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It is November 4th, do I know where my word count is?

Actually, yes!  5,012!

My count is right on track and I am very pleased about this.*  Last November was very rough with having to deal with the unexpected death of a friend and then having the heartbreaking task of dealing with his estate Thanksgiving weekend because those legally responsible did not want to.  If it were not for a handful of amazing friends, I would not have survived the month.

I made it through, my NaNo novel did not.  Only 11,000 words and some change were created and I reluctantly admitted defeat with my first NaNo loss.  My six year winning streak was crushed.

NaNoWriMo has hippty-hopped back into my life once more and I have grabbed it by the scruff with determination to win. My boss has assigned herself as my official workplace cheerleader.  A Vancouver ML, and also one of my closest friends, is inspiring me to write like the wind.  And this year, I am really enjoying my story.

by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

This wonderful toon fits my mood nicely.  I have been a NaNo participant since 2006 and in all honesty, it will not matter how many years I have put myself through this 50,000 word agony, I always panic in some form or another.  Last year it was my dismal word count; this year I had no story / character outline until Halloween.  EEEEEP!!  Not a frakin' thing was clicking for me and I really wanted my story to be something I would look forward to writing, not dreading it with all my procrastinating tricks (eg: Chores, reorganizing the sock drawer, hitting the forums, washing the cat, etc).

My standard M.O. is to write in spurts: 3,000 words every other day.  This year I am adopting the not-unheard-of strategy of writing every single day.  Novel concept.**  My goal is to not freak myself out and to find joy in the creative process.  Last year was a NaNo of immense stress and sadness.  I want to change that energy.

This year will be a NaNo of energetic inspiration and humorous creativity!  This year, I shall.....

*Make note how I am not using contractions -- it is a NaNo thing.

**Tacky pun was totally worth it.
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?

mutantenemy: (humour::bunny ear flop)
Yesterday was a hardcore writing day for me. I was a bit behind the Word Count Eight Ball, but I managed to keep my focus together enough to where I pulled over 6,000 in an afternoon. I am officially over the 40,000 word hump!

YES! Much w00tage!

The remaining 10,000 will not be as laborious or straining because I am getting to the juicy-filled adventure part of the story. Once I venture into that tasty tid bit, my fingers will be a blur upon this keyboard.
mutantenemy: (nanowrimo::yer face has tiny word count)
It's dismal, dare I say, even a bit pathetic.

BUT I DON'T CARE! Nice to see you, 5K, here I come 10K!! :)

Puff puff puff

Sunday, 16 November 2008 09:57 am
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It has been a rough going of it, but as of yesterday afternoon I reached *cue the customary drum roll please*

20,100 words of my novel so far.

It was sluggish as most of my fifth chapter was pure dialogue, which is fine, it is my forte.  :-)  But more action is needed. 

I have (notice the lack of contraction?  yes, it tis nano month) come to the realization, the profound acceptence that I shall not finish my story in 50,000 words.  Nor will it be wrapped up in 55,000 as years past.  I am letting go of the notion to rush it so that it all gets written in the 30 day timeframe.  This has occured before, where by the 25K mark I panic when I realize not all the nitty gritty I had planned has even STARTED YET.  So I cruise through, rushing through all 15 or so plot points so I can be done with it.

Not this year.  I am relishing in the fact I am flying blind.  Point A was planned; however Point Z is still out there and I have no clue what the hell it is or how I am going to get there and for someone as organized as I can be, it is terrifying and exhilerating all at the same tick-tock moment.  My characters are sharing with me their story and they want it written in their own time, not by my personal clock.

So after I pass the 50K milestone, I shall continue forging onward.  When November has come and gone, I plan on adding to the story once a week until all that needs to be said is said.

My inner editor is writhing in sheer agony, but my muse is ting a ling a ringing on a trampoline.

For my friends, a first draft snippet.

Portals : The Unfathomable Tale of a Sea Witch
by Ember Miller
National Novel Writing Month
Two Thousand and Eight


The lone figure remembered vividly the time she felt her first burn, it was the day she escaped this loathing sea.  A sea, or Blue Tears as her people called it, which kept her prisoner for the first half of her nomadic existence.  Always in constant motion; always rolling with the swells as they journeyed upon the Tears of their ancestors, searching for a life without persecution.  A life of sweet revelry they could call their own.

Her stomach quivered at the memory as her nostrils took in the smell of the retching salty brine.  Death and decay lived in that brackish air, she had no doubt.  It was one of the horde of reasons she had left countless years ago and why she took a ceremonious oath never to return.  Until this fateful day.  Sometimes one is pushed to embrace the siren call of El Destino as his song lilts across the distance and plunges into the fathoms; always reaching and always finding you.  His grasp is a mocking one.  A person starts to believe they have a firm harness on their life until he chuckles melodically within their ears.  Taunting.  Teasing.  This formidable woman despised being teased and El Destino could go to the recesses of Taramul Mortilor for all she cared.

The mere thought of Taramul Mortilor made her burn ignite, simply from the passing vibration in her head.  Memories sink deep, so deep even the physical body reacts as if it had just occured in that tick tock of time.  A gust of salt caressed wind rushed up underneath her long hair as she fought back tears off pain.  Pain reminiscing over her burn as her delicate fingers feathered across her left arm and met the raised coterized flesh.  And pain over the reality of how much she resented being back where she did not wish to be.

The grimy deck beneath her feet ebbed and flowed with the constantly bounding current as she mentally punished herself for succumbing to another will other than her own.  She detested not being in control and appearing to have a backbone comprised entirely of slimy jellyfish; their poisonous tentacles spreading throughout her body and contaminating the very essence of her independence, her own precious free will.  This rare beauty was as salty as the Blue Tears she was hostile towards, a comparison her fiery pride would never admit.

Gazing out upon the horizon, she witnessed the evening sun set the sky ablaze and fan colors of red, amber and crimson into the vastness of Tears.  An ache of longing swelled up from the gravity of her heart and into her slender throat, catching slightly on her tongue.

“Sagrado estrelas!  How I do miss my beloved home,” she whispered.

A white feather brushed her cheek as she felt the all too familiar weight land and perch upon her shoulder.  “Alas, lady, but we are home.  Our place of heart and contentment,” it corrected.

“No,” she replied firmly, her tone resonating conviction.  “This was NEVER my home. And its content has been removed from my heart eons ago.”  And two pairs of eyes looked out onto the glistening horizon and sighed.


Sunday, 9 November 2008 10:12 pm
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Holy crap. That was almost achingly painful. I've caught up, not completely, but enough to satisfy me. To quote Neil Fucking Gaiman, it was like trudging through fog.

I still have no idea where my story is going to go or how it is going to end. So I simply focus on the characters and let them tell me what they want to happen.

Worse case? I end up with a 55,000 word novel with a cliff hanger and a tag line which reads, "to be continued in Book Two." lol

Current total 14,115

2:00 AM word count

Thursday, 22 November 2007 02:00 am
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Holy crap.  That was probably the hardest 5K stint to date.  Mostly because what I was writing about, I was dreading.  Not boring material, but disturbing.  A part of me is bothered that I can write this unthinkable act (and no, its not murder, that one I actually had fun composing. lol).  I think I might need to take a shower before bed.

Let's just hope my dreams tonight do not reflect my NaNo story.
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And in this 5K segment there were ghostly faces, EVPs, the first saucy sex scene, murder and a slight seizure.  Not bad!

Now I must sleep.  Must do another 5K tomorrow so when I start up writing on Friday, I will still be 2K words ahead of the game.


I am hardcore

Monday, 19 November 2007 05:59 pm
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Yay me!  I am now officially in the 30K bracket! 

My goal, and it tis a lofty one, is to get to 40K by Wednesday evening so that I can enjoy Turkey Day guilt free, as well as, be grateful for all the writing I have accomplished thus far.

Now I must attend to my dirty bathrooms for NaNo has forced me to neglect them.  No longer!

*runs off waving scrubby brush in a swordy manner*


Sunday, 18 November 2007 11:49 pm
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Okay, it is not the 7K-10K I was hoping for, but I will take it!  :-)  Tomorrow will be the same routine of hand writing until the cramp occurs, then switching over to keyboard.

Wish me monsters!  (really, my novel is of the horror genre).
mutantenemy: (Default)

Friday and Saturday I wrote just over 6,000 words by hand.  Ouch.  Today I have done 2,000 and my hand is begging I give it a break.  So I shall attempt to go back and write my NaNo on the keyboard.  At least until my writing hand has had enough of a break, or until my back becomes sore from crappy keyboard posture.  Whichever comes first.

In the meantime, I present to you this week's NaNoWriMo Pep talk from one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman.  Now I shall write like a killer shark.  (just keep writing, just keep writing.  writing.  writing.  just keep writing, just keep writing...).

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

By now you're probably ready to give up. You're past that first fine furious  rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You're not  yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interloc king stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It's a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn't build it it won't be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent.  I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I cou ld abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of  sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"

"You don't remember?"

"Not really."

"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."

I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That's the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes in to Chapter Nine, it's the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you'll be on the downward slide, and it's not impossible that soon you'll be at the end. Good luck...

Neil Gaiman
mutantenemy: (Default)

Could be worse.  Could be raining.
mutantenemy: (Default)

You can find this and others at

Slow Start

Monday, 5 November 2007 05:28 pm
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I am only at 1,157 words right now.   And it's the 5th day of the month.

Should I be worried?  lol

Well as last year i cranked out over 55,000 words in 2.5 weeks time, while holding down a job and a boyfriend (the job was more fun), I shan't be concerned just yet.  Especially as this year I be embracing the Leisure Lifestyle by Force route (ie: laid off in laymen's terms). 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday shall be my designated NaNo days this week.  Just keep writing until my wrists get all cramped up and the heels of my hands get swollen.