Friday, November 30, 2007

Day Last

Total NaNoWriMo Words: 70,068
Tonight's Dinner: Pizza
Beverages: Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee
Music: Silence
Coping Strategy #3: Prospect of being done.
Mood: Big, Silly, Grin

This is the final day of National Novel Writing Month, however I am done. Those things that need doing will be denied no longer (and they mostly have to do with the Sporty Spec East Coast Book Launch Party held two days from now.)

Many thanks to everyone stopping by to read this; hope it was more fun than boring. Highest praise and gratitude to everyone who commented, your thoughts and encouragement kept me going and going and going. Special thanks to the NaNo buddies who also lived through all the ups and downs of trying to do this crazy thing.

Also, I must praise someone I've never met or communicated with, Mario Kluser, whose little movies made me re-think the value of silly, little online videos. His thank goodness it's over video captures the giddiness and exhaustion that punctuates much of the NaNo experience.

His victory dance is fun to watch as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 27

Cups of Coffee: 5
Words: 6,437

An investment in Dunkin Donuts seems like a great idea right now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 26

Music: Tom Waits, nighthawks at the diner
Words: 3,676

Once I hit that magical 50k number, I felt relief. It was a goal, and achieved, I sat in my little go-cart at the bottom of a steep hill, thrilled with the ride, taking a breather.

And thoughts started coming. Typical evil, little thoughts with nasty, slippery words like 'Ought to' and 'Should be' and 'Had better'. Lists of things to do started accumulating, things left undone, chores neglected, e-mail messages unreturned. I started getting anxious because yes, all those things needed doing, needed attention. Writing? Well, I met a goal, right? There is always tomorrow. Next week will be much less busy.

Then last night, thinking on all this, I gave myself a virtual slap in the face.

I didn't plan this book for months to be sitting here thinking about tomorrow. I didn't bust my butt all month to sit here contemplating next week. Next week is December. This week is November. I planned on writing in November and the month isn't done yet.

Neither am I.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend

Words: 10,173

Wow, add up a few days and it looks rather impressive. Add up 24 days and it becomes a winner.

I broke the 50k barrier and thus succeeded in the NaNoWriMo challenge. I am way behind on my personal goal of writing 100k this month. On the bright side, I'm only half-way through the novel, so 100k looks not only possible, but spectacular. Just need to keep the pressure on somehow.

In honor of the win and because I haven't posted in a while, here is a triple dose of characters.

Chuckie befriends Steve at Garbageland. Right out of Southie, Chuckie means well, but tends to get into minor scrapes, pulling Steve in with him.

Curtis Waggstaff is the head honcho, the big cheese, numero uno. He just looks due for a whuppin', don't he?

Finally, Inez, the last of the major characters. She also befriends Steve (very, very close friend, wink wink nudge nudge say no more) and will be the key to solving the whole damn mess I've created.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 20

Tonight's Dinner: Spaghetti, Frozen Veg.
Yesterday's Words: 4,033

For those of you so inclined to celebrate, may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

If not, for tomorrow, hope you have a great meal, stay in touch with friends and family, take some time off, and get in a little nap.

The character Tamora is in charge of most of Garbageland, second only to her boss, Curtis Waggstaff. She is smart, ambitious, capable. Tamora suspects her boss is involved in more than the usual corruption. Exposing him might present an opportunity for promotion. It might also take her down with the sinking ship.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Days 18 & 19

Score: Common Cold 3 - Household 0
Words: 1,015

It wasn't enough for Mr. Common Cold to take out the two adults in the house, he went after the wee child too! The rat bastard!

Family first, words second.

Been busy as well nailing down details of the
Sporty Spec East Coast Book Launch Party!

Told you I'd be bringing that up again. Still time to buy passage on your conveyance of choice, whether plane, train, kayak, or just bursting out of your house and bicycling like mad, to get to the event.

Or you could just stay home, I suppose, and like, write.

If you choose the latter, here are some peppy words about writing over on the NaNoWriMo site from that Neil Gaiman fellow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 17

Music: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Last DJ
Words: 4,533

Twas a good day, on a weekend when nothing was scheduled. Fortunate to get a big block of time in the house alone, and poured out the words.

Another character to introduce, the Sarge. Kind of a elite security person, except I got this funny idea that there might be more than one of him. Not clones, just a number of similarly featured individuals with some vague idea of them taking something to make their skin look like some kind of android-whitewash. Yeah, still working on that one.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 16

Mood: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Words: 2,016

Had a nice meet-up yesterday with Dan, fellow NaNo-er and stay-at-home-parent. We got in 90+ minutes of writing above and beyond the enjoyable conversation.

I wrote longhand (no laptop here). Not my preferred method. I applied some analysis to reevaluate.

On the positive side, it slowed down my thinking resulting in better words and fewer passive sentences. I wrote about 1,200 words or 400 per 30 minutes, slower than typing even for me.

Then it needed typing into the computer. A plus to that is I added another 800 words as I filled out ideas, sentences, descriptions, and dialog. Yes, I know the word for that is editing.

Since my handwriting makes chicken scratch look like John Hancock calligraphy, there were some moments of wondering: what the heck is that word? Hand cramps versus carpal tunnel is a wash.

I think I'll stick with the computer.

In the category of more cool stuff those crazy NaNo-ers are doing, click here for a graph of various writers' word counts. The chart of statistics is here (my secret agent code name is 'Aught5').

What is amazing is how the data is gathered and updated. There is a thread in the NaNo forums for this graph. Anyone who replies to the message has their user ID associated with the thread. A program gets the user ID's automagically and then gets the recorded word counts for each from the NaNo site. Pretty darn cool.

I guess that XML stuff is useful.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Days 14 & 15

Coping Strategy #2: Writing Buddies
Words: 0

Took 2 days off to try and send this cold back under the damp, foetid rock from which it emerged to wreak its puny yet annoying wrath upon humanity.

Seems to have worked okay. Word count has suffered and a big push is needed this weekend. Fortunately, I think I have some time available.

One aspect that I enjoy a great deal about NaNoWriMo is the community. Sure, I could take my time, write a book over five or six months, but I'd be lacking thousands of people doing the same thing at the exact same time. People worldwide who are around 24 hours a day. People who live locally from varied backgrounds, sometimes in situations similar to mine.

Today (Friday morning that is) I'm off to a nearby B&N to meet up with some NaNo-ers, a few stay-at-home-fathers and a writing buddy I haven't seen in some time. I may be writing longhand (no laptop), but I'll be writing, with fellow writers at my side and I at theirs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 13

Words: 2,895

Good enough for government work.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 12

Tonight's Dinner: Don't know. Suggestions?
Yesterday's Words: 3,648

No school yesterday. Pushed on in the evening. Somehow found a groove and got the words in.

I mentioned Mario Kluser, another NaNo-er, before. He's recording video blogs. He seems to be a good guitar player as well. Check out his very fine rendition of Blackbird.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Days 10 & 11

Night Shifts: 2
Soccer Games: 1
In-laws Over For Dinner: 7
Words: 833

How'd I ever write 833? It's a miracle.

That nano-meter in the sidebar is looking rather sad. Have to do something about that this week.

To continue the parade of characters, here is Jorge. He's a minor functionary with ambitions who falls in love with Roz. Too bad for him, as she holds his fate in her hands (sounds familiar, eh?).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 9

Fluids: Water, Orange Juice, Green Tea
Words: 3,523

A good day, nice scenes, flowing words.

And now we come to the end of the week, a holiday-three-day-no-school-on-Monday-weekend. Good for family and friends, not so much for words.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Day 8

Music: Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt, Dr. Didg
Words: 3,744

Not better, not worse. Soldiering on.

Picked up some tunes from the library. Nice eclectic mix.

Next up, the Ninja. At least, he plays one on television.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Day 7

Mood: Slogging through a swamp dragging a capsized sunken boat filled with rocks.
Words: 1,618

An Open Letter To The Common Cold

Dear Sir:

I do not require your services at this time. To be frank,

I am not getting sick.

You seem to think I am already under contract. The mistake is yours and I shall explain why.

- Aches, pains, sore muscles.
Merely the result of sitting for hours before the computer.

- Sore throat.
Coughing on a bit of toast.

- Tickling feeling in the nose like my lymphatic system is draining down my throat.
Dry air. Low humidity. Dehydration from too much coffee. Look, it doesn't really matter, now does it?

I Am Not Getting Sick.

Check my schedule. Is there a 'To Do' item that says develop sinus headache? Do you see a time slot in my calendar that can accommodate your meeting invitation titled: "Lay in bed and moan like you're going to die"? No, there isn't. Do you know why? Because, Mr. Common Cold,


Now piss off!

Best regards,

p.s. For anyone else reading this, below is another character, Roz, Steve's girlfriend. Steve has begun to not trust her. Too bad because she holds his fate in her hands.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Day 6

Coping Strategy #1: Rewards
Words: 2,658

If I'm going to kick myself when I'm down (for inspiration, of course) then I figure I should reward myself when I'm up.

Put another way, writing presents daily, if not hourly, opportunity costs. I could be doing this or I could be writing. I could be doing that or I could be writing.

It's important every so often to say 'You know what? Today was a good day and I will let myself go check out what the Spice Girls are doing.'

Not that I would do that. No, I would do something with a much higher geekiness factor.

On the NaNoWriMo forums, someone posted a link to Hero Machine 2.5, an online application that creates cartoon-like pictures of superheros. Or anyone you want. For example, a character in a book.

The website has other hero machines (a random selection on guitar hero can be amusing). The 2.5 version has many more options than the others. Admittedly, the body types aren't realistic. And for all the work someone put into this, you would think it would be easier to match a pair of shoes. But it's free, and cool, and fun.

Here is the main character in my novel, Esteban (a.k.a Steve):

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Day 5

Tonight's Dinner:
  • Chicken
  • Butternut Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Halloween Candy
Yesterday's Words: 4,435

Right back into a groove, which is good. Can't update word count as has been down for 6+ hours, which is bad. [Edit: My bad. The server redirect from is flaky. But using will work.]

They'd been having issues with server loads and a new content management system, which they'd been swearing to fix and drop next year respectively.

The NaNo folks had been introducing some new stuff. One is a channel, if you will, on a video upload site called Viddler. I've spent very, very, very little time browsing the videos (really, I swear) many of which, unfortunately, are very much teen, angsty, navel-gazing, whining productions (not that there is anything wrong with that; but it doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy watching it).

One exception is a Dutch fellow named Mario Kluser whose videos at least have a sense of humor. Here is one video he made which, actually isn't humorous at all, but did give me a moment of pause to think about the whole NaNo big picture.

Okay, back to writing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 4

Loads of Leaves Hauled: 4
Scarecrows Disassembled: 2
Hours Worked at Paying Job: 6
Words Written: 0

Time to kick it up a notch.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Day 3

Score: BU 7, UML 4
Words: 1,222

Quick Poll: If there is more than one person in your household, who was responsible for turning back the clocks?

Low word count. My better half was laid low with a cold. And I took my daughter to a hockey game last night (score above; the irony is we left after the second period when BU was down 2-4 and missed a 5-goal come-back).

Today will likely be low as well. Have to make up for it this week.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Day 2

  • 1 glass orange juice
  • 3 cups of coffee
  • 20 oz. water
  • 1 Sam Adams Boston Ale
Words: 3,631

Making good progress so far. Pleasantly surprised that while I have an outline, I've already added two scenes. Best of both worlds, planning as well as seat-of-the-pants flying.

And now the weekend. It's tempting to think there will be more time on the weekend. For myself, it is usually the opposite. It's as if there is a potential vacuum of activity that is always filled with the onrushing wind of things-to-do.

So I better stop blogging and get cracking.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Day 1

Music: Nirvana, With The Lights Out (compilation)
Words: 3,400

Great first day. Congrats to Cheryl for a great first NaNo day. Congrats to Ian for a great non-NaNo but still doing a daily writing challenge first day!

As the NaNoWriMo site says (sort of), you can't finish if you don't start.

Onto day 2!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNoWriMo - Day 0

Mood: Determined
Words: 1,003

Got home from work just after midnight. Sat butt in chair (BIC) and started typing. I've had the first scene in my head for so long, it was hard to pull back and slowly let the words out.

That will be the key. Slow burn.