Friday, November 30, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 30

That’s it! As of about 9:00 last night, the NaNo novel was finished, submitted and I was declared an official winner. YAY! My final word count was like, I don’t know 50,500 or something. So it’s done . . . it’s “the end” . . . but not really.

Because here’s the *brilliant* idea I had while writing it. It’s going to be the first in a three-part series. This book was about an eleven-year-old girl named Kimi (and all of her issues) and I’ve decided to continue the story, but pick up with friend number two. So the next book will begin from Trina’s perspective, and start where Kimi left off. And the third book, well, that’s going to cover the final friend, and pick up where Trina leaves off. Very neat, right? Yeah, I’m going to be kinda busy. But this time I’m not going to stress about finishing it in 30 days, and I’ll probably start on the second book in January. After the current one is edited, it’s heading to my literary agent so we can figure out what to do/where to send it.

I thought it might be fun to recap the month. In addition to hard work, dedication, perseverance, headaches and overall anxiety, this is what it took to get my NaNo Novel completed:

9 pieces of chocolate
9 pieces of chocolate/peanut butter fudge
7 pieces of Halloween candy:
6 bowls of ice cream
3 pieces of Chocolate cake
3 Dr. Pepper floats
1 Orangeade
1 Brownie
. . . and a partridge in a pear tree

Oh, and one celebratory Dr. Pepper float today . . .

So, as of this moment I’m *officially* on vacation. I’m going to work on editing my two latest books in December (but not stress out about them), watch a lot of Christmas movies, and eat more chocolate. This page won’t be updated for a while (I might try something new for the spring—just before the book comes out, but we’ll see). In the meantime, I’ll still be a frequent flyer to myspace ( ), and updating my blog there, (just not every day).

And, as if being a writer in November wasn’t crazy enough, I should mention that I’ve always wanted to write a screenplay. Guess what I found?

One Screenplay - 30 days - April 1, 2008

See you there!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 29

So I did a “test send” of my NaNo novel to the site, just to make sure everything works so that *hopefully* I can get everything written and turned in before midnight tomorrow. It worked, yes, but it also miscounted my words by like, 500! Which means to *win* I have to write at least 50,500 words.

(sigh) I can’t believe it’s coming down to this—I’m cutting this way too close—I swear I am. I should’ve been finished by now. My luck? I’ll finish this just in the nick of time, and then I’ll try to submit it to the site and it will be overloaded, and won’t work or something, and I’ll miss the deadline.

That would bite!

So, nothing inspirational today, either. I want *good news* to report tomorrow. And I haven’t forgotten: I will mention what I plan to do with this book once it’s polished. December 1st, maybe, and then I’m taking my *much needed* break (to edit, yeah, not much of a break, but still—at least I won’t be writing against a deadline).

Time: 2:55pm

1: number of bowls of ice cream coming up!

47,102: NaNo words written
2,898: words to go…but not really because I have to write 500 extra. Ouch!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 28

So, I had this amazing revelation last night. I *really* want to finish this book early, but I’m having all sorts of motivational issues and just *barely* making my quota this week. The problem is (and I should have seen this coming): No Fighting!

There are no more fights! Everyone is making up! I’ve only got like, 5,000 words left to write! There’s no more conflict. If people were still arguing and yelling and calling each other stupid, I’d so be finished by now. Instead everyone is nice and happy and things are working out. I should’ve known, really. This whole NaNo experiment has totally revealed to me that I *live* for fighting. Anytime a character can throw something, it’s a good thing.

I’m addicted to drama. It’s that simple. I thrive on it. I live for it. And it’s completely obvious that when there’s no drama in my own life—I take it out on innocent characters. The sadistic thing is that it makes me So Happy.

Time: 3:30pm

1: bowl of ice cream consumed (but I’m thinking about number two)
0: pieces of chocolate because there is none in the house—anywhere

No wonder I can’t finish this thing! No chocolate and No fighting!

45,393: NaNo words written
4607: words to go

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 27

I’m doing so well with these late entries this week, aren’t I? The bad news is I’m still feeling pretty pathetic. The good news is I *think* today is the last day of it, which means tomorrow should be better, right? I hope so.

Our schedules have been crazy because of sickness and crankiness, so I didn’t get to write as much last night as I wanted, so I ended up a few hundred words short of yesterday’s quota. The good news is, I was able to do a little “padding” earlier today, and managed to catch back up. I have about 1300 words to write tonight.

I really need to write about double that, because I’d *like* to turn this thing in early, and not have to scramble around at midnight on Friday trying to get it submitted. I’ll have to remember that for next year.

So, yeah, sorry about another *un-inspiring* entry. I guess the moral of the story is um, stick with it and good things will happen? Yeah, that sounds great!

Time: 4:35pm

2: bowls of ice-cream consumed
2: loads of laundry done
3: really cranky people in the house

43,677: NaNo words written
6323: words to go

*You’d think since I was this close to finishing I could pull something amazing and get it all done tonight, right? I know. Not happening

Monday, November 26, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 26

Okay, so I’m still sick all right? Who knew that a basic cold could keep you so miserable for so long? But the masses have spoken (um, Derek), and so here is my daily entry! Late, yes, but better late than never.

I actually started an entry earlier, but it was so un-inspirational I deleted it and gave up. I’m not really feeling inspirational now, but I can’t leave all of my adoring fans hanging, right? (cough cough.) No, really, I’m so grateful for Derek and *Keaner*, my two most faithful readers, who (for some reason) keep coming back for more, even when I’m sick and writing a bunch of jibberish (i.e. right now).

So, our Christmas tree went up Saturday. Manheim Steamroller is playing every night, because really, what’s Christmas without them, right? I thought you’d agree. I’m slowly getting through my entire Christmas movie list: Elf (um, 8 times? Thanks to darling child), Home Alone, and Christmas with the Kranks. Tonight the fun begins at 6:00 (Christmas with the Kranks) and then at 8:00 (The Santa Claus). I’m really obsessed with movies this year because last year I didn’t get to watch them all, and it just kind of upset me—like I didn’t do things right or something. So this year—not making that mistake!

At some point I really should think about writing, but everything is so foggy I think it would be a wasted effort. Why couldn’t I have gotten sick earlier in the month, when word counts didn’t really matter? I can’t afford a night off! There’s no other weekend to catch up! (sigh.)

And is it just me or does PBS do at least a hundred “winterfest’s” a year?

That’s it, sorry for the complete randomness of this entire entry. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll return alive, inspired, and not sneezing every five seconds….

41,843: NaNo words written
8,157: words to go

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 25

It’s Sunday, and these colds are still looming. Miraculously though, I was super-motivated last night, so I managed to catch back up. I’d like to get *ahead* today, but at this point I’m not exactly sure how this book is going to end. Usually by this time I have some great, inspiring, way for my characters to *ride off into the sunset* but I’m not quite sure what that’s going to be yet. My fear was that I was going to finish the story before I hit the 50,000 mark, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s starting to wrap up—so I might have to do some serious “padding.”

And to show you how hard I’ve been working, I’ve decided to post an excerpt (unedited, mind you). This is mid-novel, where things are starting to get sticky. Also, keep in mind that the target audience for this book is the 12-year-old girl. Forgive me for the crazy formatting...

My heart leapt into my throat. “You told them that Cameron McPherson was my COUSIN?” I sat back in my seat. “Ugh! I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe you, Trina!”
“I didn’t want them saying you were a loser!”
“So tell them I’m not, but don’t tell them I’m related to a Black Daze band member!”
“I’m just trying to figure out why that makes you so cool,” Simone said, thoughtfully. “I mean, their music bites. You can hardly understand what they’re saying.”
“No way! They’re like, the greatest band ever!” Trina replied.
I lifted my hand to my forehead, unable to believe this was even happening to me. I felt nauseous.
“Honestly, Trina,” I said. “I don’t know why you do this to me. Why would you even think of something like that?”
She shrugged. “I mean, you guys have the same last name. It’s spelled the exact same way. I figured that somewhere down the line you had to be related.”
“This is awful. So how many people know?”
“Not many,” she replied. “I just told those two girls.”
“And the girl I heard you talking to in the hallway,” Simone added.
“Two girls came up to me at my locker wanting to know if I could get Cameron’s autograph for them,” I suddenly remembered. “And then I got a note in class about him. Is there any way that those three girls are the only ones who know about this?”
Trina sat up. “Oh, yeah! I mean, No! I didn’t tell anyone else, I swear.”
“So maybe it’s no big deal, and people will forget about this by Monday, right?”
“Oh, definitely,” Trina said. She seemed more confident now that she realized I wasn’t going to postal on her. “I was really just trying to stick up for you.”
I lifted my hand to stop her. “Well next time just let them call me a loser. I mean, I didn’t want to run for class president in the first place,” I reminded them, shooting Simone a look. “I don’t need this.”
“It’s over by Monday,” Trina promised. “I mean, who’s going to remember over the weekend anyway?”
“The people you told,” Simone said, “and they people they told, and the people they told….”
In my mind I saw Cameron in his most recent music video. He was a lead singer—Black Daze was the name of his band. They were like, number three on the charts right now. Cameron was hot, with black roots and bleached tips, and he wore shredded Abercrombie and had an earring and wore eyeliner at his concerts, and well, he was just about the coolest lead singer in the world right now. Come to find out, he was also my cousin.
I buried my face in my hands. This was So Not Good.

Time: 1:50pm

40,150: number of NaNo words written
9,850: words to go

*Is it sad that, with less than 10,000 words to go, I’ve completely forgotten half of what I’ve written?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 24

What? Only six days to go? Ouch.

So you won’t be surprised to hear (um, read) that I begin today . . . behind. About 1,000 words behind actually. I’ve had a fairly productive week otherwise. I had a great time visiting family on Thursday, and I did watch my first official Christmas movie—Elf (which we’ve watched three times since then). I’ve also been very productive taking care of sick people, which, yes, you can officially add me to the list. AND I spent all day yesterday helping my mom decorate Christmas trees. Yes, trees. Three to be exact, and there’s one more to go (the real one). I plan to put up my two trees this week (Monday, maybe?). Then I’ve got Christmas cards to worry about, two or three more people to buy gifts for, and a long, long, long list of Christmas movies I *have* to watch or I’ll just die. Oh yeah, and a book to finish.

You will be happy to know that there is absolutely NO chocolate consumption to report for the last four days. No. I baked sugar cookies on Wednesday . . . and I’ve been eating them ever since. Number consumed. I don’t know. 20 maybe? I’ve eaten two today alone, if that helps, and it’s only….


37,307: NaNo words written
12,693: words to go

Friday, November 23, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 23

Am *just barely* updating today. Will give full account of how much chocolate I consumed over the holidays and how many words I *did not* write . . . tomorrow.

Time: 11:45pm

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 21

Quick entry to boast about the fact that I wrote an amazing 3,059 words yesterday—even on this terrible laptop that keeps making me misspell things. I would love nothing more than to finish this novel by the weekend. But, I’ve only got what, nine days left? No rush. December 1st will be a glorious day.

In the meantime, tomorrow I’m heading out to see aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, and will eat a truckload of sweet potato casserole. I plan to watch some of the Macy’s parade (before the telly gets switched to football), take a quick break and turn around and do everything again with DH’s dad. AND, after my last Thanksgiving meal is consumed, I will officially begin my Christmas celebration. That means I will watch my first Christmas movie, and break out Manheim Steamroller, and beg DH to get our decorations out of storage. The tree will be *up* by the first of next week and all will be well in my little fantasy world.

Yesterday I swiped a fallen Christmas tree branch from the parking lot at Food Lion. I’ve been sniffing over and over again, like it’s my crack or something.

(sigh) I love Christmas. AND I know where my novel is going today (it’s slowly concluding), and so I should have a *very productive* afternoon.

3: pieces of chocolate candy
0: ice cream because DH ate the last of it.

34,782: NaNo words written
15,218: words to go

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 20

What is life without a little drama, right? Today the drama is that I have a non-functioning laptop. Yes, the cord issue I spoke of yesterday is permanent, and so DH has rush ordered a new cord to the house. Unfortunately, for the next few days we have to *share* a laptop. I know. SHARE IT. Thankfully things are going smoothly so far. I’m grateful for it, or I’d never finish my NaNo novel, but will be happy when mine is working again. This keypad is so strange. I have to beat the keys to get them to work, and I keep missing letters.

The good news is I’m almost at the most climactic part of my book. This is where things really pick up (yes, there are a lot of fights!). Yesterday I think I reached my quota in record time. Of course, I can’t be distracted either, because I’m sharing a laptop. No more checking myspace a hundred times a day! And, that means this entry needs wrapping up, because I’ve got writing to do and a DH who will eventually need his computer back.

Oh yes, and the cell phone is ruined, too.
The good news is, DH is feeling better, and I think this little sickness might miss me. (Though I’m sure that will change the moment I post this.)

Time: 2:30pm

31,716: NaNo words written
18,284: words to go

Monday, November 19, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 19

I’m updating early today, so I have more *legitimate* writing time later. First, I can’t figure out what this weather is doing. It was supposed to warm up, but it’s still kind of chilly outside, and it’s all gloomy. I think it’s about to rain. Second, these terrible things are happening. I can’t get my laptop charger to work, and my darling child just threw my darling husband’s cell phone in his drink. On top of that, there’s a *cold* going around. DH has it now, but I’m positive that I feel one coming on—and no, that’s not my hypochondria talking (is that even a word?). I am, however, drinking an Orangeade from Andy’s—which plays a crucial role in my new book, One Wish (another shameless plug, I know). I hope it has enough Vitamin C in it to keep me germ-free (or germ unaffected) through the holidays.

In writing news, I’ll start today only 400 words behind, which is nothing short of a miracle since I was *exhausted* last night. I wrote late, and arrived in bed at an amazing 1:15am. And yet I still couldn’t manage to break 30,000 words. That will happen today….

P.S. Is it normal for a two-year-old to *want* to sit in the corner?

Time: 12:50pm

1: Orangeade consumed
1: brownie consumed

29,626: NaNo words written
20,374: words to go

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 18

And so I finished last night 600 words short of my goal; must write extra today.

Meanwhile, this made me laugh out loud. I hope you find it as funny as I do.

Time: 3:05pm

27,692: NaNo words written
22,308: words to go

Saturday, November 17, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 17

In honor of Thanksgiving, which I just *at this very moment* realized was This Week, and the fact that it’s Saturday and I don’t feel like composing an inspiring blog entry (yeah, like I’m really that inspirational), I give you the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Here is an opportunity unlike any other: to see what a real, live writer eats during the holidays (and I say that with all the sarcasm I can possibly muster).

Turkey: Yes (I mean, I can’t forego turkey on Thanksgiving, even if I do prefer honey ham—which I eat by the truckload at Christmas)
Stuffing: depends on how I’m feeling that day; usually that means no
Mom’s sweet potato casserole: Oh, most definitely. It’s what I Live For—what keeps me inspired the rest of the year.
Homemade bread: Yes
Vegetables: But only green beans, lima beans, or corn
Cranberry sauce: Definitely Not
Pumpkin Pie: No

I just realized what a total Thanksgiving Party Pooper I am. Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, and Pumpkin Pie are like, the staples of Thanksgiving dinner, and I don’t even eat them.
Oh well, I do plan to pretend I’m an adult and contribute to this year’s dinner. I’m making something chocolate.

*And you wonder why you’re not surprised!

Time: 3:40pm

2: loads of laundry done
1: long (family) drive to clear my head
3: pieces of chocolate candy

26,707: NaNo words written
23,293: words to go

Friday, November 16, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 16

*Halfway Done* Officially.

That’s the good news. The bad news is I’ve been something of an insomniac lately. You know—not going to bed until after 2am and not sleeping soundly and feeling mega-tired throughout the day. I guess it’s attributed to the fact that I’m writing a lot, and listening to a lot of music at night (and eating chocolate ice cream at 11:00pm). I think my brain is on information overload. Usually after I write a book I’ll take a break. Since I wasn’t sure I was going to do NaNo until about two weeks before it began, I didn’t really take into account that I was wrapping up another book. That means I’ve been *seriously* writing since August—almost four months straight. This is not working for my mental health. I’ve already designated December as a *no novel writing month* (NoNoWriMo) so I can enjoy the holidays, and start the New Year refreshed, with my batteries charged.

Of course, this is probably just history repeating itself. This will be the first year *ever* that I’m not stressing about finals or research papers. Maybe my body is just conditioned to be stressed out from November until the first week of December. My heart goes out to everyone in college; those who are wrapping up their semesters. I’m feeling your pain (psychologically, at least).

Time: 3:55pm

3: loads of laundry done
1: loads of dishes done
3: pieces of chocolate candy consumed

25,107: NaNo words written
24,893: words to go

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 15

Today’s the halfway point! I should be at 25,000 words tonight (if all goes well). As inspired as I was yesterday, I finished about 200 words short of my daily quota. The good news is, that it is cold and rainy (it finally feels like fall) and a perfect day for staying in and writing (or watching a good movie, which, of course I’d be doing if I didn’t have a goal to meet). And as warm and sunny as it was yesterday, I was shocked to go out today and see that suddenly the world is full of yellows, oranges and reds.

Short and sweet and a very late post today.

Time: 4:25pm

24,105: NaNo words written
25,895: words to go

*Tomorrow’s post will be especially exciting, because I will have written more words than I need to write.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 14

It’s a weird day; a day full of inconsistencies. For one, I’m in a great mood, and when I’m in a great mood I sing. Unfortunately, I’m singing Christmas carols. It’s also like, 75 degrees here and nowhere near *official* Christmas Weather—which is snow. And so I’m singing Christmas carols, and “Spring Cleaning” (what little sweeping and wiping I felt like doing until I decided I’d had enough), and now I’m eating ice cream. (sigh) Christmas carols and ice cream and warm weather . . . it’s so wrong—on so many levels. Oh yeah, and our milk was partially frozen when we bought it, so every glass I pour is full of these little ice crystals. It’s strange—but I really, really like it.

What’s even better? I know what I’m going to write about today, and I think another fight is involved, which means my word count is going to skyrocket (or I’ll at least hit my daily quota really fast). I think I should write a book that’s just one, huge fight. I swear I would finish it in a weekend. So, I’m feeling very chipper and very productive—hopefully that will continue throughout the remainder of the day.

Time: 3:35pm

1: bowl of ice cream
1: front porch swept

Laurels: to the amazing YA Writer John Green for explaining the issues behind the Writer’s strike on his vlog ( I can’t become a member of the Writer’s Guild until after my book comes out in the spring, but I fully support my fellow writers who aren’t getting paid for the work they’ve done. Writers are People, too!

21,684: NaNo words written
28,316: words to go

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 13

The topic for today is ideas and inspiration. As I’ve said (written) before, there’s no such thing as “divine inspiration;” the perfect novel idea is NOT going to hit you out of the blue. You have to *look* for it. That means you have to 1) listen and 2) watch. There are ideas everywhere. All you have to do is listen to people and what they’re saying, keep your eyes open, and let your imagination do the rest. Case in point:

I was driving by a field the other day when I glanced over and saw a shoe. It was one shoe, in the field, all by itself. A tennis shoe, I think, and it was untied. So then I started thinking about that shoe and who it belonged to and how it ended up in the field. I went through a few scenarios in my mind: 1) Hispanic immigrant chasing a pick-up truck that would unknowingly take him out of the county (why was he leaving? He couldn’t pay his rent. His girlfriend’s father was after him. He’d killed a man, or at least he *thought* he killed him. Hmmm.). He lost his shoe just as he jumped onto the back of the truck and then it bounced into the field. Then there was 2) Man running through field because his girlfriend’s husband came home and chased him away with a shotgun, lost his shoe, and didn’t care to turn back to get it. And there was a third one that involved an argument in the car and it being taken off and thrown at the passenger (who ducked), causing it to fly out the window. See? All of that from a shoe.

Story ideas are everywhere—you just have to keep your eyes open and work on developing those ideas until they are worth writing down.

That, and I’m totally crazy. I am, really. The good news is: I’m still on track (and finally caught up) with the NaNo Novel.

Time: 4:05pm

20,447: number of NaNo words written
29,553: number of words to go!

We’re about to hit the halfway mark!

Monday, November 12, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 12

First, I know it’s only November 12th, but let me take this opportunity to say how much I Love Christmas. We went shopping today—Christmas shopping—and even though it’s kind of stressful buying gifts for people (you don’t know if they want it/have it/even need it), I love shopping during the “holidays.” Today the store was playing Christmas music, and the decorations were out . . . I think I touched everything even remotely related to the season (and DH pressed every musical stuffed animal for the kiddo). She had a great time, though, and we couldn’t leave without buying her a “my little pony,” and I got her a Disney Princess book, because as far as two-year-olds go, she was a very good little girl today.

So, now I’m wishing I could put up my Christmas tree (a real one, of course, because the Best Smell Ever is the Frasier fir tree), and listen to Manheim Steamroller, and watch twinkling lights and White Christmas. (Sigh).

Unfortunately it’s supposed to be about 70 degrees here, today, which doesn’t really do much for the Christmas spirit, but I know that, in a few weeks 103.3 is going to start playing Christmas music, then it WILL be time to get a tree, and I will thoroughly enjoy the holidays because I’m taking the entire month off to Relax.

Oh yeah, and I had a Very Productive NaNo day yesterday, and wrote over 3,000 words! And so . . . I’m no longer a day behind, but caught up. Today I will reach *today’s* goal, and will celebrate by watching Antonio Banderas tango. Because really, there’s nothing more inspiring than inner-city students learning to dance.

Great, the DH is trying to wrap. Must Go.

Time: 2:40pm

18,355: number of NaNo words written
31,645: words to go

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 11

I told you when I start yelling, it’s all over! Seriously, my favorite scenes are the ones where people are yelling. And again, I know that says something about me as a person (that I yell a lot? I love drama? Don’t know). But what happened yesterday was nothing short of a miracle. One of my characters did something really dumb (not at all thinking about the repercussions) and it is going to affect my main character (her best friend) in a major way. And so there was yelling…and I managed an output of 2,200 words! I know! Over two thousand words worth of “I can’t believe you!” and “How could you do something so stupid!” I love teenage girls. I swear I do.

Days like yesterday make the “writing life” worth living. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, the argument is over (for now) and so it’s back to work. Oh yeah, and for some reason I’m still a day behind. This is really starting to annoy me….

Time: 3:20pm

15,055: Number of NaNo words written
34,945: Words to Go

(What? No chocolate today? Ha! Nope! went to lunch with the parents and got cheesecake instead. But the day is young, I assure you.)

Oh, and I want to give a *shout-out* to my high school biology teacher, who I saw today and is just, the sweetest man I’ve ever met (and not because I made 55’s on all of my exams and he still passed me with a C). He’s probably not reading this blog, but he’s wonderful just the same, and always pretends to be so glad to see me….

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 10

Okay so like, two or three days ago I was all about “motivation” and writing when you don’t want to, and I realized it’s pretty pathetic if I don’t take my own advice. So, instead of watching the movie last night, I wrote. I’m still behind, but at least I sat down and made a concerted effort, right? Right!

And now that things are beginning to settle down for the afternoon, I’ve got the itunes (instrumental only, please) going, and am prepared to tear through a thousand or so words. And of course I had an epiphany about the book I’m writing and my plans for it after it ends, but I can’t spill that until it’s done….

Off to be productive!

Time: 2:35pm

3: loads of laundry
1: load of dirty dishes
1: trip to the waterfront for inspiration

12,720: NaNo words written
37,280: words to go

Friday, November 9, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 9

Okay, so now I’m over two days behind. I haven’t been as productive as I should be. I’d like to think that’s going to change, but I’m not so sure. I’m taking off this afternoon to color my hair. I know, priorities right? And I thought I’d do some writing tonight, but the last item on “my list” officially arrived today. It’s a DVD. And I know that tonight around 10:00 I’m going to feel compelled to watch it.

See, I wrote a few days ago about my list and the fact that things were mysteriously beginning to arrive in the mail for me. No mystery, it’s the DHINSTTA (darling husband I’m not supposed to talk about) who discovered the list I’d made of the things I wanted to buy with the second half of my book advance (shameless plug here: One Wish, spring 2008). It wasn’t a lot—just some books I’ve been dying to read, a few DVD’s and some piano music. Well, it all came this week; ALL of it. Surprise!

And so right now I’m enjoying new movies, John Green’s “Looking for Alaska,” and this great pile of books that will take me well into the New Year.

I’m not getting anything for Christmas, though, or so he says.

Time: 2:25pm

0: number of times I’ve checked my school email
(Because I found out last night I passed!)
1: celebratory Dr. Pepper float
2: pieces of chocolate/peanut butter fudge consumed
(Which are now officially gone)

11,708: number of NaNo words written
38,292: words to go

Thursday, November 8, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 8

Still a day behind. Mentally I am NOT prepared for, or looking forward to, writing today. There’s too much on my mind: namely the results of my grad exams, which my advisor is obviously waiting until the last possible second to send me. It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve checked my campus email today. Embarrassing. At one point I had the screen up and was hitting refresh every two minutes. Seriously.

I see a lot of posts on the internet by people who “want to write a book” but can’t seem to find the “motivation.” First of all, I want to tell anyone out there, if you want to write a book, you just have to sit down and do it. There’s no divine light from the sky that’s going to rain down on you and give you the words you need to say. It doesn’t work that way. I wish it did, because then I wouldn’t have to worry about days like today . . . where I’m not interested in writing at all. Normally I would take a day off, but um, I have a deadline to make, and I’m still behind.

The point is that “motivation” isn’t what drives you to write; it has to be something much stronger than that. Motivation can keep you going, but it doesn’t jump start the process; that’s willpower. Today, I’m going to sit down and keep working on my story, not because I’m motivated (because I would much rather curl up and watch a movie) but because it’s just something I have to do. Hopefully, once I get started, I’ll find the motivation I need to reach my word quota. That’s usually how it works—not the other way around.

Time: 3:00pm
2: pieces of chocolate/peanut butter fudge consumed
Too embarrassed to give the number of times I checked my email
And that number just increased by one
And now two

10,315: number of NaNo words written
39,685: words to go

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 7

I’m still slowly working to catch up so that I’m not a day behind on my word quota. Yesterday was a great day! I managed to write about 2400 words, which closes the gap just a bit, and today I’ve already written about 700 words, and that’s before naps and my usual nightly writing time. I’d love to get caught up so that I’m on pace by the weekend. I hate being behind; it’s suffocating. But I have to say, this whole word count thing is really motivating. I’m not sure if I would have been able to push through this story without it. There are some parts that move kind of slow—mostly at the beginning. Things are beginning to pick up, though. The majority of the book is going to be fueled by rumors, which I’m setting up right now. Once the drama gets going it should be easier to write, especially since dialogue in the form of yelling will be involved.

I think it’s poignant that the easiest part of writing (for me) comes through arguments. That’s when my mind works the fastest, I type the fastest, and my writing is literally On Fire. I also think that says something about me, which is kinda sad. Is it bad that I WANT my characters to fight so I’ll reach my quota?

Here’s to rumors, and yelling, and pre-teen girl catfights.

Time: 2:45pm

1: pieces of chocolate/peanut butter fudge consumed
12+: number of times email checked for grad exam results
9,064: number of NaNo words written
40,936: words to go

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 6

I can’t believe it is day six already. Usually Novembers drag on and on. And that whole time change mess doesn’t help. I mean, who wants it to get dark at 5pm? I feel like I should go to sleep after dinner. I can’t wait until Christmas, then it can jump straight to May for all I care.

I’m in the midst of problems with my character’s voices right now. The main character is 11, and I feel like I’m writing above my intended audience (9-11) year old girls. They are sounding more like 13 or so to me. I’m trying to bring my writing down some, but it’s hard. It’s always recommended that you read a lot of books in the age bracket you write for, and well, I can’t tell you the last time I read a book for an eleven-year-old.

Okay that’s a lie, because I just realized that right now I’m reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, which is one of those classics I somehow missed when I was a kid. So maybe everything is okay after all, and I’m just second-guessing myself. That happens a lot when you’re writing. After “The Giver” I’m on to the amazing Maureen Johnson, who I’ve heard so much about but have yet to read something by.

Goal for the day: to remember that NaNoWriMo is about quantity of words, not quality of writing. Revising and second-guessing are for December.

Time: 1:20pm
1: Dr. Pepper Float from Sonic
2: pieces of Halloween candy consumed
8: number of times email checked for grad exam results
9: number of times email checked for grad exam results

6,289: number of NaNo words written
43,711: words to go

Yes, I’m still a day behind.

Monday, November 5, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 5

I mentioned the other day that, when I’m writing, I give the voices in my head complete control. Well, you probably won’t be surprised to know that I talk to myself, too. Really, even when I’m not writing, the voices talk, and I talk back.

This morning I was getting ready to go out, fixing my hair and whatnot, and I started talking to someone in my head. Like, if I saw this person today, I imagined what they would say and what I’d say back. And I realized, after a few minutes, I was having a whole conversation in my mind that didn’t even exist. Thankfully I can “write off” that kind of behavior, because I consider it part of my job. It’s research, honestly. But still strange, especially now that I’m aware of it. J

In the meantime, Kathryn Kennedy did a great job with the NaNo article in the Reflector on Saturday, and I heard that it was even passed around my family reunion in my absence. What I’m not supposed to know is that the only reason it made it to the reunion was because someone was using it to line the car so their dish wouldn’t spill. But I forgive them . . . it’s better than lining the dog crate, which is where my newspapers usually end up!

Thanks to everyone who’s keeping track of me this month! I’m feeling the pressure, really.

Time: 2:30pm
2: pieces of Halloween candy consumed
1: pieces of chocolate/peanut butter fudge consumed
5,118: number of NaNo words written
44,882: words to go

Sunday, November 4, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 4

Quick update in lieu of Sunday afternoon and the fact that there’s family in town. I just wanted to give a special “shout-out” to the DH I’m not supposed to mention in this blog. If I’m doing 30 days of NaNo, he’s heading for 30 days of Giving.

The other day he handed me a book I’d been wanting to read forever. He’d bought it just for me. Last night as I was climbing into bed I pulled back the sheets and . . . another book from my list! And this morning, he was asking my permission to throw a box away, and he kept asking (but there were people talking so I assumed he didn’t hear me). I stormed into the dining room and almost shouted, “Just throw the stupid box away!” But I followed his eyes to my piano, and there was some music I wanted.

So I have to wonder, what is in store for tomorrow?

Here’s to surprises, and the wonderful DH who spoils me in so many ways.

NaNo Stats:

Time: 2:25pm
1: pieces of chocolate cake consumed
3: pieces of Halloween candy consumed
2,657: number of NaNo words written
47,343: words to go

And yes, I’m behind. As of midnight tonight, I should be at 6,668 words. Well see how that goes. Um, yeah. We’ll see.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 3

I’m slowly but surely getting back on track. Now that I’m home, I’m back to my afternoon and midnight writing routine. Thank Goodness, because any more days like the previous two and I’ll be lucky to make it past the first chapter by the 30th.

When I start writing a new book, there’s always an “experimenting” stage. I’m writing and trying to move the story along, but I’m also trying to gauge who my characters are going to become. In the beginning I always know the most about my central character. In my NaNo book, her name is Kimi. Before I started writing about her I knew what she liked and hated, her relationship with the people around her, her favorite color and that she would have a hard time adjusting to middle school. Nothing I’ve written about her really surprises me, yet. It’s the other characters I’ve introduced (her two best friends, so far) that I’m learning a lot about. For instance, last night I was writing dialogue (my favorite!) between the friends, and one of them came out and said something so snappy. I literally stopped what I was writing and thought, “I can’t believe she just said that!” I have a feeling this girl is going to give me some trouble, seriously.

I do outline my books so I know where the story is headed, but they are all character-driven. I don’t stick with that outline if it means changing who my characters are becoming from chapter to chapter. And yes, they always do something that surprises me. That’s just what happens when you give the voices in your head complete control. It’s exciting, and probably my favorite part of the process.

So far, so good!

NaNo Stats:

Time: 2:05pm
2: loads of laundry done
2: pieces of chocolate cake consumed
1,517: number of NaNo words written
48,483: words to go

Friday, November 2, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Every writer knows that there are days where it’s just not fun to write; where we do whatever we can to keep from writing. It’s amazing what happens on those days: dishes are washed, laundry is folded, dust bunnies vanish into thin air. (Stop by my house unexpectedly and you’ll see that those days don’t come often.) But last night, yes, I had an opportunity to write and I didn’t take it—and not because I didn’t WANT to write, there was just this HUGE distraction: my parent’s bathroom.

Now, I probably shouldn’t talk about my parent’s bathroom in my blog, but I have to because that’s my excuse for not reaching my daily NaNo word quota: I wasted way too much time in there last night. The room itself is nothing short of amazing: a small TV, a big bathtub, lots of mirrors and miraculous lighting. Everywhere I looked, there were soaps, and facial masks, and . . . loofahs! I know . . . loofahs. What self-respecting female could pass all that up?

I walked in and was immediately sucked into its nasty clutches. I took one look in my mom’s magnifying mirror—the kind that shows the pores ON your pores—and realized: my eyebrows looked pathetic. I mean, really, I know I was working really hard to wrap up my last book, but what had I let myself become? It was embarrassing. And so I tweezed. And tweezed. And tweezed.

Honestly, I’m such a weak person. But let me tell you: the distraction was Kind Of worth it.

NaNo Stats:

Time: 2:35pm
24: teeth bleached
10: manicured fingernails
2: beautiful eyebrows
1: cucumber mask applied

257: NaNo words written
49,743: words to go
1: promise to do MUCH better tomorrow

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Leave it to fate to begin my November with the Busiest Weekend Ever. The Distractions abound. First, I’m at my parent’s house for the next two days watching the little brother while they are out of town, and second, the toddler is sick. This means whining, clinging, and no naps. It means that in order to get the child asleep, I have to be in bed by 9pm with her. Unfortunately my writing time is from 11pm to 1am. Does anyone besides me see a problem with this?

I know. But there is always a bright side. In this case, it’s good food, a king-size bed, continuous hot water, and an Ab Lounger. Maybe I should pretend I’m on vacation….

I did, however, open Word and save my NaNo book file. There is also a title, and my name.

Time: 1:40pm
Number of Words: 11

Only 49,989 words to go.