Tag: NaNoWriMo

Nanowrimo Snowflake Technique

snowflake

STEP 1 ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY

A woman who has never fallen in love finally looses it when watching her twin sister get divorced for the 2nd time and helping her last single best friend plan her wedding.

STEP 2 ONE PARAGRAPH PLOT 

Julie is 40. In fact, she had celebrated the big 40 with her best friend Claire just last Friday.  Today she is standing in front of Claire at ‘Gowns by Tracie’ and looking at her 40 year old face in the mirror beside the most hideous fuchsia number she’d ever seen.  You think being single and bridesmaid as many times as Clair had she would have some mercy on her friend but it seemed more revenge than mercy, and Julie was asked to pay the price.  Sigh…It seemed to be Julie’s role in life cheering on her friends while their lives got interesting and she had the same old, same old. Right now Julie’s sister Lisa was going through her second divorce and she called her at all hours of the day.  Why anyone would call her for advice she would never know.  The truth is she has a secret. Julie is 40 and has never fallen in love.  Never even been kissed.  She hasn’t been twitterpated or excited over a guy.  She hasn’t had her heart broken.  She hasn’t even held hands with a guy.  Why? She has no idea except it seems to be her calling to watch others from the sidelines.

STEP 3 DEVELOP CHARACTERS

Julie- 40 year old woman, never fallen in love, hard worker, perhaps even workaholic, likes control which means romance drives her nuts, practical but also a dreamer.  She has a twin sister who is very demanding, critical and a mess with her life.  Wants to support everyone but having a hard time.

Claire- Julie’s best friend and the last of their group to get married except Julie.  She’s lost in wedding plans as it is finally her dream come true.  She worries about Julie but everything has happened very fast. She’s scared of all the change but feels like she can’t talk to Julie about her worries.

Lisa- Julie’s sister and twin. A mess with relationships.  Can’t keep a job and her kids are a challenge.  Jealous of her sister always having things together. Feels Julie judges her.

Mom and Dad- Supportive parents but tend to forget Julie and give all the attention to their kids with grandkids.

Other siblings?

Boss? Coworkers?

Julie and Claire’s group of married girlfriends

Love interest? New friend like in My Best Friends Wedding she doesn’t end up with anyone.

STEP 4 PLOT SUMMARY

The story will kind of be as if Julie is a pot of water and as the pressure and heat increase Julie will get more stressed until it boils over.  Eventually she will have to reconcile her life and the expectations she had for it.  Meanwhile there will be Claire’s wedding and all that goes into putting that together.  Julie and Lisa have to deal with their envy of each other. Don’t want everything to end with a tidy bow.  Should be still challenges, unknowns but some peace and comfort for the future.

There are other steps but I will wait to do those another day.

So that’s a start.  Would love your thoughts and suggestions.  Cant’ say I will take all of them but I know it will be helpful as I put it all together.

Those are some initial thoughts at least!

Brainstorming Techniques?

BRAINSTORMING_METHODS-283x300I need some help you guys!  I am getting ready for Nanowrimo and I have the idea for a character but I’m not sure what I want to happen to her.  I want to write a book about a woman who never falls in love and how she deals with that.  I don’t want her to fall in love because I feel like that would be a cop out.  I want it to be a unique story.

But what would be a good story?  I’ve thought she could lose her job.  She could have a group of ‘lonely hearts club’ or other group of friends.  I saw a thing on food network about these widows that meant ever week and made perogies.  I thought I could tell that story but I don’t think I would do an old lady very well so it would be 30’s or 40’s.

Anyway, I’m just curious for your suggestions and what you do when you need to brainstorm for ideas? Fellow writers help!

This Nanowrimo is going to be different because I don’t have a concrete plan like I’ve had the last 2 years.  We will see how it goes.  I have a back up idea if this doesn’t work.

So help!  Need ideas.  What could happen to her that wouldn’t be a cliche but would be interesting to read about?

Also is anyone interested in guest blogging for me as I work on my book on either of my blogs?

Nanowrimo Winner and My First Poem

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

So I did it!  I finished my second year in Nanowrimo.  I’m not saying the book is great.  It’s not as good as my book from last year but that came from my heart so its hard to compare.  Still, I learned something from thinking about my characters and their lives.  Little details like how they manage their time or a scene that was captured in a satisfying way.

It may be that I take side characters and flesh them out more.  There may be more to say with them than on the 2 main characters.  I think it would be fun to right a children’s book from the perspective of the little girl Callie who reads and can’t quite decide what she believes in including Santa.  I think there is a story there.

Anyway, I enjoyed writing it and I learned a lot.  It has also motivated me to work even harder on my book from last year because I know it is better.  I know it has more potential.  It’s energizing!

One of my goals for this story was to do a bunch of writing firsts.  I had never written complete fiction before and I have never really written poetry before.  I had a couplet that I wrote in college and it just about killed me.  Very difficult.

So, I did my best and wrote a Christmas poem to share with all of you.  It’s not really here for critique.  Just a first stab at a medium I love (which reminds me I need to do a poetry post soon).  Here goes!:

lonely_bear_christmas_by_kilroyart-d4jny1u

The Lonely Christmas

The tree and lights, the hot cocoa and marshmallows

The presents and bows, the mistletoe and couples

It was Christmas time and all seemed to be matched

But for me and my ring finger had yet to be catched.

I tried to be cheerful and ignore the stares of pity

But alas I was cold and couldn’t be witty.

Leaving the party I grabbed my coat and hat

And went for a walk to try and find some merriment.

I looked at the snow and it seemed icy and alone

The wind whistled and let out a deep moan.

Out to the street I walked a block or two

Until I came to a church with an empty pew

The stained glass shined on the alter of white

And I asked God ‘why did I have such a plight?’

Why couldn’t I be a mother, wife and friend?

Why did everyone’s life start when mine seemed to end?

No answers came and I couldn’t help but cry

When a man with an old gray coat caught my eye

Even inside he was cold and looked awfully weary

I gave him a smile and said ‘I hope your Christmas is merry’

He shrugged and said with a sigh ‘life had been hard’

Then he showed me an old battered Christmas card.

‘Merry Christmas my dear’ said the writer with a flourish

And then she added ‘our love I will always cherish’

“She left me on Christmas and it hasn’t been the same”

In fact, for years Christmas took the blame”

“I’m sorry” I said “How did you make it through with hope?”

He smiled, laughed “I certainly did sit around and mope

But one day I prayed for God to help me find Christmas again

And He said to me ‘get down to the church and watch who comes in”

So I went and watched for the a spot in the pew to be filled

And each year there appears someone who needs a rebuild”

Then he looked at my eyes and placed his hand over mine

With a pat and a look sincere we went up to the shrine.

Next we lit a candle and the alter seemed ablaze.

Wishes  were scattered on papers amidst light rays.

“Take the cancer away” one said, “keep Tom here” another.

“Free Sally from drugs” and “be with my baby, love mother”

“Now look up” the man said. In the glass I saw the Lord on the wall

Feeble and tired, lonely and scared he suffered to overcome our fall

“Look at His face on the cross.  His Christmas day was full of pain

So how can we be called Christians if our days are not the same?

He loves us but on Christmas Day He wants us to know

why He and all His followers must have an occasional blow.”

I looked at his face and then at Lord “but how do I pretend to be full of glee?”

The man looked at me and said “You don’t and neither did He”

“But He does know our wishes and He does listen to our pleas.

If that reason alone we should remember He always calms the seas.

Christmas is a time to be merry for sure but its also much more.

It’s to remember why we are happy and sad and then to share.

Transfer our love of the Lord and His great day as our present to all.

And only then will we have a true reason to stand tall.

“You are right” I replied “He is my greatest companion and friend

His gift is for all and brings us Christmas till the end.”

A tear comes out of my eye and the old man gives me a hug.

“Merry Christmas” he says with a wink “There is still time to love”

I look at the old man’s eyes and I think of a girl who is often weary

“I’ll find her and make sure that her Christmas is merry”

I get up to leave the chapel and look back at the old man in pew.

But to my surprise the room is empty and my curiosity grew.

Searching the pews and alter I noticed something new among the wishes

A Christmas card and written on inside said ‘now go find your missions”

As I went back into cold I smiled at the snow and looked at North Star

Christmas wasn’t about what I don’t have but how I could spread joy far

One thing was for sure. If I knew Jesus lived I must make it clear.

“Whether young, old, single or married, Merry Christmas to all everywhere”

——————————————-

Hurray a winner and my first poem!  So exciting!

Nanowrimo Day 21: A Love Story Within a Love Story

nanowrimo2013

So how are all my Nanowrimo peeps doing?  I’m basically finished my story and I’ve wanted to post a section but honestly I don’t feel like any of it is that strong so I was hesitant to do so.  I’ve posted a few of them but it was my first time writing fiction and controlling the voices once they had switched places was very difficult.

I’m still mulling over and will do for some time.  I plan on using it as a concept and then writing more based on the idea and characters I created.  I’ve certainly learned a lot from creating an entire story.

One interesting thing about writing is you can start writing a character that is an aside and the longer you get in the story the bigger the character gets (and smaller in some cases).  Has anyone else seen this in your writing?  Well, I did.  I could end up writing a whole new book about a side character that I ended up bonding with.

The two main characters of my story are 2 women, Marnie and Becca, one is married, Becca, and the other, Marnie, is single.  I wanted to create a love interest for Marnie and as any rom-com will show you nothing is cuter than a single widower.  I don’t know if that is true in real life but ever since Sleepless in Seattle it’s pretty much a mainstay.

Finally, I ended up with a man named Josh.  He’s a single Dad who comes to the rescue of Becca who has kids the same age as his son Ben.  Eventually he gets to know both Marnie and Becca and becomes a friend to both and Santa does a little matchmaking!  At the end of the book he finally tells both girls about his late wife Mary, and their story together.

It kind of ended up being a love story within a love story and I enjoyed writing it.  It’s a tragic love story you might say but I don’t know if any love story is truly tragic.  Love gives hope and a complete human experience or at least so I am told.  I have yet to experience it myself.

There is also something inherently corny about romance.  You listen to anyone’s love story and it seems pretty cheesy but it’s also endearing and joyful, and a Christmas story definitely needs lots of joy!

So, Josh’s love story came together and I’ve decided to share it with you.  As a nanowrimo story it is very, very rough so please be nice.  I’m not sharing it for critique but more to keep you aware of what I’ve been working on.

Here it is

Josh and Mary’s Romance

“If you don’t mind my asking what happened with your wife” said Becca

“Yes, what happened? Can you talk about it?” said Marnie.  She started to talk but Josh was looking at Marnie while listening to her.  She started to tear up and that made Becca cry and Josh as he began to tell the story.

“Well, we met at a coffee shop.  It was about 2 blocks away from both of our jobs. She worked as a secretary for a big wig CEO downtown and I was in the mailroom at an office building- the one with the triangle top and like 20 floors.

It was quite the job making sure everything got where they needed to go.  Sometimes the basement where we would sort the mail would be so hot I would step out to get coffee just to have a break and cool down.

I know sounds funny cooling off getting coffee but that’s what I did. On the other side, Mary was constantly given chores and errands by her boss.  She’d get the dry cleaning, pick up her kids from school, even work at the soup kitchen for her boss and sometimes she ended up as hot and bothered as me at work.

Fortunately her boss sent her to get coffee often at the same time I was taking my breaks and I started to notice her.  She was pretty with black hair and blue eyes that sparkled like sapphires (I know that is cheesy but it is true) and a great smile.

Sometimes she would wear bright red lipstick and it would make her whole face pop out and I found myself thinking of those red lips all day long.

At the time she seemed way out of my league, like someone from a fairytale or the pretty girl in high school who only dated the captain of the football team”

“So how’d you get the courage to ask her out?” Marnie asked..  Just then I came into the room and Josh smiled as he saw me.

“That’s the funny thing is I never could quite do it.  I always worried that she would think I was so forward to ask a girl on a date he had just seen at the coffee shop.  Plus, she always seemed very busy so it was hard for me to catch a moment to talk and smooth into it.

  However, sometimes I would catch her looking at me and she’d smile and nod.  Finally one day she came up to me and said ‘what kind of coffee did you get?’ ‘tall low fat cappuccino with nutmeg and cinnamon.  I actually hate nutmeg and cinnamon but my boss likes it so that’s what I have to get’.

I said ‘why don’t you just get something else for yourself and something for your boss?’

She sighed and said that her boss was a real tool and if she didn’t taste the coffee first and make sure it was up to par there would be hell to pay.

I told her that I had worked at a place like that and it was the worst.  Then we bonded over our bad work stories.  Before you knew it we had talked for 20 minutes and her phone rang.  It was her boss and I could tell she was getting chewed out for taking so long.  ‘I’m sorry.  I will be right there’ she said into the phone.

You could see the weight off a job she hated on her shoulders.  It was like a black cloud had settled over the coffee shop.  I wanted to make things better for her but before I could offer help she looked at me with a sigh and said “hey would you like to go to dinner sometime.  I have a good feeling about you and would like to chat more with you”

“Sure” I said.  “I’d love that.  Tonight?’  I didn’t want to miss a moment to get to know this person and I’d sat enough times in a coffee shop to know that it was a once in a million girl.  It was my chance to make my life happen.

I know I never thought I would feel that way again but lately I’ve been allowing myself to have new experiences and have a window in my heart open for love again.  It’s hard because I don’t want to replace her because nobody will but I know she wants me to love.  She wants me to be happy.  She always did.”

Both Marnie and Becca can’t help but blush at his speech.  After all , he was talking about both of them but he kept looking at Marnie so I felt confident that the idea of having both of them in the room for the date was a good idea.

“So we went on our first date and then dated for a 2 months but too be honest we didn’t even need to wait that long.  We knew it was right.  There was no doubt.

I told my Dad that I wanted to ask her to marry me and he thought I was crazy but he said ‘if you know you know and you have to go for it.  We will certainly be behind you.  At the time I was a poor guy in the mailroom so I couldn’t afford much of a ring.

I was watching the home shopping network and they had some cubic zarchonia rings and I thought they looked pretty nice and I could pay for one, so I bought it and took her to the coffee shop where we had met.  She had the red lips that I loved so much.  At first I got really nervous because I knew she could say no and I couldn’t bear it.

When I got nervous she thought that I was going to break up with her.  She started to tear up and I thought she was breaking up with me and she said “just spit it out.  Just say it!”

I looked at her with surprise and wondered what she was talking about.  Figuring I had nothing else to loose I pulled the ring box out of my pocket and showed it to her.  ‘Mary, this is the place we met and I remember looking at you and your red lips and thinking I could never get a girl like you.

And then one day you talked to me and we vented about our crazy bosses and it was like you weren’t just the pretty girl but your heart was big and you were funny, everything I could have hoped for.” I told her ‘I love you and I will love you forever.  Will you marry me?’  To my surprise she started to cry and took out the ring.

“It’s not a real diamond.  I couldn’t afford it.  I am sorry.  I hope you are not disappointed” I said with hope in my heart that maybe these were tears of joy not ‘I’m going to break up with you tears’ then she smiled, smiled with her red lips and said ‘I couldn’t love it more if it was real diamonds because I love you and yes, I will marry you’.”

I’ve always thought that life was made up of moments, like a collage that we piece together with hopefully enough happiness to make it all worth it.  You don’t know how many times in the last few years I’ve thought of those happy moments and they have made it worthwhile.  I certainly would never take it back, even knowing the pain that would come.  Never”

“So, then you had Ben? Were you nervous about having a baby? How long had you been married?”

“We had been married 2 years and had almost finished our degrees.  Mary had 1 quarter left and found out she was pregnant.  We were so excited but she was determined to finish school out, pregnant or not.

I’ll never forget her crossing that graduation podium pregnant and glowing, for reason than one.  2 months later she went into labor and we had our beautiful baby boy.

She was the one who thought of the name Ben because she had loved the old Benji movies from the 80s with the loyal, kind dog.  After seeing what she went through I told her she could pick any name she wanted as long as it wasn’t something weird like Nature or Canyon.  Thank goodness she had more sense than that.”

“When Ben was about 6 months she took Ben in for his check-up.  Things had been hard but we were managing to stay afloat.  She was doing some tutoring and bookkeeping on the side and I was a marketing clerk at a prestigious graphic design firm downtown.

I knew that Mary had been feeling tired and a little pale lately but I saw all my other friends with babies and they seemed to be going through something similar.  I thought in a few months the worst of it would be over and we would be ok.”

“Then Mary told the doctor what she had been feeling and said that there was a pain in her abdomen that wouldn’t go away.  She was a tough cookie and hadn’t wanted to make a big deal of it but now that it had lasted months she was worried and asked him what he thought it was.  He sent her to a specialist to get some tests and turns out it was uterine cancer, stage 4, untreatable.

We had 6 months to a year to live and so we all the sudden had mere months to enjoy our baby and pile in all the memories we could, at least while her health remained strong enough to do anything.  We went bungie jumping and traveled to New York and saw a fashion show.

It was her dream but when we got home from the trip she went downhill fast and in a matter of 2 weeks she was gone.  When she was in the hospital she had her red lipstick on and she kissed Ben and left an imprint with lipstick on his bald head.  I have the picture here. “

Josh pulled out a photo from his suitcoat and it was a beautiful woman with red lipstick in a hospital gown. She was glowing and holding up her baby with big red lips on the top of his head.  It was priceless.

Nanowrimo Day 9- Girl Tax

WritingGirl.MR_Before I start.  We got the 300th follower on the blog today.  It is very exciting!  Thank you to everyone that reads.  Please don’t forget to comment and add into the discussion which I try to start.  I love my readers!

So today I did the Nanothon which is a day of writing.  After I got back from volleyball I wrote for 5-6 hours straight and got over 5k added to the story.  I have had repeated requests on twitter and this blog to share a bit of what I am writing.  I am hesitant to do so because I’m not 100% in love with my story.  Plus it is very, very rough (how can something you write in 30 days be anything but rough?)

But I’ve gotten enough requests that here is a section.  We are introducing the single character who grew up with a single Mom who felt that romance was a fairy tale and that life was going to be hard so you better be prepared.

She told her daughter about something called ‘The Girl Tax’.  This meant that any woman was going to have to work twice as hard as a man for success  because they are a woman.  She wants her daughter to prepare for the hard work and to not expect anything in life to be handed to her, especially a big ring on her finger.

I feel like there is potential in this dynamic.  I know people who feel there is a ‘girl tax’ or at least there certainly was and I can picture a weary single mom giving such advice to her only daughter.  Like I said, this is just my initial thoughts so don’t be too tough on it but the concept for a character is there.  Enjoy and I’ll keep sharing with you!

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Girl Tax-

This wasn’t the way life was supposed to turn out.  Growing up in a home with a single Mom Marnie knew that as a woman she would probably have to make her own way in the world. In fact, she hadn’t spent much time with men.  Aside from Becca’s husband she didn’t know her father and never bonded with male teachers or neighbors.  They were like a foreign oddity.

Her mother hadn’t helped with this either.  She would start her speeches with a give away about ‘saying I’m sure you will meet someone great who will love you but you need to make sure you are protected and can stand on your own.  A few people are happy  with men but most of us get a harder handout in life.

She would always end her speeches saying ‘nobody is going to hand you anything.  You better be ready to pay the girl tax”

“The girl tax?” marnie would ask.

“Yes, any woman is going to have to work twice as hard for everything as a man and don’t trust a man anyway.  They have the luxury of a world that expects them to lie and cheat and be successful.  It’s a man’s way in this world and life will not give you any favors” she says with more than a hint of bitterness.  It had been a hard life.

Marnie had seen her mother go through men like candy and a few of them were great.  There was one named Randy who would give her candy and take her to the movies.  Unfortunately he only stayed around for a couple of months.  Another nice one was named Sam who showed her how to bake bread.

It was amazing to see the yeast bubble and then punch down the dough as it blew up like a balloon.  The smells while it was baking was intoxicating and there is nothing better than hot bread with butter and honey.

Sometimes the speech would varied with men being “scumbags” and “disapointments” depending on the romantic entanglement of the moment.   That was why Marnie had moved so much.  Different men with all the same outstanding character traits of laziness and apathy.  Luckily none of them had hurt her but she couldn’t say the same for her mother.

Really the only constant was the playhouse her friend Becca and her shared at a field behind their homes (former home for Marnie but she was close).  It was beautiful, quiet and perfect.  This was the type of home she wanted.

One thing is for sure she would have a different life than her mother.  She wanted a career where she could support herself, a husband who loved her and kids that knew they were protected and supported.

She wanted love from more than just a mother who took care of her, fed and bathed her.  She knew that her mother loved her as much as she could but she also knew that she resented her for the life she could have led.  A life without a little girl to tie her down.

High school was the worst time of all.  She didn’t fit in with any of the clicks and all of the classes seemed so boring.  She wanted to be active, and busy not sticking her nose in a book.  That wasn’t the life that would work for her.  Fortunately she had her best friend Becca who stood by her no matter how many ear piercing or nose rings she got .  She had even thought about getting a tattoo at one point but Becca had talked her out of it.

Thank goodness for that because she’d still have a four leaf clover on her arm from a guy named Mike that she thought was her lucky charm.   For that act alone Becca was a lifetime friend but as long as she had been alive she had known that she had a friend in Becca.

So off to college she’d gone and so had Becca.  They spent every minute together but the boys were more taken with Becca than Marnie.  It was unclear exactly why but it wasn’t long before Becca was pairing up on dates with different men and eventually one stuck named Scott.  He was a handsome man with dreams of a career in the army.

They would excitedly tell the story to anyone who would listen about meeting at the ROTC on campus and how Becca helped him register for class and how she had sworn off dating.  For some reason that whole sworn off dating thing worked better for Becca than it ever had for Marnie.  In fact, dating at all wasn’t her thing.  She couldn’t figure it out.

“A man in uniform” she remembered Becca saying with a sigh.   “That is the life”

Now a marriage and 4 kids later Marnie’s best friend seemed to have gotten everything in life.  A handsome husband, beautiful kids and a house in the suburbs and what did Marnie have to show for her life?

She had gone into hospitality and then on to the culinary institute to become a chef.  Food had always been a fascinating thing for her and was a way she could make her mother happy on her long days of working in a factory making wheel barings  or waiting tables.  Food was love and she learned early h ow to make stews, sauces and pastries.  A specialty of hers is called Indian fry bread and it is fried dough that puffs up into a cloud and covered with powdered sugar.  Marnie and her mother would make it and get powdered sugar all over their noses and take photos of their sugar whiskers.

Sadly her mother was now gone.  She’d worked hard till the end and had a stroke 2 years ago.  Becca had been there for Marnie but she still felt so alone.  She hadn’t been able to give her Mother any grandbabies or show her what a great life she had gotten for herself.

Why Nanowrimo is Important

nanowrimo1Recently I got turned on to an old but rather grumpy piece by Laura Miller in Salon.com where she rails against the Nanowrimo project.  According to her it is simply flooding the world with ‘crappy novels’ and that the “the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing”

My response to that is ‘wah, wah, wah, wah’.  Some people find a reason to complain about everything.  A friend of mine recently posted an article in the New York Times about the number of cupcake stores were depressing the writer as she rode the subway home from work.  I can think of a lot of worse sites that were probably along that subway route in years passed most starting with the letter x in it.  It’s cupcakes people.  I don’t understand how that can possibly offend anyone!

The rest of Miller’s article advocates reading novels over writing them and she claims there is a ‘shortage of readers out there’.  Perhaps this is true with men but I can’t think of a single adult woman that I know who doesn’t read for pleasure on occasion.  Maybe they don’t read the highfalutin depressing snob-books I’m sure Miss Miller is a fan of but they read.

And since when did writing and reading become mutually exclusive concepts?  I am confident that most of the people who dedicate a month to  nanowrimo are spending a great deal of the year dedicated to reading.  (She claims that people often say to her ‘Oh, I don’t have time to read. I’m just concentrating on my writing.’  I don’t know who she is spending time with because I can’t think of a single writer, or even blogger for that matter, that does not have a book they are currently reading.)

So let me just give a few defenses for why Nanowrimo is a good idea.

1. Nanowrimo gets you to finish an entire story.  Most people when they begin to write get caught up in the details of a character or story arc and then either abandon the project or become frustrated and don’t move on to other details that might come more quickly.  There is value in producing an entire book instead of pieces of a plot that you think might be fun someday.  Even this year on a book I’m not thrilled with I will have a finished story and that is certainly worth more than a bunch of starts scribbled down and set aside.

2. Nanowrimo gets you to write every day.  Some of us are super self-motivated and can exercise every day with out a team, sing for the pure love of music, and write diligently on our own.  Some of us are also like me and days go by without doing any of those things, even though I love them.  There is something about having a goal outside of myself whether it be an open water swim, a voice recital or nanowrimo that makes me work hard every day.  Scripture says “the natural man is an enemy to God” and I think that can go for writing, reading, swimming or anything else.  Human nature is lazy or maybe that’s just me…

3. Nanowrimo gets you in touch with others stories.  In just the 2 years I have done nanowrimo I have made a lot of friends and enjoyed reading their stories.  This includes a writing group, blogging/twitter friends, and local writers.  I attended a writers conference in April that was both engaging and enriching and none of that would have happened without nanowrimo, so at the worst I made new friends and had a lot of fun and isn’t that what a hobby should do? I don’t see why Nanowrimo is any more hurtful than fishing, scrapbooking, embroidery or any other kind of hobby.  I am sorry if editors have to read more ‘crappy novels’ because of Nanowrimo (a point Miller belabors. Poor, sad editors).  That’s your job. I make spreadsheets all day and that’s not very exciting. Deal.

4. Nanowrimo helps the writer think about their own story.  Are they telling the right story in his or her life?  This was especially true for me last year as I used my life for the inspiration of my book.  However, even this year there have been moments in my characters story arcs that have made me think about how I balance my time, what kind of friend I am, and how I can make Christmas more special.  I just don’t see how that kind of introspection can be bad?

5. Nanowrimo allows me to finish something. This kind of goes along with #1 but I want to make a slightly different point.  In my life, and the life of most adults, we do the same thing over and over again.  That is certainly true with accounting and parenting and most other jobs I can think of.  Even a really creative job like painting or sculpting in the end boils down to a certain routine repeated each day.  I remember when I was in college and I would look at the syllabus and think ‘how am I ever going to do all of that’ and then the end of the semester would come and I had done it, and done pretty well at it.  I almost never get that sensation any more and Nanowrimo gives that to me, and I think that is important.

So keep writing my friends and people like Laura Miller may think you are a narcissist but in the words of the king of narcissism, keep writing:

“Creating – that is the great salvation from suffering.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nanowrimo Update: Day 8

shut up

So as you all know I have been working on my nanowrimo book for the last 8 days and I am happy to report I just finished my 27,350th word.  That means I am over half way done and it is just day 8.  I am really proud of my dedication and hard work and can’t wait until it is finished.

That’s the good part…

The bad part is I am not loving my book.  I really don’t want anyone in my writing group to read it and haven’t wanted to post new sections because I know it isn’t great.  It certainly isn’t nearly as good as last year’s book and I’m not saying that was some kind of masterpiece.  Then again it is the first time I have ever written fiction so maybe I am being too hard on myself?

Have any of you guys had this happen when you are writing nanowrimo, where you just become kind of disillusioned with your story?  It is a bit hard to sit down and write everyday  but I set a goal and I am going to finish.  I really think my story will be better as a screenplay because you can more easily show a person talking in another person’s body.  That is really hard to do in a novel.  It’s too bad Script Frenzy ended last year 😦  I do much better when I have a group challenge and am not just dependent on myself for motivation.

I couldn’t even find a section that I wanted to show you, which is certainly different than last year.  This is the best I could come up with.  A single and married woman have switched places and find themselves frustrated with living the other’s life instead of their own.  This becomes particularly so when the married woman’s back goes out and the single woman has to deal with all the pain.  Eventually she goes to the hospital and they give her a shot for the pain.  This makes her kind of nutty and she starts spilling the beans about the switch but nobody will believe her:

After about 10 minutes in the hospital Marnie could feel the shot start to kick in.  She could move her back and neck but now the problem was she couldn’t think clearly.  Everything was muddled and cloudy inside and the world felt like it was spinning.  She didn’t know where she was, who’s body she was in or what she was doing.

The nurse came in to check on her and Marnie pulled her aside and said “My friend stole my body and gave me her bad back instead.  That wasn’t very nice was it?  I feel all lose inside like an eel.  How do you feel?”

“Uhhh…no that doesn’t sound nice and I’m doing just fine” said the nurse inching away and chuckling.

“She also gave me her 4 children and took my quiet apartment and especially at Christmas.  Why did we have to be switched at Christmas? Isn’t that mean? I could keep the kid (they really were quite cute kids and she felt like she could talk to all of them, deal with them), but I miss my cat.  Her name is Pepper.  Do you have a cat doctor?” she says with a bit of drool coming out of her mouth.

“I’m not the doctor but do you need me to get him” said the nurse  “So you say your friend gave you her four children?  Why would she do that?”

“Because I told you silly- she took my body and gave me her children” with that Marnie began to get off of the exam table.  “I took her body but it has a bad back.  Otherwise I like it just fine and she doesn’t have to go to work but gets to spend time doing something important. “ she says with a slur.

“But I really love her and she’s my best friend.  Did you know we have been friends since I was 7 years old.  That is longer than I’ve known anyone, oh but my mother.  My Mother is dead.  Did you know that”

The nurse nods.  :That’s too bad.  Now please try and relax.  That I the only way your back is going to get better is if you relax”

“But what about the children.?  They are JT, Julie, Callie and the youngest.  Oh yeah Addie. Who is going to take care of them if Becca is in my body . They need their mother”

“I am sure they do.  Mrs.  Phillips, we need you to relax and take some deep breaths.  Everything will work out.”

“That’s what everyone says but then nothing ever does.  My whole life I’ve been waiting for things to work out and they don’t. Aside from meeting Becca I have had the worst string of luck. I get a chance at the promotion and I’m in someone’s body.  I meet a great guy and I can’t go on the date with him because I’m Becca Phillips not Marnie.  I just want to have my body back and I want Becca to have hers.  I promise I will support her more and help more with the kids.  Please give me my body back” Marnie grabs the nurse’s sleeve and puts her hands together as if to be begging.  “Please help me”

The nurse gives up trying to talk to her and looks at me.  “Sir, can you take responsibility for Mrs.  Phillips and make sure she gets home”

“Of course he can” she says “he’s Santa.  He can do whatever he wants.   What do you want for Christmas? You should ask him now why you have the chance.  Did you know that Rudolph actually has a red nose and flies? I’m tired.  I feel like you are made of glue and all clear inside.  Am I clear like that?”  Marnie interrupts.

“Honestly I want a night off to relax” says the nurse.

“Well, take a step back because you may get what you want.  Do you have a best friend? What is her body like? You better make sure you like it because you may end up in it for next Christmas.  Is she pretty?  Maybe I can swap with that? Becca is very pretty but her back hurts.  That’s why I had to get a shot and now I feel funny”

“Is that so?”  The nurse looks truly mystified even for someone on a muscle relaxant shot this is unusual.  Not wanting things to get any  more out of hand I jump in.

“Ok.  Sweetie.  I will get the nurse her night off.  Let’s go.  Put your head on my shoulder and let’s walk to the car”

“All right but we need to make sure that she gets the right body because I’m Marnie and I was born in 1981 and my best friend is Becca”

“Ok.  Let’s go” I can’t help but laugh at the half dazed conversation attempts made by poor Marnie.  This really was a new side of her that I don’t think anyone had seen.

“Are we going to go on the reindeer?” she asked.  “I want to see Rudolph’s red nose and meet Spencer the elf”

“How did you know about Spencer the elf?” I say with surprise.

————

Why go on, you ask?  Well, I finish what I start and nanowrimo is no different.  Plus I read this pep talk from Malinda Lo and I found it very encouraging.  Here is a segment: ”

That’s what inspiration is. It’s seductive and thrilling, but you can’t depend on it to call you. It doesn’t work that way. The good thing is, inspiration is irrelevant to whether or not you finish your book. The only thing that determines that is your own sense of discipline.

Here’s what happens when I sit down to write. First, I turn off my access to the internet by engaging Freedom. (The internet is the number-one killer of writer productivity!) Second, I open Scrivener. (Substitute whatever word-processing program works for you.) Third, I force myself to sit there with my work-in-progress until Freedom says I’m done. (I always set it for at least one hour, and often three.) I don’t allow myself to get up to make endless cups of tea (one will do). I just sit there. That’s all.

How often am I filled with inspiration before I start writing? Pretty much never. Instead, I usually stare at my work-in-progress with a vague sense of doom. I often think to myself: What the hell am I doing in this scene? I don’t understand how to get my characters from Point A to Point B! I really want to check Twitter!

The trick is this: As long as I sit there with my work-in-progress, at some point I will write something, because there’s nothing else to do.

Whatever I write may not be any good, but that doesn’t matter. When you’re writing a first draft—which most of you are doing this month—the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Your first try will be riddled with mistakes, but that’s what revision is for. Right now, you only have to put those ugly, wrong words on the page so you can fix them later.

So, inspiration isn’t what gets your book written. Discipline is. However, inspiration does sometimes pop by for an unexpected visit.”

——————————-

“The trick is to write something”.  I really like that and it is exactly what I am doing.  I am writing something and I will make it better and work on my 1st book even more because believe me it had much  more inspiration.  I know it isn’t the greatest book ever but I sincerely love it and want to make it as good as I possibly can.  22650 words left and I’ll be done! So excited.

How are you guys doing on nanowrimo and what do you do when you stop loving your manuscript?  Do you just give up on it or finish? Thanks in advance for your insight.

So