Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Little Over 6 Hours...

And NaNoWriMo 2009 will begin! I need to hop offline soon and get ready for Halloween festivities, but wanted to post one last pre-NaNo entry. Life has gotten in the way of all the planning I had hoped to do, but I have a general plot idea and have been working on my characters a bit, so I feel ready enough to go. It's the most planning I've ever done before writing a novel. I'll have a bunch of research to do come December to flesh things out and make sure I'm not just making random stuff up, but I've done all I can for the time being.

Tonight I'm going to see Queensryche. Then I'll head to the Municipal Liaison's house for her Halloween/Kick-off party. It will be social until midnight, when everyone will pull out the laptops and start writing, from midnight until 2AM. And I'm more excited about Daylight Saving Time than ever, because that means I'll get to write for 3 hours, not just 2. Then home to sleep, then more writing tomorrow. Write-ins from 2-4 and 5-8. I'm very excited!

Well, I'm off to get ready for the night. Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone, and for all you NaNoers, Good luck!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Retreat Day 2

Yesterday was fantastic. We started with breakfast, then wrote until lunchtime. I got research done, and finally figured out who my bad guy is, so now I can continue with my plot planning. We took a long walk after lunch, then more writing (well, research/planning for me.) After dinner came back to the room to do some of our old fashioned timed writings. I wrote a short story that I will edit and submit to some magazines, see if I can get it published.

Now we're almost off to breakfast, then more writing, then lunch. We have to check out by 11:30, but we talked about putting our bags in the cars and hanging out in common areas a bit longer to prolong the day. This has been such a fabulous weekend of writing and bonding, I don't want it to end.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Writing Retreat Day 1

We got here about 3:00 and I couldn't be happier to be here. It's so beautiful with the leaves changing colors. It's very relaxing, and the food is delicious! We have a loft room with a balcony overlooking the lake. Perfect setting for writing.

One of the group has gone to bed, the rest of us are still awake. Sarah and Mary are talking about their iPhones. Sarah, our technophobe, recently got an iPhone and is loving it. I think it will ease her into the techie world a bit. Tina is working on her laptop, as am I. Once I finish this I'll go back to reading "Vampires, Werewolves and Demons" by Richard Noll. I've only gotten through the Foreword and Introduction, and Introduction to the section on demons so far. It's a gathering of psychological case studies of patients supposedly possessed (or suffering vampirism or lycanthropy, but I'm focusing on possession). Since my NaNovel will center around demons, some real life case studies will be an interesting, and hopefully information, read. I've also been reading up on the Key of Solomon, demonology in general, and will begin reading the Book of Enoch soon.

I picked the brains of my fellow writers for ideas on what the "bad guy organization" of my novel could be all about. It's quite a central part to the plot, so I need to get that figured out. I can't get any further in my plot until I figure out who they are and what their goal is. I have some ideas on who they are, and perhaps their goals, but am still not quite clear on it all. Hopefully I will be able to do enough research, and the correct research, to lead me to the answers to this conundrum before Nov. 1.

8 days to go....

My boyfriend tells me I got a package from Houston today, which should be my box of goodies from my NaNo swap partner. Drat!! I have to wait till Sunday to open it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


It's odd...if you asked me, I wouldn't consider myself a leader. I wouldn't consider myself a follower either, I'm more a free spirit. But I guess in a way I am a leader of sorts. If I see something that needs to be done, I'll take charge on it, because too many times I've seen things go undone because no one wanted to take responsibility. Sometimes potentially fabulous things.

What brought on this realization? The person teaching my urban fantasy workshop suggested that we start an online critique group amongst ourselves for once the workshop is over. I've gotten some great advice so far, and thought it would be a great idea. Well, a couple people have said, "Yeah! Great idea!" but so far no one has done more than that. So I decided to organize it myself. I want to see it happen. I know it will benefit me, and I'm sure it will the others as well. So I sent an e-mail to the list asking people to let me know who's interested, and I'll organize and I guess sort of run the thing. Not that I'm going to be an omnipotent leader or anything. I definitely don't want that responsibility. But if it takes me leading it to get it done, then so be it.

Me, a leader. Who'd have guessed? Not me, that's for sure.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Blog to Check Out

Another NaNo thing I'm doing is mentoring a couple of newbies. What does that mean? Since I've done it before (albeit only once) I have an idea of what to expect, so they can ask me any questions, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability, and we'll also cheer each other on during November. I'm mentoring 3 newbies, and it's been a lot of fun so far "meeting" different people. One of them is even in St. Louis, another as far as England!

This is the blog of my St. Louis, um, mentee? What's the right word for that? I'm going with mentee, and yes, I know it's not a real word. It's very well done and her writing style is great. I'll pass along her warning that the first page has music, but the rest don't.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My NaNo Buddy

Say hi to Tish, my NaNo swap buddy. I added her blog to my favorite blog list, but here it is front and center for you to check out. I love her sense of humor, and we're really getting along! Maybe someday we'll even get to meet in real life.... But for now, here's her new blog!

Plotting Pages

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Musicians I Write To

You get a bonus double post tonight. Aren't you lucky? :) (I've had this one mostly typed up for a few weeks now, just hadn't posted it yet.)

I can't write to music with English-language lyrics (Portishead seems to be the exception...they're one of my absolute favorites). So I look for either lyric-less, or foreign language. Lately my tastes have been leaning toward harder music. German metal bands are my favorite of the moment. First I'll list the bands I've been writing to since the start of NaNo, then those I write to in general.

Emilie Autumn - Unlaced (no lyrics, her other stuff all has lyrics. Well, Laced doesn't, but classical hasn't been fitting the mood for this book.)
Danzig - Black Aria and Black Aria II. Fabulously creepy.
Nightwish - Dark Passion Play instrumental disc
Nox Arcana
Midnight Syndicate

Also going to try Brian Eno and see how it fits for this novel. He hasn't come up in the playlist yet though. I also might add the Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack, since parts of my novel center around Jerusalem, and the music is beautiful.

Softer Music
Emilie Autumn - Laced/Unlaced album
Sigur Ros
explosions in the sky
Godspeed! You Black Emperor
Dead Can Dance (but not the songs where the male is singing.)
Lisa Gerrard - I absolutely love her voice!
Azam Ali
Sacred Spirit (Native American)
Dream Catcher (Native American)
Ulrich Schnauss
Lord of the Rings soundtracks
300 soundtrack
Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack
Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV
Conjure One - the songs without lyrics anyway
Pure Moods 1-4 (songs without lyrics)
Midnight Syndicate
Nox Arcana


Eisbrecher (German)
Oomph! (German)
Rammstein (German)
Moonlight (Polish)
Unreal (Russian)
Danzig - Black Aria and Black Aria II are instrumental albums

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

There's a thread on the forums about your survival kit. I thought I'd post mine here on my blog so you can get a little look into my writing life.

Scrivener (writing software)
Moleskine notebook
Papermate Profile pen, preferably in purple
index cards for character profiles
thumb drive to back everything up
coffee - lots of coffee
Whoppers (my power food)
wrist bands or arm bands or fingerless gloves
hoodie so I don't get cold - can't write when I'm cold
backpack to carry it all
(optional depending on my mood) knit cap

That's about it. Though in reality, if I were stranded on a desert island, all I'd need would be, well, lots of notebooks and pens. I'd say all I'd need it my laptop, but when the batteries died, I'd be out of luck. So notesbooks and pens, and water. Though coffee would be really really nice to have.

And now I'm off to do more research. Or maybe character profiles. I'm feeling a bit lost as to where my plot is going, or even what it is. Maybe if I get a better idea of my characters it will help me figure out my plot.

Oh, I was going to print out the questionnaires and write them out but I can't. Why? My printer died. It sure chose a convenient time for that. (I'm not bitter, really.) I think I'll be breaking out the credit card. I don't print that often, but when I do, man, I need it. I'm feeling lost right now. (I said that above, didn't I? Sorry for the repeat, but it's the overall feeling at the moment.)

Workshops and NaNoWriMo

This is better than Christmas as far as I'm concerned. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or NaNo) starts in less than 30 days. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, during the month of November. Do you win anything? Not really, just the knowledge that you wrote 50,000 words, or more, and a group of new writing friends. This will be my second year participating. Last year I went in with nothing more than "a young detective goes undercover to investigate a cult." I knew the main character's name, and that was it. By November 15 I had my 50K. By November 30, I had 87,000. By December 1, Divided Heart was complete at 90,000 words. I've since edited it and started it's sequel.

This year I've done a bit more planning. I have a synopsis (though it very well may change once I start writing) and I'm working on character sketches right now. I even have a working title: The Future is Past. I can't wait to start writing it.

So every year on October 1, the folks who run NaNo take down the website, clear out the forums, update the site, then relaunch it to much fanfare. This year they took it down in the afternoon. We NaNo-ers waiting with baited breath. At 10:00PM central time, they updated their twitter feed saying the site should be back up in an hour. I was tired, wanted to go to bed, but was more excited for NaNo, so stayed up. 11:00 went by, no new site. At 11:30, I finally gave in to sleep. I had a dream that night I woke up the next morning and the site still wasn't back up! First thing I did when my alarm went off was grab my trusty iPhone off the bedside table and pull up the site. A sigh of relief accompanied the discovery that it was, in fact, relaunched. So I've since been chatting with other NaNo-ers and joined a couple of swaps.

The first swap I joined is where you get paired up with one other person, and you swap goodies, no more than $20 in value. What must you have to write? Candy? Stickers? Funky pens? Trade lists, and make a new NaNo friend in the process. I'll probably go shopping for my buddy this weekend.

The second one is a music swap. You get paired with 3 other random people, and you make a CD of 18 (if music CD) or 50 (if data CD - mine will be data) of your favorite songs for writing. I love finding new music, and sharing some of my more obscure tastes with others, so I joined 2 swap groups (the max). I can't wait to get my 6 CDs and discover new music.

So why is NaNo so exciting? It's the challenge of writing so many words in a month while holding down a job and managing a household. It's the fun of meeting new people, online and in real life. The fun of gather with the "real" people at weekly write-ins, talking about your stories, commiserating about writer's block or the monkey wrench your main character just threw into your plot. It's the slap-happiness that accompanies nights of little sleep while your story carries you through to the wee hours of the morning on an intense writer's high, or at the end of the month when you struggle to get those last few thousand words (though I haven't experienced the latter.) It's the joy of meeting up with the NaNo folks from last year, who you haven't seen since the TGIO party in December (Thank God It's Over) in October to drink coffee and talk about your plans for this year's novel. And of course the fun and celebration of victories and defeats at said TGIO party the first week of December.

The first NaNo even this year is this Saturday when some of us will meet and drink coffee and discuss our plans. I can't wait! The official pre-planning party is Oct. 24, when I will sadly be out of town. Sadly, because I'll miss the party, but happily because I'll be on my writer's retreat, a much needed weekend getaway with my writing group.

So yes, for me, NaNo is better than Christmas.

And now you wonder, why the heck did she put workshops in the title of this post? Because this month, in addition to preparing for NaNo, I'm taking an online Urban Fantasy workshop. I don't have much to report about it just yet as we've only had 1 lesson, but it's taught by Jeanne C. Stein, who write the Anna Strong vampire series. I've only read the first book, but it was fantastic, and I have the second sitting on my desk waiting for the time to pick up.

I'm also taking a cake decorating class every Tuesday this month. It's a very packed month for me, and November will be full of writing, writing, and more writing.

Writing Quotes

Here are some of my favorite writing quotes, in no particular order. Well, the first 2 are 2 of my very very favorites, but the others are in no order.

"The Muse cannot resist a working writer." -Ray Bradbury

"Reading and weeping opens the door to one’s heart, but writing and weeping opens the window to one’s soul." –M.K. Simmons

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." -Anton Chekhov

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." -William Wordsworth

"I do a first draft as passionately and as quickly as I can. I believe a story is valid only when it's immediate and passionate, when it dances out of your subconscious. If you interfere in any way, you destroy it. ... Let your characters have their way. Let your secret life be lived." -Ray Bradbury

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” -E. L. Doctorow

"Shut up and write" -Natalie Goldberg

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." -Ray Bradbury

"The coroner will find ink in my veins and blood on my typewriter keys." -C. Astrid Weber

"An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere." -Gustave Flaubert

"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." -Isaac Asimov

"If I were told I only had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster." -Isaac Asimov

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." -Jack London

"If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you." -Henry Rollins

“I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.”
 –Frank Lloyd Wright

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
 -Mark Twain

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -Mark Twain

"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." -Gene Fowlern

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition” - -Graham Greene.

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” - -Saul Bellow

"You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it's going to be too difficult for adults, you write it for children." -Madeleine L'Engle

"Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for." -Ray Bradbury