Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNo Wrap-Up

Yes, I am well aware that there's still one more day to NaNo (or to be more precise, around 17 hrs). I'm also aware I fell 5211 words short of the 50K goal. However, I'm stopping short and I've got a very good reason for it.

I finished the story yesterday.

Well, the first draft of the story anyway. I've got a lot of work to do before this book is finished. 

Still, I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments this month.  I said I was going to do it, and I did it.  In fact, if I hadn't finished the story, I probably could've gotten to the 50K.  I was grooving with the keyboard yesterday morning.  I got 2200+ words out before 10am.  Then the story was finished and I spent the majority of yesterday bored out of my mind.  I even considered starting the second book in this series just to be able to write more about this world and these characters.

In the end, though, I'm glad I stopped.  This story has to gel, and I can't really move ahead with the series until this book is polished.  I'm excited about it, though.

Now, with regards to the loose ends I talked about yesterday.  Most of them are still loose.  I'll nip and tuck and tighten when I edit, and some I'll leave hanging for subsequent books.  I'm thinking of them like little teasers to encourage readers to buy the next book.  We'll see how that goes.

Okay, so for number sake, here are the totals:

9/7 - began the book (or rather restarted after wiping out the original beginning)
11/1 - started NaNo with 23K already written
11/29 - finished the first draft at 66747 words

For the month of November, I wrote a grand total of 44789 words - 17898 of those in the past week or so.

What's on tap for the month of December?  More Nano...  Or rather, I'll be revisiting the manuscript I affectionately call Nano (short for Nanotechnology).  It's a suspense with a techno slant.  I really love the premise and the characters and the story, but I let it slide out of fear.  Thanks to a kick in the pants by one of my writing idols, though, I'm going to fight the fear and finish the damn book.  I'm hoping to query it some time after the first of the year - depending on how long revisions take.

And this NaNo WIP I just finished?  I'm letting it cure.  I'll probably hit it again after a I finish polishing Nano - or sooner if the mood strikes me.  

How was your November?  What's coming up for your writing in the month ahead?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #9

:cue tightrope music:

With tomorrow fast approaching - a little too fast, if you ask me - we come to the ninth and final pitfall of the year...

NaNo Pitfall #9 - The Fine Line

Sure, you've written loads of words.  Hopefully they've worked together and made a somewhat cogent story with coherent characters.  All this time you've been creating, though, you've been walking a fine line between needing to get x-number of words on paper and making those words work as a logical story.

Maybe you plotted the story out ahead of time.  If you did, you probably don't need to read this post.  Your word count and your storyline are probably running parallel.  Congratulations. 

Me?  I rarely plot out anything.  Therefore, the fine line I walk sometimes isn't any thicker than frog's hair.  I'm sure when I look back over those scenes, I'll be asking myself "What the hell were you thinking here?"   Sometimes I'll be able to figure it out.  Other times I'll read a scene and never be able to discern what I was going for.  (Here's hoping this book has more of the former than the latter, eh?)

Why is this a pitfall?  Because as we reach the final words for NaNo and thus the final scenes for our books, we need to be able to remember all those threads we created over the past month and weave them to their natural conclusion. And that, my friends, can totally stop you in your tracks.

Hence, the Pitfall.  See?  I knew I'd wrap it together somehow...

As I was laying in bed last night, once again battling my subconsious for some snooze-time, my brain was racing through all the threads.  With only a few thousand words left, am I absolutely sure I wrapped up the thread about Nigel?  Am I bringing the whole thing with the dog to a logical conclusion?  Is the dastardly killer getting what he deserves or should I insert another twist that will carry through to the subsequent books in the series?  And what about that weirdo being who crept into the fight scene?  Did I really introduce a hint of romance, and what the hell am I going to do about THAT?

Needless to say, my brain was on overdrive and I woke up this morning not knowing what the hell to do with the next few scenes.  I could wrap it all up with a pretty bow for now and fix it later.  On the other hand, I could write a dozen more scenes to explain...  Bleh, I hate reading pages of things the writer should've already explained.  Or, I could stop what I'm doing and go back - rereading and editing until I can finish the end.

See?  This could conceivably stop me in my tracks inches from the finish line.  Will it?  Nah.  I'm just using myself as an example.  If this is happening to you, though, you might not be able to get past this Pitfall without a litte nudge.  Here's what I'm going to do.

Take the bit in my teeth and run like hell.

Probably not the advice you were expecting.  Definitely not the best advice for writing the end of your story any other time of the year.  This is NaNo, though.  Right now, thinking about loose ends is only going to stall your progress.

Am I advocating writing 5000 words of nonsense??  Certainly not.  I mean, it's still going to be part of your story.  What I'm saying is, get the words out and worry about tying it all up later.  That's what editing is for.  So what if I introduced some threads five chapters ago that I now realized I never fully finished?  I'll catch when I sit down to edit. 

Sorry if this wasn't the post you were expecting.  I didn't edit this any more than I'm editing my work right now.  Plus, my brain is the equivalent of pumpkin puree.  Maybe soon I'll write a post on the mush my brain turns into after writing so many words in one month. 

Have a great day, everyone.  Tune in tomorrow for what I hope will be a less meandering post.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Home Stretch

With only three days left to reach the 50K goal, I'm going to put my head down and write like a crazy person.  (Yesterday's post-Thanksgiving trytophan-induced, football-enabled laziness didn't help.)

Good luck to all of you racing to reach the NaNo goal, and remember...

Even if you don't reach your goal, you're awesome just for trying.

But like the turkey said: "I'm going to finish this novel if it's the last thing I do."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Heh, the turkey must be doing NaNo.  Right?

Have a great holiday everyone!

 *Previously hilarious image deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Warning: Climax Ahead

Sorry about the silence yesterday, but the day got away from me, and by the time I had time to write anything, I needed to get words out on my WIP.  When it's a choice between blogging and the WIP, the blog has to lose.

In all honesty, I almost didn't reach my daily goal yesterday.  After all, it was Tuesday - aka Biggest Loser day.  By the time 9 o'clock rolled around, I was beat.  Bed was calling its siren song of sleep.  My muse was telling me to bugger off.  But since I'm already behind on my wordcount, I can't afford to take a day off.  I kicked myself mentally and dragged my buns over here.

Good thing, too.  Last night was an amazing writing sprint.  Jo was up against the wall, and in the face of certain doom, she pulled through.  Of course, this last scene was not without its own problems.  Looking back, everything happened too fast and some of it seems a little contrived.  :shrug:  I can fix that.

Another thing that happened, that I totally didn't expect, was I'm creeping into the climax.  I sat down thinking I was just going to write another piece of the puzzle and before I knew what was happening, things started to snowball.  Everything in the story is leading up to the next few scenes, and once those are finished, the only thing left is the denouement - during which I will set up the story for the next book in the series (if I'm lucky enough to score a contract, that is) and wrap up the loose ends.  Another 10-15K and this puppy will be in the can.  (It's a big climax, what can I say?)

If I write this the way I'm expecting, I'll finish up with a 70-75K first draft and a finished product around 80-85K.  Typical for me.  Once again, I have a lot of scenes that are mostly dialogue that need description, and I have a couple chunks that I need to rewrite, and I'm pretty sure I have some background that needs filling in.  It's all good. 

Wish me luck.

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement* - It was of the freeway sign for the offramp to Climax, MI.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #8

Today's Pitfall is less mental and more physical...

NaNo Pitfall #8 or "Something so good shouldn't hurt so much"

Yesterday I banged out over 4K words.  Yay!  The only problem with that is this morning my hands are lumps of meat with ten tubes of overstuffed sausage attached.  Not that I'm complaining.  Hurting hands mean I got some real work done, but...

Unfortunately, my brain is still on a roll and my hands don't want to cooperate. Type two words... ouch ouch ouch...  If typing this post is killing me, what's my manuscript going to do?

Hang on a sec, I have to slather myself in Aspercreme™.

Okay, that's better.  I guess what I'm trying to say, especially since this week marks the home stretch of NaNo is: The more you write the higher the probability that something somewhere in your body is going to protest.  Maybe your ass becomes flat and numb.  Maybe your back becomes a tangle of tension. Perhaps you're like me and your fingers balloon up to Mickey Mouse proportions.

Take a pain reliever.  Rub on some creme.  Break out the heating pad or the ice pack.  Promise yourself a long, hot bath after your writing session is over.  Whatever you choose do, though, don't let the pain in your body stifle the story in your head.

And now that the Aspercreme is kicking in, I'm off to write.  Have a great day, everyone.  =o)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #7

As I may have said, Darling Daughter is also doing NaNo.  These posts are as much for her as for anyone.  Like any writer, she has her stumbling blocks, and like anyone new at anything, she thinks she's the only one.  After reading my Pitfall #6 post, we talked about the various things that can make a writer stumble during this race to finish a novel - or during any writing time - and she was dumbfounded to discover these Pitfalls aren't just things I thought might happen to someone else.  These Pitfalls have happened to me - this month even.  So, as you're reading this series of posts remember: You're not alone.

Now onward to NaNo Pitfall #7 - aka "Wow, I just remembered that I have to :insert procrastinatory item here:!"

We're writers.  We also have a million other things we have to do as human beings.  Laundry needs to get done.  We need to cook meals.  We have shopping and errands.  Some people have day jobs and others, like me, have internet businesses to maintain.  Add in homeschooling or kids' events or homework (either to do if you're still in school or to assist with if you're a parent), and the list of non-writing things requiring our attention can be staggering.

This month is no different.  Except when you're using those things to put off writing.

For instance, I had some stuff I legitimately had to do for my Amazon store.  True, it was stuff I'd put off and I should've done it sooner, especially since the deadline fell in November.  That was last weekend's blip in my writing schedule.  This weekend was another story.  You see, doing all that stuff made me realize that I had a bunch of other stuff I needed to do to make my store easier to work with - for me, not my customers.  Yesterday, I spent a good portion of my day screwing around with that.  It needed to be done...  Just not right this moment.  Certainly none of it was so crucial it couldn't wait until NaNo was over.

As I lay in bed last night lamenting my lack of words, it came to me.  This was yet another pitfall - not only in NaNo but for any writing we're trying to accomplish.  There's always something you can find to take the place of writing.  There are so many, in fact, I used to have a link to a site that listed all the things one can do instead of working on one's book.

Thinking about it now, I'm wondering if I should've made this a corollary to the other Pitfalls.  You see, the reason this push to do something else came up is because my brain is currently scrolling through the other Pitfalls.  Right now, I'm bouncing between "OMG, This Sucks!" and "Ack! I'm Lost!"

Enter "Wow!  I have something else I really should be doing!"

So, I've slapped myself around.  Today I will not being mucking around in the store, cleaning the house, doing yardwork, alphabetizing my socks, sorting my recipes, baking cookies, organizing my bookmarks...

Or sitting here thinking of other things to add to that growing list.

Today, I will write.  It may be several thousand crappy words and I may only succeed in getting myself more lost, but I will accomplish something writerly if it kills me.

Writerly?  Hmmm.... I never did sort through those last submissions and enter them into the database...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekly Update x2

Two-thirds of the way through NaNo and we should all be at 33500 words (or thereabouts) by the end of today.  Of course, after last week's measly 6200 words, I'm behind.  (Along with a lot of other people, I'm guessing.)  This isn't a huge thing.  It seems like every NaNo, I get behind and end up spending the last few days of November hurrying to catch up.  We'll see how this year works out.

For the running tally - two weeks worth of numbers:

11/7 - 2190
11/8 - 2223
11/9 & 11/10 - Doughnuthole
11/11 - 1792
11/12-11/14 - Nada
11/15 - 2776
11/16 - Zilch
11/17 - 2623
11/18 - 2190
11/19 - 1484

Which leaves me at a rousing 26309 total.  That's 7031 short of the goal for the end of today.  I'm hoping to drop that to under 5000 words behind by the time I drag my butt to bed.   

On the upside, I dragged my story across the halfway point - both for NaNo and for the story as a whole.  With a projected 80K words for the book, I'm 60% finished.  48K!  Yay!  All things considered, not bad.  I don't know if I'll have this done by 11/30, but at least the end is in sight now. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

How are things going in your life? 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Picture Paws

Dear Visitors,

I am so very sorry, but my human cannot be disturbed.  She needs total focus to complete her tasks...  After she's fed me, petted me, adored me and fed me, maybe then I will relinquish her desk.  Of course I realize I said 'fed me' twice.  If you don't understand its importance, I shall not elucidate.  Now, shoo.  I sense she's about to go fill my food receptacle before retiring to bed where she will shower me with the attention I so richly deserve.

A pleasant night to you all.  Perhaps I will allow her access to her keyboard tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Write When You Can

No, this isn't another Pitfall post.  Just an observation.  With all the crud that's been going on, I've really had the point knocked home: Take the time to write whenever you can.

My hip is still farged up, and I can only sit for about 30 minutes max at a time.  (Well, if I want to be able to get up afterwards and walk more than a step or two.)  Also, it seems to be better in the morning than later in the day.  Sooo...

I read my blogs and comment where I can first thing in the morning, then I get right on the book.  (Sorry to everyone who hasn't been getting comments lately.)  I type for as long as I can then I hit the couch.  After giving the old hip a break, I try to write again in the afternoon.  Finally, if I'm feeling okay, I sit here again.  If I keep to a schedule like that, I just might make it.  It's what I did on Sunday and again Tuesday.  (Monday was errand day, so I was toast before I even got a chance to write.)

Add in the other things that take me away from the keyboard, and I really do have to make the most of whatever time I have.  If that means ten minutes, I write for ten minutes.  If it's longer, I write as much as I can in for as long as I can. 

Okay, since I'm still a fully functioning body-system, I'm off to write a bit.  I hope you have a great day.  Wish me luck.  ;o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #6

A thought occurred to me as I was about to write today's pitfall: Any new writer who stumbles across this series could be seriously freaked out by all the things to make a writer stumble through the process of NaNoWriMo.  This is not my intention.  I'm just trying to show you thinngs that may and can happen, and hopefully point the way out of these pitfalls.

Also, it should be noted that writing for NaNo is not necessarily the way one should write all the time.  This is a race, and while it does help build skills - like writing faster to meet a deadline - it might deepen some bad habits.  I'm going to try and have a series on editing NaNo mistakes after this month is over, so bear with me.

As for today's NaNo Pitfall, the picture pretty much says it all:  "I've written myself into a corner and there's no way out."  (Of course, the flames are all in our heads, but you get the gist.)

So, here I am, writing along and I've reached a point in the story where I feel like I've written myself into a corner.  My MC is stuck and there doesn't really seem to be a way out.  Which is why my word count for yesterday was so low I didn't even bother to post it - I just wrapped it into today's count.

Yes, this is similar to the Pitfall "Ack! I'm Lost!", but I'm not lost.  I know where I need to go, but getting there might be a bit messy.  Other than stepping back across the fresh paint and not only messing up what I've already covered, I could fall and go splat.

This isn't the first time this has happened.  In fact, it's happened so many times now that I look at it as a challenge.  My subconscious painted me into a corner, and now I have to find a way to extract myself without ruining my work.  Or to put it another way, I have to find the window to climb out of.

No matter how tight your corner is, there's always a window.  Like the video game pictured above, there's always a way out.  (Although I'm not sure how one would get the guy across a flaming pit of doom, but there has to be a way, or the programmer wouldn't have put the challenge there.)  Of course, the only way may be something so off the wall, you might balk at writing it.  Write it anyway.  At the risk of boring you with repetition: Write it now, edit it later.

And then, there's always the chance that no matter how bizarre it might seem before you write it, it'll work once you finish it.  I've had that happen before.  Sometimes weird stuff happens - not often unless you're writing SF, F or P but hey, look around the world at the strange shit going on every day.

As always, for November, it's not whether every word in your story makes sense.  It's getting those words out so you have something to work with later.  So, open a window, crawl through a mousehole, open a rift in the time/space continuum if you have to, but get 'er done.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a ladder to fashion so I can crawl up through the ceiling.  The smell of all this paint is making me dizzy.  ;o)

Monday, November 16, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #5

See the look on that guy's face?  Heh.  If you could see me now, you'd see that same look.  (Okay, maybe I'm crying for my mommy on the inside.)

You see, today it's time for NaNo Pitfall #5 aka Ack!  I'm Lost! (Prewritten on Sunday, so maybe I'll have found my way by the time this hits the web.)

When you're running down the path of your story, trying to get 50K words onto paper before the alligator of December 1st catches up with you, you could conceivably take a wrong turn.  My wrong turn came a while back, but I didn't know I was lost until a couple days ago.  (Which explains the squirmy stuff I mentioned in yesterday's post.)

And boy am I ever lost.

Sure, I know where I'm supposed to be.  I took a wrong turn several chapters ago, though, so retracing my steps is not an option.  What I have to do know is hack a path to where this diversion would naturally meet up with the correct storyline at this point in the book. 

It's a jungle out there, people.

Anyway, I spent a good portion of the time I was supposed to be sleeping last night trying to mentally chart my course.  I have Jo in a sticky situation, and she's taking the bull by the horns.  Nigel's come clean about his part in the mess, and if he screws up again, he dies.  Tryg's on the fence at to whether he's trustworthy or not.  And Zeke is Zeke.  I'm not sure what to do with Mary, but she's ready to run someone through after all these years of powerlessness, so whatever happens, she's good to go.

Of course, I'm still dealing with NaNo Pitfall #2, but I'm pretty sure that the reason I've written crap is that I was lost.  Once I find my way again, I'll be right as rain.  And hey, I can always fix it in the edits.  =o)

Time to take my mental machete and forge ahead through the jungle.  I know that path is around here somewhere...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #4

Welcome to November 15th, aka The Halfway Point.  At this point in your NaNo experience, you should be somewhere around 25,000 words - or at least near there by midnight tonight.  As you can see from the progress meter, I'm behind (by about 8K when I wrote this post).  This leads us to NaNo Pitfall #4 - I'm so far behind now, why bother?  (Sorry the two proposed topics got shunted aside, but I thought today was the best day for this.)

Okay, so I'm 8K behind.  Why?  Well, some of it was life stuff - like the out of town trip I took Thursday and the right-cross Amazon dealt me that I have to deal with by Monday.  Some of it was squirmy stuff that will be addressed in a later Pitfall post.  Of course, the reasons and/or the excuses don't really matter.  Whatever they are, they've occurred and now I'm behind.

At this point, I could sit back and figure this year's NaNo is a wash.  When am I going to make up 8 THOUSAND words?  PLUS do the 1667 every day I'm supposed to do to reach the goal of 50K, mind you.

That's where the pitfall lays.  Like the dude in the picture up there, I have to find a way to swing across the gap.  (And he didn't even dig his own hole like I did.)  I could stand on this side, shaking my head at the depth of the hole, or I can find a way to get past the expanse.  2200 words a day will get me to my goal.  That's a load.  Or, I could bust out extra words on the weekends.

The point here is: Stopping isn't an option.

Sure, this is only a self-imposed deadline, but if I ever do get a book contract with actual deadlines, I'm sure as hell not going to be able to tell my publisher "Sorry, I had some things come up.  Maybe I'll hit that number next time."  I guessing there's a quick way to say buh-bye to your career.

So, there is nothing to do but forge ahead.  If I have to miss some sleep, or sit in this chair until my ass falls off, or type all day on Thanksgiving, I will do it.

And if I don't I will still count it as a win because I will have tried my damnest.

Whether you're doing NaNo or not, how are your word counts looking this month?  Has anything come up that's put you behind in whatever you're trying to accomplish?  Regardless of the answer...


Friday, November 13, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #3

In this series of Pitfalls, I'm trying to point out those little things that can hamper your ability to get those 50K words out before the end of the month.  Today, I'd like to talk about NaNo Pitfall #3, in which we talk about those dread devices: Adverbs and Dialogue Tags.

Yes, yes, we've all heard how horrible both adverbs and excessive dialogue tags can be.  We're not supposed to have them - or at least not be heavy-handed or weird with them.

"Forget all that!" she shouted peremptorily.


Which is to say, while you're pounding out your NaNo words, don't bother nitpicking these things.  If you want your character to shout and you feel the need to tack an adverb on there, too, don't waste time editing those words out.  Editing is for later.  Let your fingers do the typing, and you can chastise them later for the crap they spewed onto your pages.

I look at it this way.  I let my fingers do the talking (or rather my subconscious mind speaking through my fingers, but you get the gist), and more often than not those dialogue tags and adverbs are left as clues to how my brain wants the scene to be laid out later.  Without them, each scene would take me loads more time to write.  And as we all know, NaNo is not about taking your time.  It's about getting words on paper because...

You can't fix what ain't there.

If your story needs adverbs, type them happily.  And if you need a dialogue tag...  "Say it, shout it, ask it," she chanted.  ;o)   

Next up in NaNo Pitfalls...  "Tell It on the Mountain" and "Ack! I'm Lost!" (Although whether those will be in order or even over the next two days is anyone's guess.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'll be away from the keyboard most of the day - getting life stuff done, donchaknow.  Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #2

Before I get started, thanks to everyone who wished me a speedy recovery.  Unfortunately, this hip thing is related to my accident - almost sixteen years ago - and it's not something to recover from so much as something to just deal with.  (More about that another time maybe.)

Now onward to the post I meant to write two days ago...

NaNo Pitfall #2 or... OMG, this sucks!

So, other than the last couple days, I've been writing my little fingers into fat sausages.  I got past the first pitfall (or as someone else put it on another blog - the cardinal rule of NaNo) - don't go back and read what you've written - by slogging through.  The problem with slogging through is you may find yourself in the second NaNo pitfall...

OMG, this sucks!

As you write, you may find yourself thinking that the scenes you're slapping down are probably the worst pieces of dreck you've ever seen.  "It was a dark and stormy night..." looks like Pulitzer material by comparison.  And you know no one is ever going to want to read such crap.

Okay, here's the thing.  Most likely you're right.  It sucks, it's dreck, and no one is going to want to read it.

Now, before you get out the matches and bonfire your manuscript, I want you to understand something important.  What you're writing now is a FIRST DRAFT.  I'm willing to bet that most first drafts - even by the bestselling authors - are crap they wouldn't want anyone to read.  As awful as those first drafts might be, though, those authors kept writing them because they all knew another important fact:

You can't fix what isn't written.

So, no matter how horrible it may feel to you right now, you keep writing.  Hell, several chapters back, I wrote a scene I knew was awful.  Here's the thing about writing awful scenes, though: During editing, it'll either be cut or will end up as a completely different animal by the time I'm ready to query.  I needed the crap scene to get to the next scene, so I wrote it and I refuse to apologize for it. Even to myself. 

I wrote it.  I can fix it later. 

While you're writing, don't worry so much about how every word will sound.  Don't pick at yourself for writing crap.  Even if you're not doing NaNo, but you're having a tough time finishing a manuscript, just write and worry about fixing the problems later. 

Now it's your turn.  Ever hit this pitfall?  Did you get past it or trash your manuscript?  If you got past it, let us know how in the comments.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oatmeal Head

I'm here at the computer.  For how long is anyone's guess.  Anyway, I'm sorry if last night's post was a little weird.  I took one of my prescription pills* and I was a little stoned - still am, which is why I don't take those things often.  Needless to say, I won't be driving anywhere any time soon.

What I meant by 'my hip blew out' was that I turned to walk out of the kitchen after setting down a load of groceries and it felt like someone stabbed me.  Then I couldn't really put any weight on my leg, so I hobbled to the couch and laid there until it stopped spasming.  Unfortunately every time I sat up, the spasms would start again.  Basically if I wanted to go anywhere I had to roll from lying on the couch to where I could push myself into a standing position - without bending at the hip.  It probably looked hilarious - like some demented cross between a turtle and a penguin. 

So, now I'm sitting here hoping that when I try to get up I don't fall over - either from the hip thing or the med thing.  Man, I hate this junk.  Every thought is like swimming through a vat of oatmeal.  Bleh.  Why anyone would do this to their brain for kicks is beyond me.  Can't drive.  Can't write.  Can't even really read because my eyes aren't focusing right yet.  Stupid meds.  Yesterday was a symphony of watching the same old Animal Cops Detroit reruns (like I haven't already seen all of those twice), MASH and Friends.  If I'm still couch-bound today, I'm sticking a DVD in.  (Wish I'd thought of that yesterday, damn it.)

Anyway, enough whining.  Tell me something good.  How's your writing going?  Any exciting news to share?  I won a cover flat for Monica McCarty's upcoming historical release The Chief.  It's so pretty I had to frame it and put it on the bookshelf near my bed.

*My meds aren't even anything harsh - just an anti-inflammatory packed with a stomach med to prevent ulcers - but since my accident, I'm super sensitive to meds.  Tylenol PM knocks me right out, and Alka Seltzer Cough & Cold makes me giggle.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quick Update

I didn't want to leave y'all thinking I was on the skids with my story.  If you look over there---> you'll see I took my own advice and just wrote.  Not a bad day yesterday.

Today?  Well, I blew out my hip this morning, so I've been on the couch all day.  I'm going back there now because sitting upright hurts.  No worries.  It does this once or twice a year.  I should be back to my semi-normal self soon.

See?  This is why it pays to be ahead in my word count.  LOL

Later days, dudes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #1

NaNo Pitfall #1 - do not go back and read what you've already written. 

Okay, so I opened the file this morning to get some words written, and for grins I decided to read some of the beginning of this book.  I found a few typos, which I fixed.  Not a problem.  Then I found a bit of worldbuilding that I have since differed from.  Umm.  Crap.

Now my brain is so busy worrying about how I'm going to fix this that I can't think about where I was supposed to take the story next.  Seriously.  And what's worse is, I knew better.  I know if I start finding flaws in the story, I'm going to want to go back and fix them all before I continue.  It's a thing about me.  It's also why I've learned to write the way I do - straight through, no stopping and no going back.

Yes, at the beginning of the book Nigel (a minor character whose name is going to be changed) doesn't know what the hell is going on any more than Jo (the MC) does.  But in the later chapters, he's part of the group that's known all along and has been keeping it a secret.  Sooo, I either need to fix the beginning or I need to fix this middle part.


Deep breaths.  In through the nose, out through the mouth.

What I really need to do is forget I ever saw that flaw and forge ahead.  The story is going great so far, and whatever Nigel does ultimately doesn't matter to the crux of the plot.  (Unless I make this into a series, and then Nigel's crucial to the plot that would carry over several books.)  Regardless, I need to tuck this flaw into its proper place and fix it later.

Remember folks, you can always go back and fix afterwards, but you can't fix what isn't written.  So just write.  Damn it.  (That last part was for me, btw.)

And thus ends our brief neurotic break.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled psychoses. ;o)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Picture Pause

I've reached my word goal for today.  Michigan just lost to Purdue.  And my back is all squonky.  Needless to say, I'm going to go flop on the couch for a while.  While I'm over there enjoying being horizontal, I'll leave you with this picture to enjoy...

It's another of what I call my 'artsy-fartsy' shots.  Pretty?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekly Update

And it's been a week worth updating.  This week started the whole NaNo hoopla, and I jumped in with both feet.  Here's the breakdown...

11/1 - 1762
11/2 - 1885
11/3 - 989
11/4 - 2423
11/5 - 2807

Which leaves my November total so far at 9866 words.  That's 19.73% of the way through to 50K, and puts me at 1531 words ahead of where I should've been for last night.  By the end of tonight, I need to hit at least 10002 words to stay on track, but since that's only a little over a hundred words, I'm shooting for 11500, at least.

Of course, this WIP was already in progress when I started November.  The book itself just rolled over 31K words!  (Almost 40% of the way done on an 80K word manuscript.)  At this rate, I will have the first draft completed by the end of the month and if I push, the first round of edits should be done by the end of the year.  Yay.

In other news, yesterday's 2800 word blow out has left me with swollen, hurtiful* hands.  All together now... Awwwwwww.  As sick as it sounds, I'm reveling in my pain.  No gain, no pain - and last night's extra 1300 words was definitely a gain.  And I wasn't planning to write that much.  By dinner last night, I was already over 1500 words.  I thought I'd just write a few paragraphs, hit my goal, and spend the rest of the night reading Gena Showalter's Intertwined.  So much for the best laid plans of mice and writers.  Before I knew it, I'd spent an hour here at the computer and I had most of the next scene written.

In other other news, Darling Daughter has joined in the insanity and is doing NaNo herself.  She even signed up for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.  She's started several books before, but she's never committed to finished any of them.  This time she has a really awesome premise and she wants to see the book completed.  Of course since she really hasn't done this before, she committed to 24K this month rather than 50K, but I think that's awesome.  Go Baby Go!  Last night, she even raced out of her 'office' and jumped around about the word count she reached.  (I'll let her share in the comments if she wants to.)  I'm so proud.  =oD

How's this week been for you?  

*Hurtiful - you know, like prettiful or smelliful.  I can make up whatever words I want, so there.  =op

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sometimes Something Has to Slip

Heh.  I was zooming along yesterday, cranking out words and trying to live life, etc, when finally something slipped.

When I left you yesterday, my pork roast was in the oven while I got another few hundred words out.  Finally, the time came to pause writing and make the rest of dinner - mashed potatoes and gravy to go with the roast.  I admit, I was cutting it close, but I had it under control.  Instant potatoes and packaged gravy mix would do the trick.  No problem...  Except I didn't have any of those awesome packets of mashed potatoes (Hungry Jack does an awesome instant potato, btw), which only take 4 minutes in the microwave... perfect because I only had like five minutes before the roast was toast.  I also discovered I didn't have any pork gravy in the house.  Two things I always keep around except when my mind is on other stuff - like writing. 

So, for dinner last night, my family got cool pork roast and 'baked' potatoes from the microwave with half-burnt mushroom/beef gravy.  Hubby was kind and said it was good.  I only finished half my plate and tossed the rest.  Daughter cleaned her plate, but she didn't tell me what a good meal it was like she usually does.  =o(

On the bright side, though, I wrote my 1667 for the day, made up for the words I missed the day before and tacked on a few for padding in case I slip on another day. 

I'd like to be able to write a lot of words and still make an awesome, homecooked meal.  I'd also like to be able to write and keep a tidy house, or write and get the exercise I need, or write and read a ton of awesome books.  Sooner or later, though, something has to slip.  And in November, a lot of somethings are getting left behind. 

Lucky for me, my family is being understanding about it all.  Maybe today when I take a break, I'll bake them all some pumpkin bread.

When you're in the writing zone, what are the things that slip for you?  Or are you capable of juggling everything and getting the words out, too?  What's your secret?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Making Time to Write

Ya know, sometimes I feel like I never have enough time, and then I read things like Lynn Viehl's Schedule.  I've already admitted to being lazy, so it should come as no surprise that just looking at Lynn's schedule makes me tired.  Still, her schedule does make me think about the time I have and the time I waste.  Looking at my own miasma of daily stuff, I know can easily pull an extra hour or two throughout the week.  (Do I really need to watch another Friends rerun???)

For instance, this morning I cut my blog reading short and wrote for about 75 minutes before I started the rest of my day.  Right now, I threw a roast in the oven and while it's cooking I have time to write.  (And here I am blogging instead.  There's fifteen minutes I could've worked on my WIP and didn't.)

Anyway, think about the things you do during a day.  While you may not have the chunks of wasted time I do, if you look hard enough you might be able to put together fifteen minutes before dinner or twenty minutes after the kids' bathtime or even a half-hour where you could be writing instead of watching How I Met Your Mother (or whichever sitcom you're currently hooked on).

Now I need to see how many words I can write before the potatoes need to be made.  Keep up the good words, everyone.  =o)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's not a formal definition, but I like to think that justice means each person getting exactly what they've earned - good or bad.  Tonight on The Biggest Loser, justice was finally served.  After weeks of backstabbing, Tracey got booted off the ranch.  Yay!   

Which just goes to show that no matter what your supposed reasoning is, if you're dirty and underhanded in your dealings with others, sooner or later, it will come back to bite you in the ass.  And please...  The tears?  Overacting even William Shatner wouldn't stoop to.

Oh, and I loved the way Amanda didn't pull any punches with her vote.  She knew Tracey screwed her over and she said that was the reason she was voting Tracey off.  Go Amanda, go. 

No Effects Included

I had a beautiful post half-written in my head last night, but like so many other ideas, it was lost to the land of Nod.  Instead, check out this awesome picture I took the other day.  It's straight from the camera - no effects included.  The sky really did look like that.

If I ever remember what I wanted to say, I'll put it up later.  Meanwhile, have a lovely day, everyone.  =o)

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNo as Motivation

This morning on edittorrent I saw a blog about NaNo that was mainly directed toward speed-writing - as in increasing your writing speed and thereby increasing your output.  It's a great post, and I'm sure it's very helpful.  The thing with me is, I don't look at November as a time to increase the speed with which I write or even as a way to get my brain to think quicker.  I use this month and NaNo to motivate me.

Let's face it, folks, I'm lazier than a coonhound on a hot summer day.  I know this about myself.  If I wasn't so lazy, I'd be showered and dressed, this post would've been written at 5am when I woke up (stupid time change), and I'd be ready to get started on my Monday errands.  I also wouldn't have had to race around collecting garbage before the truck gets here this morning.  Anyway, this all goes to show that I lack internal motivation.  I know this, but I can't seem to get my gumption shifted into drive on my own.

Enter November.  Blessed, wonderful November.  It provides the spark to light my internal gumption engine.  (And for those of you out there who are thinking 'but doesn't that mean you're just motivating yourself anyway' - yes.) 

So, I don't think of this NaNo thing as a race to get 50K words out.  I just use it to light my fire, to spark my gumption, to kick my butt into gear.  The only person I can possibly disappoint is myself, and I will do my damnest not to do that.  If I screw up and miss the mark one day, I'll work harder to make up the difference on the next day.  And if, for some reason, I don't hit the mark, I will at least be able to console myself with the fact that I tried.  As long as I'm writing, I cannot fail entirely. 

Now I really should hit the shower, since I'm already behind on my daily schedule.  Heh, but I did already write.  Thanks, NaNoWriMo.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's He-ere

Well, this is it.  NaNo has arrived, and with it, thousands of madly typing fingers.  In preparation for the month ahead, I've spent the last week doing absolutely nothing.  (At least that was the rationalization I used.)  I'm going with the idea that I was revving my engine.  Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket.

In order to accomplish 50K words this month, I need to average 1667 words a day.  I haven't written that many words in one day in an awfully long time.  As I lay in bed last night, I wondered whether I've still got it in me.  Only time will tell at this point. 

So, even if you're not doing anything special with your writing this month, keep a positive thought in your head for the writers who are shooting for the 50K.  I know I can use all the help I can get.  ;o)

If you don't see the new counter move on a regular basis, feel free to hound me.