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

State of the Writer

Ambercon was this weekend, which warrants its own post.  Ambercon eats wordcounts.  However, I am sufficiently recovered that yesterday I wrote a few hundred words, this morning I wrote a few hundred words … I’ll write a few hundred more at lunch, and again on the way home.  Progress is happening.

Surprisingly, I didn’t seem to feel a need to self-flagellate over not having written for three days.  Just recognized that I had enough brain power to stay awake on the commute and pulled out Jarvis.  I keep omitting drama that I used to have regularly.  You’d think I’d be used to having cut it out, but it still surprises me.

My synopsis sprung the tiniest of leaks this morning; my protag glared at me from the middle of a drunken conversation with the Victim of the story and asked me sharply just what the hell I thought I was about; wouldn’t it be better to just get on with things.  

“I mean.  I mean … listen, I’m not sht … not stupid.  [This thing] just happened, and [that thing] has been happening, so … and I’ve got more’n two brain sh-cells to rub together.  I think I should [undertake next action scheduled for three chapters later].”  I was lacking in convincing arguments, so let him go.  

Which was an odd conversation.  I’m  a little bit sorry that it will necessarily have to be omitted from the final draft.  

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

The Writing Week In Review

The short version:  

  • Synopsis — good
  • Jarvis — good
The longer version:
Jarvis is everything I’d hoped for functionally when I got my full sized laptop, and everything I’d hoped for portably when I got my Alphasmart Neo.  It’s as if my two best writing tools got together and had a lovechild.


Since Jarvis is less wide than my lap, I do not need a generous seat space on public transit to be able to write.  I’ve had the normal crowded spaces with fellow commuters becoming intimate with my personal space, and there is still room to comfortably type on Jarvis.  His small screen is an asset, because even fully opened he only reaches to my knees; the next seat forward does not hamper.


All of that aside, this week was frought with spiritual peril and I would not normally have been writing.  But.  Last winter the esteemed Lisa had me learn about storyboarding, which turned into a synopsis of sorts.  Not a synopsis that was suitable to send to an agent or editor, but a bare-bones list of blocking sentences.  ”Jessica hugs Joel.  Jessica steals Joel’s soul.  Gordon is scared and appalled.”


When one’s mind is not present fully, beginning by cutting and pasting the blocking notes into the manuscript makes it easy to write.  Each sentence expands, the next sentence expands more, and then there is momentum and writing happens.


Almost 11,000 words this week, and it isn’t lunchtime yet.  I am well pleased.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

How does this keyboard thingy work again?

After weeks of typing nothing — no emails, no posts, no stories — I am breaking silence and taking part in NaNoWriMo. And 70 Days of Sweat. And, somehow, am going to do this without obsessing over word counts, but about involving myself in something I enjoy instead.

How can take part in two word-count oriented events without worrying about word counts?

An excellent question. Next question, please?

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

NaNoWriMo No Mo’

It ends tonight. The novel does not. I attained about 12,300 words, some 10,000 of which I believe take place before the beginning of the book.

At this point my frame should be wracked with the pain of my soul being torn, my face in a rictus of torment as I tear at my hair and cry to the heavens in a voice barely human, “What went wrong?” Then I fall to my knees, my back suddenly bowed forward and shaken with sobs, my face cast down and bathed in tears. And, y’know, just the whole cliche.

Honestly, I’m too tired. And don’t feel all overwrought. Hell, I don’t even feel wrought. I am, if anything, underwrought, if there is such a state and it carries the entire lack of trauma that I credit it with.

So, in a calm, casually interested voice, I ask, “What went wrong?”

Well, nothing. I wrote 12,300 words. Most very good ones, even if they aren’t part of the book.

Last year I did Nano because I needed the pressure to demonstrate to myself that I would, in the end, finish a book. I did. Good. Then I finished another. Also good.

(Okay, I actually finished two first drafts, which isn’t the same thing at all, but bear with me.)

I think that this year I was looking less after daily word counts and bludgeoning my way through at all costs (shouldn’t that have been in italics? Let’s try it: at all costs. Oh, yes, much better) and more about sustainable practice.

That is: I don’t want to work myself to death to keep my job, work myself to death to support my lifestyle, work myself to death to write my book, work myself to death to blahblahblah.

I want to have my life and have all of those things and other things as well (like sleep), which means that I may only have moderate amounts of any of them at a time.

Lord, I hope this doesn’t mean I’m growing up.

Crossposted from Epinepherine & Sophistry

Confirmation From The Expert

I’ve purchased No Plot? No Problem! and am very pleased to discover that I’ve already overcome most of the things that Baty, the author, warns are deadly obstacles. Since he was one of the 21 original NaNoWriMons and has “won” each of the seven times it has taken place, his words have weight.

So. Good. On track.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to “train” by writing on FFD (Feel For Death) almost-daily, with a “screw it, just write something” attitude that is gradually gaining me speed. And I’m still having fun, which is best of all.