NaNoWriMo Day 30: Across the Fin. Line

Apologies for the long silence on the progress of NaNoWriMo!  But the good news is that I haven’t been here because I’ve been over there, head down and typing away at the novel draft.  There’s been some ups and down, with word count advancing and retreating from the by-day goal (though nothing as fraught as earlier in the month!)  And this morning before work I typed my last few hundred words to link-up and flesh out my last couple partial scenes, and typed Fin. at the bottom.

Only to find I was exactly 173 words short of 50,000 for the month!

So I went back and expanded a much earlier scene that I already knew needed revising, to finally wind up at 50,009 by my calculations.🙂 Trying to get it across 50,000 for NaNo’s validator was a little more complicated, as new and old writing was hopelessly enmeshed within the draft.  I’ve been calculating all month by subtracting my pre-NaNo word count from my total.  So just between you and me, I validated 50,000 words of the novel draft in NaNo’s validator…I just can’t claim that they were the same 50,000 words that I wrote this month.

This makes my fifth NaNo, and it was both the same and different.  Writing in 15 minute sprints, like last year, worked brilliantly again.  I average 400 words in 15 minutes, so I spent the whole month calculating how I could get enough sprints in each day to manage my word goal.  There were fewer moments of big-picture inspiration (suddenly seeing how it all fits together) because this draft was so fully imagined that I already knew how most things fit together…but there were smaller-picture inspiration moments, making a scene work or getting a particularly nice bit of dialogue in.

I have a couple early scenes I still need to write in the draft but I am within a hair’s-breadth of completion and that is truly exciting.  Though I am also already making extensive plans for the revisions…so this may still go on for quite a while.

But today I’m celebrating another 50,000 word November.  So have an excerpt about books! I wrote most of this during November, except for half a page in the middle.  It’s complicated…🙂

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It took me a month to read Hamlet.  It wasn’t nearly as long or dense as Victor Hugo, with significantly less architecture.  Instead there was love and sword fights and betrayal and conspiracy.  And Erik was right, the plot meandered a lot as Hamlet tried to bring himself to kill his uncle (or decide definitely not to), but they said wonderful things along the way.  There were a few perfectly ordinary phrases I’d been using my whole life without knowing they’d come by way of Hamlet.

I thought it was delightful.  Right up until the final Act.  And that sent me marching off to Erik’s apartments in a state of righteous outrage.

I knocked first (I wasn’t that outraged) and once he invited me to enter I strode in and demanded, “Why didn’t you tell me Hamlet died?” Continue reading

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Book Review: The Doll People

I happened across The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin in my library’s audiobook section and thought it looked to be some light entertainment.  It was–and it wasn’t.  Rarely have I been so completely and clearly of two minds about a book!

The Doll People is about a family of dolls, particularly little girl Annabelle Doll, who are all alive unbeknownst to their humans (of course).  A family heirloom, the Doll family and their elegant house have been passed through several generations of daughters.  Two plot threads dominate the book: Annabelle’s decision to search for her Auntie Sarah Doll, who went missing forty-five years ago, and the arrival of a new, modern family of dolls who do things differently–but may provide a new friend for Annabelle.

When I read kids books now, I often have a sense of seeing something I might not have as a kid myself…but not usually to the extent that I did here.  I feel like I read this book on two completely separate levels.  On a kid’s level, it’s a light, entertaining read.  Annabelle is a likable heroine who goes through some character growth becoming more daring (and dragging her reluctant family along).  There are a few expeditions and adventures, threats from the family cat and the danger of being caught by humans, and the fun of making a new friend.  And of course, there’s the magical idea of a whole world going on when the humans turn their backs.

And then there was the other level.  Reading this as an adult, some aspects of the book became deeply horrifying.  Continue reading

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Blog Hop: Grateful Reading

book blogger hopThis week’s Book Blogger Hop question: Would you take a book with you when you go to your family’s Thanksgiving gathering/dinner?

Absolutely!  Though I should clarify by saying that it would be very unlikely I would actually read it.  I just bring a book everywhere, all the time.  And there might be a suitable reading opportunity somewhere in a day-long Thanksgiving gathering.

In recent years I’ve fallen into a semi-tradition of reading Terry Pratchett over Thanksgiving weekend.  I think it started when I read Hogfather one year (a little early, as that’s his Christmas satire, but it was almost seasonal) and now I’ve been carrying it on just for fun.  And perhaps it’s appropriate–laughter in general and Terry Pratchett in particular are something to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, all my American readers–and a lovely day to all the international ones too!  I am grateful you are here.❤

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NaNoWriMo Day 13: Back from the Deeps

Closing in on the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo already!  I’ve been running at a deficit ever since political results came in, but the muse, temporarily scared off, seems to have largely returned.  I kept the deficit fairly low, and have now managed to catch back up again this weekend.

I’m hitting some new challenges on the writing front–I was expecting all along that the writing would get easier once I got to the final, more plot-driven section of the book.  Well, I’m there now, and have discovered a new complexity.

You see, when I saw I had a partial draft before NaNo, it wasn’t quite as simple as, say, having written chapters 1-30 and needing the last ten.  I’ve been writing most of this out of order, so it’s more like I wrote the first thirty chapters, had a multi-chapter gap, and then had portions of the final few chapters.  I’ve filled in the gap and am into those final few (which still stretch over a lot of scenes and words).  Now I need to connect things up and fill in missing pieces…and it’s harder to get the word count that way.

I can write a lot of words quickly if I can get into a scene and just tear right through it.  Completing a partial scene or writing transitions between scenes are smaller chunks and it’s harder to get momentum up.

On the other hand…I get to move forward through the book in leaps and bounds since entire scenes are already here.  And I feel that I’m really finally getting down near the end–which is exciting and alarming!  But more exciting.🙂

Have an excerpt!

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Everything was perfectly fine and I was perfectly happy and I was perfectly, perfectly content without Erik at all.  Or so I kept telling myself. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo Day 10: Dark Clouds and Daffodils

Quite a gap in NaNo updating!  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been novelizing though.  I had a particularly excellent Day 4 last Friday, writing just over 3,000 words to build up a solid cushion for a weekend spent traveling.  I kept up well the beginning of this week too, even on Election Day which I had expected to be too busy for much writing–but I got several hundred words in on my lunch break, writing up a confrontation at the Mardi Gras ball.

And then yesterday those election results came back and…well, this is not a political blog, so let’s just suffice to say it was a very, very bad day.  Under the circumstances, getting any words written was a victory.  Today has been slightly better emotionally but busier in the usual way of life, so I’m currently running about 600 words behind schedule.  With a friend’s birthday party tomorrow that number may rise, but I think I’ll be able to catch up over the weekend.

On a plot front, I’m just about reaching the end of a pretty large, vaguely-defined section of the book, and catching up to the point where the action grows more intense.  Or to put it another way, after a stretch of mostly character development I’m reaching a more plot-driven portion.  I hope this will make the remainder of the book a bit easier…but one never knows! Continue reading

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