Here We Go!

Tomorrow is day one of NaNo!  Are you ready?

I am lucky enough to get four days off from work in a row.  I don’t have any set plans, which I think will help with the writing, but I do have several ideas if I get stuck or need inspiration.

There are a few possible distractions, like needing sleep, groceries, and clean laundry.  Fortunately it should still be possible for me to get ahead of par and get things done in the time I have.

If you’re participating in NaNo, best of luck!  Let’s get started! 🙂

Seeing the World Differently

A friend of mine offered a suggestion for a post yesterday, based on an adventure we had a couple of days ago.  It was a logical suggestion, but the most interesting thing that came from the conversation was a discovery that we approach writing in two very different ways.

First, a little background.  We went to the shooting range over the weekend, which was a new experience for me.  I had never shot a gun before (except a dart gun in a college class).  He suggested that I think about that trip as a potential basis for a story.

I explained at this point that I do, in fact, need to physically experience my stories in order to write them.  However, those are more often fights, like the dragon battle scene that my sister and I “choreographed” in the swimming pool.

It turns out that he starts with a scenario, like walking through a park at night or visiting a pawn shop, and then develops a character that fits into the scene.  It’s a “what kind of person would…” form of writing, and while I understand it intellectually, my creative side doesn’t get it.  My characters come first, and then I follow them around to see what scenarios they get into.

Of course, when I told him that my characters talk in my head, his response was to ask, “Have you told that to a professional?”  Obviously my form of inspiration is foreign to his creativity.  🙂

Reading the words that don’t count

There are about 11,000 words in Mara’s Tale already.  While I am fully committed to being a NaNo rebel due to these words, I am not going to count them towards my total.  I am going to write 50,000 new words in November.

I do, however, need to see what’s already there.  It’s been a while since I’ve looked at them, much less written anything.

There are several scenes I am excited to write.  I know there are at least two that I didn’t finish, because I got stuck in the middle and didn’t want to force it.  I have yet to decide if I’m going to work chronologically this time or go with the flow.  Since I already know what happens (at least overall, if not in specifics) it’s tempting to try to work out-of-order.  The benefit is that I can write what seems fun at the time; the downside is going back and linking it all!

Here’s hoping that a quick review of the existing material helps me get my thoughts in line.  I’ll pay a visit to the giant timeline in my spare room, too, just to get the juices flowing.  I need to get this girl talking again if she’s going to carry me through this year’s NaNo!

Signs of Impending Winter

Tonight my winter coat was not enough to stop the bite of frozen breezes.  The wind comes only from the north now, sometimes in whispers, often in gusts, but no matter the speed the edge is razor-fine.  Gloves and woolen cap were pulled down from the shelf weeks ago, but still sat on my table most days; now they will inhabit pockets and bags, ready at a moment’s notice.

The first sign arrived weeks ago, a thin layer on windshields, the scraper pulled from my trunk and the dial turned to defrost.  Glorious days of sun and sixty shout an occasional reluctance to leave, gracing us with an afternoon of warmth that is quickly lost when dusk arrives.  Thermostats shifted from cool to warm bring again the crackle of static in clothes and the cracking of too-dry skin.

It is the beginning of the season of layers, of jeans and sweaters and boots.  The months of snow and ice and dark approach, when driving becomes treacherous and even walking the dog has hazards.  This year I am better prepared.  I recognize the signs, know the dangers, and have the tools to make it through.  There are more than two sweaters hanging in my closet now, my winter wardrobe replenished after a decade further south.

Winter is coming, the first waves lapping the shore hinting of the rising tide to come.

But My Apartment Is Messy…

It’s been one heck of a week.

There are several things I should do tomorrow, when I have a day off from work.  I should read the book I got from the library, especially considering that I’ve barely made it past the prologue.  I should relax, recuperate, and let my body recover from the last seven days.  I should get groceries and cook up some of the veggies I have left from my CSA.

The problem is that this week has also left my apartment somewhat worse for wear.

It’s very hard for me to relax when my apartment is messy.  There is something in my brain that just can’t sit still or power down when there is clutter on my bathroom counter or dishes that need to go in the dishwasher.

I also have trouble writing when my space is disorganized.  Since NaNo is quickly approaching, it is very likely that I will be cleaning tomorrow instead of reading or relaxing.  That way I can give myself the mental lift that comes from a clean house, and I can prepare my world for the writing storm to come.

It seems off that cleaning can be preparation for NaNo, but if that’s the kind of thing that distracts you, it’s a good idea to have it on the list of pre-November tasks!

Writing Practice

In preparation for NaNo, I am going to give myself specific assignments for my descriptive writing practice.  Tonight the assignment is dogs.

She laughed out loud as the pack came galloping into the room.  They raced a lap around her recliner; the brisk air must have given them a burst of energy.

The four dogs dashing around the room could not have been more different if she’d planned it.  The largest reached just to the arm of her chair, the Lab portion of his lineage evident in his rounded face, short coat and yellow coloration.  He moved in a bounding gait that shouted play.  Two small dogs also pranced about, yipping their joy with every step.  The smallest was white and fluffy, with tiny round ears and a short snout.  She moved her legs twice as fast as the others just to keep up, while her counterpart leapt into the air on every third step.  He was only slightly bigger than her, but his slender legs and delicate build made him appear taller.  His coat was black, and feathering trailed from his tail and ears.  The leader of the race took her running much more seriously, lapping the other dogs as she ran flat-out around the perimeter of the room.  She was nearly all whippet, with skinny legs, a deep chest, and a body so narrow she nearly disappeared when looked at from the front.  The tips of her upright ears tipped down, giving her a ridiculous look, but right now they were pinned back as she bolted around the room in an attempt to show the rest who was fastest.

Fortunately, circling the room several times was enough for the skinny dog.  She quickly gave up and settled into her usual spot on the couch.  The two smaller dogs were happy to find themselves in the recliner with their person; one settled under each arm, between leg and armrest.  The big dog continued to pester her, until he finally chose his ball and brought it to her.  Without getting up, she tossed it down the hall over and over until he, too, had finally had enough.

Sharing Too Much

Tonight I feel I need to step up on my soapbox and say something about a trend I’ve been noticing on Facebook.  This trend is knee-jerk sharing.  It comes from seeing a post on a friend’s page, having an immediate emotional reaction, and sharing said post without doing any independent checking.  (Usually, the post ends up being wrong.)  This typically happens one of two ways.

First, there are the fake stories about toilet spiders, cash back scams, and other things that cause fear.  Most of these posts are written in the same manner as urban legends and email hoaxes, with the “it happened to someone I know” format.  They are scary, with supposed real details, and come with a warning to avoid certain things or do certain behaviors.  For some reason, people have become suspicious of these when they show up as emails (probably because we’ve all seen the ridiculous ones before) but when it’s a post on Facebook, of course it must be true!

The second that is starting to be more prevalent is the satirical article posted as if it was a real news story.  Either someone will post it honestly thinking that its real, or the poster will be joking but their friends comment as if the story was true.  Most people recognize that certain sites are satire, but these days there are many and it is often hard to tell that they are meant to be humor.

The first one is easy to avoid – there’s even a website out there that specializes in researching these kinds of items and classifies if they are factual or fictional.  The second is just a little harder; you have to actually check out the source website for the article.  Really, though, either one takes very little time.  Just do a couple minutes of research before you automatically click “share” and we’ll all be better off for it!

That concludes this message from our author.  We now return you to regularly scheduled blogging. 🙂

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