Monday, November 30, 2009

What I read: Nov 2009

When I decided to do NaNoWriMo, I suspected it would cut into my reading time.

"The King of Elfland's Daughter" by Lord Dunsany Various people talked about this book at VP, so I put it on my list. It was published in 1923 or so, but I didn't find it stylistically difficult to read. Lots of exposition. Seemed really archetypal. Elfland was more fully alien than in a lot of books, the king and his daughter sort of like the Sithi in Dragonbone Chair. The feel itself was more of a cross between "Stardust" (not a surprise, as Neil Gaiman wrote the intro to the edition I read) and Catherynne M. Valente.

Yeah, that's it. Next month will be better, I'm sure, but partly because I have two library books our right now, and another in transit. I also knit three hats.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today: 5147; Total: 61,798 the end, I win

Yeah, that's a wrap. It's been a good experience. I bet this first draft isn't any worse than most of the other ones I've produced. And it's done. Now, I think a reward. Perhaps a nice, hot bath. Oh, and to read a book again. Haven't done that in a while.

Tomorrow, maybe I'll edit a short story.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today: 5046; Total: 56,351

Every Saturday morning I go out for what I refer to as my weekly run. It's about 5k, less than 40 minutes. I take various routes through the neighbourhood. This morning I left the house at about 11:15 and ran south through the wooded park there.

I was on the west side of the creek that runs through the park, and there was someone crashing through the undergrowth on the east side of the creek. There's a trail over there, but it's not paved like the one I was on, and the last time I was on it, a couple of trees were down, which disrupted my gait. I took little notice, except to think it was a little cold (7 degrees C) to be running in shorts, but whatever. And then he turned his course towards me. I ran along, and he ran along, and then he stopped when he got to the river, and he stood there. Full frontal.

With his pants in his right hand, and his genitalia in his left.


Having watched Criminal Minds last night, I decided not to laugh. I picked up the pace, maybe, and stayed on my side of the stream.

In 50 meters or so, I encountered some dog-walkers. We said hello. In another 20 minutes, I saw the same dog walkers again on the other side of the circuit, and they said hello, as cheerily as before. So I guess he didn't provide them the same display as he provided me.

Ed thinks I should have turned around and run home and called the cops. I bet he wasn't out there anymore by the time I got home. Isn't flashing more of a summer activity?

On the wretched zombie novel, things I need to learn about: ice roads and the res -- northern Ontario in general. I wonder if I can get a grant, like this woman I used to know, Erin, did? She got thousands of dollars to spend like ten days in Peterborough (!). I guess I should ask. It would be an interesting way to spend March break, researching a novel.

Today: 555; Total: 51,306

Got to the end of Chapter 17. Maybe tomorrow I'll get 18 and 19 done. That would be sweet. The outline has 23 chapters, but I may be able to do away with two or three of them. Then I could finish by Monday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today: 528; Total: 50751

Yeah, yesterday I crossed an important milestone, but I'm keeping going at the same alarming clip until next monday, when I expect to type "The End" and be happy.

Maybe I'll buy some books then or something, as a reward. I have a list...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today: 1149; Total: 50,223

Today I had an epic fail. (I started telling the boy this story at dinner, and he told me I couldn't use that phrase, so Ed said it was a catastrophic mistake. Later the boy agreed it was epic. And a fail.)

So at my day job, we've been sued for trademark infringement by an Even Bigger Company (TM). My task for the last few days has been to remove the offending "similar" name from all product documentation (not as easy as it seems -- we have until the end of 2010, and there are lots of places where the word still appears in software, etc.).

I'd promised a draft "early in the week" and so today I was putting the finishing touches on it, slapping a cover on, renumbering the pages, and sent it out at the last minute just before leaving. Maybe 30 seconds went by and I was putting on my coat, when I got an email reply.

"You might want to take the old name off the cover."

Today: 1230; Total: 49074

More than I planned to write, but I got to the end of the scene I wanted to write, and the story is progressing. I think I may need to combine a couple of chapters tomorrow, or the action is going to slow down too much.

Congratulations to Sean Craven, by the way, for his first pro sale. I read that story at VP. I remember trying to figure out why an ex-military guy was having such a hard time with PTSD, and it turned out I'd misread Amy for Army. That's what happens when I don't get enough sleep.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today: 590; Total: 47,844

As I just tweeted, I'm pretty sure I'll hit 50K, but I won't feel like a winner unless I type "the end".

I have eight chapters blocked and unwritten. Maybe I'll get my certificate, but I won't print it until I'm done. I may run to 70K. I would hate to lose the drive that I've had to finish this, and if I stop at the end of November, I'll have 60K.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today: 5066; Total: 47,254

Moving in towards a win, if not a "the end". Today's massive word count was two chapters, which is good because I'm moving along. I'm on Chapter 16 now of the 25 in my outline, though I might be able to take out some of those later chapters, near the end, because I'm not sure I need them all.

Maybe I'll do a quick clean-up of the rest of the outline, and then some yoga and bed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Today: 5046; Total: 42188

That went better than I expected. This morning I wrote 2148 words in an hour, then I went to karate and had dinner, and did shift two (the subsequent almost 2900, don't ask me to do math right now) in two hours. I am quite pleased with myself. Things took an interesting turn while I was trying to justify previous odd behaviors.

Not so confident in tomorrow, but maybe I'll just start a new chapter.

Today: 527; Total: 37,142

Tomorrow could be rough. I don't have much enthusiasm right now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today: 736; Total: 36,615

Today's word I didn't know how to spell: Makiwara. I accidentally ramped up the tension on my main characters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today: 708; Total: 35,879

I had to un-kill a character today. Now he's just missing. That's much easier to progress the plot forward, when there's uncertainty.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today: 561; Total: 35,171

Well, that's interesting. Apparently the thing that happened overnight in my story, while my heroine was grounded, was there was a bar fire. Thus is the triumvirate completed. A week ago my local had a fire, and now I can't go there anymore. Then last Saturday I saw a (small but exciting accidental) paper fire in a bar. And now a bar fire has solved my story problem.

So I guess I'm safe from having a bar burn down around me next Saturday. This is good.

Today: 813; Total: 34610

I have no idea what happened overnight while my main character was grounded from fighting zombies. I hope I find out tomorrow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today (total): 5214; Total: 33,786

I"m not seeing this as a 50,000 word story right now, which is too bad, because I'd love to write "the end" on November 30, rather than have more story to write.

So we were out rollerblading earlier in an industrial park near the airport (they're the best place to blade -- no weekend traffic, few parked cars.) We played in a loading bay and I discovered muscles I didn't know I had. And I said to Ed, when he suggested one particularly steep hill that he had no intention of going down himself, "I don't think I could win NaNoWriMo with two broken wrists."

Seriously, the combo of karate and NaNoWriMo is giving me tendonitis. Maybe I should just read a book for a while now, rather than knit.

Today (so far): 2606; Total: 31,178

Half of today's quota achieved, and it went by pretty quickly. I wrote a big zombie fight scene. Now my heroes have to figure out what to do with the bodies. Oh, and all the other zombies running around town. I sense they are going to get very tired, very fast.

Today: (total, finally) 5008; Total: 28,573

I shouldn't do this while I'm watching TV. It takes much longer.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today: 3137 (before karate); Total: 26,702

This evening I took Ed to the Chizine book launch. I've been to a few book launches before -- my former boss's wife had two, I think. This one was very pleasant. As Ed said, "It's okay; we have to eat." This one was in a restaurant, which was fine.

I wanted to go because I still totally enjoy David Nickle's columns in the North York Mirror, and it's always good to go out and represent. I bought a book. It has a hand-drawn cyclops in it.

And now for the two degrees of separation moment. I recognized Leah Bobet from her blog. I probably scared her in my own special drunk way. Now I guess I'll have to comment over there sometime. She was not wearing her cool hipster glasses.

As Ed said afterwards: "That was fine. I guess we'll have to go to more of these. Hopefully one with your book." Yeah, really. Just another reason I need to take improv classes. I need to learn a persona that can interact normally with other humans.

Guess I should go write that other 1863 words now so I can call my day a success.

Linking is harder with IE8.

Today (so far): 1802; Total: 25,367

That would be half-way to a win. Though I'm not sure how this story can sustain itself for another 25,000 words. And it's all crap, crap, crap. Today there are zombie wolves.

Today: 836; Total: 23565

I wrote a really tension-less zombie discovery scene, but that's what revision is for, right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Today: 522; Total: 22,629

Tonight was karate pub night, so I got home at 11:30 from that (glad I went though) and then I had to write my 500 words, or not achieve the daily goal. At least I had a good plan for the next scene.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

today: 547; Total: 22107

Not a bad write today -- watched "Planet Earth" at the same time, and it was distressing.

Also, my local bar seems to have had a fire. I don't know where I'm going to go on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today: 520; Total: 21560

The neatest thing happened in the story. About a week ago I realized that Katalin was an immigrant from Romania. Then, I was writing a scene where Tanner suggested to her dad that there may be someone running around biting people and infecting them with... an affliction. Katalin's dad got to totally dis that, because he knows from vampires, and they're not real, because he's been to Transylvania (in Romania).


Monday, November 09, 2009

Today: 703; Total: 21,040

That wasn't so bad. And I even baked a cake today, a reprise of my birthday cake from three weeks ago, for the United Way bake sale.

I find baking cakes vaguely stressful. Sure smells good, though.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Today: 5114; Total: 20,337

One of today's scenes involved a zombie bear, except none of the characters realize it's a zombie. Though I have a character who's a full-out zombie now, no one realizes he's zombified yet. Anyway. Google is not a good source for finding out how bear tranquilizer works.

Failed again.

I was having flow. The last 400 words flew by, and all of a sudden I was at 20,000, and I was being surprised at what Tanner said, but it seemed so genuine. He really meant it. I guess this is the good thing of NaNoWriMo. This morning, when I had to cut out every word from my brain with a rusty spoon, that was the bad side.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Today: 5105 (cumulative); Total: 15,223

At around 13,000 words (I have a thousand words of outline below the point where I'm currently writing chapter 6) a zombie finally shambles into the scene.

Twitter is awesome. My VP classmate seancraven said: @WriterRobyn See, that's what I love about you. The mix of hip chik/family gal/literatus/dealer of death. We need more of that

This was in response to my writing a nasty fight scene whilst watching UFC and thinking I don't miss knitting *that much*.

Yeah, I'll just miss all the new sweaters and socks, all winter. The sacrifice!

Today (so far): 1600; Total: 11711

Today I am writing on the computer that has MSWord 2003, not 2007. 2003 does not provide me with a running word count. I write until I drop, rather than stopping when I hit a number. Still, I'd like to get another thousand before I go to karate, which will leave me with 2400 to finish the day's quota.

Still no zombies, although the Floridians are staging a bloodless coup. And this is awesome, because I only threw them in originally to give the story a little "color". I didn't expect them to do anything.

They will be some of the first to go when the zombies show up, sometime after dinner.

(yesterday): 518; total: 10,112

I seem to have missed a day or two on the updates there, but I didn't miss the writing. Oh no. Today will be a writing-ful day. I want to have an actual zombie by the time I go to bed.

Yeah, that means more than ten thousand words of my zombie novel, with nary a zombie in sight. I'm sure they'll make up for it, when they arrive.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Today: 827; Total: 9136

Today I had to research weather on Okinawa (accidentally learned how to spell that correctly, also) and whether a skidoo requires a key for its ignition system (yes).

I was having trouble getting started, and one of my fellow VPers suggested I throw in some bacon. It worked! I wrote a sentence about a bit character eating some bacon, and then I was off!

So it's my first NaNoWriMo tip is this: When you get stuck, throw in some bacon. Everything is better with bacon.

Today: 543; Total: 8303

I am having a hard time progressing the plot. I think that's why I skipped a couple of chapters yesterday and wrote something violent (that I moved today, wasting 40 minutes of precious Tuesday writing time).

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Today's count: 644; total: 7766

Last night after I gave up, having done a terrible thing, in order to get any words at all (I abandoned Chapter 4, skipped Chapter 5, and started Chapter 6), I was standing in the shower singing "St. Brendan's Way" by Lowest of the Low, and I realized a really important thing about my main character. She's an immigrant. Her parents used to be doctors, back in the old country. I also realized, standing in the shower (EBear said something about plot points being soluble in hot water or something...) that the 500+ words I wrote to start Chapter 6 actually belong at the end of Chapter 1.

I wrote a fight scene.

Unfortunately, when I move those words, I might wind up with a net loss tonight. That sucks.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


How this happened to me:

So Thursday I'd tweeted that I wasn't doing it, and as soon as I did that, it started to nag at me. And Friday, I was sitting in the lab and the computer was really slow, and I had scrap paper, so I started calculating... 50,000 words, 30 days.

That's only 1667 words per day. Or 12,500 per week.

So, if I did 5000 words each weekend day, that would mean I only had to do 500 words on each weekday, and I'd have two weekdays off in case I fell ill or disaster struck. I'll be fine.

Right now, I have 6506 words, because I started at 12:01 am and did two thousand words before I went to bed. This evening, I wrote an outline of sorts. That counts as words, it does, because I'll be fleshing them out later. So I want to get up to 7000 words, then I can do some yoga, and finish that sock heel, and maybe read some of that book, and go to bed!

First person present

At VP, George G. said to someone that writing in first person present can be a really interesting experience, so that's what I'm doing.

I just updated my NaNoWriMo page. I've written 4515 words since midnight (that's about 2000 last night, and 2500 this morning). My novel is called "Not Quite Cold Enough". It's a YA novel about a karate club in a northern medical outpost that finds itself in a battle against zombies. Justine Larbalestier had made a post a month or two back about not enough YA books with female athlete protagonists, which gave me the idea for my main character to be a girl brown belt. Perhaps I would have gotten there anyway, once I started writing. Probably, considering.

Yeah, I'm like 9% done.

I'd really like at the end of the month to be able to write "The End", not just "Well, there's 50,000, I guess I win!"