Monday, November 30, 2009

Sometimes a lack of posting means I will give birth to a novel in a month.

After perusing my blog stats, I've realized that my readership has dropped down to virtually zero. For the one reader who still checks this blog, (or possibly two? Are you a reader out there, person from Romania?), I wish to send out this apology:

I'm sorry.

You see, I've been a little occupied this month. I was in Colorado for some of it, during which time I accessed the internet only once and realized my unread emails had accrued enough mass to collapse into a supermassive black hole that is even now sucking in the entire internet, and from which I only just managed to escape with my life.

Also, there was that whole Thanksgiving thing, which involved a massive amount of time and energy. Energy which was expended on corralling and entertaining a tornado of children (I believe that's the official phrase for 'a group of children,' isn't it?), consuming vast quantities of turkey and pie (not together, just so you know), and playing fiercely competitive domino games with the adult family members (and one niece, who is even more competitive than the grownups).

In short, it has been a wholly awesome month.

However, there has been one more thing that has kept me from blogging, namely NaNoWriMo, which required all of the writing juice I could squeeze out of myself. (Writing juice is a lovely deep caramel color, with sweetness like honey and just a faint hint of lemon zest. And sometimes garlic.) So, you see, I had pretty much nothing left at the end of the day to squirt into the blogosphere. (That...that actually sounds pretty disgusting. Eugh.)

But now, behold, I have returned. And what's more, I have returned...


Behold the mighty winner's trophy for those who vanquish the terrible NaNoWriMo beast and...


Sorry. Got a little carried away, there.

Naturally, my novel is nowhere close to being actually finished, although I crossed the NaNo finish line at rather an exciting point in the story, so I'm pretty confident I'll see this thing through to the end. (Unlike my last NaNo novel, which has been gathering virtual dust in a corner of my computer for the past three years.)

So, my blogging should be back on schedule, now. (That is, I'll blog when I darn well feel like it, and not before.)

And also, HUZZAH! For I have won! And maybe, maybe someday, I may actually be able to hold the novel in my hands, coo at it a little, and read it aloud as a punishment to misbehaving children.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

And I will love it, and squeeze it, and call it My Debut Novel

Those of you who know me (basically pretty much anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis) may know that I am, for the second time in my life, participating in the annual 30-days-of-madness that is the NaNoWriMo experience.

I got involved for the first time back in 2006, when I was working full time and contemplating a future career as a librarian (which I am still contemplating, by the way--I'm just contemplating with an MLS in-hand nowadays).

I took on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days (it works out to an entirely doable 1,667 words per day, which is roughly 6 pages (give or take, depending on how much dialogue you put in versus dense descriptive passages) of double-spaced text in a word processing document.

Not bad, and as I mentioned, totally doable. However, I avoided getting involved in 2007, and the November of 2008 was possibly the most intense semester I had while getting my Master's degree. So you'll understand why I didn't feel that any textual creation that was not directly linked to how to create a storytelling kit out of felt and rhymes about monkeys was going to be beneficial to me.

And I got all 'A's that semester, as I recall. So the novel-that-might-have-been was sacrificed on the alter of the GPA gods.


This year I am free from (almost) all constraints. I have no job. (Which is still making me tremble with terror every time I remember that loan repayment is steadily marching toward me, but I manage to avoid the remembrance as much as possible.) Well, I have no job aside from some writing work I'm doing for my bro-in-law (thanks, nameless B-in-L!). But it's not such intense work that I can't take the time (particularly during my peak writing hours from about midnight to 2 or 3am) to pound out a few pages of novel every day.

So I'm doing it again. That's what I'm saying. (In an admittedly (and typical) roundabout and pointless fashion.)

And I'm rather wholly excited at this point. The first day, I wasn't sure I would even start the thing, although I had an idea that I had worked out a few weeks in advance.

The second day, I despised what I had written (aside from the first two pages--those were pretty good) the way an advanced alien culture despises war-torn Earthlings in science fiction plots.

The third day, and the fourth, and fifth and now sixth, I have found that what I'm writing has some good bits. Some honest-to-goodness fine bits of prose, mishmashed together of course with a bunch of really crappy prose. But there are, nonetheless, pieces to be proud of. And the writing of the thing gets easier every time I sit down.

I even find myself thinking about the plot on the toilet. Surely that is the sign of a dedicated novelist!

So last night, I discovered that the fine folks at CreateSpace have donated their resources to the foolhardy souls who undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge. They have offered to, for free, print up a proof copy of the finished book of all NaNoWriMo winners (who sign up for an account, of course, and put together a pdf file of the finished (or pseudo-finished?) novel).

Which just. Blew my mind a little.

So, I can not only write a fabulous, earth-shatteringly, (cliche-ridden) amazing first novel, but I can also get a copy of it. Printed. To hold. In my hands. And lend to relatives who will read the first chapter and kindly suggest that I look harder for a librarian job. And try to sell to others on

I know it's self-publishing. I know it would not really make me a for-real published author. But, oh, my dear soul. There is something so appealing about the thought of holding my own book in my hands.

So much so, that I think I'll finish this year's NaNoWriMo too. 40,000 words to go, baby.