Quick NaNoWriMo Update

Just jumping back to say I’ve passed the half-way mark and am currently sitting at 27,063 words since November 1.

I am now starting to use he 3×5 notes I scrabbled together toward the end of October, and since then,as ideas– even tiny lines– have popped into my head.

Not only do I have enough story to get to 50,000 words, I have enough prompts to get there too.  We are now down to work-hours, and having for various (God-be-praised) reasons less of a “clinical” need to write, I find myself interested in other things in my free time, and find I have to actually make myself sit down and work.

Which, you can see I am again not doing. On my novel, that is.

I am thankful.  Not needing to write (to feel level) means I’m stronger than I was at the beginning of November.  But the finishing is still an important goal for me, too, so I’ll go put a few hundred down now. ;)

I Have Enough Story

When I first “outlined” Lindorm (on a few hundred digital 3×5 cards) I kept throwing in story-inside-of-story “options” (a la Scheherazade in Arabian Nights) worried that I might not make word count.

Yes, I find this funny now. (For those outside the know, high wordcount has been a sticking point for me on my first novel).

Then I proceeded to write the “interesting” scenes first, starting with a physical transformation (the stepmother is turned into a lindorm in my favorite scene that  never made it into the book), then going back to the beginning and telling the story through the paces of the original folktale. Any time I got “stuck” I just jumped to the next scene where I knew what should/did happen.

I was just “Making time.”

I don’t remember how far I was through the month when I realized not only could this story “make” 50,000 words, they wouldn’t be near enough.

I completed an outline a few nights ago.  I didn’t even type the words The End and I felt the air go out of me, as though– in a twist worthy of the most sadistic author– the clarity/direction I needed (to have the energy to move forward) told enough of the story that my need to get it out was satisfied.

Too soon.

And I still have 42,744 words to go.

Two days ago, making the outline left me a bit behind, so last night I needed my 2000+ words to get back on-track.  I was not inspired, but I knew I needed to get my climax figured out (my current Achilles’ heel) so I sat down and wrote the stuff that makes up my climax.

It’s still not really clear exactly where the climax falls, but there are several pockets of action closely tied to it. I wrote on 4 separate pockets, and accumulated over 2400 words yesterday.

At first I didn’t believe it and had to re-check what I’d written, because I didn’t feel all that inspired or that I done that much, then I realized I did roughly  1 ½ to 2 pages for each, and this is how it adds up.

So now I’m all inspired, because from the opener to the (ostensible) ending in my outline, I’ve got about 60 to-do items.  And that’s not cross-referencing the stack of physical 3×5 cards I’ve collected to bleed off story pressure.

I really do want to spend more time writing than planning, so I was only willing to sacrifice one night to the process.

It’s not romantic, but it is mathematical.  And for me at least, security is the first prerequisite to love.

NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 2

My goal (unless I fall too far behind) is to pull 2,000 words a day.

I am still scrapping for a structure I can shoehorn my plot into– primarily because of the issues I’ve had with Lindorm and trying to decide what kind of story it is.  I was hoping to avoid that angst at the end, and the result is angst now as I (literally) lay out the plot-point cards and see how clearly my action cards* deal between them.

Nothing really clear yet, but now that I know my story better than I did two days ago I’m going to try again.

*I’m doing a card system this year and I really like it.

It didn’t make sense last time (Lindorm) since I had the whole story from beginning to end and there was no question about the sequence of action.  This time I am extending the story past the traditional ending and I am distressingly distracted and patchy in my thinking.

By putting random thoughts on a collection of 3×5 cards and adding them to the box I relieve the fear I’m going to forget something important and cut down on possible focus points.

Current word count: 4,165

Words are a part of my identity. Even when I get them wrong.

I self-identified as a novelist today– for kinda the first time, and it was totally natural.

I’ve bemoaned before that I’m a compulsive explainer, seeing it as a character defect: why do I have to explain/justify my existence/choices?

Well, it turns out I’m just assuming others are as shallow as me.  That is,  I’ve been shown I revise my opinion of someone based on increased information, and by giving more information I’m hoping to project a more accurate image of myself.

If they still don’t like me, I don’t care, but I can’t stand someone being mad at what they think I am/have done.

So I ran into this woman I haven’t spoken with in years, and we did a quick catch-up on kids, ages and church.  And I corrected her “Oh yeah, I know where that is,” before I even asked her what she thought she knew.

You see, no one in our town knows what church I go to unless they have personally visited it.  It’s that invisible.

I was right, but that’s small consolation if it destroys a relationship so I jumped into damage-control, blaming it, very naturally on being a writer. (For the record, she was totally cool with being corrected.  Not offended at all.)

What entertained me so much was my explanation (this is part of why I write: it’s insanely easy for me to entertain myself).

It went something like this:

Sorry, I’m not really trying to be rude, but after years of thinking in terms of conveyed information versus received information I’m constantly thinking on multiple levels of communication. Miscommunication is a useful literary device, but nothing to tolerate in real life.

Not that I always have a choice, but we can set our own standards, right?


I am calling my 2010 NaNoWriMo effort Shaddow.

Yeah, with 2ds.  It’s a nod to when I was starting the first version of this book (Shadow Swan) and was trying to track down the novel Shadow Spinner and could not figure out why the book never showed on any search.

Yeah, because I spelled shadow phonetically. That’s a short-a, folks.

Sort of like the counter intuitive desert/dessert weirdness.  I love English.  I really do.

Notwithstanding the one semester I started German and a guy studying Spanish asked in horror, “Why would you do that? It’s, like, the one language in the world uglier than English!”

In the end I’ve simply returned to English, and find it beautiful.  Not the least because I understand it, and it submits to me.


Along those lines, it’s fun to say I’ve built a bit of a reputation in my church.

This was a rough week for me.  I came to church thinking about genuineness, and how what some people disparage as “masks” might more accurately be communicated as an effort to encourage other people or focus less on oneself.

I knew I was going to be asked how I was, and that I wouldn’t lie, but I hated thinking of the exchanges that would be likely to follow.  So mostly I positioned myself where the flow-pattern kept people moving faster than to expect a detailed answer.

One of the neatest things about these people is that they only rarely ask empty how-are-yous.  In that place I stood I got lots of acknowledging smiles and nods, but nobody pretended to inquire after what couldn’t be answered in the space of 18-inches.

By the end of the sermon I’d forgotten my initial goal, and got cornered in the kitchen while making my double hot chocolate.

One of the best smilers in our congregation walked in as I was stirring cocoa and asked a genuine, How are you today, Amy?

I felt my throat close and my chin wobble before I got out my one word.


And that resulted in a spirit- and esteem-soothing glowfest from the two other women about how I always have the perfect words to say exactly the right thing.  And the sweet smiler asked, “Can wonkies appreciate hugs?” and I gratefully accepted the other best form of love and care she could have offered at that moment.