Where I Spent November

November 30, 2011 at 2:05 am (Books, Fiction) (, , , , , , )

November is almost over, and with it, this thing called NaNoWriMo . . . which is actually called National Novel Writing Month . . . which should ACTUALLY be called International Novel Writing Month . . . which would be InNoWriMo….

I have derailed.  Let me start again.

November is almost over and so is that thing I’ve been doing.  What have I been doing?  Writing a novel.  Or, specifically, working towards 50,000 words of a novel, which is the goal of NaNoWriMo.  Believe it or not, I WON!  Won = reached 50k words before Dec. 1.

A few years ago, I wrote my longest piece of fiction ever.  It clocked in at ALMOST 8,000 words.  That’s it.  And I worked about a week on it.  But this November, I cranked out over 52,000 words!  And not just words, but most of them are really good, I think.  Heck, you’d probably even recognize most of them.  I’ve seen them many other places and I bet you have too.

All kidding aside, I’m really happy and proud of my story.  During the writing process, I have actually teared up twice from the story.  There are some really sad parts.  But I promise to those of you who will one day read it, there are happy parts too.

As far as one day reading it, this WILL happen!  My aim was a little different than some others for NaNo.  I wasn’t just writing 50k words or writing a book, I was writing a novel that I hope to publish someday.  How is that different than others?  Well, I met a lot of people who were writing fan-fiction, which is where you write using characters and places already established by another writer.  Imagine a book about Harry Potter that wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling.  OR a book about characters in Rowling’s universe, but NOT Harry or Ron or Hermoine.  Imagine a book about Cho.  Or Twilight fan-fic.  No, not that.  Let’s think about Cho again.  *sigh*  How old would Cho be now? 1

Back on track: the thing about fan fiction is, you can’t sell it.  JoRo owns the rights to all the characters in the Harry Potter universe, and she hasn’t given you permission to use them, and will sue your ass if you try.  Same goes for Star Wars, or Twilight, or Tolkien, or Superfudge.  (That’s right, I just challenged someone to write Superfudge fan-fic!)

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is, I’d like to sell my novel.  And the books to follow, because I realized early on that this was going to be, if not a series, at least two books.  Do I expect to make Stephen King-money?  No.  Do I expect to make $5.  Yes.  I am certain I will make $5, even if I have to ask my Dad to buy it.  Whether I go the traditional publishing route or  the self-publishing Kindle, Nook, PDF, route I don’t know.  But I do know it’s a damn good story and I’m a damn good . . . above-mediocre writer.

But I’m not done.  November is winding down, and although I’ve passed 50k (is it 50k or 50K?), I’ve still got quite a bit to write.  The way the story is outlined, I feel it will clock in around 85-90,000 words.

So here’s my request for you guys: stay on me about this!  Ask me what my word count is.  Ask me how the story is coming along.  Indulge me if I keep shouting out my word count.  Because soon this will all be over and I’ll start editing, which I promise will be done in the closet.  No shouting there.

And thanks so much for the support, everyone.  I can’t believe how many people have stood behind me during this.  Other writers I know, people I’ve never met except online, people I’ve only met because of NaNo, friends, my Constant Reader (you know who you are, Dennys!), and most importantly, Judith.  I couldn’t have done this without her beside me.  Or, to be more exact, without her across the room from me.  She had to endure countless interruptions of, “Guess what I just had a character do!” and “Listen to this!”  She also had to endure a LOT of Brian Eno being played.  Specifically, “Music for Airports.”  Thank you, Judith.  I couldn’t have done this without you.  I love you  🙂


1 = Cho would be 32. Wow. (Source)

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Big News of Awesomeness

April 19, 2011 at 12:12 am (Fiction) (, , , )

I’ve been bouncing around the idea of turning my short story “The Carnival” into a novel for a while now (I’d usually link to it here, but I’m posting from my phone. It’s the Future now!). The final push I needed came the other day and now I have actually started going through the text, seeing places where I can expand the story, add characters, get into their minds, dive into backstory, etc.

My biggest question for myself had been, “How do I actually physically go about this? Do I open the file and just start adding to it?” After a long time of talking out loud to my sounding board (a drowsy cat), I realized I was focusing too much on trying to keep the polished work from the original in the first draft of the new work. I just need to start telling the story and THEN worry about, “Did I get that one really poetic description in there?” Write a crappy first draft just to get the story down, then polish.

Now that I’ve got that mental struggle figured out, I guess it’s just time to start writing this baby. No excuses now. All I ask is that you all, my Constant Readers, help keep me on track. I’ll do my best to post some of what I’m writing here, but if you think too much time has passed between talking about it, call me out. Let me know you want updates. I’m going to be setting some deadlines for myself, but if I also know I have an expectant audience, I’ll work harder not to let you down.

Wish me luck!

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a VERY short piece

October 20, 2008 at 8:46 pm (Fiction) (, , , , , , )

Here’s something I wrote on my flight to London back in 2003. I was reading Faulkner’s “Intruder in the Dusk” for a second time and wanted to see if I could pick up on his style. It’s not that long, so you have no excuse to not read it.

His grandfather had dug graves long before backhoes, in a time where your casket was a box solely; handles, yes, but still a box: no velvet, no padding for the comfort of the living who had to see you lying on hard wood, thinking, “Well, that can’t be comfortable,” and lowered by ropes with strained effort to keep it level, lest it should tilt and the body shift, inertia and gravity taking control and bringing the box to a crash six feet below and even people who didn’t believe in padding would think, “Well, that can’t be comfortable.” It was never six feet, of course, because his grandfather himself had stood six feet tall before age had robbed him of a few inches, time and gravity pushing down on his vertebrates, and he and his partner, James, who kept a flask of bourbon in the back, left pocket of his overalls to help “keep him warm” even though the task of digging into the hard North Carolina red clay should have and in fact actually did keep him warm enough, would dig until his grandfather, standing up straight, was just barely looking out over the concrete slab pocked lawn, eyes at ground level. So all of the graves in the Broad River Baptist Church cemetery were just inches shy of six feet, but of course no one ever noticed, or would have cared if they had noticed. But, at the age of seventy, those days were long gone. It was almost twenty years since he had worked in the green lawn covered by flowers put there not by God, but by man to pacify the fact that flowers had never been bought for the loved one when alive, and he was very aware of the fact that the next fresh grave he got himself into he would not be climbing out of. Now there were not only backhoes that dug perfectly six feet deep holes, not a few inches shy or a few inches over, but also machines attached to synthetic-fiber straps that slowly, levelly lowered the wardrobe-sized box that only held one suit, one dress, to the final but oh-so-comfortable rest, a rest better than the hospital bed the occupant had slept in only three nights before had ever been able to offer. The comfortable box was only used once though; it was built, it sat, it was loaded, it was lowered. No previous occupation, and, save keeping elements of the underground from doing exactly what it was Man put the body into the ground for: decomposition, it would have no other occupation ever again.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a confusing read, but I love Faulkner and love wandering through his stories.

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