Millennium

Here is it, the one and only, my 1000th post.  After nearly three straight years of coming here to share, with my audience and followers, my almost-innermost thoughts, I have reached a most impressive goal.

"It's all darkness and misery, leading to a lonely, pointless death."

“What is the point?  In the end it’s all darkness and misery, leading to a lonely, pointless death.”

Thanks, Frank.  I knew I could count on you to bring the good times to the party.

At least there are others who feel differently . . .

"I already knew your inner thoughts and secrets--your passwords were easy to break, even with the childish encryption you used."

“I already knew your inner thoughts and secrets–your passwords were easy to break, even with the encryption.  You are a sad, foolish girl.”

Ray of sunshine you are, Lisbeth.  Don’t you have a large Swedish corporation to take down?

What started me down this strange path?  Well, to be honest, writing.  Not writing a blog, however.  No, not at all.  When I first started this sucker I was going in fits and starts, and my postings were uneven.  I had nothing to say, I just posted things here and wondered if anyone would read them.  And frankly, I gave very few shits if anyone did.

What started me working hard on the blog was when I was writing my novella Kuntilanak.  I wanted to get into the habit of writing, and it wasn’t just enough to work on the story, because I was afraid I would–as I had done many times before–just give up somewhere along the line.

Then came the brilliant idea:  what if I talked about writing my story by writing on my blog?  It’s simple:  I work on the story in the morning, do a little editing in the afternoon, and at some point in between I’d set up a post detailing my writing exploits.  Not exactly the greatest idea in the world, but it kept me writing my story–and it’s kept me writing my blog.

And how much have I kept writing.  I went back and looked, and found that the last day I didn’t post an entry was 24 March, 2012, a couple of months short of two years ago.  However, there were two posts on 23 March because of something that kept me from posting on the 24th.  So it’s not really a missed day, just a day where I posted the day before.  The last day where nothing was written:  8 September, 2011.  Which, if you’re following the details of current work in progress, is the actual day Kerry is shocked so badly by the Queen of Sorcery, Helena Lovecraft, that he ends up spending the night in the hospital.

Coincidence?  You tell me.

So much has changed since that summer of 2011.  Since then I’ve been through three jobs, and I’ve moved for two of them.  I still suffer from depression, but not nearly as much as back in 2010 and 2011.  I cry more, but that’s because I feel more, I’m not cut off from my emotions any longer.  I finally came to grips with my gender dysphoria, began seeing a therapist and came out, and now spend a reasonable portion of my life as female (as opposed to Life in Technicolor, but you can blame Coldplay for that).

Most of all I write.  I write stories, and I write on my blog.  I’ve sold one story and self-published two.  My sales are crap, but I’m keeping at it.  2014 is the year I start sending more things out, because I’ve got a slush pile and a half waiting, and it’s time to move that monster.  Talk is cheap, and I got bills to pay.

Yesterday and today I looked over my posts and my stats, and decided to list my ten biggest posts in the history of this blog.  We  aren’t talking huge numbers here, and with the exception of one time when I was sort of damned with faint praise by someone who said, “You only get about forty hits a day?  I thought you were huge.  I get more than that,” I’m happy with my few thousand followers who literally come from everywhere on the planet.

Behold my Global Empire!

Behold my Global Empire!

Since I’ve always wanted to do this, allow me to offer up my own top ten.

 

Top Ten Posts of All Time:

10. If I Go the Plane Way, 8 November, 2013.  140 views.

This was about a set of scenes I was working one during the last NaNo, and how I used Scrivener to layer additional scenes under existing scenes.

 

9.   The End Beginning Again, 5 January, 2014.  144 views.

This was about my idea file, and how something I’d thought about using for an old story in the file was considered for a much later story I wanted to write.  This is the only post from 2014 to make my top ten.

 

8.   Time Tunneling, 16 October, 2013.  148 views.

In the run-up to NaNoWriMo 2013 I went into a lot of detail about how I set up my novel, and some of the things I was doing with time lines.  This was the third of my “October Three” where I had fantastic hits for three posts in a row.  Just as I did layers of scenes, this showed how to do layers of timelines within timelines.

 

7.   You Are Now Leaving Silent Hill, 22 September, 2013.  167 views.

My first “Daily Excursion” post after arriving in Harrisburg, PA.  I ran up to Centralia, PA–which was once used as inspiration for the art direction of the movie Silent Hill–walked around, got pictures, and lived to tell the tale.

 

6.   Preparatory School, 14 October, 2013.  207 views.

The first of my “October Three” post, where I show the lay out of what was to be my NaNo 2013  novel, and that is still my current work in progress.

 

5.   Playthings in the Hands of the Arbiters of Decency, 27 February, 2012.  231 views.

This is the only one of my rants that made the top ten.  It was about how PayPal was getting crappy about being used to pay for what it saw as smut, and how it arbitrarily decided to impose rules that screwed over a lot of writers.  Things are much better now, unless you write monster smut . . .

 

4.   Dancing with Demons, 4 November, 2011.  272 views.

The oldest of my top tens, this one puzzles me.  I was four days into my first NaNoWriMo, hard at work on Her Demonic Majesty, and I threw this one up pretty fast.  And for some reasons it has pulled in nearly three hundred hits.  Must be the demons . . .

 

3.   Done Ready, 21 October, 2013.  312 views.

A quick discussion about how I was ready to start NaNo 2013.  I say in this post that I’d finish the first book of The Foundation Chronicles by 31 December.  I think I meant I’d finished my drugs then.

 

2.   Timelines and the Aeon, 15 October, 2013.  644 views.

The middle of my “October Three”, and the biggest by far.  This is where Aeon Timeline ended up on my computer and I told everyone about it.  Apparently a lot of people liked that.

 

1.   Penultimate Daydream, 2 May, 2012.  645 views.

And this is another puzzle.  Why?  Because nothing much is said here.  Well, actually, there is, but it doesn’t make that much sense.  I was sleep deprived, I hated my job, I was almost hallucinating.  It was the day before I turned 55, and the incident I speak off while dining, I did think someone I knew was dining with me.  And then they weren’t, and it killed me.  I’ve always wondered if there was some kind of bot that drove the numbers up.  Not that it maters today.

 

Honorable Mentions:

The Rough Guide to My Alternate Chicago, 12 December, 2011.  120 views.

This was the first post where I really got into talking about the wonders of editing, and though most writers hate it, about this time was when I was starting to love it.  And so I have to post my love.

 

Hail, Scrivener!, 31 July, 2011.  128 views.

The oldest of my posts with more than one hundred views, this is where I started talking about Scrivener, and how much it was helping my writing and my story telling.  What was nice about this post was there was a comment from the Scrivener people, saying they enjoyed the kind words I had for their product.  That was when it first hit me:  there are people out there actually reading this stuff!

 

In looking over some of my old posts I saw likes from people who no longer blog, who have vanished from the face of the Internet, who I wonder about.  Blogging isn’t something you stick with day in and out for years.  I’m probably one of the strange examples, getting up every morning and cranking out my five hundred words, or more, before starting out my day.  And if any of you who used to blog, who I used to see every day, are still out there following me–hey, I miss you guys.  Hope your life is treating you well, because we all need that.

What comes next?  No more special posts for a while, that’s for sure.  If I do another, it’ll come when I reach my 2,500th post, which over four years away.  And that begs the question:

When will I stop blogging?

Because everything comes to an end, doesn’t it?  In four years I’ll be sixty-one, and I can’t say if I’ll still show up here, blogging every day, or if I’ll still continue churning out stories that no one reads.  Or if I’ll even be alive, cause the next eleven hour run back to Northwest Indiana could see me flying off the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike at high speed into a valley, all the time regretting nothing.

Or perhaps I will have reached my dream of being a full-time writer, and I can be like Chuck and blog to all the word slaves out there (the penmonkeys are his), giving them encouragement and telling them why they shouldn’t stop, because look at me, I made it.

I won’t be quitting any time soon.  I can’t.  I still feel as if I have something to say.  But should it become time to move on and find my wide awake dreams elsewhere, I’ll fall back on this quote–something I heard over Christmas, and something that speaks to me of what can be the finality of change:

 

“Times change and so must I. We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s ok, that’s good, as long as you keep moving, as long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.”  The Eleventh Doctor, The Time of the Doctor.

I’m not quite as good at The Doctor, but I do remember so much of who I’ve been these last three years.  I remember the people I’ve known, those who’ve been a pain in my ass, and those whose friendship and help I have cherished through the years.

And I remember those who have left their mark on me in such a way that it will never be erased.

A thousand down, and still more to come.  Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.

There are stories to be written, you know.

The Tunnel at the End of the Tunnel

Today is Snowmaggdon in The Burg.  People are freaking out because we are expecting one to three inches of the white stuff.  Um . . . yeah.  I’m from Chicago.  One to three inches of snow is otherwise known as “Tuesday” back home.  Let me know when it gets serious.

Back at my school, where they also laugh at one to three inches of snow because it’s New England and you’re right on the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s still flip-flop weather, I’m out of The Chunnel and into a smaller tunnel leading to Flight School.  My kids got tired of amateur insults and one of my characters finally had to lay some Cymraeg on the girl in question, and admitted to Annie that he’d just cursed, telling her in English what he’d said.  Gasp!  Eleven year olds cursing.  Yeah, it happens.  Just wait until one of my instructors loses it, which does happen later in the story.  It’s a thing of beauty.  It’s also a good thing this is a private school . . .

Walking home from work I positively, pretty much sorta, figured that I’ll need to split the story up into three sections.  Yeah, a lot going on for one year of school, but it is what it is.  As much, if parts of the story are shorter, then I can just cut it in half, or if it ends up under two hundred thousand words, then I just keep it as one.  Maybe.  This is one of those things I’m keeping in my head as I go along, and that I can change at any time because Scrivener makes it easy.  Just plug and play, people.  It’s that simple.

I was surprised, however, that I managed a little more than eleven hundred words last night.  I wasn’t feeling the story that much, but somehow in a forty minutes period I laid down almost seven hundred words, so inspiration must have come at me from somewhere.  It is strange how that happens, but at the same time it’s good when it does.

Speaking of inspiration, I have things to give away!  No, really, I do.

See, I won NaNoWriMo again, and I have all these goodies that I don’t need because, well, I either don’t need them or I already have to software.  Like, I have discount codes for Scrivener and Aeon Timeline, and I won’t use them because I already have both, and it’s Use It or Lose It time for those babies.

Instead, I’m going to give those away.  Actually, I have codes for the following:

Get Two Free Books from CreateSpace (Must have NaNo account)
50% off on Scrivener writing software for Mac OS X and Windows
50% off Storyist for Mac for NaNoWriMo winners
Save 40% on Aeon Timeline to Plan Your Next Draft or Next Novel
Book Country congratulates winners with 30% off an eBook publishing package, special placement, and double your marketing value with free BookStubs
50% off Spark Anthology
BiblioCrunch Gives 50% off Author Concierge Service for NaNoWriMo winners ($120 value)

There.  I’m giving it all away.  I don’t need it, so if you want it, it’s yours.

However . . .

I’m not standing in the middle of the street givin’ away money.  Here’s what you do.

Go into the comments and leave a message telling me what you’d like, but also telling me what your next story is going to be.  Tell me in . . . lets make it simple:  seventy-five words or more.  Yeah, go for it.  Oh, and leave your email address–though if you’re on Facebook you can look up sweet little Cassidy and PM that to me.

I’ll read the comments, and based on what I think will be the best use of whatever you want, then you’ll get.

Simple, right?

Just like walking through a tunnel–

Eventually you come out the other side.

 

Mileage and Meadows

Here I am, back in my second home, back in The Burg.  Good trip, eight and a half hours on the road, and catching the last rays of the sun as I topped Sideling Hill, just about where I figured it would happen.  Had a lot of fun roaring down the winding stretch of the Penn Turnpike from the East Portal of the Allegheny Tunnel to well on the other side of Bedford, where most people are like, “Oh, this is kind of scary, better keep it between 55 and 60,” and I’m like, “I’ve driven the ten percent downgrade on The Green Hell at 110, outta the way, proles.”

I made it home in good time, six hundred and thirty-five miles in about eight and a half hours.  I didn’t feel good most of the way, but that was just Indiana getting back at me for going on about how ghetto the east side of the state looks.  No, really:  some of the crappiest rest stops along the way.  It’s like having to stop at the late, not-so-great Cabrini Green for gas–and you can fuel up your car, too!

NaNo was behind me yesterday, but I finally sat down about nine PM and wrote a little over five hundred words.  Why?  Because I said I would, and I felt a lot more alive than I had last Friday when I made the trek back to NWI.  I was also having a cocktail, which seemed to put me in a mood to do something.  And while the brain wasn’t firing all on cylinders, I continued the scene and arrived at a point where another truth has been revealed.

I’ll finish up the scene I’m on today, move the next scene to another part of the book–I’ve moved this once already, but where I’ll put it makes more sense–and maybe even finish the chapter this afternoon.  Then I’m going to try something, because if I end up writing a couple of hundred thousand words, and then wait a few months before reading through it again, I’ll end up working on this story forever.  Give the sort of things you can do with Scrivener, I’m going to try an editing process that William Gibson uses, but putting a twist on it.  I thought about  this on the later stages of the trip last night, and if it works it’ll save me time getting the story finished.  It’s going to cut production for the next couple of weeks, but in the long run it should save me time writing and editing.

I’m finally ready to bring the classes onstage, and one of the first scenes is gonna take us to Flight School, where my little blond Jewish instructor–a former racer with the call sign Nightwitch–is going to show these kids how to fly a Class A PAV.  And none of his Madam Hooch “Up!’ shit, either.  No, she’s gonna show you how to fly the damn thing–and give you a cool call sign at the same time.  Which means everyone who flies at the school has a call sign, and you know that means I’ve figured them all out.

Yeah, I do that a lot.

 

Sixty in Thirty

Sometime last night, between eight-thirty and nine PM–about the time The Colony of Slippermen was playing from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway–I slipped past sixty thousand words.  I was a bit surprised I made it that far, but seeing as how I’ve been sitting in front of the computer pretty much non-stop since Wednesday, I was bound to get enough words in the computer to do that thing I do.

Really, though, I was out of the house for most of the afternoon, and getting back down in front of the system after a few hours of running about did wonders to recharge the creative batteries.  I’d finished up my conversation in The Witch House with my tween characters and, as she called herself, “Dark Mistress of All”–totally not ripping off Stormageddon, trust me–where she told the kids about some poison they would eventually learn how to make that will simulate the effects of radiation sickness, making my Queen of Sorcery a hell of a lot more bad-ass than any Defense of the Dark Arts instructor, they headed into the school tunnels, met a couple of other teachers, got lunch, and are now . . .

Well, they’re tired.  One of them is, at least.  Dude does not do any walking around, and he’d gonna have to get used to it.  But that was expected.  Take a city kid and tell them to start walking a kilometer or more to get to school, they’ll get worn out.  Happens all the time.

So, by my count, yesterday was the thirtieth day of writing–started October 30th, wrote until November 29th, took one day off–and the plan was to not only go over fifty thousand words, not only hit a goal of fifty-four thousand for NaNo, but to finish November with sixty thousand words.  The plan was met all along the way, and though I was only a few dozen words over my final goal, it’s there and done.  I did it.

Today is Travel Day.  I’ll do breakfast here soon, then I’ll finish getting the car loaded and hit the road, maybe about eight AM or so, for the long drive back to The Burg.  I have no hurry to get back, so if I make it about nine PM local, it’s all good, I can get in, unpack, set up my system, and maybe before I roll back off to bed, add a hundred or so words into the story.  Really, I can do it this time, I know it.

I also know that after I finish this current scene I’ll probably cut the next scene.  I would love to do it, but I’ve moved it once, and the more I think about it, the less I think it’s needed.  I keep running it about in my mind, and it’s a good scene, but it doesn’t add anything.  I can use it somewhere else, I know that for sure.  I’ll see.  This is one of those, “Should I do this?” moments that I can decide upon.

Though if I do this scene, I know it’ll show how one characters loves getting their way . . .

 

Strange Chats in The Witch House

The end of November is in sight, and so is sixty thousand words.  I’m only twelve hundred words away, and it’s likely good and well I’ll make that tonight.  Maybe.  If not I’ll be within a few hundred words and I’ll consider it an good accomplishment.

Later today I repack my meager items and tomorrow I make the long return trek to The Burg.  I figure to get back into town around ten or eleven, which means I may have time to rip off a couple of hundred words before falling asleep.  Or not.  I don’t know.  Just like when I drove out here and I didn’t feel like doing anything, it’s even money I’ll feel the same once I’m back there.  Play it all by ear and hope for the best.

But I have moved out of Memory’s End and into The Witch House.  My kids have met the “Dark Mistress of All,” because there will come a time when she might just become the mother of Stormageddon, so set that up now for the insanity later on down the road.  And they’re seeing how “formulas” are brewed up in the 21st Century.  You can forget that cauldron crap, baby:  in my school they go all Walter White and respect the chemistry.  Particularly when they’re cooking up antidotes to poisons designed to make it look like you’re dying from exposure to ionizing radiation.

Shhhh.  I haven’t told my characters yet.  That’s coming today.

I keep writing in little blurts:  a few hundred words here, a couple hundred there.  I catch myself saying things that I shouldn’t and I change it before moving on.  I look things up just to make sure.  It’s a lot of slow, deliberate writing here, not barrel ahead and get it edited later type of writing.  I don’t know if it’s a phase I’m entering for my writing, but it’s what I’m doing now.  I’ve changed a lot in the last two years, and this is the latest in the long line of writers who are me.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is lack of sales.  Maybe 2014 will be the time to turn that around.  We’ll see.

The next goal after this is to hit ninety thousand by the end of the year.  I should hit that without any issues, other than actually writing it all.  But a thousand or so a night will get me there, and with a little padding now and then, I might just hit a hundred thousand.  By the end of the year I’ll have a much better idea how much more I need to write to finish it up.  Any more I don’t believe I’ll finish by the middle of January–the end if probably a better estimate.

But there is a likely hood I might not finish until February.  Or even the beginning of March.

Le sigh.  And to think I have other stories waiting for these kids as well.  I really do love to punish myself, don’t I?

 

Days of Winter’s Future

Is it possible to starting thinking that when you’re approaching sixty thousand words and you’re still in Chapter Five, that maybe you should start considering where you’re going to cut the sucker up?

I’m not at that point yet, but it’s getting there.  I’ve four scenes left in this chapter–though I’m already considering cutting two because they may or may not be necessary–and then it’s on to Part Three, Chapter Six, and the first week of school . . . and I’ll be sitting around sixty-five thousand words then.  Hey, no one ever said these things happen quickly.  Hey, the novel is made in the editing, right?  Just write it out and chop it then.

Last night I reached a point in my story where I’ve started introducing strange things.  Strange as in one of my main characters doesn’t believe these things should happen, but he’ll keep an open mind on it.  See, this where where I put all the stuff behind that I believe and dip the toe into the fantasy pool and write things that shouldn’t be, because that’s what writers do:  they make shit up.

With that in mind, I did this:

 

Cold. It was so cold. Kerry watched chunks of ice drift away to his left as he scanned the far shore of the river, a couple, maybe three kilometers distant. No people were, nor were there buildings—nothing but frozen shoreline and hundreds of trees.

That wasn’t true about the place where he stood. There were remnants of structures all around him, crumbling foundations half-buried in snow and tundra. To his right were the crumbling spans of a bridge leading to a small island a few hundred meters off-shore. Those were the only indications that people once lived her, however. All else was history: no docks, no roads, no power, no water save the slowly flowing, semi-frozen river.

He was alone.

Except . . .

He heard movement to his left. He turned slowly, feeling the weight of a pack on his back and something else in his left hand. A person was walking towards him, covered head to toe in white clothing designed for a not-so-average winter. They, too, carried a large pack on their back and something long and black in their right hand. There was a pair of goggles pushed up onto their forehead and their lower face was covered by a balaclava, leaving their bright gray eyes outlined by the fur of their parka hood.

The other person spoke; it was only then Kerry realized the person with him was a girl. “What is this place?”

 

That is a vision, something that happened because of–well, tea.  And he had and answer for the question asked, but that isn’t the above vision, so you have to wait for the book to come out to find out what he said.  Sure, I know, but that’s my job to know, because I’m the one who put the thought in his head.

I love the scene I’m writing at the moment.  There are a few things left to do, then I want to go dark for a bit, then talk some truths between my main characters.

Then I get my kiddies to school.  No, really, it’s time for classes.

Has been for a while.

The End is Here

Sometime yesterday afternoon, after writing at a local cafe, I threw my novel The Foundation Chronicles Book One: A For Advanced in whatever passes for a meat grinder on the NaNo page to verify that I was over the fifty thousand limit.  It was really easy to do:  bring up the Compile option in Scrivener, set up to do a preview, generate it, Ctrl-A it, Ctrl-C it, paste it in the verification text area on the NaNo page, click the button, and . . .

Yes.  It came up a winner.

Fifty-four thousand, five hundred sixty-nine words later I’ve beat NaNo once more, as well as beating the goal I set back on October 30th when I started this little story a couple of days early.  The writing continues, but I’ll drop my daily goals down to about twelve hundred words a day and shoot for that, with the intention of making at least a thousand a day.  Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t.  But you’re writing every day, unlike someone I know who seems to spend more time begging for people to write with her than, you know, actually writing.

Another NaNo is over.  That’s three in a row for me, as well as writing a fifty-three thousand word novel during Camp NaNo this last July.  I’ll leave them a little money to show my appreciation, and thinking about who I’m going to give my winner codes to, since I’m all softwared up.

That said, I’ve finished my last NaNo.  It’s been fun, but no more for this kid.

Allow me to explain–

NaNo is fantastic.  I participated in my first in 2011 and finished my first novel ever.  Prior to that I’d written a couple of stories that amounted to about thirty-five thousand words, but the one time I’d tackled a novel it went tits up after a quarter of a million words, and then languished for about twenty years.  NaNo was my attempt to prove that I could not only write a novel, but I could finish the damn thing.  And I did, and I published it, and in the process of all that I learned a whole hell of a lot about the writing game.

In the last two years I’ve produced quite the backlog.  I’ve written a couple of novellas.  I wrote my first legitimate short story this last September.  I finished that twenty year old novel, which at close to three hundred thousand words is really a trilogy.  And I’ve written five more novels:  three short ones between fifty and sixty thousand words, and two just over seventy thousand words.

I usually write all the time.  When I’m not writing I’m editing, and when I’m not editing I’m working on writing things:  designing, plotting, figuring things out.  I did a lot of that for the novel I’m now writing–months of it, actually.  But there was also a point in this process where I was waiting for NaNo to roll into town, and I got tired of writing and just jumped into the fire.

A few weeks ago I decided that it’s better for me to keep writing, and not stick to the idea that, hey, November’s here, let’s do fifty.  As my friend Penelope said, “Some of us are writing all the time,” and that’s been true of me for two years now, and I intend for it to be the same come 2014 and the years after.

That said, I’ll keep writing and editing, and doing my best to get published.  Maybe this book I’m in now will be the one to do the trick for me.

Let us all keep going forward.  Write what you want, write what you can, but if you want to write, then write.

I know I will.

 

Moments of Truth

Here we are, twenty-fifth of November, and if you’ve been rolling hard on the NaNo Train you know what this means.  You take your novel from the basket and put it in the Validater, and hope you hit your goal.  If you do, then it’s a lot of happiness with cheers and hands in the air and naked dancing around a bonfire–okay, maybe not that last, but some of my instructors do that in my story, so if you feel like joining them, feel free.

Once this is done you are more or less done, because you’ve beat the NaNo, and you can pat yourself on the bat that you’ve written a novel in under thirty days.  Or maybe you’ll wait until the end of the month to do this.  Or maybe you didn’t get your fifty thousand in . . . at least you gave it your all, and there’s always next year.  If you’re a Cubs fan, you’re used to this last mantra, but hey:  anyone can have a bad century, yeah?

In my novel my main characters have had the wool pulled from their eyes and the truth given.  One of the characters is cool with this, because she knew everything the headmistress said is true.  The other one–the boy my female character is giving goo-goo eyes to–well, he’s playing things close to the vest, not saying much at all.  As they approached one of the many classrooms scattered around the school campus, advice was given:  keep an open mind and don’t judge.  What’s my male character going to do?

I’m not ending my novel in another five thousand words, so that should give you a hint.

At the moment I’m exactly seven hundred and forty-nine words away from my personal goal.  I’m going to finish that off this morning, then do my verification, and do some more writing tonight.  And more tomorrow.  And more after that, until I throw “The End” at the bottom of the last scene.  I could have finished off the current scene last night, but I was tired, and the mind wasn’t working.  I’m going to have some sushi for breakfast as I write, and jam into the next scene, then have Scrivener compile this into a preview, do a cut and paste, and make it all nice and neat.

I love the smell of nice and neat first thing in the morning.

I’m not exactly where I want to be this Monday, but I’m not upset with my progress.  I developed a different outlook on my writing this time around, and this is something one should do as they evolve.  I’m careful, I’m trying things I’ve never tried before while writing, and it feels good.  It’s another version of my work, and it’s working out in a way I never thought.  Keep doing this for another hundred thousand words, and I’ll have something for which I’ll be proud.  Because where I once felt strange about writing this novel, I don’t these days.  I may feel I’m getting nowhere fast, but eventually I’ll get there.

Keep at anything long enough, and you’ll find the end eventually.

 

The Evening Breakfast Talk

Tell us you listened to something yesterday, Cassie . . . why yes.  Yes I did.  It was Achtung Baby and The Unforgettable Fire by U2, and Ocean Rain by Echo and the Bunnymen.  Oh, and the most famous song on Ocean Rain, The Killing Moon, has one phrase that was brought about because the guy who penned the lyrics had to pee in the middle of the night.  True story.

Does this mean I was writing yesterday?  Hell, yes.  Even with taking my daughter to her martial arts class in the morning, getting ready to watch Day of the Doctor with her, actually watching it at one-fifty in the afternoon, then screwing around with my timeline software for a few hours, I got down to writing sometime after seven PM–or nineteen hours, as they say at my school.  I started writing, and while I didn’t hit the recommended daily goal for NaNo, I did score just over sixteen hundred words, finished just short of fifty-two thousand words, and finished the first scene of Chapter Five–which, if I check, is probably the longest scene I’ve written for the novel so far . . . I was correct:  it is.

As predicted the truth about the school came out at the fifty thousand word point, and even though I sort of stumbled through the writing last night, it was done.  Words were put down, scenes were developed, the novel moves on.  After lunch I can start on this again, and should I manage more than two thousand words today I can hit my personal goal of fifty-four thousands words for NaNo and consider myself totally, completely, actually having “won” it once more.

And then keep pushing on into the future.

There is some strangeness here because I keep coming up with other ideas right now, and I know why:  it’s a trick your mind plays when you’re concentrating on something that need doing, and it’s attempting to stave off boredom by distracting you with pretty notions.  Writing is monotonous, it can be boring, but as with any other job, you push through.  As Harlan Ellison once said, you don’t go up in the attic in the middle of the night and cast chicken bones around and find your story completed in the morning, you sit down and get to work typing the damn thing out.

So after a day of relaxing and mending and getting recharged, I’m back to finish out NaNo and keep the story moving forward.  I’ll jot down my ideas when they get to where they nag me a little too much, and maybe on a few of the weekends to come I’ll go back to editing Couples Dance, because I want to get that damn thing published.  2014 isn’t far away, and it’s time to get something else published even if I’m not really selling.  Why?  Because the next thing just might be the one . . .

For today, though, it’s get my kids down the path and have them confront their future.  And I mean that in a very literal sense, because I’ve got a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey reference I simply have to write–

Self Shaming the Story

Today I have no soundtracks, no special albums.  Well, Little Cactually, I do, but they were listened to while driving six hundred thirty-five and a half miles.  That’s the exact distance I drove from Central Pennsylvania to Northwest Indiana, temp home to home, in ten hours, forty-five minutes.  When I arrived home this little guy was waiting for me.  Awww, isn’t he/she/it/the little unspeakable mind-ripping horror cute?

I relaxed, I caught up with news with family, and then I watched TV with my daughter, finishing the evening with An Adventure in Time and Space, because this last week has been all things Doctor Who, Mr. Filch was driving the TARDIS last night, and I wanted to watch.

When I crawled upstairs at ten PM local, eleven my adopted time, I was dead.  My body felt the strain of zipping across country at a fairly constant speed of seventy-three miles per hour–about one hundred and eighteen kilometers per hour for the rest of the world–and having been up since about one-fifteen AM central time.  Rather than get on the computer, I shut it all down and crawled into bed.  I was off to sleep in about five minutes–

But not before I got upset that I didn’t write anything.

That’s not something I’ve done during a NaNo before.  I always get words down in November, unless I’ve finished my novel.  It’s not finished, so I should have wrote, but I didn’t because I was simply dead-ass tired.  And by saying I was upset, what I mean to say it that a couple of tears slipped out, because I was blaming myself for being weak, for not getting in there and getting out at least five hundred words.  I’d done it before:  why should that night be any different?

I’ve said on more than a few occasions that the secret to writing a novel is sitting down and writing.  You wanna get the story told, you write the word.  Are you tired?  Rest, then write.  Are you sleepy?  Take a nap, then write.  Did you just drive six hundred miles?  Decompress, then write.

It’s easy to think you’re stronger than you are.  It’s easy to believe that if you don’t do something, you’re kind of a wuss because you didn’t so something you think should have been done.  I’ve seen people do that with working out–I even did it myself.  You get into a routine, and you keep the routine up, and then the first time you slip away from that routine, you flagellate yourself for the inability to meet some impossible goal.  I did this once when I was teaching aerobics–yes, I was an instructor once.  Five minutes into my class I felt something in my left calf tear, but rather than sit and not aggravate it, I did the remaining fifty minutes of the class.  “Did” is a relative term, because with about ten minutes to go I was in so much pain that I finally sat down on the riser and called out the moves from visualized memory while my leg screamed at me.

The upshot of it all was I’d ripped the muscle horribly, and I spent the next week hobbling around like a cripple.  And what did I do?  I got mad at myself–for not working out.

The thing is, however, is I know if I’d tried writing last night, I’d have made a mess of it all.  Crap would have ended up on the page, and no way do I ever want that.  There’s no reason for beating myself up, because the choice comes down to either writing, or writing well, and I’ll take the later each time

I often find it necessary to remember what science fiction author William Gibson once said in an interview.  He was asked if he writes every day, and his response was that he does, unless he doesn’t have anything to say.  He said that sometimes, for whatever reasons, the words simply won’t come, and when that happens he puts the writing away and goes off to do something else.  George R. R. Martin has said something similar, that if he isn’t feeling the writing, he puts it away and does something else.  He also stated in the same interview that he still has days when he looks at his writing and thinks, “God, I can’t believe I wrote this crap!”, proving that no matter how successful you become, or how many fans you piss off by murdering their favorite characters, you can find yourself suffering from insecurities about you creations.

There is no shame in not being able to write because the outcome would have resulted in disaster.  There is no weakness in being so tired that rather than writing you are out cold a couple of minutes after your head hits the pillow.  It happens, and you live with it.

Remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  You’re in it for the long run, so pace yourself.  When it comes to writing, it’s not better to burn out than to fade away–

Because every story fades away to “The End”.

It’s the best fade of them all.

The Road Nanoer

Now we come to the part of the journey where we don’t dance, but say what I listened to last night while writing.  That’s easy:  the Donnie Darko Soundtrack.

That doesn’t sounds like a lot, and there’s a reason for that:  I didn’t write much last night.  Why?  Because I was tired and brain dead, and I’d spent a lot of time after getting home preparing for a long drive.  Yes, that’s right:  I’m on the road again.  In fact, I’m writing this scree from O to the Hi to the O, right around eight AM local.  I’ve been on the road since three AM, and I’ve been having a ball.  I’ve given both my Bubblegum Crises soundtrack CDs a couple of spins each, which has taken me all the way through Pennsylvania and about thirty miles into Ohio, and cruising through the mountain on the Penn Turkey with 1980′s anime pop cranked is a good time.  There was a moment while I was making the climb up to Somerset before holding a 70 mph/110 kph ninety degree turn right into the Allegheny Tunnel as the guitar bridge on Asu e Tatchidaun blasted out of the speakers–magic.  You should try it.

Last night I wrote one thousand, two hundred, sixty words.  That is the first time during three NaNos and a Camp that I didn’t make my word count.  I mean, I was out of it, the mind was stone, and nothing seemed correct.  I corrected a few things along the way, and tonight, once I’m back home, I’ll probably edit a couple of things before writing anything new.  But that doesn’t matter to me because I’ve beat the NaNo.  My word count stands at fifty thousand, three hundred and eight words.  Yay, me.  Wait, I mean–Yay.

All that remains is to hit my fifty-four thousand mark this weekend, and I’ll accomplish what I wanted to do.  Like I said before, I’ll probably close out the month with sixty thousand or so, which will put me one-half or one-third of the way to the end, depending on what final word count I go with.  At the moment I’m revising upwards to one third.  Oi, there’s a lot left to write.

The other thing I was messing with last night was moving a scene.  I realize that one thing I wanted to write isn’t needed, but another scene I’m thinking of–one that comes right after the one I’m currently writing–needed to be added.  So, just like with one scene I’ve already moved, I’ll move the scene card I don’t need to where I do need it, and rename the sucker.  I’ll probably start working on that Saturday.  The big question for that scene is do I start writing it before the Doctor Who anniversary special at one-fifty in the afternoon, or do I wait until after?  Hummm . . . after.  Definitely after.

Another NaNo in the books, reached in time to drive six hundred miles back home for the holidays.  And finding time to blog out five hundred plus words.  Remember kids:  you can write anywhere.  You just have need to do it.

Now, finish my coffee, pack up, use the bathroom, and back to heading westward.  I think I’ll give Achtung Baby a couple of spins through this hell that is Ohio . . .

Daily word count:  1,260.  Total word count:  50,308.

Printsessi and Yoghurt at the Line

Had to hunt around a little for the tunes I wanted, but finally settled on video of The Wall Live, performed in Chicago by Roger Waters, and The Joshua Tree by U2.

I have finally reached that magical place where the official finish line for NaNo is in sight.  I am less than a thousand word from fifty, and I have the end in sight.  Well, this end at least.  There’s another to reach this weekend, and then I gotta finish this novel.  But that’s all to come.  Right now I have the fifty goal to reach, and then the rest is just puttin’ down the words as they come.

You may not have guessed it by the title of the post, but my kids are finally, finally at breakfast in the Great Hall.  Nearly all the students are there, there’s a big buffet table of breakfast foods from all over the world present–but, yeah, my main female character, she’s just gotta ask for her printsessi and yoghurt, and if it means someone’s gotta cook it up for her, then they best get into the kitchen and fire up the stove, ’cause there’s a girl out here and she’s hungry!

It was funny writing this part because now I’m starting to get into the day-to-day, and certain things will be said, certain truths will come out.  There was only a couple of hours for me to write last night, because it was necessary to go out and do some running about, but I got it, and even spent twenty minutes after watching the damnedest thing on American Horror Story to get the story up over eighteen hundred words, and closer to the finish.

What I have for writing tonight is the headmistress comes in and lays a little smackdown on the new students, after which they head out and see the campus.  Then it’s back to real life to get some things going.  I’m going to travel tomorrow and a small amount of packing is required.  As strange as I am, I’m already thinking about where I’ll stop so I can eat and get my blogging done, but I did that on the way out to The Burg, so why not do that on the way back to The Real World?  It’s all about getting the wordage down, right?

That means I will find the time to write tomorrow night.  I might not need to do close to two thousand words, but now that the novel is on, and there’s no stopping.  I’ve made my goals–and, yes, I do want to publish this sucker.  That’s the idea with my writing:  it all get published at some point.  Even the bad stuff–which is probably most of it.

This NaNo hasn’t seemed as bad as that others, probably because I’m not churning out words to finish something in a month.  I’ve planed for this moment as much as I’ve planed the story, and when you stick to this kind of plan, it’s not that bad.  Sure, it may not be spontaneous–

But it gets it done.

Daily word count:  1,815.  Total word count:  49,048.