Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm gonna let him fly.

So, among the things that I do NOT recommend doing during NaNoWriMo (1) is a morning of errands and laundry that includes a stop by the comic book shop.

And why is this, you might ask?

Because you will find yourself sitting and working on your manuscript wondering what possible harm there could be in stopping long enough to read Justice League Dark or the new issue of Batman.

I also received, for my purchases, a Legion of Super-Heroes Legion ring. If you are unfamiliar with either the Legion or the accompanying ring it's like this:

  • The Legion of Super-Heroes is a team of heroes from the 30th and 31st century who are buddies with Superboy. Saturn Girl. Lightening Lad. Bouncing Boy. Matter Eater Lad. It's like that.
  • Members of the Legion were each given a ring that allowed all of them to fly. 
And now, I have one.

Of course, on my way out the door, Comic Dealer did remind me, "Just don't test it out. Okay?"

Somewhat amazingly, this warning appears no where on the ring...which is really just kind of asking for it.

1. Besides spending time writing in your blog as the 10,000 word checkpoint is just 24 hours away. For those who are wondering, the NaNoWriMo counter says that, at the pace I am going, I will finish my novel by February 1. This sounds impressive, were it not for the fact that, as I may have mentioned, I'm still finishing last year's novel. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The first rule of NaNoWriMo...

The first rule of NaNoWriMo is to simply write.

Write hard.

Write fast.

Write messy.

Don't think too much about what it is that you're writing or where it's going because, the first time you start to invest too much in this 30-day draft, in cleaning things up and worrying about what will be taking place in your plot in a few days or a few hours from now, you will get bogged down. You'll miss your daily word counts. The little counter that tells you how you're doing will start to place your reaching the 50,000 word goal in late December, sometime in early January.

I have already, as you know from my previous post, looked down and tripped over my own shoelace.

I am also, as you will also notice, spending time and wasting words here in my blog and not in my manuscript.

A manuscript that I have, despite knowing that NaNoWriMo glory rests not necessarily in the quality but in the quantity, started already to worry about. Despite having two projects already going, two manuscripts that need my attention and, ideally, some significant portion of my brain power, I'm dismantling and re...mantling (?) the draft that I started just three days ago.

I'm the literary equivalent of the buxom blonde who twists her ankle while running away from the zombie in heels. I looked back.

The second rule of NaNoWriMO is never look back (1).

1. I have no affiliation with NaNoWriMo. I am in no way empowered to make rules for them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So, as I did last year, I'm tackling National Novel Writing Month.

I have not had the excellent start that I did last year.

Some of this is because I don't have a writing buddy that I am meeting with on a regular basis as I did when The Novelist and I were using NaNo as an excuse to get together and eat ice cream.

Some of this is because I've been slammed by work deadlines. The less I say about these, the better. We'll just say that I'm having some BIG problems of late.

And some people are awful.

But much of the issue is stemming from the fact that I started an idea that I find I have no interest in at all, mostly because I fear I have created a lead character who is entirely uninteresting.

And why is that?

I believe it is because the individual that I put on paper is likely 20 years younger than the character that is shuffling about in my head. The character in the manuscript I have been writing has short blond hair. In my head, he is a balding, what's left of his curly red hair is only on the sides. He has a paunch. He wears tweed trousers and thick rimmed glasses and, for the purposes of the where and when of the story, he would likely have a raincoat of some sort. In my mind, it's a very traditional khaki colored trench with at least one missing button.

So why, I find myself wondering, is this other guy wandering around in my story while the person I think I was meant to be writing about is stuck in my head.

I have no idea if trading these two guys out will solve my problems. I have no idea why there's some blond guy in jeans bumping about the pages that I'm struggling to write. I mean, what's so scary about putting yourself in the head of a sixty-year old guy whose facing an occupational crisis and is feeling pushed out and overshadowed by people whose greatest advantage is being hip and attractive and whose greatest talent is how much they've achieved at a very young age.



Monday, October 31, 2011

Artboy: Embarrassing Myself Since 1971

This summer I ran away to a writers conference.

It was a birthday present to myself that did not go exactly as planned...largely because of this unfortunate habit that I have of not remembering exactly who it is that I am.

See, people who know me often do not realize that I am painfully, terrifyingly shy. If an event entails mixing and mingling, my stomach sinks and I go quickly into panic mode.

So, really, nothing says "recipe for success" like a campus full of strangers, the prospect of sharing my writing with said strangers and, because why wouldn't it, the work stress and deadlines that followed me deep into western Massachusetts.

And then there was my mobile.

Because I was juggling work calls, work e-mails, urgent work calls, urgent work e-mails, unimportant work calls and e-mails, and "Oh, I totally forgot you were on vacation" work calls and e-mails, I was toggling my phone settings roughly once every few hours.

Which is how I forgot.

Sitting in a reading by the author Steve Almond, one of the authors who I had specifically attended the conference to hear read and, if possible, workshop with, my phone began to ring. That's right. Steve Almond. The guy who wrote Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life and the absolutely and totally freaking brilliant Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America (1). As intensely humiliating as it potentially is to say this, Candyfreak falls into the category of books that changed the way I think about writing.

Yes. That's right. A book about candy made me want to be a better writer. Based on that look, I'll tell you about the Twinkie book in another post.

And so, of course, it would be Steve Almond's reading when I would forget to switch my phone to silent.

"I bet whoever's phone that is feels like a real asshole," Almond said without missing a beat.

"He does," I said to the two women in front of me who had turned around when the ringing started coming from my workbag.

Well, tomorrow night, if you're in Newtonville or somewhere nearby, it's your chance to make a jerk out of yourself in front of author Steve Almond at Newtonville books. He's not only an amazing writer, but among the most entertaining readers I've heard.

You can also check out his website to see other places he'll be reading.

Really, you'd be an asshole not to.

1. Which brought the Idaho Spud candy bar into my life.