Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 30 = the end

About forty five minutes left in the 2008 NaNoWriMo event. I have completed my novel with 56,001 words.

As of this morning's update, Portland OR is ranked ninth in the world (out of 449 regions) for total word count; we come in about in the middle of the pack for average word count. We have been leapfrogging with London for ninth place - we'll see what tomorrow morning brings after all winners have been validated.

Tonight I printed out my winner certificate. I also sent the graphic to my mobile device and it is the wallpaper, so I will see it every time I answer the phone or retrieve a message. Yay!

Some people are starting in with editing during December (NaNoEdMo) - someone has that month set for March (there is a group which has been doing it at that time, giving it time to settle a bit before re-visions). Some authors, while winners in terms of reaching 50,000, will be finalizing their novels (NaNoFiMo). I'm not sure what I will be doing, other than attending a week-long workshop by Ariel Gore.

My tentative plan is to continue working on the novel so that I keep it fresh in my mind. I have never written anything quite this long; and certainly never edited anything this long. I'm afraid if I let it sit until March I may have a major job just refreshing what happened in the story *smile. Or I could be wrong. We'll see. And I just don't feel ready to let it go yet. There are a few things I'd like to do with it before it rests.

Right now it's off to bed, since I have to leave the house at 7 am to get to an out of town job. And then I work until 11 pm. Boy, did I not plan that day well, or what!?!? Writing time? ooops. I will restore balance....hehehe.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 29

My total word count is 55,351 at this moment and the story in coming to a close. I keep shoving that editor back into the worm bin because the ending is sloppy - or so says the editor. The remaining characters are in the room together, with one out in the hall because the hospital room has the maximum number of visitors, and - the one who I was told will die is still alive. We'll see what happens when I wrap this all up. It may be later tonight or, more likely, tomorrow -- since I am heading off to work in about half an hour.

I am also taking a leap and printing out what I have so far for my partner to read. She has very explicit instructions on what to give feedback about. And I do not mean only positive feedback - but this very rough draft I only want information such as:
- where is the energy in the story?
- where do you fall asleep?
- where are there inconsistencies you noticed?
- are there parts which are just too out there?
- do NOT give me grammar notes or spelling notes or characterization notes
We'll see if this is a good idea or if I'm shooting myself and her in the foot!?! The reason I am letting her read some so early is that I am going to a writing workshop in about a week and a half. Part of the workshop is getting feedback from the facilitator on up to 25 pages of our work which must be submitted by December 1st - Monday, yikes. I'm considering giving her a piece of this, but am not sure it is ready or worthy of that. (I do have two very short stories I will give her).

Just over a day left of NaNoWriMo - and this month has flown! What a great experience this has been and, have I told you: I am a winner!?! *big smile*

Friday, November 28, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 28

I am still working on the ending. It is moving slowly - just like the beginning. But I will get it done before midnight on November 30th! Current word count = 54,275.

My editor climbed back out of the worm bin and I decided to let editor out to play tonight, as long as the story is not touched. But tomorrow - back editor goes. Editor's time will come soon!

Meanwhile, I was reminded to celebrate my successful completion of the 50,000 words! So here is a little happy dance I found.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 27

Yes, I won yesterday. And today is Thanksgiving. But today I worked until 3:00 and, due to a little down time here and there, I was able to write out just over another 1,000 words. I have moved much closer to ending the story. Very important information has been revealed.

And, as much as I don't want it to happen, it looks like one of my favorite characters is going to die. There is a possibility the unexpected main character will save that favorite, but the chances look slim.

Right now I am at 53,139 words and the story is gelling. The characters in the section I wrote earlier this afternoon were just hunting for a motel and will be slipping into bed. I am going to follow their lead - except I am home from the family dinner, will check my email, and then go to bed.

Tomorrow is another long shift with some potential for down time. I hope to get through another 1000 or so words and I think I will be able to complete the novel by Sunday night at the latest. With the way things are going, I think a three hour or so session on Saturday morning will do it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NaNoWriMo updated count

I am stopping the noveling for today with a total word count of 52, 055. Wow.
I am a winner.

NaNoWriMo: I am a Winner!

I uploaded my scrambled novel with 50,125 words.
The novel is not yet completed as far as the story line.
But I crossed the NaNoWriMo finish line!
Onward keyboard, we still have to bring the story to its conclusion!

Novel: Open Boxes
Genre: Literary Fiction
50,125 words so far Winner!


It is 8:10 AM and here I am, butt in seat, at Common Grounds. I know, I planned to go to Fat Straw instead. The steel cut oatmeal at Common Grounds was calling me instead of the yummy, but not-again bagel-only options, at Fat Straw. The music today is mellow, so far, appropriate to the still-waking-up novelists and few others gathered this morning.

Maybe it is the respect for the craziness many may experience tomorrow with either family and friend gatherings, cooking, to football or not football, and all of that ... or for those who do not celebrate the day in that way and are stuck grumbling about nowhere to go because ninety percent of everything will be closed.

Whatever the reason, the music is there in the background, where it should be. The soy latte is hot and creamy and smooth as usual. And it is, happily, uncrowded.

A few more bites of the oatmeal while it is still hot and then I will be off once again toward that finish line. I do not think my novel will be completed at 50,000 words, so I will write as long as I can today to, hopefully, bring everything to a conclusion.

The end seems almost as daunting as the beginning. I know the secret which is still being revealed in the story and I have some ideas how it will be played out. There is one piece of information the characters whispered in my ear last night which I am resisting. But it is their story, so I will let my fingers write it if that is what they still want this morning. The thread of the story has twisted and it was not my hand which did it; even I was surprised by what has emerged. Not in a bad way, just another reminder that the author truly is not the one controlling everything. It may not be fair to say that, as I know some authors do plan and outline and know where the story is going. Some day I would like to have an open conversation with one of those types of authors and talk about the process. For me, I cannot imagine plotting it all out. So much in this book I am about to complete would not have (probably) been in my planning. I think I need to be in the flow of the story writing process in order to access that level of creativity and connection with the characters. But just this moment I can imagine that some people may be able to let go of the editor inside and let the ideas flow in that same way during the preparation and outlining process.


Well, this has been a nice diversion from my NaNoWriMo novel and my oatmeal is now appropriately room temperature so that I can begin my writing.

"One more bite," says the editor.

"Back to the worm bin you go, editor," I tell editor. "If you behave yourself and keep quiet for a couple or few hours until I reach my goal, I will upgrade the soy latte to a soy mocha. And if you are very, very good, I may even spring for an eggnog latte."

"But what if I want a bubble milk tea?" editor whines.

"No problem, it is still right across the street. See?" I pause to let editor look.

Editor looks. "Okay. But you promise, right?"


"Okay. Here I go into the worm bin." And editor is off, after grabbing one more spoon of oatmeal and adding just a sprinkling of brown sugar, which I deliberately did not add previously.

editor in the worm bin reference:
thank you to the wonderful other NaNo
writers on the Literary Kitchen forum,
where we are all stars regardless of
our word count, genre, or location

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

random: adding to a rant

Some time ago I wrote about overhearing several conversations about "scheduling births." I was indignant about women who were scheduling way ahead of the when their babies would be born - either through induction or through a planned C-section. I do understand that some women must have a C-section for a variety of reasons; I guess I wasn't really talking about them. I was talking about those who pick a date based on whatever it is they base it on - I guess when they are assuming conception happened and taking the average time a baby is supposed to gestate and then scheduling the birth like they schedule their haircuts and manicures.

Then today I heard a lecture where there is a new reason there are more induced labors and C-sections: doctors' schedules. Yikes. I had not even considered that as a reason. I know the docs are busy; I think many of us average people are busy, too. But some docs apparently have a specified amount of time they can hang around waiting for a baby to be born. Which means the time of birth is, apparently, also subject to economics.


NaNoWriMo: day 25

I am still at it. Two short writing sessions today and I still managed to type up over 1500 more words. Wowwwee!

I will break the 50,000 tomorrow for sure!

My current total - and I do think I'm done writing for the day - is

I am trusting myself to write the plot as it unfolds and know I can plug the plot holes later. I am following Chris Baty's advice - he's the guy who started all o
f this ten years ago - to leave those plot holes alone for now; he said that digging into them now will only make them bigger. I know there are some inconsistencies and some, "but wait, how did they get from .... didn't she...?". That will come in time.

For now: onward! I see the finish line in my future - tomorrow!

Picture from

Monday, November 24, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 24

I am so going to make it - and probably before Thanksgiving.

I wrote 1532 more words today for a grand total of 45,654 .

I'm having a bit of a struggle with things coming together. I keep thinking - oh, this is stupid, so stupid. How can I? How can they? What am I thinking?

Then I go back to remembering Monk. And that this is a first draft of something. And at least I do still have a plot and parts are fitting better than I feared just over a week ago.

And I am going to make the 50,000!

Editing will be later. Maybe I'll find the group who has set up NaNoEdMo (editing month in March)... or maybe this will be a project when I'm at the writing workshop in Oaxaca before that.

Okay. I will cross the finish line a winner. Soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 23

Author: Dot
Novel: Open Boxes (working title; will probably change)
Genre: Literary Fiction (a little bit of wishful thinking!)
44,122 words so far

Only 5,878 words remaining to make 50k!

graphics from the NaNoWriMo website

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 22

Today is Saturday, November 22, 2008

Coffee. Sitting for hours in cafes. Dreaming of murders and disappearances and plot bunnies and French phrases and wondering where all of this is leading. Dreaming while awake, that is, because sleep can be overrated sometimes. More coffee. Coffee just to be able to drive home after getting done with work at 11 pm; drink just enough to get home so I can go to sleep; but leave the remaining coffee in the cup holder in the car so it will be there when I have to get up and get going the next morning. Laundry? Oh, yeah, a little of that - as little as I can get away with. Thank goodness this is a short week. Oh, wait. It's not; I'm working on the holiday. Oh well.

If I really do get this novel completed before Thanksgiving, then I can spend next weekend, which I saved to wrap up NaNoWriMo because I sometimes put things off until the last minute, doing laundry. And sleeping. And detoxing from too much coffee.

And it is all worth it. This has been fun, it has been a learning experience, and I have been writing almost every single day. I am nearly there in terms of the 50,000 mark.

words = 42870

Friday, November 21, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 21


and the new material all by hand...

oh, yeah

I am going to hit 50,000 early!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 20

Day #20 and I have hit the 80% mark: my word count right now is 40,135 . If I wanted to coast to the 50,000 word finish line, I only have to do about 987 words a day to get there. I don't think I will do that, however. I am holding on to my excitement about where the story is going and want to keep the momentum going.

An interesting thing has happened in my process. Because I was able to get back to some excitement about the story and curiosity about the outcome, I am using that as a guide. When I feel myself getting bored, I know I have to do something to move it along. If I am bored, I'm pretty certain a reader would be bored and that the story is lacking something or I'm getting bogged down in a space I don't want to be in or that what I'm writing unnecessary - boredom = a change is needed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 19


I can see the winner's circle.

The plot is falling into place. One character has just recovered from a serious shock and may have been exposed to a chemical agent used to kill a coworker. Another character is just about to reveal a major plot point. The lost person has surfaced, although significant others are unaware of this. And a second major plot point has been hinted at for the reader, although the exact nature of the situation has not been revealed.

I have been going through what many other NaNo writers have been discussing online: telling the characters, "You want me to do what with you?!?" But I'm following along. Some parts are moving slower than others, although my speed overall is better. Sometimes when I think, "this is stupid!" I remind myself that it is less stupid than some of the things I saw in a couple episodes of Monk on TV last weekend (don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of Columbo and the original Get Smart and Monk has its moments - but it is poorly written, implausible, and sometimes made me feel proud that a good deal of what I've written has more redeeming literary qualities than what I was watching! I know, I know - TV and books are completely different venues with different expectations and construction; or should be).

I had a lucky break today because my car had to go into the shop (sniff), but it is right next door to a coffee shop with wifi and plenty of outlets and seats (yay), and they didn't mind that I sat there for five hours. I did buy a latte and a breakfast bread, then later a tuna sandwich and a pot of tea. And I logged nearly 3500 words today. I did have to reschedule a meeting because I could not get there car-less...

I will be a winner!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 18

Today was "stolen moments" of writing.

The first session was after my morning appointment. I first had to type in what I wrote yesterday - which actually turned out to be an easy way to reacquaint myself with where I was in the story. The only difficulty was not editing as I went; I tried to just type fast and ignore grammatical or sense errors and add the piece.

The second opportunity was that I had a workout scheduled with a friend in between a couple of jobs. The friend was unable to make it, so I decided to head to the vicinity of the second job and park myself somewhere with coffee and an outlet and write. Which I did. I did go for the workout, but not until after my last job.

Then I went home, made a late dinner and sat in the living room keeping the cats out of my smoked salmon (they ignored my sweet peas and a baked small purple potato) while trying to write out a bit more in the story.

Through all of that, I did manage to type out another 1887 words, making my total word count through today 34,703.
The picture is from The Free Dictionary by Farlax
It is for my novel; I am not in traction.

Monday, November 17, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 17

It was a super long work day and I still managed to squeeze in a little writing! Yay. I even had to do it the old fashioned way *smile* with pen and paper. I was going to just let it slide for today and do catch up in the next couple days. However, since the story is actually moving along and the pieces of the plot coming together, it was on my mind a lot. And I had to write; I couldn't just let it go (especially when the client of one job took a nap and I had the option of reading a magazine or writing some words on paper).

I feel it is a good thing that I want to keep writing. About the middle of last week I thought the story was boring, was going nowhere, was stupid and pointless - and could not begin to imagine more than doubling the word count and finding any cohesion that didn't read as totally forced. Now, I want to know more about what happens and I am excited, again. Yay. This seems to me to be a good sign about the novel - *I* still want to learn more.So, while I didn't write much today, I did write almost half of the daily goal - and without my computer; about 749 words! New total: 33,309.
Photograph from For or Against Dreyfus
something to do with my novel

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 16

Whew! I have just put in another writing session and think I will take some time off from the novel for today. I have already started the routine for leaving the condo as I found it - sheets and towels washed and the bed re-made, the dishes all washed and drying, and floors swept.

My total word count is now at
32,067. This has been a very productive three day weekend and I have written 11,751 more words in the rough draft of my novel.

The story is moving along now. A link between a couple of characters has just been introduced, although the characters involved don't know it yet. There is a link to another character, but that has not yet surfaced yet in the story. It will soon. And very soon, the next section, I think, the person who has disappeared will surface in an unexpected way.

I still don't know the outcome of this story or why all of this is happening. But, because of
everything that came out in these past three days, I am confident I will make the 50,000 mark before November 30th and know that there is a conclusion coming. My goal is to actually have about 51,000 so there is room for discrepancy in word processing word count programs. So I have about 19,000 words left to discover the purpose of this story and, hopefully, bring it to conclusion.

Note to self (again): time away is a good thing for my creativity.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 15

Midway through the event and I have just passed a major milestone.

As of 11:50 pm, my word count is a whopping 30,217 .

My goal for this three day weekend at the coast was 30,000 and I have done it. The daily word average goal was to have written 25,000 as of midnight tonight, the halfway point.

There is another character dead. But one, as my partner said, who was not in the story long enough for readers to get too attached to him. Two characters are in shock and one to the point of a near coma. There are no more clues as to the whereabouts of the disappearing character, though a long time friend has stepped in to help. An appointment is broken.

And I am calling it a night as far as writing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

celebration time

At 10:50 pm on Friday, November 14th, I have passed the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo. I have just updated my word count on my author page.

Time for celebration! My word count is now 25,158 .

...and still typing!
I am now one full day's worth of words ahead.


NaNoWriMo: excerpt

Earlier today I updated my novel information on my NaNoWriMo author page and put in an actual excerpt from my novel. It was a challenge to scan my 23,000+ words and find a small passage which felt like it represented the novel and was not too embarrassing (raw) to print. (If you want to check up on other updates, see how I'm doing in comparison to my writing buddies, etc., you can go to the NaNoWriMo website and do an author search for me: I kept it simple, so just search for Dot. -- with the period.)

Here is my updated excerpt from my novel with the working title Open Boxes:

He tried again to open his eyes but nothing changed. He was not even sure if his eyes were closed or open. What he did know is that he could not see.

“Where the fuck am I?” He pushed all of the air out of his lungs to propel the words out and to anyone anywhere nearby who might hear him. The last he remembered. He could not remember where he was or what was. He remembered being on a street. A small street. A few houses. Many houses? He could not remember. Houses, yes. He was walking, maybe. Or was he riding or being taken or taking?

He remembered an impact. The smell of something hot and burning, something wrong burning. Something falling. Shouting, no screaming, no something loud like horns. Sirens. He remembered sirens.

novel twists

From the NaNoWriMo forum: "Idiotic Plot Twists"

the original post:

"Goodness, I'm at 30k and my MC suddenly acquires a previously unknown twin brother... or it might be her father, see I haven't decided yet, so she doesn't know. I might just write the whole thing so we never actually find out which one it is. I fail. Also apparently around the same time we find out that she's kind of dating, so not only a magically appearing twin brother/father, but a magically appearing boyfriend as well, and she was supposed to be left single so she could be all ambiguous about her sexuality (not that she can't be that with a boyfriend I suppose, but it's not the same thing). Also almost as soon as the boyfriend appeared I stuck him in jail, because that means I don't need to deal with him. *headdesk* Now she insists on angsting about him, because she'd never realised before that she really loved him and she's doing that by acting disturbingly incestuous towards her brother/father who she might or might not realise is related to her.

When did my novel turn into a bad soap opera? This is in no way what I was writing. It's stupid and made of fail. It makes absolutely no sense. And now I have no idea how to continue in a way that might eventually lead to the end that I had all figured out.

Please cheer me up and tell me that someone else has made sudden completely idiotic plot twists. Please?"

my response posted to the forum:

I have a character in restraints/bandages/cast(??) in the hospital. I know it's a "he" - but not which one. It could be the man with a scheme who was in a car accident three scenes ago, but I thought he was dead (although that had not yet been revealed in the novel, but I knew he was a goner - which was a twist in itself because he had another function when he appeared on page one and now that was gone). It could be the driver of the laundry truck (no, I do not know the significance of it being a Laundry Truck) ...that was my first gut reaction - that it would seem to be the scheming man because he was a longer term character, then the thought came to me that that would be the little twist: the reader would think it was DC but it was actually the anonymous truck driver. But as I typed, it became possible that it was the past life character (male) come into the present (female) but unaware that he was in a female body and the body-person is the one who has disappeared...

The mysterious line of French in a book has just received a companion, this time scrawled on a wall. Similar phrase, though the menace level is more overt than the first one.

And I may have a murder coming up. Someone is about to open his office door and I hear the da da da dum music building. I did not want a murder in this story. The characters have other ideas.

Or else the plot bunnies are saying, "Come on. Liven this puppy up! Get moving. You've got a lot of words left to type....."

NaNoWriMo: day 14

Yesterday I did not write. Appointments back to back and then: tada, I headed over to the coast at 9:30 pm. I had an iced non-fat mocha in the cup holder and I stopped at Ken's Artisan Pizza (my first time there, at the recommendation of a friend) to get a little pizza to go and a salad. I arrived at the pizza place 15 minutes before they closed; whew.

I arrived here about 1:00 AM, brought all my belongings in, hooked up my laptop and the tv and turned on the heat. And went to bed.

No writing. But no problem because I am here at the coast, where it is sunny and calm, alone. My and my laptop.

Writing. And writing. And writing. My goal is to get ahead on my word count.

I did a little writing when I woke up several hours ago. (Word count = 20,753) But I had only had four hours sleep, so I went back to sleep for another three plus hours - and here I am back at the computer. With coffee, water, the rest of last night's salad with apples and cheese and nuts added, and a bowl of popcorn, I am ready to type out some more of this novel-in-the-making.

Watch for a post about odd twists!

bottom photograph by
Ian Kelshaw

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 12


Look at that word count go. Today another little plot development surfaced; and exactly what it is is not clear - though there is a man in a somewhat coma state. I haven't been told who the man is, yet. There are three likely suspects.

I am thrilled to be at 20,000 words. And I am terrified. What will I do with the other 30,000? Oh my gosh! The novel is not done, yet, but I can't yet imagine what I will do with all of those words. Maybe the unraveling and revealing of the plot will take that long, but somehow, I don't see it.

Never the less: one foot in front of the other! bird by bird! one brick at a time! baby steps! just keep moving forward!

Any other phrases for keep it up, *little by little* and you will get through.

Oh, how about this famous one: Just Do It (Nike claimed that one).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 11

Today I met with a writing friend at a coffee shop to write. The two of us have been meeting sporadically for a couple years to talk about writing, share writing, and sometimes we even did write, although that was probably the thing we did the least amount of together. He is also an interpreter, so sometimes a portion of our time together was spent on that topic. And his wife is pregnant (their first) so that has entered our conversation, too.

But not today.

Today we spent three hours writing. Okay, I'll be honest. We spent the better part of three hours writing; little snatches of conversation, mostly about writing and writing friends - probably a total of 30 minutes out of the 180 minutes. It was great. The coffee was great, too (True Brew on SE 11th in Portland, OR).

And I met my total word count goal for the day (plus a little). I am now at 18,437. I thought about pushing ahead tonight and getting in some more, but decided to take a night off, rest up, and play a little. I do have three days away at the coast coming up, just me and my laptop. With the hope that I can get some major work done on this novel and get way ahead of where I need to be.

By the way, my friend is not doing NaNo, but he is working on a novel and a script and a short story. He likes to have three writing projects going at once.

need a prod, gentle or otherwise?

Check out Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab tool, "Write or Die"

NaNoWriMo: day 10 (monday)

Despite oversleeping and being late for the first thing on my schedule (thankfully it meant I missed Tai Chi class and just did cardio at the gym instead and didn't mean I missed a job), then followed by working until 11 pm, I did manage to meet the daily word average accumulation. Because of what I was doing, I had a little "be alert" but not actually moving my hands time on the job (the client was watching part of a captioned movie with peers), I was able to get a little writing done, albeit by hand. On a later break, I added up the number of words and I had done 320 manually. Later I was able to get on the computer and I got my novel up to speed.

My current word count, at 10:05 pm is 17,022 (the goal was 16,670).

One of the main characters has disappeared completely and some suspicious items have just been found; another character (the man with the scheme) has been in a car accident; there was a break-in at a news anchor's office; a second mysterious French phrase has appeared in a new location; there is still the question of someone's behavior being a dissociative fugue or the resurfacing of a past life. And the name Emile Zola keeps coming up. Where are these characters taking me?

Monday, November 10, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 9 = slogging

I did make it to the cumulative word count total for today. It took several short bursts of writing - primarily due to my schedule today - with a final sprint at 11:30 pm. But I did make it to over 15,000 today before midnight.

At 11:49 I updated my word count to 15,162 (the goal was 15,003).

It's interesting that what started out as the main characters are the ones moving the slowest and the least is happening with them. I mean, there is something major, but it is slow and being dragged out so that I am not even sure they are still the main characters. They are; but the action lies elsewhere, unless watching slugs move through grass excites you. Hopefully they will pick up the pace a bit.

One thing I am wondering, though, is whether that generally critical internal editor has a hand in this. A few days ago I was given the basic structure of a plot by the characters - with details omitted and a sense of what that will look like, absent. So I wonder if the internal editor is not happy with that plot and is forestalling having to actually deal with it.

See see!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 8 and still counting

I am writing in little spurts today, due to the nature of what I am doing. Little by little my word count is getting up to the daily average to keep on target if 50,000 is divided by 30. I also updated my "novel info" page and the "novel excerpt" (which is not really an excerpt yet since it is not in the novel ... but it will be). So far I am at 12,954 words and still building. I probably won't get much more done until 2:30, when the next round of this thing where I am gets started and I will have about an hour and fifteen minutes uninterrupted - minus a few little tasks I have to do at the beginning. So probably more like just over an hour of free (monitoring) time to type away and, just maybe, get to the 13,333 to be on target.

You can click through to go to my author's page on the NaNoWriMo website (which is running very smoothly and efficiently now that the start-up is done and they've been able to bring two more servers online) to read the very short synoposis and non-excerpt excerpt.

Friday, November 7, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 7 (fri 11/7)

Today, again, I am almost back on track with word count. This is a fun experience and it is a workout. Sometimes at the end of a writing session I feel like I just walked for the whole time I was typing - which is exactly what I *wasn't* doing ... I was sitting. Interesting experience.

At 11:59 I updated my word count on the NaNo website: 11,286. That was a gain today of 2754. Hard to get to the writing today, but I made myself sit down and do it. Today I opted out of going out to write (I thought I would ... ) because I couldn't decide where to go and then the time to get there and I just thought, why bother!?! So I stayed in to write.

I also took a little time with family and there was something I had to go do, in addition to the one job. And still I got almost caught up. I am about 500 words short of the daily average, but I know I will be able to get caught up and make it to the end. I am maintaining confidence that I will reach the 50,000. I will I will I will I will......


I've been waiting for my writing totem to appear. Other than the mug of coffee with soy milk and either my jammies if I am home or my found-in-New-York striped scarf if I am out in the world, I haven't had that little something which leads me forward as I travel the novel in a month road.

On Wednesday, I was given the gift of totem. Whew.

The Write Around Portland group I have been facilitating ended on Wednesday. Among a basket of things the group very sweetly put together (of things from a piece I had written, which had become an example for an exercise we did - such as a can of Campbell's tomato soup, jello, Tang - don't ask, when I get the piece cleaned up I will post it or publish it and you'll see, it makes sense) ... among the things was a Yellow Rubber Ducky cheerleader complete with pompoms.

I immediately knew that was my writing totem. When I am not writing, the ducky lives on the dash of my car, a reminder that I will get back to it and that I am rightly doing what I need to be doing at that moment - and my novel will move forward.

It makes me smile! Thank you wonderful writers of the group for this gift.

NaNoWriMo: day 6 (thu 11/6)

I decided to take this day off from the novel writing. Well, decided might be a bit misleading. Again, I have a choice to sleep or to write. I had work back to back at three very different locations today, with a one-hour workout in between two of them. I ate dinner at 9:30 pm due to my last job ... and now I'm tired. I only have one two-hour appointment tomorrow, so my plan is to get caught back up with my writing tomorrow. But, for now, sleep is calling.

So still sitting at 8532 words.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NaNoWriMo: day 5

Word count now caught up to the daily average plus a few words. I just reached 8532!

Yesterday my attempt to trade an hour of sleep for an hour of writing at midnight failed. Overall, that was probably a positive occurrence. I'm sure I feel better today for having gotten the sleep. I sat at the keyboard and started typing last night, then -- ooops -- I nodded off. Not comfortable, so I woke after a few seconds; did this three times; gave up and dragged myself to bed with only an additional 110 words, not my most productive day.

But, thank you to a job cancelation today, I had about two additional hours to write and am now back on track with the daily average.


Thank you, Joe Crimmings
for making your photograph available
with a Creative Commons license

curses and blessings

I love being self-employed. Really.

The curse? Appointments cancel; often with adequate notice to not be billable but late enough that it will be hard to make up the lost income without scrambling my schedule.

The blessing? Appointments cancel; and I end up not having to drive that 34 round-trip miles. The canceled job time and the relief from driving time can be used for a variety of things. A nap, when needed. A workout or walk, depending on weather, location when the cancelation came in, if I am close to one of the three branches of my gym. A load of laundry. Working on the translation of a play. A surprise lunch with my partner (that requires both of us having a cancelation at the same time; rare).

Or, like today, time to write! Woo - for the month of November I will definitely be taking the cancelations as opportunities to write. (Note to the universe: I am not requesting that too much work cancels, please! No, I still need income; but I will take the occasional one or two hour job cancelation to allow me to catch up with my writing for those times, like yesterday, when I only squeezed out 200 words. Sadly. I love my work!)

So, here I am, procrastinating as I eat my multigrain bagel with chevre and tomato, sipping a soy latte and catching you up on what I am doing, from the Bipartisan Cafe.

NaNoWriMo: day 4

My word count is still sitting at 6085. My schedule was packed with back to back appointments today until 9 pm. I did have one hour which was not work or transportation between work, and had arranged to workout with my friend. Which I did and which was needed. I think it is even more important than ever to keep up with the workouts during this time when I am sitting at the computer more!

But I do have an amazing number for you: the total number of words written by all of the Wrimos as of a posting earlier today (Tuesday) is 171,901,148 . Wow.

And Portland, Oregon is #10 in total word counts for our region, out of about 449 regions around the world. Yay! We are sitting about average in terms of average words per writer (about 4,500).

Monday, November 3, 2008

NaNoWriMo day 3

It was a productive day in terms of word count and plot development. And I am noticing a pattern in my process: it takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to get warmed up and in the flow to write. I am not sure how to log this on the NaNo report card I am keeping for myself, though. It is not actual writing time in terms of words per minute, yet it is time spent in the writing process. So far, in the six writing sessions in the last three days, I have only just sat down and typed once. I will put it in, because if my writing speed slows during this month, I have to have a realistic block of time reserved for writing. If I only have 30 minutes, it might be better to get in a walk than try to write. Seems I should have a minimum of an hour.

There is an actual plot developing, though I still don't know the end or how it will get there. I am not ready to say too much about it. The pieces I can say: the primary story is modern times; there is a writer, a man with a scheme; Emile Zola, 1902 France; controversial occurrences; and things I will not say now.

NaNoWriMo stats

Total word count as of this afternoon (the NaNoWriMo site is still a little slow, but getting better, so I will continue to update here) = 6,085

Sunday, November 2, 2008

found: eating

Okay, so maybe this is not revolutionary. But it was new information to me, so I thought I would pass it along because I am sure I am not the only one without this information.

The other day I was working with a person from Japan. Among the items for my lunch was part of a pomegranate I had sliced in two the night before, to make it easier to eat. Yum! This person watched me as I pulled a section off and pulled off a few arils/seeds with my teeth (I didn't want to stain my hands). I felt a little self-conscious. This person kept watching me. I took a second bite.

"Excuse me," this person asked somewhat timidly, which is not their usual confident and forceful manner of speaking. "But did you just eat the seeds?"

I replied that, of course I ate the seeds because that is the fruit.

"No, no. I mean did you swallow the seeds inside the fruit?"


This person explained that there was a pomegranate tree in the family yard in Japan. The proper way to eat a pomegranate is to just tear it open - "do not cut it, just tear it apart" - and then bite some of the fruit. But to spit out the hard seed in the center!


"Yes. Do not eat the seeds. Spit them out."

Huh. I had no idea. I finished the half of pomegranate eating it in my own way. But I never before even considered sucking the red portion off and then spitting out the seed. But I guess that is how they do it in Japan. Kind of like a watermelon except with the melon the proportions of seed to fruit is vastly different!

Illustration from ThisNext

day two: NaNoWriMo

After two writing sessions today, my total word count is 4,138.

The story is taking little twists and turns and I still don't know quite where it is headed. Well, it can't be that many twists, it is not very long yet! Another character has surfaced, who may or may not be important. There has been a major development with one of the main characters, and who I thought was leading this show of literary exploration may actually be the supporting actor, after all!

What an adventure this writing of a book is so far, and it is only day two. I am still just showing up on the computer and seeing where they characters lead. I am also amassing a list of resources and web pages for some of the things that puzzle me or for which I feel there may be a need for more details later.

This is interesting, because I really do not know where we are going. There is one character who obviously has a scheme and is on the road looking for support, but he has not told me what his scheme is. I tried to force something on him, but it did not fit and he rejected it.

No, I am not talking to myself. Not yet, anyway. Smile.

I am hanging around the keyboard to see who shows up and where we are going today. Tomorrow will be my first day of working and writing. I am not quite sure how it is going to work with an appointment with the trainer, a chiropractic appointment, and an eight hour job. We'll see!

I was happy to discover yesterday that I can access my Google docs from my Blackberry. I can't edit them, but I can read them. Which means I have access to my latest draft of the novel whenever I have text service, even if I do not have my laptop or do not have internet access for the laptop. So, with Blackberry in hand and even some paper and a pen, my novel is only a couple clicks away!

Yesterday, writing at home was much more productive and I managed to nearly double my word count in less than half the time as the first chunk. Today was the opposite. I was at home, alone (a rare treat), and slogging away at the keyboard between loads of laundry, feeding the cats, and other assorted distractions. So I walked over to the Bipartisan cafe to be able to focus among the crowds at tables, hissing of the espresso machine, and other people typing and studying. At the cafe my word county doubled in, again, half the time I had spent at home.

Still searching for the magic formula that will make it all happen smoothly and easily.

Oh, I forgot, it does not work that way. *smile*

Saturday, November 1, 2008

update: more words

Because the NaNoWriMo site is currently overloaded with visitors and the widget is unreliable, here is my updated word count. By about mid-week, use at the NaNo website will decrease to a normal level and everything should flow smoothly.

Words written since 12:01 AM November 1st : 2,734

I like this trend: From midnight:01 until 3:30 am I wrote my first 1400 or so words. This did include time to order a soy latte and move my plug when the person next to me left, leaving an opportunity to plug in my little surge protector and to disconnect from someone else's multiple plug extension. This afternoon I was able to nearly double my word count in just over an hour.


I again believe I can win this event by at least meeting the 50,000 words requirement!

word count

The daily minimum word count required to reach 50,000 by November 30th.

See my current word count in the little box to the left.
*Click on the image to enlarge and be able to see the numbers.*

it is started

I made it to the Fireside Lounge with a couple minutes to spare. I did eat my tasty healthy bento (half of it; left the other half for my partner for later) and then took a nap. Yay. I actually slept close to an hour. Then I showered, put on clean clothes, which included my official NaNoWriMo t-shirt. I grabbed my still-iced soy latte and the now cold edamame and headed out with laptop and water bottle in tow.

There were about 35 of us there, I think. Some had been there for a couple hours - but, as I already mentioned, I really needed some sleep if I was to accomplish anything. There was a lot of noise in the restaurant until the countdown to 12:01 and "go." Then, for 20 or 25 minutes, the only sound was keyboards click-clacking, the espresso machine hissing, and a whisper here or there.

My start was slow and steady. A little more stuck than I hoped and I wasn't that pleased with where it was going. But a few characters showed up and I feel I am starting to build their story. At 3:15, I was no longer able to connect to their wireless device. Luckily I had just uploaded the latest version of my novel, so that was good. And I took it as a "sign" to pack up and come home.

I was wide awake on the drive and buzzing when I came in. I downloaded the files from Google Docs to my desktop computer and was planning to do some more work. But as I'm typing this entry, I am falling asleep. So, I think, at 4:30 AM, I am going to call it a night and go to bed for real. Then I will write more after some good hours of sleep. I have already checked that the alarm is off *ahhh*.

Since the word count widget has temporarily disappeared, let me just tell you that *so far* today I have 1,418 words! And the Oregon: Portland region is 22nd out of about 440 regions as far as total word count. I will be writing more later today.