All NaNos’ Eve

October 31st. 

All Hallows’ Eve.  The night when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is lifted, and spirits come to visit.  The night when people honor their dearly departed with lit candles and dumb suppers.  Men and women hold hands around tables across the world to call upon the dead.  Girls gaze in mirrors to see the faces of their future husbands.  Children bob for apples and play Trick or Treat. 

For some, Halloween is a solemn occasion.  For others, it is Samhain, the Celtic New Year.   The beginning of the dark time of year.  The time of ends, and new beginnings.   And for others, it is simply a fun time of sticky sweet candy and staying up late watching Bela Lugosi.

And then, for a small group of quite nutty (but harmless) others, it is the beginning of a fervent time called, NaNo. 

Yes.  National Novel Writing Month is here again.

I did my first NaNo in ’07.  My second in ’08.  Everyone has their own reasons for participating.  Mine was to teach me discipline.  I wanted to approach writing as a professional.  I wanted to develop the discipline to sit down at the keys when I didn’t feel like it and when the Muse was off shopping for a new dress.  In that, I succeeded.  Ever since I won my first Nano- writing everyday  has become a natural part of my life and I’m pleased with the results of such effort.

So today, I wondered- Why am I doing NaNo again?   What lesson can I gleam from it this year?  And then the answer came: abandonment.  I want to stop thinking so much of the novel I have out on submission.  I want to simply write and have fun.

So, here’s to 3o days of wildly clicking away at the keys.  Total banishment of evil inner editors.  No reading professional blogs about the dire state of the publishing world.  I’m going to write in total, wonderful, ignorant bliss.

For those of you doing NaNo- what are your reasons?

And Happy Halloween, everyone!

Death on the Moor

Redbreast In the Morning

“What woke it then?  A little child

Strayed from its father’s door

And in an hour of moonlight wild

Laid lonely on the desert moor.”- Emily Bronte  1837


Haworth.  February 1801-

Two-year old Joseph Helliwell snuck outside and attempted to secretly follow his father  from their home at Enfieldside to Pecket Well, where the farmer had a business meeting.  Tragically, Joseph could not keep up as his father made his way up the old Haworth Road.   He was found frozen to death the next morning upon the Moor.

Haworth.  January 27, 1849-

Four-year old Joseph Halliwell was the son of farmer William.   They lived on Far Intake Farm.  One day, the little boy ventured out and became lost.  Four days later, he was found frozen to death upon the same moor which had claimed his  near-namesake less than fifty years before.


resource:  “Strange World of The Brontes” by Marie Campbell

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 5:44 pm  Comments (12)  
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Thoughts On Writing From Madeline L’Engle

Presently, I’m hard at work on, “I Remember Jacqueline”.   But I wanted to share these words.  Ms. L’Engle doesn’t say anything profound.  There isn’t anything unique or clever here.  Nothing one hasn’t heard before.


She speaks the truth.

And I don’t think any of us (myself included) can ever here that enough.   The Muse helps those who show up to do the work.

Madeline L’Engle (from her 1963 Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech):  “…And I’ll never forget going to the final exam and being asked why Chaucer used certain verbal devices, certain adjectives, why he had certain characters behave in certain ways.   And I wrote in a white heat of fury, “I don’t think Chaucer had any idea why he did any of these things.  That isn’t the way people write.

I believe this as strongly now as I did then.  Most of what is best in writing isn’t done deliberately.

Do I mean, then, that an author should sit around like a phony Zen Buddhist in his pad, drinking endless cups of espresso coffee and waiting for inspiration to descend upon him?  That isn’t the way the writer works, either.   I heard a famous author say once that the hardest part of writing a book was making yourself sit down at the typewriter.  I know what he meant.  Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade, they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, does come.  This is the moment when the writer is spoken through, the moment that a writer must accept with gratitude and humility, and then attempt, as best he can, to communicate to others.”

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm  Comments (23)  
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Writing Update: I Remember Jacqueline

music playing:  Carmen Prelude

Oh, bless the Muses!  I finished the first draft of my steampunk novel.   Don’t ask about that.  It’s uh…resting in a drawer for now.

But never mind that.   The big news is at the beginning of this week I became possessed.   Not the  split-pea soup throwing, head spinning one hundred and eighty degree- kind.  The good kind of possession.  As in,  I woke up one morning  with an entire novel in my head.  

I’ve mentioned many times before that my stories come to me in pieces.  Rather like a jigsaw puzzle.  Random scenes out of order, bits of dialogue…odds and ends that I need to piece together.

Not this time.  The whole story presented itself clearly to me from beginning to end. 

So then I sat down and did something very unlike me.  I outlined.  I completed the Snowflake method, and started the first draft today.

It’s a supernatural suspense that takes place in two time periods.  The “current” time is the Roaring Twenties.  The other time is the 1830s.  So I get to hang out in my beloved Victorian era, but also get to throw off those corsets, hike up the skirts, pour the gin,  crank up the Jazz, and dance the Charleston.

Tentatively titled, I Remember Jacqueline– it involves an old-fashioned whodunnit, reincarnation, and hopefully lots of fun!

How’s everyone else doing?

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm  Comments (27)  
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