Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Day 31: Finis.

I did it. I don't know HOW I did it, but I did.

After a catastrophic weekend that sucked my motivation and drive completely out of me, I gave up. I quit, planning on not finishing.

Monday, however - something started happening. The story started to bug me, the characters started to pull on my coatsleeve, asking me what the heck I was doing. Then people on twitter started poking me, wanting to know why.

And I got emails. And forum posts and... wow. I didn't know so many people cared!

So I started writing.

Now, it was 5:00 PM my time, and I still had 10k to write. Then I got a challenge from the NaNoLanta ML, MattKinsi. If I won, he'd donate $10. Then more people started doing it.

Next thing I knew, I stood to raise something like $60 for OLL if I won.

I can't fail, with that kind of motivation.

So I wrote, and a wrote, and I WROTE. Dear lord, so much writing.

And something miraculous happen. After a solid day of writing, I managed to pull of 15k and win. With four minutes to spare.

How 'bout them apples.

So I dedicate this win to all of you who promised to donate if I won (and did!) If you check out the "Brought to you" page, do a search for "licking." That's the one MattKinsi did for me. ;) And no, I won't stop licking him. It helped me win.

Funny thing is? I'm only halfway through my story. So I'm nowhere near done. At least now I can get a free proof copy of it printed when I'm done. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The final run! 35k in 7 days

So I'm sure you've noticed. I'm behind. WAY behind. I've hit a wall of depression (unrelated to NaNo) and lack of motivation, but today is the day that I'm going to break through it and write anyway.

So who's with me? Who is going to race to the finish?

Will you beat me there? ARe you behind? So behind you don't think you can recover?

You can. I've done 50k in 10 days. Sure, couldn't use a keyboard for a month. But I DID it. And I'm going to do this.

Even if I have to start a war to do it.

Let the games begin.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 10: Music and a Video (and not dead yet)

I haven't fallen off the planet yet, I promise. I've been behind, as I'm sure you've noticed by my word count, but I'm working on it. Tonight, I've been listening to music. Articology, mostly. Then someone from the ML chat room (Thanks, Aquadeo) linked me to this beautiful video. I wanted to share it with you, because I found it soothing and inspiring at the same time.

I've skipped ahead a bit in my novel, since the part I was in was dragging, and it's moving smoothly again. In spite of myself, I think there's a romance blooming between Senator Eric Nathan Mason (yes, that's his full name, and I don't know why I know that, only that I do. I usually don't bother with middle names). I didn't want there to be a romance - while the merfolk society is bisexual, I didn't want that to be even of peripheral importance. I sense a possible love triangle here. ITt seems that the relationships will be more important than I meant them to be.

I'm pleased, though, it means the characters are coming alive, moreso than they have been previously. The week two slump may yet be defeated before the week is over. :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Day 7: Even more behind, but a NEW COMPUTER

Well, I didn't catch up today like I'd planned. But I have a good excuse; I know own a new computer. NOt only a new computer, but a whole new operating system!

That's right, I've purchased a new iMac. And it is wonderful on a scale I can't quite describe. It's taking a lot of getting used to, though, so it's delayed my writing. I've installed scrivener, although I plan to run a virtual machine so I can continue with liquid story binder, scrivener's giving a free trial, so I'll see which I like better.

I've done so much running around today between setting up the new computer, church, and doing laundry that I've run out of hours in the day. But now I'm feeling motivated, so I want to write, write, write!

Only problem is, I'm not sure where to go. I've got my girls in a hotel room, where Elisande will get a little more acclimated with the human world, but after that? Just how DO you go from the Atlantic to the Capitol Building?

I'm inclined to have her fortuitously discover a congressman in the park. But that would be a bit too easy. I dunno. I need to do something.

Day 6: Soooo behind

So I'm behind. Part of it is a boring bit in the story, but mostly... life has interfered like whoah. Between the site issues and struggling to get caught up on moderation duties on the site, my part time job, being sick, the kids, and just plain being distracted.

But no excuses.

I'm still ahead of Chris, at least:

My goal for this weekend, though, is to be caught up on my word count. I'll be joining Chris, and many others, in this race. I'll need 11,669 words to be caught up. That's a one-day deficit of 4,933.

I can do that!

I think I can do it if I manage my time better. I'm bad about checking the forums AFTER I'm caught up on immediate tasks, and getting distracted by things that Must Be Done (translation, they can wait.) I'm going to set aside some designated writing times. I've gotten my favorite playlist re-created (I lost it when I switched from my Colby MP3 player to my iPod) and I think I'm ready to go. I can do this... Want to join me? Let's go for a 5k Sunday!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Day 3: Making progress

It's slow, and slowed by the fact that I'm having to work on the site more hours than normal because of load times, but it's moving along. I've spent the morning working on site-related things, and running @NaNoWordSprints.

Unfortunately, though, I'm feeling terribly unmotivated to write. I'm going to catch up tomorrow, I think. I got a few hundred words, but I'm not feeling this scene. I might skip ahead to the Dramatic Stuff.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Day 2: The society evolves

Okay, so before now, I've had this very vague idea of the merfolk society. I knew that males weren't fully humanoid, and were more like sea lions than fish or humans. I also knew they were "inferior" to the females. I swear this wasn't some repressed thing. It's just how the dream was. ;)

Well, apparently without a lack of opposite-sex intellectual equals, mermaids have essentially become bisexual. They mate with the males for procreation, but often form romantic relationships with their "sisters." Family bonds are not strong; mothers are called "matria" but most young, male or female, are raised in a communal creche.

The society lives in magically-shielded cities under the ocean. In the past, this has been fine, but as humanity's technology improves, it's getting harder to keep them away. The breaking point is coming; eventually they won't be able to hide anymore. There are cities worldwide, but it looks like the one off the American eastern coast is going to be the first to break the silence. When a pod of males is captured and taken aboard a commercial research vessel, the MC is sent to free them.

She does - spectacularly. So the silence is broken.

She and another mer will be sent to the mainland to try and broker peace, or else. The queen is pissed off, and not really interested in peace, only retribution, so time is limited.

And that's all I've got. I do know that negotiations will be unsuccessful, and war will result. After that... who knows? Maybe the merfolk will take over the US. ;) Maybe there'll be a rebel alliance.

Oh, and I have a Senator from somewhere named Mason. And the MC's best friend/sometimes lover is Aria, the land-spy.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Day 1 - Trials and tribulations

Well, any of you who are frequent visitors to the NaNoWriMo website know it's down. Down something *fierce*. This wasn't as much of a problem last year, but we are experiencing record-breaking totals... at one point, we had over 16,000 people online at once.

It's just as frustrating for us as it is for you. The good news is, the tech team is on it,and working hard to get things back on track. Specialists have been called in, and things will work. We promise! In the mean time, write your novels, and hit that word count goal! I did a 15 minute word war with NaNoLanta and got 687 - I think I can manage to get 1667 today. It's funny, you'd think I'd write when the sites are down, but I worry so much about catching up on modding I don't. I write better when I don't have 50-something posts in the abuse queue. ;)

I did get a rousing good first page or so on my novel. An impressive opening scene with water knocking over secret service agents. I think we've got something here. :)

I got on the site long enough to post an excerpt. I also have it on very good authority that Liquid Story Binder will again be offered at a discount this November. Check it out from my sidebar over there... it's what I use to write my novels, and I can't sing its praises enough. Super flexible, bit of a learning curve, but worth taking the time for. It'll adjust itself to how YOU work - it doesn't require you to change how you do things.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So what are you writing this year?

I've finally gotten my idea. I had a dream (which is where most of my story ideas come from. Mortuus Rex came from a dream) that fascinated me. It involved a mermaid, addressing Congress, demanding recognition as a sentient species, protection of "human" rights for all sentients, and demanding the cessation of unlawful experimentation on the males of her species in private corporate research.

And an idea was born.

I've been working on the idea in my head, and I've got a few points; I don't know how I'm going to get to that scene (for starters, I have no idea how in the world random Person gets to address Congress) but I know now that this mermaid will either escape from a corporate research facility, or break into one in an attempt to free her mate. I haven't decided which.

Mermaids will be very Amazonian; matriarchal society, warlike, and the purpose of my MC's trip to Capitol Hill will be to attempt to prevent war from breaking out. Before you start laughing about the idea of a primarily water-based race waging war on the US, think for a moment: what happens when your sea-traffic is disrupted? International trade would be affected, attacks on ports could be catastrophic for local economies, and widespread enough attacks would wreak havoc on the national economy. I could really have fun with it. In fact, just now I thought it would be awesome if I had her attempt to convince Congress to intervene fail initially, war to start (just so I can show just how much trouble a sea-bound race could cause) and they then decide to sit up and listen.

I've been researching on TV Tropes for ideas and tropes (warning, DO NOT click that link unless you're ready to wikiwalk... TV Tropes steals hours from my day on a regular basis) and I've decided a few things; I think my mermaids will be mammalian, which means no scales... which is kinda sucky, because my working title is Scales of Justice. Le sigh. I am accepting ideas for a new title, by the way. I'm thinking a more dolphin based mer-person.

I do know that I don't want the males to be strictly humanoid. Originally, I'd planned for them to be vaguely sea lion-ish, but given that I might want them to be dolphinoid, I might go with that. Or maybe the idea of a non-humanoid male might be a bit too squicky, so I might just go with traditional mermen.

I'm also playing around with the idea of the females having to go ashore to give birth in human form, which might solve the mermaid problem (TV Tropes warning). I think the primary setting will be Chesapeake Bay; the mermaid will be able to swim up the Potomac for the entrance into Washington DC. I think. I need to check my map for that.

I did have an incredibly generous artist from the NaNo Artisans forum make me a cover for my novel; it's really quite pretty. Simple, and I love the color. The Artisans have offered to make the staff covers, since we don't qualify for 30 Covers, 30 Days, so we miss out on the chance to get awesome covers made. They've really made some beautiful covers... be sure and check it out!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I need a new layout

I love my layout. It's beautiful, it's colorful... but I've had it for years. I think I need a new one. I'm toying about with the idea of creating my own (I AM a web designer after all, it's not that hard) but if I can find on that suits my personality, I'll use it.

I dunno. I'll look around and see!

When it rains, it pours

For the past week, I've been in a writing frenzy. I've picked up Pride of the Hunt, which I abandoned about halfway through NaNo last year, and even wrote several thousand words on Mortuus Rex; I haven't stayed up until 1 AM writing in months.

There's a change in the air; quite literally. I can feel fall coming, and with it comes my muse. I've programmed myself, over the last 9 years of doing NaNoWriMo, to feel writerly in the fall.

The forums get to buzzing, and now it's translated into writing motivation.

I've still got more to write on my handwritten novel. I need to focus on it, because my aim is to have it finished before November, but my other two stories (this is the prequel to Pride of the hunt, and is untitled) keep calling me.

Mortuus Rex has taken a turn for the darkly erotic; this isn't really like me, but it's been therapeutic. I'll probably plan on editing it harshly and toning a lot of the violence down. It's a damn good story, and I don't want it pigeonholed as erotica; that's not the point of the story. It IS a dark story (death and vengeance abound) but I don't want to get it lost in all the sex. Although the sex is awfully fun to write. ;)

Overall, though, I'm happy. My brain's buzzing with ideas, and this bodes well for 2010. Bring it, NaNo!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

So it begins

It's starting. The NaNoWriMo forums are starting to buzz. There's a few more posts in Character and Plot Realism, there's a few more private messages, the activity is ramping up in Games and Procrastination.

People are getting excited. Ideas are flowing, people are starting to ask if it's okay to start now... it's an energy that's difficult to describe. I have a unique perspective on things; I am able to see things from behind, where HQ starts sending out more planning emails, the MLs start posting more often in the private forums... it's just amazing.

NaNoWriMo is an event that's unlike any other. There's a freedom to it, a sort of rebellion against the traditional views of art and writing and creativity. Instead of a methodical, meticulous crafting of a masterpiece... it's a mad dash to the finish line, the end being more important than the means. Where no one cares if it's great... it's the accomplishment, the completion, the fact that you finished at all that counts.

There's a mad abandon that is absolutely infectious. I started dreaming of what I wanted to write, spawned almost entirely by reading the increased activity in the forums!

It's amazing, it's fun, and I love it. It's this energy that has kept me coming back every year, for eight years.

I think it's why, when other nonprofits sputtered and failed, falling by the wayside, NaNoWriMo continues to be supported by your donations. Why people love it so much that they'll chip in their $10, their $25, in a way that raises hundreds of thousands every year. (We still have more plot bunnies from our summer donation drive available!)

It's amazing. And I'm so amazed to be a part of it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writing by Hand

I'm getting close to the climax of the novel, and the end of the journal I'm writing in, and I'm wanting to start entering it into Liquid Story Binder, but I'm so, so committed to finishing this in handwritten form, first.

You see, when I first started writing, I didn't have a computer, or even a typewriter. So I wrote by hand; even though my handwriting is atrocious (so utterly, utterly atrocious, as you can see in the picture) it was what I had.

When I started using a computer, my handwritten tendencies fell by the wayside, and I noticed that my prose actually sounded worse. I type SO fast that my fingers get ahead of my head, whereas with the handwritten work, it forced me to take the time to write it out, so my head stays well ahead of my fingers.

So went and bought a lovely little blank journal, and started writing by hand again. It's worked.
It's also easier to write distraction-free, since I can't surf the internet with a notebook. I lay down in bed, every night before I go to sleep, and write. Sometimes just a paragraph or two, sometimes, a few pages that keep me up until I finish the scene. Always something.

Here's my lovely little journal. Red isn't one of my favorite colors, ordinarily, but I really love the design of this one. I added the little brown ribbon as a sort of "handle", and also use it to distinguish mine from my husbands that he accidentally purchased independently in the exact same cover.

I scribble away, and feel so very writerly. The best part about it is that it fits in my purse, so I can take it with me wherever I go. I could write on the iPod touch, sure, but it would be tedious, and iPod would always be attempting to correct my spelling. Shapewriter's fun, but too difficult to use for any length of time. And I MUST have a Pilot Precise pen.I prefer V5, but ended up accidentally buying V7. Lines are thicker, but it still looks good, so I can use them.

So I need to finish out this novel, and one day, when I'm published and famous, this will be something I can show off at conferences as how I got my start. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to hock it on ebay for a few thousands bucks, eh?

One of those random memes

The first batch of text I wrote gave me Dan Brown. I found that... uncool. so I chose a different blog post.

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Unemployment means more writing time, right?

So I got laid off from my sweet, awesome job. This sucks for the finances, but you know something? This means LOTS of writing time. I've been carrying my little red notebook around, scribbling, and I've written probably around 20k in the past couple of weeks. I'm rather happy with that. At the very least, I write for an hour or two before bed. Today, I've spent most of the day with the notebook in my lap, writing a paragraph here and there between distractions (It's very hard to write with a toddler and a preschooler around.)

I've really begun honing my writing process. I do better without the distractions of computers and the internet when I'm getting my initial ideas down; so a little leather-bound notebook is the way to go for me. It just... feels right. It's how I learned to write, it's how I've always done it. The only thing that sucks is it makes my arthritis act up. To the universe: I know it seemed like a funny idea to give arthritis to a teenager, but that was WAY uncool. If it hurts this much now that I'm in my thirties, it's gonna suck when I'm all old and stuff.

My mother showed me a book one of her customers had handed her. It made me hurt for the author; it was clearly self published, too. A no-name publishing house, based locally. What makes me sad about these things is they sell themselves short; I scanned through the book, and her writing wasn't that bad. It could have stood a little professional editing, but overall, it seemed readable. She suffered from the terminal "said" disease (you know, the inability to use the word "said" in dialogue.) and there were some rambling bits. I was impressed with the quality.

It's never a good sign, though, when the author is giving away the books in convenience stores.

What bothered me more than anything wasn't the fact that this author published her own book, it's that she created her own "publishing company" that advertises its services to other authors, and that she didn't bother to get a professional to design her website. She didn't even get a separate URL for her publishing company... it's just her own name. "", you know.

Here's something I'll tell anyone: If you're not a professional web designer? Don't do it yourself, and don't hire a friend who doesn't do it for a living. As with any business, using a professional makes all of the difference. As a web designer myself, I can promise... no you can't do it on your own. It's not something just anyone can do, and do well. There are elements of design that will show your lack of expertise. Do yourself a favor, and pay someone else. The investment will be worth it!

That reminds me... I REALLY need to start working on mine! After all, I'm officially a degreed web designer now... as of June!

Anyway, now that I've rambled on enough, I'll wrap it up, and I'll keep you updated on my progress. Heck... I think I'll break out the camera and take some pictures of my notebook for you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My mind works in strange ways

I found this little tidbit scribbled on the back of an expired WIC voucher, apparently written in the waiting room while waiting for my husband's neurology appointment to be over.

A Watchtower sits on a coffee table in a doctor's waiting room. Slowly, it devours its tablemates,one by one consuming them, page by oage, occasionally splitting and leave a new copy of itself to replace the one it eliminates. One day, the receptionist dusts the plastic plants, and wonders what happened to all the Newsweeks, Time Magazines,and Woman's Days, and why there are fourteen copies of the Watchtower. The phone rings, and she scurries off. Why is a ragged copy of Bible Stories is glaring balefully up at the magazines from its upside-down vantage point on the floor beside the table.

She sets the book back on the table, the phone rings, and she scurries back into her office on the other side of the foggy sliding glass.

She doesn't hear the rattle of wooden legs, the tearing of paper, the flutter of fallen pages. The combined forces of the cannibalistic Watchtower are no match for the hard-bound strength of the Bible Story book.

The janitor grumbles about damn kids and their worthless parents as he sweeps up the tattered, torn remains of fourteen Watchtowers, scattered around the waiting room floor.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Elisabeth's Dream

My four year old told me a story about a dream she just had, and I thought I would record it here for posterity (and for you, dear readers, should you want to see.)

"I dreamed about the skunks, and they were in the trash can. They were stinky. And they sprayed me, and it was really stinky. I told them to get out of my trash can, but they sprayed me. It was stinky. Those were stinky skunks."

I think the skunks might have been stinky!

Friday, March 05, 2010

I'm jumping ship... Sorry Firefox, Chrome, here I come!

Google Chrome - Get a fast new browser. For PC, Mac, and Linux

You know, I tried Google Chrome right when it came out, primarily because I'm a HUGE Google fan, and will jump right on the bandwagon with just about any product they make, because they're Just That Awesome. I'm a major Google Borgite.

But I couldn't make the switch to Chrome, because while it was awesome, fast, and googlicious, it lacked one key feature: Adblock. I have gotten used to browsing ad-free, and I wanted to keep it that way.

So I sacrificed, and made do with Firefox's slowness because I needed to be Ad Free.

But now... NOW, Google Chrome has extensions! Extensions including AdThwart, which uses the same filters as Adblock does for Firefox!

Firefox, I love you, you were my first non-IE browser, and I will always have fond memories.

But you use over 100k of my existing memory, and that's simply unacceptable. Slowdowns, freezes, and random click and gray out the screen and load problems have reached critical mass. You take too long to load, and too long to shut down.

So I'm leaving you for Chrome. Oh, I'll probably still come see you from time to time as I moderate Freecycle groups, but I'm afraid that we'll have to just be friends. It's not you, it's me.

Okay, it's you. But I do still love you. Promise.