Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 27 - Gone Purple

Word Count - 56210

And so, for me at least, another NaNo has gone into the record books. Purple bar ahieved, winners badge obtained, certificate filled out. 

The purple is always met with mixed feelings, at least for me. Happiness and wonder at my achievement of course, but also the sadness that another NaNo is coming to a close. This year is particularly sad because - unlike other years, I have fully experienced the joy of social NaNo. No, I might not have made it to write -in's or kick off parties. There are no end of NaNo celebrations in the future - though I did get to finally toss away my crutches last week - this stupid knee brace is history pretty soon too, no matter what my Dr says! What does he know anyway?  

I have to admit to a overwhelming feeling of melancholy as I sit now to write my final Nuttiness that is NaNo blog - I will be officially be putting this on hiatus as of today. I have already started a new one called CJLand that I will post to over the coming year. I hope that you will follow me over there and join for updates, even though they may not be regular. I will be posting snippets of writing and maybe a little poetry when the mood strikes.

Another year, come and gone. So fast! Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon. What an appropriate title - November seems to be abandoning me so quickly! It will all be over soon, even though technically my challenge ended on November 13th, the spirit has lingered. Soon, participation in the forums will fall off. My beloved Guilty Secrets thread will go silent, and who knows what will become of the NaNo circle on Google+ that I have come to love so much.

I dread it all, the loss, the uncertainty, and most off all I dread the 366 days between now and November 1st 2012.  Yes, that's right - 366. 2012 is a leap year. Damn it all to hell!

Over time I will forget, by February it will be a vague memory. Somewhere around the beginning of August I will remember that November isn't that far off and it is time to start planning. I will think - 'I really should prepare better this year' I will realize that I will do better if I have a defined plot and characters in mind. Then I will forget all about it until October. Then the hustle will begin, characters will take form, a plot will be born, scenes, places, scenarios - all will come to life as the trees go from green to red, yellow and orange.I will determine to go slow, to take my time and enjoy the ride.  If past NaNo's are any indication, all my determination and plotting will be ignored once I start pounding on the keys at midnight November 1st.

I am a pantser who has the need for speed. It is who I am, and at my age, I don't see that changing anytime soon. Meh - I am what I am, I guess I can live with that.

I've had to overcome a lot to succeed this year. Not a bit of it was easy - not one single word. I ended up with a piece of crap that has already been salvaged, scrapped and dumped. About 35k sits now in the bottom of my recycling bin. But that's the thing about NaNo, you don't have to be perfect, it is the ideal challenge for me, because I so seldom am.

Like I said at the start of the month - it's all about the ride. Feeling the wind in your hair as you zoom past the milestones. 1k - 5k - 10k 20-30-40-50k and beyond. Blue to Green to Purple. Well, normal years - we didn't get green this year. Not everyone made 50k, and that's okay too. The point is having tried at all. For those who read this who didn't make it - I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will try again next year.  I didn't win my first year, but man it lit a fire in me that carries over to this day.

 And so, as I look back on another November, I'm thinking again about the ghosts of NaNo past and how they have a new friend. I realize that they aren't the only ones. Because it isn't the writers block, the horrible sex scene I struggled through, or even the lovely chocolate I will remember about NaNoWriMo 2011.

It will be you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day Twenty - Out of the NaNo Folder and Into the Trash

Word Count - 53784

I sat down yesterday and read through my NaNo project start to finish and about halfway through I realized that there is a reason why I hated writing it so much - it is TERRIBLE! My FMC is a horrible, crabby, mean spirited shrew. My MMC is a human door mat under her feet, and my background characters are made out of extremely flimsy cardboard. In short, I have managed to do the epitome of everything I hate about fanfiction.

It's disappointing, my project from year two is awaiting it's second edit - I am hoping that this winter I can finally whip it into publishable shape. My project from last year - also fanfiction - was posted last Christmas to rave reviews. But that's life, right? With success comes failure. Even so, this isn't a complete failure. I did manage to get 53k out of this mess. It's another reminder of what NaNo is all about, writing just for the sake of writing - quantity over quality. Sometimes you get both, sometimes you don't. The important thing is doing your best.

So I'll be thinking of this, even as I slide my document into the recycling bin. I'll be reflecting on how it was worth it, each horrible, annoying stroke of the key on my way to 53k. Hell, it might not even stop here - that other bunny is still playing in the grass, and I still have ten days left. Maybe I can pull something good out.

I overcame great adversity during NaNoWriMo this year, I came into it 99% sure that I was going to fail. It's nice, for once, to be wrong on the side of good. I think this is going to give me strength while I continue to face our situation over the coming months. We have a lot to overcome still, but at least I can say that I have climbed one mountain and stood - victorious - at the peak.

And the view is lovely up here. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day Sixteen - Just a Little Something I Wrote This Moring

Word Count - 53784

Now that I have reached 50k I have decided to take some time to do some writing for fun . I wrote a little this morning on my NaNo project to pad my word count a bit - just in case the validator decides to be touchy and mean, and then I came up with a new little something and i thought, what the hell - I'll share. So for what it is worth, here it is:

Harry Potter fanfiction, so obviously, it isn't mine. I think I got all the typos, forgive me if I didn't = )

~*~An Eternity of Tears~*~


It was almost as if he was floating, yet he could feel a solid surface under his cheek, neither cold nor warm.

It just was. 

He just was as well, neither cold nor warm, almost as if he had no senses, no scent reached his nose, no sound reached his ears, just the slightest sensation that told him he was lying on something flat.

It occurred to him then that maybe he should be afraid. This was odd, something he had never experienced before and as a human being he was supposed to be afraid of the unknown. At the very least he was supposed to feel some sort of caution, he was supposed to feel something- anything. Wasn’t he? The only thing that alarmed him was the fact that he didn’t seem to be feeling anything at all.

Maybe - perhaps, it would help if he opened his eyes.

And so he opened them, slowly becoming aware of his surroundings, and yet - there was really nothing to see. Nothing but white that is. It was as if he was standing in white puffy clouds, the sort that he had always imagined would be billowy soft to the touch, like cotton- though he knew clouds were nothing but water.

He sat up slowly, realizing as he did that he was naked.  How odd, he had never had a problem with nudity in the past, yet here - in this place- he felt vulnerable and exposed and so he wished he had robes. He looked around himself, down near his feet was a pile of white cloth that he hadn’t noticed before. He picked it up and pulled it on, then fastened the clasps to secure it.

He pushed himself to his feet and took in his surroundings. Everything was ghostly white, surrounding him were very pale walls covered in box filled shelves that were faintly familiar. It looked a bit like his shop back in Diagon Alley, though he couldn’t really be sure.

“Where am I?” He asked softly, his voice echoing in his ears, almost as if he were speaking inside his mind rather than verbally.

The voice came as a disjointed echo, as if it too came from inside him. “You don’t know?”

He spun around, his eyes searching wildly,  for the voice was achingly familiar. Like his own, but not quite. “Fred?”

From the mist a figure began to take form, a shock of bright red hair, hands - feet, and then a face - the most wonderful face he had ever seen.

“Fred!” He ran forward to embrace, his arms tight, his face buried against his neck while tears poured down his face.

“Hello George.” Fred’s grip was equally as tight. As much as he hated that George had followed him here, he couldn’t deny that a selfish part of him - the tiny human part that still lingered - was happy for this chance to see him. In just the few hours they had been apart, he had missed him terribly.

“Oh Fred!  Fred, they told me…I saw you…” George trembled in his brothers arms, his hands clenched tightly in the robes at his back. “I thought you were dead!”

A swift and terrible jolt of pain shot through him, he had been trying so hard to come to grips with it, despite the help he had gotten from the others, having to leave his family - having to leave George was nearly unbearable. Now, to be called back here, back to this place, made it even worse. But he had had to come. He was the only one who could do what needed to be done.

“I am dead Georgie.” Very gently he pulled away, forcing George to look at him - to really look at him. For the first time, George noticed the difference. Fred was paler now, the skin unwrinkled and smooth. Scars that had lingered after their bout with dragon pox were gone, the scar where he had fallen off the old tree behind the Burrow was gone from his chin. It was as if his body had somehow become perfect, unmarred by ever having been … alive.

“I don’t understand.” He stumbled back, trying to take it all in. If Fred had died, if he really was dead, then…

“If you’re dead, then how is it I am seeing you? Why are we together?”

Fred straightened his back, a mixture of emotions flickering in his eyes. Sadness, anger and fear, all joined together, and being directed at him.

“You don’t remember, do you?” Of course he didn’t, he didn’t remember how he had died either.

A feeling George didn’t like clenched in his stomach, he didn’t remember - but he suspected. “No, I … I don’t remember.”

“Then let me show you.”

Fred raised an arm and for the first time George realized he was holding a wand. He waved it, yet he said no words. A large pool appeared before them, like a massive pensieve. Inside it, a hazy silver mist swirled, then Fred waved the wand again and Hogwarts appeared…

He woke with a start in Gryffindor tower, Fred’s face still alive behind his eyes, so cold - so covered in blood. The ache came again, bringing with it the tears and soul shattering grief.  He looked across the room, at the bed where his brother had slept for seven years, then rose and caressed the curtain covered poles before turning for the door. 

The castle was dark, everyone sleeping. Tomorrow, he knew, they would all be leaving. They would take Fred home and then they would bury him in the cold lonely ground. Tomorrow they would be separated, but he could be with him tonight, so he went to the cool potions dungeons where the bodies had been prepared for burial. Fred was the only one who remained.

He pulled a chair up the table where Fred lay, then pulled the sheet back, picked up his hand and held it to his cheek. He looked a little better now, the dirt and blood had been cleaned away, the horrible bruises wiped away by magic. But nothing could make his eyes open again, nothing could bring back his smile - not even the ghost that Percy had said lingered after his death.  

The pain came, he lay his cheek on Fred’s chest and let the sobs come, his body shaking violently. He quieted for a moment, thinking he heard someone in the hall. He didn’t much care about being seen anymore, so he waited for the door to open - it never did. 

He thought again about the funeral the next day. Tomorrow, they would put his brother in his best robes, they would put him in a box and they would cry while they lowered him into the ground. They would be separated - Fred and George Weasley who were never seen one without the other - would be apart. It was wrong, it was unfair - 

It wasn’t to be allowed. 

He sat up, looking about the room. In the corner, by Professor Slughorns desk, was a shelf containing small bottles - bottles that he knew contained various poisons. 

He could end this, he could end it all now. The pain, the suffering, he could…he could be with Fred, they need never be separated.

He rose from the chair, crossing to the shelf, then picked up the largest bottle and returned to Fred’s side. He pulled the stopper, then bent and kissed Fred’s forehead before raising the bottle to his lips and draining it. 

“I drank the poison.” George said “I remember now.”

“Yes,” Fred looked at him angrily, his eyes full of censure and disgust. “You did.”

“I did it to be with you,” He said, his tone defensive. Couldn’t he see, didn’t he understand - “I did it so we could stay together!”

“You did it because you are selfish!” Fred’s face was inches from his, his pale brown eyes glaring hatefully into his brothers. “You didn’t want to be sad anymore, well boo-hoo, poor little Georgie! You think you’re the only one sad? You think you are the only one hurting? Don’t you hear them?”

He pointed the wand at the pensieve again and the quiet was filled with the sound of soft sobbing. “Look!”

Nervously, George stepped to the edge again and looked over the rim. There were many faces inside now - a man and a woman, a boy he vaguely knew at their side. He remembered the boy’s brother was fond of taking pictures. A woman held a baby with bright pink hair while she sat at table which held two photographs - one of her daughter and her husband, the boys parents.

A girl with girly blond hair lay in a hospital bed in an overcrowded ward, her face and body bandaged from head to toe. He saw Harry, sitting quietly alone while he held an empty flask that had once held memories. Then - he saw his own family, gathered together, their faces white and tear streaked while his mother sobbed in his fathers arms.

George turned away, but the sound of the crying didn’t stop. It went on around him, painful proof that he hadn’t been suffering alone, that perhaps Fred was right - he had been selfish. But it didn’t change anything, not really, not now that the deed was done.

“I’m not done with you yet.” Fred took his arm and spun him around to face the pensieve again.

The crying became louder, so loud that George had to cover his ears. It echoed off the walls and reverberated inside him until he felt like he might be sick, he was so dizzy he fell to his knees - his face hung over the side of the pensieve. In it, he saw his mother on the ground in a cemetery, her face in her hands while she screamed out in grief. His father and bothers knelt next to her, trying to urge her to her feet. To the side, Ginny stood, his face horrified, streaming with tears - Ron and Hermione next to her, Harry stood away from them all, his face turned away in shame while he said over and over again “All my fault - all my fault.”

George turned away, if he could have, he would have vomited. “Your funeral…”

“No,” Fred knelt in front of him, his face full of hatred “Ours. You did this to them George. When I died they were able to accept it because my death had a purpose, I died fighting for something. You died for nothing.”

He stood, his eyes not leaving George, the expression shifting between hate and sadness. “Don’t you know George what I would give to be able to go back, to have what you had? You had a future - a chance to marry, to have children and grow old with someone special by your side. I would give anything to have that. You had it and you tossed it away - like it was nothing - like it meant nothing. I died so you could have all that, you made my sacrifice worthless.”

George looked up at him, aghast, sickened that he could even think such a thing. How could he ever think his sacrifice was worthless?

He put out his hand, his face sad now, his eyes pleading. “There is one more thing you need to see.”

George accepted the hand and as he did, the many sobs around him went dim. Now, he heard one person - a single person crying softly. But this wasn’t surrounding him - it was inside him - inside his heart.

“I don’t under…” He started to gag, a horrible choking like someone shoving something down his throat. He looked at Fred questioningly.

“She’s trying to save you.” He motioned to the pensieve and George looked over again. In the mist, he saw himself on the floor of the potions dungeon, his face covered in foamy bile that bubbled from his mouth. A blonde girl knelt over him, his head in her lap while she poked her finger deep into his throat.

“Breathe,” She pleaded softly while tears fell down her face “Please George, please breathe!”

She let her forehead rest against his, her fingers splayed over his cheek while she rocked back and forth and sobbed. George looked at Fred questioningly.

“She saw you on the stairs and followed you. She felt she was being intrusive so she let you be. She couldn’t get shake the feeling that something was wrong, so she went back and found you on the floor. You were seizing,” He nodded to the pensive, “She’s just put a bezoar down your throat, hoping she found you in time.”

He looked away from Fred again, watching the girl through the mist of the pensieve. Seeing her like that-crying over his body- reminded him of his mother crying over Fred’s and it filled him with a new pain. A pain built on a foundation of selfishness - the pain of knowing that you had brought others pain. He felt a sharp jerk in the center of his stomach and he looked at Fred again.

“It’s the bezoar.” Fred explained “It’s trying to work.”

George nodded, thinking about how sad he would be to leave Fred behind again if the bezoar worked. The idea of living without him, spending the rest of his life apart from him, it made the pain return.

“What if I don’t want to go back?” He asked “What if I want to stay with you?”

Fred looked at him angrily for a moment, then his face relaxed again. Could he really blame him when he knew he would have battled the same feelings if the situations had been reversed?

“Then you can stay.” He shrugged “But you should know, in staying you will live for an eternity in tears.”

George looked at him, confused.

 “The crying - you will hear it for as long as they do. As long as they mourn you, their crying will haunt you, even here.”

He nodded to the pensieve, the girl brushed her fingers through his hair, her head on his chest now while she pleaded with him to come back.

“She blames herself you know. She thinks that if she hadn’t left you to yourself you wouldn’t have drank the poison, and it’s the truth. She will carry the guilt with her for the rest of her life. She will never stop crying for you, you will never stop hearing her.” Fred looked at the girl sadly and a single tear slipped down his cheek. “Have you noticed that you hear her differently than the others?”

“Yeah, I…” He felt the jerk again, stronger this time. Was it a sign? Was he doubting what he wanted? Did he really want to go back? “It’s like it’s in my heart.”

“In your soul too.” Fred smiled, his eyes still on the girl “It’s because she loves you. She has for a long time, but she is afraid to tell you. If you’re feeling her there - it means that you love her too - even though you don’t know it yet.”

“I don’t under…” He gasped, feeling the jerk again, even stronger this time.

“She could be a sister - in - law,  a best friend, a lover, your future wife.” Fred shrugged “Love has many faces. The only thing for certain is that if you go back, one day, you will love her very much.”

He felt the jerk again, strong enough to pull him backwards several inches. He looked at Fred in alarm - had his heart already decided?. His mind, his senses - they longed to stay, they wanted just a moment more, and another after that. “Fred - I don’t want to …”

And yet, he felt the jerk again.

“You do.” Fred moved swiftly, George had already started to fade. “It will be hard, it is for me too, but I’ll be watching out for you. Her too -” He jerked his head towards the fountain where her image was starting to fade. “I owe her a debt of gratitude for saving you.”

“We’ll be together again someday?”

“Yes George, we will. And instead of the tears you would have if you stayed now,” Fred smiled “We will spend eternity laughing.”

George smiled. An eternity of laughter - it seemed fitting for Fred and George Weasley. So much more than an eternity of tears.

“Love you Fred,” He reached out, his arms barely able to grasp his brother - they connected for only a moment, just before Fred became mist, but his voice echoed one final time…

“Love you George.”

He was cold, so cold he thought he might shiver into pieces, and yet there was warmth above him. The sound of soft sobs echoed off the stone walls and he remembered the girl, the girl he had seen weeping in the pensieve.

“George...” She whispered, her gentle fingers brushed over his cheek, wiping the disgusting foam away.  “You can’t do this. Please, please come back.”

He tried to raise his hand, to give her some sign that he was alive. He was so weak, his body felt leaden and exhausted, it felt like it was a Herculean effort to raise his hand to her arm.

“Luna,” His whisper was faint and hoarse.

“George?” Her voice was soft, almost afraid that she was dreaming. It had been so long since she had put the bezoar down his throat, over a minute since she had felt a pulse. She sat up and put her fingers to his neck - it was there, weak and thready, but it was there. “Oh George - thank Merlin.”

“No,” He croaked with a faint shake of head. It felt like it weighed a ton. “Thank you.”

She smiled and lay his head on the floor, then pulled off her sweater and put it over him. “I need to fetch Madam Pomfrey, I’ll be right back, okay?”

He nodded, watching silently while she ran from the room. There was going to be hell to pay when his family found out what he had done, Ginny would probably hit him, maybe even his mum too. It would be a long time before any of them let him out of their sight, they might even put him in St. Mungo’s  for a spell. He was okay with that. Maybe he needed someone to talk to about all of this, someone to help him come to peace with his feelings over losing Fred. He got it now -he didn’t have to go it alone anymore - he’d never had to in the first place.

And Luna - Luna would be by his side. He looked forward to that, though he barely knew anything about her. She was a promise; a promise of friendship, a promise of love - it didn’t matter. Luna was a promise for the future - Luna was hope.

George lay quietly, waiting for the sound of footsteps on the stone stairs. He rolled his head to the side, seeing the overturned chair and the empty bottle of poison on the floor next to him. A shudder went through him as he thought of how close he had come to tossing it all away.

He looked up, seeing the sheet that covered Fred’s body. The painful ache came once again and his eyes filled with tears while he thought of Fred’s words - all the things he had lost and would have given anything to have back.  A chance to marry, to have children and grow old with someone special by his side. He couldn’t give Fred his life back -but he could live enough for both of them.

A faint sound came to him from the top of the stairs and he tensed, afraid for the returning sound of tears. They were foot steps, many foot steps. Luna had returned with Madam Pomfrey.

“It’s going to be okay George,” Luna knelt down next to him, then took his hand and smiled brightly “Madam Pomfrey is going to take you to the Hospital Wing now. She has potions that will help you get better, Professor McGonagall has gone to wake your family.”

She let his hand go, then began to move away to give Madam Pomfrey room to work, instead, George gripped her hand tightly, refusing to let her go. “Stay with me, please?”

She looked at Madam Pomfrey, who nodded in return, giving permission. Luna took his hand in hers again.

“I’ll stay as long as you want me too.”

He squeezed her hand, warmed by the smile on her face - it was beautiful, like sunshine, so much nicer than her tears. He hoped he would never see her cry again, and more than anything else, he hoped that his heart would remain as it was at that moment.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Day Fourteen - My Friend Bacardi

Word Count - 50257

That number is not moving for awhile, I've crossed the finish line, it's time to take a break.

Since I never got around to finishing the blog I started to write yesterday, I thought I would write it today. I popped in my intro under another name  so I had a post for Day Thirteen - continuity... you know?

So I was going to write about Saturday. I had this whole wonderful childless day ahead of me, no noise, no worry about the T.V. being turned on, no worry about sudden spontaneous singing breaking into my concentration. I love my daughter to death, but when she puts on headphones, she can't carry a tune to save her life.

Anyway, I had this whole day, so I decided I would go for it. I was 8900 or so words away from 50k, and I decided it would be cool, since I couldn't break my record, to at least match it. So I sat down at nine a.m. to get busy. Of course, I had to check my Facebook first, then my Google+, Twitter, and of course I had to breeze by the NaNo site, just to see if anyone had messaged me or commented on my last bit of wittiness. It is the morning routine and nothing can be done unless I complete it.

It is also a trap.

A comment on the NaNo site lead my to my account on, where I ended up reviewing some of my older single chapter stories. A couple hours there - of course I had to go back and check my Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and NaNo where I re-read the comment and sent me back to Before I realized it, it was four o'clock. I had managed to piss off seven hours and countless words in the interest of procrastination. Ah - procrastination. If I could find a way to get paid for it, I would be the best employee in the world.

Finally, I forced myself to close my browser and open my word document where I instantly realized that I needed another constellation - some of my characters are named after constellations you see. Unfortunately, constellations are terribly interesting things. Two and a half hours later I was reading about the Apollo program - something that has fascinated me since seeing the movie Apollo 13. By then, I had to get off the computer for awhile. My stomach was screaming at me, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader was coming on HBO. The one distraction that day I am actually glad I caved into, the movie was wonderful and won't even get into my feelings on Ben Barnes - I hate cleaning drool off my keyboard.

So here I was, nine o'clock, my goal shot to hell, once again in the NaNo forum. When what to my wandering eyes should appear - but a topic on drinking and Nano. Yes, I know it doesn't rhyme - but work with me here. Hey- does that count?

I'm not much of a drinker. I quit smoking in '98 and when I realized that it was too hard to stay off the smokes and drink, I decided to quit drinking for awhile - then discovered that I didn't miss it all that much. But, over the last couple of years, I have decided that a drink now and then didn't hurt anything. During a particularly stressful weekend a couple months ago, I decided to get completely loaded, went to the liquor store and bought a huge bottle of Bacardi and then lost enthusiasm for the idea between there and home. So it's been pretty much gathering dust - though I admit to a drink or two. So I began to consider my bottle, it started looking pretty attractive I have to admit, so I blew off the dust and poured myself a big one, a strong one too, since I gagged violently on my first sip. Funny, that was how I mixed them 20 years ago and it didn't make me gag then. = )

I sat back down and opened my word document, it was awkward at first, but then - like magic- the words began to fly from my fingers. 500 - 1000 - 1500- 2000- 3000- 4000- 6000- Four am and I had typed 6000 words, and my bottle of Bacardi was a whole lot emptier. A WHOLE lot. The miracle of it is, the next day when I looked over all I had read, it actually made sense - though I will be correcting a lot of typos and wrong words when the time comes to edit.

It's not something I plan to do often, I prefer to write under my own power. But sometimes you just need that little key to unlock the door and loosen the mind to fly free. So I have to admit that Bacardi is my friend, a friend I will visit again. I can imagine him coming in handy when my enemy writers block pays me a call. Sometimes you just gotta do, what you just gotta do.

Even if it does make your head feel like mush the next morning.

Day Thirteen - At the Finish Line

Word Count - 50,257

So wow, here I am at 50k, I have to admit, the view from up here is pretty dang awesome.

I am finishing about 12 hours behind where I finished last year, which considering that I have about ten times the stress than I had last year at this time, is a pretty awesome accomplishment.

Right now, my only thought is getting off the computer, taking a shower and spending time with my kid.

Next Iron Chef... here I come!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day Twelve - The Home Stretch

Word Count - 40111

Ah yes, lovely, lovely word count. 40111 words combined to make up over a hundred pages that will take me most of December to turn into something almost readable. I am SO PROUD! I just wrote a total piece of crap! LOL

I was back reading my blogs last night and I came to the one from just before NaNo started where I was talking about how I was going to take it slow and enjoy the ride.  I have to admit a little kick in the gut over that one, but the truth is - even as I wrote it, in the back of my mind I pretty much knew it was bullshit.

I was that kid in kindergarten who rushed through making a Popsicle stick picture frame for Mothers Day because I wanted to be the first one done. It was lopsided, there was a ton of glitter on one side but not a single sparkle on the other, and the picture warped crookedly when it was slid inside. I didn't care, because I was the first done in my class and I knew my mom was going to love it no matter how lousy it was.

That's the great thing about NaNoWriMo, it is okay to make crap. The point isn't making something great, it is about making something, anything, so on December 1st we can say "Hey, I did it!"

I guess I am particularly pleased because to be honest, despite my bravado coming into this thing, I honestly didn't think I would make it this far.  Life isn't being particularly kind and stress is a zapper for creativity. I almost scrapped the whole thing, I am so glad now that I didn't. These have been the best twelve days in a year that has been filled with stress, worry and disappointment. Crossing the finish line is going to be sweeter than it's ever been.

Last year I finished on November 12th, a year ago today. I won't be repeating that I am sure, but I am hoping to finish tomorrow. If I don't, that's okay too, because I am pretty sure that I will finish and that's more important than when. But even when I have achieved word 50,000, NaNo won't be over for me. I am going to keep going, maybe I can set a personal word record. I finished somewhere around 72k last year, I've plenty of time to beat that. Hell, maybe I'll even take on that damn plot bunny that's been playing in the grass on the other side.

The only thing I know for sure is that I am going to ride this thing until midnight November 30th, and then I am going to celebrate with Sushi.

And on December 1st, I'll start counting down to November 2012.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day Eleven - Freedom

Word Count 35530

I've been thinking about words this morning as I prepare to make my run towards 40k.  Not in terms of numbers that I enter into the word count updater, but in terms of the words themselves.

I've always been a big fan of words. Since my early days I have known that words wield tremendous power, the power to hurt, the power to heal, the power to bring a smile and the power to bring a tear. A nations leader can use words to lie, like Bill Clinton's denial of his affair with Monica Lewinski,  he can also use words to begin to heal the heart of a nation, like George Bush's inspirational speech at Ground Zero.

Saying the word "War" is innocuous - but put it together in a sentence and it is

A call to action.  "We must go to WAR"
A protest   "This WAR is wrong"
An expression of mourning.  "He gave his life for this WAR"

And they, so many brave men and women, gave their lives so we could write the word WAR in any sentence, any form, in any way we choose.  There are many countries where the things you write can get you killed and you can be imprisoned for the things you read. I wonder how many people know this, truly grasp the fact that right now there are people imprisoned for being caught with Bibles, and people in other countries dying for having written the wrong thing. So often in this country freedom of speech is a right that is horrifically abused. Flags are burned, funerals are picketed, and people use words to hurt others over the internet -  these freedoms are protected. And yet- despite how much we despise seeing the right abused, we need to be thankful.

This is a freedom we should not - MUST not take for granted.

So this day I make a vow. With every word I write, every sentence, every page - I will remember those who died to give me the freedom to write what I choose. Then, when the time comes to update my word count tonight, I will pray for the men and women overseas who still fight for my freedom. Not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but on every military installation representing every allied country in the world.

I invite you to join with me.

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." -Cyntha Ozick

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day Ten - The Bunny Must Die

Word Count - 33696

I have reached that dreaded middle place, that spot in the middle of the month where I have realized that the grass is not just greener, but smells nicer, is thicker, more tasty, and definitely looks a lot more fun to play in on the other side.

How sick is that? 33696 words in, and I am longing to change my story. I am soooOOOOoooo totally fighting the urge to blame this on my lovely email pal/stalker who suggested to me last night that I start over. But the truth is, I have had this nasty little plot bunny that has been playing in my grass since just before NaNoWriMo started. He has been hopping around the edges, taunting me, teasing me, shaking his wrinkly little tail at me whilst screaming - Here I am BIOTCH, I DARE you to come and get me!

This Bunny must die. Like Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, this has turned into an epic battle.

B.T.W.  Can anyone tell me where I can mail order Acme dynamite?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day Nine - Unhappily Ever After

Word Count - 25025

First, I need to thanks Mark Means for the counter bar I found on his blog yesterday and then immediately appropriated for myself.  I've been looking for one of these, and since the NaNo site doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get their widgets up and running - I am pretty thrilled to have something I can use until then!  So, thanks Mark!

So here I am, a day short of a third of the way through the month and finally at the half-way point. I am trying really hard to not think about the fact that last year at this time I was three days away from finishing. Thoughts like that will just put me back into that deep dark hole that held me back a few days ago, and at last, I have finally found my groove. I know where my story is headed, how exactly it is going to end, and for the first time in my writing life, it isn't a particularly happy place.

This is pretty foreign territory for me, I write mostly romance and the happily ever after thing is pretty much a prerequisite for the genre. Maybe it is because I am still kind of pissed off at a couple rude fan-girls, but I feel a bit like staging a rebellion.  My heroine is going to lose her baby - she will be stillborn, they will bury her and then she will leave my hero standing alone at her grave. For months, he will have no clue where she is, he will mourn alone and when my heroine returns, all he will get is an offer of friendship.

Of course, that isn't exactly unhappy. They will still be together, the reader will have the right to fantasize that maybe once the curtain falls and they get past their sadness they eventually end up together. It is the least that I can do - it is what I would want if it were me sitting on the other side of the monitor.

But when you sit mulling over an idea and you start to cry - you know you are dealing with something you have no choice but to run with. This could be pretty powerful stuff if I do it right.  Maybe this is a little cruel, but my story is called The Fractured Fairy Tale after all. I'll probably be hunted, tarred and feathered for this one but I can't worry about that, the story has to come first.

Besides, the little shits have it coming.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day Eight - The Time of my Life

Word Count - 20189

What a difference a day makes!  I woke up this morning revved up and ready to go; once again I am excited about NaNoWriMo and my project. I would like very much to credit this to some great explosion inside me, some great awakening and spiritual thing, but the truth of the matter is - it had little to do with me.

I've had different approaches to socialization during NaNo my four years participating. In 2008, I hardly knew the forums existed. 2009, I knew the forum was there well enough to have a couple unsavory experiences, 2010 I was quite aware the forum was there and experienced enough unsavory experiences that I almost abandoned NaNo altogether.

Last year I was drawn to the Harry Potter area of Fans and Critics. I've always thought that Harry Potter is different for adult fans than it is for younger readers. Older fans can understand Harry's struggles perhaps better than your average 10 to 20 year old. Where they see whining, an adult can understand the suffering for the pain and indignity he has faced. Where they see him being stupid, we can see nobility and sacrifice. But, try to explain that to someone who is too young to have really experienced life, who has never had to make a decision that effected the well being of anyone but themselves - some have not even had to do that, their most important decision has been what jeans to wear to school. So how can they possibly understand? Needless to say, this argument was not popular among the 13 to 20 year old set who could only see my argument as an attack on their maturity -  another sign of  immaturity. I wasn't particularly popular there-particularly with the critics. Honestly, I am amazed my account wasn't banned thanks to a bratty little boy who insulted my daughter and my parenting skills. I had to let him have it with both barrels, it was a matter of principle, it just had to be done.  No one fucks with my daughter and walks away alive. Period. = )

This year, I am finding a different forum experience altogether. I am pretty sure I know the reason why, besides staying out of Fans and Critics I mean - this year I am playing with people my own age. I am not sure why I've never really spent much time in the 30-40 area of the forum before. I suppose part of it was because that is where most of the overachievers hailed from, and I've always been a bit discouraged by the colossal word counts. You can also chalk it up a little to denial. Fifty is getting closer, I am not particularly pleased about that to be honest.

But the truth of the matter is, this year, I am having the time of my life! I have met some truly awesome people this year, people that I hope I will somehow manage to stay in touch with over the course of the next year and beyond.  I love logging in and seeing responses from my insane pal Tigerlily who thinks so much like me it is kinda scary, and Keltickitten who knows better than to encourage my insanity, but does it anyway!  I love reading Sebastian's insane messages, and Shen's responses in Google+. Derek's tweets always make me laugh and my Google+ crew are always there with a word of encouragement, and on and on and on - there are just too many to mention that if I tried, I would be here all day!

There are just no words to say how much everyone has encouraged me, there are so many of you that I feel really bad that I can't list you all. If I didn't mention you, please know that it isn't because of lack of appreciation and gratitude, I am just too old to remember every name and too feeble to type them all - Over 150 amazing human beings on Google+ alone, another 25 on Skype, 5 more on Twitter, everyone of you, a smile just waiting to happen.

So I thank you all, each and every single one of you for sharing your NaNoWriMo 2011 with me. You are all dear to me, each and every one.

Just thought you ought to know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day Seven Take Two - Victory

Word Count - 20180

Yeah, I made it past my brick wall. I am feeling pretty good about things, all told. I am 5k away from being halfway to 50k, pretty nice place to be sitting on November 7th. I thought I would post another excerpt, a little bit that I am kind of proud of, cause it feels like one of the truly strong passages in my story thus far.  But, you need a little set up.

Xenophilius was driven mad in Azkaban, he now thinks he is living 22 years in the past. Luna is only a tiny baby and when Luna visits him at the home, he thinks she is her mother Carina. Aunt Cass is her mothers sister Cassiopeia, they are now publishing the Quibbler together. The scene takes place a couple hours after Luna's one night stand with George where she woke to find that he was engaged to Alicia Spinnett. Just for future reference, I have gone full denial on this, Fred is still alive, he is married to Angelina, and Luna was just dumped by Rolf Scamander.  And so we go - Luna has gone to visit her father ...

The Fractured Fairy Tale
From Chapter Three 

“Carina…” Xenophilius smiled up at her, his hand outstretched. Luna shook herself and forced a smile, she would pretend that everything was okay, it was easier on him. It would not be hard to hide her upset, he noticed little. 

“Hello Daddy.” She crossed and took his hand, then knelt down on the floor by his chair. “How are you feeling today?”

“Very tired, very tired.” He sighed with a wave of his hand. “That precious angel of ours keeps us up so very late, does she not?”

“Yes,” Luna looked away, trying to force the idea of late nights away. “I imagine I did.”

“It is worth it,” He smiled and tightened his hand on hers “When she grows she will be strong and brave, she is the best of us Carina.”

“What if she isn’t?” Luna looked at him pleadingly, as if begging for forgiveness- even though she could not tell him what she had done. Needing to know that it would be okay if she wasn’t perfect . “What if she grows up and does bad things? What if she does things that hurt others?”

“Of course she won’t.” Xenophilius looked at her as if she had lost her mind. “Our Luna has the heart of an angel, she has your heart Carina. A heart that is pure and true.” 

Luna lay her cheek on his knee and turned her face away to hide her tears. As it always did, his hand found it's way into her hair, brushing gently over the blonde tresses that had been so like her mothers.  It was like torture, hearing him speak of  her with such reverence, comparing her to her mother who really was pure of heart. Carina was the one who was truly worthy of his praise, not her, she might have been once, but not anymore. Her actions the night before had proven that.  

“She’s not who you think she is.” She whispered, so softly that she knew he would not hear. “I wish she was, but she is not.”

She thought of Alicia again, of the pain she must be suffering even now. Was she crying; were she and George fighting, calling one another horrible names? Was he low enough to blame her; he had been low enough to cheat on her, surely he could sink low enough to put the blame on someone else.

“Carina, oh my darling…” Xenophilius lifted her chin so she had to look into his pale silver eyes, eyes so like hers. The only thing she had inherited from her father. “Why are you so sad?”

Luna looked at him and her lip trembled  " I want you to be proud of me.”

He laughed, a deep, rich laugh that reminded Luna of childhood games in the garden. When he would chase her and her mother around and the first he would catch would be kissed all over the face until they had laughed themselves out of breath. Then, the two would turn and chase down the last, until all three rolled on the grass, their arms twined together. 

“I am proud of you darling, I could not be more proud. Look at all you have given me? I know our little Luna is proud of you as well.” He patted her cheek, then gave it a little pinch “And when she grows, she will make us both proud , you watch and see.”

She looked away and nodded, then lay her cheek on his knee again, wondering what he would think if he was in his right mind. Could he still see his beloved Carina in a woman who slept with a man who belonged to another? A man who loved someone else and only had sex with her because he was drunk; who had used him to spit in Rolf Scamander’s eye? She could try to fool herself all she wanted, but she knew her father. Aunt Cass had always been flighty, she had had many lovers and had refused to settle down with any of them. Though her father had never said a word against her, Luna knew he disapproved. There was nothing more important than family to Xenophilius Lovegood, and knowing that his daughter was responsible for bringing a family apart would have made him anything but proud. He might even have been ashamed of her. 

And Luna could not blame him. She was ashamed as well. 

Day Seven - Rocky and Me

Word Count -15020

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, my word count has actually shrunk by a small bit. I broke the rules, I went back and edited my sex scene. Waste of time really, it still kinda sucks, just not as bad as before. I finally found myself with some of that lovely quiet I was bitching about not having last night, and my mind went blank. I opened my document and instead of being able to get going, I actually began to feel slightly sick. Correct me if I am wrong - but should a writer feel like vomiting at the idea of working on a project? Somehow this is a puzzle piece that just doesn't seem to fit in this little landscape I have going here. Then I realized what it was - this is the same feeling that I have come to recognize as writers block.

Nice timing eh?

I'm not sure exactly what my problem is, disappointment that I am not further ahead in my word count? Fear that I don't have enough mental development to get me to 50k words? Maybe it is the rude review I got on FFnet last night informing me that I have no right to not like JKR's ridiculous post Deathly Hallows pairings - from someone using the last name Cullen for chrissake. I hate to break it to you hun, Bella Swan may have no right to have her own mind, but I certainly have a right to mine - now shut up and go watch something sparkle.

So here I am on a lovely Monday morning with six hours of uninterrupted silence stretching out ahead of me. And my first thought upon waking - (well, my first after 'I really need the bathroom' and 'Where the hell is my F.V. Cappuccino').    dread -that sickly writers block so bad that I want to vomit at the idea of opening that F-ing document.

I am back to where I was last Wednesday, hating my plot, hating my characters as they are being portrayed, hating the writing in general. Most of all, I am hating that my time to back up and try something else is fast running out.

I guess at the heart of it all, I don't want to give up on this one.  I want to see it through to the great story I know this can be. I've worked miracles with much less. I just wish I could figure out what is holding me back, and even more, I wish I could figure out how to spring the trap door that will set me free.  I feel a little bit like Rocky Balboa, faltering in his training, feeling tired and wanting to tell Mickey to go to hell - badly needing to be slapped around a bit.

I don't have a Mickey, but I sure as hell wish I did. Heh.

I know, however, that this is something I have to do alone. The only person who can do this is me. I need to put on those old sweats, drink my egg and hit the streets. Then, at the end of my run, I can raise my fists high in the air and dance. Even though there will be no one there to see when I cross that 50k finish line, I will know that I was victorious and that will be enough.

My goal for today, just to get moving, to at least get 1666 words in, to do what I said I would do several posts back. Take it slow and steady and enjoy the ride. NaNo only comes once a year, would be a shame to waste it.

So, I'm ready to go, I've got my sweats on (my old ratty nightgown), I've had my egg ( French Vanilla Cappuccino) and I am ready to run (After I post this to Google+)

Cue Rocky theme

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day Six - Strength, Stubbornness and Perseverance

Word Count - 15094

I knew coming into NaNo this year that it was going to be a difficult year, and so far, I have been pretty much on. I'm having to pick and choose my battles, force myself to write, and jealously guard the little bit of quiet I can manage. That's life in a motel, me the homeless NaNo writer.

It all started about a year ago with an innocent hiss and pop, followed by the lights in two bedrooms going out. That little thing started a two month war with our landlady that ended up our getting evicted the end of February. No great loss, the woman was a sea-hag that we had nicknamed Gestapo Gretchen within a week of moving in. This woman blamed us for damage to her roof, even though the insulation was old and worn out, even though the area was not properly ventilated, it was our fault because we left a door partly open.  She even accused us of giving her dog pancreatitis.  Finally, when one of her repairmen damaged a door, she had "proper cause" to kick us out. We left gladly, not realizing that without her reference it would be next to impossible for us to get into another apartment.

We've been living here since May. We don't mind parts of it. The free internet, clean towels, toilet paper, and HBO are the best part. The worst, living with only a microwave and a single room, a bathroom and what we call a Bath-chen - two sinks, a tweensy bit of cupboard and some storage space under the sinks. Enough to hold a crockpot, a deepfryer that doubles as an electric frying pan and the cooler we use to store our dishes. I am dreading the upcoming holidays - I have learned to perform some seriously amazing cooking miracles, but I don't think even Harry Potter has enough magic to pull off Thanksgiving dinner with a mini-fridge and a microwave. Oddly, I'm not as worried about Christmas, ham can be microwaved and we have room for a Christmas tree.

I knew coming into November that NaNoWriMo was going to be difficult - I seriously considered scraping it all together. But at a time when nothing else feels normal, I needed something, just one little thing. As hard as I have been trying, it is anything but.  The distractions are derailing me, and they are unavoidable. Sharing a room with a 20 year old who lives for the TV, cars in the parking lot, the highway - all enemies of a writer with ADD.

But I refuse to give up. Other NaNo's I have worked in ideal circumstances, I have been able to lock myself away in a quiet room and pound out 50k without batting an eye.  This year I do not have that luxury - this year will be a true test of my NaNo chops - my true test as a writer.

I believe with strength, stubbornness and perseverance, I can pull this off. I can do it -

I will do it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day Five - Inspiration In Strange Places

Word Count -11102

I have found inspiration in some interesting places in my thirty or so odd years of writing. I once got inspired to write  a Halloween story for a creative writing class while sitting on the toilet and staring at a package of Charmin sitting on a shelf. So I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that I found inspiration from an old country song whilst riding in a cab enroute to the doctors office. Incidentally, I am resisting the urge to rant about the injustice of cab drivers torturing riders by forcing them to listen to country music. I could go on for hours about that, but after my lunch date rant yesterday, I don't think it would be nice to subject you to two days of ranting - so I will refrain.


A couple blocks from the clinic this song comes on, a country song that for some odd reason didn't make me want to vomit violently when it was released back in 1997. "When You Say Nothing At All" by Allison Krauss and Keith Whitley

Torture Yourself At Your Own Risk

Suddenly, images start jumping into my head right and left - so fast that it was like one of those cheesy usless crap detective shows *coughUNFORGETABLEcough* where the detective has supernatural powers and everything they have ever seen flashes before their eyes just before they figure out it was professor magenta in the alley with the crack pipe.

My characters came to life in my head in the most amazing way.  I saw it - a wedding in which they had been forced to participate, stuck now by decorum to dance in ugly clothes to a schmaltzy love song when - she hates him because they got drunk and slept together and she didn't know he was engaged, he doesn't remember sleeping with her but remembers he slept with someone and is now searching for her  - and oh yeah, she just found out she is pregnant. So there they are, my dysfunctional Cinderella and Prince Charming, in what could be an amazing scene.

I am picturing her hostility, the anger over the grating hypocrisy of the words of the love song, his bafflement at her hostility, the realization that being so close to her feels familiar - maybe the first step to his discovery that she is the one? Finally, a question or comment that leads to a face slap (or maybe a foot stomp)  in front of his family and all their friends, and then finally his being left to stand alone on the dance floor while she runs off into the moonlight where she has a good cry. Which she of course, blames on pregnancy hormones. Fade to Black on the bewildered Prince Charming standing in the middle of the crowded dance floor hand on his cheek - or jumping up and down - foot in hand.

I love the scene, even though right now it is just a baby scene, a bit of white smoke with schmaltzy music that is at least five to eight chapters away. I am even forcing myself to listen to the song again, just to see if the scene develops more. I may even break my long standing hatred of writing ahead and skipping scenes to get this thing down while it is new and fresh in my head.

That is the awesome thing about inspiration. It takes you places, like a parent taking their child by the hand and leading them in the proper direction. There was a time when I used to scoff at those who said their stories took them where it wanted to go. That was a long time ago, long before I realized just how true it was. How many times have I started out to write a story about one thing and had to go in a direction that ended completely different than what I expected? Yes, usually they end up at my planned destination - my couple gets together, the war ends and the good guys win, but by following the inspiration, the ride is so much more fun. The stories that end up running amok are the ones that have always ended up being the most popular as well. My most popular story on started out as a ten chapter quicky that ended up thirty chapters and took my characters all over the place emotionally and geographically. It was one mother of a ride.

So I guess if being inspired is the trade off for being forced to endure a cheesy country song in the back of a cab, it is a fair price to pay.

But if inspiration starts cuing up to  Led Zepplin's  "Black Dog" Ala elevator muzak - I'm putting my foot down.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day Four - A Lunch Date Gone Horribly Wrong

Word Count - 10083 (and a double space)

Yep, same as yesterday. I got nothing done, though I did manage to open the document and double space between two paragraphs. I didn't save though, so maybe that doesn't count.

In my own defense, you can blame this girl I went to school with. Someone who, quite honestly, I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing and been perfectly fine with it - which was exactly the way it was 27 years ago when we were in school. Back when we were "close" according to her, but acquaintances by my memory. I don't really remember having close friends in high school because pretty much everyone in my clique ridden hell of higher learning were fucking dickheads. Most of them never grew out of it either, as evidenced at the one and only high school reunion I will ever go to 17 years ago - the one where the A crowd acted like we were the best of buds while they slobbered all over me in a drunken stupor. WOOT acceptance at last, finally I didn't have to worry about getting my underwear yanked up my asscrack in the middle of the hallway, feet stuck out to trip me while I walked to my seat, or gum stuck in my hair. But quite honestly, I was 28 years old - by then I would have just kicked their asses. Funny how much easier it is to defend yourself once detention isn't a consequence.

At 45 you kind of slip into the social expectations - you run across an old acquaintance that you were so close to that the only thing you really remember about the bitch is that once she made you pay her a buck for a piece of gum because you kept forgetting to pay her for it- and she charged you interest, and that she had a pretty vulgar nickname because she was a bit of a slut - so you say "We should have coffee sometime."  Never once have I had one of these people start badgering me about setting up a date to do it. And so, out of the desire to rid myself of the consequences of my big mouth, I agreed to a lunch date at Olive Garden. I figured I could at least get a decent meal out of it.  You know a lunch date is going to be suck-ass when you suggest Sushi and they immediately say "I don't go for raw fish" Seriously, who actually thinks that all Sushi is raw fish? Oh that's right, everyone here in my little corner of Bumfucked Egypt.

So, we had dinner, and this woman talked, and talked and talked - about her diabetes, about her cats (with pictures), about her daughters rollerderby, (?!?!?!?!?) about her upcoming laser hysterectomy thingy-majig - and about pretty much herself over the salad (which she ate all the tomatoes out of), our entrees, and dessert. I think I got a mention in about my daughters upcoming weekend with her boyfriend - which earned me a look chastising me for my bad parenting skills. After three torturous hours we left the restaurant - thinking I was home free, but alas - "I just need to make a quick stop at the grocery store" an hour later, I made it home just before my daughter got home from school -where she commented about the four bags of canned and boxed food from four days ago that still waited to be put away. We live in a friggen motel lady, bit of a shortage of storage space. Get over it Martha Stewart.

In summation - my writing time shot to shit thanks to four hours of pure torture!  So, a few words of wisdom for my NaNo friends:

1. Screw social pressures. Don't ever say "We should have coffee sometime" unless you really mean it.

2. If they suggest it, accept, but then remove and block them from facebook, whilst praying you never run into them in public.

3. If you do get stuck, claim an instant craving for McDonalds drive through- shouting cheerfully, "THE MCRIB IS BACK!"

4. Drive yourself or take the bus

5. And as an absolute fail-safe - eat something you know will give you gas - not even the most obnoxious old school 'friend' will think you were close enough to put up with a bad case of after dinner farts.

Regrets are a terrible thing, and not only am I regretting an afternoon in hell, but the loss of a good 5k in lovely NaNo words. Not to mention the mental image of this woman having her innards cauterized, her  "Oh so Cute" daughter beating up people in rollerblaes while she watches in a poodle skirt, and her husband's love of butchering Bambi's mother. Images of which don't bode well for my dreaded sex scene either.

There is a reason they were high school friends - they need to be left in high school, kind of like the ancient electric typewriter I wrote my first stories on. old typewriter...finally, a bit of nostalgia. At least I got something out of yesterday.

Besides after-dinner gas.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day Three - The Rollercoaster

Word Count - 10083

Yeah baby! I came out of my funk in an impressive way yesterday, screw Wheaties - I'll shout from the rooftops that cold pizza is the breakfast of champions! Of course, that also means that I am going against what I said before about taking it slow and easy and enjoying NaNo to it's fullest. Maybe I am just not the slow and easy type, maybe I need the speediness incentive to propel me along. So, I guess my goal will be word count, to reach for a goal in numbers. Meh, we'll see as the month progresses.

It never ceases to amaze me - these ups and downs that I experience every November during NaNo.  And yet, it surprises me that I'm surprised. I have plenty of ups and downs the other 11 months out of the year, periods where I would rather put my fingers in those Chinese thingys than put them on my keyboard, periods where I know I am writing absolute rubbish that deserves no better than to be put into my recycling bin, pulled out, then put in again  because it is THAT BAD.

And yet, I seem to feel it stronger during NaNo, I hate certain characters more, the whining grates on me more, the scenes are much more emotional, there is much more at stake if I don't make things right after creating chaos - all of this after turning over my will to the Goddess of Typos, the Prince of the lands of Bad Punctuation, and Sir Spellingsucks, allowing them to create havoc where they will.

And the worst thing of all, forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I try to do something every year during NaNo that challenges me. Last year, it was a male characters emotional weakness. This year I am tackling the titan - I am battling SEX.  Yes, I said it, it's out there. I am writing a sex scene. And to clear up any confusion lets make this clear - I am not writing a love scene, I have written hundreds of those, hearts and flowers on white fluffy clouds surrounded by unicorns. Nope - I am writing a drunken sex scene that has to have enough of an impact that my male character will remember it even though he can't remember what my female character looks like.

Granted, that will be helped along by a peacock feathered mask and blonde hair temporarily colored black - but still - this is someone he has known his entire life, so he'll need to be pretty drunk to have sex with her and not realize who she is, even if she keeps the mask on the whole time. So, it's going to have to be pretty good sex. Hearts and flowers are just NOT going to cut it, Unicorns won't make an impact - not unless one of them impales him with it's horn, and that just won't do.  I kind of need him to stay alive.

And so, I am finding myself on another down on the rollercoaster. Can I do this? Can I do it successfully? Lets be serious, anyone can write sex, but how many can write sex well? We've pretty much all read at least one trashy sex story, stories filled with references to his  "manhood" and her "taut nipples" Quite honestly, everytime I hear the word taut, it reminds me of school and being "taught" to read and write. Taut is just not  sexy. For that matter, neither is "rock hard manhood" What woman would want a rock near her? Rocks are cold and rough and in my experience, they are pretty dangerous - I tend to fall down a lot (see previous post) rocks are not my friend.

So anyway,  here is my dilemma as I shoot for 15,000 on day three. Write a sex scene, while avoiding any and all tacky cliche's. Oh, and did I mention that I am having lunch with a woman I have known since kindergarten right before I come home to write it? Yep - likely I will be revisiting memories of eating paste, beating up Joel Schmidt with my tote bag and Brian Halverson picking his boogers and flicking them at Mrs. Ball's back just before I sit down to write it.

Should make for an interesting afternoon eh? It's just another ride on the NaNoWriMo Rollercoaster!

Ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It Must Have Been The Pizza!

Word Count - 6250

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I guess I would have to agree - that slice of cold pizza I had after I blogged really did the trick. I am buzzing right along now. It's slow at times, halting at others. I always want to use unusual names for secondary original characters and in this story I decided to name characters after constellations as (I ended up doing Harry Potter fanfic as my original story died at 800 words, so I don't have any character profiles made up. ) my main character is Luna Lovegood. I have a Carina (her mother) and a Cassiopeia (her aunt) - Last name Corvus. I feel so badly like I am cheating - but I really, really tried and this is all I can come up with!

Did you know that there is a Draco constellation? I didn't! I bet Malfoy thinks they named it after him.

Anyway, thought I would post my prologue. The whole thing will probably end up on eventually unless it really sucks - then it will only be available in my recycling bin.

The Fractured Fairy Tale

He shifted the tiny silver shoe from hand to hand while he watched her from the safety of the trees. She stood with her back to him in the quiet, the sole being at the end of the mossy dock that rose out over the lake. She looked so peaceful that it seemed almost a shame to disturb her, but disturb her he must. He had been searching for her for far too long to turn away now.
And yet, he was unable to move. His feet stood glued to the spot, refusing to the take the first step to remove the vast space between the two of them. Instead, he watched her silently while her hair blew in the wind, a curtain of blonde that whispered over her shoulders and back, he found it captivating. Even in the beginning, when there had been so little that he remembered, he  remembered her hair - remembered it spread over his pillows in the moonlight.
It was brighter now that she stood in the sunshine and as he watched her, he wondered why he had not figured it out sooner. She had been right under his nose all this time, working just two doors down from his shop - and yet, all this time, she had escaped his notice. That she had done it on purpose mattered little. He should have known. He should have realized…
She shifted slightly, causing the boards of the dock to creak and breaking him out of the semi-trance. He gripped the shoe he held tightly, wrapping a fist around the delicate stilleto heel, then took a step onto the dock. Each step brought him closer, the moment that was so long overdue - now seconds away. Only a few yards separated them when he stepped on a loose board and it creaked loudly under his foot. She turned to face him and in her eyes - at last - he saw the truth that she could not deny.
It was her. It really and truly was her. At last ... he had found her.
They stared into one another’s eyes, silver into brown, while the moments ticked away in silence. Questions heavy in the air, rushing forward where they were met with resistance, and he realized then - had it been up to her, he never would have found out that she was the one. She was afraid of something, it became obvious as he looked at her closer. Yes - she was afraid. But why - what could she possibly have to fear? They were friends, they had known one another their entire lives - why…
And then he noticed something that he hadn’t  before. Something that she could no longer hide - though she was desperately trying.
His body began to shake and the delicate silver shoe fell from his hand and landed with a heavy thud upon the dock.

Day Two - Losing My Passion

Word Count - 3997

Remember my post yesterday; the yadda yadda yadda about how I was going to be like Ariel and grow legs to walk among the people? Well, I did it, and then I used them to twist my knee going down the stairs while getting off the bus on my way to my first write - in. Yeah - I never made it. Instead, I ended up in the ER, in a knee brace and on crutches. So much for being where the people are.

I'm having a really negative day two thus far. I can barely walk, I hate my story and am seriously considering ditching it. Basically,  I am feeling a general blah descending from the NaNo heavens. Two days ago I was on fire, now not only has the fire gone out, I feel like someone has used a fire extinguisher, poured water on it, and dumped a ton of slow melting ice on it for good measure. What is this? Post starting line let down maybe? I've never experienced this other years, but then the last two years I had passion behind my push, the need to redeem myself, the thirst for revenge. This year my goal is to win just for the winning sake, to have a good time. Well, I'm not having a very good time this morning - and it is only day two. What will it be like on day five, day fifteen, day twenty, day twenty-seven?

I wonder if others go through this. Am I the only one who has lost their passion this early in the game? More than anything else I wonder,  I worry - will it come back? And if it does, will it be soon?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day One - Growing Legs

Word Count - 1114

So here we are at the starting gate, day one of NaNoWriMo. YAY! Such an exciting time! I have to confess disapointment in my word count. Already, early in the game, I feel as though I am behind my potential - something I am hoping I will remedy later today when I attend my very first write-in.

Despite this being my fourth NaNo, there is a whole aspect of it that I have never experienced, at least not beyond the forums. Social NaNoWriMo. Write-in's and kick off parties and many other wonderful things that bring participants together.

I haven't for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is monster transportation issues. I gave up driving back in 2007 when my depression became really bad and my nerves couldn't take OTHER people's driving. Up until last spring, I lived in an area that had horrible bus service, limiting me to a very small window of time - a time that worked for pretty much no one else. I was also hindered by a thread hijacker who insisted on running our area with an iron fist and derailing any and all attempts to organize events that didn't fit into her schedule.

My deeper issue though was depression and social anxiety. I have dealt with depression most of my life and played the game like most people in my shoes. I spent my early 20's medicating myself with alcohol and drugs, useless boyfriend after useless boyfriend - getting rid of any who seemed remotely normal. When I became a mommy all that changed. My daughter became front and center in my universe. But the drawback of that was, she was the center of my social life as well which lead to my being borderline agoraphobic. I hate answering the phone, feel extremely uncomfortable around people that I don't know, can't stand to be in the home of strangers. Situations that I can't just easily get up and walk out of lead to panic attacks.

My daughter is twenty now, she is ready to go out and live her own life, she is leaving Mommy behind more and more. Which is why I have decided this is the year I am going to fully experience NaNoWriMo.  I am going to go to the kick-off write in today, I am going to go to the weekly write in on Tuesdays, I am going to go out and be among the people who make up the thousands who do this great challenge every year.

I don't know if I will actually get any writing done while I am there, I have ADD which makes writing in public rather difficult for me with all the distractions, but quite honestly - I have been living in silence for far, far too long. To quote Ariel - 'I wanna be where the people are'  

Also like her, this year, I am going to grow legs and walk among them.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ghosts of NaNo's Past

Word Count -0

By this time tomorrow, hopefully I'll have something to replace the zero above! It's so exciting, knowing that I am t-minus thirteen hours and forty-five minutes from blast off for yet another amazing NaNoWriMo!

Its natural I suppose to look back on NaNo's past, to compare the goals of other years to the goals you've set for the coming challenge. A month ago if asked, I would have told you that my goal was to be at 50k on day ten - a lofty goal, yet not impossible.

It all goes back to my first NaNoWriMo, 2008. I heard about the challenge from the daughter of a friend of mine and I immediately signed up. I had two projects in mind, one a murder mystery, the other a story about two brothers and their childhood best friend, called The Twins and Lannie Jo. The second won out.

 That Halloween we went to see a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, and so it was with rice stuck on various parts of my body and toilet paper stuck on the bottom of my shoe, I sat down to pound out my first NaNo words ever. I made it almost two weeks in, and then disaster struck. My old beaten up Compaq died, taking with it my 15k words and my dreams for winning NaNoWriMo that year.

In the end, it turned out to be a good thing. I never forgot my disappointment, I kept a countdown going all year - 11 months to November, 10 months, 9 months---all the way down to 1 month until at last, November was days away. I had the cliched fire in my guts. Not only was I going to win NaNoWriMo, but I was going to do it impressively. I was going to beat it at it's own game. I didn't have the heart to attempt my project from the year before again, so I went with my back up from the year before. A murder mystery of a crooked child protection worker called To Protect and Serve.

I was like a mad woman. I lived on my computer - a brand spanking new Dell with a shining 22 inch flat widescreen monitor. I woke up in the morning, I took care of my humanly needs, then I pounded away. My daughter ate frozen pizza - I ate chocolate. My daughter watched T.V. I typed. My daughter came in and asked if I remembered she existed -  "Who are you and what are you doing in my bedroom?" I asked in reply

I had set backs, at 49k, during a Sunday marathon to get my green bar by midnight, my computer forced an update shutdown, and I lost over 5k words. I screamed, literally screamed. I cried, I had a temper tantrum, I cussed at my computer. Our landlady called and threatened to evict us if I didn't knock it off.

The next day, in the middle of the night, I reached 50,000 words on day 15.  I don't remember my final word count that year, it didn't matter - I had climbed mount NaNoWriMo, and the view from the top was fricken AWESOME!

The euphoria lasted about twenty-four hours, then I realized that there was still 14 days left to go. My project was actually finished and I didn't have the strength or the ambition to attempt another one. NaNo let down. I spent the rest of November haunting the forums and counting down to NaNoWriMo 2010.

11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2...ONE!

Finally! November was here again! But I had already used my two story ideas. I had nothing original in mind, nadda, zip, ziltch. the big ZERO. The only thing I had was a fanfiction - a one shot that I wanted to turn into a full-fledged chapter length for the upcoming holiday season. So, despite the fact that it felt like cheating, I went with it.

Now there is nothing wrong with having a goal, and there is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. But when someone annoys you in the forum and you end up hell bent on, not just finishing before them, but  determined to finish before they have 10k posted - it just isn't good. Which is where I was sitting this time last year. And so, I set the goal. I would improve on my 09 ending date by two days. November 13th.  By November 5th, I was living on chocolate and French Vanilla Cappuchino, my daughter was back to eating TV dinners and - knowing what was coming, not bothering to speak to me, in short, I was on track to meet my goal. Once again, I lost words - 6k this time, but I had learned by my mistakes. I had everything backed up and was able to recall all but 1k of them. And at 4 a.m. on November 12th, I had typed my 50k - and my nemesis was only at 3k.  Oh how I enjoyed the mental gloating. The psychological peacock strut - all of which, she couldn't even see.

I spent the rest of that November regretting it. I realized in my need for speed, I had lost out on the fun, the heart of the challenge. NaNoWriMo isn't about who finishes first, it is about finishing.

And so I sit now, the ghosts of NaNoWriMo past haunting me. Pride, regret, challenges and goals, all asking me - what are we going to do this year?

I keep telling them, slow and steady wins the race. This year, the only person I am competing with is myself. I am not competing against a past NaNo, I am not competing against another participant, I am competing against myself. My arrogance, my procrastination, my drive for perfection.

Will I win? Not sure. I think I will - I hope I will. But if I don't, I think I'll be okay with it. My goal for NaNo a month ago was to finish by the 10th - now, my goal is to have fun. To cherish every minute of the Nuttiness that is NaNoWriMo. The forum, the other participants, the right to overindulge on cappachino and chocolate without guilt, NaNo Chat on Skype and my circle on Google+.... and the words. So many, many lovely words.

With any luck, 50k of them.

So to my fellow participants, and all ours ghosts while we stand here at the starting line I say to you

 Ready, set....


End Notes: If you would like to join in the Skype NaNo (text) chat, we would love to have you!  Add me, Cjcirca12171965, and you will be added to the NaNo group

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's Get Going Already!

Word Count - 0

Let's get one thing straight off the bat. When it comes to procrastination, I don't just preach to the choir, I AM THE CHOIR. I am the preacher, the pulpit, the pew, I am the friggen CHURCH of procrastination. I figure in another year or two I will make it as a definition under procrastination in Urban Dictionary. But when you are being forced to procrastinate and you can't stand it,  there is something seriously F-ing wrong with this picture. 

That is what this final weekend before NaNoWriMo has been like for me, a picture that has gone horribly askew, dangling by a nail, about to fall off the wall. What makes this particularly ironic is that I am coming off a two month spell of writers block - finally broke by forcing myself to write. I spent hours staring at a blinking cursor, typing inane crap like:

 "He crossed the room and opened the door then slammed it very, very, very, very loudly"

 followed by the utterly brilliant

  "Don't do that" she said

And finally, after two days, I hit pay dirt.  15k words in a day and half.

Now I feel as if I am on literary fire, a pen with ink made of kerosene, and yet - I am not allowed to strike the match. Yes, this is a painting gone horribly wrong. Creative interruptus, 50,000 words dying to burst forth, imagination held prisoner.  And it's driving me mad.

Martin, Opie, Vicky and Bree are screaming to get out! Taylor wants to know who set him up and why he was murdered! His wife wants justice! This book WANTS to be written already!

So why is the calendar being so uncooperative?

I've decided it's revenge. Revenge for all those times I waited an extra hour to do the dishes. Revenge for all those extra days I waited to update chapters and appointments I rescheduled in December and January because I didn't want to go out in the cold. For all the times my daughter ate frozen pizza, the cookies I didn't bake, the Christmas cards from 1997 that are still waiting to be mailed and my wedding thank you cards that never did get mailed in 1990. It's the Gods of doing things in a timely manner, all standing on the Pearly Gates of Calendars, laughing and pointing at me in unabashed glee.

"It's the perfect revenge" They've gathered together, their heads thrown back in the ultimate gloating party - a celebration - because they know, as soon as midnight rolls around and November 1st comes at last, the will to procrastinate will return and the picture will be right as rain once again.