Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Winner!!!

I did it! I pounded out three thousand words in the last hour and a half and finished up my 50,000 words.  Then I copy and pasted my novel into the word count validator and watched my blue word count bar turn a pretty purple!  As far as the story goes, I'm probably less than 5,000 words from the end, and everything is kind of coming together. 

So what is in the works for December?  Well, first off, actually finishing Finding Innisburg.  Then, I'd really like to write a Christmas story this holiday season but I'm not sure what that is going to be about yet.  So possibly writing that if I figure something out.  Otherwise I have a tragic selkie love story in the works for a short story so that will probably come next since I'm really excited about it.

But for now, I'm going to reward myself by watching last night's episode of House on Hulu since I had to work and missed it last night. 

And for any of you last minute writers, good luck pounding out your last few words! 50,000 is a beautiful place!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Down to the wire...

There are exactly 3 days and 2 hours left in NaNoWriMo, and my current word count is 43,625 which leaves me with 6,375 words left to write in that time.  Last time I did NaNo, in 2008, I hit 75,000 words and finished my story by the end of the month and this time I'm pushing the limit of just completeing it.  But last time I also didn't have a boyfriend and now I live with mine so that takes up some of my novel writing time.  But also I've just been lazy.  No real excuse.  But I'm planning to hit 46,000 by the end of the night tonight so then I'll just have that last four thousand to do over the next three days.  Shouldn't be too hard.  Then the hard part will be forcing myself to finish the story, since it won't be over by 50,000 words, especially since my main female character just went and got herself bit by a poisonous snake in the middle of the Mexican jungle.  Which was totally NOT scripted, I'd like to point out.  A bit of improv on her part.

Alright, I'm off to put some apple turnovers in the oven and then crank out another thousand or so words before they are done, hopefully!

Happy noveling!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Novel Update

So after writing that last entry, I decided to be brave and take a look at my stats on the NaNo website, which I knew wouldn't be good since I have pretty much ignored my novel for almost a week.  Fortunatly I found that I was only about two thousand words behind schedule so I set to work to catch up.  As it stands now, I've written a total of 38,769 words, 2428 from today which puts me barelly back on schedule.  So I'm going to try to break 40,000 words before Aaron gets home from work to put myself ahead again.  Then tomorrow I'm off too, so that will leave me lots of time to get close to wrapping this thing up!

Snow days!

So the snow yesterday just kept coming down all day and most of the night.  In the end, it iced over really bad over night and now the roads in Seattle are a slick mess of solid ice and snow.  Buses are literally sliding off the road all over the city and although it is a beautiful sunny morning out there today, the temperature stands at a frigid 22 degrees and it's not supposed to warm up at all.  So I called my work, which is most of the way across the city from where I live, and told them that I didn't think I could make it in.  Two years ago we had a bad snow and I worked a 12 to 6 shift at the Lower Queen Anne Blockbuster.  I was able to get to work ok, but then the buses stopped running and I was stranded and unable to get home.  The taxis wouldn't go out to Ballard where I was living either.  So this year I didn't want that to happen again, so the long and the short of it is, I have a SNOW DAY!!!! I feel like a school kid again, although I was home schooled but we did get snow days sometimes even so just to play in the snow and stuff.

But I promised myself when I woke up this morning that if it was a snow day, I would do some serious work on my poor, neglected novel.  So that is the plan for today.

Also, on a side note, Prince William and Kate Middleton announced that they will be married on April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London.  I wish I had the funds to make it to London for that wedding because it will probably be the biggest wedding of my lifetime, aside from my own, of course. ;-)

They mentioned on the news that brides all over England were worried that their chosen wedding days would fall on the same day so I do feel sorry for them since there will no doubt be a few.  Way to have your special day totally eclipsed, right?

Alright, off to work on my novel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow and more on Prince William

First off, it is snowing in Seattle.  Last winter we didn't get any snow at all so to finally have some of the white stuff on the ground is very exciting.  There is only about an inch on the ground but since the Seattle Metro Transit was slammed two years ago when they weren't prepared for the snow that we got then, they are taking every precaution this year so the buses are on reroute for the whole day.  Thankfully I'm off work but I am supposed to go in for a meeting at five, so I'm debating as to whether I can call out for the meeting since my buses are going to be behind and take a long time.  We'll see how the snow holds up by this afternoon.

Also, an interesting news story today.  Less than 48 hours after announcing his engagement, Prince William was scrambled on a rescue mission with the Royal Air Force.  The prince, known as Flight Lieutenant Wales in the RAF, was sent with a four man crew to rescue a man who had had a heart attack on a mountain in Wales.  After he was airlifted out in terrible stormy conditions by the prince, he credited the prince and his crew for having saved his life.  Can you imagine being rescued by the future king of England?

Friday, November 19, 2010


The title pretty much says it all.  I have been talking, reading and breathing nothing except writing for a while now, so I decided its time for something new.  Something informative.  Something useful.  So here goes my SURVIVAL KIT FOR STAYING UP ALL NIGHT (subtitled: Getting by on Little or No Sleep)

First off, I'd like to say that I am an expert in this field.  I am way over-qualified to write this. (By the way, never trust anyone who says that they are an expert at anything.  The real experts don't have to say it.  But I do.)


1. Toothbruth and toothpaste. I don't care where you are or what you are doing that is making you stay up so late, brush your teeth in the morning.  It will trick your brain into thinking that you are getting up, not staying up.  Besides, I've heard that this can also be good for your teeth.

2. Water.  Drink at least twice as much water as anything else.  This goes for the whole night.  If you drink two cups of coffee, drink four cups of water. Etc. It's also good for you, and being hydrated is important for making sure you feel the best that you can.

3. Breakfast. Eat it.  Food will make you feel better and give you more energy.

4. Speaking of energy: 5-Hour energy is amazing.  No sugar, very few calories and it tastes ok too.  It's better than sugar filled energy drinks.  You will thank me at noon.

5. Visine.  Or similar eye drops.  Its amazing how much better you feel when your eyes aren't blurry and they don't itch and they aren't red and puffy.  One drop of an eye drop in each eye will do wonders for you.

6. Tylonol.  Or pain killer of choice.  You don't have to take it, but keep it on hand in case you feel a headache coming on. 

Now of course nothing replaces real sleep, but with these six simple things, you can almost pretend like you did sleep.  They really work wonders if you go with all six of them.  I promise.

Some thoughts...

First off, an apology for the lack of creativity in the title. No excuse.

So the novel has been sitting on my hard drive for almost two days without any love from me, its beloved author.  Generally my only problem in writing comes from not knowing what to write next, but these days I know what to write, I know how to write it, I just don't want to.  Someone smack me upside the head, please.

As a slight excuse to the writing gods, I offer up the fact that I have worked 17 of the last 24 hours with three hours of sleep in there somewhere.  It's been pretty hectic.

On a different creative front, however, I have finished reading two books on screenwriting, and am slowly coming up with a plot to let me try my hand at screenwriting.  I think it will be a challenge for me in the sense that I write from a very emotional place, and screenwriting is a much more visual art form.  I am looking forward to how this new medium will challenge me and improve or change my novel-writing skills.  One of the books I have is entitled How Not to Write a Screenplay and the author points out some obvious mistakes that apparently novice screenwriters make.  Several of them are eye-opening to me regarding writing in general, particularly those dealing with overwriting and not leaving things to the readers imagination.  In a screenplay, obviously, this is derived from the fact that the director and actors will be interpreting the descriptions in their own way, but I think it has some correlations in standard prose writing as well.  It has been a fascinating and eye-opening journey through that book.

Often times I have wondered or pondered the difference between a thriller and a mystery.  Obviously some works fall distinctly on one side or the other of this line but often I've noticed some middle ground that seems a bit ambiguous.  The author of How Not to Write a Screenplay (forgive me, I'm too lazy right now to get up and grab the book to find out  his name) defines the difference as follows.  He says that in a thriller, the audience (or reader) knows what the hero or heroine is trying to find out.  Thus, they know who the bad guy is, where the bomb is, or who has the child before the protagonist finds out for him or herself.  In a mystery, the main character solves the problem or mystery before the reader does, and then reveals it to the reader or audience in some way.  I don't know how much this difference is accepted in literary circles, but it made a lot of sense to me and drew an interesting line between the way an audience or reader connects with the main character.  Given this definition, the audience would be protective or worried for the main character in a thriller, but in a mystery, they would identify with him or her more along the journey, and come out with more respect perhaps.  Just an interesting thought for me.

Other than that, I am discovering reading over this entry that I am highly contemplative on no sleep and too much caffeine.  And so, adieu. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Salacious Gossip!

So as much as I like to pretend that I'm way above such things, I am a sucker for celebrity gossip.  At my work, we carry US Weekly, Star, Life & Style and a couple other gossip magazines.  On my breaks I read them, which is great because I don't have to pay for them.  The last few months, the hype surrounding Prince William and his loooooong time girlfriend Kate Middleton has been growing higher and higher.  They have been dating forever and everyone has been speculating that an engagement is just around the corner.  I have been fascinated with them since the beginning, mostly because she is so pretty and elegant, and he is so handsome and he has been famous forever, but she is only famous because of him.  Since she is only a few years older than me, I always wonder what this must be like to be her, trying to make a relationship work with one of the most eligible bachelors in the world.

Well, the wait is over! Today they officially announced their engagement.  The wedding of the decade will take place next year and Kate Middleton will officially become Princess Catherine, and possibly, one day, queen of England.  So congratulations to them!

Excerpt from Finding Innisburg

So I'm going to do something I have never done before: share a portion of my writing before the entire story is complete.  The following except is the first couple of pages of Finding Innisburg, my NaNo novel this year.  I'm working on leading into my books with something exciting, so tell me if this gets you hooked for more, or if you are bored before you get halfway through.

                The first thought in my mind as I floated slowly to earth, was, “Why are there manicured lawns in the middle of the Guatemalan rain forest?”  The second, was “How on earth am I going to get back out?”   I looked up at the parachute above me, floating serenely on air and carrying me down to the ground.  As the patch of fenced land I had seen several times from the helicopter and then from the airplane that brought me here today approached, I saw that I was right about the manicured lawns.  It was not a government test site as some had suggested, and I was not being shot down.  I saw buildings below and soon I could make out cars on the street and what appeared to be a park.  If I had not known better, I would have thought that I was jumping into a classic American town.  I aimed my parachute for a large parking lot, and as the ground rapidly drew nearer, I suddenly realized that many people were standing around on the sidewalks, looking up.
                I barely had time to register that they were not dressed like indigenous Guatemalans before I had to pull my feet up and I scraped across the bumpy gravel in my jump suit before coming to a halt.  I stood up, looked around me like a spaceman on a distant planet, and began to unzip my flight suit to reveal my street clothes.  Just then I saw someone approaching cautiously from across the street.  He was probably in his 60’s wearing a thin tie and a sport coat.  Pinned on his jacket was a silver star and he was carrying a baton.  A couple of other men were behind him.
                “Estoy un amigo!” I called to him, although he didn’t look like he was a native Guatemalan.
                “Sir! Put your hands up and turn around,” he yelled to me, and I could hear fear in his voice. Surprised that he could speak English, I slowly stepped both feet out of the full body flight suit, leaving the empty shell on the ground.  Then I put my hands on my head and slowly turned around.  As I did so, I realized that I was in the parking lot of a drive up movie theater and the screen was now in front of me.  Posters announced the newest movies showing which were “From Here to Eternity” and “Shane.”  I had seen Shane once.  With my grandfather, when I was a kid. My grandfather loved old westerns.
                “Wow,” I thought, “This place must not be used much.”  Although the posters looked like they hadn’t been up very long.
                Just then I felt the cold weight of the handcuffs as they latched onto my wrists.  I didn’t resist, not knowing what these people were doing here or who they thought I was.  When I was turned around, I could see that the star pinned to the mans shirt was engraved, “Chief, Innisburg Municipal Police Force.” 
                “Who do you think you’re fooling, parachuting in like this?”  He sounded mad, and was clearly more confident now that I was in handcuffs, although his companions still hung back nervously. “Just because we’re a small town doesn’t mean were an easy target for you Communist invasion!”
                “Communist!?” I exclaimed, almost laughing to think what my dad would think of me being mistaken for a communist. “I’m not a Communist!  I’m just a photo journalist and I wanted to know what you guys were doing down here!”
                “A likely story,” huffed the chief in disbelief, “Come on, boys!” he called to the men behind him, “let’s get him down to the jail!”
                He grabbed the chain connecting my wrists and led me towards the street.  I twisted around, trying to get my bearings.
                “Hey, don’t try any fancy stuff,” he said, giving me a small tug. “I may be a small town chief but that just means I’ll have nothing better to do than to hunt you down should you try to skip town.”
                “You’re awfully touchy about this being a small town,” I said with a small grin.
                “Now don’t you be impudent with me, son,” he growled, shoving me roughly toward the sidewalk.  When we got there, there were three or four men, a couple of them carrying sticks or other crude clubs.  They nervously took in my leather jacket, jeans and Converse shoes. 
                “He doesn’t look like a Commie, Al,” said one of them, addressing the police chief.
                “Why else would he come falling out of the sky? He’s got a fancy looking camera and this weird communication device,” said Al, holding up my iPhone, which must have fallen out my pocket. 
                “No, look, that’s…” I began.
                “Shut it, boy,”  said, Al.  “Come on, let’s get him down to the jail and I’ll phone the authorities.  They’ll want to hear about this.”
                “Look, my name is Jonathan Carrington,” I said, not really wanting to spend the night in jail.  There were too many questions that I needed answers to about this place.
                “Yeah, sure it is,” said one of the men behind me, sarcastically.
                I said nothing.  I didn’t know why on earth they would assume I was Communist, but I decided to figure out a way to convince them otherwise before I said something that would get me into trouble.  Besides, there was too much about this town that was strange, and I wanted the chance to look around.  We headed down the sidewalk and turned at the next street.  The streets of the town were quiet but as we passed the park, a car turned the corner and drove slowly past us.  I immediately recognized it as a 1950 Pontiac Chieftain, a car I had often admired in classic car magazines but had never seen in real life.
                “Wow! Sweet ride!” I exclaimed in spite of myself.  One of the men behind me, who was a bit younger than the rest, said,
“Yeah Doug just got that last year.”  He seemed about to say more but his voice trailed off and there was an awkward silence.  Down the street I saw a couple of girls and as they approached, they quickly crossed the street at the sight of me being lead down the sidewalk with a posse of men surrounding me.  The girls were very cute but they looked like they were going to a costume party or something, with skirts that hung just below their knees and knitted button up sweaters on.  As they got closer I noticed that they both carried books under their arms and I figured that it must be fifties day at school or something.  They stared and gigged as they passed, and I threw a wink their direction, which only incited more laughs. 
                Within minutes we had arrived at our destination and the chief opened the door of the police station.  There was a desk with a few papers on it, but it was the phone that caught my attention.  It was tall and black with a separate piece hooked on the side for listening. 
                “What’s with all the antiques around here?” I asked, finally putting my finger on the strangeness that had surrounded me, “Did I go through a time warp and end up in Mayberry?”
                “Come on,” was all the chief said.  He pushed me towards the back where I could see two cells with one wall made of bars and a large door which he unlocked.  He unlocked my handcuffs and I rubbed my wrists.
                “Give me your backpack,” he said.
                “Oh come on,” I said, not wanting to give up the only possessions I had with me. “This is ridiculous.  My name is Jonathan Carrington and I’m from Arizona.  In the US,” I added after a pause, nearly forgetting that I was still in the jungles of Guatemala.”
                “Give me the backpack.  If you’re telling the truth, then you have nothing to fear,” he said, in a way that told me he was sure I was lying.
                I sighed, slipping out of the backpack.  I had not known what to expect when I jumped out of the airplane only a few short minutes earlier, but this was not it. The police chief closed the cell door behind me and walked back into the station, closing another door so I could no longer see or hear him. 

NaNo and other writing projects update!

So I'd been getting a bit discouraged lately by my novel, not because it's bad, because I don't think it's that bad, not because my word count is low, which it isn't, but because I'm not sure I have enough story left.  Although 50,000 words is the requirement for NaNoWriMo, it is a bit low for an acutal novel, and I was hoping that I would have enough story to fill out 80,000 or more words.  As it stands, I think this book will end up around 60,000.  So I was a little disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to write a book of the length that I wanted, but I was doing some research online today and it looks like mystery novels, which mine could be considered, usually fall more in the range of 60,000 to 80,000, which is much more attainable to me at this point.  So I feel a little better, and I also know that there are parts of my novel which could be fleshed out a bit, although I hate doing that.  I prefer the action to the detail and tend to jump from action to action in my writing.  Mostly because that is the way I like to read; I hate reading boring filler scenes.  If something exciting isn't happening, I usually get bored.

So right now I am at 35,195 words, with plans to add a few thousand more before the day is over.  My characters escaped from jail and are now trying to figure out the next step in their plans.  I still have almost half the month left, so at the rate I'm going, I'll be done in time to spend the rest of the month outlining my next book, which I think will be a sequal to Runaway Train, which I need to finish editing and begin submitting to agents.

So my current projects or soon-to-be projects are:

1. Runaway Train.  Possibly young adult survival adventure romance which stands at 40,277 words and needs some more editing and adding before it is ready to submit to agents.

2. Finding Innisburg.  Currently at 35,195 words, needs to be finished, edited and submitted to agents.                                                                                                                                                                       
 3. As yet unnamed short story.  Probably will be an Old West rendition of Much Ado about Nothing, with no comic spoofiness to it and delving deeply into the characters of the original Shakespeare.

4. As yet unnamed sequals to Runaway Train.  Before I started, I planned a whole trilogy so I have rough outlines for two more books.

5. Unnamed screenplay.  Probably about a girl who embezzles a bunch of money from her work with no forethought and runs away to Guatemala just because she felt impulsive.  Will be writing that for Script Frenzy in April.

So that's what I'll be working on for probably another year or so.  Hows your life?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

50th Post!

This is my 50th blog post! Yay! It will also be quite short because Aaron is almost home from work and also I don't have much to say.

I am at 34,165 words on the novel, which feels great!  Other than that, just work and writing has pretty much been my life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

2:56AM Update

Yes, I'm still awake.  Just hit 26,000 words and starting to feel a little tired.  But at least I am way out in front on my word count, over 6,000 words higher than where I need to be to be on track.  So that is a nice feeling. 

Happy Noveling!

2:05AM Update!

Well, as you can see from the title, it's 2:05AM and I just passed the 25,000 word mark! Halfway there and it feels great! The NaNo website has these cool stats for number people like me, so according to mine, I have to write 1389 words per day to finish on time, and on average I've written 2085 words per day and at that rate I will finish on November 23.  That's a whole week ahead! This is the first time that I've been scheduled to finish earlier than November 25.  Two years ago I hit 75,000 words and finished my novel on November 25, so the goal is to beat that this year. 

Well, more stretching exercises for me and then on to 26,000!

1:10 AM update!

Not that anyone probably cares, but I promised updates, so here they are.  It's 1:10 AM. I got home from Aaron's store about quarter to midnight, stopped at the store to pick up some novel food in the form of Pringles, 5-Hour Energy, G2 Gatorade, Cherry Dr. Pepper and Red Vines, and then got to work on the novel.  So as it stands now, I'm at 24,084 words and going to push on towards 25,000 here in a minute after I do some stretching and breathing exercises to keep me from being too sore tomorrow.  I'm feeling good, the novel is coming well, I'm right in the midst of the suspense of my novel and the story is so creepy that I'm getting scared just writing it. 

Onward to 25,000!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Script Frenzy and All Nighters

A quick blog entry, and then I'm going to work on my novel.  For reals.

Two things I wanted to share with you, dear readers.  The first is that I am planning on staying up all night to work on my novel/do other things unrelated to working on my novel.  Aaron has inventory at work tonight; he left about two hours ago and won't be home until 6 or 7 AM probably.  So being the supportive girlfriend that I am, I'm going to attempt to stay up for as much of that as I can, puttering away on my trusty laptop, so that I can sleep in with him tomorrow.  Not that sleeping in is usually a problem for me.  So as I embark on my own Night of Writing Dangerously, my word count stands at 22,660 and at bare minimum, I would like to hit the halfway point of 25,000.

The second thing I wanted to tell you about is that I am seriously considering doing Script Frenzy in April.  For those of you who do not know what this is, it is a sister operation of sorts of NaNoWriMo and is for writing screenplays, plays, TV scripts etc.  I have never participated in Script Frenzy but I've recently become intriegued by the idea of writing a screenplay.  I have a couple of ideas that wouldn't work great in a novel but I think would make a great movie.  So I'm bouncing that idea around in my head.  We'll see.

Well, Aaron just called and he forgot something here that he needs for inventory, so I'm going to run that down to him.  Then I'll start on the nightly word count when I get home.

Fly, fly away!

It was with great sadness and a few tears that I learned last night that Dave Niehaus, the long-time play-by-play announcer of the Seattle Mariners and Seattle icon, passed away at his home in Bellevue at the age of 75.  From the time I was a little girl, I listened to baseball on the radio.  Dave Niehaus was there every summer night for my youth, my high school years, my college years, and into my twenties.  His colorful visions of the game prompted Gene Autry to remark once, "The best game I ever saw was the one I heard Dave Niehaus do on the radio."  He threw out the first pitch at the Mariners first ever game in 1977.  He was chosen by the fans to throw out the first pitch at Safeco Field.  He was there for every great moment, every depressing season and every emotional victory along the way.  His calls, his voice and his enthusiasm for the game were broadcast through Seattle for years.  He was more a part of the city than the brick and stone that  make it up, and to many of us, he was the voice of baseball.

Summers will never be the same without him, baseball will never be the same without him, and Safeco Field will certainly never be the same.  He summed up all that is great about baseball, the green grass, the smell of hotdogs and the warm summer nights at the ballpark.  He brought the joy of the game into houses all over the state and the country, and he will be very sorely missed. 

So grab a glass of beer, get out a hotdog, some rye bread and mustard, and raise a toast to a man whose voice warmed our hearts.  To Dave.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing as a career?

For about two years now, I have had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out of college at 20 because I didn’t want to take out student loans if I didn’t know what I was going to use my degree for. Since then, I have been working at Blockbuster trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My parents are getting anxious.

Well last night, the answer seemed to hit me. Ever since I was a very small child, I wanted to be an author. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and realized that being an author is not a sure source of income, that I tried to choose a different career path. Well last night I decided that I should just go for it. I’m 22 years old, I have quite a bit of life ahead of me before I have to become responsible, so if I want to become a published author, I should just try now. So I gave myself a deadline of three years, which puts me at 25. If, by my 25th birthday, I have still not made any headway towards becoming a full-time writer, then I will put my writing aside and find something responsible to do.

In the meantime, however, this is the plan. Write on my blog on a much more regular basis. If you guys enjoy reading my blog, I’d very much appreciate it if you would share it with your family and friends. This way I can establish a readership base. Second on the plan is to write at least two novels a year, revise them and seriously start querying agents. Thirdly, I will write some short stories and attempt to win contests with them and get them published to get some credentials under my belt.

On the NaNoing side of things, I am at 14,549 words!

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

And so it begins

Well, NaNoWriMo has officially begun.  I managed to force myself to stay up until midnight last night, and when it finally rolled around, I cheered quietly to myself and pounded out about two hundred words before passing out at about 12:20.  Today between my bus rides to and from work and my lunch break I'm at 1,505 words, nearly to my daily quota so another half hour before bed should put me up to about 2000 words.  The story seems to be working out ok, my main character is already beginning to take over the story in a good way, and I discovered that 5 Hour Energy drinks, when added to G2 low calorie Gatorade, taste wonderful, give me energy and don't make me hyper/jittery.  I felt great all day even on 5 hours of sleep and I think they may end up being a November staple.  Unlike coffee or soda or most other energy drinks, I didn't feel like I was going insane, I could focus on work instead of having my brain running a million miles an hour in six different directions, and so far no crash.  Probably a combination of the electrolytes in the Gatorade, the low sugar content and the hydration from drinking a reasonably healthy form of liquid. So all in all, a good start to NaNo.

Oh, and yesterday I happen to glance at my horoscope in a magazine.  Now I'm not particularly into that whole thing, but I have to say I was pretty happy when I saw that it said, "A creative venture of yours will be successful."  That's got to be a good omen for November.

Happy noveling!