Friday, November 30, 2007

Still Giving Thanks

I normally don't post on Friday nights, especially not after writing 2000 words, and after staying up past 2:00 am almost every night for a month. Have I mentioned that my girls get up early and the baby, while great at going to sleep at night, doesn't nap reliably during the day? And we have an extra tonight, though she's been no trouble at all.

A friend just defended his dissertation today, earning his PhD in astro physics (yes, seriously) so we offered to keep their daughter tonight so that he and his wife can have a night off together.

We were all at Blueberry Hill for dinner, and when we left, Paul was leading Ellie by the hand. Ellie was holding onto 2-year-old T's hand, and I was following along carrying Ada. The early dinner crowd was beginning to transition into a live music bar crowd, and we got lots of stares and comments as we walked out in single file with our three adorable little girls, ages 10 months, 2 years, and 4 years old. It's possible that they could all be ours, but whew! As if the past 4 years haven't been hard enough.

All three girls and Paul are peacefully sleeping now, and I intend to follow in their footsteps very soon.

But first, I want to answer the question for the StLBloggers November Blog Carnival: What are you most thankful for this year?

There are a lot of contenders this year.

In 2007, I gave birth to a wonderful, strong, intelligent, healthy baby girl and have watched her grow into an amazing almost-toddler. What could beat that?

In 2007, I have watched my three year old turn four, and develop by leaps and bounds, especially in her speech. She can run now, and carry on conversations with me that I didn't expect a year ago. And she is potty trained. I don't even ask her if she needs to go very often, anymore. I can't remember her last real accident. Amazing.

In 2007, my family was healthy, and everyone did well professionally. We saw each other frequently, my parents took all of us on an amazing trip to Scotland, and Paul started a great new job.

In 2007, I wrote a novel. My first one ever. And since this is what I want to do with my life, the fact that I'm actually working toward my goal is so exciting that I can barely talk about it.

But the winner this year is something of a dark horse, because it's something that, 18 months ago, I never would have thought to question. At the end of 2007, I am still married. I am even - dare I say it? - happily married.

While my life has grown and changed a lot over the past year, my marriage has grown and changed the most, I think.

And, for that, I am thankful.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Shepherds

There's a woman who reads my blog who had a baby with Trisomy 21 a few months ago. The diagnosis - shortly after the baby's birth - was a surprise to his parents. And as is often the case, it was a horrifying discovery. It was certainly scary, yes, horrifying to me when I learned that my first baby would have Trisomy 21, Down syndrome. I didn't know what to expect, but none of what I was imagining was good. I've written often before about not judging women for the choices they make in these circumstances. I don't believe that we can know how we'll feel until we've actually been in a given situation, and even then we can never be entirely in another's shoes. Each family must be allowed to decide what they can handle.

I still recoiled at first when I learned that she'd given her baby up for adoption. My first reaction was to compare her situation to my own. How could she? After seeing her beautiful, healthy, newborn son? How could she give him up? When I first saw Ellie, I was elated, I was smitten.

But there are differences. I knew about Ellie's diagnosis with 18 weeks to prepare. So surely she'll regret her decision someday; if she'd had the chance to get to know him a little, to get over the shock, to hold and love him a little, she'd have realized that she could do this.

Probably. Maybe not. The news is splashed, from time to time, with horrible, terrible stories about parents who could not cope. Perhaps worse still are the hundreds, thousands, probably millions of stories that don't make the news, of parents who harm their children - physically, sexually, verbally, coldly, hotly, in absentia - in less deadly ways because of their own difficulties coping sometimes.

I was already fighting against my initial reaction, when I found this post.
We are paving the way for our baby L to have the most wonderful life with a family who are 100% committed to him and his extra chromosome. Doesn't he deserve that rather than two people who are not sure.
He is worth so much more than 'not sure'.
. . .
Unfortunately, I am well aware that I probably will regret this decision. That it will hurt for a long time - maybe forever. But I would much rather feel that pain knowing that L is settled and happy than to have brought him home then regretted it. That's just a chance I am not willing to take.

She may regret her decision. But in the meantime, other than possibly the blogger herself, who is harmed? The baby was given the gift of life. And he has a home with a wonderful family who wants him. I think that speaks very nicely for itself.

In the meantime, for other parents who find themselves struggling with a difficult diagnosis: it is possible to cope, and even to he happy. To love and to grow, and to have a life you didn't imagine, didn't dream of, but are better - and happier - for.

To get there, you might need help. I wish everyone could have a doctor as good as my girls' pediatrician, who sees a lot of children with Down syndrome and who got us hooked up with all the specialists, therapists, and schools that we could ever need.

She led us to Good Shepherd School for Children, where Ellie attended preschool for 2 years. In the early days, Ellie's therapists - who came right here to our home - were more my therapists than hers. I can't tell you all the ways that they've enriched our lives together, and I miss them now that Ellie's a big girl in a big girl school.

Do you have a Kleenex handy? This is what they do:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Wrote a Novel

Well, technically, I'm about 2/3 of the way done, but I won NaNoWriMo, and I don't feel inclined to stop now!


I'm off to go wake Paul up to celebrate.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pet Peeve

False Tautologies

For example, I say, "I like X," and someone else hears, "Y sucks."


I say, "X describes Y," and someone else hears, "Therefore no other entities can contain any X whatsoever."

Note: precondition followed by assumption, without platform of fact upon which to base assumption. So annoying, so defensive.

I loved math in school, but if I had to narrow it down, I think that my favorite math class ever was the hard-to-describe course I took my sophomore year in high school. It was Algebra II, but it was an advanced course and we learned other stuff in there as well, including quite a bit of logic and whatever else the instructor was interested in teaching. I loved Geometry, and Trig, and I must have loved Calculus because I took a few years of it, in high school and in college. But Algebra II was one of the most valuable courses I ever took at any level of my education, because it taught me new analytical ways of thinking.

It's all a playful interest on my part, however. I like to exercise my brain with logic puzzles, but I have no desire to live and work in a completely logical world.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankful, Indeed

Everyone is feeling much better, and I never did get sick. We made it to my parents' house safely. Leftover Thanksgiving dinner was all the delicious fun and a lot less stress than the traditional meal always ends up being.

All in all, it's wonderful to be out of my own house for a little while and back in the comfortable clutter of my parents' home.

And Paul bought me an adapter so that I can power my laptop in the car, which allowed me to write nearly 4000 words on the drive! I'm not a great typist, but occasionally I can look up from the screen, and it was an interesting experience to be living in my fictional world, typing along, and looking out the windows at the dark Illinois landscape rushing by.

"There's a 24-hour Starbucks at the next exit!"

All in all, the weekend has gotten much better, and I am, as ever, Thankful.

And then Georgeanne’s shriek and Coralyn’s giggle brought him back with a blink, and he saw their colorful coats against the white snow and black trees, he saw the rolling hills and icy ponds, he saw Maggie’s face looking up at him, he saw the textures and pieces of his life laid out before him, and his heart felt so full, so full of love and longing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


We're not at my parents' house for Thanksgiving with my sisters, their husbands, and my sister's daughter, who was born the day after Ada and we rarely get to see. We're not anywhere for Thanksgiving. We're home, of course, but we won't be celebrating very much tomorrow; no one in my house is eating. The girls and Paul are not eating because of their GI bug. I'm not eating for two reasons: 1) I know that I will be struck down similarly very soon, and would prefer to have as little in my stomach as possible when that happens (I'll still eat toast, etc., as I become hungry). 2) My nose is so full of the unbearable stench of a house full of three people with GI bugs that it's hard to imagine wanting to eat.

This no good, terrible, very bad situation is exacerbated by a few things, most of which I'll call Paul, just for the sake of convenience. Since Paul is sick, he's very cranky and passive-aggressive. Since I barely cope with this much illness anyway, having a marginally civil co-parent is not easing matters. For example, if I notice that he's using diaper wipes on a freshly showered child, I might ask, "Oh, no, did she have more diarrhea?" And he might reply, "No, I just saw some on her and decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to leave it there." Unnecessarily sarcastic, rather than collaborative.

Further, he has very different ideas about cleanliness and germ-existence than I do. Granted, I was the one who took all those Biology courses in college. But his dad's got a Master's in Biology and is a high school Biology teacher, so surely Paul picked some of the 19th century concept of germ existence. But frequent hand-washing? Not so much. And, something germy (e.g. a used diaper wipe or soiled clothing) can apparently be set down on a surface frequently touched by other people (e.g. a chair) without leaving any germs behind. And the most disgusting things can be rinsed into the kitchen sink, despite all the dishes piled up in there.

Moving right along.

Thanksgiving. A couple of things about this whole illness have been wonderful. Yes! Wonderful! First, Ada seems to be through Part 1 of the illness, the throwing up part, and hasn't been nearly as sick as her older sister. Second, Ellie communicated with us! We took Ada to the doctor yesterday, and while she was being examined, Ellie told us that she was sick too. We blew her off nicely, thinking that she just wanted attention since her sister was getting so much. Then, after she'd been vomiting etc. for a few hours this morning, she told us that her throat hurt. So back to the doctor we went - and, indeed, Ellie has strep! (Ada's culture was negative.) This is the first time, the very first time ever, in more than 4 years, that she's diagnosed herself and given us the necessary information to help her. She told us her throat hurt! We took her to the doctor! She cultured positive for strep! And she got a shot of penicillin! Yay!

Where did she get the strep? Good question, and I do have a theory. The GI bug could have come from anywhere. Ada was sick first; she might have picked it up in the nursery at church, or anywhere else. After all, she's the one of us who crawls around on the floor, tries eating everything she sees, puts her dirty fingers into her mouth all the time, and gets passed around groups of people like a party favor.

But the strep part, I presume, came from Paul. He wasn't himself on Saturday night. (Note to the big crowd of people we had over here on Saturday: I'm sorry! But at least alcohol kills germs, and we sure had a lot of that!) I kept asking him why he wasn't participating in the party more, and he just said that he felt like sitting quietly and enjoying from afar, and that his throat hurt. We've all had a little cough/cold, so he insisted that his throat just hurt from coughing. I doubt that. I think he brought home strep. I wish he'd go get cultured. (Rob, I even used you as an example for motivation! No dice.)

So far, my throat's fine, and my stomach is a little off mostly because of what I'm smelling. I hope. Another bright and shining Thanksgiving light: I've written over 38,000 words this month, and am on target to hit the NaNoWriMo 50,000 target several days early. So I'm taking tonight off and going to bed. After I start a load of laundry and load the dishwasher.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is going better than mine!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How Do You Fill Your Days?

As Ellie and I were finishing up lunch, Ada woke up. I went to pick her up, and the phone rang. I took the phone with me and carried Ada back to change her diaper while talking to my mother. Then I sat Ada in her highchair, washed my hands, and got her some lunch. She wasn't too into eating; she's not feeling well today. I got her to have a sip of juice and a couple of bites of pureed oatmeal with pear.

While I was trying to make an appointment get Ellie's hair trimmed, Ada threw up all over herself and her tray. I got her cleaned up and into the bath. Ellie came along to "help." While I was dressing Ada after her bath, Ellie opened the refrigerator and got a fresh container of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, and spilled the entire thing on the kitchen floor. I sat Ada down and swept that up. As I was finishing, I heard Ellie calling for help from the master bathroom.

Apparently, she and The (stuffed) Cat in the Hat needed to potty. Both were, apparently, successful. By this time, I'm a little pissed. I deposit Cat in a plastic bag to go downstairs to the washing machine, and I hear suspicious splashing. Ada has crawled into the hall bathroom (door opened compliments of her big sister) and is happily splashing her hands in the toilet. I wash Ada's hands and shut the bathroom door, then leave her to push her Radio Flyer wagon while going back to Clorox wipe the master bathroom floor after The Cat in the Hat's drippage. Big sister is having an extended session on the potty.

Ada's quiet, so I go back to check on her: she's fine, but the bed of the wagon is holding some sort of clear fluid. I clean this up with a cloth diaper and a Lysol wipe, then carry Ada back to sit with Ellie and me. Ellie's still on the pot, and saying, "Finish potty! Finish potty!" (This means: I need to finish going potty; don't rush me!) And Ada's rubbing her eyes, so I snuggle her and put her down in her crib. When I walk back into my room, I find that Ellie has decided to follow me to see where I was going with Ada. She did not wipe first.

By this time, I'm emitting a quiet but piercing noise, and Ellie's saying, "Mommy, no screaming!" I clean her up, the clean up the toilet, potty seat, and carpet just outside the bathroom while Ellie washes her hands for about 5 minutes. Then I wash my hands of the whole affair, both literally and figuratively.

As I've typed this, Ellie has put herself down for her nap (smart girl!) and Ada has fallen asleep too. I need to take a shower, then wake the two of them so that I can take Ada to the doctor to get the verdict on whether or not it's OK for us to travel tomorrow, to my parents' house for Thanksgiving.

Somehow this afternoon, I need to find time to get Ellie's hair cut, and then we are having an early dinner with friends, to meet her family who are in from out of town for the holiday.

Then Paul's got an evening meeting at church, and I'll come home to get the girls to bed, do laundry, pack, bake 4 loaves of quick bread (2 banana, 2 pumpkin), and write 2000 words.

No pressure. I'm sure glad I quit my job to live this life of leisure. For the record, the first part of that sentence is true.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What Year Is It?

I have been so off-kilter for the last few days. I've always been a little skeptical when reading authors talking about their characters taking on lives of their own, changing the stories, talking to them throughout the day, etc. (I know that some writers do seem to experience this, but others do not. I'm in the latter group.) For the most part, I know what my story is before I write it. I know who my characters are, and where their arcs end before I begin or shortly thereafter. The more practiced I get, the more I know before I start writing.

But I have been in a fictional fog for a little while, today especially. My last 20,000 words or so have been set in February 2012. And while the year isn't a huge deal, the month is really throwing me off. I keep looking at the trees and expecting to see preparations for new buds, not dead leaves gradually falling. I am thinking more about valentines than turkey sandwiches. I am looking ahead to our spring break trip rather than Christmas vacation. It's a weird, weird feeling, especially this time of year, when it usually seems like no other time of year can ever exist.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Genre Fiction

I've written before about genre fiction. Here, for example. And here. To sum up: I think that great quantities of rubbish are published by genre publishers (Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Mystery) because they fit the template and readers will apparently buy anything that fits the desired template. This trend is good for getting published, but is bad for fiction in general. And it gives genre fiction a really bad name that it doesn't entirely deserve. There's some really wonderful, exciting, emergent writing going on in genre fiction, especially in SF&F, that's obscured from general readership by its association with the piles of dragon dung. At the core, good writing is good writing, and I'm the sort of reader who appreciates good writing, regardless of genre.

What I might not have shared before is that I've actually done a bit of genre writing, as well.

The first short story I wrote all by myself (without my mother writing the words down for me) was a fantasy story. I was in first grade, and I illustrated the story and taped the audiobook too; I was a jill-of-all-trades. As an adult, the first short story that I was really proud of, that I still think might have been published somewhere if I'd tried a little bit, was sort of a fantasy story as well. It doesn't fit a modern fantasy template, though, and is more Gregory Maquire than Anne McCaffrey.

And my first, failed, novel - to which I still intend to return at some point - was a mystery. I love good mysteries, and have about a dozen of them in my head; I just haven't found the voice yet in which to write them.

What's more surprising, it seems, to those who know me, is that I once thought about writing romances. The fall of my senior year in college was an interesting time for me. I decided that I really needed to break up with the guy I'd been dating since high school graduation before we ended up married. Around the same time, I decided that I'd been on the wrong life path since I was 9 years old. I realized, all at once and with no warning, that I really didn't want to be a doctor after all.

What now?!!

I thought about what I loved to do, and the answer was easy, even then: I love to write. Even when I wanted to be a doctor, I was secretly hoping to be Michael Crichton, publishing popular fiction rather than peer-reviewed studies.

But I have always been plagued by self-doubt, and I didn't think that I could do it. I knew for sure that I couldn't support myself and pay off my student loans by embarking upon a career as a novelist. But, I read up a little on Harlequin romances, and I decided that I could do that and make enough money to live. I just needed to learn the pattern, I figured, so I joined the Harlequin readers club and received my 4 books plus a complimentary gift each month.

I quickly realized that romance writing is not for me (this is that part that's not surprising to those who know me, or who have read any of my writing) but I kept my membership until I had a full set of wine glasses, and those are still the wine glasses we use today as, apparently, we failed to register for any at our wedding.

They're bright green, and they do make a wonderful conversation piece.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I'm on track to make the NaNo halfway mark (25,000 words) on Wednesday night, if I continue at this pace. That will, not entirely coincidentally, be the halfway point of the book (although lots of what I've already written needs to be expanded; that can happen later, after November) and the main crisis, which has been building since the prologue, will begin to explode.

My novel is divided into three parts, each of which should eventually be about 25,000 words. Part 1 spans 15 years and has a lot of shorter scenes: bam-bam-bam. The pace slows down, but the crisis picks up significantly in Part 2, which spans 2 months. Part 3 stretches out, is more introspective, and covers about a year.

Part 1 is fun, Part 2 is exciting, and Part 3, which I have not yet begun to write, is supposed to be lyrical and haunting. Ah, well, what's the use of trying, without making lofty goals? If I'm going to be a writer, this is the sort of writer I want to be. Can I carry a story on the merits of the writing, without relying on plot? We'll see by the second or third draft of Part 3. In the meantime:

Writing lesson from book club. The Time Traveler's Wife taught me that people can fuck in contemporary literary fiction. My characters, and my narrator, don't say that; though I think it would be interesting to write in a voice that could, someday. There is sex, though. And hopefully there's a little laughter too.
The undulating women, the thumping music, the pulsing lights, it all screamed sex-sex-sex. Mark closed his eyes and moved to the music, feeling fuzzy around the edges, feeling the beat and the lust in his muscles, in his bones, in the very core of his soul. There was no today, there was no tomorrow, there was no Maggie, there was no Mark, there was only this feeling, this being, right now. He was the beat. He was the music, the lights, the vapor of evaporating sweat steaming off the dancers.

Until someone threw up on his shoe.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tales of the Journey: National Youth Workers Convention

Through the PCUSA webring, I stumbled upon a youth director talking about the recent National Youth Workers Convention. (Aside: there is a fascinating mix of progressive and conservative bloggers linked on that site.)

Anyway, youth director Brittany posted about a keynote speech by Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer, in which he asked the question "Is this dream more important in my life than God?" in response to living his dream and then losing it.

In response to that question, Brittany said,
I realized that my dream really didn't have anything to do with God. It was just my dream. I owned it and expected God to fill in the missing parts. What a backwards idea about God, like I'm the one writing the story. It's easier sometimes to play the part of God rather than letting God be God and me be me.

I think I'm like that about my writing. It's hard not to be, when you want something so much. But I'd like to remind God that I have pledged that 10% of every single penny I make from my writing is tithed. (My tongue is planted firmly in my cheek, here; I'm being flip, not bargaining.)

NaNoWriMo update: I'm at 19,075 words and still liking it. My automatic counter widget (see right) isn't updating as quickly as I'd like.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Blogger Buzz: To-Do List (the book)

Blogger Buzz: To-Do List (the book)

Still Writing

Friday's Total Word Count: 17,140

I should be proud of what I've accomplished so far, and I am. And I know that Week 2 is when a lot of people hit the wall: it's starting to drag on a bit, and the end is not in sight.

But I am very concerned about running out of material. Given where I am today, I'm afraid that I'll say everything I have to say, I'll tell the story, and find that it's an awkward 25,000 words. I don't mind finishing up after NaNoWriMo is over; I expect that. But I do really care about this story, and in the end, I want to have a novel, not a novella.

Saturday night update: Today's Word Count: 16,908.

Yes, that's fewer words than yesterday, but I wasn't editing, just removing some stuff that will come back in towards the end of the story.

Today's progress: one of the most successful days so far. Worried about flailing, or failing, I spent tonight creating a detailed timeline for the main character and a list of all the scenes in the story, with rough size targets. Lots of words, none of which count toward the NaNoWriMo 50,000 target, although I'm still ahead of where I need to be to meet that target while continuing at a steady pace. The scene outline should go a very long way toward helping me stay on track to finish the novel with the three main sections appropriately balanced.

I've never come this far, and I'm not talking about word count. I think this piece has potential. I'm not afraid to write it anymore.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Still Love Fall

Silly writer. Imagery is the sort of thing you go back later and fill in, after the characters are developed, after the plot's sketched out, after the NaNoWriMo word count hurdle has been met.

The weirdest change about Maggie during her pregnancy, though, was her hair. Mark had always loved Maggie’s thick curly hair, in that hard-to-describe color that was part chocolaty brown and part autumnal orange, all shot through with strands that shone pure copper and caught afternoon sun to turn her head into a burning pile of leaves. He loved to grab her hair in both of his hands and burrow his face into it, almost expecting the scent of crisp fall air and pumpkin pie spices. Maggie tended to choose shampoo based on continuously evolving criteria like price, bottle shape, brand name, ingredients list, and quality of marketing writing, though, so her hair’s perfume changed regularly, though it always overlay a smell that was purely, uniquely, Maggie.

While Maggie was pregnant, her smell changed slightly, and so did her hair. Her tightly wound curls became softer, gentler, still curls but more like paper links in a Christmas tree decorating chain than the springy store-bought ribbon on a child’s birthday present.

Wednesday's Word Total: 13,071
Thursday's Word Total: 15,086

Writing Poll


How do you deal with longer pieces of work-in-progress? Do you keep the entire document in one large, cumbersome file for administrative ease? Do you keep separate files for each chapter? Some chunking system in between?

I've worked both ways, and have not yet stumbled upon a comfortable solution. I like being able to scroll up or down from where I'm writing - I don't always create sequentially or chronologically - to edit or verify a detail. On the other hand, large files are slow, and it takes a long time to move around in them. But it sure is a lot easier to compute things like word count in a single file rather than a chapter-by-chapter approach, and to ensure consistent formatting, page numbering, etc.

What do you do?

Today's NaNoWriMo word count: 11,120 words.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

His Dark Materials

No amount of caffeine is keeping my head off my hand off the table, and even I am bored with the short section that I just finished writing. It's time to get some sleep!

Another successful NaNoWriMo day, all in all. My total word count is 9031 words, and according to the little spreadsheet Paul made for me, I needed to be at 8333 words to be on track. If I can keep this up, I might get a couple of days off at Thanksgiving! Or maybe just some lighter writing days to do more research and planning for the harder, later sections of the novel.

This is already the longest work of fiction I've ever written, by a hair. (I've written short stories, the first 5 or 6 chapters of a novel, and a longer pieces nonfiction/creative nonfiction/memoir, but most of my writing has definitely been in bite-sized chunks. I write a lot of beginnings before paralyzing in fear of failure. What seemed to me at one time to be great titles, great first lines, great opening paragraphs clutter my "Writing" folder.)

Moving on.

Have you read Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? We loved it. And we're all looking forward to the movie of The Golden Compass, opening in December. By "we," I mean Paul, me, my whole family (mom, dad, two sisters, various brothers-in-law), and a couple of good friends.

I'm not sure I want my daemon to be a chimp, though. I mean, chimps are clever, and that's really good. But they're not exactly sexy animals. Maybe you can help determine if I've got the right daemon?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Really Good Guy

The NaNoWriMo website is currently down. This is frustrating, because once I've finished my writing for the "day," I count on being able to log in and input my new total, in order to watch my little blue status bar move slightly to the right.

So far, so good. I have a rough outline, I have a timeline, and at the end of day three, I have 5264 words.

Orange asked me what I'm writing this month. The "it's late and I'm really tired" version is this:

I'm working on a literary fiction, very character-driven novel called The Really Good Guy. The title character is a married-with-kids, 36-year-old workaholic who has always been described as a good person. More importantly, that's how he sees himself. And then he does something that's pretty awful. He has to deal with the consequences, but most importantly, he has to see himself as the sort of guy who'd do such a bad thing.

This story presents all sorts of challenges for me, not least among which are that my main character is older than me, male, and a workaholic while I'm an at-home mom. (That's whole different kind of working hard.) It's hard for me to keep his wife and kids in the background where they belong.

"Write what you know" is good, solid writing advice. And I am writing what I know, just in a different way. Sometimes using a narrator who sees the world from a different perspective can shed interesting light on a story.

It really is impossible for me to write well this fast. It's not, however, a wasted exercise. I might not have a beautiful, lyrical novel, but I often put pretty stuff in later, once the outline of the story is in place. I shade after I sketch. I upholster after I construct, and so forth.

At the end of the month, I don't plan to have a publishable novel. I hope to have 50,000 words, the bones of a really interesting story, consisting mostly of scenes and summary without a lot of connective tissue: a great outline that can be fleshed out and lifted up a bit into something that I can be proud of.

3 days ago, I had a few notes jotted down at the Borders Cafe. Tonight I have more than 5000 words of new, original fiction typed and saved. I don't care which words they are; I'm proud of that.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Give It To Me

OK, I'm disabling the word verification thingie until I get fed up with the spam again. This lowers the bar for commenting. Let's chat!

Second day NaNoWriMo total: 3680 (slightly ahead of the daily requirement to stay on track for 50,000 words in 30 days).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Write On!

Yo yo yo, it's NaNoWriMo; here we go! In general, I do believe in quality over quantity. But when I'm paralyzed, any movement is a positive development, even if it's just a muscle spasm. And at the end of the first day, I have more than 1700 words on the screen. For the record, Ada does not feel that this is the best use of my time. In turn, I do not feel that being up and crying 3 hours past successful bedtime is the best use of her time either.

Ada did the funniest thing last weekend. I was playing Wii with my sister in the family room while my mom was playing with Ellie in her room, down at the other end of the hall. Our family room and Ellie's room are like the weights on a barbell, with other rooms (a bathroom, my room, Ada's room) shooting off the main hallway to the sides. So it's not like a barbell at all, but the family room and Ellie's room are at opposite ends of a hallway, see?

Anyway, Ada got bored with the way LilSis and I were neglecting her, so she crawled all the way down the hallway to Ellie's room for some more stimulating company. Once she got there, she got up on her knees (tall kneeling!) and looked at me, while defiantly shutting the door. Her reach is impressive, but she is only 9 months old. So she'd push the door a bit, crawl toward it, push it some more, crawl to catch up, etc., until the door finally closed. Until the last possible moment, she stared right at me, meaningfully.

I got the message!