And it begins… almost.

I really wonder if it will be a whole month before I post again.

If I’m going to make 50,000 in 30 days it seems most reasonable to spend any computer time I have actually typing on my story. But maybe I’ll come over her for a break.

What I don’t see myself doing is IMing. I’ve gotten into a few message boards (and out of more than I’m in) but I don’t see myself going for the IM thing. Maybe it’s just b/c I’ve never done it. Don’t think I’m starting yet. I rather prefer the Blog/message board MO about answering things on my terms, my own timing.

I feel an imminent right to be “selfish” with my time. It’s a form of self-defense. I just have to remind myself to expect that from others too, and sometimes I’m even leery of accepting offers, feeling the unspoken obligation to listen to someone else’s random-dream-turned-novel explanation (when I’d rather be writing).

Sooo… “keeping short accounts” is something I’d like to manage if possible
this month.

I do expect I’ll go to the weekly meetings with my laptop– I’m intrigued at the idea of writing as a group activity, and am curious to see the reality.


I’ve started reading Orson Scott Card’s book Enchantment on the advice of some NaNo pseudo-acquaintance who read my NaNo’s premise. It’s surprised me a couple times.

And there’s a few lines I’ve liked. In the context of the protagonist’s mother (Esther) talking with his fiancée (Ruthie):

[Ruthie] might not realize it consciously, but she had let some thing slip, and Esther had picked up on it. That was the way communication was among women, most of the time; few women realized it, but they all depended on it. “Women’s intuition” wasn’t intuition at all, it was heightened observation, unconscious registration of subtle clues…Esther didn’t need to be told any of this. She knew, because she had trained herself to know these things. It was a school at least as rigorous as any university, but there was no diploma, no extra title to add to her name. She simply knew things, and, unlike most women, knew exactly why and how she knew.

Aren’t we most likely to consider brilliant those who think like us?

This has been my theory about “women’s intuition” as long as I’ve considered its existence, so finding someone else articulating it inclines me to think well of him for a few more pages. He has enough of these redeeming moments it’s been fairly easy to continue reading, even though nothing much had happen-happened yet (only things hinted at).

In the same conversation Ruthie is trying to explain to Esther’s husband (Piotr) the difference between the “Bible of scarcity” and the “feminine Bible,” an idea she was eating up in her Jewish philosophy class (all these characters call themselves Jewish); the idea that all the distasteful stuff in the bible can be separated from the nice stuff:

“It’s the Bible of scarcity that makes Jews think they have the right to displace the Palestinians. In the feminine Bible, the lamb lies down with the lion.”

“Lions are always glad when lambs act like that,” said Piotr. “Saves them all that energy wasted in hunting and chasing.”

It kind of loses its punch when the girl guilts him into apologizing for it.
Later, he asks his wife what’s for dinner.

“Soup,” she said. “Can’t you smell it?”
“The house always smells like good food,” said Piotr. “It’s the perfume of love.”

So Excited!

But I guess that’s the way I always feel when I’m actually working on something.

I spent a couple hours last night actively working on my Children’s book.  Some of you may know I have this book I’ve always wanted for my own kids (for reading aloud) and have never been able to find it, so I decided to write it.

But it was only after visiting with some other children’s/picture book authors that I had enough structure to my idea to get this project where it is now.  I got it about half laid-out last night, but that used up most of my prepared material, and now I’m praying about what should come next.

It is exciting.  Working on an actual layout and having a progression that I can put in a proposal makes the whole thing much more real.

How to Become a Saint While Changing Diapers

You gotta love that title. It’s another chapter title from The Angel and the Ants (here if you want to browse the other excerpts).

Reading this chapter I felt again that twinge I get when wishing my life now showed the fruits of a more structured childhood (not that I’d want to have lived that childhood, necessarily, but it would be nice to have had all that learning and training behind me). Both musicians (Suzuki-type) and traditional Catholics are (I imagine) simply stuffed full of information at an age where there are fewer distractions to prevent its taking root.

The reason I think of this now, is that Kreeft sites several fine distinctions on the “do all as unto the Lord” idea, from broader reading than I would have found without him, and applies it to this idea of “living a life of sanctity” emphasized in his book.

“Seeds,” he calls them, and they are drawn from that sea of tradition and reading available for those brave enough to wade in:

  • From The Devine Milieu Kreeft shares the suggestion that “Not only our operatio but also our opus, not only our acts of working, but also the works we produce will somehow be used by God … We are to be doing the very best work we can because that work is to be part of God’s eternal kingdom, unimaginably transformed by death and resurrection. We are cooperating with God right now in building this new world; our pen, or shovel, or computer, is the extension of the fingers of Christ, the body of Christ.”
  • Summarizing Opus Dei, Kreeft says, its “whole reason for existence is to address the problem of the sanctification of daily work directly and explicitly. Its fundamental answer is traditional: to offer up our work to God, to pour the infinitely precious soul of a pure intention, a Godward intention, into every secular action.”
  • Kreeft observes that Vatican II encouraged Catholics to “study and profit from the wisdom in other world religions.” Here is an example he takes from the Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu book (Kreeft’s words):
    • “The way to sanctity amidst activity is to work not for the fruit of the work, not out of desire for success, not looking forward, but looking backwards, so to speak, to the source and motive of the act: love and duty and obedience to God. Do what you do because it is your God-given task now. If you act out of desire for success, you bind yourself to the fear of failure. If we will only one thing– God’s will– we are free.” (emphasis mine)
  • Finally, a quote from Mother Theresa: “God did not put me here to be successful. God put me here to be faithful.”

Depending on the mood or state-of-mind I am in, any of these ideas may be the one that strikes home, and causes me to reassess my attitude and approach to my current work(s). Along with the Lewis quote I mentioned earlier, these are things I want to keep in mind.

Reference works

Okay, I just started “using” my two favorite new reference works: Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia, and Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth.

The absolute coolest.

Okay, I was one of those (home schooled) kids who would sit down with my mom’s old set of World Book Encyclopedia and just read like crazy. To send me there to look something up for a project was to lose me for the morning.

And now I have this reallyreally cool double set of fantastical creatures, and it’s actually what you would call “scholarly:” based on research and not just a collection of one person’s ideas of things. I’m enjoying it immensely.


Anyway, I bought them initially because all my projects seem to have this element of the fantastic in them, so I wanted to be as… authentic as possible.

One interesting thing I’ve already read ties very closely to an earlier post I wrote while reading Mindhunter. It was a very long entry about werewolves (did you know there are were-everythings? Whatever animal is common in the area: panthers, hares, boar(s?), crocodiles…).

In it the author mentions a “highly publicized” incident in the late 1500s where a man in Germany “in the guise of a wolf raped, murdered, and ate humans, including his own family, as well as terrorizing the region for some twenty-five years until caught, tortured, and executed.”

The era of serial killers has been said to have begun with Jack the Ripper (late 1800s). But there really is “nothing new under the sun…”

Whew. I can see why that “werewolf” story made it across the channel. (Big story in England in 1590, according to the encyclopedia).


Anyway-anyway, fascinating books. Lots of interesting readings.

I’m getting the impression it will be the same type of information as the names I choose. That is, many of the names my characters have actually mean something related to their role or personality. This is nothing I expect a reader to know. It’s sort of a game I play with myself, a kind of “in” joke or story, for my own benefit and mental exercise.

Yes, it looks like I’ve got the new-book giddies. It’s fun. I haven’t had that for quite a while.

Lindorm Outline

I think I’ve got my whole novel card-outlined.

It’s about 150 virtual 3x5s (of varying detail).

Intimidating and exciting at the same time to have it done.

What I’m trying to do now is set up a folder of characters (from an example I saw in a writing book) with mag pix for my image of each of the characters.


I think one of my favorite things about Robin McKinley’s book Beauty is that she changes the sisters to be kind and loving.

This is a departure from the original story, but it adds an appropriate and satisfying level of complexity that didn’t, couldn’t, exist before. When home is a place you like, and want, to be, leaving into peril has more significance.

All the “heroines” who face danger so well and take daring chances (Cinderella, after all, did marry a complete stranger) do so from an unavoidably what-have-I-got-to-lose base.

One who allows their protagonist to have loving friends/family, and good times, good memories, is also (I believe) a less-lazy writer. Angst and isolation are the cheap shortcut to a reader’s pity. They are the “givens” in so many works of fiction (look at Disney, and Anne McCaffery).

It is understandable, and even forgivable (most people on some level seem to want to protect someone else– it affirms both our superiority and our competency), but this is also what makes positive characters (and supporting characters) so praiseworthy.


From C.S. Lewis:

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or real life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life– the life God is sending one, day by day.”

What I’m doing in November

I realized I never actually said what I was working on.

I am currently imagining an expansion of the King Lindorm story (a variety of tales from Northern Europe), since that should give me a nice long something to work with, without having to create a whole structure out of air.

A lindorm is basically a wingless dragon.

So King Lindorm, in its original form gathers many typical fairy tale elements:

  • A barren queen
  • A helpful old woman
  • Directions not followed
  • Tragedy at birth
  • the separating of twins
  • The wicked step-mother
  • The passive (if living) blood father
  • Beauty and the beast elements
  • Death and dismemberment
  • The good-hearted woodsman
  • trying to get out of a bad bargain one made with hell, having to do with one’s soul
  • Long-distance communication and mail tampering
  • A war with no mentioned casualties
  • general misunderstandings that wouldn’t be if people actually talked
    • this is going to be the first thing to go. It always drives me *nuts*!
  • Villain’s punishment: being pulled by galloping horses in a nail-pierced barrel (*Gack!*)
    • This has been done in a book recently, so I’m re-writing that ending. I’ve come up with something else I like even more– though, I can’t say I really liked the nail-filled barrel, so maybe that doesn’t say enough.

I’m actually not interested in (much) modernizing or lampooning. I think it’s a cool story for its genre, so I’m working with what’s there to tell the story I want to tell.

Prep work

Just thought I’d mention what I’ve been doing with my computer time this last week.

I’ve totally shifted from Blogs to research. Yup. I spent {I won’t tell you how much} time on the BehindTheName website digging up appropriate names for my new creations, and creating a virtual stack of 3x5s with my story progression on them.

It’s felt really cool. I never did do a play-by-play mock-up for my swan story, and now I’m all inspired to do it.

But that will probably wait until December. Or maybe not… I’ve recently met another gal who is also interested in writing YA, and we will be discussing current stories tomorrow. The Lindorm folder can’t count as current, since I haven’t actually written any of it yet. So I’ll have to shift stories again for that.

But… Knowing me, all I really have to do is research/outline/read a little bit, and I’ll be neck-deep in it again.

I honestly don’t know how I have more than one interest in my life, since I immerse so much in whatever the current project is. I’m always saying (usually to Jay), “This is so exciting!” I’m always loving whatever project I’m working on.

At one time I thought having this many interests and foci made me flaky. Now I’ve decided that my focus must be a bit like “mother love.”

There’s always room for one more. ;o)