03 December 2007

What now? I know - revise, revise, revise!

So now that I'm a winner and I'm not frantically writing every night, I find myself at a loss as to what to do. Two years ago when I won just the thought of trying to write anything ever again was enough to exhaust me, but that's not the case this year.

So I think I'm going to continue revising my 2005 novel Two Seasons in London. I started revising it in August or September, but I didn't get very far because there's SO much revision to be done. But after I'm done revising I might go ahead and actually print a copy of the book - in real book form - from Lulu. Ang told me that she ordered a copy of her 2005 novel last week and how cool would it be to say to someone: "And here's a copy of my novel" and have it be an actual book?! Of course Two Seasons... needs a LOT of work before I even think about being ready to visit Lulu, not the least of which is fixing my change from first person to third person in the middle of the story.

ang: I've already resubmitted and ordered a second edition from Lulu, so I have some basic formatting suggestions before you send it to them - dumb stuff, like leave two blank pages at the beginning and the end to create the illusion of end sheets. :) Can't wait to order the revised and published version of "Two Seasons..."!

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

26 November 2007

I'm a winner!

Though I don't feel much like one.

So I did it. It is by no means a complete story - in fact, I'd be hard pressed to call it a story at all. There are characters, true, but that's about all it has going for it and that's not much. I hate absolutely everything about it and will never let anyone read it. I'm not even sure that I want to be able to read it ever again. In fact, I just might decide to delete the legible copy and keep only the scrambled one. Next year is going to be better!

But at least I did it. And I get to put in my new earring, which after all, was the whole point this year. :)

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

25 November 2007

It's there on the horizon

My plan for the weekend since I wasn't going to be driving to Indiana was to finish by tonight. I hadn't quite reached 30,000 on Tuesday when I decided this, but after spending Wednesday afternoon at the coffee shop writing I hit the 30,000 mark. So of course I thought to myself that writing 5000 words/day over the four day weekend wasn't an impossible goal.

But then I didn't write much of anything on Thursday; I didn't write anything at all on Friday and suddenly I was faced with writing 20,000 words in just two days. Still, that task didn't seem impossible either. I would just take it in stages: write 5,000 words, take a break, write another 5,000 words, take another break, etc. Except, of course, that that didn't happen quite the way it was supposed to. My muse seemed to hit me just an hour or so before I was going to leave to go to Jeff City and watch the Mizzou/Kansas football game at Jennifer's. So I stayed home and watched the game by myself.

I have now managed to write just over 11,000 words in two days. I didn't meet my 10,000 word goal yesterday and have been playing catch-up all day today. Of course I know that I don't have to finish by the end of today - I still have the rest of this week. But I want to wear my new earring dammit! It's been sitting on the floor in the Kay Jewelers bag since Ang and I came home with them two weeks ago. I haven't looked at it since then. Tina suggested that maybe I should take it out and look at it for inspiration. Yesterday I took it out of the Kay Jewelers bag and opened the box up. I touched it, admired it and watched how it sparkled in the light. And then I put it away again.

And so, despite the seemingly insurmountable task of writing another 9,000 words tonight I am going to press on. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel however fuzzy it may be and I am determined to reach it or fall asleep trying.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

19 November 2007

Tennis elbow sucks!

Just thought I'd mention that. Because it really does. Marathon writing sessions are all well and good except that a few days after they end the gremlins take up residence in my elbow again and start stabbing me with hot pokers. Which is not as much fun as it might sound.

Anywho ... I took a few days off from writing and while my elbow doesn't feel much better, my focus is much improved. I sat down at lunch today and wrote 1000+ words in about 40 minutes, and some of that time was spent eating my lunch so it was actually less than 40 minutes. The words just seemed to flow and if I hadn't had to stop to go back to work I'd probably be done by now. Yeah, right.

Came home tonight and wrote another 1000+ words, although not in 40 minutes or less. (Strange how I seem to write so much faster and better when I'm not at home. Ok, so maybe not so strange.)

Ang and I already bought our congratulatory "You wrote 50,000 words in 30 days!" diamond solitaire earrings so I have to finish. Ang is practically done already (I hate her for that, btw) and here I am slacking at only ~27k. Bad me.

I'm sticking around Columbia for Thanksgiving this year due to a whole number of factors which I won't get into here. We get out of work early on Wednesday and I'm going to park myself at the coffee shop for the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening ... until I get hungry, that is. And there will be plenty more opportunity for me to write during the 4 day weekend. I'd like to be done by the end of the weekend. Think I can manage it? I'm at 27,551 so there's only 22,449 more words to go in 4 days. We'll see if my muse (and my elbow) cooperate.

For now though, I think I'll call it a night with what I have. I'm getting distracted very easily and I think it might be time for some more ibuprofin and ice.

kira_may: yay! go jude!!!! you'll get there yet. *hands you ice cream with the ice and ibuprofin* need anything massaged?

ang: J. asked me the other day if it was really possible to turn off one's inner editor. Well, my grammar/spelling editor is ALWAYS on (I think I corrected someone's grammar in a dream the other night), but the 'this novel sucks' editor, the 'you're creating another giant plot chasm' editor, the 'your dialogue is trite and stupid' editor, the 'there's too much narration and not enough action' editor, and the 'no one cares about the inner thoughts of your characters' editor - yeah, I cancelled my subscriptions to those editors this month.

Good luck, Judeldoo! You and your tennis elbow can do this! :)

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

14 November 2007

Just over half-way!!

I went to It's A Grind right after work tonight because I knew it would be easier to write here than at home. I wanted to get to at least 25,000 today (which is actually tomorrow's word count goal) and I did it.

I still have no plot. I still don't really like my characters. But I've managed to write just over 25,000 words about them. I'm getting to the point where I need some good inspiration to strike because trying to pull another 25,000 words out about these characters with no storyline is going to be really difficult.

I've been good and have been wearing my elbow brace whether I'm writing or not, but my tennis elbow is acting up anyway. So since my elbow really hurts tonight I'm going to quit earlier than I'd planned and go home, take some ibuprofin and put some ice on it.

ang: Congrats on the 25k! :) It's good to be caught up. Keep it up!
You don't need a plot... just keep making your characters do stuff. When you get stuck, add a new character. I hear there are plenty o' good specimens at It's a Grind. Then you can pretend that they're all going to come together in the big grand finale scene.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

11 November 2007

Weekend o' writing

Ang is down this weekend for our Second Annual Nano Writing Weekend. This year is much more successful for me than last year's was. I'm already ahead of the game word count-wise both compared to where I was last year and where I'm supposed to be for today so things are looking good.

This is our second day at the It's A Grind coffee shop, home of the world's best white chocolate peppermint mocha drink. It's really a good thing that not only are mochas expensive, but they are also SO not good for you, otherwise I'd probably be here every day drinking one.

Yesterday a guy came in to the coffee shop wearing a green shirt and one of those thin, white headbands on his head. I think those headbands look ridiculous on girls, but it looked absolutely ridiculous on him. Especially considering that he had short, curly hair which in no way, shape or form needed to be held back with a headband. I believe he's going to make an appearance in my novel because how can I not write about that? His name shall be Keaton Michael Namtab - a name I came up with courtesy of Jordan, Jay, Sarah and Jennifer. Thanks, guys!

I had a very productive day yesterday, but now of course I'm stuck. I think I'm going to read Chapters 1 and 2 of Chris's No Plot? No Problem! which I haven't picked up at all this year and see if I can't get more inspired. I probably need to switch characters and write from my male character's POV although I don't have a good grasp of his character as evident by the fact that I've changed his name three times now. Maybe the third time's the charm?

And I really must find a way to work English sheep into the novel somehow.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

07 November 2007


I'm all caught up! And then some.

*breathes sigh of relief*

I feel so much better now. Of course, it's complete crap, what I've written, but I don't honestly care. I'm writing again and it feels GREAT!

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

05 November 2007

Reason #55 why I love Chris Baty

This is what he just posted in the "Breaking News" section of the website tonight:

"Okay, so I'm a little behind. But crossing into 5,000 words yesterday with a story I'm starting to like felt pretty dang good. I started over three times this year, which is a new record for me.

The story that I'm going with just started budding in my brain two days ago. And you know what helped me flesh it out? Borrowing a question from one of Tavia's Young Writers Program exercises. Namely: What do each of my characters want more than anything else in the world?

It's not something I've ever really thought about before. But I have six characters, and I sat them all down yesterday and asked them that question. They said...

Character One: "I'd like to finally have a best friend."
Character Two: "I'd like to open the nation's finest ferret-racing facility."
Character Three: "I want to raise enough money to get the heck out of America and go back to the South Pacific and marry my one true love, Mallo."
Character Four: "I'd like to find a place where I fit in, where my friends aren't all such jerks."
Character Five: "I want to fall in love. And move out of my parents house (again)."
Character Six: "I want to get revenge on somebody who has done something to me that Chris hasn't figured out yet."

Having each of my characters answer that question really helped me start thinking about possible ways that their lives could collide in plotastic ways. I'm hoping I can help Character Six a little bit tonight.

I hope your noveling is going well! A new WrimoRadio will be up in a few minutes, and a Pep Talk from Naomi Novik will be going out by email tomorrow night. It's a great one."

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

Work is a good place to write.

I managed to write more during lunch today at work than I did in almost 4 hours last night, which is ridiculous really. But if I can keep this up for the rest of the month then I'll be in good shape.

I'm still way far behind word count wise, but I'm getting there ... slowly. I stopped at Starbucks tonight to get a mocha so I would be awake to write tonight, but that didn't work out so well. My coffee drink of choice is a white chocolate mocha with a shot of mint, a/k/a a Ho Ho Mocha at Caribou Coffee, which is where I first got hooked on this yummy concoction. I actually don't like Starbucks much because their coffee is SO strong, but Caribou hasn't made it here yet so I have to make do. So tonight when I ordered my mocha the guy asked if I wanted just one shot of mint or four shots and told me that they had a peppermint mocha which was basically the same thing, but with more shots of mint. Thinking that more mint could only be a good thing I said sure, give me a peppermint mocha.

It. was. terrible. I'm not sure if he forgot to add the peppermint, or whether there was no white chocolate, or what, but it was NOT good. I'm thinking I'll just stick with what I know from now on, unless they can prove to me that there is actually more mint and white chocolate in the peppermint mocha.

Which reminds me ... It's A Grind should have their version of the Ho Ho Mocha by now too and theirs is almost as good, if not better, than Caribou's. I might need to make a stop on my way home from work tomorrow. Unless of course I stay up way late tonight and need coffee first thing, in which case I'll be stopping at Starbucks on the way to work.

Back to the writing ... I'm determined to at least break 6k tonight!

p.s. Caffeine has no effect on me so why do I even bother? Oh yeah, the headaches ... Seriously, though, I've had two Cokes tonight and I'm fighting to stay awake. WTF?

ETA: Woo hoo!!! I've made it to 7248 words. The word count goal for today is 8335 so I'm only 1087 words behind. *bounces* Sleep time now.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

04 November 2007

I hate playing "catch up"

I've been behind on my word count since day one and have been playing catch-up ever since. And I hate it. I get on a roll for a little bit and then something distracts me. I was going to give myself a change of scenery today, but I desperately needed to do laundry so here I am ... at home on the couch.

If I write 4000 more words tonight I'll be where I need to be. Problem is, I'm at the beginning stages of the story, where I need to put in all of this background stuff and I hate it. I should just skip ahead, but I kind of don't want to because I know I won't go back and add this stuff in later, and if I can just get it written I'll be ok - besides it will help with the word count in the end. But I can't wait until I can move my MC to Vermont and my story can actually start.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

a slow start is better than nothing, right?

I'm off to a slow start, but I managed to make it to 1,300 words tonight. I'm trying too hard and have to figure out how to just let go and write. It's going to suck; I know this. Now I just have to accept it.

Tomorrow - after mowing the lawn and cleaning out my garage - I am resolved to catch up. I've told Jennifer that I can't go to her Guitar Hero party this week if I'm behind on my word count. And as I'm addicted to Guitar Hero and am suffering withdrawal I'm hoping it will motivate me to write, write, write! Though I may have to have a change of scenery as I'm getting too distracted at home by various things I want/need to do. I think it's much easier to ignore the daily tasks of owning a home if you have someone to share those tasks with.

I've been neglecting my kitty lately and he's wanting hugs now.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

01 November 2007

so far, not so good.

I started writing, but it's like pulling teeth to get the words to come out. I think I'm too tired. Or something.

I did manage to write 762 words, which is better than nothing.

I'm going to bed. Tomorrow is another day and it will be a better one. I hope.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

here we go...

I have my computer.

I have my writing music.

Keneegi is sitting here ready to perform his duties as my muse once again.

I have my English sheep icon. *points*


Now, if only I had a plot and/or characters.

I can do this, right? I only need to write 1,667 words tonight.

Food first, then writing.

31 October 2007

On you mark, get set ...


I love getting the emails from Chris!

Dear NaNoWriMo participant

Well, we're on the cusp of another beautiful noveling November. The turn-out so far has been phenomenal. Between our main program and Young Writers Program, we'll have over 90,000 authors on board by the end of the week, making this officially the largest NaNoWriMo since the event was first adapted from an Andorran mule-wrestling ceremony back in 1999.

For those of you who are new to NaNo, I want to quickly run through the noveling schedule for the month ahead.

Step 1: Keep reading this email; learn the secret of NaNoWriMo.
Step 2: Wait for 12:01 AM local time on November 1.
Step 3: Write a novel.

No problem.

Okay, back to Step 1. The secret of NaNoWriMo. Which is this: There is a door in your brain. The door has been there your whole life. You may not have noticed it before because it blends in with everything else in your brain. Weird art. Mismatched furniture. Squis hy gray bits clinging to everything.

So what does this door have to do with your novel?

Your job this month is not so much writing a book (which is intimidating) as it is finding that door (which is easy).

It's easy because you'll have guides in November who will take you right to it.

These guides are also known as your characters. They're kind of an abstract notion now, but you'll meet them in all their glory in Week One of NaNoWriMo. They'll be a strange lot. Insecure warlocks. Stamp-collecting squirrels. Teenage detectives.

Whoever shows up, go with them. And go quickly. You may have a general sense of where you're going together; you may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write your allotment of 1667 words (or more) on November 1. Don't edit any of it. Editing is for December. Then come back and write another 1667 words the next day. And the next. And the next.

By Week Two, you'll be at the door. A few words later, you'll be through it. You'll know you're there because the writing will feel different. Less like work, and more like watching a gloriously imperfect movie with cringe-worthy dialogue, heaps of confusing tangents, and moments of brilliance so delightful that you'll want to scream.

Once you've stepped through that door into the vast reaches of your imagination, you'll be able to return there as often as you like. It's an enchanted, intoxicating place, and there are other great things besides novels in there.

But we'll talk about that later.

For now, here's our game plan for the coming week.

1) Make sure you've affiliated with a region and then made it your Home Region. This is a two-step process. You do it by signing in and then going to the My Regions page of My NaNoWriMo. The far-left tab gives you a list of regions to choose from. Choose one by clicking "affiliate," then go to the far-right tab called Home Region and make sure your region is ticked.

2) Make sure you have your Edit Profile settings geared to allow emails from us (if you got this, you're good), and that your email program knows to accept messages from noreply@nanowrimo.org. Pep talks from esteemed authors will begin landing in your inbox this week, and will continue to arrive every four days or so. To turn off emails from us, just head to Edit Profile and change your settings to "No mail."

3) On November 1: Begin writing. At this point, you'll be able to begin updating your word count on the Author Info tab of the Edit Profile page. You can do this on the honor system by just typing in the number, or you can paste the whole book in and let our robots count it for you. If you paste your book, please scramble it first, using instructions in our FAQ. You can also post an excerpt of your book in the same area of the Edit Profile page.

4) For the first week of the event, the site will be on fire. This year we moved to a completely new back-end system, and it has made me beat my head against the wall almost every single day. Pages disappear. Parts fall off. Error screens everywhere. It handles high traffic the way a country lane would handle a freeway. We have so many plans on rebuilding the site it for next year it's not even funny. But for now, we have to work with what we've got. Russ is making all the improvements he can to make it suck less.

If the site isn't functional, just postpone updating your word count until the dust settles. NaNoWriMo does not live on a website. It lives in your heart, in your powerful typing fingers, and in your dramatically escalating word count.

We'll keep working on the site. You keep working on your novel.

Together we will rock November.

Happy noveling, everyone! We're so glad to have you writing with us.


Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

30 October 2007

writing advice for newcomers to nano

[info]pxcampbell posted this as advice for newcomers on

and I thought it was perfect.

"Well, I am a newcomer, but not a new writer. So, I'll give advice to those of you who are newly tackling writing -- just write. Don't worry about you write; just extrude words. If the eloquent words don't come to you as quickly as you'd like for a section -- then mark it with something that will pop out. I use markers like "ADD MORE CRAP HERE." But keep going. You can, and will, come back to it on the next draft. On the next draft you're more likely to be sure what you *need* to say at that point, which makes it easier to write.

The most important place you need to get to when you write a novel is the point at which the characters take over. It's The Outer Limits Moment -- you are no longer in control of the set. It's the point at which you know enough about your players that there are only a few different ways they can react to any situation -- so they begin to write the story for you. Once you reach this point, writing the remainder of the wordage is relatively easy -- a downhill coast.

Keep in mind, though, that once you reach this place -- where your characters are talking to you -- you might have to go back and redo a lot of the story you've written. Just live with the fact and get over it! Don't go back and tear it out yet. Leave it there -- and write new the stuff. Just keep going. You have the second draft for figuring out what scenes to ax. November is not the time."

That point when the characters start taking over and writing the novel themselves is one of the coolest things to ever happen to me.

ang: "The Outer Limits Moment": One of my characters was strangely attracted to a maid in the hotel... they crossed paths more than once. He started to wonder exactly which shift she worked since he saw her at random times of the day. She noticed him too, and he didn't think he was dreaming that their attraction was mutual. They finally talked, and...

It turned out that she was an actress, currently filming in a Las Vegas hotel. And they hooked up. I totally did not see that coming! :)

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ

27 October 2007

possible opening lines

I don't have any idea who my characters are, nor do I have a plot, so I was browsing the nano forums looking for ideas. I wrote down some of my favorites from the adopt-an-opening-line forum. Unfortunately I can't take credit for any of these.

I honestly didn't think it would work, but as my life is a cosmic joke anyway, it stands to reason that this would be the perfect punch line.

Some suicides write a note to leave behind; I'm writing a novel.

She kept a notebook on her person at all times, just in case someone would say something interesting - sadly, it hadn't happened yet.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but you'd be hard pressed to win a dual with one.

'It's not me, it's you' didn't even begin to sum it up.

The world was her oyster; she hated oysters.

Some things aren't worth dying for. This was one of them.

And my personal favorite because it's so Douglas Adams-like: Some believe the world will end with a bang; others believe it will end with a whimper. I've seen it, and it ends with something that sounds alarmingly like a duck being stepped on.

Originally posted in [info]writing_is_fun on LJ