31 October 2016
I went back and forth on whether to do NaNo this year (it starts tomorrow!)...I know I can do 50,000 words in a month; if you add up all the things I work on, I easily do 3 times that on an average month. It feels a little bit like cheating, when the purpose is to create a daily writing habit that I already have.

But...I'm doing it anyway, and using it to make myself sit my ass down and get the vomit draft of the third book in the Wick Chronicles done. This time of year it's too easy to get distracted, and it's too easy to make excuses--holiday shopping, and I have the second book to finish revisions on, which need to be done soon else the Wicked Witch of the East sets me on fire right before Thanksgiving--so having a goal of earning that shiny PDF certificate might be enough to keep me working.

I'll be writing around work yet to be done on final draft revisions for Ozoo (working title, though it seems to be sticking), so the Spouse Thingy has been warned: he's going to get a lot of shop time in November, because I'll have my face glues to notebooks and computers. This disappoints him greatly, as I'm sure you can imagine...being forced to go play in his workshop where he gets to create pens and bottle openers and clocks. I'm a cruel taskmaster.

Starbucks may need to give me my own table. I know I'll be spending a lot more time (and $) there.

A few days ago, I had a discussion online with a couple of people who want to give it a try, but are overwhelmed by the idea. Fifty thousand words seems like a lot. Writing an entire novel in a months seems like a lot. How can anyone even do it?

Here's the thing: 50,000 words does not a novel make. If you stop at 50K, you've got a novella (which is a lovely thing to write, and if you can do it, more power to you. I'm far too verbose) and even then, you're really not done. At the end of the month, whether you have 50,000 or 60,000 or 100,000+ words, what you have is, at best, the first draft. What I'll end up with is a vomit draft--called so because I pretty much vomit the words out and don't go back and edit anything. I just write. I write until I'm done, and then I go back and eviscerate the whole thing.

That's what you want to do for NaNoWriMo: write without editing. Let the story pour out, see where it goes, and while you're at it, create the habit of sitting down for a couple of hours a day and writing.

It's under 1700 words a day.

You really can do it.

No, you won't have a publishable manuscript, and that's just fine (and if you do, I bow to you.) But you will have written a book, and it will be a giant piece of YOU, and it's awesome (and scary and nerve-wracking and amazing.) It's also just flat out fun.

Don't let the nay-sayers--and there are those who look down their thin, long, pointy noses at the entire concept--push you away from it.

There's a book inside you.

Let it out.


21 October 2016

My insomnia is no secret; it's not unusual to find me posting on Facebook at three in the morning, usually something whining about not sleeping, because I'm original like that. I make an effort to get to bed at a normal people time, so that I can get up at a normal people time, but there's a huge obstacle in my way.

Its name is Max.

Max has no problem ignoring my existence throughout most of the day. He wants me for breakfast, a 10 a.m. snack, dinner, TV-watching lap time around 8 p.m., snack, and then I no longer exist for him again.

Unless I'm asleep.

When I'm asleep, Max becomes social. When I'm asleep, Max has 3,298 things he desperately needs to discuss. Now, I sit in bed and read for a bit before shutting everything down for the night, and he could come in and sit on the bed with me and talk his damned fool head off if he wanted to, but this is not when he feels pressed to be anywhere near me.

When he was only waking me once a night, I could deal with it. When he was waking me twice, I put up with it. But we reached the point where he was waking me more than once an hour, often 2-3 times, apparently for no reason other than he could. It wasn't even that he needed anything; he just wanted me to be awake.

I felt like crap most of the time, cranky and nauseated, because I was getting no uninterrupted sleep. So I did what I hated doing: I started closing the bedroom door at night, locking him out.

He didn't seem to notice at first. I listened, waiting for him to howl indignantly, but he was quiet. The only time I heard him in the hallway, meowing, was at breakfast time, and I could deal with that.

I finally started getting some sleep, rarely interrupted. The number of times I found myself on Facebook in the middle of the night dwindled to a rare few. I no longer felt like I wanted to punch every other person I passed during the day.

All through July, then August, I was able to sleep like a normal person.

In September, I heard him call out a few times, but nothing that worried me--he didn't actually need anything--or bothered me. If he was meowing by the door when I was sleeping, I didn't hear it.

Then he learned a new trick.

Max figured out how to knock on the door.

I have no idea how it occurred to him to even try--I mean, his ability to flip on light switches, I get, he sees us do it all the time, and when we do, light appears--but if he has an urgent need to wake me up, he knocks. And then hollers. And knocks again.

Knock, knock, knock. Meow. Knock knock, knock. Land shark. Knock, knock, knock.

The door is staying closed, because even so, I'm sleeping a little more than I was before, but he's back to waking me up.

And a lot of nights, I am truly grateful that Buddah is about as bright as a brick, otherwise...I'd probably be dead by now.


19 October 2016

The Spouse Thingy and I have been training for the 3 Day for a while now, and have had some fairly decent mileage days. The expectation has been that in this last month we would really ramp it up and get those 18/15 mile back-to-back walks in and test out just how delicate our feet are.

But then two days ago I got a message from my editor, one that effectively means we aren't walking this year after all (but hang on, there's more!)

The Wicked Witch of the East will be in San Francisco the weekend of the 3 Day along with her son, who is in the early-ish stages of founding a new publishing house, and will be meeting with a venture capitalist...and me. This is kind of a big deal, putting me right there at the door on opening day, one of the first writers they want to sign, and they want a face-to-face in November.

In the pro/con listing, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I have the prospect of better distribution, better marketing, better graphics, better everything. I don't have to give up my own imprints. On the con side...I have to be a grownup.

This counts as business casual, right?
But for right now, the big thing is that this meeting conflicts with going to San Diego for the 3 Day.


There's always a but...

They're allowing us to defer to next year, all the fundraising included. Anything you donated will still count toward us walking next year, but there will also be some prizes next year because the Spouse Thingy is still a little bit short.

So we're not going to San Diego. But we will still walk, but it will be in NorCal instead of SoCal, and it will be on our own instead of with the hundreds of other pink people. You're still getting the sweat equity from us.

We'll probably start walking the day after the meeting, because by then I am going to be horking up my toenails from nerves, but I should be good to go about 10 minutes after we're done.

My tummy already hurts.

In the meantime...DKM has to take me shopping for grownup clothes, so I can at least fake my way through looking the part.


17 October 2016

If you follow me on Facebook, you may recall that 10 days ago I was pondering the possible location of a manuscript I wrote 35 years ago. I knew I’d seen it at some point in the last couple of years, but couldn’t remember exactly where. When I wrote it, there were no personal computers or word processors; it was done on an old typewriter—not even electric—and the only copy of it existed on yellowing paper in fading ink.

I don’t know why I never typed it into Word and saved it as a digital file. I just didn’t. But I tend to keep everything I write, so I knew it was somewhere around here. I planned on digging through every box in the garage, every closet, and then a second time if needed…but then I ate something that did not agree with me, and I lost 5 days of searching.

But the night before last I was in the spare room—which is basically a closet, the walls lined with tall IKEA wardrobes—and spotted a plastic crate on top of one of the wardrobes that looked as if it might have old papers in it. Yesterday, since I felt better, I dragged a ladder inside, pulled the crate down, and then the sky opened up, pouring down sunshine and rainbows and puffy pink clouds made of candy.

It was there, buried under an assortment of old paperback books, and another, more recent manuscript.

I rushed to announce the discovery on Facebook—hurray!—and then sat down and began to read this decades-old fantasy novel, because surely I can now take that first draft and turn it into something good and worthy of other peoples’ time. I remembered bits and pieces of the storyline, which is why I wanted to find it; the concept was good, and it could be woven into the book I’m currently working on (The Wick Chronicles, Book Three, for those keeping score.)

The opening was a little shaky, but that’s all right. It was redeemable.

Then I kept reading. This serious book, a tale of salvation in the midst of war, made me howl with laughter. The story that has simmered somewhere in my brain since I was a teenager, one that I pounded out on a 30-year-old typewriter while sitting at the kitchen table in our first apartment in Provo, Utah, is so unbelievably bad, so horrifically plotted out, that I couldn’t help myself. Amid several dozen WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING moments there was a plethora of snickering at my own ineptitude and clumsy attempts at sounding oh-so-clever.

I’d forgotten so much of the story that reading it—in spite of the horror of how bad it really is—kept me turning the pages to see what happened next. Yes, the narrative sucked and the words I used were clumsy and poorly chosen, but I needed to know. How the hell did I resolve this mess?

It's not a long story; novella length, an easy 2 hour read. So I stayed in my chair with the pages perched on my lap, and read all the way through.

Right up to the point where I realized the last chapter, the final battle and story resolution, is missing.

I have no idea how this mess ended.

My laughter turned to a touch of upset; not because it needs to be finished, but because I really want to know how the hell I took a teenaged boy from his life as a cobbler’s son to defeating an army of highly trained warriors serving at the whimsy of a Dark Wizard…all in under 150 double spaced pages.

The story is there, though. It will serve as threads that I can wind through my work-in-progress, and another ending can be written, but damn…I really want to know how this clusterfrak of a book ended.


7 October 2016

♦ I have been awake since 6:20 this morning and I can't even blame Max. What I can blame is a freaky assed dream in which I was dying. I don't know from what, but I was at death's door, and the Spouse Thingy wanted me to get out of bed to make a pot roast while he went out to get milkshakes.

♦ This would be funny, if not for the fact that three people I care about have died in the last week and a half.

♦ And that better have been a damned good milkshake, Spouse Thingy.

♦ Today is day one of the Atlanta 3 Day, and a bunch of my favorite people are there, either walking or crewing. I freaking loved Atlanta (and it's where I met most of them!) and would like to walk it again someday. Hell, I'd like to just visit it again someday.

♦ While they spend the weekend sweating, I'm spending it...well, sweating some because I have training to do...working. Book #2 of The Wick Chronicles needs one more pass, and then it goes to the editor. Maybe she can think of a good title.

NaNoWriMo is coming up. 50,000 words in 30 days. I know it has a lot of critics, but I am not one of them. It's a terrific writing exercise and in that 30 days you can certainly get the bones of a story out of your head. I'm tempted to sign up again and use the time to build the foundation for the third book in the Wick series, even though I'll lose a week while we're in San Diego for the 3 Day. Losing a week puts the word count at around 2200 a day, and I can do that.

♦ So, we'll see. I already have notes on paper and a story in my head, so it's doable.

♦ Son of a bitch, now I want a milkshake.

♦ And pizza.

♦ It takes about 8-10 miles of walking to burn off pizza. But it might be worth it.

♦ It's now 9:20, and I kinda want to go back to bed...