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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And That's All I Have To Say About That

Today I hit the magical nanowrimo number, the magical number being 50,000. Although my draft (to steal from westcobich) is so rough it will draw blood, it is an AMAZING feeling to be here at the top of Mount-I-Wrote-A-Novel-This-Month-What-Did-You-Do-Oh-Yeah-Nothing.

I wrote when I was tired, I wrote when I was sick, I wrote when I didn't think I could type another word because I hated my story and I wanted a new one, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

I stayed home on weekends to get ahead, I wrote an astonishing 2300 words one night after work (I don't have much brain power after work, people). I had days where I wrote for an hour without pause, and nights where I managed to do a few word sprints (barely).

I learned that I am a writer. I can write. Creativity is such a small part of the process.... sitting down to write it out is the real part, the hard part, the actual work part. I learned what sacrifices have to be made to write. For example, this place that I live... looks like a habitat for monkeys. I haven't watched TV all month (okay I caught up on an episode of 30 Rock one night after I was really really far ahead). There wasn't a single night I let myself off the hook to not write that evening.

Now comes the fun part where I get to go back and look over what I've written so far and be (1) thankful for rewrites and (2) marvel at my awesomeness.

And next month, I'll be back to a semi-regular schedule of book reviews and the general randomness that is my life. Cheers.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost there... *gasps for breath*

Yes, I am finally limping towards 50,000 for nanowrimo. Why are the last few thousand words the absolute hardest? Oh yeah, because I changed the concept three times and now I'm just treading water until nanowrimo is over and I can undo my missteps.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Things I Like

First of all, the Book Bloggers Christmas Swap.

Secondly, the new Star Trek trailer

And lastly, I heart nanowrimo. Because I'm going to actually finish early. I never thought I would manage it, but that just goes to show you what assuming does to you. I'm currently on track to finish right before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy my time off.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quick! Mental Break

Okay, I'm taking a mental break right now from my nanowrimo novel to think about something other than the strange forest hidden under my protag's bed.


Okay, I'm going to tell you why, when attempting to write 50,000 words in one month, it is a bad idea to pick up Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Although innocent in appearance, seeming to look like little more than an innocuous science fiction paperback, this little tome is actually a Procrasto-zilla in disguise.

I began said book last night after I had finished what I supposed to be all I could possibly write for the day. This morning, instead of merrily beginning my writing on schedule, I found myself instead unable. to. avoid. reading. book.

Those were precious minutes, folks, that I could have been writing you know. If only I could have broken myself away from it's firm grip on my imagination in time. If only.

Friday, November 14, 2008

On Why I Hate Grocery Shopping

I mentioned yesterday I hate grocery shopping.

Today my husband and I had our cart of groceries at the local Cub (the big box warehouse-type store). We ran all of our groceries through the cashier.

And then husband realized he'd left his wallet at home. I don't bring my purse along when we grocery shop together.

So my hated trip ended up lasting an extra half hour as husband raced home and back to pay for the said groceries.

Who else needs an alcoholic beverage tonight? I'm providing the margaritas. (Teehee, I can't wait until tomorrow to see what I wrote for my nanowrimo novel under the influence of strawberry margaritas).

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I hit the half-way mark last night on my nanonovel. Yup, 25,000 words in let's see... 12 days? So let's see. That's 2083 words per day. I am ordinarily horrible about getting bogged down in trying to edit and revise before I let myself get far enough on a story, and there has been a time or two when I have had to REALLLLLLLY force myself not to even reread what I just wrote for fear I'll delete the whole thing (thus destroying my word count).

In other news, I learned yesterday that the grocery delivery service in my area DOES. NOT. DELIVER. TO. APARTMENTS.

I had just gotten all excited about trying a grocery delivery service because of how much I completely and utterly hate grocery shopping, when I learned that they only deliver to apartments of the type that have a concierge-type-person to accept the groceries for you. Which, my building, of course, does not have. For a whole day, I thought I might never have to grocery shop again.

It would be real handy to have grocery delivery this month, because I literally and figuratively have no food in the house.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Down to a Sunless Sea

Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese
Rating: 4/5
Reason for Reading: Short Story Challenge

If I had finished in time I would have totally counted this book for the R.I.P. III Challenge. It is a collection of short stories that dive into the darker impulses in human nature. The author worked as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist for twenty-five years; some of the stories seem positively inspired by clients.

"Little Errands" for example, described in pitch perfect detail the mental tortures the Obsessive-Compulsive person puts themselves through. Oblivious to the possibility that things have worked out exactly they way they should, the narrator imagines each possible scenario of what may have gone wrong with the letters they have just placed in the mailbox.

Other stories I especially enjoyed were "Echo", about the vagaries of male friendships, and "Alabaster", in which a young boy recalls his conversation with an old woman living next to him.

All of the stories had a "dark" element to them. I was strongly reminded of my Abnormal Psychology class reading this collection. The dynamics of abuse. The edges of mental illness. The macabre.

Recommended if you enjoy a bit of the "dark side" in your short story reading.

Other reviews:, Estella's Revenge, Out of the Blue, Bookfoolery & Babble, Dolce Bellezza

Friday, November 7, 2008

Letters From The Trenches

For those faithful readers following my nanowrimo progress, here is an update. I'm going to let my characters do the updating this time. Does it help to know they talk to me sometimes? Probably not.

Dear Pathetic Being,

Could have been any more stereotyped? I end up being the ultimate bad guy in the drivel you call a novel and you decide to give me a gimp leg? Hello? I thought the point was to write something decent, MORON!!

Furthermore, I'm coming across as jealous, insecure and needy, when we both know I am in fact superior in every way. And while we're on the subject, can you get to my section of your novel please? You keep writing on and on about my sister and if you don't get around to the ultimate showdown between us, I'm going to freaking defect to Germany.

The evil baddie

Dear Manipulator,

Please decide if you are writing me as if I am eight or fourteen years old. There happens to be a large difference between the mental development at those ages. Yet, you have me "playing fairies" with my "best friend" while using vocabulary that would have stumped an adult of my era.

Wasn't this supposed to be a Young Adult novel? I thought you did some research or something.

The youngest sister

Dear God,

Yes, dear god. As in dear god, what have you done to me? 13,000 words and I am still a nebulous blob in your head with almost no development? I have so far appeared distantly in a few scenes as a stand-offish character with almost no interaction except to be picked on by my sisters.I hear you don't have any romance lined up for me.

WTH? You mean I get stuck marrying the arrogant prick good old pops picked out for me? COME ON!!! Can't there at least be an interlude with a hot bodyguard or something?

The nebulous blob in your head

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

I just want you all to know that my husband has some spelling issues. After we voted today, he texted some of his more conservative friends to tell them he was voting for McCain, but he noticed that on his particular ballot, McCain's name was spelled wrong. He voted for McCain anyhow, even though he had never seen it spelled O-B-A-M-A before.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nanoinsanity Day 3

Wordcount: 1979 today, 8885 total
Mental Abilities: Surviving
Random Thoughts: So close to the 2000 word mark. Yet those extra 21 words elude me.
Where I Am: The Feast of St. Antuan. The middle of a parade, about to head into the market.

I heard this morning that my embedded comment form is causing headaches, and when I went to put some comments, I noticed myself that things weren't quite kosher. So I've switched back to the ole full-page comment system, and am sincerely hoping that Blogger fixes the embedded comment form because it looks so much cooler, and I can be more like Wordpress blogs.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Some Wrap-ups While I'm Basking in Being Ahead

This might be the only time all month I'm ahead of the game for nanowrimo, so I'm going to post some updates on my reading challenges.

I have officially finished R.I.P. III. I read:
Vampyres of Hollywood by Adrienne Barbeau
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon by Philip K. Dick
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

The Thirteenth Tale
was much awesomer than I was anticipating during my first glance-through.

I only felt ho-hum about I Am Legend.

Mythopoeic Award Challenge
Finished this one, although I didn't realize it until I went back to review the award winners and realized I had inadvertantly read tons more Mythopoeic Award winners than I originally had on my list. I read:
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Loved the Neil Gaiman-liciousness of my reading. The Penelopiad really hit the spot.

Couldn't finish Mortal Hand, too little actually happening, too many characters. Neverwhere didn't quite live up to what I was expecting.

In Their Shoes Reading Challenge
I'm calling it a day after reading these books:
Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Candy girl: a year in the life of an unlikely stripper by Diablo Cody.
Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman
Marie-Therese, Child of Terror by Susan Nagel
Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman

Loved Nickeled and Dimed, Life is So Good, and I felt deeply moved by Maus. I can't say a book about the Holocaust is particularly 'enjoyable' in the usual sense of the word, although I could not stop reading.

None, really, I liked all of the books I read for this one. I wish I had time to finish all of the ones on my list.

Chunkster Challenge

On a complete technicality (since I'm never going to get to my original choice of The Once and Future King), I'm going to count The Absolute Sandman Volume 1 allowing me to be done with this one. It was a chunkster, man, weighing in at 7.4 pounds and 641 pages. So I read:
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
The Absolute Sandman Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

All except Great Expectations.

I didn't hate Great Expectations. But it was really, really long. And it took a long time for me to get into it. Actually I could say the same thing for both of the Atwood books. So maybe the only real lowlight is that these books were looooooooooong.

The Rest
This leaves me with the following challenges to finish (afterwards, the number of books I've read for each challenge)

Classics Challenge (2/6)
Graphic Novel Challenge (4/3) Might read another one before the end of the year or I'd call this one finito
Short Story Challenge (6/10)
YA Reading Challenge (20/12) Hey, I might read a few more in December to relieve the stress of nanowrimo
My Year of Reading Dangerously (7/12)

So not bad, considering the only challenges I really need to play catch up in are the Classics Challenge and the Short Story Challenge. We'll see what December brings.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nanoinsanity Day 1

Wordcount: 3868 today, 3868 total
Mental Abilities: Did I have any to start with?
Random Thoughts: My fingers hurt. My brain hurts. I'm sick for the second time in two months, YUCK.
Where I am: Finished a story within a story. Started introduction to main characters