31 December 2008

NaNo... My Gahd. Will It Never END?!??

So we drove home from Florida yesterday and are safely back in Itty-Bitty City once again, where it is considerably colder than the shorts-and-T-shirt temps we had became used to. Sad, that, but one cannot vacation forever when one is not independently wealthy, which - sadder still - we are not.

The trip went well (no one puked!), but I wrote NOTHING. Instead of working on my own novel, I spent my non-driving hours reading some (truly dreadful) "stock" romance novels (I got them for free and I believe it to be an essential part of my writer education to read other fiction genres (and I learned a lot - mostly about what NOT to do - but more about that later)), regardless of whether or not they actually interest me (and let's just say "stock" romance is, erm... not my first choice).

Anyway. The point of this post is to lay out in public the fact that I have not yet completed my December goal of 22,500 words and the phrase "The End" typed at the bottom of my 2008 NaNo.

I cannot and will not accept failure.

So - it's 9:30-ish, the children are in bed and The Husband just left to pick up his dad and step-mom from the airport. I have approximately 1-1/2 hours of pretty-much-assured continuous silence without distractions -- and about 1500 words to write.

Here 'goes.

Wish me luck!

EDIT - 11:25 pm: Well, I made the 22.5K goal-for-December. Yaaay!! :-D Didn't break 80K, though. And didn't type "The End" either. On the bright side, I'm ending the day in the midst of a battle scene and Bran has an arrow embedded in his abdomen! Oh, dear. Poor, Bran... how ever shall I get him out of this one??


27 December 2008

NaNo ... Uphill in January?

Still making progress, but slogging along. Christmas, Florida, and family are NOT conducive to writing. Like, at all. I wrote all of 29 words before the kids woke up yesterday, and then it was non-stop Everything Else all day long. Tennis, shopping, Bananagrams (great game!), and movies (Wall-e, which is effing brilliant) - oh, yes, and eating, let's not forget eating - took up the rest of the day.

This morning I managed to get just over 1000 words, so all is not lost, but I wanted to be DONE by now! Arrrgh! At least, the story is where it is supposed to be. Two more scenes and That's. It.

Until it's time to edit and probably add another 20K...

OK, I think I'll go quietly insane now...


23 December 2008

NaNo Florida

Hello from sunny - but cool - Florida!

Yes, we're here! We made it! And with only two bouts of car sickness (thank you, Ms. Baby) and a minimum of 'are-we-there-yets' (thank you whoever invented portable DVD players). It was one long, long day, but whatever. It's over and I went swimming yesterday.

Progress on NaNo 2008 creeps along. I wrote NOTHING in the car at all, though I did get some really sticky plot problems worked out. I don't know why, but driving always helps immensely in that area. Terry Brooks mentions this in his book on writing, and I doubt it would work for everyone (not everyone actually likes driving), but there's something about having a particular proportion of my brain occupied with a task like that that frees the rest of the brain for more interesting things. So, yippee for that!

It's hard to find time to write here, though. The kids want to play. My sisters and my mom want to shop and talk and eat and drink coffee ALL DAY. I think we have a field trip of some sort planned for today. So it's hard to squeeze writing in anywhere.

But I woke up at 5:15 this morning and just said what the hell. I'll write til the kids get up. And now I've got just over 1000 words today and here I am at 75,000 for the story!

If that continues, I should be good on the December goal. After that, I'm not sure what I'll do. I know at some point, I should just put it away to come back to later. But I don't think it's ready for me to do that just yet. I think I need to go back through with the notebook I kept during NaNo of Things that Need Fixin' and take care of them. Then there are several bad guy POV scenes I want to add, and THEN I think I'll let it sit.

So that means I'll have to sit down and figure out how many words that will take and set a new goal with a new spread sheet and a new word ticker and.... *sigh*

I wonder if it will ever actully end...


17 December 2008

Ooooo! Nifty-ness!

Thanks to Soleil's blog, I found a nifty little word counter thing-a-ma-bob!

The Angel and the Assassin
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
72,022 / 80,000

This is cool, because it shows what I did before (the gray area) and the progress I'm making on 'phase II', so to speak. Very cool! And I think if you click on it, you can get one too! :-D

EDIT: Ooo, weird... does it look all broke up to you? It seems to be fine in my sidebar, but here in the actual post, it's ... been julienned! Ack!


15 December 2008

Updates, Updates, Updates.

NaNo 2008 Current Word Count: 70,121

Cumulative Total Words for December: 13,432

Aaaah! I broke 70K last night and it felt good. Bran and Heilla are still a crazy mess and I still don't understand a few critical things that are happening, but I'm just going to go with it. I really, really want to finish the draft by the end of December and I'm running out of time! We leave for Florida next Sunday, and between Christmas and my sisters, I have a feeling not much writing is going to get done there...

Plus, there are some other BIG things going on: I got my business licenses from the county and city last week, which means I really need to get the content written for the website so it's ready when the design is done. Saturday in the mail I got notification that the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences thinks I have enough experience to be eligible to take their certification exam - woo-hoo! and I'm thrilled, but now I have to go through the study guide, figure out where I'm lacking skills and knowledge and make up a plan and schedule for filling in those gaps by next October, which is when I want to take the exam.

Yikes! Full steam ahead!


13 December 2008

NaNo: Onward, Ho!

NaNo 2008 Current Word Count: 68,936

Cumulative Total Words for December: 12,247

I am happy to report that the pogo stick worked and the story is now suffering under the weight of some serious Plot Bunny Proliferation Problems (which I will take any day over Brick Walls of Utter Nothingness, thankyouverymuch). Yahoo!

In part, I owe this wonderous turn of events to the fact that I woke up at 3:30 AM horrified that I still had No Idea what Fancy Dessert I was going to bring this afternoon to Christmas-Early-Because-Everyone's-Traveling-This-Year at the in-laws (OMG, did that even make sense? how much coffee have I had today...). Thanks to Internet-on-my-Phone, I soon found something (cranberry orange bundt cake!) and tried to go back to sleep.


Bran and Heilla kept jabbing me in the back and whinging on about how they were cold, lost in the fog and hungry and would I please, please, pleeeeeeeease consider getting out of bed (even though it was still dark) and get them out of the freezing rain and under a blanket or something.

At 4:23 AM, I gave in to the jabbing and sat down on the couch with a Hazelnut Soy Latte (which, miraculously enough, no one woke up while I made) and wrote 1,836 words!

And now Bran and Heilla are in even deeper shit than they were before... 0.0

But that's good. And there's hand-to-hand combat on deck for late this evening or tomorrow morning. And that's even better (I do love a battle scene...).


10 December 2008

Typo of the Day

For once, not one of my own...

Happened across this today: What happens when you remove the first "e" from the word "genome"?

Yes! You guessed it! You get a "gnome-wide association study"!!!!!

'Cuz, yanno, the better we understand the gnomes among us, the happier our gardens will be. Or something.

Anyway, Go Gnomes!!


Brick Wall, Meet Pogo Stick

NaNo 2008 Current Word Count: 65,433

Cumulative Total Words for December: 8,744

Yep. Still steaming along and even averaging over 900 words a day! Which is bloody amazing considering how much else is going on (most of which I can't even talk about, because it's so top secret...).

Unfortunately, it's all about to come to a crashing halt. At least, it's trying to... I can see a brick wall on the horizon.

See, Bran and his girl have to escape. They're currently on a forced march through the wilderness to a worse prison than they were in before.

But that isn't even the real problem.

The real problem is that they have to get away before the bad guy catches up to them, and he's not far behind. Only they have no means of getting away because they're marching through a meadow. There's no cover. No bushes. No boulders. Not so much as a tall weed to hide behind. Plus, it's early spring, so the meadow grass is all flat and half rotted from sitting under the snow all winter - in other words, it won't hide them if they lay down in it.

So I know they get away. But I don't know how. So I'm about to be stuck.

Enter, Pogo Stick.

If there is one thing I have learned, and learned well, in four years of doing NaNo, it is this: Stop. For. Nothing.

There's no need. It will work itself out or you will figure it out later (i.e., after you are done with the draft and can afford the time to sit down and think it through). Either way, it isn't worth derailing your momentum and chances are the solution will present itself one way or another.

So wish me luck - I'm about to make the big hop! (Seriously, it's been, like, 30 years since I last mounted a pogo stick....I may well break something...!).


08 December 2008

Maybe There Is Hope For Writers

Or, at least, there is someone with some sense out there.

Someone posted a link to this NY Times article on writing to the AMWA freelance listserve. It's brilliant and painfully, painfully true.

Typing Without A Clue

And it reinforces my sense that SOMETHING has got to change in the publishing industry, and that if it doesn't change itself, we-the-writers will figure out a way to circumvent it. Maybe POD. Maybe PDF. Maybe something entirely different. I don't know.

But there has be a way. There has to be. Because I'm tired of waiting to read Susan's novel about Trevor and the gang. I'm tired of not having hard copies of Joely's stuff. I'm tired of reading about people like Joe the Plumber and OJ Simpson getting published, while people who can actually tell a damn good story don't.

OK, so what if the rules are the rules and life isn't fair. I say let's change the damn rules already.

So there.


07 December 2008

How To Make An Entrance

So Ms. Baby (a.k.a. the Loudest Child on the Planet), out of the blue this morning, starts yowling at the top of her lungs and stomping her feet as she marches across the living room floor, comes to an abrupt halt between my desk and the couch her sister is sitting on, grins around at her now rapt audience and says, "Hi Everybody!".

Something tells me her teenage years are going to be... "interesting".


05 December 2008


Boss Lady had a meeting today with somebody who arrived when I was away from my desk (they have to walk by me to get to her), so I didn't know who it was. I could hear them talking, but they were speaking in Chinese, which I don't understand well enough to figure out who the visitor was from listening in.

And then the visitor laughed - a good laugh, genuine, not fake.

And then I smiled, because I knew exactly who it was.

It's a good thing when you can recognize a person from their laugh, and it makes you smile, you know what I mean?


04 December 2008

Still on Target

Amazingly enough... I have not yet fallen behind!

OK, OK - so I'm only going for 750 words/day. That's still the Mt. Everest of goals some days, what with grant deadlines, kids, colds, Christmas, and the ever-present Hell known as Housework... :)

And things are getting "interesting". I had this one character that had sort of dead ended during NaNo, so I had just let her sit and pout in a corner. Monday morning on the commute in to FPU, she burst out with what actually happens with her while her cousin is being tortured...!


Total December Words: 2,399
Total Words for the 2008 NaNo: 59,088


02 December 2008


I was going to actually sit down and re-figure out how much story I have to write, then post a number, but naturally Boss Lady has a grant to submit tomorrow, so - no time for such pleasures...

However, my ball park guess is 9 more scenes and since my scenes tend to run about 2500 words, it comes out to 22,500 for December, which it totally doable. I've set my daily goal at 750 words and snagged that easily yesterday.

Tonight, of course, will all about the angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) and the genes in this pathway related to breast cancer survival. Oh, the joy. I can hardly contain it.



01 December 2008

NaNo: Victorious-ness!

Weeee-hooo! I won! *does happy dance*

Naturally, the story is only 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the extra-happy happy-dance state of Actually Finished, but it's a good start. I took Turkey Day off (well, from writing-writing... I took a notebook and pen and worked out the final scenes in the car on the way to the sister-in-law's house), but on Friday decided rather than be trampled to death in a shopping frenzy, I would get back to work and try to get as much done as I could, so I would have less to do in December -- because I WILL finish the story in December, come hell or high water. We've got a long (15-hour) car ride to my parents' place in Florida, so there's a good chunk of time, even if I have to do a lot of the driving myself (I may be driving one way with just me and the girlz, but we'll see, we have yet to finalize dates and such...)

Anyway, I'm still using the 200-word Trick, because it works so incredibly well for me. I routinely hit 2,000 on days that I do this, and it's relatively painless. OK, that's a lie. But it breaks the pain into small, managable pieces and I tend not to bleed all over my keyboard quite as much as if I try to sit down and just write 2,000 words all in one go. :D

So to keep myself honest, I'm going to work out my goal for December today, post it and update it. Hopefully, that will keep me from slacking off and finding new and interesting ways of slurping eggnog instead of writing.