Sunday, November 30, 2008


{ahem} OK, sorry 'bout that. Short post today; I have a story to finish; however, as I sit before you (and before the lovely fire at Starbucks), I am happy to report that I have sailed, soared, trotted, galloped, stomped....across the virtual Finish Line, and I have


Yes, I have over 50,000 words. No, I haven't uploaded it for verification yet; I won't feel like I've *really* finished until I've gotten to the end of the story. I actually have over 52,000 words at this writing, and there'll be more. But I am winding down. My goal is to finish the story, no matter how sloppily (I'm blushing, I should be ashamed of myself) and THEN post it for my official win, for my Purple Band.

So now, I'm Ensconced, and will come back with a proper post when I have Become Official.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And There They Sat.....

41,670 words later, smiling and nodding to each other. Huhn?

Oh, 'scuse me. I'm just back from a five-and-a-half-hour stint of "NaNo-ing" at Starbucks, and that's my word count. That means I'm 8,330 words from The End. Yes indeedy, ladies and gennulmens, I do believe that I am going to WIN the 2008 NaNoWriMo. I think that I AM going to have written a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. And I have to say, "novel" is going to be the word for it, as in "odd", "unique", "unusual"....crappy.

The story line (oh, is there a story line?) is thin. It if stood sideways in a strong wind, it would be invisible. Point of view? Oh, yeah, there should be one. The action should be seen through the eyes of somebody, preferably a character in the story. Or the "omniscient narrator". Can't say as there's any such thing here.

Continuity? Hmmm....credibility? Uhnnn...naw. But I think that somewhere, amidst the blathering of the various characters and general "descriptizing", there may be a beginning, a middle, end. I think there are occasional moments, periodic phrases, which might be worth salvaging with an eye to putting them in somewhere to good effect.

I like the scene where the girl (who has never had a baby) breastfeeds the infant, and the milk is so copious as to run from the corners of the wee lips. Sounds like the King had a nice wedding. Some of the scenery isn't bad. The image of the fat kitty, tucked up in meatloaf mode on the back of the sweet little ewe is endearing (at least in my mind).

Where am I right now? Well, let's see....everyone is just leaving church, having all sworn to protect and defend, not only the foundling princess but all of the children, every woman, and themselves. Interesting: when the Da and the priest laid it on them that the child they'd seen these ten years, friend of their own children, comforter of the sick, &c --was in fact a foundling who might, in fact, be the very princess they've been ordered to return to the King or folks would die.......didn't seem to phase anyone.

I now have 8,000 words in which to get her to the castle (with the priest, he has to go with her); she'll then have to find out what's wrong with each of the ladies-in-waiting, shear her instant-grow-back sheep's fleece, wash, card and spin it into mighty fine yarn........and knit it into magical garments which will heal each of the ladies. How will she diagnose them?

Well, conveniently, her cat can eavesdrop on them, and find out. Of course, he hasn't said a word up to this point; he's been a lovely animal but manifested no hint of Disneyism, by way of chatting her up. How's he going to do that, then? Good question. So glad you asked. I'll just be getting back to you on that one.

She's then going to have to knit up the precise little magical piece to cure, heal, and fix each one (I can only assume that she's making small things - quick knits).

OK, so then they're all fixed. Aaaaannnnddd??? Well, somewhere along the line, the Spell Will Be Broken. Everyone enchanted will resume his or her normal shape, all will be revealed, and everyone will Live Happily Ever After. That's what I think is going to happen. On the other hand, just read it along with me, we might both be surprised. {G}

But you know what? I WON! Already!! Because I HAVE written, if not every single day then enough on the other days to make up for it. And it's fun just spewing, and I'm going to relish checking it out afterward; I'll print it up (on scratch paper) just to see the whole thing. And when all is said and done, and NaNoWriMo 2008 is over, I will still have the experience of spending real time at the keyboard. I'll be able to tape something on the teevee instead of watching.......or forego it altogether. And this is a good thing.

Who'd a thunk it? (I wonder, does this give me the right to call myself a Novelist? Even though it's a quantity-only effort?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Little Did I Know....

...what's involved in NaNoWriMo! I have to say, it's exhilarating, fascinating, curious - and tiring! Of course, I have considerable assistance, I must admit it. I have a Writing Coach-Nagger-Cheerleader-Critic. She yells, she nags, -- but most of all, she has a Baleful Gaze which is so laden with guilt as to be crippling. (I wonder again: how does anyone manage without a cat to help out?)
Here's an example: I like my cup of tea while writing, and as you no doubt know, tea is "rented"......doesn't stay with you for long. So I had gone to visit the Necessary briefly. When I came back, Evangeline had changed her position from "meatloaf" with head facing me to THIS. I can only surmise that she read what I'd written in my absence - and thought this the best way to express her feelings about the whole thing.

I gently reminded her, "No editing. Quantity, not quality. And besides, you can't even type because you have no thumbs."

Everyone's a critic.

However - today I'm "off" -- no outside obligations, and because I stupidly --- carelessly --- unavoidably took a day off from writing yesterday (she let me get away with it simply because I wasn't home, I was know, making a little money so I could afford her bags and bags of treats) I mean to spend the most of today writing. I'm starting at home, but may check to see where my fellow NaNos are writing, if they're out and about, and join them. Misery loves company.

Seems like a lot of them like Starbucks on campus.......I don't drink coffee, wonder if they have anything good to eat?

OK, back to work.

OH! PS: my cute little mouse, which I always use because I like it better than the touchpad system on the laptop, died yesterday (a moment of silence for the technological helper it was). But Mr Tremblingquill (have I mentioned that he's My Hero, in more ways than I could mention?) went out and found me a NEW mousie, with NO CORD to wear out (that's what happened to t'other one)! The new one is super-DUPER cool, and...get this: I got a choice of COLORS! So I know have a fantabulous NEW deep metallic blue CORDLESS MOUSE .

You can have so much fun it you're Advancing in Age and Easily Entertained!!

OK, NOW back to work. For real. Right now. Here I go. Watch me. Here I go.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Catching up.......

DISCLAIMER: this photograph is NOT an actual depiction of me being a NaNoWriMo. However, because this exact situation has been repeated during the writing of the Novel, I felt it legitimate. For one thing, it shows one of the pitfalls of trying to write while seated on the couch -- so I don't do it anymore. I have moved my novelling to either the den (known familiarly as "my writing room") or the kitchen, which allows more space to spread out my pieces of paper, teacup, snacks, &c &c.

Evangeline, I have discovered, is a furry little Conscience. These last couple of days, Mr Tremblingquill has been away (to return Monday next). So I have been taking up the whole of the kitchen table. ( In case you're reading this, my dear, it'll be tidied up with no evidence left behind before your return! ) I've been putting in some decent hours of writing, too - and I've discovered that, if I get up know, use the bif, for example...she follows me, mewing. If I happen to (horrors!) sit down on the couch and turn on the teevee, she stands at my feet, mewing. Now, this behavior has been illustrated in the past, when she feels that 3:00 AM is as late as I should be up, and she mews until I go get into bed.

But this is something new.

Because she loves to be near me at all times I love to have her near me at all times, I've put her knitted kitty-pi bed (now, admittedly, just a round flat disk, but knitted just the same) on the kitchen table where she can curl up and either watch the birdies at the feeders right outside the window.....or cast the Baleful Glances perfected by her kind over the centuries at me. Believe me, Jewish Mothers have nothing on cats when it comes to guilt trips.

So now -- you've caught me out. I'm writing in my blog and NOT on my novel. Did I mention that I excel at Procrastinating? Well, you'd have to travel far and wide to find my equal when it comes to putting-stuff-off. But I AM almost caught up to the daily word count, and that IS impressive, when you consider that I did not write one single word on November 4th (watching the teevee) or November 5th (watching the teevee and behaving in a generally celebratory manner).

Therefore, being as I'm here, now, I feel moved to set forth some of my thoughts, and then - I PROMISE - it's back to the novel. (After I make some tea and find a little nosh. Nevermind.)

Barak Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America. Lots of folks are happy about that - but, I dare say, none more than I. As a Hippie-Civil-Rights-Worker-Anti-War-Protestor of Slightly Unusual Spiritual Beliefs, I feel as though I've been working toward Mr Obama's campaign for years. I remember conversations with fellow college classmates and Civil Rights workers about whether or not we would see a black President in our lifetimes. I remember conversations at night with my first husband, a black man who came to St Paul from Selma, Alabama with some of my friends who had gone to a rally there....we theorized that, while our son technically could be whatever he wanted to, including President, we weren't sure he REALLY could. Or, again, that any black man would -- in our lifetimes.

Well, it didn't happen in his lifetime. But he died really young. (After-effects from his Viet Nam experience -- see reference above.) But by gum, it COULD happen in my lifetime after all, and what's more, it HAS.

My personal feeling is that Barak Obama is What I Want in a President. He's highly-educated, and besides, he's intelligent (the two are not necessarily the same thing). His ideas sounded good to me, even through the filter that I know is "campaigning"; he has served in the Senate, which experience can only be to the good; he's not afraid to talk to ordinary people and seems to HEAR them; furthermore, he's a nice man and looks to be a nice daddy and a nice husband, and he likes ice cream. (Dare I say it? I saw some film of him dancing somewhere, and 1) not all black people can dance, and 2) fortunately being a good dancer is absolutely not relevant to being a good President.) In fact, as my mother used to say (paraphrased) "If his not being able to dance is the WORST fault he has, we are very lucky indeed!"

That's not to say I think he has NO faults (though in the scheme of things, he seems refreshingly free of any that've been identified in other heads of state through history), but it seems to me that this was an Election, where people voted and the numbers added up and more people wanted him to be President than McCain and so he won. I feel optimistic about the direction we'll be going under his leadership -- and I haven't felt optimistic after a Presidential Election for Quite. Some. Time.

Also I've heard that, whichever kind of dog he gets for his daughters, they're getting it from a Shelter. My kind o' guy.

And because this is my blog and I can kind of say whatever I want, and also because I am Advanced in Age and therefore can kind of say whatever I want, I thought that Sarah Palin was quite possibly the most frightening person I have witnessed in recent memory. I find her attractive, pretty...and downright, clear-cut, absolutely DANGEROUS in many ways. There are jokes about "moving to Canada" (easy for those of us in Wisconsin, it's just "up there") but, while I think McCain would have not been the kind of President *I* wanted. the potential, no matter how slim, that he could die in office leaving Sarah Palin as our President, Commander-in-Chief, &c &c - well, like I said, the single most terrifying thing I could imagine.

I don't like what she stands for, I don't like her attitude towards women's rights, I don't like the whole wardrobe thing (although that's not relevant, she didn't spend any of my Democratic dollars) and...most of all...I thought her interviews with Katie Couric were scandalous. SCANDALOUS! I can't believe she's a truly stupid woman, and I couldn't have answered some of those questions either - but then, I was not now and never will be running for office of any kind. I can't believe she reads every single magazine and periodical there are. I just can't.

So now, feeling good and hopeful and optimistic and confident........I'm going back to writing my 50,000 word novel.

After I get a little snack.

Monday, November 3, 2008


...she RECOVERS! Well - time will tell. However, I am here to report that, after achieving the noble word count of 4,488 on Day Two, I scrapped it! Bagged it, tossed it, heaved it, pitched it. In a word --

I started over!

I didn't actually kill the first version; I just couldn't actually delete all 4,488 words. But here's what happened: after a fun day driving to Viroqua to pick up Mr Trembequill's 19th century suit (very handsome) we took advantage of his seamstress' offer of two tickets to hear the Kingston Trio. It was surreal. Good...but surreal. (None of the original musicians, but yeah, very good nonetheless.)

That was followed by a rather white-knuckle drive home, because Mr Tremblequill had forgot his clear glasses and had only shades, which in *my* book render night-driving Highly Unwise. But I don't love driving at night, glasses or no. I managed - but was pretty played out when we got home.

So I set my little timer for an hour and stretched out to nap on the couch. When I got up, some four hours later or so......I had had a Thought. And the thought involved taking the same characters but moving the lot out of the castle (just could NOT work out a way that the sheep had any dealings with anyone actually living in a castle) and into a cottage. It all suddenly made sense to me.

So I came in and started back at the Starting Line. Oh, I kept Version 1, on my hard drive. But I renamed the new one more or less, and got into gear. It is evening of Day Three now, and I am about to resume writing. At the rate of 1,667 words a day, I should have a total count of 5,001 words by the end of today.........and guess what? I have 4,417 written, after a good session at the Ashman Library. Less than 600 words to achieve the daily goal, and I have a feeling my little Peigeen is going to have more than 600 words' worth of adventure before I turn in tonight.

Is the new version the Great American Novel? Well...errhh...uhhhnn....probably not. But it IS a damned sight better than "It was a dark and stormy night."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Out of the Gate!

So I guess this means I am a NOVELIST ! (Note the absence of the word "published", which isn't like to happen any time very soon - that's an obsesrvation, not a complaint.) I am glad to say that I DID start writing at 12:01 AM on November 1st. I wrote exactly one line - then had to peel the cat off my lap and move the laptop back to the den/writing room because she was insistent about being on me.

So there was a gap between the first line and the next, but I DID actually manage to crank out over the required 1667 words which comprise the daily minimum to reach the goal. I can see an advantage to this whole NaNoWriMo deal already, at least for me: it's going to necessitate setting aside a period of time, DAILY, to write. If I can form that into a habit, it'll be that much to the good when I return to writing in the regular slow, thoughtful and editing-along-the-way way. So far (remember, yesterday was just Day Two) I have found that very late at night serves me best. I haven't tried writing a few shorter periods during a day, but I think I will, just to see if there's any advantage to the chained-to-the-desk approach.

Oh, and I'll go on record here (where it's pretty safe, as I have no readers) that my novel, as it has come out of the chute, is -- well, I feel very confident in saying that it may well be the worst conglomeration of words ever strung together under the guise of "story".

I'm surprised to find that I am almost overcome with the temptation/desire/yearning to just go back "a little way", to just fix up "one or two sentences" -- after all, maybe I can add a few words. As it stands right now, unless there are some improvements, this will NOT be anything worth saving to go back and polish with the possibility of it actually being something readable.

But - it's an experiement, an exercise, a challenge, and I'm going to stick to the rules and get from it what I may. And I suspect I'll be glad to look back HERE for my feelings as I slog through this.