one gopher says "Did you eat all the Halloween candy already?" and the writing gopher responds, "Don't talk to me. I have a masterpiece to create."

And the beat goes on…

I’m having a blast with NaNoWriMo. The one big tragedy that I confessed to a writing friend the other day is that sometimes I write a scene that cracks me up, and I’m laughing out loud while I type it. This is great, actually. The tragedy is that I can’t share it with anyone. It would require so much explanation that by the time I get to the punch line, it isn’t even funny anymore.

So I live in the hope that a) leftover Halloween candy is calorie-free, and b) when I finally revise this monster and work up the guts to share it with critique partners, it comes back with LOLs written in the appropriate margins.

There was another big tragedy – for awhile, every time I thought about the story, the soundtrack from Disney’s Aladdin got stuck in my head. Specifically “Friend Like Me” and “Arabian Nights.” I like these songs. They have their place in my childhood and in my heart – I don’t need them, however, stuck in my head for a week. Thankfully, this has mostly been remedied by Christiane Karam, a vocalist/composer I stumbled upon on Youtube. I don’t really have the vocabulary to talk about music intelligently, but I really like the songs of hers that I’ve listened to so far.

And since I’m sharing videos, I just finished reading the ARC of Stasia Ward Kehoe’s THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, and the main character plays this song, which I now love so much I think I’ve listened to it eight times since yesterday. Probably more. As Z would say, “Seriously. I’m not teasing.”

Now. Go. Have an amazing weekend.

One gopher saying to other gopher, "Yup, you're still crazy, I see." The other gopher stands in front of laptop with a box of Leftover Halloween Candy next to her, with thought bubble, "But I'm having fun!"

And let the madness begin…

National Novel Writing Month has begun. I wrote straight through Maverick’s nap and am 63% of the way to my goal. For the day, people! Not for the month!

Blog posts will be short on Fridays (or not at all) while I join in the writing frenzy this month.

Friday Five: Beta Bliss

1. I’m beta-reading a book that I like so much, I’m cranky I have to take time out to write this blog post at all. Seriously, the beta reads I’ve done in the past year? Really enjoyable. Friends, keep writing fab books, because you’re making the “work” part of critiquing, well, less like work!

2. The Mentalist – Homes and I are addicted. Or wait. Were addicted. Because we breezed through the DVDs of Season 5 in, like, a week. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and wondering what is it about annoying detective-types? Columbo, Patrick Jane, Richard Castle, the guy in Lie to Me, the guy in The Finder, the doctor in Bones. Sherlock Holmes! Gone are the hard-boiled detectives with the checkered pasts…actually, this isn’t a new thing at all. Take a quirky person, give him or her a mystery to solve, and watch how those quirks put a new spin on solving the same question over and over: who killed the dead person?

3. I’ve been feeling super lucky this week – a shiny new idea for a novel (see more below), the way-fun beta read, and an awesome contact to talk about 1950s Hawaii with. It’s incredible how kind and generous this woman is, exchanging emails with a total stranger about random personal facts. Now if I can just find someone to tell me the exact dates of the Makaha International Surfing Championship in the winter of 1956/57, I’ll be good to go. (That’s a lie. I need about twenty or thirty other questions answered. But one thing at a time. One thing at a time.)

4. The Shiny New Idea! And National Novel Writing Month! They happen to very nearly coincide, which is a first. I never thought I’d do NaNoWriMo, because what are the chances that I’ll be in a place where I can start a new project right at the beginning of November? It has finally happened, so I’m going to join the insanity next month. I’m nervous, because it sounds like a recipe for frustration. I get most of my writing done during Maverick’s naps, while Z is in school. But in November she has seven days off (five for Thanksgiving, one for Veteran’s Day, and then an inservice day). Worst-case scenario is I don’t “win” NaNoWriMo, so I don’t have 50,000 words. But I bet I come close, which is better than nothing, n’est-ce pas?

curiosities5. For awhile I was on a short-story kick, and that seems to have passed. This makes me a little sad, almost nostalgic for that month of short stories. This last time I was inspired by reading The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. Whenever I put the book down, it seemed I had a new idea to write about – it was incredibly energizing. Maybe after I finish my NaNo novel, I can read through The Curiosities again.


Last week’s whiny and meandering post had a lot to do with a writing funk I’ve been in. There’s so much I want to do and so little time, blah blah blah, and I found myself paralyzed. This week, however, I FOUND THE SOLUTION! (Repeat that with manic abandon. Go on, do it, you’ll feel good.)

Ever-Suffering Writer Mama: [on the phone with Homes] I did it! I FOUND THE SOLUTION!

Homes: To what?

ESWM: To my malaaaaaise. I FOUND THE SOLUTION!

Homes: By the tone of your voice, I can only guess the solution was crack.

ESWM: Hahahahaha! No! The solution is…


ESWM: [sighs] The solution is a LIST!

And Homes, bless him, didn’t even snark. He just said: Huh. It’s been awhile since you used a list.

Because he knows me.

Why did neither of us think of this? Whenever I’m bummed or in a funk, all I’ve got to do is write up a list of tasks (writing-, housework-, or exercise-related) and start working on them. As soon as I cross off the first item, it’s like MAGIC. I feel accomplished, productive, and a hundred times more beautiful.

Because I’d been paralyzed and listless (haha! Get it? That was totally an accident) and focusless in writing, I made a list of writing tasks. And because everyone else is doing NaNoWriMo but I don’t even want to try, I’m doing my own version: NaNoWhateverMo. Each of the tasks is fiction-related, some of it drafting, some of it craft-learning, and a lot of it revising. I get to work on two different projects. The tasks are small enough that I can finish them in an hour or less.

NaNoWhateverMo: Thirty Fiction Tasks in Thirty Days

  1. Do GMC (Goal-Motivation-Conflict) for TR
  2. Do plot points for TR
  3. Re-map ATRS with index cards (um, already started this one. It takes WAY longer than an hour. Days.)
  4. Write synopsis of TR
  5. Rewrite opening of ATRS
  6. Maass workbook exercise on character for TR
  7. Freewrite how to make big moments bigger for ATRS
  8. Rewrite a big moment for ATRS
  9. Maass workbook exercise for ATRS
  10.  Rewrite another big moment for ATRS
  11. Write scene for TR
  12. Write scene for TR
  13. 3 pages freewriting on TR
  14. Put new structure for ATRS in Scrivener
  15. Write new scene for ATRS
  16. Brainstorm new ATRS ending ideas
  17. Rewrite a big moment in ATRS
  18. Maass workbook exercise for ATRS
  19. Maass workbook exercise for TR
  20. Write scene for TR
  21. Write scene for TR
  22. Scene/character chart for Jameson
  23. Read how-to chapter on synopses
  24. Write ATRS synopsis
  25. Write new ATRS scene
  26. Write scene for TR
  27. Maass workbook exercise for TR
  28. Write scene for TR
  29. Rewrite a big moment in ATRS
  30. Add Maass exercise stuff to ATRS Scrivener file

I’ll try to post progress on Twitter…but notice social networking is NOT on the list. With limited time, we’ve got to prioritize, and writing wins. Anyone else skittish about NaNoWriMo and wanting to commit to something a little less intense?