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?


From Ends to Witches

I’m here, and it’s early in the morning, and for most people where I live it’s a holiday.  But as Rocky once said, “It’s Thursday,” and that’s how I look at it as well most of the time.  If only Bison had attacked Chun-Li’s village on Thursday, then I could meme the hell out of today.

Now yesterday . . . no meming going on, but oh, that was not a good day.  Because I have depression, it’s often necessary to gauge a day on a scale of good to bad.  Yesterday was bad, really bad, extremely bad, double-plus ungood bad.  I was unable to do much of anything but stare at the computer screen, play games, and think about how bad the day had become.  There were any number of reasons for this:  weather, body dysmorphia, lack of hormones, just hating my lot in life–name it and it was probably rolling about in my head at some point.

The bad part comes when it cripples my creativity.  I had a few hundred words written earlier in the day, but after that I couldn’t stand to look at the story.  Every time I’d look at it, I didn’t want to deal with the damn thing.  Sometimes I snap out of that, sometimes I have to kick myself in the ass to get me to move.

Yesterday I sat and sat for hours, well into the afternoon, before I did something:  I went looking for music.  And I found a couple of things that helped pull me out.  First, The Kinks are The Village Green Preservation Society, which is one of the most underrated albums of all time by one of the most underrated groups of all time.  Lovely little pop songs of around three minutes each to help get you out of a funk.  Then I slipped into The Kinks Khronicles, which is a collection of their singles and B-sides that was released in 1972.  (Do you realize there are no such thing as “B-Sides” anymore?  Or that most people have no idea what they are these days?)  One of my favorite songs, Waterloo Sunset, is on Khronicles, as is another favorite, Victoria.  It helped immensely I could hear that both these close together.

After all that I threw on Aoxomoxoa by The Grateful Dead.  I’m not a Deadhead, but there are times when mellow yet somewhat experimental tunes is just the thing to pull you out of a spin, and an hour of that album did wonders.  In fact I’m listening to a concert the Dead performed at Winterland Arena on 11 November, 1973.  It’s a three hour concert, or as some people might say, one of their shorter ones from that period.  (When the Dead performed at the last show at Winterland on New Years, 1978/79, they played for just over six hours.)

In the end it all helped.  Later in the evening I started writing, and by the time I finished, some time around ten-thirty PM, I was over fifteen hundred words, I’d closed out my last scene, and started the next one–the visit to The Witch House.  Ooooh, spooky.

I’ll return to The Witch House today.  Why?

Hey, a girl’s gotta write.


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–