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!

Writing: Evil Inner Editor’s Return

Observant readers may notice my avatar is different.  It’s still me, err, Mrs. Lovett, but I’m looking a little haggard after NaNo.  Plus, there’s that whole deal with blood stains on my collar.

Red Smith once said, “Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter, open up a vein, and bleed it out drop by drop.”   Who am I to argue?

I finished my draft Friday at 8:00 a.m.   Oh, what a Beautiful Morning, Ode to Joy, Supercalifragilistecexpialidocious!

Aha!  But wait.  That means it’s revision time.  And that means it’s the return of …. (cue creepy horror theme music.  The Omen will do, thank you)….. The Evil Inner Editor.

Gulp.

Over the weekend, I dug out my key from its hiding spot and unlocked the closet door in which I’d thrown Ms. Evil Inner Editor.   Ms. E did not glare at me or even smirk.  She is above such things.   Ms. E knows she is needed as much as she is despised.   She walked by me, took a seat at the table, stared at the 250 typed pages and three different colored pens, and set to work.

“Bring me tea and play music.  Nothing with lyrics.   Rachmaninoff,” she said.

Ms. E is following author Holly Lisle’s One-Pass Revision Method that another blogger was kind enough to mention on her blog.    The method is brutal.   Ms. E must go through every single scene, one at at time, searching for different elements.  Some of these elements must be deleted out with a huge X.  Other elements must be added in.  Hence, all the pens.  Ms. Lisle says,  “Your final clean pages  to scribbled on pages ratio is probably 1:2, 1:3, or even 1:4.”

Har! Ms. Lisle obviously never attempted this against a NaNo first draft.   Ms. E is on page 60 now, and there is not one single page not splashed with ink.

It may come as no surprise that Ms. E is absolutely loving this.

http://hollylisle.com/fm/Workshops/one-pass-revision.html

NaNo- Passed the Finish Line

nano_08_winner_viking_120x238

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)  
Tags: , ,

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)  
Tags: ,

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)  
Tags: , , , , ,

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”.

(sob)

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…

Happy Halloween…Err…NaNo!

For mortals and the Dearly Departed tomorrow is October 31st.   A day of pumpkins, costumes, and bags full of mini-chocolate bars, m&ms, and candy corn.  For others it is the Celtic New Year, for others a Sabbat in which to honor ancestors.

For writers- it is, “Oh, my Gawd!  NaNo begins at the stroke of midnight!”

Believe me- that is much more frightening than any ghouls or hands reaching out of graves. Those at least can be exorcised.

But NaNo?   NaNo is the ultimate monster that CANNOT BE KILLED!  It mercilessly, incessantly attacks for an entire month straight turning writers into the very zombies that normal folk watched on their TV on Halloween.

For those who may not know what NaNo is:

National Novel Writing Month.   The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  Crazy, huh?  Yup!  That’s the point.  The joy of turning off the inner-editor and letting all the words pour out of your head onto the paper.  No worrying at all.  No editing.  Pure insanity.

I participated last year for the first time and had a blast.   How could I not enjoy something that crazy?  Oh, the endless nights!  The never-ending cups of green tea!  The agony and escasty poured out onto writing forums across the Internet.

So what am I doing this year?

Finishing this draft!  That’s what!  Or, in other words- cheating.  Ya see- NaNo has this rule that states the work should be a totally fresh piece of work.   Personally, I see no difference in going from zero to 50,000 words or from continuing let’s say from 20,000 words and adding 50,000 new words to finish a novel you’ve begun.  Not to mention, NaNo is a competition against yourself. Not others.

To put it simply, I have no qualms about breaking silly, little rules.

Anyhow, I’ve taken this week off from working on my WIP to rest my poor, little head.  (and fingers!) Then,  come Nov. 1st at the stroke of midnight- I’m off!

What are you all doing for NaNo?

Good luck to all!

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 12:33 am  Comments (20)  
Tags: , , , ,