Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Has Begun..........

The count-down, that is. OK - I've only done ONE of the warm-up exercises. I think what I'm going to do is try a couple of warm-ups on my own; with thanks to Jen, who had her excellent idea of even DOING a warm-up, might I add. I'm glad to have the book (the aforementioned "The 3 AM Epiphany") and will be referring to can't have too many writing books.

Wait - that sounds like "an addict can't have too many empty pill bottles". Oh well.

Anyway, the next 48 hours (give or take) which precede the beginning of NaNoWriMo are going to be busy. I think that's good.......the bloke who Started It All says that being busy engenders more writing, and I can see that. I think sitting down and clearing the decks to write without distraction - in this case - might not be the plus one might think.

So today -- and please note, I'm writing at 4:30 AM (what are you, CRAZY? I take the 5th). The alarm is set for 5:00 AM, because we have to put on funny clothes and report to the teevee station at 6:15. After our Stint (ending before 7:00 AM) we get to come home and nap, and I think I probably will. Then we report to the Museum, again in funny clothes, for tours and Halloween hijinks. That concludes in participation in a reception for teachers -- we'll wander around being part of the "Odd Wisconsin" exhibit.

After THAT I have my class on Childhood in the Middle Ages, which is pretty much fascinating and after only one class is proving, I think, to be the source of details and information which might be useful for future writing projects. After THAT (!) I'm going to stop for a few minutes at Barriques, a coffee house on Monroe Street, at which some of the local fellow NaNos are getting together for a Yay! Rah! in anticipation.

Friday has more stuff, although I'm too lazy to go get my daybook to see what at this point. And of course, I have to finish decorating for Halloween and prepare for the expected mobs of little Sarah Palins I imagine appearing at our door for their yummies. (Mr Dearling laid in a good supply of yummies which we particularly like, in the event that we have left-overs. LOVE it!)

In fact......I'm tempted to go in there and nibble me a sample. But if I go into the kitchen, reGARDless of the time, I'll get caught up in the Feline Feeding Frenzy and it's just too early.

So - all for now, but I'm going to try to keep notes here throughout the month. Lawsy knows, I've been falling down something grim on the knitblog, although I am semi-steadily moving toward completion of the Dr Who scarf, and I'll report the completion of it on both blogs. On account of, 'cause it's a genuine, real, authorized and documentable Big Deal.

Let's see...should I nap for 20 minutes?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Whole 'nother Level!

Yep, I've won it - the Olympic Gold for Procrastination. Having said that, I present here my FIRST warm-up exercise as assigned by Jen. The hard part was keeping it to 600 words; it's the #29 exercise from "The 3 AM Epiphany". For your pleasure I present:

Mrs. Whittier

Mrs. Whittier seated herself at the table, placed her napkin in her lap and watched as Eleanor poured her tea. Setting the teapot back, she lifted the covered Haviland dish and asked “Sausages, Ma’am?”

“No…no, Eleanor, this will do.” Eleanor studied her mistress for a moment, then turned and went back to the kitchen. Almost instantly, she heard the chiming of the little bell, and hurried back to the table.

“Eleanor, my daughter is dead. We must make arrangements. The wake will, of course, be held here. I’d like you to arrange for the undertaker to bring her body, and see that the parlor is prepared; he will tell you what he needs for the laying-out. And Eleanor – spare no expense. I must have a large black wreath for the door.”

Eleanor stood, uncertainly, then quietly retired to begin the preparations. She heard Mrs. Whittier whisper something, but decided it was not for her ears.
Mrs. Whittier had said “Draped in sable….like her hard, wretched heart.”

The night before, her daughter had come to supper, stalking in ahead of her family, and announcing “We cannot stay long, Mother.” Her husband Edgar had whispered “Sorry” as he kissed his mother-in-law’s cheek, and the little boy and smaller girl had eagerly embraced her, one on each side, as she bent to kiss their heads.

Margot led the way to the dining room, and arranged her skirts around her as she seated herself at the end of the table; her husband helped the little ones to their chairs and held Mrs. Whittier’s chair before taking his own seat across from the children, at her right.

“I trust you’ve spared no expense for the menu? You must know, my only pleasure these days is your occasional invitation for a decent meal. Lord knows I can’t return your hospitality unless you favor cold ham and biscuits. A clerk’s salary doesn’t stretch very far,” she said, smoothing her napkin over her lap.

Edgar said quietly, “I’m doing well enough, my dear, and I’m not a clerk. Mr. Lawson says I’ll be a partner in the firm one day.”

“Yes, well, I can only hope it’s before all of my gowns have worn completely to shreds.”

Mrs. Whittier had rung her bell, and Eleanor had set before them a very satisfying meal indeed. As instructed, she placed the small crystal bowl of herring at Margot’s place, and Mrs. Whittier said, “I know how much you like herring, Daughter, your shared your affection for it with your dear father, of blessed memory. Eleanor found it at the market – although it was quite dear.”

Margot had emptied the bowl onto her plate with no thought of offering any to others, and devoured the herring greedily.

The conversation during the meal was terse, and in short order, Mrs. Whittier was standing at the door, watching her daughter hasten down the steps and into the hansom cab without a backward glance. Her husband dressed the children against the cold and again embraced Mrs. Whittier. She again kissed the darling children’s little faces, then paused and took Edgar’s shoulders firmly, looking him straight in the eye.

“I have confidence in you, Edgar. You provide very well for you family, their future is secure. I foresee greatness for you, and in time, for the children as well. Brighter days surely are just around the corner.”

Mrs. Whittier remembered the scene as she sat at her tea. Nodding to herself, she lifted the cat to her lap, and, stroking its back, said to it, “Do you suppose that herring really had turned?”

(598 words!)

Monday, October 20, 2008


I've heard that fact, I've heard that really the very BEST authors....procrastinate. Now, don't get me wrong, I am NOT putting myself in that category. I gave my opinions on procrastinating as it applies to me last time. it is Monday again, and again I have an assignment as a warm-up for NaNo, and it is clearly obvious that I did NOT finish and post Warm-Up Exercises one OR two before going to the Conference. And guess what? The third one's not here either.

All righty, then. The Very Next Post you see here will be the first assignment, followed in turn by numbers 2 and 3.

And yes, it WILL be before the turn of the century.

I hope.

Just sayin'.


PS: the Writers' Retreat was all I had hoped for -- and more. So even though I haven't posted any writing *here* yet, I really did come home with inspiration, understanding of a great deal, and enthusiasm - not to mention having had the uncommon pleasure of hearing two of the best writers of children's stories... Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles) and Linda Sue Park (A Single Shard, which won the Newbery). I didn't know to expect it, but being in the presence of highly successful authors like that was as inspiring as anything I could imagine. I wondered if I might come away feeling really *down* and inept, but I did not. The whole thing was most excellent.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


OK - I now have TWO Monday assignments, and it's clear that there is nothing here yet of a writerly nature ! Believe it or not, I'm NOT procrastinating (although believe me when I say, if it were an Olympic sport I could serve dinner for twelve on my gold medals....with soup); no, it's just that after a false start (about seven pages' worth) I decided to rewrite the first one, and the second is "in the works".

I will say, however, that I'm liking that book a great deal, and owe Jen for introducing it to me.

WARNING: Gratuitous whining ahead: I'm preparing to go to the SCBWI Fall Retreat day-after-tomorrow. Now, I've never been before (Anxiety #1). I have to decide what written pieces to take along (Anxiety #2). I'm going to be surrounded by REAL writers, and what's worse, professionals (Anxiety #3).

I *expect* to come home energized, knowledgeable in new ways, inspired and having met all sorts of wonderful new people. I ALSO *expect* that there's a reasonable chance I'll be found out as a Totally Phony POSER (or, as we say in French, "poseur").
But it is my intention (isn't that what the Road to....oh nevermind) to finish both pieces and post them here before departing.

Watch this space!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What was that exercise???

OK, so the challenge was, Jen said, on Mondays she'd give us the number of an exercise from "The 3 A.M. Epiphany", and we'd have the week to write it. Excellent, says I to Me, warm-ups for the NaNoWriMo. I can for SURE use that!

So I got the book, turned to #29 as instructed, and -- Wednesday morning -- began to write. And discovered a few things about myself.

To wit: 1) Getting an idea wasn't TOO hard. Not a breeze, but I managed. 2) Once I actually sat down and began writing, the story formed itself up quite nicely. 3) As I'd thought, my best writing time is going to be after 10:30 pm (and I'm determined to carve a hunk o' time during the day too, and stick to it).

But here's what's happened so far: I didn't finish in time to post the story here Friday, and - more to the point - in finishing today....(I've only a little left to do)....I see that I'm a little over the required 600-word limit.

In fact, I'm 1,401 words over the limit.

What is this, some kind of a joke??

Thursday, October 9, 2008

And so it begins.......

Day One of Blog! It's Thursday night; tomorrow I will post here my first Writing Exercise, which I'm doing with a group of folks in preparation for NANOWRIMO. I am officially registered (I need to find out how you add little banners at the side of blogs). The first exercise (yeah, due tomorrow, I'm writing this at 11:45 pm - do ya s'pose I should BEGIN ??) {ahem} is # 29 from "3 AM Epiphany". I'm doing these warm-ups to establish for myself a dedicated writing time and to limber up, lubricate and activate the Imagination Cells.

I will here admit to considerable nervousness, coupled with a grim determination. The fact that I'm about to start two four-week classes, I'm preparing for the SCBWI Fall Retreat (another new experience), and I have to research a character I'm to portray at the Museum -- and I need to finish the Dr Who scarf I'm working on. Eight feet down, about four to go. Oy.

Tomorrow - Warm-Up Exercise Number One.