Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Over and Done

Go me! I Am Done! Three books, four weeks, 30 days, etc.

Oh, and a package arrived today from Amazon... I know what I'm going to do for the rest of the week.

And then in January, I'll look these books over and start the rewrites, the revisions, the edits; in other words, back to normal programming.

For now, I'm off to play in the kitchen and have myself a celebratory drink. Cheers to all those who tried and succeeded, and to those who tried and didn't quite make it - you made the effort, which is a lot more than can be said for those who criticised or dismissed the project as worthless.

It's not. Its about the words, it's about the social networking, the interaction and improving your talents from last year, or developing them; it's about becoming a better writer.

Congratulations to all who participated.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Last gasps of a marathon

Another rainy day with the addition of wind - the weather, not mine - so I had a pleasant day's writing while catching the NFL football.

Read some Nano-hater stuff and blew a raspberry - some people just don't get it.

So, last day tomorrow. And the last chapter of the book. It could be 5k, it could be more, but it will be done.

For some, tomorrow will be a marathon to midnight, for others, they've finished and doing their happy dance; for me, it's another three books in the bag to sit and rest until revisions, rewrites and edits in January.

Not that I shall be doing nothing in December. I'll take a few days off to let the keyboard cool down, but then, it's back to editing previously written works.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Twelve k. to the end.

It's been raining here, so I wrote quite a bit today.

Some of it is a load of carp, but I think it has solid undertones. I'm slipping into passive sentences and repetitive words, and I think I've managed to mix up a couple of the characters.

But that's okay, that's what re-writes are for and expected this late in the month when the creativity well is at a low ebb.

Tomorrow I'll be aiming at finishing the story and writing an epilogue on Tuesday morning. Then Nano will be over. I'm looking forward to not facing the blank page every morning and thinking on what to write for the day.

For this day, I am done and in a position finish the book and I'm ready for a nice glass of anti-oxidants; that would be the Merlot.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Closing in on the end

Out of internet range yesterday and had a relaxing time of it babysitting a niece and nephew; and enjoyed the break, even as I wrote the minimum and then some.

Writing isn't everything, nor is it the be all and end all. Three days to go. For those short of 50k, it's time to man up and do the rest. Mean of me? Why... no.

Sure, I have an impressive word count, but I worked hard for it. I sat down every single day and wrote. Just like, mmm... less than twenty percent of the people who signed up for Nano.

One thousand, six hundred and sixty-six words, every day for a month. Not such an impossible task. It's not.

If you want to be an author, it's less than what you should be doing, every single day. The majority of people who don't finish find all manner of excuse not to write. Even those who complete the challenge, find a reason not to finish the book, or who see their accomplishment as a book.

But then, Nano is also for those who want to see if they can write 50k. And I'm not disparaging the success of those who complete the challenge.

Unfortunately, some of those writers - for some reason - believe that 50k is a book. It's not. Three quarters of book, but... not a book.

For those who do Nano, December 1 is not the time to have a squealie fan-girl moment about how brilliant they are completing 50,000 words and immediately send it off to a publisher or editor. If you feel the need, STOP!

The last thing these hard workers need is to be deluged by writers who have just finished three quarters of a book and think it's fabulous and ready for publication. It is, at the basic level, a first draft; the bare bones of a book in need of editing and rewriting.

Let your work rest. Enjoy the month of Christmas and all that comes with the season, but let the work rest.

Come January, re-evaluate what you've written and decide whether it's worth sending off. Distance will give you a chance to forget what you've written and you can go back with a fresh, critical eye.

Nano, for some, is seeing whether they have what it takes to write the 50k; for others, it is a genuine attempt at writing a book, testing whether it is what they want to do on a professional level. For the editors and agents, it is three months of hard slog and rejection-slip sending; it is time taken away from true gems.

So. This last weekend, throw the relatives out of the house, determine to finish the book regardless of protests that you're not good enough, it's a waste of time or to get a real job.

This is the greatest challenge: can you or can you not, write a book? Will it be of any great moment to you if you don't finish? Or is it a hobby? Simply something to pass the time? To write 50k words and discard them? What is your choice? To be an author or dismissively write the words and reject Nano as too easy?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Okay, so much for melodrama...

Losing a day's work is annoying in the extreme. How I managed to end up with two different file names with the same text, I don't know; but it happened. And I backed up, right before opening the file I needed. I think I screwed something up during the construction of the validation file.

I've made notes on what I remember and will have a shot at reconstructing the scenes later, like maybe December.

I'm not looking at this as a disaster, but an opportunity to improve yesterday's writing during the re-write.

Sure, I could weep and wail, protest the injustice of it all and, gnash my teeth, beat my tiny fists on the ground... actually, that sounds tempting... but I won't. I'm a growed up, machure enuff to accept that which I cannot change - the loss of the file. I can, instead, move on and not worry about it until I get back to it.

Bugger it!!

Moving day for dogs - a cautionary tail

Sometimes, with all the writing I'm doing, I need a break; one that usually involves a snicker or two, or a good laugh.

So, if you need something to giggle over:

Read this.

Or you could go over to Jill Shalvis' blog and watch a baby Panda sneeze. Who knew such a small creature could make such a noise?

Now, I need to go make some words, or this book will never be done.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One word after another

Day 24. Not so long to go and I have a need to stop. A thought that no one would blame me this late in the month. I've got the 50k and more, so much more. It's not that important, I've completed the challenge.

I'm tired, my fingers ache and the laptop is warmer than it's supposed to be. I can shut down for a day, can't I? Say I'll write the rest of it later? Like, oh, January.

But, no. If I do that, I'll change the context, it won't flow - and I've done it before; the book read like two different ones.

So, I'll plug away, one word after another, one sentence after another, a paragraph, a page, a scene, a chapter.

And this time next week, I'll be done. Whether this final book is, well... I don't know. But I'll write until it is done. Then I can rest - and catch up with all the chores I've neglected.

Weird. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1111 posts

Hmm... this is the one thousand, one hundred and one-ty one-th post.

It's also late in the evening, and I'm tired. I have six and a half days to go to finish the book; taking into consideration that writing will probably not be happening while babysitting two small, excitable children; five and a half if I count the afternoons lost to work - which I don't because I can catch up if the story goes well.

And at this stage of the game, it's a very big 'if'. I paused tonight because I'm not entirely sure of what happens next - always a bad place to be.

I guess with a good night's sleep and no football to distract me, I might come up with something nifty. If not...

Monday, November 22, 2010


I'm trying to build in some extra time before the end of Nano, so I'm working my ring off.

This challenge is no longer shiny, but hard work and not only changing the gender of the main character, but the POV is proving much more difficult than I expected. I'm only a little over a quarter done with this one, with eight complete days left.

I've also decide to split the book - no, not like the first two - this is more half one character, half the second character and another change in POV.

All I can do is follow where they lead and hope it all works in the end... which is closing in fast.

I'd like to ask where November went, but my keyboard would be only too happy to tell me, and using harsh language to do it. It's going to have to suck it up, because tomorrow, more is coming.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The veggie patch is exploding with green and yellow; green tomato plants with their bright yellow flowers.

I have green tomatoes that are slowly turning to red. I'm finally keeping an eye on them and hadn't realised that, with all the rain, the plants would take the opportunity to run amok.

Even the Brussel Sprouts plants have huge leaves on them - love my Brussels, but it's supposed to be too warm for them; but I ain't telling them. I have towering onions, a spread of potatoes, one carrot - I think - some garlic, snow peas and small zucchini (courgettes). There are other things growing, but until I see what, I have no idea.

I spent some time plucking weeds out of the patch and come December, it behooves me to make a serious effort on those weeds - they are taking up resources.

I'm rather pleased with it all. Last season, I planted crops to revitalise the soil, without expecting produce - and that's exactly what I got, nuthin'. But the soil this year is marvie. The roses and camellias attract the bees and they get a side order of veggie flowers. Me, I get the beautiful flowers and product from the garden, or at least I will soon.

With the garden, so with this last book. I had a good, long day of writing. Hopefully, tomorrow will be equally as fruitful since I ended mid scene.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hard Yards

Not the best of days for numerous reasons. None of which I can speak to.

So, ten days... nine days to write another eighty or so words. Ten k a day, with one day spare. Yeah... no. I'll come close, but not finish the third book.

It's one I delayed writing because of, well, poor planning really. The first book could not be completed in under 150k so I split it, added more words.

Planners, plotters and outliners don't have this problem, it's all laid out, so my frustration levels are rising, because outlining doesn't work for me; I've tried it on numerous occasions. I guess I just don't have the discipline for it. At least until after I've set down the first draft.

The breath of the final day is beginning brush the back of my neck and I know, as the day draws closer, the more temperamental I'll become.

There is no shame in not finishing this book on time, I can complete it in December, but it means extra work and pushing back the relaxation stuff.

November is tough, but continuing on into a second month would be brutal. There are enough days to gamble with, to do some power writing, but it's a last resort. Some days are diamonds, others are complete bastards, but the reward at the end is... magic.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The second ending.

And so, I left off wondering how I was going to write an extra 30k to make up the rest of the book. I figured I’d leave it short, work in a few extra scenes in the re-write and edit. It’s exciting finding out the characters story as they go, but it has its pitfalls as well.

I envy the structured writers, the plotters and outliners, otherwise known as architects. They know what’s coming up and can write the book from there; it works for them. Not so much for me. I’ve tried it and found the story deviating after the third chapter or so. The ending was the same, but the journey was completely different to what I planned. sigh

To the rescue, the subconscious. It is a wonderful thing. It works on a different level, and in secret. I never know what it’s going to come up with and by morning, I had the solution – I had, in fact, already set it up, I’d just forgotten in the mad rush to get the other scenes down. I should make notes as I write so I can refer – she says in a ‘do as I say, not what I do’ moment – to the reference points without pulling my hair out in frustration.

It’s great. Now, I just have to write it, because I cannot jump scenes either. No writing scenes and then fitting them together – that sounds an impossible task, and yet I know writers who do exactly that. I’m a sequential, organic writer.

Writing a book means riding the rollercoaster: torture your characters and then give them a rest before torturing them again. I’m currently in the valley, but it’s time to climb that hill again and hang on.

Then I can get to the book this one delayed. A complete change of perspective and characters and worlds, but the same universe. This is a story I'm looking forward to.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Well, I guess that proves it: it takes more than two days to write a battle scene. I ended up with a body count of more than a hundred, but less than two hundred.

I also discovered a nastiness.

It's funny how you're typing along to what the characters are doing and saying, then come to the same, shocking conclusion they do, when they do. And that's what I love about organic writing: the discoveries along the way.

There is no way I could have come up with that solution if I'd planned it - and, of course, it made a bad situation worse for all involved.

After this book, I think I'll give my characters a rest for a while, at least until the end of the month, heh, heh.

More fighting tomorrow, but on a different battle field. I think I'll wrap this book by the end of the weekend. Yay!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Up the count

Oh, boy. I spent today raising the body count and writing fight scenes. It kept the word count rolling, but it's strangely tiring.

Writing sex scenes or fighting scenes is always a good way to lift the count; the sex, not so much in the second book, the fighting, buckets of it. I managed to wipe out 100 people today, which is quite the accomplishment, I think.

And that is one battle. Tomorrow, the world, the werld!!! Mwahaha!

Yeah, it's been a long day when you start channelling your villain.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Had siblings around for dinner tonight. Although they live in the same geographical area, they rarely catch up - shift work the main culprit.

So we ate good food - well, a slight variation of Jamie Oliver's Pear and Walnut salad with baked fish and chat potatoes with sour cream, followed by profiteroles - and drank our beverages of choice.

All that meant was excellent conversation as we watched a repeat of the Eagles v. Redskins, and a lower word count than I wanted.

But... family is more important than a stinkin' word count. Besides, I'm up to a critical point and multi-tasked - chat and type. See? It is possible to engage in conversation and still get work done.

Of course, I've consumed way too much alcohol, so the editing of the work should prove iner... intris... interesting. Damn, i can't believe how long it's takin... taeken... taken me to 2 w rit e this!

Time fer bed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tightening the screws

Still going along nicely, although I do wonder how I'm going to escalate the conflicts. The more the merrier, is not what I have in mind and I'm trying to avoid the large scale, full on battles. I'm aiming for sneakier route, but I fear it will fail.

How many wars have been avoided by the sneaky side? Or have the minor skirmishes merely built up the body count over a longer time scale? I think I have a kind of amorphous idea, but the execution, well, I'll let the characters do what they must.

A personal war is more intriguing than bit characters fighting and nothing is more personal than loved ones moving closer to the flying bullets.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Middle ground

The end of week two and now the hard work begins.

Writers are weary, wondering if their stories will hold up and reach the 50k. The sleepless nights, the frustration of managing to get computer time, the getting back into the story after work. So many things to make a writer wonder if it's all worthwhile, worth the angst.

And we're only halfway.

The answer is 'yes', it is worth it. It's worth delving into your imagination and finding out what's there; it's worth writing those things down, to see if you are really capable of reaching the target within the designated time limit, worth the pride you'll feel when that blue bar changes to green. And it's worth knowing that, after a month of endeavour, you have a first draft.

You cannot edit what you have not written.

Whether your work, as it stands now, is a load of carp, or the most brilliant thing you can compose, it's still there, ready for the future.

It's time for the hard yards, the toughest week of all. When you feel you've done enough, you've given it your best shot, your story just isn't working for you and you are really tired of it all.

Are you a writer, and plough through the middle of the book, or are you going to come up with all manner of excuse to justify why you're not a writer and think 'next year'?

Writers write; so take a deep breath, stop today's work in the middle of a sentence and carry on, one day at a time, one word at a time. You'll get there, you just have to have faith. In yourself.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sniping sentences

Tough day in the trenches. I couldn't break in to the White House, no matter my research. But I can change that in a rewrite.

I also had a visitor so I spent my time sniping a sentence here, a paragraph there. It's hard not to be rude and say, 'hey, I'm writing here!' Given the research didn't give me what I wanted, the breaks helped in coming up with an alternative solution.

So, I happy. Tired, since it is late, but happy. I think I'll have to kill a character tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

Stop sign, or at least, give way

Sigh. I've suddenly found myself bogged down with research... damn it. As you can imagine, it's slowed my word count down considerably, but I need the information, I can't just put: insert information here, because it's integral to the storyline.

It happens. Running around the White House might be a small part of the story, I haven't decided... or the characters haven't decided yet. This is not a modern day tale, but one of the future, so I think I can fudge a few things, but not a lot. Not unless I add more security and try to bust through it. And my Encarta Encyclopaedia doesn't contain enough information. (What were they thinking to stop online updates? To get rid of Encarta at all? It's brilliant!)

Ah, well. The level of difficulty depends on me and how hard I want to make it for myself. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Back to the grindstone.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I had a productive day. Just not necessarily on the second manuscript. Nope, I was the moozeum today working on the catalogues. Now, after seven months, the online shop is open for business.

I just have to make some adjustments to make 'em look real noice.

As for writing, well I think I've screwed around enough with the build up to the real action. The characters want to get into it and I've decided to let them, but in an orderly fashion, like the catalogues. I have to go through the numbers, set the scenes, the dialogue - and not skip over anything, just because it's not as interesting as the rest! - the characters. Oh, I think someone's got some whoop ass coming at them!

It means I'm looking at a big word count tomorrow, at least I hope so. Roll on 100k!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And now, the next one

Phew. The first book is done and I've continued the story in the second - the rebellion is gathering momentum and I figured I'd split it all into two.

A good thing I change my mind yesterday while thinking up the end of the previous one. I'm guess lots of action - with a tragedy or two tossed in, but I don't know, the characters tell the story, I just type it up.

I have to say, though, I'd forgotten how tiring all this is; maybe that's why it's once a year - to give you time to recover.

I must away to my bed, perchance to dream of revolution and justice for all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perspective shift

Week two and tiredness and frustration drags at the creative process. Real life has a way of interrupting the mooze. Still for all that, I'm heading into writing the last chapter or two tomorrow.

Then it's onward to the second book and a change of character and perspective. Damn but that's a challenge.

Tell me why I decided to do this? Oh, right; because sometimes I think I'm more clever than I actually am and this is my comeuppance. I'll probably change in middle because it's just too difficult.

Or I could change it now and no one would be the wiser; but don't tell anyone...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Wearing down

Today didn't go as well as I expected. Sure, I managed a cool count, but in stops and starts - not the best way to write.

But... that's the thing about writing books, some days are diamonds, some days are coal, but both serve a purpose.

Anyone who thinks this is easy, has never written a book. It's tiring after the mad rush of the first week. I can see from a number of boards that people have stopped after they reach the 50k, an achievement in itself, but then what? Is the book complete or was this just an exercise to see how quickly 50k could be done.

There's also the usual cheating, which serves no one. I guess with the growing popularity of Nano, that was always going to happen - at least I've managed to move past my outrage. And people are too polite to call those alleged writers on their scores of 70k in a day, or 200k, yeah. No. Bullshit. Just... bullshit. There. I said it. Nyah.

I guess I'm grumpy. It's taking too long to get where I want, but the hard yards come before the rolling around in joyous violence and bloodshed. Timing is everything and, like the character, I can feel time is running out. I see that as a positive. Twenty to thirty thousand words more and this book is done.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Lightning strikes

Awesome storm this afternoon! Scared the tripe out of me.

Lightning happens in micro seconds and the only clue I had to a near strike, was the click, or snap, then KABOOM! I think it hit next door, since they have a towering aerial sticking up. It was that close and it's happened before. The scent of ozone blended with that of the sea. Unusual.

We lost power for about thirty seconds, but it didn't matter, the Dallas Cowboys were a long way behind and painful to watch.

So. Nano. Moving along nicely with a third 10k day for the week.

I love it when a story comes together, especially when a murder and coffee are involved. Heh, heh.

More storms are forecast for tomorrow, so I have a fully charged laptop and surge protector.

Write on!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Climbing the dizzying heights of Nano

I have climbed the first mountain: that of reaching the 50k mark. And it feels good. But... this is no time to rest on a laurel, wherever she might be...

Ahem. Anyway. The big battle scenes are some 30k away. For now, it's the build up, the machinations, the careful stepping and revealing of lies and traitors, all to reach the pinnacle and then tear it all down.

But I'm not there yet. Since I promised myself a candy scene, I had a girl fight instead. Dem fists, dey did fly. I also introduced the inevitable moral quandary: the potential sacrifice of one for many. If I work it right, some of the many will, tragically, not survive, but the one will. I mean, it's a little unfair to kidnap someone for the purposes of selling them so others - who haven't earned the right - can have the future they've always dreamed of, but never worked towards.

Maybe I'm just being mean. But hey, the characters are telling the story; I'm just along for the ride.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The continuing grind

Nearly at the BOOYAH stage, but not quite. It's just too damned hard to type while upchucking. Who knew?

Better today and I had a lot more fun. The book is finally starting to roll and I'm beginning to resent having to stop for things like, oh, bathroom breaks, eating, and the bane of my existence, sleep.

Still, it's going well and it's time I posted an excerpt, but not tonight.

Tomorrow. Much violence to be had, vengeance to wreak and consequences to write. Rebellion is brewing and the result will be dire. Who will live and who will die, I wonder.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Chucky day

I managed to write the minimum today, in between upchucking and napping. I guess I ate something that really didn't agree with me. Now, I'm sore and sorry for myself - yeah, that violent.

Nothing stayed down, not my morning cup of tea, not even water. I should be better tomorrow, at least I hope so.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Slow Down

Yeah, bit of a draggin' day today. I didn't start writing until after lunch because of obligations in town that... well, Murphy's Law tends to pop up, doesn't he.

Too much of standing in lines at various shops, waiting nearly an hour for an appointment and generally holding up my day and completely destroying my schedule.

But, hey, life... happens. I'm glad I managed six k. but now, I'm retiring for the evening. I have work tomorrow, so I need to get in as many words as possible in the a.m. before the museum stuff takes me away.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another day, another...

Mm, not a good start to the day, managed only five hundred words before taking off for a physio appointment. I got me a dickey knee and having someone twist and turn and try to tie you into a pretzel to test various ligaments - when your knee hurts already is no picnic.

Still, he worked at the problem and now I have to teach myself a new way of walking. Hell, I did it as a kid, how hard can it be now I'm all growed up? :)

So, because I was quietly pissed off, I came close to killing of characters I'll need later. Yes, the tragedy of it all would boost the book, but... we needs 'em, we wants 'em and they were saved at the last moment.

I just know I'll have to rewrite that entire section, because Nano, you know, is all about writing and not looking back - that way lies madness.

I hope tomorrow will be better, I'm still waiting to get into the groove.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Plodding along

The end of another long day multi-tasking. I know it's time to stop because my fingers are getting confused and I keep going back to correct hte simplest of wrods.

It feels like I've been wallowing in this part of the book forevah, even though the parts are necessary to set up the next scenarios.

The characters are getting way too settled. Tomorrow, it's time to take them out of their comfort zone and se how they react.

Tied up

Another early morning, but I suppose I should rescue my characters. I've left them out in the cold, tied up. In the mountains of Texas. In Autumn.

It's the best way I know to keep a story going: Leave your characters in an unfortunate situation and mull overnight.

I expect they have something to say about it...

Monday, November 01, 2010

A slow jog to start

Okay, I'm done for the day.

I started off at six a.m. and struggled to write a thousand words in two hours. Then I realised tea just wasn't going to cut it and made myself a large mug o' coffee.

It took a while, but the word count slowly rose in fits and starts. The hardest was the first line. I wanted it snappy, to draw the reader in, rather than boost the word count with passive sentences and extra words.

I'm hoping the magic continues. Tomorrow I come to the end of my dot points and from there, it's all about what the characters do and say and when they do and say something.

Should be a hell of a ride!

Oh, and to the Dallas Cowboys: MAN UP!!! I'm just sayin'.