Bacteria Wars

This has been a rough spring. Not only do I have allergies that turned into a sinus infection earlier this month, but I then I developed a lingering cough that I thought was bronchitis, so today I went to the doctor and it turns out I have strep throat. Well, the bacteria might be making me sick, which is pretty unfortunate since I just joined a gym, but they are not stopping me from writing. I am wondering if I should spray my keyboard with disinfectant. Nah. It would probably short-circuit, and then I’d have to write by hand. And I can’t read my own handwriting after the first paragraph!

Additionally, one of my cockatiels was unwell and so I took both of them to the vet. Poor little things, they both had blood drawn, and while Peachfuzz powered through it like a champ, Zim screamed his head off during the entire exam and then he bit the vet — twice. Guess who’s a favorite at the animal hospital?

Progress on the second Corrugated Sky anthology is going well. We’re revising our first drafts and hope to publish the book early this summer. I’ve completed my last encyclopedia entry on Ray Bradbury, although I have a few things to tackle for the editor to clear up some rough patches and fill in a few gaps. I’ve submitted a chapter proposal for an academic book on the First World War, and with most big projects off my desk I can turn to editing my novel for one last time.

I’ve revisited my thought process about how many words/hour editing should count for and decided that the 1,000 words per hour is really not unrealistic. I was toughing it out at 750 words an hour, but I was kind of cheating myself given the amount of work I was putting into the editing process. I’m happy to say that I am now ahead in my weekly word-count goal by more than 5,000 words, and I intend to stay there.

Stay well, stay pollen-free and bacteria-less, and I’ll see you on the next page!

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The Final Week

With Thanksgiving just gone it’s only five days remaining for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’ve just passed the 40,000-word mark and it’s been a battle to keep up with the writing. I didn’t do any writing on Black Friday, and it wasn’t because I went out shopping. I sat and watched TV most of the day and ignored my computer until 4 o’clock in the morning, when I woke up and realized I wasn’t going to fall back asleep any time soon.

I could work on my novel but instead I’ve been redecorating the blog with some holiday-themed background paper and sorting through some art supplies. I’m pretty much doing whatever I can besides working on the novel. I have 10,000 words to go and five days, so that’s not too bad. I just don’t know if my story will be resolved in anther ten thousand words, but all I can do is try. That’s what NaNoWriMo is for, right?

It Begins

november-noir
So I was talked into doing National Novel Writing Month again this year (I did 2011 and 2012). The idea was to write a noir story. I have a working title, Killing Palatino, and about 2100 words of prose that I’m really not very happy with. I think this story is going to be rough going, but I understand it’s just a draft and a lot of what is happening on the page is going to be edited within an inch of its literary life before the novel sees the light of day.

This year, instead of pantsing the whole book, I decided to write a brief outline. I had two weeks to get it done. Then one week. Then a day. Last night I sketched in a very short outline on a single-page plot sheet and decided it was enough to get moving on. Hey, I pantsed two whole books so if I have even the barest minimum of an outline to work from that should be enough, right? We’ll see.

At any rate, I’ve met the word-count goal for today and updated my word count on the official website. I think I’m going to play with cover ideas for the finished book in case that helps get my creative juices going. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to go work on my crochet project or clean the bird cage or factor quadratic equations. Because I can.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 129

The strength of the gravity well of inertia is directly proportional to the comfort of a particular chair.

The strength of the gravity well of inertia is directly proportional to the comfort of a particular chair.

So, it’s NaNo month and most of my writing friends are busy getting their word counts up. I’m not doing much writing this week because I’m taking a break. I just submitted four encyclopedia articles and have another one to revise next week, then another eight due in February. I’m also revising my novel (again) and starting work on a nonfiction book. But this week I’m goofing off, caught in the gravity well of laziness and growing steadily dizzier as I whirl about the vortex.

This year instead of doing NaNo I decided to focus on trying to get an existing work in progress revised and edited so that it works. I bought three books on writing craft, including two on plotting, to help me figure out where the weaknesses are. Actually, I kind of know that, I just need to learn how to fix the problems. And already I’m irritated with one of the authors. Hey guys, don’t insert politics into your work unless that’s the topic you’re writing about. Readers don’t like opinions stuffed down their throats, and it’s unfair to take advantage of them knowing they have no way of arguing your point. Okay, I’m ending my rant here — and don’t make me repeat it!

Let’s talk about this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt. Figuring out what motivates a character can be difficult. I seem to have no problem with my secondary characters, but I’m having problems identifying what my main character really wants, and as a result he’s wishy-washy. I’m going to try having him write a letter to explain himself. So, that’s your task this week, too. Not to write about my character, but one of yours, of course!

Have one of your characters write a letter. It can be to another character in the story, or a character offstage if that works better for your situation. The letter should indicate your character’s desires and what he or she wants. It’s a letter, so it can be emotional, and it might serve you better if it is. Take one or two pages to figure this out. The more neatly you can sum up the character’s feelings the easier it will be to write them onto the page. Good luck!