November, In Closing

In a few short hours – but not any shorter than any other hours, of course – November will be over. Finally…

Although I’m glad December is just around the corner, I do have one small regret… I didn’t actually meet any of my November writing goals. If you missed them, or don’t remember them, you can read about them in this post.

I certainly still intend to do these things at some point, but I do feel a little bit like I let an opportunity slip away by not using NaNoWriMo to devote myself to writing. I’m tired of attempting to justify (mostly to myself) the wasted time, and I’m tired of getting so little writing done. But why am I telling you this? It’s my problem – one I’m unlikely to solve any time soon.

I did manage to finish Chapter 2 of Helen, and although that is far behind where I wanted to be, it’s something anyway. I didn’t finish any of the short stories or write my synopsis or work at all on my fairy tales. I have not yet done the cursory edit of chapter 2 either – I’ll try to get to that in the next few days so you can read it.

Generally, there is more bad than good to my Novembers. Maybe next year…

In Samhna

It is the second day of No-NaNoWriMo. I hope everyone who has November writing goals did something interesting and writing-related yesterday, because I did not write a word. However, tonight I’m planning to write a nice chunk of some story or other. I seem to have excess energy and I might feel a bit lest restless after I write. We’ll see.

I did manage to read the entire poem in Pale Fire, and now I’m on the commentary. I am reading it all in page order. Not, as Charles Kinbote suggests, the commentary, then the poem with commentary, then commentary again. Teehee. I’m thinking of trying to find some essays on Pale Fire and read them, if their ideas are intriguing enough. Sadly, I’m probably not taking in enough to try to review it, but I am enjoying it. More than I enjoyed some parts of Life of Pi, which would have surprised me if I had told me before reading either book. Anybody else read these books? What do you think of them?

In case anyone is interested, my reading list looks like this right now:

1. Pale Fire

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

3. The Witch of Portobello (Paulo Coelho)

4. Iron Council (China Mieville)

I may stick one or two other quick reads in between three and four. I am also rereading the Harry Potter series all the way through. I’ll admit that I love the books and I enjoy the movies, some much more than others, although I’m not a fanatic, like some people. I do have a Harry Potter t-shirt though. I’m on book 4 right now.

I know, I know. “Get on with the writing.” But I always think it’s interesting to hear what writers are reading, and I’m making an effort at the moment to read books with literary merit. I’m sure if you didn’t care you’d have stopped reading this post by now, and that makes this particular paragraph sort of pointless, no?


(Samhna – “November” in Gaelic)

No NaNoWriMo For Me


October is nearly over, which is both a relief and an annoyance to me (I got all the way through October without being employed? It just doesn’t seem right – or fair…). November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, and I have plans.

I had considered participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but the way things have worked out, it’s not practical or indeed possible to do so. I need to focus on other things at the moment, not to mention the project I’m working on is likely to be much longer than 50,000 words when completed. So, with a hint of regret I have concluded that I won’t be writing a novel this November.

Still, it would be a good way to get myself to write a bit more often if I did something for NaNoWriMo, even if it means I have to make up my own, alternate rules. I have therefore set a few writing goals for November, which I will now list in bullet point form.

  • In my novel about Helen of Troy, finish the first three chapters, and post. That will, most likely, be the extent of what I put in this blog (regarding Helen). It’s a good stopping point. By that time, readers should have a sense of Helen (although the “backstory” i.e. things you could probably find out by looking up information on wikipedia – will not yet be revealed), and something interesting will have happened.
  • Draft/finish approximately 5-10 short stories, some of which will then be submitted to publications. If I there are stories I do not submit, they will become blog posts as soon as they’re done.
  • Complete a usable synopsis of The Universe Through Their Mouths, a collection of tales in which various mythical characters encounter the Hindu god Krishna.
  • Work on typing up/editing retellings of fairy tales, consider places to submit.

The first two bullets are my main goals, very good goals I think, and perfectly acceptable to finish them and not the others. The last bullets are things I really should just do already. They’re on this list for the occasion that I finish the other goals before November ends, or just need different writing projects to work on.

Thanks for your indulgence on this utterly logistical post. I realize that the complete lack of lyricism and style in the writing you see here is not likely to inspire your confidence if you have not read anything else I’ve written. If you’re new to this blog, I ask that instead of judging my writing on this post, you look at a few of my older posts. Perhaps the posts of chapters 1 and 2 of Helen? Thanks again!

Making Plans

As I reread a wonderful novel written by Virginia Woolf, her pure talent for writing inspires me once again to want to spend all of my time writing. For some reason she stirs up my desire to create, which often gets lost when I feel satisfied simply appreciating the words of others.

Of all the ideas I store in my head, part of my Helen of Troy story rises to the top, and fills my mind, and aches to bleed onto a virtual page through my keyboard. I tend to do lots and lots of research before delving into such a project, but I think that this time I might just start with what I already know and then, later, fill in the parts that need to feel more authentic to the time in which it is supposed to take place.

My idea for rewriting the Helen story is simple: I want to make her a warrior. The idea came originally from an episode of Xena Warrior Princess, believe it or not. In that episode, Helen was very nearly a non-person. She barely had a personality at all, and she was quite incapable of doing anything for herself. It annoyed me so much that I said to myself, “I’m going to write a version of the Trojan War that portrays Helen as a strong character.”In all likelihood someone has already done something similar, but that wouldn’t stop me.

I have yet to decide whether she will be Helen of Troy, Helen of Sparta, or both.

And, rather unrelated, I’m planning to participate to some extent in NaNoWriMo this year. If nothing else, it would be pretty awesome to get a whole first draft of a novel done in a month.