Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 30 - The End

This is it. The end of NaNoWriMo 2010. I crossed the finish line on Thanksgiving. And in about three and a half hours, the event will be officially done in my time zone. Fini. Tata.

As of right now my word count is 51,543. No, I have not completed the story. But I have a very rough, here's where it's going, questions to answer few points laid down. I will complete this one - it's just been a little busier than I expected and I'm running to catch up with myself. This novel will be completed, unlike last year's, which sits at the same place it was at midnight on November 30, 2009. This one will come to the conclusion. I'm close to knowing what it is and I have a path to get there. And I really like this story and want it to continue. I like it. I find it interesting. It will become a book!


I owe a special thank you to my friends who participated in NaNoWriMo this year, too. Jenny and Deb. You two were great. Inspiring. Motivating. Supportive. And willing to spend some hours and a couple of days writing with me. All three of us are Validated Winners! Awesome. And a thank you to Alexander who, while he didn't participate in NaNoWriMo this year, he did join me and join us for writing meetups, for talking about writing and for being a supportive friend who knows that I am more than just what I do to earn the wage that pays the rent, so to speak.

Thank you everyone!

And that's a wrap. (Unless I find a few more words to add to the story before midnight. But I'm pooped, or, as Debil put it so eloquently, I'm Nanofied!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 29

The awesome and amazing Debil became a NaNoWriMo winner, year two in a row, and she has received the Purple Bar of Validation!

        Congratulations, Deb!       

She raced across the finish line by typing an incredible 5991 words in just one day.

You're my hero.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 28

Today got a little complicated. I left home early, with my swimsuit under my clothes, to go for a swim on my way to work. Unshowered, because I'd take the pre-swim shower and then the post-swim shower.

Unfortunately, one of my studded tires was flat.

Luckily, I still had the regular tires in the back seat - not having had time to unload them and haul them to the shed, yet. Luckily the tire went flat overnight (it had been low, I filled it up after work last night) and not while I was on the freeway. Luckily my partner was home to wait for AAA to arrive in case they did before I got out of the shower, since I wasn't going to have time to go for a swim. Luckily AAA arrived in a timely manner. And, finally, luckily, I arrived on time to work.

So - plans gone awry, but I'm grateful it happened the way it did. If I would have found the flat tire when I was just leaving to go to work, I would have been late.

So, gym canceled. Writing time canceled. Stopping at Trader Joe's canceled. And all is well.

I wrote a little bit more and the story is progressing. I know basically where it's headed. All I need now is a few hours of writing time to get me to the end of the story. Which I have. Two hours with Jenny tomorrow at one of our top writing locations. And some unspecified amount of time (I'd guess 3+ hours) with Deb on Tuesday night. I will get to the end.

For now, my tiny word count boost leaves me at 50,661.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 27

I didn't write much today. Just a tiny bit of editing, because I put an excerpt up on my NaNoAuthor webpage. Tomorrow I vow to write a bit more of the story. I don't think it's going to take as long to finish it as I thought, because I didn't know that one of my characters had already written a fable that revealed some otherwise secret information.

Those silly characters. They sure keep me on my toes. *smile*

But I do have a writing date set up with Jenny for Monday. We've both crossed the finish line - and I have more to write for the story to end; she may, too. And I have a writing date set up with Deb on Tuesday night.

Speaking of Deb - she will also cross this finish line. She is making great strides in her word count and is right on target. She did an amazing, heroic feat last year (something like 30k in a weekend!) - and, luckily, she won't have to put everything on hold this year.

So, Tuesday night, NaNoWriMo 2010 will come to a close. The three of us will have crossed that line with tens of thousands of others.

And we will keep on writing. Meeting and writing. And writing and submitting.

I will return to this novel after I finish the other two in progress (well, one novel and one memoir). This story has rambled in a few places, but I like the premise and I like a lot of what happened. Some things will probably be edited out - and some things definitely expanded on. There was some information that came out after about 35k that would be awesome to explore more - and I will.

Great NaNo! My word count sits at 50,416.

Friday, November 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 26

So far today I have written nothing - and that may continue to be through. We've had company here for our Thanksgiving celebration (yes, I know many people call this Black Friday - but we don't celebrate that and this is the day we could get together *grin*). Company is still here, so I may not get any writing in before midnight (although I suppose I could have taken these few minutes to write on the novel instead of a post).

But I do want to send out a giant C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s ! ! ! ! to Jenny, who received her purple bar of validation as a NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner!  Yay, Jenny.

Our friend, Deb, is going to make it across that line, too. Yes, she is and she is doing awesome. I know she's at least at the daily average word count now - and she will make it to that finish line before the deadline!

Again - congratulations, Jenny!

Razor's Edge for 11/26/10

I was working on putting together something along the theme of "Black Friday" for today. It's not an event I participate in and, while I understand that it's great fun for some and has even become a tradition, it's just not for me. For many reasons. But it seemed like a good topic for something to spur on creativity and could be fun.

As I was looking around, wondering what I wanted to do, my blog reader program updated and I received this fabulous performance piece via my friend - a dramaturg, writer, editor - Mead Hunter.


Today's theme is "Tis the Season Oddities and Extravaganzas"

I'm borrowing Mead's description of this piece, too, which you can see below the video.

Watch and listen to the video. I see a couple of great options for creative inspiration here: the music and/or the performers. Who are these guys and what do they do? Where do they come from? Where are they going? What do they do on Black Friday and why?

Give yourself 10 minutes to write and then set it aside.

Mysteries of the Macabre
from BlueDot Productions on Vimeo.

From Mead Hunter at BLOGORRHEA: Q.E.D.: this performance of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, as performed by the fabulous Oregon-based new music ensemble Beta Collide, in a video produced by Yachats company BlueDot Productions. Consider this proof positive that new music doesn’t have to be a solemn affair.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 25

I have achieved the purple bar of validation.

I am a NaNoWriMo 2010 confirmed winner
with a total word count (so far) of



Surfing Without a Condom

A good friend of mine doesn't go online in public spaces, like coffee shops and such. Her husband told her it's like having sex without a condom. And he should know, because he's in the business. Not in the business of hacking - though I have no doubt he could if he put his energies in that direction, he's a smart guy - but in the business of technology programs and security.

Sometimes I do go online when I'm out and about. Okay - I do it a lot. For example, this month I used Google Docs for my NaNoNovel. It's the easiest way for me to make sure I have the latest version with me and didn't download the wrong one or forgot to download the edits or new chapter or whatever. But I do have security on my computers and just upgraded to a supposedly bigger, better, stronger system - or, to continue the condom analysis, a thicker, less permeable program. I do worry about it somewhat and am not making light of it, but it's also one of those things that, if someone wants to get in, they will. So I install protection and do my best and there are some things I don't do out in public places and there are some types of software I don't have on my laptop. For security reasons. Which does not make me immune - I know.

This has sometimes been a joke between me and my friend - as well as acceptance that we have slightly different views, or behaviors, on this one thing.

Then today I saw a news headline that caught my attention because it's related to this topic, so I read the article. The head line is,
'Firesheep' developer: Facebook is ignoring huge security problem
Here are a few outtakes from the article, click the link above to see the whole thing:
A user's initial log in to Facebook is encrypted and not vulnerable to hijacking. But every subsequent exchange between a Facebook user and Facebook's servers in what's called a "session" is unencrypted, and it's these exchanges Firesheep is catching.

Think of an unsecured network like a crowded airport lobby. When you shout to someone across the lobby, there's no expectation of privacy for what you're yelling. Being on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, like the kind you'll find at many coffee houses and internet cafes, is the electronic version of being in a crowded airport lobby.
Butler cautions everyone who thinks that simply putting a password on a Wi-Fi network will offer complete protection. He says it doesn't.

If the Firesheep user is using a common or shared user name or password to gain access to a network, anyone else using the same user name and password could be subjected to hijacking.

Read the article. I'm not quite a subscriber to the  idea that logging on in public is like having sex without a condom, but I "get" the comparison - and I think precautions are in order.
One other thing that really helps is using Common Sense.

Good luck. And be safe out there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 24

Another long day: student observations, two personal appointments, then work.

But between observations and the first appointment, there just happened to be one of my favorite hangout places with wifi and *bubble tea* - yum. And they have a couple (sometimes three but there is often one not working) computers for customers to use. Which is great, because I didn't have my laptop.

So I had a hot matcha green milk tea with boba, and an egg & cheese bagel and I typed furiously for the 20 or so minutes I had. And I got a little bit accomplished today - but less than I would have liked.

And I'm still ahead.


New word count as of tonight - and I doubt there will be more -

And a big congratulations to both Deb and Jenny who are writing like typing demons, too. See, Deb has been sick for a few days so missed a huge chunk of writing time; and she had surgery before that, so missed some time - but when she has time she is one amazing speeding demon at the keyboard. And Jenny, well, Jenny is so awesome. She pretty much keeps up the daily average and then lags a little and then does these amazing sprints! And I've seen just a little of Jenny's writing from this year's novel and it is beautiful. I can't wait to see more of it.

They have also been wonderful supports and the best writing partners. I feel so lucky to have them in my life and to get to spend this year's NaNoJourney with them. We've had a couple of all day writing sessions this time and it was great. I think we should make them happen out of NaNoSeason, too. Yes, I do.

Thank you, Jenny and Deb!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

nanowrimo day 23

Busy day of work and appointments.

Slow day of writing.

That's okay.

I'm still ahead.


Word count today is now 45,866 . A mere increase of 828 words.


Astrology for my Birthday Month

This is from astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper

Looks like as soon as I'm done with NaNoWriMo I need to get back to editing the novel and finishing the memoir (and then editing that, too). Hazel says to reach for the stars, so I will!

Happy Birthday, Sagittarius!

Your birthday month starts with Mercury and Mars both in your sign. You're never afraid to say what's on your mind. However, with both of these outspoken planets egging you on, you might need to muzzle yourself. Make sure you listen to what another person is saying instead of butting in with your opinion. 
Your ruling planet, Jupiter, is moving forward again after almost four months of backstroking through the sky. This rush of energy could make you feel a surge of enthusiasm and optimism you haven't had in awhile. Your creativity also gets a shot in the arm. You may dream up anything from how to shave time and costs from an important work project to writing an award-winning screenplay.
You're one of the most generous humans on Earth, and these good vibes can put your holiday spirit in overdrive. That's your caution light. Be very careful that you don't get carried away and rack up the bills because you want to buy everything you see for everyone you know.
Consider spreading your spiritual bounty with volunteer work at a food pantry or homeless shelter. Help an older relative or neighbor hang holiday decorations. Join a cause. You can think of many ways to share your wealth without spending a dime.
The sky's full of fiery energy and so are you. Consider hosting a holiday party. Take a trip with your favorite person. Even if you aren't looking, do a random job search. The sky's poised to bring you rewards, surprises, and lots of fun.
This is your month to reach for the stars, Sadge. They're nearer than you think.

from the Living Zen Newsletter 

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 22

Waiting for the big snow storm to hit - or not. Never can tell and so far it's two days late. They keep saying, but at this point, I'll believe it when I see it on the ground!

Good writing meet-up with Jenny today and my new word count (yes, I'm calling it a night for writing - I think - I have other tasks to do (grade papers)) is....


Another major mark! Only 4969 to go to be a winnder (and I'd say about another 12,000 to finish the story).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 21

not much further to go to be called a winner, today I'm ending my writing time with a new word count of
only 6896 to go!
Another 3000 word day.

I don't think the story will be done when I hit 50k, but I will hit 50k. And this story deserves to be finished. So, my new goal (once I make 50k, of course) is to finish the story by midnight on November 30th.

Serena Barton's Blog: Giveaway, part 2

C'mon all you writers! (And other creative types, artists, dancers, photographers...) Send Serena a poem, a short story, a piece of flash fiction. Looks fun - and you might win a piece of fabulous art, too. Click below for more information:

Serena Barton's Blog: Giveaway, part 2


Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 20

An awesome day writing with friends. Yes! 
I have hit another milestone: 40k! 
My current word count is
 * 40,168 *

Friday, November 19, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 19

. .35,678  . . .

Yes, that is my current word count! I broke the 35k barrier and the story is coming back together. Realizing that the characters were hijacking the story through time and were not giving it to me in linear pieces was helpful. I sometimes get pulled in different directions as far as which part of the story to tell, so I have to keep good notes or parts may be dropped. But the underlying thread has been revealed, I think. And I have to admit the the main idea is still a little murky, but becoming clearer. I feel we are getting closer to the real point.

This weekend is about writing.

And getting the snow tires on my car. Sigh. Every year I have my personal debate: do I or don't I? It's such a waste of wear on the tires and wear on the roads if they're not needed. But the places I'm primarily working are in area that generally have more inclement weather issues than, say, downtown Portland. And the "coldest weather of the year" (I mock that phrase; I would expect the "coldest" weather of the year to be now...) is here - or predicted to be here tomorrow and Sunday and then predicted snow by Monday. "La Nina" is starting off as they said it would, so, if predictions are even partially correct, I will need the tires later.

I will also need an alternate route to get to my regular part-time job. There are a couple miles of the route that are a little curvy and uphill, which become a car skating rink with the tiniest bit of freezing conditions with moisture. Last year I failed to find the alternate route and the one I was told was blocked and didn't look to be much better.

With reluctance and apologies to the environment and the roads, I have already loaded my studded tires into my car and will be getting up way earlier than I planned so that I will be standing at the Les Schwab Tires' doors when they open at 8AM. I imagine I won't be alone - but I hope I will be early enough that my wait will be less than 2 hours. Last year I waited over 6 hours to get my tires on. Boo. Which means I must get to bed now.

submissions: two opportunities

Thanks to JennyH, my fellow Wayward Writer ...

  It’s All in Her Head      : stigma-busting stories sought   


It’s All in Her Head will be a dynamic collection of finely crafted, stigma-busting stories by a diverse group of women who have struggled with a continuum of mental challenges, from dysthymia to full-blown schizophrenia.

Seeking first-person, literary non-fiction essays from established writers and talented emerging voices detailing your experience with a mental health issue, and how you’ve learned to make peace with it. Although your essay may (and should) reveal the truth about what it is/was like to live with your particular challenge, I’m looking for contributions that have a positive and/or hopeful tone (humor is more than welcome), with concrete examples of how you’ve managed to be productive, successful, satisfied, and yes, happy–or at least content. It’s All in Her Head will both acknowledge the severity of treated and untreated mental concerns and also share women’s strategies for taking care of themselves and restoring themselves, given the tools at their disposal, from pharmaceuticals to meditation, and everything in between…the winning cocktail that gives them some measure of mastery over their lives.

Call for Submissions: Here Come the Brides! The Brave New World of Lesbian Marriage 
(Seal Press, 2012)
2,000-4,000 words

http://micheleandaudrey.wordpress.com/2 ... r-writing/

Same-sex marriage is obviously a hot topic these days, and we want to look specifically at the lesbian side of the equation. Given the secondary status of women throughout much of the globe, bonds between women—particularly intimate connections—can redefine the political landscape as well as the domestic realm. Anna and Eve don’t get as much press as Adam and Steve, but they’re potentially more threatening to the status quo.

The anthology Here Come the Brides will primarily cover legal marriages, but also lesbian commitment ceremonies in locales where the legal status of gay marriage is still up for grabs. We hope the book will be able to represent a diversity of points of view in terms of race, class, ethnicity and geography, and incorporate transgender perspectives. Although the book will be generally upbeat about lesbian marriage, we’d also like viewpoints from those who are opposed to either being married themselves or who have issues with the institution or the politics of same-sex marriage.

We’re looking for a variety of material: primarily first-person essays, but also secondhand observations, bridesmaid/mother-of-the-bride/etc. stories, and even analytical pieces (as long as they’re written in an accessible style). We’re open to graphic essays/cartoons as well, and we’re eager to see lesbian wedding ephemera: great photos, invitations, newspaper wedding announcements, vows, guest favors.

Razor's Edge for 11/19/10

In honor of the new thread the characters in my NaNoNovel brought to light this week, today's Razor's Edge writing/creativity prompt is a YouTube video. Let yourself (or a character) take a trip to the place this band has created, watch and listen, and then write for 10 minutes about the journey. It may be the journey to get there, while you're there, or what journey is launched as a result.

As always, "journey" can be whatever it means to you: physical, emotional, spiritual.

[After the video I've also included a snippet from, and a link to, a blog post about "art saves lives" - that's a bumper sticker I had on an old car - and now there's a post with a similar title. Thanks, Emi, for your awesome post.]

VIDEO: "Year of the Knife" by Santeria

After you've done your writing (or dancing, drawing, sculpting, etc), please go read Emi's post. She has great things to say frequently, but this one is especially timely and lovely. Thanks, Emi!
... And I've come to the fairly obvious conclusion that creativity makes for a happy person. I don't care what it is, but doing something creative (that isn't illegal or immoral) is a really easy way to end up having a good hour, or day, or life, for that matter....
You can read it in its entirety at Questions, Comments, Complaints (11/18/10).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 18

The story line is starting to pick up a bit again. Although there is a new direction it's taking. It's not totally foreign to the rest of the story - it just seems a little late in the game for it to come up now. Or that's what I thought. But I had gone back to the beginning of the novel to find a piece to pull out for last week's writing assignment in my online writing workshop - it was to write the first chapter of a mystery novel and I thought that there would be something in my NaNoNovel that would fit. It did!

See, I didn't set out to write a mystery this time. But that is kind of the direction it has taken. Which has probably been evident to anyone who has been following any of my posts, I know. So I added a little to what I already had and turned in the assignment. Which included the groundwork for this new piece of information.

I guess that's what it really is - more information. Some of the pieces of this novel coming together. Yes, that's it!

The new reveal is that there may have been some Santeria involved in some of the earlier deaths and disappearances. And the young writer the owner was looking forward to having back in the garden, well, she may have been at least the carrier of the message (which is different than the messenger, really, I swear) that led to Bill's death. The Santeria priestess has also given me some hints that there was more Santeria Santos involvement than most people realized in several of the events that have happened so far, or from the past that were retold in this novel.

So, things are moving along again. And it seems that this novel really wants to be written on the computer. Today I had some down time at a job so I thought I'd write. I didn't get much down on paper. But when I sat down to add it into the document, whew, it flew. And more and more details came out.

Yes, this is a typing novel. Ok. Got it!

And today I end my writing with a cumulative word count of, tada, 33,225.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 17

Before I get into anything, here is today's word count: 31,138 . Nice number!

Okay. This has been a mixed day. And I'm trying to keep myself on the positive side of the situation. See, the weather here is rocky right now. It's always a little rocky in November - we're famous for the grey skies and the winds and the variability of our November wetness.

Except that this year they are already predicting snow. What?!? We don't get snow this time of year - if we get it at all. But this year there is apparently a chance of snow on the valley floor, in the Portland metro area. They were saying earlier today that there could be up to five inches of snow Sunday or Monday in Portland, or by Monday. That is crazy talk. But that's what they said.

The rumors of snow in the southern mountain pass started on the weekend. Deb and I were already discussing our strategy for that. We had two routes in mind and had backed up our stopover place for Friday night in our drive to San Francisco so that we had the two options easily. One has lower elevation and therefore the potential exists for less snow = better road conditions. But that option also would add about three hours to the drive. But that's better than not getting there at all.

Which is what's happening.

We're not going.

With all the talk of snow, following weather predictions and patterns for a few days and seeing the probability only worsen, we decided to not go. The chance of getting down there without going through snow/ice is practically none. But worse than that, if we could figure out how to make that work, was the chance of having to come back up here to snow. See, we don't get a ton of snow here and things come to a halt. It gets messy. Sometimes people laugh at us because we don't know how to deal with it. But it's because we don't get it that often - so people are inexperienced *and* when we do get it, it generally also involves freezing rain and layers of ice on the snow. Worse than just snow.

But, oh well.

There was a rental car involved and a hotel room, so we needed to make a decision in order to make the cancellations in order to not be charged. Planes and trains were also considered - but timing, cost, and still the possibility of being stuck due to weather and weather related closures existed.

So - cancellations are done (no fees or charges - yay). Regrets sent to the Night Of Writing Dangerously coordinator and liason (whaa).

And we will be meeting at our other regular nanowriting buddy this weekend for a long, most of a day writing session. That will be fun. We had a blast on Veteran's Day and we'll do it again this weekend. I was really looking forward to San Francisco and it was going to be awesome. But I'd rather not take the risks, be safe, stay near home, rather than pushing something that might not be a good idea. True, the weather may not materialize - but, again, it may.

I will make a different plan for next year. I will plan to fly. And I won't box in my travel so closely to work (I had it squeezed on either side of the drive). But this year I need to say, sorry.

And I raised a bunch of money for OLL and that is great. NaNoWriMo is awesome and the Young Writers Program is, too. Every dollar I raised is already in the hands of the non-profit organization. And maybe there is someone on the other side of the mountains who can go in my place.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 16

Today my message is simple: here is my updated word count :


Oh - and I'm hoping the snow holds off a little bit and
doesn't arrive until after the quick trip to
San Francisco
this coming weekend for
Night of Writing Dangerously!

No snow on the pass, please.

(And you can still donate to OLL by clicking the link on the left! Thanks.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 15

Jenny and I met at Kettleman's for a couple of hours today to write. And yammer. And write some more. We actually did write quite a bit. It's fun to write with Jenny - keeps me focused and distracted at the same time. And we can NaNo together - awesome.

I did manage to squeeze out enough words to keep me ahead of the daily average. My current word count it:
That's about 2400 more than needed to be on track today. Which is good. Tomorrow is looking really sparse for writing time.

But the good news is that The Night of Writing Dangerously is just around the corner. Even if writing buddy Deb and I have to go through snowy mountain passes and/or take the longer way around by going along the coast, we will be there on November 21st for the writing marathon. Six hours of literary abandon. Everything focused on writing for that time. I'm very excited but I wish the snow would hold off until after Monday of next week. We're heading down on Friday; will probably stay overnight in Grants Pass so we can assess the best route from there on Saturday morning. Then arrive in San Francisco Saturday afternoon or evening (depending on the passes). Sunday night we get fed and celebrate and write and write and write. Then Monday we come home.

So if everyone can do a little "hold off the winter weather" dance, that would be much appreciated. Let us get down there and back in a timely and safe manner, please! Tomorrow I need to call the rental car company and see if they have chains or studded tires. We'll be fine - but I'd rather not have to worry.

Oh - and character Bill is dead. He was going to survive the car crash, too, but the bad guys had other plans and one of them shot him. Poor Bill. But maybe now I can get back to the main story of The Casa.

Tricycle Daily Dharma from 11/14/10

... passing it on ...

Accept Where You Are
In human life, if you feel that you have made a mistake, you don’t try to undo the past or the present, but you just accept where you are and work from there. Tremendous openness as to where you are is necessary. This also applies to the practice of meditation, for instance. A person should learn to meditate on the spot, in the given moment, rather than thinking, “. . . When I reach pension age, I’m going to retire and receive a pension, and I’m going to build my house in Hawaii or the middle of India, or maybe the Gobi Desert, and THEN I’m going to enjoy myself. I’ll live a life of solitude and then I’ll really meditate.” Things never happen that way.

      by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Transcending Madness

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 14

I am trotting along. Little by little I will get this novel written.

I'm not sure why this particular section I'm on is taking so long to develop. Interesting. It was supposed to be a short little side trip down some back story. Instead it has developed into a long running segment that is dramatic. Or should be dramatic, but, personally, I think it's dragging itself out. If I were reading this, I think I'd say "get to the point!" But it's a chase scene which is going to end, I think, with a character dying. But I can't be sure. This is the same character who was supposed to die in the plane crash. But he didn't. And what's more? The plane didn't crash - it made an emergency landing and no one died.

Then a new character showed up at the airport. It's the relative of another character - but he hadn't been in the story before. So now I either have another character to weave in somehow, or I will have two deaths for the price of one.

We'll see. I'm done with my words for tonight. But tomorrow, the fabulous Jenny and I will be meeting at Kettleman's for a couple of hours of furious fingergabbing, er, writing.

Maybe tomorrow he'll die and I can get back to the other story! (It's all related, I promise. Except for the two Nora chapters I'm not sure about, yet.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 13

my current word count is 24,111.

squeezing out bits of the story here and there. in little spurts. disjointed.

the plane is still smoldering but everyone is alive and only two minor injuries. Bill has made it to the parking lot and sees his ride. well, not the ride he thought was picking him up - but someone he knows has come to get him. whew. or is it? is this his death time? since the beginning of the novel the characters told me he would die. i thought it was going to be yesterday - but it wasn't.

i still don't know what's up with Nora. she has a couple chapters but i don't quite know where she fits. other than Bill bought a milagro from her before the plane trip.

and what about the kidnapping?

yes, there is more to discover in this novel. i'm trusting the characters are taking the story somewhere and all of the pieces will come together. or at least, most of them. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNoRazor'sEdge - day 12

Okay - so today I'm officially not posting a Razor's Edge. It's NaNoWriMo.

No - that's not exactly fair, either. Okay - let's do it this way. See, I spent over an hour just getting my computer to cooperate and work with me tonight so I could write my 1700 words for today. Then it was slow and bogged down every time it went into AutoSave mode. Which slowed me down more. (There seems to be a bit of an internet connection issue at this place - which normally is fine, but is annoying when one is trying to be a speed demon typist and it gets stuck every time it saves.)

So - I'm going to pick a few prompts from one or two of my favorite prompt writers and post them here. I don't need to leave you in the "where's my prompt?" dust because I'm busy putting words down regardless of them making sense or not. *smile*

From Natalie Goldberg, in her book, Old Friends From Far Away:
- Write about your mother's jewelry. Go. Ten Minutes.
- Write about her shoes. Go. Another ten.
From Brian Kiteley's The 3 A.M. Epiphany:
SENTENCED TO DEATH. Take a sentence from a writer you admire or who provokes strong feelings in your gut. Preferably, this should be a fairly long sentence with a lot of different words in it. Use any of the words and only those words (repeating words from the sentence as often as you want) to make up fifteen sentences of your own - adhering around a character or situation that seems related to the author of this sentence, but it need not be a direct response to the author.
Oh - and my current word count is 23,148! I never thought I'd reach that today with all of the technical issues. Call me determined or stubborn - I did it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 11

Oh, this has been a most productive day for my NaNoNovel writing.

It started about 11 am as my writing friends started to gather and we made our way to the studio to write. With coffee, hummus, pita, marcona almonds, apples, and pomegranate in tow. And laptops. And water.

And we wrote. And talked. And wrote some more.

More people came.

We talked, and wrote, and ate. And wrote.

Now it's 8:00 pm and I'm still in the studio writing with two of my writing partners. We took a pizza break. Pizza and wine. And some yammering.

And we're back to writing.

Right now my word count is, yes, it's true: 21,195. That is a gain of 3,717 words today! Great news. The week ahead is a little busy, so I'm greatly relieved to have stocked up a bit in my word bank.

I'm not sure if I'm going to get any more written for NaNo tonight or not. But, either way, this has been a great day. Great friends, great writing community, and great progress on my NaNoNovel.

Oh - and they found the little girl alive. Yay. Although one is still missing and in the hands of the kidnappers. And they are about to uncover a body near where the little girl was buried alive in a cardboard box.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 10

This was a slow writing day - even though I had more time off today than normal. Which is good, since this was one of my two "off" days this week. But not really, since I did have an hour and a half job today. What an odd designation!

Anyway - to my point. I did have the one little job. But I'm not doing personal training right now on Wednesdays because the only time was too early given that I don't get home from work until nearly 2 AM. Then the one short job. Then a few hours of down time, during which I went for a late breakfast with my sweetie to a restaurant called Slappy Cakes where you can cook your own pancakes right there at your table (it's fun and tasty!). Then I had a personal appointment. And then - and here was the big time consumer on my generally off-day - I went to Costco. One reason I went to Costco is that some of my writing friends are coming over tomorrow throughout the day for writing in my partner's art studio. Yes, I bought a little more than I planned but isn't that the Costco way. And I have enough Edamame and blueberries to last me a couple weeks.

Then home. Ate dinner. Caught up on my email.

Then I wrote. Wow - nearly 9 pm. I was also trying to download and install the anti-virus software for my laptop and get it charged for tomorrow (there are plug-ins out there, but I thought it would be nice to be totally portable and not have to plug in right away).

And what I wrote was not my favorite. To be totally honest - it was boring and it was unoriginal and it was, uh, blah. It was also only about 720 words. I'm still ahead on the total word count target for today - but I didn't make the daily average. I was going to go ahead and type a little more - but the writing was flat and the anti-virus program wouldn't download, so I stopped writing for today. (Although I could count these words and then work them into the story somehow... hmmm.)

So - the anti-virus program just finished. It's 5 minutes to midnight. And my current word count is 17,478.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 9

Today was a long day, with a couple of two hour breaks and a haircut (thank you, Brian!). I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to make the daily average word count. But I did. I used my first break to get lunch and take a nap. Then, following my haircut, I had dinner and wrote - I got in about 1300 words. It all worked out. I then had another half hour "lunch" break at my part-time job and, since I didn't need to eat a second dinner, I - tada - wrote. I squeezed out another 850 words in about 20 minutes (if only I could maintain that pace for longer period of time, with coherence, of course).

My new total word count (yes, I made the daily average) is 16,754.

And here's a little musical/poetry/opera/performance break for all the NaNoWriters out there - or anyone else who wants to just listen for a few minutes. This is from one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass; it's "Knee 5" from Einstein on the Beach.


Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 8

This is the dreaded week two of NaNoWriMo. This is where plots stall and energy wanes and characters sit down and refuse to budge. And writers start wondering about their sanity in deciding to do this thing - again, for some of us - or in the first place, for some. We look at our word counts and wonder how we will ever reach 50k, or 75k or whatever custom bar we've set for ourselves beyond the minimum 50k - such as mine last year, which was to reach the end of the story by the end of November 30th. (I was a winner with just over 51k words; but I failed at reaching the end of that story. And it is still unfinished.)

I'm feeling rather optomistic, though. I'm a little ahead on the total word count; and I just squeezed out the remaining 50 words or so I had to go to meet the daily average (1,667 words) - so my word count square for day 8 is in the green. Yay!

Today I had a wonderful write-in with my good friend and writing buddy Jenny. We changed our location since last week there was no where to park near our original site. Today was easy, yummy bagels (mine with lox & vegetables; Jenny's minus the lox), and a smooth soy latte. We talked and caught up - we'd both had difficult mornings - and then we wrote. And wrote. *Congratulations, Jenny and Deb, you two are doing amazingly well, too! Awesome... And I'm looking forward to our day long write-in on Thursday (whatever part of it you can make!).*

Here I am at work - catching little snippets on my breaks. And no more writing on my story for today.

Content that I'm starting week two in the green: current word count = 14,506.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo: day 7

Slow writing day - and that's okay. I'm still ahead on the average word count. A slow to start, sleeping in, chilling out morning, followed by an awesome swim, and then work. But I managed to squeeze out 653 words in half of my work dinner break (15 minutes! not bad).

So, my word count at the end of day 7 is 12,803.

Tomorrow I have a two-hour writing block with another NaNoWriter. I will get back in my stride.

workshops: Ariel Gore; Jessica Morrell

True Tales & Likely Stories
Weekend Writing Intensives with Ariel Gore

December 17 – 20 in Santa Fe, New Mexico
January 7 – 9 in Portland, Oregon

Jump-start your writing life, get feedback on stories you’ve been working on, breathe new energy into a project, or just explore the memoir possibilities. This weekend intensive is appropriate for new and seasoned writers interested in fashioning stories from real life. Writers will receive an assignment via email one week before the workshop begins. We’ll spend these inspiring days workshopping stories and generating new material.
Click here for registration information and more details.

Lit Star Training
with Ariel Gore

New Online Class Starts In January, 2011

A new session of Lit Star Training, the online writing workshop, starts January 8th. The session runs 8 weeks — January 8 – March 5 — and costs the usual $275.

Click here to make a deposit, which reserves your spot, and to read testimonials. *These fill up fast!*


The Final Edit Workshop
Taught by Jessica Morrell

November 20, 2010
Location: Room 207, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR
Times: 10:-5:00 Cost: $75
First comes the blank page and how to fill it, then comes the written page and how to fix it. Most often it is while revising that the real writing is accomplished. This workshop offers suggestions on how to be your own editor, with a special focus on readying a memoir or fiction manuscript for submission.

We’ll cover the three stages of revision: First Revision: Looking at the big picture and analyzing the overall coherence, structure, pacing, theme, and plausibility. This is where you question if you’ve written mostly in scenes, if the scenes are needed and if they’re in the correct order. Second revision: The aim of a second pass-through is to make the story seamless and to fine tune individual scenes and the ending and to track character development and arc. Final Revision: This is where you think like a copy editor and correct language, style, dialogue, and hone in on details. This draft is also for making certain that there is enough tension throughout. Additional topics include: pacing, middles, reversals, and plot points. We’ll discuss what editors notice and reject in manuscripts. Generous handouts will be provided including checklists for revision. The workshop will be geared to the specific needs of the group, so participants are encouraged to submit questions beforehand and bring along the first pages of a novel or memoir and synopsis for feedback from the group. Additional topics will be covered.

To reserve your place: Please send a check for $ 75 to Jessica Morrell, P.O. Box 820141, Portland, OR 97282-1141. A confirmation e-mail will be sent so please include email address and phone number. For more information: contact Jessica at jessicapage@spiritone.com or phone 503-287-2150


animation break

This wonderful animation dance just crossed through my Google Reader and I thought it would make a nice break. It's short and sweet. Well done, Sven! Very smooth and clever and entertaining. I'd watch a longer segment (*hint *hint).

I also want to say that I think it's awesome that Sven takes annual birthday vacations and that it is creative time! Yay, Sven. (This was created on his birthday vacation.)

From Sven:
For my birthday, I took a "staycation" in the studio. For a few days, I got to eat, breath, and sleep stopmo.

I've been wanting to try choreographing a puppet dance. I managed to build a new puppet, compose a song, and work out some steps. Time ran short, though, so I only got five seconds on film.
You can read the rest of what he wrote at The Scarlet Letters.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNoWriMo: day 6

The numbers I'm going to post and what shows up on my NaNoWriMo site number (which is the number that comes up here on the left) are going to be different for a little while. I don't know how long - because the OLL site is down for a little maintenance.

This is not unusual at the start of the event. See, they plan for this huge influx of writers. Everyone logging in several times, looking other people up, updating numbers, posting in the forums, and so on. A couple of things are deactivated for the first couple days - then they start adding them back in as the site stabilizes, as people are spending a little less time in the forums because they are so busy writing. Or whatever the causes. By sometime next week the site will be even more stable. I'm also sure that more backups and tweaks are needed as they adjust to the real numbers and usage, as well. Technology - the perfect love/hate relationship.

I updated my word count about 11:30, after I typed in what I'd handwritten earlier today during a little downtime at my job. Not much - but more than I thought: about 400 words. Then I had more to say about that so I typed some more and updated again. The last number I posted on 11/6 was - I think - 11,267.

But I kept typing. There was even more to say and I started a new chapter. (I call them chapters now, but they may only be parts of chapters or it may be a new story -- but "chapter" is my marker that this is a new section.) At 11:55 pm I tallied my new total word count (I'm putting my novel into several documents this year; the auto loads when I get to 30,000 or so really bog down my machine; so I'm moving to a new document - part 2, 3, etc - every 7,000-10,000 words. This necessitates a new type of tallying and I've discovered that text in the header is not counted in the total document - so I can store the total of previous novel sections there and then tally them up; so I don't get my total words as easily as hitting the 'word count' button). But the OLL site was down for maintenance. Grrrrr. I mean, I know, they have to. But I wanted to post my new count before midnight.

Oh, well. I'm stopping for the night and going to sleep. Even though my author page says something different, my actual count at the end of Saturday, November 6th is 12,150.

Ah, that feels better. I was feeling a little sad when I only had 400 new words of movement in my story.

NaNoWriMo: day 5

I achieved a major goal today in my NaNoWriMo word count. I didn't set out to reach this goal - but I did, nonetheless. (Now, if I were writing this in my novel, I may have chosen to type 'none the less' rather than 'nonetheless' since one gives me a three word count and the other only gives me one. But I digress.)

I passed the 10k mark! I met with writing friends Alexander and Jenny at a cafe tonight. Deb was going to join us, but was unable to make it. There were many college students there, studying for mid-terms and writing papers - and I may have spied a few other NaNoWriters - but I wasn't sure, so I didn't approach them.

My final word count for Friday, November 5th was 10,771.

Yay! Saturday's goal is 10,000 words - so I could let a day skate by with writing nothing and still be ahead. Which I won't do. I know that on the travel to and from the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco days, I will fall behind. So getting ahead now is a good thing. It gives me flexibility.

The biggest news from today, though, is that I like my story so far. I like where the characters are guiding me and I think it's another workable story and could become a published novel - after some editing, of course. It's not quite going where I thought it might in terms of plot - but that's okay. The setting I chose ahead of time - at least as a starting place - and that has stayed true. Parts of the story may take place in other places - which may or may not show up as scenes in the novel; they may just be talked about as having been there. I don't really know where it's all headed - and I think probably not where I thought at the outset.

And, see, that is the beauty of my method. Some people plot and plan and have outlines and character studies. Which is great. But I don't - and it works for me. I go with the characters and when, like tonight, I can get into that flow - it is an amazing journey. Truly I was channeling the characters tonight and my fingers flew. It was a great feeling and I like a lot of what I wrote (I think; I didn't go back and read any of it - but I remember being pleased with dialogue and scenes and such).

Yes. This is working.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Razor's Edge for 11/5/10

1. Write about one thing that scares you.
..... Is it the snakes in the grass behind the garage?
..... Is it the thought of your mom coming to visit the day after your office farewell party?
..... It is forgetting to change the clock with the switch back to standard time?
..... "As I stood in the middle of the living room, I realized ...."

2. What is one goal you are working toward right now?
..... Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?
..... Are you training to climb a mountain or run a marathon?
..... Are you seeking balance in your schedule?
..... Are you trying to read one new author every two weeks?
..... "As I looked at my calendar...."

3. Tell me the first story you remember of your childhood, or make up what it might have been or what you wish it was.
..... I remember
..... When I was four ... or six ... or two ...
..... My grandmother smelled like .....
..... The first dog that came into my life ...

image credits:
-flying- suckatlife
"goals" jeremy thiessen
"baby feet" Per Cruceum ad Lucem

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo: day four

Today is looking like it will be the first day I fall behind on the daily average word count. And that's okay; I've been ahead so far, which means I'm only a little behind and tomorrow is a big writing day. Current count is 6,609.

I awoke early this morning - though not as early as I should have. Let me rephrase: I woke up with my first alarm, and my second alarm, and the third - with the first one still going off in the other room, just outside the bedroom door. The first alarm, a really obnoxious one on my phone that works really well as a wake-up sound, kept going. I checked the time and I had a few minutes to think about what to wear, what to pack as far as food for the day, then I had to get up and take my shower.

It was a long day ahead with only two relatively short drive and meal breaks between jobs.

Then my partner asked me if I heard my alarm going off.

"Yes," I answered. Then I looked at the clock. It was 30 minutes later than the last time I looked and my first alarm was still making it's HELLO IT'S MORNING sounds.

Luckily, I had plenty of time to shower and get to my first job - with fingers crossed there was still a parking spot.

I was lucky still and there was one spot left right where I needed it to be.

Writing time? Uh - oops. Well, I did have a little bit of time between a couple of parts of the first location. So I wrote a little bit by hand - only about 400 words. I was hoping for a second little sprint - but that didn't happen. The middle section of my work day went longer than anticipated and all of my "break" time was spent driving between job sites.

But, no worries. My few words from today are inserted and word count updated. And tomorrow I have lots of time to write. In between laundry and a trip to the grocery store and renailing the front gutter on the house before the next rain storm because we're starting to look like we have a waterfall in the front of the house.

Ah, NaNoWriMo.

Can you smell it in the air?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoUpdated word count

Good night. My new word count is: 6,375.

If only I could edit at the same speed as I write. I'll work on that. After November.

My story is moving along pretty well. The characters are behaving and giving me some backstory to write - but not too much. They are showing themselves to me somewhat, too, so I can write about their clothing, style, physicality, and so on.

This year, so far, I'm not using some of the NaNoTricks. If you've read Chris Baty's "No Plot, No Problem" you know what I mean. Or if you are a NaNo-er or know one. Since I've been editing my 2008 novel toward the goal of publication, I've found the use of contractions - the lack of use of them - pretty cumbersome in the editing process. To keep the dialogue real, I have to take them out (or at least most of them). So, since that's part of my writer's voice, I decided to leave them in this year. Contractions - yes! When it's appropriate, of course.

If you need a little distraction from your NaNoNovel - count my contractions in this post. Hehehe.

NaNoWriMo: day three

I surpassed the total average words target today (5001) and my current word count is 5,927. I may or may not add more later.

Right now I am taking a couple of hours to treat myself to a movie at the cheap theater across the street from where I'm writing.

Goal obtained - time for a reward!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo update: day two

So I jumped the gun a little on that word count for today. Oh, well.

My actual NaNoWord Count (after a little sprint on my lunch break) is, tada,
I'm in the game.

NaNoWriMo stats: there are now 172,000 writers around the world participating. We have written nearly 200,000,000 words. There are 27,000 kids and teens in the Young Writers Program who have written over 10,000,000 words.

NaNoWriMo: day two

The second day of NaNoWriMo 2010 is drawing to a close and - yes! - I was able to find some time to write. I almost didn't, but I couldn't stand the thought of getting behind on only Day Two.

My current word count is: 3,450. To be on target with the average daily count of 1,667 I would have to be at 3,334. Oh, wait. I am! Anything else I get on the page tonight will be gravy.

And a special hello and healing thoughts to my writing buddy, Deb, who will be having knee surgery tomorrow morning. She's coming along great on her NaNoNovel and I have no doubt a few hours in surgery won't hinder her progress; she did some amazing writing to cross the finish line last year. Thinking of you, Deb!

And a howdy to LH, who had surgery yesterday. See my number above? I'm on target! I hope you're recovering well and the pain meds are working.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo: day one

It's easy to know which day of NaNoWriMo we're on because it's the same as the date. Yay. One easy thing to keep keep track of during this busy writing time.

I attended the SE Grind midnight write-in. There were about 15 or twenty Wrimos gathered - rather quietly compared to the two previous years' I attended - and that was just fine. Someone stepped up and took charge of the "go" and we were off! It was a friendly group, with some chatting and some number check-ins. Sharing resources. Lattes and chai lattes and Bananarama sandwiches.

My word count at the end of the first write-in was 2147. Not a bad start at all. So far the setting is where I want it to be and we'll see where the characters take me. They're taking a bit of time right now to fill in the reader on their history, with hints dropped to keep one hooked in to the story.

I overslept today and missed my first personally scheduled meet-up with writing buddy Jenny. I woke up on time - actually early - and thought I had more time to sleep. Then when I woke up and felt ready to get up, I realized I was 10 minutes past when I was supposed to meet her. Drats! Turns out that she had been there and there was absolutely no parking to be found so she left. We'll try again on Friday night - and may also be joined by Deb (who was with the SE Grind group last night) and perhaps Alexander, if he doesn't have any dad duties that night.

NaNoWriMo is here.

I want to be writing.

But I'm working and my break is now done. Back to it!

Tomorrow I will write more and I will update you on my progress.

For now, here are the current NaNoStats:

- 166,664 writers around the globe are participating
- 55,367,754 total collective word count for 2010 on Day One!