on editing.

Don't go in with the mindset of *fixing* a story, 'cause then there's very little chance of understanding what the heart of the story is about.

Respect the writers and respect their writing, even if it's a genre or style that you don't necessarily like.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNo, Day 2

...well, so far today I've managed to stomp out a little over 1200 1830 words.

Is anyone else sharing NaNo tidbits on their site/blog?

Here's a nibble:

Awesome book

I haven't been so enamoured by a book since I read, 'Plain Kate', by Erin Bow last March...

I just finished reading, 'The Night Circus', by Erin Morgenstern

Hmmm... maybe I just love books written by authors named Erin?

...that was a freaky coincidence I just noticed...

Seriously, it's an amazing book. I just wanted to fall into the pages, snuggle down and live there.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It was a long day

But I think I'm done :)

...and can hardly believe that it ended up at exactly 73,000 words.

Now I'll just sleep on it and skim through it quickly in the morning before sending it off.

I'm also going to submit it to Authoress's Baker's Dozen contest. The first entry time was today, but there's another one on Thursday.

Is anyone else entering?

NaNo, Day 1

So why am I not writing?

For one very good reason :)

I still haven't sent my full MS to Jenny Bent.

I have been waiting (since the end of July) to receive a specific set of comments from someone.

A published author who agreed to edit my work.

I was just informed on Friday that, due to a number of circumstances, that author won't be able to send me comments*.

That was the main reason I had not yet sent off my MS. Now there's no point waiting any longer, so I will clean up the MS as best as I can using the feedback from a couple new beta-readers I tried out and send it away.

If I do that, then I can completely focus on November and my new stories. And hopefully prevent myself from twisting into knots of anxiety knowing an actual agent is reading one of my stories.

So, all day today I'm going to be editing (and fixing the ending a little), and hopefully I can send it off to her tomorrow after I have one grammar-nazi that I trust give my re-written areas a quick check.

To all you NaNo-ers out there, good luck on your first day of writing! Hopefully I will join your ranks tomorrow afternoon :)

*Nothing to do with my story. I fully understand the reasons the author said, 'sorry' and had to bow out of the commitment. I'm disappointed (obviously), but there are no hard feelings.