Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sometimes things in life are hard...

Saying that you love and support a person does not mean that you speak for them, or that their actions and feelings represent your own. It does not mean that you believe they are without fault. It does not even mean that you will side with them in every argument. Saying that you love and support a person means that you accept them as they are--faults, shortcomings, and all--and you love them for being human. Forgiveness is love. May we all take a moment to remember the people who accept us for our own faults. Whatever that means to you, Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And now for something completely different:

Yes, I will be returning to my novel after the first of the year. With any luck, I'll be portable, though I don't want to get my hopes up.

Today's post is about my 2008 New Year's Resolutions. I actually only made one: Read 10,000 pages of reading for pleasure. I am currently about 1,500 pages from my goal, but I don't count books until I'm finished with them, and I'm reading four or five right now. What I've read:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman, 333 pages
In the Best Families by Rex Stout, 256 pages
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, 331 pages
The Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child by Michael Buckley, 292 pages
Atonement by Ian McEwan, 351 pages
Fer-De-Lance by Rex Stout, 285 pages
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers, 456 pages
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, 383 pages
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, 399 pages
Alice, Let's Eat by Calvin Trillin, 182
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, 550 pages
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde, 373 pages
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, 323 pages
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, 406 pages
Naked by David Sedaris, 291 pages
The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter by David Colbert, 314 pages
The Sisters Grimm: Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley, 272 pages
The Color Purple by Alice Walker, 295 pages
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, 436 pages
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, 326 pages
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, 268 pages
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko, 225 pages
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik, 525 pages
Little Children by Tom Perrotta, 319 pages
Cruddy by Lynda Barry, 305 pages
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, 111 pages
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, 314 pages
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, 288 pages
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, 124 pages

Current page count: 9,333

I will continue to update this post until I reach my goal, or until January 1, whichever comes first.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I have decided that a laptop might be rather useful...

When I begin editing in January, it would be advantageous to make my work more portable. If I spend two or three months locked in the house without sunlight or communication with the world outside, I will go stir crazy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Starring in... Why the hell am I still awake at 2:17am?

I finished reading a book today, and it was undeniably satisfying. I haven't finished reading a book for almost two months, though I am reading seven or eight concurrently. My New Year's resolution for 2008 was to read 10,000 pages of reading for pleasure, and I am at about 9,000 pages, with about two weeks to go. Can I make it?

The good news is that it gives me something other than my lack of job to focus my attention on for a few weeks.

On a related/unrelated note, I'm tired, and growing more tired by the second. Why did I drink a large coffee three hours ago? Because I'm stupid. That's right. Stupid.

Who needs alcohol when they get this punchy just being an insomniac?

The up side of being unemployed is that when I finally do crash--minutes from now, hours from now--I don't have to be up before four tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Did I mention that WATER FOR ELEPHANTS started as a NaNoWriMo book?

At least, that's the impression I got. I loved that book, so maybe there's hope for mine, after all.

I'm trying really hard not to work on the book this month. I know I need a fresh pair of eyes to really give it the attention it needs. The story is changing so much with each passing day, and I know that I'm going to have to do one complete rewrite just to get everything in the right order, and then another to iron out the prose. And probably a third rewrite to tweak. THEN maybe it will be ready to send off to agents, or publishers, or whoever.

One step at a time.

By the way, lolasangel, you're amazing. I can't believe you've cleared 100,000 words this year. Do you know how cool that is?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Here's where the real work begins...

I've promised myself that I won't read my book until January, to give me a little distance. But I can research now, right?

I have my handy, dandy list of books to read and movies to watch and facts to research. I've started character sketches and plot arcs... In essence, I'm doing all the pre-noveling work now. Then at least I'll be ready for the rewrite.

I did take one day off...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome, December!

The rough draft of my novel is finished! 68,814 words. 204 pages. 30 days of my life.

Now, I'm making a list of things to research, drawing up character sketches, starting to plan the plot, and getting ready for a rewrite. I'll sit on the story through December, probably, but I'm really excited about digging in after that!

I won NaNoWriMo!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Yeah, I get to brag. I won NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. It's true that I have miles to go before I sleep. Not only do I have to think about extensive rewriting, if I plan to finish this novel, but I am nowhere near even finishing the rough draft! And I don't know that I'll be able to finish it by tomorrow at midnight.

I am going to try! Even if I have to roughly sketch out the rest of the novel, at least I'll end up with a good, long, solid outline!

Current word count: 52,067

For Current and Future Use: a PSA

Can I scramble my novel before submitting it to your untrustworthy word-counting goons?

If you are using Microsoft Word it is very easy to scramble your novel in a way that will not affect its word count.

Open the file and make a new copy of your novel using 'Save As...'
Open the Find and Replace dialog box (Edit -> Replace).
Click the "More" button to expand the box.
Check the "Use Wildcards" checkbox.
In the "Find What" field, put this: [a-zA-Z0-9] (include the square brackets, no spaces before or after)
In the "Replace With" field, put this: a
Click "Replace All"
Save the scrambled file as a text file, and upload away!
The procedure for Open Office is essentially the same, except that Open Office refers to 'Regular Expressions' instead of 'Wildcards'. (Thanks to Peter Dudley for this advice!)

You can get the same effect in a more cumbersome way by just doing a find-and-replace on every letter in the alphabet, one letter at a time. Open the find-and-replace interface on your word processing program and tell it to replace every "b" in your story with an "a," and every "c" with an "a," then every "d" with an "a." And so on.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An excerpt:

“It’s The Cracked Cake Painting!” someone yelled, and they laughed. I didn’t know what they were talking about. “The Cracked Cake Painting” sounded so funny, but I understood the situation to be very, very unfunny. There was black goo all over the floor, and it could have been dye or ink, or paint. But I knew it to be blood. Black blood, all over the floor. Smeared all over the canvas. All over my hands. And Greg was standing in the doorway, hating me. Why couldn’t I remember the show? Why didn’t I know what was going on? Did anyone even care I was there? I was trapped in this little room, with Greg at the door, and a canvas smeared with dark colors in a room that otherwise was a dingy, gray broom closet, and I had black blood all over my hands and on the floor and in my hair…

And then I woke up.

Coming into the home stretch...

I plan on writing most of the afternoon while my parents are sleeping off the food coma, but this morning I cleared 45,000 words, so I am on the last leg of the word count challenge. I'd like to make it to 50K today so I might have a chance at finishing the story before the end of November as well, but we'll see how it all works out. I'm confident that, barring any major catastrophes *knock on wood* I'll be a NaNoWriMo winner for the second year in a row. But I suppose I shouldn't be counting my chickens just yet.

Current word count: 45,595

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I am caught up. Not only that, I am ahead! And hopefully I will have more time to write tonight!

Current word count: 43,674

Ok, so maybe I'm procrastinating...

It's 1:56pm, and I need to be at 43,342 words by the end of today. Right now, I am at 41,000. My goal is to not only catch up, but to get ahead.

On your mark, get set, GO!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I had a breakthrough in the shower this morning! (Always my favorite place for inspiration...)

I'm sending in a spy. When everything else they try to do fails, Kim goes undercover as a spy and finds out more than she even expected. In the end, it gets so bad that Charlie kills himself.

Now all I can think is, "Shit! Shit! Shit! I need so much more than 15,000 words to finish this book! Write, dammit, write!"

Word count: 36,737

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well, I'm not where I'd like to be, but...

My friend, you have passed me gallantly, clearing 30,000. I am lagging behind at 25K. However, though I am a day behind, I am now only one day behind, and without a play or strike, I will have more time the next two days to write. No longer will I be cleaning to procrastinate writing--now I'll be writing to procrastinate packing.

I have been in a slump with my book, unsure of where to take it, but last night I decided that I am going to approach it like a play, and the second act will be related but entirely different. Different mood, different POV, but the same story. Much more experimental, where the first half was relatively conventional.

I have a working title, finally, which makes a huge difference in how I feel about the book: Foxes and Bluebirds

Current word count: 25,000

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slowly we roll along...

There is a challenge on the table to make 35,000 words by Sunday night. My book, so far, seems to be writing itself (knock on wood), so hopefully I can keep it going without too much fluff. As you may have noticed, my syntax and vocabulary are suffering, but my plot is still going strong! And really, editing is much easier if you have a good foundation.

We're off!

Current word count: 16,074

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Word Count Update

I am still ticking along with my word count. I am currently about 5,000 words behind where I should be at the moment, but that's a doable amount, and if I'm really diligent today, I might be able to continue to close the gap, bit by bit. That was a really long last sentence. I'm sure when I go back to read this book, it will be one long run-on sentence.

I haven't given up yet. Things are continuing to fall into place.

Word count: 13,325

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Slowly covering some ground

I am not yet caught up, but I am having much better luck with the story I have been working on. And there have been some seriously life altering events in the past few weeks, so I have been a little distracted. However, the new story is taking off like wildfire. If I really put my mind to it, I'm making 2000 in an hour of hardcore work. Unfortunately, there are few days that I have more than an hour of time. But this week will be different. And if I can get in even 500 extra words each day, I'll be in good shape.

Word count: 8,184

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's true what they say...

It is much harder to write a story in which you have a deep emotional investment. I have spent a year working on Evelyn's story, but going into NaNo, I'm left with no character names, no town names, and many many plotholes. The truth is that my story is still a series of ideas without much holding them together, and I don't want to rush through this. I know that the story is good, and I want to do it justice and give it the time and love it needs. Besides, I'm already stumped at 900 words.

I'm starting over with a new story--an account of the last few months of my life, and how my life has become so intwined with that of a complete stranger. Because really that's all I can think about right now.

Monday, November 3, 2008


There's an article today on the Steampunk Home blog about hidden messages built into houses. That could solve a lot of problems for me. If Evelyn is tipped off somehow that she has to get into her old house... If somehow she found out that it was broken and parts were burnt but that the ruins still hold clues...

I have a white rabbit, though he doesn't have a name yet. He's a jovial ex-circus ringmaster living in an abandoned shack in the woods.

And I have decided to write the entire thing out of order. Which may be maddening, but I suppose I'll just have to find out for myself!

Current word count: 876

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I have a working title!!!

The Escape

Day One ticked right past me...

So, life kicked my ass on day one, but fear not! My story is brewing.

And lolasangel and I are racing to 4000 words today. (No worries, I haven't started yet--I'm just updating the blog before bedtime.)

Clocks roll back, I get an extra hour of sleep, and all is well with the world tomorrow!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm just out dealing with things way beyond my maturity level.

In the past few days, I have gained life experience that I had hoped never to have. My heart goes out to my friend and his family.

By some sick twist of fate, everything that has happened has inspired my story. Suddenly all the bumps and plot-holes seem to be smoothing themselves out.

I have an antagonist. Actually, a small group of antagonists. They use fear-mongering to turn the community against the good people, and when everyone is scared and trusting, they attack. Much like Dick Cheney. Also much like things happening here. The good people are locked away, and many are killed. Perhaps they are sent to labor camps. Their children are taken away and given to party families so that their rebellious spirits might be bred out of them, and they might be integrated into the new society. But when Evelyn discovers that she was taken from her parents, she sets off to find them, finding out more along the way about the world that had stolen her away from them. In her quest to find her family, she uncovers an evil plot that could destroy much much more than a pile of books.

On your mark...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Operation Photo Inspiration - Status: IN PROGRESS

I have recovered the tape.

Option 1: I know of someone with a miniDV camcorder. He says it may need a new battery.

Option 2: I could go to the local pawn shop to see if there is a cheap one there. But what can I afford?

Once the footage has been captured, I'll take the stills and hang them around my room for inspiration.

And a-one, a-two, a-one, two, three days...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For real, now

Well, I have put off and put off cleaning my bedroom, and now the entire downstairs is so congested that I can hardly make it down the steps, so I am really cleaning my bedroom today.

Here's the plan:
Mom comes to pick me up, and we drive to Manchester, so we can get Starbucks for breakfast, since neither of us can move around the house enough to find food.

I come home sated and proceed to sort laundry, throw trash away, charge my cell phone, and make a shopping list.

I leave again for Wal-Mart and food, returning to watch Rabbit-Proof Fence (see how I'm sneaking in a little research time?) as I eat. All the while, the cabinets are being installed.

Finally, once everyone has left, I can start actually doing my laundry, taking breaks to go grocery shopping with Mom, look over my lines for The Bad Seed, or watch an episode of The Daily Show that I missed last night. I envy Rob's TiVo.

I need to be at South Jackson by 6:30 for the Playhouse meeting, and Mom and I are eating sometime before then. Throughout the day, I am working on coaxing a miniDV tape of footage I shot from the cable station so I can pull stills for inspiration... So far, Pete has sent me some neat stills, but they are not the ones I'm looking for, so I hope he'll allow me to borrow the tape. (I really hope he knows where the tape is...)

I almost forgot the most important part! I was looking on a Steampunk interior design blog, and they had an article on hidden doors. Which got me thinking about hidden rooms possibly in Evelyn's adopted home...

2+2 and 2 x 2 and 2 squared comes to 4 days until NaNoWriMo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Organization can be so...

Today, I must organize my room and my life. I can take this mess no longer!

I have procured Rabbit-Proof Fence, and I have read my books on book banning. I should perhaps sketch an outline before Saturday, but we shall see.

Take 5

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A trip to the library...

...for real, this time. I have a couple books due back on Sunday, but I need to find a reason to get myself out of the house this afternoon, so I'm off to research book banning. I wrote down a list of titles and then promptly misplaced them...

I need to organize my living space before I can organize my book, so the plan for today is as follows:
1. Sort laundry
2. Throw trash in the trash
3. Reorganize my bookshelves
4. As always, memorize more lines for The Bad Seed.

This cat has nine days.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lordy, Lordy...

I'm pulling my hair out today... I don't know why I'm so anxious, but I need to chill out! Talking to lolasangel helped tremendously, though.

As for the book, I have found a few books at the library about book burning, and Rabbit-Proof Fence is on it's way, thanks to netflix.

I think that's all I can say today.

Countdown from 10...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What a to-do to die today...

I'm stymied in regards to my plot, so I'm turning again to research for inspiration. After all, reality is stranger than fiction.

Unfortunately, the libraries around here have only very outdated books on genetic theory (as in, books that are older than I am), so in order to read more on personality genes, I'd have to order a few titles, and since I have no money... The library does have a few books on the history of book banning, including one that looks particularly interesting and relevant to my story: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain.

Therefore, my to-do list today:
~ DO LAUNDRY! (or else I'll be smelly for the remainder of this week)
~ A trip to the library...
~ Wal-Mart (I know it's an evil corporation, but I need to restock on bottled water, seeing as we have no kitchen at the moment)
~ Learn another speech or two for The Bad Seed. I have nearly all of my lines memorized, but I am having trouble remembering the telephone calls and the scenes with my father. By the end of this week, I should be entirely off-book.

Hopefully by tomorrow, I will have developed an intricate plot with all the necessary social and psychological elements, but we shall see.

Eleven days 'til the eleventh month...

Monday, October 20, 2008

A little character development...

Since I continue to be jobless, I should spend my time regularly working on my story, yes?

My goals for today:

1. Write an outline of Book One. (There may be only enough material for a one book, but I guess that will become clearer to me as I work out an outline.)

2. Draw out a character outline for Evelyn and Nayeem. I know there's a lot I haven't worked out yet, but I need to get all of my ideas onto one piece of paper.

More later.

In the 12 days to NaNo, my sweetheart gave to me an oversized mug for my coffee.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A very merry half-birthday...

I have given up caffeine, and the decision may drive me mad. I'm cranky, I'm tired, and I'm anxious. I need a coke or a coffee. Or perhaps chocolate. But no matter...

In less than two weeks, I will begin writing the story that has been burning in my mind for over a year:

1. I will keep my expectations reasonable and strive for the best I can write, but not perfection.

2. I will attempt to keep my living environment relatively organized, my diet relatively balanced, and my schedule relatively routine.

3. I will consider writing my "job," in the absence of another, and will therefore maintain regular hours.

4. I will not only meet my word count; I will also finish my story.

13 days, and counting

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finally, a breakthrough!

Thanks to Wrimogirl, I feel much more secure with my plot for this year.

The basic gist of the story:

Evelyn lives in a world where a conservative group (maybe a town council?) has been banning books. It started out as censorship of books with excessive violence or sexuality, and became the founding principles of the town, restricting anything that is not "pre-approved" as safe, factual, and, ultimately, simple. Anyone working against the council's decisions may be jailed or, in severe cases, put to death. Evelyn's parents went underground years ago to protect her, placing her with a foster family when she was only a baby, and now that Evelyn is older, she finds that she is different from the other kids at school and in the town. She finds a note from her parents as she's cleaning and sets out to find them, in the process learning more about who she is and what her family has been working toward. Her foster parents are severely punished when she is lost or maybe because the council finds banned books in the house, and Evelyn can no longer go home. She meets a boy named Nayeem who also escaped when his parents were taken.

There are two major ideas that I want to examine with the book (or books--I haven't figured out if it will lend itself to a short series or if I will only have one...):

1. The dangers of censorship
2. Can personality be inherited? I'd like Evelyn to show qualities of her family, even having grown up away from them. Her creativity and quest for knowledge should come more from her family than any other figures in her life. That way, as she meets members of her family, she can see aspects of herself in everyone, thus feeling more and more like she has found where she belongs. That sounds really schlocky, but...yeah.

Please forgive the poor grammer, misspellings, or otherwise poor writing skills found in this entry. It is intended for brainstorming purposes only.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Already October?

I still have to work out kinks in the plot, but I'm excited about this November. If I happen to be moving then, it will be especially nice to have writing to ease the transition, tying one place seamlessly to the other. As for now, I'm trying to take life one day at a time, accepting the glories and challenges of each individual moment in time.

The time is right to write the musical. It's burning a hole in my brain. What better time to write Baker's Dozen than this October?

Assuming a musical is about 100 pages, I should aim for 3-4 pages each day. I may not update every day, but I will certainly try to check in once a week. How's Wednesday for everyone?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking a minute to talk about life...

I try to avoid too much analysis of my personal affairs here, but tonight I think I have a relevant thought pertaining to my most recent noveling endeavor.

I was cast in a challenging role in a play here in town, and I'm excited and terrified. Excited because I finally have the chance to test all the theory from classes and observing other directors. But the girl playing my daughter is incredibly talented, and I don't want her to be stuck acting opposite a line-reading, phony schmuck who thinks screaming and crying is good acting.

I'm terrified to dig deep enough to find the real tears that I believe are necessary in portraying this character. Christine should cry. I should cry. But I can't fake it. I was never good at faking anything. I have to trust myself to act the part.

Alright--insecurities aside. What does this all have to do with the novel?

The fiercest obstacle for me has always been developing conflict strong enough to motivate my characters. Being brave enough to hurt them is difficult for me. Bad things happen in life. I'm just the kind of person who swallows my tears and ignores those things. "If you believe things are better, happier, brighter, then they will be." I need to accept that my life is not perfect, accept that Christine's life is not perfect, accept that Evelyn's life is not perfect, have a good cry, and do what I can to deal with the situation. That's a scary thing to do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

More developments for this year's novel...

Evelyn's friend's name will be Nayeem Sameer. I'm still working on the villainess... She's a tricky one. Is she independantly evil? Or she affiliated with some larger, evil organization? She will have an evil sidekick, though that idea is still only a wisp of possibility.

My most promising ideas lately have been coming from my dreams. They have been so vivid and colorful, though also disturbingly realistic. I wake every morning to review the previous day, sorting the imagined events from my actual past. I have been dreaming all sort of occurrences in a few particular locations that I don't believe I have really visited. The dreams are not recurring--the events change--but the places remain the same. Have I been to these places? Should I include them in my story? When I was much younger, I dreamt of an old-German style cottage, and I drew a picture. I showed my drawing to my next door neighbor who told me that almost the exact house was in a city I had never been to before...

Perhaps I should include some element of the paranormal in the stories, especially some small psychic connection or small premonition. After all, how many people have "known" when a family member has been hurt or has died. I'd also like to play with symbolism in dreams, since it has always been an important part of my own development. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. It's something I have struggled with my whole life, and it is an especially important issue for middle schoolers.

I often wonder whether I have an over-active imagination or whether I am actually crazy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And so the planning continues...

Lately, I have been collecting notes and pictures to inspire this year's NaNoWriMo novel. I had never thought to add a photography element to the process, but I have been reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close lately, and the photography is an integral part of the story. Plus, Lynda Barry's Cruddy is next on my reading list, followed by The Invention of Hugo Cabret, so if I immerse myself in work incorporating both a pictorial and verbal element into the novel, I'm sure it will rub off on my own work. I still have to reach 50,000 words, but hopefully looking for inspirational images will help to fuel the fire when I hit the mid-book lag.

On an entirely different note, I made a New Year's resolution this year to read 10,000 pages of "reading for pleasure" during 2008, and I've now read just over 7,000. I think I can read 3,000 more in 3 1/2 months!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I am not giving up on my NaNoWriMo book from last year, but I have a great idea for this year's book that I'm itching to start. I have really made the effort not to start actually writing it, but the outline is swiftly developing. I'm planning on using part of the outline I wrote for a middle grade book last year and mixing it with some of the characters I have been working on this summer.

A teaser: My lead character will probably be named Evelyn Pendergrass.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Remember how I was going to finish the re-write by Labor Day? Yeah, so, it's Labor Day, and to my credit, I have rewritten about fifteen pages...

...of about one hundred and ninety. Considering I was aiming for three hundred, I think it is fair to say I missed the mark. I would like to finish before November, but who knows?


Sunday, August 24, 2008


Now that I have an actual, sort of, part-time, part-time job, I hope to work on the book again. I always say it, but if I keep chipping away at it a few pages at a time, eventually, hopefully, maybe I'll finally make it to the end of the book.

On another note, NaNoWriMo approaches yet again, and I am facing a big decision: To finish last year's book, or to begin another?

I think I will draft a second book, and see where my interests lie in a month or two.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I have too much stuff.

GOAL: Organize my life.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I got sick. I feel entitled to a few days off.

In that time, I realized that I'm not enjoying writing the novel right now, so I'm taking some time off from it. It doesn't feel fresh anymore, and I need to find my own voice before I write myself into the ground again.

I'm going to start at the beginning--I'm exploring the short story.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


No, I didn't write yesterday. On the blog or for real. Yesterday was so depressing, I could hardly do much else but read all day. Plus, I'm reading a great book right now:Child 44.

I did write notes for the first four chapters while I was at the career center.

But, yeah... I've been bad. I'll catch up today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I wrote 36 words today (mostly so I could not be accused of skiving off). But those 36 words opened the door to an entire sequence between the email and the interview, so now I have two more sections to complete to get to the end of the chapter. I just need to decide what happens in that day. The interview should be easy to write. I like how the first chapter is shaping up to be a 20-25 page setup for the rest of the book. That way I can present a lot of necessary information and personality before everything goes to hell.

It is important to present Kate as an easy going, somewhat lazy, likable character at the beginning of the book so the reader can fully appreciate the downward spiral still to come. It is much more dramatic a change in personality moving from the college Kate to the overworked, sleep-deprived, angst-ridden Kate in the job.

I will not pretend like I've written enough to merit a word count today.

I did, however, go for a walk. It was very nice. And hopefully I will go for another tomorrow.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I am slightly behind where I would like to be, but I accomplished a great deal today. I finally started to get really excited about working on the book again. I think the lack of interest was a result of the fervent procrastination. I still haven't written my way to the end of the first chapter, but I'm alright with the chapters being fewer and longer.

Kate has emailed her future boss an inquiry about the job, and after receiving an encouraging response, she is making plans for her interview. I still have a bit of ground to cover and a few subplots to set up before the end of the chapter (not to mention I need to have her write an email to her parents) but I have about 14 pages written now after day two, so it is coming along well at the moment (knock on wood).

Daily: 2,332
Overall: 3,574

Friday, August 1, 2008


My daily word count goal is 2,600 for the month, and today I took what I had already written for chapter one and edited. Very little actual writing. However, I didn't finish editing the entire section. So while I have about 2,600 words written of the rewrite, I am only going to count the 1,400 I really worked on today.

Every time I rewrite something it gets better, but it's hard to see the big picture from here. I'm trying to make the plot of the second draft tight enough that it will mostly be a style rewrite on the third go around. Yes, I'm being a realist. I expect a third rewrite.

My problem right now is that I have little to no direction, so tomorrow I will finish chapter one, in which Kate goes to visit her unhelpful advisor, finds a notice on the bulletin board on the way out, sends in her resume, and gets a job in the box office of a local theater.

Chapter two will begin one year later, in the apartment from hell.

Daily: 1,418
Overall: 1,418

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Tomorrow begins AugNoWriMo: August Novel Writing Month. This is and official month, though the website is not nearly as cool as the NaNoWriMo website, and the "holiday" is much more obscure. There is less structure as well. Rather than setting the goal of 50,000 words in a month with no prior work, AugNoWriMo allows you to set up your own goals and continue work on a current project, as long as you finish the novel in 31 days.

My goal, therefore, is to complete the second draft of my novel in 31 days. I shall write 2,600 words and a blog entry each day, and I shall send each chapter of the novel out as I finish each chapter. (If you'd like me to send you a copy, please let me know.)

I will be done with the second draft by Labor Day, as I had originally intended, though I will need to work harder and longer each day. Considering that I have no "real job" at the moment, this may be a welcome change to hours of nothing to do but housework.


Monday, July 21, 2008


After working on High School Musical for two months, I have reconsidered the removal of Grease from my manuscript. Instead of stage managing, my character is now going to direct the show, and instead of dealing with prima donna Equity actors, she will be dealing with middle schoolers and a producer who can't say no to a few more kids joining the cast each rehearsal. That leaves more room for lead cast members to be gone on family vacations the week before (or week of) hell week, angry costumers, and stage parents, which makes for a much more interesting sideplot. I will miss Jenny at Steak&Shake, but maybe I can find a way to work her back in.

I am trying not to rush myself with the rewrite. One chapter at a time, if I can keep myself interested.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Things that will be cut from the first draft of the novel:

1. The game "I will go to the hospital with..."
2. Grease
3. The Christian bookshop run by drug dealing old ladies and, consequently, their gangsters
4. The "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" knockoff about pulling mice out of the ceiling tiles

It may seem as though I'm cutting the most interesting part of the story, but hopefully the story that is developing in the absence of these elements is more relatable and...believable. I will miss the showdown on opening night, but the plot was becoming too Bobbie Faye.

Date set for completion of the second draft: September 1
Daily word count goal: 1,432