Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaNoWriMo, Week 3

Today is the first day of the third week of NaNoWriMo. it's also the fifteenth of a thirty day month. So event the mathematically challenged among us can easily figure out that NaNos should be near the 25,000 word mark.

That is actually in shooting range for me, although I've had a busy week. I'm within 1667 words of 25,000.

I cracked the chapter of No Plot, No Problem that talks about week 3 this morning. Week 2 is notoriously hard, and my experience was, indeed, that it was difficult. Last nightI used a scene that I had saved in a different file to bolster my word count -- now that buffer is gone. The urge to quit is strong. Why am I doing this again?

Well, Week 3 is supposed to get easier as the story takes off on it's own. So I'm hoping that's what happens to mine. On the other hand, the support network tends to get pretty tired of this endeavor.

I'll keep pressing forward. I have no idea how I'm going to tie up my novel, but my experience has been that I can write another 1700 words (or so) each day, and move the plot forward somewhat.

Please continue to wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

NaNoWriMo update

I'm still writing. I'm on track for 50,000 words, although it's only the one-fifth benchmark at midnight.

What's easy: I don't find writing 1667 words in a day that difficult. Even when I think I'm too tired I've managed it. On the other hand. I stop when I reach that goal, which could easily come back to bite me if anything happens this month -- like, say, hosting Thanksgiving (oh yeah, we're doing that). I have a rough story. The details that are part of my own life are easy.

What's hard: actually coming up with made up stuff is hard. Creating characters is hard. Creating a reasonable story arc is hard. Filling in the mystery's details is murderous.

Please wish me luck!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I'm looking for more outlets for my energy than houswork, cooking, and Sudoku puzzles. Every now and then the universe bops me on the head, and that's how I felt when I heard about National Novel Writing Month. Can I do it? I have no idea. But I really like the idea that you don't have to have a plot to start a novel. And since I think I would like to write fiction, and I'm not working right now (for money), this seems like the right thing to do.

So far (day 3) I'm on course for 1667 words per day (for a total of 50,000 words in 30 days). That gives me ten extra words, but who's counting (well, I am, about every thirty seconds)! I find that the power of a goal is amazing. It's only day three, so we'll see how it goes, but I think I'm out of ideas, but the word goal pushed me on. What I have is not great, but I'm pretty happy with the whole process, and I'm interested to see how the process goes.

The NaNoWriMo community is faboulous, so I have hope that when I get stuck, I'll be able to get help from them -- at least some questions to get the juices flowing again. On the down side, the boards are really slow.

Students need different tools for success

A teacher writes about school from much the same perspective that I wrote my letter. In Waging a Battle on Standardized Tests by Dan Brown in the Boston Globe today a teacher writes about his students unique needs and how the current system, with its emphsis on testing, fails to nurture students individual strengths. He writes "American public schools have more money than ever, but students are still widely denied the most crucial tools for their success: individual attention and specialized support."

No answer here, but an agreement on the problem.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNoWriMo Warmup


Imagine that you’re trying to write a novel – 1500-2000 words a day for a whole month. What would that be like? In the beginning, there’s the lack of a plot – or maybe just too many fractional plots. Fantasy pops into my head – like Crystal Singer or Wrinkle in Time. Or maybe an upscale romance like the Luanne Rice book I’m reading right now, or the Eileen Baker I just finished. I love historical fiction, but that seems like it would need too much research. I don’t have time for research in addition to one thousand words a day – I have a household to run and children to homeschool! I’ve been saying that there should be more romance novels (good for sex life) for married ladies. If it’s true that minivan drivers have sex only three times a month, and that romance novels improve sex life (according to Christiane Northrup), then that seems like a niche waiting to be filled. But what does that look like? If you don’t get the thrill of a new love, that makes the story much harder to write – it might even need actual skill! Yikes! Plots are what I don’t have. I can put one word after the other, I can write non-fiction, but fiction is elusive to me – I feel like it’s just out of sight of my peripheral vision, I can’t quite reach it. I have a scene written of a minivan with a mom and three kids crashing into water – my own fear. If I can include that, it’s a whole three hundred words. Woo hoo.

Alright, so it turns out I’ve already written about a thousand words – I opened my other file and found them. Of course, some of them are in the form of a list – not exactly fiction. But here’s the idea – a woman living my life (because I know that) and her daydreams of living an exciting life. She can live in a Jennifer Crusie novel, a Janet Evanovich novel, a Judith Tarr novel, a Diana Gabaldon novel. I can combine them all – how’s that for cheating! I’m not sure where the tension will be in the “real life” side, but, hey, this is all about word count, right? About people not actually throwing up when they read it? And about finding my inner fiction, because, god dammit, I’m sure it’s there. Hidden under layers of junk, but there somewhere. And, oh – I challenge myself to put in a sex scene.

Can you imagine? Delusions of grandeur already. A published novel! Ooh, that part is pretty good. Alright you – yes you, author lady! You have to actually have a plot to publish a novel! Some pretty words strung together is not enough! What a surprise. It takes actual work! So let’s say seven hundred words in the morning and seven hundred every evening. Now that the Red Sox have won the World Series, baseball season is over and there are three extra hours in every day. Of course, Christmas is also coming, but hey – two hours to write and one to plan for Christmas. If the words will flow, one hour to write might do it. Is that true? I’ll have to measure my speed some day – that will be good for a few more words.

I need to name my protagonist. Christine is a nice uptight name. But Aria is prettier. Gives her something to live up to . More Luanne Rice-like. Hmm.