Friday, November 26, 2010

Nano: Day 26--I am a Winner!

Dear friends,

I have completed my first NaNoWriMo with 50,047 words. Thank you for your support over the last 26 days!

I have definitely learned a lot from this experience. I'm going to keep updating my word count on the website until the very last on November 30th, so stay tuned for the full November word count total.

I am, however, barely even halfway through my novel. So December will be more writing from me, hopefully at a slightly less frenetic pace, but still maintaining the non-interference from the Inner Editor that I have achieved this month.

Plus use of Write or Die. If you have not played with that, I urge you to. I wrote my last 238 words in 5 minutes due to the screen turning red every time I paused. Motivation, much?

Iggy still has a lot of writing to go, but I wouldn't even be this far without NaNo. It's a disorganized mess at the moment, the writing needs a lot of polishing, research must be done (okay, a lot of research has to be done), I need to limit the number of third-person POVs I have going...

but the scenes are really fresh for having been written so quickly. They're also wordy because of the word count thing.

Soo...--here's to another month of SunflowerWriMo.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nano: Day 25 and Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!

A short update on the Nano-ness: I am (according to Word) at 46, 675 words. I pasted the story into the Nano Word Count validator--don't want any surprises when I send it in to verify and win for my 50,000. It's not as bad as I thought. Just a 130 word discrepancy. So I will be aiming for 50,130 words. And I can keep updating up until the very last. Woohoo!

Also: how many of you saw the American Music Awards last Sunday? I caught the latter third or so of it (thankfully missing Justin Bieber in the process).

So I caught this:

The uber group of boybands. Oh yeah.

Which caused me to start humming Joey McIntyre's "Stay the Same." I taped that song off the radio in junior high. Haven't thought about those ghetto mixed tapes in years.

Listening to "I Want It That Way" 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Write or Die by Dr Wicked

Write or Die by Dr Wicked

So I found out about this on the NaNo Forums. It's a website that some of the writers use to get themselves into the groove or out of a rut or just to improve speed.

Basically, you set your desired word count, your desired time limit, and then your level of consequences. Supposedly, the screen can turn red, make an awful noise, and then just repeatedly go, "write, write, write" if you stop and set your limits correctly.

It's nice, though. I've tried it and it's definitely moving me along in this part of the book. Might be an interesting idea for those who find that they just can't get going.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Fifteen Authors Who Sparked Neural Pathways in My Brain

Pulling this over from Facebook....
The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note.)

Ian McEwan
Jane Austen
Amy Tan
Louisa May Alcott
Ann M. Martin
The authors who wrote the American Girls collection
JK Rowling
Maxine Hong Kingston
Elizabeth Chadwick
W.B. Yeats
F. Scott Fitzgerald
J.R.R Tolkien
John Keats
Harper Lee

So...who is your 15? List 'em down below. If you don't read, then give me a combination of plays, musicals, TV shows, movies...something artistic that has influenced you. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nano: Day 18

I am currently, as of 10:30 PM, at 33,390 words.

This means I wrote 2759 words since yesterday's blog post. I was even able to watch the last three episodes of Glee guilt-free tonight because I'm so ahead on word count.

They're not lying when they (the NaNoWriMo folks) say that Week 3 is easier than Week 2. Maybe I'll get to 40,000 by the end of the weekend?

So what is Iggy up to now? Well, his uncle is showing him all the property he owns. Which has involved me looking at maps of Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland in England to pick and choose their destinations and their route. I've been madly describing fields, horses, meal stops at inns, grass, trees, the sky. Iggy wrote letters to his father and his friend Isabel. Letters are fantastic. They take up so much space!

Also, I've been putting together my Iggy playlist--the songs that struck me as being related to certain characters or situations or scenes, many of which have not been written yet. There are certain actors that I vaguely imagine for some of these characters, as well.

It's alive, folks, it's alive. The story, I mean.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nano: Day 17

I hit 30,000 words just a second ago.

It's amazing how much space a scene between Iggy, aged 13, and his uncle telling him about the facts of life can take up.

Of course, at this point, I am seeing that 50,000 words--while enormous--is not going to even get me halfway through this book. So December will not be Inner Editor month, but Still Writing But Not At Insane Pace month.

To put this into perspective, Last Request is, at 332 pages, about 76,000 words TOTAL.

Off to get Iggy and his uncle on their progress through Yorkshire--the uncle is showing Iggy all the property he owns, property which will become Iggy's, the reason for the uncle wanting Iggy to marry his cousin...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nano: Day 15 (Halfway point!!)

You know how authors say their novels come from great sparks of emotion or some great sense of inspiration?

Like, Last Request, while not great (yet) came about because I wondered what it would be like to be someone else for a minute--and because I was reading Time Traveler's Wife at 4 am.

Wanna know how this story came about?

The Tudors, ladies. And also inspired by one particular jockey statue on 108th Street near 71st/ Continental with a fabulously tight ass. And the pretentious building names on 108th Street, like The Woodrow Wilson. The Clement. The...whatever.

This feels like the answer Johnny Depp gave when asked where he looked to for inspiration for Jack Sparrow.

"Keith Richards...and Pepe Le Pew."

Also: if you look to the side panel on the bloglist, you will notice one blog called Getting Past The Gatekeeper. This is the agent I intern for--I sent her a link to one of the pep talks from Nano. She's posted it today on her blog.

And: a friend told me to tell her if there was a Backstreet Boys reference in this story. There is, along with a Harry Potter reference. If you have any other allusions you'd like to me make (old high schools jokes, Lord of the Rings, Script songs), post them down below--might as well take advice from the Nano pep talks and follow tangents and not fall into middle-of-the-book despair.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nano: Day 13

Today's topics come from Nano's Procrastination Station, right on the home page.

There's a thread in the "This is Going Better Than I Hoped" forum on Nano about Things in your novel you didn't know...but your characters did.

So far, of my current 21,829 words, here are some of my surprising moments from my characters:

1. I didn't know Iggy was so terrified of St. Osana
St. Osana was a Northumbrian princess, before the Conquest, who died and was revered as a saint (though not canonized) because one day, a priest's mistress sat on Osana's crypt. Suddenly, she couldn't move. Osana then rose from the dead to whip the woman, who repented her ways. I assume the priest also repented. Iggy is terrified of this story as a child, thinking that that is what will happen to his mother should he actually say that she's his mother aloud.

2. I didn't know that Sir Robert didn't have any sons. 
Well, ok, I kind of planned that he wouldn't have any sons, thus making Iggy his heir. But I didn't realize that his wife had had miscarriage after miscarriage and stillbirth after stillbirth in the process.

3. I didn't know Tom loved animals so much. That gentleness is why Isabel is infatuated with him and refuses to think that way about Iggy.

4. Tom has a pet rat. It appeared last night around 2 am.

5. I thought Iggy would be brooding. He's not.

The other spotlighted thread is called "The non-WriMo you couldn't do without." The OP mentions that most people don't get it--NanoWrimo, of course, but also the act of writing and creating itself. Why bother doing this to yourself? It's not going to come out good. You'll never get it published. Writing's something you do on the weekends (I'm actually quoting someone directly there).

But the OP also talks about how her story involves the military. She knows an ROTC cadet whom she asked some questions to and he's been incredibly encouraging.

I've told all of you, of course, a co-worker I'm close to, a few other acquaintances and the agent I read for that I'm doing this. Thank you guys for your support and at the very least, your interest and encouragement. I tend to keep my plots and characters close to my chest (or this blog) and not really discuss it with anybody else for a myriad of reasons. But it's cool to go into work and have the girl I told ask, "Hey, how's your book?"

Of course, little do they know that this is my 4th book. Maybe 4th time's the charm? As in, when it's time to revise, I'll actually feel that it's coming out all right?

Enough randomness from me. I need to write before I have work tonight and I'm slightly hungover-feeling. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nano: Day 11 1/2

Pep talks!!

Aimee Bender

John Green

Nano: Day 11

My first random Harry Potter reference, ladies and gentleman.

Brother Clement's mother comes from a village called Snape, in North Yorkshire. The hilarious thing is, there's actually a village called Snape in Yorkshire.

On another note, Day 12 will be interrupted by a power outage in my apartment complex, from 8 am to 3 pm, which means, I can use my laptop, but there will be no way of charging the battery until 4. I can only check my email on my phone because there will be no internet. Maybe I can get into that Tudor-era mind set of no electricity.

Or, you know, just be annoyed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nano: Day 9

The Inner Editor is angry because I had to improvise the Battle of Flodden Field.

You see, one of my characters, the villain of sorts, Sir Robert, fights at Flodden, a battle that occurred because the King of Scots figured that, with Henry VIII out of the country capturing Tournai from the French, he'd slip into the north of England and wreak havoc.

He ended up dying at the battle.

Now, I'm pretty sure I have a source bookmarked (one from Google Books), but I didn't exactly have time to read it, absorb, then interpret it into fiction. I.E (we'll call the Inner Editor...Buzzy) insisted I do so, to get the tone and battle accurate.

I said no, I need to make 15,000 words.

So I wrote a quickie one-page scene of my character riding around, hacking people to death with a spear, then seeing the King of Scots carried off the field, dead. His bloody coat is taken up and sent to Queen Catherine, who was the Regent while the King was away. Hardly a good scene, but it fills its page well and it contributes to word count. Plus, it helps develop the time period and Sir Robert, who has no sons and is currently deciding whether or not he wants to make his nun sister's son Ignatius his heir or not.

Buzzy is displeased.

Oh, and also: Word counts curly quotes as, well, words. The word counter on the Nano website does not. So I need to write more than 50,000. Yikes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nano: Day 8

I just posted an excerpt of my novel on Nano. Here it is:

The bell tolled.
            “Ah,” Clement said. “Run off, then. Tomorrow.”
            “Yes, Brother.”
            And run off Iggy did. He saw Isabel standing outside the smokehouse near the kitchen and called out to her. She stopped, waited.
            “Done with lessons, Iggy?” She asked.
            “Yes,” Iggy replied. “Where are you going?”
            “The kitchen garden. Cook wanted rosemary.”
            “I’ll go with you.”
            “All right,” Isabel replied, stepping toward the back wall enclosing the priory buildings. A postern door in the wall led to the kitchen garden. Herbs and vegetables were sprouting up now that it was summertime. With nimble steps, the little girl found the correct herbs and bent to pick some. Isabel had grown taller in the three years she had lived at the priory, her body beginning to mature into a young woman’s, and she was quite happy not being at the old house in Routh, away from Eleanor’s nagging voice. Iggy had also grown, sprouted really, Sister Benedicta lamented, as he outgrew his clothes quickly. A head taller than Isabel, Iggy had gangly arms and legs that he couldn’t maneuver gracefully as yet.
            “You’re quiet,” Isabel said, tucking the green herbs into her apron. “Thinking about whatever axiom Brother Clement puzzled you with?”
            “Of a sort,” Iggy replied distantly. “We were talking about St. Osana.”
            “Oh, aye,” Isabel said. “Rose from her coffin to whip the woman, didn’t she?”
            “Exactly so,” Iggy nodded. “Do you think she could rise again? To punish?”
            Isabel frowned. “’Tis always possible, I suppose. But hasn’t she been dead for centuries now? She hasn’t risen since before the Conquest, right? And only the once?”
            Isabel was always good for a logical talking-to.
            “Right,” Iggy mumbled. “But you think she could punish? Brother Clement mentioned Limbo as well.”
            Isabel sighed, rising, knotting her apron around the rosemary sprigs. “What’s all this theology? Are you going to study and become a monk?”
            “What? No! At least, I hadn’t thought of it.” Iggy shook his head, then exhaling, said, “If I tell you a secret, Is, will ya keep it?”
            “Course I will. It can’t be that terrible.”
            “’Tis so.”
            “Pray tell, Iggy.”
            Leaning toward her, so close he could feel the heat radiating from her body, Iggy whispered, “I know who my parents are.”
            Isabel’s eyes widened. “Who?”
            “Brother Clement and Sister Benedicta,” Iggy said. “I’ve known for a few years now. At least about Sister Benedicta.”
            “What? How?”
            “Sister Agnes’ brother Hugh? You’ve seen him in the village.”
            “I think so.”
            “He told me two winters hence. He’s my first cousin. His mother told him, he said.”
            “And his mother is Sister Benedicta’s sister,” Isabel answered. “Oh, Iggy,” she said, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. Iggy stood stiffly, unsure of what to do with the physical contact, for he’d not been embraced much in his as-yet short life.
            “How do you know about Brother Clement?”
            “Sister Benedicta has lived in this priory most of her life,” he said, beginning to like the feeling of Isabel’s small hands on his back. “And my surname is FitzClement. Plus, do I not resemble Brother Clement a little?”
            Isabel pulled away and examined him. “I’ve not seen him much, I’ll confess. Or studied him well. But I suppose you have the general appearance of pale skin and blue eyes and light-colored hair.”
            “And thinness.”           
            “It’s hard to be a fat monk,” Isabel said. They both laughed. “I’d best return to the kitchen. Cook will be wondering where the rosemary got off to.”
            “Yes. Go on.”
            “What will you do? Will you tell someone? Perhaps you should confess it Saturday next, if it’s troubling you.”
            “Do you think I could be right?” Iggy said, biting his lower lip. “I don’t…I don’t want to bring it up with anyone else. It’s quite a serious…accusation.”
            “You’re not accusing anyone, really,” Isabel said, picking her way through the garden. “Everybody has got a mam and a pa somewhere. You think they may be yours is all. Brother Clement is your tutor. Ask him during your lessons, if you must.”
            They stepped back into the priory yard. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Granite State of Mind

"Empire State of Mind" for "New Hampshire." My fave line? "We just got DSL! Now you're in Hampshire. Hampshire. Hampshire..."

And I found one for "Forest Hills" as well. Under the cut.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nano: Day 6

I have hit and passed the 10,000 word mark. I am at 10, 113 words right now and stay tuned for what the final word count of the day will be.

I was in the middle of a passage about sheep shearing, of all things. Seriously, the tangents one goes off on when you know you need to write more than a thousand words a day. But in this case, it actually fits in with the story. Catholic institutions, like my fake priory, owned lots of farming and grazing land before Henry VIII took it away and doled it out to his aristocrats. And Yorkshire is known for its sheep. And Hull, the closest city to my fake village, was a wool-and-cloth-trading city. And there's a link to these trades coming up later in this novel.

Think I'll take a break, a shower and possibly a nap and then move on to early 1513, with Iggy confronting his parents--like, "hey, you're my parents! You lied to me!" (but much more wordy, of course)

On another note, I went to a concert last night at a venue in the city called Terminal 5. I saw The Script, live, and they were amazing. My friend and I agreed that any time they're touring in the States and come to New York, we will be there. They put on a great show.

So I made a short list of things I learned about The Script from the show last night.

1) Danny O'Donoghue (lead singer, keyboards) drunk dials. Thus, a new song on their album, called "Nothing." (The album is available here January of next year--I bought it as an import last night on Amazon).

2) Everyone knows the words to "The Man Who Can't Be Moved." And if you sing it very loudly and correctly, you will likely make Danny tear up.

3) All age groups---twenties, thirties, forties, even older. Teenagers. Children. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic. Boys and girls. Of that, a quarter or more of the audience screamed when asked, "How many Irish are in the house?"
Apparently us Irish are very loud.

4)"Rusty Halo" is that much more awesome live. Really.

Anything to add, Jess?

Friday, November 5, 2010

My First Nano Pep Talk

One of the great things about Nano are the pep talks, from published authors. This one is particularly interesting because it talks about fanfiction!

"What if all you have is a plot?
This is where I am going to deviate from practically anyone you have ever heard from, and tell you this: try writing fanfiction.
For those of you who don't know what fanfiction is, it's pretty simple, and I would bet that you have vaguely thought about doing something like it without ever realizing it. It goes like this: you see a movie or read a book or even play a game, something you really love, but when you're done the first thing that pops into your head is "But what if they had done---" or "And then what happened?" or "Gee if there had been a character like this---"

Check it out: Mercedes Lackey's pep talk

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nano: Day 4

Feeling a little distracted today (I have a new Netflix! EW came! I have to look up The Script's new songs on YouTube so I know them tomorrow at the concert! What do Catholics do on a feast day?). I didn't exactly write 1,667 words yesterday because I was already ahead, but of course, today, I'm Miss Distracted and struggling to write over the  required daily word count.

Truth is, despite the outline, I don't outline scene by scene. It's more vague and general than that and I'm trying to piece together scenes here.

Think I'll just introduce the main female character. That'll take up a lot of words.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

I just updated my Word Count on the Nano website and am, officially, at 3425 words. Or, in other words, a prologue and two chapters or in the middle of page 13.

So far, it doesn't feel like I'm unduly writing a ton more. I feel like I'm writing faster, though, taking more time to actually write--and not distracting myself by being on Facebook and calling it "writing."

The Inner Editor is still not vanquished, I'm afraid. She wants to go back and add more to scenes I wrote yesterday. I'm being strong and telling her no.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo is here!!

Hey peeps,

Here be the month of manic writing. Just updated my time zone on the NaNo website ( and my word counter updater window popped out at the top of my page. I iz updated. Phase one of day one of NaNo is over. 1383 words so far. Inner editor keeps trying to rear its ugly head. I'll start typing a phrase, then realize it's not what I wanted to say and go back to delete it. Minor inner editor (the real one will appear later in the day, I think).

(I'm aiming for between 1,667 words and 2,000 words daily, by the way)

Just to let you know--in the left hand, top corner of the blog, you'll see a link that says Word Count Updated Here. It leads to a Nano widget, so you can keep up on my word count as I update it throughout the month. I couldn't figure out how it embed it. That'll be my next task.