Raise The Net


Recently, I’ve been discussing NaNoWriMo with others.  The thought they have had (there were several of these) was that NaNo is a made-up sort of deadline, and thereby rendered without teeth.  

I give my NaNo teeth.  I give it teeth by telling my family, friends, you guys, my cow-orkers, posting a NaNo flyer in my cell cube … I give it teeth of Embarassment.  Worst of all will be how I feel when, a year or a decade from now, I read through my blog and note my enthusiasm, my grand plans, my optimism … and how I let it dribble away without a word.


The worst thing I can imagine is adding things I regret to my life.  So, NaNo has teeth for me because I’m horrified at the thought of how I’ll feel if I’m slack and let ennui or inertia master me.

This year, NaNo is going well.  I started with “50,000 words … but if I hit 45,000 and wrote well and enjoyed it, then I win, because this year I’m shooting for sustainability instead of endurance and ultimate effort.”  That’s fine, but not quantifiable.  Goals without quantifiable measures of attainment are … toothless.

I will say that, so far even with lack of sleep and several days of social activity taking the place of writing, I am writing well and much and enjoying the process.

So.  I told Lisamentor et ami sans reproche

I will, working daily, complete an editable first draft of Self
Sacrifice by January 19 and have a revised manuscript based on
that draft ready to be uploaded to the Amazon Breakthrough
Novel Award Contest
 website NLT February 5, 2009.

And, because I am a masochist, I will publish this to E&S and
install a countdown timer indicating my two deadlines.


I must be ready for this, because I am very aware of what I
just committed to do and it seems perfectly reasonable to me. 


Countdown timers will be forthcoming.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Writing Prompt/ly

So, the 24 Hour Writing Contest has come and gone, and I am, in general, pleased.  The topic, to be written up in 900 words or less, was:

The bells on the door were still echoing as she stepped further into the old toy store. The owner winked at her and turned back to his black and white television set.  She reached under the rack on the back wall and pulled it out. It was just where she’d left it last week. She approached the counter and put the item down.

He turned to her, grabbed the item with surprise, and said, “This is NOT for sale…”

My brain grabbed onto the petty details of the prompt and screamed.  ”What is at stake?”  ”What good would putting something not for sale in a hiding place for a week do?”  ”Why wouldn’t merchandise be for sale, and why would that be important at all?”  ”What sort of story can I write about a bargain basement conflict?”  I mean, unless the shopper pulls a gun, the merchant’s response if final.

So I had her pull a gun, and things went swimmingly.  Somewhere, (I think from Jeff, the alpha-geek of Corvallis) I heard “the only real plot hook is a dead body,” attributed to Agatha Christie (if she did say that, I haven’t been able to find evidence of it), but I broadened that to “…threat of a dead body.”

Title:  Apology.  896 words, tendered 51 minutes before deadline.  I have not yet gotten a receipt for the entry, but I am unworried; if it ended up in ether-void, I still have the story and will sell it somewhere else.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry