mutantenemy: (seasonal::stripey baubles)
Two hummingbirds are dog-fighting outside my bedroom window. Chasing. Zipping. Dodging. All for the love of a ruby red, plastic feeder and who can lay proprietary claim. Observing those itty bitty Kamikaze birds made me realize that is pretty much how the past month has been for me.

Doing this. Adding that. Doing that other thing again. Standing on my head while drinking coffee just so the caffeine could percolate my brain cells faster. Pop! Pop! Zang! But as with everything, the crash had to come. And it did. And I still won.

I am not without pride to say I am five for five; five years of participating in National Novel Writing Month and having five WINNER certificates to show for it. This is an awesome accomplishment for me as I pat myself on the back and indulge with a congratulatory bottle of something sparkly and fizzy.

I say this because, well, I am a Procrastinating Fool. If I can put something off to the last micro second, knowing I can get away with it, I will. I am also easily distract.....


......ed. A new creative idea, a new toy, a new project will lure me away with it's seductive shiny from my current goal at hand. Yet, on the ironic side, once I set my intent on something, it gets done, but only after I wade through the tides of "I'll Work On It Tomorrow" and dodge the traps of comfy laziness.

This year's NaNo almost kicked my ass. The long hours at work fried my poor, little brain and when I insisted it pound out 1,000 words before bedtime, it whined. So some coaxing was involved before my brain complied with a grump and a harrumph. Fortunately there were these amazing inventions called "weekends" where I was able to rest up and pour out 1,000's of words so I could catch up. To my surprise, Thanksgiving weekend bore me over 23,000 words and it was that final push, that last gasping sprint which propelled me across the finish line into a 51,230 word story. My tale was done and I performed a celebratory lap to the nearest Red Robin for a Cadillac Margarita.

So. One would think after spending four weeks struggling with words and timetables and self-pressure to achieve a personal goal, that the month of December would be a wonderful, peaceful reprieve. Well, you know what they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.....

Which brings me to my next point.

National Novel Reading Month

By all that is holy and strange, what have I gotten myself into? Again? From December 15, 2010 to January 15, 2011 the goal is to read one novel a week, which depending on the book can average 50-100 pages read a day. Well, one can argue that I am a glutton for punishment or insane, but I honestly want to read more. I enjoy reading, it just gets put on the back, back, far back burner located in BF Egypt. Remember the Shiny Factor? Yeah. I am horribly guilty of starting one book, finding another I wish to read, set aside Book#1 to make time for Book#2, then I find a Book#3. Wash, rinse, repeat cycle. The towering stack of tomes by my bed is damn impressive.

Because of this, it is difficult for me to finish. Earlier this year, I had set a new personal record by reading (AND finishing) five novels within six months: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, Demon Hunts by C.E. Murphy, FEED by Mira Grant, and Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. All of them spectacular in their own right, but if I had to recommend one that truly blew my Malabrigo Yarn socks off, it would be FEED. Gift it. Enable others. I personally love being in a bookstore and then happening upon a lone shopper staring blankly at the Horror section. I simply walk up, take the book off the shelf, hand it to them with a sly smile and say, "Highly recommend it." And before they can utter a response, I walk away like the Ghost of Unknown Awesome Books never to be seen by them again.

Back to the books. For National Novel Reading Month I have made my four selections. It was difficult but I was able to narrow it down by allowing myself one criteria:

Read a novel by an author you have never read before.

Out went the Gaiman, the Briggs, the Murphy, the Harris, the Adams, and the King. In came, in a rather sauntering fashion, these titles:

This is the book that I have picked up off the shelf, put back, picked up again, put back, then finally bought because the time was finally right. Think Harry Potter going to college and add more witt, more scares, and an author's delicious and odd use of the English language. I am one chapter in and hooked.

This one has been sitting on the shelves of my personal library for about two years. I always mean to read it but never got around to it. Now is the time and I will do my best to not allow the musical to taint my expectations of the book as many folks have informed me they are different creatures.

I do not do a lot of Young Adult (Harry Potter notwithstanding), but when I heard from friends, "You love Buffy! This series is amazing and has a very strong heroine." Okay, I'll bite and hence this book was purchased.

I am REALLY excited about reading this book which is one of the reasons why it will be the last one for my monthly challenge. The other is that in standard paperback size it is over 900 pages long. So if I cannot finish it in one week, it won't hinder my timetable with another book. The story is based off an actual historical event but the author spins it to add more of the horror of the Arctic Expedition by writing about the interpersonal fears and an unseen force trying to claw its way into the ship. I really hope I enjoy this author because I already have Drood queued up to be purchased if I do.

So that is what has been going on behind the blogging curtain. The one where you occasionally see a peek of fire tresses or hear a giggle of a mutant. Lots of writing, lots of reading, and perhaps a few knit and purl stitches in between.
mutantenemy: (nanowrimo::yer face has tiny word count)

I should not be writing this blog entry.


In fact I should be instead writing furiously on my fifth novel as I am grotesquely behind on my word count. Not pathetically, just grotesquely. There is a difference.

Welcome to the Month of Insanity aka "National Novel Writing Month". Where inspiring authors, dare devils, and glory hounds attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. This is my fifth year participating and so far everything is moving along at its usual patterned pace.

Every year, the first week of NaNo is like sludging through melted taffy. Trying to get the story started without weighing it down with unnecessary details is difficult for me. I have to keep reminding myself that the reader does not need to be privy to EVERYTHING about the character or the place at this very moment in time. Draw it out. Allow a few morsels to drop here and there so your reader can connect the dots. And another thing? PICK UP THE PACE. That is my achilles' writer's heel (wrist?) -- not moving the story forward quick enough.

Last year's novel I am very proud of. I ventured into unknown territory by writing a Young Adult Scaery Tale (think a faerie tale without faeries). Within the first chapter, shit was happening and it was exciting. In past novels the adventure would not start until word count 10,000. Not that time. Under the inspiration of Patricia Briggs, I clipped that story right along to where it went from a trot into an impressive gallop. That novel has a special place in my heart for many reasons and it is the one I can see myself revisiting to polish for publication.

My NaNo this year goes back to my supernatural roots when I was twelve years old. Back then I devoured teen horror books of the supernatural and eerie bent, as well as, some Judy Blume coming of age stories. Yes, I was a contradictory child.

Those horror stories ignited my imagination and I learned that for something to be scary it did not have to be gory. Simplicity at its finest is what freaked people out the most. The less they see or know, the more terrifying it is. I also learned the craft of the cliff hanger that wanted the reader to know more, not piss them off. For school I would write these short stories and at slumber parties they would be read by my friends. I had a knack for the Scare.

Many stories and movies are inspiring my 2010 NaNo novel with their style and atmosphere: "Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe, "Sleep Hollow" by Washington Irving / movie by Tim Burton, anything Vincent Price has starred in, "FEED" by Seanan McGuire (proving undoubtably WOMEN can write horror, thank you very much), "The Mist" by Stephen King, and the small town witchyness of "Practical Magic".

So far I'm over 3,000 words in and I'm working on keeping up the pace.

The word count may not be impressive, but considering I have a job this year which insists on overtime, I'm very happy I've been able to squeeze out 600 - 1,000 words an evening before collapsing into bed. But, hey, catching up is what the weekends are for, right? Write?