Thursday, November 30, 2006

Decisions, Decisions...

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit. — Conrad Hilton

Yesterday was "craft day at Gram's" for my daughter -- this means that I got almost an entire day to myself (Woo!). I planned on editing my WW story, but did some research into the stories they've published lately, painful as that was, and discovered that, without exception, they were all in first person.


Massive changes ahead -- which means that it won't be there in time. So, now I'm considering lengthening it, making it better and subbing to The Wild Rose Press in a few months.

I decided instead to edit an existing novel (I have three completed first drafts), but couldn't get up any enthusiasm for the job.

I thought about continuing on my mystery, and did a bit of that, but it just wasn't flowing -- I'd changed the beginning and it made a huge difference in the story (the person I murdered in the original beginning was still alive), but really I like the original one better, so will most likely go back to that, but have to get my brain around it.

So, I tried to brainstorm something new because, dang it all, I wanted to write something. And I came up empty, totally and utterly empty. I panicked -- how can I have nothing? Not a clue, not a character, not a conflict. Nada. YIKES!

My life as an author is over. I have no ideas!

So I did what any panic-stricken author would do. I sat down in front of the TV with a pad of paper and took notes. I was watching The A-Team and paying attention to the little things. I know, I know, it's a flat out silly show but I love it. And I wrote down anything and everything that popped into my brain:

* Orange Soda
* Sisters
* Construction Company

And so on. Then, after doing this for a couple shows, I sat with my paper and tried to incorporate most of what I'd written down into some semblance of an idea. And you know what? I got one.

*big grin*

Guess my life as an author isn't over quite yet. And, as a side benefit, I got to watch two episodes of The A-Team guilt free.

What do you do when you come up empty? Or do you never have that problem?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NaNo Day.... Ooops! I'm DONE!

Dreams are at once fruit & outcry against an atrophy of the senses. - Jim Morrison

Last year when I finished NaNo, I felt a little lost... I'd had this huge goal, this driving force that was suddenly gone.

Not so this year. I imagine that it's partly because I didn't love my story as much this year, didn't connect with my characters the way I did with Liv and her gang. It's also because I have a lot of other things to do that I've set aside while I finished NaNo.

Now I can get started.

I have many edits to make on my WW story, I need to decide which novel I want to polish and send out next year (Playing House, Liv or Camilla -- what the heck, why not all three? LOL...), and I have goals to set. I also have a couple other short stories I've started and not finished that I like and need to work through - one of which started as a short Christmas story and has since become more of a novella.

Lost? Nah... I'm found.

And, for my last ever NaNo post (until next year!), I want to send out a hearty congrats to my NaNo buddies who made it to the bitter end: Syl, Kathy, Ceri, Mary, and June. Well done everyone!!

I'm off to work on my WW story... it needs to go out this week or it'll be too late.

Don't forget: You only have two more days to enter to win The Courage to Write! Enter now by clicking here.

I'll leave you with a photo of the tree that we stalked, hunted, killed and mounted - does it help get you in the Christmas spirit?

And the perfect Christmas gift? That would be my latest short story release:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Woo Hoo!

50,029 words in 28 Days!

NaNo Day Twenty Eight - The Walls Close In

You're not going to be a writer someday. You're a writer today. Discipline yourself to write and take time to enjoy writing. Do it a lot. Have fun with it. Begin now. ~ Jack Heffron

I think many folks think that exact phrase: I'm going to be a writer someday. What many don't understand is that they may not be a published author, but they are or can be a writer right now, at this very moment.

I'm a writer. And most days, I love being one.

Just a couple more days and NaNoWriMo (and NaBloPoMo) are over, done, fini. I want a do over. I want to plan better, choose better, write better than I did this past month.


Next year will be better. I learned a ton from this years NaNo, what to do, and more importantly what not to do. I also know that I could do this on my own if I really had the impetuous to do so. It's all about the deadline -- they are a good thing to help you keep your eye on the goal.

I'll finish it up, I'll have practiced my craft, I'll have created some interesting characters that I need to find a good home for and I'll have learned, again, that I write best under pressure. The discipline that is required by having to sit my butt in the chair every day and produce something is wonderful. I love that part. I just need to remember to apply that same discipline all year 'round.


My writing friend, Allie, has had a novel accepted at Virtual Tales. Her bio is up at the VT site and I'm so ready to read the story. She's a very talented lady. Why don't you hop on over to her blog and check it out!


Though my intention is to write more today -- in the hope of hitting 50,000, thus far I've written 1,779 words so my grand total is:

48,245 / 50,000

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Am An Impressive Mastermind... Who Knew?

Tori suggested that I take the personality test for the CIA and I couldn't pass that one up.

They think that I'm an Impressive Mastermind.

Woo hoo for me!

What are you?

Yes, I'm Procrastinating...

If you don't typically read Tess Gerritson's blog, you should.

A few days ago, she wrote an entry entitled: Why Self-Published Books Fail. Though she wasn't exactly slamming those who choose to self-pub, I think she was very realistic. And she got hammered by some folks who took exception to her opinion.

Saturday, she wrote another entry as a rebuttal that is a must read for those folks who think writing a book -- a publishable book -- is easy. It's entitled: Writers and Desperation.

Go check it out if you're procrastinating like I am!

NaNo Day Twenty Seven

Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago? - Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Today's Yahoo Horoscope:

In a difficult situation today, rely on your secret weapon: your amazing creativity.

The stars want you to renew your lease on life -- and this time you're holding all the key elements. Exercise your options and scrutinize the fine print. Set the terms. Believe it or not, you're in control.

So... my constant affirmation for today should probably be: I am creative and in control (though when I think of control, I think of Janet Jackson, so maybe that isn't such a good thing).

I did good on my NaNo yesterday. Had fun throwing my new character into the mix and seeing what happens. I think she needs a pet, though, so will have to think that through. I already have some critters in the picture since Ben's roommate Pete keeps black and white chickens (all named), but still...

TGIM. Life gets back to normal today. This past week and weekend were rough, but today we return to a routine. Yah.

I am looking forward to life after NaNo, too, though I'm not entirely certain what to work on when I'm done with this little exercise. It's frustrating that I won't have the bares bones of a complete book to work with, but as I've said, it wasn't a complete loss. I have some short stories to work on, and a couple completed novels I could edit as well as the first third of my mystery that is tugging on me a bit.

I'm sure I'll figure out something.

So... Christmas shopping done yet?


I've written 2,366 words so my grand total is:

46,466 / 50,000

Sunday, November 26, 2006

NaNo Day Twenty Six

I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. - Thomas Alva Edison

The walls are closing in, the month is ending and my book is not... but that's okay! I spent the day yesterday thinking about the kind of heroine my current hero needed and think I've got it figured out. So I'm introducing them today. Yes, in my current book and yes, my old heroine is in there, but she'll just have to step aside for a while. I want to see if my new lady and hero get along.

I realize that I probably won't use these scenes in the actualy story, but I'm interested in seeing if they click. I thought that the original H/H would, I planned them that way, but she was far more neurotic about her past and what people would think about what society considered an inappropriate relationship than I thought she would be. And no matter how hard I tried to force her back where I wanted her to go, it wasn't working.

So she's outta here and lady-in-waiting moves up into her spot. This heroine is several years older than the hero, just like my last one BUT she wasn't married before and doesn't have a daughter near the same age as the hero, and I think it'll help. Plus, she and the hero have a "past" of sorts -- not a romantic one, but they did know each other many, many years ago.

All the other characters are staying the same including the chickens, but I'm moving the setting to New Hampshire because I don't have to be in a college town now and that's good.

Ah, the joy.

I will finish this story... and leave it hanging for a new one. Technically, for NaNo, you're supposed to actually end your story to win. But, what if you get 50,000 and you aren't done? I think it still counts.

I think I'm going to wrap up the current one by resolving the romantic issues of my secondary characters who will be involved with one another in the next story that has my H/NH (that's "new heroine) in it.

Man that's complicated...


So, we successfully killed a tree yesterday and it's in the garage waiting to be put into the stand. We'll decorate it today and DD will be thrilled. She told me that she likes to come downstairs in the morning and just sit under it.

She loves Christmas with every fiber of her being, and it's not just presents... it's everything. The music, the stories, the decorations and the overall celebrations. She is filled with an amazing amount of joy for Christmas. It's so neat.


I've written 2,090 words so my grand total is:

44,100 / 50,000

Saturday, November 25, 2006

NaNo Day Twenty-Five -- ACK!

Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek. — Mario Andretti

We're coming up to the end of the NaNo challenge and it's been interesting to see what other folks have been saying. Two of my writing friends did NaNo for the first time this year. They both finished their 50,000+ words before Thanksgiving. One of them hadn't finished a first draft before. She commented that she never thought she had enough time to write... but found that she could write for fifteen minutes at a time several times a day.

Folks... this is a lady who works full time and has a baby who is only a few months old.

Another person commented on how freeing it is to tell your inner editor to take a hike and just write -- without having a complete plan of what's going to happen from beginning to end. To be willing to write a bare bones first draft and know that it'll need editing (but even good first drafts need some editing).

The thing is to get it down. And that's what NaNo is good for. It's good to help folks know that they can write a first draft and write "THE END", many of them for the first time. It's a rush and a confidence builder and an eye opener.

When you have a goal to keep your eyes firmly fixed upon, it's amazing what you can do.

I've commented that I'm struggling. I am. BUT, I'm still moving forward and still making enough words to meet my goal. It may not be met until midnight of November 30th, but by golly, I'll get there.

I've learned a lot this NaNo, just as I did last NaNo -- different things, but wonderful things. And I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to do, even when it's hard.

The story this year is crap. I won't even work to edit it. Was it a waste of time? Absolutely not. I have three characters that I really, really like. Unfortunately, one of them is not my heroine. The other characters, though, deserve a good story and I imagine that they'll get one. Maybe even next NaNo.


Today we are going to the National Forest to kill a tree. DD is so excited -- last night after she went to bed I heard her singing Christmas carols for a really, really long time. And, as a good night story, I had to recite "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (or whatever it's called) because we can't find the book and I happen to know it all by heart (I had to learn it in grammar school, and it stuck).

My in-laws aren't coming with us on our Christmas tree hunt this year. They've decided we get our tree too early. They're going in a couple of weeks... and, see, that's what I think is weird. In my mind, the Christmas season begins the day after Thanksgiving (NOT in freakin' August you stupid stores). You get a month. Of course, the rest of the family keeps their trees up until Epiphany, and we don't, so maybe that's why.


We're getting a Christmas tree, with or without them.

Side note: I love that I can say "Christmas" on my blog. Christmas. Christmas. Christmas.


I wrote 1,890 words this morning -- probably all I'll do today -- so my grand total is:

42,010 / 50,000

Friday, November 24, 2006

NaNo Day Twenty-Four -- Black Friday

When all think alike, then no one is thinking. — Walter Lippman

I'm feeling pretty smug right now. There's a particular item I wanted for my DD this Christmas, but it's wicked expensive, so I'd passed thus far. Then, yesterday an ad for Black Friday at a store here advertised it at 50% off. I'd had no desire to go fight the crowds, my shopping being pretty much finished, but for this... I'd make the sacrifice.

First, though, I decided to look at the online Black Friday sales today. And I FOUND IT -- same price as the store, free shipping AND since I went through eBates, I got 3% more off and my credit card has a rebate, too -- so it was actually cheaper in the long run and NO CROWDS. I. Am. Happy.

What about you? Do you hit the sales today, or are the crowds simply more than you can stand?


I didn't get my 1500 words today -- I'm flat out exhausted for some reason. But I did manage 688 words so my grand total is:

40,120 / 50,000

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NaNo Day Twenty-Three - AKA Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~ E.P. Powell


I wrote 1,369 words on my NaNo novel today making my grand total:

39,432 / 50,000

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NaNo Day Twenty-Two - Doubt Sets In

There are no short cuts to any place worth going. — Beverly Sills

This has been a rough NaNo for me... last year I really liked my story. My H/H were great for each other and the story was goofy enough for me to smile most of the way through.

I don't like my story. It's BORING. The H/H have no spark for each other. It's not fun. I know, I know... I'm the one writing it. If it's boring, it's MY fault. If the H/H haven't got a spark it's because of MY writing. Despite what we always say as writers, the characters are NOT alive, I created them, and what they do is what I've made them do.

But, I think they're going to end up friends instead of lovers or soul mates. How is that possible?

Still, I really, really, really like my hero. I think he's going to move out of Podunk and find himself a woman somewhere that's a better fit. Maybe next NaNo, because, yes, even after all this angst and drama and frustration, I fully intend on doing NaNo again next year.

In any case, I'm struggling through because I like to win. I hate to lose. So I'm marching forward...

In other news, I have the release date of my Wild Rose story: December 1st. I'll post a link to it then. That's only a week from this Friday. Woo! I'm telling you, these were absolutely the nicest, most responsive people I've known. It was a joy working with them.

I'm liking my Yahoo horoscope today:

Your brisk and decisive action earns the respect of people who count (and one of them just might be you). Now that you know what you're capable of, dare to let yourself do your own thing more often.

I'm off to do my own thing.


Today, I used my writing time and my characters to practice writing sexual tension. Whether it was appropriate to the story or not remains to be seen, but if I'm going to continue on this thing then I'll make it a learning experience.

I wrote 1,943 words on my NaNo novel today. Maybe I'll get some more, but for now, my grand total is:

38,063 / 50,000

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NaNo Day Twenty-One -- Falling Behind

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. - Seneca

I got behind on my writing yesterday. Well, my NaNo writing. I reviewed the galley for my story, found one formatting boo-boo, checked it again this morning, found one glaring grammatical error (my fault entirely) and sent that sucker back for final corrections. Woo!

I sent off my WW story to Judy who is also attempting to write for WW. She gave me some great suggestions. The only problem is word count restrictions. When I first wrote my story is was 400 words over the allowed count for WW. So I cut and cut until it fit, but I think it lost a little bit. Still, it's a challenge, so I'm going to clean it up and somehow manage to keep the count down. Thanks, Judy!

I will hopefully have a chance to do a little catching up today. My DD will be at Grandma's house for a few hours for "craft day" and I intend on writing my tush off (ha. If only it was that easy to get rid of my tush!). With any luck and a lot of hard work, I should be able to get a few thousand words today. That's my goal. Check back later this afternoon to see if I managed to do it!

I'm excited to greet the beginning of 2007 with the He Wrote/She Wrote How To Write Fiction blog! I'm also thinking about what I want to accomplish, writing-wise, next year. Yup, folks, it's almost time for New Year Resolutions!

That's the story of my life for now. How are you?


Thanks to some writing prompts and miscellaneous scenes, I've written 1,900words on my NaNo novel today. Maybe I'll get some more, but for now, my grand total is:

36,120 / 50,000

Monday, November 20, 2006

Closer and Closer....

I got my galleys for my Wild Rose Press story today. Why is it that you can always find a dozen more things you'd like to change, wordwise? They did a great job, only one little formatting problem.

I'd forgotten my dedication - no, not to my hubby, my mom, my daughter or my dog (though they certainly supported me), but to my writing friends: C, D, J and P -- you know who you are!

In any case, I've only written 184 words on my NaNo novel today. Maybe I'll get some more, but for now, my grand total is:

34,220 / 50,000

NaNo Day Twenty - Ready For the End

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little." - Anne Lamott

This quote has little to do about what I'm blogging (to be honest, I'm winging it on the blog today, so if it's a little disconnected, you'll know why), I just loved the quote. I'm pretty fond of Anne Lamott as well, and try to rememember two things: The Sh***y First Draft and "just take it bird by bird".

Music resonates with me. The lyrics transport me. I can't write with music playing, because I'll type the words, but I do use it to inspire me.

My DH had sappy love songs playing on our XM music (on the TV) and I sat quietly reading until this came out and smacked me in the head: "You think I'm weak, I think you're wrong"

I loved that line, had no clue what the song was (do now cuz I Googled it: If You're Gone by Matchbox 20) but jotted the phrase down on my bookmark so I wouldn't forget it because it is an absolutely perfect sentiment for the heroine of my mystery and I plan on using it somewhere.

Then, later, DH had one of the country music video stations on and they had a tribute to Reba McEntire and someone sang "If I had Only Known" -- a song she recorded after a plane with her band crashed and everyone died. The lyrics made me wonder about what I would do if I knew that I only had a short amount of time left with someone... and then -- why haven't I done that thing?

If I had only known
It was our last walk in the rain
I'd keep you out for hours in the storm
I would hold your hand
Like a lifeline to my heart
Underneath the thunder we'd be warm
If I had only known
It was our last walk in the rain

Why haven't you?


Still struggling with NaNo. I'll post words when I write them... I'm a little behind today (it's already almost 6 a.m. and I haven't written a word).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

NaNo Day Nineteen

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all." - Dale Carnegie

I wrote next to nothing yesterday. I can fill this blog up with a dozen excuses, but not one of them would be a good reason. Mostly, I just didn't feel like writing. So, I made sure I got up early today to write. I've been up for an hour and haven't written a word.

What is wrong with me? *bangs head on keyboard*

I finished my Womans World story, but haven't posted it anywhere for nits because I haven't been nitting my groups posts this month because of NaNo. BUT if I don't get this story out soon, it'll be too late. So I'm agonizing... should I send it out without another pair or three of eyeballs? Should I wait until NaNo is over, post it and then hope it gets to WW in time? GAH!

Part of my reluctance to write is this simple fact: my H/H are great friends! Woo! But there really isn't any sexual tension between them. Oh, I've had them smooch a bit and whatnot, but it seems forced and unnatural. I think I do sexual tension pretty well in most of my stuff (those of you who've read it are free to say otherwise -- or free to stroke my ego. Whatever!), but it's sorely lacking.

So... do I just work through this novel with them as friends as a basis for another novel featuring Kate and Pete? Do I see if I can ramp up the tension and make this the novel I'd originally envisioned?

Guess I'll just head on over to Word and see what comes out of my fingertips like I have all along. I really do love my hero, but I'm just not entirely certain that he and the heroine are right for each other. And, if I'm not sure, then there's a problem.

Good news on the NH Nature Watch in our backyard... DH saw "our" doe and her two yearling fawns yesterday on the way home from hunting (Yeah, ironic, isn't it?). Gunshots have been ringing out in our "backyard" (I'm loving this overuse of quotes thing today...woo!) -- we have a couple hundred acres behind us (not ours, but seamlessly hooked onto our property) that hunters use regularly, and I've been worried for "my" doe and her babies.

Hunters can only take antlered deer now and my hubby had no luck yesterday (yes, this is me dancing for joy), but nearly ran down "our" doe on the corner of our street. I asked him if she stuck her tongue out on the way past.


I've written 1,196 words!

My overall total is: 34,036 / 50,000

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NaNo Day Eighteen - Where Has the Time Gone?

The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come. - James Whitcomb Riley

Yesterday I struggled with discouragement, deep discouragement. I alternated writing with reading, and what I was reading had fantastic writing. It was the little things I noticed, private jokes that didn't necessarily forward the plot but they deepened the characters, little mentions here and there of offhand things that helped with the setting, overall a well-rounded story.

And I knew mine --none of mine, not just this NaNo story -- measured up.

"Why bother writing," I muttered to myself. "What's the point when I have no talent?"

I was really low and ready to throw it all out.

I plopped myself in front of the TV and watched "Supersize Me" (ugh) and found myself, aside from being nauseated at the thought of eating that much grease, thinking about my NaNo story and how I might flip it around -- make it about Kate and Pete (the daughter and the roommate) instead of about Julia and Ben (the current H/H) or, at the very least, write a follow up book about them because they have a crazy relationship.

That's when I realized (again, because I must go through this every six months or so) that I can't quit writing, regardless of whether I'm "good enough". Because writing is what I do, it's inside me, and it's not going away.


FYI (re: yesterday's post) I'm not opposed to gaming systems, I don't think they are devil's spawn. I played pong when I was little (for HOURS on end... amazing) and it didn't destroy me. BUT, like Allie mentioned, there is little benefit to them -- why not play catch? Or tag (if it hasn't been outlawed)? Or soccer? Or play cards or a board game? Interact with your kids or let them interact with each other. We're becoming an increasingly isolated society, and it terrifies me.

Okay... all done preaching.


Word count when I've written something -- not an easy task this morning as DH is up and about getting ready to go hunting and will most assuredly wake the DD, if the loud crashing noise I just heard is any evidence.

Update: I've written 660 words!

My overall total is: 32,840 / 50,000

Friday, November 17, 2006

NaNo Day Seventeen

Don't tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are. - James W. Frick

People are nuts. Seriously. Uh, folks... there are people starving out there, wars, folks being murdered. Bother. Okay, all done preaching, but really, get a life. A real life, not a virtual one.

I have a confession to make: we don't own a gaming system and probably never will. We've been told that not having a system is "abusive" to our daughter (and, yes, it was said by a person who was absolutely serious). What a waste of time. Instead, I have a DD who reads like a maniac in her free time. Building her brain instead of turning it to mush.

Oh, wait, I said I was done. Now I really am.

I got my final edits for the story at Wild Rose Press. I had a little blip about the Logan Airport that needed fixing, but all-in-all there were very few changes suggested. I'm officially up at the coming soon holiday stories page w-a-a-a-a-y at the end (Now That We've Found You), though my book cover isn't there yet. I'll keep you posted!

I finished the possible story for Womans World, though I'm on the fence about sending it there or to Wild Rose Press. It's about 250 words too long for WW, and yes I can cut some, but ... oh well, we'll see. If it's going to WW it needs to go very soon because it's an Easter story.

I did a lot of work on NaNo yesterday, will do some more today for certain. My H/H are about to get busted smooching. I'm almost 30,000 words into it and no one knows that they're considering a relationship. Yet.

C'est ma vie.


It's time for the other folks in the house to arise, so I have to stop working for now. So far, I've written 2,701 words!

My overall total is: 32,180 / 50,000

Thursday, November 16, 2006

NaNo Day Sixteen - Stuff and Nonsense

See, the human mind is kind of like... a piñata. When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience. ~ Jane Wagner

I'm saving all my creativity for my writing today, so you get a few announcements and a quiz instead of my wildly entertaining prose (*snort*).

It's American Title voting time again. Go forth and vote!

'Echo Maker' Wins National Book Award for Fiction - Who knew?

And, for all you children of the 80's -- Here's a quiz for you (be ready for some serious flashbacks and music that will run through your head for hours).

The Think you remember the 80's? Test written by jahazarak

My results:

Thank the great god Balki! You scored 28 out of a possible 30 Accuracy Points, and you earned an extra 10 Bonus Points!


I was hoping to reach 30,000 today, but haven't even come close. I had problems this morning with focus -- do mainly to my DD getting up at 5 a.m. and then going back to bed, then getting up, going back, getting up, going back... and always needing something from me. This happened about every ten minutes -- and has put me in a rather foul mood as I really desperately need my own time in the morning. Grrr....

This afternoon has gone better, and today I did great! I now have 2,462 words for Day 16!

My overall total is: 29,479 / 50,000

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NaNo Day Fifteen -- The Halfway Point

If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. — Thomas Edison

So... the calendar says we are halfway through the NaNo Month. Conveniently, I am halfway through my story, with the anticipation that once I finish this blog and start to write this morning, I will be slightly ahead.

A few people on the NaNo boards are finished. One finished in eight days -- I wonder what it looks like?

Many won't "win" at NaNo, but in my opinion, just by trying and doing what they can, many times far more than they've ever done, they've won. Writing 10,000 words when you've only ever written the first five pages of a story is fantastic!

I imagine I'll see this blasted thing through to the bitter end. I've given myself permission to work on another project at the same time IF I managed the bare minimum of words for NaNo first. Yesterday I worked on a short story and got another 600 words written on top of what I did for NaNo.

Next year for NaNo (and, yes, I'll do it again next year, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise) I will be better prepared. Each year, I learn a little more about the process. This year, I worked mostly on the characters and not on the story. I need to work more on the story since it appears that the characters work very nicely on themselves.

It's raining here and we're all bouncing off the walls. Today is supposed to be the nicest day of the week, it's merely overcast and gray, so we're canceling school and going to Nashua (well, Tyngsboro, really -- but you don't care about that, right?) to visit Trader Joes, one of my very favorite places. Ceri, I'll wave as I go south :-)

And so are the days of my life. How are you?


I think I've pegged why I'm dragging through this story -- it's too freakin' serious! I took a wander over to the dares board at NaNo and, aside from the fifteen chickens thing, found nothing I could use because my characters are so normal (well, except for Ben's wardrobe). That must change and I'll have to give some thought about how to do so. I don't like such sober stories!

This morning, writing was painful. This afternoon was better. So far, I've managed 1,661 words for a grand total of:

27,017 / 50,000

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NaNo Day Fourteen

With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable. ~ Thomas Foxwell Buxton

When I read this article about a man who died trying to save his dog, I wanted to say ... how silly (kind of like that guy I wrote about a few days ago), but I couldn't. Because all I could think about was -- what if it was my dog? What would I have done?

And I can honestly say, I would have jumped in and done the same thing, without thought or hesitation. Was it smart? Probably not... but it's all about the kind of person you are.

It's all about characterization. Seriously.... I mean, I swerve my vehicle to avoid hitting butterflies, but there are folks out there who don't even see them, or worse, thrive on pulling off their wings.


The characters in my NaNo novel are developing. I wanted to make my heroine's ex-hubby slightly abusive, but he won't fall in line. He's controlling, yes, but not mean. Damn it.

I wanted my heroine to be a big person, tall and Amazonion, instead it seems that, though she is a bit chubby, she's petite. Damn it again.

My hero is the only one who hasn't changed something significant about himself. I suppose that means that I had a better handle on him. Oddly, this happens a lot. I tend to know my heroes far better than my heroines and, in fact, write more than half the story from the hero's POV. I wonder why that is?

Enough rambling. I have words to write. My heroine is about to take on her daughter -- a girl who keeps calling dear old dad and updating him on the heroine's day-to-day activities. Needless to say, my heroine is a little annoyed.


Today I was determined to hit the halfway mark, and decided to sit here until I did. Well, I did. Barely. I managed to write 1,574 words.

My writing total is: 25,356 / 50,000

Monday, November 13, 2006

We Interrupt This Blog...

Paperback Writer has a great idea for a story prompt.

I'm bookmarking that entry and using it when NaNo is over.

Check it out!

We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog.

NaNo Day Thirteen

Everything is something you decide to do, and there is nothing you have to do. ~ Denis Waitley

I made a decision yesterday.

Let me explain. I have never written a book from beginning to end. Typically, when I write, I begin by writing miscellaneous scenes in no particular order so that I can get to know my characters. After I have a dozen or so, then I start to write, and I think that the story is stronger for it.

My two big problems with this novel are that there is little conflict, and I don't like my heroine very much. I believe this stems from not having gotten to know her well before stuffing her into a story.

Yesterday, I began to rectify this problem. For the next day or two, my plan is to write scenes in no particular order as they occur to me. For instance, my hero told me yesterday, in very vehement tones, that he does not drink. I was taken a bit by surprise since the scene I was writing needed him to be drunk. I needed to find out why he doesn't drink... so I wrote another scene where the heroine gets sloppy and he gets mad at her and then tells her why he feels the way he does.

It's good. It means that I may not get a finished novel by the end of NaNo, but I should have 50,000 words toward a better novel than I have right now. One would hope...

It's Monday. YAY! DH goes back to work, DD has school again today (and this means a couple of hours of seatwork time this afternoon -- a break for me). I may be the only person in the world who loves, Loves, LOVES Monday.


Today, I've managed 1,571 words.

My writing total is: 23,782 / 50,000

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NaNo day Twelve

Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. ~ H.F. Hedge

I dreamed last night that I got a contract with Harlequin... but the novel they accepted was only 107 pages long, and I had to add to it. And I had no idea what to write in order to make it the proper length.

Needless to say, I was a little stressed.

Do you suppose that has something to do with my NaNo novel?

I had planned on writing more yesterday, was in the mood to, but my DD was down in the basement having a wonderful time playing and listening to her music and I just couldn't write this really tense scene that is coming up next while listening to Toot Sweet or A Spoonful of Sugar.

Gonna try it today. All alone. In the quiet.


Today, I've managed 2,703 words.

My writing total is: 22,211 / 50,000

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NaNo Day Eleven - Hanging on By My Fingernails

Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong. - Norman Vincent Peale

I'm managing to keep slightly ahead of the very minimum word count I need to stay on top of things. And my characters are beginning to come to life. I say this because they're starting to change my plans.

For instance: I had this great Friday night date all figured out between my H/H -- something that would prove to my heroine that they weren't so different. I had it figured to the last bit of food, the movie, everything.

Then yesterday, what happens? My heroine kicks the hero out of the car, both literally and figuratively. And it's Friday morning. And now he is MAD and has no intention of seeing her again. Has, in fact, made other plans for the evening. Likewise, she's sure she's right in her thinking and never wants to see him again.

Poof! There goes the Friday night date. Geez.

I wonder what happens next, because now I have no idea.


So far this morning I've managed 1,484 words.

My writing total is: 19,508 / 50,000

Friday, November 10, 2006

Story? What Story?

I realized last night that my characters aren't unique, really. They don't have some funky character flaw or whatever, that makes them stand out in a crowd. Ben, my hero, is coming along slowly and I have a good feel for him but I'm struggling with my heroine. She's bland.

I checked out Holly Lisle's site to find her brainstorming suggestions (she calls it prewriting) and discovered that I can't really answer ANY of them. Pitiful.

For instance:

What is the hero's secret?
Everybody has one or two, but in this case, the secret we want is going to be the thing the hero can't tell the heroine about himself without betraying some other agenda -- and the fact that he is evasive on this point is going to cause her (and the reader) to be suspicious of him. So -- is he secretly working for a government agency? Digging buried treasure in her back yard? A cop chasing a killer he suspects her of harboring? What?

Ben is a friggin' open book. Guess I should change some of that, huh?

Or this:

What does the hero (or heroine) have to lose?
The fact that he could get killed is a given. What ELSE does he have to lose? Ten million dollars? The serial killer who butchered his sister? A place on the next space shuttle?

Nope, don't have a good answer to that one either.

This is really bad, folks. Ugh.

Writing Total - Warning: Subject to Change!

So far this morning I've managed 1,361 pretty decent words. I'm actually happy with the results for a change. Woo!

My writing total is: 18,024 / 50,000

In other news...

You can't make this stuff up: British Man Injured After Lighting Firecracker in Buttocks

If I had a character do something that stupid, it would be rejected immediately. Darwin awards, here we come!

Nano Day Ten - Ramblings of a Mad Woman

Collecting quotations is an insidious, even embarrassing habit, like ragpicking or hoarding rocks or trying on other people's laundry. I got into it originally while trying to break an addiction to candy. I kicked candy and now seem to be stuck with quotations, which are attacking my brain instead of my teeth. ~Robert Byrne, The Other 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, "Sources, References, and Notes," 1984

Nothing like having a quote about quotes, is there? And the reason for that is because I have nothing much to talk about today (though I will post writing totals after I've written something), so I thought I'd share a little bit about me.

Where I'm from:

You Know You're From California When...

The fastest part of your commute is down your driveway.

You were born somewhere else.

You know how to eat an artichoke.

The primary bugs that you worry about are electronic.

Your car has bullet-proof windows.

Left is right and right is wrong.

Your monthly house payments exceed your annual income.

You can't find your other earring because your son is wearing it.

You drive to your neighborhood block party.

Your family tree contains "significant others."

You don't exterminate your roaches, you smoke them.

You see 25 lawyers chasing an ambulance.

More than clothes come out of the closets.

You go to a tanning salon before going to the beach.

More money is spent on facelifts than on diapers.

Smoking in your office is not optional.

You pack shorts and a T-shirt for skiing in the snow, and a sweater and a wetsuit for the beach.

When you can't schedule a meeting because you must "do lunch."

Your children learn to walk in Birkenstocks.

Rainstorms or thunder are the lead story for the local news.

You'll reluctantly miss yoga class to wait for the hot tub repairman.

You consult your horoscope before planning your day.

A glass has been reserved for you at your favorite winery.

All highways into the state say: "no fruits."

All highways out of the state say: "Go back."

The Terminator is your governor

You can't remember . . . is pot illegal?

It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station: "STORM WATCH"

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from California.

Where I traveled to meet my husband:

You Know You're From Colorado When...

People move onto the highway at 15 miles an hour.

You have absolutely no recognizable accent.

If the humidity gets above 25%, you consider it "muggy".

You only go to Central City when friends are in from out of town.

You have been skiing less than 10 times in your life

You think 5-points is a ghetto.

You are the third car to run a red light after it has changed.

You say things like "I don't care how big Golden is,
it's still a one-horse town".

You think only stupid people get lost in your town.

When giving directions, you never say "Turn left, turn right", it's always go West, then South.

During a thunderstorm you wonder "which I-25 underpass is flooding".

You never plan a picnic between 3:30 and 6:00 in Spring or Summer months.

If it rains more than 2 days straight you compare the weather to being in Seattle.

You voted for higher taxes to fund Coors field, but voted down taxes for public transportation.

You have a broken windshield.

You see no reason to travel to Aurora.

The only RTD bus you've been on is the 16th Street shuttle.

You carry your $3,000 mountain bike on top of your $500 car.

You thought "Californication" would be banned by Amendment 2.

You think "South Park" is a place to stop for gas on your way to Buena Vista.

You have a business degree and are frying burgers at a McDonald's in Vail.

You have a flat tire in your refrigerator and your garage.

You own a big dog named Aspen, Buck, Cheyenne or Dakota that wears a bandanna.

You cast out your fishing line while white-water rafting.

You've never seen the tourist attractions in your own city.

You think a pass does not involve a football or a woman.

You are 82 years old and take up snowboarding.

Your real Y2K fear was running out of Celestial Seasonings tea and trail mix.

The entire top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

You personally wouldn't pay $10 per head to drive up Pikes Peak unless it was the only mountain on earth, but you tell all our house-guests to do it.

You get depressed after one day of foggy weather.

You think that formal wear is ironed denim.

North means "mountains to the left;" south is "mountains to the right;" and east and west are where all those damned liberals keep moving in from.

You go anywhere else on the planet and the air feels "sticky" and you notice the sky is no longer blue.

You consider a three-piece suit to be a pair of shorts, a sweatshirt and Birkenstocks.

You see your East Coast relatives now more than when you lived there.

You think gun control is a steady hand.

You can run up 10 flights of stairs without huffing and puffing.

You've stood on solid ground and looked down on an airplane in flight.

You know what the "Peoples Republic of Boulder" means.

You're a meat eating vegetarian.

You think the major food groups are Boulder Bars, tofu and Fat Tire Beer.

You've been tear gassed in a riot to celebrate your local sports team's victory.

You can drive over a 12,000 foot pass in 4 feet of snow, but can't get to work if there are 4 inches of snow.

You know the correct pronunciation of Buena Vista.

When you visit friends at sea level, you can drink a case of beer and not get a buzz.

Your car insurance costs more than your car.

You have surge protectors on every outlet.

April showers bring May blizzards.

You see someone riding a Harley in a snowstorm, and you look closer to see if it's anyone you know.

"Timberline" is someplace you have actually been. Many times.

You know what a "Chinook" is. You know what a "rocky mountain oyster" is. You know what a "fourteener" is. But you don't know what a "turn signal" is.

A bear on your front porch doesn't bother you nearly as much as a Democrat in Congress does.

Your golf bag has a 9-iron, a 3-wood and a lightning-rod.

People from other states breathe 5 times as often as you do.

Having a Senator named Nighthorse doesn't seem strange.

Thunder has set off your car alarm.

A sudden loss of cabin pressure is not a big deal.

"Where we're going, we don't need roads!"

You know where Doc Holliday's grave is.

You can recognize the license plates of all 50 states on sight.

Driving directions usually include 'Go over ____ Pass...'

You've used "checking for ticks" as an excuse to get someone naked.

You've gone skiing in July. You've gone sunbathing in January. They were both in the same year.

You get a certain feeling of satisfaction from knowing that California and Texas are both downstream

You know the elevation of a town, but not its population.

You never pack away your coat and sweaters.

You can name only two people you know who were actually born in Colorado.

You call tumbleweed "groundcover".

You love your Broncos, your Avs, your Rockies, Nuggets - well you can't have everything.

You or someone you know plays golf 12 months of the year.

You don't have AC in your home, but you use it in your car all winter long.

If it snows in the morning you expect it to be gone by lunchtime.

You can name the states that make up the Four Corners.

You know what and where the Continental Divide is.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Colorado.

Where we live now:

You Know You're From New Hampshire When...

You say "wicked" instead of "really."

Your idea of a good meal is Katie's Country Kitchen

You drive a Suburu

Half of your clothes are from L.L. Bean

You rather vacation in New Zealand than Florida

Motorcycle Weekend is the highlight of your summer

When you take your yearly trip into Boston, you "pak ya cah in Havad Yad"

"Vacation" means going to Burlington for the weekend.

You go out of state and don't understand what "tax" means on your receipt

You think of the major food groups as venison, beer, fish, and berries.

You refer to the Patriots as "we".

You can identify a Massachusetts accent.

You can visit Berlin, New London, Bethlehem, Lisbon, Lebanon and Dublin all in one afternoon.

Down South to you means Boston.

You consider Manchester exotic.

You don't have a coughing fit from one sip of Ballantine Ale.

You can actually pronounce Kancamagus.

You know what a bubbler is.

Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new machine shed.

You go out for fish fry every Friday.

You can recognize someone from Massachusetts from their driving.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from New Hampshire.

Where we're planning to move (after reading it, it appears I have much to learn):

You Know You're From Missouri When...

Everyone in your family has been on a "Float trip."

"Vacation" means driving to Silver Dollar City, Worlds of Fun or Six Flags.

Down south to you means Arkansas.

The phrase, "I'm going to the Lake this weekend," can mean only one thing.

You know what "Party Cove" is. (If you know where, you are a boating party animal)

You think Missouri is pronounced with an "ah" at the end.

You know in your heart that Mizzou can beat Nebraska in football.

You think I-44 is spelled "foarty-foar." (St. Louis Only)

You'll pay for your kids to go to college unless they want to go to KU.

You know that Concordia is halfway between Kansas City and Columbia, and Columbia is halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, and Warrenton outlet mall is halfway between Columbia and St. Louis.

You can't think of anything better than sitting on the porch in the middle of the summer during a thunderstorm.

You know that Harry S. Truman, Walt Disney and Mark Twain are all from Missouri.

You know what "cow tipping" or "Possum Kicking" is.

You think "frog gigging" should be an Olympic sport.

You think Imo's is larger than Pizza Hut.

You can tell the difference between a horse and a cow from a distance.

You don't put too much effort into hairstyles due to wind and weather.

There's a tornado warning and the whole town is outside watching for it.

The local gas station sells live bait.

Little smokies are something you serve on special occasions.

All your radio preset buttons are country.

You know enough to get your driving done early on Sundays before the Sunday drivers come out.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Missouri.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ISO Dirty Jokes

No... not those kind. Geez.

I need jokes about dirt. As many as you can think of. I'm desperate! I searched the internet and only found TWO. There must be more.

Anyone? Anyone?

I've managed a grand total of 1,661 words today, but I'm beginning to have some problem with eye strain and can't look at the computer any more. That's okay -- I wanted at least 1600 words today, and I got it, so I'm pretty content.

I now have a grand total of: 16,663 / 50,000

NaNo Day Nine

A pox on Blogger.... Sorry about the late post, but Blogger was having some sort of issues this morning!

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions for titles of my hero's comic strip. The protagonist of the strip is now named Flap (thanks to Anno) and the title of the strip is Generation Quest (thanks to Allie for all her "Generation" suggestions).

Speaking of Allie, she just had a story accepted at Virtual Tales. Go send her a hearty "congratulations"! (Speaking of congrats… two days ago, en route to the library, I saw a sign at a local business that read, in part: CONGRADULATIONS! -- ARGH!).

So, Chris Baty sent me an email this morning. Oh, I'm sure he sent it to a few (or 70,000) other people, but it was mostly for me.

He talked about the Week Two wall, when your inner editor returns from vacation (why, oh why won't she stay away for the entire four weeks? I paid for the hotel and everything!), when you realize the enormity of your challenge, when you wonder why you thought you could write something interesting in a month.

Last night, I figured out one of my big problems. I'm writing: this happened and then this and this.

Instead, I should be writing: This happened and it made them feel this way and caused this problem/result. And then this happened and they felt this way….

I found that I had been dancing around the edges of things; brushing up against issues that would deepen the conflict instead of leaping in with both feet. I went back and read through the nearly seventy pages I have written and changed that in several places. It still isn't perfect, but it's better and it makes me like the story better.

Still, I need more conflict. I need something to come and smack the characters upside the head or to blow up in their faces. I guess I'll just keep writing and see what happens. I'm still slightly ahead of schedule, so if I hang in and make at least 1667 words a day, I should be golden.

Here goes nothing.

So far this morning, despite having company at 5 a.m., I managed another 573 words.

I now have a grand total of: 15,575 / 50,000

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NaNo Day Eight -- Week Two Begins

Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek. — Mario Andretti

I settled down to read the sage advice offered by Chris Baty in his NaNo book regarding Week Two. In one spot there are big letters which say:


That might as well have my name written all over it. So I read it eagerly...

Everyone, at some point, sees their novel as a lost cause....

Yes, Chris, that's absolutely correct! My characters are one-dimensional and the plot isn't going anywhere! What do I do?

The thing to remember even in the darkest moments is that there is something great and workable in your story.


Well, gee, that's what everyone else has already said to me... maybe they're right after all?

The only way to get (there)... is by hurtling yourself directly into the eye of Week Two's storms. Now is the time to batten down the hatches and throw yourself into your story with everything you've got.



*shuffles off to write*

Despite a plethora of distractions (DH is home for the next five days ... give me strength), I managed to get 970 words down on paper -- well, on keyboard, but you get the idea.

I now have a grand total of: 15,002 / 50,000

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Let's Play: Name That Comic Strip

My hero writes a humorous comic strip about a kid (no, he doesn't have a name yet) fresh out of college, the ink barely dry on his diploma. The strip follows his search for an apartment, a job, and just learning how to be a grown up.

I want the title on the strip to be clever, maybe funny, possibly a play on words.

I am at a loss about what to call the stupid thing (as if it isn't hard enough to just name the novel itself, now I have to think up another title... Ugh).

Anyone want to help? Please?

It was a painful several hours, but I got a total of 965 words today. I'm fried and will stop until tomorrow morning.

I now have a grand total of: 14,032 / 50,000

NaNo Day Seven -- and the End Of WEEK ONE

Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement comes apparent failure and discouragement - Florence Scovel Shinn

Yesterday was a bad writing day for me. I had absolutely no desire to continue writing my NaNo story. I'm still not in love with it, but I think it has potential. I am going to do the big NaNo no-no (say that five times, fast) and go back to edit some of the scenes. Yes, this will slow production down BUT right now my production has ground to a complete halt, so it can't be any worse.

My plan is to apply the Donald Maass from Chapter Five of his Breakout Novel Workbook called "Adjusting the Volume". I believe my biggest problem thus far is that I'm telling the story instead of letting the characters tell it for me.

Maass says to "...pick anything at all that your protagonist things, says or does. Heighten it. Make it bigger, funnier, more shocking, more vulgar, more out of bounds, more over the top, more violent, more insightful, more wildly romantic, more active, more anything."

That's exactly what I need in many of the scenes I've written. I hope that doing so, that making my characters stronger and more real as a result of the exercise, will make me love the story again and be able to move on.

My writing goal today is 2,000 words, as always. We'll see if we get there.

Whenever I get too low, I just watch this video of a laughing baby (thanks to Brenda Coulter for pointing the way).

You can't stay down when a baby gives a big belly laugh.

I've managed to eke out 543 words so far today.

I now have a grand total of: 13,610 / 50,000

Monday, November 06, 2006

'tis NaNo - Day Six

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one's face. - James D. Finley

I'm doing okay on NaNo and glad that Day Five is behind me. I'm still struggling to get to know my kids, er, characters. They're boring me to tears in a few places, but that's okay, I can fix that later… watching them get dressed or cook helps me know the more intimate things about them.

I made my goal yesterday, and am aiming for 14,000 words (at least) today. At my current rate, I should be finished by November 20th. If that turns out to be the case, I'm going to go for a total word count of about 65,000 by the end of November. But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. One thing at a time!

I'm up a little earlier again today because my DH has decided to hunt again this morning and then work from home -- incentive for me to get my writing done early because I can't write with him in the same office.

Yesterday, Allie asked: All I can wonder is how a vegetarian and animal lover can be married to a hunter... isn't it hard? You don't cook the venison, do you?

I'm not *exactly* a vegetarian… I still very occasionally eat poultry or fish (and then feel terrible about having done so… but that's another story) and, yes, I do cook the venison. I actually have helped him butcher the deer in the past as well, though I hate it. I take some comfort in the fact that my DH is a very ethical hunter, and if he can't kill with one shot, he won't take the shot. And I look at it as helping me NOT support the cattle feedlots that are far less humane.

Moving on…

The hits on my site have gone way up, thanks in part to NaBloMoPo, but also to some odd searches. I think, on the day my story releases at Wild Rose Press, I'm going to pop in some big names just to get Google sending people my way. Although I get plenty of hits based on two searches:

1. Marianne Needs -- I get a few hits from this one every single day!

2. She Drives Me Crazy -- Ditto the above… is there a song or something?

I've also gotten hits recently for:

Crazy Writing (well, yes, that describes me in part, but I don't want to spread it around)
Crazy Critter Writing (see above)
How do you shorten the name Marianne? (Mari? Anne? Ma?)
Who Sang Yes I'm Ready (You know… I never did give the answer to that -- it was K.C -- from K.C. and the Sunshine Band with Terry DeSario for those inquiring minds who are in search of the answer)
If you have it and I want it t-shirt (Now I'm curious and must go search this phrase)

I've been off refined sugar for three days now and discovered that I don't mind my coffee sweetened with a little bit of honey or even fruit juice, so that's good because I didn't want to give up coffee.

Did you know that there is sugar in many canned soups?!? I didn't until recently (proof positive that you should always read your labels), so I made a huge pot of minestrone soup for my daughter last night -- it's her favorite kind -- so that I could offer it to her sugar free. That's just weird. I also discovered that bouillon cubes are almost completely sugar and fat. Geez…

Bored yet?

Okay, off to write.

So far this morning, I've written only 1,037 words

For a grand total of: 13,067 / 50,000

Not so bad, except for the fact that it's absolute crap. Boring. Stupid. Pointless.

I'm considering starting on something else. Yup. Starting from scratch. Because this book is going NOWHERE. Ugh.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Welcome to NaNo Day Five

Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition - in having put forth the best within you. - Henry J. Kaiser

Day four of NaNo is behind me and Day Five looms. Because it is Sunday, it feels oddly like the beginning of week two although that doesn't happen until Tuesday.

Yesterday I gave myself permission to step away. I worked through the morning (DH got up at 4 a.m. to go hunting and I am happy to say that he did not bring a deer home) and met my goal of 10,000 words. Then I just needed to take some time off.

I spent much of the day cooking. Because doing NaNoWriMo and NaNoBloMo weren't hard enough, I've opted to eliminate all refined sugar and flour from my diet this month to see if it alters my mood and makes me feel better. So… no ice cream to get me through the stress! I boiled pears from my SIL's tree in two big pots for pear juice (the pears are tough and inedible, but the juice is yummy) to use as sweetener and I made a HUGE batch of muffins with (home ground) whole wheat, whole oat and quinoa flour (with a TBSP of soy flour for a bit more protein). I added ½ c of honey for sweetener (the recipe called for TWO CUPS of sugar!) and grated squash, some pumpkin, blueberries and I chopped up a huge apple plus added apple sauce. They are so yummy! Can you tell that I never follow a recipe?

Last night, as I crawled into bed at 7:45 (oddly, the rest of the house followed only a few minutes later… we were all exhausted) I considered why I'm not loving my story and came to the conclusion that the characters simply aren't alive to me yet. I'm forcing them to go through the motions, but it's like actors on stage NOT like real life and it shows in the writing. I gave serious thought to starting over with a different story, but I'm not sure if I could handle that mentally or emotionally. I'm not ready to tell them goodbye, but they need to come to life and they aren't doing that yet. I can't remember the last time I struggled with this problem. Usually it's the other way around -- they're TOO real and take over the story.

My goal today is 12,000 total words.

So far this morning, I've written 1,927 words

For a grand total of: 12,030 / 50,000

YAY! Made my goal... phew...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

NaNo Day Four

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. - William James

Day three of NaNo and I realize that I've missed a lot of stuff I wanted to happen in the beginning of the story… I've spent no time at all really developing character or setting (other than a nauseatingly ugly dining room that has more character than my H/H). I realize that it's a first draft, and a really bad first draft as well, but still. Ugh.

NaNo convention says you shouldn't go back over what you've written, but I am going to go back and add some of the stuff I missed, including an entire scene with the heroine and her daughter.

I swear, I lay awake most of the night thinking about this. Then I realized that I hadn't even started a blog post for today on top of that -- and as a committed member of NaBloPoMo, I couldn't miss a day.

It's going to be a long day (I hate that I repeated that word, but yunno -- there really aren't any synonyms for "day", so I'll have to deal).

In other news, the very calm and laid back Charity let the blog world know that her YA book won first place in the Golden Rose contest.

And I've discovered that my sister-in-law is telling everyone that I'm "published". I've told her that my Wild Rose story is just that, a story and not a book, but she's all atwitter. If I wasn't so worried that she'd be offended by what I write (and she will and won't that be interesting to watch), I'd be pleased.

So, I'm off to crank out another couple thousand words today -- hopefully I'll make it well over 10,000. That's my plan, that's my goal. Now I just need to keep my eyes open.


So far this morning, I've written 2,049 words

For a grand total of: 10,103 / 50,000

Friday, November 03, 2006

NaNo, Day Three

Concentration is the secret of strengths in politics, in war, in trade, in short in all management of human affairs. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day two of NaNo was tough. I couldn't focus and spent way too much time with my heroine bemoaning her fate: I'm old, I'm fat, I'm stupid, I'm worthless -- well, wah wah wah. Join the club, woman.

No, that part won't make it in to the final draft.

I did think of some fun things to do today in Day Three -- it's amazing what your half-conscious-almost-asleep brain can think of as you're dropping off at night.

In contemplating characterizations (or the lack thereof), I thought of the song "Who I Am" by Jessica Andrews which says in part:

I know exactly who I am

I am Rosemary's granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My mommas still my biggest fan
Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy
But I've got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
Its all a part of me
And that's who I am

Sometimes I think that we limit ourselves to the basics when we think of our characters… not all the time, but if we described ourselves, what would we say first?

I'm a brunette?

I'm five feet nine inches tall?

I could stand to lose fifteen pounds?

That's probably what I would say… but it's not who I am. If I dyed my hair and slumped, if I lost weight, would I still be me? Absolutely.

I'm Sarah's mom. I'm a romance writer who doesn't always believe in happily ever after, but hopes for it every day. I find reality in music and escape in stories and challenge in a good mystery. I love sunshine and chocolate, and I believe that flowers and animals make life worth living.

Who are you?


I'm burnt, so this is most likely the final NaNo word count for the day: 2,421 words

For a grand total of:

8,054 / 50,000

Thursday, November 02, 2006

We Interrupt this Blog to Say: FREE BOOKS!

You may have heard about Paperback Writer's Free e-Book challenge... well, it's done!


Check out this link for free e-books!

Big thanks to PBW for her wonderful idea.

NaNo Day Two

per·fec·tion [per-fek-shuhn]

n 1: the state of being without a flaw or defect [syn: flawlessness, ne plus ultra] [ant: imperfection] 2: an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept [syn: paragon, idol, beau ideal] 3: the act of making something perfect

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

I pulled out Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem and read the chapter for Week One of NaNoWriMo.

My favorite part?

…there's one thing I'll need to take from you.

I'll need to confiscate your Inner Editor.

That's right, the Inner Editor. The doubting, self-critical voice that we all inherited around puberty as an unfortunate door prize for surviving childhood. The Inner Editor is a busybody and perfectionist, happiest when it's tsk-tsking our shortcomings and weaving our past blunders into a rich tapestry of personal failure.

I surrendered mine with pleasure. And I wrote like crazy yesterday without a care in the world. A few times as I was writing I thought, "That will never make it through edits." But I didn't care… it's getting me from start to finish, it's helping me get to know the setting and the characters and -- more importantly -- the story.

A few days ago, Charity wrote about writing wasted scenes. I agreed with her that no scene is "wasted". Regardless of whether it eventually makes the cut, you've learned something: either about the story or characters or about the craft of writing. No writing is ever wasted.

And since each word is hard earned in NaNo, I'm taking every last one. I did, however, draw the line at having my characters NEVER use contractions when they spoke. The evil me figured it would add at least 1,000 words… but the good me realized I would have to change them when I edited, and I decided it was not worth it. Not to mention that it sounds really strange.

So that's it. Day One was a big success and Day Two has begun. I'll post total word counts periodically throughout the day. Also, the NaNo word count widget is to your right on the sidebar. It worked off and on yesterday -- I imagine that the NaNo site got hammered with users -- but it will also have my total word count.

Gotta fly!


Though I am still (slowly) working, I thought I'd post today's words thus far:

NaNo total today: 3,056 words

For a grand total of:

6,078 / 50,000

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaNo Day One ...

I'm not in competition with anybody but myself. My goal is to beat my last performance. - Celine Dion

Okay... managed to get my minimum word count done today, but I'll be working some more. I want to get about a third of the way through my 50,000 words by the end of the first week, if I can, so I don't have to worry so much about the rest of the month. It's the first week where the jazz will keep you up.

My H/H have met, realized they're inappropriately attracted to each other, and have vowed to never, ever, act upon the attraction. They are both under the mistaken impression that they won't see each other again anyway, so it's no big deal.


Have I got news for them!

And, no, don't expect two posts every day. I'm just crazy with energy this morning. That's not going to happen every day... Have a good one!

NaNo total today:

3,022 / 50,000


While most are dreaming of success, winners wake-up and work hard to achieve it. -Unknown

Let the games begin!!

I forced myself to stay in bed until 3:45 a.m. -- I was awake, on and off, since just after 1 a.m. and I'm bouncing off the walls.

I wrote 94 words while the coffee brewed and then came in here to say "howdy" and I'll be back when I've hit at least 2,000.