the write stuff

Day #15 – It still counts

Yeah I’m bending the rules since yes it’s technically the 16th but I haven’t gone to sleep yet so my body still thinks it’s the same day.  Time, it’s relative!

So I have this bad habit of thinking about my NaNo at inopportune times, like driving in my car or shopping at the grocery store.  I start playing around with a scene in my  head and get snatches of dialogue or observation.  But the problem is I’m nowhere near a computer or even pen and paper.  And even if I was it’s really bad timing to jot all that done before it’s gone out of my mine.  Annoying.

Okay yeah this post is weak.  Tomorrow’s will be better.  Promise.  Yeah, I know, you’ve heard that before.

Here listen to this.  Some musical inspiration for my writing.


Flights and Threads

There are times you feel the days flying past.  On a flight racing forward to meet the night.  It is as if time constricts and expands based on merely experience.  Longing and anticipation can draw even the shortest day out.  But then you are in the moment and life changes pace and you find yourself on yet another flight, coming home from another experience.  But coming home to what?  What do you bring back with you?  What does time allow you to remember?  Just a few hours later and you can’t recall when the last few days stopped or started.  Sure you remember points, stops on the timeline but what about the threads between these stops?  Where did they go?  Because you can’t carry the threads back with you.  They’ve dissolved in the ephemera, the miasma of time.  Once more you find yourself in transition from one experience to the next.  Insatiably you look and plan for the next adventure never planning for the inevitable end to appear, on a plane, at home, once more.

Image Source: Gilbert R. via flickr

Sunday Funday round-up

So not doing so good with the weekly blog posts even though I think of things to discuss, like shirtless hockey player controversies.

I made a video this week which took up some of my free time.  C2E2, a new Chicago Comic Con from the people behind New York Comic Con and Book Expo, asked its volunteer applicants to make a video application.  And that’s all they ask, no other guidelines.  So I took it and ran.  Super friend Angie gave me the idea to film downtown on Friday so I did.  And then I came back to my apartment, wrote a “script” as such, made props and used iMovie to record more video, edit and insert music and transitions.  I probably spent about 4+ hours monkeying with the controls and reading the help section but I now have a video.

Check out all its majesty.

There’s another, unauthorized version of that video with a cooler soundtrack.  Email me if you’d like to see it.  Warning you though, that’s all that’s different.

Started revising my NaNoWriMo novel.  After about two hours I have 10 pages done, and that’s straight copy editing and notations like, “OMG” and “WTF” and “really?” and my favorite “?”  Yep, working with quality material here.  Honest though, it’s going better than I thought and I’m getting ideas on what I want to build on, areas I’ll probably rework, vigorously and how to fix my pacing, because it is way off.  I also need to strengthen my conflict.  It doesn’t feel immediate enough.

Now I just need to get through the mountain of books I keep thinking I’ll read.  Ha.  I’m so delusional when it comes to reading.

Writing Wednesday has been moved to Sunday Funday

One of my many goals, not resolutions because resolutions sound so resolute while goals can be evaluated and modified if needed, for 2010 is to dedicate at least one day a week to writing.  After NaNoWriMo I was burned out on my novel but oddly missed the frenzied and terrifying exploration.  So here I am at Starbucks on Sunday evening trying to recapture that old spark.

As you can tell by the title I planned to start this Wednesday, I can’t resist alliteration, obvious or not.  Life, as it does, had other plans so I moved things back.  That and as much as I love snarky, British humor I couldn’t watch another episode of Black Books or Nevermind the Buzzcocks.

I’m starting off easy too, one blog post.  I haven’t posted on my personal blog since I started my new job, which involves writing for three separate blogs.  But I still feel like a hypocrite when a new colleague says how great my blog is.  Then I open the page and see Puppet Van Gogh staring at me, disapprovingly.  So a post to get things started with some other goal exploring.

One of my personal goals, maybe not this year, but in my general professional career is to develop my storytelling skills.  I loved my storytelling class during my last semester.  It was like jumping off a Jamaican cliff, exhilarating, terrifying and incomprehensible how I found myself flailing through the air.  To start off I’m reading Beastly by Donna Jo Napoli.  I read an article this week about feminist fairytales and her work was cited favorably.  Which struck me as interesting since I read a book of her’s and did not care for it.  But I’m willing to be wrong so I’m reading this and also a book by Jack Zipes, recommend in a very back-assward way by Melissa Marr.

Another goal, revise.  I hate revising.  As a former language teacher I know that is blasphemous but I do.  I got through lots of college and grad school without revising.  Sure I would read through for typos or glaring grammar issues but for the most part true revision was something I avoided, or only after a teacher looked it over.  I don’t see the issues until they’re pointed out to me.  Which is paradoxical because I can easily spot mistakes in other’s work.  Not that I have this crazy hubris and think my writing is fantastic and perfect the first time around.  My first drafts are crap, just like 95-99% of all people.  So committing to revise my novel is almost as difficult as committing to writing one in the first place.  I have my story, mostly, well minus an ending.  What I don’t have right now is the why.  Why are these characters in this story anyway exciting? Interesting?  What about this story is fresh or captivating?  One of my crazy out there goals is to publish a novel one day.  You hear about all these first time writers getting books published.  Sure you also don’t hear about the thousands that don’t even get rejection letters but I’m delusional enough to believe that I could do it.  I’m rational, not insane and have some level of taste (sometimes).  So I think I might be entering this revision thing from the wrong angle.  So I started my year of writing off easy, one blog post and then maybe writing an ending to this novel thing.  Oh wait, there’s life calling, wanting to go to Kuma’s.  And sorry novel, you can’t pass up pass Kuma’s.  Tomorrow my pet.

State of the novel part next…

While I’m at a break in tonight’s WriMo’ing I thought it would be a good time to record my thoughts on the writing since last week.

First off, holy interfering characters.  I have a some secondary characters that a few days ago were just names floating around, popping in and out, mostly when I needed a crowd or someone to bounce dialogue off.  But no, one, cute artistic Joe, keeps showing up and doing some interesting things, while slim and mysterious Bethany ended up being the voice of reason and I so want her around more.  It’s like the more control I give up over the story, the more I like what happens.  It’s a weird, unconscious act.

Also I’m getting excited for revision.  There are already areas I’m itching to go back and rework.  I’m not yet because I’m terrified of doing anything to my word count.  I feel frustrated with how fast I can’t write.  Especially when I get going I just want to jump from event to event, sequence to sequence and I can’t keep up.

I am ahead of the prescribed word count so that’s good, in case I get distracted, which could easily happen.  Lots going on this week in the evenings, my preferred WriMo’ing time.   Dinner with friends, Adler After Dark, Baby Showers.  Crazy times ahead.  Crazy awesome.


Cemetery in rural Illinois

Inspiration and setting of my NaNo novel



State of the Novel…

I meant to do this on Sunday, Day 7 of NaNoWriMo to create a nice symmetry.  An update every week on how the writing went, what I discovered about my story, the characters and maybe myself along the way.  And then life over road that plan, like many others. 

As of today, Day 12 I’m at 23,102.  It’s a big number but the higher it gets the more I’m less worried about it.  After I hit 10K which seemed impossible two weeks ago, I’m driven less by the number (and also check it less than every ten minutes and despair) and more by my story.  Driven so much that I’m worried I’ll be able to finish by November.  Sure I’m on pace to hit 50,000 and win but for me the real win will be completing the story.  Not to get all sappy and personal but I need this right now really bad.  I need to validate that I can do this, write a novel that has at least some redeeming qualities. 

Which is the shock in all this.  How much I’ve come to rely on my writing time.  In the past I have tried to set aside time each day to simply write, but I never sustained it.  Sure I hem and haw and whine that I have to write, but by 30 minutes I’m flying, lost again.  And I like what I’m writing.  Yeah, my novel’s genre, yeah it’s filled with typos and really bad grammar and far too many adverbs and uneven balance between dialogue and events. 

So it leads me to today, where I’m being very mopey and critical of my life so far and wondering what now?  When this is done and I have a finished product then what?  I plan to revise, of course.  I really like what I’ve written and I feel I owe it to Al and Jen, and Lis and Mellie to give them the best I have.  But then…can I take the next step? Publish?  It seems like a pipe dream.  It seems I’m unworthy to even say the word, to even think it.  But can I really not try? 

So onward and upward…to higher word counts.