Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up--58297 words!

I gained some weight, but I ended up with about 58,297 words (final count will be posted tomorrow) for Nanowrimo this year and I didn't neglect my house or family as much this year as previous years. I ended up in the perfect place in the book for Nano to end--I'm in the muddle in the middle. Anyone who's written a novel knows that the muddle in the middle can be pretty brutal. The writing can be slow going, or worse, you're doing fine until you realize that you've lost track of everything that's going on and you've dropped three of the eight balls you've been juggling and now you have to backtrack because the character couldn't possibly be on that side of town ... yeah.

Not that I've ever done that, but if I had, I would scream just like this: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!

Congratulations to all my buddies that crossed the Nano finish line!! Validate sooner than later, because the validator will probably be pretty busy the closer we get to midnight in the various time zones.

Have a cookie. You can always hit the treadmill sometime in December, or if not, January is the traditional time to do that sort of thing, and that's not too far away.

Ack! Is it really closing in on 2012? Time seriously flies. I'd better get back to writing. Until next time ....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up: 50,536 I Win! and Happy Thanks Day

Our Thanksgiving celebration is mostly over already. We had a wonderful visit in Bend, OR with family and friends. I drank too much wine (for me, that's 2 glasses) and then after everyone except my DH and I went to bed, I wrote until 2am. (He did too. We're a little bit sick that way.)

Signet is now at over 50,000 words. I've made my Nanowrimo goal! Of course the fun doesn't stop there. I doubt I'll finish the book by Nov. 30, but I'm going to give it the ol' writer's try.

In more serious news, my good friend over at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is going into surgery. It's my understanding that although this is a serious surgery, his doctors don't believe that his life is in danger at this time. All surgeries have risks inherent to them, so I'll be thinking about him and his lovely and talented wife.

Also, RIP Anne McCaffrey. She created wonderful worlds that I as a young person and many people around the world of all ages loved to explore. My condolences to her family, in particular to Todd.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. My sister-in-law (I love you K!) hit the nail on the head when she mentioned that we're fortunate to have good health. Family, friends, food on the table, a roof over our heads, health insurance, our kids are doing great, and we live in the wonderful Pac NW ... I have no doubt that things can get better than this, but if they stayed the same (which things never do) I would be content.

As soon as the floor upstairs is finished, that is. :P

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday. If you're going shopping on Black Friday, be careful out there. And remember, it's only stuff. Don't let the crazy people grabbing stuff out of your cart make you crazy too. Their actions and that stuff they need so desperately that they're willing to grab it from your hands will not make them happy, and that stuff can't really make you happy either. There are so many ways to express love that it's not necessary to cling to the idea of one object given to one person or to hoard something in your house in order to feel fulfilled.

With that or some other more wise wisdom-y thingy in mind, it's possible to have a lot of fun on Black Friday. I'll be working, of course, but I might stop by the store before my shift and check out the deal-iest of the deals. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up--45000 words!

Day five of six days in a row of work. Yes, I'm grateful to be working. Still. Always. But I'm tired, and I won't be any less tired tomorrow.

In writing, I've recently had to remind myself to use all five senses as often as I can. I just had my characters cross a huge common area. Guess what I forgot? Sound! Yeah, I didn't do taste or smell either. I did do a little tactile stuff. But the sound would be as important as the sight. Sound will define what sort of crowd this is, and what the general mood is. Angry crowd give anyone the creeps? Does me! Laughing singing dancing crowd make you want to join in or wonder what the celebration is all about? Busy noisy cranky crowd suggests a typical day in downtown, right? So there we are, and there in the story we weren't. Going generic will allow the reader to create their own stuff via their imagination, but a few specific things will help lead them in a potentially more interesting direction and can suggest culture stuff in the process.

Back to the keyboard-y salt mines. If I don't post before then, I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving Day. Drive safe.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up--41032 words!

I'm hitting a weird point in the book where I feel like I'm racing toward the end, but I'm only halfway, if that.
The ending came to me during a bath. I'm not sure what it is about hot water, but it works for me. Anyway, now that I know the heartbreak and joy that comes at the end, I can't wait to get there. My word count has shot up as a result. I hope to reach the winning count, 50,000 words, by this Friday. And I really hope, though I doubt it'll happen, that I'll actually finish the whole book before the end of the month.
My poor DH has to suffer through me explaining bits and pieces of plot when I finish a particularly exciting scene. He made me happy today by letting me know that he enjoys listening to me talk about my book. Of course he had to tease me after that remark, but we're like that with each other. We like to tease, and tickle, and play. We have a wonderful relationship that keeps us both writing like crazy. Maybe someday we'll both be full time writers. I think that would be awesome. I wouldn't have to guard my writing time so jealously anymore, and when he invites me to go somewhere to Wifi, I won't want to say no so that I don't lose writing to travel, which is followed by feeling lonely and wishing I was with him. And I won't feel harried or like I've wasted my time if I say yes, and we won't play that not-so-fun game where we're lingering longer than we like and trying to find useful things to do while the other person finishes up their latest thing they started when the other wasn't done ... yeah. That can be crazy-making after a couple of rounds.
Oh, and about that flooring project ... what flooring project? I was going to try to finish the living room today, but instead I'm at 41,032 words.
Totally worth it. But the floor needs to happen, so I'll work on it really soon. Not sure when, but soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

OryCon 33: Word Count 33652

This OryCon I did more socializing than I have in a long time, and it was glorious. I didn't care that my @ss had flattened from sitting so long or that I wasn't making much headway with my novel.
Free samples:
Dreams and nightmares ... the sensory advantage fiction has over film, though film has some great advantages in pacing and visuals. Also, how kewl is it that although someone can be distracted from a movie and miss part of it, if someone becomes distracted from a book, they pick up where they left off or even go back and reread something to get back into it? Prose is a fascinating medium. And our brains are even more fascinating. You can have lucid dreams, faulty dream paralysis, teach yourself to fly, speak to the dead, have repeating nightmares, dreams with plots, and dreams that are so boring you're glad you can finally stop looking for the darned olives at the grocery store when you wake up. Thanks to Jason Brock and a dedicated audience at a very late panel that wasn't even listed for a fascinating conversation/panel on the subject.
Early attempts at writing fiction ... OMG. Does anyone remember their first efforts at storytelling? I had this thing for long, straight black hair that goes down to the waist (why did it have to go down to the waist?!) and purple eyes and chainmail bikinis on bodies that drove men mad with love. Lust was sort of an abstract idea at the time. And I adored the Monkees (who still perform from time to time--a coworker went to a concert of theirs a few months ago) but not as much as horses, which they would chase through various environments and then the wild buckskin would save Davy Jones' life. Karen and I laughed so hard I'm sure people were giving us dirty looks but we didn't care. I'd tell you her stories but they're so awesome she has to tell you herself. I didn't even get to tell her about all the Battlestar Galactica episodes I made up and then later was convinced that they really aired, only to find out that my favorite episodes never actually existed. Darn it! I think I might have hurt myself laughing. We're still telling silly stories, but now I'm not afraid to share them. Plus, I now know about copyright and won't make the (deliberate) mistake of using someone else's creations to carry my stories.
And I don't care if they're cliche'. I still think amethyst eyes are awesome. I just won't prance a violet-eyed warrior princess riding a black unicorn across any of my stories unless I'm writing a spoof. (Sadly.)
What Violence Smells like, Looks like, Feels like, you get the idea like ... you'd think that this panel would turn into a gross-out contest, but the panelists dug deep and revealed things that were painful and nightmarish to them on a personal and professional level. I was so honored to be there while they shared all that with us. I forgot to ask a question so later I cornered Rory Miller and asked him if he remembered what being tasered tasted like. He said 'it tasted like pain.' We laughed, but you know, it's intense stuff. We're made of meat, all of us, and we're all mortal and sometimes you have to laugh and cry and let it out and let it go if you can because the alternative is to curl up and shiver until you die.
Autism ... I liked when the panel started talking about education, because I don't think our education system is serving anyone right now, bright, challenged, bored or plaid ... our kids aren't learning as well as they could. I have high hopes for remote schools, but change is slow and change may not be for the better if we don't figure some stuff out. My kids are out of school, so I don't have horses in this race anymore, so to speak. But I care about the world's future, and kids are it. What do we do? Pay for more studies? I don't think so. Studies are horrible, and they tend to ask leading questions that have no purpose but to suggest narrow political answers. Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!
As far as I can tell the boy and the girl had a blast as well. And I missed so much. Filk concerts. The masquerade. Heaps of panels that I wanted to go to. The art show. The art show! I can't believe I missed the art show. I only breezed through the dealer's room. And I didn't get a triple penetration chocolate donut from the Voodoo Donut van. I had to settle for a (yummy) chocolate frosted chocolate cake donut. I'd say waaaah, but you know, it was a tasty defeat.
Lots more but I'll probably blog about something else next time.

Oh, and I can't forget! In sad fuzzy housemates news, Veronica has made a full recovery, and Finn's scalp wound is starting to heal nicely. It was looking very, very iffy there for a while (I think Brian 'helped' by licking the wounds a bit too much) but the next day Finn had everything scabbed and sealed. And Veronica (Poop!) gets to go outside again, so she's happy.

All in all, a good time was had by all. G'night!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up--22413 words!

I have another day off tomorrow, so I'll be working on the floor, and writing.

On a more serious note, Veronica, aka the Poop, is not feeling well. She stopped eating and drinking. I'll call the vet tomorrow. She's moving around super-slow and is sleeping lot, which implies to me that she got beat up by another kitteh and is sore and possibly has a mild infection brewing somewhere. I admit I'm worried, but we've been through this with Wizard a couple of times before. She's young and strong and will probably bounce back without any interference, but I'd like the vet to assess her for dehydration, and it would be nice if she were prescribed something to alleviate the soreness (if memory serves, they usually give a steroid shot) to get her moving and eating again. I'm sure they'll prescribe antibiotics if she has a fever.

Poor kitteh ...

And also (why is there so often an also!) Finn scraped his head up pretty good. We're not sure what happened, but it doesn't look like a bite from the other dogs. Quite a bit of hair is missing around the scrape, and we know it wasn't there last night. Trapped under the porch? Got his head jammed under a tree root while digging? Ran under a low branch? We have no idea. We called the vet, who said to watch to make sure it doesn't get worse/icky/full of pus and basically treat with neosporin. Check, check and check. Unlike the Poop, he seems fine, though his head looks alarming with so much scabby stuff and missing fur.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up--13994 words!

I should be writing my novel ...

My DH and I spent a lot of time working on the floor upstairs. We're now almost done with the living and dining rooms. Seriously. As in, single digit number of feet left to go. Then we get to start on the entryway.
It's an amazing transformation. Already the house looks better, even though everything is in a state of utter turmoil. Even the kitchen looks nicer. Okay, granted, part of that is because my DH hugely cleaned it up. But it's also because of the floor coming up to the kitchen. The cupboards now look like they belong. Before they looked too dark and kinda grungy. I think it was the too-sharp contrast of everything else attempting to be off white, including the carpet, and then the dark cupboards kinda stuck out. Same with our furniture. The roll-top desk I adore now looks almost like it was chosen so that it looked good with the floor. Fabulous!
I have tomorrow off, so we're going to spend part of the day writing and part of the day working on the floor. Hopefully we'll be able to finish things up, if our former-contractor friend D. has time to help us with the transition by the sliding door.

I'm so, so excited! Word count, and house beautification. There's something really wonderful about accomplishing difficult projects. Yes, it's daunting, and yes, it's possible to fail, and yes, yes, yes, it's hard and time-consuming and seems to be a huge distraction from what appear to be more important things. But those more important things often turn out to be busy work. So which is the huge distraction, really? The answer depends on your dreams and goals.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nanowrimo Count Up--1846 words!

Yep, it's that time again. Nanowrimo: NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. The goal--50,000 words by the end of the month, which is about 1667 words a day.

It's always good to get a head start. Stuff happens. Thanksgiving is stuck in there (and for those of us who work retail, Black Friday is shot too.) Offices flood (happened twice during Nanowrimo in the past ten years.) The point is to write every day, and for the days that you know you'll miss, to write extra either before or after so that you make your goal.

For many, this is a fun exercise, and a chance to finally write that book that they've always wanted to write. For a lot of pros it may be a non-event. They may write 50,000 words in three days. (Stephen King wrote a 200,000 word novel in the time it took you to read up to this point in my post.)

Some fun facts:

*Some people clear 250,000 words during Nanowrimo. No kidding. Some of them are even first time novelists. (ooos and aaaahs from the audience.)
*Nanowrimo is organized by the Office of Letters and Light, a charity that does awesome things like provide books for the needy.
*A 'standard' (double-spaced, 12pt. font, 1 inch margins) page has about 250-275 words, depending on writing style. This can vary quite a bit, with some dense pages approaching 300 words, and spare pages with a poetic or spare structure coming in well under 100. These standard pages give an editor a very good idea of how thick the spine on the novel will be.
*Most 'mainstream' novels fall between 80,000 and 110,000 words because traditional paperback and hardback publishing finds that this length satisfies the reader, has ample spine on which to print necessary info like the novel's title, and doesn't have so much content that it requires lots of extra (expensive) paper and ink and binding to produce even if they make the font really, really tiny.
*Lots of incredible books are shorter than 80,000 words and much, much longer than 110,000. Really big ones over 200,000 words are sometimes referred to as door stoppers or tomes.
*Shorter books are often printed with bigger fonts, lots of pictures, or with lots of empty space around the print so that there's enough spine on which to print the title of the book in a visible font. Conversely really long books may be printed on thin paper, in smaller fonts, or have smaller margins. Compare sometime a copy of the complete works of Shakespeare or Stephen King's The Stand with War of Art or Michael Pollan's 64 Rules for Eating Well. (Yes, I really meant War of Art, not Art of War, although that's another book that is often filled out, though more often with commentary and lots of prefaces.)
*Although Nanowrimo seems to be held at a weird time of year and shouldn't offer any tangible benefits, the energy that comes from attempting Nanowrimo has inspired lots of people to meet or exceed their goals year after year. I've tried a year-round goal of 50,000 words, and have also tried it during a more 'sane' and quiet month. Nada. This is the time, the place, and these are the people.

I hope some of you will join me in trying to write 50,000 words (or more!) in November. It's not too late to start! If you do, feel free to buddy me. I'm kzmiller.