Thursday, December 2, 2010

All's Well...

...and I WON!  For the third year in a row, I have WON the NaNoWriMo!  I have three certificates on my wall to testify to that.   This year I was more sporadic in my writing unlike the last two years when I wrote some every single night.

This year I also did over 90% of my writing OUT of home.  I found that I had the best luck at a couple local spots, with fellow WriMos.   I tried something new - alternating "chapters", the first taking place in present time, the next in biblical times and so on.    The idea was that they'd sort of meld together at the end.

It was a learning experience.  I learned:  DON'T EVEN TRY THAT!  It was pretty stupid, and now that I HAVE gotten over 55,000 words written I can say with confidence that what I have is TWO entirely crappy pieces of dreadful writing, each about half the length of a NaNo.  I'm thinking of letting the biblical one sort of wizzle away and putting some effort into the "present day" one.  I suppose at some point I could try to resurrect (there's a joke there; I'll tell ya later) the biblical one, although it's going to take some SERIOUS cleaning-up. 

Like - this is not a "taking a little plastic bag and a pooper-picker as I bring the story out for a walk".  Oh no.  This will be like "hiring a garbage truck with one of those enormous scoops on the back as I tear along behind the out-of-control story."  For starters - the Crucifixion figures in.......but the whole thing takes place in ancient Egypt.  What's that?  Jesus wasn't crucified in Egypt?  OY VEY!!!  (See what I mean?)

But I have to say - I'm inspired enough to actually be considering going back to clean up the present tense part of the story......AND considering going back to last year's (which I also didn't finish -- did I mention that I'm still plodding toward the end of this year's novel?) and finishing that one for further editing. 

In 2008 I DID finish the story, and while I haven't read it probably since right after NaNo that year, I remember it fondly, and by gum I might take that back out too!

Here's how I see it:   I'll get a day-glo orange camouflage pattern jump suit and hat.  I"ll go wait out in the middle of nowhere with a tent, and I'll pack in a bunch o' food, and I'll line up all three stories and let 'em go.  Then I'll tear after 'em shooting, and if I can bring 'em down....I'll haul 'em home for butchering.

But for now?  Think I'll watch "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" or wossname.

NaNoWriMo Survivor party Sunday next at Brocach.  I'll be there!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Behind the Door...

This is a Writing Blog - and I'm writing.  But at this moment I'm using this space as my Secret Place Behind the Door;  I can safely vent here because so few know of its existence (none of the people I'm about to mention, though not by name) and I'm overcome with a fierce desire to speak my piece:

It's Thanksgiving 2010 and 6:30 AM.  We've done Thanksgiving the same in my house for something like 25 years.  My three children have been here, they KNOW the routine.  A couple of weeks ago I sent reminders:  please be here at 2:00, bring the usual (the one daughter-in-law makes the ever-present green bean casserole; the other, being a relatively new daughter-in-law, can bring whatever she'd like - last year she surprised and delighted us with a vegetable and barbecued ribs!  Her new husband, my son, likes 'em.  So did we all.)

My daughter brings delicious pie.  We put a huge table in the living room, I use my grandmother's Spode, and I love it.  It means a lot to me and having all three of my children together with me at once is a once-a-year event.

Did I mention that it's 6:30 AM Thanksgiving Day?  Did I mention that I'm in tears?  I thought I'd raised courteous, thoughtful children.  Son #1:  his son, my grandson, was in the hospital for pneumonia and just came home Monday (today is Thursday).  He finally called back last night -- they may NOT be coming.  Not because the boy is still poorly, no - "he's back to his usual annoying self", he said (fondly).  NO -- seems HER mother is having HER Thanksgiving at 2:00 today too, and after all these years, they may get priority.  The reason?  Well see, her dad needs help with his car and my son can help.  (I'll pause so that can be given some thought.)

The other son?  Well...his wife (who declared to me very recently that nothing is as important as family) replied that he has to work Wednesday night and MAY have to work Thursday night (emphasis mine) so they probably aren't coming either.  I can appreciate his having to work - but his wife and my stepgrandchildren and/or grandchildren (all of whom I love - and to whom "family is important") apparently aren't coming either.

So the only sure thing?  My daughter, our dear young friend, my husband and I are assured of an excellent meal with much laughter and joy and leftovers.

My tears will dry.   Knowing myself as I do, my sadness over terribly hurt feelings will turn to the realization that they're all behaving in a boorish and discourteous way - then I'll become angry.  Then - my daughter, our friend, my husband and I will have a nice meal.    Right now, still in tears, I"m fantasizing calling the boys and saying "Your behavior is discourteous and hurtful.   Please think about my feelings in future."

I won't.  I actually have no idea what I will do - but perhaps later I'll return and set forth what transpired.  I guess I'll stash these feelings - they may come in useful for a character some day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You Asked for It....??

OK, my friend James (HI JAMES) gave me an idea. No...TWO ideas. So I've started to implement the one, and the other will follow:

1) After my description of a particularly embarrassing evening some years ago, he said "That'd make a pretty good short story....";

2) He said, "I post writing on my blog, whyn't you do that thing?"

So the short story is about done, and you will see it here. Now - when *I* say "short" I may not mean the same thing you do. For one thing, I'm short, and the meaning of it is clear. I'm 4'11". That's short, unless you're eight years old or a Hobbit.

Regarding stories, however -- "short" for me may be "novella" for someone else; therefore, my story may be posted in chunks. We'll see.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Writing Blogs....

There are a few. This is one of them. When I'm here it's my Children's Writer mode; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators member mode. The one who won the NaNoWriMo with over 50,000 words (but no end of the story in sight). Oy vey.

However, if you're into things like checking dates, you'll see that it's been a very VERY long time since I've written, which belies my description as "writer". I apologize.

My explanation (NOT "excuse") is....BUSY. But as I write today, NaNoWriMo is last month and therefore history; the "busy" has been working at the Museum, spending some family time, preparing for the holidays (takes SOME, when you celebrate Chanukah....Solstice....Yule....and Christmas) and today is the day-before-the-day-before Christmas.

So I'm not going to write much now either, but did want to point out that the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated and I will write a proper Post in the next few days.

To stave the guilt I'll include here a brief rant.

I've been given three books by my boss at the Museum who manages the shop; he asked me to read them and give an opinion about whether or not they might be good books to carry in a Historical Museum gift shop.

Seems all three were self-published. Now, they LOOK good; professional-looking covers, good typefaces, all in all nicely turned out. The two I've finished are not bad stories. One is sort of "memories of life in early Wisconsin" and is charming; the other is a young people's novel and a good, hearty tale. The third is very thick and I'm not finished reading it.

But they all share one thing in common: they're DREADFUL! By which I mean, the punctuation is terrible, they're full of either spelling errors or typos or both (I prefer to think they're typos, NOT spellling errors....). And I mean both kinds of error are frequent enough that they're a real distraction to me. Admittedly, I see errors like that as if they were neon red, but I'm of the thought that people assume what they're reading is 100% accurate - and they have a right to.

The kid book? Well, aspiring youngsters looking to become writers might subconsciously be learning from every book they read. I suspect that none of these three books was proofread by anyone qualified - including authors themselves. I'm not suggesting that they pay for an expensive editor or proofreader; I AM suggesting that no one who is self-publishing (be it online or any other way) who does NOT at least run their manuscripts past other writers or a review group or ... heck, their Retired English Teacher Grandmaw! before putting out money (which I suspect might have been considerable in one case) to produce their book, is remiss.

I'm thinking they may sell some copies, if they offer them through their churches or social groups. I'm also thinking that if they try to sell them through their own public or school libraries they WILL be reviewed, and will receive the same response I had.

That's it; that's my rant. Puts me in an interesting position, because I AM going to drop each writer a note - it'll be a test of my diplomacy to explain my position, but I can't not, if you ken my meaning. I would certainly want the truth if it were my book.

The fact that "there may be no chance anyone else will notice" isn't good enough for me.

Any thoughts? (By the way -- I AM aware of my use (over-use?) of semi-colons. I love them and use them now and then. Maybe too much....bear with me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Time Marches On....

Oh wait, that's a cliche, isn't it? And it's only three words. Lemme see here.... OK. "Time groaned ever forward in the method which had propelled humanity toward its ultimate finality, relentless and unforgiving."


SEE what this NaNoWriMo stuff does to you? Why use one word when you can use 15 ridiculous, florid, overblown and unnecessary ones? I mean, REALLY!

OK, not going to take too much time here because I have a Writing Meeting arranged and some stuff to do before I go.

Let's see -- I'm long past the birth, the death and the nekkud priest. The body's buried, and the baby with her -- but only it wasn't THE baby, which is still alive and being nursed by the Priestess who has never herself been a mother made!! (That happened in my last year's novel too....hmmmm.) He's learned that the goddess to whom the baby was promised is NOT EGYPTIAN (!) so he ... and the priestess...must take her to Greece, only it's "Hellas" because that sounds cooler.
At this moment they have finally gotten on the boat, though it hasn't pushed off yet. And they've decided they have to Give Up Everything and travel as a lower-middle-class family. And he's decided the tyke is going to be easier to conceal and will have a better early life in general if they disguise her as a boy!

The high dray-ma is almost too much for me, truth telling. Seems like the story is about half-way, if there's going to be much going on with them when they actually get to Gree....uh....Hellas.

Today's On Track Word Count: 33,340
MY actual word count: 36,122 !

Tonight covering both of my passions: writing on the novel from about 5:30 - 9:00 (when Barriques closes) then out to The Sow's Ear to knit until 11:00 when THEY close. I may do some surreptitious novelling while there too - there's another badge for that!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

(the sound of shackles falling away)....

I gave my presentation! And lived to tell about it (more or less). I did a final terror-ridden immersion type attempt to get my notes in order and thoughts cognizant right up to the last minute (which included fleeing out to the car because there was a chap in our dorm, where I went expecting no one to be there. He was fussing around in his stuff and whistling. Very melodic but very repetitious, same phrase over and over. I was howling some VERY unlady-like things at him top volume (but only in my head; I am a LADY).

I was pretty disappointed in myself. Felt like it was choppy, disconnected, farbled, garbled and wonky. But several people came up "afters" and said nice things. Well, I have time to really polish and streamline before delivering it at the senior center (where I have the great advantage of an audience of interested, curious people - who likely do NOT know waaaay more about it than I do!). That NAVC crowd is a tough audience, what with every single one of 'em being Knowledegeable with a capital "K".

So now, instead of being AHEAD on NaNoWriMo.......I'm behind! Therefore I'm briefly updating blogs and then hunkering down (isn't that a great phrase, I can just SEE it) and trying to catch up and move ahead.

TIP to MYSELF: arrange for meals. I'm quite brilliant at describing tables full of comely, beautiful dishes and table settings, &c at GREAT LENGTH (which is, after all, the name o' the game). No new word count to list yet, but watch this space!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oh am I going to pay....

I guess it was bound to happen. TWO important projects. One human being. (That human being being me.) I've alluded to my incredible Olympic powers of Procrastination. Well, it's turned into a beast and it's gnawing...GNAWING, I tell you...on my behind.

Here's the scoop: I'm working on this program. It's an oral presentation, sort of a lecture. I found out when it has to be given: 3:00 pm tomorrow. And it's not an hour.......I have an hour and a half. (I wonder how early I can ask for questions?)

I'm not ready for it. Now, I DO have the rest of today and some time tomorrow to work on it, but there are other things going on that I'm going to want to hear, and people to visit whom I only see once a year. And meals (believe me, the meals are reason enough to go!)

On the OTHER hand -- I have NOT neglected my NaNoWriMo novel (Bulwer-Lytton still has nothing to fear) and my daily word count is:

11,085. Boo-yah!