Category Archives: The Story of Em
So, today is the last day of November. That means NaNoWriMo is coming to an end. For some of you, maybe it’s already over. Or maybe you have most of the day left. Here on the east coast of the US, we have about 9.5 hours left as of this writing. But I’m not writing anymore.
Because I am done.
Total words written: 500,005
Total novels completed: 4
- Degeneration – 46k
- The Story of Em – 185k
- The Whole Truth – 98k
- Trail Magic – 96k
The rest was random scenes. I wrote 4k of fan fiction, 5k of a novel that I ended up not finishing, a 2k short story about Halloween candy, a 2k poem, and the rest was random scenes involving characters from other novels. Sort of deleted scenes and stuff. Or scenes from their lives after their books were finished.
And now for the goal list:
• 50k Day One
• 75k opening weekend
• 100k by end of week 1
• 250k by end of month (dream goal of 300k)
• Finish at least 3 novels (5 if necessary to reach word count goal)
○ The Story of Em
○ The Whole Truth
○ Trail Magic (formerly 2,000 Miles)
○ Imprisoned Lightning
• Another 50k weekend
• Write at least 2k every day (preferably 5k)
I am happy to say that I accomplished every single one of those goals. Some of them I blew out of the water – like “another 50k weekend.” Turns out that 500k equals 50k every 3 days. So every weekend was 50k weekend! Also, 250k by the end of the month. I hit that on the 15th and then went on to double it. I never thought I would be able to do that! I also wrote at least 3k every day, including the days when I had eight hours of school AND three hours of grad school.
And now for some stats. Because numbers are fun:
• Most words in an hour: 5,026
• Most words in 10 minutes: 1001
• Most words in a day: 50,001 (Day One)
• Least words in a day: 3,018 (Day Five)
• Average words per day: 16,667
If anyone wants to see the breakdown of words written by novel, here’s my original spreadsheet:
Original spreadsheet 2013
And here is the spreadsheet I created when I realized I was increasing my goal:
New spreadsheet 2013
I have to say, as glad as I am that I came back for NaNo this year, I’m really glad the month is over. That was a lot of work, and I’m really looking forward to just relaxing and reading and playing video games and pretty much doing everything else that I haven’t been able to do this month. 🙂
What about you? Did you hit your goals for the month? Are you still writing? Are you glad the month is (almost) over? Or do you wish you still had a few more days?
This is just going to be a quick post since I should really be writing.
Yesterday marked the end of week 2 of NaNoWriMo. Yesterday, I also finished my second novel. Here are the stats for anyone who’s curious:
Book 1: Degeneration (YA Contemporary) – about 46k
Random fan fiction – about 4k
Book 2: The Story of Em (NA Romance) – about 185k
Total word count: 235,311
The Story of Em is way too long. I know. I was hoping for 75k, and it sort of got away from me. I will need to cut a lot in the rewrite, but I’m still mostly happy with it. Two of the minor characters became much more important to the plot, and I never would have figured that out if I hadn’t given myself permission to ramble a bit.
If I can hit 250k by the end of tonight, I will still be on pace for 500k for the month, which is my new unofficial goal. The official goal is 400k. I’ve been keeping pace for 500k, but I’m not really sure I can keep this up. I’m going to try as long as I can, though!
Today, I’m starting a third book: The Whole Truth, which is also contemporary YA. This is my football player novel, which I’m a bit worried about. I’m still not entirely sure I like one part of the ending, but I’ll worry about that later. I might change it when I get to it, or I might not. Haven’t decided yet.
So, yeah, that’s how my month is going so far. I’m having a lot of fun. I also learned that I do really well with 10 minute sprints. I used to hate them, but now I’ve found they’re useful for when I’m not quite sure I have enough planned for a longer war. I’ve been doing an hour of 10 minute wars – 10 writing, 5 break – and it seems to be working well right now. Maybe I’ll try that again today.
NaNoWriMo starts in less than 27 hours. Part of me is really excited to start writing again, and the other part of me is terrified that I’m not ready. I should probably be working on another outline right now, but I’ve reached that point where I just feel all prepped out. I used to get the same way before tests. I’d make study guides, but then I’d get tired of pretending to study and just say “Screw it – whatever happens, happens.” That’s pretty much where I am right now.
Before this thing actually starts, I suppose I should share my goals for this month. I’ve posted these on the NaNo forums, but it can’t hurt to post them here. More accountability is always good, right?
• 50k Day One
• 75k opening weekend
• 100k by end of week 1
• 250k by end of month (dream goal of 300k)
• Finish at least 3 novels (5 if necessary to reach word count goal):
- Degeneration – Contemporary YA
- The Story of Em – NA Romance
- The Whole Truth – Literary YA
- Trail Magic (formerly 2,000 Miles) – Contemporary NA
- Imprisoned Lightning – Contemporary YA
• Another 50k weekend
• Write at least 2k every day (preferably 5k)
That looks like a lot, but I think I can handle it. As you might remember, last year I got to 243k, wrote 2 novels, one novella, finished a third novel, started a fourth, and wrote a bunch of short stories. I’m hoping my projects will be longer this time so I won’t have to deal with short stories. Also, I’m pleased to say that I’ve gotten every school assignment out of the way – EXCEPT for the lesson plans that I need to write once a week for my student teaching experience. I’m still going to be spending two days a week at a high school. Plus I have two Thanksgivings to do to and several things on that second Saturday of the month. Other than, though, I’m completely free.
I have the first three chapter outlines finished. The fourth one is about three-quarters finished, which is enough to get me almost to the climax. Really, I should be able to figure out what I’m doing by that point. The last novel is the one I’m worried about. I have the basic concept and the characters, and I have my three-act structure planned out. Sadly, that’s about it. I was hoping to have the rest of it figured out by now, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. I kept changing my mind about what was going to happen. What makes for more interesting characters is making the plot suffer, and what made for an interesting plot had rather stereotypical characters.
That said, I’m holding that novel off for the end. Hopefully I can get to 250k with the four mostly planned novels. Imprisoned Lightning is going to be the backup novel. I also have another idea that I got from the OA chat. I have two characters and a basic concept for that one. Plus, there’s always the dystopian series I started last NaNo. I still don’t have that one planned enough, but I could start rewriting it if I had nothing else to write.
I have tomorrow off, so I’m going to spend the day doing laundry and making food for the next few days. I’m then going to sleep most of the afternoon/evening so that I can wake up around 10 or 11 pm and get ready to write at midnight. I’m hoping I can quickly get back to the 3k/hour I was able to write last November and really get 50k Day One off to a good start.
Degeneration is my Day One project. I feel a bit like I’m cheating since I’ve written this story so many times, but I’ve decided to go with it anyway. I wrote it twice as a screenplay and once as a novel, and each draft has taken me one step closer to something I’m proud of. The last draft I wrote for one of the 2012 camp sessions, and it was about 49k. Now I’ve added a whole different subplot and changed her trip from two days to a week. It really is a significant difference. I’m not just rewriting scenes I already wrote – I’m adding like seven chapters that weren’t there before. And I’m not going to be looking at any of the previous drafts while I write, either. It’ll be just me and my outline.
I’ll probably end up doing what I did last year and write a brief post letting you all know how my 50k day went. I feel more prepared than I was last year, but you never know. Here’s a link to the spreadsheet I’ll be using, if anyone wants to keep up with my word count as the day progresses: Quix’s Day One Spreadsheet
I probably won’t post again before NaNo, so good luck to everyone who’s participating! Remember – don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about your goal. You’re only competing with yourself.
Also – don’t call anyone else a cheater just because that person can write more than you can. Hopefully no one following my blog would ever do that, but I felt the need to mention it anyway. Also, just because someone writes faster than you do doesn’t mean that that person’s writing is horrible. We’ve already had people in the Beyond 50k forum tell us that our novels must be utter nonsense, and I’m really not in the mood to deal with that crap already. So, just, yeah – be nice to all the other participants! 🙂
For those of you who have known me for a while, you know that I usually do NaNoWriMo in November. You might also remember that I had a rather difficult month last NaNo. I wrote 242k, but my heart wasn’t really in it. If you go through the archives for all the November 2012 posts, you’ll see that I wrote a lot about all the hate directed at Overachievers – people who aim to write more than 50,000 words in November. I felt alienated from my region and most of the people on the forums, and it just really got me down. The competition wasn’t fun anymore.
So I decided to stop. I took all the NaNo stickers off my laptop. I wrote during the first Camp NaNo, but I didn’t join the cabins or post on the website; I just wrote with people on Twitter when they were writing. I tried to get into the cabin thing for the second camp, but it just didn’t work. I didn’t care about NaNo anymore, and I didn’t want to waste my time supporting something that didn’t seem to want me there at all. I still supported the idea of NaNo, but I swore I was never going to participate in another NaNo event again. I actually almost included that in my last post, but it was already getting kind of long, so I figured I’d write about it later.
Then, October 2, the day after I almost posted about how I would never do NaNo again, I got an email announcing the new forums. I don’t know why I looked. It was 6 am, and I had 20 minutes before I had to leave for school. But I looked anyway. I scrolled through the forums. And that’s when I saw it.
Finally, the Overachievers have a forum. A place where you can complain about how you’re having problems hitting 20k in a day, and people won’t criticize you. I was happy when I saw it, but I still didn’t think I would do NaNo. Once the joy of something dies inside me, it’s really hard to get it back. Or so I thought.
And then I started reading the comments. I saw so many people I hadn’t talked to in a year, people who had made me feel better when everyone else made me want to curl up in a corner and never speak to the world again. And I realized that part of me did still care. It wasn’t as much as it had been, but I wasn’t completely indifferent anymore.
And then I set a goal. And then more goals.
A total of 250,000 words.
A 50k day one.
At least one 50k weekend, possibly two.
Four or five novels, depending on how many I need to reach 250k.
I’ve decided that this is going to be my redo for last year. Last year I failed 50k day one (hit 30.5k instead). I failed my goal of 250k (hit 242k instead). This year I’m not going to fail. I’m not going to let other people get me down. I’m going to stay in my nice, safe OA forum. I’m probably going to avoid most regional events, although there are still some people in the region that I like (namely the ones who helped support me last year).
I’ve spent the last five days trying to figure out what to write. I still want to edit Tilt before the month ends. I’m going to rewrite Degeneration as part of NaNo. I have three other novels that I’m trying to outline. I’d really like one more novel as a backup plan, but I’m going to focus on the ones I already have for now.
I’ve already been doing my school work ahead of time, but I’ve doubled my efforts. I’ve done all but one assignment that’s due in November and that I can actually start early. I’ll be busier than I was last year, but I’m still hopeful that I can get this all done.
Title: 17 & Gone (GoodReads)
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Page Count: 353
Genre: YA Mystery
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
I had high expectations for this book. I recently read Suma’s Imaginary Girls, and I greatly enjoyed that novel. I expected the same level of beautiful and creepy writing that I found in that one. And to an extent I found that. The writing itself was creepy and beautiful. I could clearly see all the girls and the places Lauren went.
Sadly, that’s about the extent of my praise for this book, at least not without getting into spoilers. All I’ll say about the ending (really, the last third of the book, maybe a little more) was that I really liked it, and it mostly made up for the first half of the book. I nearly put the book down after 100 pages, and I have to say that I’m mostly glad I finished it.
That said, this book didn’t suck me in like Suma’s other novel. I felt no connection with Lauren, probably because she doesn’t really have much of a personality at all. We meet Lauren when she meets Abby, and after that she’s obsessed with learning more about these girls and figuring out what they want her to do and how she can stop herself from being like them. Once she meets the girls, I understand why she gets obsessed. The novel wouldn’t work if she weren’t. I still wish, though, that we got to see more of Lauren before she meets the girls. Her friends think she’s acting weird, but we don’t really understand why because we’ve never seen her acting normally.
This is also a novel where not a lot happens. As a lover of literary fiction, you’d think I’d be okay with that. Maybe I’ve been reading contemporary too long. Maybe this one just didn’t do a good job. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for a slow book. Whatever the case, I found myself bored with this book, particularly during that first hundred pages. I kept expecting the girls to talk to her or show her stuff and have her life be inconvenienced by them more than just “oh, I’m late for school.” I did eventually get all of that, but the beginning was a bit slow for me. I didn’t care what happened to Lauren or Abby. I didn’t really care why Lauren could see Abby. Really, after the first thirteen chapters, I took my bookmark out and decided to take it back to the library.
Obviously I had a change of heart. I’m not sure why I decided to give it another shot. The book did get better after that. We met more girls, most of whom I found more interesting than Abby. More things started happening. The novel got more surreal – in a good way. Lauren’s not the world’s most reliable narrator, but that just made things more interesting.
Overall: This books started out slow but got better near the end. I recommend giving this book a chance for yourself.
I’ve seen a few posts about people’s NaNo histories, and it’s inspired me to write my own. Besides, I really have nothing to do for the next few hours. I have a meeting with my adviser at 4:15 (she forgot about our last appointment on Monday). After that, the plan is to come home and nap for a few hours so that I’m well rested for when NaNo starts at midnight. Somewhere in the next three hours I should also make chili so that I have something to eat tomorrow while I’m supposed to be writing. I can’t afford to waste any time cooking tomorrow. But more on that later.
I signed up for NaNoWriMo October 31, 2007. I had heard about NaNo several months before. I read a lot of Harry Potter fan fiction at the time, and many of my favorite authors were warning their readers that they weren’t going to be updating for a while because they were going to be busy with this strange thing called National Novel Writing Month. I looked it up to see what they were talking about, and I thought it sounded stupid. You didn’t get anything for it if you won, and it seemed like a huge waste of time. I rolled my eyes and moved on to other things. (For the record, I thought Harry Potter sounded stupid when I first heard about it, too. Then I read the first book and became obsessed for the next ten years. So you can probably see where this is going.)
Flash forward a few months to Halloween 2007. It was my first Halloween in college. I was coming back from the dining hall when I saw a huge poster on the wall near the elevators advertising NaNoWriMo. I had seen it before but never really given it much thought, as I remembered thinking it was stupid the last time I looked at it. I’m not sure what made this time different. Perhaps I was feeling board and lonely. After all, it was Halloween, and I was preparing to spend the rest of my night alone in my room. Perhaps I just needed something to do.
Whatever the reason, I decided to check out the NaNo site again. This time, it sounded like something that would be a lot of fun. I registered that night and then came up with something to write. I had been reading a lot of personal essay collections at the time, and it seemed like fun. (Apparently I hadn’t read the rules closely enough to know that it was supposed to be fiction, but that’s okay.) That’s the only reason I was able to finish my first year, I think – whenever I got bored with one topic, I could move on to another. I ended up finishing my 50k a few days early, and it was a lot of fun. I absolutely hated the novel I wrote, but that’s okay. I learned a lot. For instance, I learned that I should never try to write a humor book again. Exclamation marks should be used very sparsely. Parenthetical asides are not as entertaining when I write them (although I obviously haven’t gotten over using them completely).
The next year, my roommate and our friend who lived next door all tried to do NaNo. I was going to try to pants that novel. I wanted to start with several characters but not plot. I somehow ended up with an overarching plot before I started writing. I had three characters in college who were going to learn things about themselves and each other. I got 10,000 words in and then stopped. This is the same novel that I started writing during the August Camp NaNo. I’m also going to try to finish it this year, but we’ll see how that goes.
In 2009, I got about 5,000 words in before I stopped. I was writing a fictional account of me and my boyfriend. A horrible idea in hindsight, but that’s what I was going to write. It was going to be a gift for my boyfriend. And then I realized that he wasn’t going to read it, and I lost interest. Lesson learned that year: you have to write the novel for yourself, first and foremost. If you don’t want to read it, you probably shouldn’t be writing it.
By NaNo 2010, I had graduated college and moved back home to Georgia. That’s when I joined the NanoLanta region and started attending write-ins and hanging out in the chat room. I found a novel idea that I really liked (Learning to Lie), and I wrote 68k that year. I still don’t have that novel where I want it, even after two drafts (it’s part of a trilogy, and it’s hard to write the first if you have absolutely no idea what will happen in books 2 and 3, or at least it is for me).
Last year was my first year joining the Overachievers thread. My goal was to finish an entire novel in a month. At first I was aiming for 75k. Then I upped it to 100k. Then 150k. I ended up writing 222,545 words. I finished Tilt Your Head and Smile (103k), finished writing my second draft of Learning to Lie (about 51k), started The Story of Em (54k), and started a fan fiction story (14k) because I needed something to write when I was stuck on the other ones. It was amazing.
This year, I have already upped my goal to 300k, and that is because I’m joining a small group of insane wrimos who are going for 50k on day one. You can follow us on Twitter if you search #50kDayOne or #50kkillmenow. This is my first year attempting this, and I’m not sure if I can do it, but I have the entire day off, so we’ll see. That’s why I want to have food already made for tomorrow and why I’m going to take a nap when I get home this evening – I won’t have much time for sleep tomorrow. I know I can do 50k in three days, as I did it for #50kweekend last year. One day might be pushing it, but we’ll see. If nothing else, I’ll start the month off with a big lead, and that would be exciting, too.
Now, the novels that I plan to write this month – in case anyone’s curious.
1. Zombies (working title)
Bath salts + flesh eating virus = zombies
Follows a group of six 20-somethings and two children as they struggle to survive a zombie outbreak. Not my usual genre at all, but it seemed like fun when I thought of it. There was a dare on our regional forum/chat (no longer recall which) to take “a man goes to the store” and make it into a tragedy. That’s basically what I’m doing. I also partly want to show that you can turn anything into Lit Fic – even zombies. 🙂
This will be the project I start with tomorrow, as it’s only half serious, and I won’t feel horrible if it ends up being horrible tomorrow. I mean, I want it to be good, and I have higher hopes for it than I should given the nature of it, but I don’t care about it as much as I do the others.
2. For Real This Time
After a traumatizing event at the end of eighth grade, Maggie Fitts , less affectionately referred to by her classmates as “Maggie Doesn’t Fitts,” is determined to lose weight – for real this time. When she meets Parker Williams, she’s even more determined to lose the weight. If she can pull this off, just maybe she can start high school with a new body and a new boyfriend.
But then Maggie’s parents give her news that threatens to destroy not only her diet but also her way of life. Will she find the strength to deal with her problems and stick with her diet, or will she succumb to the sadness that threatens to overwhelm her? And is losing weight even that important anymore?
3. Alone (working title)
In 2018, Congress passed what have come to be known as the Family Values amendments. The Personhood Amendment declares that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. The Marriage Amendment declares that marriage is between a man and a woman. It further states that only married couples can adopt children. As a result, half of all children are raised in overcrowded orphanages, anxiously awaiting the day they turn 18 and are released on their own without anyway to go.
Lucy Higgins has one year before she turns 18 and becomes yet another homeless orphan. Her only hope of salvation is the Exxmart Motors Lottery. Eligible students get to enter the Lottery, and four lucky winners – one from each of the four schools in the Atlanta region – get to go Etherton Academy, the prestigious private school uptown. Students at Etherton get a full scholarship to college, and Lucy knows that if she can just get in, she will have a chance at a real life.
But life’s not that simple. Just when things are finally starting to turn around for her, she gets news that threatens to undo everything she’s worked for the past seventeen years. Can she find a way out of the situation, or will she end up like every other teenage girl she’s ever know – cold and alone?
I’m not sure how successful I’ll actually be this month, but I’m hoping to get first drafts written for each of these novels. My plan is to finish these drafts and then spend a good portion of next year editing them. I think that was part of my problem this year – I was so focused on getting first drafts finished that I never finished editing anything. That’s going to change next year.
Less than eleven hours until NaNo starts!
I can’t believe there are only ten days left in March. I knew this was going to be a hectic month, considering work picked up dramatically this month, but I didn’t think I would this tired all the time. Part of my problem is that I’ve been distracted with my new Nook, I know, but a decent part of why I’m behind is that I’m tired all the time. Well, that and I just can’t get into my story anymore. I paused in the middle of writing a romantic scene, and now I can’t get back into it. They’re just sitting there, kissing, and it’s rather awkward. I’m having trouble trying to get myself to focus on it.
The good news is that I’ve managed to write the first outline for Degeneration, which I’m going to write for Script Frenzy. I have about 22 scenes, which means I should be able to hit 100 pages easily if each scene is at least 5 pages. I’m not too worried about it. I’ll try to come up with a more detailed outline sooner, but if this is the only outline I have going into it, I still think I’ll be all right.
For the past few days, I’ve been rather preoccupied with two things. The first thing is that I’ve started doing my first read through of draft 2 of Tilt Your Head and Smile. I’m somewhere between half and two-thirds of the way through, and I’m actually enjoying it. I’ve already made several notes of big things to change, and the words definitely need some polish, but overall I’m enjoying it. I was so afraid I was going to hate it when I read back through it. I’m glad that’s not the case – at least not yet! I’m trying to just mark major things that need to be fixed (like plot inconsistencies or notes about scenes to add) right now. My next step will be to fix those major things on the computer and then to print everything out and edit a hard copy. Or maybe I’ll try to fix up the prose first and then print off my fixed version. I haven’t decided yet. Since work will most likely be over by the time I finally get that far, I’ll probably just do most of it on my computer.
The second thing that’s been on my mind is this: I’m going to be one of the Atlanta Script Frenzy MLs! For anyone who doesn’t know, MLs are the people who organize regional writing events. One of the NaNo MLs and I have been talking about where to have the kickoff party and what sort of events we want to do. It’s been pretty fun. We haven’t been listed on the website yet, but I’ve been told we will be soon. I’m excited. Our region was pretty dead last April, and I’m hoping we can encourage some people to get out and write this year. We have one of the biggest regions in the nation when it comes to NaNo, but participation during Screnzy drops tremendously. It’s rather sad, really.
I’m about 12k behind where I’m supposed to be for March. I need to get caught up on that. I also want to finish reading Tilt Your Head, and I have to write 2-4 pep talks for Script Frenzy. I also have to figure out where to have write-ins and when the kickoff will be and other things like that. Plus my boyfriend’s father just gave me the Mistborn trilogy to read, so I want to start that. I actually bought him that series for Christmas, so I’m glad he likes it enough to recommend to someone else. I feel bad because his parents are always giving me books to read that I never do, so I actually want to try to read this one soon this time. Oh, and The Hunger Games comes out tomorrow at midnight. I’m probably not going to the midnight showing, but that’s definitely going to take up most of my evening on Friday.
At least I won’t have to work as much in April. After next week we drop from like 60 cameras a day to 10, so they’ll be laying a lot of people off, and those of us who remain won’t be working as often as we used to. I’m sort of looking forward to that since a) I know I’m one of the ones they’re keeping (since I signed up to work proms) and b) I don’t have any bills to pay, so I can afford to cut back on work a bit. That’s good because if I’m going to be writing and MLing, I’m going to need all the time off I can get.
I haven’t had an extremely productive week as far as my word count is concerned, but I feel like I’ve made a decent amount of progress this week nonetheless. I was supposed to finish up the first draft of The Story of Em in February, but that clearly didn’t happen. My new goal is to finish that this month. That wouldn’t have been a problem before I got my Nook, but now I’ve been spending a lot of my free time playing with my new apps and reading that Coffeehouse Mysteries series and less time actually writing like I’m supposed to be doing.
The good news is that I’ve actually managed to come up with an outline for Em. Yesterday I took notes on the parts of the story I had written so far and realized I had made a huge error in time. I just kept throwing around phrases like “two weeks later” and “a month later,” and it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized Emelyn would be graduating already, and she should have a lot more time left at school since she’s only just started dating the man she’ll eventually marry. I spent a while yesterday working out the timeline, and I’ve finally got it so that she starts dating David in October, which gives her plenty of time to get to know him and meet his family and still decide to move in with him after she graduates in May. They’ll only have been dating for seven months when they move in together, but that’s much more believable than a couple of weeks. I was going to go back and edit what I have so far, but I’m really just shifting the timeline back a little, so I think I’ll be all right. I’m just going to have to try to remember that it’s November now instead of late spring.
I’ve also been playing with a new app I got on my Nook called My Writing Spot, which lets you write on your Nook and then sync those files with your Internet account so that you can have those files on your computer, as well. It’ll be great during NaNo when I want to write when I’m away from my computer. Yesterday I had a lot of down time at work (most people hadn’t realized that they had to bring the money with them if they wanted to buy the pictures, so I basically just sat there for hours entertaining myself), so I did a little bit of writing. I should have been working on Em or, at the very least, taking notes for my Script Frenzy idea, but instead, I wrote this:
The house had been boarded up for years. In the ten years I had lived in this neighborhood, I had never once seen it lived in. All i saw were the boarded up windows, the door with the broken handle, the cracked driveway and the yard that was so overgrown with weeds that it would take a landscaping crew months to fix.
The house was in the back of the neighborhood, at the end of a dead end. Most of the other streets ended in cul de sacs. This one ended at that house. If you accidentally drove down the wrong street and had to turn around, you had no choice but to pull into the large, arching driveway and head back out the other way. Though there were two more houses on that road, one on either side of the boarded up one, their driveways were on the main road. It wad as if the builders had known what that house would become and didn’t want it to infect any of the other houses.
I don’t really know why that was what was dying to come out, but I had to write something, and that was the image that had been in my head for a few days. I have no idea what the story is behind the house, nor do I know where it’s going to go, but I had to write the image down where I could. That’s probably the most description I’ve ever written. I just hope I can figure out why that house is so important.
I had two goals for January: write 100,000 words and finish draft two of Tilt Your Head and Smile. I’m happy to say that I at least accomplished one of those goals. I finished the month with 100,096 words. I managed 78k in Tilt, 9.5k in Em, which I wrote at the beginning of the month before I got back into Tilt, and 12k in my new story, which I’m calling Patrick/Jeremy right now because I can’t think of anything better yet.
I’m not really happy with the progress I’ve made with Tilt, but I’m going to try to reserve judgment until I actually finish the novel and leave it alone for a while. I looked over my original outline this morning and used that to make a new one. According to this new outline, I’m about five chapters away from finishing it. That’s my first goal for this month: finish this novel. Then, I’m going to try to finish Em. I’m also hoping to write 50k this month. It’s funny how 1725 (the minimum word count per day) suddenly seems to small. Four months ago, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to write the 1667 a day needed for NaNo.
It’s amusing how quickly things change.
For the first time since January Novel Writing Month started, I feel like I actually know what I’m doing. I’ve flopped back and forth between working on Tilt and Em, and I think I’ve finally figured out where I’m going with both of them. For the first time this month, I’m really excited to be working on Tilt Your Head and Smile. When I started writing it in November, I was writing it in third person past tense. Then week two hit, and I couldn’t imagine writing it all like that. I decided to write it in blog format, and it was much more fun to write. It wasn’t, however, very much fun to read.
I came up with the wrong solution to the problem. Instead of finding a more interesting way to write the story, I should have stopped to think about why what I was writing wasn’t interesting as I was writing it. It wasn’t interesting because there was no real main character. There was a just a nameless, faceless narrator who complained about her life. That wasn’t entertaining. It was just a huge rant about why I hate my job. The topic that my novel was supposed to focus on – unemployment after graduation – was glossed over. It was horrible.
I’m still counting the nearly 5k I wrote during the first 2 days of JanNo, but they’re in a separate file. Now I’m back to writing in third person past tense, and I’m enjoying myself so much more. Instead of mentioning in an off-hand way that she has friends, I show her out with her friends. I’ve only written 3k so far today (on that novel, at least) but I already know that it’s a lot better.
I have one more bit of good news. An article I wrote has been featured in this month’s issue of Wildflower Magazine. It’s called “Rethinking Resolutions” and is featured on page 54. I’m really excited. I know it’s a rather small magazine, but one of my goals this year was to build up a portfolio, and I’ve started to do that now. They didn’t post the online article that they were supposed to, and I’m not really sure why, but I’ll try to just focus on the fact that they published an article I wrote at all. 🙂