November 28, 2006

we have a winner!

Got to 50,000 words on Monday high in the air somewhere over Colorado. I needed about 4,000 for my final push to the NaNoWriMo goal, and I hit it thanks to my mother-in-law, who sat on the other side of Southwest 267's aisle with the kids.

I figure I've got about 10,000 or 15,000 more words to finish before December 15th (self-imposed deadline). That will be my short rough draft. Then I'll do the synopsis and ferret out the holes that need filling, then I'll add in the new scenes with the goal of getting it up to 75,000 by the end of the first revision. Then I'll let someone who likes me read it.

If you'd like to read the rough draft, email me or drop me a comment here. Caveat: It needs a lot of revision, though it does hang together as a coherent story. I think it even has no significant plot holes.

November 25, 2006

42000 and counting...

I feel quite confident that I will hit my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words by the 30th. I might even make my personal goal of 60,000 by then. The story is really falling into place, and I am beginning to think that some sections of the writing aren't awful enough to make your eyes bleed. You know, a word here, a phrase there. Even the occasional sentence.

The trick now, since I find I'm writing an accidental thriller, is to tie up all the loose ends. When you do 50,000 words in 30 days, though, it's hard just to identify all the loose ends, let alone corral them and force them into something resembling a knotted rope. But the story is almost writing itself at this point, and my main concern is that I will only get to about 65,000 words and it'll be all over. I could then either write a 20,000 word denoument or add some scenes and plot twists and such upon revision. I think I'll go with the latter.

Anyway, this is my third novel, and I think it will be the most commercially viable after revision. I'm actually feeling pretty good about it.

November 17, 2006

oh... shme!

I did not know that a friend I'd lost touch with had cancer until I read a post on the Cal footbal message board saying he passed away today. I hadn't seen Dave in several years, but he was utterly unforgettable. A nice guy, funny and zany, and about the biggest Cal sports fan you would ever want to meet (or maybe not want to meet).

Some quick memories of Dave:

He wore a black and white striped referee shirt and a whistle around his neck to Cal basketball games, sitting courtside and yelling at the referees from tip-off to the final whistle. Although I remember a newspaper photo with Dave prominently in the background, I can't find it via google. If you find it on line, send me a link!

Dave coined the term shme, which became part of The Jargon File. Although it was popularized mostly by Geoworks employees and spread from there, Dave was its originator.

Dave had an awesome room in his house in Berkeley for viewing football on TV. When he bought a big-screen TV, he wasn't satisfied with just picture-in-picture, so he put another smaller TV on top of the big screen so he could have picture-in-picture-AND-picture.

We roadtripped with Dave to the Cal v USC game at the LA Coliseum (I think it was 1992, when Cal led early and looked to be on the way to victory before a Bear lineman went down with a terrible neck injury and was driven off the field in an ambulance; after that, the fight went out of the Bears and USC came back to pull out a close, and undeserved, victory). The night before the game we stayed with Dave's mom. Many things about that trip I will always remember, including the mini pumpkin muffins, Dave yelling at the slow drivers in the left lane on I-5, and the bizarre, illustrated Swedish cookbook (in English): It looked like a kid's book, but all the illustrations were nudists, including a picnic with a kid in it. One of the recipes was Lutefisk. It went something like this: Go to the store and buy some Lutefisk. Soak it in water. Serve it.

One sentence: "Put the kitty in the Hobart!"

Another: "Where could he be?" (said with the whiny voice of Mark Hamill as Luke in the original Star Wars)

Another: "Third quarter gin and tonics!"

I will experience Cal football in a different way from now on knowing that Dave is no longer out there watching, too. (At least not in the same way I've always known him.)

November 14, 2006

Plugged in Utne Reader!

OK, I don't exactly get a plug in Utne Reader, but the debut issue of Thereby Hangs A Tale does, and that means my pub credit will be seen by a wider audience, sort of. Hey, you take what you can get when you've only got three pub credits so far.


On another note, my NaNoWriMo novel has taken a turn. My characters told me flat out that my original script was boring and flat, and they didn't relish the idea of taking 80,000 words to get to the tedious end. So they murdered someone and informed me that they would much rather take part in an action story. And the words are flowing a lot more smoothly; another 1100 and I'll be at the golden 25,000 (half way, a day early).

November 10, 2006

yip yahoo

Yes, you know I'm talking about election day.

animals rejoice
yay for the environment
pombo rejected

And, here's to the hope that my guys do better than their guys. I mean, the bar was set pretty low in the last six years, but politicians have a way of surprising us all.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Hit 17,022 words this afternoon. Ahead of the 50k pace, but not enough to make up for Saturday's and Sunday's projected combined zero word count. Have begun thinking my story is weak sauce. My plot is pathetic. My characters are flimsy cardboard cutouts with bad voice-overs. The writing has as much lyrical quality as the flock of Canadian geese I heard fly south today. And there's about as much tension in my story as there is in a rubber band that's been left on a Phoenix parking lot through the entire month of July. In other words, I am thinking that it sucketh. But I will finish it, quality be damned. I do believe there is a nugget of story in there that can be saved by hard work and revision.

To quote Thomas Edison, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Once the rough draft is done... that's when opportunity shows up in its overalls.

Huh. Sort of like election day. The Democrats that won the legislature had better not turn away opportunity just because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work.

November 5, 2006

way behind but keeping up

Wednesday I struggled to get to 2400 words. It just didn't feel right, wasn't flowing, wasn't the kind of quality prose I had written for my published short stories.

Thursday I rocked my way to 4500 words and felt the rust flaking off, the energy coming back to the writing. Partly because I got the hell out of my own way and jumped right to the action.

Friday I got caught up in work but managed to get 1400 words done on the train home and then another 8oo later that night to end up around 6700 for the first three days. Ahead of even my goal of 2000 words a day!

Saturday I went camping with E on a Webelos campout. Sunday... well, it's still Sunday and I've got an hour or so of energy left after dishes, laundry, more cub scout den meetings, housecleaning, getting the kids to bed, and catching up on emails. Let's see if I can accomplish anything in that time.