Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We had a good run, NaNo

Read this great post over at Maggie Stiefvater's blog today, it's her Dear John letter to NaNoWriMo (still pronouncing WreeMo, ack). I too have given up on the wily endeavor for many reasons, but I didn't know it was okay to say so. But reading such a missive from a New York Times Bestselling Author (do all of those get capitalized?) gave me the courage to say it out loud.

NaNo, I just can quit you.

Hahahahaha, you see what I did there? The quote from Brokeback Mountain? And I changed it? Funniest thing you've heard all day?

Maggie's reasoning (I can call her Maggie because we're imaginary Napa Valley buddies) reflects my exact sentiments: why in the world would I write 50K words that I know I'm going to have to horribly massacre later? I found myself hating everything I wrote, panicking if I deleted anything, and then obsessively checking my word count every 50 words. Nevermind that I still had pesky things like sleep and work and eating happening despite my STRICT INSTRUCTIONS that they not interrupt me for the month of November. Ironically, I found that trying to force a daily word count on myself brought on the worst case of writer's block I've ever dealt with, which I'm pretty sure is contrary to the whole concept of daily word counts.

Sometimes, yeah, what you write sucks. And you know it at the time, but you've just got to get to the next good part and then you'll go back and smooth out the transitions. Everyone has that, and everyone knows it. But NaNo took it a step beyond that and posited that everything you wrote would be crap, and would take months of editing to fix. Personally, if I can get it right the first time, that's what I'm going to aim for. The time you might save writing the first draft will definitely get eaten up with the second draft. And the third. And fourth. And five hundredth.

But you know what, NaNo? You may not have won this brand new writer, but hey, consolation prize! You inspired her to write more often. That's right, amidst the holiday rush, the packing and moving of secret lair items, the signing of said lair documents, working, etc., I wrote. More than I probably would have without such an ominous deadline hanging over my head. And while I certainly will not have written a 50K word novel by midnight Nov 30, I will have a solid start to a story that might have lain dormant a few months/years/decades longer in my brain without the impetus.

In conclusion, NaNo, I'm quitting you.

Hahahaha, you see what I did there again? Referencing the joke from earlier? It's totally cool to point out why something is supposed to be funny. That's how jokes work.

P.S. Secret lair: achieved. Just in time to be thankful.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh noes!

What will the publishing world do without Oprah? How will I ever talk about my genius and my alcoholic childhood now?

Cry, children, cry!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

There should be trumpets sounding somewhere...

Last night, bloggers and bloggettes, at 9 :05 pm (or roundabouts), this little blogger finished the first draft of the current WIP, soon to be known as the SDIP (second draft in progress). If I had had confetti in my hand I would have thrown it, if champagne had been poured I would have drank it, if there was a hand in the air I would have fived it. As it were, I simply handed the computer over to my partner in crime for final chapter reading. When he was done he looked at me in confusion.
"Is this it?"
"Yeah, that's it."
"What? No, you didn't answer a lot of stuff. What about [insert specific plot questions I'm obviously not going to reveal here] and [more plot questions]? What happens there?"
A shrug of my shoulders. "Doesn't matter."
This was apparently unacceptable to him. "No no no, this is a series. This is book one of, like, six." At which point he sketches out the plot points of the next five books for me.
Let me make it clear, this is not a series, nor do I intend for it to be. But as he went on, plotting out the next few thousand pages for me, I couldn't help grinning more and more. By the end of his diatribe, I looked like the Joker (the family friendly one, not the creepy scarred one, thank you).
"What are you smiling at?" he asks me.
"Nothing. It just makes me so happy that I could write characters that someone would care about enough to want to read more."
And it's true, that has felt like my biggest accomplishment (after actually finishing the damn thing, of course). There was definitely a lull period there where the only thing keeping me going was the fact that he asked me insistently for the next chapter. He deserves one of those high fives just as much as I do, what a trooper.
But let me make it clear, all fives, high or otherwise, will be directed to me first to be distributed as I see fit.
Next stop: beta readers. Uf.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Me likey the free

Hot tamales! I love when my favorite things come together. In this instance, it's the great meeting of blogging and free stuff. I'd do a lot for free things (but I wouldn't do much for a Klondike Bar, those things are nasty), including a blog shamelessly posted to gain an extra entry in said contest!

Lisa and Laura Roecker, the authors of the soon to be wildly popular The Haunting of Pemberly Brown, are holding a contest on their blog, and the giveaway is a shiny new Kindle! Since I've been fiending for an ereader I knew this contest was custom made for me. Like Edward for Bella, siiiiiiiigh.

So check out the contest, and then check out the book, because if the book is half as fun as the website, it'll be really fun. Is really half of awesomely? I'm not sure how to execute math on vocabulary...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Wow. Time, what happened? You and I, we used to get along. A long time ago we used to be friends. We would watch bad TV shows together in the summer, lay out in the grass on campus for an impromptu afternoon nap, stay up late reading cheesy romance novels, we were the best. I thought we'd be together forever, Time. But now you've left me for some younger, hotter, less responsibility encumbered little hussy.

Day 10 of NaNo necessary word count: 15,000
Day 10 of NaNo actual word count: 5,000

For those of you big on the mathness, that's 1/3 of where I should be. Or, an utter FAIL. Now, a few things in my defense:
1) Buying secret cave
2) Started one story and decided writing of said story=impossible
3) Began new story two days ago
4) Still working on current WIP
5) Eating and sleeping still annoyingly necessary
6) As is paying bills, i.e. working

But what I am taking heart in is that in two days I've written just over 5K words. That's impressive, right? I mean, if I just play catch up for the next few days and average about 2,500 words a day, I'll be on track to totally demolish NaNoWriMo like a wimpy kid at the arcade. Or that kid in The Wizard. The snobby one with the fancy glove, not the awesome kid whose vocabulary is limited to saying California in such a darn cute way.

My lesson about NaNo so far: you can't force a poorly thought out story. It would be an utter waste of a month and 50K words for me if what I wrote was crap and I knew it as I wrote it. When I tried to write the story that wasn't working - even though I had a plan - I was word counting every 50 words. This new story I'm working on, 2K words happened in the blink of an eye. The difference? The narrative for the second story flowed much better. Moral? If your current story ain't working, don't keep forcing it just to "win" NaNo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The best laid plans...

Aft gang arye. At least, that's how Eddie Izzard pronounces it. And since Eddie Izzard is my foremost authority on history, comedy, and pronunciation, that's what we're going to go with here. I started the month of November with the highest of intentions, and even though we are only four days in, I already know it's going to go to crap. I'm going to wake up three days from now and it's going to be Thanksgiving. Of this I am convinced.

Why is it going to such crap, you ask? Well, for many reasons that mostly boil down to I put too much on my plate at once. But there is one such thing I have brought upon myself that kind of blows the other ones to pieces; no, it's not NaNoWriMo, which has sadly fallen by the wayside (2100 words in three days, yeesh). No, the big bad on my list is the fact that my partner in crime and I have decided to buy a our own secret lair. That's right, kiddies, no more will we share our treasures with Ali Baba's 40 thieves, we're getting a magic cave all our own. Turns out, buying said lair is a very lengthy and complicated process, as well it should be considering the genesis of our current economic crisis. And to get our piece of the goverment pie we have to close before Nov. 30, which times in Cleveland again.

My writing has fallen into 30 minute or (if I'm lucky) one hour fits, I haven't worked out in two and a half weeks, my day job took this convenient time to explode with work, and oh, yeah, there's that whole NaNoWriMo thing. I've been craving Nathan Bransford's blog with a side of The Rejectionist, but alas my work ethic and my bank account insist otherwise.

So yeah, the reason I haven't blogged in the last week? There you go. I'm not even bothering with the word of the day today, half because I don't have the time and half in protest of their random emailing schedule. I got one at 11 p.m. last night. Wha?

Anyone out there with mad organizational and time management skills, tips would be appreciated. Monetary or otherwise.