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NaNoWriMo, holidays, and Oz

I know, I know.  I should have written sooner, but I truly have been busy.  Let’s catch up, shall we?  My previous post was an update on NaNoWriMo so I’ll start there.  In case you didn’t already guess, I didn’t finish the month – or even the second week – of writing.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have any ideas, but because of exhaustion.  I work retail and this was one of the busiest holiday seasons my store has had since I started working there in 2003.  I work odd hours, some days going in at 7am, some at 2pm, and am on my feet all day.  By the time I get home, I’m tired and in need of mental decompression – and that’s just a normal day.  Add on the crazy demands for Christmas shoppers and the constant running around with very little down time, it’s no wonder that I wasn’t up for the task of writing after work.  Days off were spent restoring my energy and mental health.  It was too much for me to do what I was obligated to do, let alone an ambitious project on top of it.

Now, that’s not to say that I won’t go back to it.  NaNoWriMo is officially November, but can be done any month.  I can pick my manuscript back up in, say, March, when work won’t be very demanding and yet the weather still not so great that I will be distracted by wanting to play outside.  Should I continue with the novel I started, I will relay my progress on this blog.

Outside of work, I had a lovely holiday season.  Fred and I spent Christmas day with his parents and a little of his extended family.  It was nice to finally meet some of them and talk more with others I’d already met.  For New Year’s we went to a friend’s house for a game night and fireworks display over the lake.  It was fun, but I was mentally exhausted from the “go-go-go” of work since Thanksgiving.  We left shortly after midnight.

I’m not a fan of making many New Year’s resolutions since many times I (and people in general) set myself up for disappointment.  So, this year, I just have three simple and attainable resolutions:

1. Start getting allergy shots.

I know, this sounds like a lot of fun, but I’m really tired of constantly blowing my nose and sneezing.  Last May I got allergy testing done and I’m allergic to many things under the sun, including the two cats with whom I live.

2. Beat one of the Mario games on my own.

Fred has beaten all of the Mario games at least once on our Wii.  He grew up playing these games and has said that a lot of it is muscle memory.  I, on the other hand, never played these games until just a few years ago so I don’t have the reflexes he does.  I would like to complete one of the games without his help.  

3. Read 6 classic novels.

For having an English degree, I’ve read very few classic novels.  Ones like Jane Eyre, that I was supposed to read in college, but didn’t finish, I don’t count as having read them.  I have over 80 classic novels on my e-reader and even more on my bookshelves, and it’s high time I read some of them.  I only decided on 6* because: (1) they take a little longer to read and (2) there will be new, shiny books by which I will be distracted.

On that note, I’ve started reading The Annotated Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and Michael Hearn.  While I’ve been reading diligently for 3 days, I’m still in the introduction (it’s a pretty big book).  I find it fascinating, though, to learn of Baum’s history as well as the history of the books and its multiple versions (stage and film).  One of the things that I found most interesting so far is that after the book was released, a “musical extravaganza” was written and performed on several stages, including Broadway.  It parallels with Wicked, which was first a book by Gregory Maquire and then a musical on Broadway and then on tour.  It, too, tells of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but from the point of view of the “Wicked Witch of the West”.**

 

*For Fred: “Six is good.”

**An absolutely fascinating play.  I have the book, but I haven’t read it yet.

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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in About me, Literature

 

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Week 1 round-up

Just a quick update on my NaNoWriMo progress.

I am a bit behind right now.  I have only 8,070 words.  Mind you, I did start a day late, but then I was sick three other days.  So I’ve been not writing more than I’ve been writing.  It’s a little bit of a set back but all is not lost.  I have a few days off later in week 2 so I’m hoping to bust some words out then.

The plot is still forming in my mind, though a few things have become clearer to me.  Of course, I can’t really share that right now or I would spoil the fun.

As I write, I am struggling to come up with names of secondary characters and last names of the main characters.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in About me, Literature

 

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And I’m off!

Despite my hesitations and the late start, I’ve decided to write a novel this month.  So far, I’m elated and energized.  I just hope I can keep it up!

To stay on track and write 50,000 words in 30 days, an average of 1,665 words should be written each day.  I started a day late (almost two by the time I started writing).  But in a mere 11 hours (5 of which were spent sleeping), I’ve cranked out 5,321 words.  Not too shabby.  I’m currently caught up and even a little bit ahead.

The year I finished NaNoWriMo, I kept a chart of each day’s progress.  Looking it over last night, I saw that most days I exceeded my needed goal.  This helped when later in the month I got sick or was too tired to write.  I was able to not write a single word on eight different days and still finished the novel a day early.  Granted, I think that novel is complete crap, but that’s not the point of this month-long exercise.

So, what’s my novel about, you ask?  You would think that in 5,000 plus words I would know.  I actually don’t.  (Creator Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! explains why this is perfectly acceptable and even a little encouraged.)  Multiple angles of how the story could go are still swimming through my mind.  Right now it’s open and could go several ways.  As I go about my day as usual, I’ll continue to think and brainstorm, even subconsciously.  I’ll view each interaction with someone as a possible interaction between my characters.  Every story I hear will sprout new ideas in my mind of what could happen in my novel.  Anything is possible!

What I can share is that I have three main characters right now: Corrine, Zach, and Jude.*  They’re all connected to each other but I won’t say how just yet.

As for this blog, I’ll try to keep everyone updated on how the novel is coming.  I might even put in some excerpts, should I find them good enough for others to read.  Any moral support you can give, like my wonderful aunt has already shown, I will take it!  If you, too, are participating in NaNoWriMo, look me up on the website under sarcasm_inc in Indiana, USA.

*Jude had been Jodi but between that, Corrine, and a secondary character named Mary, I thought it might look like I have been watching a lot of reruns.**

**Which I have.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in About me, Literature

 

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From eight years to one month

So here it is November again and I was reminded that it is also NaNoWriMo (or, for those of you not in the know, National Novel Writing Month).  NaNoWriMo encourages writers to pound out 50,000 words in just 30 days.  The result is (hopefully) something resembling a novel.  Chris Baty, the creator of NaNoWriMo, stresses quantity over quality because the editing process after the month is over will iron out all those wrinkles.  The point is to get the bones of the book down on paper and not get hung up having the perfect sentence.

I participated in this endeavour twice so far.  Once I finished and once I quit half-way through the month, which caused me to pony up some money for pizza for my coworkers.  I haven’t even attempted to write for NaNoWriMo in a four years but the reminder today has me thinking, “Should I try it again?”

My hesitations are just a few.  First off, I work in retail and we’re going into the holiday season.  It’s going to be busy at the store and I’ll be more tired than usual after my shift.  Second, it actually took me eight years to finish a novel and one, I might add, that wasn’t very big (close to 90,000 words).  Third, I now have full internet access at home, as well as a Wii and Netflix.  Talk about distractions!  Finally, I need my time to read.  If I don’t read, I get rather cranky and start snapping people’s heads off (and I don’t think anyone would like that).

But on the flip side, I do work in a bookstore (yes, they still exist) and talking books can help spark creativity.  And while some customers can be less than happy during the holiday season, most are really cheerful and upbeat which could keep me energized for writing after my shift.  Plus, the holiday craziness doesn’t come until the end of the month.  I think I could minimize some of the distractions at home with some help.  So that just leaves being able to write a novel in a month, not years.  Should I do it? Can I do it?

And what should I even write about?

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Literature

 

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