NaNo’s coming!

maple just touched with fall colorTwo weeks from tomorrow, the annual debauchery writing fest commences. Fifty thousand words, thirty days.

Yeah, I might aim a little higher than that this year. But first, I still have to finish Treachery.

Anyway, I’m grateful for a wonderful local group of writers, and for children who like writing too. What are you grateful for today?

The end is the beginning is the middle

End of November, end of NaNoWriMo. I didn’t win this year, but I got a nice solid 30k written, so I’m pretty happy with that. Even better, my son did it with me this year and got just over 43k. My daughter did YWP for the first time, and wrote 257 words to start a story, too. So amazed at them both.

Tomorrow, December begins, and with it, the next year of my life. We’ll see if I manage to be any more organized and energetic this time around!

And the middle? Well, I’m roughly in the middle of Treachery of Doubt, and I’m going to keep working on it so everyone can follow Sabra et al. on further adventures.

So I’m grateful for words written, more to come, fresh starts, and most of all, wonderful children. What are you grateful for this last day of November?

On not NaNo-ing

People are gearing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) once again — the annual challenge to write 50,000 words of fiction in the 30 days of November. (I did a Q&A about it a few years ago.) The local Municipal Liaison (the splendiferous Nicki!) has plot-ins going for people to get their ducks (or albino weasels) in order, e-mails are going out, posts are up on the Forward Motion for Writers forum.

Clearly, it’s October.

And this year, I’m not participating. Continue reading

short, long, and other fictions

I apologize for the general lack of bloggery last month. I probably should have mentioned that I was doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, writing of 50,000 words during the month of November), as I have done every year since 2003. Between that, the day job, and lots of family time, writing blog posts kind of got put on the back burner.

First: did I win NaNo? Yes, I did, with the amazing feat of writing 17,607 words on November 30 to both finish the book (middle grade book, first in a projected series of five) and win. I’m fleshing out the outline for the next book in the series already. Very happy with how this is shaping up.

Second: what about Touching Time, my Mayan novel? That’s been indefinitely back-burnered, as Moongypsy Press has been temporarily closed. I may still work on finishing it up over the next couple of months, but it’s not a priority right now.

Third: any new short stories coming out? I haven’t sold anything recently, and the two anthologies I have sold to (Assassins: A Clash of Steel anthology and Spells and Swashbucklers) have had changes in their publication status. Spells and Swashbucklers has had some contract revisions, and I’m hoping to hear soon that there’s an actual release date (hoping, not expecting). Assassins, along with other books from Rogue Blades Entertainment, will be published in a joint venture with Black Gate, and further details on that are forthcoming.

Fourth: what’s up with “no excuses” in writing? Well, I haven’t done very well with that this year — managed less than 30,000 words total January through October, I think. Part of it was Touching Time, actually. I sent my entry off, not really expecting anything to come of it, and then discovered I was going to have to deliver a complete novel. So that moved to the top of my “to do” pile, and any time I started to work on something else, I’d tell myself I should to the Mayan book first, but it wasn’t coming together . . . so nothing got done. Excuse after excuse, but no writing.

I added another 10,000 words to Touching Time at the beginning of the month, realizing there was a whole subplot that would make the story much richer. I’m now feeling more like this is something I want to get done, but not yet.

When I switched to the MG book, though, and especially at the end, when I knew what was happening and what was going to happen and how disaster was going to strike and I kept typing and typing, it reminded me of something I’d read in a comment on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog recently, that we make our own speed limits (a phrase he attributes to Nina Kiriki Hoffman). Thinking about this as the slightly altered, “The only limits on my writing are the ones I put there,” I felt incredibly liberated. I’m excited by the writing and the projects I’m hoping to get done over the next year. I also found great inspiration from Rachel Aaron’s post on going from 2k to 10k a day.

(I know that there are limits that we don’t put there, really. My friend Dawn recently broke her hand, which makes typing hard and slow. But the hand will heal, so taking the time to try to learn and implement Kevin J. Anderson’s dictate-a-story method probably isn’t worth it for the time she’d be using it. I mean this phrase in terms of when I say things to myself like, “Oh, I’d never be able to write 10k two days in a row,” or “I can’t write in that genre,” or “I don’t know how to do this, so I won’t.”)

Fifth: what’s up with “no excuses” outside of writing? I did the Couch-to-5k running plan earlier this year, then fell off the band wagon with a foot that hurt, sick kids, son out of school for the summer — and other excuses. Then we went on our family vacation, and despite packing my running shoes, I didn’t run once. Then there was the disastrous 5k in September, which I completed in just barely under an hour, and left myself feeling unable to do most anything for a week or so afterward.

Since then? No exercise, and lots of eating the wrong kinds of foods. I’ve put back on a chunk of the weight I lost earlier this year, and I’m feeling tired and drained all the time.

Solution: Today, I started over. Back to basics, week 1 of the Couch-to-5k plan. I’m also going to be reading the book Chi Running, which Dawn recommended to me. (Due back at the library today, and I’ve got a hold on it, so I should get it later this week.) I don’t know how long the weather’s going to hold, leaving it reasonable for me to keep running outside three times a week, but I’m going to go as long as I can, and if I have to switch to running in place in front of the TV downstairs, then that’s what I’ll do. I liked being in better shape.

Last (What am I up to, sixth?): I’ve set my goals for next year. They’re simple and easy to track:

  • Finish something each week. (Novel, short story, article for Vision, drabble, haiku, paying work project)
  • Have something new up for sale each month.

So that’s it for this update. I’ll be trying to blog more frequently going forward. How are you doing as you wrap up this year and prepare to move into the next?

bronchitis

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted as much the past couple of weeks. I’ve been under the weather and feeling like it was taking all I had to get my work done, spend time with my family, and try to get some words in for NaNoWriMo. Monday, I finally went to the doctor’s office and found that I have acute bronchitis. So the less energy, less oxygen for the brain feeling? Perfectly normal.

I now have a plethora of medications, and they’re beginning to help. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to be here (I have a review I need to post later today for a poetry chapbook), but if I’m not on as much, it’s because I’m still recovering.

What have I gotten done in the last couple of weeks? Proofread a book, read three books (Kraken by China Miéville, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold), spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family (lots of cooking and movie watching), and wrote almost 1,000 words per day on average for NaNoWriMo. No, I didn’t win this year — second year I haven’t — but I feel good about the story so far. Fortunately, reading books and watching movies don’t take much energy.

Now I’m looking at December and seeing what I need to wrap up for the year, as well as looking ahead to 2011. I won’t post my 2011 ideas yet, but here’s what I’m looking at for this month:

  1. Get well. This may take a week or two, possibly even longer for the cough to fade completely.
  2. Finish writing the novel I started for NaNoWriMo. It’s a cozy mystery, estimating final word count around 60,000 words, which means I’m over half done with it.
  3. Finish the short story I started in November and send it off to its intended market.
  4. Round up the stories that I currently don’t have out at markets (I wasn’t particularly good at resubmitting things during November) and get them back out the door.
  5. Family time — birthdays, concert, holidays, luminaria, getting Christmas cards mailed.

That should keep me occupied.

Other things happening this month:

  • My book giveaway contest ends Friday, and I’ll be choosing a winner this weekend. If you haven’t entered yet, do so!
  • My drabble, “Heartbeat,” will be the e-mail story for Daily Science Fiction on December 7th.

What about you? What are your December plans?

NaNoWriMo Q & A

I debated off and on whether this was too obvious a topic to blog about, but I realize not everyone knows what it is, and I can offer my usual quirky opinions.

Q: So what’s the point of trying to write a novel in a month?

A: What’s the point of trying to write a novel at all? We’re creating!

Q: Have you done this before?

A: This is my eighth year. I’ve only missed the target once, the one year I got five days in and decided to change books. I only wrote 15,000 words that year.

Q: What’s the most unexpected NaNoWriMo connection you’ve ever had?

A: This year, I wore a NaNoWriMo winner’s shirt while flying across the country with my family. A man in an airport convenience shop looked at me and said, “Congratulations.” I had no idea what he was talking about at first, and he said, “NaNoWriMo. I tried one year and only got five thousand words.” I told him that was better than if he hadn’t tried, and encouraged him to make another go at it. I hope he’s out there NaNoing right now.

Q: What’s the latest you’ve ever stayed up writing?

A: Um. I know there have been some up-until-3 binges. I don’t remember pulling an all-nighter, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. Those things tend to blur the memory, after all.

Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever put into a book to hit your word count?

A: The strangest thing? Last year, I wrote about a guy traveling across the South with his zombie coonhound, a back-up singer, and a Neanderthal. It doesn’t get much stranger than that.

Q: What helps your word count the most, then?

A: Definitely the dead bodies.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions of your own, leave them in the comments.

Wednesday drabble: NaNoWriMo

“Whatcha doing?” Gena bounced to a stop next to her dad’s desk.

He didn’t look up from his laptop. “Writing.”

“Whatcha writing?”

He sighed but still didn’t look up. “I’m working on a novel.”

Her eyes widened. “Are you going to write it all today?”

“No, but I’ll get a good start this month — 50,000 words. It’s NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month.”

“Is that a lot?”

“Enough to start, although I’ll have to keep going. I promise we’ll do something together when November’s over.”

“You say that every year.”

He didn’t answer; he’d gone back to his writing.

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In other words, I do apologize for not posting on Monday, but I’ve signed up for the madness yet again (eighth year in a row). I will try to be better about posting.