The Latter Update

I just saw that I have 250 posts, making this 251. I suppose that’s good? I don’t know, I’m finding it hard to have opinions about many things these days. Too tired.

My plans for “NaNoNoWriMo”  over the weekend–that is, writing at all–did not go well. I didn’t even really have a good reason, unless you count watching four episodes of Dracula (which were quite fabulous. I think I’m just liking the whole Victorian England aesthetic right now, which is making me fall in love with this show). I did some work as well, but overall the whole weekend consisted of me watching hulu and sort of failing at food.

All this means that I am still sitting on only 7000 words for the entire month, probably almost none of which are really any good. I still have a chance to catch up a little over Thanksgiving, but I definitely will not be reaching my goal of 30,000 words. Oh well.

I keep trying to think of ways to fix my stupid brain so that I will write. I know I want to do it, I know I feel better when I’m writing regularly, and yet I never do. Doesn’t that sound stupid? Isn’t it nonsense?

I will post again in early December about the total NaNoNo experience, but I have a feeling I won’t have much else to share. I probably won’t post again before Friday, so Happy Thanksgiving!

Five Things Friday: November 22, 2013

This week has been unfortunately long. So long, in fact, that it really feels like it should be NEXT Friday … and I’m not just saying that because I’ll be able to sleep in that day.

So here are five things from this week that I just feel like sharing. No particular thought, just the high-and-lowlights. It’s not going to be a very interesting post, I don’t think. I just need a little brain dump.

1. I had to go to the dentist. That is, I had made an appointment with a livingsocial coupon, and since I had made the appointment and they were letting me use the coupon even though it expired in August, I felt that I should go. So I got out of bed quite a bit earlier than usual and forced myself out the door by 7:15, for an 8:00 a.m. appointment… and it was about 10:30 by the time I got to work. The appointment itself was just over an hour, including the post-cleaning consultation about fillings that I can’t afford. My last dentist appointment took about 20 minutes. But it was also like four years ago, so I think we’ve solved this mystery.

2. The light in the bathroom started flickering (I suspected a possible ghost) and then went out on Wednesday evening. Apparently, we don’t have any replacement light bulbs. They seem to be among the things that you don’t think about keeping around, but then when you need them, you wish they were there… I switched it out for the light from a lamp in the living room that we almost never turn on. I’m hoping to get more light bulbs after I get paid.

3. Also on Wednesday, Fedex failed to deliver my package. Usually it’s UPS that fails, so it’s always surprising when it’s Fedex. The tracking information said it was out for delivery until nearly ten o’clock, as I kept refreshing it, and then it suddenly said a “Delivery exception” had “occurred” at just after 8. (The “exception” actually being that I was at home and no one rang the doorbell.) Fedex is weird, and sometimes they end up giving packages to the USPS if they “can’t” complete delivery. I got it the next day–by the way, it fit through the mail slot perfectly.

Based on what I do know, this is what I think Fedex does: when they don’t actually get to your package that day, they claim you weren’t there and make it the problem of the post office. I.e. instead of admitting that you couldn’t do your job, you’re trying to blame me. That’s so annoying.

The only other time this happened, I had to go get the package down at the post office. This time it showed up the next day, and now my ears will be warm snugly wrapped in my black cashmere cable-knit ear warmer. That’s 100% cashmere. It’s very soft and perfect. Now that I have it, I’m over the whole thing, but I still wanted to rant.

4. Also on Wednesday, I started reading The Fault in Our Stars, which I have out from the library on a dismally short loan (only two weeks, instead of the usual month that most books are allowed). I wasn’t sure I would have time to finish the whole thing by the due date, which is today, so I went online to renew it and discovered that it was not an option for this book. So I had to stay up late two nights in a row to be able to finish it. I did get it back on time, but still. Wednesday was not a very good day.

5. A facebook friend posted this very fun-sounding pun-type game (pun-sounding?): Come up with the funniest version of a movie title by changing one letter (including omission/addition of a letter). I posted it, asking people to join in. It was quite fun. Here are a few good one:

-From Duck Til Dawn

-Footsie

-Jurassic Pork

-Soy Anything

-28 Gays

-O Bother! Where Art Thou?

…you get the idea. I highly recommend it, although I’m sure it can get tiresome to some people… I like puns. Deal with it.

So that was some of my week. The rest was mostly work. And other stressful things.

November is not a good month for NaNoWriMo

This is my NaNoNoWriMo update. Before I get into explaining why November was just a bad choice on the part of the creators (of the traditional NaNo, not my version), let me recap what I’ve shared with you so far, and a little bit that is more recent, to get you up to date.

Although I was really excited about the project I chose to begin with and I started out pretty well in terms of keeping to the word count, it turned out the stories I was working on were not developed enough in my head to make it to the paper. As I’ve said to every person I’ve talked to about writing lately, that particular project needs more time to gestate. That sail lost wind and I couldn’t get it back. I felt that I would be able to get more done if I reopened my Sleeping Beauty retelling, of which I had already written about 18,000 words last year (and even earlier, probably). I dug up that file and started tacking words on to the end. I think it would have been better to re-read the beginning first, but I didn’t have time. I haven’t written much more yet, but I can at least see that story in my mind, so the switch was a good choice. I might actually be able to finish a reasonable word count.

If you have been here before, you may have seen that my goal is 30k for the month. I am doubting now that I’ll be able to make it, but 20k or even 25 seems reasonable. My new goal is a minimum of 20k  words, and with any luck as close to 30k as I can manage.

Fairly recently I reblogged a post about why NaNoWriMo doesn’t work. For me, the most important point is that most novels are longer than 50,000 words, many are well over twice that much, and some are that number many times over. So, the claim is that you can write a novel in a month, yet the word goal will not allow you to finish your story. My Sleeping Beauty novel (which does not yet have a title) is now around 20,000 words, and I’ve barely made it out of exposition. Granted a fair bit of that might be cut out later, but that only adds to my point–most novels get substantial chunks cut out of their first, very rough, drafts, because it’s good for the writer to write out every single scene and details, but it might not be good for the finished book to keep those pieces. So a novel that is 100,000 words in its final version might even be 200,000 in its first, full-bodied, uncut draft.

Of course, anyone who goes into NaNoWriMo expecting to have a perfectly packaged finished product by the end of the month is, at the very least, kidding themselves.

This argument is why NaNoWriMo as a concept is kind of flawed–as are most things in this world–but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. If I get enough momentum in my novel to keep writing it into December, January, February, until it’s finished, because of this month, that’s a good thing.

But November is such a bad time to have a goal like this. I don’t understand the logic of placing it at this time of year. Much of this I’m sure will just be my experience, but there must be some people who can relate. Let’s commiserate, shall we?    Continue reading

Five Things Friday: November 15, 2012

No to thinking! I’ve been stuck on the What Would I Say? thing today, because absurdity makes me laugh, so, that should be enough explanation of that.

Five of the best statuses from today:

1.

dude. Cheese is an animal product. You’re such a Russian lit class at least 5 years ago.

2.

the clams may have to regret this later.

3.

Must bring more smoothies into multiple gmail accounts, and then I thought, ugh, rain.

4.

Money should move to Boston.

5.

All of English tends toward the approach of the wealth of psychos.

 

This last one is like a line from a hipster poem.

Don’t start using this site if you’re under a pressing deadline or just want to get things done.

NaNoWriMo update sometime in the next few days–hoping I’ll manage to squeeze in a fair bit of writing this weekend. That’s all for now. Just a few more hours and you’re done. My foot joined in! (bonus entry: this keeps coming up when I click the “generate status” button)

NaNoNo Update

Twelve days into the month, I have decided it’s time for an update. There isn’t much to tell. Here’s the main points:

 

-I did pretty well with staying on track the first few days.

-After that, I didn’t write for a few days.

-Lost momentum, and I’ve barely written anything since the very beginning of the month.

I probably should have just kept on with a story I was already into, rather than starting on short stories that had barely managed to form in my mind. I don’t have a clear picture yet, of any aspect of the stories–just bits and pieces. How was I expecting to make that into something so quickly? I feel like I’m getting nowhere.

Here’s the bright side: I’m learning from NaNoWriMo experiences. First, it seems that at least to some degree, I am more productive when I have specific goals, rather than just “Yeah, go do some writing.” Second, NaNoWriMo, being intended for churning out stories as quickly as you can, is a good way to get a story down that has already gestated for a good while in your mind (that is, for me). … Damn it. I don’t think I’m saying this right. The thought was clear in my head, but when I tried to type it out, I lost the words, and now I can’t figure out how to articulate this thought that really seems significant at the moment. I ask you, if this is still going to happen, what the hell is the point of being a writer?

Well, I’ve bashed my hopes enough for one evening, I think. Time to go curl up into fetal position until tomorrow.

Five Things Friday: November 8, 2013

(I’m late! Oooo, I’m telling on you…) For personal reasons, this date is usually a day for memory. So this week, here are some thoughts from (or rather, about) my youth.

1) I regret being into pop music as a kid. I don’t hold myself fully responsible for my taste back then–the music you like, until you know better, is largely based on what you’re used to, and the influences of peers and radio were not easy to shake off then. Pop music is catchy, designed to please your brain in a certain way without paying any attention to whether the music is good. I admit I’ve always been a sucker for a more-or-less pleasant melody I can sing along to… but of course, that’s oversimplifying it. That’s not to say that ALL pop music is bad. Some of it I do enjoy now. I’m totally in love with Marina and the Diamonds, whom I only discovered recently. And sometimes I don’t even know how to categorize the music I listen to. “That’s pop? No, that can’t be pop, it’s good.” That’s usually how my brain works.

What it comes down to, though, is this: while I’ve always been good at singing and I found very basic music theory easy to understand, it took me a long time to actually be good at music–that is, to really hear it and be able to recognize whether a song is in fact good, or just catchy. Although I was one among many, I find it embarrassing that I spend my early years listening to boy bands and Britney Spears, instead of actually becoming familiar with Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Garbage, and Jeff Buckley.  And Brahms. Brahms is awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1trE3ms3AGo.

2) Once, someone shared a secret with me and only a few minutes later I ended up telling the person it was about. I have no idea why I did that. But it’s just one of many, many times I’ve said something I shouldn’t have. I’m much better about that now, having learned that you can’t just tell anything to anyone at any time.

I have not gotten over saying stupid things, though. I do it frequently. And I often look back at things I’ve said and feel uncomfortable with how stupid it was.

3) I know a lot of people grow up and still like fast food, and continue to eat McDonald’s. I have slightly higher standards for my fast food now. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s for at least three years now. But I remember how much I used to love it. My senior year of high school, or maybe my junior year, I spent so much of my time driving down the street and getting an order of chicken selects for dinner. I LOVED those things–I was never into the chicken nuggets so much, and at this point I probably couldn’t eat them without getting queasy, but the chicken selects were whole, white meat. That was my lifeblood. I still love chicken, but no longer go to McDonald’s.

4) I think I actually had a better attention span when I was a kid than I do now. That seems strange, doesn’t it? If I really try, I can focus on things, but most of the time I get too distracted, and I can’t really just do one thing. I find this frustrating and perhaps that’s why I’ve had a strange nostalgia for my teenage years lately–I knew what was happening, I didn’t have to pay bills, and I could actually sit down and read a damn book.

5) In the house we lived in when I was very little (the one that burned down shortly after I turned 8), my enormous bedroom had a walk-in closet. My brother’s room has this little secret room, a door that opened outward or upward or something, into a little private cave. I was jealous of this nook even though I had a nice big closet that was, at times, my cave. I can’t remember what was kept in this little secret room. Was there a chair? Were there pillows? Books? Stuffed animals? Was there a light? I don’t know. However, I do know one thing… I kind of wish I had one of those now.

No to NaNoWriMo

As I mentioned, I’m taking NaNoWriMo and semi-participating, altering the rules to fit my own schedule and needs and ability. The point that 50,000 words is usually NOT a full novel is exactly why I don’t think it matters that my own goal for the month doesn’t match that–because you won’t have a finished product no matter what you do. I have yet to go through the heavy editing, multi-draft process on anything I’ve ever written. Maybe that’s why I haven’t managed to get anywhere with any of my writing yet, who knows. But I know, like anyone knows who has tried to write beyond school papers, that the “writing part,” as difficult as it may be at times, is the easy part of writing.

 

Although I don’t think that NaNoWriMo’s claim is that anyone can write a book–at least, not one that’s worth publishing. I think it’s more of a catalyst and, now, a way for writers to make connections. Anyone who reads this and has experience with it, please tell me if the NaNoWriMo community has been beneficial to you. Maybe next year I’ll try to participate for real.

Druid Life

In January, everyone should try and choreograph a ballet. In March we should all write an opera, and in June everyone should paint a fresco. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? And yet the idea that everyone could write a novel in November gets a good deal more acceptance. Why do we assume that, while these other forms would require skills, knowledge and practice beyond most people’s experience, anyone can write a book? It drives me round the bend.

Getting people to explore their creativity is something I’ve always considered important, but I think that should begin with a respect for whatever form you are working in. To start by assuming the form is easy, requires no study, research or insight, is to set yourself up to fail. I don’t think that benefits anyone. So, here are a few counterarguments.

Fifty thousand words is not really a book; that’s rather short. Seventy…

View original post 688 more words