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Month: November 2008

NaNoWriMo, Day 20, and lots of bad news

NaNoWriMo, Day 20, and lots of bad news

I should check in over here.  Sorry, I've been neglectful.  Not only of my blog, either; It is Day 20, and I just wrote my 14,001st word. 

I am going to take Chris Baty's advice at this point, and change my goal to 25k.  I will not make it to 50k, I'm very sure of that.  But I've come much further than I have for the past two years.  Beyond that, even, I have a story I like and am excited about, and I've found a way to write it that is working. 

I am jumping all over the place in this story.  I have always tried to write linearly before — this time I just couldn't, because I got to a place where I simply didn't know what happened next, and no matter how hard I beat on it, I couldn't crack it.  So I just moved on to a part that I *did* know about, somewhere in the future.  I kept moving that way.  I've gone back and filled in some things in the past, and leaped way ahead — years, in the novel's time line — and written scenes that are unconnected to any others.  It is all filling in, slowly. 

I'm excited about writing again.  A short story I've been working on has taken off in a cool direction, and I'm eager to finish the first draft of the NaNovel and get back to editing the old one. 

Anyway, that's the update. 

In news that actually matters:

Tobias Buckell experienced A Health Event which seems to not be nearly as serious as feared, but has spent a miserable few days in the hospital finding that out.  He is due to go home tomorrow, after being poked and prodded and bored out of his mind for the better part of a week.

The campus of Westmont College, former home of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, was partially destroyed during this week's fires.  The fires were devastating to property, but with very few injuries. 

Of the three severe injuries, one of the victims was a very cool woman who worked at Santa Barbara's Metro Comics.  Carla was my daughter's ambassador in the comics world, always ready with a new recommendation and robust conversation.  She is by all accounts an excellent human.  She and her husband are both in critical condition.  It is times like this when I wish there really were Mind Magic that could contribute to the recovery of Carla and her new husband.  At the link above I learned that donations can be made at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.  I've sent an email to the bank to find out if donations can be made online; it looks like right now it's at the Montecito branch only.

Best wishes and condolences to all of those affected.

NaNoWriMo Day 7

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Election season, man.  What a week it's been.  Trying to reclaim my brain from the polls and the news sites is a challenge. Toasted Obama's victory with friends and family, and then the tears over Prop 8 started, and they haven't entirely let up yet.  People can be so wrong-headed.  My neighbors get to stay married.  I hope the people who voted for that evil thing choke on that.
I am now five days behind on NaNoWriMo.  This is not good.  I need upward of 2400 words a night until the end to make it.  That's really, really not good.  I need to get into the free mind zone, and I'm just not in it.  I dove back into my research materials last night while I hammered out sixteen hundred painfully bad words, and I caught a glimpse of the vision I had a month ago.  It gave me something to reach for.
However I'm really having a rough time discovering the story. The parts that already formed in my mind, the "candy bar scenes" as Holly Lisle has been known to put it, are far in the future, probably somewhere past page 70.  I should know by now that beginnings are total agony for me; they are my weakest point, and always have been.  I need to just acknowledge that the first three chapters are going to be cut. I probably haven't even written what will turn out to be the first page of the story yet. Knowing me, it's three days worth of writing in the future still, and all of this is just prolonged throat-clearing. Also I've only written one love story in my life, and this one is on a much larger scale and I don't know how to do it effectively. I think what I've got so far is totally hackneyed and would send any good reader to the garbage bin with my book.  But I can figure out how to do that right later.  Right now I just need to move the story forward and get to the parts that I want to write.
I saw someone on Twitter today say that they're not sure what the point is when NaNoWriMo just feels like work.  It really does right now.  But I do remember how it feels once the story gets off the ground, and how when I wrote "The End" three years ago I cried I was so goddamn proud of myself.  (Unsolicited advice: unless you have super-supportive people around you who are going to be genuinely excited for you and think you're awesome and will let you know it, try to have that moment alone. It is much too painful to cross that finish line in the company of people who do not care, or care only enough to be patronizing. Twitter, Forward Motion, and the NaNoWriMo forums are good virtual places to be when you hit 50,000 and/or reach the end of your novel.)  
So. For now I've got some coffee and my NaNoWriMo 10th Anniversary t-shirt (which is awesome and make me feel writerly.)   Time to push ahead, a word at a time.  I'll shake this dust off eventually. 

NaNoWriMo 2008: Day 1

NaNoWriMo 2008: Day 1

As I write this, it is 1:54 a.m. and I am at 1433 words.  Cigar smoke is wafting through the screen door, the A Team is on the t.v., and I am trying to figure out what those last 200 words of the day are going to be. 

The west coast can be kind of lonely at times, but I am finding fabulous, equally insane participants on Twitter, which helps. 

The Book Cover feature on the NaNoWriMo site has got me thinking.  I might actually do that, as a non-writing creative outlet/break. 

With that, I think another splash of viognier is in order.  I shall employ Zette's 100-word Leap to get through this, and then crash. 

Keep writing!