Sunday, November 30, 2008

w00t! I Did It Again!

The results are in for this year's NaNoWriMo! I am now officially a

w00t! I'll post more tomorrow on this year's process, the book itself, and what I discovered over the past 30 days. The Viking boat above suggests smooth sailing. It wasn't completely smooth, but there were some things I didn't expect that turned out better than I'd thought they would.

Now, off for some dinner and last-minute house cleaning. We have out-of-town guests spending the night, and I have beds to make. Nothing like a little extra stress on the last day of NaNo, huh?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update #4

Just over 24 hours left to go in this year's NaNoWriMo, and a little more than 8,000 words to write. I'll have to write fast, though--there's a lot of book still to cover. I've been dwelling more on earlier chapters than in the past, so I have a decent-sized chunk still to sketch out before I can legitimately write "The End."

Okay, back to the book. More when I debrief after it's all over. With luck (and some head-down work), I can post a winner's badge!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

OMG They Just Rickroll'd the Macy's Parade!

I don't know which warped brain at Cartoon Network thought this up, but it's freakin' BRILLIANT. Watch and sing as the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends Rickrolls the entire Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:


Sunday, November 23, 2008

You're My Obsession

One lovely benefit of the Interwebs is the ability to Google your whole backstory. You can look up old jobs, old home towns, historical events, and even better, historical men (come on; you know you've Googled your high school crush).

But something gets forgotten...if you can Google, they can Google you back. And that's exactly what happened to me last night, and I'm still wondering what exactly to do.

mimi has never thought of herself as a particularly bewitching sort of woman. Fetching, perhaps. Charismatic in a Pied-Piperish kind of way (there are benefits to working with young people all the time). Definitely infuriating (at times) and stubborn (most times), but not bewitching. Well, apparently mimi doesn't know her own strength, for in her email was a note from a long-lost man in her past, and man, did it contain some food for thought along with the trip down memory lane.

Turns out "Preston" hunted up my college roommate and got my email and emailed me. Cool! I love hearing from old friends. What left me flummoxed (gobsmacked, poleaxed--pick your adjective) was Preston's declaration that basically he'd fallen in love with me at first sight in college and has carried ye olde torch ever since, through two marriages and a passel o'kids. Now if that won't throw a spanner in your day, I don't know what will.

Complicating things is the fact that Preston and I shared one of those college moments that you tend to remember as if they've been set in a snow globe. Just the once, and nothing really serious, but memorable. So now a couple of grown folks are reminiscing about when they were young and foolish folks and playing the what-if game.

It never would have worked (obviously didn't, as there is an entirely different, quite wonderful male installed here at Chez mimi), but that doesn't stop you from wondering what if it had. What I find more interesting is how truly unsure and weird you are when you're in your early twenties, despite your announced certainty that you know everything and if the cranky old folks would just hand over the keys to the universe, you could fix it all and still have time for dinner and a movie later.

Now that I'm closer to cranky old folks age, I realize how adrift I must have been. Thinking the perfect relationship was the way to solve things? Hah! My faculty advisor used to tell me he hated the spring because that was the season where the engagement shrieking began in the women's dorms, and every shriek was another bright young future dimming because all her attention would now be on a wedding rather than herself. I'm not knocking those people who do find the right partner early and live happy lives; I'm just saying I think those cases are rare, and I certainly wasn't one of them.

Clearly, you never know sometimes exactly how you come across to people. To me, I was young and untried, uncertain of who I was or who I wanted, and generally kind of screwed up and weird. To Preston, I was the unattainable perfect woman (and trust me, I have never once looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "Yeah. That's the look for today...unattainable perfection!!"), the one who got away and was always neatly stored in the closet of regrets. Funny how that works sometimes.

I emailed back. Sent him pictures of our family on horses on a Pacific beach and a closer shot of myself with Frick and Frack, all smiling and laughing together. He sent me pictures of his wife and three daughters. Two happy families, as it should have been all along. Maybe those college interludes are just warmups for wonderful.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update #3

Productive week this week. Turns out what I need to do is wake up early (just a little after 4 a.m.), write for an hour or so before I have to start waking DH or Frick (Frack sleeps in until after 7), and watch the words pile up. I am way ahead of my pace from two years ago--the year I won--29K now compared to 20K then. Plus, we have all week off from school next week, so I won't have a chunk of eight-plus hours taken out of every day where I can't write.

I'm reasonably confident I can win this year. I can write the 50K by next Sunday. The weird thing is, even though I planned far less with this story, the chapters are coming out more like normal chapters when you combine scene lengths. I also haven't felt the need to whip through the pacing quite as much, so I can develop more of what's going on.

I'm still on the fence about introducing other POVs within the main story. Surprise #1 of the year was discovering that this book wanted telling in third period rather than first. Now I have to decide, since I'm in third, whether the hero of the story or Lucy's daughter gets a voice. I have some test samples of each floating out there--they count toward the NaNo goal, Chris Baty said!--but I don't know if they'll get integrated into the final product.

Okay, enough time wasted. I need to get back to the story!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update #2

Slow week. Lots of thinking about the story, but not much typing on the story (as you can see from the wordmeter). It's interesting what kinds of things pop up, though, when you haven't done a whole lot of planning. Like Lucy hitting a highway patrolwoman because she hasn't been paying attention. Or having to dress in scary 80s fashion for a reunion party. Or ending up doing the horizontal mambo on the Oriental rug in her long-lost love's parlor--several times--and getting rug burns as a result (how college of her).

In fiction writing circles, the whole plotter vs. pantser (as in, "by the seat of your pants") debate rages on. As a teacher, I have told my students for years that the process is highly individual and rarely wrong, although there are some smart things you can do to make your life easier, like having some kind of a plan before you dive in. Because my life is so disordered everywhere else, I've tried to impose at least some kind of logic to my writing before I begin, consulting all kinds of methods to see which one works. The Deb Dixon Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Robin Perini's Story Magic. Christopher Vogler's Writer's Journey. All of them have been helpful, but none has done the trick completely.

It is comforting to have at least an idea of where you're going before you begin (says the official navigator of Chez mimi). This time, though, I started with a vague direction and a lot of random, courtesy of Pam McCutcheon and Michael Waite's The Writer's Brainstorming Kit. I pulled a bunch of random cards, jotted down some ideas, and they are coalescing into a story. Sort of. There is that "Lucy hits a state trooper" randomness still popping up, but I think I have a basic TripTik to the story arc.

Chris Baty of NaNoWriMo fame assures us that Week 3 is much easier than Week 2. Let's hope he's right. I need to catch up. My number of words behind the pace has a comma in it. I need to get on the stick to make sure the number of digits in front of the comma stays at one or fewer. Okay, off to make some magic, or whoopee. On the page or off. Hey, energy is energy, right?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update #1

Things going fairly well this NaNo season, if not for the ennui and the self-sabotage and whatnot. I am about a thousand words ahead of where I was a couple of years ago. Which is okay, but not great. I'd really rather not have to write so much at the very end in order to win. Unfortunately, I managed to kill the stats from last year's attempt, so I have no idea where I am in relation to a year ago.

But no matter. Things are progressing. I'm exploring more--which I guess you have to do when you start with only a couple of characters and a vague idea of what might happen--so I have some snippets of POV from some other characters hanging out in a file. They might get inserted (or not).

Big surprise for this year: third person. I've been so immersed in the first person voice for the past three mss I've written, it was weird to have a bunch of "she saids" pop out. I have opening paragraphs written in both perspectives, so maybe after the mayhem stops I'll send both to Dream Agent and see what she thinks.

For now, though, bedtime. It's hard to write with the eyelids at half-mast and the head jerking thing going on.

Friday, November 07, 2008


One of our Canadian friends sent me a link to a touching children's book, so of course I had to visit. True to form, Mr. Sarcasm had directed me to an online version of Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an abecedarium only a Goth could love. It's also one of my sister's favorite books--she's an Eeyore anyway, so I'd bought her a copy for Christmas one year. (mimi couldn't even begin to explain her family's sense of humor)

Gorey, of course, is not sentimental at all, so Gashlycrumb features rhymes like "A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs/B is for Basil, devoured by bears" and the like, accompanied by line drawings. Here's the panel that makes me laugh out loud:

You have to understand that DH and I use "ennui" as code for "I have this general malaise with life, work, and everything in general, so I need to disappear by myself for a couple of hours and figure out how to get my equilibrium're on kidwatch. Don't forget to walk the dogs." And that's pretty much the land I find myself in this week.

No, I don't plan to die of ennui. mimi is far too interested in life to waste away pining for some unidentified something that will make things easier. But let's say life has been taking it out on me and I. Am. Whipped. So I am, finally, admitting that I am not, indeed, Wonder Woman (although on occasion I have wielded her lasso of truth with Frick and Frack and have used the bracelets to ward off the slings and arrows of life in the new century to great effect), and must attempt heroic measures for self so that I have the fortitude and patriotic bustier (even if imaginary) to save my little world.

With that in mind, I offer this wee addition to the Gashlycrumbs:

M is for mimi, morose and depressed,
who is keeping her butt home
and getting some rest

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes, We Did

They're calling the Presidental race for Barack Obama now that the West coast polling has ended. As a country, we haven't figured everything out, but this year (except for the robocalling and the mudslinging) did us proud. Clinton's 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling--a great start--and now a biracial man in the Oval Office. Good for us.

The job ahead? Learning to get along and work together. The country belongs to all of us, red and blue states, and it's high time we learned to mix purple. I for one am looking forward to the challenge. Way to go, democracy.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

On Your Mark...

NaNoWriMo starts today! Something about this web badge really appeals to me:

Love the Viking helmet. Very Brünnhilde/shieldmaiden. Although typing in one of those metal corsets would be really uncomfortable, the idea of going after a new project like a Valkyrie has its own appeal.

This year's project: Belle on Wheels. Here's the tag: Lucy Nugent is driving hell-bent through life in a car with no rear-view mirror. She probably oughta look back. Something--make that someone--is gaining on her.

You can check my progress in the sidebar--there's an active webmeter icon. 50K to go by November 30. Wish me luck!

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