NaNo- Passed the Finish Line


Yeah!!  I received my winner’s badge this morning.    I wrote the last 500 words like a mad woman.  But I knew it would drive me even more crazy at work if it wasn’t finished.  So with minutes to spare before I’d miss my bus- I typed THE END, raced over to NaNo to validate it, and ran out the front door.

This month has been wonderful.  I did exactly what I set out to do:  The annoying inner-editor was banished.  Locked up in a closet with the key hidden.   I wrote the story I wanted to write.  Just like I used to.   Even the exhausting nights were exhilarating.

Part of me wants to take a couple of days off to rest my mind.  But another part of me is so excited to read through the draft and start on the revision.

One thing I do know is, now that I’ve rediscovered the pure joy of writing like I did as a kid- I refuse to lose it again.   Others may stress over  and debate adverbs/no adverbs, said/saidisms, the evil of exclamation points, etc.   I’ll be curled up in the corner having a blast writing my little oddities.

Anyhow- tons of congratulations to all who have finished.

Best of luck to those who are nearing the finish line.  You can do it!

And most of all- huge thanks to everyone who has come here and offered support and encouragement.  You all rock!

Fudge brownies for everyone.  🙂

Oh, and carrot cake  (yum!!)

Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 4:59 pm  Comments (32)  
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Writing: The Passion of Your Novel

I recently finished a biography on Emily Dickinson.  These words she wrote to Thomas Wentworth Higginson resignated with me: “I was thinking, today-as I noticed, that the ‘Supernatural’, was only the Natural, disclosed-”

I’ve probed  the hidden my entire life.   I can’t remember a time I wasn’t studying the occult.  I remember being nine years-old and taking out books on psychic phenomena, Edgar Cayce, reincarnation, and so forth along with my trusty Nancy Drews – and wondering why the librarian was looking at me odd.

Another love of mine has always been the Victorian era.  The Victorians were fascinated both by the world around them (evident in all the inventions of that century) and in the nature of man.  Forget the the images of  distant, cold persons so prudish that table legs had to be covered.   Heightened social awareness  propelled Abolition,  the Suffrage Movement, education and work reform.  New ideas sprang everywhere: Transcendentalism, Egyptology, Spiritualism,  Theosophy, the Golden Dawn, Unitarianism.  Health movements such as homeopathy, mesmerism, vegetarianism, hydrotherapy.

It is amusing to think many now look upon those times as “genteel”- when the Victorians feared their lives had become too fast paced due to the railroad and telegram.   In the 19th century- the “Newness”- was all around.

With my great passion  for the so-called supernatural and 19th c. history-  it feels a natural progression that my writing should be fueled with these elements.

What are the passions that drive your novel?

Beth, My Witch

Traveling through the internet, I came across someone who commented that the Harry Potter novels were an insult to Wiccans.  Head scratch.  Huh? How can Ms. Rowlings be insulting Wiccans, when Wiccans, in no way, shape, or form are ever mentioned in any of her novels?

Then, I came across a review of Lara Parker’s novel, Angelique’s Decent. Ms. Parker portrayed the character, Angelique, in the hit 1960’s gothic soap opera.  The reviewer said that the character of Angelique (evil witch) was false because Wiccans do not perform evil spells.  One of the main tenants of the Wiccan Religion is: “if it harms none, do what you will.”  And they believe what someone does returns three-fold.

Okay.  True.  But, the character of Angelique couldn’t be a false portrayal of a Wiccan, because the character was not Wiccan.   The term was never used in any of the 1,225 episodes of the show.   Anquelique was born in the 17th century and practiced Voodoo.   Now, if anyone was to be upset about the portrayal, it would be a Vodounist, since the show depicted it in the stereotypical, malign Hollywood fashion rather than the complex, beautiful religion it really is.

Now, what does this have to do with the novel I am writing?  My character, Beth, practices witchcraft.   Psychic experiences in early childhood led her into reading famous occult texts.  She is a very gray character- using magic sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

Beth wishes me to clearly state to any possible, future Wiccan readers that she is not a false/negative portrayal of you or your religion.   She lives in the 19th century.  Not only does she not practice your religion, she has never even heard of it.   Her actions-good, evil, and in betwixt-  have absolutely nothing to do with you.

Okay, now that Beth has (hopefully) cleared all this up- she is urging me to get offline and continue with her story.    🙂

NaNo: Ghosts and Murder

Hey all,

Approaching  2 a.m. here.  Should be sleeping as I have work early in the morning.  I’m going to be such the zombie.

Since insomnia has hit,  here’s a bit of what’s going on in my NaNo novel:

My  (living) 15 year-old protagonist is trying to communicate with the dead 15 year-old girl.  My 28 year-old protagonist just summoned an evil spirit to assist her in a certain deed.   I’m not sure what my third protagonist is doing at the moment.  Maybe she took some laudanum and is sleeping the day away.

Anyhow, after work tomorrow, (or should I say today?) it’s unfortunately, time to kill off one of my favorite characters.  Sadly, he must die for the sake of the story.

What’s going on with your novels?

Published in: on November 15, 2008 at 3:03 am  Comments (12)  
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Favorite Children’s Books

Here are my top 10 favorite books from childhood.  They’re not presented in order- just how they came to me.

A big thank you to all the wonderful authors who filled my hours with wonder.

1. Bunnicula– by James Howe :  Harold the dog narrates with wry humor his life with the Monroes.  His best friend is Chester, the cat. (named after G. K. Chesterton).  Chester loves to read.  Harold loves books.  One day their owners bring home an abandoned bunny they found at the movie theater.  The film they’d been watching just happened to be…Dracula! Detective-in-the-making Chester is certain the cute little bunny is really a vampire.  He does sleep all day…

and Howliday Inn- by James Howe :  In this fantastic sequal, Harold and Chester are banished to horror-of-all-horrors…an animal kennel while the Monroes go on vacation.  Flirtatious French poodles, love triangles, and animals that go missing during the night…

note: yes, I know that’s two books.   It’s my own blog.  I’ll cheat if I want to.

2.  The Secret Garden- by Frances Hodgson Burnett:  After the death of her parents, Mary goes to live with her uncle in a mysterious manor on the Yorkshire Moors.

3.  Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield: Paulina, Petrova, and Posy are adopted by an eccentric rich older man who leaves them under the care of his servants.  Paulina dreams of being an actress, Posy lives to dance, and Petrova just wants to fix cars and learn how to fly…

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Tomboyish, would-be-writer Jo (inspiration for many female authors to this day),  smart Meg, sweet Beth, artistic Amy.   Four sisters growing up during the Civil War with their mother.

5.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis : Lucy discovers a magical closet in her uncle’s home that leads into the world of Narnia.  I’ll admit it.  As a kid,  I tried this.  I really did.  Never did find the correct closet.  Darn it!

6.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl : Charlie Bucket is one of five lucky children who win the chance to visit Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory.  Filled with bizarre characters,  delicious sweets, tons of humor, and a dab of sentiment- no film adaption has ever captured the heart of this novel.

7.  The Nancy Drew Mystery Series by Carolyn Keene: before I embarked on Agatha Christie- the titian haired sleuth kicked off my love of mysteries

8. The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder :Her true-life account of growing up on the Western prarie during the 19th century.

9.  Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren :  I wanted to be Pippi.  Enough said.

10.  I wanted to put Judy Blume here, but decided she will go in my “Favorite Young Adult Books” Post.  So, that leaves me room for one more book.   Charlotte’s Web?  Wind in the Willows?

Nope.  As wonderful as those are, it just came to me:  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  A young boy and his two coonhound pups.  (SOB!)

What were your favorite books as a child?

NaNo- Week One Report

Hey there,

So- the first week of NaNo has passed.  Word count: 18,955

I’m totally gushing now, because these  7 days have been a total blast.  Back in October,  I  posted about how much I wanted to return to the simple joys of writing when I was a kid.  Before I got caught in that web of, “I want to be published.  So I have to follow this rule and this rule but this other agent says don’t follow that rule, do it this way…ARGH!”

Well, NaNo came at the most perfect time.  I locked the inner editor in her closet and hid the key.  The story is flowing out of me.  Sure, the actual writing is horrid- but the story itself is tons of fun.  Not at all stilted like it felt when I spent eons trying to perfect one darn sentence at a time.

My novel has taken some interesting turns.  Now, instead of two protagonists- I have three.  A male character who had been written out in previous drafts has made a startling return.   My ghost who was twelve years -old  is now fifteen.   Instead of winter- it is now springtime.  I want the scenery to be as breathtaking as possible.  Lush greens in sharp contrast to the bleakness inside the household.

Today I had a ball with my fifteen year-old heroine (living- not the ghost) going to visit a Mesmerist.  And now she is searching the library because she thinks there is a secret passageway in there.

What are your heroines and heroes up to?

Hope you’re all having tons of fun.

Published in: on November 9, 2008 at 8:11 pm  Comments (17)  
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And the NaNo Race is Off…

Goodness!  Where do I begin?  What a few days it’s been.   Strictly talking NaNo here.  (it’s not like anything major was going on in the world yesterday.  *grin*)

I had to work Saturday, so my NaNo officially began at 10 P.M.  Then, I perched down on my usual spot- sitting Indian-Style upon the sofa with my laptop – tea within hand’s reach.  I was so giddy to begin.  Writing is such a solitary art and craft that it was warming to think of the other participants all around  the world engaging in the same activity, fortified with their endless cups of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.

Words rushed from my fingertips onto the page.   Hours flew by.   Finally, at 3 a.m., I started feeling tired.  But that was okay.  Surely, I had surpassed the necessary 1667 daily words.

I clicked on Microsoft Works Word Counter.

1317 words.

At that moment, it would’ve been less horrifying if the Borg invaded my living room.

My eyes were playing tricks on me.

I looked again.

1317 words.

Okay.   The word counter was obviously broken.  It wasn’t counting words beginning with “t” or “s”.


I pressed on another 45 minutes.  1532 words.   It was either give up and go to bed  or resort to typing “la la la” a couple hundred times.

Bed won.  Lying there, I wondered how I could’ve forgotten how formidable NaNo is.  But, then I pulled myself together.   My thoughts turned to Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson.  Anyone who’s read much of my blog knows Ms. Bronte is my absolute writing icon.   Dickinson is a new passion.   Not only were these two women geniuses- but more importantly, they were complete individuals who wrote exactly what they wished without a care what others thought.  What better Muses for NaNo?  So I called upon them for inspiration.  Invoking their names as I drifted asleep.

It must have worked because on Monday evening I reached over 9,000 words.  Yeah!!!!!!!

After a false start, I’m on my way.   I am sure during the next 30 days there will be other setbacks.   But I am even more sure that I shall be victorious.

How are my fellow NaNoers doing?

Call upon your personal Muses and Write on…